Sandrilene fa Toren

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"I am Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his countess, Amiliane fa Landreg. I am the great-niece of his grace, Duke Vedris of this realm of Emelan, and cousin of her Imperial Highness, Empress Berenene of the Namorn Empire. You are Esmelle ei Pragin, daughter of Baron Witten en Pragin and his lady Colledia of House Wheelwright-a merchant house. If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you had best start lapping kitty."
—Sandry to Esmelle ei Pragin[src]
Sandrilene fa Toren
Emelan character
Biographical information
Nickname Sandry
Born Wort Moon 12th, 1025 KF[1]
Nationality Emelanese
Title Clehame fa Landreg, Saghad fer Toren
Physical description
Gender Female
Height 5'4" (at age of 14)[2]
Hair Light Brown
Eyes Blue
Family information
Grandparents Duke Vedris (Great-uncle)
Parents Mattin fer Toren and Amiliane fa Landreg (deceased). Lark, and Rosethorn (adopted parents).
Siblings Trisana Chandler,
Daja Kisubo, and
Briar Moss (adopted)
Other Empress Berenene dor Ocmore (cousin),
Ambros fer Landreg (cousin)
Rank Countess
Occupation Advisor to Duke Vedris
Affiliation Emelan,
Winding Circle,
House Toren,
House Landreg
Bibliographical information
First mentioned '
First appeared Sandry's Book
Last appeared '
Latest appearance The Will of the Empress

Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, nicknamed Sandry, is an ambient thread mage and member of House Toren and House Landreg, thus belonging to both Emelanese and Namornese nobility. She is practically royalty, as Daja noted, as she is a cousin and niece to the rulers of Namorn and Emelan respectively. Born to Amiliane fa Landreg and Mattin fer Toren, Sandry spent most of her youth traveling with her parents. After the death of her parents she was brought to the Winding Circle temple by Niklaren Goldeye. There she finds a new family in Dedicates Lark and Rosethorn and her housemates Trisana Chandler, Daja Kisubo and Briar Moss. Lark is not only responsible for Discipline cottage but also Sandry's teacher in working thread and clothes, by hand and magically. Later Sandry becomes both the advisor of her great-uncle Duke Vedris and a teacher herself, to Pasco Acalon, whose magic she discovers. After some trouble from her cousin Berenene dor Ocmore, the Empress of Namorn, Sandry bequeaths her Landreg estates to a kinsman.


Early life

"I wish I could spin. I wish I could make things stronger. Instead I'm always told nobles don't spin or weave. They say needlework is all I should want to do, and then they tell me I do too much of that."
—Sandry complaining about her upbringing to Lark[src]

Sandrilene fa Toren was born in 1025 K.F. is the only daughter of Cleham Mattin fer Toren and Clehame Amiliane fa Landreg[3]. Because her parents were prone to travelling Sandry saw a lot of the world in her childhood. Around 1032 K.F. they visited Bihan, where Sandry saw a porcupine in the woods[4]. Sandry also adopts the unconventional beliefs of her parents and accepts everyone, regardless of standing or nationality. One reason for this is the fact that the nobles Sandry and her parents visited didn't want their children to be influenced by the fa Torens and kept them away from Sandry, leaving the girl no choice but to make friends with other children, including commoners and Traders[5]. During those travels she also learnt Trader ways, probably many from her nurse Pirisi, but also from other Traders she met.[6] When they visited Zakdin in Hatar in the fall of 1034 K.F., a smallpox epidemic struck, and Sandry's parents died of it. She herself was saved by her nursemaid, Pirisi, who was killed by the mob shortly after hiding Sandry magically in cellar[7]. This left the girl alone in a dark chamber with nobody knowing where she was. This was the time and place where Sandry first used her magic, braiding light into threads so that she wouldn't have to be in the dark. She spent days there until Niklaren Goldeye found her and brought her to the Winding Circle temple in Summersea, Emelan.[8] It took Sandry four months to recuperate from her ordeal and to get to Summersea.[9]

