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This is my first time blogging a post on a group, please excuse me. I just wanted to provoke some fun for everyone. Something the whole group can take part in. And thank you. (I've only played DA 2, so it's limited to that game. But if people enjoy it, I'd like to do one for the others eventually for all of you too, if you'd like.)

Here is something fun and interesting to think about. Now, one of the best things about Dragon Age is all the love interests and their romances. And they all have their high points and low points. But I believe some prove their love more actively than others, even if they show it differently. Here is the list of most loving LI to least loving LI for Dragon Age 2, in my opinion, and why. (I realize, a lot of this can just be companionship status. For example, if you have high enough friendship, most of this happens anyway.  But there are some things that make them even more special with romance. Warning, spoilers!)

#1 - Fenris ~ Originally I had Isabela at the top. But, I changed my mind (not because he's my favorite) because his change goes deeper. Let me explain. Fenris IS simply put, an abuse victim. He is consumed by hatred, never trusts, and is always on the run. And for good reason (damn you Danarius). Despite this, he stays right beside you throughout the entire game, even though he's still being hunted and he has no proof you'll help him stay free. Given his record, he's never stayed for anyone before, or gotten to know anyone before. But he does with you. It goes farther. He isn't touchy feely, not good at expressing emotion, especially not endearment. He has never felt endearment towards another before that he can remember. But, he pushes past that to say things he'd never say to anyone else. Like "I am yours." And he means it, he stays, proving it. Also, for the rest of the game he wears tributes to mark his loyalty to you. Lastly, but most importantly,  at the end.... If you side with mages, he expresses his opinion but says he will not abandon you. He HATES mages full heartedly, believes they are all evil to the core. Yet, becomes loyal if you work with him, even if you're a mage, turns against his very deep set belief to stay with you, and puts aside his hatred for his love of you. This is akin to Anders putting aside his hatred of Templars for you and helping them secure the Circle against all his beliefs. This is like an abuse victim standing up for their abusers not because their scared but because you asked them to. And, the best part, he doesn't stay bitter about it or hate you for making him choose it but accepts. He laughs about the irony, begs you not to die, and expresses how you're the most important thing in his life outright. After something so difficult as going against everything about his beliefs and his experiences, I could see him struggling a lot less than we'd think about becoming a father (since it's in a lot of fan fiction) and I can see him being a very devoted one too. The evidence with you adds up.

#2 - Isabela ~ You might be thinking, Merill should be next, Isabela is just a slut and liar. But, no, she comes next. Here is why. Just as with Fenris, Isabela makes her own changes to her character that are pretty substantial. In act 2, she's afraid, very afraid for her life. The Qunari are after her and a former business partner wants her dead if she cannot get the relic back. A very independent and proud person, as much as Fenris, she turns to you for help. Now, we all know she's not against using people to achieve her means. But, if you've progressed with her enough, she not only incurs the wrath of her business partner, but brings the relic to you, facing the Qunari head on, just for you. She proceeds to express remorse and regret for what she is and what she intended to do to you, but stays beside even so. Even after she gets a ship and can go anywhere she pleases, she chooses to stay. What's more, like Fenris, she wears a tribute to you, marking her admiration. Lastly, in the final battle, she cusses herself for getting into trouble, but doesn't even run and come back like before. She simply stays put. And she promises you that, when you look for her on the battlefield, she'll be right next to you. Admitting, as she does so, that she's finally found someone she truly wants to be with. People don't just change, there has to be something strong enough to make them. It takes a lot of love to change so much. (Just because I started this trend) Isabela would not make the best mother, but I think she'd willingly give it her best for you. She'd curse herself for the trouble, but, wouldn't leave your side.

#3 - Sebastian ~ After deciding Fenris came first for the huge change he makes, and Isabela second, it was a little hard to pick which came next, Merill or Sebastian. They are damn near straight up tied for me. But, after much debate, I think Sebastian comes next. Like Merill, he is very trusting of you and sweet. What puts him ahead is that, the trust runs so deep, he not only consults you for personal matters, but matters concerning whole kingdoms. He ultimately places the decision of who rules Starkhaven in your hands, and also trusts you enough to support the idea of you becoming Viscount. And, he loves you enough to want to be with you, even if it means he cannot be intimate with you. Even if you establish his mindset to taking up leadership, he stays to his belief of not taking your honor and virtue as a lady until he has accomplished the task set before him by you and marries you as a Prince. He holds true to his virtues, never deceiving you of his intentions, but still remaining loyal to them. In the end, he does swear to take revenge on Anders and will not stand with you if you do not execute the apostate. Again, this is him openly proving his loyalty to his ideals. However, if Anders dies, he will support you no matter the decision, wanting only to show Anders what true justice is and see him pay for spilling innocent blood. (Still a bit of a bummer. But, at least he doesn't lie to you.... Anders.... lol) He'd make a very good father, simply put. Ready and willing to do his very best.

#4 - Merril ~ Alright, she comes next because she just straight up wants to love you and be friends. She's sweet, naive, but sweet and openly shows desire for friendship from the very beginning. She comes fourth because, she goes through these terrible consequences because of, and becomes very angry with you for not supporting, her decisions on the Eluvian. She is dedicated to it through and through and will not be deterred, but stays true to her cause openly. She trusts you with everything she cares about most, matters regarding her people. She is always willing to try her best to help you through every challenge and even admits to being aware of the dangers of blood magic. Asking you personally to come with her to speak to a dangerous demon and trusting you to KILL her if she becomes possessed. It takes a lot of love and trust to ask someone to put you down if you can no longer live freely. When everything is said and done, she looks to you for what she should do with her life, now that she cannot be apart of her people. And, in the end follows you, through everything if you've gained her loyalty. (Yes, loyalty. You can't just have trust and loyalty if you do not try with the person you seek it from That's just common sense.) All in all, she is a very cute romance. She would make a very loving mother, excited and happy to be one.

#5 - Anders ~ Yes, Anders is last. But, it isn't because he blew up the Chantry. Despite his best efforts, Anders cannot deny his love for you. Like Fenris does with mages, he complains constantly about Templars and seeks for your help against his enemies. Sounds about normal, right? But, unlike the others, what makes him last.... He uses you and lies to get your help at the end of the story, even if you gain his loyalty. Now, in his defense,  in a way, dedicating himself to lying to you to spare you from the guilt of HIS actions speaks of some deep love. But, it falls shorter than the others, because you start to figure out your being tricked and watch the Chantry go up in flames all the while knowing that you had a hand in its destruction. Which, consequently, does not spare you from guilt. Even if you do not care about the Chantry, or the supposed innocents that died, if you support him full on, I'm pretty sure we can all agree, we at least wanted to know what what we were getting into. The fact remains, love comes with trust, which is why Kaidan's reaction in Mass Effect 2 pissed off so many fans. And Anders did not trust you enough to tell you what was happening in the first place,  which reflects poorly on his proof of love. However, he still loves you, and there is evidence to prove it. He can be nearly convinced to give up his plan, he himself goes to admit this, and Justice stops him. In fact, most of his mistakes could probably be held accountable by Justice and not Anders directly. Still, he could've tried to tell the truth from the start, but, anyhow.... He does warn you that he is dangerous and that he may break your heart from the beginning. He loved you enough that, by warning you and trying to keep you out of his rebellious endeavors, he was trying to spare you from the hurt. And, though he can be convinced to join the Templars, he does say he wishes for suicide. Though, yes, he can be persuaded to go against his beliefs. He would make a very idealistic father, but a good intentioned one that does want the best for his family. Even if his family will be broken.

