Posts Tagged 'long post'

Mages Are Buff!






All of my MCs across the DA universe are mages.  I
always play a mage.  If given the choice,
ALWAYS.  My Wardens, Hawkes, and
Inquisitors are all mages (much love, dwarves).
Even if I play different races I play as a fire-throwing, ice-dropping,
lightning-’sploding MAGE.  Who doesn’t love raining down arcane
destruction on their enemies?  At the
same time, I’m not a very strategic player.
By the final stages of all my games I’m more Leeroy Jenkins than stealth
assassin.  What can I say?  I like to DPS the doody out of a playthrough.

So it kind of bothers me whenever I see fans (or non-fans)
talk about how weak mages are.  Who doesn’t
get peeved when their babies are less capable or less formidable than other
characters?  Sure, you can have
characters like this


or this


who are pictured as rather weak and physically incapable
(and let’s save all of the Chantry and social implications for a later date,
shall we?) with very good reason for that, but at the same time you have




and of course…!


who are incredibly robust!
I mean, look at Garrett’s arms :O.
They need their own national boundaries.

There is a very good reason for the various states of
fitness seen in these characters, and that is this: physiologically speaking,
error drives all improvements in the body.
This is true in cognitive improvements (brain function), strength
(muscle improvement), and the application of skilled tasks (brain and muscles

Active mages are some of the physically fittest people in
Thedas.  Let’s call physical fitness a
combination of muscular strength, aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, body
composition, flexibility, and neuromotor fitness1).  Who is always having to run away from enemies
in a battle and change their position (until you’re playing tank anyhow)?  Who lifts a wooden or metal staff over and
over and over (and rotates it and swings it and changes its

position2,)? You might say, but a staff weighs a LOT less
than a sword!  Well, @queenmelisende (a
graduate student of medieval studies) has shared with me that, “…probably around the same as a two handed sword would be my guess”*.

So, let me break down some of the physiology here for
fitness, and really explain why mages are not inherently weaker or less
physically capable than their rogue and warrior counterparts.  If anything, the combination of physical
capability and magic gives them incredible potential.

Just as a review, let’s say the body is made up of only a
few things; muscles, bones, nerves, the heart, lungs, and brain.  There are a few other things, yes, but these
are the big ones.  Muscles are fancy
strings that are attached to your puppet workings (aka bones).  Nerves run down from the brain through a
super duper tunnel and then branch out to all of the muscles to tell them to do
stuff.  The heart (and its vascularization)
gives them energy to do stuff, and trust me, muscle movement takes up more
energy than anything else. The lungs make sure the heart and its stuff is
energized properly.

Bones and muscles and hearts and lungs and the brain respond
to stress, AKA error.  Whenever you put
extra stress on bones (lifting a ten-pound staff), they go through the process
of absorbing more calcium from the blood stream to become denser and capable of
handling the extra stress**.  If your
biceps brachii and deltoids attempt to lift a weight they are not used to
carrying, they send signals to the brain that something is not quite right.  Neural adaptations begin to form at the same
time that the muscles produce more myosin and create more troponin-C contact
sites (the binding of myosin heads and troponin-C sites is what allows for
muscle contraction)***. When you are running around the countryside (and let’s
be real, Bioware didn’t give us a horse until Inquisition!) your lungs and
heart work in concert to make sure that your legs are getting enough oxygenated
blood to supply ATP via the Citric Acid Cycle so that all of those little
myosin heads and troponin C sites can do their job.  Anyone who has tried to do aerobics over a
period of time knows how hard it is to get started if you haven’t done anything
for a while.  Your lungs buuuuuurrn,
probably moreso than your muscles. It gets easier if you continue at the same
level for a while and then it gradually becomes harder as you increase your
challenge level.  You increase
stress.  You increase the opportunity for
error signal to your brain and for the body to “correct” the error.  Over time your brain gets smarter, your lungs
and heart become more efficient, plus they cheat by growing more
capillaries.  Muscles transition their
fibers to types that work more efficiently (IIx to IIa), and your bones become
denser (this is all, of course, if you do not have pathology to contend with
that interrupts the typical process).


At this point I should also mention that while muscles and
brains get smarter, they adapt according to specificity.  Skill in throwing clay pots does not convert
to skill in sewing, even though they both require a level of dexterity with
one’s hands.  Running 5Ks does not
convert to skill in bicycling, even though they are both great aerobic
activities.  You practice for the skill
in which you want to be successful.

Now, it’s really cool to see mage Wardens go on their
journey to physical fitness.  For
Aeducans and Broscas and Couslands and Mahariels and Tabrises, they start out
pretty fit and skilled.  Amells and
Suranas… maybe not so much?  How much
physical exercise are you encouraged to have when you’re locked in tower for
the majority of your life?  But then these
mage Wardens go to Ostagar and it’s a very in-your-face life or death scenario.  There is no recourse BUT to become fit.  Still, who doesn’t headcanon their Surana or
Amell being amazingly badass by the end of their story?

