- "Desdemona...eugh. She's beautiful, but there's something creepy about her."
- —Axikasha Keiran about Desdemona de Ardyn
Desdemona Sarillius, née de Ardyn, is the Queen of Zion, wife of the vanished King Marcus Sarillius, and mother of Princess Alexandra Sarillius. She was a prominent member of the Order of the Black Rose and the House of Ardyn until both factions lost their power in early Fourth Age. Although she appears as a proper noblewoman, she hides a dark past which few know of. She is a clever politician who will do anything to hold on to what power she has left and increase it if given a chance.
Antigonus de Ardyn married a lesser noble, Eva von Waldheim, from the House of Waldheim which was one of the noble families in the city of Fragnar. Eva died during childbirth, and Antigonus decided to give the baby the name of Desdemona to honour the name of Eva's grandmother. It only took a few years before Antigonus remarried, this time an elfess named Eurydice Bitterleaf from Folsworth Woods. She gave birth to Mordecai de Ardyn but succumbed to a disease known as the Blood Fever a few months later. Antigonus concentrated on his work since then, and his brother Belial de Ardyn was travelling around the world, so Desdemona and Mordecai had to learn to live without constant guidance from early on.
Years passed, and Desdemona and Mordecai developed a close bond that turned incestuous in their late teens. They kept their forbidden relationship secret from everyone within the Order of the Black Rose, even their closest family members. There was something in Mordecai that made Desdemona feel at ease, and the two could understand each other's thoughts as if they were twins.
A few years prior to the Yamatian Invasion of Maar Sul, Antigonus perished during a mysterious wanderer's assault on the Order's headquarters. Antigonus's demise did not seem to affect Desdemona much, probably because her father had always concentrated more on his work than spending time with her. Attempts to locate the killer were in vain, and the Order had to rebuild its power base from the aftermath of the attack.
Desdemona's uncle Belial began to take care of her and Mordecai, and their life continued as normal apart from Mordecai and Desdemona having nightly visits to each other's bedrooms. Belial was busy rebuilding the Order after Antigonus's demise and hardly had time for Desdemona and Mordecai, which further alienated him from them, although he made sure to provide them with the best education money could buy in prestigious Maar Sulais colleges.
Desdemona began her magic studies and was contacted by a mysterious person who turned out to be the leader of a death cult known as the Totenkopfs. This Master showed Desdemona how black magic could be used and introduced her to an old friend of Belial, Duke Koschei Dravaris. Desdemona and Koschei instantly understood one another, and Koschei became her teacher as the Master had other things to attend to. Koschei's manipulation turned out to be successful as he helped Desdemona become more powerful and ambitious.
It was around this time that Mordecai began showing symptoms of the Blood Fever, and Belial immediately forged a magically enchanted armor by using the notes of the late Antigonus. He put Mordecai in the armor, and that turned out to be a wise move because it kept Mordecai alive albeit in great pain.
These sad events did not stop Mordecai and Desdemona from continuing their secret relationship, though, but the nightly visits became rarer as time passed on. The Blood Fever was slowly taking over Mordecai's body, but his fantastic physique was partially helping him struggle against the disease. He became even more distant than he had been, now rarely uttering words even to Desdemona. The two continued sharing a close bond, though.
A Change of PlansEdit
Koschei used the predicament to his advantage and assured Desdemona that there was a way to save Mordecai from a grisly fate; all she had to do was to hand him over to Koschei who could then study the symptoms of the Blood Fever and create an antidote. This further motivated Desdemona to stay with the Totenkopfs.
Although Desdemona agreed to use Mordecai as a guinea pig for the greater good, she was not sure how to take Mordecai away without Belial noticing anything. Koschei assured her that he had already thought about it, and thus an elaborate game of deception began. While they plotted, the Cataclysm took place and effectively ended the Great War and forced them to delay their plans for the time being.
Koschei finally sent Totenkopf assassins after Belial in the early months of 1016 AE, but the assassins were defeated. Belial learned about the existence of the Totenkopfs and that they had been behind the assassination attempt, and he took his closest servants and family members, including Desdemona, with him as he began the voyage to Remon.
Everything was going exactly as Koschei and Desdemona had planned, however, as the whole point of the attack had been to make Belial travel to Remon, which would set events in motion which the Totenkopfs had been planning for over a decade. Desdemona could hardly wait to begin the next phase of her mission. The Great War had ravaged many nations, and once Mordecai was cured and Belial was out of the picture, the Order of the Black Rose would become a powerful faction that could rule the world from the shadows.
