A Letter From Inquisitor Ellen

This is the re-posting of my Inquisitor’s letter to the wise Athena over at AmbiGaming for her awesome Year of the RPG project. It took like the first 3 months of 2018, but I beat Dragon Age Inquisition after 118+ hours of playing it. And yeah, at least 60 of those hours were spent wandering around and side questing… oops. I also bought the Trespasser DLC, the first DLC I ever bought separately from a game (will likely babble about that at some point too). Anyway, the point of this letter is sum up my Inquisitor’s journey through the main game. Enjoy!

MAJOR FREAKING SPOILER WARNING since I will be summing up the entire main game, complete with screenshots. Now I need a moment to get into character – RAWR! DRAGONS, SMASH! Here we go!

Dearest Goddess of Wisdom,

The Inquisition has done it! Against all odds, we’ve stopped Corypheus and sealed the breach in the sky. The scars remain, but hope has at last returned to Thedas. While this is the result of many people working together, none of it would have been possible without our Inquisitor leading the charge.

Unfortunately, now that our main mission is complete, Inquisitor Ellen seems a bit, shall we say removed from us, directionless, and unmotivated. I have convinced the Inquisitor to write a letter to you summing up the Inquisition’s rise to power. Perhaps telling her story to a neutral deity outside of our universe will give her some closure?

Please find the Inquisitor’s letter enclosed.

Respectfully yours,
Josephine Montilyet, Ambassador of the Inquisition

Josie… you worry too much. She will be fine. Give her space and time to think. – Leliana

I really don’t see the point of this. Our Inquisitor just needs to bash a few more bad guys, like old times. And Maker, I still miss lyrium… ugh. I need to go lie down for a minute. – Commander Cullen


To the so-called Goddess of Wisdom,

Josephine seems to think ranting to a higher power about my life will make me feel better. Our gods are, well… I won’t go there. I’m sure you’re different, but I’m still reluctant. My ambassador is a trusted friend so I’ll give this a try for her.

As far as I’m concerned, my life is the result of a huge disaster. A massive explosion wiped out the Conclave that was being held to broker peace between Templars and mages. So many innocent people were killed, including Divine Justinia (a big religious leader in Thedas). I was the sole survivor and everyone initially blamed me for causing it. I couldn’t remember anything… I wasn’t even sure if I was innocent. To add to the chaos, a massive breach was looming in the sky above, and demons were invading our lands from smaller rifts torn into the world. A tide of hopelessness consumed everyone. It really seemed like our world was ending…

I don’t give up without a fight first, though. With my badass two-handed weapon skills and a strange glowing mark on my hand, I vowed to at least try to save our world. And after one hell of a journey, my new friends and I found the one responsible for the disaster, ended him, and closed the breach in the sky, all while building a powerful movement on Thedas called the Inquisition.

Now they worship me as the Herald of Andraste, hailing me as the savior of us all. I’m not. I was in the wrong place at the right time, and I owe my friends and supporters more than I can describe. Everything I have now is because of them. The Inquisition doesn’t need me anymore and I’m not sure if I want to keep leading it. When I think about how it all started…

