- "In the cloister, away from the fuss and the flurry of the cities, I found peace. And in that stillness, I could hear the Maker."
- ―Leliana, during her prayers
Leliana, known under her pseudonym "Sister Nightingale", is an Orlesian bard, Lay Sister of the Andrastian Chantry, spymaster, Left Hand to Divine Justinia V, and eventually rose to be Justinia's successor Divine Victoria.
Growing up during most of her adult life in Orlais, Leliana was trained as a bard under Marjolaine, a highly skilled player of the Grand Game. For many years, she was Marjolaine’s lover and instrument in the Game. While she was devoted and affectionate to Marjolaine, the reverse was not true as Marjolaine ultimately betrayed Leliana by making it seem as if she was selling government secrets to other countries, branding her as a traitor. She almost succeeded in killing her, but Leliana survived the encounter thanks to Revered Mother Dorothea’s interference. Following Marjolaine’s deception, Leliana sought refuge in the Lothering cloister in Ferelden and discarded her past life. Inspired by Dorothea, she dedicated herself to the Chantry and became affirmed as a lay sister, where she was expected to spend her time in a simple life of meditation and prayer to the Maker, asking for forgiveness for her past deeds.
During the Fifth Blight, after receiving what she believed to be a vision from the Maker, Leliana chose to leave her sanctuary in Lothering in favor of joining Aedan Cousland on his quest to defeat the darkspawn. Throughout the course of their journey, the two fell in love and began a romantic relationship. Shortly after ending the Blight, Leliana married Aedan and eventually gave birth to their son Adrien.
Three years later, Leliana received a summons from her old friend Dorothea—now known as Divine Justinia V—and returned to Orlais to become the Left Hand of the Divine and oversaw Justinia's spy network, where she assumes the alias "Sister Nightingale" to conceal her true identity. As the Divine’s left hand, she handles the Chantry’s dirty work from behind the scenes throughout Thedas and is highly regarded as one of its best agents. However, during a peace summit between mages and templars, Divine Justinia was killed in an explosion that destroyed the Temple of Sacred Ashes and caused the Breach. It was shortly after the Divine's death that Leliana became a founding member of the reformed Inquisition in order to defeat Corypheus and serves as both its spymaster and an advisor to Inquisitor Maxwell Trevelyan.
Two months following the end of the War against the Elder One, the College of Clerics chose Leliana as the late Divine Justinia's successor. She ascended to the Sunburst Throne under the name of Divine Victoria. Afterwards, Leliana began overseeing the birth of a new Chantry, one that she hopes will unite all the peoples of Thedas.
Leliana was born on the twenty-seventh day of Drakonis in 9:06 Dragon in Orlais, and though she is culturally Orlesian, her mother was from Ferelden and so she considers herself as such. Her mother, Oisine, was a servant of Lady Cecilie Vasseur, an Orlesian noblewoman. One of Leliana’s earliest memories is smelling the garden and recalling standing there with her mother amidst the scents of sweet orange, lavender and especially the scent of her mother’s gray linen dress. Though Leliana is uncertain if this powerful memory is real or not, she cherishes the image of her Fereldan mother.
Following the Fereldan victory in the rebellion, Leliana’s mother followed Lady Cecilie back to Orlais. Cecilie raised Leliana after her mother’s death (though did not likely legally adopt her) shortly after her fourth birthday, and in her care Leliana learned much about the royal court and Orlesian culture.
Oisine’s death cast a pall over young Leliana’s normally sunny disposition, however, and to try and cheer the girl her new guardian, Lady Cecilie, gave her whatever she asked for. Leliana only ever wanted books. As a result, she quickly developed an obsessive passion for Orlesian and Fereldan stories, ballads and songs, as well as any tales she could learn from Cecilie’s elven servants. Tutors were soon called by Lady Cecilie to foster Leliana’s passion. Leliana often practiced her dancing on the stone terrace of Cecilie’s villa on the Waking Sea, as well.
At age 16, Leliana made her first trip to Val Royeaux to attend a soiree with Lady Cecilie. There she met and was impressed by Marjolaine, a wealthy widow and patroness of the arts. Indeed, Marjolaine began calling upon the aging Lady Cecilie shortly after the soiree, who often left Leliana to entertain the dazzling visitor. Leliana was thrilled by Marjolaine’s worldliness and daring, and the two became close friends. On a hunting trip, Marjolaine gave Leliana her first bow. In teaching her how to use it during that trip, Leliana accidentally wounded a hart that a group of hunters were tracking. Too upset to end its suffering, Leliana watched in amazement as Marjolaine efficiently killed the animal.
That same summer, Leliana visited Marjolaine at her Val Royeaux estate and the widow began to teach her the way of the bard: manipulation, subterfuge and combat. Always her teaching was subtle and disguised, easily assumed to be merely a lady’s idle amusements. Ultimately, the aging Lady Cecilie passed away. In time, Leliana fell in love with Marjolaine and ran errands for her, becoming a merciless killer and thief.
