• Hello Guest, the Post-Trespasser timeline is open to all characters now. If you want to play your DA:O/DA2 timeline characters in the Post-Trespasser timeline, please check out the thread below. It will give you all the information you need to get up and running in no time:

    Getting your DA:O/DA2 Character ready for Post-Trespasser!

Truth Is Weirder Than Fiction [Complete]

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#1
((Wintermarch, 9:41; Haven; Sati Adaar ))

He couldn’t make this shit up … and that was saying something.

Varric stood outside the tent he’d managed to scrounge from Threnn, warming himself by the fire and mentally composing a thank you note to Cassandra for the four star accommodations. And trying really, really hard not to look up at the massive hole in the sky.

Another explosion, another member of the Chantry dead, but whoever was behind this one had evidently felt that Anders hadn’t been thinking big enough. And once again, Andvar and Ilsa’s baby boy was right in the middle of the fun.

What were the odds?

Probably about the same as the odds that the only survivor of an explosion that had killed hundreds and ripped a tear in the Fade would have a mark on her hand that might be the only way to close that tear.

Crazy, right? Even he wouldn’t put a plot twist that sloppy in a book, but he’d seen it for himself up on the mountain, along with a whole lot of other shit he’d rather forget but would probably be seeing every time he closed his eyes for the next few years.

And if all this was screwing with his head, what must it be doing to the one who had gone from all-but-convicted murderer to the one everybody was counting on to save Thedas?

From the look of her, nothing good. She’d been wandering around Haven since she’d regained consciousness for the second time, her expression half dog waiting to be kicked, half person stuck in a really bad dream realizing that it wasn’t a dream.

“How are you holding up?” he called to her as she passed by on the path. He’d heard the scandalized murmurs about the ‘she-bull’ and the ‘heathen qunari’ alternating with ‘Andraste’s Herald’ and ‘Chosen One’. That had to be making her head spin.
 
Last edited:

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#2
Sati hadn’t realised that even her horns could ache before now. Everything between waking up in chains to the moment Cassandra announced the rebirth of the Inqusition had happened very quickly, aided by a period of unconsciousness inbetween. Having magic embedded in her palm frightened her more than she was willing to admit to anyone, and fighting her way up a mountain, sealing rifts and then dealing with the sea of people who worshipped her now and the few ones (more sensible, she felt) who wanted her dead with a minimum of fuss had left her tired to the bone.

But years of discipline – even mercenary-style discipline – forbade her from hiding in her room, trying to make sense of all this. She wanted to do something even as her muscles screamed for more rest, but on trying to head out again she had been discouraged by a terrified young guard who had less hair on his face than she had on the soles of her feet. Going out unaccompanied was an invitation to those who wanted her dealt with, and even Sati had to accept the logic of this. So she’d been reduced to roaming around the inner circle of the town, steps lacking their usual purpose. Normally she’d be looking everyone and everything over, trying to get a sense of who might pose a threat, how she might escape if she needed to. Instead she kept examining her hand as though the glowing scar had answers, if only she stared into it long enough.

Her distracted wanderings had been noticed.

“How are you holding up?”

Sati’s head jerked up, but there were only friendly overtones in the dwarf’s voice. Varric, yes. The one with the crossbow. He’d taken the demons pouring out of the Fade and Cassandra’s anger with more aplomb than she would have expected from somebody in a silk shirt. Her muscles had tightened instinctively on her being addressed, but no ambush seemed forthcoming and she unballed her fists slowly. She might never have been part of the Qun but she knew she needed to retain some self-control or she would become like the ones who gave Tal-Vashoth a bad name.

“About as well as could be expected. Becoming a spokesperson for a deity wasn’t part of the plan.” She hadn’t even really had a plan, as such. Being a mercenary involved making the most of every good moment because the next one might put an unexpected arrow through your brain. Even the best training in the world couldn’t block that.

She came over to the fire, warming her hands. Talking would serve as a good distraction from the dozens of worries and frustrations flitting about in her head right now. She glanced at Varric’s attire. “Aren’t you freezing?”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#3
She twitched at the sound of his voice, looking around warily and relaxing marginally when her violet eyes settled on him. Their initial introduction had been on the terse side, but the hours that had followed had been the type of bonding experience that encouraged a certain level of trust … plus they had the fact that Cassandra wanted them both in chains in common. That had to be good for something; it certainly hadn’t been any good for getting him a place to sleep that wouldn’t blow in at the first stiff wind.

“About as well as could be expected,” she answered him, her contralto voice sounding bit rusty. Not surprising considering how long she’d been out after she’d used the mark on her hand to stabilize the Breach. “Becoming a spokesperson for a deity wasn’t part of the plan.”

“There’s a lot of that going around,” Varric remarked, not without sympathy. “Things not going according to plan, I mean.” So far as he knew, no gods were tapping him for special duty, though he doubted that it would surprise him much if it happened. His life had been multiple verses of the same ever popular song titled ‘Well, That Didn’t Go Like I Was Expecting” ever since Bartrand had taken the red lyrium idol and left him for dead in the Deep Roads.

And speaking of red lyrium …

How about we don’t? He was still trying to wrap his head around the dull red, pulsating crystals that had been jutting from the charred earth inside the ruins of the Temple of Sacred Ashes. He had dismissed Bartrand’s fucking idol and the havoc it had wreaked on Kirkwall as an aberration, albeit a terrifying one. Seeing more of the stuff - lots more - at the site of another catastrophe had shaken him. He’d joked often enough over the years about Hawke getting him into weird shit, but Josc had been nowhere near this particular clusterfuck, so maybe he was the real shit magnet.

Sati approached the fire, extending her hands over the flames. “Aren’t you freezing?” she asked, eyeing him curiously.

