She wakes to the sight of a woman staring down at her.
Tall and beautiful and elvhen, with golden hair that cascades in rivers down her shoulders, and eyes the colour of the sun. She is clad in silver and cerulean and rich, emerald green, and when she moves she is whisper-silent, her expression wide with surprise.
The sky is blue behind the woman’s head.
That arrests her attention even more than the woman herself. It has been so long since she’s seen a blue sky.
The woman asks her something in elvish. Lyrical and lilting. A question. When she doesn’t immediately respond, it gets repeated to her.
She has learned enough of the ancient language in her quest against Solas that she can gather the gist of it.
“What are you? Where did you come from?”
Her eyes turn over blue skies, and leafy trees, clear air and the feeling of magic on her skin, so close it’s like she just fell into a rune trap. But there’s no sign of any spells being cast around her. The woman’s face is unfamiliar, but she’s seen those kinds of eyes before; peering out at her from an old human woman’s visage. From beneath Morrigan’s brows.
“Mythal?” she guesses.
“This is I, yes,” the woman confirms. “What are you? Some sort of… construct of flesh?”
What a promising reception.
“I am a person,” she says, with the firmness that can only come from meeting those who would deny that claim. It is a phrase she has memorized in the ancient tongue.
Mythal looks her over. Deliberates a while. Then she gestures to something behind herself.
“You are damaged,” the evanuris informs her. “We will repair you, and then we shall see of that claim.”
The ending of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s “Trespasser” DLC seemed to bring up as many questions—if not more—as it answered. Unfortunately, many of those questions will not be answered for what I can only assume will be years. While I and many others of the fandom await the announcement of Dragon Age 4, it’s nice to know that fanfic has always got our back. Even if the future that fanfic presents us with isn’t exactly nice.
Spoilers for everything under the cut.
By this point I’m sure every last one of you (and surely all my friends) know that I’m an unrepentant Solavellan shipper, and with Trespasser leaving the poor elf with the knowledge that her boyfriend a) was powerful enough to be considered a god in his era, b) is literally thousands of years old, and c) is intent on destroying her world to bring back his (the world of the ancient elves), our Inquisitor Lavellan has a lot on her plate. Left with the choice to either tell him that she will stop him no matter what it takes, or that she will save the world and him from his shitty plan, Lavellan is in store for a lot of strife and hardships, even now that the Anchor has been removed. While others have imagined countless futures, the future in Feynite’s Looking Glass is a comparatively bleaker look, but one that seems more real to me than a sudden change of heart due to love. When Lavellan faces Solas for the last time, he recognizes that he, once again, messed up; his world did not return with the disappearance of the Veil, yet her world still sings its swan song as it burns around them. Lavellan cannot bring herself to kill Solas—even though she knows that she should have much earlier to prevent this—and Solas, for all his mistakes thus far, cannot bring himself to give up. Utilizing the last of his powers, he transfers something to her (the same something he’s seen taking from Flemmeth/Mythal at the end of core game Inquisition) and she finds herself lost to a blinding white light. When Lavellan awakes, she is no longer surrounded by flames and destruction, but by pristine beauty and wary, even disgusted looks. She quickly discovers that Solas has sent her back in time, to the age of the ancient elves. Back to the time before he was known as Fen’harel, even.
Lavellan is, understandably, not pleased.
What follows is the reader learning alongside Lavellan what the ancient elves were really like, which is terrible. Most of them were terrible people. Immediately upon waking up, Lavellan is forced to have another arm implanted in place of the one she lost simply because Mythal, whose realm she ended up in, thinks it unsightly. Additionally, the ancient elves as a whole refuse to consider Lavellan a person because they cannot see her emotions. As such, they believe she simply doesn’t have them. Though in some respects some of the elves improve their outlook on this, they are never magically cured of their prejudice, translating both the prejudice of real life minorities and the in-game prejudice against the non-ancient elves to another time period. Lavellan continuously has to argue her personhood to everyone, and you can’t help but root for her to rub everyone’s faces in it when she succeeds. I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to read the first time she threw a dinner roll at young Solas’s face for being a snobby dick.
And therein lies one of the major conflicts (the other being, of course, saving the world again): meeting Solas again. Here, he is a young general, Mythal’s right hand, and Lavellan has to stop him from repeating the terrible mistakes he made that led to the events of the games. However, it’s not so simple. Solas is too smart for his own good, and she has too much information from the future that could potentially destroy her new present. She must suffer in silence, despite this younger Solas demanding more and more of her time, both out of his own interest and out of a sense of duty in protecting Mythal and the People from this unknown. Things get even harder when he begins to fall for her; Lavellan’s already struggling to not fall for the man who would be her lover in a different life. It’s an interesting, and ultimately painful, drama that really lives in the short moments of normalcy they get, such as Solace writing sappy poetry for her and acting all embarrassed about it.
Beyond my ship being satisfied in all the right ways, Feynite’s cast of OCs add so much more life to this tale. As much as I love reading their interpretation of the elven “gods” (June is such a little shit and I love him), it’s the completely new faces that keep me attached to this story. The group of spirits—Compassion, Rage, Love, Sorrow, Fortune, and of course the unforgettable Curiosity—help bring to life what the extent of a spirit’s purpose and personality could be better than the canon material could have ever hoped to, and it’s comforting to have some characters who don’t really have hidden motives. Or, at least motives that seek to impede our main cast. Also, frankly it’s just cathartic to watch them all help Lavellan through her times of need, each in their own way. On top of that, I have to give Feynite huge props for the character of Haninan; I never expected to see such an inspired character, yet here he is. Father to June (the elven god of craftsmanship), the poor man was supposedly confined by his son in a prison which he could never escape from, which his ability to escape from whenever he wishes either speaks to his intelligence or his son’s ineptitude. From the rest of the story, it’s most likely both. Haninan presents us and Lavellan with a third option for the elves: his elfiness is neither like the Dalish, digging eternally for scraps of a lost culture they will never again attain, nor is it like the ancient elves, so obsessed with power and beauty that it leads to their own downfall. Instead, these elves used to live among nature (like the Dalish); however, they still could bend magic to their will (just as elegantly as the ancient elves). It is a compromise between the two that I find vastly interesting. And I would be remiss to mention Hildur, the Shaper who doesn’t care much for formalities and spends much more time worrying about doing her damned job right in addition to keeping the Titans (mentioned in the “The Descent” DLC) alive.
I could go on about this fic, but saying any more would spoil part of the beauty in Feynite’s expertly woven narrative. The fic does assume some amount on knowledge of the DA universe, especially the Inquisition DLCs, so I would definitely at least have a basic grasp of things before reading this. Sitting currently at almost 150k words (and still going!), Looking Glass will take a chunk of your day to read through, but it goes fast, and it’s so, so very worth it. Check it out here at AO3!