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Circle Universe character
Biographical information
Nationality Emelanese (assumed)
Title Dedicate Initiate
Physical description
Gender Female
Height 5'8"
Hair Black
Eyes Brown
Magic Thread
Family information
Foster parents
Children Sandrilene fa Toren, Briar Moss, Daja Kisubo, Trisana Chandler (adopted children)
Other family
Lover Rosethorn
Rank Dedicate; Great Mage
Occupation Caretaker of Discipline cottage
Affiliation Winding Circle temple
Bibliographical information
First mentioned '
First appeared Sandry's Book
Last appeared '
Latest appearance Magic Steps
Only appearance '
Last mentioned Battle Magic
"I wasn't always a house bird. [...] And I'm not completely a house bird yet."
—Lark after she told Daja of her travels with Traders[src]

Dedicate Initiate Lark is a Earth dedicate in Winding Circle temple and a great mage of the Winding Circle Initiate Council[1] as well as an ambient thread mage. She was the primary teacher of Sandrilene fa Toren and foster-mother to her as well as Daja Kisubo, Briar Moss and Trisana Chandler. After Sandry moves out of Discipline cottage and into Duke's Citadel she's teaching a young novice weaver named Comas[2]. By 1042 K.F. she is sharing Discipline cottage with Rosethorn, Comas, Evvy and Glaki[3].


Early life

Not much is known about her birth or her parentage, and her name before her dedication is never revealed. Lark did not discover she had magic until much later in her life, so she was traveling entertainer and acrobat in years prior to the discovery of her magic.

She was born to traveling players, their route being from the Unending Sea (someday to be renamed) to Yanjing.  She was trained as an acrobat and dancer and sewed on her own costumes at first, then those of other members of the troupe when it was seen that her real talent was for getting the most even out of bad cloth and rags.

She learned her magic from goodwives (midwives?), shamans, and hedgewitches all the way from west to east.  Her family ordered her to marry and arranged a a marriage for her, but (unusually for a daughter) kept her with them and found another clan who would let one of their sons join their family.  They had two children, but they were killed, together with most of Lark’s family, when a warlord attacked their caravan.  Lark doesn’t talk about how she managed to escape.

She never really enjoyed the sexual aspect of her marriage, but put up with it.  She had never been drawn to men sexually, and knew before her marriage that she was more interested in women, performers being more casual about such things.  Her marriage was primarily to keep her blood lines–and possibly her magic–in the family.[4]

Lark doesn’t view her them [her memories] as painful - they are just part of her experience, and when she thinks of those times, she thinks of all she saw and learned–the great landscapes of the road, and the lessons she had from so many different teachers, the beautiful buildings of the east, two oceans, glorious weaving, sewing and embroidery work… She loves it all.  And then to find her heart’s home at Winding Circle, working with children, finding Rosethorn and all her friends–she would tell you that, except for losing her family and her birth-children, she has had a splendid life.[5]

Years as a performer

While a tumbler, Lark lived in Tharios for a bit and performed in Khapik, the famed pleasure district as a yaskedasu. She wore the required yellow veil as a neck scarf[6]. In her time as a performer, she traveled a lot, and visited many countries and learned many cultures. She accompanied Trader caravans like Caravan Qurilta, with which she traveled to Yanjing for protection. She also visited Aliput on the way[7]. Because of the time spent with the Traders, she learned their customs and quite a bit of their language, becoming pretty fluent[8]. She also once tasted horse urine[9].

She joined another traveling circus, but only on a temporary basis, until she could return to a place she had visited a few times, Emelan."[4]

Asthma and magic

After she reached Emelan, she was too scared to approach Winding Circle. She lived in the Mire, scraping and thinking that the tricks of magic she knew were good enough for the caravans but not for Winding Circle. Winding Circle had to find her.[10]

There she presented herself as a student, though her status was more irregular. Moonstream gave her the cottage not long as she arrived, as she disturbed the dormitory with her nightmares. It was the kids who started coming to her, and the troubled adults, including one Rosethorn, and one Crane.

Lark developed asthma after she had been performing for a while. With the disease, she was no longer able to perform as an acrobat, and was forced to live on the streets of Summersea in the slum known as the Mire in poverty[11]. Her ambient magic with thread was discovered when she was in her late twenties and she went to Winding Circle to receive a magical education[12]. Her main instructor was Dedicate Vetiver, another powerful thread-mage. As such, she knows the struggles of the poor and is quite empathetic to them.

Life as a Dedicate

She took vows and became an Earth Dedicate. She developed a romantic relationship with the famed green-mage Rosethorn and they lived together at Discipline cottage where they oversaw new young mages who had trouble adapting to Winding Circle life. By 1035 KF, she is considered to be a great-mage and was a powerful member of Winding Circle's Initiate Council. She also is a very calming presence for others in the temple, and her word carries quite a lot of weight[13].

