She was a sorceress and thus of a high rank in her town. The people of Coney Crossing had depended on Helsa. She helped with those who were ill or hurt. She advised people on matters of community and those of family. For some she arranged marriages. For some she meted out discipline. For some she bestowed favors available only through magic. She was a sorceress; she protected the people of Coney Crossing. She was revered openly. By some, she was feared and loathed privately. Together with her husband she chose Abby's husband. As it turned out the chose the right man as Abby learned to depend on him and loved him deeply when her child Jana was born.
Abby was her only daughter and her birth was hard. She and Abby were dying in labour. When Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander's father used magic to save her. Helsa begged him to save her daughter too. In order to keep her in the world of the living and out of the Keeper’s grasp, without thought to his own safety, he worked far beyond the endurance anyone would expect of a wizard.
Helsa understood the extent of what was involved in saving Abby's life. In appreciation of what Zedd's father had done, she swore a debt to him. When she died, the debt passed to Abby.
Abby used Helsa's skull in order to prove Zedd that he owed her a debt, as she wrongfully thought.