Shine Cycle Character Profile: Vincent

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

Vincent – Knight, Visiting Scholar, and bard. A brilliant strategist and tactician, knighted on the field in the war that began days after he arrived. Since he saw several of the previous generation of strategists at work and patterned his own designs after them, he maintained that he did not deserve the honor and studied under various knights-master.

A slim, athletic young man of medium height, with short ruffled light brown hair, he nearly always wears a chain-mail shirt and carries a sword, but avoids adding any more armor due to the weight.

Intent on improving his personal fitness from the beginning, and always interested in participation in athletics, Vincent found that his skills and experiences in those areas were good first steps toward preparing for war. Once he himself saw battle, that roused his courage and determination, but he also carefully studied the actions of the war on more than the personal scale to learn what he could, and when the need arose used what he had learned to guide his comrades to victory. In peacetime, he serves as a lecturer and tutor at the Imperial Academy; he divides his leisure hours between arms training, studying recent developments in strategy, and socializing and recreation with friends.

In the months surrounding the declaration of war that came soon after his arrival, a swell of patriotic fervor swept the capital. Vincent found himself unexpectedly moved by it, and impulsively volunteered for military service, despite earlier reluctance to have anything to do with the political system under which he now found himself.

Because his upbringing on Earth meant he had at least some minimal knowledge of strategy and the theory of tactics, but he had no actual military experience, let alone skill with any of the equipment that was then current in the Imperial armed forces, he was assigned as a low-level aide to the command corps of a regiment that was being formed in the capital district.

In the time until the regiment was complete and had received its orders to move out, Vincent’s superiors put him through a crash course of preparations, with special emphasis on battlefield survival and on military-secretarial skills. This training continued as the regiment marched to the front.

Once the regiment reached its position, his primary duties consisted of copying orders from his superiors’ shorthand and carrying messages to company and batallion commanders. After only a few weeks of this, he began to see the underlying patterns, and not too much longer even to see possible improvements, though he kept them to himself.

About nine months after the regiment’s arrival, he was asked to carry a message to a company very close to the front line for the first time, a mixed company of infantry, archers, and cavalry, with a few attached mages. The message ordered the company to begin an orderly withdrawal. Just before he arrived, the company was hit by an unexpected artillery barrage from a previously-safe direction, and every member of the company’s command staff was either killed, knocked out by wounds, or frozen with shock.

After witnessing this event, and finding the company in chaos, Vincent went beyond his orders and the standing orders to organize resistance to the ensuing attack. He directed the company to a nearby hill and had the infantry and mages, then the archers, hold the enemy line back. Once the company was organized again, he had the cavalry make a controlled charge, which put the attackers to flight.

While returning to camp with the company, he saw another company pinned down by two squads of enemy archers, and saw a way to break that line. After consulting the remaining company commanders, recovered from their shock, he gave the necessary orders.

After similar events happened in three more major battles over the next year or so, the last saving the life of the grandson of the Prince of the Electrian Kingdom, he was knighted on the field, despite his protests that he did not deserve the honor.

After the war, he began to study strategy and tactics more formally at the Academy, though as a full knight already he didn’t exactly fit the usual track of courses. After several years there, he left the Academy to study individually with great commanders and warriors, of the country’s older generation and eventually among his peers. He spent about four years each with six commanders, and finally began to study under the King, when war agan began. In that conflict, he again served with distinction, though with less spectacular exploits.

After the war, he helped to train the next generation of commanders by taking a squire, but he then decided to retire from the military field until his service was next needed. Not being particularly inclined to either public administration or a business career, he at length remembered learning music in his youth on Earth, and took a few courses at the Academy. The teachers there recognized a mild bardic talent and directed him to the Bardic College, where he spent several years studying the bardic arts and developing his metaphysical abilities.

After finishing his studies at the Bardic College, Vincent returned to the Academy and, in light of increasing tensions with the Empire’s traditional foes, began teaching courses in the school’s knighthood-training concentration.

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