On the other end of this spectrum you have Farmer [mage]
Hawke and all of the mage Inquisitors, who have literally been fending for
their lives for years, either in Lothering on the run from Templars, or in the
years leading up to the events of Inquisition.

Rogues are fast.
Warriors are strong.  I’m not
cracking on either of those classes, but mages?
Mages, IMO, are fast AND strong.
They spend their time either running from enemies (uh, hello mage!Hawke
and the Arishok) or swinging a very heavy staff non-stop during the fights.  They are getting the best of both worlds in
terms of cardiovascular improvement and resistance training.

Not only are their legs getting a workout (running and
climbing and jumping and maintaining standing balance,) but they are using SO
many arm and back and chest muscles (biceps brachii, triceps, coracobrachialis,
pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, all four of the rotator cuff
muscles, rhomboids and deltoids and more).
Even the swinging of their staffs usually involves footwork comparable
to that of a warrior.

Which brings me to the last distinction.  If I have been mostly comparing the efforts
of warriors and mages, let me finish by comparing their fighting types.  Depending on the battle, how often are
warriors locked in a combat situation where they are having to overcome a force
greater than the staff they are hold?
How strong is their enemy?  They
aren’t chopping a tree down, but swinging a sword until their opponent is
defeated.  A fight may last 5 minutes max7?  Probably less.  Then they move onto their next target.  During that time muscles are able to relax
and re-uptake ATP.  My argument is that
the fighting style of mages, when mages are fighting and not running, is more
like a marathon.  Whereas warriors fighting
style might be likened closer sprinting.

Is one stronger than the other?  Hmmmm, okay maybe, but only in the way that Navel
oranges are more tart than Gala apples.  You
can’t compare them entirely.  You just
can’t say mages are weak weak weak.

Aside from game mechanics and limitations with the character
creator, in terms of body type, warriors might look more boxing ring fighters,
throwing hard punches and having fewer moments of aerobic activity, while mages
look more like gymnast-twirlers.  They are
not trained for fighting hand to hand, but they could probably hold their own based
on strength, and are certainly not unfit.

So, yeah, warriors are still the undisputed heavy
hitters.  Dorian is not displacing
Cassandra any time in that regard, but is anyone going to say that Mage
Garrett/Marian Hawke would be incapable of defending themselves in a fist
fight?  Let’s just ask Carver about that.

Have some lazy citations and addendum:

  1. Garber, et al. “Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise”. 2011. American College of Sports Medicine. 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb
  2. PlaystationLifestyle. “Dragon Age: Inquisition – Mage Combat Gameplay”. Accessed June 29, 2016.
  3.  ignore this
  4. * This is not easy information to find, but she
    has done so much medieval research that I trust her expert opinion on the
    matter.  @queenmelisende and @gerundsandcoffee. May 01, 2016.
  5. **FYI, ladies, your bodies max out on the amount
    of calcium storage they will do by the time you are 30.  What does this mean?  When you’re older and you’re actually
    YOU’RE YOUNG.  Ask me if you want a citation on this.  Like I said, lazy me, but it’s legit!
  6.  ***The first 6-8 weeks of resistance training
    are neural adaptations and not muscle hypertrophy.  Basically, your brain is learning (or
    re-learning) how to do a skill.  Again, ask me for citation if you’re interested.  I will find it for you.
  7. How to Fight Write.  Accessed June 29, 2016.  Originally posted June 22, 2016. 
  8. All pictures taken from Dragon Age Wiki.  Accessed June 26, 2016.

Special thanks to @queenmelisende for her input and @onewngdseraph for reading over this for me.  Any mistakes are mine.

Just a couple of addendums!

1. A sword would weigh more than a staff. A sword weighs around 2-4 pounds.  A staff usually weighs about 1 pound. Source; I’m a martial artist of 15+ years experience who’s trained with staffs and Japanese swordsmanship extensively, and I am also a HEMA and SCA fighter who’s used many different types of European sword. (Single hand, hand-and-a-half, and full on two handed broadswords)

2. That doesn’t matter much when you’re swinging it around for hours at a time. One pound will still feel like a hundred after a couple hours of staff work. 

3. You get sick guns. I can bench press 20 pounds more than I weigh and staff and sword work is 100% of my upper body work. I haven’t done a pushup in forever. My shoulders are cut as hell.  

4. You feel it in your abs and back too the next day. 

5. So yeah mages who swing a staff a lot would be in pretty good shape. 

Addendum to your addendum #1:

DA staffs usually have REALLY FUCKING heavy accessories on the end like Malcolm’s Honor.  I mean…. a foot tall metal/gold plated statue of Andraste on one end with a blade on the other would make it a LOT heavier than “normal” staves, one would think.

Granted some are heavier than other, but Hawke’s staff (and Orsino’s dragon headed thing) is a monster.

