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First Blight

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The First Blight began in -395 Ancient (800 TE) and lasted nearly two centuries, the longest Blight in history. Many thought it to be the end of days, and entire generations lived and died warring with the darkspawn.[2][3]

Background Edit

Corruption of Dumat Edit

See also: Second Sin

In -395 (800 TE) seven Tevinter Magisters Sidereal, each the High Priest to one of the Old Gods[4] opened a gate into the Golden City with blood magic and entered it physically. According to the Andrastian Chantry, the result was catastrophic; the City turned black, and the mages came back twisted and corrupted, devolving into monsters – the first darkspawn.[5]

Shortly after, the darkspawn went underground. By chance or design, they located Dumat in his prison and corrupted him, freeing and transforming the Old God into the first Archdemon.[3] The darkspawn multiplied and attacked the underground kingdoms en masse, concentrating at first on the Deep Roads.[6]

Scholarly views Edit

See also: Corypheus

The Andrastian Chantry teaches that the magisters were trying to usurp the Maker's throne and were cast out of the Golden City for their sinful pride. In their depravity they sought the Old Gods, and, finding Dumat slumbering deep within the earth, began the Blight. However, if the Chantry's history and Orzammar's Memories are both true, then Tevinter mages would have entered the Fade, been cursed, fled, found Dumat, raised an army, and then overrun the western thaigs all in one year. It seems more likely that the magisters had already been seeking Dumat for some time. A few Grey Warden scholars believe they may have even found him by that time, and that it was he who helped them to reach the Golden City. Different groups of mages may have been pursuing different agendas that were later fused.[7]

Dwarven kingdoms Edit

Early years Edit

Despite the advanced technology the dwarves brought to bear, the darkspawn tore through them, first destroying the more remote thaigs before conquering entire kingdoms in the space of decades.[8]

Every noble dwarven house wished to have their own thaig defended, leading to political chaos and a disorganized defense. The Assembly was so tied up with the infighting that the darkspawn spread, unchecked, to the gates of Orzammar. Aeducan, of the Warrior caste, grudgingly took command of the armies, enlisted the aid of the Miner caste to collapse overrun passages, called upon the Smith caste to supply them with arms, and bypassed the Assembly and the nobles entirely. Eventually Paragon Aeducan achieved victory but with the loss of countless thaigs. Aeducan was made Paragon by a near-unanimous vote of the Assembly.[9][1]

Even so, within fifty years every outer thaig and all but the four kingdoms of Orzammar, Kal-Sharok, Hormak, and Gundaar had fallen. Those who survived did this only by close cooperation, and by abandoning most of the Deep Roads.[1]

Introduction of golems Edit

In -255 Ancient (940 TE)[10], the dwarven smith Caridin discovered a method to forge a construct of steel or stone with great strength and survivability. They became one of the dwarves' most effective weapons against the darkspawn, but to bring each golem to life required the soul of a living dwarf. Initially, volunteers gave their lives willingly, but controversy arose when there were no more volunteers to be found. The dwarven monarch, King Valtor, became greedy and forced casteless, criminals and his political enemies into the Anvil. When Caridin opposed the king, he too was made into a golem.[11] In -248 (947 TE) Caridin vanished, taking the secret of the golems' construction with him.[12]

Tevinter Imperium Edit

Moving in the surface Edit

I would say that the enemy's strategy seems to be changing, but they never appeared to have a strategy before, beyond destroying everything in their path. For weeks, their numbers appeared to be dwindling. There was talk that perhaps we were getting close to wiping them out. We could not have been more wrong. For today we came upon the body of their main force. I cannot give words to it, Anika. I have never before seen so much death in one place. There were darkspawn beyond counting, and at the heart of the throng a great beast, as tall as the palace of Orzammar, with breath of fire. A Paragon of darkspawn, perhaps, for they seemed to pay it deference.

They were leaving. Marching toward the mine shafts which lead to the surface. But I knew when I beheld them that once they have devoured what lies above us, they will be back.

--From The Letters of Paragon Aeducan.
—From Codex entry: The Blights

The darkspawn used the tunnels of the Deep Roads to travel all corners of the continent. They surfaced on the edges of Tevinter Imperium in -380 Ancient (815 TE).[6] The armies of the Imperium attempted to face down the darkspawn hordes, but they could not be everywhere at once.[8] As the darkspawn advanced, the land around was sucked of moisture, blackening the earth and turning plants to dust. The skies filled with rolling black clouds that blocked the sun. Disease and rot followed.[13]

Not only had the Blight ravaged the countryside, but Tevinter citizens had to face the fact that their own gods had turned against them. Gifts and prayers to the remaining Old Gods went unanswered, and many began to question their faith, some going as far as murdering priests and burning temples. The people of the far northern and eastern reaches of the Imperium rose up in rebellion. The magisters summoned demons in response, leaving corpses to burn as examples to all who would dare revolt. Still, the Imperium began to fall apart from within, angry and disillusioned citizens doing what centuries of opposing armies could not.[14]

Grey Wardens Edit

In -305 Ancient (890 TE), at the height of the Blight, the Order of the Grey Wardens was born. The Wardens were all seasoned veterans from darkspawn battles; humans, elves and dwarves who abandoned their allegiances, titles and families and dedicated themselves to end the Blight at any cost. A fortress was built at Weisshaupt in the Anderfels, a region not as hard hit by the darkspawn but still strategically close to Tevinter.[2][15][16]

The Wardens actively searched for more effective ways to fight. Records say that Nakiri of the Donark Forest was the first one to suggest consuming darkspawn's blood. Blood magic was far from uncommon at that time, and the Wardens began studying Donark and Tevinter practices. Some knowledge was provided by elven slaves on the condition that the Grey Wardens would hold elves equal with the other races, and turn their efforts to elven liberation once the Blight was over.

