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Codex entry: The Folly of General Not-Sheritan

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Codex text

One.
We study thus the tale of Not-Sheritan, the servant of a Fereldan lord who together shared a casual friendship not common among Orlesians. It was during a diplomatic visit that both remarked on the absurdity of masks, frustrated as they were by the scorn of the Orlesians, who saw these visitors as common and unadorned. So insulted were the Fereldans that the servant did take up the mask of the Orlesian general Sheritan from the cloakroom. "What a lark," she sneered, earning the guffaws of her lord. And the lord sought to share the whimsy with the room, but he was mistaken of the reaction. None of the assembled dared question the bearer of the mask, even as they were told of the jest. For in the Orlais of the time, the mask was the person, and the wearer must be he, even if their build is slight and their sex reversed. Could it not be a test? In exposing the mistake, is not the witness also a cause of violation?


Two.
And so it was that this visiting servant was not just greeted but whisked away, for this was not a mere fete, but the launching of a grand operation. And at the fore of the might of Orlais now stood a waif behind a general's face. And none did question, for fear of censure. And she, the servant, could not get away. Left without her lord, she feared the madness of the Orlesians. That if she removed the mask, they would call her imposter, or spy, or some other thing she could not know. And as enemy battalions marched upon them, the servant was certain it would end in death for all.


Three.
But during times of crisis, there can emerge abilities we do not know we possess. The servant, under the greatest duress, stood as Not-Sheritan. She stood, and she spoke. She stood, and she led. She stood, and she attacked. And under banners they knew and a voice they did not, the forces of Orlais brought low their enemy. Now, perhaps the servant was more lieutenant than page to her battle-hardened lord. And perhaps the strength of the foe is stressed too much in retellings. And perhaps the allied were well practiced in their roles. But none question that Not-Sheritan was at the least adequate and at the most inspirational.


Four.
And so it was that victory was absolute, and cheers were raised for General Not-Sheritan. And so buoyed by respect and admiration, Not-Sheritan stood proud and removed the mask to state her true name. For had they not accepted her? Had they not thrived by her leadership? Had they not become comrades despite station and masks and nonsense of protocol? And the answer was swift and bewildering, for they had not. And swiftly she was bundled away, amid calls of "Imposter!" and "Spy!" and other terms she could not know. For she still did not know Orlais.


Five.
In the days that followed, to avoid scandal the appointing of Not-Sheritan was claimed a grand tactic of the true general, who must have orchestrated the whole affair from secret. "From secret" meaning the cloakroom, for not even his own attendants knew his face, and they would have had the guard whisk him to jail for trespassing. But with his mask restored and wary of the embarrassment, the general was merciful with Not-Sheritan, imposing less than half the prescribed lashes and sparing her and her lord the gallows. They were allowed to leave Orlais on the condition that "Not-Sheritan" was henceforth her name.

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