|“||I cannot say my objectives are inspired by an honourable cause. My desire is for retribution, and aiding you will increase the extent of the end result.||”|
–Yarad, on his reasons for helping Laeka'Draeon
Yarad is a mysterious hemlan mage who crosses paths with Laeka'Draeon and company during an intense rescue mission. The mage offers his assistance, and following a series of repercussions and consequences, ends up joining the young dragon on his grand quest, and subsequently becoming one of the series' primary characters.
Yarad is introduced in the story during Dual Destiny (Book 3), and is the featured character on the book's front cover.
Warning: SPOILERS contained in the information below.
Yarad is described as being quite tall for a hemlan, with a wiry and lithe physique and narrow features. His hair is raven-black in colour, and very long (described as a 'cascade'); he uses a strip of red cloth (ribbon-like in appearance) to tie it back. His eyes, while not given an exact shade in the books, are described as 'stormy' and 'dark as the moonless water of a lake', hence the description of the eye colour is a dark grey-blue.
His attire consists of a unique high-collared cloak that is fastened at the front like a vest, but long and sweeping at the back, along with a pale, unremarkable shirt, dark-coloured trousers, and high, leather boots. He wears an embroidered red belt around his waist, the same red colour as the ribbon tying his hair.
Yarad's resting expression is a 'natural frown', which gives him a stoic, almost scowling appearance. His presence is described as being intense, even when he is not in direct line of sight, and yet he is known to be able to go almost completely unnoticed at times.
A stoic and brooding individual, Yarad shows little emotion, though it is clear to those who look closely that he feels with a deep—and sometimes ferocious—intensity.
Not one for indulging in idle conversation, Yarad speaks only when he feels it necessary, and will oftentimes appear disinterested in social interactions and connections; such appearances are often deceiving as Yarad is as perceptive as he is enigmatic.
While he appears to be indifferent to the idea of any level of relationship, his actions of interference and rescue give away the truth of some unspoken connection with Laeka'Draeon and the rest of the company (Ghinzel in particular).
Although he is a hemlan (an Et'denin creature-kind), Yarad wields uncommonly powerful magics, including shadow distortion, sound nullification, elemental manipulations, accelerated healing, and to some degree, physical transfiguration (his ribbon and belt can change texture and form, and his cloak can transform into a set of enormous black wings). He is also incredibly fast and agile, to the point of being supernatural. Such physical feats are likely a result of magical exertion.
A hemlan with uncommon magical prowess and undisclosed intentions, Yarad is not an individual to be trifled with … although once his trust and respect are earned, his loyalty becomes unbreakable.
During his first encounter with Laeka'Draeon's company, Yarad introduces himself as a wandering mage, with no particular allegiance or ties to any kingdom or creed. His presence in Shoumeign is due to his seeking retribution against Wrathmere (for past wrongdoings which are not elaborated). He assists Laeka'Draeon and company in infiltrating the slave trader's hideout, in order to rescue Norf. His behaviour and choices during and after the mission are dubious and confounding, but his actions to save the companions (when in dire straights) earn him a place in their company. He joins Laeka'Draeons quest, in part to be active in righting the wrongs due to the dragons' disappearance, but also in the hopes that such an endeavour will help advance his own personal goals.
Yarad reveals early in his introduction with the group that he is aware of Laeka'Draeon's true nature (that he is a dragon), and from this stems some of his motives. He holds dragons in high esteem, and one of his desires is to understand the reason for their disappearance. He is greatly intrigued by Laeka'Draeon, so much so he temporarily abandons his own personal quest in order to join Laeka'Draeon's. Yarad attentively heeds Laeka'Draeon and submits to his decisions, and Laeka'Draeon in turn considers the mage dependable and trustworthy (despite knowing he has additional, alterior motives). These elements show a curious dynamic between them; a mutual respect based on some of their shared core motivations.
Yarad and Shifra's relationship is one of underlying tension and is, at times, antagonistic (especially on Shifra's part); quite a contrast compared to the dynamics between the other companions. Yarad does not hold any particular qualms against Shifra; he is well aware of her distrust in him, and, in fact, commends her cautious and investigative mindset (as he harbours many secrets and has already made it known that he has additional intentions in regards to his personal goals). Even with their contentious dynamic, they (for the most part) keep their peace within the group due to their shared devotion to Laeka'Draeon and a desire to see him succeed in his quest. It is only later, after Yarad's harrowing experience within Duintrai City, and the revealing of his true identity and past, that Shifra's antagonistic outlook shifts, and their relationship moves toward something of a mutual respect and emotional understanding.
Aware of Ghinzel's idolizing of him, Yarad tolerates the young fellis' attention with what appears to be semi-detached interest. The truth is Yarad's 'tolerating' unfurls as a growing affection for the fellis child; he allows Ghinzel to grab at his arms and cloak and even jump on his back (even though Yarad does not like physical contact). He ends up fiercely protective of the little fellis, and is especially enraged when Ghinzel is kidnapped by the Maurin Moor goblins. It is Ghinzel's friendship that ultimately saves his life, and the ripple effects help to steer him toward a redemptive arc, away from his hatred and desire for revenge.
