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Danevhen "D" Lavellan was leading a carefree life as a Dalish hunter, scout, and messenger for Keeper Deshanna when he attended the Conclave on a reconnaissance mission and walked away with an unimaginably altered future. After reluctantly serving as Inquisitor, he retired to Wycome.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Miscellaneous
- 5 Links
- 6 Gallery
Danevhen is tall by elven standards and leanly built, bordering on skinny at times. Like many of his family members, he has red hair, freckles, heavy eyebrows and violet eyes which sometimes appear blue or gray, depending on the light. Running along the underside of his jaw on the left is a long scar which he's had ever since his niece Samahla's magic first showed itself. Danevhen has rather small ears for an elf, and he's extremely self-conscious about it.
Danevhen possesses a facile mind and is insatiably curious about the world around him, especially different races and cultures. He's outgoing, charming, has a corny sense of humor, and makes friends easily. As a friend he's open-minded and supportive, a good listener, and eager to help in any way he can if there's trouble, although he has a tendency to give unwanted advice.
He's also restless and has trouble with commitments to romantic partners and to causes. Although he evolves past this to a fair degree during his time as Inquisitor, there's always a little voice in his head saying, "Run away, leave all this behind, go somewhere where no one knows you and start a new life." He never acts on it, but the thought is there nevertheless. Needless to say, he's also very conflict-avoidant, and when faced with a difficult personal situation has a tendency to disappear both physically and emotionally.
Danevhen is not a natural leader, and tends to make decisions with his heart instead of his head. This can be problematic since he's a terrible judge of people and their motivations and tends to be far too trusting, even gullible. As Inquisitor he relies heavily on his advisors, seeing them as co-leaders rather than subordinates.
He's a relentless morning person.
Talents and Skills
As Inquisitor, Danevhen hones his combat skills, which were initially instilled in him by his mentor Bel'assana, who believed that a Dalish hunter should not only be able to take down prey, but also stand ready to defend the clan against any threat. He's quick and formidable with his daggers and prefers those in combat, although he's also perfectly competent with a bow.
Danevhen also has a set of more prosaic skills: he's a creative cook with a weakness for sweets and halla cheese, and learned to carve during his failed apprenticeship with his father Shiran, who was a master craftsman. What his carvings lack in finesse, they make up for in conveying movement and emotion.
In addition, Danevhen is exceedingly proud of his carefully-honed carnal skills.
Danevhen was born to Shiran Lavellan and his second bondmate, Laisa. At the time of his birth, Shiran was already in his sixties and Laisa's health was beginning to fail. They considered him their miracle child, and therefore doted on him. He has three considerably older siblings and several nieces and nephews who are close to him in age.
From the time Danevhen was a toddler, Laisa was aravel-bound due to her health, so the responsibility of raising him fell largely to his oldest sister, Adahla, whose third child, Samahla, was roughly a year older than him. The two children had a fierce rivalry and squabbled endlessly, although they occassionally presented a united front in the face of discipline from the clan's adults.
As an adolescent, Danevhen began spending much of his time alone exploring the areas surrounding his clan's camp, and there met and befriended a pair of human twins, Elliot and Emmaline Medina. He was with the twins when his mother finally succumbed to her illness. His father Shiran, furious that Danevhen wasn't there during his mother's final moments and determined to reform his irresponsible ways, decided to take a firmer hand with the boy by making him his own apprentice. It was a poor fit; Danevhen wanted to be a hunter and was resentful of his time in his father's workshop, and he lacked Shiran's natural talent. On the eve of his sixteenth birthday, Shiran released Danevhen from his apprenticeship.
By his late teens, Danevhen's curious and questing nature was making him restless with clan life, and Keeper Deshanna, concerned that he would abandon the clan altogether, began to use him to run errands. In addition to liaising with other clans, Danevhen often found himself interacting with humans, either to make legitimate trades or to obtain elven texts or artifacts that the Keeper was seeking through whatever means necessary.
When the Conclave was announced, therefore, Danevhen was the most logical person to send as a spy, given his experience traveling alone and his many interactions with humans.
As a proud, if not precisely devout, Dalish elf, Danevhen never believed that he was the Herald of Andraste, nor did he believe that Andraste possessed any measure of divinity. During the months following the Conclave, he had little loyalty to the Inquisition as an organization; his plan was always to close the breach and, if he survived, use his newfound fame to better the lives of elves across Thedas. That changed following the destruction of Haven, when he saw that, despite his own feelings on the matter, the people were counting on him to be a leader. He reluctantly embraced the role, though he was never comfortable with it, and devoted himself to the daunting task of trying to act in the best interest of his followers and Thedas as a whole.
One of Danevhen's first significant acts as Inquisitor was to meet with the mages at Redcliffe, where Dorian told him of Alexius' plans. Being the trusting soul that he is, Danevhen immediately (and in this case, rightfully) believed Dorian's version of the tale that Alexius was trying to spin, and over the objections of some of his advisors, immediately stepped in to help the mages.
When Varric's friend Hawke introduced Danevhen to Warden Stroud, Danevhen found himself engaged in a battle that culminated with him (as well as Hawke, Stroud, Solas, Varric and Cassandra) trapped physically within the Fade. It became clear that someone would have to stay behind to allow the others to escape, and acting on instinct, Danevhen agreed that Stroud should be the one to make the sacrifice. The decision was based less on political expedience than Danevhen's unwillingness to order the presumable death of Varric's closest friend. Upon returning to the physical world, he took pity on the remaining Wardens and allowed them to rebuild as allies of the Inquisition.
The next major duty that Danevhen undertook was to foil Corypheus's plot to assassinate the Empress of Orlais. He found the politics of the Winter Palace to be overwhelming and disorienting, but was nevertheless well-received by the court thanks to his easy sense of humor and unfailing respect for others' integrity, not to mention Josephine's careful coaching. Danevhen felt that he had no business upending the political structure of a sovereign nation, and therefore worked to keep Celene on the throne, although the romantic in him couldn't help but reunite her with Briala once he realized that they had a history.
From there, Danevhen eventually found himself at the Temple of Mythal, accompanied by Celene's erstwhile arcane advisor, Morrigan. He relished the opportunity to ally with Abelas and his sentinels, but found himself at a loss when it came to deciding what to do with the Well of Sorrows. On one hand, given that he had a duty to defeat Corypheus (not to mention the fact that his lover Dorian vehemently objected), he felt that he couldn't drink from the Well himself and risk being under some other being's control. On the other hand, he was wary of Morrigan's intentions, though letting her drink seemed like the more prudent choice. In the end, his best friend Kitai , who'd accompanied him into the Temple, took the decision out of his hands by drinking from the Well herself.
After Corypheus's death, Leliana was named Divine, a decision which was met with Danevhen's hearty approval. The two of them worked well together over the ensuing years. When Divine Victoria convened the Exalted Council, Danevhen seized the chance to dissolve the Inquisition, having never wanted that much power himself and, at some level, fearing what it could do in someone else's hands.
Following the loss of his arm to Fen'Harel, Danevhen was ill for several weeks, fighting off a persistent infection. Having given it considerable thought and discussed it with his best friends and his lover during that time, he decided that he was no longer the right person to spearhead efforts against the most recent threat to Thedas; years of an unwanted leadership role and violence had left him demoralized, and he wanted nothing more than to relinquish his power to someone more fit to lead.
