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Copper Isles
Type Country/Realm
Location Emerald Ocean, west of Tortall
Terrain Ranges from jungles to rocky highlands (depending on the island)
Climate Ranges from hot and humid to cold (depending on the island)
Islands Eight
Bodies of water Sea of Kypriang
Azure Sea
Marine Life
Zoology Immortal species: kudarung, stormwings; animal species: crows, brightly colored birds
Location Information
Established Unknown
Official Language Common Eastern
Religious Head
Residents Raka (indigenous)
Luarin (colonizers)
Religion Main pantheon
Patron God Kyprioth (primary, current)
Gunapi the Sunrose (secondary)
Mithros & Great Mother Goddess (from 181 HE to 463)
Law Enforcement
Major Events Raka rebellion
Affiliation Immortals War
Capital Rajmuat
Port Cities
Major Cities
Major Roads
Notable Buildings
Government Absolute monarchy
Head of State Dovasary Balitang (463 HE onward)
Wars Immortals War (official)
Allies Ozorne Tasikhe
Enemies Tortall (during Immortals War, later under treaty)
Main Industry Sunset butterfly
Trade Partners Tortall
Tortallan Universe place
First Appeared Trickster's Choice
Latest Appearance Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
Last Appeared '
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '

The Copper Isles is an island nation in the Tortallan Universe. It is also known as the Kyprish Isles[1], or the Kyprin Isles.


Location and political borders

The Copper Isles is located on the Emerald Ocean. To the northwest lies the Yamani Islands, another island nation. To the west, across the sea, lies Jindazhen, to the southeast likes Carthak, to the east lies Tortall, and to the northeast lies Scanra.

The Copper Isles constitutes an archipelago of eight large islands situated on the Emerald Ocean. The main island is Kypriang, which is the location of the capital of Rajmuat and the lands of many important noble families. The major islands from north to south are: Lombyn, Ikang, Jerykun, Imahyn, Kypriang, Gempang, Tongkang and Malubesang. The Islands contain the Azure Sea, southeast of Lombyn.

The islands take up more space than originally thought, as it takes weeks to get from Lombyn Island to Malubesang.

Landforms and bodies of water

Depending on the island, there are mountains, volcanoes, jungles, rivers, and plains. This depends on the specific geography of the island and where it is located in relation to the others.

The Sea of Kypriang is located between Kypriang Island, Malubesang Island, and Tongkang Island. Rajmuat's harbor is located on the Sea of Kypriang. When Kyprioth was dethroned, he was relegated to the the Sea of Kypriang and the Azure Sea as a minor god.


The lowlands are hot and mostly consist of wet jungles, while the highlands are cold and rocky[1]. The climate on each island can vary greatly depending on one's location. Climate can also depend on the island, as those to the south usually are more humid and tropical, while those to the north have more variance.

Copper Isles.jpg



The Copper Isles is an absolute monarchy, which means that the monarch wields considerable power throughout the realm, and may ignore its great nobles and councils to do what he or she feels is right. During the 400s HE and before then, the ruling family of the Copper Isles is House Rittevon. Because of the Luarin Conquest, the luarin are considered to be first class citizens and more powerful than the raka, who are considered to be second-class citizens.

In 463 HE, Dovasary Balitang took the throne. As Dovasary is a descendant of both House Rittevon and the ancient Haiming Dynasty, she is both luarin and raka. It is assumed that her reign will improve the conditions for the raka, and perhaps even end the slavery.

The Copper Isles is also a feudalist society, and the aristocracy wield considerable power throughout the realm, before and after the fall of House Rittevon in 463 HE.


Inheritance laws

Inheritance laws were extremely strict during the time of the full-blood luarin rulers. Inheritance to the throne operated on semi-agnatic primogeniture, meaning that no woman could inherit the throne, but the throne could move through a woman to her male issue.[2] This was why Mequen Balitang was heir to the throne before a princess of Oron's immediate family, Imajane Rittevon.

After the murders of King Dunevon and his heir presumptive, Duke Elsren Balitang, the regents decided they no longer needed a Rittevon male to rule and would have themselves crowned as king and queen of the Copper Isles. Although this undid centuries of Rittevon laws, no one dared say anything against it.[3]

Upon Dovasary Balitang's ascension to the throne after the decisive final battle of the rebellion, she reverted to the old ways of the Haiming queens. Only female members of her family who had Haiming blood, would be able to inherit the throne.(citation needed)

The Conqueror's Laws

Upon gaining power in the Isles, the new luarin rulers set about putting down raka rebellions. They imposed legislation known as the "Conqueror's Laws", which were still in effect up to 462 HE and presumably till the end of the full-blood luarin rulers of the Isles. A few people of the luarin nobility had petitioned the monarchs to repeal the Laws.

One law states that if any luarin nobleman or royal or his immediate family are murdered, then, by law, all raka of the lands that the luarin holds would be executed. Mequen Balitang, who firmly did not believe in the law, stated that the idea was that if a person of the luarin nobility was killed, the nearest raka must've helped the murderer. If the raka did not lay down his or her life in battle to save the luarin, then they were accounted to be guilty as well.