All in all, it is clear every LI in Dragon Age 2 truly loves Hawke in their own way. Some are just better at proving it, much like real life. And, whoever you choose, you are in for an amazing romance. Please, by all means, comment on who you choose and why. I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to tell me what you think about the list as well. Have fun you awesome people, lol.
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Gotta love Dragon Age... Why not be an addict?! :D This group is for the people who love all things relating to Dragon Age and it's expansions! Feed your addiction here!
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Prt. 3: Cracked SoulsTitle: Dragon Age: Inquisition A Mage’s Quest for RestorationAuthor: Amanda Rau (manda091987)Game: Dragon Age: InquisitionCharacters/Pairing: (Characters) All from Dragon Age: Inquisition (Pairing) Trevelyan/CullenDisclaimer: All characters, the name ‘Trevelyan,’ and story are the sole property of Bioware. Elizabeth is mine. Please ask for permission for the use of any added material or characters.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Elizabeth’s eyes opened, early morning light illuminating the enclosure with its rays of orange, pink, and yellow. Rising this promptly was routine before absorbing the mark and spending days in a deep sleep. The young woman stretched, rolling out of bed. For a moment longer, she was engrossed in the serenity of the atmosphere surrounding her. She stood up and dressed in black leggings and a tank top, then shrugged on a cropped hooded wrap with an empire waist. Before leaving her cabin in search of Cassandra, she snatched her things. When Elizabeth made it out of the gate, she observed the Seeker to the right, stabbing a practice dummy with her sword. As she approached, the warrior woman let out a disgusted noise of annoyance.“Worried?” Elizabeth asked.“Is it that obvious?” Cassandra tilted her head.“I’m afraid so,” Elizabeth responded.“Did I do the right thing?” the dark-haired woman questioned. “What I have set in motion here could destroy everything I have revered my whole life. One day, they may write about me as a traitor, a fool, and they may be right.”Elizabeth jolted her shoulders. “What does your faith tell you?”“I believe you are innocent.” Cassandra fully turned to the mage woman. “I believe more is going on here than we can see. I also believe no one else cares to do anything about it. They will stand in the fire and complain that it is hot. But, is this the Maker’s will? I can only guess.”“You don’t think I’m—” Elizabeth swallowed hard, giving a disgusted face “—the Herald of Andraste?”Cassandra stretched her lips in amusement. “I think you were sent to help us. I hope you were. But the Maker’s help takes many forms. Sometimes it is difficult to discern who it truly benefits, or how.”“What’s going to happen now?”Cassandra leaned back. “Now we deal with the Chantry’s panic over you before they do even more harm. Then we close the Breach. We are the only ones who can. After that, we find out who is responsible for the chaos, and we end them. If there are consequences to be paid for what I have done, I pay them.”“Cassandra, you didn’t have any choice.”“Didn’t I?” The Seeker squinted a little. “My trainers always said, ‘Cassandra, you are too brash. You must think before you act.’ I see what must be done, and I do it! I see no point in running around in circles like a dog chasing its tail. But I misjudged you, in the beginning, did I not? I thought the answer was before me, clear as day. I cannot afford to be so careless again.”Elizabeth shrugged. “It wasn’t like you had no reason to suspect me.”“I was determined to have someone answer for what happened. Anyone,” Cassandra fretted. “You’ve said you believe you’re chosen. Does that mean… has Andraste spoken to you yet?”Elizabeth gazed at her with disappointment. “Not yet. I’m sorry, Cassandra. But I am devout. I believe in the Maker, and everything He and Andraste stand for. They’ll answer.”“That’s comforting,” Cassandra responded. “Surely the Maker put us both on this path for a reason. Now it simply remains to see where it leads us.”“I agree.” Elizabeth bobbed her head. “I see that you are working with dummies, but I could use some exercise.”“What do you have in mind?”“Well, sparring for one,” Elizabeth replied.“I should like that.” Cassandra bowed her head. “Solas is too ‘old-spirited,’ and Varric is too frightened.”Elizabeth managed to laugh as the two women padded to a more private, secluded area. “Can you blame him?”“No” Cassandra paused, “I suppose not.”After finding a decent spot by the frozen lake, the two stretched and warmed up. As they began sparring, it became apparent to Elizabeth that Cassandra would be a great partner for morning workouts. Most thought that since Elizabeth was a mage, she wasn’t good at hand-to-hand, so they would go easy on her or hold back their strength. Once Elizabeth proved herself, Cassandra weighted her hits. They went back and forth for some time. Throwing punches, kicking, smacking, throwing each other, getting sweaty, and burning energy. Afterward, Cassandra headed back toward the camp to get ready for breakfast, but Elizabeth found a rock to sit on and meditate as the sun finished rising. Despite recent events, there was peace in Haven.Elizabeth took a deep breath as she stood up, then went running around the area, making it back to camp. As she made her way up, she saw that Cullen was talking with Cassandra and Leliana. They were the only ones on the field since breakfast, and the commander had sent all his soldiers to eat. As Elizabeth approached the giant wooden doors, a glimmering out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. When she turned to her left, she saw that it was coming from the forest line. Using her keen eyes, Elizabeth noticed three archers hold up in trees next to each other. She looked back over to Cullen, Leliana, and Cassandra and immediately apparated between them. The mage woman put one of her feet into Cullen’s plated chest, and each one of her hands on Leliana and Cassandra’s breast, pushing them apart as she, herself, barely missed two of the three arrows. The third, however, made contact just above her hip bone, coming out the other side.Elizabeth broke the projectile, tossing aside the fletching and removing the arrowhead and shaft. Before Cullen could arm his sword, Elizabeth unsheathed it and thrust it at the first man. It managed to catch the fabric of his shirt. Elizabeth pulled a throwing knife off of Leliana’s thigh holster in another swift motion, nailing the same man between the eyes, causing him to release the grip on his bow. The young woman ran, then slid across the ground, grabbing an arrow from a nearby quiver. She made it to the tree line, and in one fluid act, kicked up the bow from the ground and shot the second rogue out of hiding. He tumbled to the floor, but Elizabeth used her magic so the landing wouldn’t kill his already jarred body.Cullen, Cassandra, and Leliana sprinted over, studying him. Before the trio realized that Elizabeth disappeared, they caught deep growls as the tree branches rustled and swayed mere feet from their positions. After some screaming, it was eerily quiet until they saw a bear emerge from the trees on their left. The giant mammal was holding the man in its mouth by his collar. A light emitted, Elizabeth taking her natural form. She dragged the third guy over to the trio, heaving him to Cullen’s feet, where the second male was panting on the ground, horror in the eyes peering up at the mage woman.“Who are you?” she questioned.The two rogues glanced at each other then back to Elizabeth, choosing to remain reticent. She exhaled, motioning to the man she shot with an arrow, as she peered up to Leliana. The Spymaster registered the young woman’s expression, then seized him and shuffled toward the cells below the Chantry. Cullen lifted the other man, helping him, rather roughly, into a nearby chair. The commander tied his wrists up behind him.