- Main article: Leliana's Song
In Marjolaine’s company, Leliana met Tug and Sketch, and traveled with the pair across Thedas. Leliana’s enjoyment of the freedom of these days dovetailed Marjolaine’s increasing fear of her student’s growing skill and potential to strike at her.In 9:28 Dragon, Marjolaine and Leliana, along with Tug and Sketch, arrive on a secret mission to Denerim. Marjolaine gives Leliana different assignments to carry out, which she completes with ease and signals Marjolaine to let her know that her tasks were complete. Afterwards, Marjolaine informs Leliana that she had another assignment: to plant incriminating documents at the Arl of Denerim’s Estate. Leliana infiltrates the estate along with Tug and Sketch, witnesses Marjolaine flirt with Commander Harwen Raleigh, and plants the documents in the master’s bedroom. Her curiosity got the better of her, however, and upon taking a closer look at the documents, discovered that they bear the seals of the Orlesian military.
Upon returning to their hideout, Leliana confronts Marjolaine about this apparent treason and her mentor agrees to go back to the estate and retrieve the documents. The alarm was raised, however and Leliana is forced to fight her way out. Upon escaping, Marjolaine took advantage of her lover’s infatuation and betrayed Leliana and her companions, stabbing her lover and leaving them to the mercy of Raleigh’s guards and had the trio framed, arrested and abused.Utterly broken, Leliana almost gives in to despair when an unseen benefactor provides her with the means to escape from her cell. She eventually finds and freed Sketch but discovers that Tug had been tortured to death; another prisoner they free is a Fereldan named Silas Corthwaite, who decides to accompany them to seek revenge against Raleigh.
After escaping, the band is brought to Lothering by Leliana’s benefactor, who reveals herself as an Orlesian Revered Mother named Dorothea and uncovered the full extent of Marjolaine’s treachery: Dorothea explains that Marjolaine’s documents were stolen from her and asks Leliana to retrieve them. Leliana and her companions pursue Marjolaine and Raleigh and finally corner them at the cost. After neutralizing Raleigh, Leliana once again confronts Marjolaine, but does not kill her. Marked as a traitor, Leliana flees Orlais and returns the documents to Dorothea. Upon securing a new, if uncertain life, Leliana found purpose in the Chantry and Dorothea’s calm advice. In memory of Tug, who perished during their arrest, Leliana toasts his memory every year with Antivan plum brandy, pouring some out as well and intoning "Atrast tunsha, salroka." Her relationship with Sketch remains rocky due to Leliana’s embellishment of the past, though she seeks his aid to translate messages let by Tug in dwarven.
Ultimately, Leliana crosses the border into Ferelden and eventually ending up in the village of Lothering. To atone for her sins and to hide from Marjolaine, Leliana joins the Chantry there as a lay sister, becoming intensely religious. There, her confession of a vision from the Maker, and discovery of an impossible white rose on a dead bush in Lothering, both made her an outcast and spurred Leliana’s passion to aid Lord Aedan Cousland in thwarting the Fifth Blight. None could shake her determination to stop this evil and bring hope to the world.
- Main article: Lothering
Leliana first encounters Aedan Cousland at the Dane’s Refuge, a tavern in Lothering. When he is set upon by soldiers loyal to Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir, Leliana assists him in the skirmish. When the combat is over, she explains her interest in joining his party and mentions her vision. Despite the Chantry’s claim that the Maker does not communicate directly with individuals, Leliana is firm in her belief. This causes Alistair to suspect she is mentally unstable, while Morrigan also doubted her sanity. To her great delight, Leliana is accepted into the Warden’s party and sets out with them from Lothering, having previously obtained permission from her Revered Mother to do so.Over the course of the journey, Leliana grew close to Aedan and developed feelings for him. She confesses her love for him and the two began a romantic relationship.
- Main article: Urn of Sacred Ashes
During the quest to recover the fabled Urn of Sacred Ashes of Andraste, the Guardian of the Ashes states that the Maker only ever spoke to one mortal: Andraste, and accuses Leliana of inventing her vision. He proposes that she fabricated the tale for attention as she feared her life would become dull in the Chantry when compared to the thrill of a bard’s life. Affronted, Leliana makes a flustered denial of the Guardian’s accusation.
Following much discussion with Aedan of her life as a bard, Marjolaine sends assassins to murder Leliana. Upon defeat, the assassins reveal that Marjolaine is in Denerim. Leliana and the Warden thus set out to find her former mentor. After breaking into her house and killing her guards, Leliana confronts Marjolaine. Knowing that if she was spared, Marjolaine would continue to pursue her for the rest of her days, Leliana kills her old lover, encouraged by Aedan to do so.
Post-BlightLeliana is later present at the coronation of King Alistair and Queen Anora as the new monarchs of Ferelden following the death of the archdemon Urthemiel and the end of the Blight.