True. The ornamentation would probably take a staff more into the polearm weight class of 3-6 pounds, though you don’t usually acrobatically twirl a polearm all around the way you can a lighter staff and the way you see the mages doing in lots of games. The blades fuck the balance ALL up. Watch some techniques done either with European polearms or with Eastern polearms and you’ll note that the techniques are far different from staff techniques. 

Really when it boils down to it DA mage staffs are the staff equivalent of one of these. I.E. something that looks fantastic and cool onscreen but wouldn’t be super-practical for actual use. 

(The sword, not the ah-nold)

But yeah the point stands you would have to be fit as hell to swing those things around all day. 


Video: Cat Jobs


These goofs ♡

My Stories


Master list of the Hawkquisition series, to be updated when new stories are added:

Part I: To Remain at Your Side

Hawke arrives at Skyhold without her Fenris? Surely he didn’t willingly let her go off alone. So she must have left without telling him. He’s not going to be pleased when he finds out! This is what happens next, as Hawke travels to Weisshaupt, reuniting along the way with her lover, family, friends, and the Inquisition itself…

Read it at: DeviantArt  |  |  AO3


Part II: The Apostate’s Templar

Carver escapes the red lyrium-tainted templars of Kirkwall by escorting Merrill as she leads a ragtag group of elven refugees away from the Free Marches. In Ferelden, they uncover a source of red lyrium; the Inquisition investigates and Hawke insists on coming along.

Read it at: DeviantArt  |  |  AO3


Part III: Patchwork Families

Merrill’s patchwork clan has grown and they return with Hawke to Skyhold just in time for the baby to be born. Meanwhile, Skyhold is abuzz with preparations for Divine Victoria’s coronation and the Inquisitor’s wedding – but danger lurks amidst the festivities…

Read it at: DeviantArt  |  |  AO3


Part IV: Warriors Such As (Tumblr Masterpost)

Fenris was once told that even in the Imperium, warriors with markings of his sort were rare – with the implication that he is not unique. When the Inquisition learns of a group of Venatori creating warriors marked like Fenris, but with red lyrium, Hawke may have to take her turn being the one left behind while Fenris travels into danger to help the Inquisitor investigate.

Read it at: DeviantArt  |  |  AO3  


Drabbles and One-Shots

  • Paradox: Fenris/Lisbet Hawke. Teaching their son to read, a vocabulary lesson calls for an example closer to home.
  • Placebo: Carver/Merrill. Kirkwall’s templars are taking red lyrium; Carver seeks out Merrill for help.
  • Lights Out: Fenris/Lisbet Hawke. On bedtime habits.
  • Amantes Sunt Amentes: Fenris and Lisbet are lunatics in love. (Takes place between chapter 1 and 2 of To Remain at Your Side, listed above.)
  • Principia Parva Sunt: Merrill tries to identify the beginning of her falling in love with Carver, but beginnings are too small to bother with. (Concurrent with The Apostate’s Templar)
  • Cineri Gloria Sera Est: What if Hawke had not survived the Arishok duel? Fenris blames himself…
  • Oculus Animi Index: Hawke is obsessed with Fenris’ eyes. (Aren’t we all, a little?)
  • OTP prompt 15 for Carver and Merrill: 

    Which one screams about the spider and which one brings the spider outside?

  • OTP Prompt 29 for Fenris and Hawke: 

    Which one holds the umbrella over both of them when it rains?

  • Oak and Linden: Fenris/F!Hawke. For AU day of Fenhawke Week 2,

    A tale and a translation from Ovid’s Metamorphoses: the myth of Baucis and Philemon in the persons of Hawke and Fenris, in their retirement.

  • Nosce Te Ipsum: Fenris/F!Hawke. Hawke’s role in Fenris’ path to self-discovery. Podficced too!
  • Sapling: Metis prepares for the birth of his granddaughter. (Fenris/Hawke)
  • Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes (WIP, ¾ chapters posted): Fenris/F!Hawke, married with children and still getting into trouble.
  • Beneficium Accipere Libertatem Est Vendere: Fenris/F!Hawke as seen by Varania when Hawke and Varric persuade her to stay in Kirkwall and try meeting with her brother again
  • Ave Atque Vale: A preview of Hawkquisition part 5 or a one-shot that fits somewhere after it, depending on how part 5 goes when I actually get it written…This features Varania bringing Metis to Mara’s grave, mourning, closure. It is a sad.








im putting together a couple of scottish folk mixes bc that’s what i do and im honestly curious if anyone in my country has ever been unequivocally happy about anything ever

scottish trad music genres:

  • Everyone I Love Is Dead
  • The English Have Stolen All My Sheep
  • You Want To Be My Boyfriend? First You Must Answer These Riddles Three
  • The Protestants Have Stolen All My Sheep
  • I Love You A Lot But You’ve Left Me And It’s Raining [fiddle solo]
  • The Sea Is Treacherous, Just Like The English
  • One Time Bonnie Prince Charlie Punched Me In The Face And It Was Awesome
  • The Fairies Have Stolen All My Sheep

