Numair Salmalín

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Numair Salmalín
Tortallan Universe character
Biographical information
Aliases Arram Draper
Born 422 HE
Nationality Tortallan
Tyran (birth country)
Title Master
Physical description
Gender Male
Height 6'5"
Hair Black
Eyes Brown
Gift Black with white sparkles
Family information
Wife Veralidaine Salmalín
Lover Varice Kingsford (former)
Children Sarralyn Salmalín (daughter)
Rikash Salmalín (son) Skysong (adopted daughter)
Other Weiryn (father in law)
The Green Lady (mother in law)
Rank Black Robe Mage
Position Chief mage of Tortall
Affiliation Tortall
Bibliographical information
First mentioned '
First appeared Wild Magic
Last appeared '
Latest appearance Trickster's Queen

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 in Carthak

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 Salmalín[3] when he became a Black robe mage, supposedly because "Arram Draper" was not a fitting name for a mage[4]. One major reason he changed his name was to hide from his former friend Ozorne Tasikhe, the Emperor Mage of Carthak, who believed him to be guilty of high treason. Emperor Ozorne had imprisoned him in the dungeons, and Numair managed to escape. The Emperor never gave up hunting him, and Numair was forced to spend several years on the run and on the streets. He worked as a juggler and a lowly street magician, and thus survived while journeying to Corus, Tortall, from Carthak. He had almost died of starvation while on the road.

Move to Tortall

At some point, he met Alanna the Lioness, the King's Champion of Tortall, Onua Chamtong, and other Tortallans. They brought him to the king's attention, and Numair quickly garnered the king and queen's trust. He lived for a time in the royal palace, in hiding. After several years of service, he became the King's chief mage. He also worked as a spy, because of his ability to shapeshift into different types of animals, namely a hawk. He acquired very practical magic knowledge, including the ability to detect poison. He also became a member of King Jonathan's private council, along with Alanna the Lioness, Sir Gareth the Younger[5].

In the King's Service

As a very powerful mage and spy, the King used him as a tool in order to scope out possible threats. Because of his shape-changing abilities, he was able to sneak in places where he would be unnoticed. However, a mission did not go as planned in 449 HE. He was caught by a mage in service to the lord of Sinthya, and was fed drugs[6]. He shape changed into a hawk because he got scared. The drugs were very potent and thus, in hawk form, they swamped him even more than they would have as a human. He managed to escape, but was tracked and hunted by Stormwings in the Lord of Sinthya's service, including the Stormwing queen, Zhaneh Bitterclaws[7].

Discovery of Daine the Wildmage

Veralidaine Sarrasri, a thirteen year old girl who was working as the Assistant Horsemistress of Onua Chamtong, was able to call Numair back into his human body, using her potent wild magic. When he approached her later about it, he made the mistake about asking her directly if she had the Gift. He became positive that she did not have the Gift, but very strong wild magic.

He accompanied Onua and Daine back to Corus.

In a meeting with King Jonathan and Daine, Numair was ecstatic to inform the king of Daine's wild magic, especially as she was able to sense the arrival of Stormwings at the palace, and the ability to sense animals in colors. Numair became Daine's teacher, but didn't understand when the girl refused to learn meditation and more about her magic. He learned later when she informed him and Onua about what happened in Snowsdale and how she lost her human self. Numair helped her form a barrier to keep her wild mage self from mixing in with her human self, and informed her that it was quite an easy feat of magic to accomplish[8].

When they had been staying at Pirate's Swoop for a few days with Alanna and her husband, George Cooper, Alanna was called away to deal with three 8 ft tall ogres, spotted near Fief Mandash[9]. This was later revealed to be a ruse to lure the King's Champion away from Pirate's Swoop, so Carthaki pirates could attack and kidnap Queen Thayet and her two children staying there, Prince Roald and Princess Kalasin. Daine was able to convince a dragon to attack the ships. She also called upon the kraken, a dangerous underwater beast, to help. Because the dragon died, Daine was left with dreams of a cave. She brought Numair and Alanna with her, and thus she adopted the dragonet Skysong. Numair later said that she could live at his tower with him, but Alanna said that was hardly proper and that she needed women to talk to. Numair's young student was offered a home at the palace with the King and Queen, as well as a home at Pirate's Swoop[10].

