“Planning has never been my strong suit. Now, killing... killing and love-making. Killing and love-making and witty retorts. Those I am better at.”
Zevran Arainai (born c. 9:04–9:05 Dragon) is an elven Antivan rogue and accomplished assassin. He is a potential companion and a romance option for either male or female Warden. He gained his surname Arainai after being brought into House Arainai as a Crow recruit.
Zevran was born around 9:05 Dragon to a Dalish woman who fell in love with an elven woodcutter. His elven mother abandoned her clan and moved with the woodcutter to Antiva City. Zevran is unsure whether the woodcutter is indeed his father. After the woodcutter died suddenly - presumably from disease - Zevran's mother was forced into a life of prostitution in Rialto to pay off the woodcutter's debts, and died soon after giving birth to Zevran. He considers himself lucky for a boy who grew up in a brothel.
In fact, the woodcutter was a contract kill by the Antivan Crows in 9:04 Dragon. Along with other elven orphans, Zevran was raised communally by the sex workers in the brothel until the age of seven. His cunning and skill in stealing had brought him to the attention of Guildmaster Talav of House Arainai who paid the remainder of the debt his mother had been forced to repay. As such, he was considered compradi (purchased).
He and Taliesen were both purchased in 9:12 and out of eighteen recruits bought that year, they were the only two to survive. Despite a promising start, however, neither boy showed any real talent until Rinna was introduced into the House. The trio complemented each other well, Rinna overseeing planning, Taliesen providing the physical strength and Zevran handling both poisons and seductions. Indeed, they worked so well together than Eoman Arainai trained them together as a unit within House Arainai. This eventually led to the trio becoming romantically involved.
In 9:28 Dragon, Zevran and Taliesen were tasked with killing Rinna, whom the Rosso Noche were trying to put forward as an heir to King Natale. Following her murder, the heart seemed to go out of Zevran. Indeed, it appeared that during later missions, Taliesen was covering for Zevran in order to keep up the appearance that Zevran was still a loyal member of the Crows. His later bid for a contract to kill the two remaining Grey Wardens in Ferelden was interpreted by some in the Crows as an attempt to attain the rank of master, but was in actuality a suicide attempt.
Dragon Age: Origins
The ambush begins with a lone, desperate woman approaching the party and begging their aid after an apparent attack on her wagon. When you follow her, Zevran and numerous other assassins appear and the party must then fend off both the Crows and the woman they met on the road, who proves to be a mage. If Zevran is defeated in the battle, the Warden is presented with an option to either kill him immediately or allow him to speak in his defense. Should he be kept alive for interrogation, Zevran will ask to join the group, offering to protect and serve the Warden in exchange for his life.
Note that in order to trigger the encounter with Zevran, the Warden must have passed through Lothering and completed one of the major story lines: The Arl of Redcliffe up to reaching Arl Eamon, A Paragon of Her Kind, Nature of the Beast, Broken Circle or The Urn of Sacred Ashes.
Confident and eager to put his abilities to good use under the Warden's employ, Zevran is easygoing by nature. Though many of the party members have their doubts about whether or not he is trustworthy, he takes their suspicions in stride and deflects their accusations with wit. He has no reservations about what he does for a living, nor does he try to dress up his role as a Crow. He acknowledges freely that he is a killer and that he cannot picture himself doing anything else. Even so, he does possess a somewhat slanted sense of morality that guides his actions.
Zevran is among the least judgmental of the Origins companions. The Warden's decisions, for good or ill, rarely affect his disposition by more than a few points (if at all), though there are some exceptions. Zevran will object should the Warden opt to destroy the Anvil of the Void, arguing for the anvil's value to their war effort. He will also protest the decision to slay the mages in the Tower in Broken Circle, questioning why his life was spared while those of the mages are so easily disregarded. If he is in the party when the Warden proposes slaughtering the Dalish, Zevran will plead with them to spare the lives of the elves, although the Warden can overrule him and persuade him to go along with no drop in approval. If asked about the Dalish elves after the Warden has completed Nature of the Beast by siding with the werewolves, he will snap that it is a ghoulish thing to bring up after everything that has transpired - even if he has not joined the party until after said events. Zevran will, however, concede that the werewolves deserved their revenge, and the Dalish fell because they were weak. If Zevran's approval is 27 or more, he will teach the assassin specialization.
