okay kids here’s the deal. the official maps we’re given are tragically lacking in detail & ridiculously underpopulated. so to continue my legacy as Map Nerd Extraordinaire, here’s my non-canon & much busier map of ferelden. feel free to take as much or little of this as you like, just gimme a credit if you do!
Because a lot of my friends seem to be sick lately. Have some DAI-themed sympathy.
For purposes of this headcanon, I am assuming that head colds exist in Thedas, that magic and potions can alleviate symptoms but not cure them outright, and that, while people don’t have a full-fledged germ theory they are aware of contagion and contamination as contributing factors to disease outbreak.
To the surprise of some members of the Inquisition, Blackwall is extremely reasonable about colds. While he’s still functional, he’ll power through, but once he’s fuzzy-brained or short-breathed enough that he’s no longer operating at peak performance he’ll remove himself from the situation. His favorite cold cure is a particularly nasty Fereldan whisky in hot water with honey and Rivaini lemon, although as far south as they are, usually all the lemon he can get his hands on is dried. (Sometimes Cole will come to visit him and then, as if by magic, there will be fresh slices of lemon instead of dried in his toddy.)
Cassandra is the worst illness patient ever. She considers herself not to have the time nor the patience for colds… and the fact that she nevertheless contracts them from time to time doesn’t disabuse her of this. It is sadly clear that being sick offends her dignity, and so she denies it for as long as possible. She persists in attempting to go about her duties as normal even with the cold, and sulks when someone finally sends her to bed, and then she’s crabby about it. Her favorite cold cure–once she has finally admitted to being ill at all–is chicken soup spiked with vinegar, with a side of trashy romance novels. (When she is feverish and tired and crabby, Cole will come and read to her. Or… not so much read: he holds the book, thumbs the pages, but the words he’s speaking are reflected out of her head, her memory of the book she wishes most to have read to her at that moment.)
Having spent so much time in various Circles, Cullen knows just how fast disease can spread in an isolated location. (While it is certainly not the most traumatic thing that happened at the Kirkwall Circle, Cullen still vividly remembers the Great Gallows Stomach Bug Incident of 9:35 Dragon.) So at the first feverish morning or sign of a sniffle, he is meticulous about isolating himself from the healthy: keeping at least a desk’s-width between them at first, and when the illness finally manifests in full, wrapping himself in blankets in his room and not coming out. His favorite cold cure is elfroot tea with plenty of honey. (When he is on his third day of self-imposed isolation and is bored and lonely out of his mind, Cole comes to visit, bringing nigh-incomprehensible scraps of gossip from around Skyhold.)
Dorian’s coping mechanism for illness is to be at least as annoying to the people around him as the cold is annoying to him. Suffering in silence is not in his nature–or, rather, it is, but only for serious issues. The trivial ones, he will complain about loud and long, and get some measure of satisfaction out of the snorts and eyerolls it inspires. Dorian swears by a particular herbal brew–a trade secret from a particular potion shop in Tevinter, that must be imported at considerable cost–made from sixteen special herbs and spices, bitter as the Maker’s wrath and cloying as Andraste’s smile. He magnanimously offers it to his suffering fellows, but none of them trust the stinking herbaceous brew. (When Dorian is feverish and uncomfortable enough that even complaining can’t make him feel better, there will be cool hands on his brow, though he won’t easily remember that it is Cole responsible.)
Qunari are nothing if not pragmatic, including about illness. Iron Bull prides himself on being tough, but he has no qualms about taking himself off to bed as soon as an illness takes effect. “The sooner you start taking care of yourself, the faster it runs its course–you can’t fight Vints and a sickness at the same time, that’s like taking on one enemy when another’s already flanking you.“ (He’s often the one most vociferously attempting to send a sniffling Cassandra off to bed–not that she listens.) His favorite thing when he’s sick is a drink made from the juice of bitter oranges, with or without a shot of strong spirits. (Once Bull is asleep, and only then, Cole slips in and hums the same songs the Tamassrans used to sing to him, until the wrinkles ease on his sleeping brow.)
Josephine much dislikes the inconvenience of illness, almost more than the discomfort itself. She has a vast collection of dainty handkerchiefs–embroidered, lace-trimmed, so pure and pristine a white that they look out of place in such a ramshackle location as Skyhold–and goes through them at a rapid pace while insisting that she is quite all right, don’t mind me, please forgive me for not shaking your hand–it is just a little thing, but I would not wish to give it to you! When she is finally forced to hole up in her room under her counterpane, she drinks a lemon honey tea with a heaping spoonful of crushed garlic (and takes care not to breathe on anyone; it is more pungent, in its way, than Dorian’s Tevinter medicine–although Josephine would tell you that it is the offensive strength of the garlic that makes it so effective), and still brings all of her scrolls and letters to bed with her so she can at least keep up on her correspondence. (Cole slips the half-read letter from her hand, caps her inkwell and sets it aside, and pulls the blanket up over her.)
For Leliana, a cold is not as much inconvenience as it is for many others. She does not often travel, and she can continue to write letters and send out agents even when quite ill–but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. As far as anyone outside Skyhold knows, the Nightingale of the Inquisition is never indisposed. Within Skyhold, people know to keep out of her way when she’s looking red-eyed and unusually murderous. When her head is congested, Leliana craves a basin of hot water filled with dried lavender blossoms; she tents a towel over her head and breathes the steam, lets it draw away both illness and tension. (When Leliana is sick, Cole slips not only honey but also steeped thyme into her wine. Sweet and sharp to clear both her head and her heart.)
