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Katarina Heydrich is a powerful witch and the younger sister of the Vampire Lord Count Reiner Heydrich, who serves as a major villainess in the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks Vault of the Vampire and an enemy in Revenge of the Vampire. Katarina is based on the infamous child-murderer Countess Ersébeth Bathory, rumored to bathe in girls' blood believing that it could keep her young.

Background

Katarina is the third born, and the only daughter, of the ruler of the county of Mortvania; located in the country of Mauristasia, in the far north of the continent of the Old World. Katarina soon became an accomplished witch and a skilled fighter, though whether she was self-taught or apprenticed is unknown. As such, she had little to fear from her brother, even after Reiner became a vampire.

At some point, her elder brother Siegfried Heydrich became count, until he got murdered by Reiner, the second son, who claimed the title. Katarina, who gets along quite well with Reiner could enjoy a luxurious life in the castle, while the entire population of Mortvania, including their last-born brother Gunthar Heydrich, suffered his awful tyranny.

While Reiner swarmed the castle with monsters and abducted young people on a regular basis to drink their blood, Katarina lived in her own lavish quarters, sacrificing the young captives that Reiner gave her and using their blood for Dark Magic rituals, to retain her youth and her astonishing beauty. Because of this, at 76 years old, she still looks like a beautiful woman in her early 30s.

Knowing full well that she cannot do anything against her vampire brother, who is too powerful even for her, she contented herself with her life, keeping good relations with her brother while (not so) secretly waiting for someone who could slay him, so that she could claim the title of countess.

About Katarina Heydrich

Katarina is a Mistress Witch of considerable skill, mighty enough not to be harmed by any conventional weapon, who can sense magic and spells being cast, curse anyone by merely speaking to them, appear and disappear out of nowhere and animate objects, among many other things.

Her most prominent power is her hypnotic gaze, which she often uses to compel people (or to make them her slaves). She uses a dagger in battle, with enough proficiency to be a match for the most trained warriors.

Katarina is as malevolent, power-hungry, tyrannical and dangerous as Reiner. She is very collected, refined and courteous, with aristocratic support, perfect manners and excellent taste; but she is more importantly very haughty, vain, selfish, conceited, scornful and demanding. She enjoys challenges, yet she can hardly stand opposition and reacts violently when things escape her control.

Moreover, she is highly intelligent, deceptive and manipulative. She offers to help those who can serve her interests, while making no mysteries of her real intentions, and knows how to push their buttons. She acts seductive and always tries to trick people into carrying her dirty work, or at least to take control of them; involving herself only when she has no other choice.

In Vault of the Vampire

This gamebook sets the relation between both equally evil siblings, with courtesy and siblings' friendship on one hand, ambition, treason and defiance on the other hand. The playable character is an adventurer who sneaks into the castle to kill Count Heydrich and save Nastassia: a recently abducted townsgirl whom he intends to offer to Katarina.

During their quest, the hero can meet Katarina's alchemist in charge of her "youth treatment", and hear about her if they ask the sage of the castle about the Count's family; learning from their words that she is a force to be reckoned with.

All ambiguity is dropped when Gunthar Heydrich and Lothar the Castellan, two major potential allies warn the hero to steer clear of Katarina. Gunthar even reveals that he never dares to use his powerful healing magic out of fear of his sister, as Katarina would immediately sense it and would very likely curse him (or worse) in retaliation. Both Lothar and Gunthar tell the hero that their (already highly dangerous) mission would become a nightmare if they had to deal with both the vampire and the witch. They tell them that should they manage to destroy Reiner, the two of them would deal with Katarina by themselves.

The hero can avoid Katarina’s quarters, or meet the witch. She greets them amiably and immediately asks if they came to kill her brother, offering to help them if they agree or scornfully dismissing them if they deny. They can also attack her at once. If they reveal their mission to save Nastassia, she flies into a rage and engages a battle.

  • The hero needs a magic sword to engage Katarina, otherwise they cannot harm her, and she bewitches a rug to capture them before killing them and collecting their blood. The witch is a powerful foe with 10 in skill (power level), who teleports away when struck four times. Winning the fight earns a useful life-potion.

If the hero owns the Book of Swords, in which Count Heydrich magically sealed Nightstar, Siegfried's magic sword, she offers to unseal it in exchange of killing Lothar the Castellan for her. If they do not have the Book of Sword, she tells them to get the holy stake that Lothar owns, lying about the fact that Lothar would never give it willingly and must be killed for the hero to gain it.