Danevhen "retired" to Wycome, where he bonded with his lover Joaquin Calderon in the Dalish tradition and was able to see his family members and closest friends on a regular basis. There, he filled his time with a variety of odd jobs—tending bar at his favorite tavern/inn, helping the local Red Jenny with the occasional mission, minding the counter at his friends' apothecary shop, and looking after his clan's little ones as well as his stepchild, Andrea.
Although he was never as close with those that he met during his time as Inquisitor as he was with friends and family that pre-dated the Conclave, Danevhen's gregarious nature ensured that he got along well with most of the companions. He was closest with Solas, whom he saw as a hahren-type figure; Cassandra, whose integrity and steadfastness he admired even though they disagreed on many issues; and Sera, whom he regarded as a little sister. In addition, he greatly enjoyed Varric's company and typically got along with the Iron Bull, although he kept his distance until Bull came to realize that his frequent remarks about the desirability of redheads weren't appreciated. Although he felt that he didn't fully understand Cole, Danevhen treated him respectfully and assisted him in taking a more human form.
His interactions with Blackwall and with Vivienne were always cordial, if somewhat cool. Trusting soul that he is, Danevhen never suspected Blackwall of duplicity, but nevertheless, the man rubbed him the wrong way from the start. He struck Danevhen as rather sanctimonious despite his self-depreciating comments, and Danevhen sometimes wondered if his unsolicited advice implied that he thought that Danevhen wasn't suited for the role of Inquisitor. When Blackwall was arrested, Danevhen didn't interfere for several reasons. First, Blackwall himself seemed to believe that his arrest, and any punishment that would follow, was fair and just, and Danevhen felt that it would undermine Blackwall's autonomy to free him against his wishes. Second, since the crime in question was committed by an Orlesian officer in Orlais against Orlesians long before the Inquisition was founded, it seemed to him that it was far beyond his jurisdiction to interfere. Finally, there was a political consideration; he had recently cemented an alliance with Empress Celene after assisting her in securing her position, and felt that it would compromise the strength of that relationship if he were to question her jurisprudence.
When it came to Vivienne, Danevhen was always polite, although he disagreed with about every third word she said. Granted, the same could be said for Cassandra, with whom he developed a great friendship, but Danevhen always wondered if Vivienne's haughtiness was due, in part, to his race. Regardless, when Vivienne asked him for a favor he seized upon the opportunity to mend his cool relationship with her, although he was frustrated by her refusal to give into his demands to tell him why, precisely, she required the heart of a snowy wyvern. From that point onward, they maintained a hesitant amicability that likely looked like friendship from the outside, although neither of them would have classified it as such.
Danevhen was romantically involved with Dorian from shortly after they met in Guardian 9:42 until a few months after Corypheus's death in Bloomingtide 9:43.
Irrepressible flirt that he is, Danevhen made his interest in Dorian clear early on, only moments after the two of them were transported forward in time by Alexius' amulet. Having assessed their situation, Dorian encouraged Danevhen to take the lead in exploring the dungeons, saying "I'll be right behind you." "Yes, please!" answered Danevhen. His timing left something to be desired, but from that point forward, all of their interactions featured a decidedly flirtatious turn.
It was only a matter of days before their relationship became intimate, consistent with Danevhen's typical trajectory regarding lovers. What wasn't typical, however, was that after a few months, he found himself wanting something beyond sex and friendship. He was in equal parts ecstatic and terrified when he found that Dorian, too, was open to the prospect of a romantic connection.
For the next several months, their relationship blossomed. Dorian was Danevhen's constant companion both on missions and in their bed at Skyhold, and Danevhen came to rely on him, not only as a lover, but as a trusted friend and advisor. If the occasional crack appeared when Danevhen worked up the nerve to initiate a discussion about their future only to have Dorian dodge the question with a flippant remark, it was easy enough to attribute it to the stress they were both under and postpone the conversation. Dorian, for his part, continuously grappled with his jealousy and suspicions regarding Danevhen's affectionate relationship with his best friend and former lover, Terren.
When Dorian announced that he wanted to return to Tevinter to aid his homeland, Danevhen supported the decision despite his trepidation regarding the future of their relationship, and shortly after Corypheus was defeated, Dorian departed for the first time.
Danevhen made multiple trips to Minrathous to see Dorian, countering his objections that he didn't want "the Inquisitor" interfering with reassurances that he was there only as a friend and a lover. Regardless, what had seemed easy when they were roaming Thedas' countryside together was now becoming increasingly complex as their cultural differences asserted themselves. Danevhen was dismayed at Dorian's ability to embrace a society that so terribly subjugated elves, and felt that Dorian was betraying his principles by partnering with the same corrupt Magisters that he wanted to eventually depose. Dorian resented Danevhen's objections, since he'd made it clear that he didn't want him to be involved in his work, and felt that he wasn't making a significant effort to understand the subtle political maneuvering in which the Lucerni party was engaged.
The simmering tension came to a head when Danevhen paid Dorian an unexpected visit, hoping that some spontaneity would help mend their relationship. Dorian was distinctly unhappy to see him; he was entertaining a powerfully potential ally, one Magister Caelius, nephew to Archon Radonis and no friend to the Inquisition. Desperate to salvage the visit, Danevhen agreed to lay low until the Magister had departed, but he became concerned when he saw the teenage slave who was accompanying Caelius. His concerns turned to alarm when he heard Dorian's servants gossiping about the girl, who was being used to fuel blood magic. That evening, Danevhen confronted Dorian about it, demanding to know why he let such things go on under his roof. Dorian protested that he'd tried to remove the girl through legitimate means, by having an associate offer to buy her, but that Caelius refused to sell. Danevhen contended that by allying with Caelius, Dorian was endorsing his mistreatment of the girl; Dorian argued that with Caelius's support, he'd be able to benefit hundreds or thousands like her, and it wasn't worth jeopardizing the partnership over one slave.
Danevhen decided to take matters into his own hands, and that night he roused the girl, Aurelia, from her bed, intending to flee with her. Aurelia, however, refused to leave while Caelius was still alive, fearing that if deprived of her, he would put her younger sister to the same use. She was prepared to kill him herself, but Danevhen, thinking to spare a young girl the weight of having taken a life, did the deed instead, slitting Caelius's throat in his sleep. Although he'd killed many times before, that was the first time that Danevhen felt like a murderer. As he left the Magister's room, blood on his hands and his dagger, he was confronted by Dorian. A brief, tense standoff ensued, but ultimately Dorian allowed him to leave peacefully with Aurelia.
Left with a powerful dead Magister in his home, Dorian worked to ensure that the murder was attributed to Aurelia, since word of the Inquistor's involvement would be devastating to both the Inquisition and his own Lucerni party, not to mention likely to result in harsh punishment for him and his staff. As Dorian assumed he would, Danevhen smuggled Aurelia out of the country and provided her with a new name and identity. Although rumors swirled regarding Caelius's death, the official judgment was that he was killed by a resentful slave who likely died during her subsequent attempt at an unaided escape.
Danevhen and Dorian had no contact after that until the Exalted Council, at which time they reconciled to a degree. However, they would never again consider each other friends, much less lovers.
