SnakeWheel The Wheel of Time Collection
Seafolk

Wheel of Time -  DROSI [English]  -  DROSI [Deutsch]

SnakeWheel

Atha'an Miere (The People of the Sea)


Book Definition
Jendai Prophecy
Bargains
Ships
Channelers
Trade
Earrings
atha'an gif
History
Names
Appearance
Ranks
Islands
Various Notes
Links

Compiled by David M. Elm
Last updated 7/06/97

Graphics obtained from the Wheel of Time Graphics Page
Oh and I like tables so might be better to view with Netscape. (*shrug*)




"Sea Folk, the: More properly Atha'an Miere (AH-thah-AHN MEE-air), the People of the Sea. They live most of their lives on their ships and strongly dislike going any distance from the ocean. Relatively little is known of their customs, giving rise to an air of exotic mystery and often to fanciful tales. Most seaborne trade is carried by Sea Folk ships, which include the fastest by far and most of the largest, and they are considered by the inhabitants of port cities to be bargainers who outstrip the more widely known Domani. As survival at sea often depends on instant obedience, it should be no surprise that the Atha'an Miere stick strictly to their hierarchy, though there are surprising fluidities at points. The Atha'an Miere are divided into numerous clans, both large and small, each headed by a Wavemistress. Below her are the Sailmistresses, the captains of the clan. The Wavemistress has vast authority, yet she is elected to that position by the twelve senior clan Sailmistresses, who are referred to as the First Twelve of that clan, and she can be removed by order of the Mistress of the Ships to the Atha'an Miere. The Mistress of Ships has a level of authority any shorebound king or queen would envy, yet she is also elected, for life, by unanimous vote of the senior Wavemistresses, who are called the First Twelve of the Atha'an Miere. (The term "the First Twelve" is used for the senior Wavemistresses or Sailmistresses present in any gathering.) The position of Master of Blades is held by a man who may or may not be husband of the Mistress of Ships. His responsibilities are the defense and the trade of the Sea Folk, and below him are the Swordmasters of Wavemistresses and Cargomasters of Sailmistresses, who hold like positions and duties; for each of them, any authority outside these areas is held only as delegated by the women he serves. Where any vessel sails and when is up to the Sailmistress, but since trade and finances are totally in the hands of the Cargomaster (or at higher levels, of the Swordmaster or Master of Blades), a close degree of cooperation is required. Every Sea Folk vessel, however small, and also every Wavemistress, has a Windfinder, a women who is almost always able to channel and skilled at Weaving the Winds, as the Atha'an Miere call the manipulation of weather. The Windfinder to the Mistress of Ships has authority over the Windfinders to the Wavemistress, who in turn have authority over Windfinders to the Sailmistress of their clan. One peculiarity of the Sea Folk is that all must begin at the very lowest rank and work their way up, and that anyone other than the Mistress of Ships can be demoted by those above, even to the very bottom again in extreme instances." (7.679-680)




History
Return to Top
At the Breaking of the World their ancestors fled to the safety of the sea while the land heaved and broke as storm waves do. It is said they knew nothing of the ships they took to flee, but the Light was with them, and they survived. They did not see land again until it was still once more, and by then much had changed. All --- everything --- the world --- drifted on the water and the wind. It was years after that the Jendai Prophecy was first spoken. We must wander the waters until the Coramoor returns, and serve him at his coming.



Jendai Prophecy

"The White Tower shall be broken by his name, and Aes Sedai shall kneel to wash his feet and dry them with their hair." (4.316)

"The Stone of Tear has fallen, and war breaks over the nations of the land. Those that once ruled have returned, and have been driven back for the first time." (4.315)

The Jendai Prophecy says the Coramoor will bring the Sea Folk glory, and all the seas of the world will be theirs. (7.538)

"The Jendai Prophecy, the prophecy of the Coramoor. Not the one you wait for and dread; the one we seek, herald of a new Age." (4.315)




Various Notes
Return to Top


shorebound/shorefolk/landmen, Sea Folk name for people that live on land.

deckboy/deckgirl, a low ranking Sea Folk (often young) (4.318,7.266)

A shipmeet, possibly a meeting of ship on open sea. Might be a festival of sorts though. Not sure. (7.266)

Father of Storms, Sea Folk name for Dark One.

