CANON-DIVERGENCE FOUND WITHIN.
What could be said about Nell Surana? Before she was a Grey Warden, even before she was a Circle mage, she was just another unfortunate child born in Denerim's alienage. When her arrival was followed by one of the worst outbreaks of the plague the alienage had ever seen, in addition to a string of other unfortunate events not just within the alienage, she was labeled "the Death Knell of Denerim" by a woman who was woefully unprepared for the responsibility of motherhood.
In spite of the grim circumstances surrounding her arrival into this world, Nell left a lasting impression everywhere she went, leading up to her becoming the Hero of Ferelden and a key figure in stopping the 5th Blight.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Miscellaneous
- 5 Links
- 6 Gallery
Nell is a small, relatively unassuming elf who barely peaks above 5 feet tall and weighs perhaps no more than a barrel of ale. At the time of the 5th Blight, she wore her dark hair cut short in a choppy bob just below her chin with an uneven fringe across her forehead that strongly speaks of her own handiwork. Her ears, long and tapered, poke out through either side making it abundantly clear just what she is, to onlookers. Her complexion is warm, olive in tone, and marked by a healthy smattering of freckles across her face. Nell's eyes are a very dark brown that can easily appear to be black in poor or dim lighting, giving her a rather haunting appearance.
To the surprise of many, Nell is rather lively. She is spritely, outspoken, obstinate, and has been likened to "whiskey in a teacup". Nell is very headstrong and set in her ways, but not arrogant.
She was something of both a prankster and Irving's prized pupil while residing in the Circle at Kinloch Hold, getting along with the likes of both a young Anders and Jowan. When she wasn't causing trouble, she was nose deep in the many books found in Kinloch's libraries and begging the senior enchanters to teach her more advanced spells.
Despite her sass, Nell enjoys meeting new people and making friends. She has a profound thirst for knowledge and excitement and becoming a Grey Warden has revealed that she has an unexpected knack for leadership. It needs work, but the basis is there.
Talents and Skills
Magic - Of all the classes Nell could have excelled in, it had to be Entropy. There was just something about that particular school of magic that appealed to her and especially to her chaotic nature. Hexes, curses, and everything just shy of necromancy fills her metaphorical spellbook and makes Nell quite the trickster on the battlefield. She is not without other talents, however, and does know both some offensive spells and minor shapeshifting.
- Shapeshifting: Nell has two forms she knows and prefers, that of a black cat and of a crow. She received a little tutoring from Morrigan on how to perfect those two existing forms rather than attempt to learn any others.
Reflexes - Being so small and lithe means Nell is quite the speedy little elf and very flexible. She is quick and nimble and can easily dart around her enemies, especially so in cat form, and is capable of slipping out of holds and tight spaces with relative ease.
Hearing & Vision - As an elf, Nell has some innate advantages that many, if not all of her people possess. Her ears, long and quite big, add to her naturally excellent hearing and allow her to pick up sounds at lower decibels easier and from further distances than humans, but it is a trade-off. For all that she is capable of that much better hearing, sounds are amplified and something that humans might find loud would be unbearable for Nell. Her sight is keen and heightened over that of humans, giving her the ability to see further and sharper along with better vision in the dark, but much like with her hearing, she is much more sensitive to very bright light.
Fast Learner - Nell may come from a poor background and have been shut up in a tower for most of her early life, but she is clever, intuitive and has a knack for soaking up information. Whilst in the Circle, she was always a quick study which made her both an excellent student (one of Irving's most promising no less) but meant she was also easily bored and outgrew the material at a faster pace. She frequently consumed a variety of books and often asked the enchanters to let her peruse more "interesting" material. Sadly her requests weren't always heeded but once in a while, they were content to let her have something a bit more in-depth.
Nell was born in the Denerim Alienage to an Isla Surana after a short-lived love affair with an elven mage - Orsino - the (then) future First Enchanter of Kirkwall's Circle of magi. Though Orsino hails from the Free Marches, it was through pure chance that they met when the-then Senior Enchanter was visiting Ferelden for a guest lecture. Isla’s older brother, Oian was a mage in the circle at the time and had written to her about the lecture. While she wasn’t interested in the actual science behind the lecture, mention of the handsome Senior Enchanter was what lured her in.