“I’ve been colder,” he said simply, and that was true enough. He had a cloak in his tent, and he’d probably put it on in a bit. “The fire’s enough for now.” And if it wasn’t, he could go to the tavern, but the cold didn’t feel so bad when you knew you could get warm when you wanted to. It was different when you had no options. When your feet were numb in your boots and your hands felt thick and clumsy and a guttering flame trying to catch hold in damp wood was the only thing between you and death by freezing. He’d been there and remembered it well enough that the current situation barely qualified as discomfort.

He glanced at her left hand; the glow that had brightened to a blinding beacon when she’d raised it to the Breach had dimmed to a subdued iridescence, but it was still like nothing he’d ever seen or imagined before. “Does it hurt?” Solas had said that stabilizing the Breach had stabilized the mark, as well. Which meant that it wasn’t going to kill her, but that didn’t mean it was harmless. “Or feel at all?” Part of him itched to touch it, but that same curiosity had gotten him ass deep in alligators often enough that he had no intention of heeding it now.

Maybe.

Unless she offered.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#4
Sati snorted quietly as Varric pointed out that none of this was part of anybody’s plan. The mages and templars had come together in hopes of an alliance and been blasted to bits, along with the Divine. Her plan had consisted of showing up, looking muscular and surly enough to discourage a fight, take her money and then hightail it up north to where it was warmer. This was a completely unwelcome diversion.

Speaking of the cold, Varric’s attire didn’t seem suited to it at all, but he was largely unbothered when she expressed concern about it. “I’ve been colder. The fire’s enough for now.”

Sati nodded. Wisdom enough in that. She moved a little closer to the flames, holding out her hands. It would be warmer in the Chantry, but she had no desire to be in there any longer than she had to be. The one time she’d been in the tavern, it had been crowded and uncomfortable with so many stares hanging off her as she was trying to drown her worries in peace. She just wanted to sit somewhere warm and quiet, with a companion who wasn’t terrified of her, and have a few drinks.

She was standing with her scarred hand close to Varric’s side, and the glow had evidently caught his attention. “Does it hurt? Or feel at all?”

Sati flexed her hand, turning it over to look at the glowing seam. “When I woke up the first time…I’ve never felt agony like it. By the time we reached the rift the pulses were coming so sharply that it was like trying to combat being in a fire by drinking drops of rainwater. That died off after the rift. Now it just aches. Almost as though it’s trying to pull away from my skin. But it’s ignorable, most of the time. As long as I keep myself busy.”

She touched a finger to it. As before, a strange buzzing sensation occurred at the point of contact, and stopped the moment she pulled her hand away. She held it out to him. “What does that feel like to you?”

As a dwarf, he was probably safe. Almost certainly. Unless that magical resistance had been talked up more than it deserved.
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#5
The explosion at the Conclave had altered countless lives - and ended more than Varric wanted to try counting - but none more than the woman standing with him right now. She had gone from a simple, non-magical mercenary to prime suspect in the biggest mass murder in recent history to the designated savior of Thedas with a power that no one seemed to be able to understand (and for all of Chuckles’ solemn pontificating, he hadn’t offered up anything substantial). Most people would have been allowed to spread that out over more than a day.

Varric had been in more than his share of shit: the Deep Roads clusterfuck, Qunari attacking Kirkwall, Anders blowing up the Chantry there, and a certain trip north with the King of Ferelden that he’d never be able to write about … but no matter how active a participant, he’d never been the one at the center of the storm. And from his observations … of Josc, Alistair, and now Sati, he didn’t want to be.

But he was curious. Always had been, and no amount of shit rising around his boots - or higher - had ever been able to to blunt it. Already, the story of what was happening was itching in the back of his mind, begging - no, demanding to be written. Not exactly the way it had happened, probably, but the way that people needed to see it, to understand just what a hero really was. Varric had met a few in his life, and instinct told him that another one was warming herself by his fire.

So he asked her about the mark.

She lifted her left hand and turned it, regarding the glowing scar with an unreadable expression. “When I woke up the first time…I’ve never felt agony like it,” she told him. “By the time we reached the rift the pulses were coming so sharply that it was like trying to combat being in a fire by drinking drops of rainwater. That died off after the rift. Now it just aches. Almost as though it’s trying to pull away from my skin. But it’s ignorable, most of the time. As long as I keep myself busy.”

She touched it with one finger; the green light flared a bit brighter, and her countenance grew vaguely quizzical. “What does that feel like to you?” she asked suddenly, extending her left hand toward him.

Well, shit. Be careful what you ask for; you’d think he’d have learned that by now. But along with being afflicted with terminal curiosity, he’d never been one to back down from a challenge. That and the sure knowledge that a certain Seeker would shit a load of bricks if (okay, when, since he’d be sure to work it into a conversation) she found out tipped the balance. He extended his index finger, reaching gingerly through the light to the skin beneath.

He didn’t die. That was a plus. And he didn't get sucked through the mark into the Fade, which was also good. It didn’t even hurt … exactly, but when his fingertip touched the palm at the center of the light, he felt the thrum in his bones all the way up his arm, and his mouth immediately had the same sensation that he got biting on tinfoil (he'd done it as a kid on a dare, all right?). He withdrew his finger, shaking his arm lightly and working his mouth to get rid of the metallic zing.

“Strange,” quoth the master wordsmith. “I can feel it. It’s like … right before lightning strikes.” Not exactly, but it definitely brought to mind the tang of ozone and tingle in the air, the promise of latent power on the verge of release. “Did it hurt when I touched it?”
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#6
Varric was nothing if not brave. Sati had picked up on that from the moment she’d seen him, with his big gold chain and his silk shirt not in the least bit suited to the Fereldan climate, kicking in demon teeth as well as any trained warrior. Bianca was a miracle of engineering, but it still took strength and precision to use it – her – correctly. For somebody who claimed sedentary sources of income, from writing novels to writing bills, Varric was built and carried himself like a fighter. Sati would have been intrigued by him earlier on, had she had time for a spare thought beyond not dying every other minute.

