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Markus Pentaghast, the current ruler of Nevarra, is an aged man of weak health and uncertain sanity. His rule has been condemned by those who claim his Mortalitasi advisers are ruling through him, much as Ionas, whom the Pentaghast family deposed, did long ago.
Markus is childless, as is his younger brother Ferdinand, who is uninterested in the throne. Pentaghast and Van Markham relatives are already vying to replace Markus upon his inevitable death, though some nobles families believe it is time for both families to step aside to make way for a new dynasty.
According to Cassandra Pentaghast, there have been at least two failed attempts to overthrow King Markus thus far. The second attempt was supported by Cassandra's parents, who were subsequently executed for their betrayal. Cassandra and her brother Anthony were spared since they were both part of the king's family and still children at the time.
During the conflict with the Elder One, a Venatori agent named Virellius infiltrates the Nevarran court and uses Blood magic to influence King Markus' mind to lull him into aiding the Venatori. With the aid of the Inquisition, Virellius is removed and King Markus restored to his senses.Later, Markus attempts to enlist the Inquisition to destroy a Venatori stronghold on the Tevinter-Nevarran border, hoping that Inquisition troops' presence in destroying the cultists would be less inflammatory than a sovereign army.