There once was a beautiful woman who hailed from an Alamarri tribe. She was deemed a mother figure, she was forsaken by a lover or suitor, she had a secret talent for magic, she was contacted by a being she believed to be a god whom then aided her for years, she led an army, worked closely with elves, and her encounters or affiliations with dragons have helped shape her tale.
Except, this was not one woman, but at least three: Tyrdda, Andraste, and Flemeth.
(1) There once was a beautiful woman from an Alamarri tribe.
+ Tyrdda (She was Alamarri before founding the Avvar). I can’t find a birth year for her but her wiki says that “in -620 TE her tribe was living near the present-day Lake Calenhad.”
+ Andraste (Born -203 Ancient (992 TE)),
+ Flemeth (Born in 3:00 Towers).
(2) She was deemed a mother figure.
+ Tyrdda Bright-Axe, Avvar-Mother,
+ Andraste, Mother of the Chantry,
+ Flemeth, Mother of Vengeance (And OFC Mythal, the All-Mother, when she took on that role).
(3) She was forsaken by a lover or suitor.
+ One of Tyrdda’s suitors was chieftain Thelm Gold-Handed. He dreamt demons approached him and convinced him he must conquer a "golden city" full of treasure lying across the Waking Sea, beyond the Valley of Ferelden. He approached Tyrdda with gifts of gold and silver in exchange for her warriors and tried to convince Tyrdda to marry him with stories of this supposed golden city full of food, across the sea. Tyrdda refused her suitor's temptations after consulting with her lover, the Lady of the Skies, who comes to her in the form of an elf (her “leaf-eared lover”), and didn’t agree to an alliance with Thelm's tribe. Thelm did not take the rejection well and waged battle against her people.
+ Andraste married to Maferath to create a unified Alamarri border that stretched from the Planasene through the Fertile Crescent to the Bannorn. He eventually conspired with Archon Hessarian and allowed disguised Tevinter forces to enter Andraste's stronghold in the city of Nevarra to capture her and bring her back to Minrathous, where the Archon had her burned at the stake.
+ Conobar killed the young poet, Osen, whom he saw as a threat to his marriage, and imprisoned his wife, Flemeth, in the highest tower of his castle. Flemeth then summoned a spirit to wreak vengeance on her husband who’d wronged her. The spirit (Mythal) then took possession of her, supposedly turning her into an abomination. She is said to then have slaughtered Conobar and fled into the Wilds. However, according to Brother Genitivi, there was no evidence that a "Bann Connobar Elstan" or a "Flemeth of Highever" existed. It was thus speculated that the legend may actually refer to a “Teyrn Talemal, son of Caedmon,” who once tried to unite Ferelden. He was then killed by his wife, whom he'd also imprisoned for “unfaithfulness.” She was eventually released by servants, not by breaking free due to demonic possession. I'm inclined to believe the first version.
Also worth noting here is the connection of Flemeth’s tale to Eluvia’s:
“Owing primarily to the popular Orlesian tale of the same name, the constellation Eluvia is commonly referred to as "Sacrifice." During the Glory Age, folklore told of a young woman saved from a lustful mage by being sent into the sky by her father—after which the mage killed him (hence the sacrifice). The daughter became the constellation, depicted as a seated woman with her head in the clouds. Prior to this tale, Eluvia was thought to represent Razikale, the Tevinter Old God of mystery, and the constellation was the source of many superstitions involving the granting of wishes.” —From A Study of Thedosian Astronomy by Sister Oran Petrarchius.
Razikale, AKA the Dragon of Mystery, happens to be one of the Old Gods, which is said by the Chantry to be imprisoned underground by the Maker for usurping His worshipers.
+ Flemeth did get her wish granted. Just perhaps not how she thought it would be answered. Connection between Mythal and Razikale?
Flemeth’s story is also vaguely reminiscent of Leliana’s tale in DA:O regarding a high-born woman named Alindra and her lover, a young commoner soldier. Her father didn't approve of their relationship, so he put her up in a tower, and sent her lover off to war, during which he was killed. She wept and pleaded to the gods for deliverance, who felt for her and brought both of their souls up to the skies where they became stars. The band of stars between them was then called ‘Alindra’s tears.’ Sounds a tiny bit like it could reference 'the Tears of Andraste.'
+ Also, consider Cole, In the Emerald Graves approaching Southfinger Tower: “There was a lady in the tower. She cried, but no one heard.”
The similarities found in Eluvia and Alindra’s tales to Flemeth’s could very well be a coincidence, but figured I’d include in case they were of interest.
(4) She had a secret talent for magic.
+ Tyrdda's axe was, in fact, a staff, and although those at Stone-Bear hold knew, the Inquisition made it seem as though this was a surprise.
