Letters from Redcliffe

Chapter 35 of Daughters of Andraste

22nd Harvestmere, 9:42 9:41 Dragon

Returned to Haven with Leliana and her scouts. Wrote my report on Redcliffe (future Redcliffe, that is). Left it on war table. Not my best writing, but it’s only for the officers, so that’s okay.

Headed up to breach with Solas to set wards, prepare for mages to join us. Iron Bull insisted on accompanying us so that I can continue training in the mornings. Sometimes wonder if he enjoys watching other people sweat. We’re sharing a tent at the forward camp, as far from red lyrium as we can get. Still smells like the future here.

Left word in Haven that I’m planning to try and close the breach at week’s end. Ought to be a good Satinalia present for everyone, right? Soon as I get this thing closed, I’m headed off to find Robert.

Maker, please let this week go smoothly.

To whom it may concern (namely, Ambassador Montilyet, undersecretary to the Inquisition):

I am Ambrosius, First Enchanter of the Newly Refurbished Circle of Starkhaven.

No doubt, you have read my series of monographs upon the magical casting of seismic tremors and their use in non-combat situations. In case you have not, allow me to assure you that I am a Very Important Person in my Circle and in the Mage Hierarchy as a whole. Not that you will be able to discern this from the way my fellow mages go on. Many of these rebels have gotten exceedingly lax in recognizing rank. Some of them have taken to calling one another ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ and even ‘comrade.’ Most plebeian. I am a First Enchanter and demand to be treated as such.

To that end, I am submitting a list of my requirements for accommodation and diet. I trust everything will be in order when I arrive.

Yours cordially,

Ambrosius Flavius Grist

First Enchanter of Newly Refurbished Starkhaven

Order of Earthquakers, Founder and Grandmaster

My Lords and Ladies of the Inquisition:

On behalf of all the free mages of Southern Thedas, I thank you again for your most gracious offer of alliance. As Grand Enchanter, I speak for all mages when I say that we are most deeply indebted to you.

I didn’t send Ambrose, he just headed off with the others

Ambrose is a idiot, and does not speak for

I have sent a contingent of my best and most talented mages to Haven. It has come to my attention that one of them is a fool Some of them may appear a trifle troublesome less thankful than they ought to be. Please allow me to assure you that we mages are quite grateful to be working with the Inquisition. I hope you will ignore that idiot make allowances for exhaustion and low spirits. Most of us have lived on the run for months, if not years. We appreciate whatever provisions you can provide, and will endeavor to aid you in securing more resources in the coming days.

To that end, I am sending my assistant, Ella, along with the mage contingent. She can speak for me. Not Ambrose, don’t listen to him. I will remain at the Crossroads for now, preparing the slowest and sickest among us for the journey.

I thank you again for your trust, and for this opportunity to freely prove ourselves - both to the Inquisition, and to the world.

I remain your faithful friend and staunch ally,

Grand Enchanter Fiona

And so it begins.

Mages arrived this morning. Someone directed them to check in with me instead of Mother Giselle. Turns out Fiona’s assistant, Ella, is a Kirkwall escapee. She nearly fainted when she recognized me and Rylen. We did try to assure her she was safe here, but she just started stammering.

For now, the mages are just milling about the village, looking a bit lost. I’d like to put them to work, if you don’t mind. Healing, requisitions, that sort of thing. Not like I can just hand these mages a sword and have them do drills like the rest of the recruits.

I know that Kate Trevelyan is planning to bring some mages up the breach eventually, but there’s no way I’m sending anyone up the mountain until I get word that those wards are in place. Don’t want a repeat of what happened two months ago.

Maker, has it really been that long?

– Cullen

It has.

Two months past and very few of our questions answered. But, Maker willing, we’ll seal the breach soon enough. Then we can devote our efforts to finding the ones who did this.

And so long as we’re waiting on answers, why can’t you hand some of those mages a sword, commander? It would give them something to do, after all. And you and I both know mages who became excellent fighters. The Charger’s Lieutenant - Krem? He offered to train the mages to fight as a unit. Take him up on that offer. It’s free help, after all.

Actually, it’s not free help. The Chargers cost a premium. Might as well get our money’s worth out of them.

– Leliana

Krem wants to train the mages?

Well, it’s not my first choice, I must say. But it’s better than having them standing about, staring at me and my officers. Only Morris remains oblivious to the tension in the barracks.

Sure, fine. Send Krem my way.

Oh, and has anyone seen Kate’s Trevelyan’s report on Redcliffe? I’d like to read it.

I can’t stop worrying about I’d like to know what happened there.

– Cullen

I have Katerina’s report and I just finished reading it. It is very bad.

The things she describes are very bad I mean. The report is well written which is no surprise to me. It is very long too.

After reading that report I do not at all approve of bringing the mages under our banner without any consequences for their foolish actions.

Also, I volunteer to find Robert Trevelyan. I will track him down at once.

– Cassandra

No need for that, Cassandra. Leliana already sent scouts out looking for the man. Besides, we need you here. Your seeker abilities maybe needed when dealing with the mages. (Let us pray they are not, but one can never be too careful.)

I absolutely agree with you about allying with the mages, but it’s done and we must make the best of it.

Can I have that report now that you’re finished with it?

– Cullen

I still think I should go looking for him. Robert that is. I know what he looks like and Leliana’s scouts do not.

I will wait until the breach is sealed and then take a search party to look for him. Katerina may wish to come with me.

Also I gave the report to Leliana and she has it now.

– Cassandra

Sister Nightingale,

I, Ambrosius Flavius Grist, First Enchanter of the Newly Refurbished Circle of Starkhaven. (We maybe have been a small Circle, but we were, I assure you, very prestigious.)

I traveled from Redcliffe as soon as I was able, the better to escape my more undeserving brethren. Prior to my arrival, I submitted my list of requirements to your so-called ‘Ambassador’. Imagine my surprise, then, to find that this ‘Josephine’ had not seen to a single one of my needs! Instead, she informed me that she had been ‘too busy’ dealing with the other mages. As if they had such specific requirements as myself. They are mere mages, where I am a First Enchanter.

I have, by some gross oversight, been assigned quarters in a tent - a tent! I ask you. Moreover, this tent is pitched in the snow on the edge of a frozen lake. Further, I have been asked to share this tent with at least four other mages, one of whom snores, and one of whom frequently breaks wind in his sleep.

