The sound of typing filled the mostly empty apartment as words filled up Arven Lavellan’s word document. It was almost dinnertime, but the elvhen college student didn’t seem to notice. All he cared about were words. His words. The fact that he made it into Skyhold University’s creative writing program alone spurred the young elf on as he concocted his latest prose for his Intro to Creative Writing course.
A knock sounded at the front door, breaking young Lavellan out of his trance, “Door’s open,” he called out, knowing that the only person who could be knocking at this time was his very forgetful twin sister.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” a female voice rang out as Ashanne Lavellan tumbled inside, “Forgot my keys again.”
Arven drifted his gaze from the laptop to the elvhen woman. If it weren’t for their genders, one would think Arven and his sister were identical. They both shared long blood-red hair and olive green eyes. Both were of typical elvhen stature, shorter than their human peers but taller than the dwarves like Varric Tethras, the graduate student teaching Arven’s creative writing class. Only those close to the twins could tell them apart. While Arven was borderline obsessed with writing about fanciful worlds and folktales, his female counterpart had stacks of sketchbooks filled with everything from sketches of her workaholic boyfriend to the view of the Frostback Mountains from Skyhold’s Magical Studies wing. Amongst other small things, the Lavellan twins were two perfectly fitting pieces in every sense of the word. They complemented each other as much as they matched.
“I know,” the male elf stated, “They’re on the kitchen table, you might want to think about either having a copy made to always keep in your bag or wear the thing around your neck.”
Ashanne walked up to the couch where Arven sat, crossed-leg with his laptop snug on his lap, and hugged his neck, “Duly noted, brother dearest.” Her eyes drifted to the screen filled with words, “What’s this one about?”
“I decided to write a short fiction based on the Fifth Blight,” Arven stated with a small grin. “I can only imagine what it was like, the old gods coming back and leading armies of darkspawn.”
“Why the fifth one?” his sister smiled, grabbing her most recent sketchbook off the coffee table and sitting next to him.
“You know why,” Arven chuckled, “It was the first time in centuries that all the races banded together, even if it was only in Ferelden.”
“It was pretty impressive,” Ashanne hummed, “I would have loved to meet the famous Hero herself. She went through so much.”
“That’s what I’m writing on. Mostly about how she sought out the Urn of Sacred Ashes. Creators, that must have been something to behold,” the elvhen boy sighed. He always had a penchant for historical events, especially those that nobody really knew the details of.
“You know,” his sister began as she sketched absentmindedly on her most recent project, “Solas was telling me the other day that he once went to the Ostagar ruins and saw Fade images of the two Wardens lighting the beacon during the Battle at Ostagar.”
Arven raised an eyebrow, “And where is he now?”
Solas was Ashanne’s aforementioned workaholic boyfriend. He was several years older than the twins, doing his doctoral studies in archaeology at Arbor Wilds University in southern Orlais. More often than not, the older elf was on some sort of research trip going as far as the Anderfels. Needless to say, the man was rarely around except on the holidays when they would all venture to Emerald Graves, where much of the twins’ family and clansmen currently lived.
“He sent me a letter last weekend saying he was currently in Starkhaven helping out some of the residential mages in excavation magic.”
Many of the twins’ conversations went like this when Solas came up. Arven had serious doubts when he and Ashanne started dating because Solas got so wrapped up in his work or in some Fade vision. Arven knew that Ashanne understood Solas more than he did because they were both mages with strong connections to what elves traditionally called the Beyond – everyone else in Thedas called it the Fade. Arven would rather call it a freaky realm of nightmares because nothing good came of his limited experience deep in the realm beyond the Veil.
“You’ll understand when you find someone important to you,” Ashanne softly smiled, as she always did. The older twin sat up, gracefully closing her book, “I’ll go start on dinner,” and drifted towards the small apartment kitchen.
Arven sighed and closed his laptop, setting it on the table beside him, “What’s on the menu tonight?”
“I was thinking pasta with a side of rosemary toast,” his twin called out, rusting through mismatched pots and pans the two received as off-to-college presents several months ago. It was rare for elves in Clan Lavellan to go so far away for college, almost unheard of. When the twins announced they were accepted into Skyhold with no intention of being swayed, their fellow clansmen were quick to pile up anything the twins might need from cookware to darkspawn repellant (which the twins accepted and secretly left in one of their secret grottos back home).
“By the way,” she suddenly interjected as the two ate their dinner at their small dinner table, “There’s going to be an exhibition gallery starting Friday in the grand hall.”
“Hmmm,” the elvhen boy murmured as he took another bite of pasta, “Do you have a display?”
“Of course I do,” Ashanne said matter-of-fact, “I’m the youngest student with works on display.”
“You always are.”
The girl smirks and points her fork at Arven, “Meaning you better come or I’ll sick Fen on you.”
At the sound of his name, the little ball of fluff tumbled out of the twins’ bedroom. Fen was a silver husky the twins adopted a couple years ago. Despite being around three years old, the pup was not much bigger than a beagle because he was the runt of the litter.
The twins watched the little pup, giggling as it tumbled over to the table. Ashanne reached down and picked up the little ball of fluff, “Isn’t that right, Fen? You’ll beat up mean ole’ Arven for me, won’t you?”
The pup yipped in agreement, making Arven roll his eyes despite the grin on his face, “You little traitor,” he glanced up at his twin sister, “If I do this, you better not complain next time my literature circle has a poetry night at Herald’s Rest.”
Ashanne replied with a lifted brow, “As long as Beka doesn’t try another horrendous poem about giant spiders and deepstalkers, I’m good.”
“He’s gotten better recently, probably because of his new girlfriend.”
Talking about their dwarven friend led the twins into various conversations involving their circle of companions. Some of them involved idle gossip about Beka Cadash and his girlfriend, Lace Harding the captain of the archery team. Others were about the twins’ friends from the nearby community college between Skyhold and Haven University.
Even though the two hadn’t been at Skyhold long, they found themselves surrounded by friends both near and far. First came their friends from other clans, like Feris Mahariel and his cousin Merrill. With Feris came an elf from Antiva named Zevran who worked as a barkeeper in downtown and Merrill led the Lavellan twins to meeting the entire Hawke clan, a family from central Fereldan that spent the last few years prowling around Kirkwall. Once classes began, the twins met people from their respective fields, like Varric the graduate student who turned out to be dating the elder Hawke sister or the young noble Elianna Trevelyan, who was in Ashanne’s arts history course.
No matter how difficult the path was to move so far away, Arven and Ashanne were happy they decided to make the journey together. Little did they know how much more there was to come, especially for the younger male twin.