While we are told nothing of what this child of Dark had done prior, Nadalia, originally Nadola, (ナドラ) most assuredly contributed nothing positive to the world. As the apostle of “loneliness”, (孤独) her existence is defined by solitude, and the Chime of Screams derived from her soul implies this to bring her constant anxiety. Her ambient dialogue, as confirmed in the Dark Souls Trilogy -Archive of the Fire-, reveals that her cause for consternation traces back to her very beginning. Nadalia bemoans the fact that she and her “older sisters” (姉) aren’t together as one, implying that she was the last to take form and thus the proverbial runt of the litter. By then, all the others had apparently gone off on their own, leaving the youngest all alone — and Nadalia’s nature made that unbearable. For her sake, all of Manus’ disparate fragments must be reunited, which she seems to believe will occur if she acquires power, specifically powerful souls; with a strong-enough spirit, she can theoretically lure her soul-hungry siblings back to her. When she heard word of the Old Iron King, she found herself the perfect candidate.
Despite the fact that he already had a Queen, Nadalia was confident that she could earn the mighty king’s affection and become his bride. If her sisters are any indication, she trusted in her ability to imitate a beautiful human woman and steal his affections. It is worth noting that item descriptions never once speak to her affection for the man. Rather, it is his potential for her that she is so obsessed with. The Japanese text to her soul even uses terms with connotations of depending on someone, emphasizing her intent to use his great power to take care of all her needs. While all the other children of Dark ultimately seek to become dependents in the house of royalty they approach, Nadalia needs that kind of firm cornerstone to give her peace of mind. Her king is the only solution to her lonesome dilemma. It is no accident then that her Chime of Screams is sloppy iron frozen solid.
When Nadalia arrived to the land of the Iron King, she faced a kingdom in tatters, her would-be husband already dead. By all circumstances, her first indication was witnessed at his famed ironworks, now overrun with Hollows and his crown left abandoned with an empty throne. Just when she had finally found someone to assuage her loneliness, he had disappeared; realizing such an ironic twist of fate brought the apostle utter dismay, bordering on hysteria. Much like she hopes to do with her sisters, Nadalia tried to pick up the pieces in a desperate attempt to still be close to her absent sovereign, to preserve what remained of him. Clutching his crown, the monster took up residence at the bottom of the central tower, burying herself in the king’s throne rife with soot. From there, she divided her soul into fragments to abandon their body and wander the facilities, possessing more relics of the Iron King in lieu of the actual man.
These “relics” apparently refer to the soot permeating the tower, each vestige of her forming a statue out of it. While these idols loosely resemble her, they come with quite a few extra hands wrapped around themselves, as if to both protect them physically and give them security mentally. They also emit black flames, sometimes unleashed in an “outcry” as the pyromancy derived from her soul indicates; sometimes with a healing effect for nearby enemies like that of the Warmth. But most dangerous of all is their ability to diffuse a black fog across fairly wide area, through which they can exacerbate the Undead curse and possess persons or objects either directly or via the soot. In the case of the latter, enemies are simply empowered, but the former makes them complete puppets, as best demonstrated by the abandoned iron equipment freely piloted by the fog and endlessly revived by the idols. Defeating these lifeless empty armors nets us souls, confirming the smoke to be an expression of Nadalia’s spirit. She is the fog, “dancing” around the towers to keep some measure of this place alive.
While all of this might seem like a hopeless bid to turn back the clock, that notion fails to convey the full depths of Nadalia’s denial. Listening to her ambient dialogue, it is clear that Nadalia believes us to be the Old Iron King, perhaps sensing vestiges of his power on our person after slaying the boss — she has familiarized herself with that same power left in the crown she keeps. Moreover, the fragmented monster leaves no question that she has been awaiting “our” arrival. This is why item descriptions consistently describe Nadalia as the “bride of soot”. In her distraught state, she has actually deluded herself into believing that the Iron King is somehow still alive and will come to wed her, granting her his mighty soul in the process. Indeed, despite the fact that her and Nashandra’s chimes can’t be called “holy bells” due to their profane nature, Nadalia’s iron bell nonetheless raises faith, demonstrating her incredible conviction that all her efforts will be rewarded. One might question then exactly why she acts so violently toward her supposed groom-to-be, but her feelings are far more complicated than that.
The statues’ dialogue cycles through a whole mix of emotions. One moment, she is a sobbing mess overjoyed to see her king come. The next, she is a spiteful backbiter blaming him for ruining her plans and making her wait. At the very next, she wants to hold us in a loving embrace, begging us not to run away. At the next after that, she is warning us about her deception, demanding we leave. The child of Dark is simply not of one mind, let alone one soul. Her nature in solitude makes her feel equal parts happy, sad, bitter, loving, guilty, and likely much more, constantly ebbing and flowing between sentiments — at one point, she even has to swallow her resentment bubbling up in the midst of her “happy” swing. The only consistent element is the knowledge that now, after so long, she will not let the mighty monarch slip through her fingers ever again.
Perhaps it is this bipolar obsession with the Old Iron King that makes Nadalia vulnerable solely to the smelter wedges picked up mainly around the ironworks. Even though all of her dialogue cycles through in-game, the Archive of the Fire claims that one line in particular is scripted to occur upon an idol’s destruction. The line very clearly has her reacting to pain, confused and desperate to hold on. With that in mind, this was most likely how it was written to play out when the dialogue was first scripted and recorded, but then it was ultimately never programed into the actual game. In that case, it provides some insight into how she views our actions. To see the “Iron King” stab a pole of melted iron he is so strongly associated with through her breast — where her soul’s power seems to radiate from — must come as utter rejection, catching her off-guard and thus breaking her spirit; in the end, she simply can’t take being alone.
It might be for that reason that, during her long wait for a husband, she has welcomed intruders to the ruined facilities, earning the place the name Brume Tower, or “Tower of Black Fog”, (黒霧の塔) in no time. Those who didn’t manage to escape and spread this ominous reputation either ended up dead or enslaved, the smoke casters exemplifying those whose wills ended up broken by the fog keeping them alive and puppeteered for so long. Not even destroying all the idols and Nadalia’s main body can free them from the smoke, though this might simply be due to limitations in game design. By splitting her mighty soul, the lonely child of Dark has dispersed her influence so that her claws cannot so easily be dug out. We can reassemble the soul by overcoming all her vestiges, but some trace might forever haunt the land. Perhaps that is the perverse irony to solitude: you make yourself firmly planted.