"What do you call it when you kill someone in order to get all their stuff?" — Tallis.
"Tuesday." — Ilda Hawke.
Ilda Ann Hawke is a former Kirkwall noblewoman. She is best known as the Champion of Kirkwall for her role in defending the city from the Dragon 9:34 Qunari invasion – where she notably negotiated the end of the conflict by challenging the Arishok to a duel and winning – as well as her role in the Kirkwall Rebellion (Dragon 9:37). In the aftermath of the mage conflict, Hawke fled the city. Her whereabouts are presently unknown.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Biography
Hawke is described as being quite slender and of average height. Her hair is a dark burgundy color which she keeps short and braided, both out of personal preference and combat consideration. She is said to detest cosmetics and shuns them entirely. Perhaps not surprisingly, many have noted scars on her face and arms – and in some cases (usually shortly after a battle), dirt and blood all over her armor and visage – when describing her appearance.
Many attribute this rugged presentation to her Fereldan roots. She also has facial tattoos on both sides of her face – running from her temples down to her cheeks – that resemble those of her country's Chasind Wilder barbarians, but it is unclear how or why she got these, having no known ties to the Chasind.
Hawke is seldom seen wearing anything other than armor outside of her home. On the rare occasions when she has been spotted at social events, her style has been described as "androgynous" – such as her choice of trousers with a button-down shirt and vest at a fete hosted by Duke Prosper (who she assassinated later that day).
Despite her rough appearance and conscious rejection of being ladylike, Hawke has no shortage of admirers across Thedas, who reverently point out that her unconventional style is a testament to the authentic nature of her beauty. Hawke is known to detest her status as a sex symbol among some Thedosians.
"At one point or another," famed storyteller Varric Tethras recounts in his acclaimed biography of Hawke, The Tale of the Champion, "we all got chewed out by Hawke – it was just your initiation into her inner-circle!"
Tethras also noted that despite her harsh temperament and short fuse, "[y]ou could not ask for a better friend. Hawke always had time for her companions and would risk her life for us without a second thought." This could explain why her companions stood with her in the face of extraordinary danger throughout her journey.
Talents and Skills
Hawke was trained in archery from an early age and remains very skilled in her craft. She later expanded her repertoire to dual-wield dagger (melee) combat, with which she is regarded as being equally deadly. Her versatility affords her the ability to employ whichever weaponry best suits the situation at hand.
She specializes in assassination, along with minor duelist training, noting that there was "no shortage of specialists" in the Kirkwall outlaw scene; her employment under Anthenril during Hawke's first year in Kirkwall afforded her the opportunity to learn from these experts. Hawke is also rumored to have ties with Antivan crows from her final years in Kirkwall and that she further refined her talents with the help of their tutelage.
Hawke was raised Andrastian, but is not particularly religious, stating that all spiritual pursuits grounded in compassion are, in her view, righteous.
Although Hawke is widely embraced by mages as a symbol and champion of their liberation, she is hesitant to embrace this identity. Asked how she feels the conflict between the mages and Chantry should be resolved, Hawke curtly replied, "You don't call me to offer diplomatic or clever solutions to a problem, you call me to burn it the fuck down."
The Tale of the Champion portrays her as mostly sympathetic towards the mages and surprisingly forward-thinking towards magic itself. Malcolm Hawke's conscious effort to ensure that his kids did not grow up fearing magic no doubt had an effect on her, as well as Hawke's general proclivity for risk-taking. However, the influence of her companions with more cautious views on magic (namely Fenris) as well as multiple brushes with the worst dangers of magic caused her to revise her liberal stance somewhat and take a harder line on delinquent magical activity. Nonetheless, she will help anyone whom she feels has a just cause, mage or not.
Hawke is one of few humans to earn the title basalit-an by the Qunari. Asked about her feelings on the Qunari, Hawke has said, "On one hand, my dutiful devotion to honing my craft and my belief in the collective good would fit right in with the Qunari. On the other? My distrust of authority and disdain for being told what to do make me all but incompatible with them. It's for that reason that I feel equal admiration and antagonism towards the Qun, and I understand the feeling is mutual."