Kitai and Terren Lavellan
A few generations before Danevhen was born, the Lavellan clan became quite large. Concerned that they would attract the attention of templars, the Keeper at the time split the clan in two, with both clans retaining the Lavellan name. When Danevhen was a child and young adult, his Clan Lavellan was led by Keeper Deshanna, and frequently traveled in parallel with the Clan Lavellan led by Keeper Shalelan. Danevhen's two closest friends, the twins Kitai and Terren Lavellan, hail from Shalelan's clan.
Despite their clans having camped together when they were children, Danevhen never took any notice of the twins, being four years older and part of a different social group. When he was eighteen, he briefly encountered fourteen year-old Terren at Arlathvhen and gave him some friendly advice regarding romantic relations with boys. Four years later, in his work as a messenger for Keeper Deshanna, Danevhen was sent to his sister clan with messages of goodwill and to secure their help in retrieving an elven artifact believed to be in the possession of a nearby noble.
Danevhen and Terren were instantly attracted to each other, and soon began a sexual relationship that would last the next three years. At the same time, they forged a deep friendship characterized by gentle teasing and a level of trust that allowed them to forthrightly discuss the most serious issues in their lives. Often, though, words weren't necessary—they took strength from simple togetherness. An outside observer likely would have thought that they were deeply in love, and indeed, Danevhen did come to love Terren during that time. It was always as a friend, however, and he never had any romantic feelings for him. After his affair with another longtime friend, Elliot, ended disastrously, Danevhen came to the conclusion that the sexual aspect of their relationship had the potential to endanger their friendship, and told Terren they could no longer sleep together.
"Mongrel" (Danevhen) and "Mutt" (Terren), as they call each other, became even closer once their friendship no longer contained a sexual element. It did, however, retain a physical element; the two men continued to flirt with each other, although there was a line that was clear only to the two of them that neither would cross. They continued to demonstrate their affection for each other through physical touch, something that would later become problematic in Danevhen's relationship with Dorian.
Upon learning that Danevhen was the man that they were calling "The Herald of Andraste," Terren came to Haven, and remained with the Inquisition for as long as he felt that Danevhen needed him there, only departing Skyhold on a longterm basis approximately a year before Danevhen ultimately dissolved the organization. They remain extremely close.
Their relationship is well-summarized by these words that Danevhen wrote to Terren shortly before the assault on the Darvaarad, when he was certain that he was going to die:
"You and me, we’ve never talked about what we are to each other because we’ve never needed to. I love you, mutt, and I know that you’ve always understood exactly what that means even when everyone else in the world seemed determined to misunderstand it. Once I tried explaining to Dorian that you were my best friend, and it felt like a lie because it seemed so inadequate. Everyone has a best friend, but I have something more than that, something a million times greater. I have you. All these years, you’ve always let me be absolutely myself without demands and without judgment, and I think I’ve finally figured out how to say it. You’re my home, Terren. You are the one place where I always belong and that I can always go back to."
In contrast to the early shifts in the nature of Danevhen and Terren's relationship, Danevhen and Kitai established what would become their lasting dynamic almost as soon as they met, when Danevhen asked her to assist him in recovering an elven artifact being held by a nearby nobleman. They quickly discovered that they were well-matched in terms of intellect (though Kitai has a slight edge), physical ability and skill set, and soon came to regard each other as equals, something neither of them were accustomed to. Those early days also saw them develop a style of playful banter that allowed them to test their wit against a capable conversation partner. Perhaps most central to the nature of their friendship, they became physically expressive in how they communicated with each other. Although their relationship is strictly platonic, it is highly tactile, and they seem to lack the concept of personal space when it comes to each other. One might frequently find them sitting with their arms around one another or with Kitai in Danevhen's lap, cuddling in bed, eating off of the other's plate, or drinking from the same bottle of wine.
Perhaps surprisingly given that they can both be so verbally expressive, when faced with difficult times, they frequently show their support by simply being present for the other with very little discussion. There are several noteworthy examples of this. For instance, when Danevhen arrived at his sister clan's camp following the death of Kitai's bondmate, Daranil, Terren told him that he was concerned about how much time Kitai was spending alone. Danevhen found her in the woods not far from camp, and for the next couple of weeks he simply stayed close, spending long hours hunting with her. Two years later, when Danevhen was struggling to adjust to his role as Inquisitor, Kitai could often be found sharing his bed, the two of them simply holding each other. After the Exalted Council, when Danevhen was physically ill and agitated by the revelations laid out by Solas, both Kitai and Terren spent large amounts of time in his quarters, reading excepts from All This Shit is Weird or simply chatting quietly.
One of the pivotal moments in their friendship took place at the Temple of Mythal in the Arbor Wilds. Kitai had accompanied Danevhen on that mission, and was therefore present when the party reached the Well of Sorrows. Although it briefly occurred to Danevhen that Kitai would be the ideal person to drink from the Well—after all, she was a Dalish elf like himself, he trusted her explicitly, and she wasn't trying to bear the responsibilities of being Inquisitor— he didn't suggest it, because of all those present, including himself and his lover Dorian, Kitai was the one person he was unwilling to risk. Ultimately, she took the decision out of his hands, pushing Morrigan out of the way and drinking from the Well herself.
Danevhen knew that she had acted at least in part for his benefit, and he was overcome with gratitude. Kitai, however, was unwilling to add to his burden and rejected his thanks, declaring that she hadn't done it for him. Ultimately, that allowed them to maintain the balance in their relationship without him feeling indebted to her, and they remain the closest of friends.
Danevhen met Joaquin Calderon, the man who would eventually become his bondmate, while visiting his clan in Wycome in Solace 9:43, seven months after the death of Corypheus and a mere two months after he broke up with Dorian.
At Charter's urging, Danevhen met with Joaquin, an influential member of Wycome's underworld, in the man's office in the back of an inn near the docks. During the period of unrest and subsequent battle in Wycome's alienage a year earlier, Joaquin had been instrumental in assisting the elves and the Inquisition, and Charter hoped that Danevhen would be able to further cement the alliance.
Their meeting got off to a poor start, as each of them tried to get the upper hand in the exchange. Soon, however, Danevhen realized that Joaquin might be the solution to a problem that had been plaguing him. After his disastrous final trip to Minrathous, during which Danevhen broke up with Dorian, murdered a magister, and escaped with a teenage slave, there were two issues left unresolved. First, the girl, Aurelia (who was then going by the name "Natalia") was concerned that her younger sister, Thea, might have fallen into an even more dangerous situation following the death of Magister Caelius. Second, Danevhen was painfully aware that the murder had likely left Dorian in a precarious legal situation, and he felt a fair amount of guilt about that. He was loathe to involve the Inquisition in either matter, since if the murder were to be discovered, he wanted to ensure that he alone, and not the entire organization, would bear the consequences.
Joaquin, given his many connections and his unblemished reputation for "fixing" difficult situations, seemed like the perfect solution to this dilemma, although it was not without trepidation that Danevhen hired him to extract Thea from Tevinter and anonymously transfer a large sum of gold to Dorian to defray any legal costs that he might have incurred.
The tension of that first meeting culminated in the beginning of an affair, which was at first strictly physical as Danevhen, who was struggling with both his recent breakup and feelings of isolation and alienation from his friends and family, refused to allow even a hint of emotional intimacy between them. The dynamic shifted one day when Danevhen was preparing to leave directly after they had sex, as he always did, and Joaquin pointedly asked him to stay. In the raw, emotionally honest conversation that followed, both men confided in each other regarding weighty matters in their own lives.