"By the nine winds, and Stormbringer's beard,..." An ancient Sea Folk oath. (7.263)

"I will not abandon the salt for ..." [Sea Folk oath?] (7.608)

The Sea Folk sometime hire thief-cathcers to find those that pilfer from them. (4.321)

The Sea Folk use pottery bowl to eat with, "...bowl of thick spicy fish stew and bread." (4.327)

Sea Folk have a dark oily potion to help people with seasickness. (4.641)

"The Light see us safe to docking." (4.316)

"A split sail is split." (7.262)

"The wave that has passed can not be called back." (4.333)

"We are bound to the sea; the salt water course in our veins. Most set no foot on the land except to await another ship, another sailing. Strong men weep when they must serve ashore. Women ashore go onto a ship to bear their children --- into a rowb oat if no more is at hand -- for we must be born on the water, as we must die on it, and be given to it in death." (4.316)

Kissing fingertips and then pressing them to anothers' lips upon parting, while saying "The Light willing, we shall meet again." Is used only among close family members or lovers. (4.641)

Coine introduces Jorin as her "sister of the blood". Is this meaning there are other non-blood sisters out there (like Aiel near-sisters)? (4.311)

"The Light illumine her soul, and the waters take her peacefully." [Jorin speaking about damane that died with a Seanchan ship.] (4.335)

"If it pleases the Light, all will be well. All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well, if it pleases the light." (4.334)

"The Light be with you all." (4.317)

"The Light be mericful to all who sail." (4.312)

Sea Folk have several "unusual" marriage customs. Part of it had to do with demanding something done in private. [chances are you have to consummate the marriage as several cultures still do.] (7.581,585)

The Mistress of Ships can marry people. (7.581)

Bilgestone, Sea Folk insult. (7.610)

Oakum picker, Sea Folk insult/or maybe not? (7.610)

Son of the Sands or Daughter of the sands, not the worst insult of the Sea Folk, but it comes close. (7.610)

"Until there is no land in sight, and has been none for one full day, you will work at cleaning the bilges, where garments are a hindrance." Punishment used on deckgirl who was not wearing her shirt when there was land in sight (4.313)

Walking the rope, probably a Sea Folk punishment. (7.611)

Hanging people from the rigging by their toes/ankles, (sometimes naked) also a Sea Folk punishment (7.266,538)

Mutinies sometimes happen among the Sea Folk. (4.319)



Return to Top


The men move with a rolling grace to their movements, as though, with the ship still, they still felt the motions of the sea. The grace of Sea Folk women outshone that of the men.

"Stories spoke of the alluring beauty and grace of Sea Folk women,...-they walked as if they would begin dancing on the next step, swaying sinuously-..."(7.536) In some stories "woman of the Atha'an Miere were the epitome of alluring beauty and tem ptation, pursued by all men." (4.310)

Sea Folk have very dark skin, darker than any Aiel.

Sea Folk tend to have black straight hair. (4.309)

Sea Folk with curly hair mentioned. (Raab) (3.343)

As Sea Folk age they tend to get wings/streaks of gray and white in their hair (4.311, 5.606,535)

Sea Folk tend to have dark (dark brown?) eyes.

Sea Folk men go bare chested, and are clean-shaven (4.309)

Sea Folk usually are/go bare-footed. (numerous :)

The tattoos on the hands show what clan a person belongs to. (7.606)

"The tattoos on their hands were stars and seabirds surrounded by the curls and whirls of stylized waves." (4.310)

On the right hand, is a six-pointed blue star on the web between the thumb and forefinger. The left shows the clan and family line. (2.xviii)

Sea Folk women do not wear shirts when at sea, though when land is in sight the wear a brightly colored shirt. Once there is no land in sight they take it off again.

deckgirls usually wore bright colored blouses of plain wool above dark oily breeches. The dark oily breeches are worn by deckboys also. (7.606)

Female deckhands wore the same color shirt as their sash.

The sash hangs to about the knee, and are usually mentioned as ethier being green, blue, with red being the most common one mention.

