"Do not lecture me on what my duty entails. I am a Cousland and a Warden. I KNOW what my duty is."
Ashleigh Cousland. Youngest child to Bryce and Eleanor Cousland. Surviver of the Cousland Massacre. Warden Recruit. One of the two survivers of the Betrayal At Ostagar. Hero of Fereldan, Vanquisher of The Fifth Blight, Slayer Of The Archdemon Urthemiel. Warden Comamnder of the Fereldan Grey Wardens, and Queen of Fereldan.
She has many titles to her name, and those are just a few.
She, with the assistance of a few companions, one of them the future King of Fereldan, ended The Fifth Blight as well as the civil war that was brewing.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Miscellaneous
- 5 Links
- 6 Gallery
She has long black, around waist length, usually seen in a braid of some sort. Light brown eyes that stand out. She has slightly tanned skin, a lean body that shows she has trained for years as a warrior and is a warrior. She has a few scars, most of them hidden, but one visible on her right cheek.
She is 6'6.
Loyal and fierce.
Very good at getting people to see her way on matters.
A fearsome warrior with no match who will crush enemies and Darkspawn and do her best to save those who need saving and protect those who need protecting.
A pain in the ass.
A Rose- strong but also fragile, sweet and but can prick you if need be.
Those are the responses the people who have come to know her would say if you asked how to describe Ashleigh's personality. But all can agree she is someone who is they would trust and someone you would want on your side in any situation, and has a fear of failure, a fear that developed during her time during the Blight. The loss of her family and everything she known in Highever gave her a saving people complex of sorts, and she does whatever she can to do so.
She is also someone who has no patience for idiots and politics, and is known not to be subtle when she shoots down nobles who think they can maneuver around her and Alistair.
Talents and Skills
Ashleigh is very skilled in the manner of combat, specifically sword and shield tactics. She also learned how to fight with two handed weapons, taught to her by Sten. She has become quite well known for her skills on the battlefield, against men and Darkspawn.
She knows how to fight with long, broad and short sword, as well as maces and axes, as well as the two handed battle axes.
She is skilled in being a leader, taking charge during the Blight, as well as being very good as persuasion, able to talk most people down and around to her way of thinking.
She learned how to pickpocket from Zevran and became quite a natural with it, as Zevran would exclaim.
Ashleigh Cousland was born in 9:11, to Eleanor and Bryce Cousland. She becme the second child to them, their only other child was Fergus Cousland.
The first few years of Ashleigh's life went by easily enough, even with an older brother who's nose was a bit out of joint at having a younger sibling at first.
One of the most defining moments in Ashleigh's life happened when she was four:
Somehow during the day, mercenaries had been able to sneak into Highever, knocked out one of servants attending her, and kidnapped her. She was gone for most of the day by the time someone found the servant and people realized what had happened. She had been gone for about two days, and she will never be able to quite remember the details of said time, but only that she was scared, and that she was rescued.
She had been saved by a Dalish elf who had been hunting with another. He had stumbled across the camp at a time when one of the men had grabbed her and told her to stop crying. She remembered vaguely some shouts and she had quickly hid in the bushes.
The elf killed the men and brought her back to her father. Bryce Cousland was grateful, although surprised over the Dalish Elf's help. Ashleigh didn't really understand what the conversation they had was about but she did understand that her father gave the elf a token, essentially giving the elf a promise of future help for his deeds.
Ashleigh would soon meet this elf again when he showed up a month later. She wouldn't understand why until a couple years later, 0 but she was glad. Outside of her perspective events took place while he was visiting and he thwarted another attack on her. Her parents, grateful for the help, offered Tasven Lavellan a place in their family. He accepted the position of Ashleigh's bodyguard and protector.
At that point in Ashleigh's life she was never alone. She had company nearly all the time. Either by her bodyguard or by the mabari pup she got and named it Calenhad when she was seven years old. Originally the pup was intended for Fergus, but when Ashleigh had entered the kennel with her father, the pup lost interest in Fergus and ran straight for the young girl.
She soon became recognizable to Highever's citizens by the company she kept. An exiled Dalish and a mabari.
Her relationship with her brother also got better. He went from an annoyed older brother to a protective one who regaled her with stories at night before he went to bed. Stories about anything and everything, but her favorites ones would be about the Grey Wardens.
Ashleigh was nine when she met her first Grey Warden- it was during a visit to Orlais with her parents- Bryce was there on behalf of King Maric. Meeting said Grey Warden and having all those stories her brother told her, firmly cemented a decision in her young mind, one she never wavered from.
She wanted to become a Grey warden and decided she should become a warrior in order to do so. In the past she was always fascinated with watching her father's men train, as well as watch Tasven train with them. She made both declarations to her parents who were not very thrilled with the idea, but accepted Tasven's offer to train her in the art of the sword and shield. (In all honesty, they were hoping that she would forget her dream of becoming a Grey Warden) Despite both Bryce and Eleanor fighting in the rebellion, a warriors life was not what they wanted for their children, even though they both trained for it.
Training with Tasven
The beginning stages of training, by Tasven's hand, was not easy. Not that she wanted that. He told her point blank that he didn't care she was his charge, or that she was ten years old.
"I'm going to train you how to wield a sword and a shield, how to fight, how to counter, how to kill. You're going to learn how to spare a life or take a life, and for me to do that, I will not be easy," was the words he said to her at the start of her first lesson.
And indeed, he was not easy. The first month of lessons, on learning how to handle and wield both a sword and shield were harsh, and she gained plenty of bruises from those lessons, as well as other lessons he taught her, as she needed to gain strength in her arms and legs.