Arrival of the Four

In 1035 KF, four new charges came to Discipline, upon recommendation of Moonstream, the Dedicate Superior. They were Briar Moss, Trisana Chandler, Daja Kisubo, and Sandrilene fa Toren. The latter was also Lark's student as she, too, possessed ambient thread magic, and Lark was present when Sandry spun her first thread with four lumps. Lark said these symbolized "new growth and life". Later, this thread would become the thread circle, an artifact of incredible power. Lark also taught the other three how to spin on their own requests[14].

Pirate raid

During the pirate attack later that year, Lark and Sandry were put in charge of making bandages for the wounded. In the final battle with Enahar, Lark joined forces with Sandry in order to help her defeat him. The teachers of the rest of the four joined forces with their respective students as well[15].

Forest fires

The teachers and students accompanied Vedris fer Toren up to Gold Ridge in order to aid with a possible crisis. When their magics started showing up in each other, Lark helped Sandry map their power in order to separate them. This angered Frostpine, who had his magic stolen from him from a young age. Both Lark and Rosethorn argued that the mapping process needed to be done, but Frostpine was still angry.


The blue pox plague hit Summersea in the early part of 1036, a year after the four first began their learning. Lark and Sandry were put to work making gloves and other clothes to withstand the plague, and to keep researchers from being infected.

They all got a scare when Rosethorn—Lark's lover—fell ill with the plague. There was even more of a scare when Rosethorn died and their four charges leaped after her into death to bring her back, showing power never before seen[16].

Sandry moves to the Citadel

After Sandry got her mage's credentials and moved out of Discipline cottage and into Duke's Citadel, Lark took the shy Comas on as her charge and student. Winding Circle also helped Sandry and the Duke with a plan to bring the Dihanur murders to justice, involving Sandry and Pasco Acalon.

Later, Glakisa Irakory and Evumeimei Dingzai also moved into Discipline.

Physical description

Lark has brown eyes[17] with laugh lines framing them[18] and her skin is golden brown. She has short glossy black curls[19] and is described as being tall and willowy.[20] She has a face like a cat, with broad cheeks[19], short straight nose, and a small, sharp chin[19]. Also like a cat Lark is descriped as "graceful"[20]. Lark has slender fingers[21]. She normally wears an Earth-Temple-green habit. Her voice is soft and warm as honey[22]. Wherever she goes Lark takes a leather pouch with her, probably her mage kit[23].

Personality and traits

Lark is not only a great mage but she is very patient and kind and likes people. Even short-tempered Tris succumbs to Lark's gentleness and goes so far as to request Lark's company when the four young mages go out to cool off one hot night. When the senior mages are required to defend the south gate from the pirates in 1035 KF, the mages are arguing noisily. Lark moves among them smiling, touching and talking quietly and calms them all down[13]. She only very rarely scolded the children under her care and even when she did so in a quiet voice which conveyed her disappointment and was thus probably more effective when angry shouting would have been.[24]

However, even Lark has her limits at times. When she discovers that the Water Temple is running out of bandages, she doesn't understand how temple supervision could be so lax but she uses the opportunity to teach Sandry magic weaving. Half a year later, when the blue pox is threatening Summersea, she starts to get cross when she thinks that the Water Temple is starting to run low on masks and gloves. But Dedicate Crane really wants her to add a magic layer of protection on the masks and gloves they need to deal directly with pox samples. So she teaches Sandry how to spell oil and work it into cloth. She gets also cross when people blame the poor for being poor and sick. In this she is at least partly affected by her own history, because Lark herself had to live in the Mire for some time.[11] Rosethorn dies of pneumonia she acquired after the blue pox. Briar dives into the shadows after his dying teacher, the person he loves best in the world, and the girls help to anchor him. When they finally succeed in bringing Briar and Rosethorn back, Lark is so upset at the thought that the four could have died that she carries on, shouting and crying even while she is kissing Sandry.[9]

Skills and abilities

Magical abilities

Lark is skilled with ambient magic and considered a great mage, even though she only came to it later in life[25]. As an ambient mage her primary magic is with thread-work. For example she can call loose threads to order. Lark can also weave great lengths of bandages magically, which came handy during the pirate attack of 1035 KF.[26] She can also imbue cloth with protective spells after it was woven, like she did during the blue pox epidemic of 1036 KF to keep the people handling the samples of the illness save from catching the disease. For this a spelled oil was worked into the fiber, although this needed to refreshed every few days.[27] Lark can also put an invisibility spell on a cloak while weaving it[28]. When she needs to see magic in her cloth like Niko can, she uses a special powder of flint, hematite, angelica, star anise and lotus.[23]

