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Nobody expects the Inquisition!

Okay, so I'm attempting to break out of my writing rut/block by going with Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic. Here's something I've been playing around with during my lunch breaks, since that seems to be when inspiration has decided to strike lately.

Spoilers under the cut, especially for Blackwall.

Ravena Trevelyan is the youngest of four siblings.
Birth order:
Robert (pronounced Row-Bear)
Ravena (parents had a thing for the letter R)

Rene is the Heir, works closely with their father in keeping the bannorn stable and flourishing, even after the Blight soured trade as far north as Ostwick. (they had trade relations in Amaranthine) Robert is the Spare, and has close business ties to the family, choosing to work as his father’s (and eventually his brother’s) treasurer instead of going out on his own. Raoul is the Good Connection, marrying well enough to elevate the Trevelyan branch to a slightly higher rung in society. His wife died in childbirth and as a way to grieve, Raoul poured himself into his work as a lawyer. He also acts as a sometime diplomat for wealthy nobles or as an intermediary between people dealing with land disputes (something Josie might have interest in.) Raoul and Ravena used to be extremely close, but when he married, it meant that Ravena had to be the Chantry Child. While she greatly resented the fact that she had to give up on any dreams of her own future in favor of one her parents chose for her, she never blamed her brother, especially since he married someone he loved. Raoul, on the other hand, felt guilty and their relationship had been strained for years, which only made Ravena feel more alone than she already did.

Age difference is slight between all siblings. Rene is 43, Robert is 41, Raoul and Ravena are twins at 39.
I didn’t want to have a “youngish” 20-something Inquisitor, solely due to the fact that I don’t feel like doing a May-December romance for this story. An eight-years-and-some-change age difference isn’t that big of a gap. I’d like for Ravena to be more experienced and have seen a lot of things on her travels that won’t make her come off as naïve or sheltered.

For reference, Blackwall is 48. He mentioned first going to Val Royeaux some 30 years ago, and the codex says he was 18. Codex also said he joined the army 2 years later, putting him at 20. The attack on Callier’s family happened in the year 9:36, and it is roughly 9:41 when Inquisition hits, meaning he was on the run/Blackwall for only five years. (is this right? Need more info on dates. Quick! To the codex!)

Ravena was eighteen when she was given to the Chantry. Her mother wanted her to become a Sister, but her father saw that life wouldn’t suit her well. Ravena is her father’s favorite child, and he had doted upon her since birth. The Trevelyans had many relatives in the Chantry, and it was tradition for the youngest unwed child to join, especially since the entire family was so devout. Ravena’s father made certain that she wouldn’t be completely cut off from society and pulled enough strings to get her started up as an apprentice for a Chantry archivist, but she was still unhappy, especially since she was sent far away from her family to Tantervale, which was somewhere where she didn’t know anyone. She was also too far away for visits, and letters were sparse, which further cemented the thought that her family had abandoned her. For the most part, Robert was the only one to visit her on a semi-regular basis when his job allowed him to.

She was sullen, but as a noble, hid her unhappiness well. She might be in the Chantry, but she was still a Trevelyan and Trevelyans did not skulk about or bemoan their lots in life (at least not in public.) She was nineteen when she met a young Templar recruit named Simon and the two of them fell in love, or at least she thought that she was in love. Simon was reassigned somewhere else and letters also eventually stopped coming from him. A chance request from a bann for an obscure text had her going on a delivery to where he was stationed and she saw firsthand that his affections for her hadn’t been true. She was heartbroken and turned away without confronting him. The last time she had seen him had been at the Conclave, and while she had recognized him instantly, he hadn’t remembered her.

She gave up on rebelling, healing her broken heart by devoting her time to her studies, to memorizing dates and places, to becoming almost a walking encyclopedia of miscellaneous information. At the age of twenty-two, her wealth of knowledge brought her to the attention of a very distant cousin, who happened to be a field researcher. He gave her the opportunity to begin to see the world outside of her little cloister and she visited many an ancient ruin with him over the years, cataloging artifacts and mapping buildings, kind of like an Indiana Jones-meets-Lara Croft sort of thing. Her cousin taught her how to fight to protect herself, and he would have been at the Conclave (they had been invited by Brother Gentivi shortly after the Blight to go through the Temple of Sacred Ashes ten years ago, so they’d been there before anyone else) but he had hurt himself and was unable to travel. He asked Ravena to go in his stead and document the proceedings for archival purposes.