“Who sent you?” Cullen inquired.The man remained silent until Cullen punched his face, a groan coming from him. Elizabeth winced but took pride in her commander’s form. Eventually, the male attacker elicited more than grunts, the last hit causing his lip to bleed.Elizabeth stepped closer to him. “Had enough yet?”The man remained noiseless but peered up into her eyes, where they locked for a few moments before he spits blood off to the side.Cullen punched him a few more times. “Who sent you after the three of us?”“I’m not here for any of you,” he finally responded, then glimpsing at Elizabeth, “only the Herald. You were merely meant to be a distraction.”“What do you want with me?” Elizabeth inquired.“To denounce your blasphemy.” He spat toward the ground. “You are not the Herald of Andraste!”Elizabeth stepped closer to him. Cullen stood him up and held the male in front of his body tightly so that he didn’t get any ideas on retaliating.“Andraste didn’t bestow this mark on me,” Elizabeth admitted. “Nor am I certain that she was the one who assisted me out of the Fade.”“Blasphemer!” he hissed.Elizabeth got closer to him and looked deeply into his eyes. For a moment, there was hesitation, then he started panting sharp breaths. Elizabeth’s face went from a composed stare to a rather sad one. Finally, he whispered a few barely audible words. He began to sob as he went weightless.“You need to rethink who you’re working for,” Elizabeth surmised. “Take him to the Chantry, Commander.”Cullen nodded, guiding the man to the cells. Elizabeth went to her cabin, cleaning up from her hectic morning, putting on fresh clothes. The young woman gathered the letters on her desk and put them in her bag, going toward the tavern after exiting her hovel. Inside, Elizabeth sat and conversed with Cassandra, Leliana, and Josephine while she savored her breakfast and coffee. Afterward, she sought out Cullen, finding him in his regular spot outside the gates. She approached, setting down a bowl. He glanced from it to her amused expression.“You didn’t eat.”He took a deep breath. “I was taking care of the prisoners.”“Either of them give you anything else?”He shook his head. “Nothing but dribble, and they won’t say who sent them. Whatever you did to the man we interrogated—he’s an emotional mess.”“He was shown an outcome; his convictions did the rest.” Elizabeth shrugged.“Right, about the attack…” Cullen turned to Elizabeth as he grabbed his bowl.When Cullen didn’t continue his train of thought, she raised her eyebrows. “Yes?”“I’m going to need my sword if I am going to help you today, my lady.” Cullen looked from her up to the tree it was still stuck in.Elizabeth followed the Commander’s line of sight. “Boost?”“Of course.” Cullen pulled his shield out after setting down his bowl. “Just don’t break my sword.”Elizabeth rolled her eyes, shaking her head, and threw in a smirk for good measure. When Cullen indicated he was ready, she ran and leaped off his shield, his boost assisting her jump. Elizabeth grabbed the sword, dangling for a moment as she assessed her grip. The woman contemplated the process of removing it without breaking it or hurting the tree. She pulled herself up, then lowered, repeating the motion over and over again as if she were using the sword to do a pull-up. After a few precise, repetitive movements, the sword began to loosen and eventually came out of the trunk. Elizabeth landed on the ground stumbling a bit, causing Cullen to steady her. She handed the commander his sword.“Herald.” Cassandra approached. “You should have these back.”The Seeker held out Elizabeth’s quiver, which had two daggers hilted in it. In Cassandra’s other hand was Elizabeth’s bow and throwing knives. Elizabeth looked at the items in the Seekers’ hands then back into her eyes.“I didn’t think these survived.”“They were taken from you when you were brought down from the temple,” Cassandra confessed. “I noticed that you were left-handed. Using a right-handed bow set-up isn’t easy. You’ve done well, but you’d be at your best with your equipment. As I told you earlier, I no longer believe you are guilty of anything more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”“Thank you, Cassandra.” Elizabeth took them, then hugged the Seeker.Cassandra wasn’t a touchy, feely person, but something about Elizabeth’s hug was warm and comfortable, causing her to hug the mage woman back. When it broke, she focused on Elizabeth’s eyes.“Are they sentimental?”Elizabeth nodded. “My father and Emery traveled to Seheron many years ago. He had a smith make the daggers specifically for me. I learned at a very young age by watching my four brothers and father.”“Five brothers in total?” Leliana converged. “Says more about you than you realize.”“All good things, I hope.” Elizabeth sighed. “Though, I have the tendency to be a bit unruly at times.”Leliana giggled. “Exactly my point.”“Sassy,” Elizabeth cooed, “I like it.”“I would be careful, Herald.” Cassandra exhaled. “You might not feel the same after being here a few months.”Elizabeth held her hands up. “I am leaving before this escalates between the two of you. Commander?”***Elizabeth and Cullen ran around the area outside Haven for the next two hours, hunting rams and collecting iron and elfroot. They also found a logging stand and a cabin where Master Taigen’s notes were.Afterward, they returned to the camp and took a seat on the logs surrounding a large fire pit. Cullen sent a letter with Samuel to let Flissa’s staff, notifying them of the meat’s locations. When he glanced back over, Elizabeth was sharpening her daggers. The man saw her reach into her bag for the cleaner and polisher. Cullen smiled, turning his attention to some notes and parchments, but instead, he found himself once again methodically watching Elizabeth out of the corner of his eyes. She held her left hand out as she sheathed the final dagger with her right. She peeled her attention away from her quiver, putting it on Cullen, who was gazing at her.“Give me your sword.”Cullen hesitated for a moment, then unsheathed his sword, handing it to her. She examined it for a few minutes, finishing by balancing it on her finger. The hilt was slightly more burdensome than the blade.Elizabeth faced Cullen. “How long have you had it?”“Only a few months.”“Do you have difficulty using it?” she questioned.“I haven’t needed to use it much till recently,” he replied. “It is a bit uncomfortable, but not enough.”“Cullen, you’re the Inquisition’s commander,” she uttered. “You need a decent sword. Stand up.”Cullen postulated her request but soon obliged. Elizabeth put his arm out straight, peering from the tip of his middle finger to his neck. She shifted the front of his coat and traced from his hip to his earlobe. While Elizabeth was distracted by studying his figure, his attention focused on her eyes. Once more, he was utterly seduced by their unique color. The iris was outlined in black, separating the white from the frosted silver of her iris. However, closer to the pupil, her eyes were light pink with dark fuchsia flecks glittering like tourmaline in the daylight. Cullen blinked, shoving himself out of the trance they left him in.“How tall are you?” she asked.“Over six feet,” he responded.“You’re beautifully long,” she said, running her hand along his waist, then the underside of his arm. “You have incredible reach.”Cullen chuckled as he felt his cheeks light on fire. “Thank you.”“Hold this.” She handed him the sword. “Tip to the sky. Arm all the way down.”The tip of the sword came just under his shoulder, making her shake her head.“Curly giving you trouble…”After a pause, Elizabeth faced the dwarf. “Forget my name, Varric?” “No,” he groaned. “I just haven’t found a nickname for you yet.”Elizabeth managed to chuckle. “Maybe that’s a good thing.”“Well, I do know that despite all the negativity, you remain relatively happy.”Elizabeth shrugged. “Well, life is short. Much too short to be serious all the time. I do love to laugh. Things have just been a little extreme lately.”“You and I will get along better than Curly and me,” Varric pointed to him. “This one spends too much time with a serious expression on his face. It’s bad for his health.”“Just as well,” Elizabeth said.“Why is that?” Varric wondered.