Ilda despises bullies and any who prey on the weak, often inserting herself into matters where she believes justice requires doing so. Those who work to free themselves of their oppressors or are just trying to survive can count on her support, even if helping them entails some underhanded actions. She also shows a willingness to make alliances with those who generally share the same values.
The Champion was born Ilda Ann Hawke to Malcolm Hawke, an apostate, and his wife, Leandra Hawke (née Amell). Hawke generally goes by her surname, finding "Ilda" very olden.
Hawke's twin siblings, Carver and Bethany, were born two years later. Growing up, Hawke was described as a tomboy who had a penchant for horseplay with her younger brother.
Malcolm Hawke passed away in 9:27 Dragon. To support the family, Hawke started working as a courier. Her work took her around Fereldan, which she credits with instilling in her a love of travel as well as some basic survival skills.
As the Blight first reached Fereldan, Hawke enlisted in King Cailan's army alongside her brother, Carver.
During the Battle of Ostagar, Hawke and all remaining archers were ordered to retreat, but Carver's contingent of the batallion had been ordered into the field and was still in the thick of the fight. Unable to leave her brother behind, Hawke broke ranks and ventured into the battlefield to save him. Carver resisted, but was unwilling to let his sister die at his side and ultimately relented. This decision made him a deserter, and she had disobeyed orders, forcing the two siblings to flee the army and the country entirely.
The Blight would soon reach their hometown of Lothering, destroying her childhood home as she and the rest of her family narrowly escaped. It was during their escape that the Hawkes would first meet up with Aveline Vallen and her husband Ser Wesley. Tragedy struck as both Wesley and Carver lost their lives in ensuing skirmishes with darkspawn. During one of these skirmishes, Hawke would encounter Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds. In return for a favor, Flemeth agreed to clear a path of darkspawn for the Hawkes and Aveline to make it safely to a ship for Kirkwall.
Hawke's uncle Gamlen was able to secure passage for the family into the city through some shady connections who agreed to pay their way in return for a year of servitude from Hawke and Bethany. In a surprising move, Hawke opted to join the employ of a small smuggler named Athenril over the well-established Red Irons mercenary company, noting her sister's discomfort with taking lives for money. As noted by Varric Tethras, Athenril's outfit benefitted from this arrangement tremendously, becoming the only smuggling ring to survive efforts of the Coterie. Bethany's magic coupled with Hawke's skill and ruthlessness, alongside Aveline's stout defense, gave Athenril a huge advantage over her competition.
Upon the conclusion of her year of servitude to Athenril, Hawke went onto work odd jobs independently. Bethany would accompany her sister on some adventures but largely chose to stay at home. It was around this time that Hawke would meet Varric Tethras, who pitched the idea of joining him on an expedition to the Deep Roads. Hawke accepted Tethras's proposal and secured the funding to bankroll the initiative. It was also during this period that Hawke would meet Anders, Isabela, Merril, and Fenris, who would become faithful companions for the years to come.
The expedition was a success and Hawke had made a fortune. Upon her return, however, Hawke found the Templars waiting at her uncle's shack, taking Bethany to the Circle. Hawke blamed Bethany's discovery by the Templars on an earlier encounter with the Templars, where she killed a Templar officer who expressed a desire to inflict severe suffering on some apostates that Hawke had initially agreed to turn in – Hawke's desire to stay under the Templars' radar was eclipsed by her disgust of injustice. Hawke accosted Cullen and the Templars, ready to die resisting, but Bethany revealed that she had already accepted her fate and was merely awaiting Hawke's return so she could say goodbye. Powerless, Hawke looked on in defeat as the Templars took her sister away and their mother collapsed to the floor in tears.
