The first version of this outfit began in 2016 and it got a bit neglected alongside other projects, so now that the foam parts of my Grey Warden armour are about ready for retirement, I thought it was time to start major upgrades for Inquisitor Lavellan.
I spent months in 2017 sculpting and casting dozens of buttons that I’ve managed to protect from the mythical Safe Place, which will save me some time, as the plan is to have the majority of the work done by April, in time for Soul Chaser Cosplay and I to represent the Inquisition at CosXpo. April seems to be charging towards me like a Greater Nuggalope across the Western Approach and, after a few health-related delays so far this year, I’m a little bit anxious about whether I’ll be sewing at the hotel the night before… but if the worst happens and I only get half of my planned work done, it’ll still be an improvement.
As well as new buttons, the coat and the gauntlets need some minor repairs and if I can get my hands on some more of this leather, I want to make some matching boot covers. The shirt is much too large for me now, so I intend to make a new one, which I may be regretting by the time I have to sew all the buttons on that, too. Fingers crossed, I might get my next shipment of hardware in time to finish off the dragon bone scale maille, so there will be hardly any of the shirt visible anyway. This section of maille is almost 500 scales and took about ten hours, so it’s definitely going together faster than the new shirt!
I’ve got a few ideas for new weaponry and accessories as well, so whatever doesn’t make it to CosXpo will hopefully be going to MCM Manchester in July.
During the Blessed Age, dragons were believed to be extinct. What was the Dragon Age intended to be named? (1 point) The Sun Age.
What kind of cookies does Sera claim to dislike? (1 point) Raisin. (I did cave and award half a point to the many, many people who said Pride!)
What was the married name of Loghain’s late wife and what line of work were her family in? (2 points) Celia Mac Tir; Cabinet makers.
Which book contains the quote “Do not fear the dark. The sun and the stars will return to guide you”? (1 point) The Tome of Koslun.
Why was Raleigh Samson dismissed from the Templar Order? (1 point) Meredith Stanton caught him delivering letters between Maddox and his lover.
Which weapon is crafted from Sad Splinters and what is the name of the related schematic? (2 points) Mark’s Mangled Mace; Sad Weapon.
During the Glory Age, this king became a legend to the marshfolk, depicted as wielding a mighty axe against an Orlesian knight. (Forename & Surname – 1 point) Lord Roux Marchette.
During the fourth Blight, the Grey Warden Garahel loses a piece of his armour while fighting Andoral at the Battle of Ayesleigh, which can later be obtained by Hawke. What was it and where can it be found? (2 points) Garahel’s helm; Meredith’s cache in the Hidden Supply Depot, at the end of the quest ‘A Noble Agenda.’
What was the full title of the novel attributed to Varric but actually written by the dwarven rune-crafter, Worthy? (1 point) Hard in Hightown 3: The Re-Punchening.
Felix de Grosboi sells the Warden a golem control rod. What was the incorrect phrase he also provided to reactivate the golem? What was the real activation phrase? (2 points) “Dulef gar”; “Dulen harn.”
What are the directions provided by Lirene to find Anders? (1 point) Look for the lit lantern. If you have need enough, Anders will be within.
Which former slave was Calpernia close to while in the service of Magister Erasthenes? (1 point) Marius.
Maferath had three sons. What were their names and who was their mother? (4 points) Isorath, Evrion, Verald; the concubine, Gilivhan was their mother.
Viscount Perrin Threnhold attempted to expel the Templars from Kirkwall and was later tried and imprisoned by Grand Cleric Elthina. According to the Imperial Calendar, in which year did this rebellion take place? (1 point) 2015 TE.
If the Warden completes the Crime Wave quests in Denerim, Slim Couldry will comment that people have begun talking about the Warden’s crimes, using a particular alias. What is this name? (1 point) The Dark Wolf.
Varric tells multiple stories about his crossbow’s origins. In conversation with Hawke, to whom does he originally credit Bianca’s creation? (1 point) Gerav.
This Alamarri chieftain is credited with founding the Avvar. What was her name once she received her legend-mark and how was this mistranslated? (2 points) Tyrdda Bright-Axe.
She was a mage who used a fire staff – the word ‘axe’ was mistranslated from the word for ‘weapon.’
What is Sebastian given by Professor Cedric Marquette as a birthday gift? (1 point) A blue crystal skull.
