Ser Varnell is a Templar stationed in Kirkwall in charge of protecting Sister Petrice. Varnell is extremely hostile to the Qunari and is one of several individuals in Kirkwall actively working to incite tension between the Qunari and the population of the city.
Ser Varnell was assigned to serve as a bodyguard to Sister Petrice while she is searching for someone to smuggle Ketojan, a Qunari Mage out of the city as part of a plot to incite hostility against the Qunari. Varnell and Petrice become separated in Lowtown however and Petrice is set upon by a gang of thugs before being saved by Hawke. Varnell returns and escorts Petrice to a nearby safehouse where they make a deal with Hawke. Varnell remains with Petrice and helps her erase any evidence of their presence while Hawke and their companions escort Ketojan through the undercity.
Over the next three years Varnell began to become more aggressive in his mission against the Qunari to the point that Petrice felt Varnell had become unreliable and Petrice dismissed him as her bodyguard. Varnell masterminds the abduction of a Qunari delegation sent to meet with Viscount Dumar. Mother Petrice however, felt that Varnell was now endangering their cause with his recklessness and revealed his involvement to Hawke. Varnell gathered a rally of anti-Qunari supporters at his hideout in the undercity and displayed the captured Qunari to them, bound and chained, as part of their public execution. Led by Petrice, Hawke and their companions arrived just as Varnell prepares to murder the delegates. After executing the Qunari, Varnell then persuades the mob to attack Hawke but is killed along with many of his followers in the ensuing confrontation.Alternatively, an aggressive Hawke also has the option to support Varnell in which case the captured Qunari will break free of their chains, terrifying Varnell's supporters who flee. Hawke and their companions, are left to fight the delegates and the Qunari rescue team with Varnell's help. Afterwards Varnell will remark that he does not trust Hawke but that Kirkwall is lucky to have them.