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Fan Fic / Victory at Ostagar

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Victory at Ostagar is an epic-length fanfic of Dragon Age: Origins, by Arsinoe de Blassenville. It explores the 'What If' of the titular victory, in which the Human Noble Warden successfully lights the beacon in time to save the battle. It goes deep into the medieval politics of Ferelden, as well as Thedas at large.

Tropes present in this story include:

  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the games, Empress Celene appears by all accounts to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. Here, not so much. This applies to Orlais in general, as bards murdered Queen Rowan years ago and nearly kill Queen Anora the same way.
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    • Lily from the mage origin turns out to be a Chantry agent provocateur whose aim all along was to frighten Jowan into turning to blood magic.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Spoofed in Brosca's story about a nug who marries a deepstalker.
    The Deepstalker was lean and muscular, unlike the nug boys in the neighborhood, and he had a dangerous air that was very exciting. And he was so sensitive. He brought the Nug presents: sparkling rocks and tasty lichen.
    "Stick to your own kind!" wailed her mother. Her aunts and cousins said, "He's no good! Did you see the gang he runs with? Don't you remember what happened to Cousin Fulbi?"
    But the Nug cried, "He's different from the rest! You don't know him, so your shouldn't judge him. He's not bad. He's just…misunderstood."
    Jowan said nothing, but miserably wondered if he had been the Deepstalker to poor Lily's Nug.
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  • Ambition Is Evil: Averted. Numerous main characters have great ambitions that are portrayed as at least morally neutral, if not outright heroic. Though Astrid's desire to look as impressive as Bronwyn ends up getting numerous people, including herself, killed.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Warden Maeve's story about a girl joining the army after discovering her faithless lover.
  • Anti-Hero: The Grey Wardens as a whole. The main protagonist points this out at one point, stating the they are not the 'White Wardens', they are the Grey Wardens. Made particularly clear with the Tevinter Wardens, whose retinue of blood-magicked slaves is tolerated due to their immense magical power.
  • Anyone Can Die: As mentioned above, six of the original potential Wardens join. In both endings, Aeducan and Mahariel die. In the first ending, so do Cousland and Brosca, leaving only Surana and Tabris.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Nathaniel Howe and Adam Hawke marry Nevarran noblewomen to cement their alliance with Ferelden.
    • Part of the Fereldan alliance with Duke Prosper includes setting up his marriage to their candidate for Empress, Princess Celandine.
    • In the first ending, Loghain raises money for public works by essentially selling Celandine's sister Eponine to Antiva.
    • In the second ending, Bronwyn's son and Alistair's daughter are engaged to unite their claims to the throne.
  • Bad Dreams: All the Grey Wardens have them, as part of what makes them Wardens.
  • Beard of Evil: Lampshaded in the massive underground blood mage hideout.
    Bronwyn: We still haven't met whoever is in charge of this enterprise.
    Carver Hawke: I bet he's slimy. I bet he's slimy and he has a goatee. I'll bet anything he does.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Empress Celene takes poison rather than be dragged to a Fate Worse than Death by the darkspawn invading Val Royeaux.
  • Bi the Way: Adaia and Siofranni.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: The Divine attempts to excommunicate Bronwyn and the Grand Cleric of Ferelden for political reasons, and the lightning that strikes the Cathedral shortly afterward is widely interpreted as this.
  • Break the Haughty: Imperial Prince Florestan, who is badly scarred in his escape from Val Royeaux and owes his life to his milk-brother.
  • The Butler Did It: Anora's maid is an Orlesian agent who slowly poisons her through her daily tea.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Never forsake me, and I will never forsake you." "I will never forsake you as long as I live."
    • "The Lightning-Struck Tower, Redux."
    • When Morrigan first proposes the Dark Ritual, Anders decides that if worst comes to worst he could steer the reborn Urthemiel toward fine arts. In the ending where the child is born, she is indeed very interested in art, much to Morrigan's exasperation.
  • The Cameo:
    • Alistair discovers Fiona is his mother early on, and so never attempts to reunite with Goldanna, but she makes small appearances being hired to do laundry and squeeing over Fergus Cousland.
    "That's the Teyrn of Highever!" declared a lounger. "I saw him at the Gnawed Noble! He gave me three silvers for holding his horse! What's he doing?"
    A woman with the reddened hands of a laundress and a fair but faded face bloomed with the glow of romance. "I know what he's going to do. He's going to rescue the Queen!"
    • A teenage Cassandra Pentaghast makes a brief appearance in Nevarra, being uncomfortable at a party.