According to Oghren, what are schleets? (1 point) Pants that lie on the ground until you turn around. Then they strike, eat your eyeballs and wander off on their unnatural pant-legs.
If Vivienne is recruited but does not become Divine Victoria, what title does she eventually gain? (1 point) Grand Enchanter.
How do the Dalish refer to the large wolf statues that can be found in the Dales and what do they represent? (2 points) The Knight’s Guardians, representing the unbreakable bond between the Emerald Knights and their companion wolves.
What does the name “Mythallen” mean and what was Mythallen’s original name? (2 points) Child of vengeance; Harralan.
In the Gauntlet, the Warden encounters a spirit that appears to be Shartan. What is the riddle he gives and its correct answer? (2 points) “I’d neither a guest nor a trespasser be. In this place I belong, that belongs also to me.”
Tallis was demoted for causing a diplomatic incident while failing to steal a Qunari artifact from Count Alphonse Valmont. What role was she given (in Qunlat) and what does the title mean? (2 points) Athlock; Labourer.
Under which name was Kirkwall originally founded? (1 point – extra point for the year!) Emerius; -620 Ancient (575 TE)
Ever wish you could create that Hanged Man atmosphere in your own home? We’re giving away an A2 poster and a deck of our Inquisition-themed Wicked Grace cards!
*** THE RULES ***
I fully expect that participants are going to utilise the internet, because it’s not like I can stop you, but I will deduct points for long answers that are demonstrably copy-pasted from the Wiki 😉
In light of the above, I expect to get a fair number of correct responses, in which case the tie-breaker will apply. Our favourite will be narrowed down by a panel of judges. The judges’ decision is final.
The quiz will open on Friday 1st February until Friday 15th February 2019. The winner will be announced on Saturday 23rd February.
The winner’s name (or username, if preferred) and some of the best tie-breaker responses will be posted on my social media pages.
Anyone who doesn’t leave me a way to get in touch in the event that they win will be disqualified.
If the winner does not respond with shipping information by Monday 4th of March 2019, the runner up will be selected.
So, at the beginning of the month I got to spend a lovely weekend being shuttled around hospital wards, where I was treated to a number of blood tests, IV antibiotics and a lot of morphine. As it turns out, some gastro-intestinal issues that have been worsening over the last year, which I had put down to “just one of those Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome things”, were actually symptoms of cholecystitis which (likely thanks to the EDS, which causes delayed healing and fragile scar tissue) has not only caused some serious scarring but had given me infections in my gall bladder and liver, hence my horrendous pain. At the moment, it sounds as though surgery is the intended way forward, assuming all goes well at my next round of scans and blood tests, which has meant that quite a few things I had planned for the spring, cosplay and otherwise, may have to be put on hold while I recover.
I’ve had a few weeks to take it easy and deal with my infections and increased pain levels, but I’ve reached the point of going stir crazy, so I’ve had the drive to get my lovely new craft room sorted out and to start prep for my first costume of 2019.
Looking forward, here’s how I’m hoping the next few months are going to shape up:
Vallaslin Blog Posts
Back in December, I promised to write some posts detailing how I create my Dalish vallaslin make-up. I haven’t forgotten, and two of what I think will be a three-part series are currently underway. I’m not sure whether it would be more useful to publish them all at the same time once I’m finished with the whole process, or whether it would be better to post them individually as soon as they’re done? Let me know on my FB/Insta/Twitter if you have a preference.
Dragon Age Quiz
If anyone missed it, I have an A2 print of our Hanged Man poster and Inquisition-themed Wicked Grace cards to give away but my untimely hospitalisation meant I had to put a pin in my plans. The quiz is written and ready to go as soon as I figure out the best way to get answer sheets back from entrants. I had planned to set it up here as a form, but WordPress have apparently pulled Plug-Ins for basic blogs, so I’ll have to think up an alternative. One way or another, I plan to have it up and open on Friday the 1st of February, so it’s time to start swotting up!
Grey Warden Inspired Gown
I’ve been thinking about a few different versions of this gown since the first Calling convention in summer 2016, and inspiration struck at Tandy Leather’s workshop back in December. I’m attempting to get this ready for March but I have a back up in mind if I run out of time. I’ve sourced some lovely fabrics for it, so expect lots of work in progress pictures in the weeks to come!
