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Ardath Senjak by Виталий Стрелец

Ardath Senjak was one of the four beautiful daughters of Baron Senjak and one of the murky figures associated with the beginning of the Domination era (about 5 centuries before The Black Company). She and her sisters Sylith, Credence, and Dorotea were said to "vie with one another in their loveliness". She was discussed centuries after her lifetime in The White Rose, and appeared under a different name in a dubious contemporary narrative in Port of Shadows.

In addition to the scattering of information known about Ardath, a collection of disparate details strongly suggests that her life was ultimately cut short by her sister Dorotea, whose goal was to conceal her own all-important true name. Dorotea – who went on to become the mighty empress called "the Lady" – would use the name Ardath on several occasions centuries later, most notably during her bold infiltration of the Hole while being chaperoned by Croaker (The White Rose).

Pre-Domination details[]

Ardath's father, Baron Senjak, and possibly his four daughters originated from a "far western kingdom" somewhere on the northern continent. All of the daughters were conceived and born to a mother who was in an incurable supernatural slumber or coma for reasons lost to history. Ardath was presumably on track to become a sorceress of noteworthy magnitude, and certainly shared the same supernatural attraction aura possessed by the other women of her bloodline to one degree or another.

At some point shortly before the Domination, Baron Senjak and his daughters were present in the TelleKurre-speaking region that would soon become the heart of the new empire. Ardath and her sisters Sylith and Credence reportedly accompanied their father to a gigantic aristocratic party. There, everyone's names and titles were announced by heralds and scribbled by a record-keeper in TelleKurre. This obscure and forgotten document would prove profoundly fateful for Dorotea centuries later.

A handful of other details about Ardath's marriage and fate were recalled by the ancient demon called Tracker who was present during her lifetime. He recalled that Ardath was twice married: first, to Baron Kaden of Dartstone, who died in battle; and six years later, to Erin NoFather, who was an unlanded priest of the god Vancer from a town called Slinger in the kingdom of Vye. According to Tracker, Ardath and her second husband Erin were murdered by bandits while traveling between Lathe and Ova. As these recollections were shared about 522 years later – during the events of The White Rose – Tracker admitted his knowledge of this time period was no longer perfectly trustworthy. A contrasting legend about Ardath is that Dorotea murdered her for the purposes of usurping her identity. In Soldiers Live, it was confirmed that Dorotea in her youth indeed "had slain as dear [as Booboo] before", likely referring to Ardath.

Adoption of the name Ardath by the Lady[]

Since "Erin NoFather" is an identity associated with the Dominator (the powerful and notorious husband of the Lady) before his rise to power, these stories taken together suggest the following chronology:

  1. The true Ardath married Baron Kaden only to be widowed.
  2. Less than six years later, Dorotea killed Ardath and assumed her identity.
  3. Dorotea, as "Ardath", married Erin NoFather, and eventually faked her own death alongside Erin to provide an added degree of separation from her birth name.
  4. Only after this did Dorotea and her husband reappear and declare themselves to the world as the new terrors known as the Dominator and the Lady.

Another detail that is certain about Ardath is that hers was not the true name of Soulcatcher. This was established during the Battle of Juniper, when the Dominator made an incorrect guess and attempted to close the Rite of Naming against the Lady using the name "Ardath". Since he already knew Soulcatcher's true name, he would never have used that name for the purpose of defending himself from her sister.

Soulcatcher and the Lady both knew one another's true names, but because they were somehow "protected from one another only by the most tangled web that could be woven", they never used true names against one another. Instead, they referred to one another by the "cover" names that had actually belonged to their deceased sisters. In Soldiers Live Soulcatcher still referred to Lady as "that bitch Ardath" (perhaps out of force of habit).

Port of Shadows[]

Ardath appears in the unreliable Domination-era chapters in Port of Shadows, a narrative which raises more questions about her than answers.

In the narrative, Ardath and Sylith remain alive after the Dominator's cruel murder of the sister who was later "resurrected" to become "Laissa" by the necromancer Papa. But the names of the sisters are clearly scrambled in this narrative, so if the origins of Laissa are otherwise accurate and there were indeed only 4 sisters total, Laissa must have been Sylith or Ardath given that Lady was revealed to be Dorotea, and Credence must be Soulcatcher's name by process of elimination. And since the name Ardath is associated with the sister who was murdered by Dorotea, this suggests Laissa was perhaps more likely to have been Sylith. (Sylith's body being dumped into the canal where Papa originally found her in Port of Shadows may have been the correct chain of events which was later misremembered by Tracker in The White Rose as her being "drowned in a flood of the River Dream".)