In the words of John Oliver: Welcome to… whatever this is. I've tried to be helpful, but I'm never sure whether my letters help or bore—so feel free to disregard any of this, except my dislikes.
I look forward to whatever you write, sincerely. Thank you for committing to write a whole 5,000 words for me!
Behind the cut you'll find a little about what interests me about each request, as well as optional prompts. I've included detailed prompts, but please ignore them if they're of no help! My general likes and dislikes can be found toward the end of this letter.
Genre(s): Action/Adventure. AU - Canon Divergence. Canon Style Plot. Fix-it Fic. Getting Together. Hurt/Comfort. Worldbuilding.
Female Adaar/Garrus Vakarian: Thinking of this, I picture my first Inquisitor: An Adaar who hasn't quite "fit" anywhere. She has an ease with people of all types, but the Inquisition marks the first time she's felt like part of anything. The war with Corypheus scars her—psychologically and physically—but she comes through it. Then there's Garrus: battle-scarred, most at home wherever Shepard's gut guides them, and a skilled sniper. Depending on when you interrupt the story, he's either lost Shepard, most of his people, or both. Like Adaar, Garrus has lived among humans (and other races) quite some time, but living with humans and being human are quite different.
(Also, it'd be a lie to say that there isn't something I like about the aesthetics of Turian/Qunari.)
Female Hawke & Female Shepard: I played Mass Effect at the insistence of my husband and a friend. I finished the trilogy twice, destroyed a little both times, and then that friend suggested Dragon Age 2. Irreverent, sarcastic Hawke was a balm, and I fell in love with her friends like I had Shepard's.
There's plenty I'd like to explore here: Hawke and Shepard each have considerable familiarity with combat, but only one has military training to back it. Depending on how you play them, their leadership styles might be similar, but their worlds are astronomically—pardon the joke—different. After her bullets ran out, Shepard would find herself at a disadvantage in Hawke's world. Likewise, I imagine Hawke could learn to fire a gun, but the difference in warfare might overwhelm her.
I'm also curious about Biotics and Mages: Would a Biotic Shepard retain her abilities in Thedas? Would Mage Hawke's magic shift to something more closely resembling biotics if she found herself in the Milky Way? How would each of them adapt their abilities to suit their new environment?
Female Hawke/Thane Krios: I'm so curious about how these two might work. Depending on when Hawke's timeline intersects with Thane's, the relationship could vary. Does Hawke meet a Thane whose thirst for vengeance still burns bright? Does she—like Shepard—meet Thane in the last years of his life, full of regret? Or does Thane wake not on Kalahira's shores, but on Thedas's?
Likewise, how does Hawke's circumstance affect their relationship? Has she just fled Lothering? Defeated the Arishok? Seen Kirkwall fall? Is she a rogue, trained—like him—in the art of assassination? Or is she a mage, her magic calling to Thane's biotics?
I'd also love to see how his Drell faith connects to Thedas and its lore and the faiths of its people. Could there be places in Thedas named for the Drell's goddesses? What of the Drell's belief that one's body and soul form a Whole that can be disrupted?
Cullen Rutherford/Female Shepard: Perhaps you saw this request and said to yourself, "Look at this nerd: I bet requested this because Cullen had that ONE line about calibrations." If so, you aren't wrong.
Or more accurately: He said that, and I thought, "Imagine Shepard hearing this," and that thought has stuck with me.
Beyond this Easter egg (and the fact that they're both soldiers), I don't draw many parallels between Garrus's and Cullen's stories. Still, I wouldn't be shocked if Shepard couldn't see shades of Garrus in Cullen, particularly in his dedication as a soldier.
Of course, I think the Cullen that might reminder Shepard of Garrus exists throughout the events of Inquisition. I wouldn't mind seeing Shepard encountering an earlier version of Cullen, particularly one more immediately post-Kirkwall. Or alternatively, Cullen finding himself in the Milky Way could be fascinating.
- (Optional) prompts:
- Adaar/Garrus: In the aftermath—both of Solas and of the Reapers—Adaar finds herself in an utterly foreign world, as broken by war as her own. The people there are struggling, stripped of technologies beyond Adaar's imagination. Among them, the crew of a vessel called Normandy, who've lost their leader and their friend.
- Adaar/Garrus: The crew of the Normandy explore an ancient outpost and happen upon a strange mirror, which transports them to a world straight out of a human story. Hunted for their strange crewmates, they take refuge in the Inquisition.
