Saturday, January 28, 2017

Departures by Schattenriss, a review

Yes, I'm still compulsively reading Dragon Age fics written by Schattenriss over at Archive of Our Own. Maybe it's because I've got a mild crush on his Inquisitor Kai Trevelyan and his rather wry humour. Departures is pretty much the origin story of the Shit That Got Weird before the events that occurred at the Temple of Ashes sent everything for a ball of shit with Coryphy-whatsis-face.

So if you've read and enjoyed The Wrong Sort of Whatever – which expands upon the events that transpire during the Trespasser DLC of Dragon Age Inquisition, Departures will be especially sweet and meaningful.

In brief, before he became Inquisitor, Kai Trevelyan was a mage in the Ostwick Circle, and when we meet him, it's pretty much the point in his life where he's had it with his existence. He never asked to be a mage – and he's a damned good one too – and he's had it with being locked up like a dangerous animal. When the shit gets ugly between the mages and templars (thank you, Anders) Kai sees this as his opportunity to scarper. Which he does.

The only problem is that he's got no idea how to fend for himself in the outside world. He can't bloody well walk about openly being a mage unless he wants a lynching, and apart from reading and writing, he doesn't have any marketable skills. So essentially the story is all about how he adjusts to life on the outside, how he finds some comfort with lovers and also his prickly relationship with his parents.

There are some truly awkward social situations that happen, some of which really made me hurt for Kai. And of course there's The Awful Thing that happens near the end that I won't spoil, but it was heartening to see how Kai got through that dip.

There isn't an awful lot of action in this story, so if you're looking for fireworks and earth-shattering events, this is not that story. What you will find here are nuanced, sometimes intensely awkward interactions with people, and often some lively debate too. And loads of foreshadowing for events to follow.

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