She's interesting in that she is a character that the reader of the comic book will never actually meet. She dies five years before Our Story Begins. You never see Jessa through her own eyes; you see her as a martyr for her cause.
You see her through Capri's eyes and Fenris's eyes, is how you see her, and that's a good place to start...
You know how, when you're a kid who's close to your mother, you see her as the most beautiful person in the whole wide world? That's Jessa through Capri's eyes. When your mom dies before you're a teenager, when she dies fighting to protect you, your mom will always be glorious and perfect in your eyes. She will always shine in memory with a beatific glow.
And Fenris? She wasn't his first lover, but she was his first, last, and only love. But a man like Fenris is not blind to imperfection. He remembers her beauty, he remembers her fierceness and unreserved love, but he remembers her flaws as well.
Who was Jessa?
She was a typical Tamrani female, physically, save for her eyes. Petite, yes. Taller than Julia. It's hard for me to evaluate, since I can't picture her in the sort of usual-suspects I can muster for most of my characters, just because she's never been written with most of them - or, if she has, it was before they were full-grown. Picturing Jessa next to ten-year-old Halloran doesn't help. No, Jessa appears in my mind next to Fenris or Marcus, neither of whom were exceptionally tall. (Actually, Marcus looks not entirely unlike harkalark, but with shorter hair, now that I think of it.) Or with Capri, but Capri as a child or preteen. So. Jessa is small, but taller than me - possibly 5'2" to 5'4". Wheat-gold hair, worn long until her rift with Fenris; in her time away from the city, she cuts it short, but then lets it grow out again. It was waist-length at its longest, and is about at the mid-to-bottom of her shoulderblades at the time of her death. Those non-standard Tamrani eyes? A bright leaf-green.
Jessa was always in motion. Martial arts training at the Sanctuary, dance training from her childhood on up. She wears long skirts, circle skirts; she wears things that move with her.
One of the reasons I'm writing her is to get to know her better - not the saint in memory, but the fumbling, frustrated, fierce person she was.
I freeze. So does Seth. Nicholas is grinning like a fool, and everyone else is just watching. Seth stands up, hands tightening into fists, anger rising, and for a moment I swear I think he’s going to hit Nicholas. “No,” he growls.
My heart drops again. He doesn’t want…
“It’s Truth or Dare, man,” Nicholas says, laughing weakly.
Seth shakes his head. “No. Not like this. Not – kissing Jessa is – it is not a game.” And he turns and stalks off into the night.
Nicholas turns to me, opening his mouth, but I head him off. “Not cool, Nick.” And I get up, dropping my pine needles, and follow Seth into the night.
I find him at the low stone wall, and sit beside him. He’s radiating tension. I put my hand on his arm, and he jerks away. “Nicholas was being an asshole,” I say quietly.
“It wasn’t funny.”
“No. It wasn’t.”
“Some joke,” he says bitterly. “Me. Kissing you. Beauty and the Beast. Something for them to laugh at.”
“Is that what you-“
“I’m a fucking joke to them.”
“Seth – Seth, no.”
“Nothing but –“
He turns to me, jaw clenched. I bite my lower lip. “It wasn’t a joke! At least, not on you.”
“On you? Making you kiss me?”
“See the half-trained animal maul the-“
“Stop!” I cry, distressed. He does, astonished by the tone of my voice. “It’s not like that!”
“What is it like?”
I take a shuddery breath. “Seth – oh, gods, Seth. I have been wanting to kiss you for months.”
“Months. I can hardly think of anything else sometimes. Nicholas knows – it was Nicholas who kissed me, who wanted – and I told him I couldn’t, told him that I was in love with you –“
I press on. “And I think he was actually trying to help, back there. I didn’t read any malice off of him. But – that was wrong, all wrong. You – you shouldn’t have found out like this. And our first kiss – if we ever have one – shouldn’t be on a dare.”
“Nicholas is an asshole,” I finish bitterly.
Mmm. More later, I think. Time to get up and move around.