|Start of Reign|
|End of Reign|
|Years of Service|
|Parents||Unnamed Mother (deceased)|
|Siblings||Trisana Chandler, Daja Kisubo, and Sandrilene fa Toren (adopted)|
Briar Moss, once known as "Roach", is a powerful ambient plant mage. He once lived on the streets of Sotat, making his living as a thief in a gang. He was brought to the Winding Circle temple community, where he learned of his magic and how to control it. His primary teacher was Rosethorn. There Briar also found a new family in his foster sisters Daja Kisubo, Sandrilene fa Toren and Trisana Chandler. He earned his mage's credentials at thirteen, which is a really early age for it. Later he becomes the teacher of Evumeimei "Evvy" Dingzai.
Early life in Hajra
Briar Moss, then known under the name of Roach—the Thief-Lord had given him the title—, was born in Hajra, a port city in Sotat. His exact date of birth is unknown, but it can be estimated to be in the year of 1025 K.F. He never knew his father and his mother, who according to Briar loved her son, was stabbed for her cheap jewellery while walking home from work when he was about four years old. Briar once lost a baby tooth on a hard bread crust. As a result he got into the habit of softening his bread with oil and vinegar.
Because of the early death of his mother Roach had to fend for himself after their landlord tossed him out. He joined a gang, the Lightnings, led by the 'Thief-Lord', in Deadman's District in Hajra. From the older gang members he learned how to pick pockets to make himself useful with them. The skills he learned there also included knowledge of basic canceling spells for ordinary protection spells normally used on locks. His gang included Weevil—the gang leader—, Dancer, Alleycat, Viper, Slug, Cheater and Turtle.
While living on the streets Roach also made the acquaintance of pirates who kicked him for fun and even broke his arm to discourage him from picking their pockets. They had also tossed him through the air and had later fall him down when they were drunk. These experiences left him with a strong dislike—or even hate—for pirates.
Roach's thievings weren't always successful. Once he was caught when he tried to steal someones purse. Another time the shopkeeper noticed him trying to steal some scarves. Both times he was arrested over night and received a tattoo of an X on the webbing between each thumb and forefinger. Thus he was in trouble when he was caught a third time. He and his gang had tried to rob a jeweler. Whoever gets arrested in Hajra with already having two X's, is most likely to be sentenced to work in the mines, galleys or shipyard. He had already been convicted to work on the docks, when Niklaren Goldeye convinced the judge to pardon him. Instead, Roach was to be exiled from Sotat and go to Winding Circle. But for this he needed a new name. Roach chose "Briar Moss" as his new name. Briar for the roses, which had left scars on his left palm; and Moss because he simply liked it.
Life at Winding Circle
- "I don't know what's to become of you. You may grow to be a true earth-mage. Maybe you'll join a temple; you might be the most sought-after gardener north of the Pebbled Sea. That's up to you. One thing is certain—hunger is a thing of the past. You may skip a meal or two, but you'll never starve."
- —Rosethorn to Briar in his first weeks at Discipline cottage[src]
On his arrival at the temple Briar was put in the dormitories, where the other boys lived. He only lasted a few days there, however, as the others sought a fight with him, accusing him of stealing. Even though he was found to be innocent, the dedicates responsible for the dormitory didn't approve of him having knives. Thus he was labeled a troublemaker and sent to live at Discipline cottage, run by Dedicates Lark and Rosethorn. There he lived together with three girls, Sandrilene fa Toren, Trisana Chandler and Daja Kisubo. All three girls arrived shortly after him at Discipline.
Briar, having lived on the street for all of his live up to then, had some difficulties with adjusting to the live in the temple. Not only did he keep knives, what had him expelled from the dormitories, but he also refuses to sleep on a bed as this is too high up and he is afraid of falling down when rats gnaw at it. Moreover he doesn't like bathing, thinking it is unhealthy, and must—in the beginning—be compelled to follow the custom at Discipline, which means bathing once a day. He doesn't like wearing shoes at the beginning, either. Another bad habit of his is thinking he might not get another meal soon, thus he wolfes his food down and still keeps food stored under his pillow as of Mead Moon of 1035 KF. Even though he overcomes most of his old habits while living at the cottage, he keeps some of his vocabulary learned in the streets of Hajra for quite a few years if not his whole life.
