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Selia was born with the gift of people-speaking. This ability allows her to look at a person and instinctively know the right words to say that will convince them to like her and do what she says. She presumably uses this ability to help her become the first and only lady-in-waiting in Crown Princess Anidori-Kiladra's retinue.
Selia invites Princess Ani to have tea with her and her mother, knowing that Ani needs practice conversing with people. Selia is at ease and gracious as always, a stark contrast to Ani's uncomfortable stammering. After the king's death, Selia stands at Ani's side during the burial and so is present when the queen mentions that she has chosen her second child, Calib, to be her heir instead of Ani, her firstborn. Selia is extremely indignant and urges Ani to confront her mother.
The queen coolly explains that Ani would never have been fully accepted by the people of Kildenree, so she has decided to send her daughter to the neighboring country of Bayern to wed their prince. Selia is displeased to hear of the queen's decision and stubbornly continues to call Ani by her full and original title of Crown Princess. She chides Ani for her passive compliance, but soon realizes the futility of her protests and begins to look forward to the journey.
As they travel through the countryside, Selia's good mood is a great comfort to the princess, who has never before left the palace gates. Selia is enthusiastic to reach Bayern and is often the center of attention, especially from a guard named Ungolad. Throughout the journey, Selia speaks with Ungolad privately and grows more distant and cool towards Ani. One night, Ani catches her holding one of her dresses up against herself. Ani confronts Selia about her chilly behavior and causes her lady-and-waiting's composure to finally crack, revealing that Selia has always been jealous that Ani was born a Crown Princess and yet did nothing but hide in her room. Freed from the biting words she has longed to say for years, Selia rejects Ani's friendship and quits her job as lady-in-waiting.
A week before the company is expected to reach the capital city of Bayern, Ungolad and half the escort mutiny, naming Selia as their princess by intending to kill Ani so Selia can steal her identity. Ungolad starts to move towards Ani, but as a loyal guard named Adon moves to stop him, he is quickly killed by a traitor named Ishta. A frightened Ani takes a horse and manages to escape into the woods as the sounds of battle chase her away. Selia and her fellow traitors are victorious and by midnight are digging graves for the slain men.
Selia makes an impressive entrance riding Falada into Bayern's capital where she effortlessly plays the part Princess Anidori. Soon after, she has Ungolad drive the horse mad so that she can have him put down, preventing Ani from reuniting with her horse and displaying their "oh-so magical bond", which would lead to awkward questions. Despite all the blood she's caused to spill, Selia spends her months in the palace working to win the prince's heart while enjoying the luxury and power that is available to her. She attends the wintermoon festival with the prince and has fun teasing him, but she is later told by Ishta that he and a fellow traitor, Yulan, had caught Ani at that very festival. However, she managed to escape them with the help of the local peace-keepers and Yulan was killed in the following struggle. Selia redoubles the search for Ani and begins to enact her plan that will prevent anyone from Kildenree, including royal envoys, Ani's siblings, and the queen, from ever exposing her.
Selia tells the king that Kildenree is plotting to attack Bayern and that she, Princess Anidori, was sent to act as a decoy and marry the prince to pretend all is well. She explains that she has grown to like Bayern and doesn't want to be a part of Kildenree's evil ways. Outraged, the king prepares Bayern for war.
It is decided that the wedding between Selia and Prince Geric will take place in a grand manor house on the way to war. Selia bribes the guards at the front gate, just in case Ani shows up with any big ideas. Sure enough, Ani attempts to gain access to the king by pretending to be her younger sister Napralina, as an emissary and witness to the wedding. Although she arrives with an escort of the worker friends she had made as a goose girl, the guards insist that she see the king alone. They lead her straight to Selia, who asks Ungolad if he can take her away from the estate quietly. But before he can, the king summons "Napralina" to his presence. Ani does her best to convince him of her true identity, but Selia's voice is too powerful. She offers Ani a peaceful resolution if she resigns, but Ani refuses and begs the king to listen to the testimony of Talone, the captain of Ani's escort who managed to survive the slaughter in the Forest. Although shocked to hear that Talone survived, Selia quickly implies that he is fickle and thus his word means nothing. Ani then tries to appeal to Geric, whom she had met when she was disguised as a goose girl, but Selia convinces the king that Ani is merely trying to use the prince "to win her little game", but she doesn't quite manage to convince the prince himself. The king, impatient, asks Selia to name the Kildenrean punishment for treason. With wicked glee, Selia invents a punishment consisting of being placed naked in a barrel full of nails and dragged throughout the streets by four white horses, much to Ani's horror.
