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Fanfic / Accursed Ones

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"Foul and corrupt are they who have taken His gift of magic and turned it against His children. They shall be named maleficar, accursed ones, and they shall find no rest in this world or beyond."

Accursed Ones by TheThirdAmell is a long-running fic set in the Dragon Age game universe. It picks up near the beginning of the first game expansion (Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening) and continues through Dragon Age II . Word Of Author states that the story is intended to go all the way up through Dragon Age: Inquisition.

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The story is told from the point of view of Anders, one of the Awakening companions, and follows the Awakening plot, though with one very key difference: the Hero of Ferelden is not only a mage but a maleficar, a blood mage, demon summoner, and necromancer. And still, despite that, he's one of the kindest and most generous people in the story's universe.

For the most part the story covers the same events as the game, although with a distinct shift in focus; more emphasis is placed on character development and relationship building, both the friendships between the companions and the slowly building romance between Anders and the Warden (which is very much not present in the game.) Characters who were extremely minor in the game or only referenced in passing in the codex are brought back and given fully fleshed personas and roles. There are also a few very major differences in key plot events, to be discussed below.

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Accursed Ones picked up a significant fan following due to its quick pace of updates and the enriched view it offered of the world and characters of Dragon Age. Although it is contained within a single story, the author has commented that it really ought to be two stories by now, since the tone, setting, and character cast shifts drastically when Anders leaves for Kirkwall.It also has a series of side-stories and vignettes,including:

  • Apples and Apostates, a collection of various short stories that add perspectives not seen in the main story.
  • Pariahs, a side-story from the point of view of Fenris as his relationships with Isabela and Merrill bloom.
  • Cursed Ones, a short story set before Accursed Ones, from Alistair's point of view.


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Tropes featured in this story include:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • A rare example where the adaptations occur within, and are lampshaded by, a single work. Varric, before he goes on the Deep Roads expedition, is described by Anders as being significantly overweight; Varric at one point comments that "when I write a book about this, I'll leave out the part about my weight." Sure enough...
    • Many of the differences between the fic and the original game (which was told from Varric's POV to Cassandra) are implied to be selective editing on Varric's part. For instance, Varric left out the detail of his hand being mutilated when Bartrand betrayed them in the Deep Roads, presumably because it was too painful to recount.
      • Similarly, Hawke's description of Carver's death at the hands of the ogre is much more gruesome than what made it into the book.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Wynne's negative qualities(ie. her loyalty to the Chantry despite their abuse of mages) are accentuated in her brief appearances here, in a story that is more critical of the Chantry and its dogma than Dragon Age canon tends to be. During the Blight, she had a major falling-out with Amell over his use of blood magic, and her only interactions with him in Accursed Ones are clearly filled with loathing.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Oghren's more creepy interactions with Sigrun and Velanna are excised and his almost-parental relationship with Amell is emphasised, presenting him as a much kinder and three-dimensional figure than he was in the original work.
  • The Alcoholic: Oghren, obviously. Less obviously, Amell himself. Anders never seems to notice anything unusual about his drinking in the main storyline, but several of the side stories make it plain that Amell drinks heavily, frequently, and as an aid for social anxiety, among other things.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Nathaniel and Velanna go through some rocky times at first, and still bicker quite frequently, but by the time of the Battle of Amaranthine it's apparent that They Really Do Love Each Other.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Averting this is in many ways the premise of the fic. Amell is a blood mage and a necromancer, but uses both according to a strict code of ethics (when he breaks it, it's a big deal — see What the Hell, Hero? below.) He's also the most compassionate and giving person in the story. Anders, too, is a kind and deeply principled man who picks up blood magic as he goes along, but still remains determined to use it morally and responsibly.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Alistair is attacked by a werewolf in the Brecilian Forest during the events of the Cursed Ones side story, eventually transforming into one himself and leaving the party until the curse is eventually lifted.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Not their first kiss, but probably their most dramatic: when contemplating the idea that one of the mages will have to sacrifice themselves to join with Justice and fight off the darkspawn army, Nathaniel tells Velanna that he will always love her, whatever she becomes. Velanna catches him up in a passionate kiss, says, “I refuse,” and runs off to fight the darkspawn.
