Song of the Earth
The Voice of Reason
Trista is a short white woman of about 5’4". She has hair-colored hair and dark eyes. Notably she has a mixed English/American accent of an immigrant or someone who grew up in both places.
Trista Hanford is a Dreamspeaker, and Jianyu‘s mentor. Will and Alex first encounter her after they relocate to Cincinnati. While she is no stronger than Jahan was as a Dreamspeaker, more notably she is much more experienced. She doesn’t just make agreements, she enforces them. She also doesn’t just accept the first terms that spirits, such as Will’s vengeance spirits offer, although she has a diplomatic nature with them.
When they first meet, Jianyu expresses his theory that Tecumseh was a mage, and the process by which he created the Network. She does not allow him to exchange email addresses with Will, and sends him away. She explains that she isn’t holding him back to be deliberately frustrating. Child mages progress fast, but it is dangerous. Jianyu Awakened at 15, and three months later he is piecing together the construction of a historical ritual before she has even told him the names of all the Spheres. Before Will, who Awakened even younger, she knew of only 2 younger mages—one is in an insane asylum now, and the other Awakened at 11 and became a Marauder by the time she was 20.
Marauders are disproportionately younger mages, even excluding those who turn at the time of their Awakening. She finds the fact Will’s entire cabal was children very odd, and is disturbed at the age Jahan Awakened. She is particularly antagonistic toward Alex, disliking the Order and their methods of Awakening.
Later, when Jianyu gets Will more information on Tecumseh, she relents and allows them to exchange contact info, figuring she might have been too stifling and it would be good for him to talk to another mage his age.
Later that summer, she negotiates a new deal for Will with the vengeance spirits. The next time Will sees her, he brings Jacob. They need to travel into the Umbra to separate Juggler. Due to the danger involved, she temporarily transfers Jianyu’s apprenticeship to another Dreamspeaker outside of Cincinnati, one he has never met, much to Jianyu’s distress. If she doesn’t return he will be Cincinnati’s only Dreamspeaker. Sometime after returning safely she resumes teaching him.
As soon as they are inside the Penumbra, though, Jacob takes off, dragging Will by the silvery leash connecting Jacob’s neck to Will’s wrist. They are separated from Trista for the remainder of their journey.
In December, the Technocrats manage to track Jianyu through his uncommon name, and through him find Trista. After a few days of intimidating her with the Men in Black, she defects, wanting a “normal life,” and forcing Jianyu to flee to the chantry. Quentin Ramsey handles her reprocessing. When Xifeng is out of options looking for a way to stop Joshua, she goes to Trista, who suggests Sedna, an ultimately successful option.
The next time Trista is seen, she is a full Technocrat. She participates in and survives the battle against Kal.