Ardulae of House Noqu'ath (litt. Blessed Dancer) is the youngest daughter out of five others to the Drow Matron Mother Drada of House Noqu'ath (litt. Sacred to Dragons), who is the current ruler over the Drow city of Ilythiir. She is known under the name Dalharil d'Tagnik'zun (litt. Daughter of Dragons) due to the fact that she is one of the few daughters who have survived long enough to see adulthood within the Noqu'ath House, something that has become somewhat of a rarity within the Ilythiir- and Noqu'ath-history.
As one of the Drow race, Ardulae is easily identified by her dark gray skin, blood-red eyes and silver hair. Ardulae's facial features are delicate with her slightly curved, almond-shaped, eyes, her slim nose, and her full lips. Her body is as lithe as that of a common Elf while being only smaller in stature and build. While travelling Ardulae prefers to dress in a full set of armor made out of a special leather originating from a bovine-like creature only found beneath the surface of Arda, while sporting an equally dark gray cloak to easier blend with her surroundings at night. Something that has become somewhat of a trademark are the two tattoos that Ardulae has etched between her eyebrows, and on her left cheek. The tattoo between her brows symbolize her status as a member of a powerful Drow House, while the one on her left cheek symbolizes her rank as a soldier within the Stealth Division of Ilythiir's army.
When she was a young Drow, Ardulae was wild and direct in almost every manner one would think of. She spoke her opinions freely without being afraid of retaliation from either her mother or sisters, and was known to be rather critical of the devotion that the devotees to Lolth showed their deity even though such things were considered unbelieavably rude and ignorant, especially for young female Drow. As time passed on though, Ardulae learned to show restraint on her sharp tongue while in public especially, and slowly became more docile whenever she joined in on social gatherings or feasts. Like most Drow women Ardulae sees males, regardless of any race, as lesser beings. This belief is something that has been ingrained into her mind since she was old enough to understand the politics of her race, and she has seen her own fair share of punished males in service to her and her noble House. She has grown to be quite cautious whenever she moves outside the walls of her home, even while with friends, due to the many assassinations and intrigues that make out her every-day life, which in turn has honed her skills in appearing careless and cold to those who are no longer in favor with either her or the House she belongs to. Ardulae was taught the arts of stealth, of politics and of seduction as she grew up, knowing that one day it would all culminate into a power struggle between her mother and the rest of her five sisters, all of which has trained her into becoming a silent, deadly weapon both to Drow and to those who oppose her race. However, Ardulae's specialty lies in her training as an assassin and rogue. She is a master of subtlety and backstabbing, and has the patience of one who knows how to bide their time correctly before striking in the dead of night. She analyses and judges those she meet from their actions and for the eventual value they could have for her or her family in the future, something that her mentor from the Crimson Daughters has ingrained into her psyche from the first day that she began her tutelage under the assassination group. Despite these harsh and cold traits, Ardulae is easy to laugh and can often be found sharing a round of drinks with her closest friends and allies, something that Drow not often are found doing.
Ardulae does not trust easily, not even those coming from the world outside of Ilythiir, and harbors a special hate for the Elves in particular.
Growing up as the youngest daughter out of five, Ardulae was often neglected by her mother in the early years of her life. Her earliest years of childhood were filled with nannies and caretakers due to her mother, Drada, being busy training her eldest siblings in the cultural and social ways of the Drow. However, when Ardulae was twenty years old she was finally allowed by her mother to be at her side and learn about the ways of her proud race. Ardulae was from here on trained in the ways of Lolth, the Spider Goddess of the Drow, with her mother hoping that her youngest daughter would follow her eldest sister into the Priestesshood of the Dark Queen. But Ardulae was reluctant to abide her mother's wish to become a Priestess of the Dark Queen, and instead began to seek out training as a warrior and assassin, hoping that one day she would be able to join the elite group of rogues and killers that the city of Ilythiir commanded over known as the Crimson Daughters. Eventually Drada was able to see that her youngest daughter was unwilling to become a Priestess, and instead arranged for her daughter to receive special training by one of the Crimson Daughters, the very group of assassins that Ardulae sought to join when she was old, and competent, enough. All of this was done while Ardulae still received lessons on other subjects such as politics, history, arts, seduction and music.
