Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1970, Eugene Hardesty never knew a normal life. When he was barely old enough to walk, he entered his Chrysalis during a Mardi Gras celebration. The self-styled "Queen of Mobile," an Unseelie eshu grump, rescued the apparently crazed child from his worried parents and the paramedics (who were about to take the child to the psycho ward at the hospital). Nefertiti, as the "queen" called herself, was amazed when she realized she had stolen a sidhe childling. Her first inclination was to slay him. Then she realized what a treasure she had found as Eugene explained that he was Ferdia of House Fiona.
Over the next decades, Nefertiti raised him as her fosterling. Both fae realized that he was of the level of nobility that could claim a duchy, and Nefertiti appealed to King Barabas on Ferdia's behalf. He was granted a large freehold, a former holding of the Fiona known as Ferris Castle, in what had since become Montgomery, Alabama. Rekindling the Balefire in the castle, Ferdia moved there to hold court once a month. Most of his time was still spent with Nefertiti in her tiny freehold of Bellemer, a weathered sea cottage on stilts among a garden of azaleas.
Nefertiti had grown old as she watched over Ferdia. Though she was better able to cope with Banality since she was a member of the Shadow Court, she had been a grump when she had first adopted the young sidhe. One day, she went out to Bellemer and never returned. Ferdia searched for her, but never found a trace. Once a year, he commissions young knights to search for news of her. None have found her yet, and Ferdia believes Nefertiti has long since died. Ferdia has had no contact with his human family either since the day he was taken by Nefertiti, nor does he feel anything for them. Where he to run across them in the course of his life, he wold probably ignore them (as he does most humans) unless they could provide him with Glamour.
Though he oversees his court when necessary, Ferdia loves creating chimera more than anything else; a holdover from his childling days when he had many chimerical playmates. To celebrate being officially named ruler of the Duchy of Cotton, he created his greatest chimera yet... assisted by his faithful nocker servant, "Smithie." Together, the two of them forged a wondrous chimera: an enormous red dragon, and awakened in it a great love for and loyalty to Ferdia. Because of this triumph, Ferdia earned the title "Duke Firedrake."
A few years ago, Duke Firedrake met Igrania, duchess of Magnolia's Home, a large and powerful freehold in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was amazed to discover she actually called herself a duchess and insisted that her lands were separate from his. He had claims to Mississippi's freeholds as part of his Duchy of Cotton She retorted that he already had more than he could handle in ruling Alabama and that she (whose claim to a duchy was every bit as legitimate as his) would henceforth rule the Duchy of Magnolias. Discussions turned to bickering, then to threats and finally sabotage. Meilge's solution (prompted by the lucrative bribes from each of them) was not to decide for either of them. Instead, he proposed that the two of them should marry and rule jointly, a solution each flatly refused.
Firedrake now regrets that hasty decision as he finds himself falling deeper in love with Igrania each time they meet. He has begun to find excuses to have "truce talks" face-to-face, even if it means causing trouble on her side of the border in order to prompt another meeting. In order to be near her, Duke Firedrake prefers to spend the majority of his time at Bellemer in Mobile.
Despite his annoyance over Meilge's insistence that the two rulers settle in themselves, Duke Firedrake has remained one of Meilge's chief Unseelie allies. The duke provides Meilge and his minions with Cold Iron weapons crafted from the iron ore deposits so prevalent in the more northerly parts of his duchy. Since Firedrake is his chief supplier for the potent metal, Meilge has also dubbed his favorite duke "the Iron King." Though most people assume he is Seelie, Duke Firedrake has never been so for any length of time. Brought up by an irreverent Unseelie eshu, he learned to scorn the more restrictive aspects of courtly behavior. He supports the monarchy because Meilge's patronage keeps him in power. While not a member of the true Shadow Court, Firedrake is among those who believe they are privy to the court's secrets. His Mardi Gras and Samhain celebrations are legendary and draw both nobles and commoners from all over Concordia.
As his early teaching focused on those Arts that his eshu mentor taught him, Firedrake is best at those usually not associated with the noble sidhe. He is a master of both Chicanery and Legerdemain, is well-versed in Wayfare, and knows a little Soothsay. He is woefully lacking in Sovereign, which he tries to hide by pretending to be above using such "sidhe tricks." He is an excellent sculptor and collects beautiful gemstones.
Ferdia's auburn hair cascades down his back in waves, framing a face that could make those who read romance novels swoon. His gray eyes are slightly slanted, giving him a devilishly roguish look. He often wears Fiona garb, not because he needs to assert his claims, but because the colors look so good on him. He usually wears a crimson cloak, which he swirls dramatically whenever making an entrance or exit. He always carries a chimerical sword and often has a well-wrapped cold iron dagger in a boot.
Duke Firedrake loves being the center of attention and being in charge. While he is Unseelie, he is not rabid about it. Most of the time, he believes he thinks and acts more like a commoner than a noble. Certainly sanctimonious blather about fairness and bickering over which house should rule make him frantic. If wanting excitement, color, and passion in his life makes him Unseelie, than so be it. Better Unseelie than bored to death by a duel of honor. Of course, Igrania says she is Seelie, so they can't be all bad. Maybe he should kidnap her during one of their peace meeting and show her how much fun being Unseelie, and his bride, can be.
A large, fiery-red dragon whose scales glitter like rubies and whose tongue is made of fire, the chimera Firedrake created serves as his mount (only when away from prying mortal eyes) and as a valued companion. The fire dragon lives in Ferris Castle and is under the delusion that it is Ferdia's seneschal. Having attained sentience, the dragon (who sometimes answers to the name of Verminian and sometimes refuses to answer at all) is quite persistent and very hard to disrupt. He is always left at the castle and rules the roost whenever the duke is away, demanding entertainment and feasts of Glamour, both of which are graciously provided for him.
War in Concordia Edit
Heeding a request from Meilge, Firedrake supplied the king with a cage and several bludgeoning sticks made of cold iron. He had idea what use Meilge intended for them; he just did what he was asked. When High King David disappears, he makes an educated guess how Meilge used them. He heartily applauds Meilge and keeps the knowledge to himself, confident that he no knows a major secret of the Shadow Court.