    • Ser Rylock from Awakening is one of the witnesses at the test of the Sacred Ashes.
  • Charm Person: Brangaine, the Old God of Beauty Teenager in the second epilogue. Notably, this doesn't work on her mother, and their relationship is difficult.
  • Chick Magnet: Kane Kendalls. He manages to even give Bronwyn pause, much to her brother's amusement.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Merrill, as per canon. At one point she manages to utterly confuse a group of bigoted soldiers. Earlier:
    "Oh, I am sorry!" apologized a pretty elf woman, her enormous green eyes luminous with sympathy, an appealing burr in her voice. She gave Cailan a vague, sweet smile. "You're the king, then? My, you are tall and shiny. Sorry, King. We didn't mean to frighten you. We were just being…er…Elvish. We thought you might be at supper, and we didn't like to interrupt…Where is Bronwyn? I like Bronwyn. I thought she would be here… And Danith? I'm supposed to report to the Warden. The Warden. A Warden..."
  • Continuity Nod: Jowan introduces his mabari to the other Wardens with the exact phrase he uses in the mage origin to introduce his girlfriend.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Morrigan miscarries from her injuries in the first ending; in the second, she fakes one to avoid attention from the Wardens.
  • Corpsing: Mentioned, as the Black Divine somehow manages to keep a straight face when leading prayers for the people of Val Royeaux.
  • Corrupt Church: The Chantry is deeply influenced by Orlais's political interests. This goes so far as having Wynne murdered to deny healing to the victims of Orlesian assassins.
  • Cowboys and Indians: A non-conflict version with the noble children playing Landsmeet. Bronwyn is so well known that Lothar Bryland ends up arguing that boys can be Warden-Commander too ("I'm the Boy Warden"), and they've received such a positive view of magic (which, among other things, saved Lothar's life) that Jancey Kendalls announces "I'm a mage like Bethany!"
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Habren Bryland in the first ending, after the end of her claim to the arling of Denerim.
  • Cruel Mercy: The worst offenders at the Aeonar are sent back to Orlais, into the custody of the Divine who they claim sanctioned their actions... except Val Royeaux is overrun by darkspawn and the Divine is likely dead. With the exception of the women, so as not to risk more Broodmothers.
  • Cue the Sun: Danith Mahariel sees the sun one last time before she dies.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The invasion of Roc du Chevalier, with the help of unorthodox use of magic.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Invoked nearly verbatim when Brosca expresses her intent to take a spoon to Jarvia's eyes "because it'll hurt more!"
  • Dead Guy Junior: Alistair's daughter Moira, Fergus's son Bryce, and Bronwyn's children Eleanor and Gareth. Nathaniel's son Padrig appears to be named after an ancestor, Padric Howe, who left Ferelden to join the Wardens.
  • Death by Adaptation: Includes but not limited to Wynne, Arl Bryland, Arl Eamon, Delilah Howe, Soris, Cullen, Brother Genitivi, Tallis, Erlina, and (in the first ending) Morrigan's unborn child.
  • Death by Childbirth: Warden Catriona's sister-in-law, who might have lived if the apostate who was helping her hadn't been dragged off in the middle of it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Oriana is murdered, her mother hires the Crows to wipe out the Howes; this involves Arl Howe watching his children die in front of him. When she realizes that Nathaniel survived, the next assassination attempt also includes Nathaniel's new wife. Nathaniel ends up threatening to retaliate in kind if she tries again.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: A nonhuman version is apparently a traditional Nevarran dragon-hunting technique.
    Oghren: Victims of luuuurrrrve! That's terrific! Wonder if it would work on the Archdemon? She probably hasn't had any in... what? About twelve ages!
  • Divided We Fall: Thedas in general during the course of the story, with numerous countries sabotaging each other while the Darkspawn ravage Ferelden.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Bronwyn, after she loses the baby.
  • Door Stopper: Complete! Clocking in at 125 chapters, including an epilogue, and just under 1,100,000 words. At that weight, it ranks alone at just under 3/5ths of the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, over double The Lord of the Rings, and almost exactly equal to all seven books in the Harry Potter series!
  • Evil Uncle: After Anders was orphaned, his uncle turned him in to the Templars to get his inheritance. Anders comments that he could consider that a good deed that conveniently got him a lot of money.
  • Extended Disarming: Duke Prosper defusing the situation after an Orlesian tries to assassinate Loghain.
    Very visibly, he dropped his sword[.]
    And his belt knife[.] And his boot knife. And the other boot knife. And even the dirk hidden up his left sleeve.
