Tamora Pierce Wiki
Type Empire/Country
Location North
Size Vast
Terrain Some farmland, desertland, mountains
Climate Cold in winter, warm in summer
Bodies of water Syth
Lake Glaise
Marine Life
Location Information
Established Unknown
Official Language Namornese
Religious Head
Residents The Namornese
Religion Namornese pantheon
Patron God
Law Enforcement
Major Events Arson attacks of 1039
Capital Dancruan
Port Cities
Major Cities Kugisko
Major Roads
Notable Buildings
Government Monarchy
Head of State Empress Berenene
Military Standing army
Wars On and off war with Yanjing
Enemies Yanjing
Main Industry
Trade Partners Emelan
Other states
Bibliographical information
Circle Universe place
First Mentioned Sandry's Book
First Appeared Cold Fire
Latest Appearance The Will of the Empress
Last Appeared '
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '

The Empire of Namorn (pronounced nahm-ORN) is a large country in the Circle Universe. It is ruled by a powerful woman, Berenene dor Ocmore, the famed omnipotent empress.


Location and climate

The empire is extremely vast and extends from Yanjing to the Western Sea. Being in the north, it has incredibly cold and snowy winters. The mountain passes also become unsafe during the winter months, thus making travel to the south almost impossible. During the summer, it gets mildly warm, but they still get an occasional chill wind from the Syth.

Landforms and bodies of water

Their main body of water is the huge treacherous lake called the Syth, named for the trickster god Sythuthan because of its unexpected storminess. Near the Olart border, there is Lake Glaise, a large body of water that is less stormy than the Syth. Near Lake Glaise, there is a mountain range known as the Carakathy Mountains. Namorn has quite a few other mountain ranges, rivers, and bodies of water.

Near the Yanjing border, there is a huge plain known as the Sea of Grass. Besides that, it has desertland, farms, forests, mines, and other such things.



Head of state and councils

Namorn is ruled by an emperor or empress. In 1043 KF and before then, Namorn is ruled by Berenene dor Ocmore. It is unknown for how long House Ocmore ruled Namorn, but it is assumed to be quite a long time. There is a council of nobles, a large assembly, and other such councils to help run Namorn. The Mages' Society of Namorn is also quite powerful, as it is headed by very popular and powerful academic and ambient mages.

Aristocracy and feudal lords

As Namorn is a feudal monarchy, aristocrats have tremendous power in the realm, depending on their title, money, and lands.

Noble titles are as follows:

  • Bidis/Bidisa — literally means "dagger", the 1st rank of nobility, baron/baroness
  • Saghad/Saghada — literally means "arrow", the 2nd rank of nobility, lord/lady
  • Cleham/Clehame — literally means "sword", the 3rd rank of nobility, count/countess
  • Giath/Giatha — literally means "shield", the highest rank of nobility, duke/duchess

The nobles of the realm have a history of being hotblooded and sometimes violent. They would fight with each other, extending their lands, titles, and terrain, and occasionally they are known to turn against the Crown. Empress Berenene prevented this in her realm by beggaring the great nobles through taxation and loopholes in noble privileges. She also uses her beauty and sexuality to entrance the masses, knowing that if men's time is spent in getting her to fall in love with them, and to look upon them favorably, they would have less time to fight against her.

Fiefs in Namorn include:

The rights of women and commoners


Women are considered second-class citizens, and it is very difficult for a woman to wield power in the empire. Even though Namorn is ruled by a woman, there have been very few improvements for women. For example, the bride kidnapping custom that ran rampant in Western Namorn still exists under Berenene. The custom dictates that a man may kidnap a woman and somehow break her will for her to sign a marriage contract. Once the contract is signed by the woman, she has no rights, and she essentially belongs to her husband. The custom technically only applies to women who are taken out in the open, and when they are not under the protection of their liege lords. While women may go to their liege lords and ask for the marriage to be severed, not all liege lords or ladies are sympathetic. This includes Empress Berenene, who believes that a woman who is silly enough to be taken is a caged bird by nature and deserves and needs a keeper.