As it was, he demonstrated his bravery, or curiosity, now, and accepted the invitation to touch the scar. Sati breathed steadily through her nose. She expected it to hurt, even just a bit, and hoped it didn’t hurt him in turn. Instead she felt the surge of energy down her arm and had a second to wonder if this was what uncontrolled mages felt like when Varric stepped away, fortunately without smoking, although he did shake his finger out.

“Strange. I can feel it. It’s like…right before lightning strikes. Did it hurt when I touched it?”

Sati shook her head. “No more than if you were prodding a regular scar. But I felt something conducting, for a moment.” If he hadn’t been dwarven, would it have gone further? “Perhaps I should abstain from doing that again. Just in case.”

She decided to sit by the fire. Varric’s was the friendliest face she’d seen in a while that didn’t want something from her, and she preferred not to go off and face the mixture of worship and loathing that filled the air around Haven until she had to. Once settled, she looked at him – even seated, she was almost level with his face. “You said you were a prisoner of the Inquisition too.” Herald Sati might be for now, but she was still a prisoner, until the Chantry decided either to absolve her or cut off her head and stick it above the new Divine’s throne. “How did that come about?”
 
Last edited:

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#7
Sati didn’t flinch when Varric touched the glowing mark, but her expression strongly suggested that she wasn’t expecting a pleasant experience. Which, given what she’d been through since she had literally fallen out of the Fade, was a fairly reasonable suspicion on her part.

But when he asked if there had been pain, she shook her head. “No more than if you were prodding a regular scar,” she reported, looking thoughtful. “But I felt something conducting, for a moment. Perhaps I should abstain from doing that again. Just in case.”

“Dwarves and magic are an odd mix,” Varric agreed. “You might get an entirely different result with a mage.” And since ‘entirely different result’ could in theory include a repeat of the explosion that had started this whole mess, he certainly wasn’t going to advocate for experimentation, even if he’d bet Bianca that Chuckles had been prodding at the mark while she’d been out.

She settled on a log beside the fire, which brought their eyes close to the same plane; even for someone used to looking up most of the time, she was tall. “You said you were a prisoner of the Inquisition too,” she remarked. “How did that come about?”

Varric wasn’t going to argue semantics. Some might be calling her Herald, but neither of them had any illusions about what would happen if she tried to stroll out the front gates. “It’s a long story,” he warned her, “but it’s not like we have anywhere else to be. Did you hear about the mess in Kirkwall a few years back?” Admittedly, ‘which mess’ would have been a valid question, since the qunari assault that had preceded the rest of it had been its own clusterfuck, but the explosion of the Chantry and subsequent meltdown in the Gallows had pretty well eclipsed the earlier happening.

“I was there,” he admitted, “and so were my friends, and I knew the mage who caused the explosion.” Friend would have been a gross overstatement for his relationship with Anders by that point, but Hawke had hung on doggedly to the end, until the Chantry had gone sky-high, taking Grand Cleric Elthina and a few score of the faithful with her. “The Divine sent Cassandra to Kirkwall to investigate afterward. She wanted to know what happened, so I told her. But I wouldn’t tell her where my friends were … because I didn’t know.” That was his story, and he was sticking to it. Josc had been through enough, and if she’d had any role in Anders’ crime, it had been unwitting on her part. “She didn’t like that much, and after my book came out, she decided that I’d lied to her. She came back to Kirkwall - and yes, I was still right there, not trying to hide or anything - took me into custody and brought me to the Conclave to tell my story to Divine Justinia.”

He shrugged. “Never happened,” he said simply, not bothering to look over his shoulder at the malignancy in the sky that was the reason for it.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#8
Sati decided she would not be repeating the experiment with a mage. Or anybody else. In truth she was aware she shouldn’t even have done it with Varric, and it was testament to how this whole mess had affected her head that she had risked it at all. She’d gambled on his dwarven constitution preventing the Mark from killing him, but she shouldn’t have done that. She was given to caution when it came to putting others at risk. Usually.

She wouldn’t mind putting the Chancellor at risk. Near a big rift. With lots of demons. Watch him mouth off about her being a discretion when he was screaming for her to close the tear in the sky.

If there was one thing to say for him though (the only thing) – he was at least honest about her position here. He called her a prisoner and that was precisely what she was for the moment. Tomorrow, maybe a vaunted hero. Or dead. Depending on which people would think helped them out of this situation.

Varric had called himself a prisoner too, and Sati had to wonder about that.

“It’s a long story. But it’s not like we have anywhere else to be. Did you hear about the mess in Kirkwall a few years back?”

“I envy those who didn’t.” Sati was blunt. “I’ve been hearing no end about that city ever since the qunari were ousted. I should thank the mages sometime for giving the mob something else to focus on.”

She wouldn’t, though.

“I was there. And so were my friends, and I knew the mage who caused the explosion.” Good thing she hadn’t badmouthed him just then. “The Divine sent Cassandra to Kirkwall to investigate afterward. She wanted to know what happened, so I told her. But I wouldn’t tell her where my friends were … because I didn’t know.”

Sati tilted her head, just slightly. Varric showed none of the usual signs of somebody lying. So he was either telling the truth or her was very good. She didn’t press.

“She didn’t like that much, and after my book came out, she decided that I’d lied to her. She came back to Kirkwall - and yes, I was still right there, not trying to hide or anything - took me into custody and brought me to the Conclave to tell my story to Divine Justinia.” He shrugged. “Never happened.”

Sati sucked her teeth.Veshedan. Organisations like the Chantry should have no say in arresting somebody for anything that isn’t a templar or a mage abusing their powers. I imagine they shouldn’t be able to keep you much longer now, given their leader is dead. Do you think you’ll return to – wherever home is now once they give up on that?”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#9
“I envy those who didn’t,” Sati grumbled when he asked about Kirkwall. “I’ve been hearing no end about that city ever since the qunari were ousted. I should thank the mages sometime for giving the mob something else to focus on.”

