Shine Cycle Character Profile: Lauren

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

Lauren – A knight of the Empire and a high-level aide to the King in the Imperial Service. She is one of the few “desk knights” to use that as a cover: her position as aide to the King is primarily so that she can be a first bodyguard in his offices, a position she volunteered for to protect the more important aides.

A tall, slender, athletic woman with straight chestnut hair falling to curl around her shoulders. She wears a light chain shirt and either carries a short sword under a thin grey robe or wears it openly at her hip with a costume more suitable for strenuous activity. Her bearing can only be described as “stately,” with an air of determination, but at need she moves smoothly from a calm walking pace to a run.

Lauren’s mind is quick and sharp, making her well-suited for intellectual pursuits and the world of business, but she has made a high level of physical activity, to keep her in peak condition, a priority. She turned that interest toward the practice of arms more because she recognized her own aptitude and the usefulness of the skills than any natural inclination, as she considers herself a lover of peace than of war. In her work, she labors diligently, but always keeps an eye out for ways to improve the business while reducing the requirements it lays on workers like herself, and she jealously guards her leisure time.

When Lauren first arrived in the Shine and Wild Empire, not feeling inclined to seek a government job, after an initial brief orientation course she started looking for job opportunities around Capitol, walking around the city and talking to people to learn the city and keep fit. A local merchant, after getting to know her, offered her a managerial position in his warehouse if she passed a placement test, which she did not find difficult in the least.

After six months in that position, her employer encouraged her to use her time away from the job to take classes at the Academy. She began with the introductorycourses for a business and management concentration, but also took physical-training courses from the track favored by prospective knights to maintain and improve her physical condition.

About five years later, just after she finished her last courses in the business concentration, she competed in the distance running events in the Empire’s Cup athletic competition, and placed about twelfth. After her events, she watched some of her classmates compete in combat events, and reflected that she regularly defeated a few of those who placed highly when she faced them in weapons training classes.

Because of this, because of her employer’s and colleagues’ patriotic fervor in the workplace culture, and because of a few attempted burglaries, thefts, and acts of vandalism and violence foiled without losses partly because of her trained response, she was encouraged to continue her arms training all the way to knighthood, and eventually agreed.

Soon after she was knighted, her employer expanded his operation and became a Palace supplier, and she was given the responsibility of occasionally personally overseeing shipments. Over the first year and a half of the contract, her efforts helped the merchant win several commendations, and she was personally singled out for commendation by both her employer and the Palace staff. She was eventually named to the Honors List (which is unusual for those not in the Imperial Service or another government body) twice.

About ten years after her knighthood, she again foiled a wagon robbery, this time at the Palace gate, and the Palace staff on duty recommended that the Imperial Service try to hire her. This request eventually made its way up the chain of command to the top, and the King himself asked her to join the Imperial Service, promising to compensate her present employer. After discussing it with her superiors and colleagues, she accepted the offer.

Lauren had been accompanied by her sister, Sylvia, on her arrival in the Empire, but they had quickly lost touch in the chaos of those first days. A few years after she entered the Imperial Service, they met again at the Empire’s Cup. When the time came, she took her sister as a squire.

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