At Geric's suggestion, the king decides to leave Ani alone with her countrymen in the hopes that they will achieve a suitable resolution. As soon as they leave, Selia kisses Ungolad deeply, elated at their triumph. Selia softly tells Ani how wonderful it has been to be her, and that even when she thought Ani was dead, she wished that Ani could see her former lady-in-waiting being her and doing it better. She once again offers Ani the chance at a peaceful resolution by talking the king down from the crime of treason and even sending her back to her goose herd if Ani agrees to say that she made everything up and that Selia is the real princess. Ani once again refuses. Knowing that nothing she can say will change Ani's mind, she asks Ungolad to cut her so they can claim Ani attacked her. Ungolad is extremely reluctant to cut his beloved Selia's skin, but he agrees to if he can kill Ani first so he can claim that he was defending Selia. Suddenly, they are interrupted by the king, Geric, and some guards, who burst through the tapestry behind them.
Geric had remembered that there is a secret passageway behind the throne so that a hidden advisor could whisper clever things to the previous lord of the manor. Geric had convinced his father to hide behind it so that they could overhear every word the Kildenreans said. A panicky Selia tries to cling to her claims of being the true princess, but quickly accepts that it's hopeless. Even so, the king still treats her with kindness and courtesy, believing that she herself did not kill anyone directly. He advises her to tell Ungolad to release Ani so they can all be judged fairly, but she demands they take Ani with them as guarantee that she and her fellow traitors will not be killed. Geric declines her request. Selia then tries to order Ani to persuade the king to let them go, but Ani senses a breeze and conjures up a wind storm with her wind-speaking talents. Fully fed up with Ani, Ungolad attacks, sparking a battle between the Kildenrean traitors and Talone, Ani's fellow animal workers, and the Bayern guards. In the chaos, Selia slips away.
She runs through the passageway behind the throne and attempts to escape through a window, but she's caught by Conrad, the goose boy, and is dragged back by her hair despite her vicious clawing at his hands. She doesn't bat an eye at all the Kildenrean bodies on the floor, not even Ungolad's. She's too angry to make her voice sweet enough to even try to convince the king to let her go, and he states that she herself named the punishment for treason. Panic seizing her, Selia stomps and screams in a mad effort to get away. The soldiers successfully carry a struggling Selia from the room while she thrashes and swears vengeance on the true Princess Anidori-Kiladra.
After the Execution Edit
As she waits in her jail cell for her execution, Selia befriends her jailer, Captain Brynn. She uses her people-speaking skills to convince him to free her and place some kind of animal in the barrel full of nails instead and suggested he bury the animal himself, so no one ever need know. She escapes to Tira where she stirs up animosity towards Bayern until the whole country is itching to go to war. However, the fire-speakers Leifer and Enna turn the tide against Tira and lead Bayern on a fiery path to victory. Intrigued by these "fire-witches", Selia finds out that the country of Yasid is home to certain people that seem to have nature-speaking and travels there to learn more. She brings back writings on fire-speaking to Tira and gifts them to a disillusioned captain named Ledel. He is easily enamored by Selia and readily accepts her suggestion to train Tiran soldiers in the arts of fire-speaking, agreeing with her idea to use them to rekindle the war between his country and Bayern. Triumphantly, Selia leaves him to it, heading for Kel just in case he fails.
Selia courts King Scandlan of Kel and effortlessly causes him to fall in love with her.