This is not to be borne. I am not used to such treatment, and I’m sure our Tevinter Allies would not have treated us thus. If you do not see to the needs of the best of the mages, then the best of the mages will not see to your needs when push comes to shove.

I trust you understand my meaning?

I have attached my list of requirements. This time, I expect them to be met.

Your cordially,

Ambrosius Flavius Grist

First Enchanter of Newly Refurbished Starkhaven

Order of Earthquakers, Founder and Grandmaster

Grist -

(aka, ‘Gristle the Dogbone’, aka ‘Grubby the Smallweed’, aka ‘Bambry the Blister’, aka Ambry Grist of the Tantervale Coterie)

Do not speak ill of Josie if you value your life. I know everything about you and could make you disappear before sundown.

Yours cordially,

The Nightingale


What did you say to that elf? I was going to tell him he could share lodging with Chancellor Roderick, but he ran off the moment he laid eyes on me.

Also, do you suppose we could get Lady Trevelyan to come down the mountain for an afternoon? The mages keep telling me that they would like to meet her.

– Josephine

That’s an understatement.

Every time they think they’ve spotted Kate Trevelyan, they stop their training to go off and speak to her. They keep accosting any red-headed woman they see. Flissa loves the extra attention, but it is rather disruptive to our schedule.

Also, Leliana, can I have that report now that you’re done with it?

– Cullen

I passed the report on to Josephine. It was…very interesting. Enlightening, even.

It explains why Kate spent all her time on the return journey speaking to me. We have spoken before, but she was always very reserved. Now she wanted to know about Justinia and how I came to be here and that sort of thing. We had a very pleasant talk. I suppose my actions in the future won her over.

What a strange thought.

Although, she did take issue with my handling of one of the scouts. Soft heart, that one. No wonder she was so upset by what she saw in Redcliffe.

– Leliana

And what did she see, exactly? Josephine, are you done with that report yet?

– Cullen

Maker’s mercy. This report!

I don’t know what to say. Leliana, you said this was interesting. This is not interesting. It’s awful!

(It’s also sort of like reading a novel. One of those riveting Antivan Gothics that one simply cannot put down. I rather liked it, excepting for the part where it’s not fiction.)

– Josephine

You’re right. It is like an Antivan Gothic. I suppose that means I got to play the role of the doomed hero. And yet, I got to live again after. Quite the bargain.

– Leliana

Well, yes, you are portrayed most gallantly, but the whole affair is still monstrous.

I thought you said I didn’t miss much by staying in Haven. I missed everything! And if this is true…

Well, of course it’s true. I trust that our Herald wouldn’t lie. Still, there’s no way we can allow this report to go public. The general populous would assume the Herald was insane. Or under the influence of Tevinter magic.

Or both.

– Josephine.

The report, if you please?

And why would we make our reports public? That’s no one’s business but the Inquisition’s.

– Cullen

Certain documents have been ‘leaked’ to the Chantry, commander. If we didn’t throw them a bone now and again, they’d go after the flank. At least this way, we get to determine what is seen and what is hidden.

But yes, I quite agree, let’s keep the Herald’s report to ourselves.

– Leliana

I should say so! The things Trevelyan saw - they are horrifying! You were blighted, Leliana! And Cullen! On a pike!

I thank the Maker she didn’t see me in the future.

Come to think of it, where was I, anyhow?

– Josephine

What’s this about me on a pike? What are you talking about? Can I have this report already?

– Cullen

Ah, I figured it out. I would have been in Haven, desperately sending for allies and gathering what resources I could.

At least, I think that is what I would have done.

I suppose I should discreetly send warning to our contacts in Val Royeaux to keep an eye on the empress? I would not mention any details, of course. Just a general ‘be safe’ as it were?

– Josephine

It’s already been done. Reports leaked to the Orlesian spies and our own scouts in place around the palaces.

– Leliana

Bravo, well done on reconnaissance and will someone PLEASE send me that report?

– Cullen

Oh, I’m so sorry, Cullen. I forgot you wanted it and allowed Vivienne to borrow it. I’ll ask her to send it along to you when she’s done.

– Josephine

You gave the report to Vivienne? What, now she’s reading our official reports, too? Maker’s breath. I thought you said we’d keep this to ourselves.

– Cullen

Well, Vivienne is with the Inquisition. And she’s a mage besides. Lady Trevelyan wouldn’t mind, I’m sure.

– Josephine.

First Enchanter Vivienne,

Will you send that report to me as soon as you’re done with it?

Thank you.

– Cullen

Dearest Commander,

I regret to inform you that I have passed Lady Trevelyan’s report on to Ser Lysette, a friend of our Herald’s, as I understand. So good of our Herald to have templar allies from her Circle, I must say. Speaks well of her.

And speaking of templars, I have a thought for you:

I would highly advise that you train some of the rank and file to be ready to deal with magical incidents. You know as well as I that such incident will be forthcoming. Just as fire has a tendency to spark out of control, so too can unchecked magic. We must be prepared.

Consider it, darling.

– Vivienne

Ms. Vivienne,

Got your recommendation and I’ll pass it on to the commander. He’s drilling recruits right now.

Don’t know if he’ll go for it without checking with the others though. He knows this isn’t his decision to make on his own, ma’am. Nor is it yours.

Meaning that with all due respect, ma’am.

– Capt. Rylen

I heard Madame Vivienne’s proposal, and would advise you all that we not harm an alliance so frail and newly formed. Mistrustful attitudes so early on can only turn the minds of our soldiers against the mages and their offered help. I would suggest the mages guard themselves. For who, upon gaining independence, would place themselves under a spirit’s thrall? Blood magic is the refuge of the trapped, not of the free body and hopeful mind.

I will assume that note came from Solas. Though how he heard of my suggestion when he is camping out under the breach, I’m sure I don’t know. Why he sent a raven with his own opinion and did not bother to speak to the Herald for hers, well, this also baffles me. But then, there is no accounting for the behavior of apostates.

I assume the elf’s naivety will not sway such an important decision. This will be left to the officers, of course.

And consider: we do not need to set into place so formal a solution as the templars. We do not even require a visible solution. We simply ought to have a plan in place for dealing with the danger.