The following morning, Danevhen received word that a large sum of money had been withdrawn from his account, as he'd intended, but that a considerably smaller amount had later been deposited in Lord Dorian Pavus's account. The only logical explanation was that Joaquin had swindled him, and Danevhen, hurt but determined to avoid a confrontation that he knew could end in Joaquins death, fled. Fortunately, Joaquin caught up to him. He explained that the money had gone to a friend who was in need of it, a man whose work involved helping slaves escape Tevinter, but that he had just learned that he'd been murdered and the money stolen. Not only that, but since his friend was to aid in extracting Thea from the country, Joaquin was now going to do it himself. It seemed foolhardy to Danevhen, and although he was still furious that Joaquin had misappropriated the money meant for Dorian, he reluctantly agreed to accompany him into Tevinter for Thea's sake.
As they spent long days on the road to the Tevinter border and delved into hostile territory, Danevhen and Joaquin gradually began to repair the broken trust between them—or, to be more accurate, they began to form a healthy and mutually supportive friendship from the ground up. After a number of weeks, they also became physically intimate once again, and by the time they returned to Wycome with Thea and Danevhen prepared to depart for Skyhold, he deeply regretted the separation.
They wrote frequently in the ensuing months, and when Joaquin later traveled to Skyhold to reunite Thea (who had been staying in Wycome) with her sister, they mutually committed to their burgeoning relationship.
The strength of their bond was tested when Joaquin's former fiancé, whom he had believed to be dead, returned with a child who strongly resembled him. It was precisely the sort of complication that Danevhen, who generally prefers to avoid interpersonal conflict, would once have fled. By that point in his life, however, he felt that he'd sacrificed enough, and he had no intention of forfeiting his relationship with Joaquin simply because a former love was back in his life. He traveled to Wycome to demonstrate his dedication, and encouraged Joaquin's relationship with the child.
Six months later, Danevhen wrote to Joaquin directly before departing for the Darvaarad, where he was sure that he was going to die. In the letter, he expressed his love and his regret for how short the time between them was and the fact that the three of them (Danevhen, Joaquin, and his child Andrea, who was in his custody by then) never had the opportunity to live together as a family. Upon receiving the letter, Joaquin traveled to Skyhold, where he reunited with a very-much-alive Danevhen. They were bonded not long after and remain together, sharing their lives and a small house in Wycome.
Elliot and Emmaline Medina
Danevhen met the Medina twins, Elliot and Emmaline, when he was fourteen years old and Clan Lavellan was camped near Wycome. On that day, he'd been in the woods by himself when he heard voices and discovered two humans close to his own age gathering elfroot. He was determined to drive them off and away from his clan's camp, but Emmaline in particular wasn't remotely deterred by his show of aggression. Instead of them fleeing as he'd intended, they soon struck up a friendship, and spent the remainder of the summer meeting in the forest as often as possible. When Danevhen's clan had to leave suddenly, all three teenagers were bereft, and Danevhen shared one brief parting kiss with Elliot, for whom he'd been developing feelings all summer.
Seven years later, Danevhen found himself traveling to Wycome on an errand for Keeper Deshanna, and he sought out the twins. He and Emmaline almost immediately rekindled their playful, teasing relationship, and he and Elliot picked back up right where they'd left off—with a kiss. They ended up in bed together the night that Danevhen arrived, and every visit thereafter. This arrangement lasted over two years, although it was inconsistent; sometimes Danevhen would appear in Wycome a few times in one month, and then two might pass during which the twins didn't hear a word from him. The only certainty was that he always came back.
As far as Danevhen was concerned, his relationship with Elliot was an uncomplicated scenario in which two good friends chose to have sex, without emotional entanglements or expectations of exclusivity. Indeed, during that time Danevhen was also sleeping with several other men regularly, including Terren, and he made no secret of that fact. Therefore, he was blindsided when one night, Elliot admitted that he had feelings for him and said that he wanted their relationship to be exclusive.
Danevhen, true to his nature, departed at dawn the next morning, only this time, he didn't come back in a month or two. After a few months, he dropped the twins a note to let them know that he was alive and well, but he didn't appear in person. It was over a year later when Danevhen, regretting the loss of his friendship with the twins and anxious to make amends, finally re-appeared at their doorstep.
Both Danevhen and Elliot agreed that there was much to be discussed between the two of them, but against Danevhen's better judgment, they had sex before the conversation happened. They were interrupted by the arrival of a visibly pregnant woman who declared that she was Elliot's wife. As she screamed racial epithets at Danevhen, he again fled, severing ties with Elliot and, by extension, Emmaline.
Almost three years passed before word of the identity of the Inquisitor began to reach Emmaline and Elliot in Wycome. Realizing that this was, in fact, their old friend, Emmaline wrote to Danevhen, as she would have done long before if she had known how to contact him. In the letter, she expressed sincere concern for his well-being and updated him on her life, although she also included a few pointed remarks regarding the fact that he abandoned his friendship with her due to a situation in which she wasn't remotely involved. He replied with an apology, and they proceeding to exchange letters regularly until they were reunited when Danevhen came to Wycome to visit his clan in 9:43. Danevhen and Emmaline reignited a sincere and lasting friendship characterized by obvious affection and playful teasing. While Danevhen was never again particularly close with Elliot, they eventually came to the point where they could once more call each other "friend."
Growing up, Danevhen had an antagonistic, sibling-like relationship with his niece Samahla, who was one year his elder. Given their proximity in age, as small children they were expected to play together so that Danevhen's oldest sibling, Adahla, could care for them in tandem. They weren't compatible playmates, however; even as toddlers. Danevhen was mischievous, energetic, and enjoyed testing any limits placed on him, whereas Samahla was a cerebral rule-follower who was content to quietly soak in the world around her. They disdained each other's company.
Once they were old enough that they no longer required the direct supervision of adults, they fell into a self-perpetuating cycle. Samahla, obedient to a fault, would gleefully report any real or perceived infraction of Danevhen's to the nearest adult. Danevhen, in retaliation, would play pranks on her, contrived to maximize her level of annoyance. She, of course, would then endeavor to see him properly punished, which would only escalate his behavior. Although they knew each other more intimately than anyone else in the clan, at that point in their lives they frequently swore their undying hatred. It was only on rare occasions that they showed solidarity, such as when they were both at risk of being reprimanded or when they or their clan were facing external threats.
Naturally, the larger family dynamics played an explanatory role in their rivalry. Given his father's advanced age and his mother's poor health, Danevhen's own parents were somewhat removed from the day-to-day work of his upbringing. Although Adahla largely filled the parental role, he frequently felt peripheral to the family unit consisting of her, her bondmate, and their three children. Samahla, for her part, was possessive of her mother's attention and resented having to share it with Danevhen as well as her two elder brothers. She also felt that the adults in their lives were too permissive with her young uncle, responding to his antics with the indulgence rather than rules. In reality, both Adahla and Danevhen's parents were aware of the rivalry and consciously strove to ensure that both children were treated equally and fairly, without a hint of favoritism.
