Malta has an older brother, Wintrow, and a younger brother, Selden. Doted upon by her parents, especially her father, Malta becomes spoiled, vain, and manipulative. Malta is disdainful of her mother and her grandmother, both of whom she perceives as ineffective and unnecessarily harsh on her. Although she is initially preoccupied with her own social and romantic pursuits, Malta matures as her family faces hardship.
She begins the series as a spoiled brat but gradually matures.
Malta attends the Traders' meeting with her family, but is bored by the proceedings. Outside of the concourse, she meets Reyn Khuprus, who she finds mysterious and alluring despite mistaking him for a coachman. He gives her a scarf studded with flame jewels, and Malta gives him her glass of wine, not realizing that the exchange of personal items constitutes a mutual agreement to begin a courtship.
When Reyn sends her a Rain Wild dream-box, Ronica and Keffria discover Malta's actions and are furious with her. Malta does not agree with their dire assessment of the situation. She believes the courtship to be of little consequence and is outraged at being forbidden to access her gift. Malta sneaks the dream-box out of her mother's room and opens it; she then shares a dream with Reyn that involves a traditional bridal kidnapping.
On the day of the Paragon's launch, Malta accompanies her family to the Bingtown docks, where she meets Amber. Amber is intrigued by Malta, which Malta finds uncomfortable. Malta unexpectedly faints on the dock, and Amber revives her by pressing her Skill-coated fingers to the back of Malta's neck, creating two dark silver fingerprints.
Before her presentation ball, Malta is briefly embarrassed by her dress, which is made from available scraps of fabric of other dresses, but she collects herself and resolves to walk with her head held high despite her poverty and the absence of her father. She experiences a moment of pride as she enters the ball and is recognized as a woman, but is quickly humiliated by Davad Restart, who interrupts her entrance to introduce her to Satrap Cosgo. Malta is forced to dance her first dance with the Satrap; she is unimpressed by him, and uncomfortable with his advances toward her. Malta then dances with Reyn, and is briefly distracted from her woes by their romance and easy companionship. She later sees Reyn with Serilla, and Reyn's apparent interest in the woman upsets Malta. She dances with Cerwin Trell as revenge, though she does not find it as pleasant.
The ball ends abruptly as the various plots of the evening culminate. Malta is hurried back into Davad Restart's carriage with her mother, grandmother, and brother, and to her distaste the Satrap and his companion Kekki join them. The coach is accosted by "highwaymen" on the way back to the Vestrit home. The Satrap and Kekki are kidnapped, Davad and the coachman are killed, and Malta's forehead is injured. The nest morning, Reyn arrives and offers to take the Vestrit family to safety in the Rain Wilds. Malta, Selden, and Keffria sail to Trehaug on the Kendry.
In Trehaug, Malta forgives Reyn for his actions at the ball, and learns that she no longer needs to marry him for the Vivacia's debt to be forgiven: Reyn had convinced his family to forgive the debt in exchange for his promise to never again enter the ruins of Frengong. Touched by his sacrifice, Malta persuades Selden to show her the way into the ruins so that she can free the dragon for Reyn.
Malta discovers Tintaglia's cocoon in the Crowned Rooster Chamber and is overwhelmed by a flood of Elderling memories when she touches it. She locates the mechanism necessary to open the chamber's ceiling and expose the cocoon to sunlight, but is unable to operate it alone. Malta flees the chamber when an earthquake begins, but stops short of escaping when she hears the voices of Satrap Cosgo and Kekki. She frees them from their room and leads them out of the ruins, emerging deep in the Rain Wilds.
Trapped in the Rain Wilds with Satrap Cosgo and Kekki, Malta appreciates for the first time the skills and determination her upbringing has given her. She retrieves a rowboat from the ruins and readies it to paddle down the Rain Wild River back to Trehaug. When they start down the river, Malta is responsible for most of the paddling, and she fares much better with the bugs, sun, and lack of food and water than her companions. Unfortunately, the boat is carried past Trehaug by the river's current, and Malta's shouting fails to attract notice.
Against Malta's advice, Kekki drinks the water from the Rain Wild River, becoming sick. At the mouth of the river, they encounter a Chalcedean galley. Cosgo identifies himself as the Satrap and both Kekki and Malta as his servants. Despite Kekki's worsening condition, she advises Malta on how to behave as befitting a Satrap's companion, as well as how to ward off the advances of the lecherous crew. Malta is the only person on board to mourn Kekki's death.
The galley is captured by the Motley, whose crew fly Kennit's raven flag. Malta and the Satrap are given poor accommodations, and Malta fears for her own survival. She realizes that she must behave not as merely a servant, but as a believer of the Satrap's authority. Malta poises herself and demands the audience of the captain, which she is eventually granted. She shames the captain for the Satrap's current state and secures treatment more befitting Cosgo's rank. Malta is able to fortify her position as the Satrap's advisor and enjoys the fruits of her labor during the remainder of the voyage as they sail to meet the Vivacia.
When she reaches the Vivacia, Malta is astonished to find Wintrow and Althea aboard. Her servility to the Satrap confuses them, but she is forced to maintain the facade as Kennit and the Satrap meet. Their treaty discussion is little more than extortion, as Malta quickly recognizes, but she has no choice but to endure Kennit's stripping of the Satrap's authority.
Wintrow escorts Malta and the Satrap to Althea's room, where they are able to share their stories for the first time. Malta astounds the others with her descriptions of the trouble that has befallen Bingtown and her descriptions of the Rain Wilds; her maturity is also remarked upon.
When the Jamaillian fleet sent to barter back the Satrap arrives, Malta is the first to realize that the boarding nobles are in fact fighters.
While returning from Leftrin's report to the council, Malta loses her way, and she is kidnapped by Chalcedeans. They wish to sell her skin or organs to the Duke of Chalced as counterfeit dragon parts. Malta goes into labor while being held hostage, and initially believes her son is stillborn. After she is rescued, she realizes that the infant is alive. She brings him to the Tarman, and she and Reyn name him Phron after her grandfather. However, Phron is so heavily marked that he will not survive without the intervention of dragons. Malta decides to travel up the Rain Wild River to Kelsingra and petition the dragons there for assistance.
When Malta and Reyn arrive in Kelsingra, they are informed by the other dragons that only the dragon that has begun shaping a human into an Elderling is capable of guiding those changes; therefore, Phron's life can only be saved by Tintaglia.
Fitz and the Fool Trilogy Edit
Malta greets Fitz, Perseverance, Lant, and Spark as associates of Amber when they arrive in Kelsingra. She is astounded when Fitz performs a Skill-healing on Phron that cures him of the devastating health issues that have plagued him during Tintaglia's long absence from the city.