Arden Sooleawa Soleil Ohls
Portrayed By Rhona Mitra
Gender Female
Date of Birth May 13, 1855
Age 29
Zodiac Sign Taurus
Aliases Sooleawa
Place of Birth Central Plains, Quebec, Canada
Occupation Blacksmith/Farrier
Known Relatives Nadie (Cree) (Mother) - Deceased, Jacques Alec Ohls (French-Canadien) (Father) - Deceased
Significant Other None

A History

Eeyou Istchee, Land of the People. You might call it Quebec, but it is where I was born, in the central plains. Like a growing number of my generation, I was born a Metis, halfblooded, though among my people, there was no shame in that. My mother was of the Nehilawe ("Those who speak our language"), full-blooded member of what Europeans call the Cree People. Nadie ("wise") daughter of a trader, as quick and vibrant as fire, with a temper to match. There are few memories that I have of her that are not filled with her radiance, her joy, with the zest she brought to everything she did, everything she touched. An independent woman from the first, my grandfather tells me, always running free, spending her days with her brothers, never stopping long enough to settle into woman's work. My father, Jacques Alec Ohls, assures me that marrying him did nothing to tame her wild heart. She was as wild and restless as the horses she loved to ride, he'd tell me. Headstrong and determined to live her life her own way. He insists that's why she chose him. They met, he tells me, at the trading post three miles from where our clan had settled, where he was working as a blacksmith and farrier. He remembers always stopping to watch her, as she brought in the horses to be shoed. Traditionally, the Cree never shoed their horses, lacking the tools and the need for such things, preferring to treat their horses gently. But the growing need for trade and for the harder use to which their horses were put, added to the European preference for horses dressed in, to them, the traditional way, made her a fixture more often than not at the post. I think my father knew from the first that he loved her. My mother, well, she took a bit longer to come around to his way of thinking. But once she did, there was nothing that would stop her from having her head. And not long after, I was born. My parents, as was the way of things, chose to give me both a a Cree name and a French name. Arden ("ardent") normally a male name, but my mother liked the sound of it, for my French first name. Sooleawa ("silver") is my Cree name, Soleil ("sun") my middle name. Bright as the moon, warm as the sun, as my father liked to say, from the moment I was born. Ohls, because it was his name, and my mother allowed it.

Unlike many in the growing restlessness of the time, I did not have a particularly traumatic early childhood. I spent equal amounts of time with my mother's people, and with my father. From the Nehilawe, I learned to ride, to break horses and manage the herds and keep them healthy; to hunt, to trap, to fish, to catch game in the field, to dress and prepare it for sale, or for consumption after. I learned no small amount of combat with the traditional weapons of our people, the knife, the bow, the arrow, our bare hands. How to build a simple home, to gather edible things, how to use the traditional medicine we had used for generations. How to track and find my way by the stars. The lessons I learned from my father and his people were no less important. To shoot, to read, to write. To manage his accounts, as I often spent many weeks with my father alone, while my mother was away. To blacksmith, when I was old enough to move safely around the forge. My father was both a traditional blacksmith and a farrier, and I learned both skills under his tutelage. It was a happy childhood, and my father never allowed me to want. Not for food, or love, or company. My mother, following the needs of the tribe, the needs of the trade was often away, leaving me and my father to take care of each other. But he made certain that I was never isolated from her people or from his own, and my mother's homecomings were joyous occasions. I was very nearly fourteen, before the hard life of the trail began to take its toll on my mother. A cough at first, which she had but seldom complained about and would take only what little medicine her people could provide for. She would continue along that way for six months, fighting all of the while to continue to move and live and work as she always had. And then the fever set in, and then confinement, and finally the doctor, who my father had to bring against her wishes. But there was nothing we could do for her by then. Only stay with her, as she faded, but she was a joy even then, and my last memories of her were memories of love, and I mourned her only for a little while. To grieve is to hold on to those who have left us, and to keep them from their next journey, and I knew my mother deserved to be free as she had been her entire life, and so, my father and I let her go.

My mother's passing was a great change in our lives, in more than the way any death is a change. Now, with not as much of a need to remain in the same place as once we had, my father and I began to travel through Canada and down into the United States below, moving from place to place as the work and the need drove us. I suppose, you could say, that we carried on my mother's wandering ways, but I was glad of it. I was, after all, her daughter, and I wanted to see the places she had seen, and to see, for her, the places she never managed to get to. There was always a need for a blacksmith and a farrier both, and with my skill with horses and their treatment, we were never short for work, as we looked for a place to make our home. Coming south was a surprise for me, however. I had never seen the amount of hate that I saw in America, for my mother's people and for me. But my father never allowed it to hurt me, as best that he could, and he persevered in his wanderings, in his training. I think he wanted to be sure that when the time came, that I would be strong enough to continue without him. And I think we both knew that that time would come sooner, rather than later. He missed my mother. I think a part of him wanted to be free to wander with her, but remained behind until he was sure that I would have a good life both without my mother and without him. And once he was sure of that, he passed quietly, peacefully, and I took his body back to rest beside my mother. It was what he would have wanted. And I have continued, traveling back down into the United States, moving from place to place, finding work when I could, never allowing the hatred and distrust I have felt to harden my heart completely to these new people and their new ways. Because as much as part of me is Nehilawe, so too is the other part part of them. But I am not so open as I once was, nor as willing to trust. But my hands, and my back are still strong, and Silver Creek will do for a home…at least for a little while.