As for how she relates to various members of her party:

Leliana – Is on a slightly friendly basis (think polite co-worker) but doesn’t really speak with her save for a few Inquisition-related tasks. Their views on Chantry life differ and Ravena doesn’t really like the slightly bloodthirsty, ends justify the means approach Leliana has on a lot of things. She does trust her spy network though, and figures that it’s better to have Sister Nightingale on her side where she can at least keep tabs on her every so often instead of the alternative.

Cullen – She and Varric have conspired to loosen up the normally tight-laced Commander. She (sometimes forcibly) makes him take breaks when she knows that he’s been at it for too long. As the youngest siblings in large familes, the two of them hit it off very well and Ravena considers him not only a trusted advisor, but a dear friend.

Josephine – Josephine is the sister that Ravena wishes she had. It took very little time to get Josie to warm up to her and like Cullen, Ravena tries her best to get her ambassador to unwind when she senses she’s been at the grindstone for too long. She doesn’t have very much gossip to share, but Ravena has a wealth of embarrassing childhood stories, the vast majority of them centering around her brother Raoul. It just so happens that Raoul decides to come to Skyhold to see if he can lend the Inquisition his aid and Ravena picks up on the way that Josie gets all fluttery whenever he’s near. (Raoul is handsome, but he’s the type of guy that’s more than likely to be completely unaware of his appeal because he’s more interested in his books and numbers than noticing the way women react to him) Ravena was going to make an offhand comment to Varric, but Cole beat her to it. The three of them decide to play matchmaker. (For the record, Josephine’s writer says she’s between 27 and 29 years old, so we’ll go with the 29.)

Morrigan – Ravena really doesn’t know what to think about Morrigan. The woman keeps mostly to herself and besides trading a few “Oh hey, my family had very vague dealings with the Hero of Ferelden when he was an Arl” chit-chats, it’s pretty hard to get her to open up. Her son, on the other hand, is delightful. Morrigan appreciates the fact that Ravena offers Kieran the use of their library and doesn’t seem to mind (even if she’s still a bit prickly about it) that Ravena has taken a shine to the boy, treating him as a fellow scholar eager to learn instead of a child filled with a million irritating questions.

Kieran – He has a bit of a crush on Ravena, and if he isn’t in the gardens with his mother, can be found in the libraries combing over books. Dorian and Ravena love that there’s a boy eager to learn things that they know about, so they make sure to spend as much time as they can (when not out and about or doing other Inquisitor-type things) with him. Kieran returns the favor by leaving clippings of herbs for Ravena to make potions out of (he has a knack for knowing how to pick the best ones, probably due to his mother’s influence) and he likes that they treat him seriously instead of indulging him or dumbing subjects down to a level they think he’d understand. He speaks very fondly of his father and sheds a bit of insight on his mother’s behavior.

Varric – Varric is Ravena’s BFF. Since she spent much of the last seventeen years on the road exploring ruins with her cousin, she had seen her share of the insides of pubs where most of the best information could be had. Varric’s personality makes her feel right back at home and the fact that she’s a Free Marcher wins some bonus points with him, especially when he finds out that she had been to Kirkwall and found the Hanged Man to be her favorite tavern there. Varric likes her because underneath the polished, noble demeanor she has, Ravena’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. She may never beat him at Wicked Grace, but she plays a mean game of Diamondback. He also likes that she has her own share of stories from her travels, and that she’s almost as good a storyteller as he is. He’s tossing around an idea for a serial novel revolving around the adventures of a sneaky rogue archeologist and her ruggedly handsome dwarven partner, but so far he hasn’t gotten any nibbles from his editor. He’s secretly been in contact with Isabela and happened to inform her of the goings about between the Inquisition’s members. Isabela responded by sending a heavy and sizeable stack of “friend fiction” for him to go through at his leisure. He shared a few chapters with Ravena over drinks once and it took her several days until she was able to look Cullen in the eye again without getting flustered, much to his puzzlement. After regaining her composure, she suggested that Varric heavily edit Isabela’s works to change up names and recognizable characteristics before submitting them to the Randy Dowager Quarterly. She also stole every single one that had anything to do with her and Blackwall for her own private collection.