It … made sense when you looked at it from her perspective, but considering that Anders’ actions had been what set the stage for the current clusterfuck, Varric couldn’t quite bring himself to agree. Arguing the point didn’t make a lot of sense either, so he just finished telling the short version of his tale. Sati listened attentively, frowning when he got to the part about how he had come to be at the Conclave.

“Veshedan,” she growled. “Organisations like the Chantry should have no say in arresting somebody for anything that isn’t a templar or a mage abusing their powers.”

“I made that very argument myself,”
Varric remarked sardonically. “I’m sure you can guess how well it went over.” He rubbed a thumb beneath his chin, where it wasn’t hard to recall the feel of a sword tip pressed to the skin.

"I imagine they shouldn’t be able to keep you much longer now, given their leader is dead,” Sati mused. “Do you think you’ll return to – wherever home is now once they give up on that?”

“Kirkwall is home,” he told her firmly. Always had been, always would be, even if it looked like it was on the back side of a Blight right now. “I’ll go back eventually, but for now -” He shook his head slowly. “Unless we fix the Breach, there’s not much point. Nowhere will be safe.”

He looked to her. “What about you? Where do you call home?” And are you going to stay or head that direction? He didn’t have any right to ask that question; nobody here did, really. But if she wasn’t going to stay, what was the fucking point? Might as well head back to the Hanged Man and start drinking, or look up Rivaini and see about finding out what was north of Seheron, because sure as shit real estate values in these parts was going to keep taking a nosedive.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#10
Sati decided she liked Varric. He was acknowledging the danger while not screaming on about the Maker’s judgement, which meant she had yet to develop a headache just from being near him. And he’d survived Kirkwall. Although he might have been knocked on the head himself, considering he was planning on going back there eventually. As far as Sati had heard it was either basically a smoking hole in the ground or being besieged by foreign armies for no reason she knew enough to speculate on.

“Unless we fix the Breach, there’s not much point. Nowhere will be safe.” He paused. “What about you? Where do you call home?”

“I don’t have one.” Not asking for sympathy, just stating a fact. “Not a physical one, at any rate. The Valo-Kas – the group to which I belong – are my family in all but blood, but it has been a long time since I called anywhere other than the room I was sleeping in home.

And before that had been Ser Lehmann’s lands, and prior to that, the home she’d shared with her mother and father. She wondered if her parents would hear her name attached to this ‘Herald of Andraste’ business. And what they might think. Assuming they were even still alive. She tried not to think about that if she could avoid it. Fortunately she could speak to Varric, and distract herself.

“But even if I did have one, I wouldn’t be going that way.” Her voice was quiet, resolute. The chances of this ending well for her, a horned woman declared Andraste’s mouthpiece with unknown magic twisting through her arm, were almost nil. So as she’d always done, she’d have to do the best she could. “As you say, there’s no point if demons are just going to pop up everywhere anyway.” She turned over her hand, studying the green scar expressionlessly. “And I don’t feel well about the idea of leaving innocent people to die as a result of the rifts I failed to close.”

All her life she’d been a fighter. But she’d never been a merciless one, and on occasion she’d helped out people without expecting coin in return. The idea of turning her back on everyone to save her own skin was anathema.
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#11
Varric had to wonder, given the welcome that she’d been given, just how long Sati might stick around. Yes, there was the hole in the sky and the mark on her hand, but given that she’d been locked up, accused of mass murder, threatened with prison and worse, been thrown at demons and now had the very people that had been doing all this shit telling her that she was the only one who could save the world … well. Varric wouldn’t blame her for figuring her chances might be better on her own. He wasn’t going to suggest it, because a certain Seeker would likely try to separate his head from his shoulders.

Apart from that, the curiosity of the writer was hard to still. He’d be lying if he said that the idea of a book hadn’t occurred to him, and with the likely protagonist sharing the fire with him, might as well start piecing together her story.

“I don’t have one,” she responded in a matter-of-fact manner when he asked her about home. “Not a physical one, at any rate. The Valo-Kas – the group to which I belong – are my family in all but blood, but it has been a long time since I called anywhere other than the room I was sleeping in home.”

The Valo-Kas. Varric remembered seeing them at the Conclave before the explosion. They stood out, which he had figured was the point. And present company excepted, he hadn’t seen any since. Shit. “I’m sorry,” he told her quietly.

“But even if I did have one, I wouldn’t be going that way,” she went on, her expression set in quiet resolve. “As you say, there’s no point if demons are just going to pop up everywhere anyway.” She turned her hand palm-up, the light from the mark casting her features in a sickly green glow. “And I don’t feel well about the idea of leaving innocent people to die as a result of the rifts I failed to close.”

“Consciences suck sometimes,” Varric commiserated, “but I’m just as glad that you’ve got one, too.” He’d stay as long as she did, as long as there was a chance that they could fix this. “So, are you Vashoth or Tal-Vashoth?” He’d met both over the years; they didn’t tend to get to worked up if you mixed them up, but neither one reacted well to being called qunari.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#12
She didn’t need to spell out what had happened to her company, for which she was grateful. Varric was able to figure it out, and when he gave his condolences, she accepted them with the same outward placidity with which she had talked about her missing friends. Not all of them had been within the Conclave itself. Some might yet live – but she had not heard from them.

What she was less placid about was the notion a lot of people seemed to share around here, that she would be running for it at the first opportunity. Good mercenary companies had their own codes of honour and of course Ser Lehmann had drummed chivalric tradition into her head from day one. You didn’t leave people behind if you could help them, ever, and there were a lot of people who needed the help that at the moment only she could provide. That she knew what she needed to do didn’t make being here any less comfortable, though, something Varric also sympathised with.

