~I’ve been wanting to actually put this to “paper” for a while, and just figured it would be good to put down a rough draft. I’ve been stifled, creatively, recently but this has been ever present in my mind for a while. These are late night dabbling with my Warden-Commander Delia Amell and Inquisitor Mera Lavellan. Set post Trespasser DLC. OC’s are mine. Canon? Not so much. Though there are quite a few headcanons and ships in here. Have fun!
Spoiler alert – Major spoilers for ending of Dragon Age Inquisition and Trespasser DLC. Well, probably for all of the Dragon Age games. Read at your own risk! It is also a rough draft, and continuity has not been solidified. ~
Setting: Skyhold, 9:44 Dragon
It had rained for two weeks straight and, while many knew that the Inquisitor had no influence over the elements in such a way, most of the Keep felt that the events of the past month had been the reason for the downpour. Despite many attempts to rally Mera’s spirits, the elven Inquisitor kept to her room when it was not necessary for her to act in any official capacity. Even Dorian, who was known to be Mera’s closest friend, was unable to give her comfort, and they spoke nearly every day.
It was for such a reason as this that the Hero of Fereldan found herself making her way to the Inquisitor’s room. Though she probably didn’t have the right words to say, there was a thing or two she could say that could help the situation. They were words she’d said to her cousin Kaitlyn, the Champion of Kirkwall, and had been offered to her by Zevran when she’d face the worst after the Blight was ended.
“You think it’ll help,” Cullen had asked, before she’d left him in his office.
“Maybe not right now,” Delia had replied, accepting the kiss he offered. “But it will, hopefully, prove to be a foundation for when she finally accepts the truth herself.“
“What are you going to say to her?”
She hadn’t responded. In truth, she didn’t think she’d be brave enough to tell Cullen the things that had happened after Denerim. She fingered the white ribbon tied across her left wrist and felt tears prick her eyes. She didn’t want to see the hatred in his eyes again. If it nearly killed her the first time.
“Mera?” Delia called, up the stairwell, hoping that the Inquisitor would be awake.
“Up here!” Was the response.
With a sigh, the mage Warden slowly climbed the stairs, finding the elf mage sitting in a large chair next to the fire. Delia had seen that look before. She’d felt exactly what Mera was feeling. Kaitlyn had felt that too. It was that feeling that everything you’d fought for was in vain. That you no longer mattered. That everything you wanted was taken from you and you were left with nothing, just an empty shell of the person you once were.
In a way, that was more true for Mera, who, by the time Delia had reached the top of the stairs, had suddenly became very interested in the new arm Dagna had made for her. Delia smiled at her own first memory of the dwarf from Orzammar. Dagna had been so fully of energy and had been very enthusiastic about learning. Delia was glad she’d been able to send Dagna to the Circle, even more so that she learned so much and was to help the Inquisition in the way that she had.
“Josephine said you hadn’t eaten since yesterday,” Delia offered, setting down a tray laden with food and tea. “I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty.”
Mera was silent, which Delia was expecting. Nothing was going to happen unless Delia spoke first. So, the older mage sat poured herself a hot cup of tea and settled down in front of the fire place. Many of her favorite stories told during her travels happened near a fire much like this one, granted it wasn’t in a fireplace. Delia couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept in such extravagant living arrangements. The room she’d been given was an act of hospitality she wasn’t accustomed to.
“Do you know that I was almost executed due to the my almost successful assassination attempt on King Alistair?” The question hung in the air and Delia could almost swear that even the crackle of the fireplace was silent. Granted it wasn’t the truth, but the Warden-Commander had learned a thing or two about storytelling in her journeys.
“But I thought…” Mera began her thought but hastily stopped herself. It didn’t matter. Delia knew what she was going to say.
“Oh, yes, I loved Alistair dearly, and a part of me probably always will. But that didn’t mean that he did something that made me so mad I wanted to kill him.” Delia leaned back against the warm brick wall and raised the glass to her lips. She took a long drink, and allowed the liquid to warm her insides.
“You see, everyone knows of our love story. An ex-templar, well not even a templar. He was more like a recruit. And me, a Circle Mage that almost had to be conscripted into the Wardens. Some like to say it was destiny and love to believe the romance. But not everyone knows what happened during the Landsmeet. Many have gone to great lengths to keep it a secret of how we went out separate ways, and we choose to let them believe that we still carry a torch for each other. Though, now that he’s married, I think it’s become less likely to believe.”
“What did you do?” Mera asked, her legs becoming uncurled so that her feet could rest on the floor.
She chuckled and leaned her head back. The memory as vivid now as it was the day it happened. “Well, you see when I was vying to put Alistair on the throne, I sort of said that I would marry him, so that the kingdom would have an heir. At the time, it made complete sense. I was a fool to believe otherwise. Alistair came to see me later and told me that because we were both Grey Wardens, conceiving a child would be completely impossible.
