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Fiona (Dragon Age) (Elf Mage)

Warden Fiona


Context

Fiona appears in two Dragon Age novels (The Calling and Asunder) plus the Dragon Age: Inquisition game. She’s thus one of the more notable mages in the series.

This profile is best read after :

  1. Our primer to the Dragon Age setting. And after following the link therein that presents the Grey Wardens in greater detail.
  2. The character profile for Warden-Commander Genevieve, which explains the Dragon Age: The Calling plot.

It also has S P O I L E R S aplenty. Including about material where Fiona doesn’t appear. Such as Dragon Age: Origins. She’s crafty that way.

Sequencing

For now, this profile only covers the The Calling material.


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Background

  • Real Name: Fiona.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Alistair (secret son).
  • Group Affiliation: Grey Wardens.
  • Base of Operations: Warden Fortress at Montsimmard, in Orlais.
  • Height: 5′ Weight: 87 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black.


Powers & Abilities

Fiona benefits from :

  • A brash, achieving, assertive personality.
  • A solid level of intelligence.
  • A remarkable level of physical, mental and emotional endurance.

Being an Elf, she also has excellent night vision.

Though Elves are normally ground down by racism and prejudice, her status as a Warden protects her… *to an extent*.

Fiona also has several years of Circle of Magi training. She knows her way around spells and magical items. Presumably, she received further magicological training as a Warden.


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Harder than the steel, the way of the explosive

Fiona casts spells, which is her main toolset.

Said toolset tends to revolve around BIG! EXPLOSIONS!, Fiona being a “bollocks to that” sort of person.

As of 9:10, her magic wasn’t quite as strong as First Enchanter Remille’s. This is still impressive for a mage her age. Obviously, Remille had far more experience and access to knowledge, yet Fiona held him in check for a while.

Spells wot Fiona cast :

  • White light from her staff. This was used a lot when underground, and casting it through her staff isn’t particularly tiring. She can dim or intensify it as well, even when not touching her staff.
  • Slowing down her enemies over an area of effect.
  • A large jet of fire sweeping an area.
  • A big facking fireball, oi. Fiona really likes fireballs. She even used one for mining-style demolition work, which is quite technical.
  • A cold ray that freezes an opponent in place.
  • A single-target projectile that looks like a sparkling rock.
  • A narrow beam of light.
  • A lightning bolt striking a single target. Good, good.
  • A shockwave radiating from her, flooring and dazing nearby opponents.
  • A blast of cold that countered a dragon’s breath.
  • A blizzard sweeping through a large area.
  • Healing magic.
  • A force shield that protected King Maric from a blast of dragon breath.
  • A detection spell allowing her to track down an ally.
  • A spell of protection. Effets unrevealed, though it makes people glow blue for a bit.
  • A counterspell that manifested as a force shield blocking the opposing spell.

Cannoneer & chirurgeon (part 1)

Fiona is the keystone to Genevieve’s commando tactics. This is because the small unit is expected to hit much larger, more powerful forces. They need an equalizer, and that’s Fiona. She’s the artillery.

Since most opposition realises this, the commando’s tactics are about giving Fiona time to work.

  1. Half the unit will engage as shock, heavy infantry to pin and kill the enemy front line.
  2. The other half will protect Fiona. Their priority is to intercept anything getting past the shock unit and beelining for the mage.

Oddly, Fiona isn’t seen using her staff to shoot minor attack spells, as mages do in-game.

Cannoneer & chirurgeon (part 2)

The Elf’s healing spells are also crucial. Even with all the heavy armour, the Wardens can only be kept alive and moving using magic. Spells can’t heal massive fatal damage, but the Wardens’ training and gear usually avoid those.

Battlefield magic such as Fiona’s isn’t in-depth, proper healing. It’s meant to keep people up and fighting.

However, she also carries magical ointments that do a cleaner job. Though these need time to work, they do a good second pass after a fix-it-right-now healing spell.

However, Fiona can only cast so many spells. Especially since she tends to push those she casts for maximum impact.

A half-dozen big spells a day is about her limit. She can drink mana potions to refuel, but the team only has a few.

Tainted blood

Fiona also possessed the typical Grey Warden capabilities :

  • Immunity to Taint.
  • Limited life expectancy as her mind increasingly perceived the Old Gods.
  • Ability to mentally sense the darkspawn across a distance.
  • Increased food intake.