Tasven's refusal to treat her any different from anyone else she had seen him fighting and training with got several of her father's Knights in an upset, and who had gone to Bryce to complain about Tasven's tactics. Bryce, deciding to witness said training himself, chose to do so incognito, so he would be able to properly see them without anyone knowing he was there.
He observed his daughter's lessons with Tasven, noting that the elf was harsh and hard but also effective. After one lesson, he went to see Ashleigh at night before she went to bed. A servant had been tending to her, spreading a cream of sorts on a couple bruises that were on her arm.
He dismissed the servant, and sat on Ashleigh's bed, and started to attend to the bruises.
"You're learning," he says.
Ashleigh straightened, and looke directly at her father. "You've been watching."
Bryce nods. "The men complained."
She makes a face. "Of course they did."
"Do you want to stop?"
Ashleigh scowls. "No."
"Well then, continue."
Bryce had stayed there for a bit, continuing to do what the servants had been doing, before finally tucking his daughter into bed. When he did that, he had left his daughter's room and then met Tasven in the hall.
"She has skill and determination," Tasven had said, his tone sounding like he was bored. "I'm sure you saw that during your observations."
"You knew I was there?"
"Of course." The elf had raised his head then, his eyes almost defiant, but a smirk was lurking as well. "I'm sure you would have stepped in had you wanted. But you didn't."
"She is my daughter."
Tasven nods. "Then it's good I'm teaching her how to fight then, and properly. Everyone else would be too easy with her and she'd know it. That would wound her own pride."
Bryce had heard the unspoken words and knew then that Tasven was indeed the best one to train his daughter. After that, Bryce told his men to cease their complaining and that it was unneccesary.
The lessons between Ashleigh and Tasven continued without too many other incidents, all the ones that did pop up were quickly settled.
As the years passed she focused most of her attention on becoming a warrior, learning the skills of the sword and shield. She was impatient in her studies of other matters- politics, math, science, history, chantry- while she was smart and took to the lessons Ashleigh didn't care for them. Her attention would always eventually wander and she would yearn to get to the training grounds. She also earned some ire from the Chantry Sisters for not being devout.
She also developed a reputation for bluntly turning away any suitor, servants having overheard her arguments with her mother over her duty to marry. Ashleigh wanted nothing to do with it, ever so determined to become a warrior of great skill and become a Grey Warden. Her ambition to do so over rode any potential suitor and caused arguments with her parents who didn't want her to join the Order. It got to the point that Ashleigh was secretly plotting a plan to eventually leave Highever and seek out the Order in Denerim when she had the first opportunity.
One of the things she found frustrating was that despite her growing skill as a warrior, she didn't get a chance to truly test her skills. There were a couple incidents in which she fought in- an ambush of bandits when she was travelling with Tasven and she ended up killing for the first time, but other than that and a couple skirmishes, she never got the chance to truly fight and test herself. Something she yearned for greatly. But as the saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for." For she would get the chance to use her skills and evolve, but at a high price.
The Cousland/Highever Massacre
Ashleigh had just finished her training session with Tasven when she had been summoned by her father and was greeted not only by Howe, but news of her father and brother would be riding out to meet the Darkspawn threat that had been brewing.
Before she could properly argue about going with them, because she wanted to, she had been distracted by the arrival of someone else- Duncan, a Grey Warden.
She had been thrilled at the thought Duncan was there to possibly recruit her, and was partially annoyed by her father blocking said attempt.
After dealing with some matters in the castle- rescuing Calenhad from Nan, sidestepping another matchmaking attempt on her mother, spending some time with her brother before he left ahead of Father, she got to finally talk to Ducnan.
They had talked during dinner, and she had quietly stated she was very much interested in joining the Grey Wardens. Duncan, despite Bryce's clear message that he didn't want his daughter being recruited, was clearly interested in doing so. In truth she didn't need her parents permission to be recruited, and Duncan had promised to have another talk with her father later on. Meanwhile she pestered Duncan with many questions about the Grey Wardens, much to the amusement of her bodyguard.
However Howe's betrayal later that night threw everything into chaos. Ashleigh had ended up taking the lives of several men she knew quite well before reuniting with her mother. While they fought through Howe's men on side of the castle, Duncan was fighting through the other side, trying to help Tasven get Bryce, who was badly wounded, to safety. After getting Bryce to safety, Bryce urged Duncan to find his daughter and wife.
Ashleigh and Eleanor had managed to fight through castle to get to Bryce, discovering that many of the people Ashleigh had grown up with were dead along the way.
Duncan eventually was able to rejoin them, but it was not a happy reunion nor one that ended nicely. Bryce was dying, and Ashleigh's mother refused to leave him. Duncan asked for permission to recruit Ashleigh into the wardens from the dying man, a tactic that Ashleigh later called Duncan out on. The Couslands ordered Tasven to go with Ashleigh and Duncan- however after getting Ashleigh and Duncan out of the castle, and locking the passage behind them, Tasven went back to the Couslands.
The week of travel with Duncan was not an easy one. With nothing to really keep her mind off things, Ashleigh was grieving heavily for the losses she suffered, and dealing with some anger towards Duncan. The first few days were not easy ones, and Duncan had an angry grieving woman by his side. At one point Ashleigh almost broke, and seemed close to breaking completely, but Duncan was able to get her out of her head and to focus.
By the time they got to Ostagar, Ashleigh was still very much heavy with grief and loss but not drowning in it.
Events in Ostagar would soon change her life again.
The Warden Queen, as she became known as, had ended up chronicling a good portion of her life in a series of journals that would eventually be found and released carefully through her descendents.
