So what is it about bandit girls? There are plenty of real-life stories about women who have taken up sword and pistol to join the ranks of villains. Pearl Hart robbed stagecoaches in the US West. Phoolan Devi was India’s Bandit Queen.
That’s why I’m happy that my Yvienne Mederos joins the ranks of bandit girls the world (and secondary worlds) over.
Did you know: The working title of The Sisters Mederos was Bandit Girls. I was all in on a story about two gutsy sisters who fought back against their enemies, one with a silver-chased pistol, and the other with magic and her skills at cards.
Even before I know the entire story that would become TSM and later, Fog Season, the sisters were the crux of the tale. They argued and annoyed one another and stood by each other the way sisters can and do. That’s why I dedicated The Sisters Mederos to my sisters. But even more than sisters, they are also heroes, and what are heroes but misunderstood villains? 🙂
When Yvienne Mederos first came to me as a full-fledged character, I knew she was going to be more than just the “good girl” foil to her wild child little sister Tesara. She was the always the smartest girl in Port Saint Frey; the most diligent, the most likely to follow in her parents’ footsteps and cement the stature of the family merchant house as the wealthiest and most successful in the city.
The thing about good girls is, when they stop being good, they are very very good about being bad. At age fourteen Yvienne Mederos vows to get revenge on the enemies of House Mederos. Six years later, she makes good on her vow.
The Bandit Girl’s First Time
You never forget your first time… Yvienne starts her life as the Gentleman Bandit of Port Saint Frey thanks to three drunken dolts who try her last nerve.
From The Sisters Mederos:
“Ho, there, villain!” a man shouted. Yvienne jumped back, fumbling for her pistol. The man reeled tipsily and his friends held him up. “Who is it? Who goes there?” He giggled. “Where are we?”
He reeked of spirits. Under the dim light she could make out his evening cape and his elegant shoes, the worse for wear in this weather. He swayed, and his two friends had to hold him up.
“Now, boy, tell us where we are and be quick about it!” snapped one of the young men in a lordly way. “Which way to House Saint Frey?”
House Saint Frey? They had drifted so far off course in the fog they would end up in the harbor if they kept going. She was about to tell them that, when the second man said drunkenly, “Don’t talk to him, Bror. He’ll just try to pick your pocket. Oldest dock trick in the book. Did you see that? Ran into us. Check my pockets.” He tried, but only succeeded in groping his sides ineffectually.
“Poor scrawny feller,” said the third friend, as drunk as the other. “They train them up as children, you know. Orphans. Beaten until they learn to lift a wallet as gently as a bee takes nectar. It’s lovely, really. My mother formed a benevolent reform society.”
“Can’t reform them,” the first drunk objected. “Press-gang ’em, maybe. Better to die at sea than rob their betters.” He swayed forward and said loudly and slowly, “Beg our pardon, beggar boy, and we won’t thrash you.”
Yvienne had had enough. She drew the pistol, aiming it at the man’s nose. “I have a better idea. Your wallets. Now.” She held out the satchel, inviting them to drop their money in it. For a moment there was nothing but heavy breathing. Then, remembering, she cocked the pistol, the small metallic sound ringing out in the fogbound street. The reaction was dramatic. The three men drew out their wallets and dropped them into the satchel. Yvienne kept her pistol aimed at them as she stepped back out of the light.
“A pleasant evening to you, sirs, and thank you for your contribution.” She faded into the fog and the darkness, and took off running.
This of course leads to many more feats of villainy and banditry, including daring escapes, ballroom robberies, and finally, the unmasking of the evil enemies that brought down House Mederos. In so doing, she captures the imagination and even the hearts of the young ladies (and some young gentlemen) of Port Saint Frey, who think she is a handsome he.
If you like bad girl heroes, The Sisters Mederos and Fog Season are waiting for you.