Elheru Aran wrote:
Uh... I'm sorry, this tells us pretty much nothing? It sounds remarkably biased towards this Vlad Taltos fellow. Are you sure you weren't meaning to post in fanfiction? And in any case, if this is supposed to be a serious versus, it kind of goes in Fantasy, not Science Fiction...?
I'm sure a mod will punt it soon enough.
Now, reading the OP would require me to be simultaneously far more bored and patient than is reasonable, so I suppose we can condense it into something workable. Here's my shot at it:
Vlad Taltos is the protagonist of Steven Brust's Dragaera series
. The books are an inversion of sorts - Vlad is an Easterner, a short-lived second-class citizen living under the rule of the Dragaeran empire, beings who for all intents and purposes are spell-slinging elves where Vlad is human. Vlad is still a productive...ish member of society, however, as his father purchased the right for the family to enter the noble house of Jhereg, a house which although Dragaeran is viewed with disfavor by many; it is a house of outcasts. Vlad is an assassin by profession. On the surface, this isn't as unpleasant as it sounds, since resurrection magic is alive and well in this setting (permanent killing by soul-death weapons known as morganti
blades, however, is very much frowned upon).
This is an insultingly brief description of what is a seriously underrated Fantasy suite, and I cannot recommend the books highly enough. That said, let's move on to capabilities.
Vlad Taltos is, as was mentioned earlier, an Easterner with a mixed education. His family (minus the father) has a tradition of practicing "witchcraft", a relatively subtle art of low-level magic which among other things gifted Vlad with his animal companion and sidekick Loiosh. He has also learned to work the Dragaean magic, which is flashier, but being Easterner he has issues with attaining control (he's remarked how his attempts at the relatively mundane teleporting of Dragaerans makes him throw up, for instance, and I can't offhand recall Vlad using other Dragaeran magic in the books).
Vlad is, furthermore, a skilled fencer in the eastern style, which I gather has its similarity to European rapier fencing. His father arranged for him to be trained in the Dragaeran style, which favors heavy blades; Vlad is not proficient, as he lacks the Dragaeran strength necessary for it to be effective. At any rate he is by no means a prodigy with the blade, since attempting to become so would be a loser's game in a world where the competition measures their practice time in centuries. He's known to employ throwing knives to good effect.
Vlad is an assassin. He's intelligent, methodical, and frequently punches above his weight by outthinking his opponents and finding chinks in their armor. He's not a tank, a powerhouse, or a shadow warrior. At times, one could almost be tempted to call him a thug, though a highly skilled one.
Easterners are famed for their cooking, which is their official cliched occupation in Dragaeran territory. Vlad is quite capable in this regard, as he grew up in a restaurant.In short:
Dragaera wiki wrote:
He is a fencer, an outstanding witch, a mediocre sorcerer, and a gifted but dangerously incompetent elder sorcerer.
Vlad carries an artifact known as a Great Weapon, the particular abilities of which I'm not quite certain. His greatest weapon, however, is his mind. In a city of near-immortal elven sorcerers, he's among the five top assassins, although he's definitely not
However, his cunning, intelligence and ability to plan are known qualities, and when pitted against opponents so obviously deficient in the same, I foresee him carving a swathe through the overlarge cast of the Wheel of Time series, Great Weapon or no.