Thistle entered the Ducal Scouts at the age of twenty, fresh out of her life as a chalk harvester of the White Cliff, where a sudden decline in demand had wrung the life out of their business.
Her instinct for traversing precarious places served her well in her classes: she performed so well that she was awarded a warrant to become a commander almost as soon as she graduated training, which naturally whetted her appetite for commandeering. Her first assignment was with the Left Vanguard, escorting a team of researchers through the western zones of the Third World. It was there that Thistle became familiar with their team's resident botanist, Apra, and eventually, despite all her efforts at keeping their relationship businesslike, became romantically involved with them.
When the assignment ended, Thistle resigned from her position so that she could go home and get married to Apra. With it she forefeited her warrant and her chances of ever receiving another. They lived together in Apra's town on the outskirts of the Duchy for a year, but as more of the Third World was discovered and Apra was inevitably summoned by the Duchess to rejoin the force, Thistle found herself alone and restless.
She, too, soon returned to the Ducal Scouts, but this time without the good graces she had enjoyed the first time. Holding still onto her ambition of becoming a commander, she went into her job with more fervour than before. But she was soon to encounter a stubborn roadblock to her advance: a superior more dedicated than she, who would never contemplate leaving her position—thereby transferring it to Thistle—of her own accord.