The Mage-Templar War broke out in 9:40 Dragon Age between the mages and the templars. It fomented following the Battle of Kirkwall, a city state in the southern Free Marches, in 9:37 Dragon and officially erupted with the abolition of the Circles in Orlais, in 9:38-9:39 Dragon.
Following the Second Qunari Invasion of Kirkwall, Hawke, a Ferelden refugee, was appointed Champion of Kirkwall for helping to evict the Qunari presence. After the death of Marlowe Dumar and his only heir, Saemus, Meredith Stannard, the knight-commander of the city's templars, assumed the position of viscount in all but name, which caused tensions amongst both the citizenry and the mages. Meredith's sanctions against the latter became increasingly harsh, while the nobility began to object to a templar ruling the city, many wishing for the Champion to become viscount.
Meredith's sanctions against the mages were strongly opposed by First Enchanter Orsino, who believed that Meredith was losing her mind, seeing maleficarum where none existed. Tensions reached a peak, and exploded into violence due to the actions of the apostate Anders.
The rebellion of the Kirkwall Circle Edit
- Main article: Battle of Kirkwall (9:37 Dragon)
After the death of Lord Viscount Marlowe Dumar in 9:34 Dragon Age, Knight-Commander Meredith of the templars took stewardship of Kirkwall. Peace was barely kept in check by Grand Cleric Elthina, though she did little to alleviate the growing tension. The citizens of Kirkwall soon began to cry for the Champion of Kirkwall to deliver salvation to the city.
The situation in Kirkwall soon became of great concern to the Divine in Val Royeaux, fearing that the city may become another Tevinter Imperium if the mages rebelled and thus sent an agent to the city to assess the danger and to pass a warning onto Elthina to flee should war break out. But Elthina stubbornly refused to abandon her flock, believing that she could make peace between the mages and templars.
Meanwhile the templar Thrask was conspiring to depose Meredith, teaching one mage and templar at a time that they don't need to hate each other. However, he suffered a betrayal when one of his allies killed him in order to get revenge on the Champion for the death of her lover. The remaining conspirators were taken into custody by Meredith's loyalists to dissuade further attempts. Meredith was convinced that Orsino was the one behind this conspiracy and vice versa.
The last straw came when Meredith accused First Enchanter Orsino of harbouring blood mages, demanding a full search of the Gallows to root them out; Orsino refused to allow it and stormed off, intending to bring the matter to the Grand Cleric's attention. Things come to a head when Anders, an apostate healer and ex-Grey Warden and companion of the Champion of Kirkwall, interfered to tell that the friction between the Circle and templars and the Chantry's apathy towards the abuses of its military arm had gone on for too long. Seconds later, the Kirkwall chantry exploded, killing Grand Cleric Elthina and everybody else within. Anders stated that he destroyed the Chantry and thus removed the chance of compromise because there was no real chance of compromise, and in order to show Thedas that the Circles of Magi weren't a solution.
Knight-Commander Meredith retaliated by invoking the Right of Annulment, calling on the templars to execute all the Mages in Kirkwall, with First Enchanter Orsino gathering the Circle together to fight the templars. Both factions petitioned for the Champion's assistance: Orsino arguing the Circle was innocent of any involvement in Anders' crime, while Meredith countered that Kirkwall would descend into anarchy if the people were not granted retribution for Elthina's murder.
Fighting raged across Kirkwall, as the Champion encountered mages and templars battling to the death across the city. The Circle mages barricaded themselves at the Gallows to form a united front. Meanwhile Meredith gathered the entire Templar Order to attack the island fortress. Hawke arrived in the Gallows courtyard just in time to see Orsino destroy the templar advance guard. But Meredith arrived seconds later with reinforcements. Orsino tried to negotiate a truce, but Meredith would accept nothing short of the Circle's surrender and execution. Orsino refused and vowed the templars would pay for this. But both sides accepted a temporary ceasefire to prepare their troops. Meredith began the final battle when the templars broke down the gates and they charged into the Gallows. The mages were waiting for them and the Gallows exploded in chaos, as mages and templars finally unleashed their full hatred for each other. The fighting across the Gallows was brutal. Many mages were cut down by the templars blades, while many templars were slaughtered by fire, ice and lighting spells. As it went on some mages turned to blood magic and unleashed demons on the templars.
The carnage saw many on both sides lose their lives, the deaths of his fellow mages seeming to push Orsino into despair and insanity. Seeing no way out, Orsino used a blood magic ritual to merge with the dead bodies of his colleagues, becoming a monstrous construct to take the fight to Meredith. The Champion, forced to intervene, killed Orsino.
In the later stages of the battle, Meredith accused the Champion of being behind the affair, and ordered their arrest and execution.
Sharing the view that she had gone too far, her templars refused, with the Knight-Captain ordering her to stand down. Meredith seemed to finally go completely mad. She used her pure-lyrium sword to animate the statues lining the courtyard of the Gallows, and to give herself enhanced speed and strength. She turned on her own men and began to fight mages, templars and the Champion. The Champion defeated her eventually. Unable to accept defeat, Meredith tried to draw more power from the sword. But instead the sword shattered and its fragments infused with her body, petrifying her.
