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Battle of Ostagar

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Ico Back Alley
Conflict
Battle of Ostagar
Part of the Fifth Blight
Battle of Ostagar
Date:
9:30 Dragon
Location: Ostagar, Ferelden
Result: Darkspawn decisive victory
* Grey Wardens exiled
* Destruction of the Fereldan army
* Loss of southern Ferelden to the Darkspawn
* Start of the Fereldan Civil War
* Loghain Mac Tir becomes Regent
* Fergus Cousland missing in action
Belligerents
fereldenTheirin heraldry Fereldan army darkspawnDarkspawn icon - transparent Darkspawn horde
Commanders and leaders
fereldenTheirin heraldry King Cailan Theirin
gwarenGwaren Heraldry Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir
wardencommanderGrey Warden Commander heraldry Duncan
daocircleCircle of Magi heraldry Uldred
daocircleCircle of Magi heraldry Wynne
gwarenGwaren Heraldry Ser Cauthrien
couslandCousland heraldry Fergus Cousland
denerimDenerim Heraldry Arl Urien Kendells
Several Arls and Banns
darkspawnDarkspawn icon - transparent Archdemon
† = killed in action
(†) = possibly killed in action
Strength
fereldenTheirin heraldry Fereldan Soldiers
daocircleCircle of Magi heraldry Circle Mages

da2templarTemplarHeraldry Fereldan Templars
gwGrey Wardens heraldry Grey Wardens
fereldenTheirin heraldry Mabari
Ash Warriors

darkspawnDarkspawn icon - transparent Genlocks
darkspawnDarkspawn icon - transparent Hurlocks
darkspawnDarkspawn icon - transparent Ogres
Casualties
Heavy casualties
~23 Grey Wardens
Majority of Fereldan forces except the Gwaren contingent
Many darkspawn
≥2 Ogres

The Battle of Ostagar was a major engagement during the Fifth Blight between the kingdom of Ferelden and the Darkspawn Horde, and arguably the catalyst for the Fereldan Civil War.

Background Edit

When the darkspawn appeared en masse in the northern Korcari Wilds, King Cailan formed his army and marched south to Ostagar along with his friend and advisor Teyrn Loghain, hoping to end the advance of the darkspawn before they could penetrate Ferelden's heartland. Ostagar was chosen for its excellent strategic position; the old fortress had been built by the Tevinter Imperium in ages past to shield against a Chasind invasion, and while old, the fortifications would serve the king's army well. Such was the haste of Cailan's march that many of his vassals were still gathering their troops by the time he arrived, including the Amaranthine forces led by Arl Rendon Howe and Redcliffe forces commanded by his uncle Arl Eamon Guerrin. That being said, Cailan's force was still sizable, and included numerous mages from the Circle of Magi and the entirety of Ferelden's Grey Wardens. The latter had sensed the presence of an Archdemon leading the horde, and had gathered all their strength in hopes of bringing the creature down and ending the Blight in its infancy, even sending word to their comrades in Orlais to rally their forces. Before following the army, Duncan set off in search of Grey Warden recruits, and found three candidates: Ser Jory, Daveth and the Warden.

Prelude to battle Edit

Pre-battle skirmishes Edit

By the time Duncan arrived at Ostagar with the Warden in tow, the army of Ferelden had already won three major battles and there had been several small skirmishes in the Wilds with the Fereldans losing several patrols including Fergus Cousland in one of them. Disturbingly, the Horde only seemed to be getting bigger. Even so, Cailan remained confident of victory, and without the visible presence of an Archdemon unifying the horde, many had begun to believe that what they were facing was just a large darkspawn raid, rather than a true Blight, though the Grey Wardens knew better.

War council Edit

Teyrn Loghain cautioned King Cailan of the dangers of this campaign, but King Cailan countered that if that was so then perhaps they should await the arrival of reinforcements from Orlais to which Loghain vehemently objected. As a compromise, they decided to prepare for battle with what forces they currently had on hand.

Along with his advisors, Teyrn Loghain devised a plan to destroy the darkspawn horde in one single decisive battle. The plan is to entice the Darkspawn army into charging ahead into a tight engagement where afterwards the rest of the Fereldan army would close the trap by attacking from behind.

The Fereldan battle plan was divided into two parts: The lure, and the ambush attack. The idea was to present a target for the Darkspawn enticing enough for them to commit into an all out attack. Thus by requirement the army serving as the bait had to be relatively small and look to be cornered. Anticipating tight quarters combat, the army serving as bait was comprised of Fereldan's best troops, led by King Cailan himself, and the best of the Grey Wardens including Duncan, who were also to deal with the archdemon if the beast made its presence known.

Once the darkspawn were fully engaged in the attack, a signal would be sent from the Tower of Ishal, upon which Teyrn Loghain and his troops- the bulk of the Fereldan force- would spring the ambush, coming out of hiding behind the horde and attack, trapping the darkspawn between the two forces and destroying them. It was hoped that the narrowness of the valley that led to Ostagar would effectively keep the darkspawn hemmed in and unable to bring their full strength to bear against the defenders, enabling the Fereldens to destroy the horde.