  • Broken Angel: Justice could be considered this at any time after being dragged from the Fade, but especially after the disastrous episode in Merrill's house. A friendly spirit-bonding episode goes horribly wrong when the Templars show up to arrest a neighboring mage; Justice, naturally, wants to intervene. Merrill resorts to blood magic to stop him from getting them all killed, but the aftereffects are agonizing and horrific for him. He still hasn't forgiven her and probably never will.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Due to hang-ups caused by his upbringing, Anders is never able to admit the extent of his feelings for Amell, not even to himself. Even as their time together grows short and other people prod at him to say it before it's too late, he just can't spit it out. The closest he ever comes is "I know that you love me," right before Amell walks out of his life forever.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Amell is saddled with the responsibilities of ruling the Arl, and although he states in no uncertain terms that he didn't ask for this responsibility and doesn't want it, he still does his best to be a good administrator and a good leader. He makes a point of learning as many of his soldiers’ names as he can, and writing in his journal the ones who die so that he won’t forget them.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Expected for Amell who is, after all, a hero — it's right in the job description! But also some of his companions, including Anders and Nate, who offer themselves up for the Joining despite being told repeatedly that they didn't have to.
    • Anders continues his Chronic Hero streak in Kirkwall, jumping without hesitation into situations like fighting darkspawn in the sewers (even though it results in him losing most of his belongings) and defending runaway mages from Templars (even though it gets him shot.)
  • Crazy-Prepared: After being ambushed at the Turnoble estate and barely escaping with their lives, the heroes are determined that the next time they go out (to the Blackmarsh), they will have potions and supplies for every possible contingency.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: See entry for Bad Powers, Bad People. As early as the second chapter, Amell raises a corpse to aid in battle — creepy as hell, but Anders reminds himself (and thus the reader) that necromancy is actually a form of creation magic, and that the force animating the body is a friendly spirit, probably a "perfectly nice spirit of Valor or Fortitude or something in there."
    • More generally, spirits and even demons are treated as creatures that can be dealt with on fair and reasonable terms, and most (though not all) of Amell's attempts to establish friendly overtures with the creatures of darkness go well for him.
  • Death Seeker: It's not always clear how much this applies to Sigrun; she jokes about being dead or finding a way to get herself killed frequently, but some moments also show that it's not so much of a joke. Amell certainly takes it seriously, in one of the side stories commenting with relief that Sigrun is a little less death-seeking today. Comes to a head at the Battle of Amaranthine, where Sigrun makes her Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Amell himself, after his mutilation. He can't bear to live crippled, so he voluntarily goes off to his Calling at the first opportunity.
  • Devoted to You: Amell to Anders. Although not quite a case of Single-Target Sexuality — Amell did have another relationship before him, which was apparently quite serious — it's revealed that he was in love with Anders for years and never really stopped, even when he was with someone else.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Velanna, of course; all elves prefer to go barefoot, but Velanna takes it to an extreme, going barefoot even in dangerous (and disgusting) territory such as the Blackmarsh. Anders is rather appalled to consider the state of her feet in such territory. This also seems to go hand in hand with a persistent refusal to wear the Warden uniform; she only wears either one when explicitly ordered to. Combines with a "let it go" moment at the Battle of Amaranthine; when Velanna decides to defy Leonie and desert the Wardens in order to save the survivors, she kicks off her shoes as she runs into the city.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: As paired with The Alcoholic; after his What the Hell, Hero? moment called his relationship with Anders to a screeching halt, Amell apparently lost several days to an alcoholic stupor.
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: Velanna Does Not Like Shoes and is also a Keeper who utilizes nature magic, including infusing trees with living spirits to do her bidding.