As a great mage she is also skilled enough to let her magic speak through her even when she doesn't know a spell for the situation. When the four children visit the market of Summersea for the first time Tris tries to help stop a fight and ends up with a 10-foot tall water cyclone that she has trouble controlling. Lark uses her spindle to reverse the spin of the water spout to collapse it.[29] When a pirate fleet attacks a few months later the four young mages merge their powers to beat the pirates and are unstoppable until Tris hears the whining voice of her dead cousin in her mind and starts to lose the bond. Lark's spindle appears in their minds, unwinding the pattern of their magic so they all come back to themselves. After Enahar is defeated, Tris's spirit is drifting over the aftermath of the battle. Lark's power enfolds Tris and brings her home.[26]

In autumn of 1035 KF the power of the four is beginning to leak out of control. Sandry's and Briar's magic erupts in lightning and Daja creates a growing metal plant that traps her and Tris. Lark tells Sandry that their power has to be mapped and guides the four, especially Sandry, through the process after making sure that the mapping loom is covered with protective spells. The four do not want completely separate powers so Sandry maps their magic with a little border stripe so the four have control over their powers but still have traces of the others' magic.[30] Upon being asked by Tris why Sandry and not the more experienced Lark maps and later separates their powers Lark explaines that she is unable to spin pure magic or map it, like Sandry does. However, she admits that she can map physical things on a loom, like the location of a lost child or the refuge of robbers. Lark can't manipulate someone else's power and would be helpless in tracing things of power, however.[31]


She is skilled at various kinds of thread-work, which go with her magic: spinning, weaving and sewing, possibly embroidery as well. Lark knows Trader custom and is even versed in speaking Tradertalk[8]. She learnt this on her travels with different Trader caravans when she was still working as an entertainer--acrobat and dancer. From that time also comes her ability to perform different acrobatics like cartwheeling. She was also skilled at juggling and regarding that she earned much applause for it in Gold Ridge she was still quite good at it in autumn of 1035 KF[32].


Mostly friendly Lark has good relationships with most people she knows. She behaves like a substitute mother towards the young charges housed at Discipline cottage and has an especially close bond to Sandry, who is her student in thread magic. She is also friends with Niklaren Goldeye and Dedicate Frostpine. She even likes Dedicate Crane, with whom many people don't get along that well.


Lark is Sandry's teacher for all things to do with thread magic and weaving. She likes that Sandry is eager not only to learn magic, but to also learn how to do all of the work properly. She is very protective of Sandry. It is at the end of Magic Steps when readers discover just how close teacher and student are. Lark is Sandry's surrogate mother, and Sandry sees her as such.


Lark runs Discipline Cottage with Rosethorn. She is the warm kindness of the house, while Rosethorn is sharp-tongued, keeping the children in check. They work well together, and balance each other out. Lark is gay and polyamorous, and has a confirmed relationship with Rosethorn.[33]

Notes and references

  1. Magic Steps, Cp. 4 (p. 59; Scholastic paperback)
  2. Magic Steps
  3. The Will of the Empress
  4. 4.0 4.1
  6. Shatterglass
  7. Sandry's Book, Cp. 7 (p. 141; Scholastic paperback)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 103; Scholastic paperback)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Briar's Book
  11. 11.0 11.1 Briar's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 40; Scholastic paperback)
  12. Shatterglass, Cp. 2 (p. 44; Scholastic paperback)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Tris's Book, Cp. 9 (p. 148; Scholastic paperback)
  14. Sandry's Book, Cp. 11 (p. 202 - 204; Scholastic paperback)
  15. Tris's Book, final chapters
  16. Briar's Book, final chapters
  17. Tris's Book, Cp. 5 (p. 64; Scholastic paperback)
  18. Briar's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 37; Scholastic paperback)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Tris's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 6; Scholastic paperback)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Briar's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 36; Scholastic paperback)
  21. Sandry's Book, Cp. 5 (p. 98; Scholastic paperback)
  22. Sandry's Book, Cp. 5 (p. 97; Scholastic paperback)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Daja's Book, Cp. 9 (p. 149; Scholastic paperback)
  24. Briar's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 39/40; Scholastic paperback)
  25. Briar's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 128; Scholastic paperback)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Tris's Book
  27. Briar's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 59; Scholastic paperback)
  28. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 111; Scholastic paperback)
  29. Sandry's Book, Cp. 10 (p. 177/178; Scholastic paperback)
  30. Daja's Book
  31. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 110; Scholastic paperback)
  32. Daja's Book, Cp. 9 (p. 166; Scholastic paperback)
  33. Sheroes-Central; "TP, I heard that in your new book that you have a gay c..."; January 2004

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