Berenene dor Ocmore

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Berenene dor Ocmore
Circle Universe character
Biographical information
Nationality Namornese
Title Empress of Namorn (Her Imperial Majesty)
Physical description
Gender Female
Height Tall
Hair Brown
Eyes Brown
Family information
Ancestors Imperial Family of Namorn
Grandparents Unnamed grandmother (shares with Sandry)
Parents Unnamed Father (Previous Emperor)
Siblings Unnamed brother † (deceased)
Husband Unmarried
Lover Quenaill Shieldsman
Pershan fer Roth
Children Princess Maedryan (Crown Princess of Namorn) and two other unnamed daughters
Other Amiliane fa Landreg (aunt)
Sandrilene fa Toren (cousin)
The Namornese ambassador from Lairan (cousin)
Rank Monarch
Occupation Ruler of Namorn
Affiliation Namorn
Bibliographical information
First mentioned Sandry's Book
First appeared The Will of the Empress
Last appeared '
Latest appearance '

Berenene dor Ocmore is the Empress of Namorn. She succeeded her father when she was only sixteen years old, and has survived several assassination attempts since her ascension as empress. She has built libraries, schools, bridges, hospitals, and other useful things, and has made her country economically and politically powerful. One of her three daughters, Princess Maedryan, is her heiress apparent.


Early life

Berenene is the only surviving child of her father, the last emperor, and she had an older brother who died quite early. While she was still a princess, she was kidnapped twice in an effort to force her hand in marriage. She escaped both times and both kidnappers were executed by her father.

Even as a child, Berenene had a love for gardening, a hobby that her father scolded her for. He claimed that it was a waste of money to grow flowers in the cold lands of Namorn. When she succeeded her father as empress, she almost gave up her gardens, but decided later that she deserved them after several assassination attempts. By the time Sandry, Briar Moss, Trisana Chandler, and Daja Kisubo visit Namorn, her gardens are very well known. She also maintains greenhouses, where she grows orchids and shakkans, orchids being her favorites.


Berenene ascended the throne upon the death of her father and started a strong rule. She gave more power to the monarchy by tricking and ruining the other great Houses. By the time Sandry returns to Namorn, Landreg is one of the last untouched great holdings, besides the empress's own estates. To try and force Ambros fer Landreg, the steward to Clehame Sandrilene's lands, to call his countess to Namorn, Berenene taxed them heavily. She wanted Sandry and the girl's money to stay in Namorn, where they would be useful to the her. Her motive, unlike with the other great holdings, was not to ruin Clehamat Landreg, but to keep its wealth within her grasp.

Berenene took many lovers, and had three daughters by this means. She kept the identities of the fathers a secret so they could not use their position as a means to gain power. She placed her daughters in the care of kinsmen so they would not be kidnapped and forced to sign a marriage contract. Her eldest daughter is Maedryan dor Ocmore. The princess is Berenene's heiress apparent and will inherit the throne of Namorn upon Berenene's death.

The empress's rule has been marked with an on and off eight year long war with the emperor of Yanging, which has drained her funds and caused her to bring up taxes[1].

She has also brought a great amount of reform to her land. Berenene has built multiple schools and hospitals, as well as roads. She cares greatly for her land and her people, and views her country's needs as her needs and will do anything to bring power and greatness to Namorn.

When her cousin Sandry and her friends come to her court she devises several schemes to keep them in the country. She uses her power, money, and mages to entice them to remain in Namorn, and in the end she attempts to force them. She is unsuccessful.

Physical description

The empress has russet hair and brown eyes. She is very attractive, with a shapely body that she uses to catch the interest of young men at her court. Her face reminds Sandry of an old picture of her grandmother.[2]

Personality and traits

Empress Berenene has a very commanding and demanding personality, and is very regal. She is a proud woman, and has a disdain for those who can't keep up with her intelligence and physical exertion. She is well-versed in politics, economics and diplomacy, and uses them as weapons against the four young mages, Vedris IV, and the Yanjingyi emperor. Berenene is very meticulous and collects detailed reports from her spies; she also makes subtle use of flirtation and sexuality to control the male members of her court. The empress is used to getting what she wants when she wants it, and is outraged to learn that her cousin would defy her and her wishes.

She is immensely patriotic, and only has Namorn's best interests in heart and has done a lot for the empire. She takes her work very seriously, even though it seems that she views it with a trivial eye. She owns some of the greatest gardens of the world, and is a patron of the arts, architecture, and more.

