Sunrunners, or faradh'im , are people who are able to use the Sun and Moon for communication and spellcasting. They weave the light with their thoughts, which are represented by colored gemstones. Each faradhi has a unique color pattern, and the gemstones representing a faradhi 's colors often symbolize facets of the person's character. For a list of gems and their meanings please refer to Melanie Rawn's Jewel Symbology page.
Sunrunners are the impartial mediators of the Continent and the quickest form of communication. They communicate with each other all over the world, keeping families in contact, Princes and Lords aware of political happenings, and performing ceremonies - such as Namings, Choosings, or Burnings - as needed. Sunrunners are forbidden to participate in battle lest it is to save their own lives, to take sides in a debate, and most importantly they are forbidden to use their gifts to kill. Faradhi oaths also include a vow of silence to ensure the trust of Sunrunner messengers. These limitations enable the rest of the Continent to accept and even welcome Sunrunners to their courts and into their lives.
Sunrunners are trained at Goddess Keep. As they train, they are tested to determine their rank. With each rank a Sunrunner earns a faradhi ring. There are ten ranks, the highest being the Lord or Lady of Goddess Keep, who governs all Sunrunners.
- Captured Gaze: A faradhi could concentrate on another's gaze and hold them 'enthralled.' They cannot control another with this gaze, merely hold the person's undivided attention and appear intimidating.
- Call Fire/Air: This is the first skill a faradhi usually learns. Fire is usually called first as it is light, which is the foundation of a Sunrunner's life. A fingerflame is often conjured in the air to give extra light. Both Fire and Air are used in ceremonies in conjunction with Water and Earth. This enables a Sunrunner to perform more complicated conjurings, such as looking into the Mothertree and seeing one's future children.
- Conjuring: A Sunrunner learns how to conjure in Fire to earn his or her third ring and without Fire to earn his/her seventh ring. Faradh'im typically use conjurings to show images, not to watch events.
- Memory: Sunrunners are trained to remember events exactly as they occur. They can recall actual memories - and even conjure them using sorcery - down to the last detail, they can quote entire conversations, and can memorize information instantaneously.
- Sleep: Sunrunner's of eight rings or higher can weave sleep around a person's mind. This dulls the light and clouds the senses until the person is unconscious. There are different depths of woven sleep.
- Sorcery:Faradh'im can perform various types of sorcery, such as making a ros'salath and doing certain vivid conjurings. They can not do these castings as well as a diarmadhi, nor can they perform all types of sorcery.
Every person is made up of colors and shadows. Each person has a unique color pattern, which, for faradh'im, defines them more completely than their names. These colors are the person's mind and soul; if they are lost, the person dies, forever in darkness.
Faradh'im can touch these colors and weave them into what only they - and diarmadh'im - can see: the light. They use their colors to weave themselves into the strands of sunlight and/or moonlight. As they weave into the light, they can travel over great distances, viewing the land below as if they were flying. Starlight, thought inaccessible by many, is forbidden to Sunrunners.
To communicate, a Sunrunner weaves light and travels to another Sunrunner. The approaching faradhi gently brushes the other with his or her colors, so as not to intrude. The receiving faradhi usually weaves his/her own colors around the others and the two speak as their minds are essentially woven together. Powerful and/or well trained Sunrunners can also view images of memory from another's mind. In less polite circumstances they can pull memories forward, force their presence on others, and even seize minds in order to use those faradh'im 's powers to augment their own. Another person can also be used as a vessel from which a faradhi can see and hear the activity around the other person.
Faradh'im can create a large weaving by adding their colors and power together. Usually one Sunrunner acts as the focal point of every mind and controls the weaving. Only very skilled Sunrunners - traditionally only the Lord or Lady of Goddess Keep - can weave many minds together and keep each unique color pattern straight in their own mind. If the focal Sunrunner were to lose track of a color pattern, that mind would be lost on the light.
Being Shadow-lost is a Sunrunner's greatest fear. Shadow-lost is the term given to a Sunrunner who was Sunrunning and failed to make it back to his or her body before the sun's rays disappeared. In essence the soul is lost to the Dark Waters with the setting sun. The faradhi 's mind unravels in darkness and his or her colors are scattered and forgotten. The Sunrunner's body fades and eventually dies without the mind and soul.
If the mind begins to fray or is lost in shadows, a sharp pain slices through the skull. The person feels as if a part of them is missing; the mind tries to reach out to its missing pieces, but it cannot as it is no longer whole. The bright colors that normally swirl around a faradhi become dark as the shadows of his or her own mind encroach, ready to consume the mind. Physically the person begins to shake wildly, their heart races, and pain shoots through bones and especially the head.
A mind not entirely lost can be retrieved if its colors are known by others. The process of filtering out the shadows, unweaving the wrong colors, and sorting the lost faradhi 's coloring into their proper order is difficult work. It is painful for the fading faradhi as the colors around him/her feel like needles stabbing into the brain until (and if) the right pattern is restored.
Crossing water and being pierced by iron while casting are Sunrunners' two major weaknesses. All full Sunrunners get violently ill when faced with having to cross a body of water (i.e. rivers, lakes, and especially the ocean), though a 'cure', with a heavy price, for this has been found in the drug dranath. If a faradhi must cross water they lose their stomachs and their consciousness. The Sunrunners remain insensible after they've been returned to land, the duration of their sorry state dependent on the water crossing's violence and expanse. As the Sunrunners wake their vision is often skewed or blurry.