  • Easily Forgiven: Amell tends to give pretty much everyone the benefit of the doubt all the time. His favorite mantra is "We are more than our mistakes," and offers second and even third chances unhesitatingly. It's even implied that he forgave Quentin — he ordered none of his soldiers or companions to bother going after him, and displays a remarkable lack of hatred or even anger over his betrayal.
    Oghren: You drag that fucker back here, the kid's gonna give him a hug and make him a Warden.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Amell likes to practice his swordsmanship in the Keep’s courtyard, shirtless. Anders conveniently finds excuses to come watch. Much attention is paid to Amell’s rippling physique.
  • Embarrassing First Name / Last-Name Basis: The story gets through 24 chapters before we find out Amell's first name. Once we do, it becomes understandable why he just goes by Amell.
    • There's also a Freudian Excuse that goes along with it; he was named for his grandfather, who was emotionally abusive and who packed him off to the Circle when he was barely six. Amell doesn't feel like honoring the old man by using his name.
  • Evil Laugh: Amell apparently has a very unnerving, wild, mad-sounding cackle. He's very self-conscious about it, which is why it takes seven chapters before anyone actually gets to hear it, despite Anders' best attempts to get him to lighten up before then.
  • Eye Scream: Quentin cuts out Amell's eyes to take for his Frankenstein Bride. To make it worse, he paralyzes Amell with blood magic, but keeps him awake through the whole thing; to make it even worse, he mind-controls Amell's own lover into holding the knife. Amell's will to live is (understandably) completely shattered by the trauma.
  • A Father to His Men: Despite his youth (only twenty-one at the start of the story), Amell takes his responsibilities very seriously — both to the soldiers under his command, and also to his friends. In one of the side story shorts, we see him looking over his friends one by one, checking in on how they are doing and always looking for ways to help them.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Anders and Hawke. Despite there being a fair amount of mutual attraction on both sides, this relationship is slow to get off the ground because Anders is still grieving for Karl (and also for Amell; one of his reservations is that because Hawke looks so much like his cousin, he may be using Hawke as a Replacement Goldfish for Amell.)
  • Five-Man Band: There are actually seven members, but they all fit into the roles in some way.
    • The Leader: Amell, of course; tactically brilliant, incredibly charismatic, courageous and commanding.
    • The Lancer: Nathaniel and Oghren split this role. Oghren is the messy, grizzled contrast to the clean-cut Amell and his best and most loyal friend, but Nathaniel is his competent lieutenant and steady right hand. Nathaniel also steps into the leadership position, more or less, when Amell leaves.
    • The Smart Guy: Anders and Velanna split this role. As the two mages of the group, they are both Glass Cannon s, so they fit the 'physically weak but highly knowledgeable' archetype. Anders definitely has the comic relief angle nailed down, but Velanna's reckless flouting of authority often gives her Trickster qualities.
    • The Big Guy: Oghren and Justice split this role. As the two warriors of the team, they're both equipped for heavy lifting but not suited for leadership; Oghren is uninterested in intellectual pursuits and Justice is completely naive to the ways of the mortal world.
    • The Chick: Sigrun; unquestionably 'the heart' of the team, she's the first to try to befriend Justice, and a Shipper on Deck for both Amell/Anders and Nate/Velanna.
  • Foil: Amell and Hawke - Anders' two primary love interests in the story. They're both members of the same family, look almost identical (to the point where Anders thinks Hawke is Amell when he first sees him), both go exclusively by their surnames unless they're among family, and both of them fall deeply in love with Anders. But aside from these qualities, the two cousins are as different as night and day: Amell is a proud mage and maleficar who despises the Chantry and its oppression of mages, while Hawke is a non-mage and a proud Andrastian who hates blood magic; Amell always remembers the names of everyone he meets, while Hawke hardly ever remembers anyone's name; Amell uses his natural persuasiveness (and a little blood magic) to solve his problems, while Hawke is notoriously curt and rarely speaks unless he has to; and Amell is a Marcher in Ferelden while Hawke is a Fereldan in the Free Marches.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: How Hawke describes Carver's death. No wonder he doesn't like to talk about it.