Encounters in RemonEdit
- "We don't have time for this, my lord. The longer we stay away from Remonton, the easier it will be for the Totenkopfs to cause trouble there."
- "Very well. I'll finish this quickly."
- —Desdemona and Belial de Ardyn, about the interrogation of Izael Korath
Desdemona, having recently turned 34, accompanied her uncle Belial to Ravensworth aboard the Ardent in late winter of 1016 AE. She was surprised when the leader of the Ravensworth welcoming committee, Captain Adram Alek, informed them that Remon did not have a king. The decentralized nature of the country threatened Desdemona's plans, but her uncle reassured her that they would find someone powerful enough in Remonton, the capital of Remon.
Desdemona had not taken into consideration that some Totenkopfs might act independently, though. One such Totenkopf named Zenobia manipulated the Ravensworth Watch to open fire on the ship. The Ardent sank, but Desdemona, her close relatives and some of Belial's servants survived. Desdemona cursed these developments in her mind, but fate smiled on her that day as the Wanderers led by Axikasha Keiran happened to appear at that time and saved the group from certain death. She was in a bad mood, so when a hungry Omari fish tried to attack the crew, she made the fish explode once it accidentally swallowed a barrel full of gunpowder.
The Flaming Monkey sailed away before the Ravensworth Watch could continue the attack. However, Mordecai's armor had been damaged in the ambush, and Desdemona immediately took him into the ship. She and a few mages who knew white magic began healing Mordecai, and eventually Belial joined them. She later heard that the Totenkopfs had manipulated the Ravensworth Watch to attack the ship, but she remained quiet about the matter.
She accompanied Belial and her new companions to Remonton. She helped in fending off a few Totenkopfs who had tried to ambush the group, and eventually even more people joined the group, one of them being Belial's brother-in-law, Dieter von Waldheim. They also captured one of the Totenkopfs, Izael Korath. Desdemona realized that the Totenkopfs would begin their plans for Remonton even if Belial did not appear, so she urged Belial to interrogate Izael harshly so that they could continue the journey to Remonton.
She noticed the look of shock on Belial's face and inquired whether he had got hold of any useful information, but Belial coldly brushed her comment aside. Desdemona decided not to pursue the matter further, although she wondered what her uncle had really seen in Izael's mind.
Setting the StageEdit
- "The Totenkopfs...they've captured Mordecai. Please forgive me, my lord. I was unable to save him."
- "So, this battle was nothing more than a distraction! Damn those Totenkopfs! They had been planning this all along, and I fell right into their trap like an amateur!"
- —Desdemona and Belial de Ardyn
Ax led the group, including Desdemona, through an underground passageway into Remonton where the group soon found themselves the target of the Proninist Party which had taken over the city only a few days earlier. The arrival of a man claiming to be Marcus Sarillius, the king of Remon, just made things more confusing, and Desdemona eventually learned that Belial had been captured by the Proninists. As soon as Desdemona saw Marcus and realized from Ax's reaction that the man was in fact the true king of Remon, she immediately began plotting. A marriage with Marcus would serve both her and the Order's needs, and she tried to figure out how to lure Marcus in.
The Totenkopfs, led by Jacob Seneron, appeared a moment later and released an ice elemental which immediately began destroying the city and killing the people. Desdemona suggested a retreat because she could immediately see that the group was no match for the beast. However, another reason was that she could divert the heroes' attention elsewhere while she waited for the Totenkopfs to make their true move. To her delight Ax agreed with the idea, and the group proceeded towards the Palace of Justice where Belial was held in.
Everything proceeded exactly as Desdemona had assumed. Zenobia appeared and "kidnapped" her and Mordecai while everyone else was busy fighting against the elemental. Desdemona returned after the battle was over and managed to make everyone believe that she had escaped from the Totenkopfs. She was surprised how easy it was to fool the fellowship, and she delighted in the idea that eventually the Totenkopfs would make an antidote for Mordecai and the two of them could be together again.
Plans for the ThroneEdit
The group spent a year in Remonton, slowly rebuilding it and helping Marcus in his quest to unite Remon. Belial did his best to convince Marcus of a political marriage, but Marcus was rather reluctant. Desdemona did not give up even if her uncle had failed, and she continued spending more time with Marcus, and the two grew closer. She stayed in the background when the representatives of various races and cities arrived at the Remonton Summit and had lengthy negotiations about the forming of a new Grand Alliance to counter the threats posed by the Proninist Party and the Totenkopfs.