We have of course the traditional Irish music genres to go with them:

* Everyone I Love Is An Allegorical Representation of Ireland

* The English Stole My Farm And Put Sheep On It

* You Were My Boyfriend But Now You Won’t Even Come To The Window To Look Upon Me And Our Dead Infant Child (In The Rain)

* Whack Fol Too La Roo Umptytiddly Good They’ve Stopped Listening Now Let’s Talk About Revolution

* Something In Irish, I Think It’s About Fairies, Or Maybe A Cow

oooo can I add to this? don’t forget Appalachian folk balladry, the American cousin of Scottish and Irish traditional music and just as uplifting as its Anglo-Saxon highland forbears!!!

genres include:

  • I Left Everyone I Love Back Home In The Holler To Be With This Guy Who Doesn’t Wear Shoes Or Have Teeth But He Plays A Mean Jug
  • The English Told Us Not To Move West Yet, We Ignored Them, My Entire Family Was Killed
  • You Were My Boyfriend But You Tied A Sack Of Rocks To My Petticoats And Threw Me In The Creek (And My Baby Too)
  • Mama Loves All 14 Of Us A Lot But She’s Weary Of Our Shit And Now She’s Dyin’ (Gather Round)
  • The McCleans Stole A Firewood Log From Our Pile So We Won’t Rest Until The Last Of Their Male Kin Is Laid In The Cold Ground
  • We Knew The River Would Rise But We Still Didn’t Fix The Levee 
  • The River Rose, The Levee Broke, Everyone Died, It Was Just As We Reckoned (dulcimer twang-a-lang) 
  • When The Rebels Come A-Marchin’ I’m A Southern Man And I Feed Their Horses My Best, When The Yankees Come A-Marchin’ I’m A Northern Man And I Feed Their Horses What The Rebels Left
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority Killed All My Sheep Somehow

Don’t forget that old standby “The Mine Collapsed and Everyone Died”!

I think someone needs to put in a word for the English folk tradition though:

  • I Met a Girl and We Went Hunting (It Was a Metaphor for Sex)
  • I Met a Girl and We Caught Some Birds (It Was a Metaphor for Sex)
  • I Met a Girl and We Found Her Lost Pet (It Was a Metaphor for Sex)
  • I Met a Girl By Staying At Her Parents’ House and She Made My Bed (It Was an Especially Thinly-Veiled Metaphor for Sex)
  • I Am a Girl and I Regret Engaging In Metaphors for Sex Because Now I’m Pregnant
  • I Met a Girl and Bribed Her Into Sex But She Stole My Horse and Ran Away With It
  • I Met a Girl At an Inn and We Had Non-Metaphorical Sex But She Stole My Stuff The Next Morning and Now I Have Syphilis
  • Your Fiance Died Either at Trafalgar or Waterloo, Let’s Get Married, I’m Glad You Said No Because I’m Really Him In Disguise
  • Lord Nelson Sure Was Awesome
  • The Press-Gang Dragged Off All the Important Men in My Life (And Now They Are Dead)
  • Farm Laborers Are The Salt of the Earth And Are Never Grindingly Poor
  • Begging Is a Completely Viable Career Option With Flexible Hours and Unlimited Access to Alcohol


(plus I know every variant of each and every one of these songs and I’ll send you the links if you want)

I once tried to write a folk song which was all folk songs. I see now I was not trying hard enough…

Six of Crows Appreciation Post


Because it warranted one. Desperately. 

It’s also spoiler free!

Six Reasons Why Six of Crows is Awesome and Why You Should Most Definitely Go Out and Buy Yourself A Copy of this Masterpiece Now:

1. The Concept

A motley gang of thieves pulling off the greatest heist ever. I mean, HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT? And you thought Bonnie and Clyde had it bad…. You’d have to be suicidal to try and pull this heist off…and I absolutely love it. Plus, this is like nothing I’ve read before. (I’m not well read in gangs of thievery, that really needs to change.) It does however, kind of remind me of the show Leverage. But that’s a story for another day.

2. The Characters

Matthias Helvar: A convict with a thirst for revenge.

You confused little drüskelle you.

Jesper Fahey: A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

Jesper, Jesper, Jesper, you gun-loving little spirit.

Wylan Van Eck: A runaway with a privileged past.

My little precious child.

Inej Ghafa: A spy known as the Wraith.

BAD-ASS. with a troubled past.

Nina Zenik: A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

Bless your soul.

KAZ FREAKING BREKKER: A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Or did I mean, Kaz (heart)Breaker…. ha ha ha.

3. The Plot

It’s fast paced, with new surprises at every turn. Honestly, some of these things happened so quickly I was just like “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!?” But that’s what makes the book so amazing. I never found myself seeing how many more pages it was until the end (I just know that I can’t be the only one who does this sometimes) because for all intent and purposes, I never wanted it to end. Ever.

