The First Battle of Kirkwall was an engagement between the city of Kirkwall, including the Kirkwall City Guard, Hawke and Hawke's companions, the local chapter of the Templar Order, and the city's Circle of Magi against the invading forces of stranded Qunari in the year 9:34 Dragon. The invasion ended with the Qunari retreating to Par Vollen, following the death of Viscount Dumar and the intervention of Kirkwall citizen Hawke, who was subsequently declared Champion of Kirkwall.
The Tome of Koslun Edit
Sometime prior to 9:31 Dragon, the infamous pirate and duelist Isabela was in possession of the Tome of Koslun, a Qunari artifact which she had stolen from the possession of Orlais on behalf of Castillon, and was being pursued by the Arishok himself, as well as a significant force of Qunari warriors. Unfortunately for them, a storm dashed their ships against the Wounded Coast and stranded them all in Kirkwall. Viscount Dumar, the leader of Kirkwall "granted" the Qunari some space on the docks as a form of appeasement while they waited for transport back to Par Vollen, while the now shipless Isabela worked as a smuggler inside the city. The Qunari could not leave without the Tome back in their possession, while their attempts at finding it went poorly at best. The Arishok did not explain to the viscount about his search for the tome, claiming that he's trying to fulfill a duty to the Qun that no one else can understand.
Rising tensions Edit
Between 9:31 and 9:34 Dragon, a Chantry sister (i.e., Petrice) began protesting and acting out against the Qunari; her fear and contempt for the foreign philosophy causing no small amount of friction between the newcomers and the rest of the city. She and her supporters began looking for any excuse to set the whole city and the Chantry itself against the Qunari, particularly as various Kirkwall citizens, mostly elves, began to convert to the Qun to find a semblance of purpose. Whereas Grand Cleric Elthina saw Qunari beliefs as a test of faith to overcome, these fanatics could not endure the existence of a competing ideology and so hounded the Qunari mercilessly, while the rest of the population felt uneasy about the presence of so many potentially hostile warriors, especially given that the Qunari seemed uninterested in anything Kirkwall had to offer, including trade.
The Qunari, meanwhile, deliberately isolated themselves in their search for the Tome; moreover, as time passed, many of their number began to forsake the Qun and become Tal-Vashoth, while the Arishok would only brood and seethe at what he considered to be the aimless corruption of the city and its inhabitants.
In response to the growing tensions, Dumar called upon Hawke, formerly a Fereldan refugee who escaped the Fifth Blight and had dealings with the Qunari, to settle these matters before they could tear Kirkwall apart. The city did not have the strength to evict their "guests", at least, not in a fashion that would leave it intact; moreover, any hostile military action by Kirkwall would constitute a breach of the Llomerryn Accords, possibly re-igniting the war between the Qunari and the rest of Thedas. Thus, a diplomatic solution was required, if nothing else to ease tensions between the two sides and stabilize the situation, even temporarily.
Fanatics' activities Edit
- Main article: Blackpowder Courtesy
The fanatics struck the first blow by attempting to steal the recipe for gaatlok, the strange explosive powder designed by the Qunari and sought after by many in the Andrastian world. By detonating a significant quantity of the blackpowder in the city, the fanatics believed that the resulting devastation could be pinned on the Qunari, and thus led to a full-fledged campaign to drive them from Kirkwall. The leader of this faction, an unnamed female elf, attempted to assassinate Javaris Tintop, a dwarven merchant who had over the years attempted to acquire the gaatlok formula, intending to frame him for its theft; but the dwarf managed to evade her.
Unfortunately for the fanatics, the recipe had been a trap designed to lure out and destroy these hidden enemies of the Qunari. The formula was not for gaatlok, but instead saar-qamek, a Qunari poison gas that can drive non-Qunari insane before killing them. When the fanatics unleashed their ill-gotten weapon on a "hex" neighbourhood in Lowtown, they were horrified to discover what they had truly unleashed. Hawke managed to stop the saar-qamek from spreading beyond the confines of the hex before confronting a group of fanatics and killing them.
