Davin is one of the more interesting characters in the series, and one that I feel achieves a great deal of growth. He starts out as someone with no interest in life after suffering through a traumatic and abusive childhood, and then losing his best friend through a situation involving paranoid jealousy. He meets Alyn after she is kidnapped by slavers and she finds herself oddly bonded to him. Her reliance on him begins to shake him out of his self-imposed distaste for living and although he is resistant to joining Brydon and the others on their quest, it eventually becomes clear that he has skills necessary to the survival of the group.
Davin’s history is never quite revealed in the series, although it is hinted at. His mother, Faan, is a full Vai who became mentally unstable for unknown reasons. She exists in human form but shuns people, except for rare villagers or travelers who seek her out for assistance. Davin’s father is a complete mystery. Davin grew up hearing an assortment of tales from his mother, each wilder than the last, until he began to wonder if she even remembered how he had been conceived. At times, Davin’s father was said to be a wandering bard, a prince from a faraway land, a fanged demon, or a black were-panther wearing man-flesh by night and a furred pelt by day. In one memorable tale she likened him to the wind itself. Davin tried to gather any kernels of truth from the stories, but had no idea what was fantasy and what was real. As a child he always felt that his father would return one day, possibly to come and claim him as his precious son, but as time passed Davin realized it was unlikely he would ever meet the man, if man he was at all. In hindsight, it’s entirely possible that Davin’s pureblooded Vai sire went off to study rocks or trees or ocean dwelling creatures, unconcerned about any progeny he might have left behind.
Due to his mother’s madness, Davin grew up having little idea who or what he was. His mother was content to remain in her human form, living in seclusion, selling herbs and cures and magical charms to locals who called her a madwoman or a sorceress, fearing her even while seeking out her special gifts. Thankfully there is no stigma against magic on Tarma, as the most common tales of the supernatural involve Kerrick and the gauntlet. There are stories of magical beings, but most are considered to be helpful or at least harmless. The Vai themselves are known only to a few, mainly the highest scholars of the church or those that have some sort of connection to existing Vai.
As Davin’s abilities began to manifest, he had no idea that there were others like him. Instead, he believed himself to be a freak, especially when he learned that he could alter his shape into that of any animal. Although desperate to know where his abilities had come from, he had no desire to ask his mother. Her thoughts had become an open book to him, broadcasting wildly until he had learned to block them out. They were no more coherent in raw form than they were articulated. Finally unable to tolerate his mother’s madness, Davin fled his childhood home and went to seek out someone, anyone, who might know who or what he was.