+ The droughts, wildfires and landslides, now commonly believed to either have natural explanations or to be the result of darkspawn interference, were then considered miracles performed by Andraste. Andraste's ashes are also able to heal severe illnesses such as the Arl's poisoning, making it clear that she was not entirely mortal in the same way other non-mage individuals are. I’m also going to squeeze a certain story in here about Andraste’s early life: “Halliserre [Andraste’s half-sister] died in a violent incident under mysterious circumstances with Andraste present. This incident scarred Andraste in many ways: she was left with a sickness of the lungs that made her unable to bear children for a decade; she also was known to display strange behavior, such as becoming still for long moments in a trance-like state, after which she would report voices as if from a lost memory and talk of strange auras or the sound of bells. Later on, Andraste came to remember her sister's death as a matter of heresy, suggesting that her alchemist mother had been whispering of the Old Gods.”
+ And as for Flemeth, we have this bit: “Ages ago, legend says Bann Conobar took to wife a beautiful young woman who harbored a secret talent for magic: Flemeth of Highever.”
(5) She was contacted by a being she believed to be a god, whom then aided her for years.
+ Tyrdda - the Lady of the Skies.
+ Andraste - the Maker.
+ Flemeth - Mythal.
+ On a side note, the Lady of the Skies also helped Andraste, according to the codex entry for the constellation, Visus:
“Known as "the Watchful Eye" in common parlance, this constellation had great significance to the ancient Alamarri and Cirianne peoples of southern Thedas. The story goes that the Lady of the Skies opened one eye so that the light from her gaze could lead her people safely from the Frostbacks. When Andraste's armies marched north from their ancestral lands to wage war upon Tevinter, they were guided by the Eye, and it became the Maker's gaze—not the Lady's— leading them to victory. The sword was added later; it is said that the star that marks the point of its blade only appeared in the night sky after Andraste's death. The early Inquisition took Visus as the symbol of their holy calling when they joined the Andrastian faith: the Eye representing both their search for maleficarum and the Maker's judgment upon their actions. When the Inquisition ended and became the Seekers of Truth and the Templar Order, the templars took the sword while the Seekers retained the eye.” —From A Study of Thedosian Astronomy by Sister Oran Petrarchius
(6) Encounters or affiliations with dragons have helped shape her tale.
+ It was Tyrdda's encounter with a dragon that caused the Lady of the Skies to send down a bolt of lightning to aid her, and thus allow her to meet Hendir, who she would be encouraged to have a child with so there could eventually be a descendant in her bloodline named Morrighan'nan… Not Morrigan. Two different ladies.
+ The cult at Haven in DA:O believed Andraste to be a dragon.
+ Flemeth is able to transform into a dragon, and “The Chasind often paint Flemeth in the shape of a great dragon or serpent that only the truly desperate would turn towards.”
+Mythal and Razikale both have draconic forms as well.
(7) She worked closely with elves.
+ Tyrdda: The Lady of the Skies in the form of an elf.
+ Andraste: Shartan.
+ Flemeth: Elven deities such as Mythal and Solas, as well as if the Warden or Inquisitor was an elf.
If I still have your attention, I’m going to take this a bit further.
+ Andraste and Flemeth both bore only daughters. The gender of Tyrdda’s child was never mentioned, just that there would someday be a daughter named Morrighan'nan somewhere down the line.
+ Just to put some things in perspective: If my understanding of the DA calendar system is not completely wack, Flemeth would be around 630+ years old by the time of the Conclave explosion. Likewise, Andraste would have been born approx. 1,043 years before the explosion, and Tyrdda would have been born 1,415+ years before the Conclave explosion. In any event, this puts at least 372+ years between Tyrdda and Andraste, and 413+ between Andraste and Flemeth. Andraste also dies over 300 years before Flemeth is born, and Andraste was only in her thirties when she was burned at the stake.
+ What is it about the Alamarri? Perhaps it has something to do with the Avvar belief that some of their people are destined to be reborn, their soul returning in a new body so that they may continue to do good for their people. This sounds rather hazily like descriptions we’ve encountered of Flemeth…
+ It is also part of this Avvarian belief that although these recycled souls are not likely to remember their past lives, they are subconsciously guided by previous experiences through visions, for example. Andraste definitely had some visions, but I believe Flemeth to be better acquainted with her past.
+ But what REALLY makes this soul so special that would be reborn again and again? Is there some higher purpose that it needs to achieve? Why is it being targeted by various gods? Who did it belong to before Tyrdda, or was she the first? Will it stop with Flemeth?
+ I would assume that Mythal is the reason why Flemeth, in particular, has lived for so long. Is all this soul recycling business so that Mythal will have a vessel when she needs it?
*Please feel free to add to this, and let me know if there are any errors that need correcting. I consider this to be a work in progress.*