Vaia (vah-yah) is an apostate and former mercenary of Chasind extraction. She lived on the run for most of her life after being forced in to exile at a young age. The life of a fugitive mage has made her an uncompromising and taciturn woman.
In Cloudreach 9:32, she was Conscripted as a Grey Warden.
The Story So FarEdit
Vaia found her brother's killer in the Korcari Wilds, but nothing went as planned.
A rogue templar, Galbraith Devlin, sought Fiagaí too, for information on the death of his former lover. They ended up trapped in a cave in a blizzard, with Devlin taken prisoner. Also stuck was Aled Parry, a rogue and Denerim native, whom Fiagaí found face-down in the snow - left for dead after the caravan he was guarding was attacked.
Vaia's honour left her unable to act directly - she could not be certain if 'William' was Fiagaí, as she'd not seen her former friend in sixteen years. So she bided her time, something that became increasingly difficult due to close quarters. She began hearing the voice of her dead brother, cajoling her in to exacting her blood-debt and pushing her towards indignant outbursts.
At the same time, Fiagaí withheld Devlin's lyrium, fearing that the substance would allow the templar to Smite or otherwise attack. Devlin fell prey to lyrium withdrawal, suffering delusions and worse. Eventually Vaia could not stand to watch him suffer so - hated templar or not - and bullied Fiagaí in to letting her dose the rogue templar with lyrium.
It was that act of mercy that ultimately proved her salvation.
By the time the snow subsided, it became clear that the voice Vaia heard was that of a demon; thankfully, Devlin recognized the signs and managed to talk her down, helping her stave off it's influence for a time. He was not without his own demons, though - in a fit of impulsive pique, Devlin forced lyrium on Fiagaí in retaliation for the withdrawal. His feelings of remorse caught up with him soon after, though, and he turned himself in to Ser Cullen, the templar sent to apprehend him.
This, in turn, nudged Vaia towards the edge once again. Though she managed to control herself - barely - she could feel her will beginning to fray. Knowing that she could wreak fearsome destruction should she become possessed, the mage decided to turn herself in, too.
Devlin knew only Tranquility or death could await the mage. En route to the Tower, he struck a deal with Vaia: he would continue to anchor and support her through her struggle with the demon, if she did the same for him as he purged himself of lyrium addiction.
It was a hasty and perhaps ill-conceived plan, but it was the only chance either of them had. They holed up in an abandoned farmhouse for a month that tortured her as much as him. Devlin suffered more delusions and excruciating pain, and Vaia struggled to nurse him even as the demon of Pride tormented her. Each saw suffering and encroaching madness lay the other's soul bare and raw.
It was out of necessity that Devlin and Vaia bonded over their ordeal, at least at first. But as they traveled in search of a way to cast Vaia's demon out once and for all, they were drawn to each other despite - or perhaps because of - their contrasting personalities. Even though she genuinely liked and cared for the man, the mage refused to let herself become involved; years of living on the run left her wary of relationships, and further, she did not wish to subject Devlin to that insecure existence.
Devlin devised a means for Vaia to defeat her demon using the remainder of his lyrium. On the eve of her roughshod Harrowing, they finally sought comfort in each other's arms. When the mage awoke after successfully completing the ritual, Devlin confessed his love for her. Vaia, heart aching but unwilling to further endanger Devlin with her presence, simply packed and left.
Vaia travelled alone to Denerim. There she began to piece together the notes she'd made on lyrium withdrawal in to a treatise - a detailed account interspersed with passionate rhetoric, decrying and condemning the suffering she'd seen. The book was meant both to publicize the atrocities the Chantry inflicted on her own soldiers, and to engage healers more skilled than herself in creating a treatment for the withdrawal.
She took odd jobs with the Mages' Collective and put every spare coin away in hopes of printing it, but it was slow going - and eventually Ser Cullen caught up with her. Vaia fled to Highever, where she re-encountered Fiagaí - now a Grey Warden - and Aled. Upon hearing her story, Aled offered his skills as a burglar to acquire the funding she needed to publish her work. With his help Vaia was able to send it to press far earlier than she could have hoped.
