ER:Marge Vatnikov

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An NPC in the Errant Road on-line free-form role-playing game, seen only briefly but important for some things she does offstage; introduced here. Needless to say, she doesn't exist in the Poe-verse.

Malgorzata Vatnikov, to give her her full (and almost never used) name, is the doyenne of Clan Vatnikov, a (perhaps the most) significant force in the small town of Rosteriel in the Northern Confederacy. This phrase by itself says much about her personality: Rosteriel is in the sphere of influence of the Confederacy city of Goriel, which is notorious for being utterly male-dominated, with a clan structure where clans are never led by women. In Goriel, when the head of a clan dies, his widow becomes a "dowager" with a degree of social status but almost no real influence. Lady Vatnikov, however, is still a Very Important Person in Clan Vatnikov and Rosteriel, and not just because the surviving men of Clan Vatnikov don't appear to be the sharpest tools in the shed. She is a formidable woman despite her eighty years and failing health.

She is first met when her long-time friend and ally, PC Therese, guides a part of adventurers to Rosteriel following their lengthy and scary adventures in Goriel and points north. The reunion between these two is warm -- Therese calls her "grandmother," not because of any shared genes (they have none) but as an honorific that Mrs. V reciprocates by using Therese's nickname "La Flamme" -- and also professional, as it turns out that she surreptitiously helps her younger friend spirit rescued women away from Goriel. She is able to do this because the lands of Clan Vatnikov include a node on an ancient, apparently dwarven transportation system, carefully hidden and protected by dwarven weaponry. On this particular visit, this system is used to get pregnant PC Lillith and her husband Brad out of reach of the Gorielites and back to Lillith's home in Santuariel, there to live happily ever after, presumably. This accomplished, the rest of the PC party moves on, and she is never seen again.

Her influence on the game is by no means finished after this encounter, however. Some time later, Therese and Sister Rose receive a letter in far-away Kiyoka containing the sad news that Lady Vatnikov has decided to end her life due to encroaching, and increasingly painful, disease. Therese is of course devastated at this news, but not so much so as to ignore the rest of the letter, which has some remarkable information concerning the shadowy "Convergence" that by this point has been identified as the game's collective Big Bad. It also has the news that Lady V had been an agent on Veracia's side in the Albigenish Incident, important in Rose's own past, a discovery that impresses Rose no end. Finally, it serves as a letter of introduction, more or less, for her favorite granddaughter Zlata, who puts in an appearance late in the game in connection with a convoy that will bear Therese and her lover, PC Desiree, toward Therese's home city of Refuge-Nouveau.

So, although she's gone, she's definitely not forgotten. May she rest in peace, although given her temperament and life story, she'll probably spend the afterlife roaming the cosmos and having adventures instead.

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