The Sordid Tale of Meryell Verlen
Meryell was a sellsword in the Fangs of Vimmark before the Conclave, hired as the best of the company to find her way in, get the job done, and get out to get the rest of her gold without getting caught. Now she’s the supposed Herald for a religion she doesn’t even believe in with magic tearing her palm open and no one that she trusts at her back. So she does the only things she knows how to do – fight and cuss – and leaves everything else to fall where it may.
Chapters 1 - 10
1. “I’m not fucking Dalish.” Meryell is not stupid, sure as shit not Dalish, and she absolutely will not put up with anyone’s bullshit. Solas learns all three of these lessons in the first hours of knowing her.
2. “Herald of fucking Andraste. What utter shite.” Meryell plays Wicked Grace with Varric and has a long conversation with Cullen before getting body slammed by her own insecurities.
3. “I don’t gossip, dwarf.” Varric annoys Cullen and while he’s trying to push the dwarf in one direction to help Meryell, Varric’s gently nudging the Commander in his own way towards the elf. Cullen’s personal issues dash the beginnings of the motion, however.
4. “Kill these wolves, Herald. Find my druffalo, Herald. Cut my grass, Herald. Suck my fucking dick, Herald.” Towards the end of their time in the Hinterlands, Meryell gets injured enough to require her to be transported back to Haven. Everything goes downhill from there as some of blanks in her story get filled in long before she wanted them to be. Even worse, one of the secrets she’s kept close to her heart for years (as well as a new one brought to life since her arrival in Haven) gets revealed to Varric.
5. “Now that we’re done with the yelling part of the program, let’s start this over and I’ll answer one question at a time.” Meryell gives a few answers on her past – just the ones she’s willing to part with – to the advisors and Cassandra while laying down some ground rules for her staying with the Inquisition. After that, she goes to the tavern with Cullen for a drink and writes a letter.
6. “We try to hide the darkest parts of ourselves from those we care about. I struggle with the same thing.” Cullen thinks upon his relationship with Meryell as she leaves for Val Royeaux and then gets to meet her family when the Fangs of Vimmark arrive earlier than expected. Later the advisors meet to greet the Fangs’ Captain which prompts a semi-fight, some threats, and Cullen realizing that it is going to feel like much longer than three or four weeks until Meryell returns.
7. “Your Shiny Skirtness. Seems like your much lauded templars didn’t do you much good in the end.” With templar assholes punching clerics, creepy encounters with the Grand Enchanter, and a back alley confrontation with some random Orlesian fop that led to her recruiting a Red Jenny, Val Royeaux wasexactly the sort of piss pot mess that Meryell expected it to be.
8. “Why, Varric, are you under the impression that my ‘singing’ is a euphemism?” Returning home from Val Royeaux reveals a pleasant surprise for Meryell. All of the reunions that happen during the day, however, aren’t entirely as happy as she had hoped they’d be.
9. “In the event that I possibly harm her, I will willingly surrender myself to your revenge, ser mage.” After waking up on the floor in Meryell’s cabin, Cullen has a short conversation with Folke and follows it up with a very long, revealing conversation with the dear thief herself.
10. “You thinking I’m going to see trouble in the Storm Coast, Captain?” When an offer comes in to possibly hire another mercenary company, Meryell’s first stop is her Captain to see if he knows anything about them. After that, it’s just the matter of heading out to the Storm Coast to actually recruit these Bull’s Chargers, which turns out to be more of an interesting endeavor than originally thought.
Chapters 11 - 20
11. “Take a load off, Seeker. I get the distinct feeling that whatever conversation you want to have is going to be a long one.” Meryell has a rather revealing conversation with Cassandra that revolves around her relationship with Cullen as well as their personal relationship.
12. “You are an evil woman.” Cullen receives an invitation from Meryell to meet her in Haven’s tavern and discovers that what his dear thief really wants is a relaxing night with friends over drinks and cards, which he completely goes along with.
13. “Pala adahl’en, masvian.” Meryell finally gets around to heading to Redcliffe to see why Grand Enchanter Fiona showed up in Val Royeaux and takes Cassandra, Solas, and Sera with her on the trip. Of course, she instantly regrets this when Solas wants to talk.
14. “We’ve all got shit we hide, Chuckles. You, me, Varric…name a name and they’ve got something they want to hide. Seems to me like that makes him a perfect fucking addition to this piss pot mess.” On their return from Redcliffe to speak with the mages, Leliana sends Meryell word of the location of a Warden who has not disappeared like the rest of his Order. When they find him, she sees something in the man that no one else in their party seems to and that alone is what leads her to accept his offer of aid to the Inquisition.