The custom applies to every unmarried woman in Namorn, even those who are related to or are members of the Imperial Family, including Berenene before she became all powerful. Noblewomen, of course, are considered more desirable victims due to their wealth, but the station of their noble birth keeps kidnappers from physically harming them. Berenene was kidnapped a couple of times as a princess, and the men who took her were a lot more careful with her than say Halmar Iarun was with Gudruny.

The empress also uses the custom to her advantage, especially involving Sandrilene fa Toren, whom she wanted to keep in Namorn. The bride kidnapping custom would have forced Sandry to stay with her husband and to have no rights under Namornese law, unless given by her liege lord, which in this case would be the empress. Even Dymytur fer Holm and Yeskoy fer Haugh recognized that they would not incur much imperial wrath from the empress if they succeeded in forcing Sandry into a marriage contract, as the empress did want Sandry to remain in Namorn.

Some families are able to avoid being targets of the custom simply by their power. The Bancanors of Kugisko were considered to powerful to offend in such a way, as Kolborn Bancanor owned most of the banks in the city.


Commoners, known somewhat pejoratively as "peasants", live on the lands of the nobles and are tenants of those liege lords. Some liege lords are more sympathetic to the rights of commoners, others are not. Commoners are treated as property of their noble liege lord in Namornese law, and many of the rights of commoners are under the jurisdiction of their liege lord. They must always show proper deference to the nobility. There have been some cases, as mentioned by Finlach fer Hurich, in which nobles did not properly look over their peasants, thus forcing Crown officials to kill and imprison rebels. Many nobles look down on commoners even if they are responsible for them, including Fin, who called them "cabbage heads". The treatment of peasants made Sandry incredibly uncomfortable, as she was used to the iron kindness shown by her uncle in dealing with those under his rank. She was also uncomfortable and shocked when hearing about the law which that imperial officials could kill commoners if they did not show proper deference to their liege lords.

Namorn's treatment of women and commoners were one of the main reasons why Briar Moss and even Daja Kisubo decided to leave Namorn. Briar, ever the man to support the underdog, didn't see how he and people without privilege would be safe if even Sandrilene fa Toren, a countess with imperial blood, was not.

International relations

Namorn is bordered by Yanjing in the east, and Lairan, Irod, Olart, and Capchen in the south. Namorn has been in an on and off war with Yanjing for the past few years.

Empress Berenene has a tremendous amount of political pull. To force Duke Vedris IV to urge Sandrilene fa Toren to come to Namorn, Berenene threatened monetary repercussions on Emelan. She said that Namorn and Emelan have been allies in the past, but the empire's smile may fade away from Emelan. This proved remarkably effective, especially when Sandry heard about the threats.

There was fighting on the border of Lairan in years prior to 1043 KF. They did seem to be improving relations, as the Lairanese ambassador was given quite a welcome in the Imperial Palace in Dancruan.


Known cities


Western Namorn also has its own gods, separate from those of the Living Circle.

Gods of Namorn


Unlike most countries around the Pebbled Sea, Namorn has its own language called Namornese.

  • argib - currency of the Empire
  • amdain - fool(s)
  • bidis, bidisa - Baron or Baroness, first level of nobility
  • bidisat - baron or baroness's estate
  • cleham, clehame - Count or Countess, third level of nobility
  • clehamat - a count's or countess's estate
  • giath, giatha - Duke or Duchess, fourth level of nobility
  • giathat - a duke or duchess's estate
  • naliz - piece of dung
  • Ravvi - Mrs.
  • Ravvikki - Miss.
  • Ravvot -Mr.
  • Ravvotki - Master (as in title, not position)
  • saghad, saghada - Lord or Lady, second level of nobility
  • saghadat a lord's or lady's estate
  • Viynain, Viymese - mage or wizard


Fashion and dress

Women's fashion

Court fashion
Wealthy Namornese women wear a visible undercoat and an overcoat that adds to the splendor of the outfit. For example, in the Imperial Palace where Empress Berenene first officially met Sandrilene fa Toren, the empress wore a dusty-rose colored open robe over a cream undergown, with a veil of sheer, cream-tinted silk.

