So. An inevitable outgrowth of this is that I need to work out what my Forgotten Ones-worshipping Inquisitor actually believes in, ideally before she has another conversation with Solas.
And that means I need to pull away from pure lore for a bit and try to work out how the corrupted transmission of elven lore has affected those other elves.
See here for the canon sources and theories which I am basing this post on.
“I cannot stress enough how much I am going to murder the next person who calls me Dalish.”
To start with: I’m going to just go ahead and name these guys the Clans of the Forgotten, because I really, really doubt that either they or the Dalish would acknowledge the others as their own and I’m fed up of dancing around the word ‘Dalish’ in these posts. Undoubtedly the writers have a better name for them. If anyone can find it anywhere, please let me know.
Spoilers under the cut. All quotes are from the wiki page unless otherwise stated.
Perceptions from the Chantry
The Forgotten Ones have associated vallaslin, so I think it’s probably safe to say the Chantry and human culture as a whole lump their followers in with the Dalish regardless of the truth of the matter.
The Dalish would probably say this is the source of all those claims that Dalish elves hunt humans, eat children and so on: that’s probably not 100% true, but maybe not 100% false either.
Priests of the Forgotten Ones were persecuted during the time of the elven Dales. Yet secret worship of these gods continues. It is said that some souls, seeking revenge against humans for their
past affronts to the elven people, have sought the Forgotten Ones out
through hidden, dark cults.
Some of these ‘clans’ might be unusually stationary for non-city elves (oh Maker I’m still at it), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they still move around; partly because of the need for a stable food supply, and partly because the Chantry’s going to come and clear them out if it finds them.
But more to the point - I’d say you’re gonna have more mixing of origins than in Dalish clans? You’ll have elves who were born to the clan, and those who were swapped between Forgotten clans, but you’ll also have both Dalish and city elves who have turned away from the Creators and the Maker.
We can probably expect a similar range of attitudes towards outsider elves as the Dalish have, only the Dalish now qualify as outsiders too. With Dauranni, I’m going the ‘pity the poor ignorant fools’ route, though she is a lot more tolerant of city elves (who just don’t know) than the Dalish (who have got it all wrong).
Use of magic
According to the Dalish, these individuals have committed a great crime
and forsaken their people in return for the keys to a twisted and
Some scholars think that [the Forbidden Ones] were the ones who taught the Magisters blood magic.
The Forbidden Ones seem to be linked to the Forgotten Ones, though goodness only knows how at this point. So I’m going to just assume that the ‘twisted and terrible strength’ involves blood magic as a bare minimum. (Incidentally, this piece of information also finally - finally - explains why the Dalish don’t like blood magic, which was never really clear before.)
This is why I made Dauranni a Reaver, by the way; if the Forgotten Ones also have something to do with the Old Gods, and since we know the Tevinter priests used to drink dragon blood, it probably follows that the Forgotten clans do something similar.
Oh, yes, and:
They weren’t calling out for aid; they were offering us up. Like pigs on a platter.
We can add human/sentient sacrifice to the list of wonderful things going on in their clans, too. (See also: the Dalish probably blame these guys for giving them a bad name with humans.)
There might be something about the Blight here too, but honestly, we don’t know enough to speculate.
Attitude to the Creators
Ahhh, here we go.
We know that the cults of the Forgotten Ones existed (albeit illegally) in the time of Halamshiral, so I think we can safely assume two things:
- Modern Forgotten clans have approximately the same legacy of information as the Dalish do, and
- Worship of the Forgotten Ones has risen and fallen at roughly the same rate as worship of the Creators throughout history, but, like worship of the Creators, does exist in a more-or-less unbroken line stretching back to Arlathan.
This is really important, because it means that we have a separate transmisison of basically the same information.
So what do the Forgotten clans probably know, or think they know?
- Like the Dalish, they probably believe that contact with humanity was responsible for the loss of elven immortality and that the elven empire was destroyed by the Tevinter Imperium.
- Like the Dalish, they probably believe that Fen’Harel was responsible for locking their gods away and bringing about the Imperium’s invasion
- Though if the Forbidden Ones are the Forgotten Ones, they may have a slightly better understanding of these events than the Dalish.
- Unlike the Dalish, they probably believe that the Evanuris were/are pretenders.
I say they probably believe the Evanuris to be pretenders because, regardless of modern understanding of what really happened, that was probably what the Forgotten Ones told their followers. If we assume that both religions (or both halves of the religion) have passed down in parallel, and especially if we consider that the Forgotten clans canonically contain elves who have fallen away from worshipping the Creators, it seems fairly natural that the claim that the Creators were false gods has lived on. The question is, what do they think the Forgotten Ones are? What did the FOs tell their followers, and what has been passed down to modern Clans of the Forgotten?
If we look at Geldauran’s Claim again:
There are no gods. There is only the subject and the object, the actor and the acted upon. Those with will to earn dominance over others gain title not by nature but by deed.
I am Geldauran, and I refuse those who would exert will upon me. Let Andruil's bow crack, let June's fire grow cold. Let them build temples and lure the faithful with promises. Their pride will consume them, and I, forgotten, will claim power of my own, apart from them until I strike in mastery.
Looking at this, I think it is pretty much equally likely that Geldauran (and by extension the other FOs, since we have too little information to discuss them individually) told his followers the truth about himself or that he didn’t. I am leaning towards the notion that he didn’t, however, for three simple reasons:
- He refers to godhood as a ‘title’.
- The Forgotten Ones have associated vallaslin.
- The Dalish believe the Forgotten Ones are gods, albeit evil ones.
So at the very least, Geldauran was demanding to be called a god, while simultaneously affecting the trappings of godhood. Fast forward a couple of millennia, and it’s highly unlikely that modern elves remember the nuance there. Dalish beliefs about the FOs would seem to back this up.
Best guess, then: while the Dalish think the Forgotten clans are dangerous heretics worshipping gods best left alone, the Forgotten clans think that the Dalish are ignorant idiots who worship false gods [who stole power from the real gods?].
Attitude to Fen’Harel
Hahahahahaha I have no clue. Post-Veil, I suspect it’s pretty similar to the Dalish: Solas screwed both groups over equally, after all.
I will say this, though: if I’m right about their attitude to the Creators, then I would guess that a reasonable chunk of Solas’s ‘Dalish’ forces are actually these guys. It would be much easier to talk them into following him than the actual Dalish, because they’re already prepped to listen to the part about the Evanuris being false gods.
Relations with the Dalish
Are going to be strained at best, clearly, but it’s worth remembering that they definitely exist. Both groups exist on the fringes of human society, and both groups have a vested interest in recovering and preserving elven history. So I’m willing to bet they run into one another a lot.
Sometimes that might mean open warfare. Sometimes it might mean spying and stealing artefacts from one another. Sometimes it might mean very careful trade. Sometimes, very rarely, it might mean joining forces against human incursions. But relations between them are definitely going to exist - and they probably occur more frequently than either group’s interactions with humans. Because, look, those guys are assholes and they have it all wrong, but at least they’re our ignorant assholes.
So in conclusion...
I think there’s a whole subset of sentient-sacrificing, blood-magicking, blood-swilling, evil-god-worshipping elves living in the woods and crossing paths with the Dalish on a semiregular basis.
And I would now invite you to imagine two Keepers drawing a whitewash line down the middle of the forest while eyeing one another suspiciously from their respective sides of it, because honestly, I think that’s more or less what’s going on here.
As for Dauranni...
(I’m sorry, I just really like her face, okay.)
If she can only get it through all these idiots’ heads that she is not Dalish, then it’s going to be one heck of an interesting playthrough.