Well, I finished Magic's Price today, thus finishing The Last Herald-Mage cycle by Mercedes Lackey.
We pick up close to 17 years after the middle of the first book, as Vanyel is pretty much tied to Haven since he's essentially King Randi's proxy. Randi's health is failing at an alarming rate, and his King's Own/lifebonded mate Shavri is draining herself to keep him alive.
There are so few Herald-mages left in Valdemar, Vanyel ends up working a spell known as the Web, which ultimately links every Herald regardless of Mage gift or no through the Companions. (something that continued through the modern eras of the series.)
Vanyel's nephew, Medren, has a roommate in the Collegium named Stefan, who has a wild talent that relieves pain. Medren hooks up Vanyel with Stefan, who in turn hooks him up with Randi, who can now hold court. Stefan is Shaytch, and wants to jump Vanyels' bones. Vanyel thinks its hero worship. It isn't until a visit home to Forst reach that their sickening lifebond comes to teh fore and they become the Luke and Laura of the Fantasy realm.
Mind you, this comes at a cost, since Vanyel gets attacked at the estate. Which sends Sayvil out to k'Treva to fetch Moondance and Starwind, who reveal their thought that Stefan is actually Tylendal reborn. Something Vanyel realizes towards the end.
Any rate, the Hawkbrothers help Vanyel mend fences with his father, whom Vanyel moves to Haven with his mother.
And then the last three Heral-Mages die, sending Vanyel and Stefan racing north to take out whomever is killing Valdemar's mages.
Which has a semi-tragic ending, although it does explain why Vanyel's ghost is hanging around the Forest of Sorrows until the end of the Mage Storms cycle.
While this is the second best book in the trilogy, I do get annoyed at how much jumping around it does. It takes place over about a year, but it really only has about five scenarios loosely tied together as a narrative, Also, there's a really ugly rape scenario towards the end that's exceptionally ugly to get through.
On the other hand, it gives everyone a sort of happy ending, even if they're all dead.