He actually reverted to stealing when he saw an ill shakkan in the greenhouse of Dedicate Crane, but this was the last known instance where he actually stole something. Rosethorn convinced Crane to let Briar keep the shakkan. She gave him a tomato plant—which he had been trying to grow for himself without success that far—in exchange for the stolen miniature tree. On Briar's second day at Discipline Rosethorn became his teacher, instructing him not only in the use of his plant magic but also in how to care for plants in general.
Briar worships Lakik the Trickster and Urda, although he also takes on the custom of drawing the gods-circle to ward off evil in his time at Discipline. Even after he moved into Discipline and had his first knives taken from Niko he continued to habit of keeping one knife always with him, just in case. He also kept a set of lockpicks under a loose board in his floor.
The relationship to the three girls he has to live with didn't start off easy. After some initial difficulties, however, they formed a strong bond of friendship up to the point where they considered each other of being family. The pivot in their relationship came about two months after they first moved into Discipline, when the four children were trapped in a cave in an earthquake and Sandry had to weave their magics together. This ensured their survival, making them all stronger, and also formed a close bond between them. After this they could even talk in their minds to each other. But as the power of the four leaked uncontrolled into each other, Sandry 'un-wove' them some months later, when they were in Gold Ridge Valley in northern Emelan in autumn of 1035 HE. After this their magics were separate again, but they still had some of their abilities they had when they were linked. For example they maintained the power to speak to each other in their minds and Briar still retained touches of weather, smith, and weaving magics as a result of the connection.
When Tris' cousin Aymery Glassfire stayed at Discipline during a pirate attack Briar, although he liked the man, mistrusted him. Thus he broke into the room where Aymery was staying one night, showing he still had the skills from Deadman's District.
In spring the following year, nearly a year after his arrival at Winding Circle, a new plague stroke in Summersea. It was Briar who found the first victim of the plague which would later be called the blue pox. This first victim was Briar's friend Flick, a girl living on the streets and in the sewers of the city. Flick died as a result of the fewer caused by the blue pox. After being released from quarantine Briar and Rosethorn helped Crane in finding a cure to the plague. Rosethorn also contracted the pox and Briar almost lost her to pneumonia after she had been administered the cure, but he followed her into death and rescued her. The incident was covered up by Dedicate Moonstream.
In Street Magic, Briar and Rosethorn have become travelers for Briar to see different plants and gardening techniques. In Chammur, Briar discovers an ambient mage, Evumeimei Dingzai (Evvy), a former slave, who has stone magic. Evvy refuses to go to the nearest stone mage, (Jebilu Stoneslicer), and thus, Briar becomes her teacher. Briar teaches her meditation and about rocks and what they are used for. Evvy is contrary and stubborn, often calling Briar's plants 'stone killers' and even referring to Jebilu Stoneslicer as 'Jooba-hooba.' Evvy is kidnapped by a local gang so that they can use her to find valuable gems, but is rescued by Briar. In doing so, Briar destroys the gang's sponsor's house, and the gang's hideout. Briar, Evvy, and Rosethorn leave Chammur for Leanpa.
The three end up in Gyongxe, where they experience a war. In The Will of the Empress, Briar has nightmares but refuses to talk about it with anyone but Rosethorn, though he eventually ends up telling his foster-sisters about it. By the time of his return he has turned to sleeping around, but is careful about pregnancy by using Droughtwort. 
In the book, Briar travels with his sisters to Namorn, where they are pulled into a life at court. Empress Berenene tries to convince him to stay in Namorn by offering him the post of Imperial Gardener, second in authority over her greenhouses. Briar thinks about it, but eventually rejects the proposal after he saves Sandry from a bride-napping attempt at court. He later helps to defeat Ishabal Ladyhammer at the Namorn border, and opens all of his connections with his sisters. At the end of the book, he shows them a perfect mind-replica of Discipline cottage, and tell his sisters that he created it 'for us. It's always us.'
