"There are men who struggle against destiny, and yet achieve only an early grave. There are men who flee destiny, only to have it swallow them whole. And there are men who embrace destiny, and do not show their fear. These are the ones that change the world forever."
Known for her promiscuity and piracy, Isabela holds little respect for laws and considers monetary gain the only reason to embark on an adventure. The only exception, however, is the lucrative business of slave trade. She soon takes up residence in Kirkwall after being shipwrecked and joins up with the future Champion of Kirkwall: Garrett Hawke. Isabela soon proved instrumental in removing the Qunari threat during the First Battle of Kirkwall, but unbeknownst to all, she was the main reason behind their presence as she previously stole a much-craved artifact from the Qunari. Although she swore out of fear that she would not be tied down again, Isabela fell in love with Hawke and began a romantic relationship with him.
Sometime after the mage rebellion had begun, Isabela and her friend Varric Tethras helped Alistair search for his father Maric Theirin, the former King of Ferelden. As the trio infiltrated Antiva City and Velabanchel, they were attacked by Antian Crows while Alistair pursued Prince Claudio Valisti. They soon travel to a Tevinter city and attend a ball to confront Magister Aurelian Titus. She is eventually captured by the Qunari (with Sten as their new Arishok) along with Alistair and Varric. She is interrogated by a female Qunari named Rasaan who tries to forcibly convert her to the Qun, but manages to escape and free her companions and crew before defeating Rasaan. She then sails with her companions and the Qunari, with whom Alistair forged an alliance, towards Titus’ stronghold. They eventually find Maric but are forced to kill him out of mercy after taking down Aurelius. She and her companions soon go their separate ways.
Born in Rivain on 13 August 9:06 Dragon, Isabela’s birth name is Naishe; though she eventually adopted the name as her pseudonym. She began her life in the shadow of her mother, herself a noted thief and charlatan. Isabela never knew her father, though her mother once, while drunk, is said to have described him as "large, hairy, and good with his hands." Early on in her so-called "career," Isabela’s mother infamously posed as a Rivaini seer to help a village in the Rivaini interior with their troubles–in exchange for coin, of course. It was there she took the name Madam Hari, after what the locals called elfroot. When she grew bored, Hari would leave the village to "seek spirits," or so she claimed. These trips, often made with Isabela in tow, could last weeks and took them to any place people had pockets. Hari taught her daughter that there was nothing wrong with taking from those who guarded their possessions poorly. The young Isabela took to dishonesty quickly and marveled at how easily one could come by coin with just a clever tongue and deft hands.
But the life of a fraud began to wear on her mother and she grew disillusioned with her path, even as Isabela came to love being a trickster. It didn’t take long for Madam Hari to convert to the Qun during the Qunari occupation of Rivain to bring meaning to her life. Within the Qun, she had a place and was treasured for what she was, not what she pretended to be. Hari intended for her daughter to convert to the Qun as well, but Isabela refused. Mother and daughter fought long and bitterly over Hari’s decision and then she simply stopped trying to persuade her daughter. Isabela thought she won, that she had finally convinced her mother to stop allowing the Qunari to train her into accepting slavery.
However, two days later, Hari sold Isabela into marriage with a wealthy business associate of the Antivan Crows, Luis, telling him to "just take her" without looking at her daughter. While Isabela offered numerous interpretations of the bargain her mother struck when she was given away, she is noted as having told Varric Tethras once that her mother gave her away in exchange for nothing more than the promise that she would be looked after.
Luis took Isabela to Antiva City, where he had made his fortune as a merchant. There, in Luis’s grand manor, Isabela was groomed for high society. Gowns and jewelry were commissioned specially for her. Only the best was good enough for Luis’s new prize, and he made sure Isabela was paraded in front of him for his approval every time her maids dressed her. The wedding took place three weeks after her arrival, just before Isabela’s nineteenth birthday.
