Queen Ardata (or Ardatha) of Jacuruku, also named the Queen of Spiders, was an Elder God. She was the ancient goddess of a kingdom on Jacuruku, conquered by the Crimson Guard, who later ruled there in her name.
In Memories of Ice
- "Fifty years, dear rivals, to conquer an entire continent. Oh, perhaps Ardatha still held out - always late in sending me my rightful tribute - but I ignored such petty gestures. She has fled, did you know? The bitch."
- ―Kallor on Ardata
In The Bonehunters
Cotillion made a reference to Ardata when he was in conversation with Mogora after the latter had invoked a healing ritual, involving hundreds of thousands of spiders wrapping Mappo Runt in strands of spider web: "Cotillion was gazing steadily at her, then he said, 'You're one of Ardata's, aren't you?'"
The ritual put Mappo into a dreamlike state in which he saw himself in a place he did not recognise. Tall stone pillars seemed to surround him in a pattern and their shadows formed a kind of web with him in the center. A young woman appeared, dressed in black flowing silks with long hair the colours of dying flames, eyes the hue of beaten gold, unblemished skin and smooth hands. She told him that the place was Jacuruku and that the time was four or five years after The Fall (presumably that of the Crippled God). She remarked upon her own appearance, noting herself to be young again. Asked about her identity she answered: ‘A queen about to be driven from her throne, banished from her empire. My vanity is about to suffer an ignominious defeat.’ Mappo deduced her identity and offered to name her, but she told him that it would not be wise to do so.
The woman claimed to have learned the art of hiding since the Fall and was not inclined to give favours. As a result, she was not initially pleased with Mogora's ritual. She told Mappo that it was the Nameless Ones who had originally made Icarium so terrible in power and that they intended to use the Jhag for some unknown purpose. She concluded that countering the Nameless Ones must be why Shadowthrone showed a personal interest in Mappo and Icarium. She was offended that Shadowthrone assumed her allegiance in the matter and even more offended that he was right. As she sent Mappo back, she claimed Mappo's desire to find Icarium incited her to weep, something she recalled doing mostly out of self-pity when she was young.
In Toll the Hounds
The priests of Burn in Darujhistan tried to paint Mappo Runt in the blood of Burn in order to allow him to travel through Burn's Gate, into the molten fires of the underworld. However spider web tattoos appeared etched on his dark brown hide. The web "was proving a skein of resistance, a net trapping him on the inside and keeping out the blessed gift of the goddess". The High Priest of Burn commented, "The web that once healed you is proving most...selfish. Claiming you for its own - Ardatha never yields her prizes. She has snared you, for purposes unknown to any but her. She is most hateful, I think."
In Dust of Dreams
Two other Elder Gods discussed the queen.
- Sechul Lath: "We have discussed K'rul, but there is one other, Errastas. An entity most skilled at remaining a mystery to us all-"
- Errastas: "Ardata. But she is not the only one. I always sensed, Setch, that there were more of us than any of us imagined. Even with my power, my command of the Tiles, I was convinced there were ghosts, hovering at the edge of my vision, my awareness. Ghosts, as ancient and as formidable as any of us."
- ―Sechul Lath and Errastas discussing Ardata[src]
In Orb Sceptre Throne
Tayschrenn mentioned that Ardata held the title of Enchantress before the current Queen of Dreams showed up and they were now bitter rivals. She was the greatest power of her age, eclipsed now in this time of Warrens and their mastery.
In Blood and Bone
In Forge of Darkness
Ardata was revealed to be an Azathanai. Old Man told Draconus that his usage of Night to aid Mother Dark of the Tiste was without precedent and had infuriated the "believers". Two such believers, Ardata and the Sister of Dreams, thereafter sought redress and healing in the Vitr.
In Fall of Light
K'rul learned that the Gate of Starvald Demelain may have opened again near the Vitr. With Skillen Droe, he made his way toward the Vitr to investigate and seek allies. He heard that Ardata had approached the Vitr, and contemplated entering.K'rul enlisted Ardata to aid him in his creation of the Warrens. He offered the Eleint the use of his warrens if they would guard them against the Azathanai. Behind their backs, he asked Ardata to use her "webs" to ensnare the Eleint who aligned themselves with each warren. He believed this was necessary to prevent his new "guardians" from abandoning their mission. In exchange for her assistance, K'rul offered to lead Ardata to her lover, T'riss.
Notes and references
- Memories of Ice, Prologue, UK MMPB p.38
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 9, UK MMPB p.512
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 11, UK MMPB p.555-557
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 11, US SFBC p.457-459
- The Bonehunters, Chapter 14, UK MMPB p.713
- Toll the Hounds, Chapter 7
- Return of the Crimson Guard, Book 1 Chapter 5
- Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter 17, UK MMPB p.662
- Forge of Darkness, Chapter 11, UK HC p.317
- Fall of Light, Chapter 12
- Fall of Light, Chapter 22