Life in the Winding Circle temple

In Summersea Sandry met her great-uncle, Duke Vedris[9], and formed close ties with him. It is rumored that he might change his will in order to make Sandry his heir instead of his third son and Sandry's cousin Franzen.[10]

In the temple she first lived in the dormitories with other girls. As she is of noble birth she was placed with other noble girls in the Pearl Cup dormitories, where one of the supervising dedicates was Dedicate Quail.[11] Two months after her arrival there Sandry first met Daja Kisubo, a Trader who had been made trangshi by her people. Sandry invited Daja to sit at her table even though the other girls had disagreed with her. Sandry not only argued with her fellow roommates at the dormitories, but also defied the rules by sneaking off to the loomhouses. This finally got her dismissed from the dormitories[12] only ten weeks after her arrival there. Instead she was to live at Discipline cottage, the temple's place for those children who didn't fit into the dormitories.
Sandry SB

Sandry in her first days at Discipline

There were three other children living with her: Daja Kisubo, Briar Moss and Trisana Chandler. After some initial difficulties they became close friends and considered themselves later even as siblings. In Discipline the children were under the care of Dedicates Rosethorn and Lark. On her first afternoon at Discipline Sandry sneaked into Lark's workroom because of her interest for working with thread and cloth in all possible manners, not only in embroidery. She was surprised to find that Lark didn't tell her off for having an interest so unfitting for her standing. Instead Lark taught her how to spin and weave. Lark also told her that Sandry possesses magic with threads and instructed the girl in handling it.

Sandry lived four years at Discipline cottage.[13]

Life at the Duke's Citadel in Summersea

In Mead Moon of 1039 K.F. Duke Vedris suffers a heart attack. Sandry decides to move into Duke's Citadel to be closer to her uncle to look after him and to help him as much as she can. She stays with Vedris when his health improves.

Sandry discovers Pasco Acalon, a twelve-year-old boy with rare dancing magic, when she is riding one day. She becomes his magic teacher as Yazmín Hebet, a famous dancer, becomes his dance instructor. Pasco comes from two powerful "harrier", or police, families. He is expected to become a harrier like his parents, grandparents and other relations all of whom disapprove of his interest in dancing. Thus it is quite difficult for Sandry to teach Pasco, because she has to convince him and his family first of the importance.

Besides teaching Pasco, Sandry is also involved in the investigations concerning the murders of Summersea's rich merchant family, the Rokats. She discovers the involvement of unmagic and helps collecting every scrap of it, making sure it doesn't pollute innocents. After she witnesses the murder of Wulfric Snaptrap, a harrier-mage, with whom she worked to collect all the unmagic, she is even more determined to find the assassins. Although she is afraid of the unmagic and has nightmares of it devouring Sandry, she eventually works with it, spinning a net of unmagic, and thus contributes a great deal to capturing the Dihanurs, Nurhar and Alzena, and their mage responsible for the killings. Her student Pasco helps her by dancing them in the net and thus proves himself finall worthy of dancing to his family. To save Pasco, who had been captured by the Dihanurs, however, Sandry has to kill the Dihanurs, which haunts her for some time afterwards.

Visiting Lark some time later Sandry is assured of their close relationship and decides to permanently move into Duke's Citadel while Lark's new student, Comas, may live in her old room at Discipline cottage.[14]

Until the events of 1043 KF, Sandrilene becomes one of her great-uncle's most trusted people in diplomacy, politics, and economics. So as to keep Vedris from running himself into his grave, Sandry takes over many of his duties, and even his seneschal would report only to her. She also does a lot of her own financing. Briar Moss says that even without her Landreg estates, she would still be extremely wealthy, as she invests and is very knowledgeable about fiscal matters. It is unknown exactly how much of her fortune is made from her financial ventures, but it is probably a large amount.

