Happy birthday, @raynnromantica!  I hope you had a nice day yesterday!

I appreciate your patience while I worked on this, sorry for the little sister interruptions and kitten shennaningans, I appreciate your patience while I finished it!

Solas and Nira Lavellan and their assorted kids, plus adopted spirit child Cole. <3

Herald "Can't Keep a Secret" of Andraste
  • Cole:I had these friends but I don't think they like me anymore, please don't look for them.
  • Inquisitor:*Summons war counsel* Alright nutsacks, we're looking for some missing kids.
  • Cassandra:Don't tell Varric I like his books.
  • Inquisitor:Hey dwarf, I know something you don't know.
  • Mother Giselle:I have this letter from Dorian's dad, don't say anything to him.
  • Inquisitor:Holy SHIT BALLS! Hey Deedee you gotta see this!

Cassandra doesn’t know how to feel when she sees the young teenager accused of the Divine’s murder, shaking and terrified. She is still strict, however, demanding answers, but when she discovers that the teenager is innocent, she feels nothing but guilt for being so hostile in her first encounter with them. She becomes overly protective, trying to guide the young Herald as best she can, even becoming something of a nagging parental figure. If the Herald is not of age by the end of Trespasser, she takes them in.

Iron Bull is worried, at first, when he meets the Herald. After all, it was going to be his job to keep the kid breathing, and Thedas could be a dangerous place. As it turns out, Bull has a soft spot for the Herald, and keeps a close eye on them. He affectionately refers to them as “Imekari,” Qunlat for “child,” but does not talk down to them as if they are a child. He starts trying to teach them how to defend themselves and fight better, with the patience of a saint and the pride of a parent.

Blackwall initially doesn’t believe the kid when they say they’re an agent of the Inquisition, even asking in a panic where their parents were so he could take them home. He believes it when they expose the mark, but it does nothing to soothe his nerves. He feels like he’s walking on broken glass around the teenager at first, not seeing himself as a stellar role model, but doesn’t make too many comments. Nevertheless, he feels no small amount of guilt when they find out the truth about him– their disappointed eyes are almost too much to bear. When they forgive him, he’s never been so relieved in his life.

Solas’s heart clenches when he sees how young the Herald is, and intense guilt overtakes him– “No, no, this was not meant for you, da'len, you are too young. What have I done? As a result, he is intensely protective, though he tries not to show it too much, and he tries to do everything he can to lessen the pain of the mark. He grows fond of them and begins to teach them about the Fade and spirits, and if they are a mage, effective use of magic. Affectionately refers to them as “Da'len” most of the time.

Dorian is sympathetic to the young Inquisitor, willing to hear them out with not a lick of judgement. When they stress or fret about others judging them, he does his best to soothe them, even a few times drawing attention to himself to get eyes off of the Herald. After his business with his father, the Inquisitor comes in attempts to comfort him, and Dorian realizes he sees the Inquisitor almost like a young sibling. He is nothing but patient with them.

Vivienne takes it upon herself to ensure the Inquisitor has the best of everything– education, clothes, manners, you name it. She tries to help plan their future for a good life, and introduces them to other nobles, trying to shape their social status– never too early to start. She would be damned if they didn’t become a functional, intelligent member of Orlesian nobility, with everything they need to succeed. Though she can be kind of an overbearing nag, not unlike Cassandra, it’s because she cares.

Sera acts like a big sister to the Herald, fawning over them. The Inquisitor finds themselves spending a lot of time with the rogue, who never belittles them– she just makes sure no one gives them too much trouble, and anyone who’s rude or mean to them is pranked ruthlessly. She begins teaching them things like “Hey, you wanna learn how to put bees in a jar without stinging yourself? Maybe how to put just the right amount of custard in a pie?” She, at least once, makes cookies with them. They don’t turn out well, but they have fun.

Cole doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal that they’re so young. “Why does it worry everyone?” he asks Solas one day. “The Herald is kind, and they care.” He doesn’t treat them much differently than an adult, but he’s more than willing to talk about their feelings if and when they get bewildered by the attention and the expectations. “Panting, drowning, I’m going to sink, I’m going to fail, I’m going to die. You are brave and strong. You will be okay.”

Varric’s first comment upon seeing how young the Herald is is “Shit.” “No kid deserves this bullshit,” he thinks, “I hope the Seeker was nicer to them than she was to me.” He, like Cassandra, becomes akin to a parental figure, a cool father-figure. He’s well aware of this, too, and looks out for them closely, and listens to what they have to say. When they’re stressed, he’ll encourage them to step away from it for awhile, and he’ll pull them aside, take them for a walk, telling them stories of Hawke. Secretly plans on making sure their financial future is set by hiring them for some sort of job in his business if the Inquisition thing doesn’t work out.

Josephine frets over everything– “Do they have enough to eat? How about clothes, are they warm? I need to hire a tutor, a good one.” She frequently tests them on their etiquette, not realizing sometimes how much it stresses them out. To balance it out, she often gives them some sort of reward, be it new clothes, a book, whatever they want, for working hard and behaving.

Leliana was kinder to them than Cassandra was in the beginning, and felt nothing but pity for them later on, when they were known to be innocent. She isn’t as hard on them as she can be on others, and always has an agent not far away to ensure their safety. She knows very well there are many who would take advantage of such a young Herald, and she makes sure that never happens.

