Deirdra Surana was a mage from Ferelden's Circle of Magi that was recruited into the Grey Warden order at the beginning of the Fifth Blight. When most of the Grey Wardens were killed at Ostagar, she and Warden Alistair gathered allies to fight the Archdemon, leading to her being known as the Hero of Ferelden.
30 Cloudreach, 9:08 Dragon
cis woman (she/her)
mage (Arcane Warrior, Shapeshifting)
Warden Commander of Ferelden, Arlessa of Amaranthine
Deirdra Surana was born in Kirkwall's Alienage in 9:08 Dragon. At the age of seven, a branch she was pretending was a sword burst into flame, and the templars were called. She bit two of them when they attempted to bring her in, and attempted multiple times to escape. She refused to be parted from her family, and drew strength from a small charm she had hidden from the templars: a small figure of a halla. Eventually the templars were able to transport her to Kinloch Hold, though they had to keep an eye out as she was constantly looking for an opportunity to slip away.
After arriving at Kinloch Hold, Deirdra once again attempted to escape, but was caught. While waiting out her punishment in the Circle's cells, First Enchanter Irving visited her, trying to explain why she had to stay in the Circle and convince her to obey the Circle's rules. He only finally got through to her when he suggested that if she proved herself as a mage, one day she could leave the Circle and visit her family.
After that, Deirdra attempted to keep her head down and focus on her studies. She made few actual friends, but she was friendly with most of her fellow apprentices. She struck up an quick friendship with her fellow apprentice Jowan, as the two frequently ended up studying together. As the years passed, Deirdra grew more comfortable in the Circle, but to her grief, her memories of her parents faded. She had become a formidable student. She looked up to Irving as a mentor, until one of the other mages, Anders, was placed in solitary confinement after an escape attempt. It was then she realized Irving wasn't always going to act in the best interest of his charges. When Jowan asked for her help escaping, she knew she had to help him.
Unfortunately, the plan to help Jowan escape was thwarted. Jowan revealed himself as a blood mage and fled. If not for Warden-Commander Duncan’s offer to join the Wardens, Deirdra would have found herself in the mages’ prison, or worse. Deirdra was eager though, since this would allow her to leave Kinloch Hold’s walls for the first time in over a decade. But this eagerness didn’t last, as the king and the Wardens were abandoned on the field. Deirdra found herself leading a ragtag group to gather allies to stop the Blight. Part of her was bitter she was forced into the leadership position by her senior warden Alistair, but she tried to hide it, knowing he was grieving. Her only solace in those early days was the mabari that had decided to join her; she named him “Garahel”, after the elven hero of the last Blight, at Alistair’s suggestion.
Deirdra was very reluctant to return to the Circle so soon, so she decided to seek out the Dalish first. When they found the Dalish, Deirdra was horrified to learn about the werewolf attack. But as they worked through the enchanted forest, things were not adding up, as the werewolves were less savage than they had been led to believe, and seemed disinclined to fight their group. By the time they met the Lady of the Forest, Deirdra was willing to hear her and the werewolves out, and managed to convince Zathrian to lift the curse.
What they found in the Circle disturbed her: abominations roaming the tower, and the templars having locked the surviving mages inside. She was determined to go in and rescue anyone she could find. The sloth demon’s dream almost tempted her, with the possibility of a calm life outside the Circle, having reunited with her family, but the sense that something was wrong kept nagging at the back of her head until she rejected it. She was proud to have saved the mages in the Circle, but she left as quickly as possible once it was over; she was not fond of remembering the events that had occurred before she left.
Orzammar was an exercise in frustration. Deirdra didn't want to influence the future of a society she wasn't a part of, but it seemed if she didn't, she would get no help from the dwarves for the Blight. Eventually she ended up seeking out Bhelen, as one of the primary reasons Harrowmont's supporters decried him was his inclination to not view the casteless as worthless. This was encouraged by Anyah Brosca, who they met in Dust Town while tracking down a stolen Shaperate tome. Anyah also begged to join the Wardens; Deirdra and Alistair agreed, as they weren't in a position to be choosy, even though they currently had no way of performing the joining ritual. After the long trudge through the Deep Roads, Deirdra gave Caridin’s forged crown to Bhelen.
