"That's what I do. Fall out of the sky, make bad decisions, and somehow everyone still follows me."
Inquisitor Sabel Trevelyan is a mage and scholar who enjoys her books and her lists. From a young age, she showed a natural talent for elemental magic and an interest in all matters of the Fade. Sabel is clever, well-read, thinks critically and strives to be sophisticated and objective. She's also really fond of puns and Orlesian pastries.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Miscellaneous
- 5 Links
- 6 Gallery
Like most of the Trevelyan family, she has high cheekbones and a tall stature, measuring at about 5'8". While she has most of the typical Trevelyan features (black hair and olive skin), Sabel shares her mother's features of green eyes and a long nose. Her body frame is hourglass. At first, she's soft due to years of sedentary Circle/noble life, but loses some weight and gains some muscle definition during the events of the game.
During the events at Haven, when she fell down the shaft into the ice mines, a sharp edge sliced her left brow, resulting in a scar that intersects with her brow. By Trespasser it's mostly faded, thanks to her best friend, Marina's, healing powers.
Sabel is clever, witty, and sharp. She's had a lifetime to practice diplomacy and propriety, so she often strives to be cultured and graceful and practical at all times. Right. It doesn't work. Most of the time it doesn't work.
Others would describe her as having a natural, quiet inclination for leadership, but she wouldn't describe herself in that way at all. She doesn't really acknowledge her bolder traits, like her willingness to sacrifice herself, to take risks, to take charge to get things done. The characterization of a quiet mage is, perhaps, something to which she's been so long assigned that it's colored much of her self-image. She debates that very thought.
No matter how analytically she tries to tackle the problem, there is still an uncertainty in her that is just very human. She second-guesses herself and is prone to overthinking matters. At the very same time, she often pushes away her more irrational feelings, until they bubble up so much that she’s overwhelmed by them, and dismayed at how intense her feelings are. She’s prone to making lists, which helps distill and reduce her feelings into actionable points--which is both good and bad, as it doesn’t always reflect the complexity of her emotions, but allows her to at least admit they exist.
Sabel is friendly and excellent at developing friendships. She’s simply so sincere and kind to others that even her initial posh and stuffy first impression quickly breaks down. While she excels at making friendships, she struggles deciding how to lead. This is a direct inverse of Cullen, who is sure of his ability to lead, but struggles if or how to befriend his troops. All her life, Sabel has had guidelines to tell her how to behave--eat like this, be polite like this, study this, work on this. But when she is thrown into the Inquisition, she has no one telling her how to act, how to lead, what her role even is. And for a long time, she believes she’s alone in this feeling. But, over time, her comfort with her role increases, and she learns to embrace her own strengths. Most importantly, she learns she’s not and never was alone.
Sabel is Andrastian and believes in the Maker, though she struggles with the parts of the Chantry doctrine that describe the Creator as violent and wrathful. Those elements do little to inspire faith for her. In truth, spending six days out of the week studying and researching has trained her to value knowledge more than faith, to view the physical world and the Fade with an inquisitive but skeptical eye, to want evidence born from observation. Coming from a very devout family, this is a source of contention for her. She mostly keeps her beliefs to herself, especially since some of her opinions might even be called blasphemy by some.
Life in the Circle has encouraged her to be nerdy and scholarly. Every day, she writes, studies, researches. She has half-formed theses in the back of her mind, all the time. Of course, most of them will never see the light of day since most of them involve mage rights or the Chantry or rather strange hypotheses about the Fade.
Her sense of humor is similar to Dorian's or Varric's (though it sometimes misses the mark). Her flaws include being snobbish or self-righteous. While she isn't naive or oblivious necessarily, at the start of the game, she can be inexperienced about topics like life outside the Circle, survival, fighting, the underworld, and espionage. She knows she's quick to judge and quick to expect others to say and act how she wishes they would.
Talents and Skills
- Sabel's curiosity and intellect allow her to learn quickly and to improvise when needed.
- Sabel has always been a talented mage. The mark disrupts her magic at first, but after a brief learning curve and much, much training with Bull, she becomes a decent combatant.
