I think the thing that hurts the most about the Solas/Lavellan romance is that he completely steals everything from you, both indirectly and directly. The anchor, bestowed on you accidentally, separates you forever from your former life and your clan. His disdain for the Dalish is finally explained when he tells you the original meaning of the Vallaslin; as slave markings denoting which of the Evanuris your forebears belonged to. If that revelation bothers you, and you trust the man you love enough to remove them for you, you are basically assenting to cutting yourself off from your heritage with the expectation that you will now be joining him and learning true Elven culture…. then he dumps you, and you find out he’s been trying to destroy the world you’ve been trying to save. He is not Lavellan’s love interest; he’s her origin story.
“Careful, Neris! I just finished that one, we don’t want to smudge it right away,” Vallera said, pushing the freshly painted mask to the side as she shifted to accommodate her daughter on her lap.
“Mamae, hahren said that I could be at the dance!”
“Did he, now? Then you need a mask, da’len.” She planted a quick kiss on the top of Neris’s head. “Do you remember hahren’s lessons about the gods?”
“Why?” Neris asked tentatively.
“Well, because for the wolf dance in the new year, the children wear masks of vallaslin. Which of the gods do you favor, hmm?” Vallera waited as Neris pouted and looked away from her eyes for a moment. “I’ll give you a hint. Do you favor like me, the flames of S…?”
“Yes! Good girl,” she said with a smile, “Or maybe the wings of D…?”
“Dirthamen, yes, like your…” Vallera looked over to the edge of the camp, where Neris’s father conversed with one of the lead hunters. “Your papae?”
“No.” Neris shook her head to the sides and Vallera laughed.
“So… what do we do?”
“I want to be a hunter!”
“Yes, I want to track down the Dread Wolf and defeat him like Sulanin!”
“Oh, to find Fen’Harel you’ll need the guidance of Ghilan’nain, but to defeat him you’ll need the blessing of Andruil,” Vallera paused, “So whose will it be, da’len?”
“Yes.” Neris smiled.
Vallera laughed at her child. “Alright, my love. Do you want to paint yourself?”
Neris nodded, amber eyes fixed on her own.
“Very well, let’s see what you come up with,” Vallera said, kissing her daughter’s cheek three times in quick succession, and handed Neris her painting brush.
My piece for @thedosianlny, featuring toddler Neris and her mamae, Vallera, Lavellan’s clan artisan, painting masks for the Dance of Fen’Harel, where the children don vallaslin masks and help the dream warrior Sulanin defeat the Dread Wolf.
So, because my Lavellan!Inquisitor is a transwoman, I’ve had a lot of time and motivation to consider Dalish attitudes towards trans folk. My conclusion: in general, they’re pretty fuckin’ cool with it! here’s why:
1) Being nomadic and an oppressed minority, clans are pretty dependent on the skills and effort of each and every one of their members. Therefore, so long as you do solid work and contribute to the well-being of the clan, people don’t really care how you express yourself.
2) From what we see in the games and books, clans are usually pretty small, unlikely to have more than 50 or so members, maybe 100 tops (the clan you meet in Inquisition only has 8, counting the younger one who gets himself killed before you show up.) As a general rule, it’s harder to be bigoted against a demographic when someone you know intimately is in it. And when you spend your life around more or less the same 50 people, and have as little private space as the Dalish have? lemme tell ya, you know those people pretty intimately.
3) This is entirely my own headcanon, but I think the Dalish would hold trans people as sacred to Dirthamen, god of secrets and knowledge. If you ask a Dalish elf, gender non-conforming elves are the way they are because Dirthamen blessed them with a great secret hidden deep within their souls, a truth regarding the nature of the self. Beliefs hold that if you allow such a person to express themselves and flourish, they may come to know certain aspects of the secret, and can pass that knowledge on to their clan. The Dalish, valuing ancient knowledge highly, take this very seriously. To this end, gender non-conforming elves among the Dalish are referred to as “dirthenansal,” which directly translates as “gift or blessing of Dirthamen.” This is often shortened to “denan.”
As with every group of whispers, they often are thrown in as background noise and reversed. So I took the liberty to reverse the Well of Sorrows whispers and clean up the audio. A mantra of whispers going in circles, sung by a Well.
Some of the Whispers Heard:
Go to the Dirth Mythal speaks for the elves Travel Far She speaks for the elves She’s abelas Mythal She speaks for them both
Also, as a pleasant add on to this oh, so not creepy audio. The Dirth is another name for The Exalted Plains, as a Dalish elf there will tell you. The Exalted Plains/The Dirthavaren (The Promise) was were the last of elven nation fell.