— Ardette Bombaerts
Ardette was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, and when World War I broke out, she was determined to die there, too. Young, stubborn, and idealistic, Ardette refused to leave her family home and flee to the Netherlands, even when her fiance was sent to the front lines. By the time fleeing started to seem like a good idea, the Germans had already erected the Wire of Death. And so, she stayed, bolstered by the promise that her fiance would return.
He didn't. Alive or dead. No body, no apologetic knock on her door, not even a letter.
After the war, Ardette traveled through Germany looking for her fiance’s grave, or at least clues as to his death, if he had died at all, but he had by all accounts disappeared. She would later learn that he had deserted, and died by electrocution trying to cross the border into the Netherlands. He was buried in a mass grave. To learn that he had given up and left her behind while Belgian citizens were being slaughtered felt like the highest betrayal, and Ardette began her journey home defeated. Suffice it to say, Ardette got a little… lost… on her way back to Belgium, and found herself in Streitstadt a little over a year ago.
She's a forward-thinking city girl who's found herself in a tiny, backward-thinking village and her first year in Streitstadt has not yielded the warmest of welcomes. The townsfolk, general wary of outsiders, did not take to this foreign woman traveling alone and without an escort. There is the occasional rumor that she is a witch; after all, she wears trousers, has a garden, and doesn't attend church service... Needless to say, Ardette does not have many friends in Streitstadt, but in all fairness she hasn't bothered to try and make any.
Entered the war a Catholic, left it an atheist. Streitstadt is giving her doubts about her feelings on religious faith, so any religious faith she has, she's probably pretty begrudging about. (She takes out this frustration on the clergy). She's a loner who focuses her energy on the Library more than on making friends, or at least making herself more likable. It's an easy job to get lost in. And it's the only job suitable for a young woman like Ardette, where the only thing she really has going for her is her smarts.
Always smells faintly of lavender. Seems to always have cold hands. Carries her pipe constantly. Obnoxiously self-reliant. Seriously, don't offer to help her with anything, it's a losing battle.
Eh, I'll get to this later (c'mon, you guys, Ardette dislikes everything).
Tall and willowy, with a strong nose and a stern face. It’s rare to see her smile, or let her hair down. By all accounts a Lady, despite her peculiar insistence upon wearing trousers.
No supernatural abilities. Though, she does have a knack for languages, and the uncanny ability to locate almost any book in her vast library without a catalog. That, and a sixth sense for tomfoolery happening amongst her shelves… Otherwise, she’s quick on her feet and throws a surprisingly mean right hook. Not a bad shot with the Winchester. Could easily be bested in a fight, but damn is she stubborn - will kick and scream and claw and make it totally not worth your while.
Ardette came to Streitstadt with a collection of books: her own, her family’s, strangers’ (either given or stolen), or salvaged from the many book burnings that took place in Belgium during WWI. Some of them may have charred edges or still smell of smoke. Most of them have found a home on the Library shelves.
- Her father’s pocket watch
- A Winchester Model 1897 shotgun
- A modest engagement ring
- A hand-carved pipe (because it’s been nearly impossible to find cigarettes in Streitstadt).
So far, none of real value. Tends to keep to herself. Her Library is her only love.