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This article is about the nation in Temerant.
You may be looking for the spoken language, Ademic, or the Adem sign language.
"An Adem warrior with only one hand might be more deadly than a common warrior with two, your grace. Despite his deficiency."
Kvothe to Lerand Alveron[1]

Ademre (PR: /eɪ'dɛmɹeɪ/; RD: /ɑː'dɛmɹeɪ/)[2] is a nation in Temerant. It is not part of The Four Corners of Civilization. Its people are the Adem, also known as 'blood-shirts', and are known for being fierce mercenaries who speak little and fidget often.[3]


The foundation of the Adem culture is a belief system called the Lethani, which informs everything the Adem do.

Within the practice of the Lethani are different paths of study, each with its own schools and fighting styles, including:

  • The path of Aethe is the oldest path founded by its namesake. It specialises in the use of the bow and arrow.[4][5]
  • The path of Aratan is the second oldest path.[4]
  • The path of the sword tree, or Latantha is the third oldest path, in which Kvothe trains. It specialises in the sword and in hand-to-hand combat. Shehyn's school in Haert is in this path.[4]
  • The path of joy is the path Vashet grew up following before she joined the path of the sword tree. There is a school in Feant which teaches it.[4]
  • The paths of ribbon (possibly after Rethe's white ribbon)[5], chain, moving pool, passion and restraint.[6]

Cultural Exports[]

Ademre is well known for producing the powerful, capable and talented fighters known as Adem mercenaries, or Cethan. Those who successfully demonstrate their prowess are allowed to 'take the red' or wear the bright red tight-fitting clothing worn only by Cethan. They are then sent to The Four Corners to work as highly paid bodyguards and warriors for hire, usually sending eighty percent of their earnings back to their schools.[7] They are priced at about twenty times untrained mercenaries.[8]


The Adem are 'pale [and] creamy'[9] in complexion with 'sandy' hair that becomes white with age. Their eyes are a pale grey,[10] a fact that Denna finds remarkable.[3] These features add to their perceived air of impassiveness and severity.

All of these traits are recessive in nature, something Patrick Rothfuss himself confirmed in an interview, saying he deliberately chose recessive traits for Adem people's general appearance.[11]


The region of Ademre is harsh, barren, rocky and windy. It is located at the foothills of the Stormwal Mountains, and is often feels the harsh winds that give the range its name. The local stone is grey.[12] Goats are the common livestock, which provide meat, milk, cheese and wool.[13]

Accordingly, Adem houses are typically low and sturdily constructed, often built into the sides of cliffs, or as holes in the ground. Adem living spaces are austere by Commonwealth standards, but the Adem are by no means impoverished. In fact, the insides of their houses demonstrate that they are well accommodated and supplemented, but do not make their wealth easily visible to strangers. They like to live in a way more natural than their means would otherwise suggest.[7]

According to Vashet, Feant is a more cosmopolitan town than Haert, with multiple schools.[14]



The Adem believe themselves to be culturally superior to the other people inhabiting the Four Corners, to whom they refer as 'barbarians'. This is primarily a result of their beliefs regarding outward displays of emotion, the repression of which is viewed as a mark of 'civilization'.[15]


Main article: Adem sign language
Main article: Ademic

To outsiders, the Adem may seem aloof and emotionless as they use words sparingly, avoid eye contact, and typically maintain blank facial expressions. In addition, they are sometimes perceived as fidgety and anxious, making small gestures or tics with one hand.

In truth, the Adem use a form of sign language in conjunction with spoken language to convey emotions while repressing facial expressions. Facial expressions are reserved for close friends and family, and exhibiting them in public shows an embarrassing lack of self-control. This taboo does not apply to crying or laughing, as they believe that stifling such primal emotions is unhealthy.[16]

Their spoken language encourages singularity in speech. A single word can have many meanings depending on cadence and tone.[17]


Since Adem culture views speech and expressions of emotion as personal and intimate, singing and (by association) music are taboo except within that context. Thus musicians, troupers and bards are seen as in much the same way as prostitutes: people who share a private and intimate experience with strangers for money, on a regular basis, shamelessly and without discrimination. Despite this, instrumental music is not forbidden in Adem culture. Though Adem musicians never play in public, they visit individual families to perform for them privately, sitting behind a screen while they play in order to remove some of the intimacy.[18]

Sexual beliefs and behavior[]

Main article: Vaevin

The Adem understanding of human reproduction differs greatly from that of The Four Corners. Specifically, they do not believe that men have any role in conception, nor in passing on heritable traits. Instead, they believe that women naturally 'ripen' and bear children when and where it is better to do so. Accordingly, there is no word for 'father' in Ademic. Instead 'man-mother' is used.[19]