If you have Zevran in your party when entering the Fade during Broken Circle, you will later find him being pulled on the rack during his own nightmare. He seems to be reliving a past experience of being tortured by two fellow elves in order to prove that he can endure pain, apparently a necessary step to join the Crows. While in the Fade, Zevran is oblivious to the fact that he is already an Antivan Crow, and has to be reminded of this by the Warden. Once convinced, Zevran will disappear, re-appearing before the final battle against Sloth.
Despite his Dalish lineage and the fact he briefly lived with a roaming clan, Zevran thinks of himself primarily as an Antivan. He claims to feel no collective kinship to other elves, those in alienages least of all; Zevran believes that too many of his kind have accepted being considered inferior as a fact of life, and thinks they have to fight to earn a higher level of respect. Regardless of what he says, Zevran will approve the Warden's actions if they benefit elves in general. For example, he will approve of freeing Soris from Howe's prisons during the Landsmeet and disapprove if the Warden frees Vaughan, but only if the Warden brings up the topic of the elven uprising in Denerim (around -5 approval).
In time, if the Warden has garnered a sufficient approval rating with Zevran, he will reveal the specifics of some of his missions as a Crow. The last job he performed in Antiva was to be carried out with the assistance of his fellow assassins, Taliesen and Rinna. Zevran explains that he had become genuinely smitten with Rinna in a way that directly conflicted with his assassin training. But as the trio planned their attack, Taliesen learned that Rinna had accepted a bribe from their mark and was planning to betray them. Zevran watched Taliesen kill her, callously mocking her pleas of innocence and dying declarations of love for him, and the two men carried out the mission on their own. Only after their target was dead did they discover the real source of their victim's information, which in turn proved Rinna had been telling the truth. Heartbroken and disgusted by his actions, Zevran returned to the Crows and made a bid for what many believed was a suicide mission: kill any remaining Grey Wardens in Ferelden. He took the job hoping to die at the hands of legendary heroes, only to have his would-be killers show him the mercy he had not given Rinna. This is brought up by the Guardian, who will ask Zevran if he feels remorse for her murder.
The truth of this final mission is that Rinna, a bastard daughter of Prince Estefan, was working with the Rosso Noche (Red Night), an organization with the goal of presenting Rinna as a legitimate heir to King Natale of Antiva. When a member of House Valisti, Claudio Valisti, discovered this, he bribed Eoman Arainai to have Rinna killed to allow a member of the Valisti family a better chance of royal succession. Zevran and Taliesen were informed that killing Rinna was a test of their loyalty but the act left Zevran feeling wracked with guilt and self-loathing.
After the Landsmeet quest has started, and while traveling through Denerim, Taliesen approaches the party and offers to take Zevran back to Antiva. If his approval rating is not high enough, Zevran (regardless of whether or not he's in the active party) will betray the team for the Crows and permanently die in the following confrontation. If this happens, his codex entry will be updated with details regarding his death. If he has high approval (+26, or at least at "warm" or "interested"), he will deny the Crows. If he is in a romance with the Warden and at least "interested" but below +71, he may refuse to fight, depending on how the Warden answers Taliesen. If this happens, the Warden will have the opportunity to question Zevran about his relationship with Taliesen later. Zevran expresses regret over killing Taliesen as, despite everything, Zevran had feelings for his fellow Crow. If he is in a romance with the Warden and the approval rating is high enough, he will fight alongside them against his fellow assassins. Afterward, Zevran states that the Crows will have assumed he rejoined Taliesin and subsequently died with him. This gives Zevran an opportunity to disappear before they learn otherwise, and his disposition will determine if he then asks for his freedom or to remain with the group and continue to fight the Blight.If the Warden survives the final battle of the Blight, Zevran attends to the coronation ceremony. He expects the Crows to come after him, and thinks that staying in one place is only going to invite them to find him that much quicker. He will ask if the Hero is in favor of him remaining with them, whether they are staying in Denerim, leaving, or returning to the Grey Warden fold.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
While Zevran does not appear in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, he is referenced when the Warden (imported only) is recruiting Nathaniel Howe, and again at the end of the game if the Warden was romantically involved with him. If so, the ending reveals that the Warden eventually travels to Antiva in order to find Zevran. Whether to engage in a showdown with him, to lead the Crows at his side, or to continue to adventure with him remains up to the player to decide.There is also a letter from him to a Warden whom he loves present in the game files which did not appear in the game when it was first released. This has been fixed in the 1.04 patch. See Codex entry: A Letter From Zevran for details.
