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Blood writing

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Inquisition Vallaslin concept

Example of Vallaslin tattoos.

When the children of our people came of age, they earn the privilege of wearing the vallaslin, the blood writing. It sets us apart from the shemlen, and from the elves who have thrown their lot in with them. It reminds us that we will never again surrender our traditions and beliefs.
—From Codex entry: Vallaslin: Blood Writing

Blood writing, or vallaslin in the elven language, is what the Dalish call the intricate facial tattoos worn by all adult clan members. The ink used to do so is considered sacred. When a Dalish elf comes of age, they prepare to gain the vallaslin by meditating on the gods and the ways of the Dalish, and by purifying the body and the skin. When the time comes, the Keeper of the clan applies the blood writing. This is done in complete silence. Cries of pain are taken as signs of weakness. If a young elf cannot tolerate the pain of the blood writing, they are deemed unready to undertake the responsibilities of an adult. The keeper may stop the ritual if they decide that the one gaining the vallaslin is not ready. Blood writing is at least in part a religious practice, and there are different designs of blood writing representing deities in the Elven Pantheon. However, it is not known whether the practice was associated with the worship of the gods in ancient Elvhenan or is a more recent development.

Many young Dalish receive their vallaslin when they are around 18 years of age, or so.[1]

Splr dai
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
According to Solas, the use of vallaslin during the time of Elvhenan is a much more controversial concept than believed by modern elves -- the Dalish in particular. He reveals that, in the days of Arlathan, the tattoos were not signs of patronage to the various elven gods but, in fact, slave markings--signs of ownership--when noble elves enslaved the lower classes; they were representations of the gods that the nobles favored. Abelas and the Sentinels of the Temple of Mythal have vallaslin etched on their faces.

Designs Edit

Blood writing vallaslin designs dao

All designs available to the Dalish Warden in Dragon Age: Origins.

Thus far, three groups of Dalish have been encountered: those of the Dalish Elf Origin, those of Zathrian's clan in Nature of the Beast, and the ones found in the Exalted Plains in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Various designs of blood writing can be seen on their faces. There appear to be eight main designs, each of which comes in a simpler and a more complex version. Though similar to the main eight there are two unique designs that are used by Velanna/Seranni in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening and Merrill in Dragon Age II.

Design 1 Edit

Design 2 Edit

Design 3 Edit

Design 4 Edit

Design 5 Edit

Design 6 Edit

Design 7 Edit

Design 8 Edit

Unique Designs Edit

Dragon Age: Inquisition Edit

The designs found in Dragon Age: Inquisition and their corresponding deities are pictured below. [2]

Trivia Edit

  • Although there are nine gods in the Elven Pantheon, only eight are represented in the vallaslin in Dragon Age: Inquisition. There is no design for Fen'Harel.

References Edit

  1. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire
  2. Matt Rhodes Tumblr.

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