Aridatha Singh is the most prominent son of the infamous Narayan Singh. Aridatha did not meet his father, not even in infancy, until adulthood, and he avoided the stain of Narayan's leadership of the hated cult of the Stranglers. Aridatha earned an excellent reputation in the City Battalions of Taglios, eventually even attaining the title of Great General. Strikingly tall and handsome, he was well-known for his physical beauty. But he also proved himself to be a superior negotiator, strategist, general, and ruler.
Before Croaker's Annals[edit | edit source]
Aridatha was born into an ethnic Gunni family in a town called Gondowar to Yashodara, and was her third son. His father, Narayan, was publicly a vegetable peddler but secretly one of the most infamous jamadars of the cult of the Stranglers. Narayan left to devote himself to his goddess Kina before Aridatha was born. Also before his birth, the Shadowmasters conquered Gondowar, which became incorporated into the Shadowlands. Although Yashodara endured great poverty and despair, she lived to see Aridatha grow into an accomplished man.
Water Sleeps[edit | edit source]
By the time of Water Sleeps, Aridatha had risen to the rank of senior non-commissioned officer in one of the City Battalions under the Protectorate. He was secretly tracked down by Sleepy, the Annalist and de facto commander of the underground Black Company. Sleepy introduced him for the first time in his life to his father, Narayan, who was her captive. She was attempting to appeal to Narayan's emotions for his long-abandoned family in an effort to get his cooperation. But Sleepy was nearly distracted by Aridatha's excellent looks, perfect hygiene, and outstanding manners. When Aridatha realized that Narayan was the notorious Narayan Singh, of the Stranglers' widespread infamy, he did not lose his composure and even greeted his father respectfully. They discussed Yashodara, his mother, until he was taken away. During this meeting, Aridatha was observed by the Daughter of Night, Narayan's adopted daughter and another of the Company's prisoners. Sleepy then introduced him to the Radisha Drah, yet another of Sleepy's high-value captives. Sleepy wanted him to be a credible witness to his fellow Taglians that the Radisha's recent announcements were in fact forgeries from Soulcatcher. After this, Sleepy had Riverwalker return Aridatha to his City Battalion. River praised Aridatha as a "bedrock-decent guy. Only smart. And still young enough to be unspoiled by life."
Soldiers Live[edit | edit source]
High official of the Protectorate[edit | edit source]
By Soldiers Live, Aridatha had risen to the command of all the City Battalions, giving him a seat in the Privy Council. He was "talented at keeping the peace without enraging the populace". He was admired by Mogaba, the Great General, who was concerned Soulcatcher might dispose of him as she had rapidly cycled through several other Privy Council members.
Secret triumvirate against Soulcatcher[edit | edit source]
Aridatha formed a triumvirate with fellow Protectorate leaders Mogaba and Ghopal Singh (commander of the Greys) which governed Taglios in the absence of its dictator, Soulcatcher. When Mogaba revealed his interest in expelling Soulcatcher, Aridatha agreed. He revealed that he had met the Company before, and shared the story of his meeting with Sleepy that took place Water Sleeps. He even told Mogaba and Ghopal the dark truth about his biological father, and personally volunteered to represent the triumvirate in a secret meeting with the Company.
|“||I am, of course, damned to walk in the shadow of a man I met only once in my life, after I was a grown man, and then for only a few minutes, several years ago, in your presence. That's the legacy of the Deceivers. The cult destroys trust. My answer is, all men should be judged by one standard: their behavior. By the deeds they do.||”|
Aridatha traveled to the secret meeting, which was held at the manor called Gharhawnes. By this time, Sleepy was the official Captain of the Black Company. He was ushered into the chamber where the Howler was being awakened from a 15-year long stasis since becoming one of the Captured. Aridatha soon learned that his estranged father was now dead. After reassuring them why he could be trusted, Aridatha explained why Soulcatcher's nearest Protectorate forces, thought their numbers were greater, were poorly trained and very poorly armed.
Betraying Dejagore to the Black Company[edit | edit source]
He later sneaked his Company allies into the shop of his brother Sugriva, who was older than Aridatha by a decade and living incognito in Dejagore. Sugriva supplied them with intelligence that they used to seize that city from Soulcatcher. During the actual occupation, Aridatha laid low at his brother's shop. The operation went so smoothly that the only injury sustained by the Company was a single broken arm. Lady then rushed Aridatha to Taglios so his absence would not be detected by Soulcatcher.
