Hello! So, I've been wanting to do a Dragon Age fic for a while now. An idea was floating around in my head, but it wasn't compelling enough to write down until I started the game as a mage recently. Then it got interesting, and what you're about to read in the prologue is what I sort of narrated to myself as I made my Warden; sort of an explanation to myself for why should would have the appearance I was giving her. I have a bit of this written, which allowed me to go back and make the beginning something that was actually, you know, legible.

There will be some tweaks to the story, and I've come up with something different for my mage that hopefully makes this different enough from just a novelization of the game that it'll keep people's interest. It also won't be a regurgitation of game dialogue or plot events, though you will see some of the more unforgettable in-game conversations make an appearance. I want to follow canon, but I will also be straying from it, sometimes in little ways, sometimes in major ways.

There will also be some reference to characters from DAII. It will also involve Mature woman-on-woman action. Eventually. You have been warned. Also, it's a working title, for now.

Lastly, any and all feedback is welcome. I want this to actually be good - my pride can take it, if you have some constructive criticism. This is the longest project I've even embarked on - your feedback will probably be what keeps me going.


Prologue

They cut her hair in punishment; held her down and cut it all off, not bothering to avoid nicking her scalp with the shears. They did not stop there, however, finishing the job by lathering her head and shaving her bald.

The feel of the razor as it scraped over her head made her wince, though she was smart enough to keep from doing so. She couldn't just hear it; she could feel the sound, feel every strand as it was cut. Her arms were manacled behind her back, her face held in place by strong, armored hands, the metal of the gauntlets biting into her skin. She glared venom at the man holding her in place, who steadfastly avoided her gaze.

She had just wanted her freedom. She wanted to see her family, experience the world a little. So when she'd stumbled upon her phylactery while tidying up the storage area, she had taken her chance, slipping it into her pocket before bed that night. Two days later, she had snuck through the halls of the Circle Tower, using a spell to slip out a window and land safely many feet below. She smashed the vial containing her blood and discarded the shards in the lake, swimming the frigid waters to her freedom. It had been incredibly stupid to do so, but she was confident she could return her body to its normal temperature once she'd hit land.

She had succeeded, travelling with what money she had borrowed from Jowan to Lothering, seeking out family in the last place she had known them. She had not found her parents, but she had found kin, and had spent many weeks with them. As the trees started blooming, she'd left their abode, striking out for the capital, where she'd been told her parents now lived.


The next step in her humiliation was to mark her skin permanently, so that everyone who ever saw her would know that she had tried – and failed – to escape.

Three men were needed to hold her down as they tattooed her skin, putting a remarkably pretty-looking flourish on her face, starting just under her right eye. It hurt, but she refused to show that it did. She would forever be marked apostate, as a mage who had attempted to leave the "protection" the Chantry offered. It was never clear whether they meant protection for the mages, or from the mages.

Growing up, she had believed everything she was told. She felt guilty for her power, vowing to the Maker to make up for it by learning everything she could. She vowed to be more in control than any other mage thus far. Instead, by reading and learning so much through the vast library available to them – their only chance to experience anything outside the Chantry – she had come to the realization that she lived in a gilded cage. It might have warm beds and hot food, but she and her kind wielded a power that could be used for good, and instead, they were kept away from society, like lepers. Which, as it turned out, was something magic could cure, if only they were let out of their cage to help those in need, instead of just those who could pay the Chantry and the Circle for their services. It disgusted her, and she began to long for a way out.

She'd found it, found her kin, and eventually, found her parents. Her parents, who had panicked and turned her into the Templars as soon as she'd fallen asleep that night. She had woken to three armed and armored men incanting their energy-draining spells, and she had been pulled from her parents home gagged and bound, tossed into the back of a cart and losing consciousness on the road.

Now she was here, the biting needle and stinging ink marking her forever as a mage who had failed to keep her freedom. She would never forget that betrayal.


She was then thrust into her Harrowing, with no rest, no food, not even a healing ointment for the nicks on her head. Her face was still red and puffy from its earlier marking.

The First Enchanter, Irving, her lifelong teacher, wore an expression of such disappointment as she was frog-marched to the lyrium podium. He did not expect her to survive. The Templars surrounding her did not expect her to survive.

Her expression hardened. She would prove them wrong.


She defeated the demon, and sniffed out the true risk – Mouse: a demon, not a downed mage. They were all so surprised when she awoke, in full control of herself. Cullen nearly fainted, walking her back to her room with a spring in his step. He stammered as he bade her goodnight, and she slept the sleep of the dead until Jowan woke her. He had listened and held her as she poured her ordeals out to him, sharing his own in return.

Now that she was a full mage of the Circle, she could help him.

Only it didn't go quite as she might have hoped. Jowan had been a blood mage. He was able to escape, but she felt uneasy with it. The only reason she didn't end up being made tranquil in punishment – a completely inappropriate use of the Rite of Tranquility, but no one seemed to be willing to split hairs – the visiting Warden-Commander had stepped in, invoking the Rite of Conscription and taking her away with him. She only wished that she'd broken the rules before her new phylactery had been sent to Denerim.

Punishing weeks on the road, followed by her first encounter with the Darkspawn and an introduction to the legend of Flemeth in the flesh, and she was drinking Darkspawn blood after watching her fellow recruits succumb either to the Taint or the fear of it. The next night, they were all betrayed by a hero, and the only thing she could think as she was overwhelmed was, "Lovely…"