Isabela initially enjoyed the first months of her life with Luis. Servants attended to her needs and her every desire was met, even exceeded. She had a carriage that would take her anywhere in Antiva City, a tutor taught her to read and write. Luis would dine with her most nights and speak to her cordially, if not affectionately. But after a year, the novelty of being Luis’s pampered consort wore away. Boredom came first, then was quickly replaced by irritation, and finally anger. Maids and guards followed her everywhere, "for her protection," they said. She could do anything she liked, as long as it befitted the lady of the house. She could have anything she wanted except her freedom. Isabela’s growing displeasure made her bold, and she sent back Luis’s gifts, rearranged the furniture in her bedroom with every chair facing the walls and showed up to dinner wearing men’s trousers. Luis found Isabela’s behavior exasperating and began to lose interest in her. At first Isabela was pleased, thinking that he would soon let her go, but Luis continued to keep her in his manor, though this only increased Isabela’s anger.
She then met the young elven Antivan Crow Zevran Arainai while on an excursion in the town. They got along well and started up an affair based more on physical attraction and Isabela’s desire to test her boundaries with Luis than actual love. It was Zevran who taught Isabela the basics of knife combat. Later on, she would expand upon his teachings to create a style all her own. While carrying on her relationship with Zevran, Isabela continued defying her husband.
She had discovered a love for books, especially the bawdy and philosophical, and drew on what she read to engage Luis’s friends in uncomfortable discussion. Luis responded by having her kept away when he was entertaining, but she defied him and turned up anyway, often drunk. Luis had her locked in her chambers and forbade her from leaving, but Isabela countered by smashing everything in her rooms. Realizing that his young wife was completely out of hand, Luis resolved to get rid of her. It was at this time, according to his journals, that he planned to "lend" her to certain business acquaintances of his who had expressed an interest. This never came to pass, however, as not a week later, Luis was assassinated in his bed by Zevran.
Isabela swears to this day that she did not plan to have Luis killed, though she certainly benefited from his death. The Antivan Crows keep their records secret, and so the identity of the person who wished Luis dead has never been revealed. Even Zevran, the assassin contracted to kill Luis, does not know who it was. What is known is that before Zevran killed Luis, the assassin spoke to Isabela and told her of the plan. It was she who gave him the location of the key to Luis’s room, allowing Zevran to enter undetected. When Luis’s death was discovered in the morning, Isabela was already gone.
Because of her marriage to Luis, she vowed never to commit herself once again and to never marry again.
Career in piracyEdit
Isabela soon left the manor, crawling out a window with nothing but the clothes on her back, two daggers that Zevran gave her (out of the 7 he carried), and a sack full of her jewelry. She used the jewelry to bribe some sailors into helping her commandeer the Siren’s Call and sail it to Rivain. The ship docked in Llomerryn, a notorious den of raiders and thieves. Once there, Isabela found she was unable to retain the services of the mercenary sailors she’d hired. They abandoned her, leaving her in a strange town with no gold and a ship she couldn’t sail.
The next day, Isabela found herself using her untested knife skills in a duel with a man she has only referred to as the Jackdaw, someone with contacts in the Felicisima Armada. She made a bet: if she could best the Jackdaw in single combat, he would help her find a crew and a job. Isabela won the bet, and to this day she is unsure if the Jackdaw lost to her intentionally, out of pity. Whatever the case, Isabela found herself with a new crew and a new captain for the Siren’s Call. She knew she would be unable to captain her own ship and wanted to learn under someone who could. And so she began her life of a raider on her own ship with another man at the helm. Isabela later killed the captain over an insult and took back control of the Siren’s Call. As for the Jackdaw, there were rumors that he and Isabela began a passionate love affair after that first duel. They would see each other every time she returned to Llomerryn, but a year later, the Jackdaw left the island for parts unknown, and was never seen again. Isabela soon became extremely promiscuous, becoming known as the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Eastern Seas."
Isabela spent years as a raider, the captain of one ship in the vast network of vessels that composed the Felicisima Armada. On the seas, she was involved with all manner of criminal activity: piracy, smuggling. It is known that she spent this time honing her fighting skills and learning to navigate, all the while building a reputation as a female raider without match, as likely to bed you as shank you. Official reports from various countries also indicate that over the course of 10 years, Isabela spent a total of 7 months and 21 days in numerous jails in port cities around Thedas.
