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The daughter of Bryce and Eleanor Cousland who joined the Grey Wardens after a horrific tragedy. After slaying the Archdemon she became the Warden-Commander of Ferelden and king Alistairs beloved queen.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Physical Appearance[edit | edit source]
Cainwen has darkbrown hair which she keeps in a bun and blue-green eyes. Years of training in the martial arts has made her very well trained.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Generally nice and diplomatic. Just don´t get her angry...
Cainwen has a strong sense of justice. It is important to punish those who have caused harm to others, but it is equally important to be able to show mercy. What true justice is and how to enforce it is something that is on her mind a lot. There are situations where her judgment can be clouded, for example when something bad happens to her loved ones or an injustice happens before her eyes. But she tries to be as just as she can in all situations.
Talents and Skills[edit | edit source]
Cainwen is very good with sword and shield fighting. Those skills were honed for years under the tutelage of several teachers. At first she wanted to use a greatsword but had trouble wielding it. At a suggestion of a guard named Darian she tried training with a longsword which she felt suited her more. After she felt more confidence in her ability to wield the sword, she started to train using a shield as well.
She is also quite knowledgeable about diplomacy and other social skills. She knew her brother would eventually become the next teyrn, but she also knew there were things that were expected of her as well. Therefore she always found time to study in the library after weapons training.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Cainwen was born to Bryce and Eleanor Cousland at Highever. She and her older brother Fergus share a very strong bond since their childhood. Her childhood was very happy, she spent a lot of time with Fergus and his friends. There were times when he had to go away on journeys - often accompanying their father - and she would remember everything that happened at Highever so she could tell him when he got back. Cainwen also spent a lot of time with the guards. It was from them she learned the basics of swordplay. As she grew older her skills grew yet she never stopped trying to improve herself.
History[edit | edit source]
Still feeling the loss of her family and home Cainwen threw herself into being a Grey Warden. If she hadn´t she knew she would be lost. Her feelings for Duncan was very complicated. On one hand she resented him for taking her away from her parents. On the other she knew that she would have died along with them, and that someone had to survive otherwise Howe´s betrayal would go unavenged. Another reason was the threat of the Blight which threatened everyone. So for now duty was all that remained for her to focus on - duty of joining the Grey Wardens and then fight the Blight.
When she and Duncan arrived at Ostagar they were greeted by none other than king Cailan himself. He was sympathetic to her loss and promised that justice would be done. Sadly they couldn´t contact Fergus since he was out scouting in the wilds.
Duncan instructed her to find Alistair a fellow Grey Warden. After having found and greeted two other recruits - Daveth and ser Jory - she finally found him. Despite everything that had happened to her - the loss of her family and not being able to reunite with Fergus - she began to feel more at ease in his company. The first time she saw darkspawn she nearly froze but Alistair got her moving again. Cainwen learned to accept her fear of the creatures but didn´t let her fear rule her. The creatures were terrifying but ultimately they were just like any foe and could be killed. This is what I have been training for.
After leaving Lothering Cainwen and her party set out for Redcliffe first, following Alistair´s advice about how arl Eamon could help. However upon arriving Alistair told her about his parentage - he was the son of the late king Maric. Cainwen was at first surprised and a little stung that he didn´t trust her. He quickly reassured her that it wasn´t that he didn´t trust her. He just wanted her to see him not as a prince but as a person. Cainwen could understand and relate to that, after all the times when someone had looked at her and only saw "Lady Cousland" instead of "Cainwen".
When they reached the bridge they were met by a man named Thomas, who told them of the situation in the village and that Arl Eamon was ill. Despite the fact that Morrigan and Sten thought it was a waste of time, Cainwen was firm in her desicion to help defend Redcliffe. As she walked the streets she felt doubt begin to chip away at her. Wherever she looked she saw villagers whose lives her actions would directly impact. This time she didnt have anyone to turn to, not her father not Duncan, she was the one who needed to step up. By talking to Murdock the mayor of Redcliffe and ser Perth a knight, she found out what kind of improvements were needed to defend the village. After promising Owen the smith that she would find his daughter who was trapped in the castle in return of him repairing armor to the defenders, and paying Dwyn to help, the morale of the villagers improved greatly.
The preparations held up fine. At night when the undead attacked again they were met with fierce resistance. Even though the battle went on the entire night, the villagers fought for their lives with Cainwen and her friends supporting them.
In order to save Connor Cainwen chose to go to the Circle of Magi. But when the party reached lake Calenhad they discovered that no boats were allowed to cross over to the tower from the docks. The whole thing gave Cainwen a feeling that something was very wrong and that made her feel a stronger sense of urgency. They managed to get across after Morrigan persuaded a templar named Caroll to let them cross. When they arrived at the tower itself, they found total chaos. People were running around, people lay wounded in the foyer and there was an aura of terror in the air. In the midst of the room stood a tall, grizzled man who was barking out orders. Cainwen assumed he must be the one in charge. It turned our correct - the man was Gregoir Knight Commmander of the Ferelden Circle and he gave a grim answer to her plea for aid. The Circle was in no condition to give any aid, unless the abominations were stopped. In the hope of saving any survivors in the tower, as well as Connor and the need for mages in the battle against the Blight, she agreed to enter the infested tower, and restore order.