The Darkspawn Chronicles
Dragon Age II
If you are in a relationship with Isabela and ask how her late husband "freed" her, she says he met an assassin's blade in the back of the skull. She thanked the man repeatedly and it inspired her to become a rogue herself; as mentioned in Dragon Age: Origins, the assassin was Zevran, and an 'artist', according to Isabela.
Since the end of the Blight, Zevran has been trying to dismantle the Crows from the inside. Four months after the end of the Blight, master Eoman Arainai had been killed with evidence showing a Crow responsible though no contract had been taken out on him. Four other members of House Arainai died in similar circumstances over the next three years. Grandmasters Runn and Availa died soon after at the hands of an unknown assassin. By 9:35 Dragon, Zevran was said to have two out of the seven Guildmasters in his pocket, and to be responsible for the death of the Guildmaster of Rialto. 
As a result of his activities, Zevran is being hunted by the Crows. He may be encountered in a cave near the Dalish camp after Hawke accepts the quest A Murder of Crows, given by an Antivan named Nuncio at the beginning of Act 3. Hawke will have the option of bringing him back to his employer, letting him go or fighting him. If Hawke let Zevran go and killed the Crows hunting him, he will appear during the final battle with Meredith to aid Hawke.
If Zevran was not in a loving relationship with the Warden at the end of Dragon Age: Origins, Isabela is not in the party, and at least one of the flirtatious dialogue paths is chosen when talking to him, he will offer to "get to know" Hawke after the Crows are eliminated. If an un-romanced Isabela is present, she will demand sex from Zevran. Even if Hawke is in a relationship with Isabela, she will ask Zevran for sex. Hawke can ask her not to and Isabela will comply, telling Hawke they had better make up for it with sex later. Alternatively, a Hawke of either gender can join them in a threesome. If the Champion is in a relationship with Anders, Fenris, or Merrill and they are present when Zevran makes his offer, they will react jealously and Zevran will retract his offer. Hawke may still go through with the counter with no approval change if the love interest is not in the active party (except Sebastian).Zevran will also fight alongside Hawke in the final battle against Meredith, but only if Isabela or Varric is in the party. Note that there are specific conditions for his appearance; see The Last Straw walkthrough for details.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Zevran is mentioned in several war table operations.
If Zevran was not romanced:
If the Inquisitor uses the services of the Antivan Crows to deal with Lord Enzo, Leliana receives a message from Zevran, apologizing for killing a Crow assassin in the Inquisition's employ and offering to finish the job himself—for only a moderate price in consideration of his friendship with the spymaster.
After helping the Inquisition kill Lord Enzo in Hercinia, Zevran asks for their help in evading the Antivan Crows, who have sent men after him in retaliation for stealing one of their targets and claiming the money from the assassination contract.If Zevran was romanced and the Hero of Ferelden survived the events of Origins:
A letter from the Warden received during the war table operation Contact Hero of Ferelden indicates that Zevran has joined them in their expedition to Thedas's far west.
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age II
Dragon Age: Inquisition
A supposed master of seduction, Zevran will blatantly flirt with the Warden, in addition to some of the other companions, even if only in jest. He is typically undeterred by anything short of a firm and clear rejection of his advances, thus making it easy to start a relationship with the Warden, regardless of gender. Almost immediately after being recruited into the team he will reveal his attraction to the Warden, and from there the Warden can drop unsubtle hints that the thought is reciprocated.
It is a simple enough matter to get into Zevran's good graces. He enjoys playful innuendo and being asked of his exploits, and as long as the Warden can accept his sexual history, the romance will continue. He can be asked to accompany the Warden back to their tent with a moderately high approval rating, which he happily accepts. Afterward, he explains that he holds no claim on the player character and it is their choice to either continue the relationship or end it there. Conversely, if Zevran has a high approval of the Warden and they have not yet asked him to bed, he will offer his company for the night. Asking Zevran about love afterwards will result in a loss of approval, though telling him it's a one night stand will result in a significantly larger approval loss as well as ending the relationship. Zevran is just as faithful as the other romance partners once in a relationship.