The breeches are baggy, and open at the ankles. (4.309) They are held in place by a bright colored narrow sash. (4.309)

The breeches of the crew are dark with an oily coating. They are baggy and open at the ankle. (4.309,7.606)

Knots in sash mean things, Dorele(DG) undid her red sash when she was punished. While Malin(WM) had a yellow sash knotted intricately with ends trailing to her knee. (4.313,7.261)

Color of clothes:
Deckboys/girlsDark oily breeches/cotton shirts/
sashes matching shirt color,
WindfindersBlue silks/sashes
CargoMastersGreen silks/sashes
SailmistressesGreen silks/sashes
Windfinder to WMreddish-yellow silk/sash
Swordmasterprobably green or yellow based on clan?
WaveMistressesYellow or Red silks/sashes based on clan?
Windfinder to the MoSRed and Yellow silks
Master of BladesDark blue silk, red sash
Mistress of ShipsGreen silk breeches/Blue blouse/red sash


[note: these are pieced together from several bare mentionings. Their are at least 2 instances of Windfinders in blue and two men in green. But... of the two Wavemistresses we've met do not wear the same color. The Wavemistress of Clan Shodien was wearing red brocade, while the Wavemistress of Clan Somarin was wearing yellow brocade. And... the second man in green has 5 fat earr ings in his ear so he must be a Swordmaster. Thou both WM's must have been very high rank one was carring the Mistress of ship, and the other was her emissary. So it is possible the color of clothing reflected this. It is also possible that color ma y reflect what clan they belong to but since there are "numerous" {much more than 12} clans I very much doubt every clan has its own color.(7.535,261,537) ]

[note: The color of Sea Folk clothing may or may not mean anything, but between Robert Jordan's writing style, and they way they are mentioned might mean they do. Think about sea travel for a moment, especially on a sailing ship, if you are caught in a storm or attacked by another vessel wouldn't make sense that your ship officers were easy to locate by the crew. Sight is the fastest way to do this, hence the idea that the color of clothing may aid this.]

Sailmistress, Wavemistress, Windfinders, wear breeches of brocaded silks, but are the same cut as regular crew.

While on land Wavemistress use a two-tiered red parasol, while her Swordmaster uses a one-tiered red parasol. (6.?)

Some men have polished stones in their earrings, (might denote a certain rank or accomplishment.) (7.309)

Very few women wear nose rings. Though all high ranking women do, no men wear nose chains. The type and amount of medallions worn denote rank. Worn connected to the left ear.

Sea Folk make the best looking glasses and burning lenses and the like, somewhere on their islands. (4.317)

[note: Toram is wearing a pair a wire rimmed glasses. (4.317) Also that Elayne had never seen anything like them before.]

Sea Folk men and women wear many necklaces and earrings.

Sea Folk men and women wear many necklaces. (4.309)

[note: in many cases higher ranking Sea Folk wear more necklaces than lower ranking ones. Though the actual amounts are almost never stated in the books. Toram is mentioned at wearing three, but beyond that its hard to say if they mean something or not.]

Some wear a small pierced gold box as a necklace, that gives of a musky perfume. So far it is only mentioned in the books as being on Sailmistress, Windfinders, Cargomasters, Wavemistresses, etc. [most ranking officers probaly have one.]


Weapons:

  • Toram (CM) has two curved knives in his sash. (4.317)
  • SwM of Clan Shodein has an ivory hilted sword, and a dagger in his sash. (7.537)
  • Borac (MoB) has an ivory hilted sword, and two curved daggers.(7.262)
  • Coine (SM) and Jorin (WF) has a stout knife with carvings and gold-wire
    inlays on the handle, looking very workmanlike. (4.311)
  • Renaile (WFoMoS) has a moonstone-studded dagger. (7.610)
  • Nesta (MoS) has a stout knife in a gilded sheath, with a round pommel
    covered with firedrops and emeralds. (7.263)

Sea Folk are very secretive, and keep to themselves. They are almost as mysterious as the Aiel. (4.309)

Sea Folk are a little touchy until they know you. (4.308)

They keep neutral expressions, showing very little emotion to strangers. (4.312)



Return to Top


"The Atha'an Miere do not refuse passage to anyone..." [except to Aes Sedai] (4.324)
[example of asking for passage from book, between Nynaeve and Coine] 4.310-4.311

[Nyaeve] "I am Nynaeve al'Meara, Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. I seek the Sailmistress of this vessel, and passage, if it pleases the light. This is my companion and friend, Elayne Trakand, also Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah. The Light illumine you and y our vessel, and send the winds to speed you."