One journal, simply called Ostagar, tells a tale of how our soon to be King and Queen met, their adventures in the Korcari Wilds, a meeting with a myth that apparently is not a myth, becoming a Warden, and a battle with Darkspawn of their own while a much bigger one was taking place. As they fought through the tower to light a signal, Ashleigh reveals her innermost thoughts and hopes that had taken place then, how she and the future king had fought well together, and how they fought so hard to light the tower, not knowing of the betrayal that Loghain would bring moments later.
It also delves into her mindset and her feelings regarding the horror of her family massacre, please do not read if you are not ready to hear about such a wrenching tale.
In one journal, which scholars titled as The Mages Plight, it revealed that Loghain had apparently made a demon like bargain with a blood mage named Uldred. He had actually survived the betrayal at Ostagar and had gone back to the Circle, claiming that they needed to unite behind Loghain. Another mage that survived, Wynne, ended up ruining Uldred and Loghain's plans and revealed the betrayal. Uldred ended up rising up against those who refused, and with the aid of other blood mages proceeded to begin a reign of terror in the circle, killing mages and templars alike. In her writings, Ashleigh revealed that while she understood the need for the Rite, she didn't want people who could be fine be killed unnessarily. Risking her life to save those who could be saved, she braved the hellish conditions in the tower made by Uldred, and with her companions by her side fought through ambominations, blood mages, a sloth demon that had trapped her in the Fade (please check out the section The Fade in Kinloch Hold to get a more detailed description on her time there), and other dreadful tests and dangers before ultimately defeating the abomination that Uldred had become and saved the rest of the mages and the few templars that were still trapped, earning an alliance with the mages.
in the journal simply called Redcliffe, it tells a harrowing tale of a young mother desperate to hide the truth about her son, a blood mage that was forced into a position he didn't want, a sick man, and the undead attacking a village. Ashleigh and our future King Alistair had come to Redcliffe to talk to Arl Eamon, only to discover he was ill and in a coma, and that the village of Redcliffe had been attacked. They and their companions- an apostate named Morrigan, a Qunari named Sten, our future Divine, and an elf, defended the town vailiantly, with only a couple lives lost. They later breached the castle to find out the young son of the Arl was indeed a mage, and the mother had been desperate to keep her son close to her and therefore hired another apostate to teach her son. In the Warden Queen's writing you will learn how Loghain had actually hired this blood mage, and that young Connor had actually become possessed and about the Wardens decision to try and free the young man. Despite the dangers, young Connor was freed, and the village was free from their nightmare.
Werewolves and Elves, this journal tells an almost unbelievable tale of vengeance and stubborness, how an elf who wanted those who hurt him in the past to pay and how he refused to see for the longest time his need for vengeance has now turned to malice and pettiness, forcing innocents to suffer through the curse he first heaped on his enemies. She talks about learning more about the Dalish culture, and her worries over her elven bodyguard, and her frustrations with trying to gain allies during this tulmultuous time. Her words come across as wistful as she talks about a pair of young elves in love, of finding a gift for her current elven friend, and then you can read the tension and danger in the next few pages as she writes about The Lady and the plight of the werewolves and her determination to get Zathrian to end the curse.
Orzammar, is a journal that one must read carefully and do their best not to judge our young Queen. It depicts the politics of Orzammar in an unsavory light, and the opinion on King Bhelen Audecan changes from respect to dislike, and goes into her despair over the death of Harrowmont as well as talking about the horror of the deep roads. Some sections during her time in the Deep Roads are crossed out hastily, almost blackened as if she's censuring herself, and it's clear we'll never be able to properly find out what exactly happened down there. There are some mentions of Darkspawn, Branka, Cardian, golems and an anvil, but most of it is not readable. For easier viewing, the sections we labeled as Arrival, Perceptions, Bhelen, Dustown, and Politics should be read. There is a brief mention at one point about her arguing with our future King, but not much is gone into it. It is clear that this part of the Blight, to gain an alliance with the Dwarves was a very trying time for our Warden Queen and one she did not care for.
There are two jounrals labelled Honnleath and Haven, it describes finding a Golem to join their party and the attack of the Darkspawn there. In the other journal, it describes her and her companions attempts to follow a lead on healing Arl Eamon. To find the Sacred Ashes of Andraste. In the Haven journal, it reveals a disturbing story about a town cut off from the world, that had a cult dedicated to Andraste for many ages and that had turned from worshipping her to worshipping a Dragon that assumed to be Andraste reborn. In this journal, it revealed the true beliefs of Ashleigh. In these writings she did not believe, even when they encountered the Guardian at the Temple. She did write that dealing with the spectre of her father did help her to further heal from her family's tragedy, and that while she had clearly witnessed unbelievable things in the temple, she still remained firm in her disbelief. Some scholars debate today that it is perhaps seeing the deaths of her family, especially the youngest members, made her doubt in the existance of the Maker and therefore shattered any belief or expectations. Another section reveals about the horrible deal that the cult leader tried to offer, and her outright refusal, as well as the the battle with the Dragon.
The journal labeled Denerim is split into sections that you should read- One is called The Landsmeet but don't think it is just about that, it is just the easiest way to title it. It talks about her time in the estate of Arl Eamon, as she, Alistair, and her companions set about helping Denerim out with some troubles, as well as finding evidence to help reveal Loghain's true colors. There's some mention about needing to rescue Queen Anora, and a mention of Fort Drakon, but the section is brief and written with a heavy angry hand and not one to read if you still have warm feelings for the former Queen. The section that has more focus is about the Denerim Alienage, and how Loghain willingly let Tevinter slavers (of all people!!) operate secretly in the Alienage, pretending to heal elves suffering from a so called plague and instead were taking the elves for slavery. Ashleigh also goes into account of how she finally faces her family's murderer, (not an easy section to read so prepare yourself) as well as rescuing family members of nobles that were being forced to side with Loghain through this treachory.