– Vivienne

Yes we need trained soldiers to deal with any problems with the mages. But the soldiers should not operate in secret and they should not take lyrium. It is expensive and bad for the health. Cullen would agree I’m sure.

– Cassandra

Wait, what are we doing?

I have a lyrium deal in the works. But I was led to believe that this lyrium would used by the mages when they go to close the breach. I didn’t realize it would be given to our own soldiers for the purpose of creating a new secret branch of templars.

You do realize that such a thing could undermine our alliance with the mages? It would also make us look like tyrants and hypocrites to the world at large.

– Josephine

Hang the world at large. We need to close the breach not worry about politics.

But I was not saying we should give the lyrium to our soldiers. I was saying the exact opposite.

– Cassandra

Forming a new division of templars will only raise problems. My scouts are more than capable of keeping an eye on our own - mages and non-mages alike.

– Leliana

It was just a suggestion darlings. I defer to your authority of course.

I only mentioned it, because capable though they may be, scouts are little good against abominations and blood mages in a toe-to-toe fight. And for all her skills, Cassandra alone is not enough to handle the entirety of Fiona’s malcontents. We need a plan.

Not all mages are lovely people, dears. Do be aware of that.

– Vivienne

To whom it may concern (namely, the Infamous Former Knight-Captain of Notorious Kirkwall):

When my needs were ignored upon my arrival, I bore the slight with dignity. When my request for consideration was met with a hostile threat, I remained calm. But it has come to my attention that you are planning to form a SECRET TEMPLAR DEATH SQUAD.

I will remain silent no longer.

I can only assume this was YOUR idea, commander. I have informed all the mages - indeed, all of HAVEN that you are trying to scuttle our alliance. I must say, I am APPALLED. But I am also not surprised. What can one expect from CHANTRY LACKEYS, after all?

Also, I cannot drink ram’s milk. I am allergic. I demand that you give me a ration of wine with my dinner instead.

Yours cordially,

Ambrosius Flavius Grist

First Enchanter of Newly Refurbished Starkhaven

Order of Earthquakers, Founder and Grandmaster


Will you please assure the mages that you have no intention of making a ‘templar death squad’? At least a dozen people have been in my office today to complain about it. They do not seem to believe me when I tell them that we would never do such a thing. (And we wouldn’t, would we?)

– Josephine

Okay, I know this is none of my business. And I know I’m not a mage or a templar or a seeker or a former templar or former seeker.

But you people aren’t honestly putting secret templar death squads in the ranks, are you? I mean, it sounds like a rumor, but hey, most of Kirkwall sounded like a rumor.

Anyway, that’s what they’re saying down here in the pub. And if it’s true, well, hell. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that this is bullshit. But this is bullshit.

These mages deserve a fair shake. Leave ‘em alone, I say. You people did enough to them.

– Varric

And they did quite enough to your city, I dare say.

Please bear in mind, Varric dear, watching the mages would be for their own good. The breach is a danger to all mages. This is as much a precaution for the mages as anyone - and for any future allies.

After all, who would want to join with us if we so carelessly disregard the safety of our own?

– Vivienne


Next time something this stupid comes by my desk, interrupt the morning drills so I can nip it in the bud.

To the rest of you:

First, please note that the use of the mail system is for officers only. Varric, Vivienne, will you kindly desist from intercepting messengers as they are on their way through camp?

Secondly, I have not now nor will I ever form a “secret templar death squad.” If I do take Vivienne up on her suggestion (which is not a bad one, mind you), I will train up such soldiers quite publicly. Half the efficacy of the templars was their visibility, after all.

– Cullen

Ah, that might not be the best example, Curly. Visible templars were what got us into this mess.

– Varric

It is a rather poor example, ser, given current circumstances.

But yes, noted ser. All ‘stupid’ items will now be forwarded to you directly, ser.

– Capt. Rylen

Don’t get smart with me Rylen, you know what I meant.

– Cullen

Darlings, Fiona expects to be watched. And if she does not, then she’s a fool. Train the soldiers and have done with it.

– Vivienne

P.S. I do not mean to intrude upon the mail system, commander. But on such important matters as this, I cannot, in good conscience, sit silent. We must do something about the mages.

I must object. I will not see our allies treated like criminals.

– Leliana

Well, Nightingale, dear. They did ally with an enemy foreign power, evict a nobleman from his castle, plan to turn themselves over into the hands of cultists, and conspire to remove our Herald from time itself.

Just stating facts, dear.

– Vivienne

I still say you’re making a huge mistake if you think to create a second set of templars out of Inquisition ranks.

– Leliana

They would not be templars. They would be Inquisition soldiers, tasked with protecting –

Blast it, we do not need to argue this by letter. Someone get Kate’s Trevelyan’s opinion on the matter. If the Herald agrees to it, the mages must as well. If she doesn’t…

Well, we’ll deal with that as it comes.

– Cullen

Maker’s breath, I’m gone for few days and you all

Sorry, but Bull had me running halfway up a mountain and camping there overnight

I would have written sooner, but

I see we have a discussion going about how to prevent magical incidents with our mage allies.

All of you raise valid points and concerns. My proposal is this:

We do not want to insult or antagonize our allies. And I for one don’t want to see a second reign of templars rise from our ranks. (No offense meant to present or former templars in saying so.)

At the same time, it would be foolish not to prepare for ‘magical incidents,’ as Vivienne so aptly calls them. There is no use in ignoring threats. We must prepare for them.

So why not ask the mages for help?

Consider: these anti-magic units (AMUs? Dispel Squads? We can come up with a name later.) These units would require agents who can detect and dispel magic. Unless we plan on giving our soldiers lyrium to develop those abilities (and that is a terrible idea, in my opinion), we have no reliable way of dispelling magic except to use mages.

Further, consider that most of the rebel mages (and Inquisition mages, come to that) have faced down blood mages and demons and abominations (and templars and bandits and more). They are already veterans, and many of them are capable of fighting, healing themselves, casting protective barriers, and so on.

