As you should be able to tell by know I'm a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey and some of my favorite characters of all time have sprung from her imagination. She is brilliant at creating strong, central characters that not only capture your imagination but your heart as well.
Elspeth, daughter of Queen Selenay, Princess of Valdemar has grown into a strong young woman who is just now coming into her own as a Herald and as a woman. Dire times are coming and threatening the peace that Valdemar has fought for so long to maintain. The past is coming back to destroy the future and only Elspeth seems to be looking in the right direction to save them all. Over the course of many books, especially The Mage Winds trilogy, Elspeth puts herself into strange lands and dangerous situations to find the help and resources that Valdemar needs to survive the coming cataclysm.
Elspeth discovers that she is destined to be the first Herald-Mage in generations. The talent seemed to disappear with the death of Vanyel Ashkevron centuries before and now that talent seems to be the only way Valdemar can be saved. By coming into her own, Elspeth not only discovers her very powerful mage gift but she finds her soul mate in Darkwind, a Hawkbrother Adept who will teach her how to tap into her own Adept potential. Elspeth along with Darkwind and the other allies she brings back to Valdemar are the driving force behind stopping the events of the past from destroying the present.
She is a brilliantly imagined and well thought out character that will enchant you with her strength. If you are not familiar with Mercedes Lackey's writing, please giver her a chance and discover all the wonderful characters she brings to life.