Magda Niska

(Looks like this: Because ever since Orange is the New Black, all tough Eastern European ladies are Kate Mulgrew in my head.)

Magda Niska is the “kinder gentler half” of the Niska syndicate. On the outside she appears to be a motherly figure, baking cookies for the men in her husband’s employ and inviting them over the goulash after a hard day. In truth, she is as shrewd and as cool a business person as her husband using her soft approach to win trust and loyalty. Niska’s men are loyal not just because they fear the retribution of their boss, but because Mama Magda makes them feel like they are part of the family.

It is lucky for Ruan that Magda reads the cortex gossip and conspiracy columns as a hobby. It was she who recognized him as a living breathing Academy assassin straight out of the rumor mill and it was at her suggestion that her husband keep Ruan alive. It was Magda’s belief that if they cultivated a little trust and for a time humored Ruan’s desire to learn a trade and spend time traveling the ‘verse, Ruan would eventually fail and return to them. And that this time, he would be willing to return to his original line of work and become their greatest enforcer and body guard. As a slave, Ruan would have only been dangerous, but as a loyal assassin who truly loved and trusted them, he would do anything they asked.

Magda is an excellent cook, but Ruan’s special affinity for her meatballs (not even her best dish) is entirely coincidental. The drugs used by the Academy to suppress his psychic ability had the side effect of dulling senses, particularly taste. Once free of those drugs, the first food he tried was Magda’s swedish meatballs and it was the most amazing thing he’d ever tasted. Since then he’s tried a lot of other foods and discovered they taste good too (though he finds strong tastes like spicy food or alcohol a bit overwhelming), but he still remembers how good those meatballs were and they are his favorite.

(Written by Emily)