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Codex entry: On Skyhold

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Codex text

A page from an enchanter's journal, scorched to near-illegibility. the style is an old Fereldan dialect, circa mid to late Divine Age:

Experiments in ambient lingerings, first staging:

The question isn't "is it special?" The question is "how special?" We found relics, but there are always relics. Elves ranged far before their empire was crushed, but rarely did they return where they did not build. This place, they visited again and again. I see it in the fragments—clays from different nations, not just craftsmen. Styles from different centuries, not just clans. And yet no record of a ruin. The structures here are all Fereldan, with stone ferried up by a typical madman. Whatever was here, whatever natural spire, it was flattened for a floor. But I know the common shapes, and I will erect them as was custom. And we shall see what the elves wished to see.

The note below is in a different, uneducated hand:

I finish this for Master Ganot. His workings brought lightning. Much lightning. The rods are pools of metal now, and all his workings burned. Master was also struck. I write for him his last words because his fingers are ash and he did not live the night.

"The Veil is old here."

Unlocks when you reach Skyhold for the first time, fast travel to another location, and return to Skyhold...

Skyhold has not just been claimed time and again, but sacked as well. We've managed to uncover some remnants, including a scratching under a pillar that mentions the name given by your witch. Old but still long after the place had been built over. But the author knew something of its first purpose, or at least, something of a legend.

Var'landivalis him sa'bellanaris san elgar
Melanada him sa'miras fena'taldin (word missing)
Nadasalin telrevas ne suli telsethenera
Tarasyl'an te'las vehn'ir abelath'vir (word missing)

Even with assistance from your elf, we managed only a partial translation. Elven is often a game of intents, not direct mapping of phonetic meaning. That means it's a mess.

Our belief transformed into everything. (assertation/problem? uncertain)
All time is transformed into the final/first death (uncertain),
Inevitable/threatened victory and horrible/promised freedom in the untorn veils, (uncertain)
Where the sky is held up/back, where the people give/gain love that is an apology/promise from/to....(missing subject, uncertain)

Mostly complete, as fragments go. The rhythm is strange, not like others I've recorded. Perhaps less a poem than a statement? The elven language does tend to meander.

—Notes from the archivist

Possible references to Skyhold in the readings of the great library of Val Royeaux.

What follows are the names of the powers that may have held a fortress in the region. Unfortunately, time and records are such that for many, the name is all that is known, and some of those are merely as reference in other works. Your fortress is a vagabond, but years will do that to stone well made.

- The Tan Empire: Passing mention of an unseen trading partner occupying "where Hold the Sky" in the Rivaini Ballad of Kin'tam of Nol, thought fictional, date uncertain.
- Father of Rast: "...and that Fereldan built upon the Sky..." Mentioned as a possible destination of the spirit of the dead bann, a Fereldan lullaby dated to the Exalted Age.
- Lady Bander of She: Fereldan Highwayman banished in 4:83 Black, thought to use "a place in the clouds" as refuge.
- Spire: Orlesion tavern song mentioning "skyholde" by name as a fanciful utopia, but also claiming nugs with wings and a dragon that blows bubbles.
- Ti O'rn Vi: Possible etching of major Skyhold features, but no context available. Unknown language; the tile has never been translated. Pre-Glory?
- Tevinter carving: A broken relief that matches the outline of the main gate, but all possible scholarship suggests a structure outside Minrathous pre-Divine. Possible shared inspiration, but it is not known in what direction.

Study continues. We will apprise you of any other references of worth.

—From the office of Lord Ghippin, archivist of the University of Orlais, Val Royeaux


Your archivists have asked me how I came to know the name and location of Skyhold. To the latter, I may speak easily: when one walks in the Fade, any fortress that has seen enough battle shines as a beacon for spirits drawn to death and struggle, even after centuries of disuse.

As to the former, I myself cannot say for certain. The whispers of old memories carry a thousand such names upon their breath, and it is possible that this name belonged to some other keep in some other land. Still, it seems an auspicious name, for there is one peculiarity of language that your scholars seem to have missed. When the words reached my dreaming mind, Skyhold was not simply a fortress near the sky, nor was it some simplistic allusion to holding up the sky. Skyhold—Tarasyl'an te'las—was "the place where the sky was held back." Given your efforts against the Breach and our battle against a madman who seeks to assault the Black City in the Fade, I can only hope that the Inquisition's new stronghold lives up to its name.


Related codex entries

Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Rotunda and the Fresco

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