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Numair Salmalín
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chief mage of Tortall
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Born 422 HE
Nationality Tortallan
Gift Black with white sparkles
Physical Description
Gender Male
Height 6'5"
Hair Black
Eyes Brown
Family Information
Noble House
Adoptive Parents
Wife Veralidaine Salmalín
Lover Varice Kingsford (former)
Children Sarralyn Salmalín (daughter)
Rikash Salmalín (son)
Adoptive Children
Other Family Weiryn (father in law)
The Green Lady (mother in law)
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Rank Black Robe Mage
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Bazhir Tribe
K'miri Tribe
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Affiliation Tortall
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Numair Salmalín (pronounced noo-MAYR sahl-mah-LEEN) (b. 422 HE[1]) was born Arram Draper in Tyra[2]. He is one of the most powerful mages in the world, and the chief mage of Tortall. He studied at the University of Carthak with Ozorne Tasikhe.


Early life

Numair was born in Tyra, to commoner parents, presumably merchants. He went to live and study at the university in Carthak, but took on the name Numair when he became a Black robe mage, supposedly because Arram Draper was not a fitting name for a mage[3]; in truth, he adopted a new name to protect himself from his former friend Ozorne, the Emperor of Carthak, who arrested him and had him imprisoned in the dungeons, and then was hunting him after he escaped and left the country. He spent several years on the run working as a juggler and street magician and thus survived on the streets between Carthak and Corus, although he almost died of starvation. During this time he retained a talent for sleight of hand, a trick that saved his life on at least one occasion at Dunlath. After meeting Alanna and Onua among other people, they brought him to the king's attention and he then moved on into the Royal Palace to become a spy. After several years of service, he also became King Jonathan IV's chief mage. During this time he also acquired most of the practical magic he knows, including knowledge of poison detection which later helped save his life at Dunlath. Along with Alanna and Gareth of Naxen the Younger he was also part of Jonathan's private council[4]. A good-looking young man, he was involved with many women at court.

Daine the Wildmage

Over the course of The Immortals series, he became the teacher and mentor of Veralidaine Sarrasri (Daine) and they traveled together throughout Tortall, Carthak, and even the Divine Realms. As part of a peace delegation to Carthak, he clashed with Ozorne once again when he thought the emperor took too much interest in Daine. He narrowly escaped death for a second time when Ozorne executed his simulacrum, believing it to be the real Numair. He also played a key role in what later became known as the Immortals War, battling with and killing the powerful Scanran mage Inar Hadensra.

In the final book of The Immortals series he confessed that he was in love with Daine and, despite the fourteen year age gap, proposed to her almost immediately after the war was won. However, they didn't marry until Daine fell pregnant with their first child several years later. They have two children together, Sarralyn, named after Daine's mother, and Rikash, named after a Stormwing friend.

Chief Mage of Tortall

In the Protector of the Small series he is employed at the royal palace, living there with Daine and teaching magic to knights in training, and during the Scanran War placed magical and physical defenses on Haven, served as a messenger, and searched for the mage Blayce the Gallan. During the Daughter of the Lioness duology he scried for Alianne of Pirates Swoop, who was missing, after taking care of his newborn child, Sarralyn Salmalín.

In the short story The Dragon's Tale, set after his children are born, he returns to Carthak with Daine to help their friend Emperor Kaddar. Along with the Emperor they travel through the countryside and help the people of Carthak as much as they can with their abilities.

Physical Description

He is described as being six feet five inches tall, with a swarthy complexion, long, wavy raven black hair, brown eyes, a long nose and a powerful build.

Personality and Traits

Numair is usually intelligent, calm, quiet and patient, especially as a teacher to Daine and later the pages at the palace in Corus. His intelligence is reflected in his love of learning; he can talk for hours about books and forget about any other worries. Tkaa the basilisk also described him as "unusual" in an incident when they first met; Numair tried to shoot fire at Tkaa in Wolf-Speaker, and when Tkaa reacted by turning him into stone, Numair broke the spell, and then asked Tkaa to do it again, to see if he could break the spell again. (Keladry of Mindelan described him as "both scattered and brilliant" in his later years.)

However, when angered Numair can be dangerous, for example the famous incident wherein Tristan Staghorn threatened Daine's life, and Numair retaliated by turning him into a tree. When it comes to Daine, Numair is very protective, which annoys her. Numair is also sweet and passionate, as shown in his treatment of her in The Realms of the Gods, and as thought by Kel in Lady Knight.

When Numair and Daine first met, he acted slightly silly, cracking jokes and being dramatic. It is implied he did so to cheer her up and help her open up, since she was grieving for her dead family in Galla. Later in the series, as Daine started to trust him he acted less childish. Numair is polite and good with women, as shown in his court life, and his treatment of Yolane of Dunlath and Varice Kingsford.

He is not very good at horseriding; his gelding, Spots, knows this and takes special care of him so that he doesn't fall off or lead his horse off a cliff.

Numair's hobbies are juggling and sleight of hand, learned in his first years at Tortall.

Magical abilities

Numair is one of seven Black robe mages in the world. His Gift is black with white sparkles and he is able to shape-shift into the form of a large, black hawk, in which he first meets Daine. He is often said to be the most powerful mage in the realm by several people over the course of the books featuring the Tortallan universe. He can call upon extremely dangerous magic when pushed, such as when Tristan Staghorn threatened Daine's life and Numair turned him into an apple tree (but, in Daine's opinion, a sour one).

However, although Numair is a Black robe mage, he originally knew very little practical magic, as his black robe studies in the university of university of Carthak focussed mainly on esoterica, for example changing a stone into a loaf of bread. He learned much of the practical magic he knows in Tortall, from King Jonathan.

Numair is so powerful that he cannot cast small spells and charms. In one of the books, he recalls lighting his clothes on fire when he tried to dry them. Also, using a simple spell to call boulders, he called them from 10 miles away, instead of closer ones, because he could not do the "simple" magic involved in calling the closer ones. In the last book of the Protector of the Small series (Lady Knight) Duke Baird recalls Numair admitting to having to get up and blow candles out, rather than using his gift to put them out, because he would cause the candle to explode.

One of his teachers in magic at Carthak was Lindhall Reed.


         Benek Todorsra ┬ ?
           Sarra BeneksriWeirynVeralidaine SarrasriNumair Salmalín
                  Sarralyn Salmalín                    Rikash Salmalín


  • Tamora Pierce is writing a duology about Numair's early life. It will tell the story of his estrangement with Ozorne and how he came to Tortall. The first volume is said to be published in 2012, the second volume a year later. However, as of 2013, the books have yet to be published.[5]
  • His appearance is roughly based on the actor Jeff Goldblum.[6]



  2. Squire, Glossary
  3. His mage's name means "jaguar claw" or "panther claw"; according to statements by Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe on Sheroes Numair picked the name because he wanted something impressive as a mage name to show everyone that he wanted a name that suggested that he was "no longer the geek who fell off his horse and forgot to take spells down before he left the room". His name along with Sarge's were the only ones she took as they were from The New Age Baby Name Book.
  4. Emperor Mage, Cp. 2 (p. 54; Simon Pulse paperback)
  5. Tamora Pierce's Webiste
  6. Interview with Tammy

See also

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