15. “I won’t allow you to throw your life away. Not while I have breath.” After Meryell returns to Haven and relates what they discovered going on in Redcliffe, Cullen realizes with muted horror that they are going to be recruiting the mages to save them from the mess they’ve gotten themselves into. As he fights his own fear of magic, working hard to trust the elven woman with one more thing, she gives him a way to do his own sort of saving.
16. “What if I don’t want to talk to her?”Meryell has seen a lot of shit in her few years. She’s seen friends die, seen good people do fucked up things, and so-called bad men do something great. Shit, she’s done some of those things herself. She’s seen and done things that keep her up some nights.But nothing could prepare her for what they found in Redcliffe and it shows when they return to Haven.
17. “I would like to have one fucking minute to celebrate what’s supposed to be our sodding victory! This is not a hard request to fulfill!”There’s fights you can win and fights you can’t. You run from the latter, live to fight another day.Meryell had lived by Harvard’s rule ever since she had joined the Fangs in training under the old mercenary. And it had kept her alive for a damned long time.Of course, sometimes there is no running. So as Haven burned she did what Folke had always added as an addendum to Harvard’s rule: if you can’t run, you fucking put the other bastard into the ground. Even if you go there with him.
18. “Maker’s breath, just what am I doing?” In which Meryell returns to them half broken with her body wracked with frostbite and Cullen gets a glimpse of just how deeply he’s come to care for her in the wake of nearly losing her.
19. “He did this. That fucking thing was responsible for the Conclave, for the rifts, for this shit on my hand, for stealing my damned life…all of it.” After much stress and fussing over her as well as a lot of arguing about whether she’s strong enough, Meryell finally convinces everyone that they need to have a meeting to discuss what has happened. It doesn’t quite go as well as planned but it’s not an utter shit show (in her opinion, anyway).
20. “Give me a solid fucking answer, Chuckles. Where am I going?” In which Meryell learns that Solas gives the vaguest directions ever. And that she owes the smarmy bastard a-fucking-gain for saving not just some of the Inquisition, but the whole of it. Fucking masvian.
Chapters 21 - 30
21. “She has to know if we declare it. It can’t be a surprise like they want. She’ll refuse outright if it is.” In which a terrible plan is formed and subsequently changed by agreement between himself and Cassandra, after which Cullen has to go and inform Meryell as to just what said plan is. And how he can’t really disagree with the logic of it.
22. “So what exactly does me being named Inquisitor mean?” Meryell gets her first introduction to the job of Inquisitor, flirts with Cullen, has a bit of conversation with everyone, and then has a tiny breakdown when she gets reminded of something from the past. And that’s only half of what happens on this particular day.
23. “I’m late thanks to Josephine and two merchants with less sense between them than a horde of darkspawn. Now what’s the name of the damn tavern?” A bad day for Meryell becomes a better one with alcohol and her company…until it doesn’t. For a while it seems like it won’t get better again either, until it does.
24. “I am torn between the thing that I want and what my brain thinks I should be doing.” Meryell leaves on a trip that will take her through the Hinterlands and down into the Fallow Mire and Cullen’s brain takes the opportunity her absence affords to start thinking about things he doesn’t want to consider. Of course, Cassandra, his normal person to sometimes talk to about issues bothering him is with the very person he’s stressing over. So he has to go looking for an alternate sounding board…who won’t potentially murder him outright for even thinking the thing’s his traitorous brain has thought up.
25. “I take you to the best places, don’t I?” In which Meryell heads to the Fallow Mire, gossips with Dorian, has a chat with Rhiryd about himself and the Avvar, and comes to a minor conclusion that she’d already really known.
26. “This is not a room, Josephine. This is a fucking palace.” When Meryell returns from the Fallow Mire, it is to find Josephine is ready to reveal her surprise: a great room at the top of Skyhold’s main tower. At first she thinks it’s overly much for someone like her…and then Meryell actually takes a look around the room.
27. “A problem that the great Varric Tethras can’t solve on his own? Oh this I have to hear.” Varric has a problem and apparently Cullen is just the person he needs to help him solve it. Well…sort of.
28. “So Varric told me that you two, your brother, and your lover fought Coriphyshit the first time around.” Meryell finally meets Treva Hawke and then basically gets her feet kicked out from under her emotionally in the conversation that follows. Good thing that Cullen is around to help Meryell stay standing.