She also learned Utha’s sign language. However, she’s not fully fluent yet. She can’t follow if Utha signs too fast.


Soundtrack

Fiona hits a number of “proud Irish beauty” signifiers. So I’ll keep it simple with my favourite Enya song, Cursum perficio (“Here ends my journey”).

Available for download on Amazon .


History (part 1)

Fiona is an Orlesian alienage Elf, born circa 8:93. She lived in the usual squalor and poverty, and lost her father when she was little.

At age 7, she was abducted by a slavery ring. But she was too little to understand, and didn’t mind. Conditions in the slavers’ pens were actually better than in her alienage.

At age 14, she was sold to one Count Dorian. Though slavery is illegal in Orlais, Dorian had the wealth and connections to avoid scrutiny.

Naïvely, young Fiona thought she would now live in a palace and that she had it made.

Not a charmed life, no

She had actually been bought as a decorative pet, and because Dorian was a sick sadist. He frequently whipped her just to pass his urges.

However Fiona was noticed by an older, passing mage in the street. He told Fiona that she too was a mage, but she refused to believe it.

The Count refused to have his slave taken away to a Circle. He forced Fiona back to the palace, and whipped her nearly to death.

Desperate, Fiona realised that there was indeed magic within her. Her first spell was to slay the Count before he’d kill her.

From one prison to another

However, casting a spell attracted the attention of Fade demons, who beset her mind.

The Countess warned the Circle, who took Fiona in. The noblewoman apparently never did anything about the death of her husband.

(One suspects that she was relieved that Fiona was suffering in her stead, and bore the Elf no special malice. Plus, with Dorian dead the Countess inherited everything.)

A fortress near Montsimmard

Being with the Circle protected Fiona from demons. It also allowed her to develop her considerable power. But she was the only Elf within the entire Circle’s bastion at Montsimmard.

Furthermore, the traumatised Fiona was scared of men. Over the years, she conquered the latter fear. Most male mages weren’t predators.

But her frustration at being locked within the Circle grew. She couldn’t live as a prisoner anymore, especially with so many strangers.

In 9:8 or 9:9, Fiona made her escape. She beelined for the Grey Wardens fortress, and begged to be taken in.

Bregan, the Commander of the Grey, agreed.

Fiona survived her Joining and became a Warden.


Video

Here’s a video excerpt from Dragon Age: Inquisition – a discussion with Fiona. It has even more S P O I L E R S about the events in DA:I.

Fiona is voiced by Eve Karpf . Who does a credible Orlais accent, being fluent in French.


History (part 2)

Fiona was still the most recent recruit when Duncan was conscripted, in 9:10. Though she didn’t want to, this meant that she had to attend his Joining, which he also survived.

Fiona ended up on Genevieve’s personal strike team. It is possible that she was the only mage Warden in Orlais at that point. Or perhaps she simply was the most proficient despite her youth.

On the team, Fiona was close to Duncan, who also came from the slums.

She also seemed close to Utha. Utha further acted as Fiona’s bodyguard when in battle.

Against the Architect

Fiona was pivotal in surviving the Deep Roads. As per procedure, she was key in destroying attacking superior forces, and in closing everyone’s wounds so they could keep doing.

She also kept an eye on King Maric. She even saved him from being incinerated by a dragon, blocking the creature’s breath with a shielding spell.

In the last stages of the mission, she was the only survivor along with Duncan and Maric. Fiona saved the team by blasting open a collapsed tunnel, as they were but metres away from the surface. She did so by using a charged fireball much like dynamite.

When First Enchanter Remille revealed himself a traitor, Fiona held him in a stalemate for a minute or two. This gave Duncan time to slay the traitor using a stolen magical dagger.

Child of beggars, mother of a King

Maric and Fiona twice had sex during the Deep Roads expedition.

By the time Fiona realised that she was pregnant, she and Duncan had reported back to the central Grey Wardens command in the Anderfels. Then had likely returned to Orlais.

After the child was born, Fiona returned to Ferelden along with Duncan, to see Maric. She handed him his son. Who, as an Elf/Human hybrid, was Human.

Fiona has specific requests. Her son would never know that he was the son of an Elf, and never know that he was the son of the King of Ferelden. Maric honoured that promise, thoroughly obscuring little Alistair’s parentage.

Duncan eventually made Alistair a Warden, perhaps after consulting with Fiona. Alistair was eventually revealed to be a royal bastard, but his true mother was never exposed.