In 9:30, Isabela is found at the Pearl along with her first mate Casavir. She is arguing with three other men. Soon afterwards a fight breaks out however she manages to defeat the group of men due to her superior dueling skills. Her ship is staying in Denerim to let her men fill up on supplies and other "pleasures". Zevran knows her from before and announces that she is the "Queen of the Eastern Seas" and the "sharpest blade in Llomerryn".
She also remembers Aedan Cousland from their "past ventures" three years ago. Offering her invitation for another "round", Aedan politely (yet embarrassed) turns her down, citing his reason for procuring supplies of his own to combat the Blight. They soon play in a game of cards named Wicked Grace to pass the time, though Aedan manages to catch her cheating or subtle enough to cheat.
After the Blight ends, Isabela is heard to have sailed towards the Free Marches.
Life in KirkwallEdit
Isabela is first encountered at a tavern in Lowtown named the Hanged Man where she engages in a brawl with Lucky and his cohorts. She is no longer a captain, as her ship, along with its crew, were lost at the reefs near Kirkwall during a heavy storm. She worked as a smuggler, transporting lyrium, jewels and criminals, but had fallen out of favor with Castillon, a crime lord tied to the Felicisima Armada. Castillon hired Isabela to supervise a shipment, but she eventually discovered the "cargo" was in fact nearly 200 Blight refugees—humans and elves, including children—that Castillon had taken as slaves. It is never revealed where she intended to deliver these slaves, only that Kirkwall was not her destination. She freed the slaves and, as remuneration, Castillon ordered her to retrieve a valuable relic in order to pay off her debts. It is never revealed to where she released the slaves, though her old contact Hayder mentions that she let the slaves "scurry off into the wilds."
Once she had lost the relic her ship was wrecked in a storm. She lost her ship, crew, and the relic. When Isabela is first encountered, she never reveals she has so far been unsuccessful in finding the relic again and one of Castillon’s men is hounding her for it. Hawke and his companions agree to help Isabela escort her to meet Hayder, an enforcer of Castillon whom she worked with in Antiva. After a failed ambush by Hayder’s men, the group tracks Hayder to the Chantry and kills him. Isabela concludes that as long as she provides Castillon with the relic before he finds her, he will be satisfied.
Confronting the QunariEdit
As a result of the flirtatious banter between Hawke and Isabela, she approaches Hawke in his estate and the two have sex. Afterwards, when Hawke pursues a romance with her, Isabela shows reluctance in bringing love into their relationship. She states that they were merely "rutting" and that her "curiosity is satisfied" and asks if Hawke intended more. He learns more about Isabela and she tells him the circumstances of her past: her mother sold her into marriage to her husband for a goat and some gold coins against her will. She was forced to remain with him until Zevran assassinated him, allowing her to take over the ship and become captain herself. Isabela also reveals that she has only truly loved someone once, a man of unknown name, but she fled after he asked for her hand and broke his heart in the end. Though she seems annoyed at Hawke for questioning her, Isabela walks away with a facial expression of hesitation and fear.
Isabela soon enlists Hawke’s help in retrieving the Qunari relic called the Tome of Koslun from another thief called Wall-Eyed Sam. During the quest, it is revealed that Isabela stole the Tome from the Orlesians, who were attempting to return it to the Qunari. While fleeing a pursuing Qunari dreadnought, both the dreadnought and Isabela’s ship were caught in a storm and shipwrecked; thus explaining the Qunari’s and Isabela’s current predicament. Hawke’s group fights Tevinter mages and some Qunari led by a Sten in the Dark Foundry. Isabela, however, runs away at the start of the battle to chase Wall-Eyed Sam, leaving Hawke and his group to plow through the remaining enemies. After leaving the building, Hawke finds Isabela’s letter on Wall-Eyed Sam’s body which she reveals that she made off with the Tome of Koslun and is planning to leave Kirkwall. However, Isabela returns to deliver the relic to the Qunari, saying that Hawke’s influence was what made her come back. It is at this point the Arishok demands custody of Isabela so the Qunari could exact punishment for her theft, much to her shock and surprise. Hawke, however, refuses to let the Arishok take her and defeats him in a duel.