Dunlath rebellion

Numair learned that a battle mage of some sort had blown up a Rider encampment near Fief Dunlath, killing its inhabitants. Numair and Daine were continuing in their magic lessons when they were approached by the Long Lake wolf pack. Daine had run with them in the days where she had forgotten her human self after bandits attacked Snowsdale. Numair was alerted to the problem when Brokefang informed Daine that men killed wolves on sight at Dunlath, with magic fire that matched Numair's[11].

The pack took Numair and Daine north to Fief Dunlath, the land owned by Lady Yolane and her husband Belden. At Fief Dunlath, they learned about an earthquake that happened near an opal mine. Numair thought that the war mage who caused it could have been complicit in the attack on the Rider encampment[12]. While staying in town, they rested at an inn. Numair demanded that if Daine and he had adjoining rooms, the door between should be locked, for propriety's sake.

When dining at the Castle with Lady Yolane and Lord Belden, Tristan Staghorn, a mage from Numair's youth, was there. Staghorn was apparently a very accomplished war mage at the University of Carthak. Numair was already guessing that Staghorn was involved in the blasts[13]. After Daine made this mistake of informing Lady Yolane that she could talk to animals, Numair ordered her to pack when they got back to the inn[14]. They also wanted to warn King Jonathan of the treason taking place at Fief Dunlath. Numair also knew that Staghorn was under Emperor Ozorne's wing, and loyal to him, thus he surmised the emperor's involvement in the plot. Daine separated from Numair before leaving Fief Dunlath, saying she had the wolves to look after. Numair warned her from keeping still longer than she could help it, as she was a fugitive now. It is revealed later that Gissa of Rachne had slipped nightbloom in his wine. There was also a magical barrier around Fief Dunlath put there by Staghorn[15]. Numair had realized this and used the sleight of hand that he had learned while homeless and a street magician to make it seem like he had drunk the wine. Daine later looked at Staghorn's correspondence and say orders from Emperor Ozorne to bring Numair to him via Stormwings.

Numair had made it to the king and had returned with Sir Raoul, Knight Commander of the King's Own, as well as men of the Own and Alanna the Lioness. Daine warned them about the poison in the water.

Finally, Numair and the warriors he had brought managed to get through the barrier. He fought Staghorn and turned the war mage into an apple tree using a word of power[16].

Return to Carthak

A year later, in 451 HE, King Jonathan and Queen Thayet made efforts to negotiate peace with Carthak by sending a peace delegation. Numair, along with Daine, The Duke of Naxen, the duke's son Gareth the Younger, Martin of Meron, Alanna the Lioness, and Harailt of Aili, all were part of the delegation[17]. Daine was sent along to heal the emperor's birds, which had fallen ill[17]. Numair was able to return to Carthak because the emperor pardoned him[17]. There were conditions to the pardon, of course. When the delegation docked in Carthak City, they were greeted by Prince Kaddar, the emperor's heir. Numair was less glad to be in the presence of the Emperor Mage, but when greeted by his old friend Lindhall Reed, he was incredibly glad[17].

One time, when Daine had changed into a bird and was flying around Emperor Ozorne's bird enclosure, Numair argued with Ozorne. He basically told the emperor that Daine was his weak spot, and he tried to hit the other man[18]. When he saw that Daine and Prince Kaddar were spending a lot of time together, he confronted Kaddar in front of Daine and asked very personal questions about whether or not he had affairs and informed the women that things could not be more serious[19].

Emperor Ozorne revealed his true intentions later. He kidnapped Daine and spread a lie that she had gone underground in his empire to convince his people to rebel against him[20]. Numair had sent his simulacrum to be caught by Emperor Ozorne. The emperor had Numair's simulacrum executed and forced his old lover Varice Kingsford to watch[21]. The real Numair stopped Daine from killing Ozorne as a hyena. It took a bit to convince her he was real, and he explained about the simulacrum.

The Tortallan delegates negotiated a treaty with the new Emperor Kaddar.

