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What Has Come Before

The history of Thedas is riddled with conflicts of every sort, but none so great as the Blights. The First Blight raged for nearly two centuries, devastating Thedas in the process. In the end, the Grey Wardens finally slew the Archdemon Dumat, dispersing the Darkspawn hordes and forcing them back into the Deep Roads of the now nearly annihilated Dwarven Empire. The Tevinter Imperium was devastated, and in its weakened state, an army of barbarians rallied under the banner of a Fereldan woman, the Prophet Andraste, who brought the Imperium to its knees, freeing Thedas at large at the cost of her life.

Since then, the Blights have been an ever present threat to Thedas, one only mitigated by the Grey Wardens. Their order exists in every corner of Thedas, and they remain ever vigilant against the Darkspawn threat. Due to their knowledge, experience, and watchfulness, each successive Blight has been shorter than the last, and the scope of the success over the Fourth Blight convinced many that the Darkspawn would likely never gain enough numbers for a true Blight ever again. For over four hundred years, it appeared that this was the case.

In 9:30 DA, the Fifth Blight showed, if nothing else, the resilience and determination of the Darkspawn. Starting in southern Fereldan, the Fifth Blight was poised to completely destroy Fereldan. The Grey Wardens, only recently returned to the land after being banished over two centuries ago, had little strength to bring to bear against the Blight, though they had the enthusiastic support of King Cailan. Cailan, sadly, was betrayed by his father-in-law and trusted advisor, Teryn Loghain Mac Tir, who feared Cailan’s alliance with Orlais would result in disaster for Fereldan. Having shed his own blood to free from Orlesian rule thirty years before, Loghain let his anger and fear overwhelm his judgement and allied with Arl Rendon Howe save Fereldan from Orlais, rather than from the Darkspawn, since neither believed it was a true Blight. At a critical moment during the Battle of Ostagar, Loghain withdrew his troops and left Cailan and the Grey Wardens to die.

Two Grey Wardens survived Ostagar, whether by luck or fate, and while Loghain declared himself Regent, they worked to build an army to combat the Blight that was surging Northward from the Kocari Wilds, lead by the Archdemon Urthemial. As fate would have it, the surviving Wardens were themselves the solution to the Civil War as well, both being of noble blood. Elissa Cousland, daughter of Teryn Bryce Cousland, and Alistair Theirin, bastard son of King Maric Theirin, after having assembled forces from the Dwarves of Orzammar, the Dalish Elves, the Circle of Magi, and the Arl of Redcliffe, challenged Loghain at a Landsmeet in Denerim, calling before them every noble in Fereldan and laying bare the crimes of Loghain and Howe. Despite that the web of alliances that had supported Loghain’s rule had been shattered, he refused to simply give up power, resulting in a duel in the palace, leaving Loghain dead, and his daughter Anora, who had previously been married to King Cailan, removed from her seat.

United, Fereldan followed the lead of the Wardens and rallied against the Blight, which had already overtaken much of Fereldan. Planning to rally at Redcliffe, the Wardens were caught off guard by another twist, the Archdemon had shown itself by assaulting Denerim. The city held off the horde as long as it could, but the walls fell shortly before the Wardens and their army could arrive. Undeterred, Alistair and Elissa lead the charge and carved their way through the city with the aid of their allies, though by all accounts of the forces backing them, they required little assistance. Through the heroic efforts of the Grey Warden Riordan, the Archdemon was made vulnerable to attack atop the spire of Fort Drakon, and with the assistance of several dozen Dalish Hunters, the Archdemon was slain by the Wardens, the final blow being struck by Elissa Cousland herself.

The Archdemon slain, the Darkspawn again scattered, leaving Fereldan to cope with the tumultuous events that nearly tore it asunder. Alistair was declared King of Fereldan, Elissa his Queen-Consort. Fergus Cousland, Elissa’s brother, returned sorrowfully to Highever to take up the role of Teryn that had fallen to him through Rendon Howe’s treachery. In an act of benevolence, Ser Cauthrien, Loghain’s right hand woman, was elevated to the Terynship of Gwaren, Loghain’s previous title, granting her amnesty from Loghain’s actions. Arl Rendon Howe’s lands were gifted to the Grey Wardens, allowing them to rebuild their strength within Fereldan under the guidance of Elissa Cousland, who was named Warden-Commander of Fereldan.

In light of their support during the Siege of Denerim, the Dalish were given the lands within Fereldan to stay with the promise of safety for any of their kind that came. The Mages of Fereldan, while still under the control of the Templars at the Circle of Magi, came to know relaxed oversight and greater freedoms, and the King’s association with apostate mages became widely spread throughout Thedas, leading many to suspect that there might be some safe harbor within Fereldan, though some say that Orzammar might be the true beginnings of Mage Freedom in Thedas. Meanwhile, in Denerim itself, a more immediately shocking change was made, recognition of the city elves within the city’s Alienage. At the order of the King, Shianni Tabris, who led the defense of the alienage during the siege, was named Bann of the Alienage, finally giving the elves of Denerim, and Fereldan, a voice in the nobility, a move that some nobles of Fereldan think was a step too far in favoring the elves.

It has been a year since the momentous end of the Fifth Blight, and much has changed in Fereldan, and that change is beginning to ripple through Thedas, and many fear it will plummet the world into chaos.

Others, however, choose to leap.

What tales might be told of these days, and who might tell them?

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