The Circle tower proved to be a different kind of challenge for Cainwen. In the tower she faced the dreaded abominations for the first time. They were not only deadly in battle, but they also exploded moments after they were killed. Cainwen and her friends learned to quickly move away after slaying the monsters. There were times when that strategy wasn't possible. Once she ended up in the middle of a group of abominations and was burned rather badly as a result. Wynne - a senior enchanter they encountered - and Morrigan managed to heal her. Ultimately the worst part was that they had once been human or elven mages who feel victim to demonic possesion. That made her think of Connor and she moved more quickly.
Post-game[edit | edit source]
After defeating the Archdemon, getting crowned queen and marrying Alistair Cainwen returned to her duties as Warden Commander. She travelled to Vigil´s keep in Amaranthine to start rebuilding the Wardens. Upon arriving she realized that there were still trouble...
Relationships[edit | edit source]
Alistair: Cainwen and Alistair quickly formed a bond of friendship and camaraderie.
Baldur: Cainwens loyal mabari.
Morrigan: Cainwen was at first wary of her, both because of her abrasive attitude and also because Morrigan was the first apostate Cainwen had met. The way she talked to and treated Alistair didn´t exactly endear her to Cainwen either. But after many talks where she found out how Morrigan was raised made her understand the other woman as well. As for her status as an apostate she taught Cainwen about how there were many kinds of magic in the world and that the Chantry wasn´t right about everything. What really sealed their friendship was when Cainwen faced down Flemeth for Morrigan´s sake.
Leliana: When they met in Lothering Cainwen quickly took a liking to Leliana, even if she didn´t really know what to make of the vision she talked about. Nevertheless they gradually got close and discovered they had a lot in common, like their love of shoes...
Wynne: Cainwen first met Wynne in Ostagar and while there wasn't time to really get to know the mage, Cainwen took a liking to her because of her calm and friendly manner. Later on they met again in Kinloch hold when they fought side by side to save the Circle. A lot of people might have been surprised of how she got on so well with both Wynne and Morrigan despite their clashing views of mages and the Circle. But Cainwen felt that both her friends had valuable life experiences and provided different perspectives.
Zevran: Cainwen became friends with Zevran but the way they met was when he tried to kill her and Alistair. It was Loghain whom, when he learned that they survived Ostagar, ordered them killed.
Sten: When Cainwen first saw the imprisoned Qunari she pitied him, she wondered what he had done to be imprisoned like that. When she learned that he had butchered an entire farmhold she was horrified, and she felt very conflicted on what to do with him. On one hand she felt that justice needed to be served. Sten was guilty there was no doubt about it. On the other hand justice sometimes called for mercy, and locking someone up to be left for the darkspawn was a fate she wouldn't wish on her worst enemy. And he could do penance while fighting the Blight. Leliana vouched for Cainwen and the revered mother gave them the key to the cage. After freeing Sten the party left Lothering quickly, since they didn't want risk angering the locals.
Oghren: At first glance Cainwen didn't think much of Oghren, although she did feel for him when she heard about how his wife Branka and the rest of their house had disappared in the Deep Roads. But after she helped him find his wife, bonded over a mug of ale and Cainwen helped him reconnect with Felsi, they formed a bond of comrades and friends.
Velanna: They did not get a good start. Murder is something that Cainwen judges harshly. But she also had a lot of sympathy for Velanna's plight of losing everyone and her sister being taken by the darkspawn. There was also the pressing matter of more Wardens being needed, so she allowed Velanna to join when she asked. In time they grew to rely on each other in battle and a bond was forged, even though it was strained by Cainwen's decision to kill the Architect. Because of that they lost track of Velanna's sister Seranni.
Nathaniel: Despite their families being friends they never actually met until she heard of a thief who was difficult to apprehend. When Nathaniel introduced himself Cainwen got a shock. Despite the fact that the Highever massacre was several months past, the scars of losing her family were still raw. She heard him out and ignored the voice inside that kept screaming at her to either hang him or send him away. But the more rational part of her knew it would be an injustice if she hung him for being a Howe, and there was a great need of Wardens so she conscripted him. The more they talked the more she understood that he was unaware of a lot about his father. A groundskeeper named Samuel directed them to Amaranthine where Nathaniel's sister Delilah lived with her husband. After speaking with her he began to make his peace with his family's past. Nathaniel and Cainwen ended up ultimately as the best of friends.
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
- After the massacre at Highever that claimed so many lives Cainwen is afraid to end up in a situation where she is trapped. That is why she always keep an eye for where the exits are located every time she is in a building. And if she is to enter a situation where she expects trouble, she makes sure to have an emergency plan in case things go wrong.
- Cainwen has an interest in making and decorating cakes. It is not something she has had a lot of opportunities to practice though. At Highever there were cooks who took care of making the food, and when she is on the road the ingredients that she needs isn't in large supply.