ruth negga
audacity (pride)
viscountess of kirkwall
We are the Dalish: keepers of the lost lore, walkers of the lonely path. We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit. Merrill never forgot, and never strayed from the path, and never submitted -- she knew her cause as righteous, knew her research to be just. It's the Keeper's job to remember, even the bad things. This attitude carries over to her rulership of Kirkwall, too, as she's determined to clear out and catalogue the Tevinter ruins underneath the City of Chains, and discover the magical forces that still linger there...

Born to Clan Alerion, and indeed a descendant of that clan's founder, when her magic was discovered at age four -- the youngest recorded magical awakening in Thedas -- she was sent to live with Clan Sabrae to train as First to Keeper Marethari. She was informally exiled from her adopted clan a year after the fifth Blight, and formally so in the following years.

In Dalish usage, her name should, by all means, be Merrill Alerion Sabrae. Since her exile, her right to use the clan name has been revoked, and her regnal name is merely Merrill, Viscountess of Kirkwall.

The status of any living family members is unknown. Merrill lives in the Viscount's Keep in Kirkwall (much to the dismay of the collected nobility, she has opened her personal appartments to the public) and tends a very hardy mint plant.


The Blight comes to Clan Sabrae first. Two clanmates, Mahariel and Tamlen, find a mysterious mirror in an ancient ruin and contract the Taint, with all that entails. Although the shem grey warden destroys the mirror -- the eluvian -- Merrill knows it may hold valuable information about her people, and smuggles a shard of it with her when her clan flees to Kirkwall as refugees. (Oh, she gets so very seasick.)

Despite Marethari's disapproval, Merrill attempts to cleanse the shard of the taint. When her clan will not help her, she turns to blood magic, coached by the spirit Audacity. She succeeds, and for her success, she is shunned. Well, never let it be said that Merrill doesn't know when she's not wanted! She takes to the city, where she can continue her studies in peace, or so she thinks.

dalish pariah

Marethari continues to disappoint, but Kirkwall doesn't. Well, that's a lie, Kirkwall is awful. But for all that she is isolated and alone, that she lives in squalor, that the elves are forced into ghettos where they can hardly see the sun and they walk bare-faced, not even knowing their own language -- well, Merrill is independent at last, and that's something.

The lack of her clan aches like an unlanced wound, but she makes do. She grows plants (hardy thing, mint). She has Hawke and her friends. She gets a job to pay rent on her flophouse apartment that is hardly big enough to fit her and the eluvian at once, and kills an awful lot of things and people. It's all terribly exciting!


She does not trust the templars, especially not after a decade in Kirkwall, and when Anders and his spirit set the powder keg alight, Merrill begs for his survival. Let him atone, let him help. Those words, that attitude, will have a further-reaching effect than Merrill knows. Even as her friends disappear like dandelions in the wind, fleeing for their lives or simply moving on, Merrill doesn't. She can't. She was raised to be the Keeper of her clan, one day, and it is not in her to fold or disappear when there is work to be done.

As the Mage-Templar war takes off, and the world is set ablaze, Merrill holds court in the Kirkwall alienage. She directs clean water, she rebuilds houses, she invites elves to occupy other parts of the city and makes it known that the Viscount, her good friend the Viscount, is fully in agreement with her, actually! She attends quite a few meetings, which are all dreadful, but her people are starving, and she will not leave them to die, blank-faced and flat-eared as they are. They call her their Hahren; Hightown calls her a knife-eared menace; her friends still call her Merrill.


The Veil is shattered, and the Beyond is suddenly not so beyond anymore. That foreign country she once visited now has its ambassador living in her head, which is rather rude. Bit of a slap in the face, too, but Merrill isn't so arrogant as to think herself better than every other mage alive. Let Audacity stay. Merrill knows that all spirits are dangerous, and she's rather used to dealing with danger.

When Starkhaven comes in, unites the Marches under one banner -- as much as the Marches can be united in anything besides thinking themselves better than Fereldens, bless them -- Merrill doesn't give it much thought, but then Varric steps down as Viscount, and. Well. She is already Hahren to the alienage, more or less. She is already well-known to the nobles, to the courtiers and the bureaucrats, as a nuisance if nothing else. When Merrill is named successor, it certainly wasn't what anyone was expecting, and Merrill certainly knows when she isn't wanted. Alas, Merrill knows when something is within her ability, too, and this certainly is.