Circle of Thorns

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The Circle of Thorns, also known as the Circle, is an ancient organization of nobles in northern Izril. Its purpose was to serve as a check and balance against the power of the Five Families, and also to uphold the cause of noble supremacy over Izril.

Overview[edit | edit source]

There have been many iterations of the Circle across its millennia-old history, being witness to periods of activity and power as well as the opposite - mostly adapted to the needs of its contemporary political climate.[1] Six years ago, it was merely a social gathering of nobles that would eat good food and complain about the Five Families.[1] In its current form, the Circle of Thorns emerged as a secret warmongering cabal with the explicit goal of prolonging the conflict between Humans and Drakes at all costs. To this end, they seek the elimination of Magnolia Reinhart, and support the cause of Tyrion Veltras even as the latter isn't involved in their affairs and would likely condemn their methods.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

The Circle of Thorns is as old as the Five Families, dating back to their conquest of northern Izril. It was founded as a reaction to the power of the Five Families which others felt needed to be curbed so the Five Families' power wouldn't become absolute. The secret society of the Circle consists of individuals with many talents. Some are deemed worthy due to their involvement in politics. Others are important or influential enough to be used as pawns, financiers, or messengers. Still more can be included if they are able to exert some other kind of influence.[1]

The Circle of Thorns is mostly comprised of 'lesser' nobility, and rarely involves members of the Five Families. At least a quarter of Izril’s nobility occasionally attended sessions of the Circle of Thorns, but this attending apparently doesn't amount to much more than a show of support for a largely mysterious organization. There are several levels of commitment.[1]

The Circle is meant as a means to check the power of the Five Families, censure those who had too much power, but also to stabilize the power balance in Northern Izril. While in some eras, the Circle fought against the Families, in other times it supported them, or played favorites in their internal affairs.[1]

Despite what the following history section implies, however, the Circle of Thorns wanes and grows in power as the era demands. Some points in time they are particularly powerful and in others they have been nearly useless.[1]

Regis Reinhart had founded the Circle, and included a ritual spanning half the continent that collects the blood of the members, from ceremonially shed blood as part of their entrance into and promotion within the Circle, or from their death. When activated, it would force agents to return to their headquarters and have their body changed in a basin of blood, making them stronger while also enforcing their loyalty to the Circle, making them part of the true Circle of Thorns.[2] Each noble of Izril who dies empowers the ritual.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

The first Circle of Thorns was founded by Regis Reinhart, as a method of "channeling Izril's nobility into something useful."[2]

At some point in the distant past, Khelt tried to invade Izril, but was humbled by the Circle of Thorns.[1]

Two thousand years ago, the Circle of Thorns participated in throwing back the Six Great Companies of Baleros when they tried to invade Izril.[1]

The Circle of Thorn and the equally ancient [Stitch Witch] Belavierr only encountered each other three times in the past, as far as Belavierr was willing and able to share her experiences. On two occasions, the Circle indiscriminately "killed more than their enemies", which also included [Witches]. Belavierr mentioned a war when Northern Izril was under attack both from the North (likely Terandria) and the South (likely the Drakes). Said conflict lasted 34 years, and the Circle of Thorns managed to eliminate 312 [Witches] in that period. Eloise du Havin linked Belavierr's cryptic lore to several of the recent wars, which happened only a few hundred years ago, like Zelkyr's War. Given the extent of world history and immortal memories, she may be wrong with this interpretation, however.[4]

The Circle of Thorns once opposed Suvelta Reinhart, a vampire with levels who intended to rule Izril forever. They eventually killed her, and also put an end to the Vampires plaguing Izril, as well.[1]

At times when the Flowers of Izril suffered casualties as great as the Sacrifice of Roses, the Circle was unveiled and used to give the nobles power to save them from the current crisis.[2]

Just a few hundred years ago, the Circle of Thorns was more overt, being a reputable political group and symbol of opposition. Dealing with the Reinhart Family drove them into becoming a more secretive organization.[1]

Two generations ago, they slew members of the Five Families.[4]

It took Lady Magnolia's great grandmother her entire life to sort out the Circle of Thorns, which, according to her diary, was a nightmare.[5]

