Character Sketch: Lady Mallkyn

Tall, elegant, with large green eyes and the smile of a particularly clever cat, Lady Mallkyn, Countess of Carrell, is a woman whose main characteristic is selfishness. She is out for number one, always has been, and always will be. If it looks like she is showing pity or interest in someone other than herself, just follow the trail of breadcrumbs and you'll find that something is in it for her.

Medieval lady by Oneras
Medieval lady, a photo by Oneras on Flickr.
At the same time, though, we can see some of the things in her life that have made her what she is. She lives in a hard world: the aristocracy of a medieval land where class is paramount and the only way for a woman to advance is by marriage. Her parents knew this, and married her off at a startlingly young age to an older man who happened to be an earl, as well as a drunk. At the time she thought they were unjust and hated them for it, brooding on her pain for years. Then she changed. She decided, like so many do, to turn her pain into anger, and resolved to spend the rest of her life making that strategic marriage count for something. Ambition became her first aim in life.

Her favorite tactics are blackmail and manipulation by guilt. She does a lovely job of pretending to be generous, sweet, and innocent when necessary, then she turns right around and stabs her claws into the softest flesh she can find. She holds things over her enemies' heads, things they would rather forget and have kept secret--affairs, gambling debts, family scandals--threatening what they hold most dear in return for special services.

For years she put up with her husband, asserting her superior intellect whenever possible and making him look like an incompetent buffoon to everyone, but after a decade or so she grows quite tired of the game. She isn't content with a mediocre castle on a mediocre estate in a mediocre county; she wants a larger game to play.

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Constructive criticism is welcome! Please remember, though, that nearly every excerpt posted here is my first rough draft.