Battle of Ostagar Edit

Cailan and his troops waited by their defenses as the Horde came out of the Korcari Wilds and upon finding a small and cornered Fereldan force, mounted the attack.

The battle began well enough according to plan. The Darkspawn horde began their charge, while the Fereldans waited for them to come closer, further luring them in as per the battle plan. Once close enough, Cailan ordered his archers and ballistas to fire a volley to blunt the darkspawn's incoming charge, cutting down many of the creatures.

Next, Mabari hounds were unleashed to check the darkspawn attack, inflicting further casualties. And in that momentary confusion amongst the darkspawn ranks as the hounds robbed them of momentum, Cailan ordered his own counter charge, seizing temporary advantage in this close quarters battle. A vicious melee between the defenders of Ostagar and the darkspawn forces then ensued.

Inside Ostagar, the two Grey Wardens assigned to lighting the beacon atop the Tower of Ishal, Alistair and the Warden, made their way to their objective and discovered that the Tower of Ishal had been captured by darkspawn, having infiltrated the tower through the underground tunnels. Linking up with a group of soldiers, the Grey Wardens made their way into the tower. The group fought their way to the top of the tower and lit the beacon.

BattleForOstagar

Moments before King Cailan's death

However, upon seeing the signal, Loghain instructed Ser Cauthrien to order his troops to quit the field instead of springing the ambush attack as per the battle plan, abandoning Cailan, his army and the Wardens to their deaths. With Loghain's retreat and the cornered and now exhausted Fereldans against the still overwhelming numbers of the darkspawn horde, the battle swiftly turned into a massacre. Cailan himself fell to an ogre, who grabbed him and partially crushed him, then threw him to the ground; enraged by the king's death, Duncan drew his blades, charged the ogre and drove both his weapons into its heart, avenging Cailan's death. With all hope lost, Duncan watched as the last remnants of the king's army were slaughtered by the darkspawn, and stayed next to Cailan's body until he too was slain by a hurlock alpha as the full might of the horde made its final assault.

With the death of the king and as Loghain's retreat became clear, what remained of the army attempted to rout, a mere fraction surviving as the darkspawn concerned themselves with either feasting on the dead or finishing off the wounded. The darkspawn then retook the Tower of Ishal, killing the troops inside and wounding the two remaining Grey Wardens, who escaped death only due to the intervention of the witch, Flemeth.

Aftermath Edit

As a result of Cailan's death, the country descended into chaos. The loss of the king and so many of his army left Ferelden increasingly undefended, and the darkspawn were able to push northwards into the nation's heartland, unopposed by any force of significant size. Ferelden soldiers were still active in attempting to protect the roads of Ferelden from darkspawn, but could do little against the main horde. As a result, many thousands would die and much of the country would be ravaged by the Blight until an army could be assembled to confront it. Cailan's death and the advance of the horde also caused a civil breakdown in Ferelden, as banditry and brigandage became commonplace with gangs of highwaymen taking advantage of the chaos to prey upon refugees, trade caravans and undefended townships. This situation was not helped by darkspawn warbands advancing ahead of the horde, spreading terror and disrupting the nation's supply lines and attempts at defense.

Meanwhile, Teyrn Loghain returned to Denerim and denounced the Grey Wardens as traitors after pronouncing himself regent, setting into motion the Ferelden Civil War. The border with Orlais was sealed, preventing the arrival of the Grey Wardens of that nation to aid against the Blight, and Loghain appointed the treacherous Arl Rendon Howe as his second-in-command, leading to numerous atrocities as he sought to stabilize his control over Ferelden. Immediately, Loghain faced opposition from Bann Teagan and the independent freeholders of the Bannorn, many of whom were skeptical about his version of events regarding Ostagar, and the recovery of Arl Eamon from his strange illness resulted in two distinct political factions emerging to fight for control over the throne.

The most lingering loss of Ostagar was that of Ferelden's Grey Wardens, all of whom had been slain along with the king, thus depriving the nation of its most valuable allies against the darkspawn when they needed them most. Only two survived; Alistair and the Warden, both of whom were rescued with the aid of Flemeth and her daughter, Morrigan, and recovered in the Korcari Wilds. Their survival ultimately spelt the downfall of both Loghain and the Blight, as the two were able to rally an army to Ferelden's cause and defeat the former hero in the Landsmeet, thus uniting Ferelden in time to confront the archdemon at the Battle of Denerim.

It would be seven years after Ostagar before the casualties of the battle could be sorted, causing many survivors who fled to the Free Marches to be considered dead. Ferelden offered to reinstate the commissions of any surviving officers in the years following the Blight.

Perhaps the most surprising consequence of the battle would not be felt until some ten years later. Following Ferelden's defeat at Ostagar, the nearby village of Lothering was swiftly overrun by the darkspawn. Amongst the refugees fleeing the community was a young human by the name of Hawke, who would become a central figure in the years that followed, rising to prominence in the Free Marches and eventually becoming the Champion of Kirkwall.


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