I would suggest then, that each of these AMUs (or Dispel Squads. Or whatever) be comprised of at least three mages, either from among our allies or Inquisition forces. Add to that five to seven non-mages (soldiers) to make up the bulk of the squad - the armored backbone, as it were. These teams would then be trained to work together, using both magic and traditional combat skills to deal with any magic-related dangers. In order to foster interest, maybe we could offer an incentive to the people who join these squads? Not extra pay, perhaps, but better rations?

Ask around the camp for volunteers, or send word to Fiona in Redcliffe and ask her for names. Above all, make it clear to everyone that this is merely a safety precaution. We might even consider rotating people through these teams and back out into the field, so that the groups don’t become overly specialized.

I trust that will be a fair compromise?

Oh, and we’re still on track to close the breach by Satinalia Eve, in case you were wondering. I hope it works, anyhow.

This ought to work

Thank you all for your patience and efforts this past week. This hasn’t been easy, but we’re nearly there.

– Kate

The Herald speaks at last.

And while it wasn’t the solution I was hoping for, I suppose it will do. Ought to please the mages no end.

No need to trouble Fiona, however. I can give you a list of suitable candidates.

– Vivienne

An inspired solution, Lady Trevelyan. Leliana and I were just speaking of how far you’ve come since we first met you. From prisoner to prophet - well, Herald of the Prophet, anyhow. And soon, you may even…

Well, enough of that. It’s a good idea.

Oh, and would you consider coming on down the hill to address the mages? Maybe present your proposal to them in person? They are getting a bit…restless.

I’m not suggesting anything formal, of course. Just a little meet-and-greet to calm them down, orient them as it were. I can make arrangements for refreshments. I suppose ram’s milk will have to do in place of wine.

– Josephine

Now you did it, Jose. Boss freaked out when she saw your letter by raven. Left Solas to finish up with the wards. Now she’s off to her tent early to write up what she’s gonna say to the mages. Think she’s got five drafts now.

Oh, and I’m supposed to tell you that we’ll be on our way in the morning. Should be down at Haven around noon. We’ll talk to the mages and then we’ll take some of ‘em back up the hill with us after dinner. Boss is planning to form a Breach-Busting Brigade outta anyone who isn’t training with Krem de la Krem or Cullen. Or maybe she’ll borrow the good ones and give ‘em back later. Either way, we’re gonna need some more tents.

So, lot of travel planned for tomorrow. Boss thinks that’s gonna get her off the hook for the morning workout. Heh. Yeah, that’s so not going to happen. We’ll just workout on the way. I’m thinking we’ll do ten push ups every time we pass one of Red’s creepy ravens. That ought to get in a solid hundred. Maybe more.

See ya tomorrow. Oh, and got any cakes for the cocktail hour? I do like cakes. Pinks ones, if you have ‘em.


– Bull

To whom it may concern (namely, the formerly Dalish elf, Enchantress Colleen Lavellen, Underlibrarian of the Ostwick Circle and personal assistant to the Herald of Andraste):

I am Ambrosius Flavius Grist, First Enchanter of the Newly Refurbished Starkhaven Circle.

As a fellow elven mage, I am sure you are aware of how poorly our kind is treated outside of the Circle. To the uninitiated, we are often mistaken for common rabble. Most people remain unaware that within the hallowed halls of magic, we elves command just as much power and respect as any human.

Keeping proper rank in mind, I hereby submit my request that you reserve a seat for me at the FRONT of the crowd when the Herald speaks tomorrow. Also, I should like to speak to her first, before all the other mages descend upon her. A quarter hour ought to suffice.

Yours cordially,

Ambrosius Flavius Grist

First Enchanter of Newly Refurbished Starkhaven

Order of Earthquakers, Founder and Grandmaster

Hey Rosy,

Sure, I remember you. You wrote to me once, asking to borrow some books from the Ostwick library. You never returned them neither.

So you’re a First Enchanter now, are you? Well, that’s one way to look at it. How many of you mages were there what got sent to Starkhaven to rebuild after that fire? Twenty of you? Thirty? And here I thought you’d all died in the fighting or at the Conclave. Guess it’s easy to claim the title of ‘First Enchanter’ when your Circle has a population of one.

And the Earthquakers, is it? You think I’m stupid? It’s the late Enchanter Leorah what founded that Order. And if you’re a Grandmaster, then I’m a nug. Now that I recall it, you’re the gobshite what tried to take credit for all of Leorah’s papers, too. Tried to pass off her petrification studies as your own.

So you want to talk to Kate, do you? Well suck balls, you plagiarizing feck-pony. And find your own place to sit. I’d suggest somewhere with plenty of room for that great pole up your arse.

Oh, and some friendly advice: there’s a lot of mages around here who are sick of your posturing and your whining. You keep it up and someone’s going to magic you off a cliff. Lots of cliffs around here, too.

– Coll

(just Coll)

Alright, everything is in order for Lady Trevelyan’s arrival. (I hope.)

We’ll meet in the Chantry at noon. The itinerary is posted on the door of the Chantry. I did the best I could with refreshments at short notice. (It’s mostly rations, but Flissa did find some sugar in the cellar and baked cookies at short notice. Sera spent the whole time making gagging noises, for reasons unknown.)

I must confess, I am feeling a bit fluttery and nervous. It is rather like hosting a party - the first party I’ve seen in ages. Exciting, I must say.

Oh, and has anyone seen that First Enchanter? Ambrose? Ambrosia? I did try to save a seat for him, but he seems to have run off again. Leliana, you aren’t threatening him again, are you?

– Josephine

I didn’t say a thing.

Good job on the hors d’oeuvres, Josephine. I tried one and couldn’t even tell that was druffalo sausage.

– Leliana

Blast it all, I can’t be there at noon. Rylen and I need to head down to the Pilgrim’s Landing to inspect a shipment of supplies. For whatever reason, the merchant won’t sign it over to anyone but me.

Tell Kate Trevelyan that I have several reports for her, also a review of the joint mage/soldier troops (Anti-Magic Units, AMUs, or whatever we were going to call them.) I’m leaving a list for her of the mages who have volunteered to help close the breach. (Vivienne went over it with a red pencil and added notes on who actually might be best suited to do so. Useful insight there.)

Also, I would very much like to speak to her about Redcliffe. It seems Lt. Lysette gave the report to Coll, and I’ve been unable to track Coll down.

If anyone sees the healer, please tell her to put that report on my desk as soon as possible.

