NPCs of Note T-Z
He is (to all appearances) an accomplished mage, which is the only reason he hasn't been strangled in his sleep yet. He enchanted the silent, invisible Blackhawk helicopter the city uses for intelligence gathering and covert missions, as well as the city's perimeter alarms. His healing potions and disease ointments keep the populace healthy, and the spells of penetration he places on the town militia's ammunition let them cut through body armor like hot knives through warm butter.
He has no friends among the populace, and seems to like it that way. He has stated on more than one occasion that he would prefer to be feared than loved, since the fearful are less likely to annoy him asking for favors. He has a small number of professional ladies who are willing to accommodate him on the rare occasions he desires companionship; he either doesn't know or doesn't care that Hizzoner compensates the ladies heavily for their time. On more than one occasion, intimate exposure to him has been enough to free thralls from the domination of the Overlord of the Holiday Inn.
The MFZ is currently conducting a discreet search for a replacement mage. Once a suitable mage is found, a number of exotic dancers have volunteered to dispatch Vaschanka with a quick knife in the back.
Update: Vaschanka was unmasked as a Wannabe, a form of psychic vampire that feeds on (and draws power from) attention. He was killed by the party in Las Vegas, just before he could magically dominate Caesar and the rest of the Vegas power structure.
Vesta LG female Sylvan Elf Ranger 8 (Retired)
Theme Song: Shin'a'in Warsong by Mercedes Lackey
Vesta Harper was a cross-country ski instructor and whitewater guide before the Change. Her family ran a "dude ranch" near Telluride, teaching Yuppies to ride herd and keeping overweight, out-of-shape men in mid-midlife crisis from getting themselves killed during "wild-man" weekend retreats.
During the brief periods where the rivers were too cold for rafting and the back-country snow wasn't deep enough to be skied on, Vesta did adventure racing and BASE jumping, as the mood took her. She competed in the Iditisport Extreme 2002 in Alaska, racing 34 other teams 350 miles across the Alaska Range from Knik Lake to McGrath. Her team came in 3rd, though she was hospitalized for several days for exhaustion and hypothermia.
The next year, she was part of Team Microsoft Valkyrie, which became the second female-majority team to win the Eco-Challenge after a grueling 6-day sprint across Hokkaido and the sea of Okhotsk. She decided to take some time off from adventure racing after the Eco-Challenge and live on her endorsement contracts for a while. During her sabbatical, she wrote a book on women in extreme sports entitled "Gravity is a Harsh Mistress" (she took the title from an episode of 'The Tick') and did a brief speaking tour in support of it.
One of her fellow river guides approached her in late 2004 about lending a hand with his Explorer scouts on a proposed wilderness hike through reservation lands in New Mexico. Vesta was a little reluctant, since desert environments were not places she really enjoyed being. Her friend pointed out that she would serve as a good role model for the scouts, both male and female, because of her experience and her status as a minor celebrity. Vesta refused to believe that she was any kind of celebrity, until her friend showed her that she was well-known enough for someone to have put fake nudes of her on the Internet. She conceded the point and agreed to go along.
Come February of 2005, the scouts were having a wonderful time on their hike across New Mexico when the Change hit. Several of the scouts became ill one evening, and the entire group was sick by the next afternoon. That night, they saw warplanes racing across the sky and turned on their emergency radio. The transmissions they listened to terrified them, and they voted to maintain radio silence until order was restored.
Still sick, they told stories around the campfire into the wee hours of the morning. When the sun woke them up, the entire group had become wood elves. The illness was gone. Vesta's friend, the scoutmaster, panicked and ran into the desert. Vesta kept the scouts calm, made them break camp normally, and the group set out to find the scoutmaster.
They saw him several hour later.. He had been stopped by an NSA patrol and was being forced into the back of a troop carrier. He broke free and ran, only to be shot down and left in the dirt. Vesta and the scouts were too far away to be able to help him, and they could do nothing but watch through their binoculars as he died.
The distance saved their lives, however. The NSA conducted a brief search of the area, then drove off. The troop buried the scoutmaster's body and moved out, keeping to cover. They headed north, since most of the military activity seemed to be concentrated to the south of their location. They eventually arrived at Chaco Canyon, where they met the dwarven engineering crew. The SCA caravan arrived the next evening, and they crossed the Moonroad with the others.
Vesta is one of the Kingdom's best scouts, and frequently accompanies the party on missions. She had a bad case of survivor guilt after Stephanie died. She felt that Stephanie would have lived if she had been stronger and not allowed her injuries to incapacitate her. Michael spent a great deal of time comforting her and helping her heal, which lead to their marriage.
Vesta is still an active scout for the Kingdom, and regularly rides patrol sweeps along the border. She has a new hatred of NDR forces, and is studying their ways intently - "All the better to kill them with". She regularly visits Stephanie's memorial stone and discusses issues and current news with her.
Update: Vesta discovered that she was pregnant while the party was in Las Vegas. She and Michael retired, and returned to the Wood-elf community in the Kingdom. She has already decided to name the baby Stephanie if it's a girl.