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Archdemon

Concept art of an archdemon

Old Gods are beings that were worshiped by a significant number of Thedosians, specifically the mages of the Tevinter Imperium, thousands of years ago. The mages worshiped them in the form of dragons. Legend holds that it was the Old Gods who initially taught mages how to use magic. It is widely believed - if not generally accepted as self-evident - throughout Thedas that the archdemons are the sleeping Old Gods, tainted and corrupted by the darkspawn.

Background Edit

In the days of the Tevinter Imperium, the Old Gods were a pantheon of deities widely revered by most citizens, with temples and priesthoods dedicated to their veneration, such as the acolytes of Dumat, who swore oaths of silence in homage to their lord.[1] The first magister, Archon Thalsian, accredited his discovery of blood magic to the Old God Dumat, and his power led to the foundation of the Tevinter Imperium. Dragon imagery and iconography was equated with Imperial power all throughout the Imperium. Holidays were popularly celebrated in tribute to the Old Gods, namely the Festival of Urthemiel, which spanned an entire week.

What the Old Gods actually are and their relation to the Maker is very mysterious. It is unknown if one predates the other. The Old Gods are not creators and although they exist outside the Chantry's pantheon, the people of ancient Tevinter do attribute the creation of the world to the Maker, although by a different name.[2] The Chantry teaches that the Old Gods were false deities. They turned mortals from worship of the Maker, an act recognized as the "First Sin". As a result, the Maker imprisoned them underground. Their minds continued to roam the Fade like any other dreaming individuals' mind would, and they were able to contact the Magisters and teach them to use magic in hope that the magisters might free them. It was for this reason that the magisters entered the Golden City in a failed attempt to usurp the Maker's throne, inadvertently causing the First Blight.

The event of the First Blight led to a crisis of faith across the Imperium, shaken at the devastation their own god relentlessly championed. Several temples were razed by betrayed believers, slaughtering priests to the Old Gods as retribution for their unheeded prayers. Today, cults devoted to the Old Gods are rumored to still exist in some places, but the religion has since been for the most part replaced with the monotheistic worship of the Maker.

Qunari interpretation Edit

The Tome of Koslun also mentions the Old Gods and how they were worshiped in the ancient Tevinter. According to Sten, it explicitly says that "the Old Gods were like unto dragons, as the first human kings were like unto ordinary men".[3]

Darkspawn Edit

In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, it is revealed that there is a particular relation between darkspawn and the slumbering Old Gods. The darkspawn taint is linked with the ancient dragons, all darkspawn constantly hearing the call of the Old Gods. It is presumed that as the fall of the magisters occurred—and they were transformed into the first darkspawn—the link between them and the Old Gods who had ordered them to sin against the Maker remained. Hearing their call, the darkspawn search for the Old Gods continuously. When they find one, they corrupt it and it becomes an archdemon, proceeding to command them into a horde and unleash a new Blight.

The Architect, a sentient darkspawn emissary, describes the call of the Old Gods as a "terribly beautiful sound". He goes on to consider darkspawn existence and their pursuit for the ancient dragons as a never-ending aspiration towards a perfection they can never have, as it is corrupted in the instant they touch it.

It is also revealed that at some time after their Joining, Grey Wardens also start hearing this call. This is the actual Calling and the moment when Grey Wardens know they must descend into the Deep Roads to find their death in battle. The alternative would be to become fully tainted, nothing more than ghouls, or to simply die from the taint.

In Legacy DLC, is it revealed that the Magisters of the Tevinter Imperium heard the voices of the Old Gods, though in their case it seems that the Old Gods literally spoke to them rather than just issuing a call. Corypheus says that Dumat, whilst dreaming in the Fade, led the Magisters to the Golden City, thus creating upon their arrival both the Black City and the darkspawn from the corruption within themselves. After returning as darkspawn and beginning the First Blight, the Magisters—or, at least, Corypheus—felt the Old Gods betrayed them for the apparent nonexistence of the Golden City, and the "lie" of their promised rule over it.

The seven Old Gods Edit

Urthemiel, WoT

Urthemiel, the Dragon of Beauty[4]

The Magisters worshipped seven Old Gods. The first—and the leader of the others—was called Dumat, the Dragon of Silence. According to scholars, Dumat was the first Old God to transform into an archdemon and consequently slain during the First Blight.

Trivia Edit

  • Following the events of the Fifth Blight, only two Old Gods remain imprisoned, which may mean only two more Blights can occur.
  • The Grey Wardens know the locations of the prisons of each of the Old Gods; however, they are deep underground and cannot easily be accessed by the Wardens without cutting through thousands of darkspawn.[5]

See also Edit

Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Old Gods

References Edit

  1. Codex entry: Dumat, the Dragon of Silence
  2. BSN David Gaider (2010). "The Chantry, The Maker, The Old Gods: questions" . BioWare Social Network. Retrieved on July 29, 2012.
  3. Mentioned by the Sten as an Arishok in Dragon Age: Those Who Speak, chapter 3.
  4. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 122-123
  5. Mentioned in Dragon Age: The Calling.

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