Ardulae of House Noqu'ath (litt. Blessed Dancer who is Sacred to Dragons) 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. Having been appointed as an ambassador between the Dark Elves and the Surface World, Ardulae played a minor role in the War of the Ring, assisting both Rohan and Gondor with divisions of Drow Warriors as well as select members of the assassination group known as the Crimson Daughters.
As one of the Drow race, Ardulae is easily identified by her dark gray skin, lilac eyes and silver hair. Ardulae's facial features are delicate with her slightly curved, almond-shaped, eyes, high cheekbones, a slim nose, and her dark, 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 but a youngling, 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 unbelievably 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 a rogue. She is a master of subtlety and backstabbing, known as a woman who has the patience to bide her time to the edge of perfection 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 Ardulae began her tutelage under the assassination group. Ardulae holds immense respect for her mother, almost bordering fanaticism, and sees Drada as the only one who will be able to keep Ilythiir from falling apart in the seams. Willing to do whatever it takes, Ardulae has gone to great lengths in order to ensure that her mother keeps for position as head of the Noqu'ath Clan, even if this means removing her sisters from their respective seats of power within Ilythiir's walls.
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, the history of her race, 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 Priestesshood 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 tiresome 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's henchmen 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 Ardulae closer than before and even named her the head of her personal guard, being paranoid enough to see the rest of her daughters as 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 what little information that was available during the entire conflict states 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 and predictions 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 cunning 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, through the union of her eldest sister and his eldest brother. 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 WarEdit
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 harsh 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. Despite the many victories and successful assassinations that Ardulae was behind, she continued to remain out of her mother's favor throughout the entirety of the conflict. Her remaining sisters, Briza and Faeryl, made an alliance between them known to Ardulae during the Civil War as they began sending assassins after their youngest sister in an attempt to gain favor with their mother, Drada, and also securing their own positions within the Noqu'ath House.
The relationship between Antaonar and Ardulae was truly strained during this period of time, and at one point they even took up arms against each other. Records that were kept during this time states that while Ardulae came out as the victor of the skirmish she was still punished by her mother, even more so than Antaonar was, much to the surprise of every member of House Noqu'ath. What once had started out as a superficial relationship now began as an innately hateful and purely sexual relationship solely based around the conservative "female dominant, male slave" ideology that the drow community embrace among the higher classes.
The War of the RingEdit
Shortly before the War of the Ring began, Ardulae was sent alone by her mother, Drada, to the Elven outpost of Rivendell in an attempt to try for an alliance once more. Drada's reasoning for this was a prophecy that the Priestesses of Lolth had received about Sauron soon attempting to reinstate his power. When Ardulae arrived in Rivendell she was greeted with hospitality this time, and was reluctantly offered a place at Elrond's Council to hear of the plans that the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves were stringing together.
To be revealed...