In Redcliffe, it was an easy decision to defend the village from the undead attacks. When she ran into Jowan in the dungeon of Redcliffe’s castle, she was estastic to see her best friend again, though horrified at what he’d done. She decided to let him perform the blood magic ritual to save Connor, because she couldn’t find it in herself to kill the boy for not being properly trained. This led to a fight between her and Alistair, further aggravated when he discovered that Jowan had “escaped” in the middle of the night. She didn’t regret this action, as it was clear to her Jowan wanted to atone, and he would be unable to do so if he was dead or made tranquil. The conflict with Alistair though was disheartening, as she didn’t want to push away the only other Warden in Ferelden.
Deirdra was extremely reluctant to go searching for the Urn of Sacred Ashes, but without Arl Eamon, they would not be able to unite the Ferelden nobles against Loghain. She did find the Temple of Sacred Ashes fascinating, with its puzzles and trials, but by the end of it all, she was exhausted physically and emotionally. She didn’t regret her decisions in regards to Jowan, but it did cause her to think about them more than she had.
In Denerim, Deirdra was resistant to supporting Anora. She wasn’t sure if she trusted the queen, considering how she seemed to be letting Loghain make the decisions. Deirdra was especially reluctant after finding slavers in the Alienage, along with its general condition. But Alistair was adamant he didn’t want to be king and she didn’t want to force him into position he would hate. So Deirdra eventually agreed to support Anora, along with Elliana Cousland, who they had rescued from Howe’s dungeon. Still, she would have difficulty denying that she found satisfaction in Alistair removing Loghain’s head at the Landsmeet, especially after what she had found in the Alienage. After the Landsmeet, with the help of Warden Riordan, they were finally able to have Anyah go through the joining, which she survived.
After finding out what happens when a Warden kills an Archdemon, Deirdra couldn’t bring herself to refuse Morrigan’s offer. She had lived in the Circle most of her life and she didn’t want to die only a few weeks after her twenty-third birthday. She agreed, but kept the ritual secret from everyone else. The Battle for Denerim and the fight with the Archdemon were the most difficult fights of her life, and she felt strangely empty when it was all over. Having finally accomplished the goal she'd spent almost a year pursuing, she found herself anxious with nothing to do. It was only when she was allowed to join the rebuilding that she started feeling better.
During their journey in recruiting allies to stop the darkspawn, Deirdra found herself growing more and more attached to Zevran, the assassin who'd been sent by the Crows to kill her and Alistair. His life initially seemed so different from her own, but she quickly realized they'd both grown up in gilded cages. His humor brought light to the looming responsibility of the Blight, but there was a sincerity that Deirdra felt drawn to.
When Deirdra, Alistair, and Anyah showed up at Vigil’s Keep, they realized very quickly that rebuilding the Wardens would more difficult than anticipated. While Deirdra had been reluctant to have Orlesian Wardens make up the majority of the Fereldan Warden group, she was saddened to discover almost all of them had been killed, the only survivor being Sidona Andras, a Dalish Warden from the Dales. The talking darkspawn confused Deirdra, as no other darkspawn, not even the archdemon, had demonstrated such an ability before.
Running into Anders was a happy surprise; they hadn’t been close friends in the Circle, but they’d known each other, and shared similar feelings on being locked up just for being mages. Deirdra conscripted him into the Wardens without a thought when the templars tried to take him away. Oghren’s appearance also made her happy, though she was confused as to why he was at Vigil’s Keep rather than with Felsi. Joining her new recruits was almost as nerve racking as it had been when she’d gone through it herself and Mhairil’s death was hard to take. When faced with Nathaniel Howe, she let him go with his family’s things, doubting that he would return.
Dealing with the problems in Amaranthine proved to be a significant task, but with the Fifth Blight behind them, Deirdra felt fairly confident that they could be resolved. Until it was revealed how involved the darkspawn were with several issues in the region. This ability to plan and scheme she hadn’t seen before, and it proved to be concerning. Even the problems that didn’t involve darkspawn threw her for a loop, since she wasn’t experienced with politics or governing an Arling. She attempted to work through it by following what she felt was right. Only time would tell if this would work out in the long-run. As she resolved these issues, she allowed anyone who asked to join the Wardens, given that they had lost most of the Orlesian Wardens that had been intended to fill up their ranks. This was no time to be picky; if they were willing to fight, and risk death in the Joining, she would let them join.
