This is the first profile of a character without an assigned demesne. While there are characters who haven’t been ennobled (yet), Carmen is (I think) the equivalent of a Life Peer in a country where titles can’t be inherited anyway. As a princess at large, she is technically a member of the nobility but has no seat in the House of Peers. I’m not yet sure what would happen if she stood for and was elected to Parliament, since most princes- and princesses-at-large are also permanent administrators—i.e. marquis, duchesses, counts, etc.–of their home districts, which places them in the voting peerage. The previous profile was of Danielle.
Carmen – Bard and princess at large; one of the King’s close advisors. She is often sent out as an itinerant bard on the Crown’s expense, to serve the triple purpose of increasing morale, spreading news, and gathering intelligence. Many feel that she is wasted on such a post, but the King may also be trying to keep her out of the public eye in Capitol while increasing her public popularity in the Empire at large.
An unobtrusive young woman of medium height, she generally keeps her short blonde (almost white) hair pulled back loosely out of her face. She prefers the loose, comfortable robes, common among scholars, that provide the most pockets, but keeps them styled in a fashion popular among bards. Similarly, she is rarely found without a large bag over her shoulder and a book in her hand, but she generally also carries at least one instrument in its case with her.
She entered the Imperial Service when she arrived, and when the war began was lent to the Intelligence Ministry and placed as a courier between the various rear-echelon commands. After the war, the Intelligence Ministry, having found her not quite devious and duplicitous enough for their more usual methods, sent her to the Academy, intending to place her in an analysis position.
She completed the first phase of her education there in a little longer than usual with a multidisciplinary concentration in “Information”–gathering, management, retrieval, analysis, transformation, dissemination–and a positive result on a test for potential bardic talent. After spending a year and a half considering her options, she entered the Bardic College with Catherine, graduating as a journeyman with her in four years and ascending to her mastery in five more. She took another year off, then resumed her education at the Academy.
That phase of the Academy, like the last, took slightly longer than usual, and she graduated just before the war began. The Intelligence Ministry did not call for her services, and since she had survived rather than excelled in her Academy courses from the military track, she joined the bardic corps, but was wounded in the Battle of Arcadia. After the war she threw herself back into her studies at the Academy, where for a dissertation she investigated the effect of morale on the quality of intelligence, especially in wartime. This paper, completed much more quickly than most, brought her again to the attention of the Intelligence Ministry and the King, who summoned her to explain her research in an audience before a full session of Parliament and then elevated her in the Imperial Service to his personal service.
The next profile is of Renee.