Baronet Pishta Taltos was an Easterner, originally from Fenario, who was the father of Vlad Taltos and the son of Noish-pa and his wife, Ibronka. His given name according to Jhegaala is Pishta, although this is likely a nickname. He had one brother and one sister, both deceased.
- See also Meta:Pishta Taltos.
Born in Fenario probably sometime around the year 200 PI, Vlad's father emigrated with his family to Adrilankha, presumably at a young age. It is certain that the family had been living in the city for a while by the time of the Revolt of 221. Vlad's father participated in the Revolt, going so far as to kill a member of the Phoenix Guard with a butcher knife.
It is not known how Pishta originally made his living, but it is known that he at some point opened a restaurant catering to Dragaerans.
At some point (likely around 220 PI), he married Marishka Merss and had a son, Vlad. His wife died three or four years later, leaving him somewhat bitter about the whole experience. He would often refer to his former spouse as "that witch", at least partially in reference to the fact that Marishka was a practitioner of witchcraft, although the bluntness of the phrase seems to also imply that their marriage may have been somewhat strained.
With Vlad's help, Pishta continued running his restaurant, but he became enchanted with Dragaeran society, developing a deep disdain for all things "Eastern". After many years, he spent his entire life savings to purchase a baronetcy in the Jhereg (see Joining Houses), to provide what he perceived as a "better life" for his son.
To Pishta's dismay, Vlad's grandfather taught his grandson witchcraft and Eastern-style fencing. However, Vlad's father had sufficient love and respect for his own father that he did not forbid or interfere with these lessons. He instead tried to counter them with lessons from Dragaeran tutors in sorcery and in Dragaeran saber-and-dagger-style fencing — with the latter failing miserably because the practice sword was far too heavy for Vlad.
Vlad was fourteen when Pishta died from one of the many plagues common during the Interregnum. Vlad's father refused to allow his disease to be healed by witchcraft because of his disdain for all things Eastern. The family could not afford the services of a sorcerer after having spent so much money purchasing a title in the Jhereg and hiring Dragaeran tutors for Vlad, and young Vlad was himself insufficiently skilled in sorcery to effect a cure using the Orb.
Vlad's father is an enigmatic character. An Easterner himself, his aversion to Eastern culture led tragically to his own demise. The history of the Merss family in Burz, and particularly the easily-manipulated peasants who may have forced the family to leave, may have had a hand in turning Pishta against the entire culture.
It is clear that while Pishta loved his son and respected his own father, he was himself a less-than-ideal parent.
Vlad notes at one point that his father had a disdain for "half-prepared food", feeling that if a guest felt the need to add anything to one of his meals, then something was wrong with either the food — or the guest.