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Codex entry: Par Vollen: The Occupied North

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Codex text

In the 30th year of the Steel Age, the first Qunari ships were sighted off the coast of Par Vollen in the far north, marking the beginning of a new age of warfare.

History calls this the First Qunari War, but it was mostly a one-sided bloodbath, with the Qunari advancing far into the mainland. Qunari warriors in glittering steel armor carved through armies with ease. Their cannons, the likes of which our ancestors had never seen, reduced city walls to rubble in a matter of seconds.

Stories of Qunari occupation vary greatly. It is said they dismantled families and sent captives to "learning camps" for indoctrination into their religion. Those who refused to cooperate disappeared to mines or construction camps.

For every tale of suffering, however, there is another of enlightenment deriving from something called the "Qun." This is either a philosophical code or a written text that governs all aspects of Qunari life, perhaps both. One converted Seheran reported pity for those who refused to embrace the Qun, as if the conquerors had led him to a sort of self-discovery. "For all my life, I followed the Maker wherever his path led me," he wrote, "but in the Qun I have found the means to travel my own path."

It has been said that the most complete way to wipe out a people is not with blades but with books. Thankfully, a world that had repelled four Blights would not easily bow to a foreign aggressor. And so the Exalted Marches began.

The greatest advantage of the Chantry-led forces was the Circle of Magi. For all their technology, the Qunari appeared to harbor great hatred for magic. Faced with cannons, the Chantry responded with lightning and balls of fire.

The Qunari armies lacked the sheer numbers of humanity. So many were slain at Marnas Pell, on both sides, that the Veil is said to be permanently sundered, the ruins still plagued by restless corpses. But each year, the Chantry pushed further and further into the Qunari lines, although local converts to the Qun proved difficult to return to Andraste's teachings.

By the end of the Storm Age, the Qunari were truly pushed back. Rivain was the only human land that retained the Qunari religion after being freed, and its rulers attempted to barter a peace. Most human lands signed the Llomerryn Accord, excepting the Tevinter Imperium. It is a shaky peace that has lasted to this day.

—From The Exalted Marches: An Examination of Chantry Warfare, by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar

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