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Reigning Monarch
Biographical Information
Born Hearth Moon, 1002 KF[1]
Died 1036 KF (revived by Briar Moss, Trisana Chandler, Sandrilene fa Toren, and Daja Kisubo)[2]
Nationality Anderranese (former), Emelanese
Magical Information
Magic Green magic
Type Ambient
Ranking Dedicate Initiate
Institution University of Lightsbridge
Accreditation Mastery
Student(s) Briar Moss
Physical Description
Gender Female
Height ca. 5'3"
Hair Auburn, short
Eyes Dark brown
Family Information
Parents Unnamed father
Adoptive Parents
Siblings Unnamed Brothers
Adoptive Children
Other Family
Lover Lark, Crane
Patron God
Rank Great mage; Initiate Council member, Mages' Council of Lightsbridge member
Residence Discipline, Winding Circle
Occupation Caretaker of Discipline Cottage
Affiliation Winding Circle
Law Enforcement of
Guard District
Guard Badge
Bibliographical Information
Circle Universe character
First Mentioned '
Only Mentioned '
First Appeared Sandry's Book
Last Appeared '
Latest Appearance Battle Magic
Only Appearance '
Last Mentioned '
Briar: "She's not so bad, is she? I mean, she's not sweet, like Lark, but she has her good side."
Tris: "You must be the only person in all Winding Circle who would say that."
Briar and Tris refering to Rosethorn[src]

Rosethorn (born Nivalin Greenhow and nicknamed Niva) was a dedicate in Winding Circle temple and an ambient green mage. As a mage she belonged to the great mages; as a temple dedicate she worshiped Mila of the Grain[3]. She was the primary teacher, and later traveling companion, of Briar Moss, as well as secondary caretaker to him and his foster-sisters, Daja Kisubo, Trisana Chandler and Sandrilene fa Toren. Rosethorn was bisexual and polyamorous; she had a committed, long-term relationship with Lark and a more casual sexual relationship with Crane, her occasional colleague.[4]


Early life

Rosethorn, then under the name of Niva, was born on Longnight (21st/22nd) of Hearth Moon in 1002 KF[1], but she later celebrates her birthday on Midsummer instead.[5] She was born and raised in a family of farmers in northern Anderran. The village was attacked by bandits once, who amongst others wanted to get at Rosethorn for her green magic. Her father and brothers fought them off. The bandits raped her best friend. Her effect on the crops benefitted her family financially, making him the richest farmer in the district, and Rosethorn has said that her father loved the money she brought in as much, if not even more so, than he loved his daughter herself.[6] On her father's farm she learned not only grow crops but also about birds. She began nursing nestlings when she was in her early teens.[7]

At some time during her life she visited Lightsbridge and studied at the university. Presumably this was before she became a dedicate. At the university Rosethorn first met Crane.

It is not known how Rosethorn became a novice or came to Winding Circle, but during her novitiate she worked closely and competitively with Crane. There is frequent speculation about the nature of their relationship at this point, although canon does not indicate that they were romantically involved before or during their sexual relationship. It's also not known when she met Lark, or how their relationship progressed prior to canon.

Caretaker of Discipline

"Master and student" by Minuiko

By 1035 KF Rosethorn has progressed to being accounted as a great mage and member of the Winding Circle Initiate Council, which takes part in the decision-making process for the temple and also supervises the abidance by the laws governing mages accredited by Winding Circle or Lightsbridge. By that time she has also become the second caretaker of Discipline cottage along with Lark and both have gained a reputation of taking young mages in. In the middle of Goose Moon of that year Sandrilene fa Toren—an orphaned Emelanese noble—, Trisana Chandler—a Capchenite merchant's daughter—, Daja Kisubo—an outcast Trader— and Briar Moss—a boy from the streets of Hajra—came to Discipline. Rosethorn immediately realizes Briar's green magic by the reactions of her plants to his arrival. Thus she takes him on as her student.

At some time prior to 1036 KF Rosethorn had written the quarantine instructions for Summersea.[8] In spring of 1036 KF Rosethorn and Briar discover the first victim of a new plague, the blue pox. Because they have been in contact with the contaminated Flick they had to go into quarantine along with her. It was the first time Rosethorn had to go into quarantine herself[9]. There they cared for Flick and the other sick that were brought into Urda's House during the next days. Even from there Rosethorn did her best to help Crane to find a cure, sending detailed notes on her observations to him along with the samples of body fluids.[10] After the quarantine was lifted Rosethorn worked intensively with Crane to discover the cure. However, she contracted the disease herself and her health degenerated quickly. Thus even the administration of the cure couldn't save her anymore, because the fever had already taken its toll from her. Rosethorn only survived through Briar and his three housemates, who refused to let her die and saved her magically by following Rosethorn to the afterlife and bringing her back. But although she survived the preceding seizure had left her with some damage for her brain activity stopped for some time. She regained her speech after some time, although it wasn't as clear as before.