Proud and untainted

In the Deep Roads, the spread of the Taint within the Wardens had been greatly accelerated. Only Duncan was safe from this, being unknowingly protected by his stolen, Blight-enchanted dagger.

Fiona thus had clear Taint marks along her torso and her arms, 20+ years earlier than it should have. She wasn’t expecting to live much longer after that mission.

However, the Taint then receded, and she was soon pronounced untainted. It was as if she had never taken her Joining.

As far as is known, this had never happened before.

What happened remains unrevealed. Some possibilities :

  • Fiona was briefly turned into an Abomination while in the Deep Roads. She was possessed by a Desire Demon, and locked into a nightmare of Count Dorian. Perhaps this demonic possession interacted with the Taint and/or the Architect’s Taint-accelerating magic ?
  • First Enchanter Remille used Blight Magic against the team. Trying to kill Fiona with such novel spells may have drawn out the Taint during their battle.
  • It is possible that blood exchange during her pregnancy played a role. Unbeknownst  to all, Alistair was — as a Theirin child — dragon-blooded. But it can’t be the only factor, otherwise Rowan would have been cured of the Taint — *if* she was Taint-infected — while being pregnant with Cailan.

A circle is forever

The Wardens kept Fiona at Weisshaupt, since nobody could understand how she had become Untainted.

However, a decision became necessary. With her Joining undone, could she remain a Grey Warden ?


Description

Elves tend not to be big. But even by those standards Fiona is small and thin. She’s no longer starving, but she was underfed long enough to remain a bit underweight.

She has mousy dark brown hair, short and spiky, and unusually pale skin. She’s also attractive, as quite a few Elves are.

But of course, during the Deep Roads expedition she ends up caked in sweat, grime, blood, bruises, mud, etc..

She has large, dark brown, soulful eyes. Oddly enough her eye colour was changed in DA:I. Even though in The Calling, Maric ponders how Fiona having a common Human eye colour makes her seem less eerie than Katriel and her bright green peepers.

She has a readily audible Orlais accent. But it’s not as pronounced as Julien’s.

See elf woman, dressed in blue

During the Deep Roads expedition, Katriel wears a big, blue, linen skirt. Her top is a blue sleeved gambeson, over which she wears a light chainmail hauberk.

She carries her mage’s staff everywhere. It is polished white, ends with a clawed hand clasping a silvery ball, and visibly glows with power.

As the book closes her hair is a bit longer. She also wears red robes, since she’s not on a special forces raid at that point. And exposure to the hot Weisshaupt sun has revealed light freckles.


Personality

Fiona is brash, expressive, proud and opinionated.

She has an exceptional willpower. She refuses to let herself be oppressed again, and (under normal circumstances) to fall back.

However, her entire life has been defined by being on the lowest tiers of the totem pole. She’s an alienage Elf, *and* a mage. The first means, racism, prejudice and poverty. The second means tight religious and legal control, plus the threat of demons.

(She’s also a woman, but misogyny isn’t as bad in Thedas as on Earth.)

Furthermore, Fiona was taken away from the alienage and doesn’t seem to have a family. This deprives her of the Elven solidarities. Her lack of ties with the Montsimmard Circle of Magi also deprived her of the mage equivalent.

Fiona is understandably sensitive on the subject of Elven rights. She disliked it when people badmouthed Elves, or used common turns of phrase loaded with racism.

Close to the chest

Therefore, Fiona strives to maintain a game face. She also makes efforts to think before she talks. Since otherwise it’s often her anger talking, getting her into trouble.

This is particularly true around Human nobles, which she sees as an endless shower of scum bastards. However, being angrier means being easier to read and more likely to open her fool mouth.

Fiona is also wary of men she doesn’t know well. She never takes any at face value.

She likes being a Grey Warden. Objectively, this is a horrible and miserable job full of nightmares and death, and there’s no way out. But she’s treated fairly, she’s seen as a talented soldier, and she has friends there.

Fiona also respects Genevieve, though she suspects that the Commander’s zeal will get them all killed one day.

Ay Maric, Maric, ik hield van jou

At first, Fiona wouldn’t talk to Maric. He was a Human noble, and a man, and the King of a nation with miserable alienages. She interpreted most things he said as lies, bluster and arrogance.