The Circle of Thorns promptly returned to bother Lady Magnolia's grandmother next: so much so that Regis Reinhart had to lend her some aid. Still, Magnolia's grandmother died before she could resolve the threat against the Reinhart Family.[6]

Only six years ago, the Circle of Thorns was a select, small group of nobles who liked to hobnob together. At some point shortly afterwards, the Circle underwent re-organization into its current form, gaining a new leader and reintroducing their agenda.[1]

Chronology[edit | edit source]

In the winter of Erin Solstice's arrival in Izril, the Circle of Thorns took control of the Assassin’s Guild without raising [Lady] Magnolia Reinhart's suspicion, and turned it against her. That move evidently caught Magnolia completely by surprise. The Circle then tasked the "Grand Mage" Nemor (who had been in Magnolia's employ) with further suborning the defense wards of her winter residence near Invrisil. Together with a large number of [Assassins], Nemor attacked Lady Magnolia, but he was defeated without being any more than an inconvenience and giving her good warning against the Circle's machinations.[7]


The Circle may have been involved in delivering the Black Roses to Magnolia and her supporters - at least they were suspected - as the delivery also involved feeble strikes by the Assassin's Guild.[8]


[Lady] Rie Valerund - either on behest of the Circle or on her own volition - made a gambit that almost caused the collapse of Laken's Empire, by suborning Laken's command chain and feeding his army false orders to attack the Goblins at Lancrel. Tyrion Veltras arrived just in time to save Laken and make him pledge his force of trebuchets to the Siege of Liscor.[4]

Note: Rie Valerunds exact motivations have not yet been disclosed: Her treason worked without a hitch yet the results backfired politically on the Circle. Her treason also only makes sense if she was working together directly with Tyrion and/or his [Strategists] for at least some time - Ieka Imarris might have been the important contact in this regard.


The Circle of Thorns also tried to hire the Marshlands Coven [Witches], in order to hit Magnolia with a very powerful curse. As the covens refused such a deal, the Circle of Thorns turned against the Witches, killing many, which caused several important covens to send their most prominent members to the newly risen Unseen Empire who would give them protection.[4]


TBA from Interlude – Foliana (2nd hidden hyperlink)


When it came to banishing Belavierr, specifically, from Northern Izril, [Lady] Magnolia's actions found the full support of the Circle, but only because Belavierr was a bigger threat than the Drakes.[9]


In Lady Ieka’s estates, she and Lady Rie (who finally revealed that not only is she a Circle member, but also a higher member than Ieka herself), used the Thorn of Speaking to listen to their leaders, the Petals of Death, as they finally voted to once and for all kill Lady Magnolia for siding with the Drakes. Instead of Magnolia, they choose to nominate Lord Tyrion as the new head of northern Izril nobility.

The Petals of Death also instruct Lady Rie to give Emperor Laken an offer to became their ally, and if he decides not to then to settle the situation by herself. Before the conversation ended, two Petals also asked her about the trebuchets plans, and ordered her to retrieve them regardless of the [Emperor]’s death.

Before Lady Rie left for Riverfarm, she warned Lady Ieka to stop trying to form her own cabal with the other [Ladies], and also told her that her new [Maid] Sidel, was actually a Wistram’s spy.[1]


TBA from Chapter 7.42 M


TBA from Chapter 7.45


As Maviola was preparing a list of potential trustworthy allies for Erin, she told her that a while ago she would have given her a decent list, but with the Circle of Thorn's recent business, she was no longer sure if most of them were decent anymore.