And the ending? Let me tell you a little bit about the ending. It’s the kind of ending that makes me hate the fact that the second book doesn’t come out until September 2016. (It’s not even early September, it’s the end. I cry.) I also (kind of) regret reading the book so early because of the goddamn ending. I swear Leigh Bardugo, you are a master of crushing hearts….

4. The Action

I personally love action in a book. It’s part of the reason why I tend to gravitate towards high fantasy novels more than any other type….it’s because of the action. And this book certainly does not disappoint on the action scenes. (There’s a lot of them) and I never find myself getting bored or wondering when it’ll jump to the next part.

5. The World Building

If you didn’t like the Grishaverse before (tbh I don’t know anyone who didn’t) or haven’t been exposed to it, well what better way to start/give it another go! The best thing is, you see a whole completely new part of the Grishaverse (for those of you who read Shadow and Bone) and let me tell you, this is just as amazing. It’s like a new, in-depth submersion. Like I probably wouldn’t want to live in Ketterdam, but I totally would at the same time. And like the White Castle, yeah the people might be a little weird but you can’t say it isn’t cool. It’s a freaking fortress that’s totally one out of our childhood fantasy books. 



(Not my photo btw, it’s from, but it captured the beauty that is Six of Crows)

Final Verdict: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go grab yourself a copy.


Keep reading

Open Letter to People Who Do Things


If you do things that others know about, you will attract a lot of criticism.

People will think you’re wrong a lot. Sometimes you will actually be wrong; sometimes you won’t be.

Sometimes people will be vicious. Sometimes people will try to hurt you as badly as they possibly can.

No matter how well you do things, there will be people who are disgusted by what you do and think you’re a terrible person.

No matter how politically neutral the thing you do is, people will attack it for political reasons. (Either a specific reason, or they’ll say it’s frivolous and that you should be fighting global warming or poverty or something instead.)

If you charge money for what you do, people will be outraged (including people who would never work for free.)

No matter how much you charge, people will angrily tell you that it’s too much.

Even if you work for free, people will be angry with you for addressing some things but not others. Or for not giving them what they want fast enough.

No matter how well you consider other sides, someone will angrily accuse you of censorship or refusing to listen.

And so on and so on. No matter what you do, there are people who will be angry and disgusted by it. There will be people who will hate you. There will be people who try to hurt you to make you stop. This happens to absolutely everyone who does things that a lot of other people know about. It is possible to live with that.

(Part of the way to live with that is by learning to keep perspective in the face of other people’s anger.)

A note about criticism – it’s important to be open to criticism, because sometimes you will be wrong. In order to be truly open to criticism, you have to get past the desire to appease everyone who is mad at you. If you try to please everyone, what ends up happening is that you end up deferring to whoever is the loudest and meanest. Listening to criticism in a good way means you have to be selective — and it also usually means disengaging from jerks.

You don’t have to be perfect to do things that matter. If only perfect people could do things, nothing would ever get done. Everyone who has every done anything has also been flawed in a serious way. Because that’s how people are.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t owe the world a heckler’s veto. There will always be people who don’t like you or your work. That doesn’t mean you have to stop. It doesn’t mean you have to engage with them. It just means that you’re being noticed, and that some people don’t like what they’re seeing.

tl;dr If you do things that people notice, some people who notice will be mean to you and try to convince you that you are terrible. That happens to everyone who does things. It doesn’t mean you’re terrible. It means you’re visible. Being open to criticism doesn’t mean giving the world a heckler’s veto. It’s ok to do things even if you’re imperfect and sometimes people are angry at you.


  1. When did your mage’s magic first manifest?
  2. Did they try to keep it a secret from their family/close friends?
  3. Has their magic ever hurt anyone by mistake?
  4. Which spells came naturally and which were more difficult to learn?
  5. What is their favourite spell?
  6. Do they put a lot of time into studying magic?
  7. What attracted them to their specialization?
  8. How does your mage get along with other mages?
  9. Does your mage have any sympathy for Templars?
  10. Do they consider magic a blessing or a curse?

Answering for my OC from Warriors Such As, Metis!

  1. When did your mage’s magic first manifest?

Metis worked with plants from
a young age and always had a knack for it, so it’s difficult to pinpoint when
that knack really became magic because no one really picked up on it
till he was already a slave, gardening for Licinius. At some point some
overseer on the estate noticed the vines growing rapidly whenever Metis was
tending them, and asked what sort of magic he was using to make them so
unnaturally productive, and Metis looked at him blankly and said something
along the lines of “That’s not natural? But they’ve always grown like that for
me!” and that’s when they realized they had an incaensor on their hands.

they try to keep it a secret from their family/close friends?

Alas, he was already
separated from his family at that point. There was no keeping it a secret from
his friends or anyone else among his fellow slaves, though, because having
magic in his veins made him desirable to the master as a source of blood for
certain spells. If anything it made him a bit of a pariah among the slaves.