In 1039 KF Rosethorn and Briar leave Winding Circle for traveling and giving Briar a change to learn how foreign gardeners and mages handle things. In autumn that year they stop at Chammur, where they are joined by Evumeimei Dingzai, Briar's first student. There Rosethorn helps the local farmes, who have great difficulties because of bad crops. The land had been cultivated for too many years and is tired. Thus Rosethorn grows special seeds for them, putting her magic in them and giving the locals a good storage. While staying in Chammur Rosethorn also has quite a stern talk with the local stone mage Jebilu Stoneslicer, who initially refuses to take Evvy on as his student, although this would be his responsibility. After Rosethorn reminds him of his duty and of the laws laid down by Lightsbridge and the Winding Circle Initiate Council Stoneslicer accepts his duty and it is Evvy who refuses to be taught by him. Rosethorn is a member of the Winding Circle Initiate Council and the mage governing council of the University of Lightsbridge.

Gyongxe and Yanjing

After Chammur, Rosethorn and her two young students travel east to Gyongxe and the first Living Circle temple and Yanjing. They meet many mages and dedicates in Gyongxe, and discover that ambient magic is unheard of in this part of the world. Their methods are met with much disdain, but Rosethorn is tough enough not to care. The First Dedicate, Dokyi, however does not treat the travelers magic with any sort of disdain. While staying with the God-King in Gyongxe, imperial Yanjingyi messengers extend an invitation to Rosethorn to come meet with the emperor and see the great imperial gardens. The messengers are much in awe of both Rosethorn and Briar, as Rosethorn's greatness has spread through material objects such as spelled medicines and plants, and Briar's has spread through word of mouth.

While an imperial guest, Rosethorn is annoyed by the amount of pomp and circumstance that the emperor uses to brag about his monetary and military wealth. Nevertheless, Rosethorn eagerly inspects the gardens, although annoyed that she won't actually be able to work in them. She heals one of the rose plants of mold to appease the emperor - who demanded that the rose bush be burned. She bargains with him to let her keep the rose bush, if she would design a completely new rose for him later. After, Rosethorn is awoken by a vivid dream as a plant. She rushes out to the rose garden just in time to see the emperor finish burning the garden - and the gardeners - for failing to impress him and his guests. She is shocked at his cruelty.

After she gladly leaves the Winter Palace, the prisoner Parahan is said to have escaped. Rosethorn suspects Briar and Evvy, but she dares not say anything in front of the guards or anywhere near the palace. Later, she learns that the emperor is planning to invade Gyongxe himself for its wealth in magical objects and people. She decides to stay behind to help the Living Circle temple, and tries to get Briar and Evvy to go on without her. However, they win the argument.

After joining up with Parahan, Rosethorn and her students re-enter Gyongxe and join up with the Gyongxin army. During a meeting with Dokyi, Rosethorn learns that she must carry the Treasures of the Living Circle to the Temple of the Sealed Eye in order to keep them safe from the emperor - as they are important artifacts in the Living Circle religion. Rosethorn does so, and becomes stronger because of it. It is learned her birth name was Nivalin Greenhow. When she returns she helps the Gyongxin army as both a battle mage and a healer. While travelling to Garmashing, she enters into a casual relationship with Parahan. Later, she gives the formula for boom-dust/zayao/black powder to Parahan and Soudamini. After the final battle at the God-King's palace, she leaves Gyongxe for Emelan with Briar, Evvy, and Luvo.


At some time in 1043 KF Rosethorn is called away from Winding Circle to investigate the plant-dying in the Battle Islands. She takes Evvy with her because the girl has caused some trouble at Winding Circle. They visit Starns along with Dedicate Myrrhtide - a water-mage who tries Rosethorn's patience. Rosethorn is also suffering from PTSD - Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder - because of the war in Gyongxe that she had survived. She warned Myrrhtide not to touch her unnanounced because she would react violently. During the trip, she discovers that the plants have been poisoned. Later it comes to late that it is due to magma bubbling to the surface. Throughout this trip Rosethorn is saddened by Evvy's attitude towards other people - that they are worthless since the girl does not care about them. She urges Evvy to choose between becoming a builder or a destroyer.

