Shine Cycle Character Profile: Eliezer

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

Eliezer is a native-born knight of the Shine and Wild Empire. As soon as he can get over his tendencies toward “textbook generalship,” he will perhaps be the best native-born general in the Empire—a military genius. However, that will probably take a while, since he usually achieves success even with textbook techniques.

Eliezer is a somewhat short, stocky young man. He wears a heavy but flexible suit of chain mail under his uniform and keeps his bright red hair cut short to fit easily under his helmet.

While he maintains the discipline necessary to keep up his personal fitness and hone his personal combat skills to a fine edge, the word that best describes Eliezer is “studious,” if not “bookish.” In his studies, he has carefully analyzed the records of countless battles from wars throughout several worlds’ history, to come to some understanding of what strategies and tactics were attempted, which ones worked, and why. His vast knowledge has served him well, but he does not yet have the instinctive grasp of core principles that would allow him to produce a new strategy based more on the conditions and his objectives than on what previous leaders have done in similar situations.

Eliezer was born in the period of international tension or “cold war” between the Shine and Wild Empire and its allies and the Dragon Empire that historians call “the Fifth Uneasy Peace,” less than a year before the “unicorn incident.” His father was an elected Baron in the Starshine Kingdom, and Eliezer was the eldest of what would become a family of four children.

He entered the Academy at the age of seventeen, aiming for knighthood from the beginning but gaining increasing interest in strategy and tactics as he gained more experience with them in the course of his studies. For the final phase of his formal education, he served as squire and aide to Cadwallader.

Two years after his knighthood, Gondolor’s unexpected invasion of Earth caused the Empire to open an embassy there, and he was assigned to its staff. He remained there a few years by the local calendar (less than a year as far as his family at home was concerned), then returned home.

For the next decade or so, he rotated through various posts as assigned by his superiors. Though his tactical and strategic gifts were well known to Imperial High Command, his combination of humility and the ability to execute a plan better than should be possible and deliver an instructive critique afterward made him perhaps even more valuable as a “junior” than a “senior” officer, so he was assigned postings on all levels, including command of a single regiment in the First Battle of High Powers and a divisional command in the Fourth Battle of High Powers.

In the “uneasy peace” that followed that war, he left active service to teach at the Academy, where he proved an insightful, incisive, and effective lecturer and a sympathetic and edifying tutor. The quality of students he had trained was such, in fact, that in the half-decade-long Seventh War of the Dragon, while his advice was sought and seriously considered by senior generals, and he was “on call” for at least the last three years of the war, he was instructed to remain at the Academy rather than returning to command.

After twenty years teaching, however, when the sudden but distant appearance of a new enemy sparked the Third Interuniversal War, he officially rejoined the Imperial armed forces, serving as a divisional commander or a staff officer. He remained on staff after the war ended, overseeing the return of citizen-soldiers to civilian life.

In the War of Power, when the immediate area of the two continents was evacuated and sealed off from the rest of the universe, and most officers were wild to volunteer to remain to fight Gondolor when he regained his strength, Eliezer accepted the responsibility of defending the evacuation settlements against whatever unexpected enemy might appear, not that any such threat did come to pass before they returned home at the end of the war.

After that, he again retired, though there may yet be more stories to tell.

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