The Women of the Vaetra Chronicles

One of my goals with the Vaetra Chronicles is to portray the primary female characters as strong, intelligent, and capable people. You won’t find any “shrinking violets” among my main characters, but you also won’t find giant Amazon women dressed in “bikini armor.” My own experience has shown me that the real world includes plenty of strong women, so there’s no need to invent cartoon characters.

Hopefully, readers will agree that I’ve reached my goal with the women who get the most “air time” in the first two books of the Vaetra Chronicles: Sulana Delano, Dela Onsul, and Lissy Aragon. This article gives you a brief glimpse into the personalities of these remarkable women.

Sulana Delano

Sulana Delano is a Sword Sorceress. She was granted her position by the Archives Council, and she is responsible for enforcing the Sorcery Accords that prevent sorcerers from interfering in the government of the “mundane” (non-magical) citizenry. She’s a tough woman who takes her responsibility seriously, but I didn’t make it easy for her.

Sulana is only 5’ 2” tall and weighs about 105 pounds. What she lacks in physical presence, she makes up in attitude. The hallmarks of her public personality are her confidence and commanding tone. She typically wears full leather armor in the field and rarely moves about unarmed. In combat, she knows to rely upon her speed and agility more than her strength, and she routinely spends many hours each week with the Archives Weaponsmaster honing her skills.

Behind the tough exterior, Sulana has weaknesses. Although she is a sorceress, she can only manifest vaetra (magic) through implements (magical devices); she can’t cast memorized spells at will as some sorcerers can. This limitation sometimes makes her doubt her own suitability to the position she has worked very hard to attain.

Sulana first appears in Vaetra Unveiled. She helps Jaylan Forester, the hero of the Vaetra Chronicles saga, discover that he has the potential to become a sorcerer. Sulana plays a critical role in the events of Vaetra Untrained as well, and you’ll see her again in Vaetra Unleashed.

Here’s an excerpt featuring Sulana from Vaetra Unveiled:

Agent Sulana Delano stepped out into the chilly twilight of the approaching dawn with Agent Daven Prost at her side. A good night’s sleep and a satisfying hot breakfast helped erase the fatigue of two cold wet days in the saddle. She was impatient to continue her search for the remaining thief, but her mind and body appreciated the brief respite.

Sulana and her team had spent the night at the local Sanctuary, a home known to be sorcerer-friendly. Agents Talon Destry and Barek Hunter, the other two members of her team, stayed at the house to prepare for the day’s journey. The two men had been keeping watch at the front of the inn the night before and had missed all the excitement.

“Are you sure we have time for this?” Daven asked Sulana as they walked through the mostly deserted streets toward the Governor’s Complex.

“I’m not going to take this man Jaylan Forester along with us until I know more about him,” she insisted. “Our host at the Sanctuary knew little, other than that he lost his place as Captain of the local Imperial Guard detachment last year.” She looked over at him. “You don’t need to come you know. I don’t think I’m in any particular danger on the streets of Northshore.”

Daven blushed a bit, but shook his head emphatically. “I’d be doing a poor job of my duties to let you walk off into the dark alone.”

Sulana was a Sword Sorceress, and the only member of her team skilled in sorcery. Daven’s primary job was to protect her while she conjured. He was, in effect, a bodyguard. She sometimes thought he took his responsibilities a little too literally.

Sulana rolled her eyes and held up her hands in surrender. “Fine. Then let me do my job. I’m responsible for this team, and I take my job seriously too.”

Daven smiled and said, “Yes, ma’am,” dipping his head toward her in a slight bow as they continued walking.

Sulana scoffed and turned her attention to the Governor’s Complex ahead of them.

Dela Onsul

Dela is a young woman who runs the Snow Creek Inn with her mother in the town of Northshore. After her father died, the responsibilities she had to take on caused her to develop a rather forceful personality. She also has a temper that sometimes makes her say things she wishes she could take back. Dela’s appearance epitomizes the term “barmaid:” she’s a tall, full-figured woman.

In Vaetra Unveiled, Dela tries to convince Jaylan that his best hope for the future is to run the Snow Creek Inn with her as a husband and wife team. She doesn’t accept that Jaylan isn’t interested in becoming and innkeeper, and she doesn’t realize how much his friendship with her late father limits his feelings for her.

Dela only appears in Vaetra Unveiled, although her influence is felt throughout the series. For Jaylan, she represents the comfort of a “normal life” among the mundane versus the uncertainty and potential isolation of living life as a sorcerer.

Here’s a sample featuring Dela (told from Jaylan’s point of view,) also from Vaetra Unveiled:

I opened the door to the inn, and as I entered the serving room, mouth-watering food aromas enveloped me. The kitchen staff was busy preparing for the evening meal, and my stomach growled in anticipation.

Weak afternoon light filtered through the front windows, barely fighting back the darkness of the room. The regular patrons seemed to prefer the gloom, as they were all huddled at the tables furthest from the door or were hunched over stools at the bar along the back wall. Oil lanterns hung along the overhead beams softly lit their quiet conversations.

Dela looked up from wiping down the bar and called to me. “Where have you been? I still need you to get those potatoes and chives for Mother’s soup tomorrow.”