Like many of her people who were not already living among the Dalish, she was just another mouth to feed in an already impoverished neighborhood. Born two weeks early, her arrival was heralded as a bad omen after a string of tragedies swept through the Alienage leaving death and darkness in their wake. She was aptly nicknamed the “Death Knell of Denerim”. Her mother was a young and highly superstitious woman woefully unprepared for the life of a parent, so after being spooked by this "death knell" and harbinger of terrible things to come, Isla fled the Alienage to find a new life amongst the Dalish clan in the Brecillian forest.
Renamed Nell, the child grew up with the other orphaned city elves until her magic manifested at the tender age of 6 years old when she was sent off to the Circle.
Though Circle life took some adjusting to at first, she ultimately flourished, what with having a warm bed, proper meals, and clean clothes. Who could complain? Nell was gifted in magic from the start and quickly rose amongst her peers to become First Enchanter Irving's most promising student, her nature as a bit of a prankster notwithstanding. She made friends easily but only forged bonds with a select few. There was Karl, intelligent and skilled yet kind and nurturing towards the apprentices. Nell also latched onto Anders who only encouraged her playful ways and was often involved in her pranks. She even befriended Jowan who became something of a reliable study partner and endeared to her over the years.
Being the bold sort she is, it was only natural she aided Jowan when he enacted his plan to escape, if nothing else because she recognized how unhappy he was in the Circle and figured if anyone didn't belong, it was him.
When the Grey Warden, Duncan, chose to conscript Nell, saving her from an uncertain fate after getting caught, she went along willingly, eager to see where this new adventure might lead. Although didn't expect events to unfold quite the way they did...
The small village was their first stop on what would be one hell of a journey to stop the Blight, one to remember for the ages.
- Drove away the overcharging merchant
- Chased away the doomsayer
- Recruited Leliana
- Recruited Sten - got key from Revered Mother
Once they heard about what happened with the Arl in Redcliffe and at Alistair's encouragement, they set off for their first major location.
- Promised Owen she would rescue his daughter - convinced him to work
- Aided Redcliffe in the battle against the undead
- Found and rescued Bevin - Bevin ran off and did not give Nell the sword
- Sprung Jowan from the dungeon, greed to do his ritual
- Mages were recruited to save Connor.
- Found Alistair's mother's amulet
- Freed Owen's daughter and sent her home
Upon returning to the Circle to request aid for young Connor, Nell found the tower in shambles and was determined to solve this problem with as few casualties as possible.
- Refused to annul the circle.
- Recruited Wynne
- Found black grimoire (gave it to Morrigan)
- Braved the fade - got the Litany of Adralla from Niall - saved First Enchanter Irving
- Refused Cullen's request to kill everyone
- Mages saved Connor / allied for the Blight
Nature of the Beast
With Redcliffe secured for now and the Circle recruited, the next logical step was to find the Dalish elves and acquire more allies.
- Nell was able to calm the Halla so the source of the infection could be found
- Helped Cammen & Ghenya come together
- Brought the injured hunter Deygan back to camp.
- Returned wife's things to Arthas, told him the truth
- Successfully bartered with a crazy old hermit for the Great Oak's acorn
- Convinced Zathrian to lift the curse - established peace between the Elves and Werewolves.
- Elves recruited for the Blight
Haven & Urn of Sacred Ashes
The more they heard about this Urn of Sacred Ashes, and how Eamon's Knights had been sent to search for it, the more it became clear that it was something they had to find.
- Confronted Weylon in Denerim - killed the imposter
- Found Genitivi's notes
- Discovered Haven
- Confronted Father Eirik in the Chantry - killed him in defense
- Saved Genitivi and traveled with him to the Ruined Temple
- Killed Kolgrim and his followers
- Did not disturb the High Dragon
- Nell saw Jowan at the start of the Gauntlet
- Did not defile the Sacred Ashes
Paragon of Her Kind
The last of the treaties happened to be for the Dwarves and so the party ventured to Orzammar where they found yet more unrest and in the midst of their own succession crisis.
