Lord Havelock Vetinari is the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, the head of the fictional city state of Ankh-Morpork in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. He is sometimes said to have been based on the Italian statesman and diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, but in fact favours a subtly different (though equally pragmatic) form of statecraft.
Lord Vetinari was born into the extremely powerful Vetinari family (a pun, or play on words, on the real-life family of the Medici and on the word "veterinary") and raised by his aunt, Lady Roberta Meserole.
As a youth, he enrolled in the Assassins' Guild which, apart from teaching its students how to kill other people for money, also gives them an excellent education academia. Lord Vetinari was particularly interested in the classical arts and, (in flagrant defiance of the Guild's conventions of style,) camouflage, though he was failed in his stealth examination (due to the examiner's belief that he had used trickery and his apparent absence in classes). Because of the similarity his name bore to "veterinary", he endured the nickname of Dog-botherer. Vetinari graduated from the Guild with exceptional marks, scoring disconcertingly high in attention to detail. It is also mentioned that he studied languages; in Jingo he translates Klatchian for Sergeant Colon, although he flatly denies being able to speak it.
In his late teens, Vetinari was involved in the "Glorious 25th of May" (Night Watch), to which his most notable contribution was the non-assassination of the then-Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, Homicidal Lord Winder, at a crowded party. Vetinari was present at Winder's death, but although he certainly intended to assassinate Winder, his mere arrival was enough to frighten Winder to death. Vetinari was able to drop his bloodless sword beside Winder's corpse, unused, and leave - all seemingly unobserved by anyone in the room, save Winder (though it was hinted that the party was arranged for the very occasion of Winder's assassination). Vetinari appeared in full Assassin regalia, which Winder regarded as something out of a nightmare. When asked (as traditional) about who he is and who sent him, he replies, respectively, 'Think of me as...your future' (possibly implying that he already intends to become Patrician one day?) and 'I come from the city' showing that he already has the concern for the city's welfare he later shows.
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