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Join us, brothers and sisters. Join us in the shadows where we stand vigilant. Join us as we carry the duty that can not be forsworn. And should you perish, know that your sacrifice will not be forgotten. And that one day we shall join you. ―The traditional words that begin a Joining

The Joining ceremony at Ostagar

To become part of the Grey Wardens, a recruit must first go through a blood magic[1] ritual called the Joining. One of the reasons for the small number of Grey Wardens is that few can survive this ritual. Only those who have a decent chance of surviving the Joining will even be made recruits. The ritual and the details about it are kept a strict secret by the Grey Wardens, because during the Joining, the recruits drink from a silver chalice containing a mixture of darkspawn blood, lyrium, and a drop of blood from an archdemon. Few survive this, but those who live become Grey Wardens — forever connected to the darkspawn, and forever tainted by the blood they have consumed.

The Joining itself is an intense test of both physical and spiritual fortitude. The darkspawn corruption wrenches at the very core of a recruit's identity, insinuating forever a sense of wrongness in the new Warden. If an individual harbors doubts about the ritual, or even about their commitment, the Joining may fail and the recruit die in the attempt.[2] The Wardens have a tradition of honoring their sacrifice by carrying them in their hearts, and by wearing specially crafted amulets to remember those who didn't survive the Joining[3]. Some even write down a list of names, adding "I remember you" after each one.[4][5]

Becoming a Grey Warden requires a dose of the darkspawn corruption of sufficient potency to have an immediate effect, rather than slowly corrupt the consumer into a ghoul. While archdemon blood is typically used, blood of other darkspawn creatures can also be magically treated to make it function in the ritual. However, the average darkspawn doesn't have enough of the corruption within it for this to work.[6]
The Joining Green Ronin

A failed Warden recruit

The Joining ritual grants Grey Wardens two abilities: they become linked to the darkspawn's hive mind, which allows them to detect the presence of darkspawn, and they become immune to further corruption by the Blight. However, they suffer from bad (if occasionally prophetic) dreams, ravenous hunger for a period following the Joining, decreased fertility, and shortened lifespans (most Wardens have only thirty years at most after their Joining before the taint consumes them). In addition, the link to the darkspawn hive mind allows the darkspawn to sense them, in turn.

Avernus, when asked, states that the darkspawn taint conferred by the Joining contains incredible powers, with the ability to sense darkspawn as the least of such. He speculated that applications of energy and blood could unlock these powers, and endeavored to replicate the effects alchemically — leading to the Power of Blood talent tree.

However, with progression of age the taint will spread and if the taint advances enough in Wardens bodies, they start to hear the calling of the Old Gods and know that is their time to travel to the Deep Roads to seek out an honorable death as part of their Calling.

Dogs can be put through the Joining.[7]

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"Let yourself be a hero for tonight, in the morning we'll just be Grey Wardens again." - Garahel
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Last Flight. Click here to reveal them.
During the Fourth Blight, the Warden mage Isseya used a modified Joining ritual on the Wardens' griffons to improve their performance against Darkspawn, ultimately leading to fatal rages in the tainted creatures as well as an ambiguous plague among non-Joined griffons. This lead to a necessary purge of nearly all griffons after the Fourth Blight. A clutch of eggs from the griffons belonging to Amadis Vael and Garahel were cleansed and protected, however, and have recently been rediscovered in the Anderfels by the Grey Wardens.

Notable victims of the Joining Edit

References Edit

  1. Interview with David Gaider
  2. Dragon Age: Last Flight, pp. 154, 167.
  3. According to Alistair's dialogue in the quest After the Joining.
  4. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 119
  5. Codex entry: In Death
  6. BSN David Gaider (January 9, 2010). "Illegal Wardens all over Ferelden!" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on July 14, 2014.
  7. Hafter (dog) from Dragon Age: The Calling being an example.
  8. Dragon Age: Last Flight, p. 164.

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