On Mondays I post background essays on the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series in preparation; these have often been character profiles like this one. The previous profile was of Flavia.
Ephemia – Countess of New Pittsfield, in unicorn country, Unicorn Knight, and bard. One of the most trusted leaders of the people of unicorn country as well as the Imperial liaison to them.
A somewhat short woman, with long hair of a dusty blonde color and a build that is almost but not quite stocky. She has cultivated a non-athletic appearance, since it gives her an extra advantage in any competition or in combat, and has adopted the standard native costume, a variation on robes that works well for most occupations. Her robes are generally black to contrast with the white coat of her unicorn.
As soon as the world of the unicorns was (re)discovered (a few sectors from Elvida (?)) in 114 she was sent there as the Empire’s liaison. The Bardic College and the Academy also sent committees to determine whether institutes up to the Imperial standard existed (they did).
Once the committees left and the celebrity status that came with being associated with the Empire had worn off, she began to climb the ranks in each of the local ladders: bardic, crafthall, academic, magecraft, Manors, unicorns. She reached Master rank in bardic and crafthall circles, was knighted by the Academy branch and given a doctorate in strategic analysis, and was recognized as a great-mage. When she came to the Manors she was content to become chief adviser to an important Manor and to be trusted by many other Manors because command of each Manor is hereditary.
Soon after she reached that post a neighboring nation, which claimed that previous dragon invasions had been unique events or had not occurred at all and wanted more territory, attacked, and she took part in the battle and bonded with a unicorn whose rider was killed. After she became commander of a unicorn hall, she put her by-then immense Power (supplemented by her unicorn) to work on the dragon problem and determined that they came from the Dragon Empire.
When she presented her findings at a meeting of all the leaders (bardic, craft, academic, mage, Manor, and unicorn rider alike) which she called using all of her titles together, the assembly created a new Manor in the territory won in that war, gave it to her, and named her to command their next defense against the dragons. When it came in 185, the Empire condemned it and demanded that the Dragon Empire cease the invasion; when the Dragon Empire denied its involvement, the Empire sent a few reinforcements. The Dragon Empire demanded that they be removed, but the Empire reminded it of its denial of its involvement, and after the incident was over in 205 it accepted a request made (at Ephemia’s suggestion) by the assembly of leaders and made the district a protectorate, naming Ephemia’s Manor an annexed county, New Pittsfield, and elevating her to the Bench of Nobles.
The next profile is of Alatumbra.