Ashleigh then goes into detail about the Landsmeet, revealing her fears, her worries, and her anger towards the proceedings- it is clear her time with Dwarven politics made her a little hostile towards politics in general. She wrote how she hated doing all of this, having to deal with such a thing when they had a real problem, a Blight on their heels. She writes about the duel between Loghain and our future King, and her own worries about Alistair and how nervous she was when she made the announcement that she and Alistair would rule.
(There is apparently an accounting given by one of former Queen Anora's handmaidens how our Warden Queen apparently promised to back Queen Anora for the throne, but then betrayed Anora. There is nothing out there that corroborates such a thing, and sources say it is more envy and sourness that is trying to smear the repuation of the Warden Queen.)
The second part is about the Battle of Denerim. Ashleigh writes about how all the alliances she and her companions made during their travels, writes during the march to Denerim about how nervous she is, also how determined she is to end this Blight before it consumed Fereldan. She writes down King Alistair's speech as he says it, side notes mentioning how proud she is of him.
There are parts that later recounts parts of the battles, her fears and worries. And of course the one battle she had taken a moment to write about before heading to the top of Fort Drakon to confront the Archdemon. There are some parts that are blocked out, crossed out heavily but for the most part you can understand what she's writing about.
As for some lighter reading on the the Warden Queen and the Fifth Blight there is three journals that we like to call The Companions- they are about the people that helped our Warden Queen and King fight the blight- Our future Divine Victoria, known as Leliana, the apostate named Morrigan, a mage that survived the horror at Kinloch Hold, a dwarf, an elf, a Qunari that was called Sten and later became the Arishok of the Qunari, a golem named Shale, and of course Alistair.
These journals describe how Ashleigh felt about each companion, their interactions, how they met (The elf was assigned to kill Ashleigh! She chose to spare him and he apparently remained forever loyal to her), the friendships she developed with nearly all of them (She is rather caustic about Wynne and seems bewildered about her interactions with the dwarf) and about the burgeoning romance between her and Alistair.
The journal about Alistair reveals a lot about the Warden King- far more than other sources. It reveals her outrage and upset over the King's circumstances when he was a child (sadly a bastard by birth and sent to the Chantry when he was ten), how King Alistair and her bonded over their family losses (King Alistair viewed the Wardens as his family, and took the betrayal at Ostagar and their losses as hard if not harder than Ashleigh), and how they became as close as they did. The journal reveals Ashleigh's emotions over Alistair over time, how she went from a young woman with no interest in romance to falling in love with Alistair and eventually becoming his queen. She talks, in a rather angry tone in her words, about how she was determined to help Alistair see his worth as a possible King for Fereldan, but also in every other way.
The only journal that seems to be missing pages about any companion is about the Korcari Wilds Apostate, Morrigan. And further inquiries from other sources and looking into other journals doesn't reveal what the missings pages say. We only know that the pages missing are from the time where they rested in Redcliffe before heading to Denerim to fight the Archdemon. We can only have theories and assumptions at this part, and if you wish to read on those theories, please check out the book written by a theoretical scholar called The Warden Queen and The Wilds Witch.
- Sided with the Mages. This started her goal of wanting to save everyone she could, sparked by losing so much during the Highever attack and then what happened in Ostagar.
- Spared Zevran, beginning a long friendship.
- Saved Redcliffe and got the Circle to save Connor. It was a tense time, the party had split up, one group to watch Connor and the other to get the mages.
- Soldier's Peak- Spared Alvernus, made him promise to be ethical in his work. Did not deal with the Demon posessing Sophia Dryden.
- Honnleath- Recruited Shale. Saved Amelia.
- Haven- Did not take Kolgrim's offer, wiped out the cult, fought the Dragon. Answered the Guardian's question. Revived Eamon.
- Orzammar- Helped restore Ortan's house. Helped Dagna. Crowned Bhelen. Killed Branka. Destroyed the Anvil.
- The Dalish and the Werewolves- Found a way to negotiate a truce, get Zathrian to release the curse.
- Companion Quests- Fought Flemeth, found Sten's swords, helped Alistair with Goldanna and ended up hardening him. Helped Leliana with Marjolaine and ended up killing Marjolaine, but didn't harden Leliana. Brought Felsi and Oghren together, fought Talisen with Zevran by her side.
- Denerim/Landsmeet: Saved the elves, did not take the slaver's deal, helped build a case against Loghain by finding evidence, fought and killed Howe (gladly), gained support from Nobles she helped, Alistair dueled Loghain and was Crowned, with Ashleigh announcing she'd rule with him. ,
- Dark Ritual Offer/Final Battle: Got Alistair to agree to the Dark Ritual despite feeling quite low about it (lots of discussion between them on that) and struck down the Archdemon.
- Conscripted Anders, let Nathaniel go and then let him join, recruited Velanna and Sigrun and let Justice join them.
- Was able to talk the rioting peasants down.
- Saved Amaranthine, but due to upgrades to Vigils Keep, not all was lost.
- Killed the Architect.
There is now also a series of journals that we would like to reccomend, that are about our Warden Queen's time as the Warden Commander in Amaranthine. While there are plenty of other journals about her time running the Wardens, these are about the first few months of her time which talked about The Darkspawn Civil War.
The contents of these journals and the events were unknown for a long time, apparently at one point locked up in the private library of Weissheupt until they were finally freed and we were able to get access to them.