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I’m originally a noble woman from House Trevelyan of Ostwick… but truthfully, I don’t remember my previous life at all. It’s almost like I was created in the Fade, post-disaster.
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My first clear memories are of clueless me being interrogated by two very angry women – Leliana and Cassandra. Luckily, I happened to have a strange glowing mark on my hand that was able to close Fade rifts and stop demons from pouring into our world. While terrifying and painful, it at least helped me prove I was innocent, needed, and on their side.
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When we fought our way to ground zero, a strange voice followed by a vision of Divine Justinia being attacked greeted us. Yep. It was confusing, but it was the final push Cassandra and Leliana needed to fully trust me. Then the big rift spawned a huge Pride Demon. We killed it no problem, but an explosion knocked me out when I tried to close the rift.
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I awoke in a quaint little town called Haven to find myself being treated like a messiah. That made me very uncomfortable… I learned Leliana and Cassandra are the left and right hand women of the fallen Divine. Cassandra called an Inquisition that basically split their group from the Chantry. They asked me to help them close the big rift in the sky, and of course I agreed.
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And so we began building our little movement from the ground up. I spent so much time exploring the lands, closing smaller rifts, and helping out whoever I could along the way. I feels like I’ve spent a lifetime in the Hinterlands alone. I could really write an novel series about everything I did, but I’ll leave that to the real writers like Varric. I always loved it when Scout Harding briefed me with the situation of each new area. I have to say, she’s a really awesome dwarf!
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Eventually, we had to go to Val Royeaux in Orlais to address the Chantry. We discovered Cassandra’s former boss, Lord Seeker Lucius, is kind of an ass. His men punched an innocent Chantry sister, and then he called us heretics…. idiot. The trip to Val Royeaux left us with two choices: Help the mages with some issues, or go talk to the Lord Seeker and the the Templars. As much as I would’ve liked to help both groups, going to talk to the Templars first prevented me from helping the mages. Alas….
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It turns out most of the Templars had been corrupted by Red Lyrium. I found out much later that Red Lyrium is an unstable substance that has the Blight, and does it ever corrupt everything it comes in contact with…. the Red Templar monsters I had to deal with, let me tell you. Anyway, I hunted down the Lord Seeker, but he unexpectedly pulled me into what looked like the Fade. The Fade just happens to me when I least expect it. I’ve accepted that.
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After some pretty freaky visions, including my advisers killing each other (yikes). A spirit named Cole helped me figure out what was happening and escape. The Lord Seeker had been replaced by an Envy Demon loyal to something called “The Elder One”. Its plan was to replace me next to gain control of the Inquisition, but nope! With the help of the normal Templars, we squashed the demon. I needed all the help I could get to close that breach in the sky, so I welcomed the remaining Templars into the Inquisition.
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The Inquisition had made a name for itself. We had enough resources to fight back to ground zero and attempt to close the breach again. It worked, the thing looming in the sky disappeared, and for a few precious moments back in Haven, it seemed like we won. That’s when HE showed up with his stupid dragon… and his dumb army of Venatori idiots.
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So big bad made his big debut; Corypheus finally emerged as the real threat to Thedas, and the root cause of the whole disaster. We were left with no choice but to evacuate Haven, while me and a small group of friends kept him busy. I had a rather unpleasant one on one encounter with him, before I brought a whole freaking mountain down on his head (nope, that wasn’t enough to kill him). I barely escaped, but I learned the mark on my hand was something I stole from Cory at the Conclave. I still couldn’t remember what the hell happened, yet.
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I almost died (again). By another miracle, I managed to drag my battered body through a cave, stagger through snowstorm, and I conveniently collapsed in front of where the Inquisition had set up camp. I awoke to my advisers arguing about what happens next. Mother Giselle started up an inspiring group song, and we all felt so much better after that. That’s the healing power of music!
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Solas led us to an ancient fortress in the mountains; Skyhold, our new base of operations. It needed some serious renovations, but we quickly turned it into our own palace. Soon after arriving, my advisers pulled me aside and officially declared me the leader of the Inquisition. To be the Inquisitor…. this was never something I wanted, but I vowed to wield this power responsibly. In my mind, the Inquisition’s primary objective is to help innocent people, and I planned to brutally enforce that.