A number of mages managed to escape Kirkwall and spread word of the slaughter to the other Circles of Thedas.
The aftermath of the Kirkwall rebellion Edit
|“I spent my time cleaning. Like a servant.” — Shale|
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While Templar reinforcements arrived at Kirkwall to suppress further resistance, news from escaping mages of what had occurred spread to other Circles. Outraged that the Templars of Kirkwall would invoke the Right of Annulment to justify the extermination of an entire Circle for the crimes of one apostate, some Circles revolted, while others were close to doing so. In response, the Templar Order cracked down, further restricting mage freedoms in an attempt to quell further disturbance.
Despite this, the College of Enchanters, meeting for the last time in Cumberland before being disbanded, voted against separation from the Chantry at the urging of the Senior Enchanter, Wynne, in opposition to the motion tendered by its newly elected Grand Enchanter Fiona. Nonetheless, many of the Libertarian faction, who wished for independence, continued to encourage mages to rebel.
Among the White Spire Circle in Val Royeaux, tensions continued to mount throughout the following year. The Divine, Justinia V, sought to use her position to reform the Circle of Magi and thereby bring an end to the troubles, but was hindered by both the templars and the mages, culminating with Jeannot, one of the White Spire's senior enchanters, attempting to assassinate her in 9:38 Dragon, despite her mage-sympathetic views. In response, Lord Seeker Lambert took control of the White Spire Circle and its templar contingent in order to attempt to bring matters under control.
Wynne, acting on Justinia V's personal orders, took her estranged son Rhys (a mage of White Spire), his friend Adrian and the templar Knight-Captain Evangeline to the Adamant fortress in order to save her friend, Pharamond, a Tranquil who had become an abomination. In freeing Pharamond, he told the party that he had managed to find a way to reverse the Rite of Tranquility.
Presenting this information before Justinia V, it having already been sent to each of the fifteen Circles, and against strong objections from Lord Seeker Lambert, the Divine concluded that a conclave of first enchanters must meet, ostensibly to hear from Pharamond and to discuss the findings. Eleven of the fifteen first enchanters who could make the meeting in time arrived, along with the Grand Enchanter Fiona and Wynne, Rhys and Adrian. Watched by the templars, the Grand Enchanter nonetheless sought another vote to separate the Circle from the Chantry. Before the vote could be taken, the meeting was disrupted by Lord Seeker Lambert, who on presenting news that Pharamond had been murdered and the bloodstained knife found in the quarters of Rhys, attempted to disband the Conclave. Suspecting that Rhys was being framed, the mages refused to stand down, including Wynne, and the Lord Seeker ordered his templars to attack.
At first the mages fought in defense, but when a templar killed a mage who tried to surrender, they attacked in fury and killed several templars. Several of the first enchanters were slain, most were imprisoned, including Rhys, and only Wynne and Knight-Captain Evangeline managed to escape. They returned to White Spire to rescue those imprisoned with the assistance of the golem, Shale, and Leliana, an agent of the Divine. The Divine herself ordered Lord Seeker Lambert and a number of his templars to meet with her, a ruse to try and ensure the rescue succeeded.
Evangeline, Wynne and Shale succeeded in destroying those phylacteries contained in the White Spire vault, including those of the surviving first enchanters, while Leliana led those imprisoned to safety. In an echo of the rebellion of the Kirkwall Circle, other mages of White Spire rose up and fought their templar masters. By the time Seeker Lambert returned to White Spire, most of the templars had been slaughtered.
The surviving first enchanters, the Grand Enchanter among them, retreated to the fortress of Andoral's Reach. All of the fifteen Circles rose against the templars, with thousands of mages gathering at Andoral's Reach in the following months. A vote for independence was once again proposed by the Grand Enchanter, and this time succeeded. The mages chose to fight.
In 9:40 Dragon, in response to Justinia V's interference at White Spire, Lord Seeker Lambert declared the Nevarran Accord, which had led to the Seekers submitting to the Divine and establishing the Circle of Magi, to be null and void. His seekers and the Templar Order they commanded were no longer to be under the authority of the Chantry.With both sides no longer under the authority and regulations of the Chantry, the Circle of Magi and the Templar Order each prepared for all out war. The Mages are determined to fight for their newly declared independence and freedom, while the Templars are committed to imprisoning or completely destroying all the mages of Thedas.
Present day Edit
As of 9:40 Dragon, the Andrastian Chantry is crumbling, with over nine hundred years of relative stability shattered. While some of the Seekers are known to remain loyal to the Chantry and the reigning Divine, others, as well as many of the Templars, have rebelled and left the Chantry to hunt and fight mages on their own terms.
The Divine desperately seeks to put an end to the conflict, and assigned those Seekers remaining loyal to her to track down the only two people in all Thedas who may have the power and influence to put an end to the conflict. One of her agents, Leliana, was sent to track down one of them, the Hero of Ferelden.
Cassandra Pentaghast was also sent to find Hawke, the Champion of Kirkwall. She captured one of Hawke's companions, the dwarf Varric Tethras in an attempt to discover the Champion's current whereabouts. Tethras knew nothing of the Champion's fate, but said he highly doubts that Hawke was dead.