Theda (pronounced thā·də) was apprenticed to Cirna in Spring of 898, shortly before she turned 13. She graduated to adept status seven years later, in 905. Her training in magic was interrupted for several months in 903, when she left Sorret to join the Kimrin army, which had been raised two years earlier by The Order. She had first heard of The Plan when she was only a couple of months into her training, in 898, after her master returned from that year's Pilgrimage. Even then, Theda supported the ideals of the Plan, and hoped to take part in the Coming of the Order. Of course, at the time, Cirna believed Theda to be far too young and inexperienced, a concern that persisted in 901, when armies were secretly being raised in the Northern Alliance villages. By then, Theda was 16, and had a few years of training as a Sorreter's apprentice, and she again broached the subject with her master. But Cirna again said she was too young. However, two years later, when she turned 18, Theda said she was old enough to make her own decisions, and this time, Cirna agreed. So, she took a leave from her studies, and went to Kimrin.
It was during the war that she first became involved with an adept named Benton, who was a year older than her. He had completed his own magical studies in 902, and joined the army immediately thereafter. While he'd had a different master, the two of them had had a few classes together with secondary instructors. They'd been friendly acquaintances, but never really close, back in Sorret. But now that they were serving in the same unit, they became much closer friends. After the war, Benton remained in the Army, while Theda returned to Sorret, to complete her studies. However, they kept in touch via t-mail, and after Theda graduated in 905, she went back to Kimrin and rejoined the Army. By then, Benton had become a sergeant, which prompted Theda to work harder to catch up with him. She did so in 907, and the two of them had a bet over which would make lieutenant first. However, their rivalry was entirely friendly, and in 908, they began dating.
In 904, when the surname law was passed, Theda's family chose the name 'Bow,' because many of them were proficient archers. She herself had become rather handy with bow and arrows during the war, but for her the name had a secondary meaning: before becoming an apprentice Sorreter, she'd studied cello for three years. While her interest in it dwindled a bit during her teenage years, she never entirely abandoned it, and in her twenties, she rekindled that interest, even joining a local band. (One of the band's members was a singer named Sevara, who was married to Stavros Supprus, the colonel in charge of Theda's regiment.) Meanwhile, Benton took the surname 'Faraway.'
In 910, Theda and Benton were both promoted to lieutenant on the same day, so the bet officially ended in a draw (though Theda liked to joke that she'd actually won, since she attained the rank sooner after becoming a sergeant than Benton had). Their promotions meant that they no longer served in the same platoon; while Benton gained command of his, Theda was given command of another. In 912, Benton's platoon aided Colonel Supprus in the rescue of The Chaos and Vallus, who had been imprisoned illegally by Colonel Charles Woodman of the Near Port regiment. However, there were a number of other people besides that one platoon, in not only Kimrin, but also Near Port and Port, who Supprus knew would be on his side, in opposition to The Cabal. Theda herself was aware of Supprus's investigations, but wasn't entirely convinced that the Cabal even existed. However, in the course of the rescue, Benton was killed by René Deadzone. His death hurt her very deeply, of course, and it made her rethink her political position.
Later, when Supprus and Benton's platoon had been imprisoned in Near Port, and were expected to be executed on charges of treason, Marshal Poss Primus obtained a secret list of people Supprus trusted, and Theda's name was on that list. While Primus knew he was being watched by agents of the Cabal, so he couldn't contact anyone on the list himself, there were a number of soldiers he knew he could trust to act as go-betweens with Supprus's people. It was Theda herself who came up with a plan to rescue the prisoners. At one point during the war, she had spent time on a merchant vessel called the Java Junk IV, which had been pressed into service, and was later sunk in battle against the Protestants. She knew that the clan and trading company that owned the ship resented that fact. So she now contacted that clan, and arranged for them to smuggle the prisoners out of Near Port, after making one of their usual shipments of tea and coffee to the Army and Navy bases there. Thus, after Primus arranged for their transfer out of the dungeon Woodman had them in, Supprus and the platoon were secretly loaded onto the Java Junk V.
Theda quit the Army, returning to her family's home in Sorret. She declined to take part in the ensuing Chaos War, not wanting to take the chance of having to fight her former comrades. However, she teach Cameron Piper a spell her old master had taught her during her training: the enchantment of a spell device called a wind generator. Piper then produced more wind generators, which he provided to the Chaos's pirate allies (who would later form the foundation of the Chaos Navy), thereby eliminating an advantage that been held by the Navy ever since 901.