But even as a woman of power, she is not interested in bettering the lives for women in her country nor making her country safer for women. She allowed the bride kidnapping custom that came from old Haidheltac to thrive under her rule. Gudruny Iarun describes her of having little sympathy and compassion for women who had been forced into a marriage contract, even if they were of the noble class. Gudruny said that one noblewoman who had been forced had gone to the empress for aid, and the empress reportedly told her that a woman foolish enough to be caught was a caged bird by nature and must content herself with a keeper. As Berenene had been kidnapped twice and was able to escape on both counts, she believes any woman who had been forced to be beneath her and undeserving of the same rights that other women have. Gudruny points out that Berenene's ease at escaping may not have been due to just her wits and wiles, as a man who would kidnap a possible future empress would tie her less tightly and be a lot more careful about damaging her than they would other women. As such, Berenene is shown to believe that the only people who deserve happiness, justice, or rights, are those she deems worthy of them. This directly contrasts with the beliefs and values of her young cousin Sandrilene fa Toren. Berenene's lack of compassion for women and lower class people are the main reasons why Sandry's siblings also left with her, mainly Briar Moss, who pointed out that if Sandry, a countess with imperial connections, was not safe in Namorn, then where would that put him or Zhegorz or anyone whom the empress saw as beneath her.


Sandrilene fa Toren

Sandry and Berenene are first cousins, related through a mutual grandmother[3]. Since Sandry's mother, Amiliane fa Landreg, married Sandry's father, Count Mattin fer Toren, the nephew of Duke Vedris, the money from the Landreg estate had been siphoned out of Namorn, first to Amiliane and then to Sandry. It also should be noted that if Berenene and Sandry share a grandmother, then Amiliane would be the empress's aunt.

In the opening to The Will of the Empress, Sandry reviews her account books and realizes that the Imperial taxes on her estate have been growing every year; it is Berenene's way of reinforcing her standing invitation for her cousin to visit the Imperial Court in Dancruan. Once she arrives, it is the Empress's mission to keep her and her money in Namorn, despite Sandry's continual statements that she makes her home in Emelan. The Empress becomes a very antagonistic figure in this book, and is shown as a sort of villain.

Briar Moss

Briar comes to Namorn with Sandry, and Berenene takes a special interest in him as he is a plant mage and Berenene has an interest in gardening. She grants him special permission to do what he likes in her personal gardens, and tries to get him to stay in Namorn by offering him the post of imperial gardener. She is very confident in handling Briar, as he is a ladies' man, and she knows how to handle ladies' men. They engage in flirtations, although Briar knows not to take it seriously. After an attempted kidnap by Finlach fer Hurich on Sandry, Briar decides to leave Namorn due to this awful law. He wonders how many women he even sees on the street is with her husband for her own free will. He says that he cannot stay in a country that treats its folk like this, and graciously bows out of the offer for imperial service, a dukedom, and a place at the imperial court.

Ishabal Ladyhammer

Berenene and Ishabal get along, as the empress calls the woman "Isha", instead of a more formal title. Ishabal serves as Berenene's chief adviser and mage, and the empress trusts her advice and guidance. She did overlook Ishabal's advice when it came to dealing with the four young mages, which was shown to be a grave mistake as time wore on.

Court Lovers

The noble lovers of Berenene seem to have a high position in society. Berenene also pays all of their court fees, and probably bestows them with titles and riches. She is very careful not to give them too much power, for fear that they would seize it. Her three daughters, although legitimized later by her and her councils, were all born out of wedlock. The fathers' identities for these children have never been revealed, at least officially, but they were likely all former lovers of the empress.

Pershan fer Roth

Shan is Berenene's lover and Master of the Hunt during Sandry's visit to Namorn. She is unaware of his flirtations with her cousin, and places a tight collar on him when she finds out. By the end of the book she discovers his plan to marry Sandry and he falls from her graces. She is absolutely livid with him, for making a fool out of her.

Quenaill Shieldsman

Quenaill was Berenene's lover before Shan. He is extremely loyal to her and will do anything to get back into her good graces. When she finds out about his involvement in a plot to kidnap Sandry with Shan is extremely angry, as she feels like she's lost control over him.


Bernene maintains court year round[4] which includes her chief mages, Ishabal Ladyhammer and Quenaill Shieldsman, as well as many of her nobles in their twenties and thirties. She keep herself as the center of attention, passing out favors and punishments to make sure everyone is thinking about her instead of fighting and rebellion.

Fun facts and trivia

She is based upon the Russian Empress Catherine the Great and Elizabeth I of England[5], with an emphasis on Catherine the Great[6]

Berenene serves as the book's main antagonist. She is the title character of The Will of the Empress.

Notes and References

  1. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 1 (p. 34; Scholastic)
  2. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 3 (p. 64; Scholastic)
  3. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 3 (p. 65; Scholastic)
  4. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 3 (p. 61; Scholastic)
  5. Did you base Berenene on a historical figure?, SheroesCentral, 2006-02-26.
  6. Random Buzz; "Famous Women"; April 23, 2009

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