She is not a wealthy person, but still given to snobbery: she believes (not incorrectly) that she is smarter than most of the people on the streets. She has an equally positive picture of scholars, who are - compared to her - a bunch of sissies. She's a bit of a homebrew scholar, novice alchemist and herbalist (thanks to her mother's insistence that her child learn a bit of her trade) and a certified armchair philosopher who has no intentions of duking it out with real scholars.
Helmine favours large cities despite the fact that she despises the residents (she despises villages more). Currently her home is located in the attic room of a house in a southern trading port, here she lives perfectly alone with a collection of books and things she has scrounged up. Her mother and stepfather live in a small village with three other children, all younger than Helmine. They don't really have any contact with her.
She rather fancies someone she can't have, but is pessimistic enough to not give it a shot anyway. Helmine's few friends are (ironically) a truly clueless silly girl, her annoying know-it-all brother (who seems to think himself smarter than Helmine, which naturally ticks Helmine off) and a couple of other women or men who have worked as servants and waitresses - the very same field she started from after leaving her "pissant, backwater home". Helmine's one and only confidante is the clueless, silly girl, whose simplicity she nonetheless envies greatly. Her friendships, even that one, are all strictly surface level ones.
Helmine once served in the army of the not quite so tiny kingdom she was living in at that time. She describes it as both the worst and best time of her life, since she obviously considered most of her scout peers utterly retarded. The initial months of training, marching and getting yelled at by pompous bastards gnawed at her relatively thin patience.
Of course being with the scouting parties was a hint better than being stuck with the simple foot soldiers. If nothing else, there were opportunities for her. At some stage it was noted that she was not only intelligent, wily and capable of giving very detailed reports - but also surviving some of the crazier things. The ambitious creature found herself going deeper and deeper into enemy territory.
Her training in the assassin's craft was surprisingly ad hoc and happened (surprise!) by chance when she ended up behind enemy lines with a local legend of sorts, Borin the Black Eye. They spent a week wandering behind enemy lines and generally avoiding enemy patrols, causing many a verbal confrontation between two would-be armchair philosophers (and one would-be poet, although it has to be said Borin had a flair for metaphor). There was no more to it than simple camaraderie by the time Borin found his quarry, but due to a few (hilarious) setbacks, Helmine was the one finally pulling the trigger of Borin's curious southern firearm.
Borin retired some months afterward, much to the chagrin of an already irate Helmine, who had had enough of the man's infuriating nature - well, mostly anyway. She found the army seemed to have decided there was a certain call for someone as sneaky as she was - or at least someone Borin recommended as a replacement for himself. She never quite forgave him that one last deliberate act at trying to annoy her.
After the two year war ended in a somewhat disappointing peace (for a rather right-wing Helmine at least), Helmine found herself out of job and making ends meet by taking refined jobs such as barmaiding and teaching children (suffice to say she hated it with a passion). Even then she had the tendency of exploring rumours, but often finding only looted ruins (except for a few lucky strikes when she was down on her luck).
Six months after her leave from the army, she was approached by old acquaintances - none of whom she really liked - with job offers she couldn't quite well refuse. Since the first few jobs she has developed a neurotic tendency to research her marks before saying yes or no to job offers, though whether or not this is due to a guilty conscience or simple thoroughness remains a question Helmine does not hurry to answer.
Incidentally, her last job (an on-off one) has been Junior Tyrant in an orphanage.
She is impatient with people, yet perfectly patient with inanimate things and has a habit of snapping at those who seem to expect a great deal from her. Helmine is not above meaningless small talk, but often seems snotty and barely disguises her condescending attitude. Helmine is supremely confident in her abilities (she may look as if she sometimes doubts her luck, but will never admit to it).
Helmine is also utterly convinced that the world around her is either retarded or full of weaklings. Take your pick. The few individuals that seem to fit neither bill are people she dislikes just out of habit or spite.
By all appearances, Helmine appears to be a half-elf (she is). She is about 5'7" (roughly 170cm) with a rather firmer build than one would expect from a woman who has last worked as a cook and general tyrant in an orphanage.
She greatly resembles Sebastian, but differs obviously in gender. Her features are softer than Sebastian's, but she has the look of a perpetually annoyed person.
Helmine keeps her hair short enough to keep out of her face with simple hair devices or just otherwise, but long enough to appeal to her (ultimately only human) vanity. Her choice of dress depends, but she is most often seen with a proper skirt around the orphanage. (The children know it's bad when she shows up wearing trousers and a tunic.) She favours blue, black and dark grey.