“I’m not saying that he lied to me, because that is a very accurate truth. And I would have been content to leave it at that, if it had not been for the fact that I had overheard him and Arl Eamon talking earlier in the day about us. You see, it wasn’t because I am a Grey Warden that we weren’t allowed to be together, but because I am a mage. By law, we are not allowed to hold property of our own or have titles or anything like that.”
Mera was silent and Delia turned to look at her. The elf’s blonde hair had fallen from its usual updo and was hanging around her in soft waves. Her brown eyes were shining with unshed tears. Delia knew that she’d hit close to home with her story.
“That hardly seems fair,” she whispered, a small quiver in her voice. “You’d just saved all of Thedas from a huge threat.”
“But at the end of the day, Mera, I was still a mage. And nothing, regardless of heroism or love, could ever wash away my Maker given sin of being a mage.” Delia signed and returned her attention to the flames. “It was the second time my curse had caused me to not be with the one I loved.”
“Who was the first?” Mera asked, before she realized the answer for herself. “Oh, I see.”
Delia felt a tell-tale blush creep up her face as she remembered her time in the Tower with Cullen. “He was my first love, and because I was a mage, and he a templar…our love was forbidden. I was so angry, that I was allowed to do all of these things for Fereldan and fight for a cause that I originally wanted no part of, and be a part of a crumbling organization…but I could not do the one thing I wanted more than anything in my life.
“I wanted to love. The real and true kind of life that you only read about in storybooks. And Alistair lying to me like that, I was so angry and enraged. It wasn’t all his fault, and he understands why I reacted the way that I did. I threw a reign of fireballs at him, missing on purpose, obviously. Nearly killed him, and got into a bit of trouble because of it.”
For the first time since Delia had met Mera, the elf laughed. Not just a soft chuckle or giggle, but a full belly laugh that sounded all throughout her room and was hopefully heard in the garden below. “The next time we play Wicked Grace, you have to tell that story!”
Delia chuckled. “I’d be happy to. My reasons behind killing Alistair aren’t exactly why I came up here.” She sobered quickly and drew a breath. “Those months after Denerim were the worst I’d ever experienced. I managed to keep my head in the game during Amaranthine, but just barely. Afterwards, I was just in a dark place. It took me nearly two years to find my way out.”
“What happened?” Mera asked, coming to sit down on the floor in front of the Grey Warden.
Without saying anything, Delia removed the white ribbon tied from her wrist and showed Mera what lay hidden underneath there. A thin white scar was visible in the light coming from the fire.
“Blood magic…” Mera whispered, her eyes turning dark towards Delia. She leaned back as if the Grey Warden was no longer to be trusted.
“No!” Delia cried, resting her right hand on Mera’s arm. “No, I would never. Not after what I saw at the tower and with what happened to Cullen. I never could bring myself to do such a thing.”
“Then how do you explain this?” Mera asked, her tone becoming very angry and accusatory.
Delia rose to her feet and began pacing about the room. “I wanted my life to end, Mera. I wanted all of the blood to drain from my body and to be free from the hatred and darkness of this world. I’m a very strong mage, and I have been all of my life. Demons don’t usually try to come at me, and that was true this time. I simply ran a blade across my wrist and prayed for the end.
“Unfortunately, I’d forgotten what a skilled rogue I had traveling with me. Zevran discovered me and another mage in our party, Anaerin, she quickly sealed the wound. However, as the wound was self-inflicted the way that it was, it’s left this scar. Zevran and Anaerin talked with me a lot during that time and were able to help me through the darkness.”
“You were fortunate,” Mera replied, bitterly, her own eyes turning towards the flames.
“As are you, Mera.” Delia knelt down in front of her and took her hands in her own. “I can easily see what you’re doing though others cannot. You’re pushing yourself through your days. Trying to stay focused as the Inquisition goes through a major transition. And then, when you are alone, and when you think no one is watching you, you turn hide away someplace where you can try to sort out the mess of the life that’s been created without your consent.”
Mera’s eyes filled with tears and Delia knew she’d hit home.
“It’s so hard, Delia.” Mera sounded so frightened and so unsure that it nearly broke the older woman’s heart. “There’s so much responsibility and so many things that I have to do but I just can’t focus on them because all I want…” The Inquisitor stopped and choked on a heart-wrenching sob but the Hero of Fereldan didn’t need her to continue.
“All you want is to find Solas,” she finished for her. “I know. I understand. But you’ve done what both Kaitlyn and I have done. We both allowed our titles to simply replace us. Kaitlyn held on to her title of Champion of Kirkwall and used it as a shield to simply hide behind. The same happened to me. We forgot that we were people who were allowed to have hearts and to have feelings.”
The older mage helped Mera to her feet and they walked towards the windows that opened onto one of her balconies. The cool mountain wrapped around both of them and Delia held the heart-broken woman close. It was impossible to explain to another what such a loss did a person. It was simply felt and understood without a word ever being spoken.
“How did you both survive?” Mera asked, wiping away tears with her hand.
