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Celene I

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Sitting on my throne, I see every city in the empire. If I must burn one to save the rest, I will weep, but I will light the torch!

Character
Celene I

CeleneI
Race:
Gender:
Female
Title:
Family:
Prince Reynaud (father)
Florian (uncle)
Gaspard de Chalons (cousin)
Appearances:

Celene I is the Empress of Orlais, having succeeded her uncle Florian in 9:20 Dragon.[1]

Background Edit

Celene Valmont was born in 9:4 Dragon.[2] When she was sixteen,[3][4] Grand Duke Gaspard's wife Calienne killed her mother by arranging for "a hunting accident." Her father, Prince Reynaud, killed Calienne in retaliation, and then died himself of "illness" caused by Calienne's poisoned stiletto.[4] After that Celene took the throne. Her ascension is swathed in rumours, with some Orlesians claiming the assassination of her uncle, Emperor Florian, was organized to allow her to take power.[5]

Celene's ascendancy marked a period of intense struggle in the empire, as nobles positioned themselves to overthrow her. Most said Celene was too young and inexperienced to hold power. She hinted at the possibility of marriage to several powerful families, and while ultimately marrying no one, Celene has maintained alliances with families of would-be suitors to hold the throne for herself. An adept player of the Game, the progressive Celene has grown into an amateur scholar and a patron of both education and the arts. She inspired something of a cultural renaissance in the Orlesian Empire, and many call her "the Lioness". Today, there are still many nobles who consider Celene's rule illegitimate. As she grows older and the likelihood of an heir by birth decreases, the movement to replace her grows.

She is willing to put historical disputes behind her, and enter into an alliance with Ferelden, though it should be said this alliance would ultimately benefit her. She was a close contact of King Cailan Theirin, and the two of them were united in their stance against the Fifth Blight, with Celene even sending a legion of Chevaliers to aid Ferelden against the Darkspawn.

Celene is in a secret relationship with an elf named Briala, who is also her handmaiden and spymaster.[6]

Involvement Edit

Dragon Age: Origins Edit

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“We now have a dog and Alistair is still the dumbest one in the party.” — Morrigan
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Origins. Click here to reveal them.

In the Return to Ostagar DLC, it is revealed that the Empress and King's relationship was more than political. Confidential letters found in Cailan's chest at Ostagar reveal that Celene was indeed prepared to enter into an alliance with Ferelden, though it would be an alliance of marriage. Cailan intended to divorce his current wife, Anora, and marry Celene.

Depending on player's choices, a possible epilogue slide mentions that a dark haired sorceress has insinuated herself into the Empress' royal court.

Dragon Age II Edit

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“There are men who embrace destiny; these are the ones that change the world forever.” — Flemeth
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Celene is referenced many times in Dragon Age II, such as when the merchant Hubert claimed that he once sold a seat cushion to her. Celene is also mentioned to be trying to mend fences with Ferelden but some Orlesian nobility are looking forward to reconquer the valley due to it being weakened by the Blight.

By 9:37 Dragon, Bodahn Feddic mentions to Hawke that Celene has heard of Sandal's unique enchantments, and become extremely interested in them. She extends an invitation to Bodahn and Sandal to visit her court, so she can witness Sandal's abilities first hand.

In Mark of the Assassin DLC, Celene is revealed to be dealing with a Tal-Vashoth named Salit and she sends Duke Prosper to oversee the exchange on her behalf. While they expected to be given the blackpowder formula, dreadnaught plans or a map of Qunanadar, Salit gives Prosper a list of covert Qunari agents throughout Thedas. Hawke and Tallis interrupt the deal and in the ensuing battle Prosper is left clinging to the edge of a cliff, he vows that Celene would avenge his death by burning Kirkwall to the ground. However, his threats were futile, as Varric explains to Cassandra that it would've been scandalous if it became known that Prosper was dealing with Tal-Vashoth, likely on the Empress' orders.

