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Dragon Age Polyshipping Meme

Based on this list of questions that went around Tumblr a few weeks ago. Probably I should have spread this out, but I got greedy and decided to answer all the questions at once (except for a couple that I skipped). This list of questions is not an exact fit for my Dragon Age OT3, because they're built around the assumption that the "center" of your polyship, if there is one, is a player character. However, my DA polyship -- Sereda Aeducan/Alistair Thierin/Anora Mac Tier -- has Alistair, not the Warden, at the center. Still, I expect this to be an interesting exercise, even if I have to finesse some of the answers.

1. Introduction time! Who is your PC, and who are their LIs?

Sereda Aeducan, exiled princess of Orzammar, Grey Warden, Hero of Ferelden, and Commander of the Grey. Her lover is Alistair Thierin, ex-Templar, sometime Grey Warden, now King of Ferelden. Alistair's wife is Anora Mac Tier, Queen of Ferelden twice over -- once by marriage to Alistair's half-brother Cailan, now in her own right and holding joint rulership with Alistair.

2. How did your PC and their LIs meet?

Sereda and Alistair met at Ostagar, before the disastrous battle that marked the true beginning of the Fifth Blight. It was friendship at first sight, and grew into love within the first few months of their campaign. By the time they met Anora in Denerim, they were well established in a loving romantic relationship, although one they both worried might not last in the face of political realities.

The first meeting with Anora did not go quite so well. Anora was being held prisoner in the Arl of Denerim's estate at the time, and as Sereda and Alistair were escorting her out, they ran into Ser Cauthrian. Believing that she'd be in a stronger negotiating position if she told the truth, Sereda revealed her identity and Anora's to Cauthrian... and Anora promptly responded by turning Sereda and Alistair over to Cauthrian, who imprisoned them in Fort Drakon. In the moment, Sereda was pretty angry, but once they were safely rescued and back at Arl Eamon's estate, she had a better understanding of Anora's reaction, and they were able to come to terms with relative ease, each seeing in the other a sensible diplomat, willing to compromise and negotiate.

The result of that negotiation: an alliance with Anora, via her marriage to Alistair. This solution to the problem of the civil war and the Landsmeet was so obvious to Sereda that she was rather surprised that no one else had thought of it. It took a little convincing on both sides, but eventually she sold both Alistair and Anora on the marriage.

Alistair and Anora took a little longer to thaw to one another. In Alistair, Anora saw a little too much of her late husband, and resented the political necessity of their marriage. Alistair, meanwhile, was unsure that he wanted to marry for any reason other than love, and was even more unsure about doing so to take a throne he wasn't sure he wanted. However, he approached the marriage with a determination to make the best of it, an earnestness to which Anora couldn't help but respond. And so they, too, came first to truce, and then to understanding -- and eventually, to love.

3. What sort of relationship dynamic does your PC’s polyship have? Are they all centric to your PC, do they have relationships with the other LIs, or is it varied?

As mentioned above, Sereda is not the center of this triad -- Alistair is. Sereda and Alistair are very much in love, and Alistair and Anora are caring partners, but Sereda and Anora, though they are good allies and eventually become friends, never really move into becoming more than that.

4. What were the LIs reactions to the thought of polyamorous relationships? Was it something they had to talk over in depth, or was there an understanding already there? How did the PC introduce new LIs to the group?

Can it really be considered a negotiation when Sereda made it plain to Anora that she had no intention of giving Alistair up? Her continuing relationship with Alistair was part of the deal she brokered from the very beginning. Just like the marriage alliance, it seemed obvious to her: discreet affairs are no big deal in Orzammar, since most marriages there are also arranged for political or economic reasons. Almost no one begrudges their spouse another relationship -- and in some cases, they're even encouraged, since the birth rate in Orzammar is so low.

That said, it takes two to have a relationship, and Alistair took a little bit of convincing. Affairs, discreet or otherwise, are not as acceptable in Ferelden society. Still, he had given up so much else in the face of duty -- leaving the Wardens, taking the throne, marrying a woman he barely knew, conceiving a child he'd never see with a woman he couldn't stand. To also give up the one thing that made him happiest in all the world would have been too much to take. He would have done it, mind you, if he felt it necessary to being a good king. But it would have broken his heart. When she gave him an out, an option to keep her in his life, it wasn't too hard for him to take it.

Anora was not, at first, best pleased with the arrangement. She had already lived through one unfaithful husband in Cailan; was she going to be forced to do it all again? But she quickly found that the situation with Alistair and Sereda was very different. Alistair swore to remain faithful to her and Sereda both, to never take any other lover, and to behave with perfect discretion at court. And, after a brief adjustment period, he never faltered from that promise. Anora is first in his life, at least in public, and second in all other ways. It helps that he can promise no royal bastards to challenge the rights of their children, and also that Sereda is so rarely in the palace.