These journals went into heavy detail about matters close to the Wardens. It talked about her frosty relations with the First Warden, then her time trying to rebuild the warden Order while also dealing with people who were apparently loyal to Rendon Howe. The very man that betrayed her parents.
It talks about her finding out about a civil war between two groups of Darkspawn, while also trying to navigate the nobles in Amaranthine and dealing with a sinister plot of assasination.
Among the new Wardens she recruites, one of them ended up being Nathaniel Howe, the son of Rendon Howe. For more information about Nathaniel Howe, please check out the book The Redeeming Howe.
Another recruit is a mage named Anders, the very mage that blew up the Kirkwall Chantry.
There are others that were recruited, but the journals that deal with Howe and Anders are the most revealing.
The Anders journal talked about how she saved him from an overzealous templar who later attempted to kill her- which doesn't help the relationship between the Crown and Chantry. In these journals, Anders does not come across as the mage freedom zealot he apparently was in Kirkwall, seems to be more carefree. He had an interesting friendship with the Warden Queen, a close one as well. They both viewed each other as siblings, which only seems to make the heartbreak that is evident in later parts of her journal about him all more wrenching.
The Nathaniel Howe journal showed the beginning of a wary partnership. She had let him go when he had been captured by the Wardens trespassing, and he came back to her wanting to join the wardens. Their interactions were apparently not easy ones, and Ashleigh wrote about her conflicted feelings regarding the man- she hated how he refused to see the monster his father was, but also understood it. In the beginning she wished she had refused his offer to join the Wardens. However as time passed, she and Howe worked well together and he basically became Warden Commander when she was not there.
(More to Come)
After she woke up from her coma, adjusted to things, and had the celebration, she watched as Alistair was crowned, and their nuptials were announced. She reunited with her brother, made one visit to Highever Castle and the results ended with her stating she couldn't step foot back in there again.
She traveled to Par Vollen for a couple weeks with Sten, where he proceeded to tell those in charge of the events that took place. She met with the Ariqun and Arigena, got to explore and learn more about the Qun and the society through her own eyes and then came back to Fereldan, where she married Alistair and became Queen.
After doing so she went to Amaranthine to take charge of the Fereldan Grey Wardens.
She ended up getting into a bit of a cold war with the First Warden. When she woke up from her three week coma after killing the Archdemon, the First Warden was there and questioned her. It was the beginning of a long running war between them. She refused to answer his questions about how she survived, and also was uncooperative with his other questions.
When she took over rebuilding the Order in Fereldan, she was overjoyed. It was one of her dreams come true. It took some time, a lot of work, and a lot of effort, but she managed to eventually rebuild the Order before she went on the search for the Cure. She gave the position of Warden Commander to Nathaniel Howe who continued to run the Order the way she wanted. The Order itself became a bit isolationist under her command, refusing to bend or bow to the First Warden.
After the events in Amaranthine, when she went back to Denerim to rule with Alistair, the First Warden sent his own people to take over, supplanting Nathaniel, letting templars become Wardens under false claims and helping exacerbate the situation that eventually happened with Anders. When Ashleigh came back after hearing rumors and finally getting proper word from Nathaniel, she kicked everyone who was not a Fereldan Warden out of Fereldan, especially those who there on the First Warden's orders. She sent a message to the First Warden indicating that the Fereldan Order was under her command officially once more and he was to no longer interfere in Fereldan matters. Word soon spread throughout the other orders and it became widely known that the First Warden and Ashleigh were essentially in a cold war.
She also took the time to travel to Kirkwall incognito to talk to Anders- they had become good friends in Amaranthine and she tried three times to get Anders to leave Kirkwall with her.
Just a few months before the Mage-Templar war became full blown, Ashleigh disappeared on her search for the Cure. Alistair was the only one who truly knew where she had gone and why she had gone. She was gone for a few years and the search for the Cure was grueling and taxing; body, mind and spirit. After a lot of hard work, lot of travelling, lot of research ,trial and error, a cure was found and made. The Cure turned out to be as deadly as the Joining though. In the group that took the Cure with Ashleigh, out of the five, she and one other survived. Word spread to the other Orders how to make the Cure and the risks that came with it.
Ashleigh returned to Denerim and her husband not too long after taking the Cure, right as the events of Trespasser was taking place. They had four children together. A set of twins, one boy and one girl, and then two others. The third born was a boy and the youngest was a girl.
A More Compressed Time Line For Ashleigh Cousland- Theirin
9:10: Ashleigh Cousland is born to Bryce and Eleanor Cousland
9:14: Ashleigh is kidnapped, but saved by a young Dalish elf named Tasven Lavellan. A month later, Tasven shows back up at Cousland Castle, and in a series of events reveals his exile from his clan, and thwarts another kidnapping attempt on Ashleigh Cousland. The Couslands convince Tasven to become her bodyguard.
9:30- 20 years old. Blight starts. Howe takes over Cousland Castle. No one survives, but he takes her bodyguard, Tasven to Denerim where he tortures him for nearly the whole year.
9:30-9:31 Was 20/21 during the fifth blight and her marriage to King Alistair
9:31-9:33 Darkspawn Civil War/Rebuilding of the Fereldan Order/Ruling with Alistair
9:34: She tracks down Morrigan. She also heads to Par Vollen to greet Sten, who is now the Arishok.
9:37: Was 28 years old when Anders blew the chantry. Before then she had visited Kirkwall and Anders three times to try and get him to come back to Fereldan. In between all of this, she's co running the Fereldan Warden Order with Nathaniel Howe and ruling Fereldan with Alistair.
9:38- 29 years old- Starts to visit Soldiers Peak to discuss the book Morrigan had left her. To discuss a cure for the Calling.
