Kadira is a tall, angular woman, with brown hair cut very short and intelligent dark eyes. She is not a great beauty by any consideration; in fact, many would call her plain. When she has to, she dresses in something approximating court finery (and she wears it with bad grace). Otherwise, she wears well-used and well-cared for armor from head to foot (chain mail and some plate), with a metal mask that conceals her whole face.
Princess Kadira was theoretically a member of the ruling family, although her branch has long been out of favor and in exile as conspirators against the throne. She is actually a distant cousin of the Crown Prince, although neither is eager to claim the relationship.
From a young age, Kadira was taught to hate her more popular relatives as usurpers and thieves. She watched as her brothers and her parents all tried to take back what they felt was rightfully theirs by various means. They all failed, and they all ultimately died. By the time she was twenty, only Kadira was left of the shunned line.
Soon after Princess Riliana, Kadira’s mother, died after trying to have the king assassinated, he decided to address the matter. The king announced that a marriage would be arranged between the Princess Kadira and the Duke of Etolis, the king’s nephew. Many of the court advisors were leery of her, but they recognized the wisdom of bringing the stray line back into the family.
Kadira, however, was incensed. She fully understood that it was merely a gesture to placate her while keeping her on a very short leash. She was equally enraged by the idea that she was expected to be content with merely being the wife of a duke and the fact that it was assumed she was foolish enough not to realize the truth. She would be Queen, or she would die, but she would not be a puppet bride with false power.
After seeing subtle attempts for the throne fail, Kadira decided a more direct approach was in order. She had received martial training alongside her brothers, and had always had a natural affinity for military strategy and tactics. Intrigue could not secure the throne for her, but perhaps she could take it by force.
She began quietly raising an army, starting with the men who had been loyal to her father and hated the ruling family just as much as she did. Then she extended her recruiting to other men who had reason to want the throne in different hands. It did not take very long to raise an army large enough to be considered a serious threat.
"Haral" is a traditional title for a warlord or general.
Haral Kadira is a very stern woman with little tolerance for foolishness. She speaks in short, to the point sentences, and prefers to always be doing something. She knows what she wants and is willing to do what it takes to get it. She is a natural leader, and her men respect her. She is a formidable tactician, and a competent fighter. She is also smart enough to know her limitations, and will retreat from a battle if necessary.
Haral Kadira is meant to be either an ally for the PCs, fighting a possibly corrupt monarchy, or a villain bent on invasion. It just depends on which side the PCs are more sympathetic to.
Due to Haral Kadira’s actions, the kingdom is poised on the brink of a bloody civil war between her faction and the supporters of the legitimate king. Maybe the PCs are caught in the middle, or have to somehow make peace between the two sides (perhaps to deal with a larger threat?). Alternatively, they could be active supporters of one group or the other.
The king does not want Haral Kadira’s army to march on the capital, but he does not want to concede defeat, either. So he wants a small group to infiltrate her stronghold to prevent it, either by negotiating/reasoning with Kadira, causing dissention within the ranks, sabotage, or outright assassination. He hires the PCs for this purpose.
Kadira’s forces desperately need inside intel and/or supplies; however, most people capable of gathering this are too well known and would be caught. So they hire a small band of adventurers to gather knowledge of city layouts and fortifications, or negotiate for weapons and supplies. Possibly they do this without the adventurers knowing what is really going on.