I've known Alsbeth for a very long time, since we were both girls in the Court of Mathos. She was the daughter of a minor Mathosian noble who fell to disgrace when he murdered his wife and her young lover. She could never fully rid herself of the shroud of that disgrace. We both attended Quicksilver College, and she was, even then, power hungry.
Let me give you some insight into the girl I knew. It will help explain the woman she is now.
She and I were almost friends, you know. We were both interested in magics that others thought were forbidden. But after that day, we were no longer friends. I was kicked out of Quicksilver, and she was applauded. Still, I thought her no better or worse than a ruthless social climber, trying to be rid of her rival for prestige in the school. I never could have predicted she'd go so far as to sacrifice Telara for her ambitions.