“Consciences suck sometimes. But I’m just as glad you’ve got one, too.”

Sati nodded, and held her hands closer to the fire. Maybe all this would be a bit more bearable if the place wasn’t so damn cold.

Varric then chose to display a knack for distraction – as well as a knowledge of her people beyond that of most she encountered, which resulted in a surprised, if pleased, smile. “So, are you Vashoth or Tal-Vashoth?”

“Vashoth.” Sati did not have the natural rhythm of a good storyteller, and just fed Varric the facts. “My parents fell in love and fled Par Vollen together. He was a hunter, and she an artisan. A singer. Both good at their places within the Qun, but the tamassran determined that there were matches that might result in better children. They did not want to entertain the idea of being bred with anybody else, so they ran. The Qun can allow for love – but only if it doesn’t cause disorder, which it did in them.

“They did say I could choose to go back, if I ever wished. I couldn’t be a warrior, unless I became aqun-athok, and they would likely subject me to intensive re-education before I was allowed to become part of their society, but if it would make me happy, they would have allowed it.”
Sati gazed up at the hole in the sky. “I hated the idea. Life is about changes, and how you adapt to them. Being one thing forever, particularly if they’d assigned me to a role I didn’t like, would be a life-long prison.”

It was the most she’d talked since waking up in that dungeon, and she looked down at him. “Is it similar to dwarven castes? Put into a mould, never to move outside it?”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#13
Sati accepted Varric’s condolences with a wordless nod, her expression stoic, and he didn’t push it further. Saying they might find some alive when the odds argued so strongly against it felt cruel, dishonest. Which wasn’t to say that he wasn’t going to put a word in with Nightingale to have her agents keeping an eye out, but he wasn’t going to raise any hopes just yet.

“Vashoth.” She answered his question simply, with no sign of being offended that he’d asked. “My parents fell in love and fled Par Vollen together. He was a hunter, and she an artisan. A singer. Both good at their places within the Qun, but the tamassran determined that there were matches that might result in better children. They did not want to entertain the idea of being bred with anybody else, so they ran. The Qun can allow for love – but only if it doesn’t cause disorder, which it did in them.”

“That doesn’t sound all that different from other places,” Varric observed. “Everybody is for love … until it messes up their plans.” Noble families were the worst; Coins’ father trying to have him killed and sell his sister off to a Tevinter slaver because they’d gone against the way he did things was an extreme example, but Varric had seen it time and again in the Hightown bluebloods when an heir fell in love with the ‘wrong’ person. Parents tearing their hair out and issuing ultimatums while star-crossed lovers wailed about the injustice of it all ... and then generally grew up to do the same thing to their own children.

“They did say I could choose to go back, if I ever wished,” she went on. “I couldn’t be a warrior, unless I became aqun-athok, and they would likely subject me to intensive re-education before I was allowed to become part of their society, but if it would make me happy, they would have allowed it.” Varric’s brow furrowed at the unfamiliar term as Sati lifted her eyes to regard the Breach pensively. “I hated the idea. Life is about changes, and how you adapt to them. Being one thing forever, particularly if they’d assigned me to a role I didn’t like, would be a life-long prison.”

Varric nodded. “That would be hard.” If he’d been trapped in the role that his father and brother had expected him to fulfill … well, it would have sucked all around.

Violet eyes looked to him thoughtfully. “Is it similar to dwarven castes? Put into a mould, never to move outside it?” she wanted to know.

“Probably,” he replied, shrugging as he added, “I was born on the surface. My father lost his caste and was exiled for being a bad crook.” That was the crux of it. The rules in Orzammar were the same as everywhere else: don’t get caught. Andvar Tethras had been a good man whose ambitions had always exceeded his abilities. “I understand that things have relaxed some under Bhelen, but changing laws is a lot easier than changing minds.”

“Aqun-athok,” he repeated, testing the syllables on his tongue. “What does that mean?” There hadn’t been any females among the Qunari who had been stranded at Kirkwall, come to think of it. They were seldom seen in southern Thedas at all, in fact; it was what had let Trouble and House pull their little scam on a fairly regular basis.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#14
Sati knew little about dwarves. She’d met a few on her travels, mostly other mercenaries, and from her experience they were fond of fighting and drinking. What she knew of the caste system came entirely from books and she had yet to meet a surfacer – topsiders, she believed the dwarves called them – who would willingly talk about it. Not surprising, as going to the surface was equated to exile. Although they had to have lines of trade down there. Surely they didn’t exist on lichen and nug meat alone. No matter how rigid the rules of a place, there was always somebody willing to let them bend a bit so that the money could flow.

As it turned out, Varric didn’t know, or was unwilling to talk about it too. “I was born on the surface. My father lost his caste and was exiled for being a bad crook.”

Despite herself, the corner of Sati’s mouth pulled up. She hadn’t missed how he’d framed the sentence. “And if he’d been a good crook, he’d be drinking good wine every night and sleeping on the best stone beds?”

“I understand that things have relaxed some under Bhelen, but changing laws is a lot easier than changing minds.”

“As I imagine quite a few elves could tell us.” Vashoth and dwarves faced prejudices, but none written into law, especially not ones spanning back hundreds of years.

Something else had caught Varric’s attention. Aqun-athok. What does that mean?”