- Hawke & Shepard: Exploring the Deep Roads, Hawke stumbles upon an artifact behaving unlike anything she's ever seen. When she touches it, she's slammed by a vision, and when she wakes, she's far, far from the Deep Roads.
- Hawke & Shepard: Shepard survives the war and finds herself unable to sit still, so she volunteers for an expedition to explore regions of the galaxy still unexplored. Eventually, the crew of third Normandy find themselves on a planet with dragons And magic.
- Hawke/Thane: Instead of Red Lyrium, Hawke and Varric discover a cavern filled with bizarre trinkets and weapons. At its center, they find a working Eluvian, and Merrill of course steps through it. When Hawke follows, she finds herself face-to-face with a startled Drell, who's just completed an assassination.
- Hawke/Thane: Thane's assassinations haven't just taken him all across the the galaxy, they've also taken him across realities. One day, his search for vengeance takes him to Kirkwall, where his plans are interrupted by a woman called Hawke. As they're pursuing the same group, they decide to work together.
- Cullen/Shepard: In the aftermath of Kirkwall, Cullen finds himself lost. Between the Circle Tower and this, his faith has been crippled. One day, a pair of Templars brings an apostate to the city, but it's clear to Cullen that this woman is no apostate. Whatever magic she carries is unlike anything they've seen before.
- Cullen/Shepard: Following rumors of a lyrium smuggling ring with strange and powerful weapons, Cullen stumbles upon a doorway to another world. Meanwhile, Shepard tracks rumors of experiments on biotics using a new mineral.
Genre(s): Action/Adventure. Angst. AU - Canon Divergence. Canon Style Plot. Getting Together. Hurt/Comfort. Worldbuilding.
Female Cousland/Nathaniel Howe: His father orchestrated her family's murder. Her chosen monarch seized his home and offered it to her. Unaware of the truth and depth of his father's treachery, he returned to steal heirlooms from his former home. At first, Cousland's relationship with Howe is strained—at best—but in time, they form a grudging respect.
It's a messy beginning, heavy with betrayal and loss, but that's what draws me to them: the sins of the father and all of that. Despite it all, their worlds pre-Blight are similar, and I imagine they could eventually find common ground. Together, they could rebuild not just the world, but their world.
Fenris/Female Hawke. Oh, Fenris. Oh, Hawke. These two struggle to find themselves on the same page. It's difficult for Hawke to not be sympathetic toward Mages, but magic has stolen so much from Fenris, has harmed him so greatly. Time and again, she's forced to make choices for the greater good that she knows he won't—can't like.
Still, I love them. It's hard and it hurts, but they love each other; and somehow, eventually, they find a peace in that. I imagine it's a little easier after Kirkwall falls, particularly once they flee.
I prefer Hawke as a dual-wield rogue or a mage here. And of course, sarcastic Hawke. Always sarcastic Hawke.
Cassandra Pentaghast/Varric Tethras: For me, Cassandra and Varric are like… the perfect storm of tropes. Begin with banter and a storyteller. Add a little belligerent sexual tension. Mix with moments of concern and/or kindness. Top with the potential for a battle couple. (Serve cold, if you like huddling for warmth; served hot, if you like your unresolved sexual tension to resolve more passionately.)
Joking aside, I genuinely love these two. Their first meeting isn't the most auspicious beginning, obviously, but they soften toward each other as the Inquisition forms. Then of course, Varric brings Hawke to Skyhold, and all of the progress they've made gets obliterated. But they start again. He writes a chapter of his least favorite book for her. She tries to show interest in his life and the rebuilding of his home. Their banter softens.
Still, there are obstacles. Complications. Her potential to become Divine. Bianca. Scheming Elves. But given the possibility, could they?
- (Optional) prompts:
- Cousland/Nathaniel: Whispers from Weisshaupt affirm the Warden-Commander's suspicions: The First Warden intends to relieve her of her post. Determined to set her own course, Cousland prepares Vigil's Keep and its Wardens for her departure. She orders Nathaniel to Kirkwall, believing she might disappear before his return—allowing the question of them to remain a question—but he knows her better by now.
- Cousland/Nathaniel: The Calling: Its melody haunts and hunts. For months, Cousland seldom rests, between the nightmares and the song. Then one morning she wakes and realizes the Calling has dimmed. Still, she presses on in her research, until the morning she finds the Champion of Kirkwall and Nathaniel Howe at her door.