– Cullen

Hey Coll,

Commander Cullen wants those papers - the ones the Herald wrote about the scary future in Redcliffe Castle.

I thought that was a story, not a report. You’re telling me that’s real?

Come to think of it, can I have it before you give it to the commander? I’d like to read it again.

– Adan

No can do. Gave the thing to Krem. And I don’t have time to track it down. I’m too busy delousing refugees for Kate’s party.

Mythal’s ass, you’d assume that mages would know this spell. But I guess shems don’t think of these things.

– Coll

Coll -

I gave the report to Stitches. Didn’t realize the commander wanted it.

I’ll see if I can’t track it down.

– Krem

I gave it to Rocky.

Sorry, don’t have time to go looking for it. I want to go hear the Herald address the mages.

And yeah, I know I’m not a mage. But this might be the only chance we get to meet the woman. I mean, if she doesn’t survive closing the breach…

Probably shouldn’t say that. Chief wouldn’t like it. I’ll see you at the Chantry.

– Stitches


Oh, Leliana! That went SO well!

Please excuse my enthusiasm. I’m sure you heard about the soiree from your scouts, but I just have to write and tell someone. I’m just so pleased everything worked out.

At first, I thought it would be a disaster. I certainly did not expect another thirty mages to show up out of the blue. And then everyone in Haven arrived, too. It was a hundred and fifty people packed into that sanctuary, I’m absolutely certain. Poor Flissa and her cooks were frantic, trying to find anything at all to feed them.

In the end, however, it was wonderful. Everyone was so polite (and most of them had bathed, thank the Maker.) Even that Colleen was civil, though she did seem to be playing bodyguard to the Herald. I supposed she missed the sight of Iron Bull, lurking in the corner. Vivienne was getting into the swing of things, chatting with the mages and clerics alike. She is so charming, I must say. And so gracious when she speaks to a person - makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room.

Now, true, I thought we might have an incident when Dorian walked in. A Tevinter mage with all those Circle enchanters! But Kate just waved him over and asked him how he was enjoying the weather and he said something sarcastic and yet droll and…

Oh, it was all so lovely.

Now Kate and about thirty of the mages are all off to the breach to ‘practice’ closing it. (How they will practice, I have no idea, but it seems Solas has a plan.) The rest of the mages will stay here - healers with Colleen, fighters with Krem and Cullen and…

Oh dear, that reminds me. The one thing I forgot to do was remind Kate that Cullen wanted to speak to her. She simply read through his lists and left. Well, I’m sure he can send any other reports by raven.

Ah, Leliana, I’m still smiling from it all. Mages and non-mages and elves and humans and dwarves and just… people! People, Leliana! Milling about - talking - getting along! They were forming alliances! Just as we wished to do from the start.

Please do excuse me, I just am so happy right now I could burst.

– Josephine


Your joy bring me joy (and no small amount of amusement. I don’t find small-talk nearly as scintillating as you do, but if it makes you happy, that’s wonderful.)

I did get a report from my scouts (far less detailed than yours) and I, too, think it went very well.

By the way, I understand that you wrote down the whole of the Herald’s ‘impromptu’ speech to the mages. Can you send me the transcript, please?

– Leliana

Oh, yes. I have the transcript. Here is is:

Lady Trevelyan’s speech to the Free Mage Alliance, taken down by Josephine Montilyet, Haven Chantry, 26th of Harvestmere, 9:41 Dragon

Greetings everyone.

Some of you are new allies of the Inquisition. Some of you have been with the Inquisition from the start, and some of you are natives to Haven, or refugees from surrounding lands.

And yet, we are all here - now, in this Chantry - because of magic. (A murmur runs through the crowd.)

Whether we were brought here because of the mage-templar war or because of the breach in the sky, we have come to this place because of magic. The war made many of us homeless. And the breach hanging over us is surely greatest danger to our world since the blights. (Rumbling in the crowd.)

So here we are. We are pilgrims and refugees and soldiers, all brought here because of magic. And yet, some among us can cast magic. Some of us are mages. And because of that, we are feared more than anyone else. (More rumblings.)

Now, the argument has been made that mages ought to be free because there is nothing to fear in magic. I disagree. (Some coughs, sniffs, one ‘Hmpf.’) Please allow me to explain. I disagree for two reasons.

I disagree that there is nothing to fear in magic. The breach above us proves that magic is dangerous. Magic is a force as strong as fire or water or any other in nature. We cannot say that magic is not a threat. Those of us who study magic know this better than anyone. So we cannot discount the dangers of magic. (From the back: “Hear, hear!” - sounded like Vivienne) Er, yes. We also cannot ignore the very likely possibility that a mage or magical artifact - or both - was what caused the breach in the first place.

But there is a flaw in that argument as well. That argument suggests that mage freedom hinges on the relative danger or safety of magic. In other words, if magic is benign, mages should be free. If magic is dangerous, mages should be locked up. But that is very flawed logic, I find. Mage freedom does not depend upon the qualities of magic. It depends upon the qualities of person-hood. In other words, mages ought to be free for no other reason than that we are people. (Soft mutterings throughout the crowd.)

We mages are people. Some have denied it. Some have debated it. But we are, in fact, people, regardless of any other abilities we may posses. And as people, freedom and dignity is our natural state. And yet (said over louder mutterings) And yet, magic is dangerous and magic is our burden to bear. What then, is the solution? (The crowd quiets and waits for Lady Trevelyan to turn the page.)

For centuries, the Chantry and the templars stood as guardians over the mages. This was a solution of sorts (Annoyed rumblings. One loud snort.) But I propose a new way. We mages know the dangers of magic better than anyone. So let us take responsibility for our own guardianship. (Murmuring. Another snort. Several mages nod.)

This does not (Quite a lot more murmuring.) - now, this does not mean that mages should use magic recklessly. Nor does this mean that we should seek power for our own gain, or seek to visit revenge upon the templars or anything like that. Instead, we ought to embrace what is best in magic. We should embracing the learning and the beauty and the creativity of magic. And we should stand as guardians against the dangers of the darker elements of the fade. (Even more murmuring now.)