- Through tutoring, Sabel became fluent in Orlesian (though she's a bit rusty as an adult) and speaks a bit of Tevene.
- Sabel is also actually a good dancer. She never really had much opportunity in the Circle, but it's something she practiced at home and even during the Inquisition. Always comes in handy for a surprise talent show.
- Sabel is empathetic, able to relate and communicate with others effectively, and thus tries to solve things with other people in consideration. That doesn't mean she always succeeds--but she tries.
Sabel was born in 9:14 Dragon in Guardian to Bann Nicolus and Lady Valerie Trevelyan. Her childhood was privileged and calm, though full of strange and sometimes inexplicable happenings caused by her dormant magic. Even from an early age, Sabel and her mother had a strained relationship, as her mother was a strict, critical malcontent who cared more for social climbing than nurturing. Sabel was a voracious learner, reading books after books and begging her tutors for more. Her brother, Lawrence Trevelyan, and cousin, Edgar Trevelyan, were her closest friends.
The Trevelyan estate is located just outside the city of Ostwick, settled in the upper cliffs near the coast and surrounded by a few stables, homes, and docks. It, like many other buildings in the Free Marches, is tall and made of thick, white stone that's covered in carefully-tended ivy. Its decor is a mix and mash of Fereldan, Orlesian, Antivan and Tevinter architecture and influences. While day trips into the city were often, the abundance of space and green land made home feel a bit removed from the chaos of modern life. The Trevelyans are only the 7th (or is it 8th?) most illustrious family in Ostwick, but their line is long and well-respected, and their home reflects their very noble and well-established history.
When Sabel was 10, she froze over the courtyard pond in the middle of the summer. The sudden realization she was a mage frightened her, but having to leave her home for the Circle was what was truly devastating. She spent weeks terrified, but one girl--an elf named Marina--chose to become her friend. The two became inseparable. Sabel also became the apprentice of Enchanter Lydia, who answered her questions, encouraged her curiosity, and became the mother figure Sabel always wanted.
Sabel regularly went home to the Trevelyan estate for parties or birthdays. When she was 18, she reconnected with a son of a powerful Ostwick noble, Peter. She and Peter began a secret relationship. Their encounters were always short and discreet, but nevertheless the two developed feelings for the other. However, both knew the relationship could never end in marriage. After five years of keeping the relationship almost perfectly secret, Peter suddenly married. The two then broke off their relationship; Sabel did not want to be his mistress.
During the next few years up until the Inquisition, Sabel spent her time researching, reading, writing, and going through the boring minutia of everyday life in the Circle. She was particularly focused on studying the Harrowing--who was likely to pass, who wasn't. This study became a counseling effort for young apprentices before their Harrowing. Sabel liked to believe it helped a few, but the research was never considered a worthy effort and Lydia encouraged her to stop the study for fear of rocking the boat.
Sabel adjusted to life outside the Circle by combat training with Bull and Cullen, reading war manuals and diplomacy books, and traveling constantly. The world became less of paper and maps, and become more of people and homes, beautiful landscapes. It became real, visceral and actualized.
Sabel also helped out a lot by assisting villagers, recruits and servants in any way she could. She was accustomed to life in the Circle, where all mages were equal. She never realized or cared that people didn't expect her to help when she could. Carrying bags to the Skyhold kitchens in the early mornings or by speaking to a forlorn recruit were simply a given.
She spent much of her time at Skyhold in the library, in the war room, or making the rounds and speaking to friend, colleagues, and newcomers. She rarely has a spare moment, but she does like to stop by the tavern at night whenever she can. Drinks on her.
In the two years between the fall of Corypheus and the Exalted Council, Sabel's role grew to more of a desk-based position, which made her restless. Not to mention many of her companions leaving to fulfill their own missions. Besides two major expeditions as Inquisitor, her job was quickly becoming more and more minimized as Thedas began to grow wary of the Inquisition. Unsure of its continued purpose herself, she took on two new apprentices and became an even more vocal supported of the College of Enchanters. She and Cullen also finally got more quality time together. She also grows out her hair.
Major Game Events:
- Sabel allied with the rebel mages--though they made a choice that threw her life into chaos, she didn't think more chains was the answer.