Sera – While Ravena might not approve of all of Sera’s Red Jenny exploits, she does like her. Sera likes her because she’s not snobby and accepts her for who she is instead of looking down her nose at her like others had done. She also likes that Ravena will plot pranks with her and isn’t one to shy away from a good dirty joke. Whenever they run across brightly colored fabric, Ravena squirrels it away until she has a sizeable stash before dropping it off in Sera’s room. Every so often, Ravena finds a new patchwork pillow in her own room as thanks. They often spend time on various rooftops of Skyhold, with or without cookies. (Ravena got the cookie lesson from her mum, so she decided to share her knowledge with Sera. Now Inquisition Cookies taste a lot better. Rasins are never included.)

Dorian – The two of them are like peas and carrots. They can spend hours talking and debating on the merits of different documents and scholarly articles, much to the dismay of their traveling companions. Sometimes Dorian purposely starts up a discussion because he knows Ravena will quickly become engrossed just to irritate the others. Between the two of them, they have massive plans to overhaul Skyhold’s library and bring in some more works from Tevinter that aren’t so biased.

Iron Bull – Ravena spends more time with him in the tavern than she does out in the field, but that frees him up to work with the Chargers on side missions that are important to the Inquisition. He understands that she has her main team that she likes to work with and doesn’t resent being put on the sidelines. He just wishes that she’d stop beating him so badly at Wicked Grace in front of his boys, though.

Vivienne – Ravena doesn’t quite care for her at all, so she keeps her conversations limited and extremely polite. She especially doesn’t like how Vivienne speaks to Blackwall and Sera, which is why she looked the other way and made certain to be out of Skyhold on the day Sera decided to put worms in the mage’s unmentionables.

Cassandra – Ravena respects her and the two of them get along well. Ravena may have done some snooping in Cassandra’s room while the Seeker was out in the training yard and she may have bribed Varric with favors yet-to-be-named to finally finish a certain delightfully-horrible trashy book series, but she’ll never fess up to it. She will, however, demand that Cassandra let her borrow the books once she’s finished reading. In a way, Cassandra reminds her of Raoul and his code of honor, which makes her miss her brother. She also sees that Cassandra isn’t just some cold, detached person and that she probably doesn’t have many friends, especially female ones, in her life. And since they’re both her friends, Ravena does her best to try and get Cassandra and Varric to get along, even if it doesn’t always end up the way that she hoped it would. She and Ravena had a slight falling out when Blackwall’s identity was revealed, but soon made up after they had a heart to heart talk about love and forgiveness.

Solas – Ravena has an enormous amount of respect for Solas and often the two of them trade stories of the various ruins that they had explored. While many of Solas’ accounts have the benefit of him being able to see how they actually were in the Fade, Solas sees the merit of Ravena’s insights into smaller details that he might not have noticed or paid attention to. They might not be on as friendly terms as Ravena is with Varric, Bull, Sera or Dorian, but they see the other as equal companions with mutual respect for the other. Solas hasn’t mentioned it to her, but he values that someone such as her takes the time and has the desire to ask him questions, even on the topics Ravena might think he thinks are trivial. It makes him think back on his travels and revisit places and memories. A few days before Ravena’s name-day, Solas took her exploring into the Fade, just so she could see how one of her favorite ruins looked like in its heyday.

Cole – Ravena never had a little brother, and she’s taken Cole under her wing. When he has questions as to why people would react a certain way to something he said, she tries her best to explain. She also treats him like a person instead of recoiling at the fact that she’s speaking to a spirit who may or may not be a demon, which is something that Cole appreciates. In return, he tries his best not to tell her what he feels when he’s around her, especially when he can tell that she’s sad or upset. He does do his best to help her out in his own way, and even if she can’t quite remember how something arrived in her room or who might have said something to her, she has a suspicion that it was him.

Blackwall – If Ravena is honest with herself, she was attracted to Blackwall the moment she laid eyes on him. The two of them sort of gravitated towards one another during late night watches and they struck up a quick friendship. She had heard of the Wardens during her travels, and was interested in hearing more, but respected his reluctance to explain anything other than his vague half-answers, thinking that he must have sworn an oath of secrecy upon entering the order. Their brief talks around the campfire turned into Ravena actively seeking him out upon her return to Haven if he hadn’t accompanied her or the two of them spending more and more time together beside the blacksmith shop.

