|Also known as||
Unnamed (mother) †
|Behind the scenes|
Asmira, alias Cyrine, was the captain of the guard of Queen Balkis of Sheba. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who had died protecting the previous queen. She would be a master of Bartimaeus.
Her encounter with Bartimaeus would change her utterly, forcing her to confront the deepest truths about her life and her role in society.
She was beautiful and capable.
Having trained extensively to become a palace guard, Asmira was well versed in martial arts. An example of her strength is she was able to quickly kill several men and she could throw knives with high accuracy.
She had some basic training in the magical arts, but only enough to deal with low-level demons like foliots and imps. Asmira later learnt the art of summoning.
Childhood and Quest to Jerusalem Edit
Asmira lived circa 950 B.C., during the prime of Solomon's rule. She spent her early life and childhood training to succeed her mother as a palace guard. To achieve this, she was trained not only in the martial arts, but also learned some basic magical techniques, among them Wards. When Asmira was six years old, her mother was killed protecting the Queen from an attack.
Several years later, when Asmira was seventeen, Solomon had recently sought the Queen of Sheba's hand in marriage. The Queen had previously refused, upon which Solomon sent a marid to both warn and intimidate the forces of Sheba. The marid delivered the warning and then left, but not before destroying a watchtower nearby. Angered at the injury, destruction, and (possibly) loss of life, Queen Balkis sent Asmira to assassinate King Solomon.
Asmira set out under the alias Cyrine, and, after a short altercation with some armed slavers, managed to get a ride in a camel train. This train was soon attacked in the desert by a roaming band of desert bandits. Asmira managed to escape from the carnage and kill some attacking djinni, but was discovered by two others that had noticed the carnage and decided to investigate: Bartimaeus and Faquarl. The meeting resulted in Asmira gaining entrance to Jerusalem (Solomon's city) by way of the two spirits' master, Khaba the Cruel.
Within the Palace of King Solomon Edit
As Cyrine, Asmira requested permission to see King Solomon. Instead, she was intercepted by Khaba, who had the intention of wooing her. He brought "Cyrine" to the magicians' table as a guest. As the magicians around her grew increasingly drunk, Asmira stole a bottle that had recently become the prison of Bartimaeus (as punishment by Khaba for previous misdeeds).
In a private place, Asmira destroyed Bartimaeus's prison by shattering the bottle, and then resummoned Bartimaeus. She charged him to take her to Solomon's private quarters. Although successfully bypassing the majority of Solomon's defenses, Asmira was tricked by an illusion and captured. During the resulting "interrogation", Solomon revealed that he had no knowledge of the marid that had been sent, nor had he endorsed any of its demands. Shocked, Asmira began to consider the possibility that all was not as it seemed.
Battle Within the Palace Edit
At this point Bartimaeus revealed himself and flaunted the Ring, having stolen it during the discussion. After some hesitation, Asmira commanded him to take it back to Sheba. On their way out, however, they were again intercepted by Khaba, who had this time brought a powerful marid. Khaba managed to gain control of the Ring in the ensuing confusion. His ownership of the ring did not last long. While distracted by exercising his newfound power, his finger was cut off by Asmira. Bartimaeus snatched up the finger (and more importantly the Ring around it) and fled to drop it in the nearby Sea.
Khaba had not given up yet. He summoned a troupe of demons to attack Asmira and Solomon, while waiting for his marid to return with the Ring. Within Solomon's private chambers, the two former enemies mounted a last stand with some magical artifacts, though they soon ran out of viable ammunition in time. Things only seemed to get worse as Khaba's marid reappeared, apparently having slain Bartimaeus and retrieved the Ring.
However, the marid was actually a disguised Bartimaeus. He knocked Khaba unconscious with a punch and then presented the Ring to Asmira. Flummoxed, Asmira demanded to know why he hadn't done as she commanded. Bartimaeus revealed that he had dropped the Ring into the sea—only to take it up again.
Soon after, Asmira returned the Ring to Solomon and then declined his offer to serve as his palace guard, instead leaving to seek out her own path and destiny.
Before parting ways, Asmira suggested to Bartimaeus that he should visit her and Sheba whenever he would be around. She dismissed the djinn.
- "The First Guard has often spoken about your qualities. Quick, strong, and clever, she says. Unafraid..."
- —Queen Balkis to Asmira
Asmira was extremely loyal to the Queen and the kingdom of Sheba for she was raised to be one, as a guard, and she aspired to be like her mother. She would have done anything the queen asked.
Her strong independent personality and moral ground would make her question her loyalty and what she believed in. Her nature was noticed by Bartimaeus when he hoped that she would be a key of his dismissal. She decided not to kill Solomon, breaking her order of assassination, when the king was powerless for she now knew the truth. She learned that the 17 magicians, not the king, was making threats and demands to the neighboring countries. And that Kings and Queens like Balkis and Solomon may be deceived and/or make mistakes.
She then understood that she was a slave "like a spirit", she was used and her skills abused by her Queen. Bartimaeus pointed out though that spirits have no choice to their master's orders but Asmira always had. She did not take Solomon's offer, for it was just trading a sovereign for another; and, her heart lies in Sheba, her homeland.
Her initial thoughts and attitude towards Bartimaeus was similar with everyone else's toward spirits. Her and the djinn's adventure taught them about each other. They would depart as friends.