Witch, n. (1) Any ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.
—Amrbose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
Made me laugh when I asked Camila permission to use Mauve for Sartorially Smart Heroines and she warned me: “Mauve is no heroine, she falls somewhere between the anti-hero and villain archetypes.” Which is perfectly fine with me: I admire good villainesses and keep intending to show them more love on the blog. (I’m always open to requests, folks. If you have a smartly dressed villainess you’d like to see a writeup for, feel free to let me know!)
On top of not conforming to the pointy-hat, black-robes cliché, I like that Mauve’s outfit looks like something scavenged, rather than purchased. Indeed, the first character she made me think of was Morrigan, the “witch of the wilds” from the Dragon Age series, but with more torso protection. While Mauve looks more… playful than Morrigan, I like that neither of their outfits exactly look tailor-made.
I love that Mauve’s leather cuirass looks pieced together from various bits she scavenged from other leather armors. Her torso is protected by a large leather section held on by leather straps and harnesses. It’s hard to tell from the picture if the chest piece covers her sides and back as well, but I suspect that it does, offering basic protection in light melee. Her shoulders are kept safe from disabling blows by two leather pads, also held on by leather straps.
Mauve keeps her hands protected by a pair of long, light leather gloves, for unimpeded glaive handling and intricate spell-casting gestures. I like, too, that she layers up with her white, long-sleeved shirt and blue tunic, both looking either looted, stolen, or scavenged. A pair of long pants protect her legs during treks through rugged wilderness. Finally, long, leather boots keep her feet and legs intact during light combat and long journeys.
Rather than a magic staff, Mauve’s weapon of choice is a glaive: a polearm that can be used equally effectively for stabbing or slashing opponents. I’ve always rather liked glaives; I feel they’re a sadly underused weapon in fantasy stories and historical recreations—particularly given that they were used to great effect for hundreds of years in both Europe and Asia. And they work far better than a spear for dueling or other single combat. Our wild witch’s backup weapon is a simple dagger for self-defense, utility, or perhaps even ritualistic uses.
“[M]agnificent, mischievous bastard,” was the description Camila gave for the charming Mauve, and I like to think Cam succeeded in this portrayal. Our clever caster looks rough—battered even—but in no way a victim. The scars on her face likely came from fights she started (and probably finished). All in all, I see in her a tough, smart, self-reliant character: qualities I admire and look for in heroines and villainesses alike.
Huge thanks to Camila for letting me borrow Mauve for a bit. Feel free to check out her work on Facebook, Tumblr, and CG Society. As always, thanks so much for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!