Despite this, things were looking up for Lady Hawke, who had reclaimed the family manor and risen to a station of respectability in the town. The life of a noble was much too boring for Hawke to even consider, and just as soon as she had moved out of her uncle's house into the old family estate, she was back to her old routine of adventuring across Kirkwall and its surrounding areas. With the financial freedom to do whatever she wanted, Hawke spent her days assisting those whose causes she supported and beating up those who she did not.
As tensions grew between the city leadership and the Qunari, the Viscount enlisted Hawke's services to mediate the conflict, but the situation proved too unstable to resolve peaceably and blew over. The Qunari went on a tear, but Hawke and her companions teamed up with Aveline, First Enchanter Orsino, and Knight Commander Meredith to devise a plan to confront the Arishok. In so doing, the resistance was able to draw out the Qunari forces and allow Hawke to slip through the cracks, giving her one more chance to appeal to the Arishok. Hawke then negotiated the end of hostilities by having Isabela return the relic, but agreeing to a duel to spare her from capture.
Tethras recounts the duel as "one for the ages" between the pure physical might of the Arishok up against the dynamic assassin skill-set of Hawke. The Arishok inflicted some vicious hits and on multiple occasions seemed to come within inches of laying a fatal blow on Hawke, while Hawke responded with well-timed, surgical strikes both by dagger and arrow that eventually undid the mighty Qunari warrior. Upon conclusion of this epic battle, Hawke had risen above her noble title and now was the rightful Champion of Kirkwall.
The following three years were marred with rising tensions between the mages and Templars. Some had pressured Hawke to take a side, especially mages and supporters of their liberation, given her known sympathies. However, multiple experiences with hostile mages in the city had made Hawke grow wary and less reliably supportive. Both sides made numerous appeals to the Champion for her allegiance, with mixed results.
After the attack on the local Chantry by the apostate mage Anders, Hawke took the side of the mages against Meredith Stannard's annulment order. The conflict concluded when – after a spell of blood magic by the First Enchanter tore a hole through the Templars' defenses and allowed Hawke to slip through the cracks – Hawke faced Knight-Commander Meredith Stannard in an armed confrontation. It was revealed during this confrontation that the Knight Commander was using red lyrium to power her combat abilities, which Hawke argued had driven her to madness. As a result, Meredith lost the support of her subordinates. Upon her defeat at the hands of Hawke, the chain of command passed onto Knight-Captain Cullen, who ordered the Templars to cease hostilities. Hawke departed Kirkwall shortly thereafter.
Unquestionably significant to Hawke's decision to side with the mages was the fate of her sister Bethany, who was still in the Kirkwall Circle at the time, but Hawke has often defended her decision instead by slamming the unjust nature of the Templar's annulment order.
After years in obscurity, reports circulated that Hawke had agreed to help the Inquisition in investigating Corypheus. The Inquisition confirmed the reports but also classified most information on her work with them as privileged and declined to comment further. Eyewitness accounts confirm that she assisted the Inquisitor in the assault on Adamant and journeyed into the Fade with the Inquisitor and Loghain Mac Tir. It has also been widely confirmed that Loghain gave his life in the Fade for Hawke and the Inquisitor's team to escape.
Towards the end of her time with the Inquisition, Ilda Hawke was regularly spotted at Herald's Rest, Skyhold's tavern, and usually in the company of Seeker Cassandra Pentaghast. Her overall reception with the Inquisition is said to have been positive.
Apart from her brief involvement with the Inquisition, not much is known of Hawke's present or most recent activities. It is said that she is frequently on the move, not staying in any location for long. She has many enemies who would have her head, but also many strong supporters who assist her in her travels in any way they can.
Hawke's legacy is that of an incredibly polarizing figure, some seeing her as a great hero of mages and oppressed people everywhere, while others see her as a glorified thug or a bored noble brat with too much time or money and no regard for norms or rule-of-law. Regardless, her exploits have earned her a place in the company of some of Thedas's most legendary historical figures.
Thedas may not have seen the last of Ilda Hawke, but supporters should be wary of what her involvement in affairs may entail. As the saying goes: "Everything Hawke touches turns to ash."
