Even though this train of thought is as old as time…
Lady Inquisitors and the Orlesian Ball.
Inquisitor Trevelyan frowning into a looking glass at herself, because she can’t believe she’s being forced into a dress again after all her time spent escaping her noble obligations. She feels like she’s wearing someone else’s skin.
Warrior Trevelyan refusing to even wear a bloody dress, showing up to the ball in plain armor or leathers instead. The scandalized looks on the nobles’ faces are worth the scolding she gets from Josephine later. Her stunt still manages to impress a good many people, even.
Rogue Trevelyan sewing knives into the inner seams of her skirt, hiding pills of poison in the weave of her necklace, wearing the sharpest, highest-heeled shoes she can find, looking impeccably gorgeous, smiling at the other guests with predatory intensity. She wants all of them to know that she’s a dangerous woman, to see the rouge on her lips as blood.
Mage Trevelyan fingering the embroidery on the bodice of her dress, unable to keep herself from admiring how fine it is. At the ball, she tries to focus on the pattern of grape vines running up her sleeves instead of the gawking and suspicious stares of the nobility.
Inquisitor Adaar wearing her gown with dignity and grace, looking marvelously statuesque, shocking the other guests into awed silence. Leliana smiles quietly because she recalls the past week of Adaar hobbling back and forth in her quarters, under her supervision, attempting to learn how to walk properly in fine shoes.
Warrior Adaar feeling awkward in the light, soft fabric of her dress, saying she feels naked without any armor on and asking if she can at least wear some pants. When Iron Bull cracks a joke about teaching her to tell the difference between wearing a dress and being naked, Adaar kicks his ass without mercy.
Rogue Adaar wearing a fine doublet and breeches, leading in every dance, making men and women alike blush with her easy smile and husky laughter. Later, she and Sera count up how much each of them managed to pilfer from noble pockets over drinks. Sera insists she won by at least a sovereign based on her jewelry haul. Iron Bull nearly passes out laughing when Adaar holds up a crumpled, perfumed bodice embroidered with gems and says “No, I think I won. Didn’t even have to steal it.”
Mage Adaar not being able to shut up about how beautiful everything is, nearly swooning over her dress and shoes, gasping when she sees the ballroom for the first time, begging Josephine to teach her how to dance. She is so excited by the whole affair that she doesn’t even notice the odd looks she gets when she’s dancing and laughing with her companions, or pay any mind to the condescending smiles and snide, backhanded compliments of the nobles.
Inquisitor Lavellan hating every second leading up to the ball, feeling prodded and painted and positioned like a doll on display. Once there, she plays her part, swallowing her bile at their condescension and smiling passively until her face threatens to crack. Afterward, she rubs her face practically raw washing off the thin layer of makeup Josephine helped her apply. This just isn’t her game.
Warrior Lavellan dressed in full, shining ceremonial armor. She smiles and speaks to every elven servant who passes by with a look of awe and wonder on their face.
Rogue Lavellan dancing with their companions, remarkably light on their feet, enjoying themselves in spite of everything because at least in this they can pretend the footwork is like navigating through thick forests and tangled, moss-covered roots.
Mage Lavellan discreetly setting a noble’s crotch on fire for grabbing a passing elven servant’s ass. She swears to Vivienne when she angrily asks what happened that she had nothing to do with it, it must have been the candles on the serving table in front of him, they must have been too close to the edge. Lavellan and Sera break into giggles as soon as Vivienne leaves the room.
Inquisitor Cadash laughing at Josephine’s offer to help her put together her costume for the evening. “I know what works,” she says. “You don’t get very far as a Cadash if you don’t know how to clean up nicely and speak like your tongue is dripping honey and gold.”
Warrior Cadash wearing heels on a bet. She ends up ditching them and the ball halfway through and running off with Sera for drinks instead.
Rogue Cadash charming everyone in the room, smiling and laughing, looking strikingly beautiful. By the time the ball is over the Inquisition’s treasury has somehow doubled, and its army just got four troops larger.