Cullen frowns, deeply, when he first discovers how old they are. “Maker’s Breath! How did this happen to them?!” Once the initial shock and panic has faded, he tries to be calm and tries to be a good role model. When they’re more comfortable with him, he begins sparring with them, teaching them how to effectively use a sword and shield, and feels quiet pride when they can keep up with him after weeks of training.


As written on the kink meme, various romanced characters reactions to the Inquisitor being made tranquil. 


The moment he truly understands, he makes a vow.

He has heard of the atrocities that befall those made tranquil; Cole has let slip a few stomach-churning comments. The tranquil cannot protest, cannot say no, cannot even truly defend themselves. They are clay, waiting to be shaped by other hands.

He may not be able to fix this, but damn him to the void before he lets any of that happen to her.

“I will protect you, my lady,” he whispers, gently touching the curve of her cheek. “No matter what happens, I won’t let anyone hurt you.”

And if he spends the rest of his life keeping his vow, that is fine with him.


He walks into Skyhold with blood beneath his fingernails and storms in his eyes. He kneels beside her. “You should rest,” he says softly, and she does not protest. She will never protest again and his heart breaks at the thought. Rage has kept him going for this long, kept him on a sure course. But that night, he walks the Fade, calling her name, trying to find some trace of her.

When he wakes and finds her still asleep, he finally falls apart. She wakes to the quiet sounds of his grief. “Can I do anything to assist you?” she says, her voice level.

He closes his eyes, unable to look at her. “Come back.”


This—this is his fault. He stood by and let so many mages be made tranquil, it seems almost poetic.

“No, no, no,” he whispers, when he sees her face. She has always been so vibrant and now she is utterly still. He is touching her before he makes the conscious decision to do so: his fingertips brushing over her shoulders, checking if she is whole, then coming up to cradle her face.

She is otherwise uninjured, but that does little to comfort him.

Oh, Maker. This is his punishment and she must pay it and he has never hated himself more than in this moment. A sob escapes him and then another. “I’m sorry,” he manages to say. “I’m so sorry. I should have been there, I should have stopped this.”

“It was not your doing,” she says tonelessly.

He takes her in his arms and is not surprised when she doesn’t return the embrace.


There are practical matters at hand.

First off, who will lead the Inquisition. It cannot be a man whose mind is not his own, but nor can the world know that. Leliana is the one to decide that they will lead as a joint effort and the Inquisitor’s… condition shall remain a secret. Then there are battle plans, a hunt for the templars that did this, and Cassandra insists on going with the expedition.

“Are you sure…?” says Cullen hesitantly.

For a moment she wonders if this is what drowning feels like. “I cannot remain here,” she replies. “Not now. Not… when there is nothing I can do.”

She leaves Skyhold, but only after she goes to her love and promises to get justice for him.


She… she cannot deal with this. It is too much, too heavy, and when Inky comes to her with dead eyes and a voice that sounds wrong, Sera flees. She leaves Skyhold behind, finds the nearest town with a tavern, and cuts someone’s purse.

It is all familiar, and for a while, it helps. She runs until she forgets Inky’s cold eyes, the even voice, the sheer, utter horror of it. She runs until her head is filled with fog, until she gets in a fight with some stupid blighter and ends up with a black eye and sore knuckles.

She runs, because there is no way to fix this.


He drinks. Drink has always been his coping mechanism of choice, and even if it leaves him with a bitter taste in his mouth and a pounding head, it is better than some of the ways he has seen people cope.

But this time, he does not drink to get drunk. He goes to his rooms, finds an old vintage that the Inquisitor gave him as a present. “Because I love you,” he had said, pressing a kiss to Dorian’s cheek, “with or without your vices.”

Dorian pours a glass and raises it to the current Inquisitor, to the man whose only response is to stare quietly. “To yet another fucking tragedy,” says Dorian, and drinks.

Iron Bull

He once considered the practice intriguing.

It seemed a neater, cleaner solution than what happened to the saarebas. There are no puncture wounds in a tranquil mage’s mouth, no sores from the constant chains, no outward evidence of abuse. All in all, Bull once thought it might have been a terrible sort of mercy.

But now, he understands. There are no chains on the outside, because the Inquisitor’s spirit itself has been bound.

He tries to coax a response out of them, whispers endearments, promises to take them away from all of this, to make them one of the Chargers so they will never be parted. Such talk always made the Inquisitor laugh, but now they simply listen. “If that is what you want,” they say.

Bull tries to ignore the rising pain in his chest. “What do you want, Kadan?”

The Inquisitor does not answer.

+ Bonus


He goes to the Inquisitor. He isn’t called by their pain, because they are not in pain, but rather by the pain of one who loves them. He looks deep into them, watches the trails of their thoughts—they were once bright and thrummed with life, but they have been muted.

He does not like it.

He reaches for them, his essence calling to theirs. For a moment, all is quiet.

And then they answer. He sees what no one else can—the light spilling from their skin, the way their spirit flickers and flares to life. They have always been so bright it almost hurt to look at and this is no different.

When they stagger upright, tears streaming down their face, Cole smiles. “Go,” he says, and the Inquisitor goes. Cole listens as the door is opened, as they step into the other room.

“I’m here,” says the Inquisitor. “It’s me.”