Tamora Pierce Wiki
Ishabal Ladyhammer
Chief Adviser
Head of the Imperial Mages
Tenure ? — present
Reigning Monarch Berenene dor Ocmore
Biographical Information
Nickname Isha
Honorific Viymese (female honorific for mage)
Epithet The Empress's Will
Born c.970 KF
Nationality Namornese
Magical Information
Magic Academic magic
Ranking Great mage
Institution University of Lightsbridge
Accreditation Likely mastery
Specialization Curse-weaving
Protection magics
War magic (as the empress's top mage)
Physical Description
Gender Female
Hair White
Family Information
Adoptive Parents
Children Unnamed children
Adoptive Children
Descendants Unnamed grandchildren
Other Family
Patron God
Rank Head of the Imperial Mages
Residence Imperial Palace of Namorn (primary, but travels with the empress)
Affiliation The Empress of Namorn
Law Enforcement of
Guard District
Guard Badge
Bibliographical Information
Circle Universe character
First Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '
First Appeared '
Last Appeared '
Latest Appearance '
Only Appearance The Will of the Empress
Last Mentioned '

Ishabal Ladyhammer, or Isha, is Empress Berenene's top mage. She is considered a great-mage and is the empress's most trusted adviser[1]. Ishabal is quite old, but an extremely powerful academic mage with a specialization in curse-weaving. She is known throughout Namorn to be the "empress's will"; what Berenene wants, Ishabal sees done.


Early life

Not much is known about Ishabal's early life. She did attend the University of Lightsbridge in Karang when she was probably a young adult—as she is a prodigy. It is unknown when she came into the service of the empress, or how. She was probably born during the reign of Empress Berenene's father, as she is far older than Berenene, who came to power at sixteen. She knew Amiliane fa Landreg quite well, and the other woman was quite awed of her, especially after sneaking into Ishabal's workroom[1].

Four mages come to Namorn

In 1043 KF when Lady Sandry and her foster brother and sisters come toNamorn, Ladyhammer helps the empress try to convince them to stay. Ishabal is also very aware of the young people's accomplishments, and points them out in public when they try to stay under the radar[1]. When seeing how powerful Trisana Chandler is, Berenene decides that they must offer her a job and leaves that to Ishabal. She makes a very generous offer to the young weather-mage in hopes that the girl would stay in imperial service[2]. When Briar, Tris, and Sandry demand an audience with the empress after saving Sandry from Finlach fer Hurich, both Ishabal, Quen, and Berenene become very wary of Tris as she is able to close a secret escape route using weather magic. After Sandry informs the empress that the four of them are leaving Namorn, Berenene orders Ishabal to "do something" about Trisana "subtly"[3]. Since the old mage is a curse-weaver of immeasurable skill, Ishabal concocts a curse that will severely injure Tris without killing her, she is the only curseweaver of the empire with that level of skill[4].

After hearing that Sandry has escaped Pershan fer Roth, and that Daja and Briar together took down Quen, Berenene demands that Ishabal raise an ancient magical barrier around the country. As no mage has been able to break through the barrier, this seems to be the most obvious course of action. Ishabal, however, advises her empress to just let them go, and to make it seem as if they were too barbaric and uncultured for life at the Namornese court. Berenene refuses this plan, but Ishabal persuades her to stay behind. That way, if the four did manage to bring down the border, it won't look like the empress was directly involved. At the border, Ishabal demands of the three mages (Daja, Sandry, Briar - Tris is not present) to bend the knee to their new mistress - refusing to name her if the border really was to fail. Ishabal and the barrier hold out for a bit, but this new challenge forces the mages to use their thread circle, and join together completely. The border falls and Ishabal experiences severe whiplash. She then asks if they will take the throne, as they are indeed powerful enough. The young mages respond that they wish to return home to Emelan[5].

Ishabal then returns on a separate route to Dancruan, in order to avoid Tris[5].

Physical Description

Ishabal is old, and her face is wrinkled. She does have a strong stature, however, and a powerful presence.

Personality and traits

Ishabal is very intelligent, and a good adviser for Berenene. Unlike her imperial mistress, however, she is cognizant of the danger of forcing the four young mages to reconnect their bond under duress. Berenene laughs it off, but Ishabal still isn't sure. She is fiercely patriotic and protective of Berenene.

She makes the same mistake as other academic mages in dealing with ambient ones, and underestimates the four young mages. She makes assumptions about their powers, namely Tris's and assumes that weather-mages create the weather, instead of drawing it elsewhere[2]. Berenene, Ishabal, and Quenaill, all assume that the four mages get their imperiousness and defiance because Tris is so powerful, and neglect to think that the others might be equally so in their own fields of specialization. This is a grave mistake that they each face when dealing with the four young ambient mages.


Ishabal only appears in The Will of the Empress so far.

Fun facts and trivia

She is technically the titular character of The Will of the Empress, as she is mentioned in the book as being known as the "empress's will".

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Will of the Empress, Ch. 5 (pp. 97—110; Scholastic Press hardcover)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ch. 13 (pp 337—341; Scholastic Press hardcover)
  3. Ch. 15 (pg. 407; Scholastic Press hardcover)
  4. Ch. 17
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Will of the Empress, Ch. 20

See also