Note: this was written for my Game Masters, so forgive the folksy tone and explanation of things you may already know. :-D
About Mattie Storin
Mattie is unknowingly Bonded to her nemesis - Francis Urquhart. See below for more information about him. Mattie is quite Conditioned by Urquhart, and is generally used as his wandering correspondent to foreign lands. At the moment, Urquhart is considering expanding his already-considerable affairs (how sad that his Sire should die so suddenly, leaving all of his assets to his only surviving childe. *grin*) and Mattie is a handy way to pick up information upon the state of other courts.
Officially, she is a foreign correspondent for the London Times, a publication that Mattie's domitor has a lot of influence over. To fulfill her minimal requirements as a correspondent, she'll send an article focusing on some overseas-issue to the Times once a month or so, and that keeps them happy.
Mattie believes that she is an independent ghoul. She ascribes her nomadic temperament to the fact that information needs to move to be sold, and to keep moving is the best way to prevent from being taken advantage of. She usually falls in with the Ventrue and the Nosferatu quite quickly, go figure. She'll work as an investigator, a spin doctor, a research assistant, wherever her skills are needed, in return for money, blood and a modicum of respect.
Mattie doesn't want to be a vampire. She's a woman of high, human, passions, ghoulish ambition and sometimes her ambition will get ahead of her good sense (which is how she ended up in her current situation, as it is). She much prefers the near-immortality of kindred vitea, combined with the challenge of avoiding thralldom while still getting a steady paycheck. (Again, unbeknownst to Mattie, if her usual sources dried up, Urquhart would quickly bring her home to the UK for, um, refueling...)
Usually, Urquhart will give a domain's Prince advance word of Mattie's arrival, and a thorough briefing on who she is - casting himself in tones of being a benefactor to Mattie, but one that it's best Mattie didn't know about. "It's a rather Great Expectations sort of situation, really.". Urquhart does this to ensure that Mattie will be somewhat better received than your average wandering ghoul to a court. Mattie just believes that vampires are a surprisingly courteous lot - at least, they are when it comes to her.
Many of the politically active Ventrue in the UK know the real story about Mattie's origin and purpose, but since most of them are in hock to Urquhart to one degree or another, they know it's worth more than their life to say the wrong things to the wrong people.
She is outgoing, quite friendly, and a very handy tool for getting in quickly at court. As a journalist, she has a nose for finding stories and is compelled to be able to seperate fact from fiction whenever neccessary. More often that not, she will fall into a role of mediator and arbitrator within vampire courts - particularly the more informal ones that don't object to the presence of a ghoul.
About Francis Urquhart and Mattie's use to him.
First of all, you have to watch "House of Cards". It can be best described at a darkly-humorous modern version of MacBeth. For the moment, suffice to say that it features a British politician, Francis Urquhart, manipulating, lying and murdering his way into the Prime Minsitry using maneuvers that would make a Ventrue very proud. Amongst other things, Francis seduced and manipulated a young political journalist, Mattie Storin. When she learned of the extent of what Urquhart had done to accomplish the top political office in the UK, she confronted him, unwilling to believe that he could have done such horrible deeds. Francis responded by throwing Mattie off the roof of the House of Commons. Thud. Fade to black. Roll credits.
At this point, Johanna chooses to branch out from that particular fiction. As far as I'm concerned, Urquhart himself had recently been Embraced, and had already taken the first steps to render Mattie his thrall. (Don't ask me how a person could be Prime Minister if they were a vampire, this is a lovely story I'm weaving, and I don't want reality in the way. Suspend disbelief and cope - Alex has suggested that Urquhart's daytime appearances could be explained by a possessed/condition doppleganger. Works for me!). Urquhart's shoving of Mattie from a rather high place was an impulsive action, borne of momentary panic. Even vampires can lose it, once in a while.
Fortunately, Mattie, whilst grievously injured, survived the fall (mostly because of the Ventrue blood already in her veins) and, while Mattie recovered in a very private hospital, Urquhart decided that Mattie could still be very, very useful. Mattie's memory was wiped of all the secrets that she learned about her domitor, she was fully Bonded, Conditioned and turned into a very nice little ghoul.
Even the best laid plans don't quite work out, and (desperately attempting to keep this narrative short), a few errors were made during Mattie's conditioning that had to be covered up. Mattie believes that Francis *attempted* to kill her, but failed, while simultaneously 'realizing' that if she tried to reveal all of this sordid matter to the world, no-one would believe her, and the only career she would ruin would be her own.
Mattie believes (as does the rest of the world) that Francis Urquhart is dead, (killed by an assassin two years ago) and she has no idea that she is called back to the UK to meet with him no less frequently than once every three months. She does occasionally have unsettling dreams, but she has convinced herself that they are nothing more than that - dreams...
Urquhart is undead and kicking, having realized that occupying a high-profile position as a vampire was a bloody difficult task even for someone as wily as himself. Now he's the power behind the throne. (And that can be taken literally, if you see the sequel to "House of Cards" entitled "To Play The King" :)
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