- “The War had barely ended, and it was about to begin anew. But one war-weary young man wasn't about to let that happen. Me.”
Ser Aaron Hawthorne of Ferelden is a landless travelling Fereldan knight. He travels throughout Ferelden and solves various issues, spinning tales of his travels along the way.
Aaron was born in poverty in Portsmouth during the Orlesian occupation of Ferelden. He started working at the docks when he was 6 years old. When he was 8, the Fereldan Rebellion reached Portsmouth, until then firmly under Orlesian control. Aaron wished to take up arms but was instead tasked with smuggling information to Maric Theirin. A poor thief and spy, he was caught when he was 9, but managed to defeat his captors in combat. Maric was impressed and made him a front-line fighter for the last five years of the war.
At 15, Aaron was knighted by King Maric himself after helping to avoid further conflicts with Orlais following the Fereldan Rebellion. As all his family had died during the Orlesian occupation, and he had no lands of his own, Ser Aaron became a wandering knight.
During the Fifth Blight, Ser Aaron was among the knights who fought alongside King Cailan in the Battle of Ostagar, and one of the few survivors. There are conflicting stories regarding his role during the battle. Some say that he killed two ogres at once but remained trapped under their bodies until the battle was over, others that he drank too much on the eve of battle and missed the whole fight. According to his squire Vaea, he was with Loghain Mac Tir when he sounded the retreat but disobeyed the orders and raced into the battlefield on his own just in time to see King Cailan killed.One day Aaron found himself in the alienage of Edgehall. The city elves there were being treated harshly by the Arl Gell Lendon. He had their vhenadahl cut down and burned in front of them; and when a Dalish clan offered a sapling for a new tree, the Arl had it confiscated. Ser Aaron forced the Arl to stand down and ensured the tree was returned to the Edgehall alienage. King Alistair ordered the sapling not to be touched, to protect it. Even though the elves had not much to call their own, they still gave their all to Aaron as thanks. Aaron was so moved by the elves' kindness and generosity that he took one of the elves, a woman named Vaea, as a squire, in hopes her successes would be shared with her people as they travel from town to town, telling tales.
Ser Aaron is invited to Kirkwall as a guest of honor of Varric Tethras, sometime after the latter's appointment as Viscount. At the banquet, Ser Aaron regales the guests with tales of his deeds. After the feast, Ser Aaron returns to his room. Due to the viscount's very potent liquor, Vaea is unable to wake him from his sleep. Ser Nevin Faramore catches up to Vaea in the room, but is also unable to wake Ser Aaron. He wakes on his own in the morning, claiming to have slept like a baby, and tells Vaea that he's been invited to the birthday party of the Prince of Starkhaven and that they must leave immediately.
During the party in Starkhaven, Ser Aaron gets into a heated argument with Professor Cedric Marquette, whom he accuses of looting from dead cultures and being little better than a thief. In response, Marquette calls Aaron himself a thief, saying that there has been a rash of thefts across Thedas in his wake. Sebastian intervenes before things turn violent. When Aaron leaves the party in Varric's company for a walk, he tells him that he has heard nothing of thefts in his presence, but instead of generous donations to the poor. He also says that the reason he tells his stories is to remind people that every small action has a chance to make a real difference.
Upon returning to the party, he is once again confronted by Professor Marquette. Varric comes to his defense again, telling the Professor about Ser Aaron's loyal service to the kings of Ferelden, but the professor is unconvinced. Finally, Seneschal Granger intervenes, defending Ser Aaron's reputation but insinuating that Vaea is the true culprit. Granger points out that Vaea is not at the party, and that he will prove her guilt. When Granger later catches Vaea red-handed in Sebastian's chambers, Ser Aaron knocks him out but confronts Vaea about her activities with sword drawn. However, he reveals that he was aware of her thefts all along, and that he approved of them given her targets and the use she made of the stolen coin. He only wants to know why she's stealing from a ruler as well-loved as Sebastian. When Vaea discloses that she is acting under orders from the Inquisition, he expresses happiness that she has found a worthy cause.
Their conversation is interrupted by Cedric Marquette and a group of Tevinters. Ser Aaron orders Vaea to run with the journal and to start a new life while he engages the dozen Tevinters on his own. Soon after dealing with them, Seneschal Granger awakens and asks Ser Aaron to explain his actions and to hand over Vaea in order to avoid a diplomatic incident between Starkhaven and Ferelden. Ser Aaron confesses to the thefts and asks that Vaea be exonerated.
However, before Granger can take Ser Aaron to Sebastian, Vaea returns and hands over Cedric, claiming that Ser Aaron sent her to thwart Marquette's theft of the now missing journal. Granger remains skeptical but Sebastian is quite taken by her exploits and believes her story over Granger's objections. Vaea and Ser Aaron quickly leave Sebastian's palace before Marquette can wake up; Ser Aaron vowing to follow the journal's thief wherever they may lead. Ser Aaron remarks to Vaea that they will have to return the journal once they are done with it.While leaving Starkhaven, Vaea reads the journal and discovers that some red lyrium may already be in the possession of the Tevinters. She agrees to go there to help the Inquisition with this matter. Ser Aaron intends to follow her as well, given his earlier promise to follow the journal's thief. As they depart, Vaea takes Ser Aaron's wine and throws it away, saying that his days as a drunk are over. The both of them then agree to help each other in their new adventure in Tevinter. Vaea remarks that Tevinter may not find Ser Aaron's stories of Fereldan glory as enthralling to which Ser Aaron counters that are 'exceptional' stories.
- Varric's nickname for him is Muscles.