The Joining ritual the Grey Wardens crafted proved instrumental to their success. Those who underwent the ritual became immune to the taint and could sense the presence of darkspawn and "overhear" their unspoken communication. This was also the first real proof that the darkspawn were driven by a centralized motivating force.[17]

Battle of Nordbotten Edit

The Grey Wardens' first battle was at the city of Nordbotten. Accounts tell of the Wardens mounting the now-extinct griffons and swooping into the ranks of darkspawn, each facing ten or more enemies at a time. Darkspawn were disorientated, unable to distinguish the newly joined Wardens from their own,[17] and the battle was a major victory. It became the turning point of the First Blight, giving the people of Thedas some much needed hope.[2]

The Wardens began an aggressive campaign against the darkspawn, building fortresses at strategic points and recruiting allies.[18] They grew in reputation as well as numbers, recruiting from all races and backgrounds.[2]

First slaying of Dumat Edit

The Grey Wardens met with great success in their early years. A group of Ander soldiers even managed to slay Dumat while he was on the run from a Warden offensive. The celebrations were cut short when Dumat returned unharmed. In the years that followed, scholars learned that the Archdemon's death had only forced its soul to relocate into the body of the nearest darkspawn. Eventually it was proposed that if Dumat were slain by a Grey Warden, then his spirit would rush into the Warden's body. Unlike the darkspawn, a Warden's body already has a soul, and the resulting paradox would destroy both Warden and Archdemon.[17]

Battle of the Silent Plains Edit

The Grey Wardens formed a formidable force made up largely of Tevinter, Rivaini and Ciriane soldiers. In a coordinated attack, they slew Dumat and routed the darkspawn forces at the Battle of the Silent Plains in -203 Ancient (992 TE).[19] A third of all the human armies fell in the battle.[2][20] Records do not say who exactly gave up his soul to destroy Dumat, for many Wardens struggled against him, and the Archdemon's very death throes slew seven or more of them.[21]

Dumat did not return in the years that followed. Although the darkspawn horde remained large in number and the battles persisted, without the Archdemon to lead them, they became disorganized and by -195 (1000 TE) were forced underground. For the surface world, the Blight was over.[22]

Aftermath Edit

Grey Wardens Edit

The Grey Wardens used the victory to sign contracts with the nations of Thedas, ensuring their rights and solidifying their authority. The Right of Conscription was also granted to the order in that period.[23] The Wardens swore to stand vigilant against future darkspawn attacks on the surface and preached constantly about the possibility of another Blight, but most Thedosians were reluctant to listen.[18]

Dwarven kingdoms Edit

Soon after the surface world claimed victory and the darkspawn were driven underground, they continued pushing the crumbling dwarven empire. Communication between the surviving dwarven kingdoms began to falter, and each kingdom elected its own king while maintaining allegiance to a high king in Orzammar.[24]

The Prison of the Vimmark Mountains Edit

Sometime after the First Blight, the Grey Wardens encountered intelligent darkspawn, eventually capturing the most powerful, a darkspawn emissary known as Corypheus. The Wardens magically sealed him with the help of demon binding seals and blood magic performed by mages who had not undergone the Joining, to keep the emissary caged in a prison of their design, hidden in the Vimmark Mountains. They had hoped to study Corypheus but later abandoned the plan and the prison when it became clear Corypheus could influence others with the taint.

When released of his prison in the Dragon Age, Corypheus mentioned entering the Golden City, but knew nothing of his own state, unaware of the time that had passed between then and now.

Rise of Andraste Edit

Even after the Blight, Tevinter commanded an army larger than that of any other organized nation in Thedas, but that army was scattered and its morale dwindling.[14] With the Imperium severely weakened, the barbarian Andraste called for an Exalted March against the Imperium 28 years later.

See also Edit

Ico codex entry Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 1 - The Second Sin
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 2 - Dumat Rises
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 3 - The Dwarves Fall
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 4 - Griffons Take Flight
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Old Gods
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Orzammar History: Chapter One
Ico armor massive Sentinel armor setSentinel armor set
Item set
Volcanic Aurum (Tier 9)
Requires: 52 strength

Armor: 39.00
Fatigue: 52.50%
+8 constitution
+1.5 or +3 health regeneration in combat
+12 defense
+3% melee critical chance
+6 attack
+14 strength
Chance to avoid missile attacks
+25 physical resistance
Set: +0.5 armor
Set: -15% fatigue
Ico longsword Dumat's weapon setDumat's weapon set

Varies (Tier 7-9)

+0.75/+1.5 stamina regeneration in combat
+25% critical/backstab damage
+2 damage
+8 attack
+9 defense
Set: Immunity to flanking

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Codex entry: The Grey Wardens
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 150
  4. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 54
  5. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 27, 155
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 28, 155
  7. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Game Master's Guide, set 2, p. 2
  8. 8.0 8.1 Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 3
  9. Codex entry: House Aeducan, Shield of Orzammar
  10. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 32
  11. Based on the conversation with Caridin.
  12. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 33
  13. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 145
  14. 14.0 14.1 Codex entry: The History of the Chantry: Chapter 1
  15. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 32, 150, 156
  16. Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 4
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Game Master's Guide, set 2, p. 3
  18. 18.0 18.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 156
  19. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 33, 156
  20. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 5
  21. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Game Master's Guide, set 2, p. 3
  22. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 34, 156
  23. Dragon Age: The Calling, p. 203
  24. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 35

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