The Vows and Honor series is about the adventures of Tarma and Kethry. The series is comprised of two books and a short story collection: The Oathbound, Oathbreakers and Oathblood.[1] The history of their partnership has three phases: the adventure years when they needed to make their reputation, the mercenary years, and the post-mercenary years.


"Born to the Clan of the Hawk of the nomadic Shin'a'in people, she saw her entire clan slain by brigands. Vowing blood revenge upon the murderers, she became one of the sword-sworn, the most elite of all warriors. And trained in all forms of death-dealing combat, she took to the road in search of her enemies..."


"Born to a noble house, sold into a hateful "marriage," she fled life's harshness for the sanctuary of the White Winds, a powerful school of sorcery. Becoming an adept, she pledged to use her talents for the greatest good. Yet, unlike other sorcerers, Kethry could use worldly weapons as well as magical skills. And when she became the bearer of a uniquely magical sword which drew her to those in need, Kethry was led to a fateful meeting with Tarma."

Sword-Sworn: The Beginning (collected in Oathblood)Edit

Sword-Sworn is the earliest chronological story, as it tells of Tarma's tragedy, her vow, and her search for revenge. Then she meets Kethry, who helps her get revenge, and they swear their Oath to be sisters so that Kethry can help re-found the clan.

  • Sword Sworn (c) 1985 (Originally published in Sword and Sorceress III, collected in Oathblood) - Tarma's traumatic story, transformation, and revenge, including how she met Kethry

The Oathbound (1988) Edit


After their adventures in Sword-Sworn, the pair is headed towards the plains to reclaim the clan banner. When they stop in Mournedealth to raise funds, Kethry confronts her traumatic past. After their successful mission to the clans, the pair realize they will need both a reputation and funds to fulfill their dream of re-founding the clan and opening a school. In the Pelagirs Forest, Kethry summons a kyree to be her familiar, but Warrl bonds with Tarma instead. The rest of the book is comprised of four previously published short stories:

  • "Keys" (c) 1988 - a locked room mystery with a combat challenge
  • "Blind Desire" 1986 - first encounter with the demon Thalhkarsh
  • "Turnabout (c) 1986 - the pack train job
  • "Should Old Acquaintance" 1986, 1987 - Thalhkarsh returns

"United by sword-spell geas and the will of the Goddess, Tarma and Kethry swore a blood oath to carry on their mutual fight against evil. The blood oath also allowed the Tale'sedrin clan to remain alive by having the clan live through Kethry's children. Together, swordmaster and sorceress set forth to fulfill their destiny."

More adventure years short stories (collected in Oathblood)Edit

These stories are also about their wanderings:

  • "The Making of a Legend" (c) 1990 - the Bard Leslac is appalled to see how unexciting his heroines are in action.
  • "A Woman's Weapon" (c) 1992 - a Master Guildsman's health is failing
  • "The Talisman" (c) 1990 - a town is troubled by a bear
  • "A Tale of Heroes" (c) 1987 - what happens to the tavern-maid "given" to a victorious hero?
  • "Friendly Fire" (c) 1993 - a run of bad luck

The two non-Thalhkarsh stories used in Oathbound are also collected in Oathblood:

  • "Turnabout (c) 1986 - the pack train job
  • "Keys" (c) 1988 - a locked room mystery with a combat challenge

Adventures published outside of the three-book seriesEdit

Two Tarma and Kethry adventure years stories were published outside the three-book series:

Oathbreakers (novel) (1989)Edit


After making their reputation, Tarma and Kethry join a mercenary company, the Sunhawks, to accumulate funds to re-found the clan and start their school.

"When Idra, leader of the crack mercenaries known as the Sunhawks, failed to return from a journey to her home kingdom of Rethwellan, Tarma and Kethry, warrior and mage, set out in search of their vanished leader. Sisters of sword and spell, their fates bound together by a Goddess-sworn oath, they were eternally pledged to fight the forces of evil.

