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Marishka Taltos, née Merss was born in the Fenarian town of Burz.

The Merss family was originally named Saabo, but a distant patriarch, Matyawsh, had changed the family name in order to indicate his willingness to acclimate to being a worker in the paper mill of Burz ("merss" meaning "pulper"), which had been constructed at that time by the man who was then Count Saekeresh‎.

Her father brought her to the Dragaeran Empire when she was very young. There, she met and married Pishta Taltos.

She had a certain knowledge of witchcraft, which made her husband unhappy. She was educated enough to send a note written in ancient and arcane runes to her father-in-law, Noish-pa, some months before she gave birth to Vlad Taltos.

She apparently died when Vlad was about three or four.