Visiting Namorn

Sandry is also cousin to the Empress Berenene of the Namornese Empire[3] and through her mother she inherited estates in Namorn, Landreg. While Sandry is in Emelan — living at Winding Circle at first, then with her uncle — her estates are run by her cousin, Saghad Ambros fer Landreg. However, the estates are imperiled from being higher taxed or even made the Empress' property if Sandry refused to return to the empire.[15] Thus Sandry travels to Namorn to ensure that this doesn't happen. Her brother and sisters accompany her, although they don't feel like their old circle anymore but quarrel and have closed their minds from each other. Upon her arrival on her Landreg estates Sandry finds out that all is not well there. Many necessary repairs haven't been done because Ambros lacked the funds and the Empress had taxed him with ever more taxes to drain the estates. Sandry is also confronted by the problem of Gudruny Iarun, a woman forced into a marriage against her will. Sandry can free Gudruny from her marriage and takes her into her service as a maid but can't provide a permanent solution for the first problem concerning the taxes. While staying in Namorn Sandry is courted by two young men of Berenene's court--Finlach fer Hurich and Jakuben fer Pennun--on the Empress' orders and the Empress tries everything to make Sandry permanently stay in Namorn. Sandry doesn't want to stay, however, and resists all attempts to convince her otherwise. When Fin got frustrated from Sandry's permanent refusals he asked his uncle's help to kidnap the young woman. He wanted to force her to sign a marriage contract, which is a legal means of marriage in Namorn. She was only barely saved by Briar and Tris, who had responded to Sandry's mental call through their renewed magical bond. After this incident Sandry and her brother and sisters immediately prepared for returning to Emelan. On the road Sandry falls victim to a second kidnap attempt, this time by Pershan fer Roth, one of Berenene's courtiers and her current lover, whom Sandry had liked in a romantical way before she had found out about his relationship with the Empress. Daja and Briar trapped Quenaill Shieldsman, the mage who put a sleeping spell on Sandry and the others of her company, and undid his magic, giving Sandry the change to free herself and return to them. On the Namornese border the four were confronted by the Empress' head mage, Ishabal Ladyhammer, who had raised a magical border barrier against them. Together they managed to overcome Ishabal's power, however. Before her return to Emelan Sandry bequeaths her Namornese estates to Ambros to prevent the Empress from ever laying hands on them again. Gudruny and her children accompany Sandry back to Emelan and Gudruny stays in Sandry's service as a maid.

Physical description

She is described as having light brown hair prone to sun-streaks, bright corn-flower blue eyes and an unusually small button nose. Sandry is a slim, fine-boned girl with a stubborn chin[16]. At the age of ten she is a hand's length smaller than five feet[17]. Four years later she has grown to be five feet four inches tall[2]. She is described as very pretty at age fourteen by Pasco Acalon, her student, and while visiting Namorn by her suitors Fin and Jak. Sandry only very seldomly wears breeches, if at all. Instead she usually wears dresses as is seemly for a young lady. While wearing simple clothes at Discipline she wears dresses more fit to her rank as a noble in the presence of her great-uncle, because she knows that he likes to see her dressed suitably for her rank[18]. Once her skill in the craft improved she made the cloth for her dresses herself as well as the dresses themselves. Due to her magic her clothes are normally without wrinkles and stains don't stick to them.

Personality and traits

Briar: "Did I ask you to stick your neb in my life?"
Sandry: "You didn't, but that's all right. I'll do it anyway. I'm like that."
— Briar Moss and Sandrilene fa Toren the day after their arrival at Discipline cottage[src]

Sandry is usually a very talkative[19], good-natured person who easily makes friends and doesn't look at people's standing in society. She isn't easily intimidated by hard words, they just "rolled off Sandry the way rain poured off her [waterproof] cloak"[20]. Sandry is also very determined, as can be seen repeatedly, like when she refused to let go of the subject of Briar's birthday until he eventually picked one and thus satisfied his foster sister.

