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Literature / The Numair Chronicles

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The Numair Chronicles is the sixth series in Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe. It details Arram Draper's life as a student at the Imperial University of Carthak and eventual migration to Tortall.

There are three books planned for the series. As of April 2021, one has been released:

  • Tempests and Slaughter


  • All of the Other Reindeer: Arram has no real friends before meeting Ozorne and Varice, because he is so advanced for his young age.
    • Among his friends, he's teased and mocked for his sensitivity — he hates slavery and gladiator games, and becomes sickened by the thought of people dying for no reason.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Ozorne's mother, Princess Mahira, is implied to have some kind of depression, possibly brought on by her husband's death. She has good days and bad days, and often gets lost in her own thoughts.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Before he's placed in challenging advanced classes, Arram had a habit of getting easily distracted. He floods a classroom because he got too caught up in manipulating a spell.
  • Berserk Button: Ozorne becomes absolutely livid upon the mention or sight of anyone from Siraj, or who he thinks is from Siraj (excepting Laman). He also flips out at people who don't treat animals well.
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: Arram is normally a kind, if socially-awkward fellow, but he's a force to be reckoned with when his loved ones are in danger.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Ozorne and Varice try to teach Arram non-magical self-defense techniques. Arram isn't very good at them, but he does find a few opportunities to use them.
  • Call-Back:
    • Sarge's time as a slave and gladiator is shown in Tempests and Slaughter. His full name is also mentioned for the first time out of a Dramatis Personae.
    • The Graveyard Hag likes Ozorne. She told Daine in Emperor Mage that she used to like him before he began his megalomaniacal behaviour.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Tristan Denane says he's going to change his last name, intending that afterwards no one will know what his old, boring name was. When he was introduced in Wolf-Speaker, he was called Tristan Staghorn.
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    • Master Yadeen teaches Arram juggling. The skill will prove handy after he flees Carthak and has to avoid using his magic, but doesn't know many other ways to earn a living.
    • On one of his lessons walking under the river, Arram finds a Stormwing figurine. Ozorne is fascinated with it when Arram shows it to him.
    • Another royal heir is killed when a suspicious storm hits his ship.
    • Master Yadeen starts Arram on his bad habit of holding on to the horn of his saddle when he rides.
  • Canon Character All Along: Musenda Ogunsanwo, a.k.a. "Sarge" of the Queen's Riders. His name was first mentioned in the Dramatis Personae of Trickster's Choice, where he made a cameo, however. His Royal Intelligence Service file was also seen in A Spy's Guide.
  • Chekhov's Skill: At the beginning of Tempests and Slaughter, Arram accidentally calls water from beneath the classroom to augment his spell, creating a huge fountain of water. He later calls on the same spell — intentionally this time — to subdue a rogue gladiator.
  • Chickification:
    • Ramasu and Arram have a conversation about this happening to the Great Mother Goddess In-Universe, by the Cult of the Gentle Mother. He suggests that the only reason she hasn't done anything about it is because, due to Time Dissonance, she hasn't noticed yet.
    • It's also mentioned that priests attempted to do this to the Graveyard Hag. The Hag dissuaded this by driving mad any priest who tried to preach a "kindly grandmother" version of her.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Arram promises himself he'll marry Varice pretty much the moment he meets her.
  • Constantly Curious: Arram wants to know everything about magic, even the magic he can't practice, and asks any question that crosses his mind. It's his insatiable curiosity, as much as his vast reservoirs of the Gift, that makes him a great mage.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The cult of the Gentle Mother and its effects are mentioned by Ramasu.
    • A book by Rosto Cooper the Younger, and another by Farmer Cooper, are mentioned in Tempests and Slaughter.
    • There's an appearance of a book by Master Si-Cham.
    • Uusoae, Queen of Chaos, is mentioned. Arram even thinks that he'd one day like to do her an ill turn.
    • Master Yadeen uses the curse, "Mithros, Mynoss, and Shakith" while speaking to Arram/Numair when he's eleven.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Master Cosmas, the head of the School for Mages at the Imperial University. He's a kind and understanding man that takes Arram under his wing. He's also a powerful mage that instructs Arram on the use of fire.
