Shine Cycle Character Profile: Theodosia

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

Theodosia – A knight of the Empire, Visiting Scholar, nominally an aide to the Queen in the Imperial Service, and founder of the Empire’s third order of monastic knights.

A thick-set, athletic woman of medium height. Her slightly curled rich blonde hair is cut short and set closely around her head, in a somewhat boyish cut. For much of her career she usually wore a breastplate and chain mail and carried a longsword, but she now eschews armor and wears a simple, usually undyed robe.

Theodosia presents a kindly but serious demeanor, but the most obvious facet of her character is her firm piety. While she is a strong leader, each time leadership has come to her she has reluctantly accepted it as her assigned task rather than seeking it out, and she has poured herself without reserve into the tasks she sees as set before her throughout her career in the Empire.

Not long after her arrival, Theodosia took a relatively-unskilled position in the Imperial Service to do something constructive while learning about the world in which she now found herself. She also began taking courses at the Academy, including both physical training and more intellectual pursuits, with an early and occasional focus on theology. After about six years after her arrival, she was granted seniority in her Imperial Service position.

About five years after that, she completed the first phase of her Academy education, and took a leave of absence from the Service. She had initially intended to find a knight-master to take her as a squire, but when the ecumenical Council of Capitol was convened she delayed that to attend the council. Once the Council dispersed, she quickly found a knight-master and began her training as a squire. After she finished that training, she was knighted, then returned to her duties in the Imperial Service, and to her less martial studies at the Academy.

When the Sixth War of the Dragon began, about a decade and a half after her knighthood, she volunteered for duty and was made an ensign in a regiment from the Electrian Kingdom. The regiment arrived to the front somewhat late, but took part in the fighting beyond the Castle Line. While there, she found herself significantly affected by the political, economic, and spiritual plight of the people living in this region, even (to a lesser extent) in the frontier lands held by the Shine and Wild Empire.

In a review after the war, her superiors noted two things: her personal skill and courage, though these were little tested because her regiment saw so little action, and the particularly high morale of the soldiers under her command. Because of this, they promoted her to lieutenant before returning her to civilian life.

On her return to the capital, remembering what she saw in the war, she took the last few courses she needed to bring her studies at the Academy to a more definite conclusion, then organized a small team to return to the frontier. She also gathered what supplies she thought she would need to support her two goals of economic improvement and evangelism.

After a little over a decade in which she worked in relative obscurity there, the Capitol Times printed a profile of her and her work, and several fellow knights and other like-minded people traveled to join her. In addition, as the economic difficulties of the region had been largely alleviated, partly due to her work, there were by then enough churches that the spiritual need did not seem quite so urgent, and the newcomers brought word of increasing tensions with the Dragon Empire, she turned her focus to self-sustaining local defense. However, her experience in the previous war had convinced her of the necessity of a spiritual component to defense as well, so she founded a monastery to help the locals with spiritual formation and training in arms.

After only two years, the success of this monastery seemed clear, so several of her fellow-knights moved to nearby areas and founded additional chapters of the order. By the time the next war began, the frontier was so well defended by local effort alone that only heavy or advanced equipment had to be brought in from outside the region to provide sufficient border defense.

After the war, when these results came to the Queen’s attention, she decided to support the initiative, and announced that Theodosia was now officially a member of her personal staff, on a permanent assignment to continue her work leading this monastic order. Five years later, the Queen increased her rank, naming her among her senior staff.

A few years after that, after an increasing number of requests, she returned to the capital to speak at the Academy and before Parliament about the order she founded, and strategies for regional improvement more generally.

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