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- See also: Chantry
A prophet born
When the prophet Andraste and her husband Maferath arrived at the head of their barbarian horde, southern Tevinter was thrown into chaos. The Imperium had defended against invasions in the past, but now they stood without the protection of their gods, with their army in tatters and their country devastated by the Blight. Many felt that the timing of the invasion was yet another of the Maker's miracles in Andraste's campaign to spread His divine word.
Andraste was more than simply the wife of a warlord, after all--she was also the betrothed of the Maker. Enraptured by the melodic sound of her voice as she sang to the heavens for guidance, the Maker Himself appeared to Andraste and proposed that she come with Him, leaving behind the flawed world of humanity. In her wisdom, Andraste pleaded with the Maker to return to His people and create paradise in the world of men. The Maker agreed, but only if all of the world would turn away from the worship of false gods and accept the Maker's divine commandments.
Armed with the knowledge of the one true god, Andraste began the Exalted Marches into the weakened Imperium. One of the Maker's commandments, that magic should serve man rather than rule over him, was as honey to the souls of the downtrodden of Tevinter, who lived under the thumbs of the magisters.
Word of Andraste's Exalted March, of her miracles and military successes, spread far and wide. Those in the Imperium who felt the Old Gods had abandoned them eagerly listened to the words of the Maker. Those throngs of restless citizens that destroyed temples now did so in the name of the Maker and His prophet, Andraste. As Maferath's armies conquered the lands of southern Tevinter, so did Andraste's words conquer hearts.
It is said that the Maker smiled on the world at the Battle of Valarian Fields, in which the forces of Maferath challenged and defeated the greatest army Tevinter could muster. The southern reaches of the mighty Imperium now lay at the mercy of barbarians. Faith in the Maker, bolstered by such miracles, threatened to shake the foundations of the Imperium apart.
Of course, the human heart is more powerful than the greatest weapon, and when wounded, it is capable of the blackest of deeds.