Soon afterwards, Leliana accepted Aedan’s marriage proposal after learning she was pregnant. In preparation for the wedding, Aedan accompanied Leliana to the Valence Chantry in Orlais, where she introduced him to her old friend Dorothea. Six months later, the official wedding ceremony took place in Valence with many of their friends in attendance, including King Alistair. For their honeymoon, they spent three weeks in the city of Jader.
- Main article: Amaranthine Conflict
I hope you are well. Alas, I am unable to come to the keep as I promised. I am so sorry, but the Grand Cleric herself wishes to speak with me. I will tell you all about it once I have had my audience.
Is it true the darkspawn have not retreated? No matter, I'm sure you have it under control. Wish I could be there, killing darkspawn with you. Perhaps you could save some for me?
(All right, that was a joke. Do not spare them. That would be sillly.)
You are always in my thoughts.
P.S., Maybe you could consider growing some roses around your keep? That would make it so much prettier, don't you think?
Following the conclusion of the Amaranthine Conflict, some rumors state that Aedan was spotted in Denerim with his love and never again returned to Vigil’s Keep.
At some point afterwards, Leliana gave birth to her son Adrien.Divine Justinia V, leader of the Chantry. Returning to Val Royeaux, Leliana agreed to become Justinia’s Left Hand and spymaster. Leliana assumed mastery over a coterie of her own agents, and once again reinvented herself and resumed the role of bard that Marjolaine trained her for. In this role, Leliana investigated rumors of a mage rebellion in Kirkwall and suspicions of Qunari activity at Chateau Haine, as well as serving Justinia’s will in attempting to quell the Mage-Templar War and a brewing elven uprising.
To this day, even despite the love of her mother Oisine, the nurturing presence of Lady Cecilie and the salvation of Dorothea, Leliana understands that Marjolaine shaped her deeply, in both speech and action. As with Marjolaine, Leliana’s enemies continue to move against her, seeking out weaknesses to exploit.The Divine soon dispatches Leliana to Kirkwall under the pseudonym of "Sister Nightingale", in order to assess whether an Exalted March against the city would be necessary to suppress the conflict between templars and mages in the city. While tracking down a shadowy apostate group known as "Resolutionists", she encounters Garrett Hawke and Prince Sebastian Vael in the Viscount’s Keep, and asks them to convince Grand Cleric Elthina to flee Kirkwall and seek shelter in the Grand Cathedral of Val Royeaux at the Divine’s invitation.
She later attends a party at Chateau Haine as a guest of Duke Propser de Montfort. During the event, she encounters Tallis, an elven Qunari agent of the Ben-Hassrath and former associate of Leliana’s.
Following Cassandra Pentaghast’s interrogation of Varric Tethras in 9:40, she rendezvoused with the Seeker outside the Hawke Estate. After confirming that Cassandra was unable to locate Hawke, the two agree to return to their other plan.
Leliana continued to serve Divine Justinia V in seeking a solution to the ongoing conflict following the Kirkwall Rebellion. She encounters Knight-Captain Evangeline de Brassard at the ball held for the Divine and is also present when Rhys, Wynne, Pharamond and Adrien are granted an audience with Justinia upon their return from the Adamant Fortress. She physically restrains Lord Seeker Lambert van Reeves, preventing him from attacking Rhys.
Leliana participates in the raid on the White Spire in order to free the captured mages, and it is her presence that reveals to Lord Seeker Lambert that Divine Justinia is conspiring against the Templar Order.
She later sings at the funeral of Wynne.
Leliana, in the capacity of the Divine’s representative, meets with Empress Celene Valmont I at the University of Orlais to discuss the continued mage-templar tensions. Although she attempts to maintain her anonymity, Celene reveals her knowledge of both Leliana and Justinia’s identities and past exploits. The empress goes on to demand that the Divine make an official statement on the mage-templar conflict within three weeks, or she will be unable to restrain the overeager nobles at her court from interfering. Leliana agrees to take this proposal to Justinia.
Leliana later delivers to Celene the Divine’s price for helping to quell the conflict between mages and templars: the empress must end the elven revolt in Halamshiral. By doing so Celene would demonstrate the same control over her own affairs that she had demanded of the Divine. Given her adventures alongside elves in the past, Leliana regrets the repressive tactics employed against the elven population, but bids Celene good luck before leaving.
Re-establishing the InquisitionLeliana joins the Inquisition as its spymaster, and leads the clandestine division responsible for espionage and assassination. She provides an effective alternative when diplomacy or blunt force fail, collecting information, dispatching agents and scouts, and signing her letters with an ominous nightingale sigil that leaves no question of its author. She brings her old friend, the Antivan noblewoman Lady Josephine Montilyet, into the Inquisition.
