Cirna (pronounced sûr·nə or 'sûrn·ə) is the daughter of Larry, who was a vice-bishop from First Village, and Susan, a vice-bishop from Triscot. Larry and Susan first met during the 835 Pilgrimage to Monab. Over the years their friendship grew into romance, a fact which was perhaps recognized even earlier by their friend Errol than it was by they themselves. (Errol was Grand Sorreter at the time, and so naturally also bishop of Sorret; as such, he of course also attended the annual Pilgrimage, which is how he had met and befriended Larry and Susan.) It was during the 837 Pilgrimage that Errol gave them each a supply of t-mail bubbles, so that they could stay in touch more easily than they could by mail. Ostensibly the gift was so that they could both stay in touch with Errol himself, but he later admitted he'd fully expected them to use most if not all of the bubbles calling each other, instead of him. When Larry and Susan once again met in person at the 838 Pilgrimage, it apparently dawned on them both for the first time that what they felt for each other was more than friendship. By the end of the Pilgrimage, they had decided to marry, and considered moving to Monab, since they couldn't decide who should move to who's village, and their both moving seemed a reasonable compromise. However, they both had matters to attend to in their home villages first, and while they did so, the bishop of First Village retired, unexpectedly naming Larry as his choice for successor, a decision which was approved by Arch-bishop Veronica. Larry said he'd be willing to turn down the appointment, but Susan insisted he accept, and so she moved to First Village that Aut'gin, and became a vice-bishop there. Nine months later, while they both attended the 839 Pilgrimage to Monab, Susan gave birth to Cirna.
While it is common for most people entering the study of magic to do so in their teens, it took Cirna a bit longer to do so, not becoming an apprentice until shortly after her 20th birthday. Of course, sorretry is not an uncommon field for the youth of Sorret to consider, as it is the underlying purpose for their village's very existence; but it is very rare indeed for anyone not born in Sorret to even consider it as a possible profession. Cirna was one of those rare few, however. It never would have occurred to her to think of any occupation in the world as beyond her ability to attain. Her father, after all, was one of the most important people in the most important village on The Land. She was also certain that if her mother had remained in Triscot, she would eventually have become its bishop. Cirna and her parents occasionally visited her mother's family there, as well as old friends and fellow spirit-talkers who had known Susan when she was a vice-bishop there. Cirna's parents both came from relatively wealthy and influential clans in their respective villages, particularly Susan's clan. Triscot, Cirna believed, with all its wealthy clans and important business headquarters that had ties to various villages around the world, was perhaps the second most important village in the world; though she was willing to allow, per her parents' belief, that Monab itself was the second, if not first most important village on the Land. Either way, Cirna also always accompanied her parents on the annual Pilgrimage, where she got to meet spirit-talkers from every village; and so her time was split between the world's three most important villages, regardless of how one chose to order them. (There was always a birthday party held for her on her birthday in Monab, and also a birthday party for her to celebrate with her friends in First Village in Sp'yet, before she and her parents set off on the trip to Monab.) Because of all her traveling, and coming from clans which in later years would come to be called nobility, Cirna never lacked self-confidence. She always knew she could do anything she wanted, which perhaps explains why it took so long for her to choose just one career.
All through her childhood, Cirna had heard stories from her parents of Grand Sorreter Errol, who had, sadly, died the year before she was born, not long after her mother had moved to First Village. She met a number of Sorreters each year during the Pilgrimage, including Coman, who had assumed the position of Grand Sorreter in 839, the same year Cirna had been born. In fact, he had been one of the first people to meet her after her birth, though of course she didn't begin to remember him until she was several years older. It was at the 859 Pilgrimage, during a conversation with Coman, that she suddenly realized what she wanted to be was a Sorreter, and he immediately accepted her as an apprentice. When she told her parents she'd decided to move to Sorret to study magic, they were sorry to hear she'd be leaving them, but they were also terribly proud and excited for her.
Cirna completed her training under Coman in 868, and became an adept. This was one year earlier than one of Coman's other apprentices, Drag, who had become an apprentice the year after Cirna. The two had frequently competed to be their master's top student, a rivalry which was envied by Durell, who had become Coman's apprentice five years after Drag and six years after Cirna. Occasionally Durell would earn higher marks than one or the other or both of them, but more often he came in third place, at best. While Cirna herself sometimes earned top marks, overall it was clear she was only Coman's second best student, though she still graduated a year earlier than Drag, which some say was only natural, since she started a year earlier than he did. However, there are also those who have suggested Drag, who always said he remained an apprentice as long as he could to learn as much as he could from his master, actually put off his graduation until after Cirna became an adept, out of respect for her. (Durell, meanwhile, didn't become an adept until 878, having spent 13 years as an apprentice, as opposed to Drag and Cirna, who both spent 9 years as apprentices.) Drag became a master-adept just one year after becoming an adept, but it took Cirna two years to attain that level (which is still rather impressive, much quicker than most adepts move on to master-adept status). So, she and Drag both became masters in 870. (Durell became a master-adept in 882.)
