“I know it’s hard to imagine, but she really does smile. Sometimes.” - Alistair
Physical Appearance Edit
Short, even for an elf, and slender. Thick, dark brown hair just above her shoulders, though she lets it grow during her time as Warden-Commander. Olive skin and brown eyes. Learning to fight during the Blight with a sword has given her wiry muscles, making her stronger than her slender build would suggest.
“Serious, talented at magic as well as non-magic studies and likes to keep to herself.” Those were the words First Enchanter Irving used to describe Neria to Duncan. During her time at the Circle, others would usually overlook her and not just because she’s small. Neria is quiet, likes to be alone and rarely draws attention. Not that she’s uncertain, rather the opposite; her confidence that she knows how to solve things means she doesn’t need the help of others. That’s her opinion at least, others may disagree but she doesn’t care about the opinion of strangers.
Alistair is one of the few people who can make her laugh, which is one of the reasons she fell in love with him. Like her sense of humour, she hides her emotions underneath layer upon layer of rational thought. She’s convinced decisions should be made based on reason, not emotion, and tries her hardest to explain things like why she asked Alistair to do the Dark Ritual from a rational point of view.
While she always had a natural inclination to lead, not follow, it wasn’t until the Blight that this really became apparent. The role of Warden-Commander suits her very well, she places her duty before anyone else. Well, except the ones she holds dear.
Too busy putting the needs of others before her own, she struggles with the idea that she has a right to be happy as well.
Talents and SkillsEdit
- Magic, especially Arcane and Spirit magic. Electricity is her element, she loves seeing the crackling bolts fly from enemy to enemy. Her interest in healing also means she knows her way around herbs and plants. This doesn’t mean she knows which ones taste good for dinner, though Alistair suspects she does know, but just doesn’t care.
- Sword fighting. She uses her longsword (two-handed) with efficiency and skill but without grace, much to Zevran’s disappointment
- Organising things. She likes places to be neat and it helps with her research.
- She’s surprisingly good at hiding, mostly because she manages to fit into the tiniest nooks. This talent was discovered during a nightly quest that involved Alistair, cheese and wine at Arl Eamon’s estate in Denerim.
- Getting people that bother her to go away by asking an unending stream of questions, preferable very tedious ones. It’s a talent, really.
Neria was brought to the Kinloch Hold at a young age and doesn’t remember much about her family or which Alienage she came from. Despite being quite a few years younger than most new apprentices, she was placed in classes with them as there was no other option. Since she was so much younger, the others usually ignored her, which was fine by her, she liked being alone. Later, her quiet nature combined with her confidence which was often mistaken for arrogance kept most apprentices away, except Jowan. It wasn’t until Solona Amell came to the Circle, however, that she learned what a true friend was like. Loving, daydreaming Solona and quiet, studious Neria became inseparable.
Neria is all too aware that the Circle gave her a chance she would never have had in the Alienage. She’s grateful for this and doesn’t hate the Circle, only the lack of freedom it encompasses. In fact, a life studying would have suited her just fine until the moment those bonds would hold her back.
She let Isolde sacrifice herself for Connor. It...seemed to be the only way, all right? Sometimes small sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. She refuses to speak of it any further.
Choose Harrowmont as king in Orzammar and destroyed the Anvil. The decision to choose Harrowmont is the one she regrets the most, looking back. Zevran had warned her, but she was too stubborn and decided to ignore his advice.
Allied with the mages. Her friends, no, Solona was there. Simple as that.
Convinced Zathrian to lift the curse. This can in no way be accounted to her being diplomatic, she mostly wanted to understand what had happened and what magic Zathrian had used.
Made Anora queen, while Alistair remains at her side with the Wardens.
For several years, Neria was happy being Warden-Commander and Vigil’s Keep was her home. The mantle of leadership suited her, she enjoyed seeing the ranks of the Wardens grow, knowing they would help keep Ferelden safe. Despite her promise to help the Circle gain some measure of independence, she avoided the place for a while. The horrors of what she'd seen there were too fresh.
For some reason, maybe because of her small body or the concoctions from Avernus, the Taint spread fast in her. When a good Warden friend left on her last journey to the Deep Roads, Neria knew she had to find a Cure soon or she would face a similar fate. Alistair let her go, but only after he got her to agree to marry him. The ceremony took place the day before Neria left.
Neria returns from her quest successful. No longer a Warden, she struggles to find a goal in her life. Alistair takes her to visit the Inquisitor (Rhiann Trevelyan) and they become friends. Unexpected, Neria becomes a mother when she and Alistair adopt an elven baby that was abandoned by her parents. They call the little girl Dunya. This new responsibility doesn’t stop Neria from vowing that she will help stop Solas when Rhiann tells her about his plan.
Alistair’s jokes combined with his surprising insights (Indeed, a Blight does bring people together. Perhaps it’s a good thing to have misfortune, but what is the right balance of misfortune and happiness? Oh, what did you say, Alistair?) and gentle nature won her heart, though it took a while before she would admit that to herself. His somewhat shy, but incredibly romantic approach to wooing her only made things more difficult as she was used to the straightforward approach in the Circle. She blushes when thinking about the conversation that followed him giving her the rose. Yes, she took his comment about getting to the steamy bits seriously. In her defense, who would joke about that? After that, she was very careful to not push any boundaries and it took longer than was really needed before they do get to those steamy bits.
From her first appearance, Morrigan inspired awe in Neria. An apostate witch, living in the forest, she must have learned so much more about magic than the Circles would ever allow. Neria spent many evenings at Morrigan’s tent, talking about magic and eventually she learned the other mage is a person with insecurities and who makes mistakes, just herself. They became dear friends.
At first, Neria wasn't sure about Leliana. Why would a lay-sister choose to fight? They need all the help they can get, though, so she took Leliana along. She appreciated the music and stories Leliana brought to camp and at times, Leliana reminded her of Solona. Things got tense for a while when Leliana told her about elven servants in Orlais, but Leliana apologised for her words. Neria, who (and finds) admitting to be in the wrong extremely difficult, admired this. After confronting Marjolaine, their bond deepened.
Neria admired Sten’s unwavering loyalty to the Qun and liked to have discussions with him, though he never yielded an inch. He taught her some two-handed sword techniques and everyone in camp would hold their breath when the two of them sparred. A giant qunari against a lithe elf certainly makes for an interesting sight.
Zevran was viewed with distrust at first, obviously. It wasn't until meeting the Dalish that she grew to truly like him. When her high expectations of the Dalish were shattered, Zevran, knowing what it’s like to have your dreams destroyed like that, was there for her.
Her relief at finding Wynne alive quickly turned to annoyance at the constant stream of advice Wynne would give. She'd been capable of handling things by herself (together with her companions) thus far and didn't need to be admonished for her choice of partner. After Neria told Wynne she was the one in charge and Wynne could go if she didn't like that, things quieted down for a while. Eventually, Wynne apologised, but contrary to what happened with Leliana, Neria didn't forgive this easily. To keep peace, she stayed quiet, smiling and nodding whenever Wynne commented on anything.
Shale’s no-nonsense attitude was greatly appreciated by Neria. She finds golems intriguing and quickly agreed to learn more about Shale’s past. When Shale told her she could draw mana from her crystals, Neria was overjoyed.