Onslaught of the Immortals War

Numair awoke in a panic after realizing that the barrier between the Mortal and Divine Realms had completely exploded due to the work of a human mage. Daine and Numair both realize that the Immortals would be on them immediately, and there would be no stopping them from coming into the Mortal Realms[22].

Numair and Daine were brought to the Divine Realms by Weiryn and Sarra Beneksri, after they were attacked by Immortals known as Skinners and nearly died[23]. Numair learned for sure that his student's father was a god. He also met Gainel the Dream King. They also realized that Uusoae, Queen of the Chaos Realms, was gaining power through her human vessel, Ozorne Tasikhe, the former Emperor Mage of Carthak, who was now a Stormwing[23]. They also found Darkings. Numair also asked Daine to remain with her parents in the Divine Realms, something that she promptly refused to do[23].

They traveled through the Divine Realms, and Numair saved her from spidrens by using a focus, in this case a hair and a picture. Daine learned that Numair was in love with her, and he was dismayed when she thought that he just wanted to have sex with her.

Later on, Numair fought the Scanran mage Inar Hadensra, and managed to defeat him. Numair was drained of magic, however, and was found later by Daine, who had defeated Queen Uusoae and Ozorne Tasikhe. He asked Daine to marry him, but she said only if he was very good.

Post-Immortals War

Numair then lived quietly with Daine as the Chief Mage of Tortall. He also taught magic to the pages. One time, in late 452 HE, Keladry of Mindelan, her friends, and a group of bullies that included Joren of Stone Mountain, accidentally disturbed Numair. He used a freezing spell on all of them, so they could not move. He allowed them to, after being briefly miffed that they weren't following his order to leave[24].

Involvement in Scanran War

In 460 HE, the Scanran War broke out between Tortall and the country to the north, Scanra. Numair and Daine were on missions to locate Blayce the Gallan, the mage who was creating the metal monsters known as killing devices. Numair did do other things, as his magic was large and powerful enough to do almost anything. He helped build Haven and he created the plateau that Haven sat on. Numair used his magic to call large stones as the terrain for Haven, a refugee camp near the Scanran border. He also placed magical and physical defenses on Haven, and brought the knight commander of Haven, Keladry of Mindelan, clerks for her to use.

After Blayce was defeated by Keladry, Numair and Harailt of Aili helped build New Hope, the new fortified town that Keladry was to command.

In early 462 HE, his friend Alanna's daughter Aly, went missing. Numair made efforts to find her magically, but to no avail. This is because Aly was being magically concealed by the trickster god of the Copper Isles, Kyprioth[25].

Later that year, his wife Daine gave birth to their first child, Sarralyn Salmalín, a shapeshifter girl. Her grandmother, The Green Lady, forced the child to choose a shape and stick with it for the first five years. Rikash Salmalín, their next child was born in 463 HE.

Post-Scanran War

Numair and Daine did return to Carthak after both children were born to help the emperor, Kaddar Iliniat. They were there mostly to see if people needed help with their magic[26].

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[27].

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. He is also incredibly honorable, and takes care not to do anything that would make Daine fall in love with him or feel like he is taking advantage of her. He ensures that all precautions are taken in order to keep Daine from being talked rudely about in relation to him. When she learns that he is attracted to her in The Realms of the Gods, he is adamant that she not undress in front of him.

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[28].

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

Personal life

Prior to marrying Daine, Numair was regarded as quite the ladies' man. While living in Carthak, he struck up a relationship with Varice Kingsford which ended only when he fled the country. His name has been linked to many women at the palace in Corus, as was alluded to by both Numair and Daine in Realms of the Gods

Numair first fell in love with Daine somewhere between Wolf-Speaker and Emperor Mage. This was evidenced throughout Emperor Mage where Numair made it obvious to a few of the characters, namely Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau, Kaddar Iliniat and Ozorne Tasikhe after Numair attempted to hit Ozorne for insinuating that he was sleeping with Daine and after Numair warned Kaddar not to trifle with Daine. Daine, for the most part, seems to be oblivious to it all, but does own to some jealousy towards Varice Kingsford and in the final chapters of the book upon believing that Numair was dead, she proceeded to rampage the castle.