Despite this, however, Isabela blames Hawke for inspiring her to such foolishness and seemed to regret exposing herself to danger. A tense exchange between the two ended with Isabela leaving, saying "I didn’t do it for them. I did it for you. It was always about you." She spends some time away from Kirkwall, but returns some time later. She expresses her feeling that returning the relic to the Qunari was a foolish decision and partially blames Hawke for getting her in more trouble with Castillon.
Acquiring a new vesselEdit
Three years later, Isabela asks for Hawke’s help again in her plot to lure Castillon into a trap and blackmail him to stop hunting her and give her his ship. Hawke reluctantly allows Isabela to proceed with the deal, earning her a new ship. Afterwards in the Hanged Man, Isabella offers Hawke a position on her new ship, admitting if someone like Hawke was on board her old one, she would likely never have crashed. She then nervously admits she thinks she is falling in love with Hawke and asks him if he feels the same way, to which Hawke reciprocates. Isabela smiles and warmly embraces him, officially solidifying their relationship.
- "Word of the slaughter spread quickly. The Champion’s name became a rallying cry, a reminder that the mighty templars could be defied. He had defended the mages against a brutal injustice, and many lived to tell the tale. The Circles rose up and set the world on fire. More templars arrived in Kirkwall to restore order, but we were already long gone. We vanished into the hills, and circumstance eventually forced us all to leave the Champion’s side. Well… all of us except for Isabela. You still hear the stories, of course. With each telling they grow, even if at the core remains the truth. A new legend had been born."
—Varric Tethras to Cassandra Pentaghast, during his interrogation
During the Kirkwall Rebellion, Isabela sides with Hawke regardless whether siding with the templars or the mages and reaffirms her loyalty to Hawke.
Search for King MaricEdit
Isabela accompanies Varric and King Alistair to Antiva City, where they infiltrate the headquarters of the Antivan Crows. After meeting Prince Claudio Valisti – a former "business partner" of Isabela’s late husband – she warns Alistair to not trust a word Claudio says. She assists in infiltrating Velabanchel, and – along with Varric – holds off the Antivan Crows while Alistair goes after his target.
Isabela captains the ship she and her companions use to escape Velabanchel, later navigating through the Tellari swamps. She is the first to attempt to defend Alistair from an attack from Yavana’s high dragon. While leaving the swamps following their meeting with Yavana in the Silent Grove, Isabela is pierced by an arrow. Claudio Valisti turns out to be the culprit, and kidnaps Alistair in exchange for Isabela and Varric’s lives. She swears to hunt Claudio down and kill him.
After retreating to the Silent Grove, Isabela demands that Yavana save Alistair. The witch replies that it is not her concern, but Varric bargains with her. Yavana places a mysterious enchantment on the pair, healing Isabela’s wound. The two then storms Claudio’s camp. Isabela engages Claudio in a duel. Claudio insists that Isabela was not good enough for her late husband, Luis, and that she is trying to seduce Alistair to become Queen of Ferelden. He also says that she was dragged out of the gutter because of her marriage, and that Luis lavished her with wine and skills, and after bedding him and whispering kind words in his ear for many nights she had him assassinated. Claudio defeats Isabela, and is about the deliver the killing blow when she cuts off his hand, slits his throat and stabs him through the heart.
Infiltrating the Tevinter ImperiumEdit
She accompanies Alistair in his pursuit for Tevinter magister Aurelian Titus as a hired hand and a confidante. They travel to Qarinus and attend a ball, where she meets a person she appears to be familiar with – Lord Devon. Isabela seems to have a long-lasting hatred for him. Devon in turn is surprised that she is still alive. In a conversation "eye-to-eye" he mentions that Isabela owes him and threatens to reveal to Alistair what happened at the Venefication Sea. She intimidates him into silence by drawing her dagger. Finally, Aurelian Titus arrives. Alistair confronts him, but he flees, leaving his minions to fight for him. The last of them occasionally wounds Devon. Isabela knocks Devon’s offender unconscious to the floor, but as he is muttering thanks she stabs Devon in his chest. She tells her companions that he was killed by Titus’s man.