She was shaken horribly by the dark future that she witnessed, especially after seeing Blackwall’s lifeless body thrown around like a rag doll, which she often has nightmares of. The only positive thing that happened there was that the future Blackwall admitted his feelings for her and said that he had felt that way for quite some time. It was enough information for her to confront him outside of Redcliffe, but events leading afterward (closing the breach, Haven’s attack, finding Skyhold) didn’t leave them much time to discuss anything. He tried to break things off with her and the two of them spent quite some time miserable apart. Cole picked up on it right away and tried his best to fix things, but Ravena quietly asked him to stop. Blackwall eventually gave in and they had a pretty good thing going for a while until after Adamant when he ran off to Val Royaux.

A lot of people lost their trust in Blackwall, but Ravena confronted him in his cell about his past. She was angry that he had lied to her, but she had known that something had happened in his past and that he refused to talk about it. She was also angry that he thought she was stupid, that she couldn’t pick up on the little bits and pieces from overheard conversations or cues he unconsciously gave (he asked that she call him Thom when it was just the two of them, especially after their relationship turned physical) and not connect the dots. She had accepted that part of him, especially since she knew that Wardens often recruited in the gallows. Judging by the way he had always acted, she figured that he had redeemed himself a long time ago and the only one that still needed convincing of that fact was Blackwall himself. She was pissed that he could just up and leave her, thinking that she would just accept that he had moved on without having a thought to go after him for some sort of closure, especially after what had happened to the only other man she’d ever loved. Cue hanging out with Sera and Varric plus a Big Brother scene with Raoul. Maybe something where Ravena is muttering “I’m gonna kill him” and Josie gives her a look and goes “If you do, I cut off your book supply.” There was a big argument between Ravena and Thom on how she had used Inquisition influence to extradite him into her custody, but she argued back that Orlais owed her after getting the Empress, Briala and Gaspard to work together and that she was hoping he would stay with her, giving the general public the impression that Orlais deemed him more valuable alive and serving the Inquisition as penance for his crimes than he would if he had been executed. Ravena and Josephine even went so far as to make the wording for his extradition sound as if it had been the Imperial Court’s idea to avoid tarnishing the Inquisition’s name, especially since Ravena leaned on Gaspard, saying that had it not been for his influence, Thom would have never been bribed to attack Callier in the first place.

And while Ravena makes certain that everyone else gets a break when things are too tense, it seems like she doesn’t do the same for herself. That’s where Blackwall comes in and takes her mind off of things. He surprised her by refurbishing an old guardhouse half a mile away from Skyhold to be their very own private retreat. Building on his need to keep his hands busy, Blackwall is often seen at their campsites carving various animals out of pieces of wood he finds along the way. As a gift, he made her a carving of a bird since one of his favorite memories of her is one time where she was scattering out breadcrumbs and a flock of little finches decided to hang out with her (Disney Princess moment for the win!)

Speaking of Disney Princesses, there will be a fussy, girly dress worn at the Winter Palace and a swirling dance number out on the balcony. The hopeless romantic in me demands it.

What she looks like:
Slightly taller than average height, about 5’9 or 5’10 (making Blackwall around 6’1 here, there doesn’t seem to be much of a height difference between them in cutscenes), semi-athletic build due to spending time doing Tomb Raider type projects, but still slightly squishy in places from hanging out in the archives between digs. Long black hair normally put up in a bun so it’s out of her way, but she leaves it down or in a braid when she’s at Skyhold. Slightly tanned from running around everywhere with a faint scar on her forehead over her right eyebrow, courtesy of her two oldest brothers when they were kids. High cheekbones, thick eyelashes, strong jawline, full lips (second smaller scar that runs at the corner of the left side of her mouth was from falling a couple of feet down in a temple and busting her face against a statue. She was lucky she didn’t knock out a tooth.) Large, almond shaped eyes that are a very light brown, almost bronzy-gold color. Her looks are hereditary: if you put her and her brothers in a room together, you’d see the eerie similarities between them. (I’m suddenly leaning towards a Richard Armitage, circa North & South, type look for Raoul, in both appearance and voice.) She’s not classically beautiful by Orleasian standards, but plenty of people think she’s pretty. Does not wear makeup much, preferring to either go plain-faced due to being out in the field where it wasn’t necessary to wear cosmetics at dig sites or with the bare minimum to bring out her features when she absolutely has to. Josie and Leliana got a hold of her before the Winter Palace ball (Cassandra supervised and made suggestions) and dolled her up.

