Standing less than a hand's width below six feet, Serafima is unusually tall for a Zamoran woman. Taken together with her pale green eyes this hints at an admixture of foreign blood in her veins, perhaps Brythunian as Zamoran soldiers take many girls as slaves from that land. There is an element of the stereotypically Brythunian to her figure as well, specifically the lush fullness of her breasts. They have caught the eye of many an unwelcome male who has in turn overlooked the way that nearly fifteen years of practising swordplay and campaigning as a mercenary have hardened the rest of her womanly curves and thickened her body with muscle. In consequence such men often find themselves measuring the length of the tavern floor seconds after making a lewd suggestion.
In appearance she is more striking than classically beautiful. Her hair is the midnight black for which the daughters of Zamora are famed, and her sun-tanned skin is as dark as any on the streets of Shadizar. She bears the marks of her profession in the many scars that cross her body. The vast majority are virtually invisible to the naked eye but more apparent to the touch. More obvious is the tattoo on her upper arm reading "Hell or plunder", the unofficial motto of the Free Companies. Her expression is normally wary and watchful, her eyes becoming professionally appraising whenever someone new enters her orbit.
The course of Serafima's life has been driven by a desire for independence. To gain her independence she ran away from home at the age of fifteen, and to defend it she took up the sword. Her career as a mercenary has taught her that danger is an inescapable companion who must often be greeted with sudden violence. Thus her normal manner is one of reserved wariness. This wariness is most marked around men, a childhood in Shadizar and adulthood amongst the Free Companies having given her a somewhat prejudiced view of the sex. However, if approached with politeness and treated with respect she relaxes, although never completely. Though she does not dislike men as a whole, in her career she has met very few that she does like and she is always very careful to avoid putting herself in the power of any man.
Serafima would probably classify herself as a professional solider, hardened and cynical. While broadly true this overlooks the fact that she is given to acts of kindness towards those who touch her sympathies in some way. It also ignores the growing tendency towards self-examination that she has experienced since leaving the Free Companies, as she looks at her life and considers what she has achieved and what she has not. However, in combat she puts aside such abstract thoughts, combining her viperish speed with a level of intensity and viciousness in attack that earns her the respect of even the most hardened mercenary.
"I am Serafima of Zamora.
"It seems to be the way of things that the older a civilisation, the more wicked and decadent it is. And Zamora is oldest of all. In Zamora a woman is either for domestic service or she is for... entertainment. My father thought to sell me in marriage to a fat merchant. When I tried to disabuse them of such notions they cursed me and called me a she-devil. So I took my leave of them.
"Disguising myself as a boy, I travelled into the west. I knew that a woman does not have the physical strength to get what she wants in life. So I concluded that to get what I wanted I must take it at the point of a sword. My path eventually took me to Zingara, where both the famed fencing schools and the dark back alleys provide lessons in swordplay. I learned and I learned quickly so that when I could no longer pass as a boy I had skill enough to stand as a free woman.
"I drifted into the Free Companies, where a sword can earn coin no matter the hand that wields it. Still, obstacles placed themselves in my way. By the time I was twenty I had killed five men in duels and nearly another dozen in tavern brawls of one kind or another. I fought for pay in Zingara, as that kingdom slid into chaos and civil war. When things became unprofitable the Free Companies went east, taking contracts in places like Koth and Khoraja and Corinthia, and ultimately Turan. There we parted company, as I finally chose to seek out my own path.
"I am Serafima of Zamora. I am no one's property, no one's chattel. I am a free woman and I intend to stay that way, at a sword's point if need be."