If the hero refuses to kill Lothar, Katarina will try to hypnotize them to compel them into blind obedience. The hero must win a test of faith and flee immediately to avoid being cursed by the furious witch. If they lose, they have no other choice than to go and Lothar. If they only feign to accept, Katarina's magic makes them lose 4 stamina points (life-points) upon speaking to Lothar (and likely worse, if Lothar had not given them a potion to dispel the curse in time), as no-one betrays the witch without paying the heavy price.

  • Lothar is a dangerous swordsman with 9 in skill and 10 in stamina, and killing such a good man harms the hero.

It must be noted that there is nothing to gain in accepting Katarina's bargain. Count Heydrich’s counter-spell proves too much even for Katarina’s expertise of Dark Magic and the Book of Swords vanishes, destroying any hope to ever gain Nightstar. Worse, Katarina will be furious against her brother for foiling her, forcing the hero to flee out of fear of her wrath.

The Final Battle

Katarina is only fought in the best ending, in which the hero successfully tracked down and destroyed the fearsome Count Reiner Heydrich. Katarina appears right after the vampire is dealt with, to deal with her last obstacle for the control of Mortvania. She hypnotizes the hero to make them her slave and win without fight, and once again only a successful test of Faith can counter it. At this point of the game, the hero should have enough Faith points not to be bothered, but if they were previously compelled by her magic, Katarina will be advantaged. On the other hand, if they could resist once, resisting again proves easier.

Katarina is nowhere as dangerous as her vampire brother (who had 13 in skill, one point over the maximum) but she is still a powerful enemy with 10 in skill and 10 in stamina. Moreover, she takes advantage of the hero's weakened state after the tremendous previous battle.

Katarina's true face

Katarina's artificial youth fades away with her life

Being a living human, Katarina cannot be harmed with a mirror, holy water or the powerful Jandor's Bolt spell, and the power-up provided by Nightstar is lower against her. If the hero wields Siegfried's magic sword and chainmail, Katarina will pose little to no threat.

Should Katarina drive them into a corner, Nastassia will grab a magic dagger and fight alongside them. However, she has only 6 in skill, not enough to be of much help.

Upon dying, Katarina reverts to her real aspect of a hideous old hag twisted by dark magic, deprived of her artificial youth. The triumphant hero returns Nastassia to her village, where the overjoyed villagers will celebrate their saviour as they deserve.

In Revenge of the Vampire

Katarina plays a much more reduced role in the second gamebook. She is mentioned several times in the story, and the hero learns that Count Heydrich's personal scientist is tasked to resurrect her as a vampire, to serve as the Vampire Lord's right-hand woman in his schemes to take over the Old World. This indicates that Heydrich holds his sister in high enough regard, or at least as a useful enough asset, despite her treachery. Then again, he takes care in having her as his vampire thrall who could no longer attempt to betray him. When sneaking into Mortus Mansion, Count Heydrich's hideout, the hero can find a vault in the likeness of a beautiful woman, likely belonging to Katarina. A possible hint that she has been or will soon be brought back.

The Final Battle

Katarina appears in person during the final showdown, taking place in Heydrich's final hideout; the Ghoulcrypts, where he plans to absorb the energy of the late Great Vampires Elders, in order to become invincible. After the hero overcomes the Vampire Lord at full might and kills him, Katarina now a vampire, attacks them with 9 in skill and 9 in stamina. On the other hand, if Heydrich was able to flee, the hero will pursue him and meet Katarina under a human aspect, while Reiner is resting.

Katarina pretends to be an enslaved young girl, to catch them off-guard. If they attack immediately, she will have 9 in skill and 9 in stamina. If they listen to her, she strikes them by surprise, costing 2 stamina points, before fighting with 10 in skill and 11 in stamina. After his sister's demise, Heydrich rises again and engages the very last battle of the gamebook. Once again Katarina (and even Heydrich if fought again, though he remains much more dangerous than her) is far less of a threat than her fully-powered brother, but she gains advantage from the hero's weakened state after such a tremendous battle.

After destroying both vampire siblings, the hero set them on fire to get rid of them once and for all, along with the Great Vampire Elders whose power Heydrich planned to absorb, marking them as a hero of legend.

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