When Sera gets sick, she’s no stoic about it: she bitches and moans from moment one all the way through when the cold has run her course. But she doesn’t let it stop her–as she will tell you with a snort, normal people don’t get to just stop doing stuff when they’re ill, not if they want to keep eating. It takes one of her friends ordering her to bed to get her the rest she needs. At whatever stage of her illness, she swears by an old peasant remedy: mugs of stout, to shore you up (and with enough mugs, to make you forget how bad you feel). (Cole never lets Sera know he’s there–he knows that he upsets her–but he makes sure that the tavern waitress knows to bring her ale when she wants it, and he piles up the blankets at night since she insists on keeping the windows open.)
It is rare that Solas falls ill, and when he does, he treats himself with tinctures and potions of his own, of a startling efficacy. (He is not stingy with them, but for some reason they never seem to be quite as effective on others.) Quite often his companions aren’t even aware that he was sick to begin with. More often than not he uses it as an excuse to contemplate the mysteries of the Fade: how sickness and spirits interact, whether a Spirit of Illness could be convinced to work on your behalf rather than against you. (Cole sits on the table next to his bedside, elbows on knees, and listens, listens, listens with infinite patience. That is more important to Solas than tea or soup: being listened to.)
Varric is almost as crabby about becoming ill as Cassandra, although he hides it better–or perhaps differently. While Cassandra is in snappish denial about it, Varric makes increasingly-bitter jokes about the rotten timing of this cold or the discomfort of that cough. Dwarves don’t fall sick very often, and Varric seems to treat it as a personal affront whenever he does–and as with all personal affronts, he faces it with snarly humor. His preferred method of treatment is a camphor salve to clear his sinuses (an Orzammaran dwarf treatment, but one his parents brought with them to the surface) and a shot of strong liquor to dull him to the tedium of sickness. He eats soup, too, but only under the steely eye of one of his friends. (Cole’s eyes are never steely, but he provides the soup nonetheless, and sits by Varric’s bedside listening to him complain as he eats it–feeling the strange way Varric’s mood lifts even as his complaints become more and more poisonous.)
It is a sure thing that Vivienne is far too dignified to ever have a stuffy nose or a cough or a fever. Vivienne is purity and perfection, too far above mere mortals to ever catch their diseases. …At least, so she would prefer people believe. So at the first sign of any disease, she shuts herself up; she could not possibly honk noisily into a handkerchief, darling, that’s absolutely common. She continues her work via correspondence, borrowing Leliana’s messenger-birds without leaving her rooms. Her preferred remedy is a strong Orlesian herbal soup, which she drinks by the bucketful while holding a handkerchief to her nose and plotting refined vengeance on the world in general and illnesses in particular. (Cole ensures that her pot of soup–kept warm over an array of tallow candles–does not run short, refreshing it with potent herbs and soothing broth at regular intervals.)
Cole doesn’t get sick–at least, not at first. For Cole, sickness is something that happens to other people. And, somewhat guiltily… he rather likes it. Sickness is a straightforward hurt, and it is not usually difficult to find out what someone needs to soothe it, whether it’s lemons for Blackwall or lavender for Leliana or a fresh set of handkerchiefs for Josephine. And it is a hurt that almost always runs its course, leaving its sufferer better in the end. It is nice, after so many tangled-tormented-thoughtbound-tremulous pains, to see a pain that he can soothe so easily with a cool hand or a warm cup of tea.
If and when he becomes human enough to catch a cold, Cole finds the tables turned. There is Cassandra reading at his bedside, Varric pouring him a mug of soup, Blackwall with whisky and lemon, Leliana leaving branches of lavender by his bedside, Bull with juice and spirits. Spirits for a spirit–but not all spirit, not all, not anymore, human enough to be sick, human enough to be cared for.
i would really love to see merrill and solas interacting
with merrill just being completely baffled by solas’s distaste for the dalish, and eventually sitting him down and going “shh shhhhh no. let me explain you a thing.”
and every time he interrupts her as she’s telling him everything he missed over the last several centuries, she just gives him a Very Stern Look until he trails off into silence and agrees to sit quietly again
I just saw someone misgender another person bc the misgendered party didn’t like their crap ship and the person with the crap ship turned around and complained about being “assaulted” for being called a transphobe and called out for their ship on the Internet…shippers are fucking Wilde
dark dragon age, give me a game without systematic abuse, criticism-fearing writers, purposeful white-washing, the oppression of multiple peoples as a plot device, racism on all platforms, sexism on all platforms, and poorly written mental illness.
Where a stray Queen finally finds her way home. [Read on AO3]
When the sight of Denerim greets her beyond the rise, exhaustion is already tugging at her limbs, heavy and stiff from hours on horseback. The grey dawn-light paints the scenery in dull colours, but the distant sky bears a rosy tinge heralding the rising sun. She’ll make it to the castle before the city is fully awake, and better that, than cause a stir by riding through the morning market.
Her mare snorts, restless beneath her, and she digs her heels in with gentle care. They’ve got some ways left to go, still, but the sight of home has stirred new vigour into her weary bones, and when she draws her next breath, Elissa Cousland Theirin feels – excitement. Or trepidation, she’s not entirely certain which.
Please appreciate the life-saver elfroot would be for anyone who menstruated in Thedas.
Also appreciate that there would likely be a time table where Anders told Hawke, in full seriousness, that he had a battery of potions to make for people who had to deal with killer cramps preventing them from working and they had priority over trying to find dragons in the hills around Kirkwall. Anders making potions for people who had irregular cycles and helping them have milder, more even periods for their health. Anders making tinctures or droughts for those that found work at the Blooming Rose to keep away any unwanted pregnancies and keep cycles short and mild. Anders giving these potions to people who come from bad homes that need them for similar reasons.
Anders explaining these things to little ones in Darktown because they don’t have anyone left that understands how it works because their parents died and their older brothers don’t know. Anders explaining that boys do this too, and people who aren’t either and people who can be other things.
I think about Anders and reproductive health and things a lot ok.