Starting when Samahla was twelve and Danevhen almost eleven, their relationship underwent a shift. It began when Danevhen decided to prank his niece by stealing her clothing while she was bathing one afternoon. Samahla, who was just entering puberty, reacted strongly, becoming so enraged that her latent magic erupted from her as a bolt of lightning, leaving a jagged wound on the underside of Danevhen's jaw. Danevhen fled in terror, but Samahla, older and taller, soon caught up with him and bodily dragged him back to camp to be healed by the Keeper. When they were questioned about the incident, each was careful to absolve the other of culpability.
From that point forward, however, Samahla had the upper hand. As the newly-named First of Clan Lavellan, she now had a higher social status than her uncle, and she used her position to criticize him endlessly. Danevhen, refusing to back down, began a campaign of pranks meant to humiliate the proud Samahla, preferably in public. The growing tension between them came to a head when they were in their early teens. During lessons one day, the ever-inquisitive Danevhen asked the hahren what to him seemed a reasonable question: Why pray to the creators if they were trapped in the Beyond and unable to intervene in worldly affairs? The hahren, whose faith exceeded his wisdom, became flustered and was unable to answer the query to Danevhen's satisfaction. Samahla, who'd always been unblinkingly devout, took Danevhen to task, criticizing him harshly for what she termed "heresy." Although Samahla never explicitly encouraged it, the other children began following her lead and excluding Danevhen, wary of his unorthodoxy.
A week later, Samahla opened her trunk in her family's aravel and found a deadly snake inside, hidden amongst her clothing and personal possessions. Furious, she accused Danevhen of planting it there, a charge he vehemently denied. Adahla and his father believed him, but Samahla didn't. Convinced that he'd tried to murder her, she avoided him at all costs; offended by her accusations, he did the same. It wasn't until the clan moved camp six months later that Samahla found the hole mice had eaten in the bottom of her trunk that had allowed the snake entry. Suppressing her pride, she apologized to Danevhen, perhaps for the first time in their lives. They never returned to their childish cycle of pranks and retribution. For the remainder of their teen years and into their early twenties, although Danevhen continued to tease Samahla and she persisted in criticizing him, their rivalry had lost much of its heat. During that time, they even developed a grudging respect for each other. However, she disapproved of his eventual role running errands for Keeper Deshanna, feeling that his immaturity was being indulged, and he begrudged the power she wielded over him as First.
The night before Danevhen was to leave for the Conclave, they made peace and parted on good terms.
Danevhen didn't see his niece again for over a year, until she appeared at Skyhold unannounced a few months after Clan Lavellan had gone to battle to defend Wycome's elves. A staunch advocate of elven rights, she felt that he wasn't doing enough in his role as Inquisitor to further the interests of their people, and accused him of pandering to powerful humans. Danevhen vehemently disagreed with her assessment, arguing that he was trying to better the lives of elves whenever possible. He said that the Inquisition derived its power from its perceived neutrality, which would be undercut if he were to take more overt action. He did, however, sympathize with her position. They were at an impasse, which was resolved when Kitai suggested that the Inquisition quietly fund efforts, to be spearheaded by Samahla. Danevhen agreed, on the condition that diplomacy was the preferred means of reform, with violence only being used as a last resort.
Thus, with the Inquisition's unofficial support, Samahla became the leader of the Elven Rights Movement. She used her newfound position to reach out to elven populations—Dalish clans, alienages, even large staffs of private households—to offer aid in the form of training and support for self-advocacy and templates for elven involvement in government. On rare occasions, the Elven Rights Movement also supplied covert operations to ease or inflame tensions, as needed, or provide arms and tactical support for rebellions when more peaceful means failed to achieve the desired results.
From that point forward, Danevhen and Samahla's relationship settled into what would become its ongoing form. Although adversarial on the surface—they can't be in the same room for ten minutes without Danevhen teasing Samahla or her snapping at him—it is underpinned by trust, devotion, and respect, none of which either of them will ever freely admit to feeling for the other.
Although Danevhen always felt mildly alienated from the Dalish way of life, the most significant relationships in his early life, aside from those listed above, were with his family and clanmates. After retiring to Wycome, he maintained or rekindled as many of these relationships as possible, and can frequently be found joining his clan for celebrations and frequent casual meals.
Shiran: Until Danevhen was fourteen, his father, Shiran, doted on him, treating him more like a treasured grandchild than one of his own children. They adored each other, but there was always some distance in the relationship; although Danevhen slept in his parents' aravel, neither Shiran nor his mother, Laisa, were significantly involved in his day-to-day upbringing. A mischievous child prone to getting into trouble, Danevhen took advantage of his father's indulgence, frequently confessing wrongdoing to him before other adults could find out, trusting that his punishment would be no more severe than a stern word.
After 14 year-old Danevhen was absent for his mother's death despite the best efforts of the clan's hunters to locate him that afternoon, Shiran, furious and resentful of his carelessness, decided to take a firmer hand with the boy. He forced him into a crafting apprenticeship in his own workshop, ignoring Danevhen's pleas for a hunting apprenticeship and as well as his natural aptitude for tracking, stealth, and archery. Working side-by-side. frequently over a hot forge, the two frequently butted heads. Shiran found his teenage son to be intractable and was frustrated by his lack of talent for crafting; Danevhen chafed under his father's impossibly high expectations and a short temper. They would spent up to ten hours a day working together, but in the evenings, Danevhen shunned Shiran's company entirely, always choosing to take his evening meal at a different fire and sleeping in his hammock in the forest rather than in the family's aravel.
On the eve of his sixteenth birthday, Shiran, realizing the futility of making a crafter of Danevhen and seeing the damage it was doing to their relationship, released him to pursue a hunting apprenticeship. Shiran gifted him a hunting blade, one of the finest he'd ever crafted, and it remains Danevhen's most treasured possession. With rare exception, he always keeps it on his person, generally tucked into his belt.
From that point forward, Danevhen and Shiran slowly mended their relationship. Although neither felt like he truly ever understood the other—Danevhen's restlessness and curiosity were as alien to Shiran as his meticulousness and contentment were to Danevhen—they fomented a closeness and mutual respect that had never previously been present. When Danevhen began his work as a messenger for Keeper Deshanna, Shiran was his greatest supporter, and whenever Danevhen was home with the clan, the two men would spend at least one meal together, just the two of them.
After Danevhen became Inquisitor, he wrote to his father periodically. Shiran was illiterate and relied on other members of the clan to read Danevhen's letters to him, but they were nevertheless a source of comfort and joy as his health began to fail him. He died in early 9:42, only days after learning that his son had been named "Inquisitor."
Siblings: Danevhen has three half-siblings—Adahla, Viera, and Faron—who are between 22 and 32 years older than he is.
Adahla, his eldest sister, did much of the hard work of raising him. Although he was a bit of a hellion as a child and was forever challenging her, she was a steady, maternal figure in his life, and he looked to her for guidance. When Danevhen entered his teenage years, the woman with whom he apprenticed largely took over that role, and he and Adahla began to interact more like the siblings they are and enjoy each other's company on roughly equal terms.
Danevhen is not close with his middle sister, Viera, who worked closely with their father as a crafter before her hands were badly burned in a forge accident. The incident left her bitter and did nothing to improve her already short temper, and she had no patience for young Danevhen's antics. He avoided her whenever possible, and once he became an adult, their relationship was nothing more than distantly polite.