29. “Enlighten me. I know fuck and shit about Orlesian mages, let alone one who managed to finagle a title out of someone. What’d she do to earn it?” Leliana digs up a missed invitation to a fancy party, Meryell talks future plans with the advisors, and then a secret Cullen has kept since joining up with the Inquisition gets rather explosively revealed by the action of a four-year-old.
30. “Get down to the lower camps, take my horse if Dennet won’t loan you anything else. Find Captain Arnald and Folke and tell them I need their presence in the upper courtyard immediately. Got that?” Shit goes sideways when Cullen hears was seems like a stray comment at first but turns out to be aimed towards Meryell. What escalates from there is a situation far beyond anything he expected from one of the Fangs…especially towards their Meryell.
Chapters 31 - 40
31. “You’ve said nothing wrong, vhen’an’ara.” Meryell deals with the aftermath of the confrontation with Camden and finally tells Cullen exactly how she feels about him.
32. “Well, I just knew that you couldn’t bear to be without Varric’s calming presence, Cass. Hawke had to come and Dorian was just a lovely bonus.” It just isn’t an Inquistion road trip without Dorian complaining about it being wet and Cassandra making exasperated noises because of the rest of the party.
33. “I’m…I’m sorry, Ambassador. Did you ask something?” There are things that Cullen tells those he trusts…and there are things that, even now, he keeps close to his chest. Sometimes, however, there are days that he can’t keep those things entirely hidden from those around him…even if he doesn’t notice that they notice.
34. “You don’t leave people to die. Not if you can help it.” The plan to take Caer Bronach is made, executed, and succeeds. Then they find out the Mayor of Crestwood told at least one lie to them, so what else might not have been the whole truth?
35. “Andraste’s flaming tits, that’s rank.” Crestwood continues to be an annoying shitfest as Meryell sets Charter to hunting down the Mayor on suspicion of what he’s done before setting out to solve the problem of the rift in the lake. Along the way she meets a spirit that reminds of her own issues, gets injured, and meets Alistair in far less circumstances than she’d wanted.
36. “What happened?” We learn a thing about how the Fangs have dealt with their templars and lyrium withdrawal and Cullen learns just exactly how he once knew Gil.
37. “Fuck you, Bull.” A worried Meryell returns to Skyhold with the full intent of not letting anything stand between her and getting to Cullen. She didn’t, of course, count on the Iron Bull stepping in when he sees she’s not in the right frame of mind to do just that.
38. “Cole. It is rude to pluck things from the minds of others.” Cole helps Meryell feel better about the situation that’s going on and she, in turn, helps Cullen as best she can when he has an angry outburst in response to everything.
39. “We’ve secured a way in?” Meryell and the advisors meet meet to discuss new plans since the Inquisitor’s unexpected return to Skyhold as well as the upcoming talks at the Winter Palace. After having a short talk with Meryell and reassuring her of some things, Cullen finally has the talk he’s been needing to have with Folke and Gil about his renewed need to take lyrium.
40. “Not my fault folks get their knickers in a bunch.” Part of the gang meets Vivienne (and immediately spawn dislike of her) and then head off to the Storm Coast to deal with the Red Templars.
Chapters 41 - 50
41. “You…you think a long fucking way ahead, vhen’an.” As Halamshiral looms ever closer, Skyhold’s residents slowly lose their minds and Meryell tries to hold at least one thing together in the chaos that follows.
42. “To remind me of what, spirit? The wrongs I’ve done? Those I’ve hurt? I need no reminder of that!” After the wonderful night before, Cullen is dragged to waking by a nightmare that goes from one horror to another. The theme of switching from bad to good continues throughout the day that follows but ends at last on a good note.
43. “Fucking shit ass, rotten cocked, shitbag. Not get it right my damned foot.” The trip to Halamshiral begins and travel shenanigans (and pain) ensue.
44. “If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not a noble. People don’t elevate elves to nobility.” In which we arrive at Halamshiral for the festivities at the Winter Palace, where Leliana has already turned up a new plot that no one expected.
45. “Making sure I’m putting eyes on the right people.” Introductions are made at Halamshiral and Cullen gets a little help at fielding some of his rabid “fans” that he’s garnered the attention of thanks to Arnald. Not to mention coming to the general conclusion that Orlesians are insane.