When the darkspawn launched an attack on the City of Amaranthine, Deirdra fought to save it, even when things seemed lost. She couldn’t turn her back on people that needed help, and could only hope that the repairs and upgrades done to Vigil’s Keep would keep her people alive long enough for her to return. When the Architect made his offer, she refused. She was disinclined to trust him after being imprisoned and the experiments he conducted, and darkspawn traveling the land, spreading the taint wherever they went, seemed a terrible idea, even if Ferelden hadn’t just survived a Blight.
After the death of the Architect, Deirdra, Alistair, and Anyah started working full-force on rebuilding the Wardens out of Vigil’s Keep. The actions of the Architect and the Mother showed that darkspawn could still be a significant threat without a Blight. Deirdra also went back to Soldier’s Peak to reclaim it as another base for the Wardens, though she let the Dryden family remain since they had treated it well during the Blight. Deirdra spent most of her time balancing her duties as Warden-Commander and Arlessa of Amaranthine. She attended the Landsmeet whenever possible, trying to make sure that the sacrifices of the Wardens were not forgotten. She also made sure that Anora was reminded of her father’s treatment of the Alienage during the Blight, using that to push for rights and protections for elves. This eventually led to Shianni being made a Bann.
In 9:34 Dragon, Deirdra made a trip to Kirkwall. Despite her titles, she kept a low profile; given Knight-Commander Meredith’s reputation, she couldn’t trust that being an Arlessa would keep her out of the Gallows. Her first priority was to find her family and ask them to return with her to Amaranthine. At first, her parents didn’t believe that she was their long-lost daughter, but she was finally able to convince them with the memory of when they had given her the small halla charm that she had kept safe all these years. Her second task was to check on her former recruit, Anders, and insist he try to keep her up to date on what was happening in Kirkwall. Between what she was hearing from him and Leliana, who was now the Divine’s Left Hand, it was only the combination of her Warden and Arlessa duties that kept her from directly assisting the Mage Underground.
Following the destruction of Kirkwall’s chantry and the dissolution of the Circles, Deirdra allowed Anders to seek refuge at Vigil’s Keep. After losing her mabari to darkspawn taint, Deirdra was filled with determination to not lose anyone else to the corruption again. Knowing how much Anders disliked being a Warden, and remembering how she’d conscripted him, Deirdra decided to follow some possible leads for a cure for the taint. This would take her outside the known lands of Thedas, but she felt it important that no one who was tainted should be forced to choose between death and joining the Wardens. She wouldn’t use it for herself, however. Since Morrigan’s ritual years ago, Deirdra felt like she had cheated death, and intended to face her eventual death as a Warden.
Knowledge of Deirdra’s involvement with the Inquisition is currently unknown…
Deirdra doesn’t have a lot of close friends, but she’s friendly with most people. She likes being a listening ear and helping people with their problems. She tries to assume the best of people, although sometimes they prove her wrong. Then she turns bitter. With her friends, it is very difficult to lose her loyalty, especially since she had so few friends in the Circle; one would have to commit a rather heinous act for her to turn on them.
Between the Wardens and the Arling of Amaranthine, Deirdra tries to be very involved in the things she oversees. There is not a mission or task she wouldn’t do herself, though she has learned that delegating is better for her health; she has multiple occasions driven herself to exhaustion trying to keep up with everything. She is almost always doing something, even if it’s just studying. Some of the rare times she takes actual time off are when her girlfriend Leliana visits Vigil’s Keep. Other times are when a new Warden joins and all of the Wardens at the Keep have a feast, either in welcome or in mourning.
Decisions usually come fairly easy to Deirdra. Not necessarily quick, as she prefers to have as much information as possible, but once she has that, she reaches a decision almost right away. She can be persuaded to change her mind, especially if the one arguing is someone she trusts, but this usually entails a piece of information she hadn’t picked up on, or another approach she may not have considered. Because of this, she holds off on finalizing decisions if possible until she can get second and third opinions.