Of the three, Danevhen is closest with his brother, Faron, a gentle man whose role in the clan is to care for and teach its very youngest members. Unable to have children of their own, he and his bondmate, Rasha, were always happy to welcome his young brother into their aravel. Throughout Danevhen's time as Inquisitor, the two exchanged letters, with Faron offering unwavering support and wise counsel.
The Lavellan children: Although Danevhen never thought of having children of his own until his bondmate Joaquin's child, Andrea, came into his life, from the time he was in his early teens he adored, and was adored by, the clan's children. Fondly known as "Uncle Danevhen," he could be counted on to eagerly join in whatever games the young elves were playing, letting them ride on his shoulders and pretend he was a halla or acting the part of a giant intent on crushing them, a game which inevitably culminated in him enacting a dramatic death scene. He was less constrained than the other adults and willing to give himself over fully to whatever fantastical world they were creating, dissolving into laughter right along with them when they caught the eye of a confused elder. Around the campfires in the evenings, the children would often clamor for a story from Uncle Danevhen, which became more and more outlandish the further his travels as Deshanna's messenger took him. His ongoing series about his arch-nemesis, a giant squid called rasdelelan or da'manean (slayer of tiny fish) which he affectionately called ras manean (fog fish) for short, never failed to send them into fits of giggles.
Of these children, Danevhen is closest with his nephew Viresem. As detailed below under "Miscellaneous/fears," Danevhen was responsible for bringing the newly-orphaned Viresem to the Lavellan Clan, where he was adopted by Faron and Rasha. At first, Danevhen's devotion to the child was based solely on their shared history, but as Viresem grew up, their personalities also proved to be compatible. Cocky and sweet in turn, young Viresem had his uncle entirely under his spell, and Danevhen spoiled him shamelessly.
When Viresem was almost eleven, he confronted Danevhen with a question that had been plaguing him: Why had Danevhen saved his life the first time they met, when he was only an infant, but failed to save his mother's? Although Danevhen answered Viresem's queries patiently and with deep sympathy for the intent behind him, the truth was that that line of questioning was distinctly painful, as he had often blamed himself for the death of Viresem's mother. The matter was left unresolved when Danevhen left for the Conclave only a few days later. With childish logic, Viresem came to the conclusion that Danevhen's departure was due to his accusations, and was ridden with terror and guilt when word reached the clan of the explosion at the Conclave. As soon as he heard that Danevhen was the one survivor of the blast, Viresem wrote to his uncle, begging his forgiveness. The letter he received in return allayed his fears, and the two of them corresponded regularly throughout Danevhen's time as Inquisitor. When Danevhen returned to visit his clan two and a half years later, they resumed their former closeness.
Bel'assana: When Danevhen was a teenager and his father Shiran released him from his crafting apprenticeship to pursue his passion, which was hunting, he was faced with a problem. Because he was known to be impetuous and impulsive, most of the clan's hunters flatly refused to take him on as an apprentice, fearing that a failure on his part would reflect poorly on them. Finally, someone agreed to mentor the boy: Bel'assana, an infamously solitary hunter who was considered eccentric (or even dangerously eccentric) by many of the clan. Shiran was uncomfortable with the pairing, since Bel'assana was already past the age when most hunters hung up their bows for a quiet life by the fire. He worried that she would do just that before Danevhen's training was complete, but it seemed that there was little choice in the matter.
From the earliest days of his apprenticeship, Bel'assana was brusque with young Danevhen and blunt in her assessment of his shortcomings, often sending him home near tears. Her criticism was easily won, but her praise was extremely rare. Danevhen, however, was undeterred, having seen firsthand how poorly suited he was for a safe, steady profession like crafting. The harder Bel'assana pushed him, the harder he pushed back; her brand of tough love was precisely what he needed to overcome the lackadaisical attitude he'd developed as Shiran's apprentice. By the time he earned his vallaslin at the age of eighteen, he valued her opinion above all others, and she accepted him enough to allow him continue to hunt with her even though his training was complete.
In early 9:42, while Danevhen was handling the situation with the Grey Wardens at Adamant fortress, bandits attacked Clan Lavellan where they were camped near Wycome. It was the first of a chain of events that would culminate in the Battle of Wycome. Several clan members were killed, but the bandits were finally driven off by the clan's hunters. Unwilling to see them escape unpunished, however, Bel'assana pursued them, killing several as they fled. Finally, one of the bandits turned and shot back, and she died with an arrow through her chest.
Danevhen possesses well-honed sartorial sensibilities and is, in fact, a bit of a dandy. Even during his days with his clan, he was always particular about what he wore, showing a preference for clothing that was not only practical, but had a bit of flair. Fortunately, the clan's weaver was charmed by his fascination with fine fabrics, and would occasionally indulge him with capes or wraps imbued with the subtle artistry to which he was so drawn.
Although being immersed in human society was difficult for him in many ways, the sweeping variety of shemlen fashions was a revelation. He was fascinated by such things as cravats, top hats, and waistcoats, and could frequently be seen wearing the fashion du jour—dictated by his own tasteful whims rather than by any overarching trends—both around Skyhold and when entertaining guests of distinction. He enjoys being referred to as "dapper" almost as much as he despises being called "Inquisitor."
His great weakness is boots, and although he does not own an excessive number, the pairs he does possess are both handsome and of excellent quality. One would be well-advised not to inquire about the embossed august ram leather boots that he purchased the first time he had an excess of gold nor the embroidered silk boots gifted to him by Empress Celene (the heel makes him as tall as most shemlen men!) unless one has a particular desire to hear an hour-long monologue on the wonders of fine boots.
Danevhen has several nicknames:
- D: Almost every non-Elvish speaker of Danevhen's acquaintance calls him "D." The nickname was first conceived of by a teenaged Elliot Medina, who invariably pronounced Danevhen's name like the human name "Donovan" (/ˈdɑ nə vən/) rather than with the correct Dalish pronunciation, with the emphasis on the last syllable (/dɑ nə ˈvɛn/). When others persisted in mispronouncing his name, Danevhen began asking non-Dalish to refer to him as "D" rather than by his full name, preferring the nickname to the mispronunciation. Notably, Joaquin, Dorian, and Terren's lover Seron refer to him by his full name.
- Lahalaan: This nickname translates to "like the foxes" and was given to him (and is exclusively used by) the perceptive Kitai, who identified Danevhen's affinity to the clever, playful creatures almost immediately upon meeting him.
- Falon / Mongrel: These are the two names that Terren generally gives to Danevhen. "Falon," (friend) is most often used in moments of deep sincerity or emotional weightiness. "Mongrel," on the other hand, is a playful nickname that is derived from the fact that Kitai associates them both with canids (Danevhen with foxes, and Terren with domestic dogs.)
- Da'ean: Joaquin's pet name for Danevhen translates to "baby bird." It first arose when Danevhen called the distinctly cat-like Joaquin "vherlin" (kitten) and Joaquin responded with a playfully suggestive threat to eat Danevhen, whom he called "da'ean" (baby bird). Danevhen was charmed by Joaquin's knowledge of his language, and both nicknames stuck.
He has also calls many of those closest to him by nicknames:
- Itha (Kitai): During one of the first conversations they had, Kitai mentioned to Danevhen that her brother had been calling her "Itha" (to see/to view) since childhood due to her uncanny perceptiveness. Danevhen, thinking it fitting, adopted the nickname.
- Mutt: As discussed above, Kitai associates both her best friend and her brother with canids. Danevhen teasingly and fondly calls Terren "Mutt" based upon that and in response to being called "Mongrel."
