But although [Bane's] eyes mirrored the true Knorth silver, almost luminous in this half light, they hadn't the depth either of Tori's self-doubt or of his intrinsic strength.
Jame's narration, Seeker's Mask,
"Part VII: Wilden", II

Torisen Black Lord, also known as Tori and Blackie, is Lord Knorth of Gothregor and more importantly Highlord of the Kencyrath. He is the son of Ganth Gray Lord and Jamethiel Dream-Weaver, the twin brother of Jame, the half-brother of Bane, and the cousin of Kindrie. He is a decade or so older than Jame, despite being her twin, because of the slower passage of time in Perimal Darkling that Jame experienced.

His soul-image is The Keep where he grew up, in the Haunted Lands. Kindrie thinks (correctly) that this is both unhealthy and part of the reason that Torisen can't get away from the memory of Ganth. At one point, Jame invaded Tori's soul image to save his sanity and locked the spectral Ganth behind a door. Ganth is not, however, merely a figment of Tori's imagination, as the Jaran Matriarch Trishien sees a shadow speaking in Tori's ear at one point, and even speaks to Ganth through Tori.


Torisen was born in North Kenshold in the Haunted Lands, the son of the exiled Ganth Gray Lord and his consort Jamethiel Dream-Weaver. Their match was arranged by Gerridon, who planned to breed a replacement for the Dream-Weaver. Their contract was not specific, however, and the Dream-Weaver bore twins: Torisen and Jamethiel, usually called Tori and Jame.

The Dream-Weaver had no milk, so the twins were nursed by a Kendar wet-nurse, Winter. The Dream-Weaver never spoke, and everyone thought her mute. However, at night, she would sing her children the ancient songs of the Shanir. She disappeared shorlty after twins were born. Tori felt her loss more so than his sister did.[5]

Winter taught Tori the Senethar. Jame begged to be taught too, but Winter refused because Ganth had ordered her not to. Anar was their tutor and taught them the ancient history of the Kencyrath, though not its modern history because again as Ganth forbade it.

The twins were both Shanir, like their mother and father. Ganth always denied his own Shanir traits, as well as his son's, and so Tori, like his father, suppressed and denied it. By the time he was seven, Tori had already began to stay awake to ward off Shanir dreams.[6] Soon after, Jame's clawed fingertips burst through her fingertips, and Ganth, furious and terrified by the knowledge she was Shanir, as well as heartbroken and half-mad by her likeness to her mother, threw her out into the Haunted Lands.

Tori remained at the keep many more years. When he was 15, Anar urged him to leave believing that if Tori stayed, his father would eventually kill him. Anar took upon himself the responsibility for Tori's honor,[7] and so he fled, south and west, across the Ebonbane to the Riverland.

There, Tori told Adric who he was, and Adric had him join the Southern Host as an Ardeth. Most then believed him to be Adric's bastard son. Adric also assigned Burr to him as his servant.[8] Burr spied on Tori for Adric, and reported to him.

With the host in Kothifir, Harn assigned Tori a small command to investigate the Gnasher, as Krothen had ordered.[9] Genjar commanded the Host during this time, and under him, Tori, still only 15, served in the vanguard during the Battle of Urakarn, with the rest of his ten-command.[10] They were captured and tortured. The Karnids burned his hands with gloves of burning wires. Tori escaped, with Harn, Burr, and Rose Iron-thorn. They fled into the Wastes, into the Great Salt Sea, there Rose died in sink-sand, and then saved them. After this, Tori came to consider Harn and Rowan his closest friends, among the few people he truly trusts. One of the others is Grimly, the wolver he met just after returning from the Wastes, told in "Songs of Waste and Wood".

Torisen worked his way up through ranks in the Host, eventually becoming Commander. Shortly after coming of age at 27, he was at a loss as to whether or not he should claim his father's place as Highlord. He then had a dream of Ganth's death at the Keep, and that pushed his claim using the Kenthiar.[3] Though he had no proof of his claim, his willingness to put the Kenthiar on—along with how desperately the Kencyrath wanted at a Highlord after 31 years of chaos—was enough for the Kencyr lords.

As a lord, Torisen, binds his followers rather gingerly. Some like this, others do not.[11]

On Adric's advice, Torisen took Kallystine her as a limited-term consort to get Caldane's support.[12] Their contract did not include children, but the Caineron were sure Kallystine would seduce him, and he would extend the contract when it came up for review.[13] While she did seduce him, he also came to bitterly hate her.[14] By the time of the books, Torisen is avoiding her, and waiting for the contract to expire.

In Dark of the Moon, Tori rallies the Kencyr lords behind him, to stop the Waster Horde at the Cataracts. Here, Jame—now ten years younger than Torisen—catches up with him, delivering their father's sword and ring, and then takes her place in the Kencyrath.

Jame spends a disastrous winter in the Women's Halls, and finally runs away come spring.(Seeker's Mask). After learning about what happened to her there—namely, Kallystine slashing her with a poisoned ring, after she tries to do the same to him, he breaks their contract, and with Kirien's advice—makes Jame his lordan and sends her to Tentir.

During this time, they also learn of their cousin Kindrie, and bring him into the Knorth as well.

