Talia grew up a daughter of the Holderkin village Sensholding. She was born on Midsummer's Day, and her mother died in labor. As a girl, Talia was expected to marry and have children. She was taught to be subservient to all men and to the Firstwife. She was frequently punished because she acted out of her prescribed role. In addition, her brother Justus tortured and bullied her on several occasions, giving her a very real fear of men. It was due to her brother Andean that Talia was allowed to learn to read and avoided many harsher punishments. Talia's favorite book was about Herald-Mage Vanyel and his last battle with the Dark Servants in the mountains north of Valdemar. It was due to this story that Talia dreamed about becoming a Herald. Talia also had a sister, Vrisa, who cared for her until she married and became a Firstwife.
On the holding, Talia was in charge of all the littles because she was the oldest unmarried child. In addition, she was the only one trusted to deliver important messages to the holding elders.
When Talia turned thirteen, her father's wives told her that she was old enough to marry. Talia refused to do so and ran away to her hiding spot to cry. While there, she heard the sound of Companions' bells. She fell out of her hiding spot right in front of the Companion Rolan. As she looked into his eyes, she knew she'd never be lonely again. However, Talia didn't know that she had been Chosen and assumed that Rolan was lost. She decided to return him to the palace herself thinking they would let her be a servant, which was better than marrying someone she didn't love. After several days of traveling, she arrived at the Palace. The first person she met was the Princess Elspeth, who had a tantrum when Talia wouldn't bow to her. Next Talia met Queen Selenay who explained to her what it meant to be Chosen and that she had been Chosen to be Queen's Own.
Talia dove right into being a Herald trainee. It wasn't long before she began to be harassed by several of the Blues, however, and due to her shyness and fear of men, she didn't tell anyone. One day in late winter, she was cornered by them and thrown into the frozen over river, after obtaining a concussion. She would have drowned but her bond with Rolan was exceptionally strong, and with the help of Heralds Keren and Sherrill, Rolan pulled her to the shore. Talia was sick in bed for weeks. She was under constant guard by Heralds Keren, Ylsa, Jadus, and her friend Skif. Her concussion also woke her Gift, empathy, and she was able to sense how people were feeling.
After Talia recovered, she tried to get close to the princess Elspeth. After one too many excuses from Elspeth's nurse Hulda, Talia enlisted the aid of Skif to find out what was wrong. They discovered that Hulda was in the pay of a mysterious lord to keep Elspeth from being Chosen. Talia and Skif told Jadus, and Hulda escaped, warned by her mysterious lord. Talia then befriended Elspeth and changed her into a better person. She taught Elspeth to respect her servants and possessions. In addition, she cured Elspeth of her fear of Companions. Before long, Elspeth was attending classes and Council meetings with Talia. The Brat was cured when she helped Talia deliver a Companion foal one night.
Talia's internship was in the North district Sorrows 2, on the northern border of Valdemar. Her mentor was Herald Kris. While on her internship, Talia encountered rumors that she used her gift to manipulate people. These rumors undermined her self-confidence, and her gift went rogue. Talia and Kris realized that Talia had never really been trained how to use her gift, that it was all instinct. While they were snowed in at a waystation for several weeks, Kris retaught Talia how to use her gift with the help of his Companion Tantris and Rolan. After they dug their way out of the waystation, Talia then had to prove to the people of Valdemar that she did not abuse her gift.
When Talia returned to Haven at the end of her internship, she encountered several problems. Lord Orthallen continued to seem very antagonistic to her. In addition, Herald Dirk avoided her because he thought she was in love with his best friend Kris, even though they were in love with each other. She also got into a fight with Kris over his treatment of Dirk and a fight with Elspeth over her irresponsibility. She was able to make up with Kris, and they went on a trip to Hardorn for Queen Selenay to learn about the prince Ancar as a prospective husband for Elspeth. Once they reached the capital, Crown City, however, they realized it was a trap; Ancar had killed his father and usurped the throne. In addition, he was allied with Elspeth's old nurse, Hulda, and was a powerful mage. He intended to take over Valdemar and force Elspeth to marry him. Trying to escape, Kris was killed and Talia captured. She was raped and tortured until she was broken, and then she drank a bottle of argonel to kill herself. Instead of dying, however, she went into a coma.
When news reached the royal camp at the border between Valdemar and Hardorn, Dirk was grief-stricken. He was desperate enough to try Fetching her, even though he had never Fetched anything as large as an adult human before. With Elspeth Seeing for him, he tried to Fetch her, but did not have the strength. Then Rolan approached him and offered the strength of the Companions, and they succeeded in bringing her back. However, despite having every senior Healer work on her, she remained in a coma for several days, even with Rolan and Kyril trying to call her back. Eventually Dirk admitted to himself that he loved her and called her back. Talia insisted that the Healers do what they must to have her appear whole, and, with Elspeth at her bedside, confronted Orthallen with his treachery. He went berserk and Elspeth killed him with a hidden dagger. When she realized that Dirk believed that she was in love with Kris, she used her Gift to show him how she felt about him.
During the battle with Ancar she used her Gift to find the mage that was summoning demons. With the help of Talia, Dirk and Rolan, Herald Griffon called fire on the mage, taking away Ancar's greatest advantage and Valdemar won the battle. After returning to Haven, she insisted that the Healer mend her injuries as fast as possible, despite the pain this caused her. Dirk went to tell his family what had happened, and while he was gone they completed most of the Healing, and she herself healed the psychological damage caused by being raped and tortured. She and Dirk married in the fall, with him carrying her to the altar, since her feet had not yet healed fully. Despite the great efforts of the Healers, she limped for a time and her feet remained somewhat stiff, even long afterwards. They later had a son named Jemmie, who is about the same age as the twins Lyra and Kris.
After Karse declared peace with Valdemar, Talia went to Sunhame to be made a priestess of Vkandis. She took her role as priestess seriously, wearing a specially made Heraldic uniform that had Vkandis motifs running through it and learning the Writ of Vkandis.
- Mate: Dirk
- Parents: Sen and Bessa
- Siblings: Keltven, Andrean (SecondSon), Justus, Vrisa, and numerous unnamed younger half-siblings
There are a number of songs for Talia, or about Talia, or meant to be sung by Talia. The songs were released on the Heralds, Harpers, and Havoc album, except for "Maiden's Hope (song) which is on Lovers, Lore and Loss. The lyrics of all but the latter song were included in the "Songs of Valdemar" Appendix section of the trilogy omnibus publications: Queen's Own or The Complete Arrows Trilogy.
Arrows of the Queen:
- Chosen One - for Elspeth and Gwena
- Arrow's Flight (song)
- Fundamentals - by Kris
- Other Love - for Kris
- Sun and Shadow - a legend song
In the seriesEdit
Talia appears in the following books:
- Arrows of the Queen, Heralds of Valdemar series, volume 1
- Arrow's Flight, Heralds of Valdemar series, volume 2
- Arrow's Fall, Heralds of Valdemar series, volume 3
- By the Sword
- "Sun in Glory" by Mercedes Lackey, Sun in Glory and Other Tales of Valdemar, Anthologies, volume 2
- Winds of Fate, Mage Winds series, volume 1
- Winds of Fury, Mage Winds series, volume 3
- Storm Warning, Mage Storms series, volume 1
- Storm Rising, Mage Storms series, volume 2