Sati hummed. “It’s…difficult to translate directly into common. If a woman does have the skills to become a warrior, she can renounce any claim to being a woman and then would be allowed to serve. But she would then be he, a man in as many ways as could be managed. Some people desire the change, others accept it. But I am a woman, and a warrior, and have no desire to change either fact.” She smirked. “They are fine with letting elven, human and dwarven converts act as spies and assassins, though. It is a deeply hypocritical philosophy.”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#15
Varric was a lot of things: writer, storyteller, merchant, crook, information broker, mother hen … ‘dwarf’ was pretty much an afterthought unless the Merchant’s Guild was reminding him. He didn’t really have much in common with the inhabitants of Orzammar and their obsession with caste, and as far as he was concerned, the exile of his family was the best thing that could have happened. Being stuck underground, stuck in the station you were born to? No thank you. If only his father had the sense to leave well enough alone …

Sati’s mouth tugged into a faint smile at hearing him describe Andvar as a bad crook. “And if he’d been a good crook, he’d be drinking good wine every night and sleeping on the best stone beds?” she inquired.

“I prefer featherbeds, myself,” Varric replied with a shrug, thinking wistfully of his own comfortable bed back in his own suite at the Hanged Man. Corff better not be renting it out. “But yeah, if he’d been better at it, he’d probably have been part of the Assembly. Maybe even King.” Too many whispered stories about how the youngest son of Endrin Aeducan had gained the throne; at least some of them had to be true, but after the systematic elimination of House Harrowmont, nobody was going to do more than whisper.

However Bhelen became King, Varric had to admit that he approved of many of his decisions: loosening up trade with the surface and giving the casteless chances for advancement. If nothing else, it was giving the nobles fits, as evidenced by the assassination attempts that had led to Bhelen dissolving the Assembly. That probably hadn’t been the best idea, but he hadn’t asked Varric for his opinion. A king could make whatever laws he wanted, but enforcing them was another matter.

“As I imagine quite a few elves could tell us,” Sati observed, and Varric nodded. The elves in Kirkwall lived miserable lives, confined to the squalor of the alienage; it had not been surprising when the shipwrecked Qunari had convinced some of them to convert. He’d learned more than he really wanted to about the Qun during those years, but the phrase that Sati used was a new one to him.

“It’s…difficult to translate directly into common,” she replied when he asked. “If a woman does have the skills to become a warrior, she can renounce any claim to being a woman and then would be allowed to serve. But she would then be he, a man in as many ways as could be managed.” He blinked. As many ways as -? His always-reliable imagination immediately provided some possibilities that he wasn’t about to voice to someone he’d just met ... which meant pretty much everybody here except Cullen and Cassandra, and neither of them were likely to appreciate his musings. Fuck, he missed Josc. And Mama Bear and Coins. And Daisy. And Rivaini. Shit, he'd even settle for Broody. “Some people desire the change, others accept it. But I am a woman, and a warrior, and have no desire to change either fact. They are fine with letting elven, human and dwarven converts act as spies and assassins, though,” she remarked, her mouth curled in contempt. “It is a deeply hypocritical philosophy.”

“It’s a deeply weird philosophy,” he opined. He could see how it might appeal to those with nowhere to go but up, but why anybody else would volunteer to be nothing more than a cog in a machine, placed wherever somebody else thought they should fit, was beyond him. For damn sure he wasn’t remotely tempted to sign up, and it didn’t seem that Sati was, either.

“So, where did you learn to fight?” he asked her. He’d watched her in combat as they had been fighting their way up to the temple, and it was obvious that she was more than a brawler. She’d wielded her greatsword like an extension of herself, switching to her bow and back as combat shifted from at a distance to up close and personal. He’d seen plenty of mercs fighting, and very few had that level of skill.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#16
Varric went up Sati’s estimation somewhat by giving his two bits – that the Qun was not only hypocritical, but weird. She snorted, softly. “I’ve read a few treatises on the philosophy. I can see why it would appeal to anybody who already feels like they have little control over their life anyway and thinks the system would be more righteous about where it places them, but it amounts to the same thing. No choice.”

That was enough theorising for the moment. Varric had other questions. “So, where did you learn to fight?”

It was an unusual question. Most people just assumed Sati fought well just through the nature of what she was – which she considered a little insulting.

“My parents taught me a little, but neither of them were particularly given to combat.” Which made her all the more worried for them, during these times; both being Tal-Vashoth, they were capable of handling themselves against run-of-the-mill brawlers, but she wasn’t sure how either of them would fare against demons or renegade templars. “I saw a knight competing in a tourney when I was a child, and found his skills compelling to watch. I went up to him afterwards and asked for him to teach me.”

She offered a half-smile. “Probably I came across as quite impetuous. It certainly could have ended quite badly, and I was prepared to run if he turned on me, but after he gave me his sword and had me repeat a few moves so he could see how well I learned, he agreed. I can’t rule out that he simply took me on for the bragging rights of having a horn-head under his command, but if so, he never let on, and I received the same education as all pages and squires of him and his compatriots.”

Sati glanced up at the sky, gaze reflecting the Breach. “Ser Lehmann was a good man.” She sighed. “He gave me a good education, and trained me well, but I think more importantly, he taught me his code. He never advocated violence when words could be used. I was not his most well-spoken student, but he trained me enough to know when it was best to stay my sword.”

Her gaze dropped back down to Varric, her smile recovering itself slightly. “At least fighting demons holds no moral quandary. Although I’d rather not be dealing with them at all, it is immensely satisfying getting rid of them.”

Enough of her, for the moment. “What of you? ‘Rogue, story-teller and occasionally unwelcome tag-along’ doesn’t really cover how you became so expert with that crossbow.”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#17
“I’ve read a few treatises on the philosophy,” Sati remarked on the Qun. “I can see why it would appeal to anybody who already feels like they have little control over their life anyway and thinks the system would be more righteous about where it places them, but it amounts to the same thing. No choice.”

Varric nodded. “Choosing to have no choice when you already have no choice is a choice, I guess,” he reasoned. “The Qunari in Kirkwall got a lot of converts from the Alienage while they were there. The elves -” He shrugged uneasily. Shit doesn’t even begin to describe the lives of elves in a city, so it shouldn’t really have surprised anyone, but it did. It was one of the things that led to that whole clusterfuck.” Only one, mind you, but the whole of it was too depressing to unpack again; he had a copy of his book he could lend her if she really wanted to know more.