Physical Description Edit
Selia is three hands shorter than Ani and resembles her enough to be sisters. She has long blonde hair a shade darker than Ani's, once described as "a washed-out brown" rather than a true yellow. She is said to be beautiful and curvy and seems to enjoy wearing rich, flattering dresses and jewelry.
Selia's mother is the key-mistress of the White Stone Palace in Kildenree. Her mother seems proud of Selia's people-speaking abilities and appears to look to her daughter's talents for assistance. She supports her daughter's ambition and even forges a document and steals one of the queen's seals to sign it with in order to aid Selia's plan.
For much of Anidori's life in Kildenree, Selia is her only friend. Selia often attempts to help Ani practice her duties of being a crown princess, and is excessively offended when she finds out that the queen chose to transfer Ani's birthright as heir to the crown to her son Calib, deciding to marry Ani off to the prince of Bayern instead. On the long journey to Bayern, Selia is increasingly reluctant to serve Ani and soon reveals her true intentions of becoming royalty by killing Ani and stealing her name.
After revealing her dark plan to steal Ani's identity and start war between Kildenree and Bayern to cover up her bloody deeds, she is an enemy of both nations.
Ungolad: Throughout the journey to Bayern, Ani notices that one of her guards, Ungolad, seems to be smitten with Selia. He is hopelessly wrapped around Selia's finger and is her fiercely loyal second-in-command. Ungolad is genuinely protective of Selia to the point of obsession, reacting angrily when he thinks anyone is getting to close to her. At the end of The Goose Girl, he viciously fights Geric in single combat because he knows that the prince would have "shared [Selia's] bed." Too blinded by rage, Ungolad is fatally wounded. However, when Selia sees her lover's body, she doesn't even bat an eye.
King Scandlan: In Forest Born, King Scandlan of Kel is seduced by Selia and is so charmed by her, he intends to make her his bride. Although he knows deep down that she manipulates and overpowers him, she is also brilliant and tempting, a "rare fresh fruit when all the world [is] winter". He is deeply saddened by Selia's death.
- Selia, although prone to tantrums, can control her emotions with eerie speed.
- Selia is an exceptionally talented people-speaker. She becomes so skilled in her gift, it becomes almost impossible to resist the seductive power of her words. She can:
- Make her voice so pleasant and powerful that even when she is not speaking, the sound of her voice wraps itself around the minds of her listeners so that they long to hear it again.
- Read a person's body language extraordinarily well, helping her to detect when a person is lying or telling the truth.
- Give extra power to words, making them extremely convincing.
- Instinctively know which words will bend a person to her will just by studying their facial expressions and body movements.
- "You, what are you? The brat of lucky parents who were related to a childless king. There is no such thing as royal blood. I believe we are what we make ourselves, and as such, you, Crown Princess, are nothing."
- "Royalty is not a right, Captain. The willingness of the people to follow a ruler is what gives her power. Here, in this place, by this people, I have been chosen. These men are tired of being told whom to follow. Now they have a choice, and they use that choice to call me Princess."
- "Being a princess is more work than a lady-in-waiting. You should know; you have watched me most of your life... You have told me how you have felt being consigned to a life of servitude. I sympathize. I know you feel trapped by the narrowness of your occupation. To wait. To sit and wait and serve your mistress. I can understand it must be frustrating. But, princess?... As much as it is a burden at times, I'm not going to resign on your behalf."
- "I will die a queen."
- Selia is two years older than Ani.
- Selia is often compared to a cat, which is apt considering how she wants to hunt down and kill Ani, who is often compared to a bird.
- When Selia was a little girl, she would throw violent temper tantrums when she did not get her way. However, by age seven, she seems to have learned how to control herself.
- The animal workers of Bayern hear a rumor that Selia, posing as Princess Anidori, had twenty dresses made in the first few months since she entered the city.
- Selia claims to be allergic to horses, but Ani has seen her willingly enter a stable holding hands with an unknown man. Futhermore, Selia doesn't seem to have any problems riding or being near horses on the trip to Bayern.
- As the Queen of Kel, Selia's banner depicts a yellow lily.