Cymbeline is friendly, bright, sharp
Cymbeline is of average height, and clearly
exercises a lot. Her hair is braided in cornrows, accentuating
her chiseled features and dark, almond-shaped eyes. She
wears loose-fi tting, practical clothes.
As a child, Cymbeline Hand was too pretty and too good
at sports to be unpopular. But she never really had any close
friends. She was always distant. Her teachers noticed it. So
did her parents. They’d come over from Ghana shortly before
she was born, and were desperate for their little girl to fi t
in. The child psychologist said that her disconnection came
from feeling as if she was not part of any country, that this
was common among the children of immigrants and that she
was bright and resilient enough to grow out of it.
It was more than that. The psychologist’s interpretation
didn’t explain the dreams that Cymbeline had been having,
practically since she was born. She’d been told in her sleep
that she was destined for something, that she wasn’t who
she thought she was, that she was something more. At 18,
Cymbeline Awakened. It came as little surprise to her, as if
Awakening were the culmination of every moment of her
life up until then.
But her Awakening was no more than a step along a longer
road. There was someone else in the Watchtower with her.
Her, but not her. The dreams have become more vivid, more
frequent. A mirror that isn’t a mirror. The Eyes of Salt. A Heart
Full of Flies. A village. A Body Orchard. A woven mantle,
stitched with sigils. A sky heavy with storm clouds.
Cymbeline has become obsessed. She needs to follow this
through. She needs to fi nd her way. She took to traveling.
The dreams govern where she goes. When Cymbeline settled
in a Consilium far from home, she did so for a reason. Curiosity
— or some other urging — led her to discover that
the Provost’s collection of artifacts included the Eyes of
Salt — real, hard, cold and tangible. She found where they
were kept and broke in, three nights in a row, spending the
whole night staring at them. The fourth night, she took them
without even thinking, and ran away.