Sandry matures as the books go on, but still tends to be a bit 'uppity' about certain things. In "The Will of the Empress", we see a potential romantic interest in the form of Pershan fer Roth (Shan), but that is later dispelled when Sandry finds out that he is the Empress' current lover. Though she claims to dislike flirting, and be opposed to the idea of marriage, Sandry's infatuation with Shan is clear. Of all her suitors in the Will of the Empress, Jak is the one she likes most, but only as a friend.

One of the main arguments between the four during The Will of the Empress is the others' hesitation and refusal to open their minds. Sandry is the only one who doesn't understand this, saying that things should be the way they were. The others see her outbursts as childish. One could argue, though, that she is quite experienced in the ways of the world. Before going to Namorn, she is active in politics and economics. She has made herself extremely wealthy in Emelan off of investments and other economic and fiscal ventures. She is also counted as one of her great-uncle's chief lieutenants in terms of policy and advising. Her cousin, Empress Berenene, also underestimates Sandry's knowledge of politics and foreign diplomacy. Ishabal Ladyhammer recognizes this and knows that Vedris fer Toren, a wise and careful ruler, counts pretty little Sandry as one of his top people.

Because she comes from noble family, Sandry is somewhat naïve. However, through the series she is shown as a very loyal friend, and does not judge people by their place in society. She has a very strong sense of justice and obligation. Briar mentions her as one of the bravest persons he knows, and describes her as a great listener. Daja has commented that she 'has too good of a heart.' When first introduced, Sandry was the only one who wanted to befriend everybody, and during The Will of the Empress, she is the only one of the four to want to "reforge" their circle. She also chooses to forget her status as a noble and treats most people as equals, and uses her status only when very angry. Sandry is also known for her fear of the dark, and goes to sleep with a globe of light created by her friends.

Magical abilities

Thread magic

Sandry: "I don't want to take shortcuts. I want to learn to weave well."
Lark: "That's why you'd be so good at weaving—you care for the work, not just the magic."
— Sandry and her teacher, Dedicate Lark, when she teaches Sandry how to weave magically before teaching her how to weave right[src]

Since childhood, Sandry has always wanted to learn how to spin and weave, but because of her social status, both crafts are considered unseemly. Instead, Sandry spent many hours embroidering, to the point where she was scolded for doing it too much and damaging the skin of her hands. During the Smallpox Epidemic in Hatar that killed her parents, she was locked in a small room to keep her safe from rioters. When she ran out of light she realized that she is capable of braiding light into silk threads. She was found and rescued by Niklaren Goldeye, a powerful mage, and taken to Discipline cottage of Winding Circle where she meets three other children with magical abilities. Together, they learn how to control and use their unusual magic. There Sandry is taught by Lark how to weave and spin properly but also magically. Her powers include calling loose threads to order or smoothing wrinkles out of clothes. She can also imbue cloth with magical protections and weave cloth which won't get dirty or wrinkled.

During the blue pox, nearly a year after she began her studies with Lark, Sandry learned how to lay spells into cloth after it was woven. To do this a spelled oil was worked into the fiber.[21]

Spinning pure magic

When an unexpected earthquake trapped Sandry and her three companions in an underground cave, their individual magics, although powerful, could not reach far enough to protect them. In an act of desperation, Sandry spun the fibers of their power into an abstract thread, using the first corporeal thread she'd ever spun as an anchor for the working. The working causes their magic to mingle and leak into each other, a process only halted when Sandry weaves a cloth map of their respective powers, with dividers blocking them from leaking any further, months later. While being guided by Lark it is Sandry who performs the task of splitting their magics again, first mapping their powers and later separating it by a second weaving. Lark comments that not even she can map pure power or manipulate someone else's power[22].