Dela is one of those women who dominates the room. Her tall, full-figured build caught the eye of most men, while her green eyes and full-lipped smile charmed them. She moved with confidence and purpose and brooked no foolery from the patrons. Men who had the temerity to pinch her butt as she walked by usually found themselves led out the front door by their ear with the admonition not to return until they had learned some manners.

One of the men at the bar looked over at me and chuckled. I rolled my eyes.

“I told you I’d take care of it, and I will. I just need to pick up the list you made,” I said.

“Where were you anyway?” she asked. “You’re going to run out of daylight.”

“I was at Raven Company. I have a lead on a new contract and needed to meet with Borlan.”

She frowned and looked down at the counter, scrubbing a little more vigorously. “Things are busy here, and I need your help. Can’t you put off your contracts for a while?”

“It doesn’t work like that,” I said patiently. “I’m either in or I’m out. Raven Company needs men they can rely on to take contracts when they are available.” I knew my mistake as soon as I spoke.

She stopped cleaning the counter and threw the cloth into a tub of water with a splash. “I need you to be reliable too! Spring business is picking up, and it’s too much for just Mother and me.” She came around the counter, wiping her hands on her apron, and stood in front of me. She put a hand on my arm and spoke more softly. “Besides, I need you. We can’t let all the hard work that Father did go to waste. I don’t know what would happen to us if the inn were to fail.”

I sighed. “You know that running an inn has never been my goal. I invested in the inn so I could have the apartment and help out your father.”

She rubbed her hand up and down my arm affectionately. “I know, but you can’t return to the Guard, and Raven Company doesn’t have enough work. We have plenty to do here.”

I knew it was useless to continue the discussion. We’d had more or less the same exchange every day for the past month. The idea of settling down with Dela and becoming an innkeeper had its appeal; it would be the easy path to take. But whenever my thoughts went down that path, I felt like I would be betraying Griz and maybe even Dela. I remembered Dela from when she skipped around with a rag doll in her hand. She was grown now, but I still had trouble seeing her as anything other than a kid sister.

Lissy Aragon

Lissy is a sorceress who teaches potion making at the Archives College of Sorcery. Born to privilege and blessed with unusual beauty, she is accustomed to getting what she wants. But Lissy is no spoiled princess.

When Lissy’s abilities with vaetra emerged, her friends melted away and her family exiled her to the Archives College of Sorcery. Lissy shrugged off her disappointment with those who abandoned her and accepted the challenge of learning to be a sorceress. At the Archives, she found new friends and a new “family” of sorcerers who understood and applauded her rapidly advancing skills.

Lissy first appears in Vaetra Untrained as the teaching assistant to sorcery professor Marlene Delano. Professor Delano shows her confidence in Lissy by letting the young sorceress teach the alchemy class unsupervised. Lissy is also a close friend of Sulana, and she helps Jaylan adjust to life at the Archives. Lissy continues to contribute to the series in Vaetra Unleashed.

I had trouble finding an excerpt that would give you a good feel for Lissy without giving away any story spoilers. I settled on a passage from Vaetra Untrained where Jaylan first meets her. (Sorry for the distinctly male POV, but Jaylan’s reaction is typical of what Lissy has to put up with on a regular basis.)

The last person in the group was a young woman. She was strikingly beautiful with long, dark brown hair and dark blue eyes. Her forest green dress was exquisitely tailored to show off her well-developed figure. The dress had a v-neck that showed just enough cleavage to be interesting. She gave me a brief look of appraisal and then her eyes settled on Sulana. With a grin, she skipped over to give Sulana a hug.

“Oh, Lana, I’m so happy you’re home again,” she said as she released Sulana and stepped back. She looked me up and down rather brazenly and asked, “So, this must be Jaylan. I’ve been hearing rumors that you brought a man back with you.” She made it sound like Sulana had found me on the side of the road and decided to adopt me.

Sulana laughed and introduced us. “Jaylan, this is my best friend Lissy. She teaches alchemy, so you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of her.”

Throughout the exchange, my eyes had not left Lissy. Her round face, with its small, upturned nose, deep blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks framed by lustrous dark hair was captivating. I didn’t think I had ever met a more beautiful woman in person. My mind froze as I realized Sulana was staring at me, waiting for me to respond. Reacting to her last words, I stammered out “I look forward to it!”

Sulana frowned at me and rolled her eyes at Lissy. “Men,” she said, and Lissy giggled.

The series includes many other female characters, and as with real life, not all of them are as strong as Sulana, Dela, or Lissy. Besides, strength isn’t everything. Even Sulana, Dela, and Lissy have moments of tenderness and doubt as well. I’ve tried to give each of them rich personalities that help breathe life into the story.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting a few of the women from the Vaetra Chronicles. There’s more to tell of course, but I don’t want to spoil any plot lines for you in case you haven’t read the books.


Who is your favorite fictional female character? Is there someone you wish were real and could meet in person? Someone you fell in love with? Or maybe someone you wish you could be? Tell me in the comments!


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  1. For me, well? There are quite a few. I love Eowyn, of course, and then there’s Sarra from Melanie Rawn’s Exiles series. I’m also fond of Paks from Elizabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksenarrion, and Lyra from The Golden Compass. 🙂 Fantasy has so many great heroines to choose from!

  2. Now you have me intrigued. I’m not familiar with all of those names, so now I have a couple of new items for my TBR pile! Thanks for commenting.