UNBOUNDHere on Unbound, our plot follows four different timelines, set throughout the canonical history of the Dragon Age. The events following Trespasser, the time of the Inquisition, the rise of the Champion of Kirkwall and the quest of the Warden against the Fifth Blight.
And So is the Golden City blackened
With each step you take in my Hall.
Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.
You have brought Sin to Heaven
And doom upon all the world.
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Abelia – Mother (deceased)
Midir – Father (deceased)
Charis – adopted aunt
Evelyn – adopted aunt
Various adopted cousins
Dual Wielding; short swords, daggers
Several small scars from duelling, a notable scar – possibly from a blade – on her right side, along with a burn scar on her left shoulder blade. A small tattoo of the Peraquialus constellation in blue ink is on the inside of her right wrist.
Apart from the amnesia, scars and nightmares, Willow is otherwise healthy. What troubles her most are the nightmares from the blood mage attack, even if the burn she received at the time doesn’t hurt anymore. She generally distrusts mages, but has managed to overcome her instinctual fear of them and has worked well with several during her working life. Some people might think her blatant recklessness is a sign of a troubled mind, but Willow just sees it as entertainment or adventure. What’s the point in living if you don’t take a few risks along the way, after all?
As far as Willow’s concerned, her life started when she was approximately seven years old. Not due to a boring lifestyle up until then – though it may well have been – but a complete lack of memories. Found wandering in the wilderness with a deep gash in her side and a raging fever by a travelling merchant in Southern Ferelden, the man did his best to treat the child and waited for half a day on the road, in the hopes her parents would come looking for her. When none arrived the man was forced to move on, though he took the girl with him, unable to abandon her to the elements and her injury.
Willow’s first memory is the roof of a caravan and the sound of oxen hooves and lowing. When the man paused for lunch and to try and give the child some water, he found her looking around the caravan, bemused and weak, but no longer delirious. When he tried to ask her who she was, or where her family lived, she merely shook her head. Asked if she could speak, she replied positively in Common, but that she didn’t know who or where she was.
Left at a metaphorical dead-end, the merchant continued on to Lothering, intending to ask if any of the villagers recognised her, or knew of any outlying homesteads she could belong to. None of Lothering’s inhabitants knew the child, and the merchant couldn’t afford to keep a child with him on his travels. A devout Andrastian, he left the child at the chantry, certain she would be cared for there.
Although she wasn’t treated badly, and was nursed back to full health, she struggled to adapt. She refused to respond to the name given to her – Kordilla, after the founder of the Chantry. Often if she was scared by something, she would climb to the highest point she could find – bookcases and, on one occasion, a statue of Andraste in a vain attempt to reach the rafters.
The other orphans and, sometimes, the Chantry initiates would do their best to startle her, purely to see her wild reaction to ease their boredom. Her occasionally feral ways alienated her from the other residents of the chantry; an attempt by the Revered Mother to cut the girl’s knotted, knee-length hair ended in five adults pinning the hysterical child down as a sixth chopped her hair to just below her ears. A week later, once released from solitary confinement for her misbehaviour, she vanished. Though the Chantry posted a ‘missing’ notice on their board, ‘Kordilla’ was never found.
Begging a ride from a caravan train heading to Gwaren, the child chose a name – Willow – after seeing one as they passed a river and later asked what she was called. When the caravans arrived in Gwaren, Willow melded into the crowd and spent the next three years living on the streets, desperation and naturally quick fingers making her a talented pickpocket. She soon formed a small unit with other urchins, enabling them to safely target more difficult – and often richer – marks.
Willow started playing with blades almost as soon as she hit the streets – two of the older street kids, Kaz and Veraz, took it upon themselves to watch over and train the younger ones. By age ten, she was completely comfortable with the two small knives she’d acquired, often juggling them when she was bored or for coin. She had mellowed considerably, and had learned to laugh and relax for the first time she remembered.
In the summer after she turned ten, Kaz and Veraz, fifteen by now, moved the gang to the docks. They’d seen a group of people coming in and out one of the abandoned warehouses for the past week, and said that whatever was being stored in there must be very valuable. Having spent their whole lives on the streets, they also knew that nearly all of the warehouses had old, rotten or broken boards in their walls. Adults may not be able to get in through them, but kids and scrawny teenagers could.
