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[personal profile] charamei

I just need someone, somewhere in the narrative, to acknowledge that Dalish society is going to be really fucking complex, okay

I need 200-odd clans united by a few common cultural ties but with widely disparate traditions and opinions on those cultural ties, who know that no two of them are truly the same - how could they not, when they trade members and meet up ten times a century - and who embrace those differences, because none of them have the whole truth but parts of it lurk within all of them, all their strengths and all their weaknesses

I need travelling Keepers who hold their people together with their bare hands, who travel vast distances from clan to clan to bring the news that so-and-so has had a baby or Clan Virnehn is no more, who take on lives of dreadful isolation and constant fear of Templars because you can’t have too many mages in a clan but they are still Keepers, they are still Dalish, they are still needed and valued and they still have so much to offer

I need feuds and alliances that go back to the days of Halamshiral and sometimes even before, because history and tradition are everything, because if you can’t remember the past then what are you, because those bastards traded us 30 infertile halla one spring and we all nearly died, and that shit matters even if it happened in the Towers Age and nobody alive can remember it, not even Zathrian

(And because our two clans were founded by twins, or so they say, who loved one another so dearly that when they fled the Dales and had to go their separate ways, never to see one another again, they cried for ten days and ten nights and swore their descendants would never exchange a cross word, and so we will not, because we are Dalish, and we remember)

I need in-jokes so obscure that you need an atlas and a solid grounding in Dalish history just to understand why a hunter from Clan Suviniel seeing the sea for the first time is remotely funny, much less to understand that five generations ago they tried to take their halla across the Waking Sea and it was such a fiasco that the tale is still told around firesides to entertain the children, and the big children, and all right, sometimes the hahrens too

I need songs about how much your clanmates are irritating you today, about the fall of the Dales, about clans escaping the Dales and irritating one another, all in the same verse

I need Lavellans whose eyes flash fire when they learn what was done to Minaeve, who ask what clan and which Keeper and did they really think nobody would find out, who in their very first letter home write with a hand that shakes in anger I’m fine, Keeper, but let me tell you what Clan Saerim have been doing to their children, who tell Hawen, Lanaya, Mihris, Merrill, anyone and everyone they meet, who get the word out, who create consequences

I need Halamshiral to feel simple, because the steps may be different and the forks may be fancier but at least everyone present believes broadly the same thing about the Maker, Andraste, Orlais itself, and the same can never be said of Dalish clans and Falon’Din, Mythal, Halamshiral, Arlathan

I need Solas and Vivienne and Dorian to arrive in these simple, backwards camps and suddenly find themselves completely out of their depth, because it goes the other way as well, the politicking is familiar but the steps are so different and there are no fancy forks or even frilly cakes, not here, not for a very long time

I need the Dalish to feel like a living, breathing culture, because they are, because they should be, because even a culture obsessed with its past lives in the present and because wherever people go, we make societies around us, and the Dalish are no different, because a people can be proud and silly, stubborn and flexible, open- and close-minded, and a living, breathing, real life people can do these all things at the same time.

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charamei

July 2016

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