“This one makes angels swoon with his smile,” she responded, looking at the sword in Cullen’s hand and tracing up, making mental measurements.When Elizabeth got to his ears, she noticed how red they were. She continued to his face, where it only got redder. Her eyes gazed into his. Before she could react, Varric piped up.“I got it! Dimples.”Elizabeth grinned. “Suiting.”“So, what’s up with Curly?” Varric asked, taking a seat.“His sword is ransacking my obsessive compulsiveness.” She sighed. “Lucky for me, I knew the smith at our Circle well. I got all his schematics before fleeing. I think I can remedy this. Harritt didn’t make this sword, did he?” Cullen shook his head. “No.”“What’s wrong with it?” Varric wondered.“The blade is two inches too wide, which caused them to overdo it on the cross-guard. To top it off, it’s not balanced and not the right measurements for Cullen in the least. He’s so… long.”Varric chuckled. “Everyone’s tall.”“There is nothing wrong with your height, Varric.” She looked back at Cullen. “Glove off, please.” He pulled a glove off. “Is your sword at all hard to hold?”Cullen shook his head. “It was a bit different from my Templar-issued sword, but I have adjusted.”“I can have Harritt heat the steel a certain way so that it will be lighter but won’t be compromised,” Elizabeth revealed. “The hilt?”“Same,” he replied. Someone called for him. “As much as I enjoy our time, Trevelyan, I have a few matters to attend to.”“You may go; I have someone’s last name to hunt down.”“I wish you luck in your endeavor, my lady.” The commander bowed.“I’m sure you do,” she jested.“What’s going on there?” Varric asked as Cullen walked away.“We made a bet that I can’t find out his last name, which he could just freely give, but refuses to.”Varric shook his head with a smirk. “Why won’t he give it? Are you not flirting enough?”Elizabeth outright laughed as she sat down. “I’m taking it slow.”“Open admission.”Elizabeth shrugged. “Cullen is a handsome man. I don’t know him well enough to go any further than flirting or comment on how positively dashing he is. So, I will take it a bit at a time, see how much he lets me get away with.”Varric chuckled. “Little minx.”Elizabeth wrote on a torn sheet of parchment. “I’m trying. We’ll see how much he buys into it. He could be completely uninterested.”“I don’t know a man that wouldn’t want to jump you,” Varric stated matter-of-factly. “Unless he wasn’t interested in women.”“Is that so?” Elizabeth looked at him with amusement.“Just being honest, Dimples.” Varric smirked.“Don’t tempt me now, Varric.” Elizabeth leaned forward. “That chest hair is already calling out for me to touch it.”“Few ladies can resist,” Varric gloated. “Do you need help finding his last name?”“I’m not allowed to seek help from anyone here,” Elizabeth responded. “But, I know a few people who were at the Circle Tower here in Ferelden. I am going to send a letter.”“Good girl.” Varric bowed his head. “So, now that Cassandra’s out of earshot are you holding up all right? I mean, you go from being the most wanted criminal in Thedas to joining the armies of the faithful. Most people would have spread that out over more than one day.”“Honestly, I’m just glad I’m still standing after all that.”Varric nodded. “I still can’t believe you survived Cassandra. You’re lucky you were out cold for most of her frothing rage. For days now, we’ve been staring at the Breach, watching demons and Maker-knows-what fall out of it. ‘Bad for morale’ would be an understatement. I still can’t believe anyone was in there with you.”“If it was that bad, why did you stay?” Elizabeth inquired. “Cassandra said you were free to go.”“I like to think I’m as selfish and irresponsible as the next guy, but this…” Varric looked around. “Thousands of people died on that mountain. I was almost one of them. Now there’s a hole in the sky. Even I can’t walk away and just leave that to sort itself out.”“I’m still not sure I believe that any of this is really happening.” Elizabeth leaned over her thighs, resting her elbows on the top of her knees. “I feel like I’ll wake up, and this won’t be my life.”“If this is all just the Maker winding us up…” Varric exhaled, moving around in his seat. “I hope there’s a damn good punch line coming. You might want to consider running at the first opportunity. I’ve written enough tragedies to recognize where this is going. Heroes are everywhere. I’ve seen that. But the hole in the sky? That’s beyond heroes. We’re going to need a miracle.”Elizabeth put her hand on his shoulder. “I’m trying my hardest.”“I know.”Varric stood, retreating back beyond the gates. Elizabeth gathered all her belongings, padding to the smith. On her way, she whistled for Spirit. When the bird landed on Elizabeth’s arm, the mage handed her a few letters, informing her of the recipients. Once Spirit took flight, Elizabeth noticed Cullen was watching her falcon fly northward. The commander turned and faced the young woman, who smiled and winked before swiveling on her heels, shuffling toward Harritt.As Elizabeth approached, the Smith bowed his head. “Expected you’d be by. I’m Harritt… and everyone knows who you are. How’s the new gear fit?”“Sturdy and warm,” Elizabeth stated. “It’s perfect!”“Good.” Harritt advanced. “World’s gone mad. Stock armor and blades are good against bandits, but we’re not fighting bandits. My gear will see you through demons, apostates, whatever this world throws at you. So, you need custom work? Something special? You bring the materials to us, and we’ll make it happen.”“I do have a few schematics that I am looking at,” Elizabeth confessed. “Is there any way that we can go over them?”He nodded, then motioned her over to the crate on her left.“Here is your hot chocolate, Harritt.” A wench from Flissa’s bar handed him a mug. “Would you like some, Herald?”“Do you have marshmallows?” she asked the barmaid.“I do!”“Then, yes.” Elizabeth looked back at Harritt. “That’s the only way to drink it.”“Absolutely!”The woman gave Elizabeth a cup of hot chocolate, then moved onto the next group.“So, I just got through hunting with Cullen, and afterward, I examined his sword. He needs your skill, desperately. Whoever made the one he is carrying either didn’t know what they were doing or just handed him a generic sword and let him go.”“Do you have his measurements?”“I do,” she confirmed, handing Harritt the parchment. She opened one of her books. “This is the sword I was thinking.”“You came up with this?”“I and the smith at the Circle in Ostwick,” she responded. “We would often get together and formulate schematics.”“This is very well done,” Harritt praised.“The only thing I am missing is stormheart.” She looked up, sipping her hot chocolate. “Do you know where I can find some?”“Arbor Wilds, Emerald Graves, and Crestwood,” he replied. “I can send someone!”“That would be great, thank you,” Elizabeth said. “Can you inlay something on it?”“I can,” he assured her. “Just let me know what you would like on it.”Elizabeth leaned down and wrote on the top of the copy she made of the schematic.Beati qui assistunt, et tradetur impius pro corrupto non supplantabuntur gressus ejus.“I would like to have it running down the length of the sword in gold, but only part of the sword, and only large enough to read, but not overpowering.”Harritt set his mug down, pulled out a generic blade, and began writing the first word toward mid-blade. After he had written a few more confabulations, he held it up.“How’s that?”“Perfect!” Elizabeth exclaimed as she leaned against the crate. “So, tell me, Harritt, how did you come to be here?”“Came from a little town called Lothering,” he replied before taking the sip of his hot beverage. “Long gone now. I was in Redcliffe when the Darkspawn hit it during the Blight. Help rebuild. Left when royalty decided it was time to hand the place over to the bloody mages. Ended up here. I just missed the boom. Can’t decide if I’m the luckiest son of a bitch walking or the exact opposite.”Elizabeth chuckled. “You’re still walking. That’s always good.”“True enough.” Harritt bobbled his head.“Who outfits all the troops?” Elizabeth wondered. “Do you do all that?”“No.” Harritt shook his head. “I’ve got work to do for you and your misfits. Can’t be passing a sword to every blighter who signs up. If you want to help the troops, talk to Threnn, the quartermaster. She’ll set up requisitions.”