"And evil had indeed cast its shadow over Rethwellan. Idra, so they were told, had left long ago on a search for a legendary magical sword which could reveal which of her two brothers was meant to become the new king. With the princess gone, her younger brother had been branded an outlaw and her older brother had claimed the throne. Both instinct and mage lore told Kethry and Tarma that all was not as it seemed, that both Idra and her people were in terrible jeopardy. Yet would their Goddess-given powers, aided by those of a Herald of Valdemar, proves strong enough to break the dark enchantment possessing this land?"

Post-mercenary short stories (collected in Oathblood)Edit


Kethry marries and bears children to refound the clan, and they start their school.

"Now they have pledged to train others to fight for their cause, starting a new school for young, would-be warriors and fledgling White Winds mages. But training young fighters and wizards turns out to be far more complicated and perilous than they expected - and when two of their prize students are kidnapped, Tarma and Kethry must draw upon all of their combined skills to answer the call of their destiny in ways they never imagined!"

  • "Wings of Fire" (c) 1991 - the body of a shaman inspires a search for his killer
  • "Spring Plowing at Forst Reach (c) 1998 - Lord Kemoc Ashkevron needs Tarma's "horse whispering" skills to reform his recalcitrant horses
  • "Oathblood" (c) 1998 - two students at the school are kidnapped

Mercenary Companies Edit

This is a short list of mercenary companies and groups mentioned in the series.

  • Staferd's Cold-drakes
  • Devaril's Demons
  • Doomslayers
  • Felar's Teeth
  • Freelancers
  • Mercenary Guild Company
  • Randel's Raiders
  • Idra's Sunhawks
  • Wolflings