If a faradhi is pierced by iron while casting, they will die. This was the main reason for the tradition forbidding Sunrunners from participating in battle and using their gifts to kill. If the iron is removed from the Sunrunner quickly enough and the wound is not fatal, it is possible for the Sunrunner to survive, though he or she will have experienced a great, mind-numbing pain and will be very weak for a time afterward.
Here is a list of known faradh'im. Please note that some powerful Sunrunners, such as Urival and Torien, were actually diarmadh'im and thus not on this list. For a complete list of characters please refer to Melanie Rawn's official site.
- Andrade of Catha Freehold, Lady of Goddess Keep: Twin of Milar, she sought a Sunrunner Prince from the marriage of her sister and Prince Zehava of the Desert, but as that failed she tried again with Rohan and Sioned.
- Andry, Lord of Goddess Keep: Son of Tobin and Chaynal, twin of Sorin, Rohan's nephew, and Lord of Goddess Keep after 719.
- Antalya of Tiglath: Daughter of Tallian and Sionell. Meig's older sister.
- Antoun: He was one of the Sunrunners to escort Sioned to Stronghold in 698. Unlike the others of her entourage, he stayed at Goddess Keep. He later acted as a spy for her under Andry's rule, then announced Andry's choice of Chayla for Lady of Goddess Keep.
- Arpali: Court Sunrunner at Balarat of Firon.
- Brenlis: Mother of Andry's daughter, Merisel. Capable of seeing the future.
- Camigwen (Jeni): Daughter of Ostvel and Alasen, named after her father's first wife, Camigwen.
- Chayla of Whitecliff, Lady of Goddess Keep: Daughter of Maarken and Hollis, twin of Rohannon, and the Lady of Goddess Keep after 737.
- Crigo: Abducted and addicted to dranath by High Prince Roelstra in order to spy on other Princedoms and holdings.
- Deniker: one of Andry's devri'im. Married to Ulwis.
- Eolie: Court Sunrunner at Greypearl, helped with the excavation of the ancient Sunrunner keep.
- Evarin, Master Physician: Attended the Physicians School in Gilad before going to Goddess Keep in 735 and earning eight faradhi rings.
- Gevila: Itinerant Sunrunner, who tried to heal a merchant in Gilad. Accused of murder when the man died.
- Johlarian: Court Sunrunner at Faolain Lowland.
- Jolan: One of Andry's devri'im. Married to Torien.
- Kleve: Born in 681, he was an itinerant Sunrunner. He was in Tiglath, when Rohan was captured by Ianthe, and was the first to reach Walvis and Feylin to hear the news. He was also the one to tell Sioned and warn her that the northern Desert would soon be under attack from the Merida. Kleve worked as the sole Sunrunner for the northern Desert during the oncoming war. Afterward, he continued travelling the Continent. In 719 he heard of the supposed heir of Roelstra and found out as much information as he could, which he passed on to Riyan. He was murdered due to this information by Masul, the pretender. Masul had cut off each of his fingers using an iron blade. The compound shock of the iron killed him.
- Linis: One of Andry's devri'im.
- Meath: Born in 763 to a Giladan metalsmith and a fisherman's daughter, he was a friend of Sioned and was with her on her trip across the Desert in 698. Meath acted as her silent protector during that journey and through the Rialla. He also guarded Rohan's person, and saved the Prince from a Merida attack. Later he became the second Court Sunrunner of Greypearl, where he discovered the Star Scrolls in 719. Unbeknownst to Sioned until he lay dying by Vellanti hands, Meath had also loved her.
- Meig of Tiglath: Son of Tallian and Sionell. Unusually self-possessed and intelligent. May have the ability to see the future. His birth was foreseen by Brenlis a few days before it occurred. Antalya's youngest brother.
- Merisel: Andry's daughter by Brenlis.
- Morwenna: Born in 684, she was one of Pol's Sunrunner trainers, and the one who tutored him in the Man-making ritual. She was killed in the Vellant'im attack on Stronghold. She wore eight rings. She is also diarmadhi.
- Nialdan: One of Andry's devri'im.
- Oclel: One of Andry's devri'im. Married to Rusina, father of Surida. Killed in 737.
- Pol: Born in 704, he was Rohan's son by Ianthe, though did not know the truth of his birth until 728. It was through Ianthe that Pol inherited his diarmadhi blood. Pol was truly the High Prince of all, as he was both a full diarmadhi and a full faradhi.
- Relnaya: Sunrunner.
- Rislyn, Princess of Princemarch and The Desert:Pol and Meiglan's daughter and heir. She is Jihan of Princemarch's twin. She is both Sunrunner and Sorcerer, Sunrunner through her Great-Grandmother Milar's blood and Sorcerer through her Grandmother Ianthe. She lost her sight during the her captivity but gained it back through sunrunning with her dragon and sister.
- Rusina: One of Andry's devri'im. Married to Oscel, mother of Tobren (by Andry) and Surida (by Oscel). Killed in 737.
- Siona: Grandmother of Sioned, Davvi, and Prince Volog, she married a Prince of Kierst.
- Surida: Daughter of Oscel and Rusina.
- Tobin: A Princess of the Desert, married Chaynal, Lord of Radzyn Keep, mother of Maarken, Andry, Sorin, and Jahni.
- Tobren: Andry's daughter by Rusina.
- Ulwis:, One of Andry's Devri'im and mother to his son Joscev. Married to Deniker.
- Valeda: Born in 700, she was a Devri and also bore Andry a daughter named Chayly. She traveled to the Desert to find the High Princess Meiglan and Rislyn. She was killed by the Vellanti High Warlord.
- Vamanis: Court Sunrunner at Swalekeep.