At some point between Emperor Mage and Realms of the Gods, Numair set about making a locket as a lovers token. He employed the court artist, Volney Rain to paint a miniature of Daine and while she was delirious with Unicorn Fever, he cut off a lock of her hair to complete the locket.

Part way through Realms of the Gods, Daine went over a cliff and Numair believed he had lost her. But, using his locket as a focus, he managed to find her surrounded by Spidrens. It was after their escape from the Spidrens that Daine and Numair shared their first kiss. Subsequently, Daine also discovered Numair's love for her, but asked if they could discuss their relationship after the war.

Numair asked Daine to marry him at the end of Realms of the Gods, to which Daine replied that she would only if he was good. During the Protector of the Small quartet, it is revealed that Daine and Numair are not yet married but are living together at the palace.

During Lady Knight, Daine looses her pregnancy charm while shape shifting. In the September, she noticed her human clothes were getting tight and saw a midwife about it, who laughed at a midwife's daughter not recognizing the signs[29].

Marriage and children

Numair was over the moon about his wife's pregnancy, and immediately used it to insist that him and Daine marry. Daine did not mind either way, but agreed knowing first hand what it was like to not have a legitimate father.

They finally marry a week before their baby was due. Their relationship doesn't change at all - but they've stopped thinking that marriage would be a trap for the both of them.

Because Daine shape shifted so many times in her first trimester that the baby got used to it and continued to shift throughout the rest of the pregnancy, causing Daine to have to shape shift her lower half to accommodate the baby's changes.

Their daughter Sarralyn was born and continues to shape shift until her naming day. Daine's parents, Sarra and Weiryn visit and note that the baby is still constantly shape shifting. Sarra takes her grandchild in had and informs her that she must choose a shape and stick with it until she is five years old. Sarralyn turns into a human baby girl and stays that way.

Some years later, Daine and Numair have a second child, a son, whom they name Rikash after their Stormwing friend, Rikash Moonsword.[29]

Family tree

         Benek ┬ ?
           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 2015, the books have yet to be published.[30]
  • His appearance is roughly based on the actor Jeff Goldblum.[31]



  2. Squire, Glossary
  3. Wild Magic (hardcover)
  4. 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.
  5. Emperor Mage, Cp. 2 (p. 54; Simon Pulse paperback)
  6. Wild Magic, Ch. 3 (pg. 64; Atheneum Books)
  7. Wild Magic, Ch. 2 (pg. 27; Atheneum Books)
  8. Wild Magic, Ch. 7 (pg. 180; Atheneum Books)
  9. Wild Magic, Ch. 8 (pg. 229; Atheneum Books)
  10. Wild Magic Epilogue (pg. 298; Atheneum Books)
  11. Wolf-Speaker, Ch. 1 (pg. 25; Atheneum Books)
  12. Wolf-Speaker, Ch. 2 (pg. 43; Atheneum Books)
  13. Wolf-Speaker, Ch. 3 (pg. 56; Atheneum Books)
  14. Wolf-Speaker, Ch. 3 (pg. 70; Atheneum Books)
  15. Wolf-Speaker, Ch. 6 Rebellion (pg. 135-162; Atheneum Books)
  16. Wolf-Speaker, Ch. 10 (pg. 261; Atheneum Books)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Emperor Mage, Ch. 1
  18. Emperor Mage, Ch. 4 (pg. 114; Atheneum Books)
  19. Emperor Mage, Ch. 6 (pg. 151; Atheneum Books)
  20. Emperor Mage, Ch. 8 (pg. 226; AB)
  21. Emperor Mage, Ch. 9 (pg. 256; Atheneum Books)
  22. The Realms of the Gods, Prologue (pg. xiv; Simon Pulse paperback)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 The Realms of the Gods, Chapters 1 through 3 (Simon Pulse paperback)
  24. First Test (Random House paperback)
  25. Trickster's Choice
  26. Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
  27. Wild Magic, Ch. 3 (pg. 62; Atheneum Books)
  28. Lady Knight (early chapters)
  29. 29.0 29.1
  30. Tamora Pierce's Webiste
  31. Interview with Tammy
  32. Squire, Ch. 14 (pg. 280; Random House paperback)

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