    • Master Ramasu is also pretty cool. He teaches Arram the arts of healing, bringing the latter to the site of a plague and the infirmary of the gladiatorial arena. Despite being a world-famous healer, Ramasu is humble and dedicated to his chosen occupation.
  • Cool Old Lady: Master Sebo, Arram's instructor in water magic. She may be old, but she's fully capable of managing powerful young mages, gods, and more.
    • Never Mess with Granny: She breaks her staff over Enzi's back when she finds out that the god had foisted a sunbird baby onto Arram. Enzi doesn't even get mad about it!
  • Disappeared Dad: Ozorne's father was killed in a conflict with the Sirajit people.
  • Divine Birds: Sunbirds are sacred to Mithros, the god of war. He really doesn't like it when other beings kidnap their chicks, even if the kidnapping was accidental. Enzi leaves a sunbird chick with Arram after accidentally carrying it back to the Mortal Realms. Arram proceeds to name her Preet after the sounds she makes.
  • Dramatic Irony: There are several examples. One particularly interesting one is a conversation Ramasu and Arram have about the In-Universe Chickification of the Great Mother Goddess, with Ramasu suggesting Time Dissonance as the reason she hasn't done anything about it, and guessing that she may take action soon. Those who've read the Song of the Lioness quartet, which Tempests and Slaughter overlaps with, will know that she already has.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Ozorne is known in-universe as "the leftover prince", stemming from a time when, as a child, he once said that he would be the emperor someday. The emperor heard this, sat Ozorne on his lap and pointed out every other prince ahead of him in the line of succession, and then said that with so many heirs, Ozorne was just a leftover.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Ozorne hates the Sirajit because he believes they killed his father, and takes this to levels that worry his friends.
    • In-universe, a lot of mages at the University either look down on or straight up don't believe in wild magic and tribal magic, and everyone who practices them.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As this is a prequel, readers already know that the Power Trio's plan to all live together isn't going to work out, Ozorne will go from being the leftover prince to being the Emperor Mage, Arram and Varice won't stay together, and Arram will in fact have to flee Carthak and change his name.
  • Friend to All Living Things:
    • Lindhall is in charge of the school and palace menageries. He also cares for injured animals that students bring to him.
    • Ozorne shows a deep love for birds, but also enjoys interacting with other animals. Arram also likes animals and takes a sunbird chick named Preet into his care.
  • Gentle Giant: Arram. He's ridiculously tall, can be intimidating at a first glance, can do magic that can scorch people off the Earth, and has absolutely no desire to hurt anyone whatsoever.
  • Gladiator Games: Very popular in Carthak. Slaves and captives from military conflicts are forced to fight for their lives for the enjoyment of the crowds. Arram despises them for their wanton violence.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Arram sees a female gladiator disemboweled at the arena. He vomits in disgust and horror.
  • He Knows Too Much: It's implied that Faziy was killed to prevent her from revealing too much about Stiloit's death. Arram suspects that Stiloit's death was premeditated, not caused by an errant storm, and that Faziy had something to do with it, given her connection to the lightning snakes. His masters and friends advise him to keep this to himself lest he meet Faziy's fate.
  • Hidden Depths: Ramasu advises to Arram to call on Mynoss, the god of justice, if Mithros finds out about Preet. This comes from first-hand experience. He's also apparently been possessed by a god before.
  • Interquel: Book one, Tempests and Slaughter, overlaps with the later three books of the Song of the Lioness quartet, with its climax and end coming around the same time as, or shortly before, the Coronation Day Rebellion of Lioness Rampant.
  • Jerkass:
    • Chioké. He's dismissive of "tribal magics" and treats Arram with disdain. He also bribes gladiators to fix matches and may have had something to do with Stiloit's death.
    • Diop, one of Arram and Ozorne's roommates. He's snide and arrogant, frequently treating his younger roommates with disrespect.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: It's implied that several of Arram's teachers at Master rank believe he's capable of becoming a black robe, but are keeping him in the dark about this.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Preet is very dedicated to Arram, seeing him as part of her family. She dislikes being separated from him, but understands that it's sometimes necessary.
  • The Medic: Master Ramasu is a world-renowned healer. He regularly volunteers at the gladiatorial arenas to treat the fighters.