“That is quite possibly the greatest thing of all.” Delia smiled, mischeviously, quite pleased with what happened in the end for both her and for her cousin, Kaitlyn Hawke. “Instead of our titles using us, we in turn used our titles.”
Mera blinked up at her, confusion very apparent on her face. “I don’t understand.”
“I’ve used the title of Warden-Commander to gain access to places and knowledge that I could never have attained otherwise. It’s no secret that I’m trying to find a cure for the taint nor that I’ve spent quite a lot of time in talks with Fiona. I’m not doing this so that Wardens don’t have to be Wardens forever. I’m doing this for me. So that I can have a life I’ve always wanted.
“Kaitlyn has done the same thing. She sided with the templars only because she needed them to become Viscountess of Kirkwall. Without them, her plans of reimagining the Circle in Kirkwall would’ve been nothing more than a dream. Despite the fact that she was discovered and run out of Kirkwall, she now will the front on securing a peaceful life for mages across Thedas.”
“So you’ve basically used the system that used you?” Mera asked, releasing Delia’s hands and leaning against the balcony railing. “Lied to them?”
Delia shook her head. “You can choose to see it that way, but Kaitlyn and I were not asked to become these great personages who have become so revered across Thedas. We have to think about our futures. Kaitlyn has managed to find love again, after Anders betrayed her. I’m expecting for Sebastian to finally propose and then if she becomes Princess of Starkhaven, then she’ll have even more influence. I don’t want to be a Warden, I never have. I wanted to stay in the Circle and be close to Cullen forever. I was fine with us never truly being together, just as long as I had him with me. But now, we have a chance to actually be together. I’m not going to let him go.”
“This is a lot to take in,” the elf sighed, looking towards the horizon. “Are you saying that I could do the same with the Inquisition?”
“I’m saying you should do this with the Inquisition. You’ve already made the decision to downsize and to become a more peaceable organization. However, this will focus your intent on finding Solas, not just to bring him to justice but for you to simply have him near again.” Delia rested a hand on Mera’s arm, feeling the underlying tension there.
“I’m not saying that you have to do anything, Mera. The decision is yours. You have so much at your disposal here that it would be a shame to waste it.”
Mera nodded, but Delia figured that she wasn’t going to get anything out of the Inquisitor today. In any event, she didn’t expect the young woman to agree with her or even set out on the same path that Delia and Kaitlyn had done. But there was a way to have purpose in a life that you never wanted.
“I’ll be staying at Skyhold for another week, and then I’ll begin my travels again. If you need anything, you may feel free to speak to me.”
Not bothering to let Mera reply, Delia backed out off the balcony and hastily made her way to Cullen’s office. She took the short cut through what used to be Solas’s sanctuary, instead of the more formal exit through the front. She opened the door and found Cullen sitting at his desk, pouring over some paper work. It was hard to compare him to the templar she once knew. That person was more of a boy just as she was more of a girl then, in comparison to the man she saw now. While he didn’t have the scars than that he bore now, that past shaped him into the person he was now. A person that she loved.
“Finished?” Cullen asked, standing up when she saw him enter.
“For now,” Delia whispered, coming to stand next to him. She felt a bit weary after relaying all of that information to Mera. Such a story was only meant to be told a few times. And she always kept her secrets in the Grey Wardens. No one hardly ever knew the real her, what she wanted, where was going, and more importantly where she had been.
Cullen placed his arms around her and Delia fell into his comforting embrace. He was dressed in simple pants and shirt, and Delia felt tears prick her eyes at how perfectly the two of them fit into each other. Two halves making a perfect hole.
“What is it?” Cullen asked. He moved his hands to her upper arms, almost forcing her to look up at him. He’d have to have been blind to see the tears pouring down her face.
Maker, he always knew when she was upset. “I’m just so tired, Cullen. I’ve spent so long being someone I’m not, doing things I have no heart in. I’m ready to rest. To be free. To be happy.”
She lowered her head and apparently Cullen did as well. She heard him inhale sharply and she quickly looked back up at him, thinking the lyrium withdrawal was making another attack on him. But his eyes weren’t on her, and they didn’t appear to be in pain. His eyes were filled with shock and hurt and almost disappointment, and they were focused on the wrist she’d forgotten to cover when leaving Mera’s room.
“What is that, Delia?” He asked, almost shoving her away from him.
The Mage Warden-Commander, the Hero of Fereldan, was pushed entirely away and Delia was only left with her empty self. A woman who had suffered much and who desperately needed the man she loved to listen to her.
“Sit down, Cullen. I have a tale to tell you.”
~ And that’s it! Wow it took me forever to write this! This was almost a week’s worth as I spent a long time figuring out how to start it. Hope you all enjoyed it! It is a rough draft, I recognize that and see that, so don’t freak out. This is the end of Delia’s story, well, for now anyway, and I hope I raised lots of questions about Kaitlyn Hawke and Mera Lavellan. 🙂 What can I say? It’s what I do!