According to Dedicate Lark, her teacher, Sandry is the only mage known to have spun pure magic. In spinning her and her friends' magic, Sandry makes them all much more powerful, allowing them to speak mind to mind and to each have a little of the others' magic. For instance, they all can see magic a little like Tris and weave their own magic like Sandry. After the Forest Fire of 1035 in Gold Ridge they use their thread, plant, heat and metal magic together to create an artificial leg for Polyam, the trader who lost her leg in a mountain slide. Daja works on the project in gratitude for being given the opportunity to remove her trangshi Trader status.

At the beginning of the pirate attack of 1035, Daja is on a longboat in the harbor while pirates use catapults and blast a hole in one of Emelan's wargalleys. The other three are at home sleeping but feel what's happening. When Daja cuts their connection, Sandry grabs her first thread with the four lumps in it that combine all of their magic. Briar and Tris join her and they are linked again to Daja. After a day making bandages with magic, Sandry is very drained but feels much better after the four are linked. Lark thinks that Sandry drew power from the bond since the thread contained magic from all four mages. Later the four merge their magic to beat the pirates. Niko asks Daja where she got the strength to help since she should have been exhausted from her work on the longboat. Daja admits that Sandry's thread gave her the power to continue.

Sandry spins magic again to capture the Dihanur murderers, when encountering a young unmage embroiled in a war between two organized crime families. This time, the rope of Unmagic is knotted into a web similar to a fishing net, and Pasco performs a summoning charm on it designed to trap the Unmage and his handlers. The Unmage and the assassins are literally torn to pieces by this net.



                                             ? ┬ ?
                    │                                                                 │
   unnamed wife ┬ Vedris fer Toren                                            unnamed man ┬ unnamed woman    House Landreg
                │                                                                         │                      │
       ┌————————┴——————————————┬———————————————┬—————————————————————————————┐    Mattin fer TorenAmiliane fa Landreg
       │                       │               │                             │                     │
  Frantsen fer Toren  Gospard fer Toren  unnamed son - Inoulia fa Juzon  Franzen fer Toren    Sandrilene fa Toren

Parents and nurse

Sandry was the only child of their parents and they seem to have loved their daughter. Naturally Sandry mourned them after their death and still does, but she has found support and a new family in her great-uncle and foster siblings and thus the grievance for her parents is manageable for her. Her nurse Pirisi was just as important to her than her parents and she, too, loved Sandry although she had children of her own. She even hid her noble charge and sacrificed herself by drawing the mob away from Sandry's hideout to save her young mistress.

Duke Vedris

In her time at Winding Circle Sandry has developed a very close relationship with her great-uncle. She worries for him like a daughter would for her father and he in return wants only the best for his great-niece. After his heart attack Sandry even left Discipline to live with him at Duke's Citadel in order to be better able to look after him. The duke takes his young kinswoman seriously, even listening to her when matters of state are concerned and sometimes seeking her advice. There are rumors that the duke will change the order of accession so that Sandry will rule instead of his own sons. Sandry doesn't believe these rumors, but her foster siblings think enough of it to mention it to her Namornese cousin.

Namornese relatives

Sandry's relationship to her cousin in Namorn, Berenene dor Ocmore, is less close. She doesn't like the power-hungry empress much and only reluctantly decides upoin going to Namorn and only after much convincing on Vedris' part. After their first meeting she likes her cousin Ambros fer Landreg more, who looked after her Landreg estates for Sandry. She sees that he really cares for the people and the land he is responsible for and that's why she eventually bequeaths him with the estates. Before they met in person Sandry didn't look forward to his regular reports because she found them tedious.


Sandry has also developed a close relationship to her primary teacher, Lark.  Lark is the closest thing to a mother Sandry has, and loves her teacher dearly. Lark also recognizes her love for the girl. Sandry often visits Winding Circle in order to ask Lark's advice and just to talk. 