Captured by the QunariEdit
Varric tricks the location of Aurelian’s home on Seheron from a captured cultist, and Isabela orders her crew to sail to the island. She keeps the crew terrified by telling them scary stories about horn-headed fanatics. As they approach Seheron, however, they are attacked by two Qunari dreadnoughts. The trio is captured by the Qunari and moved to a Qunari war camp, Akhaaz. Isabela is kept in a cell separately from Varric and Alistair. She is interrogated by Rasaan, a tamassran who asks Isabela what is the meaning of her name. Isabela reveals that her first captain called her "little beauty" as his idea of a joke. Then Rasaan asks her what happened to him and Isabela answers that she killed him. She also admits that even if she made many mistakes in her life, she doesn’t feel any guilt. When the tamassran asks more questions, Isabela explodes in anger, causing Rasaan to strike her and tell her that mistakes can be corrected before leaving the cell.
Rasaan eventually returns to Isabela’s cell and repeatedly demands Isabela to tell her true name. She threatens Isabela with the qamek, but Isabela refuses still to reveal anything. After Rasaan tries to gently persuade Isabela that she may know what happened to her mother, Isabela begins to open up about her past. She reveals that her mother was a Qunari convert who sold Isabela to Luis because she refused to convert. Eventually one day Isabela was deep in debt to the Felicisima Armada, so she was forced to enter the slave trafficking business in order to pay off her debts. When the Orlesian navy one day cornered their ships in the Venefication Sea, Lord Devon had packed the holds tightly and Isabela failed to outmaneuver the Orlesians which forced them to throw the chained slaves to the ocean in order to escape. Rasaan comforts Isabela though when she still refuses to reveal her name, Rasaan strikes her again and attempts to force her face into the qamek. This would in effect make her viddath-bas rather than viddathari, as conversion to the Qun would be involuntary for Isabela. However, Isabela manages to overpower Rasaan and escapes her cell. She eventually locates the cell where Alistair and Varric are held. She releases them, telling them to escape, while she went to rescue her crew. In the end Isabela finds her crew and told them about the dangers of trying to escape and asks them to choose whether they want to stay or come with her. Her crew decided to come with her.
Before she has a chance to open up the cells, Rasaan appears and she said that the other Qunari thought she’d try to escape but she knew far better. The enraged Rasaan didn’t care anymore to convert Isabela, believing that the solution is only her death. In the fierce battle that ensued, Rasaan was eventually defeated. Isabela then holds a dagger to Rasaan’s throat, ready to make the kill. She then tells her that her birth name was Niashe but it isn’t anymore. She then drives the dagger into the ground deliberately missing Rasaan’s head showing that she had no intention of killing her.
Alistair at the same time was also dueling Sten whom he managed to defeat. Alistair refuses to kill him and instead offering him to work together against Titus, which Sten accepts this time. Isabela along with Alistair, Varric, Sten and her crew set sail once more with her restored pirate ship towards Titus’ stronghold, in Seheron accompanied by two Qunari dreadnoughts.
Fighting a MagisterEdit
Onboard the ship, Isabela again reaffirms her determination to help Alistair with his mission.
Qunari dreadnoughts attack Aurelian Titus’ fortress and Varric infiltrates the building while Isabela and Alistair assault the fortress directly with the Qunari. Prior to this, Sten/the Arishok tells Alistair and Isabela the Qunari version of the myth of King Calenhad the Great, and how he made a deal with a mysterious witch to drink dragon blood, become a Reaver and create Ferelden.
Varric’s attempt to free King Maric from the Magrallen causes everyone to be pulled into the Fade. Isabela is found trapped in a nightmare created by Magister Aurelian Titus in the Fade, where she is a Qunari and no longer remembers her true past. Varric and Maevaris Tilani find her but she doesn’t recognize them as anyone but bassra and attacks them. Eventually Titus finds them and summons demons to kill them all. The trio all escapes and once safe, Varric tries to remind her of who she really is and that this Qunari facade not who she wants to be. Although she initially believes it would be easier to submit to other’s expectations eventually, she is convinced that she does not want to be defined by others; thus making peace with her doubts and trials and also becomes content with her self-perception and dignity as a hero. The trio then head off in search of Alistair. The trio finds Alistair with the real Maric in the Fade and together convinces King Maric to aid them in killing Aurelian Titus. Isabela rejoins Alistair and Varric to attack Titus and distract him long enough to allow Maevaris and Maric to kill him. After escaping the Fade she is present when Alistair shatters the Magrallen, killing Maric. Afterwards she asks Varric if Alistair had made the right decision, to which he replied he didn’t know.
