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Free Marches

Free Marches
Type:
Confederation of city-states
Location:
Eastern Thedas
Appearances:

The Free Marches encompass a group of city-states situated in eastern Thedas (south of Antiva and the Tevinter Imperium, east of Nevarra, and north of Ferelden). The three real cities with any semblance of power in the Marches are Kirkwall, Starkhaven and Tantervale, each led by a titled official with the special right to name their city's Champion.

The "Marchers" are independent-minded descendants of tough barbarians. Their cities have formed a loose confederation that rarely unites on any matter. In the event of aggression from larger neighbors, however, the Marchers can assemble a joint military front that even the greatest powers cannot dismiss.[1]

During the Fifth Blight, many Fereldan refugees fled to the Free Marches.

History Edit

Templatetools This section is incomplete and requires expansion.

Originally the cities that now make the Free Marches were either Planasene villages conquered by the magisters or settlements established from the grounds up by the Tevinters as the nation expanded. The settlements and villages grew into cities under Tevinter development.

Between -180 Ancient and -171 Ancient, the Alamarri led by Maferath and Andraste invaded the Tevinter Imperium, taking over their southern cities. The last Tevinter city to fall was Nevarra City. There, Maferath made a secret deal with Archon Hessarian, who allowed the Alamarri to keep the lands they conquered in exchange for ceasing their invasion, and the life of Andraste. However, because Maferath took the deal against his people's wishes, they abandoned him and he was killed by his own sons, who split the newly conquered lands between themselves. As the Alamarri army lost its momentum and the chieftans battled between themselves, and the Tevinter Imperium recovered from the invasion, the cities took the opportunity to break free and become independent. This state was not to last, however, as many of the cities have been taken over and made independent over again; others, such as Nevarra City expanded so much that they turned into full grown nations.

In 1:95 Divine, the last battle of the Second Blight was fought at Starkhaven with a human army led by the Wardens.[2] Both sides suffered heavy losses, but Zazikel was finally slain by the Grey Warden Corin.[3]

In 2:15–2:45 Glory Starkhaven arose and prompted its king, Fyruss, in attempt to unite the Free Marches under his banner and build his own empire. In 2:80 Glory, Fyruss was betrayed by his Tevinter allies and ousted from Starkhaven; the Tevinter Imperium conquered his city in result. This led the Chantry to declare an Exalted March to liberate Starkhaven from the Imperium. The following battle for the independence of Starkhaven was short, but bloody.[4]

In 5:37 Exalted, Tylus, the first Van Markham king of Nevarra, was crowned after having claimed to be a descendant of Drakon's son, killed in Cumberland. Being a hero of the recent Fourth Blight, Tylus was able to stir nationalistic feelings in the western Free Marches against the growing power of Orlais. He proved his military might by winning several major battles against the Orlesians, establishing Nevarra as a new, growing power.[5]

In 7:56 Storm, the Qunari landed near Ostwick and launched assaults against Starkhaven and Kirkwall. Starkhaven prevailed, but Kirkwall fell due to the magic of the Saarebas.[6] The city remained under Qunari power until Orlesian Chevalier Ser Michel Lafaille liberated Kirkwall in 7:60 Storm. He found that most of the population was converted to the Qun. Kirkwall was incorporated into the Orlesian Empire, and Lafaille became the ruler of the city, named Viscount by the Orlesian emperor.[7]

In 8:05 Blessed, Kirkwall rebelled against Orlesian rule and gained independence, but maintained the title of viscount as its ruler.

In 8:82 Blessed, Nevarra begins a bloody campaign of conquest within the Free Marches, encouraged by their taking of Perendale. They are stopped by Cade Arvale, who is named Champion of Tantervale for his deed.[8]

In 9:21 Dragon, Viscount Perrin Threnhold attempted to expel the Templar Order from Kirkwall, killing Knight-Commander Guylian in the raid of the Templar stronghold, only to be overthrown by the Templar Knight Meredith Stannard, who was promoted soon after. With the Chantry's support, she appointed Marlowe Dumar to succeed Perrin, but commands the true authority in the city from the Gallows.

Splr da2
“There are men who embrace destiny; these are the ones that change the world forever.” — Flemeth
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age II. Click here to reveal them.

In 9:31 Dragon, Qunari set out to meet Orlesians who agreed to return the Tome of Koslun to them. However, the book is intercepted by a Rivaini pirate.

Following a storm, a Qunari ship founders on the coast of Kirkwall. The Arishok and his surviving army are forced to remain in Qunari Compound, until they reclaim the Tome of Koslun.

In 9:34 Dragon, the Arishok decides to attack the city, starting the First Battle of Kirkwall. In the ensuing invasion Marlowe Dumar is killed by the Arishok. Hawke drastically helps in the liberation of the city and thus is named "Champion of Kirkwall" by Kirkwall's Knight-Commander, Meredith Stannard.

In 9:37 Dragon, an apostate mage, Anders, destroys the Kirkwall Chantry, igniting the Kirkwall Rebellion and inspiring mages throughout Thedas to rebel against the Circle system. The Champion of Kirkwall kills First Enchanter Orsino and Knight-Commander Meredith Stannard during the rebellion in Kirkwall, and later becomes the Viscount or flees the city.

Geography Edit

KirkwallSundermountThe Wounded CoastFreeMarchesMap
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Settlements Edit

Regions Edit

Culture and society Edit

Marchers were once known for raiding the northern seaboard of Ferelden.[12] Nevarra started out as a member of the Free Marches, but has expanded in size and power far beyond its former peers.