“Does the Inquisition not have the supplies to make armor or weapons?” Elizabeth asked, slightly worried.“Tough convincing traders to haul up here,” he responded. “Impossible to get them to risk the rare stuff, so that’s on you, my lady.”She took another sip of her hot chocolate. “What can you and your team make here exactly?”“Arms and Armor.” Harritt bowed his head. “We work iron to blighted dragonbone if you’ve got it. Our designs are simple, but they get the job done. It appears that if you want something fancy, you have the means to take care of that.”“Can you improve on arms and armor?”He nodded. “I can. You find a new piece, a pauldron or greaves, and we’ll take care of you. You can’t just slap a new hilt on your sword in the field. Bring it here, and we’ll make sure it’s done right and proper.” Harritt took a book out and set it down on the crate. “Feel free to take this, Herald. It is every schematic I can build from.”“Thank you, Harritt.” Elizabeth placed a hand on his arm. “I will copy everything over to a new book and bring this one back to you before leaving. I will even move over mine, so you have copies.”“Take your time, Herald, and thank you.”After a little more of an exchange, Elizabeth left the smith’s, going back toward the Chantry. Next on her list was Threnn and Leliana, then Mineave. Elizabeth also planned some stuff with Josephine. Since Threnn and Leliana were outside the Chantry, she decided to visit them first. As the mage woman approached, Leliana was praying, and Threnn was talking to a messenger. She waited patiently as the two conversed. While she stood in patience, something off-white floated toward her feet, so she reached down and picked it up. It was a note detailing more about her observation.Patient ObservationsDay ThreeLess thrashing. Some response to stimulus.Vitals seem solid.Two attempts so far by locals to break into the Chantry and kill my patient.All this work to save her life, and will they just execute her?Will inform Lady Cassandra I expect her to wake before the morn.When Elizabeth looked up, the messenger was leaving, so she approached Threnn.“Any circle mage wanting to join needs to speak with Cullen or Cassandra. Apostates, too, I suppose.” Elizabeth smiled, and the woman gave a surprised expression. “Oh! You’re ‘her.’ I’m Threnn, Inquisition Quartermaster. I’m doing what I can to supply this mess. If you find what I need to fill one of my requisitions, I’d appreciate you bringing it in.”“So, what is it exactly that you do here, Threnn?”“I make sure the Inquisition troops have food in their bellies and iron in their hands. Both are important. A lot of people expect us to be heroes, marching all day to fight the demons. Turns out heroes need to dig latrines just like everyone else.”“How does someone end up as quartermaster for the Inquisition?” Elizabeth asked.“I served Ferelden under Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir,” she openly admitted. “Best commanding officer this world has ever seen. After they all turned on him at Denerim, though, there wasn’t much use for people who hold that opinion. King Alistair offered my services to the Inquisition, probably to get rid of me.”“I kindly disagree. But, I do believe that your loyalty to the man you served is commendable, Quartermaster.” Elizabeth showered her with admiration.“Thank you.” She bowed. “A lot of people seem to think they know what happened at Ostagar… but I was there. Teyrn Loghain never betrayed his king. If he’d brought in the reinforcements, Darkspawn would have just killed everyone. He did what he thought he had to do to save our country, and we betrayed him. I… apologize. Sister Leliana told me I shouldn’t talk about this. Just forget it.”Elizabeth motioned to her. “So, talk to me about requisitions then.”“I’m making this Inquisition run with what we have, but we’re not a real army.” Threnn exhaled. “We’re stretched thin on materials, so I’ve put up requisition lists for anything that could help our people out. Here, take a look.” She motioned to the table. Elizabeth glanced over everything as Threnn continued talking. “You find some iron and a good logging site, and maybe Harritt can get the troops better weapons.”“I have everything to complete this,” Elizabeth said, setting the bits of iron down in a nearby chest then marked the logging site on the map.Threnn nodded. “Thank you, my boys will handle everything from there.”“Thank you for entertaining me.” Elizabeth shook Threnn’s hand.“Maker go with you.”Elizabeth turned and took the few steps over to Leliana. She was still praying, so Elizabeth carefully proceeded as she listened to the hooded woman.“‘Blessed are the peacekeepers, the champions of the just,’” she chanted. “‘Blessed are the righteous, the lights in the shadow. In their blood, the Maker’s will is written.’ Is that what you want from us? Blood? To die so that Your will is done? Is death Your only blessing?”Leliana noticed Elizabeth and turned to face her. “You speak for Andraste, no? What does the Maker’s child have to say about all of this? What’s His game?”“How is this a game?” Elizabeth wondered.Leliana stood up and entirely turned to her. “Do you see the sky? What about the temple ruins? The bones lying in the dust? Even if you don’t support the Divine’s peace, you wouldn’t call this right. Who could? So many innocent lives— the faithful murdered where the holiest of holies once stood. If the Maker willed this, what was it if not a game or cruel joke?”“Leliana,” Elizabeth murmured. “I’ve heard nothing, I’m sorry. I can only speak for myself at the moment, and I too have no answers for you. At least, none that you are ready to hear.”“Then, we can only guess at what He wants.” Leliana sighed. “The Chantry teaches that the Maker abandoned us. He demands repentance for our sins. He demands it all. Our lives. Our deaths. Justinia gave Him everything she had, and He let her die!”Elizabeth dropped her head. “I’m sorry. Her death has clearly hit you hard.”“Not just me. All of us. Justinia was the Divine. She led the faithful. She was their heart!” Leliana said passionately. “If the Maker doesn’t intervene to save the best of his Servants, what good is He? I used to believe I was chosen, just the same as you are. I thought I was fulfilling His purpose for me, working with the Divine, helping people. But now she’s dead. It was all for nothing. Serving the Maker meant nothing.”“Maybe you have another purpose.” Elizabeth inched closer. “I could help you find it.”“No, this is my burden,” Leliana stated. “I regret that I even let you see me like this. It was a moment of weakness. It won’t happen again. Come. To work then. We will speak later.”Leliana sauntered to her station, glancing over the numerous parchments she shuffled through. Elizabeth exited the sister’s tent, going toward Adan’s hovel. She wanted to pass on the notes she found earlier. The young mage strode up to the door, but before she could open it, a person on the other side did. Both were startled by the other’s precipitous presence. After huffed laughs, the woman left the threshold with a sack in her possession.“Ah!” Adan gasped. “You’re back.”Elizabeth held up the papers then set them on Adan’s desk as he approached. “You said you thought Master Taigen was working on something special. I found his notes, and it certainly looks like he was headed in the right direction.”“Ha!” Adan exclaimed as he looked over the parchments. “The old codger was on the edge of a breakthrough here, but he couldn’t see it. You want some of these mixed up, you just say the word.”“I really could use some before I leave. I am more than willing to come by tomorrow and help you get me some potions ready for my trip.”“I would welcome your aid.” Adan bowed. “I received the elfroot you gathered. In addition to the Blood Lotus I had, I was able to make four of your healing bombs.”“I will get you more Blood Lotus,” Elizabeth promised. “The Hinterlands are riddled with it. I remember passing a lot of it when I was heading here.”“It would be most appreciated,” he replied. “Shall we test one?”