Indeed, according to David Gaider, Zevran finds himself quite surprised by a stable romantic relationship with the Warden. Though his reputation as a laughing lover is not undeserved, Zevran had—until meeting the Warden—assumed his life would consist only of "shallow encounters and jobs to be completed," and that he himself was undeserving and in fact incapable of love. A blooming romance with the Warden forces Zevran to confront and admit his own deep feelings. As much as the Warden benefits from Zevran's company, it is fair to say as well that their love is literally life-changing for the assassin.
If the Warden is concurrently romancing Alistair, Leliana, or Morrigan, Zevran will eventually ask if that relationship is going anywhere. He will offer to step aside to avoid complications down the road, stating they have "had their fun" but the Warden should pursue the path of lasting happiness, though there is some indication, as noted above, that his feelings run quite a bit deeper than he is letting on. Choosing to stay with Zevran will result in a significant approval boost while dumping him will produce a corresponding approval loss.
While Zevran and the Warden can become very close quite soon after starting the romance, Zevran's approval rating won't switch to "love" until after the calling of the Landsmeet. The party encounters and slays Zevran's old friend Taliesen, and with that Zevran is given a reprieve from being hunted by the Crows. In gratitude, he offers the Warden an earring. Upon being asked if the item is a token of his affection, Zevran will give an awkward response that should make the answer obvious. However, pushing him to actually say so will result in a refusal to hand over the earring and a minor approval drop. Another alternative is to refuse the earring altogether, which will also cause disapproval. Later, he will offer it to the Warden again (if the right dialogue choices are made when pressing Zevran on why he no longer accepts their sexual advances -see below-). There is an option to suggest that the earring represents a proposal, which Zevran will agree to if it is the Warden's wish that it be taken as such. This apparently is what Zevran wishes as well. If the Warden decides a proposal is too much after suggesting it, however, the relationship ends as Zevran wants some promise of a future together.
After he has offered the earring, Zevran will refuse sexual encounters. If prompted to give a reason why, or asked if he wants to end the relationship, he will snap at the Warden and end the conversation with a small gain of approval. When asked about his change in behavior he explains that he is confused about his feelings, and from here the Warden will have to either express love or end the romance. If the conversation ends well, Zevran will again take the Warden's bed and, more importantly, their relationship will continue.
If the Warden survives the fight with the Archdemon and elects to rebuild the Grey Wardens, Zevran will assist with recruitment and training though he will never actually join. The Warden electing to remain in Denerim, return to their clan, travel, or other such options will result in Zevran staying around for a time. A Cousland Warden is also able to keep Zevran as a consort if his approval rating is high enough, even if they choose to marry Alistair or Anora and becoming a co-ruler of Ferelden. There is an additional conversation with him regarding this once the engagement is announced, where he will ask about where he stands and whether or not the romance will continue in spite of the upcoming nuptials.
Finally, if the Warden makes the ultimate sacrifice in the final battle, the epilogue notes that Zevran, despite frequent offers of bed partners, never loved again.
Zevran enjoys leather items and bars of gold or silver. When given the Dalish Gloves , he will initiate a brief conversation that may lead to an extra approval bonus, for a maximum of (+12).
Name Notes Description
Antivan Leather BootsA handsome pair of boots, made of luxurious Antivan doeskin. Dalish GlovesThese gloves are made of supple leather and lined with soft rabbit fur. Medium Gold BarLocated: Arl of Denerim's Estate - InteriorA fairly heavy gold bar. Medium Silver BarLocated: Anvil of the VoidA bar of pure silver. Small Gold BarLocated: Circle TowerA small bar of gold. Small Silver BarLocated: Haven ChantryA bar of pure silver.
Zevran starts out as a Rogue one level above the Warden.
Relative attribute weightings on auto-level:
Strength Dexterity Willpower Magic Cunning Constitution 0.5 1.5 0.5 0.125 0.375 0
Assassin Mark of Death Exploit Weakness (level 11) Rogue Dirty Fighting Dirty Fighting Below the Belt Below the Belt Deadly Strike Lethality (level 9) Evasion (level 12) Stealth Stealth Stealthy Item Use Combat Stealth (level 10) Dual Weapon Dual-Weapon Training Dual-Weapon Training (level 8) Dual-Weapon Finesse (level 13) Dual-Weapon Sweep Dual-Weapon Sweep Flurry Momentum (level 7)
As you befriend Zevran and gain his approval, he will gain the following additional skills:
Name Benefit Requirement Inspired: Minor Dexterity +1 dexterity 25% approval Inspired: Moderate Dexterity +2 dexterity 50% approval Inspired: Major Dexterity +4 dexterity 75% approval Inspired: Massive Dexterity +6 dexterity 90% approval
- Main article: Zevran/Dialogue
Dragon Age: Origins
- (When first introduced) "The Antivan Crows send their regards."