As for before his knack was
known to be magic, no, it wasn’t anything he kept a secret, but still no one
really made the connection. It was a magic that expressed itself rather subtly,
after all, at least until he went to the Circle for proper training and learned
to do other spells and not just randomly leak magic into the vines and things.

their magic ever hurt anyone by mistake?

Once Licinius knew about it,
Metis, like the other incaensors among the slaves, had to undergo some
basic training to use it safely, and yes, during those training sessions there
were accidents. Partly because the apprentices Licinius put in charge of them
didn’t really care to prevent injury to slaves or anything, so they weren’t all
that helpful as teachers about warning the trainees of what could happen. They
taught some of the basic fire and ice spells, all of which was frightfully new
to a young man whose magic had always sought plant life when left to its own
devices, and there was an incident with a fireball going wild and catching on
one of the apprentices’ robes that earned Metis more lashes than might seem
reasonable to anyone but a Tevinter (that apprentice always was particularly
vain about his robes).

It’s possible that incident
wasn’t entirely by mistake.

spells came naturally and which were more difficult to learn?

Nature magic – encouraging
plants to grow, calling them to where he wants them to be, especially vines –
has always been Metis’ forte. Spells of earth and stone too – rock armor,
earthquake, stone fist, that sort of thing – he was quick to learn. Healing was
more difficult but calling to the life in sentient beings was similar enough to
calling to the life in a plant, once he figured out the differences, he made
that leap and quickly became a fairly competent healer. Fire and ice, beyond
the most basic spells of those types, are trickier, and he never quite mastered

is their favourite spell?

Hmmm well, he uses vines a
lot both in and out of combat, but I think his favorite thing might be the
spell in Sapling, making the single blossom bloom early when he
planted the tree for baby Mara. He probably did the same sort of thing with the
other family-trees he’s planted.

they put a lot of time into studying magic?

Maker yes, he is (or was) a
researcher at the Circle of Minrathous and a sublime nerd. Prior to Warriors Such As he was engaged in research into the red
lyrium, which is one reason Maevaris called on him to investigate the situation
in Seheron.

attracted them to their specialization?

He was a farmer’s son. His
father noticed Metis’ affinity for plants early on and when the boy was about
eight years old, he put him in charge of a few fruit trees near the house. Each
year Metis’ corner of the farm grew, tree by tree and vine by vine,
responsibilities expanding as he showed both a skill for it and a willingness
to work. So it might be more that his magic was attracted to the plants than
the other way around, and whenever it first manifested it just latched on to
what he was constantly doing anyway. By the time he knew he was actually using
magic there, there was no question of seeking any other specialization.

does your mage get along with other mages?

Metis gets along well with
anyone who’ll let him, really, mage or not. He likes having fellow mages to
talk shop with though.

your mage have any sympathy for Templars?

Well it’s different in
Tevinter, so…hmmm. Having ended up in the south with the Hawkes, I suppose
the first contact he’d have with Templars would be former ones in the
Inquisition like Cullen and Carver. And, you know, rogue ones causing trouble
during the mage/templar war but by the time Metis shows up in Hawkquisition,
months after Corypheus is dead, I don’t think there was as much of that going
on maybe? So…I think from his perspective, southern Templars are basically a
curiosity more than a threat. But from an academic standpoint he’d have
sympathy for their cause and purpose. I mean, he’s seen plenty of magic out of
control in Tevinter, but then he’s also seen many wonderful things done with

they consider magic a blessing or a curse?

Hm, well, magic was responsible for 1) giving him such a
knack for gardening, and that was his profession for many years, so yeah it
kept him alive; 2) drawing his master’s notice so that Metis had to undergo
not-rigorous-enough training that was more of a frustration than a joy and the
only reward for it was being one of those special slaves kept around for their
blood when Licinius had spells in mind that a mage’s blood might be more
effective for; 3) bringing him to Maevaris Tilani’s attention when he used his
magic to save her life during the Qunari attack, which resulted in his freedom
and his training at the Circle; 4) giving him a purpose in life as a researcher
trying to do something about the red lyrium; 5) saving many a friend’s life,
including those on the Inquisition team in Warriors, including his son. So
yeah, on the balance, it’s a blessing. Also he can do that quick-blossom trick
to impress the children. 🙂


This is actually my favorite post on all of tumblr, I can quit blogging peacefully now.



At last, we have a canon ruling on the official/common language of the Tevinter Imperium. Lead DA writer Patrick Weekes responded to my Tweet this afternoon in which I asked which serves as the common language of day-to-day communication: Tevene or Trade Tongue.

According to Weekes’ response, the common language of Tevinter is Trade Tongue while Tevene serves as “flavor” with “phrases peppering speech as a sign of education.”

Dorian’s explanation that they “still use the colorful phrases” goes right along with what I suspected and what Weekes confirmed – that Tevene serves as “flavor” sprinkled here and there, but the main language spoken in the Imperium is the Trade Tongue.

