Lavan Firestorm

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Herald Lavan Chitward, known as Firestarter, and Firestorm; or more commonly Herald Lavan Firestorm is a fictional character in the book Brightly Burning, by Mercedes Lackey.

Lavan Firestorm is also referenced as a legend the books that follow in the Valdemar timeline. This article references the fictional organizations and locations used in the book.

Lavan Chitward, Academy Student[edit]

Lavan Chitward is the child of Nelda and Archer Chitward, both prominent members of the Needleworkers' and Cloth Merchants' Guilds (respectively). As a result of their skills, they are invited to move from their rural home in Alderscroft to the capital of Haven, in Valdemar. Samael, Lavan's older brother, is already apprenticed to one of their father's colleagues. Macy and Feodor, Lavan's younger siblings, are also looking to apprentice into their parents' guild. Lavan doesn't want to follow this path, having no interest in either of his parents' trades. He has a dream of entering the guard as part of the cavalry. He never expresses this desire to his parents, fearing their outright rejection of his wish. His father decides to send him to a school created by the trade guilds in Haven, in an attempt to provide his son with opportunities to apprentice in a trade he might enjoy.

On his first day in the Trade School he is initially interviewed by the schoolmaster, who determines what form (or grade) to put him into. After an extensive examination Lavan is placed in the Third Form. He soon realizes that his peers in the form are all younger than himself. This quickly brings him to the attention of Tyron Jelnack, a member of the Sixth Form. Tyron is a bully and is encouraged by the schoolmaster to keep discipline and order during the school day. He quickly starts tormenting Lavan, giving him the nickname Scrub, taunting him about being in a lower form, and calling his sexuality into question. As a result of these increasingly aggressive and unprovoked attacks, Lavan begins to suffer with powerful migraines. These migraines are so powerful that he is unable to continue going to school. They are also accompanied by a raging fever that leaves Lavan's skin feeling sunburned. His mother, showing nothing more than annoyance at his confinement, soon calls in a herbalist-healer. He gives Lavan several medicinal syrups that are supposed to help prevent the headaches from recurring. During this long confinement Lavan confesses to his mother that Tyron wants him to steal several lengths of a very expensive scarlet velvet silk. Nelda reacts with scorn, believing that because Tyron comes from a very wealthy family he couldn't possibly be a bully, and Lavan just misunderstood a joke.

After he is deemed fit to return to school, Lavan devises a new way to avoid the self-styled "Sixth Formers." He arrives at school before everyone else, stops going to the lunch room to eat, and stays after class, waiting for everyone else to leave. The other children who suffer at the hand of Tyron start to follow Lavan's example, staying in class over lunch and sharing their bits of food with each other. This new tactic greatly enrages Tyron and his gang, who catch Lavan daydreaming in an empty classroom after school. Tyron declares that Lavan must be punished for his defiance of their "rules," and orders that he receive 80 lashes. Tyron and several friends haul Lavan to an unused classroom in the back of the building, where they decided to spread the lashes out over four days, so as not to beat him too badly. Once in the classroom they started pushing and shoving Lavan, before strapping him down to give him the lashes. Suddenly, the room erupted in fire and the last thing Lavan remembers is the fire reaching out to consume his tormentors.[1]

Trainee Lavan, Chosen of Kalira[edit]

During his recovery, Lavan is questioned at length by the Herald Pol as to the nature of the fire at the Academy. When the questions begin to frighten and anger him, Lavan's Firestarting Gift slips his tenuous hold. In an act of desperation, he is able to turn its effects away from the Herald and toward the large torches in the gardens.

It is now, while Herald Pol and a city guard are discussing the fate of the boy responsible for the deaths at the Academy, that Lavan is accosted by Kalira. Kalira is a Companion, one of the horse-like spirit-creatures responsible for choosing Valdemar's Heralds; and she Chooses Lavan, bonding with him as a Chosen, as well as a lifebond. It is through this bonding that Lavan gains his slim control over his terrible power.

Herald Lavan Firestorm, Hero of Burning Pines[edit]

The Karse Army poised at the border, Herald Lavan travels to the battlefield with Herald Pol, the Herald's wife, and the Herald's daughter. It is during this journey the group is ambushed, and Pol is seriously injured. Lavan uses the guilt and anger he feels because of the ambush to fuel a fiery attack against the Karsite encampment. This attack earns Herald Lavan the cognomen "Firestorm."

In the Battle of Burning Pines, Herald Lavan singlehandedly holds back the Karsite army by creating a wall of fire in the path of the attack, buying time that allows the Valdemaran army to get into position. Once the battle is underway, he immolates a rush of foot soldiers with a wall of flame, and attacks another rush with large, random spouts of fire. But the final blow is struck when an assassin's arrow kills his Companion Kalira. Without Kalira to keep him sane and his gift under control, Lavan unleashes the full effects of his power. Only Pol and the other Herald's "Foresight" and "Mindspeaking" abilities allow the Valdemaran army to limit their losses to the inferno that Lavan sets upon the Karsites. The firestorm not only destroys the Karsite army, but also consumes and kills Lavan.

Mentions of Lavan in Other Books[edit]

Exile's Honor 
Herald-Chronicler Myste notes that the Karsite "Nightstalkers" have not approached the border since the time of Lavan.
Selenay muses that none of the Firestarters in the Heraldic ranks have anywhere near Lavan's power.
Arrows of the Queen 
Herald Ylsa, after watching Trainee Griffon (another Firestarter) practicing his gift with Herald-Trainee Talia, remarks to Talia that sometimes Gifts wreak havoc when their owners cannot control them, and that luckily, in cases where control was lost, they were always turned upon the enemy. This prompts Talia to think of Lavan and Burning Pines.
Arrow's Fall 
Herald Griffon remarks about Lavan's death after dealing with a Hardonnen Mage.


  1. ^ Lackey, Mercedes (2001). Brightly Burning. Daw Books. pp. 1–130. ISBN 0-88677-989-8.