- Main article: Offered and Lost
After the pandemic was resolved, the Arishok sent a delegation to the Viscount for a brief attempt to educate, a sign of considerable hope for the increasingly beleaguered Dumar. But soon after, a group of fanatics led by the templar Ser Varnell kidnapped the delegation and abused the seal of Grand Cleric Elthina to make corrupt City Guardsmen turn a blind eye to their atrocities. The fanatics then held a rally to incite others of their kind, torturing their prisoners to make examples of them.
Varnell and his group were, in fact, working for Mother Petrice, an influential and anti-Qunari member of the Chantry who was manipulating these various factions to hound and harass the foreigners. When confronted by Hawke, Petrice elected to sell out her bodyguard and his associates rather than see her standing within the Chantry jeopardized, enabling Hawke to track them down. Unfortunately, the delegation was killed in the ensuing confrontation, leading to a further deterioration of relations between the Qunari and the administration of Kirkwall, while Petrice began to plan more overt measures to driving out the Qunari.
Following the Qun Edit
- Main article: Following the Qun
In response to the growing hatred towards the Qunari, the viscount's son (and known Qunari sympathizer), Saemus Dumar, decided to convert to the Qun in hopes of making closer relations. Though many, including the viscount, viewed Saemus' conversion as an opportunity for the Qunari to take advantage of, the Arishok had no desire to use his connections. Worried for his son's safety, the viscount summoned Hawke to go to Saemus and convince him to come home. En route to the Qunari compound, Hawke is ambushed by mercenaries determined to stop them from reaching their destination. After dispatching the attackers, Hawke arrived at the compound, only to learn that Saemus was then called away to the city chantry by way of a supposed note from his father, but it was a trap. Fearing that others would follow him if he converted, Mother Petrice had Saemus murdered, hoping to turn the boy into a martyr for the anti-Qunari cause and inspiring the city to oust them once and for all. The Arishok saw the death of someone under his command by this plot as the final insult, and so discretely began to prepare his forces for war. As for the viscount, the loss of his own son struck his heart with grief, leaving him incapable of leading his city.
To Catch a Thief Edit
- Main article: To Catch a Thief
Eventually, the Tome of Koslun turned up in the possession of a human man named Wall-Eyed Sam. He arranged to sell it to Tevinter mages in Lowtown. The Qunari learned of the exchange and attempted to stop it. As the Tevinters and Qunari have been at war for centuries after the former refused to sign the Llomerryn Accords, losing the tome to their sworn enemies would strike a blow to Qunari morale and turn the tide in Tevinter's favor. In the midst of the fighting, Isabela, who had become a companion of Hawke, stole the tome off Sam, and fled the city.
The battle Edit
The Guard-Captain Aveline Vallen of the Kirkwall City Guard and Hawke attempted to negotiate with the Arishok for the release of two elven fugitives who had claimed religious sanctuary with the Qunari, fearing that, if they could not succeed with diplomacy, the whole city would riot against the Qunari. The elves claimed that they were justified in murdering a corrupt guardsman for raping their sister when the Guard allegedly did nothing to punish him. The Arishok agreed with the elves, claiming that Kirkwall's ineffective justice system was what drove them to take the law into their own hands. Ultimately, while Aveline admitted that there had been rumors of corruption within the Guard and promised to investigate, her stance was clear; even if their claims were true, it was still murder, and the Arishok threatened the peace by sheltering them.
As the guard tried pressing the issue, the Arishok declared that he was unwilling to remain at an impasse any longer; he could not leave without the Tome, but could not stand by and allow the city's "corruption" to persist any longer, and so ordered his forces to attack. The contingent of city guards present in the compound were quickly slaughtered, with only Hawke and Aveline escaping. The Qunari then spread out to the rest of Kirkwall in a well coordinated attack, pushing directly into Hightown, while barricading many of the side streets in Lowtown to ward off any flanking force. Aided by their local converts, the Qunari swiftly broke through scattered bands of guardsmen and gangs alike, seizing control of Hightown and the Viscount's Keep. Members of the criminal gangs Coterie and Carta took advantage of the chaos to start looting during the battle.