[Coine] "I am Coine din Jubai Wild winds, Sailmistress of Wavedancer. This is Jorin din Jubai White Wing, my sister of the blood and Windfinder of Wavedancer. There may be passage available, if it pleases the Light. The Light illumine you, and see you safe to your journey's end."

[Nyaeve] "Let us talk then, Sailmistress, if it please you of sailings and ports, and the gift of passage."

[Coine] "We will talk in my cabin, Aes Sedai, if it pleases you. The welcome of my ship to you and the grace of the Light be upon you until you leave his decks."


"If it pleases the Light, we may call where you wish to go. All things are possible, in the Light." (4.312)

"The welcome of my ship to you and the grace of the Light be upon you until you leaves his decks." (4.311, 7.264, 7.536)

"We will speak/talk in my cabin, if it pleases you." (4.311, 7.536)

"Share this tea, if it pleases you, that we may talk in peace." (4.314)

Bargains and decisions are often done while drinking tea (4.314,7.266)

Tables onboard the ship have chairs that do not slide back; they are fastened to the deck. The arms swing out like gates and latch in place once you are sitting. (4.313, 7.540)

The tea is strong, very hot, unsweetened and quite bitter. (4.314)

The tea is brewed to blackness. (4.313)

"...thick cups of tea, brewed black and bitter." (7.537)

The tea is drunk from large handless cups, made from thick pottery. And served from a brass handled square teapot. (4.313,7.266)

The Mistress of Ships had "a square blue-glazed teapot with a golden handle and large blue cups of thick pottery." (7.266)

"Then we will speak of passage, if it please you, to what port do you wish to sail?" (4.314)

"...came to me, not I to you, That sets the basis for our bargain..."(7.267)

Gift of Passage, the Sea Folk do not accept payment for passage. Instead, they ask for a gift of equal value to what they are expected to do for you.

If the Sailmistress is already going where you wish then the Gift of passage is less. If she must change her sailing plans it is much more.

[note: the sum 3000 gold crowns, was considered a vast sum, even considering the Sailmistress must change her sailing plans.] (4.314)

"I will see you safe ashore where you wish, if it pleases the Light. It shall be done." (4.319)

Sealing a bargain:
Person A, "It is agreed, under the light."
Person B, "It is agreed."
Person B touches fingers to their lips, then touches them to Person A. Person A then does the same. (7.611)

Making a bargian to yourself, you touch your right hand to your lips, saying "It is agreed, under the Light." (4.319)

It is not polite to kill someone you have made a bargain with. At least, not until the terms of the bargain were fulfilled. (7.611)

"Harine half-reared out of her chair, spilling her tea. 'What are you doing to me, Aes Sedai?' she cried, trembling. 'This is not fair Bargaining!'" [When Harine thought the Sedai were using The One Powerz on her during the bargining] (7.538)



Return to Top

Clan Names (that i could find...)
  • Catelar
  • Shodein
  • Shodin
  • Somarin

Clan names may be related to their home port of call. [ie: Clan Somarin may be based at or originated from Aile Somera.]

There are "numerous" clans large and small. It probaly can be assumed that a clan has a minium of 12 Sailmistress, since the First Twelve of every clan [the twelve eldest sailmistress] elect the Wavemistress. It can also then be assumed that there ar e many more then 12 clans since only The First Twelve of the Atha'an Miere [twelve eldest Wavemistress] can elect The Mistress of Ships. (7.679)

Names
Jorin din Jubai White WingWindfinder of Wavedancer
Coine din Jubai Wild WindsSailmistress of Wavedancer
ToramCargomaster of Wavedancer
Malin din Toral Breaking WavesWavemistress of Clan Somarin,
Sailmistress of Windrunner
Harine din Torgara Two WindsWavemistress of Clan Shodein
Shalon din Torgara Morning TideWindfinder of Clan Shodein
Zaida din Parede BlackwingWavemistress of Clan Catelar
Derah din Selaan Rising WaveSailmistress of Whitespray
Taval din Chanai Nine GullsWindfinder of Whitespray
Nesta din Reas Two MoonsMistress of Ships of the Atha'an Miere
Dorile din Eiran Long FeatherWindfinder to Malin, and the Windrunner,
probably head of Clan Somarin Windfinders
BoracMaster of Blades (probably)
Renaile din Calon Blue StarWindfinder of the Mistress of Ships.
Raabsailor?
Doreledeckgirl

