Elthina was born in a small village in the Vimmark Mountains. When she was young, her parents died of fever and she was taken in by the Chantry. She became a lay sister as a girl. Though she was given the choice to leave when she came of age, Elthina elected to stay and take her vows. She moved south to Kirkwall when she was twenty. She soon became a revered mother there. She was appointed grand cleric of the Free Marches by Divine Beatrix III when her predecessor died, approximately thirty years after Elthina had first come to Kirkwall.
After Sebastian was forced into the Chantry, Elthina helped him escape in the dead of night, telling him that people should enter the Chantry through the front door, not the back. She gave him a purse full of gold and told him to go and live his life. Thanks to her words, Sebastian returned to the Chantry - through the front door this time - with his faith restored.
Elthina tried and imprisoned the former Viscount, Perrin Threnhold. As the Grand Cleric, she appointed Meredith to the position of the Knight-Commander of Kirkwall. She has been Grand Cleric for almost twenty years and is well-loved by the entire city, but some claim her to be ineffective and are quietly calling on the Divine to appoint a replacement.
Hawke first sees Elthina outside the Kirkwall Chantry. She tells Sebastian that the Chantry cannot condone murder and tries to remove the poster offering bounty on the heads of mercenaries who killed his family from the Chanter's Board. Inside the Chantry, she apologizes for Hawke witnessing the "disgraceful scene". Elthina expresses her belief that the Fifth Blight was stopped by the will of the Maker. If asked about Meredith, Elthina claims that "it is not [her] role to form opinions on her character".
When Hawke comes to the Chantry after Petrice has set Hawke up to be killed by the Qunari in order to instigate the conflict, Elthina comments that some brothers and sisters "take the Qunari threat too personally."At some point after this, Elthina promotes Petrice to the rank of "mother".
Hawke overhears Sebastian asking for Elthina's forgiveness as he no longer sees killing the mercenaries as justice. Elthina replies that death is never justice. When Sebastian says that he wants to confront Lady Harimann and asks Hawke to accompany him, Elthina urges Sebastian to give this up and to dedicate himself to the Chantry. Addressing the issues of the Qunari, the mages and the templars, Elthina states that it is best to guard themselves by waiting and that "it is not [her] place to decide who is right."
Hawke can also have additional lines of dialogue with Elthina:
- Hawke can show Ser Alrik's letter to Elthina after investigating his "Tranquil solution". Elthina says that Ser Alrik made a suggestion, but they turned him down. She insists that the Rite of Tranquility is a last resort.
- Hawke can inform Elthina that a templar used her seal to make a member of the guard ignore the Qunari delegates being abducted. Elthina replies that she hoped this would not go so far and that she will step in when it's time.
- Hawke tells Elthina that Petrice is behind the murder. Elthina replies that Petrice has erred in her judgment and that a court will decide her fate. Then she turns away and walks up the stairs. Seconds later a Qunari assassin kills Petrice with an arrow. Elthina looks back only to tell Hawke to send for the Viscount.
- Hawke allows Petrice to pin the murder on the Qunari and kills the assassins before they inflict any harm to Petrice. Elthina confronts Petrice and states that everything is as the latter predicted, all too well. Elthina harshly demands that Petrice should come to speak to her. Later Hawke learns that Elthina asserted that Petrice "failed to maintain the solemn dignity" of her position. As a result Petrice stays with the Chantry, but is no longer a "mother".
In Hightown, Orsino is trying to convince the nobles that Meredith uses the fear of mages to take control of Kirkwall. Meredith accuses him of inciting a rebellion. Then Elthina arrives and asks the templars to "show the First Enchanter back to the Circle," adding an injunction for them to treat him "gently," and Meredith to "go back to the Gallows and calm down, like a good girl." If the Champion asks Elthina why she does nothing when she is in charge of the templars and the Circle, Elthina retorts that Hawke has "quite the estimation of [her] abilities."
In the Chantry, Hawke witnesses Sebastian asking what is Elthina's stance on the issue of the mages and the templars. Elthina states that she favors peace and if the Maker is merciful, he will help them find it. She confesses that she did not expect things to deteriorate so fast. Then she tells him that the Divine sent an agent to Kirkwall to assess the danger of the Free Marches becoming another Imperium. Elthina is afraid that the Divine will treat the whole city as enemies, so she asks the Champion and Sebastian to meet the agent and to convince her that drastic measures won't be required. Elthina adds that the Divine has heard her protests already.
When Hawke returns only to pass the agent's message that Elthina must leave Kirkwall for Orlais because she will not be safe in the city, Elthina refuses to abandon her flock. She asserts that she is in no personal danger since nobody would dare attack the Grand Cleric. Later Elthina tells that she has been talking with both Orsino and Meredith and that Orsino "is not an unreasonable man;" she feels, therefore, that a compromise can be reached.
- Agree. Hawke comes to Elthina to discuss the mages and the templars. Elthina claims that she cannot take sides and that she is seeking to balance the needs of everyone. Then Anders shows up. Elthina comments that his soul is troubled and expresses her hope that he found a balm for it in the Chantry.
- Refuse. Hawke has a special option in the dialogue with Elthina as long as Hawke does not speak to the agent of the Divine. Being warned that the apostates are plotting against the Chantry, Elthina replies that it must be Anders who is behind it, but mages have threatened her before and she "will not turn on [her] templars for fear".
If Meredith is the one to ask Hawke to investigate the matter of Thrask's conspiracy, she explains to the Champion that she needs hard evidence of Orsino's direct involvement to bring before Elthina, because Orsino has persuaded the Grand Cleric that Meredith "is being unreasonable." Alternatively, if it is Orsino who asks for assistance, he expresses his hope that Circle mages are not involved in something sinister, or "Meredith will have what she needs to justify the Right of Annulment."In the end, the apostate mage Anders blows up the Chantry, killing Elthina and everybody else inside. Sebastian is crushed. He vows to avenge Elthina if Hawke refuses to kill Anders. Meredith invokes the Right of Annulment, starting the Kirkwall Rebellion.
When you first speak to her during Act 1 it is possible to gain (+5) friendship with Aveline Vallen and Isabela by choosing "The hero of Ferelden stopped the blight, not the maker". Conversely you gain (+5) rivalry with both Aveline and Isabela by choosing "He works in mysterious ways".
When you speak to her during Act 2 you can gain:
- "You should help the city": Aveline: friendship (+5) (Only once per Act)
- "You're useless": Aveline: rivalry (+5), Sebastian: rivalry (+5) (Only once per Act)
- (Repentance) "Death is never justice."
- (Following the Qun) "Eternity is long enough that we need not rush to meet it."
- (Justice) "I cannot take sides. We are all the Maker's creatures, but magic allows abuses beyond the scope of mortals."
- (After Justice) "I cannot turn on my templars, on the very words of Andraste, for fear. No matter how justified that fear might be."
- Elthina was written by Jennifer Hepler.
- She is part of the "Friends in High Places" achievement, along with Knight-Commander Meredith, Viscount Marlowe Dumar, and First Enchanter Orsino.
- Elthina knew the Amell family well. She officiated the wedding of Lord Aristide Amell to Lady Bethann Walker, and dedicated their infant daughter, Leandra Amell, to the Chantry. In an optional conversation with Hawke during Act 2, Elthina notes that Hawke's mother was "a beautiful baby."
- Sebastian Vaels' short story that features Elthina, by Jennifer Hepler