Grieving for the loss of her dear friend, Divine Justinia V, Leliana begins to struggle with a crisis of faith following the tragedy of the Breach. As the war council assembles, Cassandra and Leliana suggest approaching the rebel mages for help with the Breach. Cullen, however, disagrees and suggests recruiting the templars instead, fearing that pouring too much magic into Maxwell Trevelyan’s mark may destroy them all. When asked why she’s so invested in the rebel mages, Leliana reveals she supported the Divine’s plan to use the Inquisition to challenge the tenets of the Chantry so that the mages would be treated more fairly. She believes that mages deserve their freedom, in inspiring good rather than dictating it, redemption of past sins, and in radical reform for the Chantry to stamp out inequality for all races.
In Hushed Whispers
In an attempt to recruit the rebel mages, Leliana and her group are sent alongside Dorian Pavus to eliminate a group of Venatori and their leader, Magister Gereon Alexius, at Redcliffe Castle where the mages have made their base of operations under the guise of the Herald negotiating with Alexius.
However, when Maxwell and Dorian are accidentally sent one year into the future, where the former’s absence had allowed the Elder One to conquer southern Thedas, Leliana is captured and tortured for information on how Maxwell received the mark. By 9:42 Dragon, she has also been subjected to experiments on Blight sickness and Blight resistance, presumably in order to cure Alexius’s son, Felix. As Maxwell finds her in the torture room, Leliana takes advantage of her interrogator’s distraction to snap his neck with her legs. These experiments leave her traumatized and cold towards Dorian and Maxwell. When the party confronts Alexius, Leliana murders Felix and helps to delay approaching Venatori and demon reinforcements to buy Maxwell and Dorian time to get through the time rift and stop this future from occurring. Just as Dorian manages to reopen the rift, Leliana is overpowered by her attackers and killed.
Upon returning to 9:41, when he tells Leliana of her future self’s sacrifice, she states that she would do so again.
Relocating to Skyhold
When Maxwell takes control of the fortress of Skyhold, Leliana will spend her free time in the rookery, making it a new home. Leliana is more hardened and is willing to respond to betrayal with vicious reprisal. After the attack on Haven, she also berates herself for the sentimentality she has for her agents, believing they lost Haven because she pulled her agents back when her first lookouts went missing. Maxwell discourages her sentiment, insisting that she only protected her scouts. At any rate, she apologizes for letting her emotions get the better of her during their first conversation.
In private, Leliana comments on Aedan fondly, stating that he is "always in her thoughts" and is "her love". She adds that once the Inquisition is over, she plans to join her Warden husband "for good this time" as well as mentioning that with Aedan at her side, anything was possible.
Grand Masquerade BallLeliana, along with Josephine and Cullen, accompanies the Inquisitor to the Winter Palace of Halamshiral during the peace talks between Empress Celene Valmont I and Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons. There she advises Maxwell to search for the identity of Celene’s arcane advisor, who is revealed to be her former comrade Morrigan.
After a spirit posing as Divine Justinia aids the Inquisitor when he goes back to the Fade to recover his missing memories, the spirit aids him in finding the truth of how he obtained the mark on his hand and also escaping the Fade once again from the Nightmare demon that serves Corypheus. The spirit once again sacrifices itself to weaken the Nightmare but not before asking Maxwell to relay a message to Leliana: "I’m sorry. I failed you, too." After Leliana inquiries about the spirit and has its message relayed to her, she responds with a solemn "oh" before composing herself and focusing on her duties. In a later conversation, she tries to make sense of Justinia’s message and the events that led to her death. She believes that it wasn’t Justinia who failed her, but she who failed Justinia.
Following the siege of Adamant, Leliana fears that her love may be vulnerable to Corypheus’ sway and wants to alert him, as well as hear from him in his own mission: traveling deep into the west, beyond the power of the Blight, to find a cure for the Calling and return to her. The mission takes several hours and culminates in a letter from Aedan to Maxwell, with a private note for Leliana enclosed. His letter expresses his love and concern for her, noting in particular that in addition to her wit and skill Leliana’s greatest strength is her faith. The letter begs him to help her find the light if she is faltering. Receiving this note, Leliana is comforted to know that he "is still out there, fighting to be with [her]." Likewise, knowing he misses her and knowing what she has lost serves to ease Leliana’s mind after the tragedy of the Breach and losing Justinia V.
Leliana later receives a posthumous letter from Justinia, directing her to the Chantry in Valence. She notes that Aedan accompanied her there to meet Dorothea before her ascension to Divine, and so she asks Maxwell to accompany her in case of potential trouble. Arriving at the Chantry, they are greeted by Sister Natalie. As the Inquisitor finds three hidden mechanisms that unveil a hidden box, Leliana grows suspicious of Natalie, who makes a slip of the tongue, prompting Leliana to put a knife to her throat. She deduces that Natalie was sent by Grand Cleric Victoire, who had secretly disparaged Justinia and is anti-Inquisition, to see what secret Justinia kept hidden. Maxwell, however, intervenes and convinces Leliana to spare Natalie’s life. Leliana then opens the box, only to find it empty, with an inscription reading, "The Left Hand should lay down her burden." Justinia was releasing her from her service because she feared she was using Leliana.
