Character Profile: Matilda

On Mondays I generally post background material for the Shine Cycle, largely character profiles, like this one. The previous profile was of Fidelia.

Matilda – Princess at large, bard, Visiting Scholar, and the highest rank in the Imperial Service. While she most likely has some talent for the Power beyond the bardic medium, she has not explored this possibility, choosing instead to focus on her bardic and academic studies. After being made a bardic Master she began an unofficial apprenticeship with the King’s Harpist, even though her primary talent is in voice.

A somewhat tall and slender woman with straight light brown hair framing her face. She usually wears bardic robes, with the insignia of her Mastery subtly placed on one shoulder, and prefers somewhat lighter, more understated colors than many bards. But when outside the central regions of the Empire and not acting in any official capacity, she tends to revert to simpler, less sophisticated garb, mirroring the local fashions as best she can.

On her arrival she applied to the Imperial Service and was set to clerical and secretarial work in the Palace, where she also took classes at the Academy part-time. In 113 she heard a performance by the King’s Harpist, was amazed by the power in the music, and decided that she wanted to become a bard. The following year she applied to the Bardic College and was accepted. Since she insisted on a very broad program of study, it took more than a full decade for her to be named journeyman, achieving that status in 124. She was made a Master in 129 and moved for a time to the Bardic Lands, which were even then ruled by the King’s Harpist. In 134 she established an informal apprenticeship with the King’s Harpist, studying intensively under her tutelage for two years and then returning to the Empire, where the Imperial Service assigned her to more public duties. She also resumed part-time studies at the Academy. Because of the higher public exposure she received, she advanced through the Service quickly, transferring to the Queen’s service in 147. She took a leave of absence in 155 to tour the country, making public performances at each stop and donating the bulk of the proceeds to fund local public libraries. When the tour was finished in 160, the representatives in Parliament of the localities she visited sponsored a successful measure making her a princess at large. After she was promoted to the King’s service in 166, he made her a Visiting Scholar in 170.

The next profile is of Josephine.


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