Lady Jan Kennex
Hold on to your butts, boots, and bottles. This is gonna get weird.
Description: Jan Kennex commands the space around her with dramatic height and physical strength, broad-shouldered, compactly muscled, and strong-jawed. Her voice - clarion and clipped - is purpose-built to cut through layers of bullshit. Her large, arresting eyes are a dark gray, fierce and stormy beneath fine, stark brows. Her hair is a short cap of dark gold waves, cut sensibly to stay out of her face, which accentuates the strong bones of her features. A white scar runs down her neck in a remnant of an unforgotten close call. While she has tattoos - a sea bird, a tidal wave, a running wolf - they are generally not visible.
Personality: Jan has the blunt, take no shit attitude of a military commander; there's not a trace of a noblewoman's grace in anything she does. It would be easy to dismiss her as nothing but a rough edged warrior -- in fact, many people do -- but there's a lot more to her than that. When Jan chose her true self over the life that her title and gender dictated, she made that choice with every fiber of her being, and with no apologies to anyone. She talks loud, drinks hard, and swears often because that's who she is, and Jan Kennex isn't interested in pretending to be someone she's not. The rest of the world can accept her, warts and all, or they can damned well get out of her way.
Background: Jan Kennex's first act in this life was punching Victoria (who had just delivered her) square in the nose with a tiny fist. She came into the world fighting, and she's been fighting ever since.
At first, Jan had to fight just to fight. Her mother was determined to make a lady out of her, and there was no way anyone would be willing to teach a girl to use a sword, anyway. Almost no one. Her younger cousin Ian was really weird and threw the occasional epic, screaming tantrum, but he was a prodigy with a blade, and he didn't care that she was a girl (she's not sure he even noticed). Jan practiced with him until he went to sea, and then she practiced alone.
But these two lives, the life she wanted and the life dictated by her gender, came into conflict as she grew from girl to woman. Her sister Catalana covered for her as long as she could, but now there was talk of setting up a marriage. Jan had to make a choice, and few people could have made the choice that she did. She left everything behind -- title, privilege, name -- and ran away to the mainland to become a mercenary... all with the knowledge that she might never be able to come home again.
It was a steep learning curve, but Jan's grit saw her through. She took to mercenary life, and her natural leadership skills and noble bearing marked her for command. When the commander of her company was killed in a skirmish, she was elected by the rest of the company to replace him. With every victory (and every fat payday), their loyalty grew. They trusted her, so when she got the news that the ban on Isleswomen in the military had been lifted and she proposed becoming oathsworn Kennex fighters, they agreed to follow her, even though most of them thought that the 'Lady Jan' thing had to be a joke.
Jan returned triumphant with a battle hardened group of new recruits to the Kennex corsairs, every last one of them personally loyal to her. The corsairs were in a sorry state at that time -- ill disciplined and ill trained -- and Jan lobbied hard to be put in command so she could smarten everyone up to her high standards. There was a lot of shouting, and Ford had his vocabulary forcibly expanded, but Jan got her way.
As captain of the corsairs, Jan saw the men and women under her command through the chaos after the thralls were freed, through the carnage of the pirate war at Setarco, through the assassination of Ford and Kennex's rise from the ashes. Only a few people of her original mercenary band are left, but those that have replaced them, while a bit scruffy and not always given to fair and honorable fighting, have become just as loyal. She knows there will be fighting to come, and she and her corsairs are ready.