At some point, it is revealed that Leliana’s pet nug Schmooples appears to have died in the intervening years, and her new pet nugs Schmooples II and Boulette are being cared for by one of her agents, Sparrow. According to a note in Leliana’s Skyhold rookery, they also helped to repel an attempt by a rival at her home, intended to discover the Nightingale’s secrets.
- See also: Magekiller
Sometime after Maxwell first travels to the Hissing Wastes, Leliana sends Dorian Pavus and the Bull’s Chargers mercenary company as reinforcements to Marius and Tessa Forsythia in destroying a Venatori encampment and freeing its slaves in that area. When they return to Caer Bronach, Leliana personally greets them with a new assignment from the Inquisitor. Unfortunately, by the time they arrive at Skyhold, Maxwell and his army have already departed for the Arbor Wilds.
Divine of the Andrastian Chantry
- "I have been many things - bard, sister, Left Hand - and always because someone needed something from me. I realise now I am all of these things, and yet, not defined by any one. I am now Divine Victoria, but to my friends - to you - I will always be just Leliana."
ElectionOne month after the defeat of Corypheus, Leliana was chosen by the College of Clerics in 9:42 to succeed Justinia as the new Divine, taking the name of Victoria. At age 36, Leliana is the second youngest Divine in history and the third to be elected outside the traditional Chantry hierarchy. This was an unprecedented bestowment: the first was Galatea, a commoner who reigned during the late Glory Age 659 years earlier; the second was Amara III in 5:71 Exalted, sister to the Orlesian Emperor Alphonse Valmont who never attained the rank of Revered Mother.
After grooming Charter, Rector, and Lace Harding as her successors, Leliana stepped down from her role as the Inquisition's spymaster in favor of her most trusted agents and moved to her official apartments in the Grand Cathedral to prepare for her coronation.
Views on love
It has been speculated that Leliana continued her relationship with Aedan, even after being elected Divine. Rumors of their romance soon became a subject for courtly songs. Leliana officially confirms that she and her husband are still together, as he was frequently seen at her side. When asked, she comments that they make time to meet up as much as possible. While some find their openly acknowledged relationship "inappropriate," Leliana maintains that love finds a way, and mentioned that Andraste herself served the Maker while wed to a mortal spouse.
Eventually, Divine Victoria decreed that all Chantry personnel, from initiate to Divine, would be allowed to engage in romantic relationships and, if desired, to marry. In time, many in the Chantry came to accept the Divine’s decree that "Love is the Maker’s best gift and is infinite" despite opposition.
Male and non-human clergies
In 9:45, Leliana institutes further reforms by removing restrictions surrounding Chantry priesthood, allowing men and women of all races to be initiated and ordained. This decree was followed swiftly by her decision to return the Canticle of Shartan to the canonical chant, a move that divided Andrastians deeply.
Being controversial from the start, one of Leliana's controversial acts as Divine Victoria was officially disbanding the Circle of Magi and allows mages to rule their own lives, admitting non-humans into the Chantry priesthood, allying with the Inquisition and adhering to the principle of service to others. Several new sects arose, resisting her reforms and declaring her rule a threat to the faith. Responding to the crisis, Leliana met with their leaders, encouraging unity. Miraculously her words take root, and – for now – the Chantry remained strong.
A rebellion to renounce her and return the Chantry to its former state soon arose, beginning first in Orlais, then spreading to other parts of Thedas. Divine Victoria was resolute, holding her ground even after several unsuccessful attempts on her life. Seemingly unconcerned with the assassination attempts, she held up the hostility leveled against her as proof that she was on the right path.
Two years later in 9:44, Leliana sits on the Exalted Council representing the Chantry. Though she prefers to be called Leliana by her friends, Josephine and Cullen can’t help but address her in a formal manner such as "Your Holiness" – much to Leliana’s chagrin. Mother Giselle notes that she believes Leliana has won many allies to her cause through her intelligence and her faith.
She privately converses with Maxwell as they tour the Winter Palace–during which she tells him that she can no longer appreciate its majestic beauty knowing that it was built from the suffering of the downtrodden. Lastly, Leliana discusses the fate of the Inquisition. Pointing out the fear and ire the Inquisition’s influence has drawn, Leliana advises that the Inquisition should lay down their arms and find new ways to work for the good of Thedas without the use of soldiers and spies. Regardless of what the Inquisitor decides, she tells him that she will be honored to stand beside him. Leliana and her agents such as Charter and Lace Harding continue to support the Inquisition, and though Solas continues to elude her, Leliana relays to Maxwell that she has been receiving reports of Sentinel elves being active in the Tirishan and was the first to notify the Inquisitor of a dead Qunari warrior in the Winter Palace, implicating a Qunari conspiracy and handles the removal of gaatlok barrels meant to assassinate the leaders of southern Thedas.
After dealing with the Exalted Council and determining the Inquisition's fate, Leliana devotes herself fully to the Sunburst Throne, and her dream of reshaping the Chantry.