- Fenris/Hawke: As Elves across Thedas disappear in greater numbers, including several from Kirkwall's Alienage, Fenris and Hawke have a conversation they've put off.
- Fenris/Hawke: Fenris reaches Weisshaupt three weeks after Hawke and finds himself—once again—in the middle of the type of chaos Hawke seems drawn to. (If you've read The Last Flight and want to include characters and developments from that, I'd love that.)
- Cassandra/Varric: The Inquisitor dissolves the Inquisition, but before her companions depart, the Exalted Council identifies a spy among their rank. When the spy escapes through the Eluvian, the Inquisitor, Cassandra, and Varric follow, eventually finding themselves in the Fade. Here, they're aided by the one person Varric Tethras never expected to see again: Hawke.
- Cassandra/Varric: When Varric completes Swords and Shields, he assumes Cassandra will finally let him forget the whole thing. Instead, she insists that he write another romance. So in retaliation, Varric tries to write it as over-the-top as he can, just to see how far he can stretch Cassandra's imagination.
Genre(s): Action/Adventure. Angst. AU - Canon Divergence. Fix-It Fic. Getting Together. Hurt/Comfort. Mystery/Procedural. Worldbuilding.
Female Shepard/Thane Krios: Mass Effect. As I write this, I have my calendar marked for the release of Andromeda. Will this end in tears? Probably. But still I give this series and BioWare the power to hurt me.
See, I started out with Shepard/Garrus. I mean, of course I did. Best friends who fall in love! How could I not? (With special fondness for Shepard as a sniper.) I played out their romance. I finished Mass Effect 3. I cried. I started again.
Then I played Thane's romance, because why hurt a lot when you can hurt a whole lot? Thing is, I love them. Tremendously so. As much as I love Shepard/Garrus (and it's quite a lot), I can't seem to get over Shepard/Thane. The tragedies and regrets of his life. The losses and mistakes of hers. Finding each other so close to the end. Their romance is equal parts delicate and devastating.
Feron/Female Shepard: Side effect of falling for Shepard/Thane? Apparently, I developed A Thing for Shepard/Drell. In addition to Thane. Instead of Thane. Before. After. It doesn't much matter. I also genuinely like Feron, so that helps. Also, there's the complications of the trauma Feron has endured, but regardless of backstory, Shepard is no stranger to trauma. That at least is a common ground, if not an ideal one.
In particular, I like the idea of Shepard/Feron post-games. Of course, this requires a certain element of "let's pretend that ending didn't happen" or fix-it fic (hence my including that genre) in my requests. (Or I suppose you could be creative with the Control or Destroy endings.) Particularly a Shepard who's romanced Thane. At first, she's drawn to Feron because it's rare to see Drell out and about in the galaxy, so he's one of the few connections she still has to Thane. Over time, her connection to him becomes genuine—perhaps not absolutely free of Thane but certainly far more than just that.
- (Optional) prompts:
- Shepard/Thane: Fix-it fic/angst: Somehow, Shepard and Thane survive the war, but living with decisions she had to make takes its toll. Meanwhile, Thane struggles to recover from the injuries that nearly killed him and the surgery that saved his life, ill-at-ease with his newfound longer life expectancy.
- Shepard/Thane: Mystery/procedural: Before Shepard returns to Earth to face court-martial, she and her squad work together to unravel a murder mystery. (Could also serve as a Getting Together fic.)
- Feron/Shepard: Shepard hadn't expected—or wanted—to survive the war. She needs to disappear, for a while, and convinces Liara to forge ID and passage on a ship headed anywhere for her. She's furious to discover Feron aboard, sent to keep an eye on her, until something—predictably—goes wrong.
- Feron/Shepard: Alternatively: After the war, Shepard seeks refuge in the Shadow Broker's base, and finds unexpected comfort in Feron. When he begins to exhibit symptoms of Kepral's Syndrome, she refuses to set idly by while he succumbs to a fate he can avoid.
- Either/or: A canon typical adventure or mission on a far-flung planet—and a discovery that could rival the Mass Relays—forever alters the relationship between Shepard and a certain Drell.
Action/Adventure. Angst. AU - Canon Divergence. Canon Style Plot. Fix-it Fic. Getting Together. Hurt/Comfort. Worldbuilding.
Sheppard/Weir: Elizabeth and John begin the series as opposites, the diplomat and the soldier. Elizabeth holds respect in her field while John carries a tarnished reputation in his. Arriving in Atlantis, their ideologies begin to clash almost immediately.