The way the women are always making introductions and making all the decisions for the Sea Folk, makes it easy to say that it is a matriarchal society. It is difficult to say if the men have a longer name than the first, but chances are they may not. In many societies a persons station among his own people is often affected by that of their parents. (eg Ogier saying i'm blah son of blah son of blah.) It seems a good guess that din may be an old tongue word for sibling of/child of. (eg. In arabic the word bin in the middle of a name means son of.) Robert Jordan does say that the context can greatly change a words meaning, as well as if it is capitalized or not, that is why it is so hard to translate the old tongue. So Jorin din Jubai White Wing, probably means(in this context): Jorin daughter of Jubai. If it is this context that alters din then the Aiel brothers of the eagle (Far Aldazar Din) still is acurate.
Not sure the exact meaning of the last part of the name, but it is always 2 words, and it always has to do with the sky or sea. Some ideas of about it that I and some ppl I know have suggested. It might be a name that they chose upon coming to age. It also could be name added as a title/station. Windfinders so far seem to have names dealing with birds. Maybe it is given to them by the elder Sea Folk, and it denoted special moods/characteristics of the person. Or it could be just given to them by their mother. (eg. might be why Joirne and Coine both have a WW set up on theirs.)


"...we very seldom carry Aes Sedai on our Ships. Very Seldom. Of all who ask passage, only Aes Sedai may be refused, and almost always are, as from the first day of the first sailing. Aes Sedai know this, and so almost never ask." (4.315)

No ship whose Winfinder can channel will carry Aes Sedai.

Windfinders "almost always" can channel. (7.680)

"Your White Tower will interfere. It will try to reach onto our ships, where we are free of land and landsmen. It will try to tie us to itself, binding us away from the sea." (4.333)

Windfinder may be the ones who decide if they can or wont carry Aes Sedai? (4.316)

Many crew consider Aes Sedai bad luck. (4.318)

"The first odd thing he noticed about them was their attitude toward the Aes Sedai. They were perfectly respectful, on the surface at any rate, but he had never seen anyone look at Aes Sedai smugly." [Mat in a room full of Windfinders and Aes Sedai.] (7.606)

The Sea Folk send a few girls to Tar Valon so Aes Sedai will not come looking amongst them for channels. (4.334)

Moiraine suspects Sea Folk Windfinders are Channelers (4.339)

There are Sea Folk Aes Sedai.

Windfinders can tell how powerful someone is with the One Power (7.264)

It was very diffucult for Jorin (WF) to channel fire. (4.334)

Windfinders know more about working weather than Aes Sedai. (6.448)

Windfinders weave flows twice the size of an Aes Sedai's (4.336)

Windfinders call the manipulation of weather: Weaving the Winds (7.679)

"The flows of Air and Water the Windfinder handled were cable-thick, yet her weaving was intricate, almost delicate, and it reached as far as the eye could see across the waters, a web drawn across the sky." (4.333)

"In the middle while I worked, I thought that you were watching me. I could not stop then; there might have been a storm even Wavedancer could not survive. The Sea of Storms is well named; it will throw up bad winds enough without my help." (4.333)

Windfinders age slowly because of use of the One Power.

"Properly, Aes Sedai, since you serve the Coramoor, I should honor you as I would Sailmistess and Windfinder of another ship." (4.319)


Return to Top


"Every Atha'an Miere, man and women, began as the lowest deckhand whether they were destined one day to become the Master of Blades or the Mistress of Ships herself, and every step of the way between, the Sea Folk are sticklers for rank to make any ki ng or Aes Sedai look sloven." (7.606)

Anyone other than the Mistress of Ships can be demoted by those above, even to the very bottom in extreme instances. (7.680)

"Am I still Cargomaster, wife, or has my place been taken while I did not see?" (4.317)

Deckmaster, person in charge of sails and deckworkings. Also know to be quick with a flail if you aren't quick enough. (7.606)

"...would find herself called to haul sail whenever the deckmaster needed her, and find the deckmaster's flail across her rump if she did not come quickly enough." (7.606)

The crew on a ship is about half male, and half female. (4.569,6.124)

Putting your hand on your heart is a salute that a deck boy would do. (4.318)

Bowing, touching fingertips to forehead, lips to heart. [what Dorile (WFoWM) did when she angered the Mistress of Ships] (7.266)

It must take many years of work to get to the higher positions; almost every Sailmitress, Cargomaster, Swordmaster, Wavemistress, Master of Blades, Mistress of Ships; has white or greying hair in the books. The MoS and MoB had white hair, and everyon e else had either white streaks or white/greying hair.

