Ysandre de la Courcel is queen of Terre d'Ange from the events in Kushiel's Dart through Kushiel's Mercy. Her parents are Rolande de la Courcel and Isabel L'Envers. Since her parents died at a young age, she was raised by her paternal grandfather Ganelon de la Courcel. She marries Drustan mab Necthana, Cruarch of Alba. They have two children, Sidonie and Alais, born between the events of Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar.
Ysandre strongly resembles her mother and thus has the L'Envers looks. She is tall, slender and willowy with pale blonde hair and dark violet eyes. She also has the arched eyebrows and long, graceful neck common to members of House Courcel.
After the death of his first betrothed, Edmée de Rocaille, Prince Rolande was seduced by Isabel L'Envers. Isabel successfully convinced him to marry her. Although Anafiel Delaunay told Rolande of his suspicions that Isabel was responsible for Edmée's death, he refused to hear them. Once Ysandre was born, Rolande began to suspect that there was a great deal of intrigue surrounding her and wanted to know that there were people who had her best interests in mind. He had Delaunay swear to protect her.
Rolande died in the Battle of Three Princes when Ysandre was only a baby. She was raised by her mother and grandfather, until Isabel was poisoned by Dominic Stregazza. Ysandre was seven at the time. After that, the only family members she could trust completely were her grandfather and her uncle, Barquiel L'Envers. Throughout her childhood, Ysandre was aware of the precarious position she was in. Ganelon did not permit her to visit the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers when she turned sixteen so that he might make a foreign alliance marriage for her.
In Kushiel's DartEdit
As Ganelon grew older and his health began to fail, others set their eyes on Ysandre's throne. When she was sixteen, her grandfather organized a match between her and Drustan mab Necthana, who'd accompanied his uncle the Cruarch of Alba to Terre d'Ange. Despite a language barrier, the two were instantly attracted to each other. The betrothal was kept secret from all but a select few. After Drustan's throne was usurped, Ganelon was inclined to break the betrothal.
Lyonette de Trevalion and her son Prince Baudoin were thwarted in their scheme to conspire with Foclaidha of Alba to take the throne by force. Ysandre showed them no mercy at their trial, casting the votes that sentenced them to death. Soon after this, Barquiel assassinated Dominic Stregazza in order to protect Ysandre from that threat. Even though it made no political sense, Ysandre fully intended to honor her betrothal to Drustan. She enlisted Delaunay's aid in making this a reality, but Delaunay was killed before he was able to solve the riddle of the Master of the Straits.
Ganelon suffered another stroke during the Bitterest Winter and Ysandre ruled in his name. She met with Phèdre nó Delaunay and Joscelin Verreuil after their escape from Skaldia. They warned her of Selig's invasion and Melisande Shahrizai and Isidore d'Aiglemort's treason. Three days after this, Ganelon died. After Ysandre was coronated she held a secret meeting with a few trusted peers, including Barquiel, Percy de Somerville, Gaspar Trevalion and Roxanne de Mereliot. They discussed how to deal with the treason and impending invasion. Ysandre sent Phèdre to Alba in order to enlist the aid of the Albans against the Skaldi.
Ysandre refused to remain in the City of Elua during the invasion and accompanied the Royal Army, staying at Troyes-le-Mont. She witnessed the battle from atop the battlements. When it was over and Selig defeated, she was happily reunited with Drustan. Quincel de Morhban appeared shortly afterward, handing Melisande over to Ysandre to face justice. Ysandre sentenced her to death for treason, but she escaped the night before the execution.
Afterward, Ysandre and Drustan were married.
In Kushiel's ChosenEdit
In Kushiel's AvatarEdit
In Kushiel's ScionEdit
In Kushiel's JusticeEdit
In Kushiel's MercyEdit
Ysandre began Kushiel's Mercy by offering Imriel an engagement challenge: find your mother and bring her to justice if you wish to wed Sidonie. She voted along with most of Parliament to accept Carthage's tribute and fell under their spell along with the rest of the City. She no longer remembered anything at all about Imriel and Sidonie's relationship. She also became very aggressive and lashed out at Barquiel when he confronted her about the sudden alliance with Carthage. This outburst led to Imriel seeking Barquiel out. Later, she refused to believe any of Barquiel and Alais's attempts to convince her of the truth, declaring them traitors. Ysandre exiled both of them and they fled to Turnone. In the spring, she issued an ultimatum that if they did not surrender by the full moon, she would sack one village a day until they did. The deadline arrived and Ysandre declared war on Alais and Barquiel. Fortunately, Imriel and Sidonie were able to break the spell before the Royal Army began marching.
Ysandre was horrified that she'd declared war on two beloved family members and nearly attacked her own people. She named herself unfit to rule and appointed Sidonie to rule as regent for a month. She no longer opposed Imriel and Sidonie's relationship and gave them her blessing. When Barquiel and Alais returned to the City, she personally gave them both the Medal of Honor. She attended Imriel and Sidonie's wedding and congratulated them.
As a child, Ysandre had to deal with the taint her mother's legacy laid on her. She knew that there were those who called her a "murderess's get" and sought to take her place in the succession. As a result she became very adept at concealing her emotions and projecting a cold exterior.