Elves with the Dalish Elf Origin roam free in the forest, seeking to recover the lost lore of ancient Elvhenan. Many of them look down on the "flat-ears", the City Elves who live trapped in poverty and high walled Alienages amongst the shemlen - the humans or "quick children".
"We are the Dalish: keepers of the lost lore, walkers of the lonely path. We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit."
This is the oath the Dalish elves hold close to their hearts. In ancient times the elves ruled over Thedas alone, ageless and beautiful, until the humans came. Enslaved for a thousand years, the elves lost not only their immortality but their very identity. The Dalish are those elves who proudly refuse to live in human cities, proudly wandering the most remote corners of the wild lands in small clans that rarely meet. Their wagons are welcome nowhere, and more than one tale is told of the Dalish clashing with remote villagers who attempt to drive them away by force.
Much has been lost, but the Dalish will find what has been lost and keep it safe. They will re-learn the elven tongue, rediscover the ancient crafts and practice the old magics. They will spurn the human god and instead cleave to the ancient pantheon of the elves, praying that one day their own gods will return and lead their people to a new homeland. There the Dalish will await the return of those elves who have forgotten what they were, they will teach them to remember.
And until that day comes most importantly they will stand fast. As long as the landships are seen on the horizon there will be hope, hope that what was long ago shattered by the touch of mortal man may one day yet be restored.
- Main article: The Lost Mysteries of the Ancients
Whilst hunting in the woods of the Brecilian Forest with Tamlen, a friend from childhood, the Dalish Elf comes across three humans who claim to have discovered ancient ruins in a nearby cave. Exploring these ruins, Tamlen touches a strange mirror which unleashes some sort of magic that knocks the Dalish Elf unconscious. The Dalish Elf is rescued by Duncan, a Grey Warden, and awakens two days later in their clan's camp barely recovered from a peculiar fever. Sent back to the cave to search for Tamlen, they meet Duncan again. He explains that the mirror is somehow transmitting the darkspawn taint and that the only way you can survive is to join the Grey Wardens, who gain immunity to the taint.
Dalish elves receive Codex entry: The Dalish Elves at the beginning of the origin story. See the main article for a detailed walkthrough.
- Ashalle: An elven female and old friend of the protagonist's parents. She appears at the end of the game, if the Warden survives the battle with the Archdemon.
- Duncan: Grey Warden Commander.
- Fenarel: A young, male warrior in the clan of the Dalish Elf Origin and temporary companion of the protagonist.
- Ilen: An elven craftsman and merchant in the Dalish Elf Origin.
- Junar: An elven male archer in the clan of the Dalish Elf Origin.
- Maren: A female elf and the keeper of the Halla in the clan of the Dalish Elf Origin.
- Marethari: The Keeper of the Dalish clan of the origin story. She appears at the Warden's funeral if (s)he died fighting the Archdemon.
- Merrill: The Keeper's apprentice in the clan of the Dalish Elf Origin, a female elven mage and temporary companion of the protagonist.
- Paivel: A male elf and clan storyteller in the Dalish Elf Origin.
- Pol: A male elf from the Denerim Alienage who escaped from the city after being sentenced to hang for stealing. He has recently been taken in by the clan of the Dalish Elf Origin.
- Tamlen: A male, elven warrior who is the childhood friend and temporary companion of the protagonist. If the protagonist is female and ask Tamlen to talk in order to calm him down when exploring the ruins, and says that they came because they wanted to be with him, then Tamlen will be in love with the protagonist.
In addition to those selected by the player at character creation, a Dalish Elf Warden automatically begins with the following:
A small stone statue of a woman with antlers like a halla, with the moon under her right foot, and two hares beside her. The base of the statue is covered in strange writing.
A bronze key, turning green with verdigris so that is appears almost moss-colored.
A necklace made up of hundreds of wooden beads, each carved into the shape of an animal. Deer, hawks, wolves, and rabbits chase each other across its length.
+10% spirit resistance
This ring was carved from a piece of willow, with images of foxes and hares decorating it.
This is halla hide, embossed with images of birds in flight.
+0.75/+1.5 stamina regeneration in combat
Travel with Duncan to Ostagar, where King Cailan Theirin is mustering an army against the darkspawn. After being greeted by Cailan on arrival, the next quest will be Joining the Grey Wardens. If it has not previously been earned, the Corrupted Achievement will be unlocked.
- The Strange Statue at the far west of the Elven Ruins bears the legend "A strange statue commemorating the emergence of--and short-lived trading with--dwarves who dug too high and too frugal and struck elves". These dwarves are presumably either satirical counterparts to those in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series who dug too greedily and too deep and freed the Balrog, or a reference to the Bay 12 building game "Dwarf Fortress."
- This is the only origin that plays little part in the bigger story of Dragon Age: Origins as the Dalish tribe that is recruited through the treaty is a wholly different tribe. However, should The Warden side with the Dalish in the Nature of the Beast, they can ask a messenger to take a message back to their tribe. The Warden also discovers Tamlen's fate later in the story.
- This origin plays a role in the DLC Witch Hunt, as it is revisited.
- The song played while The Warden is leaving the clan is Leliana's Song.
- Duncan erroneously refers to the mirror as being Tevinter in origin. In actuality, the mirror, known as an Eluvian, is an Elven artifact from ancient Arlathan.
- In Dragon Age II, if a save is imported with the Dalish Elf Origin, his/her last name, Mahariel, will be mentioned a few times among the Dalish.
- The clan is identified as the Sabrae clan by Merrill's codex entry in Dragon Age II.