The Woman

If the sum of a woman's appearance could be winnowed down to a single word, then the word for this particular woman would be striking. From brilliant hazel eyes, framed by thick, dark lashes, and elegantly arched eyebrows, to a slender, patrician nose and full, rosy cupid's bow lips. A beauty mark accents just above the outer right edge of her mouth.Her face is a delicately crafted affair, all high cheekbones, sculpted jawline and a strong chin. Her skin is flawless, naturally tanned, with the slightest hint of ruddiness that speaks to the blood of the people of the First Nations that runs through her veins. A pair of dimples, rarely seen except when she smiles and the slightest dash of freckles accents her features. Her hair is a perfect frame for her face; long, bone straight, a rich chocolate brown with sun-kissed red and auburn highlights.

She's tall, just a hair over five feet and ten, her body strong and supple. An elegant neck, broad shoulders and lightly muscled arms mark her as a woman who's no stranger to hard work. But her figure has lost none of its femininity for all of that, from the pleasing fullness of her breasts, to the hourglass incurving of her waist, the toned flatness of her abdomen to the fullness of her hips. Her legs are long, with neatly muscled thighs and slender calves, the combination giving her a coltish air.

Her clothing is simple, understated, and wholly unladylike. A long, loose-sleeved, homespun shirt, in a natural creamy white, has been tailored to fit her body, while still allowing for full range of movement. Over the shirt, a simple sleeveless leather vest, in a dark brown, almost black shade. A pair of hard leather vambraces, secured with leather ties protect her forearms. Matching leather trousers accent her figure, laced along the outsides and cut slightly loose through the thigh for comfort, secured by a wide leather belt with a hand-crafted silver buckle. A pair of heavy leather steel-toed work boots, with only the slightest heel cover her feet. More often than not, a heavy leather tool-belt, into which the tools of her trade have been secured hides her belt, and a farrier's apron protects her front from waist to knees. She wears no jewelry of any kind.

Her Chronology

  • 6 September, 1853 - Nadie and Jacques Ohls marry.
  • 13 May, 1855 - Arden is born in the central plains of Quebec in the Cree Settlement next to Fort Gillet.
  • 26 August, 1868 - Arden apprentices with her father as a blacksmith and farrier.
  • 30 April, 1869 - Arden's mother, Nadie takes ill with tuberculosis.
  • 7 October, 1869 - Nadie dies. Jacques performs the Cree tree wounding ritual as a part of his grieving.
  • 14 April, 1870 - Jacques departs Quebec, taking Arden along with him. She continues to apprentice.
  • 1870 - Jacques and Arden travel out of Canada and spend most of the year traveling through New York State.
  • 1871-1873 - Jacques and Arden continue to travel. The longest period of time they remain sedentary is in Chicago, Illinois. The return at least once a year to Fort Gillet to visit Nadie's tribe. This yearly tradition will continue until Jacques' death.
  • 19 February, 1874 - Arden completes her apprenticeship. Father and daughter settle in Topeka, Kansas.
  • 26 November, 1876 - Arden encounters Isaiah Mackenzie, a local farmer.
  • 11 March, 1877 - After Arden refuses his advances, a drunk Isaiah corners her in the 'smithy. During the subsequent assault, Arden's arm is broken, but she brands Isaiah's face with metal from the forge. He subsequently loses vision in his left eye, and brings charges against the 'Indian'. Despite no charges being filed against her by local law enforcement, local sentiment is such that father and daughter are forced to leave their home and return to the road.
  • 23 December, 1877 - Arden and Jacques settle in Millville, Dakota Territory.
  • Autumn, 1878 - With Arden's blessing, Jacques begins to spend time with Melody Collins, a local woman, widowed and working as a seamstress. The romance does not advance, but the two remain close friends.
  • 9 May, 1882 - Jacques Ohls dies peacefully in his sleep. Arden prepares to take his body back to Quebec for burial.
  • 17 May, 1882 - Jacques Ohls is laid to rest beside his beloved wife.
  • 2 August, 1882 - Arden departs Quebec. Segenam ("lazy"), 4 years old, is given to her as a gift from her grandfather, Taregan ("crane").
  • 1882-1884 - Arden and Segenam journey across the United States over land, intending to settle out West.
  • 12 January, 1884 - Arden and Seg arrive in Silver Creek, CO. After a few weeks in town, they decide to stay.
  • 6 February, 1884 - Arden assumes the mortgage on the 'smithy and reopens the shop.
  • 7 February, 1884 - In a stroke of good fortune, Abigail Hayes apprentices to Arden as a farrier.
  • 14 February, 1884 - Despite a less than auspicious first meeting, Arden takes on Marcus Berry as an apprentice blacksmith.


Character Quotes

On her choice is clothing:

"Never saw much point in wearing what wasn't useful. And a dress near a forge is just asking to be lit up like a candlewick."

Thematic (Non-Character) Quotes

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a
buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the sunset.

—Crowfoot - Blackfoot Warrior and Orator

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

—Cree Prophecy


Former Apprentices



  • Arden is quite obviously a halfbreed, a fact she takes no pains to hide.
  • Her accent is distinctly French-Canadien. Despite the accent, her English is impeccable.
  • Her horse, Segenam, is an Appaloosa, pure white with black leopard spots.
  • She always seems to wear men's attire.
  • She only wears 'indian leathers', if at all, when she's out hunting, fishing, trapping, etc.
  • In addition to English, she speaks French, Cree and Metif, or French Cree fluently. She speaks a passing amount of Ojibwa and Nakoda, owing to her travels and connections to the Cree in Quebec and their trade partners. As a result of her travels, she speaks a fair/middling amount of Kansa, acquired during her time in Kansas, and Sioux, owing to her years spent in the Dakota Territories.


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