The Road Goes Ever On And On – Anna & Julie finally replay Dragon Age Inquisition
After a small break, a lot of Star Wars and other games in the meantime and some time out from the DA universe we are finally back to where this all started: Finishing our Dragon Age re-run. After Dragon Age 2 we were both a bit in a rut about this universe. Especially since DAI is, for both of us, our least favourite Dragon Age game. But with some headcanon, some more Letters from Thedas and a lot of motivation (and a ton of mods) we will make this work. (Seriously. A ton of mods.)
We start together as before and set ourselves a goal where we want to “meet up” again in a few weeks – story wise. The first one is to reach Skyhold until the end of the year.
We will probably post a lot of short comments on twitter. Anna also has a flickr account set up for her need to screenshot everything to death. And we will post regularly about the play throughs on this blog of course.
And these are the characters:
An elven rogue who grew up in a city alienage. She led a life of crime, was a skilled assassin and burglar for hire from the age of 15 on until about one and a half decades later. After a particularly nasty job for a human noble that went south the fear of human retribution drove her to run away and seek shelter with the Dalish. The Lavellan clan took her in and after living with them for a prolonged time changed her perspective on many things.
Over the next five years of her life she became a very hardworking member of the clan, partly out of gratefulness for their help and partly out of a need to make up for the things she did while still living in the city. Except for the keeper and her closest friend in the clan no one really knows much about her past. Most assume it was a regular alienage conflict that drove her to run away. She is hesitant about opening up to people about her past because she fears their reaction and is convinced they would most likely shun her. Rightfully so she believes.
She never really, on an emotional level, understood why the keeper took her in unquestioningly. After a while of living with the Dalish, when she started to fully understand the kind of life she led before, she deliberately told her everything. In a need to come clean as well as in a need to push people away from her because she felt undeserving of their kindness. When all the keeper did was nod and saying she suspected as much and then offering her another plate of food as if nothing was wrong she didn’t know what to do with herself anymore. Gradually she accepted that she was given a second chance to become someone better and took it. Fully immersing herself in the ways of the clan. The day she got to take the vallaslin is one of her fondest memories.
When the keeper asked her to go to the conclave to spy she was hesitant. She knew that out of all the people in her clan she was uniquely qualified. But she also feared how it would affect her after years of trying to distance herself from her old life. In the end, no matter how she felt about it, it was clear from the moment her keeper asked that she would do anything asked of her for this woman who was solely responsible for her new life in her mind.
So, with a heavy heart and a whole boatload full of worries about the future Amara dusted off her old knives and bow that she had avoided using in the past years altogether, and started the journey to the human temple where the conclave was supposed to happen.
(And there is this much pre-game backstory because I (Anna) went to a very elaborate process of making sure that the in game dialogue of a seasoned fighter and Dalish spy fit with the moments where your character seems to have no idea about your own culture. Also because I have a weakness for city elves .)
Like Amara, Lyssa grew up in an alienage. Her family hid her magic from the templars and succeeded to do so until she was 14. That year, the alienage was hit by an outbreak of measles. Her twin brothers and her father died of it and shortly afterwards, her eldest brother was (forcibly) recruited for the army to fight against the Blight. He did not survive the first weeks of training and from the way they were told about his death, Lyssa and her mother knew that his death probably was no accident.
They left Denerim the next morning to search for the Dalish – but what seemed so easy in theory, proved nearly fatal in reality. They traveled the land for months, not finding any of the Dalish until winter slowly caught up with them. When her mother fell ill, Lyssa wanted to give herself up to the templars in exchange for healing and security for her mother but before she could do so, they finally found who they were looking for: the Dalish. Upon trying to find a way into Kirkwall, they stumbled directly into the Sabrae clan who took them in. Keeper Marethari and her first, Merrill, not only made sure they both survived but it was then that Lyssa got her first actual training with her magic which was hard at first. She found it difficult to stop bottling her magic up or hide it and had yet to discover any joy in it. Lyssa could barely believe what she experienced. Not only did these elves not fear anything – no humans, no magic – they lived free and unbound. For a few weeks, they stayed with the Sabrae until Lyssa’s mother was fit for travel again. Then, as the Sabrae clan planned to stay near Kirkwall for an undecided amount of time until some prophecy was fulfilled, they were sent to a friendly clan, the Lavellan clan.
It took Lyssa some time to settle in, to accept and realize that they had finally found a home. Due to the clan’s trading arrangements with humans, there were more former city elves within their ranks than in other Dalish clans and it was only now that Lyssa realized in retrospective how careful the Sabrae tread around them, despite their friendliness. Still, she couldn’t but remember them with kindness – they had saved her mother’s and her lives, after all. Keeper Deshanna took it upon her to take Lyssa under her wing and taught her to control her magic, while Lyssa’s mother build a home for them. For the next several years, Lyssa was growing into the Dalish culture, learning among them. Shortly before her coming of age and reception of the Vallaslin, her mother fell sick again and this time, she did not recover. She died shortly after Lyssa received her Vallaslin which were dedicated to Sylaise, the hearthkeeper, in honor of her mother.
When Deshanna came to her a few years later to send her to the conclave, Lyssa knew it was the smart choice – she knew better than most of her clan how to interact within non-Dalish surroundings and with her magic, she could more easily pretend to be part of the negotiations as a pretend circle mage – but the thought still horrified her. Going back to what was in her mind now inevitably connected with death and pain but a long talk with Deshanna eased her trepidation. Bound and determined to gather whatever information she could, she said goodbye to her newfound family and made for Haven.
(The reason for this much background is the same as with Anna. As the Inquisitor is the palest of all Dragon Age protagonists, I felt the need for a fully fleshed-out character to be able to make decisions based on her personality.
So, here we are again – off to Thedas!