Lesson Number One:

Life is Not a Video Game

I suppose you're all wondering why I've gathered you here today…

All right, not really, but I've always wanted to say that. If there's one thing I've learned through this… experience, it's that you can't afford to take anything for granted. That's why I'm writing this. Well, that and because it's becoming harder to remember anything before any of this shit started, so I figured I'd better get it down on paper before it's lost completely.

I'll start off by saying that I'm still not entirely certain I'm not just dreaming this whole thing. For all I know, I could be drugged out of my mind, drooling into a pillow in some sanitarium reserved for those unique people with "special needs," wrapped nice and snug in a custom-fit straightjacket while doctors tap pens to their lips and say Hmm, interesting…

I really hate that phrase.

Hmm, interesting…

I've heard it a lot over the past few years, and I can't say I'm a big fan of whoever coined it. It's never said like they mean it. It's always in this "Oh, of course, just smile and nod at the crazy person before they come any closer" voice.

I don't appreciate it. At all.

Right. I should probably stop rambling if I intend to get anything useful accomplished, and Varric will steal my journal and read it when I'm not paying attention if I'm not careful. He might even rewrite it for me, and make it sound more like an adventure and less like the ravings of a lunatic.

Right. Starting now.

A/N: I'll try not to have author's notes at the end of the chapters, but I wanted to go ahead and get the usual "Bioware owns everything except my soul" out of the way. So.

Bioware owns everything except my soul, and Liz since Liz is me.

If the OC sounds snarky, it's because she is. ;)