Then seeing that Erin had no idea who the Circle were, proceeded to explain who they are, and that they almost killed Magnolia. She also told her that it is was because of them that she was finding it hard to give Erin the names of who she could trust.[10]


When Tyrion had called for anyone's aid to search for an antidote for his sons, to stop and have him sign the Blood Oath Contract, the Circle sent him the heads of 26 [Alchemist] and [Healers] who responded to him, to mock him for his efforts and to scare anyone else away from helping him.[11]


TBA from Chapter 7.54


TBA from Chapter 7.55 E


TBA From Chapter 7.57


TBA From Chapter 7.58


TBA From Chapter 7.59


TBA From Chapter 7.60


TBA From Paradigm Shift (Pt. 1)


Ranks and Members[edit | edit source]

Petals of Death / Thorns of Death - Inner Council Members[edit | edit source]

The real leaders of the Circle. Only a select few can obtain this position, as entry to the Petals isn’t based on sheer power, but about loyalty and commitment to the Circle. There are currently seven of them.[1]

However, it was revealed that at least three members were foreign imposters who were secretly sabotaging the Circle, and thus Izril.[12]

  • Melisaw (Imposter)[12]
  • ??? (Deceased)[12]
  • Queen Oiena's spy (Imposter)

First of Thorns[edit | edit source]

The commanders of the Circle’s assets, and/or their champions.[13]

Roots of Contempt - High Ranked Members[edit | edit source]

The agents of the Petals of Death, who are second only to them. They have the authority to listen and even recommend the Circle on what action to take. To participate in Circle communications, they use Thorns of Speaking.[1]

Thorns of Contempt - Mid Ranked Members[edit | edit source]

A term for those who are 2 ranks up from someone who’s just been introduced to the Circle. These members are powerful, and are able to ask for favors from the Circle.[1]

Low Ranked Members[edit | edit source]

The petty outsides with all their pretensions at being part of the Circle of Thorns.[1]

Unknown Rank[edit | edit source]

Associated Members[edit | edit source]

Northern Izril's Assassin’s Guild[edit | edit source]

Turned against Magnolia at the Circle's behest, feeling that following her had become against their interests.

Nemor[edit | edit source]

A Grand Mage who used to serve Magnolia. He betrayed her and attempted to kill her for the Circle. He failed when he was killed by Magnolia herself.

Erill Fienst[edit | edit source]

Donated 200,000 gold worth of goods to Ieka for the Circle[15] after Magnolia had one of her confidants use his mother's life to threaten him to stop the assault on Liscor.[16]

Merlilon[edit | edit source]

An associate of Regis, and the first person to undergo the blood ritual.

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Drakes[edit | edit source]

Magnolia Reinhart[edit | edit source]

Witches[edit | edit source]

The Circle of Thorns tried to make the Marshlands Coven an offer in exchange for killing Magnolia Reinhart with a curse. They refused, and the Circle had those present killed, earning the enmity of Izril's witches.

Tyrion Veltras[edit | edit source]

After his refusal to let them assassinate Magnolia, the Circle poisoned Tyrion's sons to force him into a contract to do their bidding, with the encouragement of the infiltrators to cause the Circle's downfall. After the plot failed, Tyrion launched a hunt against the Circle.

Saliss Oliwing[edit | edit source]

Saliss aided in the delivery to deliver the cure to Tyrion's sons.

Ryoka Griffin[edit | edit source]

Ryoka aided in the delivery to deliver the cure to Tyrion's sons.

Antinium[edit | edit source]

TBA From Chapter 7.58

Maviola El[edit | edit source]

Maviola aided in the delivery to deliver the cure to Tyrion's sons, but was later slain by Belavierr.

Vampires[edit | edit source]

When the Vampires were exposed, Regis had the Circle join in hunting them, as a distraction from their own designs. He provided a map of the locations of vampire covens to purge them.[3]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The Name of the Cabal itself is part of a flower-related theme with Izril's nobles: Magnolia is the "Deadly Flower of the North" and possesses a Crown of Flowers; Bethal is a [Lady of Thorns] and commands the Knights of the Petal; the Nobility has code communications with Roses, etc...
  • The Circle of Thorns was first mentioned in Volume 2.[5]
  • Tyrion Veltras has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in the affairs of the Circle of Thorns, as he is adverse to assassinations and diplomatic intrigue.[17]
  • Bethal Walchaís suspected the Circle's spies were in Riverfarm during her first visit.[18]
  • Ieka Imarris' involvement with the Circle of Thorns was revealed in Volume 5.[14]
  • 2000 years ago, Belavierr joined the Circle.[19]
  • Az’kerash has agents as part of the Circle, but they are not in the upper echelons of it.[19]

References[edit | edit source]