- Vherlin: From their first acquaintance, Danevhen associated the gracefully dangerous Joaquin, who seems to carry a predatory air about him, with felines. As their relationship progressed, Joaquin was so frequently tender and loving with him that the pet name "vherlin" (kitten) seemed fitting. Given his lover's fearsome reputation in Wycome's underworld, however, Danevhen uses the name only in strictly private settings, despite the unlikelihood of a non-Dalish being able to translate it.
- 'Mahla: Danevhen's nickname for his niece Samahla is a straightforward diminutive. She does not particularly care for the nickname and would reprimand anyone else who so diminished her dignity by using it, but she lets Danevhen get away with it.
- Taronen: When referring to both Kitai and Terren Lavellan, Danevhen simply uses the term "taronen" (twins) rather than specifying their names.
- Shem'taronen: Similarly, when referring to Emmaline and Elliot Medina as a pair, Danevhen says "shem'taronen" (human twins.)
Danevhen's closest relationships also have collective nicknames:
- Nas'taronen: Terren refers to the combination of his twin Kitai and Danevhen as "nas'taronen" (twin souls) given their effortless and deep understanding of each other.
- Ta'dharen: Naturally, given the fact that she associates both with canids, Kitai has termed her twin Terren and Danevhen "ta'dharen" (pair of dogs.)
Quirks and Miscellanea
Part of what makes Danevhen who he is is his unique collection of quirks: some charming, some odd, and a few confusing.
- Danevhen isn't one to hold others' hygienic habits against them, but when possible, he prefers to stay meticulously clean himself. Lavender has always been his favorite scent, so the discovery that the Orlesians had worked it into a luxurious soap felt nothing short of miraculous.
- He is extremely self-conscious about his ears, but it has nothing to do with human epithets such as "knife ear" or "rabbit." Rather, it's due to the fact that his ears are very small, and a few members of his clan used that fact, combined with his affinity for learning about and mingling with other races, to imply that he was less of an elf. When he was a teenager, a favorite "joke" among peers with whom he did not get along was to shriek in feigned terror when he passed by and then apologize profusely, saying that they'd mistaken him for a shemlen.
- Danevhen's favorite word is "fenedhis." When he began using it at the age of ten, he wasn't quite sure what it meant, a fact which Samahla refuses to let him live down.
- He adores telling dad jokes.
- Why do you never see druffaloes hiding in trees? (Because they're so good at it!)
- How is Fen'Harel like an old shoe? (He's Sole-less.)
- What happened to the mage who was walking down the street? (He turned into a tavern!)
- As far as Danevhen is concerned, he has a beautiful singing voice and missed his calling as a minstrel. He has never been disabused of this notion, no matter how many times people use words like "cat in heat," "screeching," "tone deaf," and "caterwauling" in his presence. Much to the chagrin to anyone within hearing distance, he heartily joins in with any tavern song to which he knows—or doesn't know—the lyrics.
- If one hears Danevhen refer to the "love of his life," he may be referring to his bondmate Joaquin, or possibly to his horse Ghesta. He met the mare when he failed to form a connection with the first mount given to him by Danevhen. She's a Dalish all-bred, sturdy but not terribly tall at just over 15 hands, with one blue eye and one brown, and is a glutton for treats of any sort. The name that Danevhen gave her, "Ghesta," roughly translates to "Beastie."
Fears and philosophy of life
Danevhen has two major fears, one embodied (spiders) and one incorporeal (failing those who rely on him.) Both fears are rooted in the same event.
When Danevhen was an apprentice hunter, his clan was camped on the banks of the Minanter River, a dangerous area due to the wildlife, storms, and slave hunters coming down from Tevinter. It was worth the risk to camp there, however, because food was plentiful and the clan was near starvation. Although everyone was warned not to wander away from camp alone, Danevhen, confident in his nascent hunting skills, didn’t heed the advice. Late one night he was miles away from camp when a terrible thunderstorm blew in, requiring him to take shelter in a cave.
He quickly realized that he wasn’t alone; there was a woman huddled near the mouth of the cave, her frightened breathing alerting him to her presence. Thinking to reassure her, Danevhen called out to her not to be afraid, and the sound of his voice caught the attention of a giant spider nesting in the back of the cave.
The spider attacked, and after an exhausting fight in which Danevhen sustained several injuries, he finally bested it by a slim margin. The woman wasn’t as lucky; the spider had managed to bite her and inject its deadly venom during its initial lunge, and she died right in front of Danevhen. It was the first death he’d ever witnessed. The infant she held in her arms, whom Danevhen hadn’t been aware of until that moment, survived unscathed, and he stumbled back to camp with the child.
D blamed himself for the woman’s death. If only he’d followed her lead and stayed silent, he reasoned, the woman would still be alive and her child wouldn’t be an orphan. He tortured himself about this for days, until the Keeper took him aside and explained that he had no way of knowing what would have happened without his interference. True, it was possible that the woman and her child might both have lived, but it was also possible that the spider would have killed both of them, or that they would have escaped the storm and the beast only to be re-taken by slave hunters. It was unknowable, and no amount of dwelling on it could change that fact. While this didn’t mean that one should never consider the impact of one’s actions, she explained, it was futile to dwell on what might have been rather than forging ahead and making the best of the results. You simply had to forge ahead with the path you'd set for yourself rather than regretting the unknowable one that you didn't follow. Danevhen took her words to heart, and that philosophy would see him through the many trials to come in his life.
The child was adopted by Danevhen's brother, Faron, and his wife Rasha, who considered the child to be a blessing from Sylaise as they’d been unable to have children of their own. Because no one knew the child's original name, Faron asks Danevhen to do the honors of giving him a new one, and D chooses to call him Viresem, "the chosen path."
Although Danevhen eventually made peace with what happened that night in the cave, he continued to fear spiders more than any other creature, natural or unnatural. Not only had the incident imbued in him a sense of his own mortality, but reminders of it forever afterwards brought up feelings of guilt and insufficiency. When he walked physically in the Fade, it was only appropriate that spiders would appear to torment him with the fear that he would fail to save the people who relied on him as Inquisitor just as he failed to save the woman in the cave.
Throughout his time with the Inquisition, Danevhen grappled effect that his leadership role had on his core identity. The issue plagued him for almost four years, beginning when he survived the blast at the Conclave, reaching a crisis point a few months after the death of Corypheus, and finally resolving when he dissolved the Inquisition in late 9:44.
Prior to becoming the so-called “Herald of Andraste,” Danevhen was confident in who he was: a clever, adventurous, sociable, and occasionally hedonistic young Dalish elf. Both the designation as Andraste’s Herald and the title of Inquisitor imposed identities on him that he neither desired nor entirely accepted. In some ways, the person that he felt forced to be as Inquisitor—one that shouldered the burden of leadership no matter how unwanted it was, took responsibility for impossible decisions, and committed terrible acts in the name of the greater good—felt antithetical to what he perceived as his core identity. As his organization became more powerful, he felt marginalized in the role, as if Danevhen was secondary to the Inquisitor. This duality became unbearable at times.