Hunting dress
Berenene wore wide-legged breeches and a very formfitting jacket.

Merchant-class fashion
Sandry, knowing that Trisana Chandler does not like gaudy clothing, always makes sure that everything is sensible, even for Namornese court dress. For one party, Tris wore a sensible blue overgown and a white undergown. This reflects Tris's less opulent style.


The country's nobles have the money and the lands to build castles made of stone. The castles are done in the classic manner, but range in size, fashion, and comfort. The old Haidheltac castle Dragonstone, the old imperial castle, was built in a way that would protect it from attack, with large ramparts and walls. The Imperial Palace of Namorn and the Sablaliz Palace, the former built during a prior time of peace and the latter built after the Empress came to power, reflect the relatively peaceful times of the empire.

In Kugisko, it is the fashion for the wealthy merchant families and the poorer classes to build their homes in wood, to set themselves apart from the Kugiskan and general Namornese nobility. These homes exhibit ornate carvings and woodwork that are expertly done. Namornese also love bright colors for their houses. The colors sometimes did not go together, however, and Daja Kisubo thought it was surprising that Sandry was half-Namornese, as her taste in different colors was perfect.[4]

While in power, Empress Berenene made efforts to build and repair bridges, roads, build hospitals and schools, and other such things that benefit the empire.


Ancient history

Before the Namornese empire, the land originally belonged to the Haidheltac Empire, an ancient realm. It is unknown whether the Haidheltac Empire stood during the time of the Kurchal Empire, the realm that gave the countries south of Namorn their language, their calendar, and their borders. Dragonstone was an old Haidheltac castle that was the main imperial residence until Empress Berenene took power. The custom of bride kidnapping was also popular during Haidheltac times, and was mostly rampant in the west but then spread to the east.

Berenene's reign

When Berenene's father died when she was sixteen, she, as the only living heir, was crowned Empress of Namorn. There were many challenges to her rule, and several assassination attempts on her life. Sometime after she took power, there was a peasant uprising that took thousands of soldiers to put down.

Berenene became incredibly powerful by using her wit and beauty against her nobles, who were her rivals at first. To keep them from rebelling against her and fighting amongst themselves, Berenene entranced them with her beauty and manner of talking. To keep them always on their toes, she gave gifts of land, titles, and positions to the people whom she liked the most so each person would strive for her favor rather than her ire. Even so, Namornese nobles are immensely hotheaded, and the punishments for even fighting among themselves were harsh. Berenene also employed an expert curse-weaver as her chief mage, and Ishabal Ladyhammer presumably used fear tactics to make to Namornese nobles fall in line.

Her reign is interesting as even though she is a powerful woman ruler, and furthered the country's infrastructure by building schools for commoners, bridges, and other important things for the empire; the social structure of Namorn remained the same. She made little to no laws to aid the commoners of her country, and even less to end the bride kidnapping custom that plagued women both noble and common.

Known Namornese

A list of all the named Namornese who appear or are mentioned in the books.

The Imperial Court

Other nobles


Merchants, bourgeoisie, and guildsmen

Working class

Landreg tenants and servants


See also

  • Dancruan, the capital city of Namorn
  • Kugisko, and archipelagic city located on the Syth
  • Yanjing, Namorn's most powerful (and most hostile) neighbor
  • Emelan, large duchy to the south


Notes and References

  1. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 3 (p. 65; Scholastic)
  2. The Will of the Empress, Glossary (p. 550; Scholastic)
  3. The Will of the Empress, Glossary (p. 546-550; Scholastic)
  4. Cold Fire, Ch. 7 (pg. 360; Random House ebook)