Windfinders are also in charge of navagtion. Skilled at finding currents. (4.335)

"And then your next port would be in Chachin, my sister, or Caemlyn, for you could not find the water without me." (4.319)

"Trade is his, but I am Sailmistress. I must make it up to him .... because he is right, and I could not think quickly enough to give him reason beyond what I would give a raw hand. That scar on his face he earned clearing the Seanchan from Waveda ncer's decks. He has older scars earned defending my ship, and I have only to put out my hand to have gold placed in it because of his trading." (4.318)

Cargomaster [and Swordmasters/Master of Blades] have complete control of finances and trade, So they must cooperate closer with their Sailmistress [or Wavemistress/Mistress of Ships] (7.680)

Sailmistress says when and where her ship goes. (4.317, 7.680)

A Sailmistress honors another Sailmistress or Windfinder from another ship as a closefriend, by bathing together, drinking honeyed wine, and telling each other stories to make each other laugh and weep. (4.319)

Every clan is headed by a Wavemistress, who has vast authority. She is elected to that position by the twelve senior clan Sailmistress, who are referred to as the first twelve of that clan. The Wavemistress can by removed by order of the Mistress of Ships. (7.679)

Every Wavemistress has a Windfinder. (7.680)

It seems a Wavemistress doesn't have to have her own ship, but she can if she wants to. The Wavemistress of Clan Shodien was travelling on a Sailmistress ship. On that ship it is mentioned that there was four women in bright silks together, and one o f them was the Wavemistress, also that the Aes Sedai said that two of them could channel. (7.535-536)
And the Wavemistress of Clan Somarin introduced herself as both WM and Sailmistress of that Ship. Then when someone asked who was the Windfinder of that ship it happened to be the WM's Windfinder (7.261-266)

The Mistress of Ship is elected for life, by unanimous vote of the senior Wavemistresses, who are call the First Twelve of the Atha'an Miere. (7.679)

The Master of Blades may or may not be husband to the Mistress of Ships. His responibilities are the defense and trade of the Sea Folk, and below him are the Swordmasters of Wavemistresses and Cargomasters of Sailmistress, who hold like postions and duities. (7.679-680)

When the Master of Blades has his blades bare, everyone bows to him even the Mistress of Ships. This meaning that when fighting is happening or about to happen that everyone obeys his orders. (7.610) This also probably holds true for Swordmasters a nd Cargomasters on their respective ships.



Return to Top


Most Seaborne trade is carried by Sea Folk ships. (7.679)

Sea Folk are considered to be bargainers who outstrip the more widely known Domani. (7.679)

Cargomasters setup their trade based on where they are sailing (4.317)

Sea Folk Porcelain is mentioned as thin and being golden or green in color.

For thin green porcelain, Sea Folk charge its weight in silver. (3.217)
The Sea Folk traded a good bit of silk through Tear. (3.590)

Sea Folk brought ivory and silk from the lands beyond the waste. (4.309)

The Atha'an Miere are the only ships allowed in the Shara, any other ship or SF ship that lands anywhere but a few permitted harbors are never seen again. The harbors are walled up and heavly guarded. (4.331)

"As well ask what sort of animal ivory comes from, or what kind of plant grows silk. Unless that comes from an animal, too." (4.331)

Nobody (except in Shara) knows where silk and ivory come from. (4.311)

Atha'an Miere never take their ships farther from the open sea than the nearest port. (6.123)



Dantora, and the Aile Jafar and Cantorin and the Aile Somera. [places Coine mentions sailing to to spread word of the Coramoor. Aile might be the old tongue word for island or group of islands, so Dantora is probably a town on Aile Jafar and Cantorin is probably a town on Aile Somera.] (4.641)

[note: On the map inside the book cover the island group in the top north-west corner is labeled Aile Dashar. Aile is more than likely and Island group.]

