Shine Cycle Character Profile: Honora

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

Honora – Knight and herald, in the King’s service in the Imperial Service. When she arrived she applied to the Academy nearly immediately, intending to take a purely academic route but finding herself unexpectedly good at every subject needed for the knighthood track. During her tour as a squire, when separated from her knight-master, she very quickly put together a successful investigation into a smuggling operation on her authority alone; when the news of this reached the King after her graduation, he made her a herald and one of his Voices and expedited her application to the Imperial Service, where she rose through the ranks quickly.

By inclination turned toward an academic or even “contemplative” life, Honora was instead turned by circumstances and her talents into a far more active career. After reaching knighthood, however, and even more after being named a King’s Herald, she jealously guards a few lengthy periods of time each week that she devotes to studying history, theology, and other “impractical” subjects.

A tall, slender woman with thin, frazzled blonde hair. She carries herself with a smooth air of decorum, favoring formal robes with her herald’s badge as their only decoration.

Honora applied to and entered the Academy very soon after she arrived in the Empire, initially declaring a concentration in literature. A couple of years after she began there, on a whim she took some courses in strategy and weapons training, and enjoyed herself (and saw so much benefit) that she switched to the knighthood-training concentration.

She finished that first phase of knighthood training in about four more years, but no knight offered to take her as a squire until about six months later. That offer was from a native-born knight who had been serving so long that he was nearing retirement from active duty, but wished to pass on what he could to the next generation before he retired.

His duties took them across the continent and into Transylvania, where they spent several years along the border. While there, her knight-master felt it was important that she gained a good grounding in both the theory and practice of customs law, so Honora met and spent hours talking with the border guards. In these conversations, in addition to the regulations they were ordered to enforce, she learned how badly short-handed the customs force was.

About a year after they arrived in Transylvania, her knight-master went on a “side mission” that he felt was too risky to involve her in; he left her to her own devices, instructing her to stay put and wait for his return, but to make herself useful if she could.

Soon after he left, she noticed some obvious contraband being sold at the local market, and began casually investigating. Over the course of a couple of weeks she gathered a small pile of notes and evidence from observing by herself, and then she persuaded a few friends to come with her and “stake out” the most likely border crossings.

As she expected, within the week a small caravan came across the border in the dead of night, bypassing the customs post. As soon as she saw this, she stepped into the road, stopped the caravan, and made a citizen’s arrest of its leader, compelling him to come back to the customs headquarters in the city with her. In the morning, when she presented herself and the caravan leader to the commander of the local customs office, he confirmed the arrest and commended her vigilance. Over the next few days, he also wrote and filed a report on the incident.

The rest of Honora’s tour as a squire passed without major incident, and in the course of time she returned to the capital with her knight-master and was knighted. About a year after that, the report about the smuggling incident finally made its way to the King’s desk, and he summoned her to court to commend her in person. After hearing her personal report on the incident, and considering for a few more days, he invested her as a herald and as his Voice.

The King also ordered his deputy in charge of the Imperial Service to approve her application to join its ranks. She began in the Queen’s Service, but rose a rank of seniority about every three years for more than fifty years, as incidents warranted. In her role as the King’s Voice, she also visited various corners of the two continents, including the Earthshine Kingdom, the Twilight Kingdom, the Wildshine Kingdom, the Kingdom of Healing, Warding, Arcadia, and the Jynx Empire.

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