Fellow mages, let us rewrite the narrative we have been given. Our magic is not a curse, but a sacred calling - like that of the Wardens or of the holy clerics. Andraste herself said that magic was to serve man. But how are we serving if we are locked away in towers? We mages are not doomed prisoners, but appointed warriors, called by the Maker himself to guard against our own powers and the powers of magic in the world. (More murmurs, many smiles from the mages, an outraged guffaw from from Chancellor Roderick.)

So let this be our new story: one of self-restraint and hope and freedom. Let this change begin with the alliance between the mages and the Inquisition. And let us put it into action at the breach.

Above us, on that summit, is a magical anomaly unlike anything I have ever seen. It will take our best reasoning, study, and training to get it shut. This mark on my hand is the key, but I need your help. This afternoon, I will ask those of you who are ready to accompany me…

Did you want the rest of this, Leliana? Lady Trevelyan just went into details about the wards and such. Then there were a lot of questions about whether she was truly touched by Andraste (she was suitably humble and yet vague, as I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear.) Then the mages got into a long-winded discussion about the resonance of red lyrium vs. the blue kind and it’s effect upon the breach. I got a bit confused by the technicalities of it all. Anyhow, that’s the bulk of it.

Will that do?

– Josephine

That’s perfect, Josie. Just leave everything to me.

– Leliana

What do you mean, leave it to you?

Leliana, I hope you do not do anything rash. You do realize that much of what the Herald said is borderline heresy, don’t you? It’s fine for a friendly speech to fellow mages and allies, but I wouldn’t want this spreading too far.

Oh dear. I’m going to regret sending you that transcript, aren’t I?

– Josephine


Mythal love you lass. That was pure dead brilliant!

Alright, I know I told you this already, but I’m going to send you a raven just to say it again (also to send you a couple extra elfroot potions. I’ve found the ravens can carry exactly two before getting overloaded):

Everyone is talking about your speech. Some of the soldiers said it ‘came off a bit strong’ and some said it was ‘food for thought.’ But the mages just loved it. They loved you. ‘Course, that’s not too surprising, seeing as how you’re marked by their goddess and their only remaining chance of not being hunted down or locked up. But still. You always surprise me with how you can put together words in a pinch. Not usually that helpful, your ramblings. But they sure are handy around here!

Oh, and speaking of getting handy, have you bedded Iron Bull yet? Bloke was saying he had three warm bodies in his tent with him last night, yet I’m getting the impression that you weren’t one of them. ‘Course, when Bull told me that, that Vint mage was standing by. Dorian got all red in the face and started coughing and sniffing like someone had taken a shite on his shoe. Think you might have some competition there, Kate-lass. Get on that big blue body fast if you don’t want the horns stolen out from under you.

Then again, fella strikes me as the on-top sort. Just a hunch.

Speakin’ of that, still no luck with Krem. I’ve been decidedly lethallin-an-ed. Bugger.

Oh, and yer templar Cullen was tryin’ to find you. Seems you left camp just afore he showed up. Said something about your report on Redcliffe Castle? That’s not the same report that Bull took with him, is it?

Hope you’re havin’ a nice time at the freezin’ cold summit with Bull and the Vint and that loony elf! Sure am glad it ain’t me up there. I’m off to have a pint with Varric and Sera in a few. Have fun closing the breach and don’t blow yourself up with the mark. You do, and I’ll resurrect yer arse just to kill you again.


– Coll

So, apparently, everyone had a chance to talk to Kate Trevelyan, and yet no one mentioned to her that I have business with her? Of course not.

Instead, I come back to reports that in one afternoon, Kate Trevelyan recruited all the volunteers we needed for the Anti-Magic Units (this from Rylen), brought peace and love to all the world (this from Flissa), calmed down our mage allies with a display of admirable, if somewhat idealistic leadership (this from Vivienne), and also filled the Chantry with reprehensible heresy (this from Chancellor Roderick).

What I did not come back to was a report of where I can locate Kate’s Trevelyan’s mission report. Apparently that thing is making the rounds about camp as if it were the latest copy of one of Varric’s books.

– Cullen

Curly, if one of my books got passed around like this report has been, I’d be thrilled.

I draw the line at time-travel, though. That narrative device is just asking for trouble - and plot holes. But Duchess did a good job with it. She wrote it all short and methodical like - a bare-bones view of what she saw. Chilling, really. Made it a lot scarier than involved descriptions would have done. I think I might use that technique sometime.

– Varric

Wait, you read the report, Varric? Can you at least tell me what it says?

I would, of course, overlook your use of the mail system in that case.

– Cullen

Hey, I’m not the kind of tool who spoilers shit. Read it for yourself.

– Varric

I would do so if I could get my hands on the blasted thing. I don’t suppose anyone is willing to fetch it from the top of the mountain?

I thought not.

– Cullen


Thank you very much for saving me and Rylen some refreshments. We are feeling much better now that we’ve warmed up again and eaten something. I suppose I’ll catch up with Kate Trevelyan later.

Only a few days until we attempt to close the breach. Maker help us.

– Cullen

Hey Seeker,

Saw you in the Chantry with your hand in the alms box. Stealing from the Maker is a sin, you know. If you’re that hard up for cash, I can spot you a loan. Or you could try to win it off of me or Sera at Wicked Grace this evening.

– Varric

I was not trying to steal money. That Enchanter Ambrosius has taken to leaving notes in the alms box and on the offering plates. He does not listen to me when I tell him that the Chantry does not have a suggestion box.

He also does not listen to me when I tell him that I have no authority to change his sleeping arrangements. I told him to deal with it, but he does not listen.

Now he has taken to pinning his complaints onto my practice dummy.

I will pin him onto my practice dummy if he does it again.

– Cassandra

I can arrange for him to disappear if you like.

– Leliana

Let’s not be barbaric, Leliana. The fellow only needs a listening ear.

– Josephine

He needs a kick in the pants, from what I hear. The other mages are ready to tear him apart.

– Varric

Give him to me. I’ll find a way to shut him up.

– Cullen

Well that’s suitably ominous. What have you got in mind, Curly?

– Varric

Not that it’s any business of yours, Varric. But so long as all this is becoming public record, I was planning to send him with Sera to go ‘collect bees.’

I trust that wasn’t code, and that she really does plan to collect bees in the Hinterlands. I think such a journey would be good for the fellow, don’t you think?