Weekes says the prevalence of Tevene in conversation serves as a sign that you’re well-educated, much like (as he himself points out) the use of French as an “elite” or “bourgeois” language among the educated court nobility of England and other Western European countries at various periods throughout history. French was similarly considered an “educated” language in Colonial America and continues to have that association today in parts of North Africa and Asia.

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the history of the French language to confirm whether Weekes was correct with his analogy to French usage in Victorian London. I’d love to get more information about that from someone who knows more about the the historical usage of French in England.

There’s some canonical evidence that would seem to contradict Weekes, however.

The most significant piece of such evidence is found in the Dragon Age RPG Set 3 Player’s Guide, which states on pages 34-35 that any character of Tevinter origin (whether Altus, Laetan, or Soporati) can “speak and read Tevinter and the Trade Tongue.” There are a couple of glaring issues with that:

1) The name of the language is “Tevene,” not “Tevinter.”

The Tevene language has been called by various names in Dragon Age canon and fandom – Tevene, Tevinter, Arcanum. “Arcanum” was never canon; fan use of the term supposedly stemmed from some experimental language stuff that BioWare ended up throwing out. As for “Tevene” vs. “Tevinter,” BioWare writer Mary Kirby provided some clarification in this tweet from July 2012:

Kirby suggests that while “Tevene” is the official name of the language, ignorant people outside Tevinter tend to (wrongly) call it “Tevinter.” This smacks a little bit of a convenient retcon to address the fact that it’s been called “Tevinter” in canon materials, but I’m willing to accept that explanation. The Tevinter Imperium is after all the black sheep of the Thedosian family. From what we can infer from canon, nobody outside Tevinter actually speaks Tevene aside from a few obscure scholars. (And Brother Genitivi, of course, because that dude’s all over the place.)

That still doesn’t explain, though, why the language is referred to as “Tevinter” in the RPG Player’s Guide. Since it’s mentioned in the backstory guide section for Tevinter characters, you’d think it would refer to the language as it would actually be called in Tevinter.

I have to imagine this was either an oversight when Set 3 of the RPG was being prepared for publication, or else they deliberately chose to use “Tevinter” to avoid potential confusion for RPG players who aren’t familiar with DA lore and terminology and might not know what “Tevene” means.

Either way, what name we use to describe the language doesn’t really matter to me quite so much as consistency with regard to its social and academic usage. Which brings us to the second issue raised by the RPG guide’s remarks on Tevene:

2) Weekes said fluency in Tevene is associated with the educated upper class, but if that’s true then Soporati shouldn’t be able to speak and read the language on an equal level with Altus and Laetan.

The RPG Player’s Guide draws no distinction between the relative Tevene fluency of Altus/Laetan/Soporati characters. It simply states that any Tevinter character can “speak and read Tevinter and the Trade Tongue.”

Now there’s been debate before about whether the RPG guide books should actually count as “canon,” but I personally believe that anything put out as official Dragon Age merchandise should be considered canon. Of course, even if a fact is “canon,” that doesn’t exactly guarantee it’s consistent with BioWare’s own previously established canon about the world. The lore of Thedas is massive, and inconsistencies and retcons are bound to happen.

Since I don’t like to contradict any canon when I can help it, I’m going to choose to interpret the RPG guide book’s remarks here to mean that despite their relative lack of education, even Soporati have at least a rudimentary or crude grasp of Tevene.

However, I suspect the dialect of Tevene spoken by Altus/Laetan may not be the same dialect of Tevene spoken by the Soporati and slaves.

Speculation: Classical Tevene vs. Vulgar Tevene

It may be that there’s a “High/Classical/Literary Tevene” and a “Low/Vulgar/Vernacular Tevene” in the same way that there’s Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin. The wealthy and highly educated Altus and Laetan would get a formal education in Classical Tevene at school, while Soporati and (to a lesser extent) slaves would pick up the more vernacular Vulgar Tevene that they’d hear on the streets.

If that’s true, it would also help explain why Fenris knows spoken Tevene even though he’s a slave. Fenris has several lines of Tevene dialogue in DA2, most of which aren’t translated. In fact, he seems to drop into Tevene even more often and at greater length than Dorian. This would appear to contradict what Weekes said about Tevene phrases being a mark of education – unless Vulgar Tevene exists as a colloquial and vernacular dialect spoken by the lower class and slaves.

We do know for certain that Fenris is canonically illiterate and can’t read or write either Tevene or the Trade Tongue, as makes sense for a slave. Literacy and illiteracy aren’t really addressed consistently

in the DA universe as a pseudo-medieval world, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Even though the upper class in Tevinter would speak/read/write Classical Tevene, they’d probably still be familiar with the vernacular Vulgar Tevene as well. My friend @theprof739​, who studied Roman history as a graduate student, told me that even though Julius Caesar undoubtedly knew Classical Latin, he probably would have used Vulgar Latin to talk to his troops when he was out in the field.