The tougher situation to resolve, in the end, was between Sereda and Alistair. Sereda found herself growing occasionally restless with the lack of romantic company, especially once Alistair began developing genuine feelings for Anora. So they agreed that Sereda could take other lovers as long as she didn't bring them to court, and she struck up the occasional affair, mostly with other Wardens passing through, although she also developed an enjoyable off-and-on arrangement with Voldrik Glavonak. But just as Anora is first at court, Alistair and Sereda are always first in one another's hearts, no matter who else might come along.

5. How do the LIs interact with one another?

It's pretty rare for the three of them to spend much time together, especially not in any casual way. All of them are busy people, with many responsibilities, and Sereda doesn't get to Denerim as often as she'd like, nor Alistair to Amaranthine.

6. Were there any personality clashes between the LIs? If so, how were they resolved (were they resolved)?

There was definitely an adjustment period after Alistair and Anora married -- the two of them learning how to interact with each other, and how to turn acquaintance into respect into partnership. Anora and Alistair are very different: she is logical and he is emotional; she is practiced, studied, self-assured, while he's learning a lot of new things and, when he became king, still finding confidence in himself and his ability to lead. So they clashed at first, rather often, but they kept at it, via open and honest communication, and grew into a formidable team.

7. How do non-involved party members / NPCs think of your PC’s relationships?

During the time of the Blight, the other members of the party were pretty much fine with Sereda and Alistair's relationship. Wynne expressed concern, naturally, but withdrew the objection when she saw how happy they made each other -- and when she realized that Sereda, at least, had her eyes wide open to the reality of the situation.

Reactions to their decision to continue the relationship after Alistair's marriage were more mixed. Leliana found it dashingly romantic. Wynne was disapproving of the position she felt it put Anora in. Zevran actually laughed. Most of the rest of the party didn't much care one way or another. Eamon was mildly alarmed at the possibility of royal bastards -- half-dwarf royal bastards, to be certain, but given Sereda's tie to the power brokers of Orzammar, he thought her theoretical future children might be a threat to the stability of the succession. Alistair assured him that this wouldn't be a problem, but wouldn't tell him why (Grey Warden secrets and all), so Eamon side-eyed Sereda for a long time. Sereda's friends in the Wardens are all for it, though -- it's never the bad thing to have the ear of a king. The First Warden officially registered disapproval, but privately he expresses a similar opinion.

8. Sexy time! Who are the dominant bedroom partners, and who are the submissive ones (generally speaking)? Do they ever switch around? Any kinks?

For the most part, the two pairs maintain separate sexual and romantic lives. Since they don't see each other often, Sereda and Alistair make the most of whatever time they do have. Grey Warden stamina helps a lot with that. Alistair and Anora were somewhat more restrained at first, when their conjugal relations are entirely for the purpose of conceiving an heir. But as their relationship deepened, so did their sexual connection, to the point that they began spending more nights together than not -- as long as Sereda isn't in Denerim.

Later, as Anora became more incorporated into both Sereda and Alistair's lives, the three of them experimented with sharing a bed. The first time, they'd all had rather a lot of wine. It was awkward but satisfying, so it's happened a few more times, but it's not something any of them seek out regularly.

9. What’s the thing that sealed the deal for your PC and each LI? What was the point where they said, “Welp, that’s it. I’m in love.”?

Alistair has known that he loved Sereda for a long time, from the day she told him the story of her exile and gave him the Aeducan family shield (recovered from Gorim on an early trip to Denerim, while they were seeking out information about the location of the Sacred Ashes). But it wasn't something she was ready to hear, or admit to herself, until some months later, as they were leaving Orzammar. On that visit, she finally became able to put her past life behind her and embrace the new one, and being in love with Alistair was a big part of that.

Alistair and Anora fell in love more gradually, not with a bolt from the blue but through the daily routine of being together, working together, and discovering their common ground. Alistair didn't tell Anora he loved her until almost a year after they were married, and Anora didn't reciprocate until a good six months later.

11. Marriage: has the topic been approached? What are your PC & LIs thoughts about it? If there are wedding bells in the future, will it be an officially polygamous union, or will there be only one ‘officially’ wedded couple?

Sereda was raised to see marriage as a political relationship, an alliance between families, so she has no particular need to marry Alistair or otherwise formalize their relationship. In his heart of hearts, Alistair wishes he could commit to Sereda in some formal way, but he knows it would be a bad political move for both himself and Anora -- and especially any children they might have. And it's not like it would change anything between them anyway. Alistair and Anora are, of course, already married. In their case, the marriage came first, and romance and commitment followed later.

