Shine Cycle Character Profile: Sibyl

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

Sibyl – In the Empire, a Visiting Scholar and bard; her primary citizenship is in Elvida, where she is one of Scarlet of Elvida‘s most trusted advisors. She is also a valued Imperial advisor, and spends about half her time in each country.

A tall, serene woman with straight graying brown hair hanging to her shoulders. She carries herself with an air of equanimity, and wears loose robes that reach but do not brush the floor as she moves.

In private and among friends, Sibyl is visibly and exuberantly outgoing, letting thoughts and emotions shine from her face, eyes, and gestures and pour out of her lips. In public, however, she has developed and carefully maintained a calm and composed demeanor, limiting her words and movements that could possibly convey meaning, so that what she does say is given greater weight by the rulers whose trust she enjoys.

Unlike her peers, who arrived en masse in Capitol in the Sunshine Kingdom, after disappearing from Earth Sibyl found herself on Elvida, just outside the gates of its capital. On entering the city, she found kindly strangers who took her in, explained the surroundings to her, and made introductions for her as she tried to find a place in this new society.

After trying her hand at a few low-paying temporary jobs, and taking the Elvidan civl service exam, she won a low-level position in the planetary government. Over the course of a few years, she built a solid reputation with her colleagues, and the few times it fell to her to make a formal report to and face questions from legislators, the court, or the public she proved remarkably personable and effective.

Scarlet, the Queen of Elvida, had only just recently returned from her own incognito trip to Earth, but was both struck by the unexpected appearance of a familiar face and impressed by her poise and competence. After Sibyl’s third audience with her, about two and a half years after Sibyl entered government service, Scarlet elevated her to her council of advisors.

About a year after that, Sibyl sought out a teacher and resumed her study of music; she had learned an instrument as a child, but let the skills lapse for most of her adult life, and now that she had more leisure time she invested it by resuming her musical education. Her teacher also unexpectedly, but gradually, uncovered and then nurtured a budding bardic potential.

Nearly a decade later, when Scarlet was elected to head the Elven Council, Sibyl accompanied her on her diplomatic visits to the other members of that body. These visits revealed facets of elven society, Elvida’s economy, and Scarlet’s personality that she had never seen before, and on their return from each trip she spent hours in the palace library for weeks afterward studying the background of her observations.

Several years after those visits, the Elven Council was asked to join the Alliance, and Sibyl accompanied Scarlet closely throughout the negotiations among the Elven Council’s leaders, serving as her personal aide. She also accompanied Scarlet on her first trips to visit the other Alliance members after the Elven Council eventually approved the proposal to join.

When they visited Capitol, Sibyl was surprised to see friends she had known on Earth, but kept the relationships light at first, expecting that she would visit again rarely; after they visited the Academy, however, its Headmistress asked her to stay there as a guest lecturer for at least a year, and Scarlet gave her blessing to that proposal.

Her talks during that period, on a variety of topics of interest to her, were widely attended by a broad cross-section of society; the Queen attended a handful of them, and was so struck by Sibyl’s good sense and wit that she invited her to join her personal advisory council. Not three weeks later, after Sibyl spoke in the full royal court, the Queen persuaded the King to name her one of his advisors as well.

From then on, with the consent of both monarchs, Sibyl divided her time between the courts of Elvida and the Shine and Wild Empire.

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