For now, it was the story that was unfolding in front of him that he was going to focus on, and he was more than a bit curious about its leading lady.

“My parents taught me a little, but neither of them were particularly given to combat,” she told him when he asked about her training. “I saw a knight competing in a tourney when I was a child, and found his skills compelling to watch. I went up to him afterwards and asked for him to teach me.”

“That took some stones,” Varric observed, impressed. Even for a human child, and for one that had to have been viewed as an outsider, well -

“Probably I came across as quite impetuous,” Sati conceded with a wry smile. “It certainly could have ended quite badly, and I was prepared to run if he turned on me, but after he gave me his sword and had me repeat a few moves so he could see how well I learned, he agreed. I can’t rule out that he simply took me on for the bragging rights of having a horn-head under his command, but if so, he never let on, and I received the same education as all pages and squires of him and his compatriots.”

“Not an Orlesian, then?” Varric guessed. One of those fuckers would probably have tried to run her through for bothering her ‘betters’. “Marcher?” Her accent suggested it, but mercs could pick up a lot of dialects in their travels.

“Ser Lehmann was a good man,” she said with a wistful sigh, her eyes lifting to regard the Breach. “He gave me a good education, and trained me well, but I think more importantly, he taught me his code. He never advocated violence when words could be used. I was not his most well-spoken student, but he trained me enough to know when it was best to stay my sword.”

“Sometimes, that can speak louder than any words.” And Ruffles would undoubtedly approve of someone who wasn’t firmly committed to Curly’s philosophy of ‘Hit it with a sword until it is no longer a problem’ or Nightingale’s ‘Send someone to cut its throat or poison it’ approach. She’d said ‘was’, though, and he was debating whether or not to ask when her gaze returned to him, her smile a bit less pensive.

“At least fighting demons holds no moral quandary. Although I’d rather not be dealing with them at all, it is immensely satisfying getting rid of them.”

“No arguments there,” Varric agreed. “The templars and mages, though -” he shook his head. That would be nothing but shades of grey, if not for the number of innocents getting caught in the crossfire. “Any opinions on that?” Cassandra and Cullen were more sympathetic toward the templars, Leliana toward the mages, but all of them were honest enough to admit that nobody’s hands were clean. And cleaning up this mess was going to have to include the conflict that had started it all.

“What of you?” she asked him suddenly. “‘Rogue, story-teller and occasionally unwelcome tag-along’ doesn’t really cover how you became so expert with that crossbow.”

“Bianca?” Varric patted his constant companion. “We’ve been together a long time, and Kirkwall being Kirkwall, well -” He spread his hands. “I got a lot of chances to practice.” He loved his home, but he was far from blind to its faults; they were part of what made it home, and a big part of why he was a bestselling author.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#18
Varric correctly ascertained that Ser Lehmann had been a Marcher; Sati nodded. “He was of Starkhaven.” From what she’d heard in the years since she’d left, perhaps it had been better that she hadn’t ended up as a knight of that particular city. With the all the backstabbing and the wandering princes and then the revolution and return of the ‘righteous ruler’, it sounded like it had got almsost Orlesian.

She continued, explaining how important Ser Lehmann had been to her. He had seen her, hungry to prove herself, and given her the opportunity to do so in more ways than with a sword. Despite the distance that had always existed between her and the other squires, she had been truly happy, and benefited from the sense that she didn’t have to have a life entirely shaped by violence.

So much for that.

She concluded that at least fighting demons didn’t cause her to lose any sleep, although there was a lot else that did at the moment. As if seeing her thoughts, Varric got to the heart of them, asking what she thought of the mages and templars.

“Mages are dangerous.” Sati made no bones about that. As she didn’t about her next thought. “As are templars. There’s wrong on both sides that’d take a long time to make right. For now, I’ll be against any who harm those who have no place in their fight.” The grim set of her mouth eased slightly. “Although if I’m honest, I feel for the mages. Their lot is a hard one. From what I hear, templars have been failing miserably at ‘keeping their charges safe’ for centuries.”

Frankly, both factions needed to back down until the world-ending calamity above their heads had been solved, but there were always those who saw times of crisis as times of opportunity for self-advancement. They didn’t tend to be sensible to who got hurt while doing so.

She changed the subject, asking about the polished bow with which the dwarf had displayed such adept handling.

“Bianca? We’ve been together a long time, and Kirkwall being Kirkwall, well – I got a lot of chances to practice.”

Sati snorted softly. “I didn’t believe half the stories I heard coming out of that place. It sounded like a mixture of Chantry fearmongering and good old-fashioned gossip. Then, of course, the rebellion started.” She was careful not to mention what had set it off. “I gather that I was only getting half the story in the first place.”

Despite herself, she shivered a bit. The clothes she wore now were a bit sloppily made; her own clothes had badly needed mending and with nothing in a women’s shape of her size on hand to replace them, she had ended up in some hastily tailored men’s garments. The heavy cloth only did a little of the job in keeping out the cold. She didn’t know how Varric was getting by in that open shirt. “Do you miss it?”
 

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
Posts
102
#19
“He was of Starkhaven,” Sati confirmed of the knight who had trained her, again using the past tense, and Varric decided to let it go for now. The Herald wasn’t wearing her heart on her sleeve by any means, but the old sorrow and regret was there in her eyes for anyone paying attention.

He agreed with her assessment that the demons released by the Breach at least posed no moral quandary in killing them, but unfortunately, they were only part of the problem. The most dangerous part, admittedly, but reports he’d heard from the scouts coming in from the Hinterlands indicated that the warring factions were causing at least as many problems for the people that lived there.

