On Mondays I post background essays on my fantasy series the Shine Cycle, including character profiles like this one. The previous profile was of Cassandra.
Claudia – One of the chief bards of the Empire, and member of the trio that jointly holds the post of court bard. She was one of the first to complete bardic training after the end of the Banishment. Also princess at large, in the King’s service in the Imperial Service, and knight.
A tall athletic brunette woman. She is equally at home in the light armor she favors, in formal bardic robes, and in the sparkling silver robes she sometimes wears to sessions of Parliament.
When she arrived she applied to both the Imperial Service and the Academy, but before she received a reply from either the war began. She immediately volunteered for duty and was placed in a unit sent on loan to Held. Her unit saw no major action but engaged skirmishers often; she became a trusted tactical adviser to her unit commander, but her unit was not important enough in that front of the war, and was too close to that of Victrix, for her name to become well known to her less immediate superiors.
When the war ended she planned to enter the Academy, but at an informal party to celebrate the end of the war held in a ballroom in the palace she sang in an impromptu talent show and was noticed by an off-duty recruiter from the Bardic College, who convinced her to apply for admission. She was accepted and flew through the curriculum, graduating as a journeyman in 117. She observed the first few months of the Council of Capitol, then left to begin her tour as a journeyman. She was named a Master and ended her tour early in 121, entering the Academy within a year.
At the Academy she changed her mind about what she wanted her primary and secondary concentrations to be several times, extending her stay somewhat; the Registrar finally forcibly graduated her from the first phase with a concentration of “interdisciplinary” in 140 when the war began. She was sent, with the rest of her class, as a corps to the Transylvania border, where she served with distinction. Months into the war she told her commander about a flaw she saw in the enemy line, and that insight would have given her unit a hundred miles or more of unobstructed passage into the Dragon Empire had the cease-fire not been signed within a day. After the war she was knighted for her contribution. Since the associated reputation expanded her career prospects considerably, she took a year to reorient herself, choosing at the end of it to enter the Imperial Service at the bottom.
Within the month she was promoted to Palace service, and she rose through the ranks at a somewhat slower but still meteoric pace from there, being given seniority in 145 and entering the Queen’s service in 148. She was invited to join the King’s service in 155. He encouraged her to focus on further training at the Bardic College. When the First Galactic War began, she was sent to Newfoundworld with a bardic corps, in which she met Mary (then baroness of Afton Valley), with whom she was thereafter associated.
The next profile was of Edna.