"Tej hesitated, her brows lowering. When she spoke, it was slowly, as if she had to grope for truth in a thicket of thorny memories. 'I admired her very much. We didn’t always get along. Actually, we clashed a lot. She said I wasn’t working up to my full potential. Not like my sisters.'"
―How Tej remembers the Baronne[src]

Udine ghem Estif Arqua, Baronne Cordonah, was half Cetagandan haut and half ghem. The daughter of Moira and Rae ghem Estif, she lived on Komarr until the Komarran Conquest, then fled with the aid of a Selby mercenary fleet captain, Shiv Arqua. She left her husband in favor of Shiv and moved with him to his home world of Jackson's Whole; together they climbed to the top of House Cordonah. Udine loved being Baronne and thoroughly enjoyed the constant intrigue necessary to keep her House on top. The fact that Tej, unlike her siblings, did not enjoy the cutthroat Jackson Whole business-social life confused and disappointed her mother who couldn't understand how a daughter of hers - and Shiv's - could be so lacking in ambition.

A capable geneticist, probably trained by Moira, Udine happily produced a large family of memorable children. In all, she created six Jewels; four significantly-modified children – Erik, Pidge, Star, and Amiri; and one "control" child – Tej.


"Word in your ear, Simon", Ivan put in uneasily. "The man and the woman. Evaluating Shiv without Udine would be like, like... trying to assess Uncle Aral and leaving out Aunt Cordelia. They seemed that tight, to me."
―Ivan giving Simon advice on the older couple[src]

Udine was described as a handsome woman, taller than her husband Shiv; the two were fiercely loyal to one another. Udine was noted for her lack of physical demonstrativeness and her chilling ruthlessness. However, her seeming coolness concealed a ferocious maternal affection for all her children which exploded into physical violence when Vigo Imola's schemes endangered those children.

It is strongly hinted that she, Cordelia Vorkosigan, and Alys Vorpatril had a strong but invisible hand in negotiating a Deal between Emperor Gregor and House Cordonah.


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