Hawke, for better or for worse, was one of very few people who was not driven away by Anders's union with Justice. She was not intimidated by the spirit and sincerely wished to help him overcome the affliction.
Following her successful Deep Roads expedition, Ilda and Anders became romantically involved for a brief period of time. This relationship didn't last, as Anders was frustrated with Ilda's unwillingness to fully support his efforts, and Ilda felt that the relationship suffered from a lack of trust and honesty between them. Despite this, the two never stopped caring for one another, remaining on friendly terms in the years to come. Ilda would also continue to try to keep Anders from succumbing to the demon.
Upon the bombing of the Kirkwall Chantry, Anders betrayed Hawke's trust again in the name of his mission with Justice. She sympathized even with this daring act, but could not condone it: he had put them all in peril behind their backs and forced a resolution that she felt was irresponsible and not his to make.
Taking lives was like an art form to Hawke, who had come to see her targets only for their weak points and strike them with ruthless efficiency so often that the exercise had become automatic to her. Yet for the first time, Ilda saw only a man she loved, a man whom she had failed, and could feel the full weight and tragedy of taking a life.
And so the most difficult addition to Hawke's body count was not her most skilled opponent nor the most difficult target to acquire, but a man who was no match for her and did not put up a fight.
By far the most interesting relationship between Hawke and her companions, romantic or otherwise, depicted in The Tale of the Champion was that between her and the Captain of the Guard, Aveline Vallen. Tethras used the term "frenemies" to describe the uneasy and often explosive bond that these two shared. Indeed, both strong women were perfect foils of each other: Aveline, the noble knight committed to law-and-order; Hawke, the anarchic rogue who had her own idea of justice for which she was often the judge-and-jury.
With great amusement, Varric often recounts the tale of when, towards the end of Hawke's time in Kirkwall, Aveline had been drinking in her office with Isabela when Hawke showed up. Aveline announced that she had been offered reinstatement into the Fereldan army and that she considered accepting it, stating that she was tired of cleaning up after the messes in the streets that were all too often of Hawke's making. Hawke responded with haughty disregard and ridicule which finally pushed Aveline to her limit, causing her to throw Hawke to the floor in a fit of rage and strike her steel gauntlets repeatedly against Hawke's armor until Aveline cooled down. Hawke, who was uncharacteristically submissive under attack, simply got up and laughed it off, pointing out that she still had plenty of fight left in her to man her post. Aveline was bemused but oddly appreciative. Following this exchange, Aveline seemed to accept that the two of them would never see eye-to-eye on much, but that Hawke was the friend she needed to call her out when she needed it.
Aveline declines to speak much about her relationship with Hawke, simply stating that it was complicated. She admits that at the immediate commencement of the Kirkwall Rebellion, her first instinct was to side with the Templars to restore order in the city and that she made a sincere warning to Hawke that she would do so even if it meant facing each other as enemies on the battlefield. Hawke was undeterred, and as soon as she had made her decision to stand with the mages, Aveline chose their friendship over her sense of duty and pledged to fight at Hawke's side, understanding Hawke's intentions to defend against an injustice even if Aveline did not personally agree. It would be the last time that the two would fight at each other's side.
Despite her defiance against the Templars, Aveline would soon be reinstated as the captain of the guard in Kirkwall. She has noted that things have been much quieter in the city since the conflict between the mages and Templars was resolved, as well as Hawke's departure.
Asked about this relationship, Hawke simply shrugs and chuckles, stating that Aveline was the older sibling that Hawke never had.
Ilda and her sister Bethany were not close as children, as Bethany spent a lot of time learning magic under her father. Hawke also notes that, in terms of both personality and interests, the two sisters could hardly be less alike.
However, the destruction of their hometown and subsequent relocation to a new city forced the sisters to work together and rely on each other for survival. These events brought the sisters much closer together, and from it, a very supportive friendship emerged. As comrades under Athenril's employ, Hawke found her sister's magic to come in handy during a fight, and Bethany appreciated Hawke sparing her from the more unpleasant aspects of their work.