- Sabel left behind Warden Stroud in the Fade.
- She chose to keep the Wardens. Her father was always a very big fan of Wardens, and that rubbed off on her.
- Sabel saved Empress Celene and reunited her with Briala.
- She also had Morrigan drink from the Well of Sorrows.
- Sabel put in her voice that Cassandra should be Divine.
- Sabel chose to redeem Solas. They were friends.
- She later chose to disband the Inquisition and "retire" from power, while still working from behind the scenes.
- Sabel chose to tell Dorian about his parent's letter, then accompanied him to the meeting. There she encouraged the two to reconcile.
- Cole become more human.
- Sabel chose to have Blackwall join the Wardens after his time with the Inquisition.
- Sabel stopped Solas from murdering the mages who killed his friend.
- Sabel encouraged Cullen to keep abstaining from lyrium.
- Leliana remained hardened.
- Cassandra chose to rebuild the Seekers.
- Sabel saved the Chargers.
- Sabel gave Vivienne the heart, letting her complete her potion.
- Sabel rose Josephine's rival family to nobility so they would delete the bounty on her family.
- Sabel forced Sera's noble idiot into servitude for the Inquisition, and shared cookies.
After the Inquisition disbanded, Sabel and Cullen retired from their previous duties and left to begin a rehab center for templars. Sabel coped with the loss of her arm by daily physical therapy, inventions from Dagna, and letters from her now-scattered-to-the-wind companions. While the two were officially done with Inquisition work, that life never truly left them. They began work behind the scenes to take down Solas, and the world simply could not forget its Herald.
Sabel and Cullen had their first child about four years after the disbanding of the Inquisition. They raise a family of 3 children: Amos, an intelligent and impressive mage, Simon, a rather angsty poet and Teresa, a good-humored and skilled warrior. And of course their great mabari, Dane.
Sabel's first lover, Peter, is mentioned above in the biography section.
Sabel romanced Cullen. They were wary of each other at first, and actually had a few spats--err, better called arguments. There were hard questions about Kirkwall and about the Templars. Ultimately, with professionalism and hopes of friendship in mind, they decided to understand and respect each other. They began to play chess together (by the scheming hands of Dorian) and even trained together. They each admired each other for being direct, well-read, rational, and selfless. They grew close as friends; Sabel would bring Cullen lunch and news. When Cullen told her about his lyrium withdrawals, she encouraged him to stick with it, hoping to find some sort of therapy to ease his pains. The two began a relationship (much to the chagrin of the Orlesian Court) and spent two years in bliss. They got married at Halamshiral in 9:44 Dragon to a full ceremony with all their friends and loved ones. Cassandra officiated, instead of Mother Giselle, and Dorian definitely cried.
For your viewing pleasure, a graph!
The chart closest to the individual is how the individual feels towards the other. For example, Sabel feels a bit of distrust towards Leliana, but their relationship is based on respect and Leliana considers Sabel a friend.
Dorian and Sabel got on well immediately. Both bookish, both mages, both on rocky grounds with their parents. They have some high-quality bants together, especially as they grow closer and closer. After Sabel helps Dorian with his dad and after the business at Redcliffe, the two become best friends.
Sabel and Cassandra bond over their shared faith and their experiences in combat. Cassandra comes to Sabel for guidance with the Seekers and as Divine. She and Sabel have some really wonderful, deep, thoughtful conversations about the future of the Chantry, mage rights, and fate.
Sabel is also very fond of Cole and Sera, both of whom she regards as oddly endearing younger siblings. She tries to be guiding, especially with Cole, but also to respect their opinions--but maybe with some light teasing thrown in.
Out of all her companions, Vivienne and Sabel have the most tense relationship. While they respect each other as two mages, and Vivienne finds her to be sophisticated, Sabel's vocal support for the College of Enchanters over the reformed Circles left their relationship rather cold.
The Trevelyan family tree:
Sabel has three siblings. In order of age, they are Garren, Helena, and Lawrence.
