Shine Cycle Character Profile: Waker

This is the latest of an intermittent series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle.

Waker – Great-mage. She is universally acknowledged as the best Power in the field of sleep and waking and at Master-level in nearly every other. Since her first year in the Empire, when her aptitude came to light, she has immersed herself in searching for new applications of her existing workings (already orders of magnitude better than her competition) or for new workings using existing techniques.

A somewhat short and slender, fair-haired woman, she wears a long-sleeved dark robe covered in bright, often golden, designs. In public there is something in her bearing that projects aloofness and superiority, and she keeps her face impassive, but among friends she relaxes, smiles, and laughs.

When she first arrived, she was prone to barely-restrained feelings of anger, in addition to homesickness and confusion. But as she quickly gained experience in the Power, this was all replaced by a sparklingly-bright happiness under the facade of quiet confidence.

Letters she writes to colleagues describing her discoveries are often adapted into feature articles in trade journals, and the techniques that do not require extensive background experience or unusual finesse usually are quickly added to the curriculum of the College of Mages.

In the days following her arrival, Waker found herself stricken with melancholia and homesickness so strong that she could be no more than minimally productive for her entire first month there. Then, as that faded, she became very angry with her circumstances, but after a few more days she decided to try to set her anger aside and make the best of it.

At that point, she enrolled in a cultural-orientation course, but when she took an aptitude test about six months into it, the assessment revealed a strong potential in the Power, so she left the course and entered the College of Mages.

In her studies there, she showed herself to be clearly gifted in the Power, but because the first several years of the curriculum only touched very briefly and rarely on any topic related to either sleep or waking, she seemed to be a “normal” gifted student mage. She passed through the College as a novice, apprentice, and journeyman mage, then stood for and won her mastery in about as long as most student mages did.

A couple of years after her Mastery, as she looked into additional subjects to research as she prepared for her great-mage exam, she turned her attention to the subject of sleep. Even in her initial forays, she found her workings in this category to be far more powerful and precise, and far easier for her to perform, than she had expected. Further experimentation confirmed this unusual result and revealed and helped her expand the limits of her particular aptitude.

A year after she was made great-mage, she began a tour of the Empire to make contacts and collect ideas for future research. This tour took her more than a decade to complete, because she frequently stayed in a given location for several months at a time and made a point of venturing to less-often-visited areas.

After she finished the tour, she retired to a private life research in a small country town. She has kept in touch with friends and other contacts by letter, and has welcomed visitors and accepted and trained students on occasion, but she has not returned to the capital or any other major city except when all but begged to by the Imperial government.

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