On the Old Gods
Dumat, the Dragon of Silence.
Zazikel, the Dragon of Chaos.
Toth, the Dragon of Fire.
Andoral, the Dragon of Slaves.
Urthemiel, the Dragon of Beauty.
Razikale, the Dragon of Mystery.
Lusacan, the Dragon of Night.
There were seven Old Gods, great winged dragons that were said to rule over the ancient world. The Chantry maintains that they are responsible for the original sin, that they turned humanity away from its true creator through deceit. Humanity's faith faltered, and thus the Maker turned away from the world--but not before trapping the Old Gods in eternal prisons beneath the earth as punishment.
Scholars assume that the Old Gods must indeed have been real at one point, but most agree that they were likely actual dragons--ancient high dragons of a magnitude not known today, and impressive enough to frighten ancient peoples into worshipping them. Some even claim that these dragons slumber as a form of hibernation, not as a result of the Maker's wrath.
Regardless of the truth, legend maintains that even from their underground prisons, the Old Gods were able to whisper into the minds of men. The Archon Thalsian, first of the Magisters, who claimed to have contacted the Old God Dumat, used the blood magic Dumat taught to him to attain incredible power in Tevinter and declare himself the ruler of an Empire. In return, he established the first temples worshipping the Old Gods, and the dragons became equated everywhere with imperial power.
To date, four of the Old Gods are said to have risen as corrupted archdemons: Dumat, the first and most powerful, was slain at the Battle of Silent Fields. Zazikel fell at the Battle of Starkhaven, Toth died at the Battle of Hunter Fell, and Andoral was felled by Garahel, the legendary Grey Warden, at the Battle of Ayesleigh. The archdemons have been identified only after years of argument among scholars, and to this day it is unclear whether the archdemons were truly Old Gods and not simply dragons. All that is known is that the darkspawn hunt for them deep underground. If they are truly the Old Gods, as many scholars believe, then we have only three Blights remaining. When all the Old Gods have risen and been slain, however, what will happen? Will the Blights end forever, and humanity earn forgiveness from the Maker at last? We shall see.
--From The Old Gods Rise Again by Sister Mary, Chantry scholar, 8:50 Blessed.