- "Can you smell that? Like rotting flesh. Just like back in Antiva City. Now if only you could find me a prostitute or two, a bowl of fish chowder and a corrupt politician, I'd really feel like I was home!"
- "We all do our share of murdering around here, don't we?"
- "You tend to get up to interesting things. You meet interesting people and then you kill them. I'm game to tag along, if you are."
- "Let's see... when was the last time I slipped my hand into some dark hole? Hmmm... I remember. Long story, that."
- "In truth, for the chance to be by your side I would storm the Dark City itself. Never doubt it."
- "What we are doing here... stopping the Blight. I cannot think of anything I have ever done which is so worthy."
- Warden: Care to answer some questions?
- Zevran: (If Zevran is in love) If they're dirty ones, certainly.
- Zevran: (If romance is active, pre-love-making scene) All right, but I get to stare at you luridly while you do so.
Dragon Age II
- "Killing my former brothers-in-arms is oddly satisfying."
- In conversation with Oghren, Zevran jokes that the sarcastic insults and slight tension between them is the result of a "typical dwarven/elven rivalry", though Oghren denies it. This references the fantasy trope that elves and dwarves do not get along (most notably seen with Legolas and Gimli from The Lord of the Rings), though ironically this trope does not carry over into Dragon Age.
- The quote during one of the possible endgames - "You meet interesting people and then you kill them" - is a nod to the movie Full Metal Jacket in which the lead character mentions that he wanted "to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture... and kill them."
- Zevran is mentioned in Dragon Age: The Silent Grove, as he put Alistair in touch with Prince Claudio Valisti.
- Initially Zevran was intended to take the place of Varric Tethras in the Dark Horse comic series but his appearance was cut due to concerns about party dynamics. Zevran was also to make a cameo appearance within the comics but that too was cut from the final script.
- In Awakening, when recruiting Nathaniel Howe, the Warden-Commander (if imported) can say, "Some of my best friends once tried to kill me." This is likely a reference to Zevran. If present in the team when recruiting Nathaniel, provided that he was released earlier and is approaching an imported Warden-Commander of his own will, Oghren will comment that the others should be on their guard, should Nathaniel "pull a Zevran", referencing the latter's failed ambush that introduced him to the Warden in the first place.
- After the Blight ends, Zevran begins to kill off his fellow Crows and becomes known by them as the "Black Shadow."
- Upon request, Zevran's voice actor (Jon Curry) recorded an audio of himself saying "trans rights" in Zevran's own way of saying it, and also expressed that he wishes everyone to stay safe during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
- You can loot Zevran's invisible corpse even after he has joined your party so long as he is not one of the active four teammates.
- If you romance Zevran as a male Warden, the epilogue may refer to you as "the woman he loves".
- When in a romance with Zevran and the conversation allows the choices "I want to discuss something personal" and then "Care to join me in my tent", there is a chance to gain an infinite amount of approval from Zevran. Invite him the first time and choose options that end the conversation without the love-making cut scene playing (i.e. "I was only joking, really. Just forget it.", "Fine. Get in my tent. No more questions.", "That's... not what I had in mind.") After the first invitation has failed, you can repeatedly ask him again and give the answers "Enough with the coy bit. Get in the tent," and then "That's... not what I had in mind." Each time you do you'll gain (+7). However, if you ever trigger the love-making cutscene, you will lose these conversation options, though subsequent tent visits always net (+1) so it's really not necessary to use this cheat.
- There is one pivotal conversation which can end with Zevran initiating a kiss (this kiss can happen publicly — it has nothing to do with tent time). However, his romance will never update to love.
- ps3xbox360 (v1.04) It is possible for Zevran to disappear from your party for good. This can happen during the confrontation with Taliesen. If you skip through the dialogue too quickly, he will not join the fight and will disappear forever. There is no way to fix this and you'll need to reload your save.
- His father was killed in 9:04, before Zevran was born.
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 96
- Codex entry: Zevran Arainai (Dragon Age II)
- Dragon Age Library Edition Volume 1, p. 18, annotation by David Gaider.
- Matt Rhodes. Matt Rhodes Art . Tumblr.