Desdemona was surprised when she heard that Marcus had been kidnapped the following night. She immediately volunteered to come along with the rescue party although Ax was rather suspicious that so many people wanted to tag along. Desdemona was rather amused when she realized that the Master of the Totenkopfs followed the group. She kept her mouth shut so that she would not blow the Master's cover, and she admired the way how no one seemed to realize that their greatest threat was travelling next to them.
The group departed for the Ruined Kingdom while one of the group members, a goofy amnesiac named Ronove was turned into a fake Marcus with magic and was set up to lead the forces of the Grand Alliance to Maar Sul's aid while the rescue group would locate and return Marcus back to the Alliance.
Desdemona aided Ax and the others rescue Marcus in the Ruined Kingdom. They faced many traps along the way, most notably the Soap, and Desdemona was surprised that the ruins were swarming with Totenkopfs. She also found it interesting that Marcus's kidnappers had actually been members of the Grey Cult: Xerathas d'Zarnagon and Varalia Earthhaven. She sensed the magic in Xerathas and realized that she had to be more careful from now on because the mage might blow her cover if she figured out the taint of shadow magic in her.
The group ended up facing Nergal, the God of War, who revealed to the group that they had traitors in their midst. Although Nergal was beaten, the group grew increasingly paranoid, especially after Xerathas and Varalia joined the group as prisoners. Belial's schemes were also revealed, and Desdemona worried if Belial would act too hastily and ruin everything that she had been planning. She had a private chat with the Master when no one was listening, and he instructed her that they would take care of Belial once they would arrive at Maar Sul City.
Betrayal in the FamilyEdit
- "Farewell, uncle."
- "That was the first time you ever called me...uncle. I'm so--"
- —Desdemona and Belial de Ardyn
The group reunited with the Grand Alliance army and switched the decoy Marcus, Ronove, with the real Marcus. The army did not meet any resistance worth speaking of as it marched to Maar Sul City where it was welcomed with open arms. Desdemona did not attend the ball, claiming that she was sick, but she was actually getting prepared for the next phase of the Totenkopfs' plan.
Koschei Dravaris eventually lured Belial to his tower by claiming to have news about Mordecai's whereabouts. Belial managed to defend himself against Koschei, Gloriana and even the Master, but he was unprepared for a fourth enemy who turned out to be Desdemona. Although he was shocked by the betrayal, he died with a cryptic, blissful smile on his face as Desdemona pushed him off the tower.
The funeral was held later, and everyone was invited. When one of Belial's servants, Awar, began reading the will, Desdemona assumed that all of Belial's fortune would go to her because Mordecai was missing and thus she was the sole heir of Belial present. However, she was shocked when the will stated that Belial's possessions would go to his servant, Khalid al-Saif, who was in fact an exiled emir from the Sultanate of Karaganda and the son of Belial. Desdemona was furious about this "betrayal", but she soon calmed herself down and used the opportunity to make Marcus escort her to her quarters.
Desdemona used the infamous Dread Garlic of Mind Control in the tea which she offered to Marcus. She knew that Marcus would have to drink it many times, but she hoped that she could drug Marcus and have sex with him, which would eventually result in a baby which would strengthen Desdemona's hold of the throne of Remon.
She figured out that Marcus had feelings for Ax, but she did what she could to convince Marcus that Ax was not interested in him. She used the excuse of Refan's flirting with Ax as well as Ax's ubringing as a means to make Marcus see that the romance would be doomed. Her schemes were interrupted by the arrival of Ax and Nymgrock Sigiln, but Desdemona did not mind; she had already taken the first step of taking over Marcus's mind. The somewhat drugged Marcus kissed Desdemona who retreated to her quarters.
Khalid approached the Order of the Black Rose the following day and stated that he was not ready to lead the Order, not while his people, the Sarquil, were suffering in the sultanate. He gave Koschei Dravaris control of the Order and left to get ready for the journey to Libaterra. Desdemona was not pleased about Khalid's bossy attitude, but the Master ordered her to take care of Marcus and leave Khalid to the other Totenkopfs.
When Marcus prepared to go back to Remon to counter a possible threat posed by the rogue and ambitious steward Dylas Rin Theron, Desdemona accompanied him. She was not glad to see Marcus's advisor Shyralis tag along, and she realized that Shyralis would be a dangerous opponent that she had to deal with sooner or later for her scheme to work.
Return to RemonEdit
- "Wonderful, isn't it? I'm heavy with Marcus's child. I hope you can find him and tell him to come back now that Dylas and the Shadow have been dealt with. A father should be present when his child is born."