  • Hate Sink: Constable Leonie, who takes over command of the Vigil after Amell leaves, makes herself popular with nobody. Probably nobody could have lived up to Amell, but the fact that she is Templar-trained and a devout Andrastian immediately puts her at odds with the remaining mages and non-humans of the group. She forces Nathaniel and Velanna to suspend their relationship, takes away all of Anders’s money and most of his possessions, assigns him a Templar probation officer, and makes him give up his cat. The Wardens were already on the verge of mutiny even before Leonie decided to destroy Amaranthine – which, among other things, would have killed Nathaniel's sister.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Amell mentions that when Anders knew him in the Circle, he was a pudgy pale teenager with a terrible case of acne. Now he's the Hero of Ferelden, with more muscles than any mage deserves to have, and pretty young women swooning off him left and right (not that he's remotely interested in any of them).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sigrun gets one during the Battle of Amaranthine, sacrificing her life so that Leonie can't strafe the city with everyone else inside. So far, this is the only confirmed death among the main cast.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Amell gives the benefit of the doubt to everyone he meets. While this normally works out well — inspiring followers and gaining many true companions — it also leads to his downfall when he becomes too trusting of Quentin.
  • Humanity Ensues: Justice never wanted to be dragged out of the Fade and locked into a dead human body, but he's making the best of it. See also Broken Angel.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: This trope actually applies to both Amell and Anders.
    • Since most of the story is from Anders' POV, the cool and competent Amell seems way out of Anders' league for a long time.
    • However, once they get together it's revealed that Amell has had a long-running crush on Anders ever since they were in the Circle together, idolized him, and never dreamed that he would be good enough for him.
  • It Gets Easier: Amell takes Anders out on a romantic date to a moonlight beach where a group of bandits are waiting to kill them and take their money. After Amell successfully manages to finesse their hostage away from them and get clear, he orders Anders to incinerate them from afar (as his own distance magic is not very good.) Anders does so, although hesitant because he's never killed before; it leaves him deeply unsettled, so he goes to the chapel to clear his thoughts. Amell joins him there, and tells him that It Gets Easier.
    Anders: I didn’t feel anything. I never feel anything. I’m just angry all the time. I think if Bodhan hadn’t been there, I would have killed the guards to free you. I ran into some on the way here, and I ran away because I think I would have killed them too.
    Hawke: What do you want me to say to that?
    Anders: I don’t know. I don’t even think about it anymore. It Gets Easier, you know?
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Amell fits this trope pretty well; he's learned to keep a cool and stoic front, but he's a big mushy pile of feels on the inside, especially where Anders is concerned.
  • Light Is Not Good: Exemplified in the Templars; they go around in shiny armor, quote scripture, have a flaming sword on their tabards and use light-based powers. They're also a constant danger to the apostate mage members of the party, which is nearly half of them. Rylock, furious at being denied a chance to apprehend Anders, ambushes the party in Amaranthine and makes a sincere attempt to murder Amell — the Hero of Ferelden, Commander of the Grey, and Arl of Amaranthine, far outside the scope of her warrant. She figures that none of that matters in the face of him being a mage, since Templars have de facto life and death authority over every mage in Chantry controlled lands. Sadly, she's not really wrong.
    • After Anders joins with Justice, Rolan leads a number of his comrades to ambush them unawares, and attempt to execute them. This directly results in a horrific melee which ends with the Keep trashed, dozens of casualties, and Anders fleeing into the night on a stolen horse. Though they may have been sincere in trying to do their duty, the fact remains that it was their intervention which directly caused the conflict; Anders and Justice would have harmed no one if just left alone.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Almost any time the Vigil’s Keep crew goes out.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Quentin. Not only did he betray and horribly mutilate an innocent young man in his crazed quest to bring back his dead wife, the boy was his own son.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After Anders fuses with Justice, animals are terrified of him — including Amell's faithful mabari. Anders uses a blood magic spell to convince the dog not to fear the presence of possession. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite him a few chapters later when an actual abomination goes on a rampage, and the dog doesn't get out of the way in time.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: By the current point in the story, Anders is a possessed apostate blood mage shapeshifter. If he decides to pick up necromancy as well, he'll probably spontaneously ignite under the weight of his own sacrilege.