The Adem believe that sex is the product of a kind of 'anger', called Vaevin, or the desire to live, move, grow, do and make. Though all things are thought to have Vaevin (including stones and trees), there is a great range in amount of it. The Adem believe that men have too much anger to use and, to avoid it building up and making them avaricious and violent, it must be taken by women through sex.[19]

The Adem are also not shy about sex, meaning they have little concept of sexual privacy. They have no nudity taboo and practice free love.[18] Sex does not carry any emotional significance typical of other cultures; while it is an intimate experience, it is viewed more as a fulfilment of bodily needs than an expression of romantic feeling. Sex and love are very distinct concepts to the Adem.[20]

Because of their attitudes towards sex, Adem have a very strong attitude towards sexually transmitted diseases. Adem don't have sex with 'barbarians', since the risk of transmission is too high (a fact reflected in their recessive genetic traits). Thus STDs are effectively non-existent among them. Transmitting an STD to another Adem is seen as deplorable.[19]


Women have a strong place in their society, considered better warriors and wiser overall than men. This largely comes from the idea that men are too full of Vaevin, making them strong but reckless, whereas women are better at controlling and focussing it.[19]

Women are considered stronger warriors because the Adem use martial arts where strength is less important than agility, self-control, focus and precision, things that men are seen as lacking.[7]

Women are also considered superior because they are able to produce offspring, unlike men.[19] Adem don't appear to have exclusive relationships or marriage. The practices for cohabitation are not clear, but many appear to live alone. Children likely live with their birth mothers but are communally raised.

Notable figures[]


  • Adem is also a Dutch word, which can be translated as to breathe, breath, air or oxygen. It is also the Turkish name of Adam and means man or earth.


  1. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 56: "Power"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 43: "Without Word or Warning"
    "I have seen my first Adem Mercenary. (They call them bloodshirts here.) She is hardly bigger than me, with quite the most remarkable grey eyes. She is pretty, but strange and quiet, endlessly twitching."
    ―Denna's letter
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 113: "Barbarian Tongue"
    "The sword tree is one of the old paths, too. Rather formal. I grew up following the path of joy. This is one of the many schools that follow the Latantha, the path of the sword tree. It’s one of the oldest, behind the Aethe and Aratan. There are other paths, maybe three dozen. But some of those are very small, with only one or two schools teaching their Ketan."
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Name of the Wind, Chapter 114: ""
  6. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 117: "Barbarian Cunning"
    "I will go everywhere, and I will learn all the Ketans there are. I will learn the hidden ways of the ribbon and the chain and of the moving pool. I will learn the paths of joy and passion and restraint. I will have all of them."
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 115: "Storm and Stone"
  8. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 87: "The Lethani"
  9. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 112: "The Hammer"
    "[Vashet] had the same moderate build I’d come to expect from the Adem along with the pale, creamy complexion and grey eyes."
  10. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 110: "Beauty and Branch"
    "I turned to see an older woman with the characteristic pale grey eyes of the Adem. Her face was impassive, but her features were kind and motherly. She wore a yellow woolen cap pulled down over her ears. It was roughly knitted, and the sandy hair that stuck out from underneath was starting to go white."
  11. TOR QnA Q: Did you deliberately choose recessive traits for the Adem people’s general appearance? A: Yup. Because I’m awesome.
  12. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 110: "Beauty and Branch"
  13. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 111: "A Liar and a Thief"
  14. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 113: "Barbarian Tongue"
    "I’m from Feant, a town farther north. We’re more… cosmopolitan. Haert only has the one school, and everyone is tied very tightly to it. The sword tree is one of the old paths, too. Rather formal. I grew up following the path of joy."
  15. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 82: "Barbarians"
    "When I leave Ademre, I know this. Not civilization. Barbarians are rude. Everyone here like dogs. That is all you know."
  16. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 82: "Barbarians"
    "Speaking with hands is civilization. Natural is not civilization. Cooking meat is civilization. Washing off stink is civilization. No. Smiling with face good with family. Good with some friend. When you make this. That is natural, but you do not make it near others. Rude. With family…civilization not important. More natural with family. Laughing is. No. Laugh is different. Smile? Angry? But laugh? Here lives laugh [In stomach]. Push back laugh is not good. Not healthy. Also cry."
  17. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 109: "Barbarians and Madmen"
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 113: "Barbarian Tongue"
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 127: "Anger"
  20. The Wise Man's Fear, Chapter 124: "Of Names"