Queen Dovasary most likely got rid of the Conqueror's Laws upon her accession.

International relations

In 439 HE, House Rittevon made efforts to improve relations with Tortall by sending a royal princess, Josiane to wed Prince Jonathan[4]. That whole plan was ruined when Princess Josiane was killed by Alanna the Lioness after the princess attacked the other woman with an axe during the Coronation Day Battle. This did not improve relations with Tortall, and caused further bad blood between the two countries.

In 452 HE, the Copper Isles joined Ozorne Tasikhe, a few other renegade Carthakis, Scanra, and Uusoae of the Chaos Realms in an attack on Tortall. As they were accompanied by many types of Immortals, the war was known as the Immortals War. As a few Rittevon princes who were sons of King Oron were killed in the fighting, this did nothing to ameliorate relations with Tortall.

In 463 HE, unrest throughout the Isles caused Tortall to back the raka rebellion secretly by sending money and darkings to Alianne of Pirate's Swoop, the adoptive granddaughter of Tortall's spymaster, and the daughter of Tortall's second-in-command spymaster. Once Queen Dovasary took the throne, Tortall officially offered their alliance and sent a delegation to welcome her.

Known rulers of the Isles

There are three known dynasties of the Isles. The list of rulers in each dynasty is non-exhaustive, especially for the Haiming and Rittevon dynasties.

Noble houses


Main source of wealth

The Copper Isles is a mercantile society and participates and benefits from the slave trade. The rulers and nobles are quite wealthy, due to the flora and fauna that they gain money from in the Isles. Quite a few of the nobles make their money from the sunset butterfly trade. The butterflies are used to enhance magical powers and are prized for this.

Economic unrest of the 460s

From 462 to 463 HE, there is economic unrest, as money is needed to put slave uprisings down on various islands. To pay for the soldiers, the prince and princess regents had to heavily tax some of their wealthier nobles to afford the army. This angered the nobles, who were mostly luarin who would otherwise support House Rittevon. This caused many of them to join up with the raka conspirators.

When it came to light that Imajane Rittevon and Rubinyan Jimajen had murdered King Dunevon, Tortall and Maren withdrew their trade form the islands, and refused to trade with king-killers.


Known cites, towns, and villages


The patron god of the Copper Isles before the Luarin Conquest of 174 HE was the trickster god Kyprioth. Other gods of the raka pantheon were the Jaguar Goddess and Gunapi the Sunrose. During the rule of House Rittevon, the patron gods were Mithros and the Great Mother Goddess. The Mithran priests spread the story that Mithros and the Great Mother had defeated Kyprioth and the other gods in a great and divine war, thus they were the true gods of the Isles.

Kyprioth had one of his priestesses give a prophecy to give hope to the raka. After the ascension of Queen Dovasary, the Isles reverted back to their old pantheon, with Kyprioth the trickster as their patron god. As it was considered unorthodox to build statues or likenesses of him, Queen Dovasary would not have Kyprioth statues put up in front of her palace.


The people of the Copper Isles speak a language known as Kyprish. Both the luarin and the raka speak the language. Common is also spoken in the Copper Isles, although not as much.


One of the greatest showcases of the pre-Rittevon architecture of the raka is the Grey Palace in Rajmuat. Many different buildings take advantage of the wind, and they are spacious so more air can get in. Gardens are ubiquitous and show the wealth of the Kyprish rulers.

After the Rittevon family took power, they built outer walls and other castle-like buildings in the Eastern manner, to keep people from attacking them. The luarin nobility built castles around the Isles, instead of the spacious palatial estates of the raka nobility, or added onto the old palaces.


Because of the heat in Rajmuat, people there wear loose clothing. The nobility wear clothing styles from the Eastern Lands that are adapted for the heat. The clothes are looser and made of airier fabrics. Female servants and slaves wear sarongs.

Courtly dress

The prince and princess regents wore fine, loose fabrics in the style of the Eastern Lands. The fabrics were usually a brilliant color, such as Prince Rubinyan's deep blue tunic with dragon figures. It was the fashion to wear an abundance of expensive jewelry, and both regents had trouble with showing restraint in their wealth.

Noblewomen wore bright colors, so that the Throne Hall was an ornate mass of color and brilliance, especially during that Balitangs' return.


Pre-Rittevon history

Traditionally, warrior Queens held the throne in the Copper Islands, and they were admired and respected for both their beauty and their skill. At that time, the native raka were living in tribes.

In the decades before 174 of the Human Era the Kyprin Isles were locked in strife. Rival branches of the royal house traded the throne on a number of occasions. In turn the crown lost control over the warring houses of the raka nobility. During this time the Copper Isles exported more slaves than they imported: victors sold their enemies into the Eastern and Southern Lands, only to enter slavery in their own turn after the next battle.