Upgrades: Lavellan’s Superior Prowler Coat
I’ve been really looking forward to upgrading this one. In much the same way as I upgraded Mahariel’s Regalia of Weisshaupt last year, I have a lot of work I want to do to bring Lavellan’s wardrobe up to version 2.0, including some new props and weaponry.
Unfortunately my next round of blood tests and scans has already struck my first con of the year, Middlesbrough Unleashed, off my calendar. My surgery has been estimated for March/April, so the following events have been marked as “definitely going as long as I’m not in surgery/recovering from surgery.”
Last winter we started overhauling our house, which gave us the opportunity to make better use of all our wasted space. I’ve kept a guest bedroom for years but it’s so small that we could barely fit even a futon into it, and it was mostly used to store things we had no real use for but kept “just in case.” Every time we actually had guests, it was a mad scramble to redistribute dozens of electronics boxes, winter clothes and all the foam, fabric and crafting equipment that I was trying to hide from the cats.
After we got the room cleared out, my brother spent a week with us to help sort the walls out and get it painted.
The new floor went down….
… and then we spent a long couple of days putting Ikea furniture together and moving my stuff in.
It’s taken some time but my collection has been moved in and the rest of my furniture has been assembled. Apologies for any motion sickness – I was just trying not to trip over my own feet!
The team behind Dragon 4ge Day have been posing the question, “What does Dragon Age mean to you?” It was a slightly intimidating process, trying to sift through my monumental attachment to this particular fandom and I decided it was probably best addressed here, where I can ramble to my heart’s content. Perhaps grab a cup of tea and a cookie (or three)…
I have always been the sort of person who becomes hyper-focused on particular interests. Every few years, my attention will wander and something else will become my primary focus, but I don’t tend to fall out of love with my interests very easily. Despite my earlier fixations, most of which continue to bubble away in the background, I still wasn’t prepared for the way Dragon Age was going to settle down in the middle of my life and make itself at home.
Living with chronic illness, it’s always been helpful to have a mental escape hatch; a distraction for bad days when the pain and fatigue are relentless and my brain just needs a break from reality. Fantasy worlds, whether existing fandoms or only from my own imagination, have always been my distraction of choice, inspiring fan art, fiction and music when I have the energy, or providing as a little as half an hour out of my own head with a book, movie or game when I don’t.
It was during a particularly long period of sickness absence from work that I discovered Dragon Age. After a re-reading of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, I stumbled across reviews of the recently released Game of Thrones RPG and got curious about it. I was put off by the set player characters, so have never actually played it, but Dragon Age: Origins appeared as a related suggestion, and the demo character creator caught my attention. The Digital Deluxe edition was marked down to a couple of pounds on Origins, so I decided that even if it only kept me entertained for a couple of hours and I never picked it up again, I wasn’t wasting much money.
By the end of the tutorial, I was hooked by the writing, the characters and the expansive lore, so almost as soon as I got to Ostagar, I bought all the DLC and DA2. I had this really strong sensation of “this game is going to change your life” but I couldn’t have imagined for a second just how significant those changes would be.
At the time, I was struggling to cope with increasing symptoms of my physical disability and had been recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. My therapist caught on fairly quickly that something had grabbed my interest and made the most of my enthusiasm. She encouraged me to create fan fiction and art, and we drew on characters and plot points to help me discuss topics I struggled to talk about. I still use a lot of the tools we built around Dragon Age in my coping plans.
When Dragon Age: Inquisition finally came out, I fell for a coat and wanted one of my own. I had created costumes before, mostly for living history, and I couldn’t believe how long it had taken me to consider mixing my interest in costuming and heritage crafts with my love of Thedas. Cosplay was something I’d come across and been interested in, but I felt that I was too old, the wrong body shape and that I would be hindered by my need for splints, supports and the wheelchair. They seemed like pretty stout and genuine barriers at the time, especially the disability angle, but the coat… I wanted that coat!
Gradually, a whole cosplay project developed and I found a lot of support – and made a lot of amazing friends – in the Dragon Age cosplay community. I took my still-unfinished costume to MCM Birmingham in November 2015 and although I missed the BioWare meet, I was firmly bitten by the bug. The following spring, I got to meet some of my online friends in person for the first time.
In autumn 2015, I heard about a group of fans trying to organise an unofficial Dragon Age convention, that was taking place surprisingly close to home, and I was immediately on board. The following summer, despite being a little bit apprehensive about what we’d signed up for, we attended The Calling’s debut event and had an amazing weekend.