- Met and recruited Oghren
- Convinced Zerlinda to raise her son on the surface
- Found the stolen tome for the Shaperate
- Convinced the Circle to let Dagna study with them
- Found evidence linking Orta to a noble house - got her into the assembly
- Took Rogek's lyrium deal only to find out what he and Godwin were doing with it
- Infiltrated the Carta's base - killed Jarvia
- Nell mercy killed Ruck in the Deep Roads
- Fought against Branka - sided with Caridin and destroyed the Anvil of the Void
- Bhelen was crowned King in Orzammar
Denerim > Landsmeet
with all the treaties acted upon and allies secured, they returned to the newly healed Arl Eamon who was ready to start preparations for the Landsmeet. It was off to Denerim again where they handled a few more loose threads before kicking things off with the landsmeet.
- Successfully tricked Ser Landry into thinking she wasn't a Grey Warden
- Handled the Crimson Oars and rowdy customers in the Pearl
- Visited Goldanna - hardened Alistair
- Completed Master Ignacio's contracts
- Did not encounter Slim Couldry
- Encountered Taliesin, Zevran fought beside Nell and companions
- Assisted the Alienage and befriended the other city elves (she lived there once after all!)
- Zevran rescued Nell and Alistair from Fort Drakon
- Freed Bann Sighard's son Oswyn
- Took Irminric's ring back to Alfstanna
- Killed Rendon Howe
- Left Vaughn Kendalls to rot in his cell
- Arranged Alistair to marry Anora; recruited Loghain
The Stone Prisoner
On the road to one of their various stops, the crew ran into a merchant. Taking the opportunity to stock up.
- Shale was awoken and recruited
- Saved Amalia from Kitty, neither she nor Matthias were possessed.
- Killed the shade of Sophia Dryden
- Spared Avernus - left him to continue his experiments
Anders: He was one of the very first people she attached herself to when she arrived at the Circle. He was great with the younger apprentices, despite his feelings towards the Circle, and went out of his way to look after them. She unofficially adopted him as her older brother and they became practically inseparable. The two were essentially the "twin terrors" of Kinloch, named for their devious nature and tendency towards pranks. She adored his tenacity and boldness, and although she admired every escape attempt, she didn't want him to leave her behind. When they reunited in Amaranthine, she was overjoyed and quickly defended him against the Templars who dared to come sniffing around.
Raelynn Amell: Raelynn was only a little bit older but always felt like a sister or surrogate caregiver because of how she dedicated herself to looking out for the other mages and young apprentices. Nell regarded Rae with respect and admiration, often deferring to her guidance and wisdom whilst in the Circle.
Karl Thekla: Karl was always like an older brother to Nell, he and Anders both were the brothers she never had as a child and never knew she wanted. Where Anders encouraged her mischievous streak, Karl was there to temper her and keep her from getting into too much trouble in the tower. Despite her spunk she did have a natural inclination to learning and sought out Karl for tutoring and studying. He always looked after the younger apprentices, almost in a fatherly type of way even and she was quite heartbroken when he was transferred out of Kinloch.
Jowan: Surprisingly, Nell considered Jowan to be a very good friend. Sure, she thought he was a bit of a mess and something of a walking disaster, but Maker-be-damned if he wasn't a very supportive person during her time in the Circle. She knew he wasn't happy in the tower and that the life of a Mage really didn't suit him (not just because he had little in the way of natural talent) but she did encourage him to try anyway. When it came to his plan for escape, she helped him, taken by his plea and clear feelings for Lilly. While his involvement with Loghain and poisoning the Arl of Redcliffe was shocking, she still stuck to her guns. He was her closest, dearest friend and she could not abandon him. (WIP)
Velanna: Perhaps the most unlikely of relationships - Nell saw something in Velanna that she hadn't seen in anyone else. Charming the prickly Velanna was certainly a challenge. They had their differences, what with Nell being an elf born in the Alienage who spent most of her life in the circle, while Velanna hails from a Dalish clan. Still, they bonded as a couple of elven women, and as mages, finding appreciation in their very different backgrounds.
Alistair: While they were friends and comrades in arms, it would be a stretch to ever call them best friends. She appreciated his sense of humor and easy-going way, especially as a known prankster herself. Yet there were times when even she was the more practical one, the voice of reason against his emotional immaturity. Perhaps it was seeing her get closer with Zevran that did it, her rejection of his advances or arranging him to marry Anora and recruiting Loghain that ultimately damaged their relationship but despite pretenses of being chummy, there remains a distinct tension between the two long after she takes on the role of Warden-Commander and him, King.