“Let’s go find Cullen!”Adan and Elizabeth left the hut and made their way out of the gates and over to Cullen. As the two mages advanced, the commander turned to face them.“What do you need, Trevelyan?”She sighed, shaking her head, trying to hide her amusement. “You know how I told you that the elfroot I was gathering was for some bombs I concocted?” He nodded. “Well, Adan made a few. Would you assist us if you are not otherwise engaged?”He nodded. “Of course.”The trio stepped away from all the recruits. Cullen glanced down at the tiny yellow bomb in Elizabeth’s hand.“How is it supposed to work?”“Well, the hope is that when it breaks, it will heal the target much like a potion or a spell would.” Elizabeth handed it to Adan. “I need to know if it will work on us both. Can you trust me?” she asked, putting her hand up in front of him.“I can.” Cullen stepped forward. “Can you trust me?”“Absolutely,” she replied. “Choose your poison.”“Well, I’m a bit tired,” he confessed. “A good zap might get me going.”Elizabeth smiled. “Lightning it is.”“Are you both ready?” Adan asked. Both Cullen and Elizabeth nodded.The two stood inches from each other and folded their hands together—a purple charge wrapped around Elizabeth’s forearm and palm. Cullen immediately felt it, but it was gentle at first, slowly increasing in intensity. However, the minute her lightning spell got too intense, he quickly retaliated with his Smite as any normal Templar would. Though, just as her charges were soft at first, so was his Smite. The ability drained more and more mana from Elizabeth the longer they held onto each other.Elizabeth suppressed a moan from escaping. However, her knees were weak afterward. Cullen and Elizabeth let each other go, and Adan threw the grenade. A yellow mist enveloped the duo, immediately clothing them. Elizabeth pushed Cullen’s coat arm up, observing the skin and muscle.“Looks like it was a success.”“It looks that way!”Adan smiled. “Well, you have three to take with you.”“Great!” Elizabeth chirped.“I will go back and start getting things ready for tomorrow.” He bowed.“Good work, Adan.” She grinned.The apothecary left, going back to Haven ahead of them. Cullen and Elizabeth walked beside each other in comfortable silence till she nearly stumbled, causing him to reach out and instinctively grab her.“Thank you.” She breathed.“You all right?” he asked. “You’ve been short of breath. Are you having an adverse reaction to the bomb?”“No-no.” Elizabeth shook her head. “It’s not that.”“Okay,” Cullen said slowly with a hint of curiosity behind it.Elizabeth waltzed toward her cabin once they arrived at camp. Cullen watched her leave, going through Haven’s gates. He knew something was off with her, given her hasty retreat; however, he couldn’t pinpoint it. The commander deeply inhaled as he swiveled around to glance at his men.***Elizabeth convulsed, slithering down the wall as she dissolved, almost like a spring coiling tightly then being released. She removed her hand from between her legs, collecting herself before cleaning up. Once she finished drying off, she got dressed and shrugged on the warm tunic that Harritt manufactured for her. It was crimson with embroidered, stale gilded trim. Nimble fingers buttoned her tan embellished pants, then slid into chocolate-colored boots. She exited her hovel, drying her hair with smaller linen in hand. Despite the purge of ecstasy, she couldn’t get that moment out of her mind. The way Cullen’s Smite slowly pulsated through every nerve in her frame... she shook her head, peering up to see Cullen waiting for her by the steps.For a moment, she simply observed him. “Are you okay?”“I,” he stumbled over his words. “Did I do something? You left in a bit of a hurry.”Cullen nervously refused to make eye contact with Elizabeth when he spoke. However, when he completed his sentence, his eyes gazed into hers with a timid glimmer. The Herald’s beaming expression caused his breath to linger in his lungs. She must have realized it because a small laugh elicited.“It’s, um…” she seemed to hesitate but continued, “I was lascivious. Smite caused that to happen.”“I could have done something different,” he stuttered. “You can take a beating. I mean that you are good at receiving…” he sighed. “Maker’s breath!”Elizabeth couldn’t help but resume her giggling. “Cullen, I didn’t want to approach you and say, ‘Don’t use your Smite, or I am going to let loose right here.’”“Well, if you had given me a simple reason why it would have been good enough.”Elizabeth sincerely looked at him. “It’s all right. It would have happened even if a female Templar did it.”Cullen exhaled. “That doesn’t help.”“You didn’t strike me as that kind of a man.” Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.The commander cleared his throat. “I am not.”Elizabeth ran her tongue across her back teeth. “Uh-huh.”The young mage smirked, shaking her head as she ascended up the steps, Cullen close behind. She met Varric, Solas, Cassandra, and Leliana. Once inside the tavern, Elizabeth set her plate down, glancing around the hovel.“Where is Josephine?”Varric’s facial features became distorted. “Some high and mighty ass sniffer from Orlais grabbed her attention on the way over.”Elizabeth chuckled. “Well then, I’m glad I’m not Orlesian.”“Here’s the beauty about you, aside from your looks…” Varric sat forward. “You’re royalty, but I don’t see you walking around here with your nose in the air. You’re decent people, Dimples.”“You turn a girl’s head, Varric. You keep telling me sweet nothings, and I will harass your chest hair.”“One day, I’ll push you far enough that you will,” he said smoothly.Elizabeth hiccuped a laugh, clapping Cullen’s shoulder before leaving the tavern, going toward the Chantry. It was quiet inside as she entered. A few sisters were praying, and two others were whispering to each other. As Elizabeth neared Josephine’s office, she heard a man talking to the ambassador. She opened the door to see an Orlesian-masked man.“The Inquisition cannot remain, Ambassador,” the man said, “if you can’t prove it was founded on Justinia’s orders.”“This is an inopportune time, Marquis,” Josephine replied. “More of the faithful flock here each day. But allow me to introduce you to the brave soul who risked her life to slow the magic of the Breach. Ser Trevelyan, may I present the Marquis DuRellion, one of Divine Justinia’s greatest supporters.”“The rightful owner of Haven.” The man stepped closer to Elizabeth. “House DuRellion lent Justinia these lands for a pilgrimage. This ‘Inquisition’ is not a beneficiary of this arrangement.”Elizabeth glanced between Josephine and the Marquis. “This is the first I’ve heard of Haven having an owner outside the Chantry.”“My wife, Lady Machen of Denerim, has a claim to Haven by ancient treaty with the monarchs of Ferelden,” he revealed. “We were honored to lend its use to Divine Justinia. She is… she was a woman of supreme merit. I will not let an upstart order remain on her holy grounds.”Elizabeth gazed at him with sincerity. “I understand that with the Breach, the temple collapsing, and Justinia’s killer on the loose, there is hesitation to trust. There should be, Marquis. But I don’t want to be enemies, and I don’t want negative opinions either. Our only desire is to find out who did this, to fix what’s broken. But to do that, our people need shelter. Most of these people have been injured and need time to heal and recoup. You can’t just turn them out onto the snow.”“But who benefits if they stay?” he wondered.“Divine Justinia, Marquis,” Josephine reminded him. “The Inquisition—not the Chantry—is sheltering the pilgrims who mourn her.”“Why is the Chantry ignoring the faithful?” he asked with worry in his voice.“Because it remains in shock,” Josephine replied, causing the Marquis to sigh.Elizabeth stepped forward. “We face a dark time, Your Grace. Divine Justinia would not want her passing to divide us.”Josephine finished, “She would, in fact, trust us to forge new alliances to the benefit of all, no matter how strange they might seem.”The Marquis turned from his pacing. “I’ll think about it, Lady Montilyet. The Inquisition might stay in the meanwhile.”The Marquis left the room, and after a few moments, Elizabeth turned toward Josephine. “Do the DuRellions actually have a claim on this place?”