Physical description

Rosethorn has large, dark brown eyes[11] with delicate eyebrows[12] and auburn hair which she wears cropped manishly short and parted to one side. Rosethorn has a creamy complexion.[13] She is described as being a handspan taller than Briar, who is at that time five feet tall, and only an inch taller than Daja was at the age of ten[14]. She was shorter than Lark, however.[15] Rosethorn is broad shouldered, has long legs and a broad, firm jaw.[16] According to Briar she has a beautifully carved mouth[13]. She normally works barefoot and usually wears the dark green robe of an Earth dedicate.[3] In Mead Moon of 1035 KF Briar once noticed Rosethorns scent, which he described as a funny mixture of pine, dark soil and hints of aloe and basil. He also added that he felt as safe with Rosethorn at his back as in the arms of the Living Circle goddess Mila of the Grain.[17] Inside her magic Rosethorn resembled a gigantic tree.[18]

Personality and traits

Rosethorn has a quite gruff character, which can be especially intimidating on children. Thus children normally see her with respect, if not even fear, when first meeting the dedicate. She encourages this attitude by threatening new charges with hanging them in the well, when they cause mayhem in her workshop or disturb her garden. Her sharp temper and her even sharper tongue don't help much, either.[19] However, she also has soft spots. Thus she often cares for nestlings when she finds them in her garden or other bring them to her. Rosethorn especially has a soft spot for starlings.[20] Even Briar is intimidated by her, when he first meets Rosethorn, but he begins to like her quickly. She mangages to surprise him when they are in Chammur and she anticipates the problems caused by Evvy's refusal of being taught by the local stone mage. He had fully expected to have to argue with his teacher because Evvy and her ten cats were to stay with them, but Rosethorn had already made all necessary arrangements, when they came home.

She "took her vows to serve the poor seriously"[21], although she hid her amiable character under a harsh and cranky mask and claimed not to like children. When at Winding Circle Rosethorn regularly brought medecines to Urda's House. She also showed her humanitarian side when caring for sick people in Urda's House, which was shown in the course of the blue pox epidemic. When tending for the sick her normally sharp voice became approriately gentle[22], even though she "disliked nursing above all things"[8]. Rosethorn especially dislikes people who "think they know more about [her] life, and their illness, than [she] do[es]."[23] She also helped people when travelling with Briar. Thus she aided the farmers around Chammur with their crops and later answered the Starns' residents' call for help when their plants were dying from reasons unknown to them.

Skills and abilities

In regards to medicines and gardening Rosethorn was one of the most powerful and renowned mages around the Pebbled Sea and its environs; as such she was a great mage.[24] Rosethorn was a very good gardener and skilled green mage. She had even managed to grow tomatoes at Winding Circle, although no one else had managed this so far; not even Crane in his greenhouse.[25] She had also been the most successful of all the gardeners around the Pebbled Sea at growing new plants from the far side of the Endless Ocean like beans, corn and clover plants[26]. Her green magic gave her very strong ties to different plants, thus also relaying the plants' hurts to her. But even though this caused Rosethorn pain she couldn't simply stand by when green life was destroyed. For that reason she tried to save as much trees as possible from the forest fire in Gold Ridge. She had already done a similar task the preceding summer, when pirates had attacked Winding Circle and the plants she and Briar had grown in the cove to protect the temple had been attacked. Rosethorn not only suffered with plants but also when there were no plants around her. Briar first noticed this when both were quarantined in Urda's House and no plants were around. He described his teacher as "wilting" at that occasion. She improved almost instantly after Tris brought Briar's shakkan and some of Disciplines potted herbs to Urda's House.[9]

She not only grew plants but was also accomplished as a herbalist, making her own blends of tea - for example her sunny morning blend with rosehips and peels of lemon or her tea for endurance[27]- as well as medicines. Those she delivered regularly to Urda's House, but also supplied Winding Circle with it. In addition to that Rosethorn was also an expert at finding cures to new illnesses and often collaborated with Dedicate Crane for this.[8] Even when she didn't know a disease's cure at once she had been known to fend it off by pure will.[28] However, usually finding a cure involved only finding out about new versions of already known diseases. They were faced with a different challenge with the blue pox, which really was a new disease.[29]


"Somehow the boy had always known his teacher was uncomfortable with others. She seemed to like him well enough; she adored Lark, and enjoyed the company of Niko, Frostpine, and the duke. He even suspected she'd come to like the girls, but when it came to outsiders, she hid her softer nature and showed only thorns."
—Briar contemplating his teacher's relations.[src]

Dedicate Lark

Lark runs Discipline cottage together with Rosethorn. Both women have an intimate bond and help each other. Lark sometimes softens Rosethorn's temper and Rosethorn even accepts Lark's help when she does from nobody else. They even share a committed, long-term sexual relationship[4].