- —Desdemona to Shyralis
Desdemona followed Marcus and his entourage to Remonton. After they received a status report of what Dylas had been up to in their absence, Desdemona witnessed Marcus acting much more boldly and more aggressively than before, which she found odd. When she wished to spend some private time with Marcus, she was denied as the king wished to rest. Unable to do anything about it yet wondering what had changed Marcus's attitude so much, Desdemona retreated to her quarters to figure out how to adapt to the changing political climate in Remon.
Desdemona remained in the safety of the palace of justice in Remonton while Dylas's White Ravens attacked the capital in the Third Battle of Remonton. Marcus transformed during the battle, revealing himself to be a clone of The Shadow. This made Desdemona realize that the real Marcus had tricked him and must still be somewhere in Maar Sul City or may have even followed Ax's party to Libaterra. The Shadow was eventually dealt with thanks to actions from Dylas's men, and the battle continued albeit both forces had been weakened.
However, the battle between the loyalists and the rebels ended abruptly when the Totenkopfs approached with Bishop Arbriel Conrad and fired barrels onto the unsuspecting armies. It turned out to be a variant of the Blood Fever which affected every race, not just elves. It quickly ended up having a disturbing side effect, however: anyone this variant killed rose as something that was neither living nor dead. These undeaded attacked both forces, slaying them and raising them as more undead. The variant of the fever became known as the Plague of Undeath.
During the resulting chaos, the library of Remonton was set on fire...seemingly by accident although some suspected it had been done on purpose. It was during this time, when Dylas's scattered army had been driven away while the undead spread rapidly in the countryside, that Shyralis approached the stewards and Desdemona with Izael who had figured out a way to unravel the mysteries of a tome he possessed if he could find key tomes to decipher the coded text.
Desdemona revealed to Shyralis that she was pregnant, happy to see her agonized expression as the half-elf realized what Desdemona meant: if she gave birth to a child who would be seen as Marcus's, Desdemona would effectively become queen of the underage prince, and thus Shyralis's power in the court would wane.
The Stewards' Council needed the white mages and paladins of Fragnar to aid in the defense of Remonton, so they decided to send Shyralis and Izael there to seek help and find a way to travel to Maar Sul to find the real King Marcus as well as locate the tomes Izael had been seeking to find a cure to the Blood Fever. Steward Adram Alek and the war prisoner Skye d'Zarnagon, who had aided Dylas before she'd been captured, were chosen for the assignment because their skills were known and because Remonton was short of manpower after so many of its finest soldiers had died in the outbreak of the plague.
Shyralis's group left Remonton, and Desdemona was happy to see her gone. Whether Shyralis survived the trip or not was irrelevant. The Totenkopfs' plans were already advancing now that the undead had been unleashed in Remonton, and Desdemona only had to wait for the birth of her and Mordecai's son and claim it was Marcus's, and the throne would practically be hers.
Gains and LossesEdit
- "It's good to see you alive and well, Countess de Ardyn. We were worried that King Marcus's wife-to-be and his unborn child would've fallen with Remonton."
- "If it hadn't been for Lord Krisler's archers, the few survivors in Remonton would've certainly perished. They saved me and my child in the nick of time from the ravenous monsters."
- —Krisler Garside and Desdemona
Arbriel Conrad managed to gather the undead into a force which began calling itself the Wretched, and this large number of undead succeeded in infiltrating and taking over Remonton, which caught the weary defenders off guard as they had expected that the undead were merely mindless monsters. Desdemona and Stewards Aronus Kinlith and Seize Greenlight, along with several others, fled from the city which fell to Arbriel's undead army. They had no choice but to flee to the countryside, hoping to find shelter somewhere in the undead-infested plaguelands which Remon had become.
Desdemona reached Ravensworth safely with various other refugees after Remonton's fall and had a meeting with Lieutenant Edric Gades and the elven lord Krisler Garside about how to deal with the problem posed by the Wretched as well as the scattered forces of Dylas Rin Theron.
It was decided that Desdemona should stay in Ravensworth in Gades's care so that they could ensure a safe birth for her child which would become the legitimate heir to the throne of Remon should anything happen to Marcus abroad. This suited Desdemona fine; she'd be safe from the undead and, even if Marcus returned, she could still sway him to her side with her magic and ensure that the Order of the Black Rose and the Totenkopfs would control Remon from the shadows.
Desdemona eventually bribed a local priest to use his clerical authority and an old law to pronounce her Marcus's wife and thus Queen of Remon because of her ostensibly being pregnant with Marcus's child. The ruse was successful, and Desdemona was legitimized as queen, thus fulfilling her primary goal of gaining power in Remon.
