Part 2: Game Story Dialogue: THE GIFT (set in Dragon Age universe)
This work is dialogue for a speculative origin story for the transgender character Cremisius Aclassi, utilizing the details of BioWare’s Dragon Age universe as a foundation. This dialogue and the related story outline is not professional work or in any way endorsed by EA/BioWare. I created this dialogue and outline as an exercise in developing stories for games within existing IP as part of my independent study on narrative design.
You may read an official entry on the character on the Dragon Age wiki here.
You may read my story outline for this dialogue in a nicely formatted PDF here.
While I wrote this as an interactive narrative in which the player selects dialogue options as Remi/Krem, I've selected one series of dialogue options to provide a more consumable.
Brief Character & Story Background
Remi is the 17-year-old daughter of a tailor in Tevinter, a land ruled by mages and supported by slaves. Her family stands on the brink of financial ruin, and so her parents arrange a marriage between Remi and Ben, the son of a wealthy wine merchant. On her quest to pick up a traditional but mystery gift that her father ordered for her betrothed, Remi accidentally attracts the attention of Foryne, a powerful magister. Upon learning that Remi is already engaged, the magister schemes to win Remi as a wife or a slave, depending on the player's dialogue selections.
On the eve of their wedding, Remi and Ben meet. They learn that they both are transgender, and they take solace in the fact that they can at least hide from society together. On the other side of town, the magister and Remi's mother collude to sabotage the wedding so that the magister can have Remi for himself.
The next day, Remi's mother reveals to the entire wedding party that Ben is trans, effectively dissolving the engagement. The magister takes the opportunity to offer to marry or buy Remi, and the player can agree to or reject the magister's proposal.
The following dialogue is the conversation that Remi has with her father the night after the magister's proposal. By the end of this conversation, she will either confirm her decision to marry the magister or decide to run away, leaving her parents to contend with their financial woes on their own.
Sample Dialogue: II. Wedding Day, Evening, Encounter 1
Note: The character continues to use female pronouns and answer to the name Remi until the last portion of the conversation. This conversation assumes that the player has made the following major choices:
- defended Ben, her betrothed and fellow trans person who prefers to go by the name Emilia
- revealed that she is trans to the wedding party
- accepted Foryne's offer to marry the player to save her family from financial ruin
PAPA (fatigued but alert enough to tease) It took you long enough, Remi. I was sure you’d be right out after Mother drank her dinner. Was so sure that I’ve been waiting for an hour at least.
Thought I’d surprise you.
Don’t you always? I admit that I did not expect your wedding day to go quite the way that it did.
REMI (sarcastic, good-natured)
What were you expecting, exactly? A little more “I do” and a little less “I’m a boy,” I take it?
(shrugging, unfazed) You said nothing today that was news to me.
REMI (quietly surprised)
Papa...you never said anything...
PAPA (tenderly) Just how far gone do you think your Papa is, hmm? You don't think I saw the joy in my little Remi’s eyes when she pretended to shave along with me? That was not so many years ago, you know. Mirrors do a fair bit of revealing.
They only reveal what I hate.
PAPA (flabbergasted, then flustered)
You’re beautiful. I mean, handsome. Ah...you know what I mean.
Not really sure what I prefer at this point.
PAPA (matter-of-fact, determined)
Well, one thing’s for certain: you won’t be marrying any nug-nosed magister any time soon.
(blunt, genuinely curious)
Can we afford it?
At a time like this, only you would think of money. Always my practical child.
(pulls out gift intended for player’s betrothed)
Remi, did you not ever wonder what’s inside this thing – this wretched thing I bade you retrieve – that led to this mess with that magister kaffas? Honestly, tell me how a person can never work a day in his life and still somehow reek of halla [domestic animal].
There was a gift?
“There was a gift?”, she says! Ah, so much trouble for such a little box.
(saddened by memory of her betrothed's humiliation)
But it’s not for Ben – er, Emilia. Not anymore. Should return it. Not for me.
Well Remi, I suppose, at first, it wasn’t for you. But now...maybe it is.
So...are you going to tell me what’s in it, or am I going to be up all night stoking your riddles?
Now, wait a minute; let an old man say his piece. Old Gods be damned, I haven’t much in this world, but I’ve got family. Family is important. It’s everything.
Not so sure about that. Counted Mother as family before today.
(adamant) Family is good, Remi, but you can’t live without being yourself. I know what you said; I heard you, even as they tried to silence you – as your own mother tried to silence you. I heard you. You would not be happy, Remi. Your marriage would be a lie. I won't let you live a shadow of a life.
I can't just leave you. I’ll marry Foryne. For the family, right?
(incredulous, somewhat disgusted)
You would stay? Abandon knowing yourself to know only the needs of your...ugh...husband?
(resolute, suddenly serious)
Actually, for you, Father, I would suffer any indignity.
(caught off guard, sentimental)
"Father," is it? I guess I couldn’t be your papa forever.
(deflecting to avoid emotional moment)
Don't do that. Don’t go getting all weepy on me now.
Every day I tell you – look at your own reflection. It’s all I’ve ever wanted you to do – even as I tilted my mirror down – my shaving mirror – so you could shave with me, I knew about you then, just as I know now. This gift was meant for your husband, I admit; I’m not as clever as I claim, but I suppose it makes sense now, doesn’t it? Open it, amatus.
It’s a…shaving kit. With a mirror? I don't understand...what is this?
(teasing, feigning seriousness)
Yes, a shaving kit. Of course it is. Look at it. But it’s very fine. It’s meant for a very fine man. Do you happen to know a very fine man?
(understanding, deciding upon the perfect name)
I suppose I do. His name is…Krem.
(proud, smiling wide)
Well then, Krem, take your fine things, look upon yourself, and take the greatness that is your destiny. Vitae benefaria.
KREM (formerly REMI)
I won’t let Foryne see, I promise. I’ll keep it safe from my husband’s gaze.
(disappointed in KREM's choice to stay, but eager to celebrate KREM's identity)
Every person makes their own destiny. One last drink between father and son before the nuptials? (pours mulled wine in two glasses, raises glass, and gives to KREM) To destiny!
EPILOGUE: KREM STAYS The next morning, KREM awakens on a moving cart alongside several young men and women. KREM asks one of them where they’re headed, and a man replies that they are bound for a military training camp in TREVIS. Dazed from the shock of the realization, KREM nervously digs his hands into his pockets.
In his left pocket, he finds the following note:
I failed you. Try as I might, I could not let you do this noble thing that you felt you must do. You are my son, and it is my duty as your father to ensure you live the life you deserve to lead. Worry not of us (although a letter would be nice now and then, if you don’t mind). We will manage, as we always have, and I know that somewhere deep in her heart, Mother is sorry. Continue to make me proud – this time, as a great warrior for Tevinter – and know that I love you.
Forever and always, Papa
After PAPA sends KREM away to make his fortune with his new identity, PAPA is forced to sell himself into slavery in order to save the Aclassi clan from financial ruin. As of 9:41 Dragon, PAPA works in the Servus Publicus as a state-owned slave, while KREM, having served in the Tevinter military for several years, now works as a mercenary in Bull’s Chargers and is an ally of the Inquisitor.
Copyright Alexandra Lucas 2015