Characters in the Vows and Honor series Edit

  • Ahkela shen Liha'irden - Shin'a'in shaman
  • Prince Albayah - prince of Jkatha
  • Anathei of the Purifying Flame - deity
  • Arboly
  • Arton - disguise for Tarma
  • Lord Kemoc Ashkevron - a Valdemar noble
  • Baryl Longarm - mercenary
  • Beaker Bowman - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Belton - mercenary
  • Bevis - mercenary, Sunhawk serjeant
  • Cat - a guard in Mornedealth
  • Cinsley - White Winds Adept mage
  • Lord Corbie
  • Dar'thela
  • Declin, Lord Kelcrag
  • Dee - Healer-Herbalist, mercenary, Sunhawk
  • King Destillon - king of Rethwellan
  • Captain Devaril - captain of the Devaril's Demons mercenary company
  • Devid - cook
  • Dharin - Shin'a'in
  • Diona
  • Domery - a Jkathan mountain family related to Kyra
  • Lord Baron Dudlyn
  • Duross - deity
  • Eere - Tayledras bondbird, hawk eagle, Skyshadow
  • Egon Potter
  • Ersala - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Estrel
  • Fallan
  • Faramentha Jadrevalyn - prince of Rethwellan (later King)
  • Garth - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Geoffrey - mercenary, Sunhawk serjeant
  • Gerrold - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Gesta - guard, Mornedealth
  • Gervase - Wizard Lizard, hertasi Adept mage
  • Lady Gorley
  • Greeneyes - Kethry's nickname, given by Tarma
  • Gregoth - bandit
  • Duke Greyhame - Jkathan nobility
  • Grindel - author
  • Grumio - merchant
  • Hadell - innkeeper of the Broken Sword Inn
  • Havak, Lord Leamount - Jkathan nobility
  • Viscount Hathkel
  • Lord Havirn
  • Helansevrith
  • Hellsbane - battlesteed
  • Hesten
  • Captain Idra - Rethwellan princess, Sunhawk mercenary captain
  • Ikan Dryvale - mercenary
  • Ilvan
  • Ironheart - battlesteed
  • Madame Isa
  • Istan
  • Jadrek - Rethwellan archivist
  • Jadrie - Shin'a'in daughter of Kethry
  • Janna
  • Jendar - one of Kethry's sons
  • Jiles - hedge-mage, military
  • Jinian
  • Jininan - child in Hawksnest
  • Jodi - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Joffrey (Captain) - mercenary, Wolflings
  • Jonis Revlath - lawyer
  • Jons - one of Lord Leamount's sentries
  • Justin Twoblade - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Kal'enal (Star-Eyed) - Shin'a'in goddess
  • Master Karden
  • Katren
  • Kavinestral Pheregul - Kethry's brother
  • Lord Kelcrag
  • Kelles - deity
  • Kemak
  • Lord Kendrick Gorley
  • Kessira
  • Kethren
  • Kethryveris Pheregrul (Kethry) - adept mage, partner to Tarma shena Tale'sedrin
  • Keyjon
  • Kira - a student at the school
  • Kyra - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Laeka
  • Landrie
  • Larsh
  • Laryn - Shin'a'in son of Kethry
  • Lastel Longknife - bandit
  • Bard Lauren
  • Lord Leamount - Jkathan nobility
  • Leland - mage
  • Master Lenne
  • Bard Leslac - a bard who writes exaggerated or fabricated songs about Tarma and Kethry
  • Lethra - mercenary, Sunhawk serjeant
  • Lightfoot - Jodi's horse
  • Master Loren
  • Prince Lothar - Ruvan
  • Lurchan - deity
  • Lyam - Shin'a'in son of Kethry
  • Countess Lyris - an elderly Rethwellan noblewoman
  • Mala - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Mara Yveda - mage
  • Father Mahew
  • Melania - Adept mage
  • Merili - a student at the school
  • Queen Mertis - Rethwellan
  • Moonsong k'Vala - Tayledras adept mage
  • Murfee - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Lady Myria
  • Need
  • Nemor - priest
  • One-Eye Tham - beggar
  • Oreden - mage
  • Orwind
  • Osberg - bandit
  • Oskar - innkeeper of the Bottomless Barrel Inn
  • Ourra - kyree
  • Pawell - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Quenta - author
  • Randel - mercenary, Randel's Raiders
  • King Raschar Jadrevalyn - Rethwellan
  • Countess Reine
  • Lord Baron Reichert
  • Rethaire - herbalist, Sunhawk
  • Rild - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • King Roald - Herald, Valdemar
  • Roan
  • Rodi
  • Rory Halfaxe
  • Sania - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Sewen - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Shelana - Shin'a'in warleader, Clan Liha'irden
  • Lord Shoveral
  • Sir Skolte
  • Prince Stefansen Jadrevalyn - later King of Rethwellan
  • Stormwing k'Sheyna - Tayledras mage
  • Queen Sursha - Jkatha
  • Syrtin
  • Tarma shena Tale'sedrin - Shin'a'in swordsworn, partner to Kethry, kyree Warrl
  • Tamar - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Tamas - mercenary, Sunhawk serjeant
  • Tedric - mercenary
  • Tenavril
  • Thalhkarsh - demon, near deity
  • Brother Thoser
  • Archduke Tilden
  • Tildy
  • Tindel - Master of the King's Horse, Rethwellan
  • Tresti - healer, mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Varny - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Vasely - mercenary, Sunhawk
  • Vega
  • Warrl - a kyree, companion to Tarma
  • Wendar - mercenary
  • Wethes Goldmarchant - banker, Mornedealth
  • Count Wulfres
  • Zaras - mage

Places in the Vows and Honor series Edit

Terms in the Vows and Honor series Edit

Also see: Shin'a'in terms and phrases Edit


  1. Two Tarma and Kethry stories were published outside the three-book series: "A Dragon in Distress", co-written with Elisabeth Waters in 1995, and "Landscape of the Imagination", published in 2005. Both stories were set in their adventure years.

See Also Edit