  • Hairstyle Malfunction: A shapeshifted Morrigan grabs a malicious Orlesian countess' wig and drops it over the battlements.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Or an averted Face–Heel Turn. With the support of Loghain and the Wardens, Uldred never goes over the edge to cause the havoc at the Circle.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Aeonar. It turns out to be a site for Chantry experimentation on, among other things, rendering non-mages Tranquil to use in lyrium mining.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bronwyn, at least in the first ending. Double subverted in that the ritual that was supposed to divert the Archdemon's soul from hers had been carried out, but she's still killed in its death throes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Vaughan Kendalls at Ostagar. He and his friends kidnap Adaia and take her to a remote location to finish what they started, whereupon they are promptly attacked by darkspawn and Adaia is the only survivor.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Niall's last words are calling out for his mother.
  • Identical Stranger: Anders and Alistair look very similar; it's strongly suggested that Anders might be another of King Maric's bastards (and even that he's also a half-elf).
  • Illegal Guardian: Averted by Arl Bryland and Kane Kendalls, who are aware of Habren's nature and specify in their wills that her younger brothers and Kane's younger sisters are never to be put into her custody.
  • In-Series Nickname: Bronwyn Cousland, the "Girl Warden" (which also becomes an Embarrassing Nickname) and later "The Red Queen/La Reine Rouge."
  • Innocent Innuendo: Or at least Cullen is determined to think it is.
    "I have to tell you," Cullen said frankly, lowering his voice a little, "that I don't approve of those mages cavorting off by themselves. It's not decent. I don't want people to get the idea that Grey Wardens are…are…libertines, or something of that sort!"
    Just at that moment, Brosca leaned out of an upstairs window, and called, "Cullen! I'm having trouble fastening my belt. Come upstairs and help me!"
    Alistair's brows rose.
  • Karma Houdini: Bann Esmerelle, who is complicit in selling elves to Tevinter and escapes to the Free Marches with her ill-gotten gains. The protagonists are never able to bring to account the Templars who killed Wynne, despite the implication that the relatively-decent Otto and Irminric know at least one of them. And oddly enough some on the protagonists' side, as nobody discovers Loghain and Jowan's responsibility for Arl Eamon's poisoning.
  • Kick the Dog: Some literal cases.
    • Habren Bryland tries to force a series of mabari puppies to imprint on her, with the fate of the failures unknown. When the latest imprints on her younger brother instead, she tries to poison it. When another puppy imprints on her sister-in-law Faline, she tries to throw it out a window. The guardsmen who stood by when she gruesomely injured an elf girl agree that this is going too far.
    • The Orlesian Knight-Divine, who hasn't been exactly making friends with the Landsmeet given that he tried to arrest the Grand Cleric and accused the Arl of South Reach of sleeping with his mage stepdaughter, evokes even greater hostility when he kicks Bronwyn's mabari. His fellow envoy salvages the situation by punching him out.
    A terrible, shocked silence fell. It penetrated even Ser Chrysagon’s understanding that perhaps he had overstepped his limits, though he was not entirely sure why. After all, he had only kicked a dog.
    Duke Prosper had the sense to frame it quite differently. Ser Chrysagon had kicked the Queen of Ferelden’s dog. In Ferelden. In front of a great many angry Fereldans and their dogs.
    • Subverted with Leliana's canonical story about kicking Bonbon over the bannister. Carver is horrified; Loghain thinks Orlesian dogs don't count.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Inverted: Cullen confides in Bronwyn that he knows Brosca has feelings for him but he doesn't share them, since he still holds a torch for Tara. After he's killed, Bronwyn lets Brosca think they could have been together.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Demelza, a ward of the Chantry with a fatal brain tumor which is cured by the Ashes.
  • Maiden Aunt: Werberga Bryland, Arl Bryland's sister, and one of the few favorably disposed toward her niece Habren.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Aron Kendalls, leading candidate for the next Arl of Denerim, suffers a convenient Hunting "Accident"/This Bear Was Framed which goes unsuspected thanks to the lack of a Fereldan forensics department. Did we mention his brother is named Kane?
    • Later, Duke Prosper de Montfort plots to have Prince Florestan killed during battle with the darkspawn, in order to secure his claim to the Orlesian throne. Florestan's allies respond in kind, and succeed.
  • Meaningful Rename: Astrid (Gytha Aeducan), who took a new name after joining the Legion of the Dead, and Adaia (Melian Tabris), who joined the Wardens under the name of her late mother.
  • Messianic Archetype: Bronwyn becomes deeply associated with Andraste, especially in the first ending.
  • Missing Mom:
    • As in canon, Iona's daughter Amethyne. In this case, the Wardens can do something about it.