Only a few weeks later, we traveled to Warwick Castle for a video shoot with The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music, organised by the fabulous @opal.ink.cosplay and @mrjaycosplay (Instagram).
After my increasing symptoms cost me my job last year, the games, the fandom and the friends I’d made because of it were incredibly important places I could turn to when I needed a brief escape or support. Having fandom events to look forward to, even if it was only one day every three or four months, kept me motivated in my creative projects. In June 2017, we went back to The Calling and I won my first cosplay competition with my design for Lindiranae of the Emerald Knights.
Since then, I’ve kept busy with cosplay projects, fan art, music and fiction, and Thedas has been an almost ceaseless source of inspiration. Earlier this year, we converted our rarely occupied spare bedroom into my Undercroft, which gave me the opportunity to organise my growing collection and begin a larger piece of artwork that I’ve been wanting to start for years.
For 2018, instead of the convention, The Calling crew pulled together a three-day LARP event (the write up for which is slowly coming together!). It was a fantastic experience, thanks to the efforts of the team and monsters and the atmosphere created by the other players.
Camping in style! Photo by D. Allen
My only selfie of the weekend
We survived the Blight! Photo by P. Stanton, edited by D. Allen
Seven years ago, if someone had told me that a video game would not only change my life but lead to such huge changes in the way I think about myself, I probably would have laughed myself into a dislocation or two. The idea that I’d ever expect to get more from my interests than solitary consumption was equally ridiculous, but it’s the social side of the Dragon Age fandom that has made the most surprising changes possible.
Every time I go to an event, I get to meet more fans and build more friendships because of Dragon Age. I’ve been able to support my fellow fan artists, buy some of the beautiful work they produce, and share my obsession. I know that some pockets of the online DA community have a reputation for toxicity, but I can say with my hand on my heart that I’ve never experienced anything but love, support and, when I’ve needed a kick in the pants, the occasional benign bullying of people who genuinely care about me despite never having met me in person.
Thank you, Dragon Age Community, for being so damn awesome.
This song began as a poem for The Calling 2017. One of the things I’ve loved about each Dragon Age game is the sense of family that grows between the player and the companion characters, even with those who don’t always get along. After we went to The Calling fan convention in 2016, I was struck by how that same feeling of attending a family reunion had set in over the course of the long weekend, and how strong it was as the year rolled around to the second event.
Initially, I wanted to include a few lines for each character that had attended the previous year, but there were so many (and several duplicates) that it was in danger of becoming a long and rambling epic. Instead, it got trimmed down to companions who worked with, or assisted, the Inquisition in some way. Several more characters got removed when I set it to music, but over all the song seemed stronger for it.
I’ve been fortunate to find that large parts of the online Dragon Age community has become a vast extension of my Dragon Age family and “The Call” has been playing on my mind as Dragon 4ge Day brings us together to celebrate the franchise and the fandom.
Will you answer the call?
O’er the snow-covered peaks of the Frostbacks, a cloud of dark birds fills the sky
The messengers set out on horseback; another year has crept by
Their missives of utmost importance, to be delivered wherever they roam
Our advisors are all in accordance; It’s time to bring our companions home
Sending word on black wings from east to west
To high seas and to Orzammar’s halls
Diplomat, Spymaster, Commander
Beg aid from bow, magic and sword
And we answer the call
In Minrathous, the Magister’s packing, the letter arrived just this morn’,
It will take him some time to get there but he will be on the road before dawn
The Believer restoring her order is surprised by the passage of time
She shoulders her pack, leaves instructions, for she has a mountain to climb
Sending word on black wings from north to south
To Weisshaupt, Val Royeaux and the Dales
Comrades in arms have been summoned
And by foot or by horse or by sail
We will answer the call
The Viscount stays late in his chambers, delegating the business of state
He’ll trade crown for crossbow again, for a while – this quest’s too important to wait
The Admiral knew it was coming when the raven descends on the breeze
She orders a course for the harbour, her ship dashing over the seas
Sending word on black wings across Thedas
To Hossberg, Kirkwall and Ayesleigh
We all make our way to the fortress
And there’s not a moment to waste
To answer the call
In the Herald’s Rest they will gather, heroes and champions all
By the fire, reminisce and tell tales, and be glad that they answered the call
Once a year we’ll create a tradition to gather for story and song
Raising a glass for all of the friends that we miss, in this place where we all belong