Dragon Age: Asunder Edit

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“I spent my time cleaning. Like a servant.” — Shale
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Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons has begun conspiring to overthrow Empress Celene. The Grand Duke lures Celene out of Val Royeaux with news of an elven rebellion in Halamshiral. With Celene out in the open in the east and not expecting a coup d'etat, she is vulnerable to the Grand Duke's ambush. Rumors from the east whisper that she's been killed, while others say she's been captured. Still others say she's holed up with her army at Jader, and that Gaspard has cut off the western highway. Her allies have assembled the northern host in preparation for civil war.

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire Edit

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“I have no wish to discuss our family's bloody history. I know it quite well, thank you.” — Empress Celene
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: The Masked Empire. Click here to reveal them.

At the University of Orlais Celene meets with Sister Nightingale, the representative of the Divine, to ask that Divine Justinia V acts directly to try and ease the tension between mages and templars. Leliana tells the empress that the Divine will make a declaration at a ball thrown in her honor in no more than a month. At a ball the same evening, Grand Duke Gaspard attempts to goad Bann Teagan, the Fereldan Ambassador, into a duel by insulting Queen Moira's memory but Celene manages to outwit him by offering her own champion, Ser Michel de Chevin, in the duel. The challenged party has the choice of weapon, and Ser Michel at Celene's behest, chooses a feather (more specifically the feather of the chevaliers). Celene believes that the situation has been resolved, but using the chevalier's symbol in this way leads some nobles to turn against her, most notably Duke Remache of Lydes.

During a hunt Gaspard and Celene find themselves isolated, as Gaspard had previously arranged for Ser Michel to be captured. Gaspard asks her to marry him, as he believes this would be the easiest solution to their dispute. When she refuses he draws his sword on her, but Celene wounds his arm with her own dagger. The rest of the nobles rejoin them before either of them are seriously hurt and Celene decides not to arrest Gaspard for fear of rebellion from the other nobles. She sends Briala to look for her champion, which she does with the help of a Dalish mage named Felassan.

When the city elves in Halamshiral start to rebel, Celene sends Briala to Halamshiral to quietly assassinate Lord Mainserai and resolve the issue. However, before Briala can carry out her mission, Gaspard and his ally Duke Remache commission a play at the Grande Royeaux Theater in which Andraste ignores the war against Tevinter after taking the elf Shartan, (played by a woman), as her lover, thus forcing Maferath to betray her for the good of the kingdom. With the people already whispering that Celene is too lenient with the elves, and the Divine only offering her support once the matter with the elves has been resolved, Celene decides to march on Halamshiral to crush the elven rebellion to dispel the unrest.

When her forces arrived in Halamshiral, they set fire to the slums and crushed all elven resistance. Celene sent Ser Michel with several chevaliers to arrest Briala and keep her safe. Just as the "battle" with the elves finish, Gaspard ambushes and routs Celene's exhausted troops, and only narrowly misses killing Celene herself. With her force completely destroyed, Celene and Ser Michel escape out of the city and try to make their way to Jader to get the help of the very loyal Lady Seryl. But the way is blocked by Gaspard's scouts and they head for Val Royeaux instead.

Briala, having escaped from Gaspard, meets up with Celene in Felassan's company. Passing through a village that Lady Seryl destroyed to drive out Gaspard's troops, the two groups agree to join forces and reach a decision to get to the Dalish to try to get them on their side, despite Briala's feelings of betrayal for the deaths at Halamshiral. During the night, Sylvans almost kill the group before they are rescued by clan Virnehn.

Clan Virnehn, led by Keeper Thelhen, makes it clear that the Dalish want nothing to do with them or their plan, nor do they care about the city Elves who they do not consider to be elves at all. They are only interested in reclaiming their past, going to such lengths as to summon a demon to try and get information from it. Imshael, though imprisoned, manages to lure Michel and tells him about the Eluvians. He returns to Celene and tells her; meanwhile Briala realizes that the Dalish aren't her people either and that Felassan is no longer even Dalish and persuades him to help them escape and get information from Imshael. They kill several of the Dalish to get Celene and Michel out, though Michel spares Mihris, the Keeper's first, despite her wanting him dead for killing her lover and her people.