– Cullen


– Leliana


– Josephine

Do it quickly. He came by today while I was practicing. I almost accidentally hit him in the head.

– Cassandra

You forgot the quotes around ‘accidentally,’ Seeker.

Also, better have him collect some wasps, too.

– Varric


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a meeting with Krem about the new mage/soldier units. They’re very inexperienced, I find. Still, they’re enthusiastic. Seems Kate’s Trevelyan’s speech inspired them.

– Cullen

Dear Cullen



We had a slight set back today. There was a…possession.

We took care of it, don’t worry. Bull and Solas and I were on it straight away. All that combat training came in handy, fortunately.

Or unfortunately, I guess.

The worst part (aside from the wrecked wards) was that the abomination sort of freaked out the Circle mages damaged morale. A bit. Or maybe a lot.

Look, I don’t suppose you have an AMU ready? (Or a Dispelling Squad? What are we going to call them, anyhow?) We could use one. As soon as you can send it. Thanks.

– Kate

Maker’s breath, are you alright?

I’m glad you are unharmed


Trevelyan -

We have only just formed the AMUs (or whatever we want to call them). The soldiers have no formal training at this time. However, field experience is often the best teacher. I suppose it will be a trial by fire. I’ll send you the group that seems the least incompetent the best at working together.

By the way, I still have not gotten a chance to see your report on the Redcliffe mission. I understand that the Iron Bull has it now? If so, will you please send it to me? Or give me a summary, if that is convenient?

– Cullen

Thank you, Cullen. I look forward to meeting the dispelling team.

I don’t know what happened to the report. It seems to have wandered off again. I would prefer not to write it out again though, if you don’t mind. Once was more than enough. I’m sure you understand.

– Kate

Alright, Curly. I think I finally got a line on that report.

Coll gave the report to Krem who gave it to Stitches, who gave it to Rocky, who passed it around to all the Chargers. Then Grim gave it to Iron Bull who took it with him up to the breach, who gave it to Solas, who sent it back down the mountain with some elf. That elf gave it to another elf, who gave it to Flissa, who gave it to Blackwall who gave it to Adan (who had already read it, but wanted to read it again,) who gave it to Sera, who - I think - stuffed it into her pack and took it with her to the Hinterlands.

Good luck finding it now.

– Varric


If anyone spots Trevelyan’s Mission Report on the Incidents at Redcliffe Castle, please deliver it to Commander Cullen at once.

That report is an official Inquisition document and as such, belongs to the officers.

Still no word on the report, ser.

Why don’t you just go ask that Tevinter mage about it? He was there, wasn’t he?

– Capt. Rylen

Thank you for the suggestion, Rylen. I’ll do that at once.

Also, nearly done with the assignments for the new recruits. We’ve got a mix of partial-magic, full-magic, and non-magic squads. You and Krem will take over their training when Cassandra and I head up to the breach.

– Cullen

You’re heading up to the breach? But I thought you’d be down here, ser.

But yes, of course Krem and I can handle it, ser.

– Capt. Rylen

Cassandra and I have agreed it will be best for us to be nearby when Kate Trevelyan attempts to close the breach. Backup, you understand.

– Cullen

Backup. Right, ser.

– Capt. Rylen

Dear Commander Cullen,

I understand that you were looking for me. Social visit, as it were? So sorry to miss you. I am up at the forward camp, training with Kate and Iron Bull under the roaring of the breach. Now true, I’m already in fantastic shape, and running around on a mountain top isn’t the best use of my abilities. Still, when the Iron Bull suggested it, I thought, ‘Why not?’ Kate could use a sparring partner, after all.

Actually, she could use a lifetime of training is what she could use. I gather Ostwick was a quiet, scholarly sort of place and it shows, Maker have mercy. Whatever else dear Kate learned there, she it was not melee training. The girl tried to hit me with her staff yesterday and ended up hitting herself in the nose. I’m still not sure quite how she did it. Neither was she, come to that.

She is also having a great deal of trouble with casting magic, the poor thing. She has a decent grasp of magical theory, and seems well-read, too. So I’m inclined to believe her claim that she ‘used to be much better with spells than this.’ It seems that mark is throwing off her magic, though neither Solas nor I can quite see why. Kate says it’s disrupting her ability to grasp Fade energy, but you’d think it would assist her in that endeavor, seeing as the thing is linked to the fade. At any rate, it’s been a challenging few days up here, what with the abominations and all. Still, we’re making do as best we can.

At least the view is nice. Several views are nice, come to think of it.

Have a lovely day, commander. Good luck training the soldiers and all that.

– Dorian

P.S. I suppose I haven’t officially pledged myself to the Inquisition as of yet. Well, let me do so now. Consider me pledged.

To whom it may concern (I do not care WHO is reading this at this point. I just want SOMEONE to reply):

I am Ambrosius Flavius Grist, First Enchanter of –

Oh, blast it doesn’t matter. Look. The point is that I have been sent to the Hinterlands in the care of an insane person. This FIEND has me gathering bees. BEES!

This ‘Sera’ (no further name given, no title to speak of) forces me to use my earth-shaking skills - my life-long training, you understand - to cause bees to swarm from their hives. Then, by means completely inexplicable to me, she manages to catch the bees in jars.

We have over fifty jars now. The buzzing in the tent keeps me awake all night. I am beginning to think this elf delights in tormenting me. I would run off, I swear I would. The only thing that prevents me from doing so is that I have a very poor sense of direction.

Someone rescue me, please. I will share a tent with whomever, if only to avoid this harpy and her BEES.

Yours cordially,

Ambrosius Flavius Grist

First Enchanter of —

Etc. etc. I’m sure you remember the rest by now.







My lords and ladies of the Inquisition,

I feel I must write to you once again.

I wish to offer you my sincerest apologies for what happened in Redcliffe. I knew we had acted out of desperation, but after reading the Herald’s report on her dealings with Alexius, I am shocked anew.

I now see that we mages have been saved from a fate far worse than any I could have imagined. Your alliance appears all the more generous in light of this report.

News has also reached my ears of your Herald’s greeting to my people. We are most pleased by her speech and the attitude that the Inquisition has adopted toward the mages. I trust it will only be the start of the great partnership that is to come.

