The orphanage at Keramzin was founded by Duke Keramsov, a celebrated war hero who, upon his return from fighting, converted his estate into a home for children orphaned by the border wars.
Before the story Edit
Most of what is known about Keramzin is conveyed by Alina's thoughts, the prologue or conversations between Malyen and Alina.
Alina remembers the time in Keramzin as hard and terrible. The children were poorly provided for and treated coldly and strictly by the teachers. The elder children were not kept busy, so they entertained themselves by beating and mistreating the younger children. The teachers didn't have any interest in promoting the strength of the children or making them happy; instead, they spent the winter chattering and drinking Kvas.
Every year, three Grisha came to Keramzin in order to examine the children for signs of Grisha power.
Ana Kuya, the Duke's housekeeper, is described as strict and severe, but nevertheless a mother-like figure for Malyen and Alina; both confess that they miss her.
After the younger Grisha were evacuated from the Little Palace in Os Alta to Keramzin, Alina tries to convince Nikolai to bring them to the Spinning Wheel so they are safe from The Darkling. Before they can do so, the Darkling attacks Keramzin. He burns down the orphanage and takes the pupils as hostages. The corpses of the three Grisha teachers, of Botkin and of Ana Kuya, are hanging from the oak tree in the garden.
After the story Edit
After Alina faked her death, she and Malyen founded a new orphanage on the ruins of the old one. They wanted to provide a much better experience for the children than the one they had, and so the children were allowed to play the piano in the music room, got plenty to eat and received presents at St. Nicholas' Day. Additionally, any children who turned out to be Grisha could decide on their own whether they wanted to stay at the orphanage or go to Os Alta.