How she acts:
She’s diplomatic and kindhearted for the most part, but has a sarcastic streak that she uses when she’s stressed out or in pain. Ravena is quick to give people second chances, naturally curious about everything (we spend lots of time in-game finding stuff to add to the codex) and a slight mother hen to those she cares the most about. She tends to see the good in people instead of dwelling on the bad. She makes friends easily, probably because she spent so much of her young adult life missing the closeness that she had with her family. She’s pretty much an open book, and if there is something about her that her companions didn’t know about, it was purely because she didn’t think to share it with anyone instead of keeping things secret for the sake of keeping secrets.

Ravena does not like liars, which is what makes forgiving Blackwall so difficult. She likes bullies and tyrants even less, going out of her way to set things right for the little people, which endears her to both Cole and Sera. She’s a bookworm, and if she isn’t found in the library carefully pouring over old tomes with Dorian, then she can be found in one of the many nooks she makes for herself all over Skyhold. Her favorite one is the hayloft, for obvious reasons.

The team doesn’t have a dedicated healer, but Ravena takes it upon herself to bandage up everyone, mostly due to her motherly nature, but also because she has the most medical knowledge. She figured out early on that if she and her cousin (create a name for Cousin Trevelyan, Henri perhaps?) were going to be wandering out on their own away from populated areas, that one of them needed to know at least basic first aid if anything were to happen. Over the years she expanded her knowledge to setting bones and creating entry level potions, which means that when she is at Haven or at Skyhold, she can be found close to the infirmary when she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book.

She’s a light sleeper when on the road, but sleeps like the dead when she’s finally in a place where she feels safe enough to let her guard down. On the road, she often volunteers for the first watch and then stays up long after her watch is up or even the entire night if she sees that her companions are hurt or tired. Varric hates when she does that (mostly because Hawke “did the same damn thing” when they were out and about and the habit makes him miss his friend) but figured out that if he starts a deliberately boring story that she’ll doze off within the first five minutes. Blackwall also hates this, and makes a point to join her when he’s not outright exhausted. He respects her decisions for keeping such a long watch, but decided that if she’s going to be up, she might as well have some company.

She might have a look about her that says she’s a prim and proper noble, but once you get to know her, you realize that she can be polite to the people she has to be polite with, but can beat the pants off of you in a card game. That is, unless you give her alcohol. She has an incredibly low tolerance to anything stronger than wine, which is her drink of choice when imbibing. Bull made the mistake of handing her a flask of Hirol’s Lava Burst once and after the initial laughing at her reaction (“It tastes like burning!”) he almost had to hold her hair back so she could upchuck in the bushes by the tavern, but she managed to keep everything down, even if she looked rough for the majority of the next day.

Ravena is as neat as a pin, mostly due to her archivist background. Everything has a place and everything is methodically put away, except when she’s tired. She tends to get sloppy with her possessions then, leaving things where they fall and leaving her field clothes in a tangled up mess when she goes to crash at Skyhold.

So yeah, there's seven pages worth of character brainstorming.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2015 05:00 am (UTC)
I like that you've gone away from the May-December romance. I've read quite a few fanfics with that tone in the ole Blackwall tag, but I really like the idea of a slightly more experienced Inquisitor - I think it suits the way she comes across in game well too. The Warden and Hawke had a bit of youth sort of written into their stories (though I suppose you could have made a real grizzled Warden who looked way older than their parents or was taking their Harrowing really late in life? haha) but I like that the Inquisitor is a little more open ended.
Feb. 4th, 2015 01:50 am (UTC)
I've purposely not read any other Blackwall fic yet so I can get what's in my head out without worrying if I'm accidentally adding something I might have read somewhere in anything. I can get behind a good May-December relationship, but it just didn't feel right with this Inquisitor. Maybe if I did another run it might, but Ravena hit me as being just a little bit younger than him - not quite his contemporary, but close.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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