    • Morrigan disappears after miscarrying the child of the Dark Ritual and having an ordinary son with Anders.
  • Mister Muffykins: Common among the Orlesian nobility. Besides the canonical Bonbon, Prince Florestan has Blanchefleur and the Comtesse Coquelicot has Chou-Chou.
  • Moral Myopia: Kane Kendalls is fiercely devoted to his little sisters and his mabari, hates cruelty to dogs, and wonders why on earth the Arls of Denerim would want a connection from the dungeon to their bedroom. He blithely kills his older brother to become the next Arl and doesn't leave anything in his will for his child with Habren.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Hawke asks Nathaniel for permission to go scavenge heirlooms from the Amell estate, Nathaniel notes that if he lost Vigil's Keep he would do the same.
    • The fic shares a number of elements with the author's shorter, lighter-hearted The Keening Blade. These include Adam Hawke, Desmond the hapless young Templar ("Shut up, Desmond"), moving into Soldier's Peak, taking extra doses of the Sacred Ashes, and Anora's attraction to Fergus, and Loghain being referred to as the Maferath to Cousland's Andraste. Also, one of Bronwyn's daughters has the name of The Keening Blade's Cousland, Maude, as well as her personality.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Invoked in the author's afterword to a chapter which portrays the stored possessions of mages executed by the Chantry.
    If my depiction resembles the warehouses of Dachau or Auschwitz, stuffed with clothing and suitcases and pitiful rag dolls, that's inevitable.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It turns out that Prince Florestan isn't quite as dim as his cousin thought. Given that said cousin was Empress Celene, this may have been all that was keeping Florestan alive.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the first epilogue, it's mentioned in passing that after being refused Circle assistance by Knight-Commander Meredith, post-Blight the Wardens go back and smash Templar power in Kirkwall.
  • Parental Neglect: Teagan remembers King Maric visiting Redcliffe and doing nothing about Arl Eamon's treatment of Alistair. Alistair comes to acknowledge this as well, and when the Landsmeet grants him the surname Fitzmaric he thinks he'd rather have been named Fitzfiona.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: When Leandra announces her second marriage.
    Carver: [thinking] But what if he expects to have SEX with you?
  • Pass the Popcorn: The other Wardens take a snack break while the ones from Tevinter take on a darkspawn army.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Tara Surana, tiny elf and magical prodigy.
  • Porn Stash: First Enchanter Irving keeps racy foreign-language novels with nondescript covers, which he can read without suspicion.
  • Rape as Backstory: Tara was raped by Templars after Jowan's escape, and Brosca was "given" to Jarvia's men. Adaia goes through the City Elf origin story without Duncan's intervention.
  • Rasputinian Death: Multiple should-be-fatal wounds fail to put Kolgrim down. Eventually they have to cut his head off to make him stop.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Tara Surana is made Warden-Commander of Ferelden after Bronwyn dies in the first ending. But she is quickly forced to resign, because of prejudice against elves and mages, in favor of Carver Hawke – a Ferelden-born human with influential relatives.
    • Alistair picks the rose in Lothering, but by the time he's ready to give it to Bronwyn it's fallen apart.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Loghain gives one at Bronwyn's funeral in the first ending. Bronwyn gives one in the second ending.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Grand Cleric Muirin, who is horrified to discover Chantry atrocities committed without her knowledge and is willing to accept evidence of the Sacred Ashes. She tried to stop Alistair from joining the Wardens because she believed he would be safer with the Templars.
  • Reluctant Ruler:
    • Alistair is surprised by being acknowledged as Maric's son and made a Bann by the Landsmeet. When he confronts Bronwyn afterward, she points out she only said he wouldn't have to be king. He later becomes Arl of newly-annexed Jader.
    • Revered Mother Dorothea, who canonically becomes the Divine Justinia, resists urging to step up after the death of the current Divine.
  • Rescue Romance: In the second ending, Brosca is saved from drowning by one of her Avvar friends. In the epilogue, they have a daughter.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Clery family, who sends their young son to assassinate Loghain right when he's leading an army against the Blight in Orlais because of his grandfather's death at the River Dane.
  • The Scapegoat: After King Cailan dies from the Taint (or rather, from failing the Joining), the Revered Mother at Ostagar accuses Wynne of killing him even though she ought to know there is no known or reliable cure.
  • Shaped Like Itself: A Templar describes Morrigan as "the most outrageously apostatish apostate [he] had ever met."