The Free Marches are known as the breadbasket of Thedas; its farms along the banks of the Minanter River are the source of much of the continent's food. Starkhaven, the largest of the cities in the Free Marches, is situated on this waterway.[1]

The Marches were once part of the Tevinter Imperium, evidence of which is found in the architecture of cities - high buildings built almost all in white stone.

The region seems poorer and less organized than Ferelden: the interiors of buildings are very rustic and gangs of brigands abound (some taking over entire neighborhoods, at least by night).

The central location of the Marches relative to the other lands of Thedas makes the population very culturally diverse. The movement of goods and trade brings people from across the continent, and many native-born Marchers are born of parents from elsewhere. For example, the Grey Warden Stroud is Marcher-born, yet speaks with a distinct Orlesian accent. That being said, the region is not completely welcoming to newcomers. Many Marcher-born citizens resent the presence of foreigners and see the influence of outside nations and cultures as a threat to their way of life. In the wake of the Fifth Blight, Kirkwall in particular suffered from an outgrowth of nativist sentiment, as the presence of so many Fereldan refugees and a force of marooned Qunari led to a backlash from Marchers angry at what they saw as a takeover of the city by alien powers.

Despite the cosmopolitan tendencies of the area, rivalries between Marcher cities usually take precedence over the common bond of "being a Marcher".

The Grand Tourney Edit

One of the Free Marches' most celebrated events is the Grand Tourney. Participants from all over Thedas converge on this festival of martial skill and valor in a competition to crown a champion of the games. The victor is awarded a coronet of sage leaves and a trophy blade known as the Celebrant, which is inscribed with the names of every champion since the first Tourney. A letter by a Free Marcher reads: "The most important thing to know about the Free Marches is that we're free. We determine our own destiny, and that pleases us. Beyond that, the only other time we coalesce is when Grand Tourney comes to town. Then we boldly express our pride to any foreigner who'll listen. We'll kiss freedom on the lips and even lock arms with a proud Starkhavener! Alas, it lasts only a day, but there's no harm in that, right?" The tradition of the Grand Tourney is considered one of few common bonds that every Marcher shares happily, and is a notoriously jubilant phenomenon despite its brevity.

Politics Edit

The Free Marches have no central government, no king and no capital, making the whole region difficult to protect and its economy disparate. Each city is self-governing and wary of intrusions by its neighbours, frequently leading to tensions between them as they jocky and vie for power. The government of each state also varies, the seaport of Kirkwall, for example, is officially governed by a singular ruler in the form of the Viscount, but real political authority rests in the heads of the local chapter of the Templar Order.

During times of crisis, the most powerful merchants, generals and rulers of the Free Marches can convene to deal with the issue, similar to the Landsmeet of Ferelden.[13]

Titles Edit

Official titles differ from one Marcher city to another, though currently none of them boasts a King. The supreme leaders are titled as follows:

Viscount is the title given to the rulers of Kirkwall and Kaiten; it originates from when the lands of the Marches were part of the Orlesian Empire.

Known Viscounts:
Ser Michel Lafaille - the first Viscount of Kirkwall, an Orlesian who led the army of chevaliers against Qunari occupying Kirkwall
Ravi is the Viscount of Kaiten
Chivalry Threnhold - he took the position of Viscount at the beginning of the Dragon Age
Perrin Threnhold - notorious for expelling the Templar Order out of Kirkwall
Marlowe Dumar - The Viscount of Kirkwall during the events of Dragon Age II
Splr da2
“There are men who embrace destiny; these are the ones that change the world forever.” — Flemeth
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age II. Click here to reveal them.
Hawke - Hawke can become Viscount if they side with the templars during the confrontation with Meredith.
  • Prince — Starkhaven has been ruled by a number of overlords seeking extravagant titles, the latest being King Ironfist. After Ironfist's rule was peacefully ended, the city's people begged the noble who led the successful protest - Vael - to be their new king. Feeling no one was worthy of such a title and that it would encourage corruption as it had with previous rulers, Vael refused, declaring Prince to be Starkhaven's supreme title.
  • Lord Chancellor — the ruler of Tantervale.
  • Margrave — the ruler of Ansburg.
  • Teyrn — the ruler of Ostwick.

Forms of address Edit

Serah and Messere are common, gender-neutral forms of address within the Free Marches. Serah is used when addressing someone of equal or lesser status, while Messere is for a person of greater status.[14]

Champion Edit

This title is bestowed, only by a city ruler, on an individual who has proven her/his dedication to the city in blood, sweat, and leadership . The title is not necessarily a sign of honor, for a Champion can utilize methods that evoke love or fear.

Known Champions Edit

See Codex entry: Mantle of the Champion, and Stonehammer armor set

Notable people with Free Marcher origins Edit

Seb01

Sebastian Vael, a Free Marcher

For a complete list, see Category:Free Marchers.

Gallery Edit

See also Edit

Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Free Marches
Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: The Celebrant

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dragon Age II: The Complete Official Guide, p. 246
  2. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 156-157
  3. Codex entry: Vestments of Sacrifice
  4. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 13
  5. Prima Official Game Guide (Collector's Edition), p. 344
  6. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 118
  7. Codex entry: History of Kirkwall: Chapter 3
  8. Codex entry: Mantle of the Champion
  9. Codex entry: The Basket of Lost Socks
  10. Codex entry: Cold-Blooded
  11. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 70
  12. Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
  13. Codex entry: The Free Marches
  14. Developer Forum Post Retrieved 04-02-2011

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