To cope, Danevhen turned to both healthy and unhealthy outlets. Among the healthy coping mechanisms were his relationships with the twins Kitai and Terren and with Dorian, who was his lover at the time. Although Danevhen was friends with with other members of the Inquisition, he felt that they were acquainted with his persona as “the Inquisitor” rather than his true self, causing some resentment and imposing a certain distance. The twins, however, had known him for years and had been present since soon after the birth of the Inquisition, and were therefore well-positioned to provide Danevhen with both the support he needed in his leadership role and the quiet validation of his core identity that he craved. Likewise, although he was already known as the “Herald of Andraste” by the time he met Dorian, he felt that when they were alone he could drop the facade of “the Inquisitor” and simply act like himself.
During that time, Danevhen also tried to reduce the impact of his dual identity on his psyche through drink. It wasn’t alcohol itself that he found comforting, but rather the feeling that when he was at the tavern drinking, he could set aside his stuffy “Inquisitor” role and act in a more natural manner. However, Danevhen is a rowdy drunk, and after a few beers he tended to act more like a caricature of himself than anything else, which worried those closest to him. What’s more, the feeling of shaking off the shackles of his position never lasted longer than his buzz, leading him to indulge in ever-longer and more frequent evenings deep in his cups.
Once Corypheus was defeated, Danevhen was eager to jettison his role as Inquisitor entirely and reclaim his former identity as a carefree young man. As it turned out, it wasn’t so simple. First, the Inquisition persisted as an organization, so he still had responsibilities. Second, although he found himself with far more free time on his hands, but he found that the activities that would have formerly appealed had either lost their luster or were not available. It was as if he had forgotten how to be himself. If possible, he would have spent inordinate amounts of time with Kitai and Terren, but both of them were involved in their own lives as he was loathe to intrude.
The problem turned into a crisis for him when he left Dorian, one of the few people who made him feel like himself. Adrift, heartbroken from his breakup, and with the unsettling feeling that the Inquisition had stolen some integral part of himself, Danevhen decided to visit Wycome to spend time with his clan. Unfortunately, this only made matters worse. He expected his clanmates to treat him like the same young man as he’d been before the Conclave, and they did. Somehow, it seemed like a poor fit; he’d integrated too much of his identity as the Inquisitor to simply slip back into that role, and he felt even more out of place there than he had at Skyhold.
Realizing that it was impossible for him to simply resume his former life as the person that he had been, his sense of loss increased several times over, and he became angry and restless, desperate for an outlet. Craving the primal release that meaningless sex would provide, he propositioned a former lover who happened to be in Wycome, but was turned down. It was at that time that he met Joaquin, and their relationship quickly became physical, allowing Danevhen to work off some of his pent-up turmoil with the help of a willing bedmate who was, at the time, practically a stranger. Long-term, such a relationship likely would have been unhealthy for Danevhen, who had always desired friendly, if not romantic, relations with sexual partners. When Joaquin gently pushed for more emotional intimacy, Danevhen spoke for the first time about the profound loneliness and sense of alienation he was feeling, a deeply cathartic experience.
After a turbulent period detailed in the section regarding Danevhen’s relationship with Joaquin, he ended up traveling into Tevinter with him on a personal mission. Between Joaquin’s acceptance of him and the experience of putting the talents he’d developed as Inquisitor to a purpose that was meaningful to him, Danevhen began to shed the idea that he had a dual nature consisting of a “true self” and “the Inquisitor” and finally saw himself as a unified person for the first time.
He spent only a few days back in Wycome before being forced to depart for Orlais, but during that time he once again felt at home with his clan. No longer feeling obligated to act the part of the young elf who’d left for the Conclave, he interacted with his clanmates with a new understanding of the person his experiences had shaped him into. This was well-illustrated by his interactions with Clan Lavellan’s children, for whom he spent hours acting out his adventures as Inquisitor.
From that point on, he began developing a healthier and more realistic sense of self and became less dependent on both the release provided by alcohol and the validation provided by the twins and Joaquin, which allowed those relationships to flourish. Still, he felt constrained by the trappings of the Inquisitor, and chafed at the role. During that period, he would frequently act in ways that felt natural to him and consistent with his sense of self, such as making bad puns in esteemed company or eating dinner with visiting diplomats while Kitai was perched in his lap. These actions were always met with disapproval and gentle recriminations from Josephine. It seemed that the Inquisition was determined to keep him bound to some degree.
When the Exalted Council was called, he leapt at the opportunity to dissolve the Inquisition. Although this wasn’t by any means a purely selfish act—he truly believed that it was time for the organization to relinquish its power, having achieved its mission—he was eager to finally be rid of his title and the expectations that went along with it once and for all. When he discovered Solas’s plans, he once again felt responsibility pressing in. Realizing, however, that his insatiable desire to escape the confines of his position would make him an ineffective leader, he at last made the decision to step away from what remained of the Inquisition permanently. He retired to Wycome, where he built a life that allowed him to honor all facets of his personality, both the old and the new.
Drunken Fruit Salad
A note from Danevhen: "This is my own twist on a recipe I got from the Pavus family's cook, Catalina. The sugar, rum, and tropical fruits featured here are easily obtained from vendors on the streets of Minrathous. In fact, the food and Catalina are the only two things I miss in that whole blighted city."
- A large bowl of chopped fruit: pineapple, mango, kiwi, papaya, etc.* If tropical fruits are not available, any combination of fresh fruit will do.
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup or more rum
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- Handful of fresh mint leaves, muddled
Mix the lime juice, rum, powdered sugar and mint leaves thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved and pour over the fruit. Toss your salad and taste, adjusting any of the above ingredients as needed. Store in a cold place, stirring every several hours, and let marinate overnight. Serve with a garnish of mint.
*if using bananas, add just before serving
A note from Danevhen: "I first prepared these seductive chocolate truffles in celebration of Mutt's bonding, and since then, my clan has requested them several times. Tangy, salty, and mildly sweet, they combine my two favorite ingredients—halla cheese and chocolate—beautifully."
- 4 oz halla cheese (soft goat cheese is an acceptable substitute)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp dutch process cocoa
- Tempered dark chocolate or dipping chocolate
- Coarse or flaked salt
With your fingers, rub the powdered sugar and cocoa into the halla cheese until a cohesive substance is formed, and place in a cold location for a few minutes to re-solidify. Roll the mixture into balls about 3/4" in diameter, and once again place in a cold location as you prepare the chocolate. Using toothpicks or a dipping tool, coat each ball in chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off. Place on wax paper, and immediately sprinkle each with a scant pinch of salt as you work, before the chocolate sets. Store in a cold place until ready to serve.
A note from Danevhen: Don't be put off by the candied ginger in this recipe. Although rare in the south, it is easily obtainable at markets near the Tevinter and Antivan borders, where it's a favorite of children. Properly stored, it can last years. Soft goat cheese can be substituted for halla cheese if need be, although offering to make this recipe would convince many recalcitrant clans to part with a few ounces of the precious stuff.
- 4 oz halla cheese
- 1 tsp dried, ground lavender buds
- 1 tbsp honey, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup candied (crystalized) ginger, finely chopped
- A few handfuls chopped pecans, lightly roasted
Combine halla cheese with lavender, honey and ginger. Taste and adjust proportions of ingredients as needed. Place in cold place to solidify slightly, then shape into a ball and roll in chopped pecans. Store in cold place until ready to consume. Serve with shemlen-style crackers, slices of crisp apple (in which case reduce the amount of honey), or fresh almond-flour griddle cakes.