“His Grace’s position is not so strong as he presents it,” she said honestly. “Despite their Ferelden relations, the DuRellions are Orlesian. If the Marquis wishes to claim Haven, Empress Celene must negotiate with Ferelden on his behalf. Her current concerns are a bit larger than minor property disputes.”“I apologize for the interruption.” Elizabeth bowed.“You did little harm.” Josephine smiled. “In fact, your little speech helped. I’m glad it’s you in this position. Your family ties make you better at this than most in your position would be. This debate was most beneficial as practice for those to come.”“You expect more people in Haven?” Elizabeth inquired.“Undoubtedly,” Josephine responded. “Each visitor will spread the story of the Inquisition after they depart. An Ambassador should endure the tale in as respectful a way as possible.”“You know, we talked about your work in Antiva, but never what actually brought you here.”“Sister Leliana approached me,” Josephine divulged. “We’ve been acquainted for some time. For better or worse, being the Inquisition’s diplomat has been as exciting as she promised. At least, so far.”Elizabeth mused, “The Inquisition is lucky to have you as an advocate, Lady Montilyet, and I more so. I love having someone familiar close by that I can trust.”“Your father’s charm.” Josephine dipped her head. “I just hope I can do what everyone expects. Thedas’ politics have become agitated as of late. I hope to guide us down smoother paths.”“You will,” Elizabeth boasted, then held out her arm. “We have lunch waiting for us.”“I am feeling peckish.” Josephine set her things down and took Elizabeth’s arm.The two spent their walk to the tavern talking and laughing. When they entered, everyone was still there, so Josephine took her seat, and Elizabeth went to Flissa and asked for another sandwich for Josephine. Once Flissa finished, Elizabeth took the lunch to Josephine, then sat down to her plate. Cullen and Varric swapped seats. He was sitting immediately to her left. Varric’s new position put him directly across from her.“Didn’t want to sit beside me?”“I’d rather look at you.” Varric shrugged. “Besides, I’m not finished with my food; Curly is.”“What does that have to do with it?” Elizabeth asked.“You’re left-handed,” the dwarf replied. “You and I would be elbowing each other.”“I suppose I do make for an awkward table companion,” Elizabeth admitted.“How did everything go with DuRellion?” Leliana inquired.“Better after Ella showed up,” Josephine admitted. “I could have handled him, but I think meeting the Herald gave him a realization he had yet to stumble upon. Her nobility helps.”“Here I thought the Orlesians considered me sedate.”Solas chuckled. “You are a bit of a mystery.”“I like it that way,” Elizabeth hummed. “Giving people teasers keeps them interested.”Josephine laughed. “I think your father would be proud that you are so much like him. However, your mother might debate that.”“She would down to her bones,” Elizabeth stated.“At least you have her wandering spirit.”“It helped that I was able to travel, with Templar company, to other Circles.” Elizabeth jolted her shoulders.“I am curious, what is your stance on Templars?” Leliana inquired.“Most are curious about such.” Solas squinted. “I cannot understand how it matters.”“The entire subject is a tense one,” Cassandra said. “I am also curious. Especially after finding out what you are.”“Bellators and Templars go hand-in-hand,” Elizabeth responded.“How so?” Cassandra asked.“When the Maker created us, we were given an avatar. The first of the Knight’s order. The holiest. Though, at the time, they were not known as ‘Templars’ since the title did not come until much later. At that time, they were called ‘Immortales Foedus’ or ‘League of Immortals’. Beautiful men and women who were a credit to their armor and title. They valued magic and its uses but also knew its limits. Since their inception, those with Templar abilities and mages needed each other to survive. The first of them was proof of that. They lived, loved.”“You mean they were bound; married?” Solas asked, leaning forward.Elizabeth answered, “Yes.”“How could that be?” Cassandra inquired with confusion. “Wouldn’t that make it harder if the worse should come to pass?”“I suppose it would be to an outsider,” Elizabeth confessed. “But it’s quite the opposite. When these warriors vowed to commit their lives to the Bellator they loved, they were Transcended.”“I was there when King Alistair was Transcended,” Leliana reminisced.“Blood magic?” Cassandra wrinkled her nose.“Bellators can’t entertain the stuff,” Varric retorted. “It would kill them painfully and tortuously. They are devoted to Andraste, the Maker. Anything demonic is against that, and they must be put down immediately. I only know of one that turned to it 400 years ago.” The dwarf sighed. “Hawke spared no detail; it was brutal.”“It was,” Elizabeth reiterated.“So, what is Transcendence?” Solas wondered.“The procedure for Transcendence can be frightening,” Elizabeth replied. “But it’s different for every Templar, so I can’t give an exact definition. They’re killed by the Bellator. Their soul lingers between worlds. It is a different experience and can be bad, good, both… it’s difficult to say. During that time, their life force is removed. The mage binds it to their own. All their magic engulfs it, making it stronger, better. You see, the ability to Smite is a Templar’s life force. Over years of repeated use, it becomes tied to their life. This is why, over time, using it becomes more and more natural. Fight or flight kicks into gear, and it is their instinct to use it almost instantly to preserve themselves. It’s why it is insisted upon for them to be on lyrium by the Order.”“Does lyrium even work?” Varric asked.“Honestly?” Elizabeth sighed, then shook her head. “No. It enhances their other abilities, but Smite itself becomes weaker the more the Templar ages, and that power is used. It’s why his or her mind deteriorates, and they become a shell of what they were. Which makes sense when you coalesce it with my previous statement. Archival evidence suggests initial Chantry leaders knew this, thus seizing control of the supply chains. They twisted the lie till it became the exact opposite. If they did this, they not only controlled the supply, but the Templar. Because Smite is the way mages are ‘slapped back into reality,’ the Templar of a Bellator needs to have more dominant abilities than the mage’s magic. Again, that can’t be done with lyrium.”“You make it sound like their Templars cannot be associated with lyrium at all,” Cassandra responded.“They can’t,” Elizabeth replied. “It is to them as blood magic is to Bellator’s. It is an addiction, a hindrance to all that is pure; darkness. An intoxication and impurity in the blood. All lyrium started out red. It distorted Templars, much like blood magic perverts mages. It wasn’t until mages toned down the effects with the assistance of the dwarves that lyrium became what it is now, and the only difference is the color which is changed with pigments and water.”“So, it’s still red?” Varric asked wide-eyed.“Yes.” Elizabeth exhaled. “That’s why once a Templar starts, it is nearly impossible to stop. A Templar quitting is… well, I commend any man or woman who does such a thing. It’s excruciating. But, during the Transcendence, the magic is used as purification to the Templar. He becomes what he’s meant to be for the Maker, Andraste, and the Bellator.”“Then what makes it different?” Cullen wondered.“What they experience during their slumber,” Elizabeth answered.“It sounds…” Cullen thought for a moment.“It sounds like it goes against everything you believe in?” Elizabeth questioned.“No,” he disagreed. “Well, perhaps a little.”Elizabeth inhaled, holding it in for a moment before releasing it. “The Bellators believe that everything happening now is a purification process.”“Does that mean you are gearing up for something?” Leliana inquired.