The turning point was when Maric woke up first in the Fade. He broke the hold of the Desire Demon, freed the others and led the effort to rescue Fiona, slaying the Demon.

This clearly demonstrated that he couldn’t be as corrupt as she thought. Since he displayed more integrity and capacity for self-sacrifice than even a Grey Warden.

Fiona thus came to realise that Maric was a caring, altruistic and honourable bloke. There also was a degree of mutual appreciation, though Maric was too hindered by ethical considerations — and haunted by Katriel — to make a move.

Fiona was thus the main mover in their — necessarily brief — relationship. Essentially, she had finally found a good man and thought that she deserved some of that.

Other traits

Fiona has little religious culture. She was raised without the Chantry as a strong presence.

She also swore she would never enter a Circle of Magi again, wanting to die as a Grey Warden.

Fiona exults in casting big, devastating, boomy spells. Of course, if she has to do that, it’s that the situation is pretty dire. But the physical release of blowing crap up helps her remain focused during such crises.


Quotes

(To Maric) “I am tired of pain. So tired. Aren’t you ?”

“As a King you have every freedom, Maric. Yet you act as if you were a slave. You act as if this gift the Maker has given you is some sort of burden.”

“You need to forgive yourself, Maric. Or I’m going to have to punch you in the head, I swear it.”

“I’m a Grey Warden. And an Elf. And a mage. And even if that were not enough, I am suffering from the Taint. My time is limited.”

“I want our son to have a life, a good life. The kind of life I didn’t have. And not in line for your throne, not competing with your other son and tied to this royal blood that has given you nothing but grief.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Warden-Ensign Fiona (in 9:10)

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Freedom
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Warden-Ensign
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Wealth: 003
Init: 012 HP: 040

Powers:
Awareness: 03, Life sense: 11, Sorcery: 08, Systemic antidote: 05, Ultra-vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Form Function.
  • Awareness is limited to sensing the Blight, and particularly the activities of the Archdemon commanding it.
  • Life Sense is limited to the darkspawn.
  • Life Sense is Discerning, but that may require Perception rolls using INT/WIL.
  • When Sorcery is used for something other than energy-based attacks or for healing, the SPI backlash receives +1 CS to its AV/EV.
  • Systemic antidote only to resist the Taint.
  • Ultra-vision only to compensate for low light.

Skills:
Animal handling (Horses): 03, Medicine (First aid): 02, Occultism: 04

Advantages:
Credentials (Grey Wardens, Low), Edge (BODY), Familiarity (Grey Wardens equipment and protocols), Language (Some sign language).

Connections:
Duncan (Low), Maric (Low).

Drawbacks:

  • Edge (STR)
  • Serious Irrational Dislike of Human nobles.
  • Minor Irrational Dislike of men she doesn’t know.
  • Misc.: Fiona encounters racism and prejudice as an Elf. But her being a Warden normally moderates that.
  • Misc.: body mass is 1 AP.
  • Misc.: As a Grey Warden she needs about 50% more food, has about a 30-year life expectancy after the Joining, and experiences nightmares caused by darkspawn activity (particularly during a Blight).

Equipment:

  • Staff [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Flash (stdy illu only): 06, Descriptor: Bludgeoning].
  • Light chainmail hauberk [BODY 03, Blunting: 02, Enhance (Slashing, Piercing RV): 02 (cap is 07), Power Loss (Blunting drops to 01 against non Slashing/Piercing damage), Stealth penalty 2/2, Partial Coverage (Long Coat)].
  • Magical ointment [BODY 01, Medicine (First aid, Treatment): 06, Ammo: 10].
  • Mana potion [BODY 01, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken, SPI RAPs only): 03, Grenade Drawback].

Design notes

The novels are written with Dragon Age gameplay in mind. But these stats aren’t using an in-game mage as their base. They instead model the novel’s events.

So for instance I’m using Sorcery. Since unlike with, say, Morrigan I do not have an in-video-game character sheet to use to determine the spells she knows.

Furthermore Fiona seemed to cast any offensive or healing spell she needed (and a few utility ones). She always had a useful spell to blast out, unless she had run out of juice.

Her peak efficiency wasn’t unlike modern infantry weapons, such as a rocket launcher.

The mana potion’s modelisation is based on Fiona primarily using Sorcery. Which, as noted, is an artefact of her stats being based on a novel rather than a video game.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Dragon Age: The Calling novel.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 25th of February, 2020.

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