Yarad and Veilkiir are not on the friendliest of terms. Veilkiir blames Yarad for his sister's death (as Yarad was her Warden and protector--which he failed to do) and considered him a traitor. He sets aside his own desire for justice to ensure his ward (Aena Etheridge) is given her own chance of exacting revenge, which she ultimately renounces. In seeking to understand her change of heart, Veilkiir decides in indulge in his own changes, and shifts his perception of Yarad from renegade to (tolerated) ally for the sake of Aena, and Laeka'Draeon--whom Veilkiir finds fascinating and is keen to assist. Yarad respects Veilkiir's progressive outlook, and is likely grateful for him taking Aena (a hemlan orphan) under his wing to train and protect.
Yarad found a life of sanctuary, peace and purpose with the Etheridge family. He and Eelyn (Aena's older sister) were lovers, which meant his relationship with Aena (a child at the time) would have been akin to brother and sister. After that life was destroyed, Aena grew up blaming Yarad for the loss of her family, and her young heart became poisoned with the desire for revenge. Yarad, thinking all the Etheridges dead (including Aena) blamed the true culprit, and followed his own dark path towards retribution. When the two meet again, Yarad as a captive and Aena his captor, he is filled with grieving emotions, and resigns himself to whatever fate she wishes upon him. Her grief is still a fire, fuelled by hatred and a burning desire for justice. It is only by Ghinzel's heartfelt pleading, that Aena stays her hand (from a killing blow) and boxes up her hatred long enough to hear Yarad's side of the story (what really happened when the Etheridge estate was raided). Aena chooses to temporarily join Laeka'Draeon's company to witness first-hand Yarad's supposed noble actions and intentions. Eventually, her wrath shifts off of him, onto Starvos Wrathmere (the real culprit), and she becomes his ally and advocate in defeating the corrupt hemlan general. Eventually, their relationship begins to heal.
Once staunch allies, and brothers of the Warden Velds (Yarad being the Warden to princess Veilishi and Hastklingr the Warden to prince Veilkiir), Hastklingr now sees Yarad as a traitor and an unnatural abomination, not worthy to be allowed to live. Yarad's abandonment of the Concords and his breaking of the Warden oaths would have hit Hastklingr hard. He has never forgiven him, nor likely ever will. Yarad does not attempt any relational restoration, and Hastklingr does not attempt any further assaults against him (only due to obeying his prince's wishes).
Yarad is able to transform his cloak into a set of powerful, onyx-coloured wings. With them, he can fly with impressive speed and dexterity. Additionally, the wings are large enough (and he strong enough) to carry someone else whilst in flight; as seen when he carries Shifra out of harms way a couple of times, and also carries Aena safely away from the stormy mountain peaks of the Horns of Beikrel'Sorgh. Whenever he transforms his cloak, partial transformation can also be seen on his shoulders and arms. Black spines protrude from the shoulders, and feathery scales appear down his arms.
Such an ability (and those particular features) are revealed to be a residual part of his original (manorphis) form.
Another important facet of his shapeshifting abilities are his weapons. He is able to transform his red hair ribbon and waist belt into (seemingly) any shape he desires (from a spear to a tourniquet). For the most part he turns them into weapons; a pair of scythe-like sword-length blades.
Yarad's mage abilities include an affinity for manipulating certain elements, including air and light/ shadow. He is able to manipulate the wind to his advance, creating gusts or updrafts, as well as changing the direction of the air around him. He can also bend light around his body to create a shield of invisibility; this appears to only work with moonlight. Additionally, he is able to manipulate shadows, which he does so to dull his presence and be physically inconspicuous—to the point of being able to walk through crowds of people without being noticed.
Speed and Agility
Utilizing his lean body, and applying magical augmentation to his strength and movement, Yarad is exceptionally fast and agile. His battle with Curdilis is so fast and intense that Norf has trouble keeping visual track of them. This ability to self-enhance also enables Yarad to (temporarily) defy the laws of gravity and physics; his fighting style often incorporates wildly intense parkour-like maneuvers.
A unique aspect of Yarad's mage powers is his ability to self-heal. Not only is he able to repair torn flesh and remove blood stains, but the restorative power also applies to his clothing (this is later revealed to be due to the fact that his clothing is actually a part of his own manna--externalised and manifested to take on the appearance of clothing). His healing abilities are limited only to himself; he is not able to heal others.
Yarad is learned in an ancient manna siphoning art known as the Enargri Vierin (meaning: Energy Purge). It is a powerful manna manipulation technique, documented as being used to rend demons from possessed forms, and purifying corrupted flows of energy. It is not a broadly-practiced art, as it has been labelled by many cultures as taboo.
Valadilian Trivia: Yarad can speak the phylkir dialect, a near-extinct language that originated from the tongues of the Winged Kings (the hippogriffs, gryphons, and manorphis).
Valadilian Trivia: Like Ubi, Yarad can utilise Healing magics to the point of reversing any damage done to his clothing, although his power seems to extend only to himself (he cannot magically Heal others).
Real World Trivia: Yarad's original name was going to be Malek. Both Malek and Yarad have similar meanings. Malek meaning "Sovereign" and Yarad meaning "Dark Sovereign".