Dedicate Crane

"We have our differences, but you know—I would hope you know—that I respect your gifts and your knowledge."
—Crane to Rosethorn when asking her to help him researching the blue pox[src]

Rosethorn and Crane knew each other from their time in Lightsbridge and later they both joined Winding Circle. Crane was an Air Dedicate at Winding Circle and had a greenhouse there. He grews plants out of season, which deeply went against Rosethorns principles and was a regular point of argument between both of them. They were usually seen arguing over this and other facts, like their differing opinions concerning institutions for the poor like Urda's House. Crane also accused Rosethorn of having no system in her work, while Rosethorn accused him of criticizing other people's work too much[30]. Crane once even accused Rosethorn of having sent Briar to steal from his greenhouse.[31]

However, they could also work together, if need be, and acknowledged each others skill and knowledge. Thus they were a good team at finding the cure the new illnesses. They even fostered a casual sexual relationship, but mostly it had been in the past and around the time Briar and his foster sisters lived at Discipline their relationship had died down to a point where it only existed in times when they worked together. It was one of those things happening "when you're working closely with someone in an intense situation".[4]

Briar Moss

Briar is Rosethorn's student. As such they develop a friendly bond. While first threatening him to hang him in her well, she later begins to trust him more and more. While her prickly nature usually prevents her from giving overly much praise, Rosethorn already has a very high opinion of her student after his first year with her[29]. When they're in Chammur together Briar tells her about his nighmares and fears and Rosethorn gives him advice on the topic.


She and Evvy survived a war together, so there has been some bonding between the two. She understands Evvy's spats for violence, but urges the girl to choose between becoming a builder or a destroyer. They have a good relationship together, shown especially when they go to the Battle Islands to inspect the deaths of trees in the area. They both take care of each other, although Rosethorn is careful to keep a firm hand on Evvy.

Sandry, Tris, & Daja

Rosethorn was slower to like the girls than Briar, as they didn't share plant-magic. However, as time wore on, she warmed to them, and loved them just as she would love her own children. Although Briar is, and always will be, her favorite of the four, she loves them all, although you would never catch her admitting it.


Rosethorn was based on Major Kira Nerys from the TV Series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."[32]

With her appearance in Melting Stones, Rosethorn has appeared in a total of seven Emelan books, more than any other Emelanese character to date.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Daja's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 37; Scholastic paperback)
  2. Final chapters of Briar's Book
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 68; Scholastic paperback)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sheroes-Central; "TP, I heard that in your new book that you have a gay c..."; January 2004
  5. Briar's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 93/94; Scholastic paperback)
  6. Tris's Book, Cp. 7 (p. 111; Scholastic paperback)
  7. Tris's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 50; Scholastic paperback)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Briar's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 34; Scholastic paperback)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Briar's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 100; Scholastic paperback)
  10. Briar's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 62; Scholastic paperback)
  11. Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 67; Scholastic paperback)
  12. Tris's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 47; Scholastic paperback)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Briar's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 5; Scholastic paperback)
  14. Daja's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 28; Scholastic paperback)
  15. Daja's Book, Cp. 12 (p. 209; Scholastic paperback)
  16. Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 69; Scholastic paperback)
  17. Tris's Book, Cp. 9 (p. 151; Scholastic paperback)
  18. Briar's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 91/92; Scholastic paperback)
  19. Tris's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 49; Scholastic paperback)
  20. Tris's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 51; Scholastic paperback)
  21. Briar's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 4; Scholastic paperback)
  22. Briar's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 17; Scholastic paperback)
  23. Briar's Book, Cp. 3 (p. 47/48; Scholastic paperback)
  24. Briar's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 128; Scholastic paperback)
  25. Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 70; Scholastic paperback)
  26. Street Magic, Cp. 6 (p. 111; Scholastic paperback)
  27. Briar's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 57; Scholastic paperback)
  28. Briar's Book, Cp. 3 (p. 50; Scholastic paperback)
  29. 29.0 29.1 Briar's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 131; Scholastic paperback)
  30. Briar's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 130; Scholastic paperback)
  31. Sandry's Book
  32. Randombuzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce - Tortall - retrieved on March 11, 2011

See also