Ekaterin was born to a comparatively low Vor family, the Vorvaynes. Her mother was the sister of Professora and Imperial Auditor Georg Vorthys, and her father was Alexander Vorvayne. She had three elder full brothers, including Hugo the eldest. Her mother died before she was twenty, and her father eventually remarried a woman named Violie. Ekaterin also had a fourth brother, who may have been a stepbrother.
Before Ekaterin's father remarried, he encouraged an arranged marriage between Ekaterin and Etienne Vorsoisson. Ekaterin, who was twenty at the time, accepted Etienne, who was ten years older, and the couple was initially happy.
Due to marrying Etienne, her name changed to Ekaterin Nile Vorvayne Vorsoisson. They had a child, Nikolai Vorsoisson. Unlike some other couples, they chose to gestate Nikolai the natural way, instead of using a uterine replicator. However, Etienne soon found that he had the genetic disease Vorzohn's Dystrophy. Although the disease was treatable, Etienne refused to seek treatment in the Barrayaran Empire out of fear that his secret would be exposed. To afford outside treatment, Ekaterin's husband bet most of his money, along with some loans and bribes, on a Komarran trade fleet which returned a large loss.
By taking bribes, Etienne Vorsoisson had became entangled on the outskirts of a plot against the Barrayaran Imperium. With the failure of his investment, he faced both financial ruin and possible prosecution. After Ekaterin discovered his misdeeds, she decided to leave him. Desperate, Etienne attempted to turn the plotters in to Lord Auditor Miles Vorkosigan, but the terrorists ambushed and stunned them both, leaving them chained to a railing outside on Komarr. Etienne had failed to charge his breath mask, and suffocated in the toxic atmosphere.
The terrorists fled Komarr to a civilian transfer station by the wormhole leading to Barrayar. There they encountered Ekaterin, who was meeting her aunt. They both were kidnapped. Ekaterin masterminded three unsuccessful escape attempts the last of which destroyed the terrorists' supposed wormhole collapsing device. By doing this, Ekaterin saved thousands of lives, although events and her role in them became deeply classified.
Returning to Barrayar, Ekaterin went to live in the Vorthys household in Vorbarr Sultana. She entered the traditional year of mourning for her husband, with the hidden desire never to remarry. Miles Vorkosigan, however, was determined to woo her, while his cousin Ivan Vorpatril mischievously encouraged other single Vor males to call on her. The result was a social disaster of epic proportions. Dealing with the fallout from this, complicated by insidious Barrayaran dynastic politics, led to Ekaterin eventually proposing to Vorkosigan in front of the entire Council of Counts. They were married the next Winterfair, and started their first two children the Winterfair after that.
As their children were gestating, the married couple took a delayed honeymoon, traveling as far as Earth. On their return trip, they were diverted on the orders of Emperor Gregor Vorbarra to Graf Station. The situation there became much more serious than initially anticipated, and Miles Vorkosigan was infected with a biological weapon. While he was ill, Ekaterin saw him safely to Rho Ceta to be cured.
By the time of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ekaterin had become famous in Vorbarr Sultana for her gardens.
Following the events of Cryoburn, Ekaterin became Countess Vorkosigan.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Ekaterin's middle name, Nile, was the original name of Elena Bothari in early drafts of The Warrior's Apprentice, after the character Nile Etland in a couple of 1960's James H. Schmitz stories from Analog magazine ("Trouble Tide" and The Tuvela).
- Ekaterin's maiden name, Vorvane, is a tribute to Harriet Vane, wife of Lord Peter Wimsey in Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey mysteries.