  • No Social Skills / Sarcasm-Blind: Hawke is this. Word of God has hinted that he might have a form of Asperger's; he attributes his lack of social skills to a childhood spent on the run, unable to form attachments, yet his younger siblings had the same upbringing and don't seem to have the same difficulty.
    • Merrill is also Sarcasm-Blind, which leads to a few confusing conversations where Hawke and Merrill are being totally straight with each other but everyone else thinks they’re being sarcastic.
  • Noodle Incident: Happens a couple of times, but most notably as the party was returning to Vigil's Keep from the ambush at the Turnoble estate. It's mentioned that Amell's solidly gay status is common knowledge among the Ferelden nobility, and there is apparently a story associated with that, which Oghren starts to tell amid uncontrollable giggles. It apparently involves a post-victory ball, a parade of noble daughters, and one especially astute nobleman's son, but the story is interrupted by a mob of angry peasants and we never hear the rest of it.
  • Oh, Crap!: The audience gets one of these moments as soon as Quentin introduces himself. Anyone who has played Dragon Age II will instantly recognize him and know that he's up to no good.
    • In-universe, Rylock gets (a very brief) one when she realizes that Amell – not Anders – is the blood mage, and she just gave him a wonderfully fresh source of blood to work with...
    • Rolan gets another one (this seems to happen to Templars a lot) when the binding circle containing Justice and Anders breaks.
  • Polyamory: Isabela enters separate relationships with Fenris and Merrill, which eventually unites in a triad as the latter two grow close in turn.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: When Anders first starts to venture into blood magic, he's initially very reluctant to actually use any of the mind-control spells against other human beings. What does it take to change his stance on that? Trying to rape one of his friends would do it. When Gerod tries to force himself on Sigrun (especially squicky because his attraction to her is due to him being a pedophile) Anders throws blood magic into his brain without a moment's hesitation to yank him up short.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Averted. The three characters in the fic who have blood-red eyes (Amell, Lyna, and Hawke) are all good guys, and so far two of them have met bad ends. Perhaps the red-eyed characters should be the ones to take the warning.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Oghren is often an unpopular character due to his often slapstick comedy role in the game, but if his Undying Loyalty to Amell in this fic (as well as the other Wardens) doesn't melt your heart towards him at least a little bit, it'll be a surprise.
    • Possibly Velanna as well; though still abrasive, provocative, and hard to get along with, she becomes the character we all cheer for when she stands up to Leonie after Amell leaves.
  • Running Gag: Anders and Sigrun's game of "Fuck, Marry, Kill." It shows up in chapter 14 and gets played on and off for several chapters; even after things have gone to hell at Vigil's Keep, Nate can still use it to give the others a brief moment of humor. Much later, in Kirkwall, Anders gets a Call-Back to the joke when he decides he's going to marry the bath, fuck Hawke, and kill Templars.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When Leonie decides to destroy Amaranthine, killing all remaining survivors, Velanna is the first to defy her, breaking away from the army and running into the city (while throwing her shoes aside.) The others run after her one by one, except for Sigrun, who has something else in mind.
  • Second-Act Breakup: After Amell's What the Hell, Hero? moment at the Turnoble estate, his and Anders' tentatively blossoming romance gets thrown on the rocks. Anders eventually forgives him and the two reconcile, but it's painful for everybody involved in the meantime.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Velanna, as in the game, is incredibly abrasive, and others find it very hard to get along with her. Nate makes an attempt to court her anyway, but just when it seems like they're making progress, she pushes him away. Amell attempts to console a bewildered Nate by explaining that Velanna is still grieving from the loss of her clan and her sister, and the fact that consorting with a human would make her an outcast and exile from her people forever.
