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Hierarchy of the Atha'an Miere

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The Hierarchy of the Atha'an Miere is a set of ranks and positions that the Atha'an Miere use, both aboard ship and ashore, to lead their people.


The Mistress of the Ships is the equivalent of a queen to the Atha'an Miere people. She commands all of the clans of the Atha'an Miere and is selected by a ruling body known as the First Twelve. Her male counterpart is known as the Master of the Blades. He is responsible for trade and for the security of the Sea Folk. She is served by the Windfinder to the Mistress of the Ships, the highest rank a Windfinder may hold. The ranks of both the Master of the Blades and the Windfinder to the Mistress of the Ships are contingent upon their Mistress of the Ships.


The Atha'an Miere are divided into twelve clans, each containing a number of ships. Each clan is ruled by a Wavemistress who is elected to her post by the first twelve Sailmistresses within their clan. The male equivalent of the Wavemistress is the Swordmaster. The Wavemistress is served by a Windfinder who holds a higher rank as a result of her Wavemistress' position. It should be noted that clans are not extended families as a number of Sea Folk have been mentioned in the book as being directly and indirectly related and belonging to different clans.

Known clans and membersEdit


The captain of each ship is known as the Sailmistress. She is assisted by the Cargomaster, her male counterpart. The Cargomaster is responsible for the cargo coming onto, and going off, the vessel.

Each ship has a Windfinder who aids their Sailmistress in plotting the best course based on the weather. Most Windfinders can channel, and they use the One Power to influence the weather and allow their ship to reach his destination as quickly as possible. Only the Sailmistress and the Cargomaster outrank the Windfinder.

The Deckmistress of the ship receives orders from the Sailmistress and ensures the crew carries them out in a fashion similar to the traditional idea of a first mate.

Leadership decisions Edit

Both a Wavemistress and the Mistress of the Ships are elected by the first twelve mistresses of the previous rank.

Symbols of ranks and allegiances Edit

The Atha'an Miere use three known hierarchy placement signifiers.

Piercings Edit

For all Atha'an Miere, the number of piercings permitted within the ears and nose and the quality and quantity of medallions hung from chains connecting nose piercings to ear piercings are a clear reflection of rank. This culminates at the rank of Mistress of the Ships who is marked by six piercings in each ear, a piercing in the nose, and a connecting chain so covered in medallions that they overlap. By comparison, Coine din Jubai Wild Winds, Sailmistress, wears four piercings in each ear and a chain between an earring and the single piercing on the left side of her nose that support her row of medallions. Coine's Windfinder and sister Jorin din Jubai White Wing wears a total of three ear piercings, reflecting her lower rank.[1]

Demotion within the hierarchy is made evident by removal of previously earned piercings. Men do not wear nose chains or nose rings.

Tattoos Edit

The Atha'an Miere are often tattooed over their backs, necks, chests and arms. Some of these tattoos are used to denote qualities about the person. Men bear a six-pointed star tattoo upon their right hand and symbols of their clan and line upon their left. Atha'an Miere women are tattooed as well. The hand tattoos seen on the Sailmistress and the Windfinder of Wavedancer include stars, seabirds, and a stylized design reminiscent of waves.[1] However, it is unclear which, if any, of their tattoos have specific identification significance.

Regalia Edit

Certain offices are known to make use of ornate parasols as symbols of their office, to be carried by attendants. The Mistress of the Ships' attendant carries a three-tiered blue parasol trimmed in gold fringe; the Master of the Blades' a two-tiered parasol that is identical in all other ways; a Wavemistress' a two-tiered red parasol fringed in gold.

Other Roles Edit

At least one role outside of the traditional hierarchy of clans and ships is that of the Atha'an Miere Governors posted to oversee the Amayar.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Shadow Rising, Chapter 19

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