“Mages are dangerous,” Sati responded without hesitation, but added immediately, “As are templars. There’s wrong on both sides that’d take a long time to make right. For now, I’ll be against any who harm those who have no place in their fight. Although if I’m honest, I feel for the mages,” she admitted. “Their lot is a hard one. From what I hear, templars have been failing miserably at ‘keeping their charges safe’ for centuries.”

Which was true enough, from all that Varric had heard; didn’t make what Anders had done right, mind you. Varric's asshole count among personal acquaintances was pretty evenly balanced between the two groups: Anders and Orsino, Meredith and Alrik. On the plus side, he had Daisy and Sunshine representing the mages, and Curly was really the only Templar (or former Templar) that he knew. Except for the King of Ferelden … but since the occasion under which they had met had officially never happened, that didn’t really count (and even if he’d been inclined to break the promise that he and Rivaini had made, nobody would believe it if he wrote about it anyway).

As best he could figure, mages and templars had approximately the same asshole to angel ratio as the greater population, with most of them falling somewhere in the middle. It was just that the assholes had so much more power to work with. Including red lyrium now, apparently.

Nope, not going there without something alcoholic in hand, and fortunately, present company provided a distraction in the form of a question about Bianca. Not about where he’d gotten her, at least not directly, and he didn’t answer directly, either … though neither did he pull a story out of his ass the way he did when someone asked him that question. By his last count, he’d been asked one hundred and seventy three times about Bianca’s origin, and had neither repeated the same story twice or come anywhere near the truth. Not bad if he did say so himself.

But he had been in possession of the crossbow for a good many years, and he had begun honing his skills with that type of weapon a good many years before that, after deciding that up close and personal was for dead men.

“I didn’t believe half the stories I heard coming out of that place,” Sati mused when he mentioned Kirkwall. “It sounded like a mixture of Chantry fearmongering and good old-fashioned gossip. Then, of course, the rebellion started.”

“Not on it’s own,” Varric growled, then after a moment, he relented somewhat. “Probably would have happened sooner or later anyway. Sooner, most likely.” The abuses in the Gallows, Meredith’s growing insanity, the sodding First Enchanter being a blood mage … it was a perfect storm just waiting for something to kick it off. Anders just happened to be an overachiever, as well as an abomination and an asshole.

“I gather that I was only getting half the story in the first place.”

Varric gave a bark of laughter. “If that much,” he agreed. “I don’t think that any one person knows the whole story. There was too much going on, and some of it goes back centuries to when the ‘Vints founded the city. They’re supposed to have sacrificed thousands of slaves in blood magic rituals. Maybe that’s why it’s always been so fucked up. Prissy nobles, crazy templars, blood mages popping out of the woodwork like rats, Qunari, smugglers, Carta … a real shithole, I’m telling you."

“Do you miss it?”

“Yeah,” he admitted with a heavy sigh. “I do. It’s home.” For all its faults, it was where he was most comfortable. “My people are there … most of them, anyway.” Josc was still laying low, but Daisy was there, and Mama Bear. Coins. Sully. Corff and Norah. His network of informants was there; he’d never really given a damn about the rest of Thedas. Being out in it, without the eyes and ears that he had come to rely on, made him twitchy, but he wasn’t certain how Nightingale would take him trying to freelance.

Beside him, Sati shivered, and Varric realized that the clothes she was wearing weren’t really suited to her or the weather. “Come on,” he said, coming to his feet. “Let’s see if Threnn has a decent cloak and find out if we've had a tailor wander in.” He hesitated, then added, “I’ve got a copy of the book that I wrote about what happened in Kirkwall, if you’re interested. It's not the whole story, but it covers a lot of it.” The Tale of the Champion wasn’t history by any means, but it was at least interesting, if book sales were anything to go by. And mostly true.

Mostly. Probably seventy-five percent. More than half true for sure.
 

Sati Adaar

Prominent member
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
Posts
76
#20
The way that Varric growled over the mention of the rebellion suggested he had one particular party in mind to place the blame with, although he admitted that the circumstances had been leading to it anyway. Sati suspected he was referencing the explosion of the Kirkwall Chantry. Even for somebody who had no interest in religion, Sati had been shocked by that. Things had been tumbling towards a confrontation between people who believed mages needed to be kept in Circles and those who thought they should be free for some time, but that had been nothing short of deliberately inciting the war. On behalf of every innocent person who had died in the confrontations since, Sati would have run through the mage who started it without hesitation or a word if she ever encountered him.

But she wouldn’t pretend to know the whole of his reasons for doing it. Varric admitted that nobody did. Kirkwall’s problems had started long before the appointment of the eventually insane Knight-Commander and the appearance of the equally insane apostate. “Prissy nobles, crazy templars, blood mages popping out of the woodwork like rats, Qunari, smugglers, Carta…a real shithole, I’m telling you.”

And yet, there was the tiniest hint of wistfulness in his voice, enough to for Sati to ask if he missed his home.

“Yeah. I do. It’s home. My people are there…most of them, anyway.”

Sati nodded. “I’ve usually found home is where the people you care about most are.”

As a member of the Valo-Kas, she’d never had a settled residence, moving from campsite to inn and back again, but as long as the others had been around, she was happy. At least not all of them had come on this journey into the chilly southern lands.

Varric noticed her shivering. “Come on. Let’s see if Threnn has a decent cloak and find out if we’ve had a tailor wander in.”

Sati nodded, gratefully. She’d been cold ever since she woke up in the dungeon with six swords pointing at her throat, and she could only stand so close to the fire without catching alight. “Thank you.”

“I’ve got a copy of the book I wrote about what happened in Kirkwall, if you’re interested. It’s not the whole story, but it covers a lot of it.”

Intriguing. Sati cocked her head at him, then smiled a little. “I imagine it’d be useful to have an understanding of where a lot of the conflict started. Thank you. And I could stand to read something other than messages from people who want to cut my head off.”
 
Top