12. Your OT3 has an unexpected vacation. Where would each LI take the group, and why? What sorts of hijinks would they get into?

If the three of them were to undertake a getaway together, they'd probably either travel to the old Thierin estate outside Denerim, or down to Anora's former home in Gwaren. Because their day-to-day life is fairly exciting, especially Sereda's, a vacation for this group would mostly involve relaxing in the estate house and out in nature, not doing much of anything.

14. Were there any shocking developments in your PC’s polyship? A new LI you never thought would be considered, a breakup you thought wouldn’t happen, etc.

Probably the biggest surprise to all of them is that Alistair and Anora fell genuinely in love with one another. The marriage was purely for political convenience -- they didn't even like each other that much when it was arranged. And although it didn't surprise them too much that they got used to each other, the depth of feeling between them was not expected. Sereda had to adjust to the idea, too, that Alistair wasn't just with Anora for political expediency anymore, and it put a strain on their relationship for a time. But soon they realized that he could love them both, and in a way, this change made things easier between Sereda and Anora as well -- it lessened any sense of competition.

15. What are your PC’s LI’s thoughts about the Taint, the Calling, and Taint infertility?

Sereda accepted the Taint and all its side effects as the price she had to pay to escape the Deep Roads and get a second chance at life. It was death by darkspawn one way or another, so she's happy to have a few more years and the opportunity to do some good in the world meanwhile. Alistair has similar opinions. Shortly after their marriage, Alistair told Anora about the Calling and the possible difficulties of the two of them having children. Anora was more perturbed than she would have expected to learn that she'll only have Alistair for a decade or two -- a part of her felt that it should have been a relief, but it wasn't. She takes the news about his likely infertility surprisingly well, but they agree that they should at least try their best.

16. Follow up: Do any of the LIs want children? Do any of them want children with the PC (as the genetic contributor)? If so, how would the group handle the titles within the polyship — lots of mommies and daddies, or lots of aunts and uncles?

Alistair wants children, more than anything else in the world. For a man denied family all his life, to create his own would be a dream come true. Add to that the pressure to produce an heir (for all that Ferelden pays lip service to choosing kings by a vote than by bloodline, it's no secret that most of the nobility would prefer a Thierin on the throne), and he and Anora decided that it was worth seeking some magical intervention. So they consulted with Avernus, and as a result had two healthy children, both girls, both learning the art of statecraft in hopes that one will take the throne after their parents are gone.

Sereda is their much-beloved auntie, and she comes to love them dearly, as if they were her own. She is perfectly fine with being an aunt rather than a mother -- children don't easily fit into the Grey Warden lifestyle. (She also has a nephew: young Endrin, Bhelen's son, whom she named her heir and moved into Aeducan Thaig with his mother, Rica Brosca.) For his part, Alistair wishes very much that he and Sereda could have a child of their own, but beyond the greater difficulty of two Wardens conceiving, he accepts that it would be a poor move politically.

17. How does your polyship work together in battle? (I know there’s a 3 companion limit, but feel free to fudge this if you’d like :3). Who works best together within the PC + 3 companions limit?

It's not something that happens much. Anora is a fine archer, and more than able to defend herself in hand-to-hand at need, but she has not often seen battle. There have been a few occasions where the three of them travelled together and stumbled into wild beasts, or darkspawn ambush, and at those times they do work quite well together. It's much like Sereda and Alistair operated together during the Blight: Alistair takes the front, drawing the enemy's attention while Sereda comes around from the back, while Anira provides cover with arrows from a distance, providing the same support role as the mages of the Blight party.

18. Did your LIs have any conflict with your PC over plot points (beyond the scripted conflict, that is)?

Alistair and Sereda have remarkably similar ideas about how to do most things, so they had very little conflict during the Blight -- the closest thing they had to an argument was when Sereda talked him into marrying Anora. Anora, too, had to be brought on board with the marriage, but once that was taken care of, the three of them had the same goals, and the same plans in regards to reaching them.

19. Endgame time: If your PC decided to become a ruler (King/Queen [non-Couslands welcome] or Viscount), what did the LIs decide to do? If your PC decided not to become the ruler, how do the PCs react?

Sereda had no interest in taking the throne of Ferelden for herself, not that she thought it would be possible anyway. She knows enough about nobility that she knew that the Landsmeet would never accept a dwarf as queen, even one with a good pedigree and the right experience. She became convinced quite early on that a marriage between Alistair and Anora was the best quick solution to the civil war, one that would satisfy all interested parties except for Loghain, and she wasn't particularly concerned with what Loghain wanted.

Most of the rest of this question is already answered above.

20. Any special headcanons for your polyship? Quirks or behaviours, special days, special events, the like.

This sounds like an opening to write some fic. :) I will think about this, and get back to you all.

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