The very first apprentice she took on was Virtiana, a 16-year-old girl who Durell (who was 18 at the time) had been dating for about a year. While Cirna had never much liked Durell, she had occasionally felt a certain degree of sympathy for his mostly futile efforts to compete with Drag and herself (though she also suspected he only truly thought of Drag as his rival, since he was the top student; Cirna mattered little to Durell, in spite of her usually achieving higher grades than he did). She accepted Durell's girlfriend as a gesture of goodwill toward her former fellow apprentice, though Durell himself, even if he put on a show of gratitude, was said by some to have seen the gesture more as rubbing it in that she had become a master-adept while he was still an apprentice. (And indeed, it's quite possible Cirna had actually made the offer at least partly for that very reason, though she never would have admitted it.) Durell was also irritated by the fact that his own master, Coman, hadn't accepted Virtiana as an apprentice. As for Virtiana, she proved to be a reasonably good student; perhaps not quite as good as Durell had been, let alone Drag and Cirna, though still above average. On a personal level, Cirna saw that Virtiana and Durell were well suited for each other, which certainly didn't endear the girl to her, but at least her personality was not as abrasive as Durell's could be. She eventually graduated to adept status in 880, two years after marrying Durell. Meanwhile, Cirna had plenty of other apprentices, of course.
In 898, during the Pilgrimage to Monab, bishop Kizin, along with Arch-bishop Talak, revealed The Plan to the delegations of spirit-talkers from other villages, including Sorret. Drag, who had become Grand Sorreter eight years earlier, after Coman's death, was openly opposed to the Plan. Cirna, on the other hand, was in favor of it, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, having grown up the daughter of spirit-talkers, as well as having spent an entire month out of every year of her life in Monab, she felt a stronger loyalty to The Order and its Arch-bishop than most people from Sorret, including Drag, ever could. For another, she simply saw uniting the villages as a good thing, having split her childhood between three villages and loving them all, before moving to her fourth village, Sorret, which she also loved. However, it did hurt her to be at odds with her old friend Drag (to whom she also felt a sense of loyalty as both Grand Sorreter and bishop of Sorret). It also pained her that Durell, who she disdained, supported the Plan, all the more so because she felt he did so for the wrong reasons: spite for Drag, as well as seeing the potential to use the Plan as a tool to his own ends, rather than truly caring about the reasons for the Plan's existence in the first place. Cirna began gathering her own followers in support of the Plan, and Durell did likewise. Unfortunately for Cirna, she believed that was all either of them could do, until such time as the Planners gave them more specific instructions; while Durell took a more pro-active approach. Because of this, in 900, Talak and Kizin officially appointed Durell as leader of the pro-Plan Sorreters, and Cirna was forced to merge her group of followers with his, and submit to his authority.
By this time, Cirna had long been a vice-bishop as well as a member of the Council of Magicks (which she had joined in 873). After the Coming of the Order was completed and the Second Order established, she was voted onto the village council, taking office in 905, the same year Durell became Chief Councillor, and one year after he had assumed the position of Grand Sorreter (following Drag's defection to the Protestant Movement during the war). Cirna greatly resented Durell usurping Drag's position, both for Drag's sake and for her own. As much as she hated to admit it, there was no other choice but for Drag to have been excommunicated by Talak, and to be removed from his position as both bishop and Grand Sorreter. But given that, she still couldn't stand the idea of Durell replacing him, as she believed she was much more deserving of both positions than he was. (On the other hand, she was less concerned about the fact that he became Chief Councillor, a position of but little interest to her.)
In 904, when the surname law was passed, she chose the name "Mastera" (măs·târə) largely to remind Durell that she had been a master-adept twelve years longer than he had. Meanwhile, she always hoped to one day succeed him as Grand Sorreter, a wish which came true in 913, the year after Durell was excommunicated by Talak and went into hiding from the law (wanted on charges of murder). While it is tradition to assume the position of Grand Sorreter the year after it has been vacated, the specific date of the assumption of that title is variable. Cirna chose to be inducted on her birthday, 10 Su'gin (she turned 74, making her the oldest inducted Grand Sorreter, a fact she likes to consider an amusing irony, considering her own master, Coman, had been the youngest inducted Grand Sorreter).
As for spells she had created, Cirna is best remembered for developing a spell device for artificial wind generation in 901, which was used during the Coming to help power the Order's naval ships. She also was the head of the project that developed the internal enchantment engine in 911.
This is a far from complete list of the apprentices Cirna has had over the years.
- Virtiana Turner (app. 870-880)
- Bernard Delphi (app. 871-878)
- Mordechai T'Magus (app. 876-882)
- Merril RD (app. 888-897)
- Bennet (app. 894-900)
- Theda Bow (app. 898-905)