is time an artificial construct of the veil?
Praise the Maker Alexius is the sort of guy to keep a journal. The world’s going to hell in a hand basket under the Elder One’s rule, but he’s writing everything down. Dear diary…
While primarily recording his attempts to cure Felix of the Blight, his casual musings wind up shedding considerable light on the nature of the Breach, and in turn the orb itself, the veil, and the potential scope of the Elder One’s original plan.
Before the Breach, Dorian and Alexius studied the theoretical possibility of time travel ages before Corypheus hit the scene.
Then came an ill-advised trip to the Anderfells (side note: SUSPICIOUS) and a Darkspawn attack that killed Livia and cursed Felix with the taint. That’s when Alexius pushed to abandon theoretical possibilities in favor of concrete results.
Dorian was on board for a while, long enough to develop an amulet that was theoretically sound yet functionally useless, but eventually abandoned his mentor and friend.
He says that it was Alexius’ twisted grief/obsession that drove him away, but I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There’s nothing Dorian loves more than a good bet (or showing off), and he’s no stranger to defying the odds. If a bit of time magic could save Felix’s life, Dorian would’ve been the first to cast the spell, yet he walked away.
Because Dorian’s smart enough to know it wasn’t possible. We know from the in-game banter that Dorian’s one helluva mage, going toe-to-toe with an immortal elvhen god on matters of technique.
Solas: I notice you used a nullification enchantment combined with an offensive attack.
Dorian: The nullification disrupts any ambient magic lying about. Things then burn hotter.
Solas: Don’t you then waste an inordinate amount of magic overcoming your own nullification
Dorian: Ah, no. I warp the Veil slightly to effect distance between the spells.
Solas: Of course. Have you considering snapping the Veil-warp to enhance the relative energy?
Dorian: Like cracking a whip? Yes, tried it once. Made my teeth taste funny.
The last line’s a joke, but Dorian gets it.
He’s not staring at Solas with a blank expression on his face and wondering what it means to warp an immaterial substance, he’s responding with insider knowledge because, yawn, he’s done that before.
So if he walked away from Alexius and Felix, it was because he genuinely believed it was a lost cause. And he was right! Time travel wasn’t possible until the explosion at the conclave, which takes us right back to what Alexius concluded after a year of research:
The Breach is the Wellspring that makes this magic possible…
So long as the veil was torn, time travel required nothing more than fiddling with an amulet. With it, Corypheus ensured Fiona never joined the Inquisition, Alexius threw the Inquisitor forward a year, and Dorian sent them back.
According to his journal, Alexius made countless attempts to reach some point prior to the conclave. The implication isn’t that he failed to travel through time, but that he failed to escape the confines of the Breach.
I’m starting to think the Veil doesn’t simply Anchor the waking world against the shifting formlessness of the Fade, it Anchors the flow of time. Beneath the veil, time and space are fixed. Prior to that?
…a place of beauty and magic lost to time.
I mean, think about it.
In that dark future glimpsed in Redcliffe, Corypheus has it all. He’s just finished a year long campaign that earned him the rebel mages, a demon army, Red Templars, the whole of Ferelden and Orlais, and presumably the Well of Sorrows. All that on top of having a red lyrium dragon and an immortal lifespan.
Yet instead of living it up in Tevinter, he’s camped out in a janky Ferelden castle trying to get back to a time before the Breach.
What more does he want?!?
Whatever it was the Orb was supposed to give him. And I can’t help but think the answer is time.