9:39: Talks with Alistair about searching for a cure. She is 30 years old.
Between 9:39 and 9:40- she has left to find the cure.
9:40- The Nevarren Accord annulled- She was 31 years old.
9:41: Inquisition- Is 32 years old. She and Alistair keep in contact with each other through letters. Leliana and her agents try to track her down as she finds out so she meets with one agent and makes sure to give a letter to the Inquisitor.
She finds out about Warden Clarel's and Stroud's deaths and what has happened with the Wardens of Orlais. She's thankful the False Calling has stopped but is more determined than ever to complete her journey
9:42: She's still hunting for components for the Cure, making the occasional ally and still keeping track of what's going on. She keeps going back to Par Vollen to discuss things with their healers, priests and scientists. She's also dealing with the First Warden who is not happy with what she is doing and is sending out Crow assassins to take care of her. She also meets a Tevinter Warden mage named Devera Zinovia. Devera ends up becoming an ally and someone she comes to trust, and helps her with the search.
9:43: She's healing in the warden stronghold in Nevarra when she meets Inquisitor Ares Trevelyan. The Inquisition is there for a mission on it's own and is resting there as well. The Inquisitor and her talk, although he doesn't know who she is and she doesn't tell him.
9:44: Tresspasser- She finally secures a cure and heads home to Fereldan, while the Exalted Council against the Inquisition is taking place. She ends up publicly reuniting with King Alistair when she saves his life against a plotted riot by a rival who wanted to use the distraction of the Exalted Council to usurp the the throne. She is 33 years old. Alistair takes the cure and survives. Her mabari, Venadrin, dies just a month after.
9:45: She is 34 years old and twins Prince Oren and Princess Orianna are born.
9:48: She is 37 years old- Her third born child comes into this world. He is named Bryce Duncan.
9:50: Her and King Alistair's last born child is born. She is 39 years old. The twins are 5 years old. The youngest is named Natalia Devera, named after Nathaniel Howe and an ally of Ashleigh's during her search for the Cure.
9:55: The twins are 10 years old. She is 44 years old.
9:60: A New Age Is Born. She is 49 years old. The twins are 15 years old.
9:65: The twins are 20 years old. She is 54 years old.
9:66- During a party that was informally celebrating their son Oren taking the throne, (with his sister by his side helping him) of Fereldan and Alistair and Ashleigh stepping down, a plotted uprising occurs. However due to the guests involved at the party (wardens an such) the battle is short- one historian notes it was only 15 minutes. But, while defending their children's lives, Ashleigh and Alistair ended up getting hit with what was termed a lucky strike from one attacker, and they died in each other's arms as the uprising was being put down. She was 55 years old.
Prince Oren is raised as King Oren Theirin, while his sister quietly rules beside him, as she cannot be Queen, but Crown Princess.
A funeral is held for the departed Warden King and Queen. Thousands attend it. Fereldan remains in mourning for close to a year.
Ashleigh and Leliana became quite good friends during the Blight. Leliana coaxed out the silly side of Ashleigh which she rarely showed, and encouraged the relationship between her and Alistair. They butted heads over religion though- Ashleigh didn't believe while Leliana was a firm believer, but that didn't seem to be a problem. Ashleigh helped her out when Leliana's past caught up to her, and they both ended up relying on each other when they needed some silliness and laughter.
Leliana was also the one and only person that Ashleigh confessed, in a highly emotionally charged moment after the end of the Blight, about the Dark Ritual, which caused Leliana to forever remain mistrustful of Morrigan (which she passed on to the Inquisitor when Morrigan joined the Inquisition). Leliana promised to never tell anyone, and even when their friendship ended due to the paths taken by both of them, Leliana never breathed a word.
After the Blight, Leliana initially stayed in Denerim, helping the Ashleigh and Alistair out, travelled with Ashleigh when she went to Par Vollen and even helped Zevran out in regards to setting up protection for the new King and Queen. However their paths started to split when Ashleigh went to Amaranthine and Leliana became more involved with the Denerim Chantry.
The Crown and the Chantry were not on good terms with each other after a while, especially after the incident between a templar and Ashleigh in Amaranthine. Their once close friendship started to fracture, and by the time Leliana gained her position as Left Hand to the Divine, their friendship was essentially no more. Leliana's faith and devotion to the Maker, Ashleigh's anger at the Chantry caused the fractures.
During the Inquisition time, Leliana during her search for Ashleigh at the Inquisitor Ares Trevelyan's request, got a letter to give to the Inquisitor but was also told in another letter by Ashleigh to stop searching for her.
When Leliana became Divine, and heard of Ashleigh's return, she visited the woman who she once had a close friendship with. The vist was a civil one, but it was not warm nor friendly. Both of them had changed a lot of the years, and old hurts over the past remained fresh in their minds. They congratulated each other on their mutual successes, and Leliana left Denerim with a sad heart over the fall of their friendship
While she and Morrrigan didn't always get along or agree on everything, they did become friends, at least Ashleigh likes to think that they were friends. Morrigan even called her a sister.
Sadly, after the reveal of the Dark Ritual, Ashleigh doesn't quite trust her memories regarding her friendship with Morrigan, and their talk when she caught up with her a couple years later in front of that Eluvian didn't help matters either. The fallout from what happened made it harder for Ashleigh to trust anyone completely, keeping most people at bay and letting only a few others past her shields.
In truth, Morrigan did indeed see her as a friend and a sister, and regretted hurting the woman with the reveal of the Dark Ritual and why she was there. For Morrigan, she had wished she hadn't befriended Ashleigh and she wished Ashleigh hadn't persisted in constantly talking to her, as she felt approaching her about the Dark Ritual would have been far easier if neither woman held each other in high regard.