Ardulae flourished under the personal tutelage of her mentor from the Crimson Daughters, but despite her efforts she knew that she would never achieve the same level of pride and respect from her mother as her sisters who joined the Priesthood of Lolth had received. This didn't stop Ardulae from trying though, and shortly after finishing, and passing, the training her mother had arranged for her, Ardulae accidentally uncovered a coup against her mother. Not knowing what to do, Ardulae turned to her former mentor who guided the young female Drow through the ordeal of gathering extra information about the coup, and eventually unveiling who was behind the approaching murder. Ardulae uncovered that the one behind the coup was none other than her second-eldest sister, Cazna, but was able to dispose of the woman before the plans of untimely succession was brought to life. After Drada came to know of what her daughter had done, she began to keep her closer than before and even named her the head of her personal guard, seeing the rest of her daughters were now thought to be untrustworthy.
The Rivendell-Ilythiir Conflict Edit
As the years passed and Ardulae finally came of age, she was sent to Rivendell by her mother in an attempt to broker an alliance between the Elves of Rivendell and the Drow of Ilythiir. However, the Elves of Rivendell did not take kindly to Ardulae's appearance or her proposal, and she was driven from the lands by order of Lord Elrond himself. After Ardulae's return without the accept of the offered alliance from the Rivendell Elves, Drada was furious and swore that she would never aid the Elves on the surface ever again. This vow was followed by the banishment of all surface Elves from Ilythiir's lands, and those who did not heed the Matron Mother's demand were returned to their homes with either missing limbs or without their head.
Not much is known specifically about Ardulae's movements and actions throughout the entire conflict between Ilythiir and Rivendell, but it is known that she acted mostly as an assassin behind enemy lines along with a few choice comrades during the middle of it all. Drada's drastic actions had lead to a rather severe conflict between the Elves of Rivendell and the Drow of Ilythiir, so it was not before long that Ardulae was called into the battlefield by her mother, both as a warrior, but also as a competent assassin of the Crimson Daughters. Together with a select few comrades within the assassination group, Ardulae and her comrades were behind many of the assassinations that found place behind their enemy's lines. These actions only sought to anger the Rivendell Elves instead of encouraging them to seek peace terms with the Drow as the intentions had been from the beginning, and not before long the strained lines of the Rivendell defense was strengthened by aid from the Dunedaín Rangers in the North, and from the armies of Gondor in the south. This strained the armies of Ilythiir enough for the Rivendell armies to drive them back towards the Misty Mountains, and also sent Ardulae and her comrades back to the city as the tense atmosphere within the city slowly grew in strength. Fearing that a coup d'état against her mother was forming once more when she returned to Ilythiir, Ardulae immediately sought to secure Drada's position as continued head of the family by rounding up all the most powerful females within the family and killing them off, disguising this despicable act as another prominent Drow House's doing in an attempt to weaken House Noqu'ath's position within the city. Among the members of House Noqu'ath killed by Ardulae were her second- and third-eldest sisters, Cazna and Chadra.
In the aftermath of the mass-assassinations, Ardulae was introduced to the Drow male who would later come to be the Commander of her House's armies, Antaonar. The two of them slowly developed a somewhat strange relationship, opting to be brother and sister in arms instead of the more traditional roles of a superior female and her male servant, much to Drada's annoyance and open spite. As Antaonar slowly rose through the various ranks Ardulae and he also began a more intimate and superficial relationship, a common occurrence to happen between Nobles and remarked soldiers within Drow society. However, the assassinations of House Noqu'ath's many older members led to large revolts within the city's Noble Society who began opposing the rule of House Noqu'ath, fearing that even they could end up as victims to the Crimson Daughters' blades, which in turn evolved into the spark that later began the Ilythiir Civil War.
The Ilythiir Revolt and Civil War Edit
Ardulae's decision to gather, and later assassinate, the various member of her own House had her gain favor with her Matron Mother for a very short while before the Nobles within Ilythiir began their revolt against House Noqu'ath's rule. The city divided into two major factions: those who supported the rule of House Noqu'ath, and those who desired either themselves or another influential House to rule over Ilythiir instead. Ardulae fell out of her mother's favor when many of the more powerful Noble Houses joined the opposite faction of Drow, and was ordered out upon the battlefields to atone for her failures.