Bremerton: A Study in Grey
Lieslotte is Vivienne’s best friend, and the other member of the Lovelace Girls. She was born in Saarbrucken, in Saarland, Germany, and is the only child of Hans and Jana Hofmann. Her mother was a primary school teacher, and her father is a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. She has always been a very shy girl, much more comfortable with computers and animals than with other people. Her shyness only increased when her mother died from pancreatic cancer when Lieslotte was eight.
Her magic first manifested when she got lost on a camping trip after stopping to watch a deer in the woods. Shortly afterwards, she was offered a place in a very private secondary school. Her father wasn’t thrilled at the idea of letting his child go off to Cologne, but was eventually convinced by the school’s emphasis on working with children with social and psychological issues. Which it did, although Erik Hofstadter’s tutelage was geared much more to elementary magic than to cracking Lieslotte’s shell.
Lieslotte’s mother’s fast but painful death had hardened Lieslotte’s fear and abhorrence of death. Which was made unfortunately ironic by her sheer destructive capacity. While she absolutely refused to have anything to do with fire evocation, she was incredibly skilled and disciplined in using earth, air, and spirit magics offensively.
It was at Warden training that Lieslotte and Vivienne met. They were about the same age, and they both spoke French, so they were assigned at roommates for their first Warden training colloquium. Just as much as working with the counselors at her school, this accident was fantastic for Lieslotte’s psyche. Vivienne had been abandoned by her mother and aunt at the same time that Lieslotte had lost her own mother, and was now coping with having to treat her father, stepmother, and half-siblings as dead, as well as getting back her mother, only to be abandoned again. Vivienne might not understand everything Lieslotte was dealing with, but she understood enough to sneak empathy under Lieslotte’s armor.
The pair became thoroughly fast friends, and Vivienne even pulled Lieslotte out of her shell enough to sneak out of the castle. James Fraser had actually been born and raised in Edinburgh, and he was constantly trying to get out from underneath the stultifying atmosphere of a gerontocracy. He was aided and abetted in this by his best friend, a wargamer and social hacker from Sweden, Magnus Forsberg. Magnus loved puzzles, and adored the ability to get into places where he really shouldn’t be. (He and Vivienne could talk about maths and cryptography for hours on end, when they weren’t talking about the cross-linkages of magic and physics.) James and Magnus found what they considered to be a foolproof way out of the keep and into Edinburgh proper. (And it was, the first time. The second time, they were detected, and the gap in security fixed. But as a reward for ingenuity, Captain Luccio let them use it a few more times before warning the trainees of a change in security protocol. Whereupon Magnus and Vivienne took it on themselves to find a new way out, and so forth.)
Lieslotte was the one who caught James and Magnus sneaking out the first time, and as a bribe, they boys took Lieslotte and Vivienne with them. The four of them got very little sleep for the rest of the colloquium, spending half their nights sneaking out to a series of pubs, mostly near the university, where it was easier for the group to blend in.
The great bet came about after one of the multiple times Lieslotte would get hit on, have a nice conversation, and then be asked for her number. “What’s going to happen when one of them that actually seems interesting comes up?” she sighed.
One thing led to another, beer was drunk, more arguments were had, and in the morning, it was the Lovelace Girls versus the Babbage Boys in a race to create the first wizard enabled cell phone. While most of the rest of their cohort weren’t as scientifically minded as Lieslotte, Vivienne, and Magnus, most of them were easily roped in for a chance at the end product. Lieslotte, as the woman with the most experience with cell phones and computers, soon found herself the head of a budding research group, and one of the most popular girls in Edinburgh. Much to her surprise, she became, if not a terribly good leader, at least a tolerably good PI, learning how to tailor questions and assignments to a particular person, how to synthesize information form wildly different sources, when to step in, and when to bring others together and step aside herself. It was the opposite of a rude awakening, a gradual understanding that she could be good at something in the magical world.
Lieslotte’s finesse with potently destructive magic means that the wardens have no choice but to keep her in the field. But her distaste for its usage has hindered much of her actual magical ability, and while she has very recently been inducted as a full wizard, she still works as a partner to her master. Her friends still worry about her stability, and have all worked very hard to stay in contact with her. Vivienne and Magnus send her letters at least once a week, while James generally writes two or three times a week. While Lieslotte is sweetly dismissive of their concern for her, there are many times that she has wondered what would happen if they were to stop writing. So she continues to work on electronics, continues to write to her friends, and grits her teeth whenever she goes into a deadly situation. A deeply believing Catholic, she prays every day for the war and to be able to leave the Wardens.