“I do not know for certain,” Elizabeth answered truthfully. “It is undecided until one of us hears from Andraste. But, if I can be honest, the Chantry and the Order strayed from their original purpose. They have taken the truth and distorted it to fit and conform, to bend to a will that it was not devised to. It is why the Maker left. The mages, too, have lost their way. They see the Chantry and the Order as a threat. Whether it is or isn’t shouldn’t matter. We were called to a higher purpose. It became corrupt, and we called it honorable.”“The mages had to.” Varric’s face distorted to anger. “The atrocities committed against them, especially in Kirkwall, were horrendous and uncalled for.”“That may be,” Elizabeth replied. “But we can’t rebel because we don’t like the rules.”“You can’t become martyrs either,” Josephine finally spoke.“No,” Elizabeth agreed. “However, we all have. All three groups have died with the other’s blood on their hands and called it justification for holy war. We’ve abused the power that was given to us and rationalized it. None of us is innocent in this. At least the Divine was trying to bring us back to what we were meant to be. Leliana, you and Cassandra asked what I think of Templars?”“Yes,” she said plainly.“I believe they are necessary,” Elizabeth began. “They sacrifice their lives to babysit and never get recognition, even from those outside the Circle. We are dangerous, and every day they play with fire by waking up and putting on their armor. I have admired those I have known, even the ones who have done wrong against me. However, I don’t believe in the Circle to the degree of its role. It became a prison, a place to chain up and lock away what everyone else feared most. I will always see the role of the Templar as a vital one. But I disagree with the function of the Circle as it is now. Or, at least, how it was.”“It does not surprise me,” Cassandra told her.“Then why ask?” Solas turned to her.“For verification,” Cassandra confirmed.Elizabeth ate her sandwich while the others discussed what they just heard; for most of it, she noticed that Cullen was silent. She knew he was meditating on everything that was explained. After Elizabeth had finished her lunch, she got up and left, going back to the Chantry to talk to Mineave. Josephine was next to her as they took the path to the church, and even noted how Cullen seemed to absorb everything deliberated about. Elizabeth told her friend that she would give him some time, then talk to him. When they went into Josephine’s office, Elizabeth saw the elf mage to her right and approached her.“Mineave?” Elizabeth inquired.“You’re the Herald!” She bowed. “Or, well, the one they’re calling the Herald, anyway. It’s odd to see them accepting a mage as their hero. First, we’re too dangerous to let out of the Circles, and then we’re apostate rebels… but they seem to like you. You know my name.”“I do,” Elizabeth smiled at her. “What do you do for the Inquisition?”“I research demons and other creatures. Seeker Pentaghast and I use what I find to help the soldiers fight them,” she answered.“You’re not a mage, though?”“Just an apprentice,” she replied. “I was a year from my Harrowing, at least. The enchanters were kind. I was never very good at magic. I’ve got just enough talent to be a danger to other people. When the mages rebelled, people like me had nowhere to go. The Templars would have killed us. Luckily, Seeker Pentaghast took me in, along with the Tranquil I was protecting.”“You were keeping the Tranquil safe?” Elizabeth wondered.Mineave nodded. “Yes. The mages took some of them when my Circle rebelled, but the rest was forgotten. You know how Circle mages saw the Tranquil.”“I do” Elizabeth sighed, “unfortunately.”“They’re just there to enchant items and keep the floors clean,” Minaeve added. “They don’t have any emotions. They can barely take care of themselves, can’t defend themselves at all. It’s a shame. I like them better than most people.”“I’m glad they have someone who cares about them,” Elizabeth muttered.“They deserve better,” Mineave told her. “They’re polite, they’re rational, and they’ll never get angry at you. When they study, they have a focus no normal person could ever match. But the Templars, even some of the mages, mistreated them just because they could. The Tranquil never fought back. I’m not for that, I’d… I don’t know. Doesn’t really matter now.”“I’m surprised that even an apprentice mage wouldn’t join the rebellion,” Elizabeth said slowly.“I don’t like using magic to fight,” Mineave confessed. “I’m not good at it, either. I liked studying. I liked performing rituals that helped us unlock the secrets of the Veil. I liked having the Templars around to keep us safe.”“Mages need protection,” Elizabeth agreed. “I wish more of them could see that.”“I was born into a Dalish clan,” she revealed. “I lived there until my magic manifested. The Dalish cannot risk too many mages in one clan, and I was one more than they could bear. They gave me a pack and sent me into the woods to find my own life. I was seven-years-old.”“Mineave” Elizabeth gave her a sad expression, “I’m sorry.”“I stumbled into a village,” she continued. “I was starving and cold, a few weeks later. I’d started using my magic to scare predators away. The villagers saw me make a fire in my fists. They were terrified and wanted to kill me. Templars saved me from them. They gave me food and clothes and took me to the Circle. I’ve seen what life is like without the Templars, and I want no part of it. I just want to study.”“You said Cassandra has you researching creatures?”“Yes,” Mineave responded. “If you find anything interesting in your travels, I’d appreciate you bringing it to me. I may be able to find some weaknesses our soldiers can exploit when fighting various creatures. At least, some materials are useful for making potions or gear for the Inquisition.”“I know what led me to be an Apothecary…” Elizabeth stepped closer to her. “Why did you decide to research dangerous creatures?”“I liked the outdoors,” she paused, then put her hand up. “Err, the idea of the outdoors, anyway. When some monster is coming at you, glowing eyes and burning claws, it’s terrifying. But once you know how it works, you can deal with it. It’s just another part of the world. So much of the world is only frightening because we don’t understand it.”“What do I do when I have something for you?” Elizabeth asked, pulling out some items Mineave could look over. “Can you use them?”“Yes,” Mineave confirmed. “That’s very helpful. Just leave it there, and the Tranquil and I will examine it.”Elizabeth put everything on the table, then said her goodbyes, leaving the Chantry a few moments later.
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:iconjwatkinsart:
JWatkinsArt Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hey guys! Is this group still active? I submitted a piece and it expired, so I wanted to check. Thanks!
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:iconvestafarms:
vestafarms Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for adding me.
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:iconwinterxfrag:
winterxfrag Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017   Digital Artist
Thanks for the add :D
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:iconxxxjrosesxxx:
xxxJRosesxxx Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Student General Artist
I am in need of assistance from fellow DA:I fans, in regards to writing characters from the game. You see I'm writing a fanfiction about my Inquisitor's child, the story beginning on her 16th birthday. My predicament is on what would each individual member of the Inquisition gift to her? I already have at least six characters' gifts down but am in need of help in regards to...

Cassandra
Josephine
Cullen
Sera

  If it helps I will list the gifts I already figured out for the others, in case anyone thinks of gifts already thought of.

Iron Bull: Mabari Puppy
Dorian: Fireworks Show & Ellana's Staff
Varric: Book (that's important to the plot)
Vivien: Ballgown
Leliana: Shoes (what else?) 
Blackwall: Wooden Statue of a Griffon (that he carved)
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:iconjordan-frost92:
Jordan-Frost92 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2016  Professional Writer
Thanks for the add.
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