Morrigan: At first, Morrigan was a little prickly towards Nell's very inquisitive nature but she managed to wear the witch down with enough time, and eventually they found a common ground and hammered out an unlikely companionship that resulted in Morrigan helping Nell further refine her skills in shapeshifting. She tried hard to connect even more to the bog witch, but there was always a disconnect stemming from their vastly different backgrounds. After all, Morrigan knew nothing of the circle and Nell nothing of the sort of life Morrigan led. When it came time to speak with Loghain about the ritual that would save both their lives, her inability to sway Loghain caused a small rift between the two mages, ending with Morrigan leaving just before the final battle never to be seen again.
Leliana: Completely unexpectedly, there wound up being a surprising amount of chemistry between the two of them, but it wasn't something either of them ever chose to pursue. While she found Leliana pleasant, sweet and attractive, Nell felt they were far too great of opposites to really be a good match romantically.
Zevran: Theirs was an tight-knit friendship that developed very organically over the course of the year Nell spent with her companions. Initially, she spared Zevran's life after the assassination attempt because she felt like he could be a useful ally and seemed genuine in his desire to help the efforts towards the Blight, that he had no loyalty to Loghain and had simply taken a paid job. The more she got to know her fellow elf, the more she found his companionship perfectly pleasant, and his skills on the battlefield indeed useful. Yet somewhere in the middle, the precise nature of their dynamic changed. What she enjoyed was his macabre, yet easy humor and that he was so genuinely, unapologetically himself. Though a romance never blossomed between them, she will forever consider him a true friend and like family.
Wynne: At first, Nell was a little wary of having someone from the Circle - a senior Enchanter of all things - tagging along. While she had never been Wynne's student (the healing arts weren't her forte), the woman was still something of an authority figure and rather devoted to both the Chantry and Circle. Yet, it turned out to be less awkward than she initially feared and found Wynne's presence to be a comfort, someone relatively familiar she could trade stories with about her times in the Circle who would understand. Not to mention, someone had to be there to balance out Nell's chaos. That all said, as Nell continued to grow in the months following, even well after the ending of the Blight, they found themselves on opposite ends of the argument of liberation from their (mages') oppressors, the Chantry.
Sten: While very much opposites, she still considered Sten to be an interesting sort considering she knew nothing of the Qunari people or anything about the region from which he hailed. Here was this sheltered little Circle mage meeting all sorts of characters for the first time. His taciturn and abrasive nature wasn't a deterrent for the inquisitive elf who had no qualms picking his brain at every opportunity until he found himself strangely endeared to her. They share a love for all things sweet and crumbly, like cookies and cakes and she has convinced him to let her ride on his shoulders once or twice.
Oghren: Quite honestly, they were never really close, but she did find him kind of funny at times. Though there is a limit that even someone like Nell can take. Still, Oghren was nothing if not reliable on the field, good with an axe and not always too terrible company, when he wasn't already completely blasted.
Shale: If Shale had been an elf, Nell swears they could have been sisters. Shale is very much her kindred spirit - they both have a grim sense of humor, both have snark and sass for days and she was able to charm Shale pretty quickly. Having never seen a golem before (nevermind a golem who used to be a dwarf) she was of course very curious but took to Shale's blunt personality immediately and was determined to be their friend. Fortunately, it worked in her favor.
Nathaniel: He's not a bad sort, for a poncy noble type. His father was scum, but Nathaniel proved himself to be pretty reliable and a trustworthy ally quickly after she conscripted him into the Order. Ultimately, it was his dry wit, surprising capacity for kindness, patience and his steadfast devotion to the Order and his companions that won her over in the end. She couldn't think of a better person to be her Warden-Constable.
Sigrun: Well, considering Oghren was the only other Dwarf she had come to know (besides those she met briefly in Orzammar) Sigrun was an interesting character to figure out. It wasn't hard to make friends with the former Legionnaire, though. She had spunk that matched Nell's and it helped them get along all the better.
Justice: She was kind of excited, at first, to meet the spirit. Even if he seemed a bit prickly following him getting trapped outside the Fade in Kristoff's body. The more they talked, the more she picked his brain, the more they became something like friends. If one could be friends with a Fade spirit. When she later learned of what happened with him and Anders, she was pretty surprised and maybe a little bit intrigued