46. “For the love of me not stabbing the next yammering fucker in the throat, please tell me we’ve heard something.” Between how she’s been getting through talking to nobles and her methods of getting to the places she needs to investigate, Meryell is fairly certain that Josephine is going to kill her after they finish things at the Winter Palace.
47. “The three of them are just playing with each other. Like a game of cat and mouse for fuck’s sake.” The investigation of what’s going on at Halamshiral continues, Gaspard makes a move, Meryell debates saying fuck everything, and shit goes down.
48. “How did you deal with it, with the waiting? After you two were…together?” Meryell returns safely with the Pod and Sera but there are things going on in the servant’s quarters of the Winter Palace that are beyond the pale. So much so that Folke has a bad feeling about the whole thing…and the Fangs always listen when Folke has a bad feeling.
49. “I came here with little illusion of any allies beyond my own, Lady Morrigan.” Meryell finally meets the mysterious arcane advisor to Empress Celene and they delve into what exactly has been going on in the servant’s quarters, to the unfortunate ruin of a dress sleeve.
50. “I believe we owe the court another show, Your Grace.” The second night at Halamshiral comes crashing to an end as Meryell must rush to confront Duchess Florianne in order to save Celene as well as pull together all of the threads the Inquisition has discovered into one knot that will hopefully bind Orlais back together.
Chapters 51 - 60
51. “This is not simply tired, Leliana.” On the morning after the reveal of Grand Duchess Florianne’s betrayal, Cullen has to deal with a situation and explain exactly why Meryell will be out of commission for the majority of the day.
52. “Tomorrow we get to leave fucking Orlais.” After waking up from the exhaustion of the night before, Meryell recovers from the aftereffects of the spell during the few hours she has before the last night of the ball at Halamshiral. There she deals with an annoying conversation with Vivienne, a very strange interaction with Empress Celene, and then finishes off the night as she wishes she could every night: by spending time with Cullen.
53. “So you want me to take your luck?” The ball at Halamshiral is over but that doesn’t mean that the work is done. No matter how she might want to leave Orlais and head back to Skyhold with Cullen, she can’t. So she makes do with what she little she has and keeps moving.
54. “To a templar in withdrawals, regular lyrium sings.” Cullen learns something about his recovery as well as something frankly terrifying about lyrium and its effect on the body. After returning to Skyhold, he learns that the Storm Coast camps have been sending in reports about quakes since they left for Orlais and then has a rather frighteningly open conversation with the Hawkes and Varric.
55. “Never fear calling me on my shit, Cass. I don’t want my friends following me blindly if they think I’m doing something stupid.” Meryell meets the some of the Inquisition members stationed in the Exalted Plains and begins the process of starting to settle things in the region. Leaving the bulk of those who’d came with them at the ramparts after they take it, she and her Inner Circle group of Cassandra, Blackwall, and Solas head on their way to explore while the situation at the ramparts is settled. There they meet the Dalish Clan currently occupying the area and Meryell is assaulted by memories she would really rather have stayed buried.
56. “I know enough about spirits to know that they’re living things worthy of care, Chuckles. And, believe me, I don’t blame you one inch for your rage.” The issue with Solas’ friend is finally dealt with and Meryell discovers that there is a second thing that she and the elf will always butt heads on.
57. “But there is a difference in being scared and letting it control you. You mustn’t let fear control what you do.” Cullen awakens to find Mathis Hawke in his tower and the small journey across Skyhold that follows him taking the boy back to his mother ends up leading to a conversation with Treva that goes far deeper than he expected. And leads him to a few realizations that give a shift in perspective.
Fragments and snapshots of happenings during the story of Meryell, told from the perspective of everyone but her and Cullen. The order of these may change as the fragments are not necessarily written in order.
1. Folke : “Forgive an old man for worrying about his little girl.” Before and after the destruction of the Conclave with Folke.
2. Cassandra : “I am not in the mood for your antics, Varric.” Cassandra waits and thinks.
3. Leliana : “I think that we do not yet have all of the pieces.” The Nightingale observes that their prisoner is innocent of the crime they accuse her of but that there is far more to her than meets the eye.
4. Solas : “You closed the rift.” In which Solas muses on Meryell (and the Mark) before and after finally meeting her while awake.
5. Varric : “Guess we’ll see how it’ll work out.” Cullen and Meryell drink and talk in the Singing Maiden one night in Haven and Varric curiously observes them.
6. Rylen : “Just a friend my fucking foot.” The Herald of Andraste is leaving for the Hinterlands and Rylen takes it upon himself to do a little bit of prodding at Cullen about his relationship with her.