Shine Cycle Character Profile: Anselm

This is the next in the series of profiles of characters who will appear in the Shine Cycle, my fantasy-series-in-preparation.

Anselm – Knight and bard. Personal bodyguard to and musical partner of Mary of New Bethany.

A tall, somewhat thin man with short, untidy black hair over his youthful, nearly always smiling face. He almost always wears armor, usually a breastplate, helmet, and greaves plus chainmail to cover the rest of him, and carries a sword at his hip.

Anselm is known for his exuberance and zeal, and for keeping both well under control. In battle he is fiercely brave, but careful to avoid unnecessary risk to either himself or anyone he is protecting; in music he often adds flourishes and other embellishments at nearly every opportunity; and in peacetime life he is most often the very picture of joyful contentment. He makes his home at Mary’s district court in New Bethany.

On his arrival in the Shine and Wild Empire, Anselm resolved to keep closely in touch with Mary, as they were in the unusual situation of being close relatives brought into a new world together, and as the years passed he kept that resolution.

Soon after he arrived, when he sought admission to both the Academy and the Bardic College, he was encouraged but asked to wait until a suitable place opened up, as he showed some but not unusually large promise. While he waited he found work around the city, and spent as much time as he could helping Mary practice and complete her coursework at the Bardic College. A place for him there opened up just a few months before she graduated as a journeyman.

He sped through his courses at the College, after helping Mary with hers and with her help with his, if not quite as quickly as she had completed her courses. After he graduated as a journeyman, and a few weeks’ break, he joined her on her delayed journeyman tour. At the end of that tour, when she was acknowledged as a Master bard, his examiners named him a full bard but said he was not quite at Master level yet. He decided against continuing his studies.

Next, he entered the Academy in its knighthood-training and physical and combat concentration, making personal protection his personal focus. He moved through the curriculum at a good pace, if perhaps somewhat slowly by Academy standards.

After completing his training as a squire and being knighted, while considering what to do next, he consulted Mary’s superiors in the Imperial Service. Because they spoke of her very strong potential, but also of her tendency toward heedlessness of her own personal safety, he declared himself her bodyguard, and followed her throughout her career thereafter.


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