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As the official Inquisitor, one of my many duties is to judge our captured enemies (trust me, we made a lot). Don’t get me wrong, the decisions were hard, but I’ll never forget one fellow in particular… the gentlemen we caught throwing goats, yes live goats, at Skyhold to avenge his clan that I had to kill. Just… no words and a smirk for that, I’m afraid.
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Oh and I have to say killing dragons makes me feel so alive! I’m proud to say I felled 10 of the beasts during my adventure. I’ve since specialized as a Reaver, making these victories all the more satisfying. Wait… where was I? Sorry, I’m easily sidetracked. Next, Varric introduced me to the legendary Champion of Kirkwall herself, Hawke. Cassandra was pretty pissed at him for hiding the information about Hawke from her, but they worked it out over a romance novel. Don’t ask.
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Now, I’ve heard lots of negative opinions about Hawke, but she’s a great person who deserves a chance, if you ask me. Anyway, Hawke told me there were issues with the Grey Wardens disappearing. She apparently fought Corypheus with them, but he survived. Now something was up within their order, likely being caused by ol’ Cory. We met with Hawke’s Grey Warden contact named Stroud who told us to meet him in Western Approach to stop a ritual. I’ve since learned a far more interesting Grey Warden (Alistair, was his name I think) didn’t survive the Fifth Blight, long ago. Just thought I’d mention that.
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Oh, the ritual was bad. One of Cory’s Venatori idiots had taken control of the Grey Wardens and was using them as sacrifices to summon demons. Yikes. He got away, but we put a stop to the immediate threat. Cory was twisting the Grey Warden’s desire to stop the Blight once and for all. He was tricking them into summoning an army of demons to slay all the old gods before they could become Archdemons. Cory’s real plan was to just take control of the Wardens and their demon army to lay waste to Thedas. That needed to stop, ASAP, so off to Grey Warden HQ we went.
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With Commander Cullen, an army, Hawke, Stroud, Cole, Dorian, and Blackwall (aka Thom Rainier… still not pleased about that) at my side, we stopped the big ritual from happening. Warden-Commander Clarel saw the critical error she made, but it was too late. She rebelled against her Venatori controller in the end, but she was killed by Cory’s pet dragon. She managed to fight the creature off with her last breath, and we were all sent flying off the edge of the keep. As my fall began, my hand started glowing… and just like that, we were pulled into Fade land. A better option than smashing into the ground below, I guess.
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Normally, (I use that word loosely in this situation) people only enter the Fade in their minds. I’m bad at explaining it, but no one ever physically enters the Fade like we did on that day. My glowing hand is the key to opening and closing the door to the Fade, and I stole it from Cory. He wants into the Fade so he can ascend to godhood…. I’m getting ahead of myself. In the actual Fade, we found the spirit of Divine Justinia (people don’t believe me but I think it was really her). She helped me recover my memories about what happened at the Conclave, finally.
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On that dark day, Corypheus with the help of his Grey Warden minions, was in the process of sacrificing Divine Justinia to summon Nightmare (the worst most powerful-est demon ever). But I, um, gracefully barged into the room and interrupted the whole thing. I wasn’t drunk and it was totally on purpose, I swear. Cory dropped his key to the Fade (in an old elven orb artifact) and I picked it up, thus branding me with my mark and robbing him of his key. The explosion happened, pulling us into the Fade, and Justinia sacrificed herself to help me escape the breach.
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We needed out of the Fade, but Nightmare (in the form of the biggest most ugliest spider ever) was blocking the path. The Spirit of Justinia sacrificed herself to buy us some time (Seriously, how do I thank someone who died twice to save me? I’m not a fan of the Chantry, but I will remember you always, Divine Justinia). We battled the lesser form of Nightmare and won, but escape time was running out. I had to make the easiest hard choice of my Inquisitor career by letting Stroud stay in the Fade to save us. I just couldn’t let Hawke stay in his place. I’m sure you’re no Alistair, but you died a hero too, Stroud.
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For the record, I would rather battle a thousand Nightmares in the actual freaking Fade than go through another night in the Winter Palace playing the Orlesian “game”… So yeah, next we uncovered a plot to assassinate Empress Celene and throw Orlais into chaos, something Cory would love to see happen. But, ugh. To stop it, we had to attend this grand ball event thing and play the whole intrigue-politics game. It’s something I’m terrible at, but with the help of my advisers (major shout-out to Leliana and Josephine) I scored full points with the Court of Judgey Snobs. I also had a really awkward dance with the Grand Duchess, who turned out to be the assassin on Cory’s team. I felt so betrayed… I mean, I danced with her and it was kinda special. I was hurt, okay? (Later, however, I sentenced her to be the official Inquisition jester who can only wear ugly shoes, hehe)