Soon after, a templar recognized Fiagaí as an apostate sympathizer and smuggler, and made to cut him down in the street. Vaia intervened with her magic, leaving her and Fiagaí fleeing templar attentions.
A chance encounter with Devlin tripped her up, though, leaving Vaia, Fiagaí, and the ex-templar with the Chantry's soldiers bearing down on them. In an attempt to divert suspicion from Devlin, Vaia knocked him unconscious to make it look like he was merely an injured bystander. The ruse worked, but Vaia and Fiagaí were taken prisoner.
Vaia was quite aware that as an apparently dangerous apostate, the best she could hope for was death. But the person she cared most about in Thedas was safe, and the man she owed a debt of honour to over her brush with possession would be protected by the Grey. That was enough, as long as she was not made Tranquil.
Eventually Warden-Commander Nathaniel Howe arrived to collect Fiagaí, who asked that Vaia be conscripted... and when his commander refused, the hunter coerced Howe in to doing so by revealing a single Warden secret in Chasind, meant for Vaia alone. The Warden-Commander was not one to take chances with such things, though, and responded by conscripting everyone in earshot at the time - two guards and two templars, including the very one who had tried to murder Fiagaí.
Vaia was shipped to Amaranthine, where she survived the Joining, though she was disgusted to realize that it verged on blood magic. She is conflicted over her new occupation - one she sees as forced upon her, chafing even as it offers new, unfamiliar freedoms. She carries a deep-seated wariness of non-mages, and the shadow of the Taint hangs heavily over her heart.
Turmoil of a rather different sort has found Vaia, too - Devlin arrived at Vigil's Keep, once again declaring his love for her. Feeling overwhelmed by both this and her recent, dramatic change of lifestyle, Vaia asked him for space. She's since reunited with him more properly, but it is not without its challenges; romantic relationships - as opposed to casual, physical ones - are another uncertainty for the mage.
Changes Since ConceptionEdit
- Since joining the Grey Wardens, Vaia's standard of living has increased. Her mode of dress remains plain and utilitarian, though of better quality than before. Still uncomfortable with attention that might have gotten her turned in as an apostate, she only wears the arms of the Grey when out on official Warden business.
- Anders has passed the Arcane Warrior specialization to her. She has acquired the first tier talent, Combat Magic, and begun carrying a sword in addition to her staff and daggers.
"Known him a long time; my friend, though we don't always see eye-to-eye."
"A... good man, who endured great hardship with me. A dear and trusted friend."
"Fiagaí knows him better, yet he risked much to help me. I owe him."
"Resilient girl. She'll do well for herself."
Warden-Commander Nathaniel HoweEdit
"... no comment."
"Didn't meet well. Downright tolerable, now."
"Her head's on straight; seems competent enough."
Plots and ThreadsEdit
- This Spell's Disaster (9:16 Dragon): Vaia, aged 10, manifests magical ability for the first time to save her friend, Fiagaí. When her abilities are discovered, Vaia is taken as a sacrifice to the Witches of the Wilds.
- Better Plucky Than Witch (9:16 Dragon): Vaia's brother, Unegen, frees Vaia after she is left as an offering.
- Not A Good Idea (9:29 Dragon): Vaia encounters Paige in the midst of the Blight, and shows her a thing or two about wilderness survival.
- Build Two Pyres (Wintermarch 19 - 23): Vaia tracks her brother's suspected killer - her childhood friend, Fiagaí - to a cave in the Wilds. A blizzard leaves her trapped there with him, along with Devlin and Aled. Quarters are close and emotions run high, drawing the attentions of another, more sinister visitor.
- Fear and Lothering (Wintermarch 26): Ser Cullen returns to Lothering with two willing prisoners: Devlin, in despair after forcing lyrium on Fiagaí; and Vaia, who fears she may yet give in to her demon's words. Realizing that only death or Tranquility await the mage should she turn herself in, Devlin strikes a bargain.
- Scorched Earth (Wintermarch 28 - Guardian 26): Devlin and Vaia hole up in an abandoned farmhouse near Lostwhithiel in an attempt to break Devlin's lyrium addiction.
- How To Disappear Completely(Drakonis 1 - 5): After a month-long ordeal, Devlin is free of lyrium. Neither he nor Vaia is quite the same, though, and their initially cautious alliance is developing in to something more.
