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The island called Par Vollen was the first land in Thedas to be taken by the Qunari, and has been held by them ever since. But while the Qunari have raised their own marvels on the island—the famed city of Qunandar comes to mind—Par Vollen had a rich history before the Qun ever came to its shores. Tear your eyes from Qunandar's wonders and look instead to the jungle. There you'll see the ruins of vast cities that proclaim in silence: "We were here."
Par Vollen's distinctive pyramids, looming from the overgrowth, have remained largely intact, even if their intended purpose has been lost. They do not seem to be tombs, though some chambers contain bodies that have been carefully preserved. Amazingly, the pyramids' proportions are mathematically perfect. Since their alignment is so precise, one suspects they served some scientific purpose. Observatories, perhaps? Andvan Therastes has observed that the shape of the Par Vollen pyramids seems perfectly to match the constellation Solium.
We know more of the pyramids than we do of the humans who built them. The Qunari came to Par Vollen as conquerors, but there is no history and little sign of battles fought on the island's shores. A civilization that could build such vast cities would surely have defenses, armies, perhaps weapons alien even to the Qunari. So why is there so little proof of resistance?
One answer may lie in what remains of their temples. Beneath the leaves and vines covering the walls, you can still make out the stylized carvings that adorn them. The paint has long since flaked away, but the silhouettes are clear: intricate sea creatures, shipwrights, musicians, archers, and kings. Here and there, odd figures are depicted, tall, horned, always in a position of authority and respect.
What were these horned figures to the ancients of Par Vollen? Priests, ritualistically crowned? Heroes? Gods, perhaps? We may never know the truth. But when the Qunari arrived from the sea, horned and carrying the word of the Qun, perhaps instead of conquerors, the people of Par Vollen saw an old legend returning to them.
This is all supposition. The humans of Par Vollen are Qunari now, their ancient civilization discarded like a child's toy. Yet the pyramids remain, along with the old cities, the island itself. One day, greater scholars may hear what they have to say.
—From A Compiled History of the Occupied North, by Renatus of Ayesleigh