Queen Imiary VI of the house Haiming made repeated attempts to negotiate peace, but her efforts failed. She was overthrown after 12 years of rule. Her successor and murderer, Queen Dilsubai of Haiming, favored those nobles who supported her, an imprisoned her rivals. The glorious days of the warrior queens were over.

The Luarin Conquest

On the main land, the luarin saw the disorder on the Isles as well as their wealth. Rittevon of Lenman, younger son of a lesser noble house in Maren, found opportunity in this disorder. He raised allies and funds among the realms of Tusaine, Galla, Tortall, Maren, Sarain and Barzun. For his army he summoned younger sons, adventurers, and mercenaries. Rittevon of Lenman and his chief ally, Ludas Jimajen, placed their souls in pawn of gold to afford well trained battle mages, educated in the University of Carthak.

Their first assault took place on April 5, 174 HE. For the next seven years, fights took place all over the Islands. Lesser raka nobles and different clans offered allegiance to the conquerors. They became lesser nobility, allowed to retain lands, freedom, and lives, but were taxed into poverty after their strongholds were destroyed. For the greatest raka nobles, there was just the choice between slavery or death.

House Rittevon

Early Years

On Midsummer's Day 181 HE, the first Rittevon King was crowned, Rittevon of Lenman, who established a cruel dynasty. The domination over the raka people continued. The new luarin nobles settled into the new houses and fiefdoms that had once belonged to the raka nobility. More luarin arrived to settle and do business. A multitude of part-raka servants and slaves were produced.

The raka declared their failure due to the fault of their patron god Kyprioth. Priests taught that the Great Mother Goddess and Mithros had overthrown him. Soon, after the last battle of the luarin conquest, an ancient priestess gave voice to the banished god, Kyprioth. His promise was passed to almost every raka, not depending on their rank. The prophecy told that the efforts to erase the royal Haiming line had failed and that the One Who Is Promised will come. She would be a queen twice-royal and attended by the Clever One, the Wise One, the Strong One, the Warrior, and the crows. Thus the raka rebellion came into existence, although they had to wait and work in secret for decades before their time finally came.

King Oron

In 462 HE, there was a succession crisis. Most of Oron's male issue had passed before him, and only two sons and one daughter remained: Hazarin, Dunevon, and Imajane. Hazarin was married but his wife was believed to be barren. It was revealed later, by Kyprioth, that it was Hazarin who was barren, not his wife.[5] Dunevon was only four years old, and Imajane was a woman, and therefore under their semi-agnatic inheritance laws, could not inherit the throne.

There was also quite a bit of upheaval, as relations with other countries started to sink. Oron's daughter Josiane aided a plot to destroy to Tortall, and was subsequently killed by their King's Champion, Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau. And the Copper Isles sided with Ozorne Tasikhe and his renegade Carthakis, Scanra, and a few Immortals against Tortall. In the same war, two of his legitimate male issue died in the fighting.

He also was immensely paranoid, and his paranoia extended to the base he needed the most, the luarin nobility, as well as his relatives. His son Hanoren was executed because of a dream that Oron had, and he exiled his first cousin Mequen Balitang due to suspicions of treason from the duke. When he died, the throne passed to Hazarin.

Fulfillment of the Kyprish Prophecy

The prophecy was fulfilled in 463. HE, when Dovasary Balitang led a revolution to overturn the ruling luarin and was finally crowned. Her mother, Sarugani Temaida, was a descendent of a hidden branch of the old Haiming line, while her father Mequen Balitang was part of the Rittevon family. Following Dove's ascent to the throne, slavery in the isles continued; however, she gave those raka who were part of the rebellion a cash payment, which could be used to buy a slave's freedom — either their own or a child's.[6]


The isles play a major role in the Trickster Series (Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen), as both novels are set there. The isles and members of the ruling Rittevon House also appeared in or were mentioned in The Song of the Lioness quartet and The Immortals quartet. Tamora Pierce is planning books centered around Alianne of Pirate's Swoop, Dovasary Balitang and Dove's "choice of a consort" as well as around Aly's children, especially Ochobai Crow.[7] Those books will probably be set at least partly in the Copper Isles.


The spoken language of Kyprish contains many words from the South-East Asian language known as Malay (Bahasa Melayu or Malay Language), and also contains many borrow-words from the Creole spoken in the region. Tamora Pierce first based the Kyprish wildlife on Southern and Central America, but later reoriented towards Indonesia in regard to the raka and their culture.[8]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Terrier, Glossary (p. 576; Random House paperback)
  2. Outside of the Tamora Pierce books and universe, this is known as Salic law.
  3. Trickster's Queen, Ch. 17
  4. Lioness Rampant (Scholastic paperback)
  5. Trickster's Choice.
  6. Random Buzz; "Slavery and the Balitangs, post-Trickster's Queen"; April 23, 2009
  7. Random Buzz; "Books"; April 2009
  8. Sheroes-Central; "questions for tammy"; March 13, 2003

See also