I will not be at Haven when the breach is shut, but will journey to Haven as soon as I am able. May the Maker watch over you in these coming days.

With sincere hope and greatest gratitude, Grand Enchanter Fiona

I see that Sera dropped the report off at the Crossroads. At this rate, every person in Ferelden will read it before I do.

– Cullen

People of the Inquisition:

(What? I’m not allowed to say ‘people?’ Yes, but ‘lord and ladies’ just sounds so fussy.)

This is Alistair. King of Ferelden, that is. I think you’ve heard of me, yes? Well, Leliana has, obviously. Hello Leliana. Hope you’re well. You know, I was going to say that I find it quite odd how you haven’t changed your hairstyle in ten years. Don’t women usually change their hair every few… Oh, right. My secretary is reminding me my dictation tends to wander and wants me to stay on the subject for once.

Redcliffe Castle is now back in the hands of my Uncle Teagan - sort of. I mean, it is back in his hands, though he’s only sort of my uncle. Not that this matters. And again, I’m off subject.

Right then. So, thanks for getting the mages out of Redcliffe and everything. Not that the mages were like an infestation, or anything. It’s just that they were outstaying their welcome. Also, I’m told they were undermining my authority or something. I don’t know about that. But there I was, trying to be nice, and then they…

And apparently, I’m rambling again. I swear, the way these secretaries go on, you’d think they were the royalty. Okay, so sticking to the point:

Hello from Ferelden. Nice to meet you all. Stay out of my kingdom! (Said in a stern voice to make you all listen up.)

No, seriously though, I need you to tread lightly in my lands. I’m not just talking about taking it easy on the vegetation, but do watch yourself politically. The bannorn have this crazy idea that you’re all Orlesians. Insane, am I right? As far as I know, only Leliana is Orlesian. But you know how it goes. The more you deny a rumor, the more it grows.

Speaking of which, did your Herald really speak to Andraste in the Fade and play her a game of Wicked Grace in exchange for the mark? That’s the rumor. What’s that? You don’t think that’s true? It would be neat if it was.

Seems my secretary is an unbeliever.

Alright, so I’m supposed to ask you to avoid annoying the Ferelden nobility, but if you want to save their peasants, they’re completely alright with that. I know, I know. They’re a tough crowd. At least you’re not trying to win them over in a Landsmeet.

Now, here’s the thing. I can’t exactly give you aid, but I can send you spy reports…

Wait, no, strike that. I’m not going to send you by spy reports because that would be bad. Also, it would be treason. So Leliana, I have no idea how these reports got attached to this letter. No idea at all.

Speaking of reports, that report by your Herald is quite the thing, isn’t it? Fiona showed it to me. (Odd woman, that Fiona. Always staring at me with this really strange, sad expression.)

But can a person really go into the future with magic, I wonder? Scary thought. Scary future. Please don’t let all that stuff happen if you can possibly help it. Though I wouldn’t cry too many tears if something happened to the Orlesian empress. Celene’s a bit much, don’t you think?

What? I’m not supposed to say that either? You secretaries are no fun at all.

– King Alistair

(dictation taken by Bennet, secretary to his Majesty)

I have no words.

Please tell me the Redcliffe report did not go to Denerim with the king.

– Cullen

Report went back to Fiona and she gave it on to someone else.

I got a lot of bees. Want ‘em?

(Underneath is a picture of a long-haired elf in mage robes, running from a swarm of bees.)

I don’t think bees will be much help against the breach, Sera. Thank you, though.

Also, I don’t suppose we collected any queens? The Inquisition could use a supply of honey.

Perhaps that is premature of me. We’re still trying to make sure we have enough clean water for everyone. Still, honey would be nice for our tea.

When we get tea again, that is.

– Josephine

Farmer Dennet’s on the honey. Making honey, that is.

Gotta go. Found another lead. Wasps this time.

(A picture follows of a wasp nest. Under it is a cowering elf in mage robes.)

I have just received word that every Chantry within a hundred miles of Haven has a copy of the Herald’s speech pinned to its doors. Everyone now thinks we are promoting a new Order of Magi.

Leliana, what have you done?

– Cassandra

Leliana, you didn’t.

… Of course you did.

I suppose I’ll write up some more requisitions for tents. We’ll send supplies to Haven by bronto, and be ready for a huge influx of mages.

They’ll be flocking to us after this.

– Josephine

Leliana, I can’t decide if I want to say ‘well played’ or ‘Maker help me, I have a headache coming on.’

– Cullen

Or both, perhaps?

Pack your things, commander. You’re headed for the breach tomorrow.

– Leliana

Don’t I know it.

And you’ll be happy to hear that I found it.

After all this time, I found it.

The Herald’s report was in the latrine. It was buried under several issues of something called “The Randy Dowager Quarterly.”

WHAT the report was doing there, I haven’t a clue. At least it wasn’t missing any pages, though there are some stains that…

Anyhow, I have it in hand and will now read this thing before it runs off again.

– Cullen



I just read your report and

After all that, I’m wondering

Casandra and I are coming up the hill tomorrow. Trust all is in order around the breach.

I hope you are

I’m sure it will all work out

See you then.

– Cullen

29th Harvestmere, 9:42 9:41 Dragon

Everyone is coming up to the breach tomorrow. Well, a bunch of them, anyhow. This is sort of like some twisted version of the Conclave, really. Can’t imagine this was what Justina had in mind. Then again, we’re all working together, even if everyone is nervous since that abomination attack.

Bull agreed to hold off on training me tomorrow, considering it might be my last day on earth. That was nice of him. Instead, the mages and I will practice opening and closing the rift at the base of the breach, then tackle the breach itself at noon. Solas says the ambient energies will be most calm then (how he knows that, I haven’t a clue. But then, he knows a LOT about magic. Glad I had all week to talk to him. We had some nice conversations. I think. Then again, I’m still not sure he likes me much. Not that it matters, I suppose.)

Breach shut by lunch and that should be the end of it. I hope. I hope this works. I hope I manage not to make a fool of myself in front of Cullen everyone. I hope I don’t die, too.

Still no word about Robert. Scouts haven’t found him. Hope he’s okay.

Really nervous now. Not sure if I’ll be able to sleep. But I’d better try to.

Got a big day tomorrow.

Maker, please let me live through it.