  • My Beloved Smother: Ozorne's mother, Princess Mahira Lymanis Tasikhe. When she isn't slipping off into her own thoughts or swearing vengeance on the Sirajit that killed her husband, she badgers Ozorne about his school performance or finding a romantic partner.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Enzi, the crocodile god of the river Zekoi. He's generally on good terms with Arram and Sebo, but he does threaten to eat anyone who crosses him.
  • Nice Guy: Prince Stiloit. He's friendly towards Arram when they meet a field hospital during a plague. Stiloit also donates a lot of money to the healers after watching Arram juggle for the patients. It's too bad that he dies during an "unexpected" storm.
  • No Antagonist: Tempests and Slaughter has a villain in the climax, but no real antagonist through the story overall.
  • Noodle Incident: What exactly happened to Ramasu that he required judgement from the Great Judge, Mynoss? And why did he get possessed by a god the first time?
  • The Noun and the Noun: The first book is Tempests and Slaughter.
  • Origin Story: For Numair.
  • Pals with Jesus: Master Sebo (and later Arram) is a very good friend of the crocodile god Enzi.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: Preet is a stark contrast to the baby griffin Kel has to care for in Protector of the Small, though they're both baby birdlike Immortals.
  • Pet the Dog: In his backstory, Ramasu tried to show off his magic to the local duke, and wound up accidentally blowing up half of Mithros' temple. Mithros then appeared over the temple, picked up his altar piece, and carried it to the location where he wanted a new temple built, saving Ramasu's life.
  • The Plague: Typhoid outbreaks are common in Carthak, and when one breaks out everyone in the Upper Academy is expected to help in some manner. Arram finds out he's especially good at rejuvenating herbs, and Ramasu's impressed enough with his work that he has Arram's schedule rearranged for it.
  • Power Incontinence: At the beginning of the book, Arram experiences "flares" where his power suddenly surges out of his control, strengthening whatever spell he's trying to do by an order of magnitude.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Varice has to deal with this trope in-universe. She loves cooking, kitchen magic and similar things, but is repeatedly told that nobody cares about such things. She also has to deal with her father trying to stop her from learning kitchen magic, even though it's where her skills lie.
  • Refusal of the Call: Arram is told repeatedly throughout the story by several gods that he has a great destiny. His response is to tell them he wants no part of it.
  • Scary Black Man: Averted twice over:
    • Master Yadeen looks scary, but he's a fairly nice guy, if stern. He just has resting bitch face.
    • Musenda also looks intimidating, being a huge gladiator, but he's very kind to Arram and supports his family with his earnings.
  • Shock and Awe: Lightning snakes. Arram and Faziy demonstrate a connection to them.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Previous Tortall books have the name of the god of law spelled "Mynoss", while Tempests and Slaughter uses "Minoss".
  • Start of Darkness: The series will show how Ozorne went from a personable, average student who only wanted to do mage-work with his best friends to the Evil Overlord of The Immortals.
  • Straight Gay: Ramasu has a common-law husband.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: There are rooms in the university and the palace that completely cancel out magic abilities. Particularly unruly students are threatened with a stay in the these rooms.
  • Time Dissonance: Ramasu suggests this as the reason why the Great Mother Goddess hasn't yet done anything about her Chickification by the cult of the Gentle Mother.
  • Unequal Rites: "Tribal" magic is regarded with derision by many Carthaki mages. Many mages also don't believe in wild magic.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Ozorne as a student, while arrogant and prejudiced, is a genuinely loving, loyal friend, unlike the adult Ozorne who appears in The Immortals.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Yadeen teaches Arram focus and control through juggling.
  • Written by the Winners: Ozorne's father was sent to put down a rebellion in the south of Carthak. He was killed in the conflict, leading to both Ozorne and his mother swearing vengeance on the Sirajit. A classmate later tells Arram that the "rebellion" was nothing more than a tribal feud that had gotten out of hand. Prince Apodan, Ozorne's father, slaughtered everyone involved, including babies. He was assassinated by a member of one of the tribes. The imperial heralds proclaimed that Prince Apodan had died tragically in battle putting down a rebellion. Ozorne and his mother are unaware of the truth, as are most Carthakis.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: It's explained that plants, rivers, and rocks all have their own gods, similar to humans, animals, and immortals, but their gods are too simple for humans to really comprehend. When Arram overtaxes his Green Thumb powers to the point where he starts thinking like a plant, he glimpses the plants' gods, and has to be brought out of it by the healers.


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