So although an Altus like Dorian Pavus would be formally educated in Classical Tevene, he’d also likely know and be able to speak Vulgar Tevene. One assumes that some of the more “colorful” phrases employed by both Dorian and Fenris – such as vishante kaffas, fasta vass, and even festis bei umo canavarum – are probably associated with Vulgar Tevene. (It’s hard to imagine a phrase like “you shit on my tongue” being found in classical literature…but then again, you never know.)

Modern Tevene vs. Ancient Tevene

Under this speculative interpretation of Tevene, both Classical Tevene and Vulgar Tevene would be dialects of Modern Tevene. There would also be an archaic variant, however – Ancient Tevene, which could be considered akin to Old Latin. While practically all Tevinters would have some grasp of Modern Tevene, Ancient Tevene would probably be learned exclusively by Altus and Laetan mages for the purpose of arcane study and research.

Even among mages, however, I don’t think Ancient Tevene would be part of a standard education curriculum, but rather an advanced course of study at one of the prestigious Circles of Magi, akin to a modern PhD.

Ancient Tevene would almost certainly be associated with magic – the language of the ancient Dreamers and the magisters who founded the Imperium. In the modern Tevinter Imperium, however, Ancient Tevene is a dead and purely academic language in the same way Latin is for us today.

There’s certainly canonical evidence to support the idea that Ancient Tevene exists. During the series of quests in the Western Approach for Professor Frederic of Serault, he asks you to retrieve an ancient Tevinter manuscript on dragon luring. When you find the manuscript and bring it back to Frederic, the following exchange occurs if Dorian’s in the party:

Frederic: What remarkable diagrams! Are these…chambers of the draconic heart? If only I could read the script! Do you perhaps know a linguist? Or a Tevinter historian?
Dorian: Don’t look at me. Nobody’s spoken that form of Tevene in seven hundred years.
Inquisitor: I don’t, but the Inquisition might. I’ll speak to our specialists.

The fact that Dorian can’t translate the text confirms my theory that even a highly educated Tevinter mage wouldn’t know Ancient Tevene unless they had devoted themselves specifically to that field of study.

To continue the quest, you’re given a War Table mission to find a scholar who specializes in Ancient Tevene. One of Josephine’s contacts points you to Anaximander Vetri, the Dean of the College of Antiquities at the Minrathous Circle of Magi. When the War Table mission is completed, you receive the following letter from Anaximander:

“Enclosed you will find the completed translation of your fascinating manuscript, which our scholars estimate to pre-date the First Blight. The dialect caused quite a stir in historical linguistics. The College of Antiquities would be most interested in further cooperation with the Inquisition should you uncover more Tevene documents from the pre-Blight era.”

We see, therefore, that my suspicion is correct – not only does Ancient Tevene exist, but there’s a field dedicated to the study of “historical linguistics” at the Minrathous Circle, and an entire college devoted to the “Antiquities.”


  • The common language of the Tevinter Imperium is the Trade Tongue. This is true for all Tevinters, regardless of education or social class.
  • Tevene is a fully living language in the Imperium, however. It’s not a “dead” or purely academic language like modern-day Latin.
  • Using Tevene phrases as “flavor” in conversation is considered a sign the speaker is well-educated and probably belongs to the upper class.
  • The name of the language is Tevene. Any reference to “Tevinter” as the name of the language should be interpreted as either in-character ignorance or out-of-character oversight on the part of BioWare’s editors.
  • Despite Tevene’s association with the upper class, Tevinter natives of all social classes pick up some variant of Tevene. It’s not clear to what extent the less well-educated Soporati and slaves are considered “fluent” in Tevene.
  • Speculation: There are two dialects of Modern Tevene – Classical and Vulgar. The upper class Altus and Laetan learn Classical Tevene, the “high” or “literary” dialect of the language. Soporati and slaves learn Vulgar Tevene, the “low” or “vernacular” dialect.
  • In addition to the modern dialect of Tevene, there’s also Ancient Tevene, which is no longer spoken at all. It’s a purely academic language. Only mages who pursue an advanced education at a Circle of Magi learn Ancient Tevene, either for the study of historical linguistics or for its applications to magical research.

Expect more from me on this subject soon, and if you haven’t already, check out my work on Project Tevene and the Thedas Language Project!

Tagging a few people who I know will be particularly interested in these revelations about Tevene: @bunan-tsokolatte@fenxshiral@bisexualskitter@theprof739

Blogger Gatherings!

Click the button for reports from the 2010 Spring Blogger Gathering, hosted by Linett of Nimrodel!

Berethron of Brandywine hosted the 2010 Summer Blogmoot.

The Winter Blogmoot was held on December 4, 9 p.m. EST at the home of Telwen of Silverlode.

Next up: The Spring Blogmoot of 2011 shall return to Nimrodel with Tuiliel (Whart, aka user-1027520) hosting! Linett is looking forward to another local moot!



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