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I’m still not sure what exactly happened, or even what I did, but Empress Celene remained in power and the threat to her throne was banished. At least Orlais has become a strong supporter of the Inquisition now. Celene owes us her life and even I can see the value of that. The social night left me drained, and I was very grateful when Josephine came outside to comfort me. She’s an amazing friend… excuse me while I wipe this tear from my eye. Anyway, Celene assigned her mage adviser, Morrigan, to work for us. And wow, did she ever have some secrets to share!
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So Morrigan had a bit of a falling out with the Hero of Ferelden, back in the day. After that, she found a ancient magic mirror called an Eluvian and has a key that makes it a portal into a realm that’s not quite the Fade. Complicated and weird… This area seemed to have been used by ancient elves as a way to travel between their civilizations. Morrigan thinks Cory is after another one so he can use it to break into the Fade, somehow. His forces were gathered at the Temple of Mythal, the likely location of another mirror. We charged there immediately with the full force of the Inquisition and Orlais at our back.
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We bravely fought our way to the temple. At the gate, we discovered an outcast group of elves were protecting the temple, and they kill anyone who goes near it. Corypheus exploded himself on their magical barrier so his minions could get through. We got to witness him reanimate himself from the corpse of a fallen solider, before his dragon showed up and we retreated into the temple, sealing ourselves safely inside. Turns out Cory wasn’t interested in the mirror at all. He was after something called the Well of Sorrows. Morrigan was a little cranky she was wrong, but overall happy we were in the right place to stop Cory.
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Once inside, I played nice with others for once! We pursued Cory’s minions, but instead following the easy path they blew through the temple, Morrigan and Solas suggested we perform rituals to honor Mythal (or something like that… we really just played “you have to step on each tile, but you can only step on each tile once” 3 times. It was fun!). When we reached the Well (complete with Eluvian in the background), I turned Cory’s minion in charge, Calpernia, against him by showing her evidence he would betray her (Leliana gets the credit for making me gather that evidence earlier). The elves who were killing everyone were guardians of the temple, awoken from the good ol’ ancient days. They were pleased with the respect I showed them and let me have the Well to use against my enemy. Morrigan insisted she be the one to drink it, so I said go for it.
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After Morrigan drank from the Well, really angry Cory showed up to crash the party. We hastily exited via the mirror behind us, and a spirit shattered the mirror before Cory could follow us. Morrigan seemed ecstatic there was the knowledge and voices of a lost civilization echoing her head. Her tune changed when we went to Mythal’s shrine looking for a way to kill Cory’s dragon (he can’t body swap without it). Morrigan’s ritual summoned an old woman named Flemeth. The look on Morrigan’s face was priceless! Flemeth is her mom, apparently, and it seemed like they had a bit of a falling out. After teasing her daughter, Flemeth granted Morrigan the power to stop Cory’s dragon, and then revealed she was Mythal. Not gonna lie, that blew my mind!
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While we were trying to track Cory down back at Skyhold, the breach suddenly reappeared in the sky. It seemed Cory was challenging me to fight him back at ground zero. Where it all began, it ended. There was an epic dragon battle between dragon-form Morrigan and Cory’s pet, I kicked the dragon’s ass after Morrigan went down, and then I destroyed Cory and banished him into the Fade with my glowing hand. To be honest, I felt kinda meh about the whole thing. By this point I was tired of questing and I just wanted to get rid of him already.
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With big bad gone, Thedas was saved at last. We had a party at Skyhold (I like parties with close friends… not the Court of Judgey Snobs), but Solas disappeared. He acted a little strange after the final fight. He was sad the orb got smashed too. He’s a friend and I miss him, but I’m sure he has his reasons for leaving.

There you have it. I told you what happened, and damn, it really was a lot of stuff. No wonder I’m feeling burnt out after all that! Looking back, the best part of this journey was meeting the good friends who stayed by my side through the whole thing. I love the Inquisition like my family, and I will continue to be a part of this for as long as they’ll have me.

Now I think I’m going to go drink with Iron Bull before checking out something called “Trespasser DLC” at the war table. Maker knows where that will lead me. Oooo… I hope it means more dragons to hunt!

All the best,
Inquisitor Ellen, Slayer of Lots of Stuff and not the Herald of Anything

Thanks for reading!

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!

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"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

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