Shine Cycle Character Profile: Vera

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

Vera – A knight of the Empire, one of the Queen’s advisors in the Imperial Service, an aide to Windstorm of the Rivers Kingdom, and a retired brigadier general in the Imperial Army. The first to be promoted in the Fifth War of the Dragon.

A somewhat short, slender woman with wavy brown hair falling past her shoulders. She wears light mail under her fashionable robes, which have her rank insignia on the shoulder.

In public, in her capacity as a leader and commander, Vera maintains a demeanor that is a careful and deliberate mixture of her natural compassionate concern and brisk “no-nonsense” demanding efficiency. In private, she works diligently to accomplish the goals that she and her superiors have set. In her leisure time, among other activities, she enjoys both listening to music and developing her skills as an amateur musician, but she finds she does not have the time to become more than merely proficient.

When she arrived in the Empire, Vera enlisted in the Imperial Army immediately after the declaration of war. Her potential talent for command was suspected from her enlistment interview, so she was provisionally enlisted as a sergeant. But even before her regiment reached the front, the remarkable improvement in the other recruits under her command, and their strong unit cohesion and loyalty to her, caused her superiors to not only confirm her provisional rank but promote her to Master Sergeant.

Her regiment saw battle only briefly in that war, so she saw no further promotion before it ended. But her efforts with the soldiers under her command were noted and mentioned prominently in her commanders’ reports, so her name was noted for larger duties in the next war.

During the war, she became concerned with “conditions” in the countries near the frontier, and especially the newly-liberated areas. So she applied for and won a position on a team the Ministry of Public Health planned to send to the frontier. Once the Castle Line extension began, the team coordinated with that project, but it kept working in the region even when the Line extension was finished.

She returned to the capital in a time of increasing tensions, and decided to prepare for the coming war by studying and training at the Academy, though she did not formally enter the knighthood-training program. As time went on and peace still formally held, she moved from primarily physical training to command and strategy.

When the war began, she was quickly recalled to duty as a captain and sent with the first wave of troops to Oceanus. In the fighting there, while her exploits were not as spectacular as others’, she and her company served with such distinction that she was brevetted to colonel, a promotion that was confirmed after she achieved similar results with a larger force in the siege that ended the war. Her superiors also recommended her for knighthood, and she received that honor as soon as she returned to the capital.

In the following peace, she returned to the Academy to more formally finish the knighthood-training program, then took a few more classes related to her interest in public health. After that, she joined a team from that Ministry on loan to the government of Oceanus.

That project was interrupted by another outbreak of war. She was recalled from Oceanus to join the Army’s command staff as a brigadier general. In that role she helped to coordinate the various fleets and regiments involved in the war.

Following the war, she joined the Queen’s staff to advise her on public health issues for several years. After she seemed to not be so immediately needed there, she left the capital to assist Windstorm in dealing with the unique challenges of the Rivers Kingdom.

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