Sandry was the first of the four young mages brought to Discipline to see the others as friends, even though they still denied it. She wasn't intimidated by Briar's less than noble ways or by Tris' gruff responses. She didn't even care that the other girls of her dormitory didn't like a Trader sitting with them but invited Daja to sit at her table when the other girl first came to Winding Circle. Even though she knew she would miss her friends, who have by then grown as close as siblings, the unselfish Sandry encouraged them to go traveling with their teachers because she knew that this was what they wanted. However, she is quite disappointed when the others return only years later and that they closed their minds from Sandry.

Pasco Acalon

Pasco is Sandry's first student. Even though their relationship is not as close as Sandry and Lark's, they get along quite nicely after some time. At first he refused to believe her, however, and even tried to avoid her and her strange ideas. Only after his magic got away from him and Sandry talked to his parents did he begin to accept her as his teacher and to trust Sandry. They soon learned to get on, and Sandry became quite proud of her young mage student - albeit exasperated at some points. She had to kill the Dihanur murderers and their mage to save Pasco and prevent them from escaping.

Berenene dor Ocmore

Sandry is the empress's first cousin, which makes Amiliane fa Landreg the empress's aunt. She is forced to visit Namorn in order to ask the empress to stop taxing her lands. When she realizes that the empress wants her to stay forever in Namorn, she fights back, causing a rift between them. Sandry and her foster siblings are forced to magically fight their way out of Namorn. In order to never have to have a confrontation with her cousin again, Sandry signs her clehamat over to Ambros fer Landreg.

Pershan fer Roth

Sandry develops a friendship with Shan, thinking he understands her predicament. She does not want to be caged as an ornament of the empress's court, and Shan jokes with her. She starts to really like him, but then hears that he has been lying to her and he is the empress's lover. She refuses to marry him. Shan tries to kidnap her instead, underestimating the stitch-witch's power, and she defeats him. She mourns that there probably will not be another man for her who is as handsome as Shan fer Roth.


Tamora Pierce is thinking about another novel centered about Sandry. It will take a while until she has a fitting idea, probably something political, however, and until she has time to write it as she has several other books contracted for, which have to be written first.[23] Sandry will not appear in the next scheduled Emelan book, which centers about Evvy, Briar and Rosethron in Yanjing, but she might perhaps make an appearance in the planned book about Tris[24]


Notes and references

  1. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 1 (p. 1; Scholastic)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Magic Steps, Cp. 2 (p. 18; Scholastic paperback)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sandry's Book, Cp. 3 (p. 39/40; Scholastic paperback)
  4. Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 63; Scholastic paperback)
  5. Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 78; Scholastic paperback)
  6. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 103; Scholastic paperback)
  7. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 104; Scholastic paperback)
  8. Sandry's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 1/2; Scholastic paperback)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Sandry's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 23; Scholastic paperback)
  10. Goldenlake fanzine; "09Vol1: Q&A with Tammy Pierce"; May 28, 2009
  11. Sandry's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 60; Scholastic paperback)
  12. Sandry's Book, Cp. 5 (p. 93; Scholastic paperback)
  13. Magic Steps, Cp. 2 (p. 19/21; Scholastic paperback)
  14. Magic Steps
  15. The Will of the Empress, Cp. 2 (p. 34; Scholastic)
  16. Daja's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 16; Scholastic paperback)
  17. Daja's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 18; Scholastic paperback)
  18. Briar's Book, Cp. 2 (p. 21; Scholastic paperback)
  19. Daja's Book, Cp. 8 (p. 131; Scholastic paperback)
  20. Briar's Book, Cp. 1 (p. 2; Scholastic paperback)
  21. Briar's Book, Cp. 4 (p. 59; Scholastic paperback)
  22. Daja's Book, Cp. 6 (p. 110; Scholastic paperback)
  23. Random Buzz; "Welcome to Random Buzzers, Tamora!"; #90683; April 16, 2009
  24. Random Buzz; "Welcome to Random Buzzers, Tamora!"; #90656; April 16, 2009

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