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See Dalish for the modern remnant of the civilization of the Dales.


Area-The Dales
Aristocracy/Oligarchy (formerly)
Absolute monarchy
South-eastern Orlais

The Dales are the area of southeastern Orlais to the west of Ferelden. From -170 Ancient to 2:20 Glory—a period of nearly three centuries—they were the homeland of the elves of Thedas.

History Edit

The Dales still bear the scars of the Exalted March: a time long ago when the might of the Orlesian Empire crushed elven forces and drove them from their own land. Although the nation of Orlais now lays claim to the Dales, every branch, stream, and stone preserve the memories of elven history.

From the lush forests of the Emerald Graves to the icy highlands of Emprise du Lion, fractured remnants of the ancient elves live on.
— : Exploring The Dales

The Founding of the Dales Edit

During the centuries of slavery, after their ancient civilization of Elvhenan fell to the Tevinter Imperium, the elves lost most of their language, history and lore. However, when Andraste and her husband Maferath led their Alamarri army against Tevinter in 1020 TE,[1] the elven slaves led by Shartan rose up and helped fight against their masters.

Shartan was killed when Andraste was betrayed to the Tevinters, but in 1025 TE, Maferath and Andraste's sons gave the elves the Dales as a reward for their part in the war. At that time, the Dales were on the fringe of Tevinter territory and were barely populated, with only the scattered Ciriane people to the west, and the barbarians of Fereldan Valley on the other side of the Frostback Mountains. The freed elves set off for their new home from Tevinter on foot in what would come to be called "The Long Walk". Many perished along the way, but those who survived founded the city of Halamshiral – meaning "the end of the journey" in Elvish. They were joined by elves from across Thedas and began the task of restoring their lost language, religion and lore.

Wolf Carvings DAI

Carvings of the "Knights's Guardians" of the Emerald Knights

The Dales were patrolled by a border guard known as the Emerald Knights. These elven warriors protected the boundaries of the realm, riding halla mounts[2] and accompanied by their steadfast wolf companions known as "Knight's Guardians." These loyal wolves fought and lived with the Emerald Knights and guarded them as they slept.[3]

The Fall of the Dales Edit

Andraste's path was difficult, as was ours. But we did not falter, ash she did not. And we will be rewarded, just as she was. Elves were guilty of the greatest sin, of turning from the Maker. But we will show them mercy, for that is what Andraste teaches...when her chant is spoken from all countries of the world, the Maker will return. We are one day closer to his coming. ―From a sermon given by Sister Amity, at the conclusion of the Exalted March of the Dales

In their attempt to regain the lost glory of Elvhenan, the elves cut themselves off from their human neighbors. Throughout the Second Blight, which lasted for most of the Divine Age, the elves of the Dales remained neutral and unhelpful. When the city of Montsimmard was nearly destroyed by darkspawn in 1:25 Divine, it is alleged that an elven army watched from a nearby hilltop and did nothing. Their apparent indifference fueled increasing hostility between the Dales and Orlais after the Blight. For example, rumors spread among the Orlesian people that the heathen elves practiced human sacrifice. According to human accounts, border skirmishes escalated into full-scale war after elven forces attacked the Orlesian town of Red Crossing in 2:9 Glory. The Dalish claim the war started after the Chantry sent templars into their territory after the elves forcibly removed Andrastian missionaries from the Dales.[4]

Written accounts from Din'an Hanin, the tomb of the Emerald Knights, suggest that there is some truth to both claims. Amidst the growing hostility between the elves and the humans, an Emerald Knight, by the name of Elandrin, had fallen in love with a girl from the town of Red Crossing, and she with him. The other elves, misconstruing the nature of their relationship as being the result of temptation, sought to bring Elandrin back. So one night, in the hopes of convincing Elandrin (or, alternatively, bringing him to justice), a group of elves proceeded towards the town. It was then that one of the Emerald Knights spotted Elandrin's lover running towards them, and the Knight, mistaking her as hostile, slew her with an arrow. The townsfolk heard the girl's cry and advanced on the elves, but were quickly defeated.[5] With that began the full-scale skirmish between the elves and humans.

By 2:10 Glory, elven forces had captured Montsimmard and advanced to the doorstep of Val Royeaux.

At this point, the Chantry called for a holy war against the elves that became known as the Exalted March of the Dales. The elves were pushed back to the border by Orlesian forces. Halamshiral was conquered and the elves were completely crushed by 2:20 Glory. The Dales were claimed by the Orlesians, who uprooted elven settlements and forbade worship of the elven gods.[1] Elves who accepted the Chantry's offered truce were required to accept the Maker and live in slums, known as alienages, within human settlements, becoming the city elves. Some elves, however, refused to give up their worship or their dream of a homeland. These became the nomadic Dalish, retaining the name of their second lost homeland and vowing to keep elven language, lore and religion alive.

Orlesian civil war Edit

700 years later the Dales still belong to Orlais, and blood is yet again shed on its lands. As the War of the Lions rages on, the supporters of both sides meet on the battlefields of The Exalted Plains to battle for their beliefs.

Splr dai
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.

If Briala is reconciled with Celene or rules alongside Gaspard:

Briala was named Marquise of the Dales by the Orlesian Monarch, in recognition of her 'service' to Orlais. The Dales were once again ruled by an elf for the first time since the Glory Age.

Geography Edit

The Dales are the area of southeastern Orlais on the western side of Gherlen's Pass from Ferelden and are approximately the same size as the Bannorn. They are bordered by the Arbor Wilds on the southern end, the Frostback Mountains to the east, and the Waking Sea to the north. They are in the mountain shadow of the Frostbacks, with little rainfall and no major rivers, so most of the present-day human settlements are along the coast.[6]

Notable areas Edit

  • Emerald Graves: home to an elven burial site where a tree was planted for each soldier killed in the Exalted Marches.[7]
  • Exalted Plains: this is where the elves of old made their last stand before they were defeated.
  • Halamshiral: During the time when the Dales were home to the elven nation, their capital and only city was Halamshiral in the northeast. The city is home to the Winter Palace, which has since become an estate in the possession of Empress Celene.[8]

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dragon Age: Origins: Prima Official Game Guide, Collector's Edition, p. 342
  2. World of Thedas, pg. 32.
  3. [[ Codex entry: Knight's Guardian]]
  4. Codex entry: The Dales
  5. Codex entry: The Death of Elandrin
  6. BSN Mary Kirby (August 28, 2009). "The Dales today" . BioWare Social Network. Retrieved on June 4, 2011.
  7. The Bioware Forum-XBox Magazine Dragon Age Inquisition Preview.
  8. Dragon Age: Asunder, p. 24.

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