Disclaimer: Bioware owns Dragon Age, of course, not I.

My friends all know the story of how we fled as a family from Lothering. Actually, I think all of Kirkwall knows it by now—some version of it, anyway. I blame that on Varric. He says he can't be expected to resist telling a story with an ogre and a dragon, now can he? But it's not the telling I mind, it's the man's endless capacity for inventive variation. Sometimes I fear I won't remember what's true anymore and what's false. All I'll have are these confounded retellings that resemble memory just enough that, insidiously, they come to supplant it. That's why I keep secrets. There are stories I don't want to hear on the lips of drunks and strangers. There are facets of my life, my past, that belong only to me—and to the dead who tell no tales.

My love died at Ostagar.

I saw him fall, cut down by darkspawn. His name died on my lips and my love died with it. In the days and weeks afterward, it still made no sense to me that Carver and I had lived to flee the battlefield, while the man I'd called husband for three short years had died upon it. The grief was too great and I simply couldn't face it. So I made them swear never to speak of it, or of him, again—not to me, not to any other. I had my escape: a new life, a new home, a maiden name reclaimed and borne proudly as my only moniker.

But the anniversaries come round, a grim reminder of all of I've managed to lose. I go to the Hanged Man to drown my sorrows, not in drink, but in stories—a few tall tales to ease the ache of a brutal death remembered. What I ought to admit is that he is my purpose, my destination, as much as the yarns that he spins for us all.

Make no mistake, I am dead to love. It will never again claim me with its false promises and its treachery. But there is a fire in my belly nonetheless, a fire I haven't felt in the two years since Ostagar fell and Lothering burned. I am not sure whence this new fire springs. I was careful. I stamped out every last ember that smoldered. I'd thought I was as dead to desire as I am to love. But it seems I was mistaken. Desire burns in me again, and, this time, for a dwarf. And I have no intention of giving in to it.

[Marginalia, added at a later date and in Varric's hand: Intentions give way so easily, don't they?]