Cantorin is situated on Cantorin harbor, which is shaped like a wide, lop-sided bowl. There are mud flats near the harbor mouth. Sea Folk ships are kept in the inner harbor, behind the seawall. The Governor of Cantorin lives in a palace with colon naded terraces, and stone railed balustrade on the seaward side. The inside is lined with pale wood panels. Cantorin and the Aile Somera are hundreds of miles west of the mainland. (4.44-50)

One of the deepest know spots in the ocean is near the Aile Somera.(4.921)

Sea Folk will not cross the Aryth Ocean. (3.20)

"Some dark evil has descended upon the Aryth Ocean. No ship of ours has come from there in many months. Ships that sail west, vanish." (7.540)

Sea Folk say the "Islands of the Dead" are beyond the Aryth Ocean (2:108)

"We known of these Seanchan, who come from the Islands of the Dead, it seems, from which no ship returns. Some of our ships have encountered theirs; they use the One Power as a weapon." (7.540)

On Tremalking, one of the Sea Folk isles, there is a stone hand fifty feet high sticking out of a hill, clutching a crystal sphere as big as a ship. (1.356) [female one of the super sa'angreal pair]



Return to Top


Men will say a ship is female "...speaking of strength and grandness and the like as men will, but this is the truth. A ship is alive, and he is like a man, with a true mans heart. Treat him well and care for him properly, and he will fight for you against the worst sea. He will fight to keep you alive even after the sea has long since given him his deathstroke. Neglect him, though, ignore the small warnings he gives of danger, and he will drown you in the flat sea beneath a cloudless sky." (4.33 5)

[note: most non Sea Folk ships have slanting spars longer than its mast to hold most of their sail. (7.533) Also all non Sea Folk ships use a tiller to steer while the Sea Folk use spoked wheel.] (4.310)

"The Sea Folk handled their ship as a master horseman would a fine steed." (4.326)

Darter -- tiny ship ?

Soarer -- a small sleek Sea Folk ship, with two masts raked back sharply and spars laid across them squarely. (7.533)

Raker -- a larger Sea Folk ship (easily a hundred paces long), with three towering masts amidships, and one shorter one on the raised sterndeck. It has a very narrow body. (similar to a giant splinter.) "...the fastes ship in the world." (4.307, 309, 335)

"Another narrow ladder-staircase-led down into a neat room, larger and taller than Elayne had expected from experiences on smaller vessels, with windows across the stern and gimbaled lamps on the walls. Almost everything seemed to have been built int o the room except for a few lacquered chests of various sizes. The bed was large and low, right under the sternwindows, and a narrow table surrounded by armchairs stood across the middle of the room." [descripition of raker Sailmistress cabin] (4.311-31 2)

Sea Folk use gimbaled lamps -- is a frame that no matter what angle the ship is at the lamp is always level. (4.312)

"Ropes were cast off at the bow, were triangular sails suddenly broke out, and Wavedancer heeled away from the dock. More sails appeared, great white squares and triangles, the sternlines were cast off, and the ship curled out into the river i n a great arcthrough the anchored ships awaiting their turn at the docks, a smooth curve that ended heading south, downriver." [description of raker leaving the docks of Tear.] (4.326)

Some Sea Folk ships carry small boats on the deck, stacked upside down. (7.268)

Every Sea Folk ship no matter how small has a Windfinder. (7.680)

The Sailmistress and other ship officers are usually on the quarterdeck. (6.124)

To sail from Tear to Tanchico aboard a Sea Folk Raker takes 7-10 days, the next fastest would take about 15 days, most ships would take more tahn 20 days, and a coasting craft could take up to 100. (4.335-336)



Ship related things, Sea Folk may or may not do, or have done to them:


oilskin bags filled with wool, used by dockworkers to protect ships from the dock. (1.379)

smoothstone used to scrub the decks with. (1.358)



Return to Top

Difference between Amount of earrings and nose chains [example of use]

1 earring in each ear: young deckhand [Dorale, a young women who was only a short time away from the Sea Folk islands and still learning many ways.] (4.313)

2-4 earrings in each ear: are usually crew probably more experienced. [On the Wavedancer the crew on the deck had between 1-3. On the Windrunner all the deckcrew had 3-4.] (4.309,7.261)

3-4 earrings in each ear: experienced crewmember enough to be captain of a ship or a Windfinder. [Jorin a Windfinder had 3 earrings in each ear. While Coine had 4 earrings in each ear. Chances are they were of less experience than usual which may e xplain why they were willing to allow Aes Sedai on board their vessel. Toram a Cargomaster had 4. Dorile a Windfinder (probably of a clan) had only 4. ] (4.Ch 19, 7.262)