As a child, Sabel was close to her brother, Lawrence, her cousin, Edgar, and father. As an adult, years of separation has dulled their relationships, except with Edgar. She's still fond of her father, who is a bearded, giant, rather pleasant old man. As for Lawrence, the two reconnect during the Inquisition as he stays at Skyhold briefly and later helps the Chantry in Redcliffe.
Sabel and her mother, however, are not on good terms. Sabel's mother, Valerie, is exceptionally religious and has always viewed her daughter's magic as a black stain on the family. Ever concerned with appearance and prestige, Valerie all but ostracized Sabel until she became Herald. Then, Valerie tried to capitalize on Sabel's newfound position by invoking the name of the Inquisition. Sabel was not pleased. At the very least, the family sent some donations to the fledgling Inquisition.
Her closest relative is her cousin, Edgar, a handsome rogue who fell in love with Cassandra. His presence on trips home is what keeps Sabel sane, and while he might be more reckless or irreverent than she is, they trust and love each other deeply.
Sabel has two older siblings besides Lawrence. There's Garren, the eldest, the heir, and mother's favorite. He's lazy and contemptuous due to a life of constant comfort. Despite being heir, Garren is rarely at the estate or even in Ostwick. He travels often and doesn't make much of an effort to spend time with family. His wife, Aspasia, takes on much of the everyday Bann duties, as Bann Trevelyan and his wife have mostly transitioned out of that role except for the most important of matters.
Then there's Helena, the second oldest, who's a bit plain, a bit boring, a bit humorless. She's sweet, just not exactly interesting. (Think Mary from Pride and Prejudice.) Sabel's never been close to either as they're about about 8-10 years older and she sees them rarely. Both seem wary of Sabel's magic and uninterested in making conversation with her, so Sabel is content to ignore them whenever she's home.
Her family's reaction to her becoming Herald and Inquisitor is shock. They never expected Sabel to leave the Circle, let alone lead an army. Besides her father, Lawrence and Edgar, no one in her family becomes interested in who she is as a person but they do become interested in her power and what it can do for them. This includes distant relations. Her first trip home (with Cullen) after Trespasser was a bit frustrating, to say the least.
Sabel's best friend from the Circle is Marina, another mage. Marina's brazenness and confidence balance with Sabel's quieter disposition. Marina joins the Inquisition as a healer.
Sabel was also close friends with her mentor, Lydia before Lydia died in the Ostwick Circle uprising. Sabel spends much of her time in the wake of the uprising mourning her.
- Her colors are dark blue, gold and black. She also loves purple, reds and even browns. Anything dark and vibrant.
- Varric's nickname for her is Bells, which refers to her personality and also the way Orlesians pronounce her name (Sah-belle instead of Say-buhl).
- Sabel loves horses and has always been very good at horseback riding, especially racing.
- Sabel likes winter best; snow and the cold make for cozy afternoons in the library. Though she doesn't mind a nice storm.
- Not surprising then that her favored elements are Storm and Ice Magic.
- Sabel admires the Hero of Ferelden, and the Wardens in general. She's a little starstruck when she receives a letter from Queen Demetria.
- Sabel loves smutty books. Err, that is, she's just happened to have read one or two and not found it totally dull. Or maybe a couple. Or maybe Ostwick's entire collection of smutty Orlesian pirate novels.
- In a modern AU, Sabel would be an archeologist from upstate New York.
- In a Hogwarts AU, Sabel would be a Ravenclaw, but she would like the ideals of Hufflepuff or Gryffindor.
Reddit Headcanon Threads:
See the masterpost for a more comprehensive list! It contains all important headcanons, images, fanfic! But the best ones/most recent reddit posts are posted below:
- What does Sabel think of herself? (my favorite)
- A typical Trevelyan family dinner
- Sabel's first lover part 1 and part 2
- hogwarts au/cultural differences between her and cullen
- More on her research in the Circle
Reddit Writing Prompt Threads:
- Sabel discovering magic, from the point of view of Edgar
- Getting put up to spar Cullen
- Letter to Cullen when she thinks she's about to die in Trespasser
- Reacting to her tombstone in the Fade
- Pinterest board
- The Chess Match: a fanfic by u/bleptember!
- Sabel tag on my tumblr
- Screenshot Album (mostly the same as the gallery below)