Although he helped the Company seize Dejagore, Aridatha had undertaken obligations and pledged himself to Mogaba. When Soulcatcher was neutralized and captured by the Company, Mogaba did not stand down, and Aridatha remained loyal to him as a matter of honor.
Battle at the Shadowlander cemetery[edit | edit source]
Aridatha had to lead a force of mostly City Battalion men in a pincer movement against the Black Company at the Battle at the Shadowlander cemetery. Mogaba feared for him, as he was a novice on the battlefield. When Aridatha seized the Grove of Doom, his men executed and beheaded the Stranglers they found, and captured the Khadidas as well as the Daughter of Night. She recognized Aridatha, who now revealed to her for the first time that her biological parents Croaker and Lady referred to her as "Booboo". He had the two prisoners immediately escorted back to the Palace of Taglios. Then, after he joined the battle, his men fought well, but were pushed off the battlefield thanks to the foresight of Sleepy's second-in-command, Suvrin. "Only Aridatha Singh's division retained its cohesion. Its reward was the task of screening the retreating army. Which consisted mainly of survivors of the Second Territorial." Mogaba's force suffered terribly, and the right-wing force of Narenda Nath Saraswati was crushed, so Aridatha covered Mogaba's retreat. The Black Company suffered many noteworthy losses, as well.
Siege of Taglios[edit | edit source]
Aridatha continued to support Mogaba and Ghopal Singh against the Black Company during the Siege of Taglios. When Mogaba informed him that Sleepy and many of her command staff were killed in his elaborate mechanical trap at the city gate, Aridatha worked himself to exhaustion fighting off the invaders. One night during the battle, his room was invaded by a whole force of Unknown Shadows and Arkana, who was wearing her protective shefsepoke concealment and riding a rheitgeistide. She asked him to order his men to lay down their arms, to spare the city any further bloodshed, but he refused, instead asking her to find a way to get Mogaba to surrender. Some Unknown Shadows remained behind, preventing him from getting much-needed rest.
Throughout the worst fighting, Aridatha kept the City Battalions busy removing and identifying bodies for the closure of Taglian families.
When Soulcatcher (speaking through her haggard white crow) informed Aridatha that Mogaba and Ghopal had just been killed, she demanded that he continue the fight for the city on her behalf. Without hesitation, however, he had the bird subdued and ordered the immediate end to all hostilities.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
With the fighting stopped, the Prahbrindrah Drah and the Radisha Drah marched together through the city. Aridatha's poorly-trained marching band attempted to provide a bit of pageantry. When the Prahbrindrah was killed by the Khadidas with no successor, Aridatha became the clear popular choice as the new ruler of Taglios. He oversaw the public funeral ceremonies for those who died on behalf the Protectorate. As Croaker summarized:
|“||Aridatha Singh had become the most powerful man in the Taglian Territories, despite having done little to acquire that power--except to be competent and a nice guy. They say that when the hour comes, so will the man. Sometimes fate will even conspire to put a competent, honest man in the right place at the right time.||”|
Aridatha used careful, transparent negotiations to restore the city after the battle. He also shielded himself from the Unknown Shadows by sleeping in an airtight office in a City Battalion barracks, which proved to be a wise move. Tobo, out of control and on a misguided quest to avenge the deaths of his parents Murgen and Ky Sahra, sneaked into Aridatha's office to murder him. But Aridatha was prepared: a bodyguard delivered a terrible blow to Tobo's skull, and the comatose young sorcerer was thrown into a concealed cell. The Unknown Shadows raised a ruckus throughout the city to get their beloved master back, but Aridatha refused to release the attempted assassin. Suvrin, the new Captain of the Black Company, also sought to avoid a dangerous political situation at a sensitive time, and did not pressure Aridatha to turn over Tobo.
Disobeying Suvrin's directive, Croaker hatched an unsanctioned mission to get Tobo back to the Company. Croaker, Shukrat, and Arkana – with help from the Unknown Shadows – kidnapped Aridatha aboard their rheitgeistiden, and threatened to drop him out of the sky if he did not disclose Tobo's location. Aridatha cooperated, and waited with Arkana on the north bank of the great river while Croaker and Shukrat smuggled Tobo out of his cell. Aridatha was unharmed in this incident and was restored to Taglios in the end.