- "I'm no Orlesian wallflower, give me a sword and I'll use it!"
- ―Eleanor to Aedan
Teyrna Eleanor Cousland, née Mac Eanraig, was born into House Mac Eanraig as the eldest daughter of Bann Fearchar Mac Eanraig, ruler of the Storm Coast Bannorn. She was married into House Cousland following the end of the Fereldan Rebellion through her marriage to Teyrn Bryce Cousland of Highever. Together, she and Bryce have two children: Fergus and Aedan.
During her youth, Eleanor was the captain of her own warship, the Mistral.
Eleanor Mac Eanraig was the daughter of Bann Fearchar Mac Eanraig of the Storm Coast, a famous raider who was known as the Storm Giant. From birth Eleanor and her three siblings were raised on the deck of a warship. Although all four of the Mac Eanraig children were skilled raiders, Eleanor was by far the most skilled, and at the age of fifteen she took down her first Orlesian warship. Her ship, the Mistral, soon became infamous for capturing and sinking Orlesian ships. As Eleanor's reputation grew, the Orlesians soon began to call her the Seawolf, and eventually her name began to overshadow that of her father.
After King Maric I Theirin reclaimed Denerim, the rebel army knew the Orlesians would attempt to take back the city by sea. Bann Fearchar called upon every available soldier to bolster his fleet in preparation for the attack. With the help of the soldiers the crew on every one of Fearchar's ships was doubled, and those soldiers who were unable to keep their rations down were stationed along the rocky coast of the Waking Sea to protect the ships by land.
Lord Bryce Cousland, a decorated young military commander, joined the Bann's fleet and led a contingent of soldiers from the deck of Eleanor's ship, the Mistral. Bryce and Eleanor's first meeting went so terribly that it was immortalized in the famous sea shanty called "The Soldier and the Seawolf". Although Eleanor and Bryce initially came into to conflict with each other, the two worked well together. Together Eleanor and Bryce destroyed a dozen warships in the Battle of Denerim Harbor, and the two soon became good friends.
Shortly after the battle Bryce Cousland's father, Teyrn William Cousland, died of an illness, and as his only son, Bryce was forced to deliver the body from South Reach to Highever. When Bryce arrived at Highever, the nobles were shocked to see the Couslands return to their home after a near 70 year absence, and quickly swore fealty to him. Many of Amaranthine's freeholders soon swore allegiance to Bryce, instead of their Arl, which complicated the proceeding of Bryce's ascension to Teyrn.
It ultimately took Bryce four months to claim his seat as Teyrn of Highever, and every day as he waited he sent a letter to Eleanor, some days Bryce even sent more than one. The two eventually met face to face once more at King Maric's formal coronation in the capital. At the coronation Bryce attempted to propose to Eleanor by singing all ten verses of the Soldier and the Seawolf, he only got to three when she accepted his proposal.
During an attack on Highever, an event orchestrated by Arl Rendon Howe, Eleanor joins her second son in an attempt to defend Castle Cousland from his soldiers; however, they are unsuccessful. In order to buy time for Aedan and Duncan to escape, she stays behind, refusing to leave her mortally wounded husband.
After rescuing Queen Anora, in Eamon's Denerim estate, Anora claims she knew the Cousland family well and that Eleanor was "particularly dear" to her.
Personality and traits
Eleanor is a sharp and quick-witted woman. She is proud, strong, kind, and generous, has a strong grasp of politics, and is often governed by the desire to protect her children and let them find their own path. Though very aware of the Fifth Blight, she carries herself as befitting a woman of her stature. In conversation, she will reveal that she is as worried as the Teyrn is about the impending Blight.
Being a warrior, the Teyrna refers to herself as a former "battle maiden".
Eleanor is described as beautiful, with gray (formerly black) hair tied into a bun, green eyes, and a slim womanly figure, and tends to dress simply, preferring the blue color of House Cousland with the Seal of Highever pinned to her clothes or the yellow and white of her father's House Mac Eanraig. But still seen as honorable and upright by acquaintances.
- "I was quite the battle maiden myself, in my day. But I think it was the softer arts that helped me land a husband."
- (about her youngest child possibly joining the Grey Wardens) "You haven't got it into your head that you want to become one, have you?"
- Eleanor: "I love you, my darling boy. You know that, don't you?"
- Aedan: "And I love you, Mother. But I'm hardly a boy any longer."
- Eleanor: "Indeed! I turn my back and here you are, a fine man/woman in your own right. But that doesn't mean I have to like it."