The sisters' relationship was tested somewhat upon her entry into the Kirkwall Circle of Magi. Bethany expressed regret over her previous life of hiding when the Circle seemed to suit her, and that she resented her sister's inability to keep a low profile, fearing that Ilda's activities on the outside made Bethany a target. Hawke recalls that the two grew distant over these years.
Bethany's fears were realized when she was abducted by mage dissidents within the Circle, who kidnapped her to exact revenge over Hawke, but Hawke's successful rescue restored Bethany's goodwill in her sister. In the months leading up to the Kirkwall Rebellion, Ilda sent constant messages of support as the situation grew more volatile. She welcomed Hawke's intervention during the events of the Kirkwall Rebellion, knowing that her sister would come to her aid.
In The Tale of the Champion, Tethras recounts his first conversation with Hawke following Knight-Captain Cullen's arrest of Bethany, where Hawke confided that she was ready to kill Ser Cullen to protect her sister until Bethany talked her down. Nonetheless, Varric notes that Ilda felt a deep hatred for Cullen following this incident.
Cullen, meanwhile, felt guilt over the incident and made sincere efforts to make amends with Hawke. Hawke would give him the cold shoulder for years, but as tensions between the mages and Templars started coming to a head, Hawke and Cullen had developed some amicable dialogue on how to work out their differences. These conversations seemed trivial at the time, but it is suggested that they played a key role in Cullen's decision to have the Templars stand down following Hawke's triumph over Meredith in the Kirkwall Rebellion.
Tethras also floats the idea in his book that Cullen had feelings for Hawke, admiring her from afar. The former Knight-Captain has vehemently denied these claims.
Hawke took a liking to the dashing Fenris from the start, and though it took a while before this friendship developed into more, the two became very close as lovers. Hawke's relationship with the elf was very public in a way that made waves with the nobility, but their relationship was more than just a publicity stunt on Hawke's part. The two of them had deep mutual respect for each other.
Hawke and Fenris largely fall on different sides of the issue of the Chantry's policy on mages, but this does not complicate matters between them, as the two do not make the issue central to their relationship, and both individuals respect each other's different lived experiences.
Hawke also endeavored to teach Fenris how to read, which she considers her proudest accomplishment (high praise considering her exploits), but notes that her teaching skills are modest at best and that their sessions were too often sidetracked by "extracurricular activities."
Ilda and Isabela were fast friends; both women were free-spirits with a love of adventure and unwinding over booze at The Hanged Man, which provided them plenty of opportunities to bond. Ilda was also never judgmental of Isabela's shady dealings or notorious promiscuity, given that Ilda has been known to get her own hands dirty and is unapologetically sexual herself.
Their friendship was challenged by the events of the Qunari invasion when Isabela initially refused to hand over the coveted relic at Hawke's urging. The two had a falling out and were not on speaking terms for over a year. However, time heals all wounds and Ilda forgave her friend. The two patched things up and moved on almost without a beat.
In a rare show of restraint, Ilda let a slaver go so Isabela could get the ship of her dreams. That asset came in handy upon the conclusion of the Kirkwall Rebellion, where the Templars stood down and let her go. Rest assured, however, that Ilda burned the slaver's name and face into her memory.
An odd friendship if there ever was one. Hawke and Merrill could NOT be more different, and while the two were not particularly close, they never seemed to have any major issues with one another, either. In many respects, Merrill was a lot like Ilda's sister Bethany; the two may have been very different, but they appreciated each other's company.
Unlike the rest of the gang, Ilda was largely supportive of Merrill's project to restore the Eluvian mirror, even condoning illicit uses of magic to achieve this goal, but the two agreed that she would not pursue it further after the death of Merrill's keeper.
Sebastian generally had the same differences with Hawke as Aveline, yet whereas Aveline would chafe and occasionally object, Sebastian showed deference. Hawke knew that he did not typically approve of her dealings, but appreciated his discretion. Her influence also had the ultimate effect of pushing him to renew his claim to the Starkhaven throne.