Despite all of this, John and Elizabeth become a great team. She guides Atlantis and its mission while he carries out military matters. Together, often with some push-and-pull, they keep their people alive. They become friends. They change each other—soften and strengthen each other—and form the kind of understanding only two people carrying the weight of Atlantis could form.
…and every time someone threatens one of their lives, the other one refuses to let it stand; and every time Atlantis loses Elizabeth, John grieves. He hates to lose her, and it happens over and over.
- Optional prompts:
- Against all odds, Elizabeth Weir manages to Ascend. How does she adjust to this higher plane? Does she struggle with the separation from her people? What if she had the opportunity to Descend? Could she find her way back to Atlantis, back to John?
- When Atlantis experiences an event much like SG-1's "Ripple Effect," team after team arrives without a Weir, twisting the knife a little further. Then a team arrives with a Weir—one whose Sheppard suffered the other Weirs' fates—and Sheppard must find the courage to say goodbye to her again.
- AR-2 discovers a planet whose nations are governed by pairs—often two people with opposing viewpoints—so Elizabeth and John must travel there to serve as Atlantis' pair and establish an alliance.
Genre(s): Action/Adventure. AU - Canon Divergence. AU - Genre Shift. AU - Modern. Canon Style Plot. Character Development. Darkfic. Worldbuilding.
Arsinoe: I liked all three sisters, but I have to confess that I'm partial to Arsinoe and Katharine. With Arsinoe, this came later. In the beginning, she seemed resigned, and she felt like a shade of what she shoudl have been. As she experimented with low magic and life got messy, I grew more interested in her. I like that she tried to esacpe her life—twice! I loved seeing her grow into someone determined to not die. Then the twist at the end, I wasn't expecting at all. Now that she knows her gift, I can't wait to see the power and strength she draws from it.
Katharine: Katharine, I loved from the beginning. I felt like we were supposed to understimate or overlook her. Her gift was weak and trying to strengthen it was making her weak. But this is a girl who's spent her whole life consuming poison, trying to overcome a weakness that—it turns out—she might not have been meant to overcome. Still, she does go along rather complacently at times, until Pietyr's intervention in her life. (I hate to give Pietry too much credit, but I do think he lifted her spirits, and I think that embued her with some willpower.)
Also, I really want to know what happened to her when Pietry shoved her into that hole. She must also have some other gift, but what?
Arsinoe & Katharine & Mirabella: Honestly, I haven't decided what I want from these three in the sequel. Do I want each girl to fight for herself, three sisters on a battlefield of subterfuge? Or do I want the sisters to find a way to trust each other, to band together to destroy the system that's taken so many queens lives? Mirabella's sense of protectiveness for her sisters was a little heartbreaking, especially seeing it shatter. What will the sisters look like when Katharine and Arsinoe have finally fully come into their true gifts?
- (Optional) prompts:
- Arsinoe: What might have happened if Arsinoe discovered her true gift earlier, perhaps by partaking in the Poisoners Feast after the hunt? How might she have steered events differently? Would it have affected her relationship with her sisters?
- Arsinoe: What happened during Arsinoe's second escape attempt? As little interest as I actually have in the men of this book—and it's miniscule—I did love that Billy tried to help her escape, that he built what seems to be a genuine friendship with her. I cheered a little—although admittedly, more for her—when he bowed only to her. I'd love to see more of this relationship.
- Katharine: With the twist about Arsinoe's gift, we're left to wonder what Katharine's gift is. I'd love to read fic where Katharine is a War Queen. How would that affect their traditions? What would that mean for the island?
- Katharine: What happened to Katharine when Pietyr pushed her into that hole? How did she survive what seemed like a bottomless fall? Did she meet someone or something at the bottom? Or perhaps the hole actually allowed her to leave the island.
- Arsinoe & Katharine & Mirabella: Twice the books references a Blue Queen—a rare fourth sister. What if the triplet's mother gave birth to four girls but the fourth was kept a secret? Is this fourth sister Jules? Or perhaps a sister we haven't met? How would discovering her change the triplet's lives?
- Arsinoe & Katharine & Mirabella: The sisters decide to flee the island together rather than murder each other. Do they succeed? Where to they find themselves? What if they're able to find their mother? Alternatively, I would love to see whichever girl survives meet her mother after giving birth to her own triplets.