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Knowing the Ropes

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Dearest Dorian,  I’m so very sorry to have to tell you like this, but Felix Alexius passed away today. I thought that you should hear it from me. Before he died, however, he turned up in the Senate and caused truly marvellous outrage. He spoke very eloquently and passionately about the breach and the Venatori and the Inquisition, and made several of us stuffy Magisters sit up and take note. He was a remarkable young man and Tevinter is the lesser for his loss.  For what it’s worth, I was sorry to hear about Gereon, too. I know he was important to you. He always was a fool, but I hadn’t thought he would do anything quite so foolish as join the Venatori. They’ve been around for some time, of course, but I always assumed they were mostly bark and no bite. The news of them taking up with this Elder One is more than troubling. Have they all taken leave of their senses? I shall have to make some discreet enquiries amongst the more open-minded Magisters… and perhaps some rather less discreet noises on the Senate floor.   Do tell me about this Inquisitor. Felix made him sound rather wonderful and I’m quite fascinated! Is he someone worth following? I must admit, I was surprised to hear you’d joined the Inquisition; I never got the impression that you were much for the Chantry, dear boy.  At any rate, please look after yourself down there. I should hate it if anything were to happen to you.  Yours, as always,  Mae  P.S. Halward is unlikely to give you up without a fight. Be careful, darling.

 

Varric,  I should have known that wherever there was trouble, you’d manage to place yourself right in the middle of it. Anything for a story, is that the way of it?  At any rate, I’m calling in a favour: your Inquisition has something very precious to me and I can’t help but worry. Please do keep an eye on Dorian for me. I’m sure he’ll insist that he can take care of himself, but you know how it is. He’s family, almost as much as you are.  I’d remind you to take care of yourself too, but somehow I know you’ll always end up in the thick of things.  My best to Bianca.  Yours,  Mae

 

Magister Aurarius —  I have a proposition for you. I will lend my fullest support to your funding campaign for the Circles if you speak up with me against the Venatori. We need stability in Tevinter, not blind nationalism.  Think about it.  — Magister Maevaris Tilani

 

Dearest Dorian,  How many times must I ask you to call me ‘Mae’? ‘Magister Tilani’ was all very well when you were a little boy clinging to Halward’s robes at parties but you’re older and wiser now, at least in theory. I still question the wisdom of joining the Inquisition and exiling yourself, but I know you want to make a difference and I am proud of you, darling.  Speaking of making a difference, I haven’t been idle myself. I’ve been putting out feelers within the Magisterium, though there seem to be sadly rather fewer Magisters willing to join me than I had hoped for. It’s been difficult to convince them that what the Venatori are doing in the south is our problem, but when have I ever let a little thing like that stop me? I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m drafting some measures that would see their ability to operate in Tevinter drastically lessened, at least. Hopefully I can drum up a little more support before I present it to the Senate.  The Inquisitor certainly sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders. I can see why you’re so taken with his cause (and, dare I suggest, with him? I can read between the lines, dear boy, and you’re not nearly as subtle as you think you are).  Give my love to Varric when you see him. I’m dying to know what awful thing he’s named you.  Yours in anticipation,  Mae

*

 

An address by Magister Maevaris Tilani to the Magisterium. Recorded in the official minutes of the Tevinter Imperial Senate, 9:41 Dragon.

 

Lords and Ladies of the Magisterium, I come before you today to discuss a very real threat to the stability and values of Tevinter as a nation, and, perhaps more pressingly, to the very fabric of reality itself. I speak, of course, of the Venatori.

All of you must by now have surely heard about the Breach that has appeared in the sky in the south. This Breach is a tear in the veil between this world and the Fade, and it is growing ever larger, my southern sources tell me. We all heard what Felix Alexius had to say about his father’s involvement with the Elder One who created this rift, and even now, there are agents of the Venatori wreaking havoc in the south and killing indiscriminately. There are rumours of their involvement in plots from Nevarra to Rivain.

This is not a problem that the Senate should turn a blind eye to.

These cultists—for that is what they are—say that they are working for the glory of Tevinter. They would have us return to dragon worship, and destroy all of the progress we have made in the last thousand years. They will stop at nothing to achieve these ends: blood magic and dangerous experiments with time are the very least of it. These actions threaten not only those in the south but all of us. If this Breach is allowed to grow unchecked, it will destroy the whole of Thedas, Tevinter included. The only one with the power to stop this madness is the Inquisitor, who the Venatori would see killed.

Colleagues, many of you have already condemned the actions of these so-called Tevinter nationalists. I motion that we take this effort a step further and criminalise Venatori activity wherever it is found. Membership of this cult must be forbidden and anyone found to support them must have their assets seized.

We would all like to see the Imperium aspire to new greatness, but clinging to the past is not the way to accomplish that. We make it clear to all that these mages represent only a tiny faction of Tevinter. They do not speak for all of us.

 

*

 

 Dearest Dorian,  I suppose that you’re responsible for the sudden showing of support I received during my turn in front of the Magisterium? If I didn’t know any better, I would think that someone had had a quiet word in the ear of those Magisters who spoke up. Sadly, there were still too few of us to make any real impact and my motion was rejected, but at least I said what needed to be said, and perhaps some of them will listen.  Despite our failures, I now have a core group of Magisters who oppose what the Venatori stand for. They’re mostly youngsters, and they remind me a lot of you, darling. There are not many of us, but we will continue to push for change here in Tevinter whilst you and your Inquisitor deal with the more pressing issue of this Breach and the creature behind it. By the by—is it true that he was once a Magister himself, this Corypheus? I hear so many strange rumours these days. There are whispers of the Black City and all sorts, and it’s becoming hard to separate fact from fiction.  Since my address, I seem to have forced a few of the Venatori supporters out of the woodwork like the insects they are. You will likely be unsurprised to learn that they have agents in the very upper echelons of the Magisterium. At least that makes them more visible and therefore easier to deal with, perhaps. We shall see.  As always, darling, take care of yourself.  Yours,  Mae  P.S. One of the rumours I have been hearing is that Halward has travelled south. I’m not sure what he’s got planned but hopefully this news will reach you before he does.


My darling boy,  Thank you, for everything you’ve done to help the Resistance along. I am sending the Inquisitor a message directly but I wanted to thank you as well. It’s good to know that I can still count on family even when the world is on the verge of ending.  It was rather exciting to find a cadre of strapping young Southern templars on my doorstep, I must say, not least because they were followed shortly after by a group of Venatori. Thankfully, together we were able to make short work of the mages. I must admit, until fairly recently I had been sceptical of the powers those templars were said to be able to draw upon (you should ask Varric to tell you the story about the King and the pirate some time. It’s quite a tale). Seeing a whole group of them in action was extraordinary. Ser Belinda in particular is quite the marvel and your Inquisition is lucky to have her. I hope that the Divine never gets it into his head to teach those tricks to Imperial templars, or we shall all be in trouble.  Perhaps when I’ve managed to make inroads here with the Resistance, I might find the time to come down and see you. I’d very much like to meet this Inquisitor of yours.  Look after each other, my dear. I hope I will see you soon.  Yours,  Mae