Briar is of unknown, multiracial parentage. He is described as having curly black hair, which he wears cropped short in his first summer at Discipline cottage, and brown skin, typical to natives of Sotat, his birthland, but with a Western nose and almond shaped, light, gray-green eyes. When he first comes to Discipline cottage Briar is five feet tall. The tattoos Briar received when he was arrested for thieving in Hajra have been wiped away by other moving green plant tattoos that Briar put himself.
Personality and traits
- Sandry: "You need the sweetening."
- Daja: "Give him the whole pot, then."
- Sandry: "And that helps, too. You look like you need all the honey and milk you can stand."
- — Sandrilene fa Toren and Daja Kisubo refering to Briar at the first breakfast at Discipline cottage after Sandry added honey and later milk to Briar's porridge[src]
Although initially a thief, Briar developed a strong sense of right and wrong, which would serve as a weapon against criminals and seductresses. He is cantankerous, but possesses profound loyalty to his foster-sisters Daja (whom he, and nobody else, sometimes calls Daj') Kisubo, Sandreline (Sandry) fa Toren, and Trisana (Tris) Chandler and his teacher Rosethorn, as well as a cutting sense of humor. His affinity with all things botanical has made him not only a master gardener, but also somewhat of a medicine man. This love has also led to such oddities as stealing and later coming to own an ancient, magic-storing, miniature pine tree called a shakkan, tattoos of flowers that live and grow under his skin (he attempted to tattoo over his prisoner X tattoos with vegetable dyes and one of Sandry's needles), and the ability to control growth of plants. In the Will of the Empress he has become some what of a lady's man. In the same book, he was suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Skills and abilities
Briar can speak Tradertalk, although he doesn't like the - in his opinion - strange tongue very much (he comments about how it amazes him those who speak Tradertalk don't break their teeth). Coming from his upbringing on the streets of Sotat Briar has also learned how to pick locks and other techniques useful for thievery. Before they left for their different travels in 1039 K.F. Briar and Daja have been practising quarterstaff together.
However, he also lacks certain skills like the ability to read and write. He doesn't know how to properly dust and clean a house, either. His housemate, Tris, teaches him both and his writing, and in return she asks him to teach her how to fight. Briar later even gets good enough that Rosethorn allows Briar to label her jars.
Briar has plant magic and his teacher is Dedicate Rosethorn, who is also a plant mage. Briar can make plants grow very quickly and move them to any form, like creating a snare from a vine. Rosethorn taught him how to make medicines and restore them to their full potential. He also enjoys and makes money by caring for shakkan trees, which are kept small which usually store magic in the way the plant looks. He and Rosethorn developed special weapons to use in combat. They are seeds, namely of thorny plants, wrapped in cotton wool. Thrown, Rosethorn and Briar use their green magic to simultaneously cause the wool to unwrap and the seeds to grow. There are variations of the balls, some containing vines to wrap around people and others to do actual harm.
- The Circle of Magic
- The Circle Opens
- The Will of the Empress
- Melting Stones (only mentioned)
Notes and references
- ↑ The Will of the Empress, Cp. 1 (p. 25; Scholastic)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Street Magic, Cp. 6 (p. 110; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 70; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Tris's Book, Cp. 10 (p. 171; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Tris's Book, Cp. 9 (p. 154/155; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp 1 (p. 8-14; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 150; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Tris's Book, Cp. 7 (p. 105; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 147; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Tris's Book, Cp. 7 (p. 108; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book
- ↑ Daja's Book
- ↑ Tris's Book, Cp. 10 (p. 168; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Briar's Book
- ↑ The Will of the Empress, Cp. 1 (p. 21; Scholastic)
- ↑ The Will of the Empress, Cp. 1 (p. 89; Scholastic)
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Tris's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 6; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 3 (p. 46; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 69; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 64; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Street Magic, Cp. 6 (p. 108; Scholastic paperback)
- ↑ Sandry's Book, Cp. 9 (p. 153; Scholastic paperback)