List of characters Leliana killed
This list shows the victims Leliana has killed:
- Jovi Merice –
- Commander Harwen Raleigh –
- Marjolaine –
- Venatori Interrogator (alternative timeline) –
- Felix Alexius (alternative timeline) –
Personality and traits
- "Sometimes it takes another to show us the truths we hide from ourselves."
She is described as cheerful, sassy and charming, but also flighty and loves making up stories about things and people. However, she has flights of fancy and is hard to take seriously. Sometimes she is a little too whimsical for her own good.
Leliana is highly romantic—especially during her relationship with Aedan Cousland. Despite his vindictive expression and her shady past, the two enjoyed each other’s company and became very close. As the Blight developed, her friendship towards him grew into genuine care and affection, eventually leading her developing romantic feelings for him. Whenever Aedan tries to make her happy, she blushes and is very comfortable around him. After dealing with Marjolaine in Denerim, Leliana finally confessed her love to Aedan and the two had sex for the first time. Leliana loves Aedan very much and wishes to spend her life with him. She didn’t make much of an attempt to hide her feelings, however, as she frequently showed her jealousy when other women flirted with Aedan.
After marrying Aedan, Leliana has an unshakable faith in him. Upon becoming a mother, she raised Adrien on her own due to Aedan being away on his Grey Warden missions. Despite that, Leliana has a very close relationship with her son as she is shown to be gentle and nurturing, yet has seemingly gained a stricter side. However, she is not above joining in his fun, such as pulling pranks with him and demonstrates how proud she is of her son but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t get angry at Adrien at times. In spite of all that, Leliana is known to be fiercely protective of her family, as seen how quickly she is enraged whenever her enemies attempted to abduct or physically harm Adrien.
When Divine Justinia V was killed during the Breach, Leliana was deeply devastated and hardened to the point where she will kill anyone she believes guilty of betrayal and at times questioned herself when she shows weakness as well as often remarking on how killing can be a necessity when dealing with those who oppose the Inquisition and expresses doubt at the Maker’s plan. After arriving at Skyhold, Leliana blames herself for the people who died at Haven and believes if she didn’t pull her agents back, they might have had more time to work against Corypheus and perhaps save Haven. Once more, Leliana attempted to kill Sister Natalie, but spared her life and releases her upon the intervention of Inquisitor Maxwell Trevelyan. Her personality eventually softens again and is thankful to her friends for helping her see what was right, admitting that she feels reborn and realizes she is more than what Justinia made her.
Appointments and titles held
Commonly known as "Sister Nightingale" to most, Leliana was given many titles over the years, including, but not limited to:
- Her Perfection, Divine Victoria
- Most Holy
- Left Hand of the Divine
- Co-founder/Seneschal of the Inquisition
- Chantry Lay Sister
The name Leliana (which apparently has no meaning) is the name Eliana, which means "God has answered."
Leliana has pale skin, blue eyes, red hair and a curved feminine figure. In her youth, she wore her long hair tied in a ponytail. When she became a bard, she cuts her hair and keeps it at approximately chin-length and does experiment with a small braid to keep it from her eyes from that point onward. As Leliana grew into a young woman, she is noted to have become very attractive.
During the Blight, Leliana wore leather armor with boots that laced up to her knees.
When the Inquisition was reformed, Leliana had changed her outfit to one that marked her as the Left Hand of the Divine: a light chainmail dress with leather shoulders and a leather mandarin collar that had the Eye of the Divine stamped into it and peeked through the hooded cowl she so often kept up, only putting it down when she is in the closest of company. By the time of her coronation as Divine Victoria, Leliana is now seen wearing the official white ceremonial robes with red sashes wrapped around her, brown gloves and a glistening headdress with golden plates bearing Andrastian flames on the center. Leliana’s hair also increased slightly in volume and grows past her shoulders.
Skills and abilities
- "You’re better than Marjolaine said. The bards of Orlais have earned their reputation."
—Commander Raleigh to Leliana
In combat, Leliana is renowned for her superior speed, dexterity, agility, and lightning reflexes. Marjolaine noted she could easily dispatch multiple soldiers without even breaking a sweat. Leliana can quickly take notice of an enemy’s vulnerability to seize the advantage.
Appearances in other media
- (about ‘The Game’) "The only way out of this game is to kill or be killed."
- "Do you want to know a secret? This tale of foolish people long ago… I know what happened, and what is true… but I don’t know how it should end. Let me tell it one more time, and perhaps together, we will see."
- (about Marjolaine) "Marjolaine commanded fear, respect, and a high price. She was the Orlesian aristocracy’s answer when the next step in a rivalry was to end it. And she was everything I wanted to be. She never spoke of herself, never gave hints of who she was away from the game, but she always seemed to know how to captivate us. She was a mentor, not a leader. She suggested, and others grew wealthy in her shadow."
- (about Sketch) "I met Sketch in Val Royeaux, but he had spent so much of his life hiding among immigrants and smugglers he lacked the connection, resentment, and even accent of other city elves. His primary concerns were persecution as a mage, not an elf. He was not the bardic type, but I suppose the game was more forgiving than the templars."