However, the Wretched invaded Ravensworth a few weeks after the coronation ceremony when Desdemona was ready to give birth. The defenders had no choice but to leave as Ravensworth was being overrun, and Desdemona barely managed to get aboard the ships before fleeing from the doomed nation. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl who was named Princess Alexandra Sarillius.
Desdemona and the surviving Remoners were at sea when the Catastrophe struck but survived the calamity as the world transitioned to the Fourth Age. Kingdomless, the ships went their separate ways once they had found a safe haven. Desdemona and her followers continued on, however, eventually finding a safe place to live in and recover from their losses as the Second Great War had come to an end.
After founding the Kingdom of Zion and taking in the wandering half-demon mage Kareth as a servant when she had recognized his potential, Queen Desdemona focused on raising Princess Alexandra and trying to gain back the power she had lost, especially after the House of Ardyn had fallen from grace.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- Countess de Ardyn
- Her title in the House of Ardyn and which she still uses despite the house's noble status being revoked in the Fourth Age.
- Used fondly by Belial and Mordecai de Ardyn.
- Old Maid
- A derogatory nickname given to Desdemona by Axikasha Keiran.
- Queen of Remon
- Her title after her marriage to Marcus Sarillius was approved by the clergy in late Third Age.
- Queen of Zion
- Her title as the ruler of Zion in the Fourth Age.
Desdemona is tall, dark and beautiful. She wears clothes with a mix of black and gold, and she is often seen wearing a golden headpiece that signifies her position as the Countess of the House of Ardyn. Her eyes have a red tint to them which sometimes make her look rather menacing. She has a slender figure.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Desdemona is rather cold most of the time, although she has shown anger on her face occasionally. The only people she has ever warmed up to have been her half-brother Mordecai and King Marcus Sarillius. She is also rather intelligent and quiet, speaking only when necessary.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Desdemona is a skilled black mage who knows above middle-level spells. She has yet to master the dark arts, but she is patient. She is rather weak physically, though, so she prefers to rely on her magic.
Antigous de ArdynEdit
Desdemona was never too close to her father as Antigonus was often away on business deals. Still, she respected his cunning and did everything to become as successful a politician as he was. Antigonus cared for his children deeply and was happy to see Desdemona and Mordecai spending time together.
Belial de ArdynEdit
Belial loved Desdemona as a daughter he had never had. The girl was beautiful and intelligent, and Belial was pleased that she learned magic more easily than he had. Despite Belial's best efforts Desdemona never quite returned these feelings, and it troubled Belial slightly but he never dared to ask her a reason for such cold demeanor. He tried to joke around her maybe a bit too much, but he never succeeded in breaking her icy exterior. When Desdemona revealed herself as an agent of the Totenkopfs only a moment before Belial's murder, Belial was shocked at first. However, when he heard Desdemona use the word 'uncle' for the first and final time, he felt that he had sicceeded in establishing a connection between himself and his niece. When he fell down the tower, he did not feel anger; his mind was totally calm in the last seconds of his life. Desdemona did not feel the same way, though, as she had always considered her uncle a weak fool. She felt that Belial's death was a necessary step in order to make the Order of the Black Rose grow stronger in the guidance of the Totenkopfs.
Desdemona's relationship with Koschei is rather formal. He was one of the first Totenkopfs she met and acted as her connection to the higher-ups within the Totenkopfs. She respects Koschei's wisdom and wants to learn as much from him as possible. Koschei sees Desdemona as a promising student who he hopes to use for his own gains. The two play a dangerous game, juggling deception and trust, but so far it has been profitable for both of them.
Marcus and Desdemona seemed to bond almost as soon as they met. There was something about Desdemona that reminded Marcus of Ax, and that made him warm up to her. Marcus was still insecure of how he really felt about Ax, but Desdemona guided him gently and eventually managed to push his emotions to the right direction. He cares for Desdemona as a person, and the fact that she is a noblewoman is also something to be considered, because he realizes that a marriage with her would be a politically wise move that could save Remon from further chaos. Desdemona, however, considers Marcus as a mere pawn who she plans to use to take over Remon.
Mordecai de ArdynEdit
Desdemona had three roles in Mordecai's life: mother, sister and lover. The two understood each other really well and hardly ever had to speak to know what the other was thinking. Their relationship had to remain hidden, because rumours of incest could have not only ruined their reputation but also the Order's. Although Mordecai's feelings seemed to calm down after he had been exposed to the Blood Fever, he nevertheless cares about Desdemona even though he understands that their relationship can never be public and that he will likely never be able to father children due to his ravaged condition.