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: The three Orlesian princesses at Chateau Solidor, who are deliberately kept ignorant of non-decorative skills by their cousin the Empress. They know little enough about the outside world that when one of their servants is dismissed for "illicit intercourse" they're not sure what "intercourse" could mean aside from talking, and when told that someone is the Queen of Ferelden they guess that she's Maric's wife. In this case, though they've been physically sheltered they've gone through years of emotional abuse. One of them marries Alistair, and at least one of their daughters is the spoiled variety—the one named after the Rebel Queen, at that.
  • Shoot the Dog:
    • Connor Guerrin is possessed and wreaks havoc on Redcliffe; circumstances mean the canonical methods of exorcising him aren't available. His cousin Cailan kills him and promptly throws up.
    • Bronwyn spares one of Marjolaine's henchmen; Zevran kills him afterward out of her sight, with Sten and Leliana looking on.
    • Mother Dorothea orders an escape route shut in the face of fellow priests to prevent the darkspawn from finding it.
    • At one point, Loghain plans to kill Sten without Bronwyn's knowledge to prevent him from bringing strategic information to the Arishok.
  • Shout-Out: Among other things, numerous references to British history; in authors' notes Cailan is compared to Henry VIII.
    • After encountering the zealous instigator of a massacre, Bronwyn says, "Maker deliver me from troublesome priests!"
    • When he hears of an "Empress-Elect" (in this case meaning the legitimate but uncrowned successor), Corbus Bryland grumbles that he didn't vote for her.
    • Freydis Brosca shares her first name with a woman in Icelandic sagas whose activities include upstaging the men on the Vinland expedition by frightening off attackers while topless and pregnant.
    • Oriana's family motto is "Nemo me impune lacessit."
    • One of the routes in the Deep Roads is called the Helmclever Road.
  • Show Within a Show: Storytelling is a tradition among Bronwyn's companions, some original and some adapted from existing folklore, and often giving insights about the teller: Alistair's is about an unappreciated younger son of a king, Morrigan's is one of Flemeth's stories that "curdled [her] blood and haunted [her] dreams" and warns of the consequences of disobeying a parent, Tara Surana's is about an elven child who saves her human friend with magic (and which was originally read to her by Jowan), Zevran's is about a clever elf sleeping his way through a Chantryful of priests, Adaia tells an even more brutal version of The Little Match Girl set in the alienage, etc.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Leandra Amell Hawke and Leonas Bryland's daughter Emma.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: So far includes Ser Otto, Carver Hawke (who would have been the one to die in the beginning of Dragon Age II since the elder Hawke is a warrior), Arl Wulff's sons, and Riordan. Subversions who were initially spared and killed later include Cailan and Niall.
  • Spoof Aesop: To Nan's story about Hahaku the hound. "Don't bite important people?"
  • Super Drowning Skills: Justified in the case of Brosca, since there's little opportunity to learn to swim in Orzammar.
  • Token Good Teammate: Warden Julian to the other Tevinter mages.
  • True Companions: Played Straight and Subverted. Subverted with the Grey Wardens as a whole, who are supposed to be this, but events in the story show that the Grey Wardens can be as selfish and political as any other group. Played straight with most of the main characters, who regularly risk their lives, even for the members of their party that they don't like. then subverted as more and more Wardens join, many of whom are far less enthusiastic about the reality of being a Grey Warden than the others.
  • Unexpected Successor: After the deaths of the Arl of Denerim and his son, the arling goes to a distant cousin, Aron Kendalls. Then he dies suddenly and is succeeded by his brother Kane, who lasts a bit longer; he is followed by their twelve-year-old sister Faline.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Jowan names his mabari puppy Lily, despite her being "black as a moonless night." She turns out to be much more faithful to him than the original Lily.
  • Wedding Smashers: Orlesian assassins disguised as entertainers attack Arl Urien's wedding to Habren Bryland, where a large part of the Fereldan nobility is gathered.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: King Cailan, in an odd way. He plans to marry Empress Celene and rejoin Ferelden to Orlais, thinking of it not as selling out his country (as Loghain does) but as ushering in "a new era of friendship and cooperation." He also assumes he and Anora will still be friends after he divorces her, and has no idea about the Orlesian plot to clear the way by assassinating her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The demon possessing Connor Guerrin tells Cailan "You wouldn't hurt a little boy!" just after stabbing Isolde to death to fuel blood magic, and is proven lethally wrong.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race:
    • Or, To Your Caste: Astrid decides Brosca and her sister must be the rejected daughters of a male noble and are thus superior to other casteless.
    • A relatively tolerant Orlesian nobleman uses this phrase in regard to Warden Fiona.


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