Afterwards, Isabela leaves her ship for destinations unknown.
War against the Elder OneEdit
Isabela later reaches an agreement with the Inquisition serving as one of their field agents on a number of raids across Ferelden and Orlais.
Maxwell Trevelyan asks Varric Tethras about Isabela’s fate. He states that she went back to the Raiders of the Waking Sea and is calling herself an admiral. Varric however admits he isn’t sure if she actually has a position of authority within the Raiders or if it’s just another self-styled title. Later upon asking Hawke why he is alone, he states that Isabela and him never really believed in being tied down and so when he had to go into hiding she understood. Hawke however plans to reunite with her someday. After Hawke survives his encounter with the Nightmare demon, Varric comments that Isabela will follow him to Weisshaupt whether Hawke likes it or not.
List of characters Isabela killedEdit
This list shows the victims Isabela has killed:
- Luis (Caused) –
- Hayder –
- Wall-Eyed Sam –
- Prince Claudio Valisti –
- Lord Devon –
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Sailing is like sex: Do it wrong, and it’ll make you sick. But if you do it right, there’s no feeling in the world like it."
Isabela is a woman of pleasures – her own – and her life revolves around obtaining those pleasures. She values fun, freedom and getting ahead; she responds well to sarcasm. Jokes, flirting and solving problems in particularly clever and devious ways delights her. Isabela is cheeky with a cutting wit and sharp tongue, being blunt and sarcastic, preferring to be direct about what she means rather than dance around a topic. When she’s drunk, this trait is accentuated. She’ll hang over the backs of people’s chairs and slur rumors at them (sometimes lies, depending on their mood), enjoying the way they get worked up. Isabela a very selfish person, generally putting herself first, though these are certain instances that demand a level of virtuousness.
She is shown to be a hedonist, both cunning and deceptive, and is capable of almost cheating anyone out of their last coin. Only her closest friends had any hope of meeting the "real" Isabela hiding beneath the surface. While she enjoys her freedom and is hesitant at pursuing a serious romance, the indelible charm and true care of Garrett Hawke eventually turns Isabela into a loving and caring woman.
Another trait is her promiscuity and adoration of taverns. She especially loves dark corners, where she might have a quick risqué scene with one of the patrons. Wicked Grace and Diamond Back are her favorite card games, and she is adept at turning the tide in her favor. She’s a whirlwind of laughter and flashing eyes, sensuousness and confidence. Aside from the obvious, she doesn’t mind being able to stretch her muscles with a quick fight.
As captain of the first Siren’s Call, Isabela is a figure of hard authority. She commands respect with her seemingly infinite knowledge of the ocean and the ship, leading her crew through tough situations with unflinching courage and determination. Though she will do much for coin, Isabela is more careful about what jobs she picks up and for whom.
Like most people of Rivain, Isabela has dark skin with amber eyes and dark hair. She’s about as tall as the average woman and has a curvy figure with a spectacularly large bust. She feels no shame about showing off her assets with low-cut, revealing clothes.
- She handily beaten three men in a bar brawl twice.
- Isabela remembers her sexual encounter with Aedan Cousland.
- When on a journey into the Deep Roads, Isabela comments nervously on how she "really doesn’t like tight spaces", implying that she is claustrophobic.
- Upon meeting King Alistair in Viscount’s Keep, Alistair will say that Isabela looks different, to which she responds "Don’t we all."
- When imagining a single not scent for Isabela, she is likened to "spice trade, chocolate mousse and unearthed."
- She appears to have been a captain for 10 years, as Isabela indicates she has known some of her crew almost that long.
- Isabela states her mother posed as a Rivaini Seer in order to con people into buying mystical charms such as the Rivaini Fertility Talisman.