|Also known as||
Unnamed (mother) †
|Behind the scenes|
Asmira, alias Cyrine, was the captain of the guard of Queen Balkis of Sheba, and a master of Bartimaeus. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who had died protecting the previous queen. Her encounter with Bartimaeus would change her utterly, forcing her to confront the deepest truths about her life and her role in society.
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.
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.
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.
Appearance and characteristicsEdit
- "The First Guard has often spoken about your qualities. Quick, strong, and clever, she says. Unafraid..."
- —Queen Balkis to Asmira
Asmira had a very strong and independent personality, but was also extremely loyal to the Queen and the kingdom of Sheba. Having trained extensively to become a palace guard, Asmira was very well versed in martial arts, able to kill several men very quickly and 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.
Her looks were noted several times by independent sources, the Queen among them.