- (about Tug) "Tug was a dwarf with few words for strangers, and choice words for friends. He was a strange fit in Orlais, but he never offered a reason for why he left his home. I had accepted his company and friendship knowing he would share what he wanted in his own good time."
- (about Silas) "Silas Corthwaite was an odd one. He eagerly fell back into the role of soldier. At the time I assumed he wanted revenge. I would come to see that he was trying to be the example that Raleigh had spoiled. I’m not sure Silas even realized he was doing it. Eventually I would feel a sad kinship—Marjolaine had offended my profession in a similar way. Silas had been stripped of everything, so he had nothing personal to show his nature. But there was something about the way he looked at the trappings of the Chantry, especially the candles. He was a stranger there, like me, but as a Fereldan, he was not so far from home. It was important that everything be “just right,” not because he believed, but because someone believed. I found that charming."
- "Do you want to know a secret? That moment, I keep, because even now, I don’t know what ending serves best. But being able to choose, that is the truth of this story. The rest, it changes with the audience. All things change… when they find purpose."
- "I tried to be merciful!"
- (to Alistair) "Dying while in the company of a lovely seductress… tell me that isn’t a good death."
- (about her reflection during the Gauntlet) "Did you see the cruelty on my… on her face? Is that really what I am?"
- (about Marjolaine) "She was a worldly woman and there was so much she knew and was willing to share with me. I would have done anything for her, once. […] She used to be different. Happier, I think. She loved music… and had a weakness for sugary cakes. Maybe she was always lying about who she was, or maybe she changed over the years."
- "I love stories far too much to keep them to myself. Everyone should benefit from them, I think."
- "Oh, I think I could talk about shoes all day…"
- (to Aedan) "I have never regretted leaving Orlais. I do not regret any of the pain, the anger, the loneliness… because it brought me to you. And I… love you. It’s so wonderful to say that to someone again."
- "There were many lovely young initiates in the Lothering cloister – all of them chaste and virtuous. Ah, it added to their mystique."
- (when confronted with the floor puzzle) "Ooh, this looks fun! I’ll bet we’ll have to work together, join hands, and sing a happy song to get across."
- "Look at what that woman’s wearing! Is she drunk or does she just have bad taste?"
- "[Chuckles.] Oh look, my bruises form a pretty pattern!"
- (to Aedan, bidding farewell before the final battle) "Whatever happens, I… I will always treasure the time we shared. No darkspawn, no archdemon, will ever take that from me. You are my Grey Warden, and our savior. Win this war for us, my love, and… come home."
- "So here we are. The conquering hero has won the day, and now he takes his bow and exits the stage. A fine ending."
- (to Hawke) "The Divine sent me to investigate the possibility of a rebellion here in Kirkwall. I have… some experience in unconventional situations."
- (about Aedan) "He is… dear to my heart."
- (about the Resolutionists) "They are an offshoot of a fraternity within the Circle of Magi. There have always been factions that support freedom from the Chantry and the abolition of the Circle. We have… tolerated them. But the Resolutionists have become violent. They are likely behind the unrest here."
- "The whole world is watching Kirkwall. If it falls to magic, none of us are safe."
- (to Sebastian) "Tell Elthina to leave. There is refuge for her at the Grand Cathedral in Orlais. She will not be safe here."
- (to Tallis) "You look stunning this evening. Your hair is darling. Did you do it yourself?"
- "You meet all sorts of people in Orlais. It keeps life exciting."
- (to Cassandra Pentaghast, noting the disappearances of Aedan and Hawke) "It is no coincidence."
- "The elves are the children of the Maker, just as we are, and just as deserving of His grace."
- "I have… been comrades-in-arms with elves. I would not see them harmed."
- "Blessed are the peacekeepers, the champions of the just. Blessed are the righteous, the lights in the shadow. In their blood, the Maker’s will is written. Is that what you want from us? Blood? To die so that Your will is done? Is death Your only blessing?"
- "I’ve known mages. Some of them were better people than me. And yet I’m free and they’re not. It’s not right."
- (about Aedan) "He is always in my thoughts, even when we’re far apart. My love is on a quest of his own. When the Inquisition has no further need of me, I will join him. For good, this time. I have lost enough. I will not lose him as well."
- "The Chantry has committed many injustices. If we’re going to change it, why not change the whole thing?"
- (about Kieran) "He saved us, did you know? I would have lost my love without Morrigan’s child. I may never know her intentions, but I will always be grateful."
- "The Chantry dictated where it should have inspired. It spoke of judgment instead of acceptance. It should encourage the good in everyone, rather than rebuke us for our sins. No one should be turned away from our doors. No one is without worth. Whoever you are, whatever your mistakes, you are loved. Unconditionally. ‘In your heart shall burn an unquenchable flame.’"