So that night they did their usual ruse. Half the group, led by Kaz, distracted the guards and led them on a merry chase through the warehouse alleys. The other half followed Veraz through the gaps in the warehouse walls, ready to plunder to their hearts’ content. What they found was a pack of blood mages, several abominations and demons.
The children scattered, and the hunters followed. The older ones tried to fight them or stuff the younger children back through the gaps in the walls. Some had panicked and ran for the locked doors; others climbed the crates and tried to hide. One hunger demon nearly killed Veraz, distracted only by Willow jumping off a stack of crates and onto its back, stabbing wildly. During the attack, either a mage’s fireball or a rage demon caught Willow across the left shoulder, leaving a permanent scar.
In the end, of the twelve children that had entered the warehouse, only five escaped. The others were either killed by the demons, or had to be cut down when the blood mages took control of them. The screaming had drawn the attention of the guards, then the Templars. They tried to contain the surviving five, unable to be sure the demons or mages hadn’t controlled them as well. They were thwarted by Kaz returning with the rest of the group and causing a second distraction.
After that, the group dissolved. They ran from the city, were caught by the Templars, or couldn’t cope with the memories. Veraz and Kaz managed to last a year before stowing away on a ship. A week later, Willow followed suit.
However, a ship bound for Antiva is often easy prey for the Raiders of the Waking Sea. Within a matter of hours, Willow went from a stowaway to the sole surviving captive. Things took a decidedly odd turn when the Captain scared her, shouting and getting in her face. Her old instincts kicked in, and since she had nowhere to climb that didn’t have a pirate in the way, she lashed out.
Apparently accidentally knocking a pirate captain overboard was a good way to earn his respect.
Rather than the hold, Willow was stuck in the crow’s nest and given free run of the rigging. Over the next four years spent on the ship, her sword fighting improved, she learned to relax more and wasn’t as prone to lashing out in blind instinct. Her pirating days ended when one of the many attempts by the Orlesians to rid the seas of pirates succeeded in sinking the ship just off the coast of Antiva. Close enough to swim to shore, Willow vanished into the city of Salle and evaded capture.
She spent a lot of time in the country, taking each day as it comes and living in taverns, never settling down for long, and has picked up some of the language. In the next few years, she slowly made her way south, finding herself back in Ferelden in her eighteenth year. She spent a carefree year pickpocketing and stealing for a living, but soon became restless. Rather than sign up with one of the many ships she'd wistfully watched pull into the docks, she headed south to where Lothering had been and began asking questions about her past. She was pointed in the direction of the Korcari Wilds, where she encountered a tribe of Chasind - and two distinctly Fereldan women who recognised Willow by another name - Maíre. They had been best friends with Willow's mother, Abelia. The three minor noblewomen had all elected to leave their homes and husbands for love and freedom with a Chasind clan they had encountered. While happy for several years, Abelia's ex-husband took things to the extreme. He led a raid on the Chasind clan when Willow was a child, killing both her parents and leaving Willow with the scar in her side and a heavy concussion that resulted in her amnesia.
Though Willow stayed with the Chasind for a time, she soon left to think things through without the pressure of a suddenly-found family all around her. She took a ship back to Antiva and fell into the company of the Red Jennies, finding their rebellious nature a good fit and perfect distraction from her own life and troubles. By the 9:34 she is twenty one, and is recruited back into the pirate life by Captain Asherah. Willow returns to the lifestyle gladly, starting as a rigger but working her way up through the hierarchy as the years pass. By 9:41 she is quartermaster and has captained several ships temporarily under Asherah's admiralty when the Rivaini captain made attempts at forming her own fleet.
When Asherah parts ways with the crew in 9:42 as she is wont to do, Willow is elected captain in her stead. She has a rocky start due to some lingering discontent, but sets to work either winning the crew over or recruiting people to replace those who challenge her command. She takes a lot of inspiration from Brannigan, hoping to lead such a skilled and loyal crew as he did one day. She isn't there yet, but with two years of experience at the helm under her belt she's more assured in her ability and is setting out to prove herself.
PM, the Unbound Discord
I’ve been a member of Unbound since 2013, and Willow was my first character here. I’ve taken her from a thief to a pirate, then to a quartermaster and now finally a captain in her own right. I’ll be looking to recruit other pirates into her crew, and see what Willow is like as a leader rather than a follower.