Upon the conclusion of the Circle uprising, Hawke worked with Sebastian to have Bethany transferred to the Starkhaven Circle, where she is afforded many privileges and senior membership. A few months later, the new Prince made waves by announcing his engagement to Bethany and the two were married shortly thereafter.
Whereas Varric is the type of rogue that favors subterfuge and misdirection to minimize the conflict altogether, Hawke thrives on chaos and is the type that will begin the negotiations with the very credible threat of an all-out bar brawl.
Yet although they have different methods and occasional disagreements, Hawke and Varric nonetheless have a strong friendship built on mutual trust and respect. When it comes down to it, they know they have each other's back, and that means the world to both of them.
The "world's most epic estrogen battle" in the words of Tethras, Knight-Commander Meredith embodied the very overbearing, unforgiving authority that completely clashed with Hawke's ethos. And while Hawke's belief in the mage liberation cause had been challenged by experiences in the city, Meredith's reign grew increasingly brutal, oppressive, and hard to justify.
Before the Qunari invasion of the city, Hawke and Meredith had never worked together. Hawke would learn after the incident that her activities since emerging from the Deep Roads expedition had made her a thorn in the Knight-Commander's side, especially where mages were involved.
Meredith clearly resented Hawke's rise to Champion, as it presented a challenger to her role as the city's protector in the eyes of its citizens. Worse yet, the Champion had a much more liberal stance on mage freedom. Meredith and Hawke were both divisive figures in Kirkwall, but whereas Meredith inspired fear and submission, Hawke inspired hope and solidarity. It seemed that Hawke's supporters were much more passionate.
Some who were close to the Knight-Commander believed that one of her goals behind invoking the Rite of Annulment was to bait Hawke into a confrontation and eliminate her as a threat in addition to the mages and that her paranoia over the Champion was one of many things exacerbated by red lyrium poisoning. This would be Meredith's undoing, as it mobilized not only Hawke but her followers against Meredith and the Templars. Alongside the mages, many suggest that the addition of Hawke and her supporters into the conflict tipped the balance and gave the mages a symbolic victory over their handlers rather than total defeat.
Leaked correspondences among Inquisition personnel reveal that Ilda Hawke's involvement with the Inquisition reportedly entailed working closely alongside Loghain Mac Tir, her former superior-officer in the Fereldan army. Varric Tethras confirmed the reports:
"You might imagine Hawke had some choice words for Loghain after what happened at Ostagar and the way that his decision turned her whole world upside down. Truth is, that was over ten years ago; whatever animosity she felt over his retreat order had mostly dissipated over the years.
"Their relationship was highly professional. In fact, Loghain remembered her, even asking about Carver and offering his apologies after hearing about what happened to him. That conversation pretty much took care of that issue between them; it would not come up again.
"But this is Hawke we are talking about; Loghain was still due for his chew-out from her. So as we started to unpack more evidence of blood magic and corruption of his 'Order, she started to ride his ass! It was like she missed having Aveline around and decided to turn Loghain into her verbal punching bag. It was pretty funny, because Loghain generally brushed her off for things that would normally get to Aveline's head, but Hawke is one persistent cat, and she finally struck a nerve that made the two of them get into it toward the end of their journey through the Fade...
"We could never tell whether Hawke did this to us to teach us a lesson about ourselves and help us grow, or if she simply likes to troll. Yet when it came time to face the Nightmare demon, Loghain accepted responsibility on behalf of his order and offered to make it right. At the end of the day, I do think Hawke and Loghain genuinely respected each other, and while I can't say more about Hawke's future plans, I will tell you that she is going to honor his sacrifice in a very appropriate way."
There is absolutely no fan-fiction of this character by its author, citing a lack of storyline ideas.
The author also disclaims that other writers are absolutely free to use this character as a prompt for their own works, asking only that the works are shared with the author (solely for author's reading pleasure), and additionally not to worry if their story and/or portrayal of this character will suck because the OC's author is not particularly good at writing fan-fiction and thus is not one to judge!
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