- (after becoming Divine) "I’ve been many things—bard, sister, left hand—and always because someone needed something from me. But I realize now that I am all these things, and yet, not defined by any one. I am now Divine Victoria, but to my friends—to you—I will always be just Leliana."
- (to Maxwell) "Many are frightened of the Inquisition’s power, but I will do all I can to allay their fears. […] Explore the grounds. Let yourself be seen. The delegates need to put a face to the legends. I have much to do, but let me say this: I may no longer be your spymaster, but I am always here if you require."
- "It would be nice to just be ‘Leliana’ again for a few days."
- (about the dead Qunari) "This is a warrior, not a spy. Part of the Antaam, the Qunari military. Most of his wounds come from a fight against someone using magic, but at least a few are from a blade. He was badly hurt, separated from his allies, and made it here before he died. But how?"
- (when asked about her relationship with Aedan since becoming Divine) "We see each other whenever we can. There is gossip, of course. People who call me inappropriate. But love is one of the Maker’s greatest gifts and nothing to be ashamed of. Start and end with love, and everything else falls into place. As Divine, I have tried to spread this message. It’s taken some time, but I think people are listening. Especially now."
- (to Arl Teagan) "Without our organization, you would not be alive to complain."
- Josephine Montilyet: "Leliana knows the Game. She'll move the Chantry forward while quelling the fears of the faithful. And I feel only pity for those who might try to depose our former Spymaster by force."
Maxwell Trevelyan: "Should the Inquisition offer Leliana its protection?"
Josephine Montilyet: "It'd be more imposition than useful. Or misinterpreted as a struggle for power. It's best Leliana arrange things herself. After so much warring, even the most seasoned players of the Game yearn for change. Sister Leliana will bring about interesting times."
— Josephine and Maxwell about Leliana becoming Divine
- "I feel a little nervous about having the woman who commanded our spies on the Sunburst Throne. Like if anybody recites the Chant wrong, she'll have them shivved. I'm probably overreacting."
—Varric Tethras about Leliana becoming Divine
- "Leliana is to be Divine. It will be strange to see her go. Given her plans for the Chantry, the months to come will be... interesting."
— Cullen Rutherford about Leliana becoming Divine
- "I heard about the new Divine. I have to say, I wasn't surprised the Spymaster was chosen. She's quite a driven woman. I'm eager to see what she does."
— Thom Rainier about Leliana becoming Divine
- "Frightening thought, a Divine with enough spies to know how often you piss. It will be difficult returning to Tevinter after all this."
— Dorian Pavus about Leliana becoming Divine
- "I mean, we're in with Leliana, so we have no problems. It's the ones who piss her off who need to squirm."
— Sera about Leliana becoming Divine
- "I hear your mages are looking to start a whole separate College of Enchanters. Be interesting to see if they can avoid pissing everyone off this time."
—The Iron Bull to Maxwell after Leliana becomes Divine
- "Leliana is already turning the Chantry on its ear, and she hasn't yet been crowned Divine. It's quite interesting to watch. I offered to remain as Right Hand, but she has other ideas. I wish her well, regardless. The Chantry needed someone like her."
—Cassandra Pentaghast about Leliana becoming Divine
- "The Conclave made an interesting choice in Leliana. Inspired by something, no doubt. I would find the proceedings entertaining, were it not going to create a mess I'll have to clean up."
—Vivienne about Leliana becoming Divine
- Leliana’s appearance is described as: "Red hair, pale, slender."
- Josephine Montilyet considers her a sister.
- Her appearance is based on adult model Alexandra "Alleykatze" Stein.
- When imagining a single-note scent for Leliana, she is likened to "sugared roses, incense and candy floss."
- When Aedan gave Leliana a nug as a pet, she names it Schmooples.
- According to Bethany Hawke, she says "I miss the Lothering chantry. Sister Leliana told the best stories."
- After her marriage, Leliana may have taken the surname Cousland.
- According to Aveline Vallen, she comments about feeling uncomfortable around chantry sisters due to a "red-haired trickster in Lothering."
- Leliana’s aliases include "Sister Nightingale." She is also referred to as "Red" by Iron Bull and "Shadows of Birds" by Sera.
- Despite an Orlesian accent, Leliana’s features are strikingly Fereldan and reflect her heritage.
- As the Left Hand of the Divine, Leliana is considered the "sinister" agent of the Divine working in the shadows, a counterpoint to Cassandra’s more knightly position as the Right Hand. When diplomacy or military might fail, she steps in on behalf of the Chantry and the Inquisition.
- A paper found in Redcliffe Castle reports that Leliana has the highest resistance to the Blight of any other people experimented. The cause of this, however, is unknown.
- According to rumors, Leliana is seen as having the most in common with the Elder One. Both are "burned believers." In fact, the Elder One is referred as her "dark mirror."
- When asked about the Inquisition’s advisors, Solas will note that Leliana has a brilliant mind but her faith has been damaged and she sees life as a game of tactics.
- Nug breeding and wrangling became one of Leliana’s hobbies.