- Third Time's the Charm (Drakonis 5): Vaia and Devlin's growing, mutual attraction - and one shot too many of bad whiskey - leads them to seek comfort in each other's arms.
- Eviction Notice (Drakonis 7 - 8): Devlin and Vaia attempt their own Harrowing, hoping to cast Vaia's demon out once and for all.
- I Slept, and Dreamed That Life Was Beauty (Drakonis 8 - 11): After her abrupt departure, Vaia ruminates on Devlin as she travels alone to Denerim.
- I Woke, and Found That Life Was Duty (Drakonis 13): Vaia, feeling aimless and lost, finds a cause to give herself purpose.
- Caught In The Act (Drakonis 20): Vaia goes to the Mage's Collective to find work, and re-encounters an old acquaintance.
- Insufficient Notice (Drakonis 21): Vaia, Paige, Siorus, and Castien attempt to resolve a dispute between the Mage's Collective and a mercenary band.
- School of Hard Shocks (Drakonis 22): Vaia tutors Paige in the basics of Primal magic.
- Close Encounters of the Worst Kind (Drakonis 27): Ser Cullen confronts Vaia as to the whereabouts of his rogue templar brother, Devlin.
- I Should Go (Drakonis 28): Fearing further templar attention, Vaia says goodbye to Paige before fleeing Denerim.
- Fancy Seeing You Here (Cloudreach 12 - 13): Vaia re-encounters Fiagaí and Aled in Highever. Upon hearing that Vaia needs lyrium to print her political tract, Aled makes her an offer.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (Cloudreach 15): Fiagaí and Vaia try to catch up, but a fundamental disagreement puts the two exiled Wilders - and Devlin - in harm's way.
- Take the Future From Your Hands (Cloudreach 15): After being arrested by the templars, Fiagaí and Vaia are left to speculate on their fate.
- Primitive Notion (Cloudreach 16): With Vaia facing the rite of Tranquility, Fiagaí takes decisive action; the consequences, however, are beyond what even he expected.
- Dungeons and Delinquents (Cloudreach 16): Zevran brings Fiagaí and Vaia news as they wait in the dungeon of Castle Cousland.
- Kings of the World (Cloudreach 18): On the ship from Highever to Amaranthine, Anders pays a visit to Fiagaí and Vaia in the brig.
- Vanishing Point (Cloudreach 19): Vaia arrives at Vigil's Keep to find herself locked in yet another cell. Warden-Commander Nathaniel Howe takes the opportunity to evaluate her suitability for the Grey Wardens.
- Seven (Cloudreach 27): Vaia undergoes the Joining.
- Welcome to the Wardens (Cloudreach 28): When Vaia comes to after the Joining, Fiagaí and Anders advise her on what it means to be a Grey Warden.
- The Reflection of Eternity (Summerday): After walking from Highever to find her in Amaranthine, Devlin has a great deal to say to Vaia.
- Guard Your Heart (Summerday): Fiagaí tries to offer Vaia some advice after her encounter with Devlin.
- A Mutual Love of Books (Bloomingtide 1): Vaia meets Siali, a fellow Warden, in the library at Vigil's Keep.
- Testing the Waters (Bloomingtide 3): Vaia, having recovered from the Joining, has her magical abilities assessed by Anders.
- A Letter Sent (Bloomingtide 2 - 10): Devlin corresponds with Vaia by letter.
- Sword and Sorcery (Bloomingtide 8): Anders and Vaia have a practice bout, and discuss the tract she's publishing.
- Testing One's Metal (Bloomingtide 9): Seeking to broaden her melee training, Vaia seeks out Guard-Captain Bridge.
- Do You Wardens Like Minstrels? (Bloomingtide 10): As it turns out, Vaia does.
- Duty Calls (Bloomingtide 12): Warden-Commander Howe tries to get to know Vaia better.
- Ferelden's Finest (Bloomingtide 14): The Wardens are tasked with investigating some disturbances in the Blackmarsh. Two groups are dispatched, including one led by Philippe and consisting of Vaia, Fiagaí, and Cauthrien.