Morrigan and Ashleigh talked a lot about magic, their childhoods, and Morrigan remembered being quite shocked getting that mirror she told the young woman about. Like Leliana, she and Ashleigh became close, much to Morrigan's dismay.
Ashleigh chose to confront Flemeth on Morrigan's behalf. While she did not take any joy in killing the woman that had saved her, she wanted to also protect Morrigan and she didn't take the offer Flemeth gave her because she didn't want to decieve Morrigan nor worry about Morrigan's future with Flemeth still alive.
Ashleigh was not entirely thrilled when she heard about Morrigan resurfacing long enough to join the Inquisition, but when word reached to her that Flemeth was actually still alive, the warden Queen was actually quite concerned. Not only for her sake (because she had no doubt that Flemeth probably wasn't happy with her) but for Morrigan's as well.
Through a series of events, Morrigan and Ashleigh met, on the border of Nevarra. Both of them were quite badly injured and had to heal together. During that time together, they talked, and Morrigan told her about Keiran, and also promised that she would never have to worrry about Keiran showing up in Denerim. Their talks were unflinchingly honest, and Morrigan in a moment of uncharacteristic vulnerability revealed she had wished they had not been friends because that conversation they had in Redcliffe would have been much easier. Morrigan also revealed to her what happened with Flemeth. Ashleigh confessed to feeling fear at that thought of anyone finding out about Keiran and the Dark Ritual, but also being grateful to Morrigan for setting her on the path to look for a Cure so many years ago.
Over time and many years, she and Morrigan kept in touch only through letters and the occasional run in- Morrigan never set foot in Fereldan however, a promise she made to Ashleigh and was determined to keep. The only time she broke it was when she heard of Ashleigh and Alistair's deaths. She wasn't there at the funeral, but she visited the tomb and paid her respects.
She spared Zevran initially because 1: She hoped to get more information out of him about Howe and Loghain, 2: She found herself charmed by his honesty, and three: He sucked badly at killing her and she figured if he tried again, she would easily hand his ass to him. And 4: They needed all the help they could get to fight the Blight and he was offering. As time went on, she got to know him and got him to open up about a lot of things. They became good close friends and she pretty much ignored his flirting and after their encounter with the Crows in Denerim, he chose to stay with her.
Ashleigh and Wynne did not get along. . She didn't care for the lectures, she didn't care for Wynne's nosiness or bossiness. She remained civil with the older mage when she had to, but otherwise avoided dealing with Wynne as much as possible. She did help Wynne with her own problems though, and she did maintain a civil accord with her due to Alistair liking the mage.
Ashleigh and Sten were at odds in the beginning, but they developed a mutual respect for each other through talks and combat. At one point she got him to train her in two handed weapons and through their fighting lessons, he gained a deeper respect for her, and his respect became even more locked in when she was able to find his sword amongst all the craziness that was going on with the Blight. Their discussions on occasion got heated (similar to discussions wtih Leliana about the Maker) and they butted heads over several subjects, but they gained a mutual respect for one another and on Sten's side, eventually developed other feelings that went unvoiced. (will be fleshed out some more later)
She tried her best to work with Oghren, figure him out, and get to know him, but he tried her patience to the limit many times. She admired his skills in battle but his personality and attitude on a lot of things put her off. While she was able to help him and Felsi, she honestly didn't know what to do with him most of the time.
The Love Interest- Relationship with Alistair
Alistair was the first person to break through Ashleigh's grief when they met in Ostagar. He got her to smile and laugh, not realizing how close she was to completely breaking down from the tragedy that had befallen her. Somehow his words broke through and he got her to smile with his sarcasm.
The couple days spent in the Korcari Wilds showed a side of Alistair that he never really took into account- he did help and lead Ashleigh, Jory and Daveth. Something that later one when pointed out, he brushed off. But Ashleigh saw it and thought that he and Duncan would be wardens worth working with.
The tragedy of Ostagar though put things on hold in regards to Alistair being comfortable leading anything. Despite Alistair being unsure of himslef in that regard, the tragedy enabled the two of them to become closer. As their party grew, she and Alistair became closer, bonding not only through the tragedies of their respective families, but also talking about their lives, their childhoods. She talked to him about Tasven, he told her about the the elven child he had befriended briefly in Redcliffe before being sent away.
When Alistair told her the truth behind his parentage, Ashleigh was furious- not at Alistair, but at how he was treated. By that time while they hadn't put a name to what they were feeling, it was clear it was more than friendship, and Ashleigh was feeling quite protective. She was determined to see him be able to take the throne, despite the fact that Wardens weren't supposed to get involved with political matters. But a part of her wanted that for Alistair because she felt he deserved it and she was determined to make him see his own worth in that matter.
While she was still in charge of the mission to use the treaties and gain allies for the Blight, she still tried to have him involved with as many decisions as possible, encouraging to add in his input (a factor that somewhat backfired a little in Orzammar- they argued plenty over the Bhelen versus Harrowmont thing and she wanted to have things her way and didn't appreciate Alistair arguing with her over this- later one she came to appreciate him getting involved and being stubborn about it, but at the time she didn't see that. Orzammar was effecting her reasoning.)
Throughout everything, their relationship went from friendship to romance. Both of them were inexperienced with the whole romance/relationship thing, so they went slow. The Lothering Rose he gave her made them official in each others eyes. A lot of kisses, tender touches and caresses and blushing went back and forth between them. Leliana called them a fairytale romance, Morrigan told them they both were making her neasuous. When they eventually had sex for the first time, they were both fumbling with it and slighly embaressed that it didn't go smoothly, and of cours endlessly teased about it by Leliana and Zevran. Eventually they both found their own way with each other, and became extremely close over time.
