DA2

Dragon Age: Origins is a hero story.

Dragon Age Two is not.

For one thing, you win at the end of Origins.

MSN friends

I spent four years at a tiny women's college. I am open and friendly and unafraid, like a tasty animal that doesn't know to hide from the sailors who just landed on shore.

I am in a new place, and I have new friends. I trust them very quickly and very fiercely. I love them right away. Not for the better. I don't read this language of red flags. 

Here is my playing field: one night, out of nowhere, my best friend turns to me and goes "Anna, being with you makes me feel like I'm rotting inside." A few hours later, he shows up at my door. 

Madison

Winter is a promise. Winter is a threat.

Every day. It is in the air months before it's on the ground. That ashy, chemical smell that the air gets in winter in cities? A little acrid, burns your nose? In Madison, we get that in October. We get it in September. It gets [darker every day][the darkness]. 

Gamlen

Kirkwall is not a nice place. The city of chains. 

You had to indenture yourself to get your family in to the city. Your uncle lost the family home, but you can buy it back, if you can earn enough. Get used to this place, the streets and alleys, the underground slum, the outskirts, the docks. The whole game happens here. The next ten years of your life. 

Kirkwall

We'll skip the details, Elia. You, your mother, your brother, and your new warrior friend catch the last ship across the sea to Kirkwall. Mom tells you that you have an uncle there, and a family fortune. 

She was right about the [uncle][Gamlen]. 

the morning after

I wake up face down on the end of his bed, wearing his sweater, with my tights missing, with my underwear missing. 

Three-ish memories, out of sync. The room turning orange. The realization I should call someone to pick me up, but not being able to make my tongue work right. And the side of my face against his comforter, watching the strings on his guitar sway back and forth. 

I wake up screaming. 

fairy food

I read a lot of fairy tales when I was a kid. And I still do. There are a few consistent lessons, one of them being if you are in a house with strange beings, do not eat their food.  

Whatever he gave me, I did eat it. 

So this is where it gets bad. Something is going to change here, irrevocably and permanently. 

I'll give you three choices. 

stupid

Again, this is a muddy timeline. Depression steals memories from you, whole swathes of them. There are months that are missing: October, November. But we aren't there quite yet. It's still the summer, just the end of it. 

good up until

Again, this is a muddy timeline. Depression steals memories from you, whole swathes of them. There are months that are missing: October, November. But we aren't there quite yet. It's still the summer, just the end of it. 

the real world

I left college determined to become more. I'd spent four years in the academic intersection of an ivory tower and a fishbowl. It was time for me to be amazing.

Sure, I'd never thought that amazing would happen in the midwest. Sure, I had to look up Wisconsin on a map before my interview. But I was scrappy. I could make the best of any situation. Even Wisconsin.