- Devils and Demons (Bloomingtide 16): Now down one warrior, Philippe, Vaia, and Fiagaí continue their investigation of the Blackmarsh.
- Rocks Fall, Hopefully We Won't All Die (Bloomingtide 17?): Fiagaí and Vaia awaken trussed up in a cave.
- Compromises (Bloomingtide 20): Fiagaí has a chat with Vaia about her disagreement with the Warden-Commander.
- Guilt is a Useless Emotion (Bloomingtide 21): Vaia finally pays a visit to Devlin, intending to tell him about the treatise she wrote in his honour.
- Love is a Verb (Bloomingtide 21): At long last, Vaia truly reunites with Devlin (and, yes, it's pretty much exactly what you're thinking).
- Wending Wandering (Bloomingtide 25): Devlin and Vaia go for a hike in Wending Wood.
- Spin Me Right Round (Justinian 3): Vaia spars with Kahrin.
- Alright for Fighting (Justinian 3): In progress. Kahrin invites Vaia for some drinks at the Crown and Lion Inn.
- All Apologies (Justinian 5): Vaia attempts to reconcile with the Nathaniel.
- Let Me Play For You The Song Of My People (Justinian 14): While exploring Amarathine's markets, Devlin and Vaia encounter the minstrel Nicolette.
- The Evil Dead (Solace 11): After a grisly murder - and an ominous warning - undead horrors attack Vigil's Keep.
- Larder by Lamplight (Solace 14): Vaia talks with Adara, the newest Warden, over a late night snack.
- Timeskip begins. A summary of Vaia's activities over this period, and the status of her lyrium treatise, can be found here.
- By Bough and Bow (Firstfall 13): In progress. Anders and Vaia go hunting.
- Timeskip ends.
Mass Effect AUEdit
Mercenary!Devlin and Spectre!Vaia.......... IN SPACE. Extremely fluffy.
Related Characters and OrganizationsEdit
In case anyone is strapped for character ideas, I guess.
The Argent RooksEdit
the mercenary group that vaia has spent the majority of her life with - she has sixteen years of history with them
they count many apostates amongst their number, but they also take non nonmagi who don't balk with working with apostates
the name itself is a bit of wordplay alluding to their nature
their coat of arms bears a rook - the bird - in white, and each member has a tattoo of such a bird in flight somewhere on their person (the back or upper arm is common, but it's not something they regulate)
of course, the word 'rook' has an alternate meaning, referring to the chess piece resembling a tower. im sure you see where this is going
not an exceptionally large group, and they're fairly close knit - almost a necessity, banding together gives apostates some measure of safety
officially they take a hard-line stance against blood magic; anyone found practicing it would be expelled at the very least. in general, they are fairly scrupulous as mercs go. this is partly business practice and partly to avoid attracting too much attention from one of their number flipping out and going abomination
they have ties to the Mages' Collective; often the Rooks have recruited new members through those channels
at age 10 Vaia was adopted by one of their number, Ambrose - a middle-aged city elf apostate who was an escaped circle mage
he taught her to control her abilities and in exchange she joined the camp followers in the sort of noncombat chores that keep the company running smoothly - maintaining arms and armor, cooking, doing the washing, etc etc
at age 18 or so she signed on as a full member and has since been frying people for a living
The Cougar ClanEdit
her father, Nasan
the shaman of the Cougar Clan
a stern and traditional man who, nevertheless, ultimately seems to have the interests of his clan at heart
dutiful and honorable
a hawkish-looking sort - vaia inherited his hard angular profile and grey eyes
the middle brother, Unegen
despite him being three older than vaia they were quite close, and unegen was very protective of her
he helped her escape when she was to be sacrificed and they kept in touch even after her exile
the elder brother, Chinua
also displayed magical talent, but as a male he was allowed to apprentice as a shaman under his father
he knew about unegen aiding in vaia's escape, but turned a blind eye to that and his younger brother's keeping in touch with vaia
after the death of unegen, chinua tracked vaia down to give her the news, but told vaia in no uncertain terms that she was never to return to the clan
her mother hasn't been elaborated on much, nor others in her family, but presumably they do (or did) exist. it's been a good sixteen years since she's seen any of them, of course, and eight since she's been able to hear any news of them