As the qunari invaders began to secure the Keep, squads were dispatched to capture as many members of the local nobility as possible, holding them hostage within the keep. Only a few managed to escape, taking refuge within the Chantry and were missed as Hawke led a counterattack up to Hightown. The viscount himself was decapitated by the Arishok, having planned on converting all the city's nobility to the Qun and killing those that refuse. With the nobility either converted or dead, he hoped to break the city's will and prevent any force from moving against his depleted troops.
When the battle had started, a group of Grey Wardens were passing through on a manner of unexplained (yet apparently vital) business. Though they could not involve themselves in the affairs of the city, even an invasion, they promised to get word out to the other cities of the Marches in hopes that they could send aid.
Amidst the chaos, Hawke joined forces with First Enchanter Orsino and Knight-Commander Meredith, respective leaders of Kirkwall's Circle of Magi and templars, to storm the keep and retake the city from the Qunari. As Orsino and Meredith were unable to trust each other's leadership, Hawke led the remaining forces to the Keep.
At the Keep's entrance, a formidable force of Qunari forced the templars and mages to protect their only path of retreat, meanwhile Hawke's company managed to enter the Keep alone and reach the Viscount's Throne Room in time to see the Arishok throw Viscount Dumar's severed head and crown to the floor.
The Arishok Edit
Over the preceding years, the Arishok had gained a level of respect for the talented Hawke. He dubbed Hawke to be basalit-an, a sign of respect to those not of the Qun. Reasoning with Hawke, the Arishok made clear he could not leave without the Tome of Koslun, leaving him without any hope of returning home.
What followed next is a point of much controversy, with different versions of the tale being told. If Hawke had a relationship with Isabela of 50% Friendship or Rivalry or more, then Isabela would return with the Tome, willingly offering it to the Arishok. The Arishok agrees to leave Kirkwall with his men, but only if Isabela returns with them to be indoctrinated to the Qun. Hawke may accept these terms, leading to the Qunari retreating.
If Isabela did not return or Hawke refused to hand her over, the Arishok will challenge Hawke to a duel of single combat (or Fenris will suggest this if he is in the party), promising that his men will peacefully return to Par Vollen if he is defeated. If Hawke accepts, they will face the Arishok alone and defeat him, saving the city. Otherwise, Hawke, Aveline and their companions will battle the Arishok and his Qunari guard together.
With either course the outcome remains the same: the Qunari that weren't killed in the following battle either returned to Par Vollen or chose to remain as Tal-Vashoth.
With the Qunari presence evicted from Kirkwall (with the known exception of one who remained to collect the swords of the fallen Qunari), all of the nobility who were held captive in the keep were grateful towards Hawke for saving their lives. Thus, Hawke was declared Champion of Kirkwall. A statue of a Kirkwall guardsman standing over a bust of the Arishok's head was erected by the docks, close to the former Qunari compound.
The Qunari eventually dispatched a recovery crew to haul the wreckage of the Arishok's dreadnaught. The envoys then claimed to the Kirkwallers that the Arishok did not have permission to attack Kirkwall and declared him rogue. Being uninterested in reigniting war with the rest of Thedas, the Qunari said they were never to speak of this event again.
With the death of the viscount, Meredith stepped in to maintain order. She effectively assumed the viscount's position in all but the name. Kirkwall soon became a templar-controlled police state, paranoid with fear of maleficar. The Qunari's old compound was turned into another templar training facility after they left, and was still under construction by 9:37.
| 9:00 Dragon|
|Fereldan Rebellion (8:44–9:2) · Fifth Blight (9:30–31) · Battle of Ostagar (9:30) · Fereldan Civil War (9:30–31) · Battle of Denerim (9:31) · Amaranthine Conflict (9:31) · Battle of Vigil's Keep (9:31) · First Battle of Kirkwall (9:34) · Kirkwall Rebellion (9:37) · Mage-Templar War (9:37–9:41) · War of the Lions (9:40–9:41) · The Breach (9:41) · New Inquisition (9:41–44?) · War against the Elder One (9:41–42) · Exalted Council (9:44)|| 9:99 Dragon|
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