  • Suicide Mission: The Battle of Amaranthine. This was already a Sadistic Choice in the original game; do you attempt to save the survivors in the town, leaving your home to be sacked by darkspawn, or do you Nuke It From Orbit to contain the darkspawn threat and return to defend your fortress? This fic manages to make it even worse; since the Hero of Ferelden is gone, the new Commander will raze the town even with the heroes in it. So now they have to try to defend the town from the darkspawn and from their own side. Sigrun's Heroic Sacrifice manages to save them from the ravages of the siege weapons, but there are now only four of them left against the entire darkspawn horde. It's looking bad for our heroes, until Anders and Justice make their desperate pact...
  • Tempting Apple: Amell's nickname back in the Circle was Apple, and his presence in the story is often symbolized by apples; the side story is named Apples and Apostates because of this, and apple desserts are frequently used in Amell and Anders' banter as a metaphor for sex. Amell is also the representative of forbidden knowledge and dark power, which he constantly invites Anders to share. Anders finally accepts Amell's offer to learn blood magic at about the same point in the story that he reaffirms his relationship with Amell.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Anders, after fusing with Justice. Aside from the obvious boost to combat skills and offensive magic, his healing — already said to be formidable by in-world standards — jumps up a level of magnitude. He can heal much more severe wounds, much faster, with an (almost) unlimited pool of mana compared to his former level of ability.
  • Undying Loyalty: Oghren to Amell. He followed him to Vigil's Keep leaving his wife and child behind, obeys and supports him without hesitation, and even follows him to his Calling after Amell is mutilated.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: During the Blight, Amell makes a serious effort to learn how to shift shapes, apparently so that he could pursue the dragon in flight. He never successfully managed it; Word of God is that he could no longer bear to think of crows after Zevran left him. But Anders, inheriting his notes and journal, follows the instructions and succeeds at the crow transformation, which he uses to visit Karl at the Gallows.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Amell and Alistair had a strong but rocky bond as comrades during the Blight, but Amell sparing Loghain and making him a Grey Warden after installing Alistair on the throne was the final straw. By the time they meet again near the beginning of Accursed Ones, they are barely more than cordial to one another, and later glimpses into Amell's private diary reveal he now harbours a deep resentment for his former friend.
  • Wham Episode: At the end of chapter 32, everything seemed to be right with the world. Amell and Anders were deepening their relationship, he'd been reunited with his long-lost father and even gotten his beloved pet back. As Anders remarked, "everything was coming up Anders." Then Anders wakes up in the night with a splitting headache, a bloody handprint on his chest, and the sound of a dog barking...
  • What the Hell, Hero? : Quite a few moments could qualify for this, since Amell just came out of the Blight where he was willing to do literally anything to save the world, no matter how reprehensible, and the habit seems to have stuck around. But one moment that stands out is the ambush at the Turnoble estate, where Amell used blood magic on his own lover in order to puppeteer him to a tactical victory. Anders compares the experience to having his mind raped, and describes it as literally the worst thing that ever happened to him — and given his recent experiences in solitary confinement, that's not a comparison made lightly. Even the other companions agree that Amell crossed a line.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Despite being a generally nice person, Amell does have a tendency to default to blood magic as a solution every time he runs into a problem, whether it's an appropriate solution or not. Even Oghren, his steadfast best friend, comments on it.
    Oghren: I love the little nughumper, but he ain’t never found a problem he didn’t try to fix with blood magic. Deshyrs in Orzrammar? Blood magic. Nobles at Landsmeet? Blood magic. Every little thing? Blood magic.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: An army of darkspawn is pouring through the city, with only four defenders left to try to protect the survivors. The archer is out of arrows, and the mages are out of mana. Anders accepts Justice's offer to join, so that they can do together what neither could do alone.
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