Character Profile: Danielle of New Sunshine

This is part of a series of profiles of characters in the Shine Cycle. The previous profile was of Whitney.

Danielle – Duchess of New Sunshine, princess at large, great-mage, and Visiting Scholar. A trusted advisor to both King and Queen in matters military and diplomatic. At the Imperial Academy, she is one of the most capable and prolific contenders in the forensic debate courts. She and Rosabel form the unofficial Imperial Champion team (i.e. as if appointed to defend the Empire’s honor when challenged) on the forensic policy debate circuit.

She is tall, and usually seen with a frown of concentration or an almost predatory grin. Her hair began as a more dusky brown when she arrived but has become a rich chestnut color. When acting in an official capacity she has a tendency to dress formally in her robes of office, and on the debate courts she chooses either a very subtle version of the unofficial uniform of a princess at large or her most extravagant robes with all her medals, but in public otherwise she dresses as a private person, eschewing all but the simplest rank insignia.

On arrival she was sent to the coastal Kingdom for the Defense of the Light, which had been identified by some analysts as a likely invasion point. While this proved a false alarm, she decided that had Dragon armies invaded there the countryside would have been nearly defenseless, so she applied for work that could be done while remaining there in the same package as her report on the matter. She was assigned to do analysis of local politics and of the trade passing through the area, so she settled there in a medium-size town, where in 116 she ran for the town council. She was defeated in her first attempt, but in 119 she ran again and was elected.

During her term she attempted to convince her peers and her constituents of their poor defensive position, but it took her until the middle of her next term, in 123, to get a resolution requesting a castle passed. When approval came down from the Imperial government, along with a grant from the government of the kingdom, she was selected to head the project. It was completed in 139, using only local labor and materials, in a position commanding the local harbor. While it took much longer than usual to construct, the project cost much less than anticipated, and the remaining money was used to build a wall and other defensive structures for the town. A regiment of the local militia requested and received military training from the Imperial Army unit garrisoning the town just before the castle was completed, and when the war broke out the following year it was sent to the front.

For her role in the construction project the Imperial Parliament named her a Visiting Scholar, with that rank’s attendant benefit of access to most sections of the Imperial Library and Imperial Records, in 142, and she was asked to advise the Crown in the extension of the Castle Line. She entered the Imperial Service payroll in 146, and in 152 was granted seniority for her suggestion that fortresses be built in small islands in the Continental River. She stood for Parliament in the following year, but she was not elected until 157.

When the arms race began in 159, she worked to bring the resulting industry to her New Sunshine district, with mixed success, but when the war began in 164 she was asked to help coordinate war production in the district. In the next year she was elected mayor of New Sunshine, and the year after that the post was made permanent. The barony was increased to a county in 171 due to its industrial performance.

An accident in 176 caused her to realize her potential in the Power, so in 177 she took a leave of absence to study it. After the war—in which, though she was called up for diplomatic duty, the county was handled competently by her deputy—she stood for and passed the great-mage exam. She was then summoned to the Queen’s personal service, where, among other duties, she advised the Queen on intercontinental trade policy.

While in the capital, she took rhetoric and argumentation courses at the Academy, eventually drawn back into its forensic debate scene. She was quite successful with a variety of partners until she met Rosabel in 185, and they achieved spectacular success that season. She was granted seniority the following year, and in 188 Parliament granted her the rank of princess-at-large to allow her to move with the necessary ease in international circles; the King promised her a promotion in the Service eventually but said that she could serve his purposes more effectively if she was associated more with the Queen.

In 200, when she and Rosabel logged an undefeated season on the debate circuit, she was raised to the King’s service. She returned to New Sunshine in 208, after which she represented the Empire across two continents but kept New Sunshine as her base. The records are spotty for the next hundred years, but one notable event was that her demsene, New Sunshine, was increased to a duchy in 234 as much of the newly-discovered continent was added to it.

The next profile is of Carmen.

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