Imshael, tells them about the network of Eluvians that can be used to travel quickly and unseen throughout the whole kingdom if activated with the right keystone. Michel unwittingly frees the demon, who massacres the rest of the Dalish clan. Imshael allowed Celene to keep a keystone as a token of gratitude for freeing it.

Briala, Celene, Michel and Felassan are making their way through the eluvians, which function as portals to other worlds where reality is distorted. Only the humans, even Michel despite being elf-blooded, feel extremely uncomfortable and disoriented in this world. After being attacked by possessed corpses, Gaspard and his followers catch up with them, having pursued them through the Eluvians with Mihris. After a fight with two Revenants and an Arcane Horror leaves all parties severely weakened, they form an uneasy truce until they can reach the main chamber where the eluvians can be activated. As they reach the main chamber they are attacked by a Varterral. Duke Remache breaks the truce by attacking Celene while they are fighting the Varterral, and Gaspard promptly kills him for his dishonorable conduct.

Celene and Gaspard agree to duel over the kingdom, with Ser Michel as her champion. Though initially winning, Ser Michel begins losing ground to Gaspard, due to Lienne de Montsimmard and Mihris, who secretly hex him. Once Briala kills Lienne and reveals Imshael's presence in Mihris, Michel is able to gain the upper hand in the duel. However, just as he is about to kill Gaspard, Briala calls in her favor and tells him to yield, which he does, effectively losing Celene her chance to resolve the civil war. Briala steals the keystone from Celene and claims the eluvians for the elves of Orlais. Celene attempts to appeal to her lover, but Briala does not listen, having figured out that Celene was responsible for her parents' death through Lady Mantillon. Briala offers Celene, Gaspard, and Michel safe passage. After Gaspard and Michel, having betrayed his oath to Celene by yielding to the Grand Duke, depart together, Celene asks Briala to send her to Val Royeaux and leaves with a parting profession of love for Briala, telling her that she "would find joy in my love finding her people, even as my breast aches with every heartbeat I live without you." [7]

Celene finds herself back in Halamshiral, in her own Winter Palace. Unsurprised by Briala's deception and despite being in a precarious position, Celene felt more confident now than she had in a long time. She summons Comte Pierre of Halamshiral to the palace and he immediately surrenders the city to her.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Edit

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“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
Celene eventually returns to Val Royeaux. Her army continues to clash with Gaspard's throughout the Dales and she has since declared that wearing violets--purple like the colours of her family's crest--is a sign of political support.[8]

Trivia Edit

  • David Gaider revealed that the original plot for Origins included a visit by Celene to Denerim. There it would have been learned that Cailan had planned to divorce Anora in favour of the Empress, and that Teyrn Loghain had discovered this scheme.[9]
  • Celene has a passionate love of tea, particularly Rivaini spice tea, and in fact keeps an enchanted tea pot in her luggage for this purpose.[10]
  • Celene wears several enchanted items on her person, including a ruby ring that enchants any weapon with flames and a puzzle ring purported to have belonged to The Black Fox.[11]
  • During her conversation with Leliana it is made apparent that Celene has been trained as a bard.[12]
  • Empress Celene is distantly related to Duke Prosper as he is her mother's cousin


Codex entries Edit

Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Empress Celene I of Orlais
Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Orlesian Lancer

References Edit

  1. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 142
  2. Patrick Weekes Twitter.
  3. BSN David Gaider (19 October, 2011). "How old is Empress Celene?" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on March 5, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, Chapter 3.
  5. Codex entry: Portrait of the Dowager
  6. Tor books
  7. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, Chapter 17
  8. Dragon Age: Inquisition Official Site - The Orlesian Civil War.
  9. David Gaider interview. PAX - September 2010.
  10. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, pgs. 17 and 104.
  11. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, pg. 168.
  12. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, pg. 22 and 23.

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