5 earrings in each ear: even older Sea Folk. [Malin a Wavemistress had 5 in each ear. Renaile a Windfinder to the Mistress of Ships had 5 in each ear.] (7.261, 605)

6 earrings in each ear: very old Sea Folk [Nesta that Mistress of Ship had 6, and Baroc also had six (probably the Master of Blades.)] (7.262-263)

I'm thinking from many of the descriptions, that the amount of earrings might actually show how old/experienced a Sea Folk is.
Also the thickness of the earring also determines rank/station etc also. Deckboys/girls wear thin gold earrings, while the Swordmasters, Wavemistress, and Windfinder to the Mistress of Ships are mentioned as wearing fat gold earrings.
Also the number of extra sets of ring also tells if a Windfinder is one of a Wavemistress or Sailmistress. (example: Renaile the Windfinder of the Mistress of Ships has 10 earrings total, while Dorile (probably) a Windfinder of a clan has 8 total, and Jorin a Windfinder of a ship had 6 total.)
The Mistress of Ships and the Windfinder to the Mistress of Ships has a golden chain connecting the earrings toghter on each ear. (7.263,7.606)

Women being trained to be Windfinders had to earn their earrings and nose ring. The first set of one on each ear meant you were deckhands, while the second and third on the left ear showed what rank you were being trained for in this case a Windfinder . You have to earn the other earrings on right ears, as well as the nose ring.
Earring example chart:
Mistress of Ships6 in each ear (12 total) w/ 1 nose chains
and a chain on each ear connecting earrings.
Master of Blades6 in each ear (12 total) w/o nose chain.
Windfinder to Mistress of Ships5 in each ear (10 total) w/ 1 nose chain
and a chain on each ear connecting earrings.
Wavemistress5 in each ear (10 total) w/ 1 nose chain
Swordmaster5 in each ear (10 total) w/o nose chain
Windfinder to Wavemistress4 in each ear (8 total) w/ 1 nose chain
Sailmistress4 in each earn (8 total) w/ 1 nose chain
Cargomaster4 in each ear (8 total) w/o nose chain
Windfinder to Sailmistress3 in each ear (6 total) w/ 1 nose chain
Deckgirl/Deckboy1 in each ear (2 total) w/o nose chain
Deckmasters probably have one pair less than a Cargomaster.
[ex: A deckmaster of a Cargomaster (8) might have 6 earrings.]

Also crew, Deckmasters etc probably have more s based on who they are under. Crew of a Wavemistress probably have more than crew of a normal Sailmistress. (On the Wavedancer [Sailmistress] the crew on the deck had between 1-3. On the Windrunner [Wavemistress & Mistress of Ships] most the deckcrew h ad 3-4.)

Nose chain medallions:
Men do not wear nose chains.
Various clusters on medallion will say what clan person is from, what type of ship they serve, among other things. (7.606)
An unaffilated Windfinder probaly just has the nose plug or nose ring by itself, and probaly has to earn a Ship/nose chain.
A Sailmistress has more than a Windfinder.
A Wavemistress had many, and a Windfinder of a clan had a few less.
A Mistress of Ships has twice as many as a Wavemistress and another thinner chain. (7.263)




And remeber that some of this is my view on the subject, and that I may be wrong, or of even misquoted something, and overlooked something else. But I tried my best to piece this puzzle together. And besides its it gives me something to to do with all those years of Anthropology classes :)

Note on page numbers (3.124) denotes book 3 page number. Any page numbers other than book 7 are softback, while book 7 is page numbers in the hardback, couldn't wait that long :)

And of course Wheel of Time, Sea Folk, et al is Copyrighted by Robert Jordan
WOT is published by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.



Please Mail me if you think I should better clarify certain things, add certain things. Also if you notice I forgot something, think i've got it completly wrong, etc.

Some abbrevitions I used on this page:

  • WF = Windfinder
  • WFoWM = Windfinder of WaveMistress
  • WFoMoS = Windfinder of Mistress of Ships
  • CM = Cargomaster
  • SwM = SwordMaster
  • MoB = Master of Blades
  • SM = Sailmistress
  • WM = WaveMistress
  • MoS = Mistress of Ships


By David M. Elm