Ashleigh ended up hardening Alistair when she went with him to see Goldanna. She didn't watch her words after they had left, but in the end it turned out for the best. Alistair became more confident in himself, and more effective. He took charge on some matters and essentially he and Ashleigh became true co leaders of their party. He also took to the nobilitly lessons that Ashleigh had been cautiously teaching him, smirking as he realized what she was up to and she just teased him about finally catching on.
In Denerim, after fleeing Fort Drakon, Ashleigh told Alistair about how she lied to Anora about promising to back her claim to the throne, stating that Alistair deserved it and was showing her every day how much he was becoming a leader. While she at first didn't think of ruling beside Alistair, it only came to her mind when the Landsmeet was won. Later on she would think back with amusement on how she ended up doing the very thing she butted heads with her mother over.
The Dark Ritual is one thing they very rarely talk about- it's not something Ashleigh is proud to have talked Alistair into doing, and Alistair would quite like to forget it ever happened. He does know Ashleigh regrets the whole thing, and a part of him does to. But he also is glad it happened, as it enabled the two of them to have their lives together and be a family.
After it had taken place, they didn't talk. They simply sat in the front of the fire and held each other.
It was after she survived the killing blow of the Archdemon, when Morrigan had left, they briefly talked about it. They agreed that no one should every know, (Alistair wasn't happy to find out that Leliana knew and privately felt like the bard took advantage of Ashleigh during a highly charged emotional moment) and Alistair told her that while it was not something he wants to remember, but he never thought less of her for it, and understands why.
They married in a highly public wedding not too long after Ashleigh came back from visiting Par Vollen, and their affectionate manner with each other quickly won over most of their citizens.
With Ashleigh's duties split between the Crown and the Warden Order for many years, Alistair had to learn how to rule with his Queen not by his side a lot, but had a good support system- Teagan, Eamon (he may be a schemer and Ashleigh may not like him but he helped Alistair) and Tasven were there to help him when she couldn't, and they kept in contact when apart.
They had three uninterrupted full years together before Ashleigh left for her search for the Cure. And before she returned it was the hardest years of their relationship. While they had the means to stay in touch and had four small mini reunions during those four years, they were not easy years for Alistair and his people knew it. He and Ashleigh were so used to being there for each other, even when duties took them apart, that not having her nearby was something that took a while to get used to and it took a toll on him as well.
Alistair was one of the people behind Ashleigh eventually contacting the Inquisition.
The actual reunion between the two of them, when her search was done and she came home, was very much public. It was not intentional. He had word she was coming back, and was waiting for her, when he had to go out to Denerim to quell a restless crowd that been stirred up by a rival who wanted to usurp Alistair's position. The crowd turned into a riot, but that riot was ended when Ashleigh came into the picture.
Citizens of Denerim would spread the tale of Queen Ashleigh saving King Alistair's life from an angry rioter, and then the King and Queen would stare at each other for a few moments before they heard their King apparently growl "Finally," and haul her into a very public kiss.
Ashleigh had Alistair take the cure, and luckily he survived. With Ashleigh's return their relationship became stronger than ever, and they were able to fulfill one of their dreams- having a family.
It started off rocky at first, but eventually things got better. Once he was able to honestly see the truth about his father, the hostility and tension between him and Ashleigh lessened, and he ended up unofficially becoming her right hand at Vigils Keep.
Anders and Ashleigh got along easily well. She viewed him as a little brother, and he ended up seeing her as a big sister, and they called each other that. She likes his charm and humor, and saw a man that hated being confined underneath all that humor. She encouraged him to get more involved with the Wardens, and he was initially the other Warden she come to rely on with matters in Amaranthine. She saw him come into his own as a Warden and was very unhappy when he ran from the Wardens. But she was more angry at the circumstances than anything else.
Things were very much a rollercoaster of sorts with her and Velanna. She knew Velanna only became a Warden because she wanted to be able to find her sister but she came to respect Velanna. Although Velanna would never admit it, she respected Ashleigh as well. Velanna did disappear for a bit after the Architect was killed to find her sister. She did find her, although she had to kill her sister as she had devolved into madness. With nowhere else to go Velanna returned to the Wardens, telling Ashleigh what had happened.
Velanna was the one that sent word to Ashleigh about what happened after Ashleigh had gone back to Denerim- the First Warden had sent people to Vigils Keep ovveriding everything that had previously been accomplished, and about Anders. After Ashleigh restored order to Vigils Keep, and officially made Nathaniel Howe the Warden Commander in her absences, she had Velanna placed as Nathaniel's right hand for all matters.
Ashleigh found herself charmed by the young dwarf, and she and Sigrun got along quite well. (will expand more later)
Ashleigh never really knew what to do with Justice, other than making a promise to help the spirit get back into the Fade when things settled in Amaranthine. She did indeed try to, reaching out to other Wardens who might have knowledge in this, but in the end her efforts failed when she heard about Anders and Justice merging.
Ashleigh suffers from PTSD, formed from the events at Highever Castle, exacerbated from the Blight and given strength during her search for the Calling. For the most part she is usually fine, but there will be times during gatherings and celebrations where she has panic attacks and flashbacks.
She has scars, but most of them are not visible. She has a scar on a cheek, three long scars on her back, and a few smalls ones that are on her legs and arms from her time in battles.
She wears a set of armor made from the Archdemon's hide and scales. It's dark purple. She also has a sword that was made from one it's teeth but she hardly uses it. She tends to favor Starfang mostly.
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Animal: Mabari
Date of Birth: Harvestmere 14.