Torisen's instinctive revulsion of the Shanir is part of the reason why his relationship with Jame tends to be slightly strained. This had been the foundation of his training with Ganth, but in To Ride a Rathorn, during a nightmare shared by the twins, he begins to question it, at least in regards to Jame. Kindrie and Jame, however, have several vital peices of information that Torisen is incapable of dealing with, and have agreed to pace such revelations with his ability to accept them. This includes the identity of their mother, the fact that Kindrie is both legitimate and legitimately his cousin, and the fact that all lords, and Torisen in particular, are Shanir. They have not yet told him that he is almost certainly That-Which-Creates, the incarnation of the First Face of the Kencyr God, Torrigon, or that Jame and Kindrie are Destruction and Preservation, respectively.

In To Ride a Rathorn, the wolver pup Yce remained behind at Gothregor, appointing herself Torisen's shadow. She stays with him through Bound in Blood, Honor's Paradox, and much of The Sea of Time, at the end of which she finally returns to the Weald after killing the Gnasher to take his place.


Like all lords and matriarchs, Torisen is Shanir with the power to bind Kencyr to him. Torisen is a powerful binder at that, able to hold more Kendar alone than any other lord. Despite this, he begins to lose his grip on his Kendar after taking on too many new Kendar at the Cataracts. He is also a blood-binder.

Torisen has an intense dislike and irrational fear of Shanir, thanks to his father, and therefore is unable to admit to himself his own Shanir power. Torisen has elaborate nightmares that he will "feel coming" days or weeks before, and abstain from sleep in a usually pointless attempt to stave them off. He is eventually stripped of this foresight, but still has the dreams. The dreams often are often prophetic, and he sometimes shares dreams with his sister.


  1. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 16: Blood Rites" — " 'you called me "Blackie" in the woods. Not many people outside of the Southern Host know that that's my nickname.' "
  2. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 14: Gathering Forces" — " 'I was only a one-hundred commander at Urakarn.' "
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 2: The Hell Hunt" — "Torisen had gone more than two weeks without a normal night's sleep trying to stave off the horrible dream that had shown him his father's death. That had been just after he came of age three years ago and couldn't decide whether or not to claim the Highlord's seat. His intolerable restlessness had finally driven him from the Southern Host and into the Wastes, where he had taken refuge in one of the vast, ruined cities whose bones littered the desert. But the nightmare had come anyway. They always did. Did he believe them? No, of course not. To far-see, even in dreams, was a Shanir trait and he—ancestors be praised—was no Shanir. But he had believed that dream enough to claim his father's power, and the other Highborn had given it to him."
  4. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter II: Wyrm Hunt", I — " 'I'm a border brat myself and so is Tori, if he isn't too grand these days to have forgotten.' "
  5. Blood and Ivory: A Tapestry, "Among the Dead" — "Tori seemed to feel her absence more strongly than Jame did—unless, again, that was Father's influence."
  6. Blood and Ivory: A Tapestry, "Among the Dead" — " 'We used,' she added wistfully, 'to have the same dreams.' 'We were children then,' he said, not meeting her eyes. 'I don't dream anymore. Much.' Father beat him when he did. Somehow father always knew. 'Shanir's dream, boy. Are you a filthy Shanir?' After that, Tori had begun to sleep less and less, often keeping his sister awake with him."
  7. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 10: The Lurking Past" — " 'You've got to get away, child, before he gets tired of killing your friends and turns on you. Oh yes, he will: The thought is already half in his mind.' […] 'But Anar, Ganth isn't just my father he's Lord Knorth, the head of our house. He'll never let me go, and if I leave without his permission, desert him, that will be the death of my honor.' […] And he told him. If every Kendar in the house gave his or her consent, their will overbalanced that of their lord. […] 'But Anar, how can anything outweigh a lord's authority?' 'Child, this can… I think.' He gulped. 'And if it can't, I-I take responsibility for whatever you decide, on my honor.' "
  8. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 2: The Hell Hunt" — " 'Join the Southern Host under my name. They'll think you're some bastard son of mine […] Here's your commission, and a servant, Burr.' "
  9. The Sea of Time, "Chapter XIII: Dreams and Nightmares", II — "No one but Krothen believed in the existence of the mysterious assassin who cast the shadow of a wolf. […] Nonetheless, the new king-to-be had insisted that he, Torisen, investigate. To do so, he needed help. Harn had assigned him eleven Kendar. Most of them, like Rowan, his second-in-command, were former Knorth, […] they were also at least ten years Tori's senior."
  10. The Sea of Time, "Chapter XIII: Dreams and Nightmares", VI — "She, the rest of Tori’s small command, and Burr had insisted on joining the vanguard with him,"
  11. The Sea of Time, "Chapter XXI: Before the Storm" — "He knew how gingerly Torisen dealt with those bound to him, as if they were all at his mercy—[…] Harn valued that freedom. Others, especially those like Brier raised under tight control, might mistake such care for weakness."
  12. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 6: The High Council" — " 'On your advice, I took Caineron's daughter as a limited term consort, and that did keep her father off my back for nearly a year.' "
  13. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 6: The High Council" — " 'Kallystine was sure I would extend the contract to include children.' "
  14. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter XIX: Darkness at Noon", III — "His former consort had been adept at intoxicating the senses, but with an after-taste that had made him both loathe and mistrust his own passion. One of the Highborn subsequently thrown at him, a ridiculously young Ardeth girl, had seen enough to suggest that Kallystine had used potions to entrap him."
the High Council
Lord Brandan
Lord Ardeth
Lord Knorth
Lord Caineron
Lord Randir
Lord Danior
Temporary Lord Jaran
Lord Coman
Essien & Essiar
Lords Edirr