Founded by Emperor Kordillus Drakon, the Orlesian Empire or simply Orlais is one of the most powerful nations in Thedas. Val Royeaux is the capital of Orlais, as well as the Chantry's seat of power and home to the Divine. Amongst its previous rulers were Emperor Reville and Emperor Florian. Orlais conquered Ferelden in 8:44 Blessed, but was expelled before the beginning of the Dragon Age by King Maric Theirin.
Culture and Society Edit
Ambitious and wealthy, Orlais is the most powerful single human nation in Thedas. Under its current ruler, Empress Celene I, Orlais has a large aristocracy famed for its culture and extravagance. Celene shares the expansionist dream of Orlais's founder, Kordilius Drakon, that the nation's borders should stretch to the edges of the continent.
Another characteristic of the noble class is their penchant for high fashion, often copied in other lands such as Nevarra and the Free Marches but always at its most extreme within Orlais. Both men and women wear cosmetics of various kinds, with subtle differences that indicate social standing. In public, they are also prone to wearing very elaborate masks. These are hereditary and identify one's family almost as uniquely as the heraldry on a crest. Servants also wear masks in public that are simpler and not so elaborate as their masters' which indicate the noble household they serve.
Aristocratic society is vicious and marked by fawning envy to the powerful. Bards often entertain nobles in their courts despite their roles as spies, assassins and saboteurs for their employers (usually other nobles). Nobles welcome such entertainers with full knowledge that any could be a bard; the thrill of outwitting a spy is a notion the Orlesian aristocracy can hardly resist.
The capital city is Val Royeaux, which boasts the University of Orlais: a major center of learning that attracts young nobles from all over Thedas with the best education one can buy. The University is a relatively modern institution, whose liberal-minded professors have already clashed with religious conservatives over the content of their classes. This is likely to become a much larger issue in the future.
The Summerday holiday is particularly holy in Orlais. This holiday celebrates the beginning of summer and on this day children who come of age wear white tunics and gowns and join a procession to the local chantry. When they reach it, they are taught the responsibilities of being an adult. It is celebrated at the beginning of Molioris.
In Orlais, land is owned exclusively by the aristocracy and titles are granted by the Council of Heralds. Power rests solely in the Emperor or Empress as in many monarchies in Thedas where power descends from the throne, unlike Ferelden whose power derives from the support of freeholders.
Many Orlesian nobles belong to its renowned knightly order, the Chevaliers. The martial training of the Chevaliers is legendarily harsh, instilling in the knights a fierce discipline and code of honor that takes precedence over the value of their own lives. The penalty for dishonor is death, something that a Chevalier would welcome if he or she has failed their lord. They are honored by many and are considered amongst the best of all soldiers but they also have unlimited rights when it comes to handling the peasantry; a cause of many conflicts.
During the years leading to The Mage-Templar War, many Orlesian nobles began to plot to re-conquer Ferelden. This was against Empress Celene's wishes, who did what she could to hold the peace and bring her nobles under control, but seditious plots were still whispered, increasing tension with many Fereldans.
|“I spent my time cleaning. Like a servant.” — Shale|
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The Grand GameEdit
- Main article: The Grand Game
"The game" refers to the perpetual competition for influence and esteem between the Orlesian nobles. Every Orlesian of noble birth is subject to their peers' manipulation, if not as a player, then as a pawn, and the only way out seems to be joining the Chantry (or affiliated organizations, such as the Templar Order and the Circle of Magi).
The goals of the game are personal prestige, reputation, and patronage, and its "rules" are as simple as "anything goes". Nobles often employ assassins or, more often, bards to accomplish these goals. Social engineering is also important in this aspect of Orlesian culture, and masks, elaborate dress and social engagements are important tools to further the Game.
Despite Emperor Kordillus Drakon abolishing all noble titles, with the exception of Lord, Lady and Emperor, there remains an established list of aristocratic titles along with appropriate forms of address. The extent of the titles official or ceremonial capacity is unclear.
Titles are granted by the Orlesian Council of Heralds.
Chevalier and Dame are the masculine and feminine titles reserved for the members Chevalier, both of whom are addressed ser.
Lord and Lady are the lowest Orlesian titles of nobility, often considered the equal of Baron and Baroness. They are correctly addressed Monsieur and Madame, terms which are also appropriate for all titled members of the aristocracy.
The Barons and Baroness' is the lowest rank of Orlesian nobility, correctly addressed Your Lordship/Your Ladyship.
Viscount is not known to be used in Orlais, though chevalier Sir Lumile de Marais was appointed Viscount of Orlesian occupied Kirkwall.
Comte and Comtess are mid ranking Orlesian nobles, like Barons they are correctly addressed Your Lordship/Your Ladyship.
Marquis and Marquise are the second highest rank of Orlesian nobility. They are correctly addressed Your Grace.
The Dukes and Duchess are the highest ranking of Orlesian nobility. They are correctly addressed Your Grace.
Notable Dukes include Prosper de Montfort, a close friend of Empress Celene I.
Grand Duke/Grand Duchess Edit
Once a Prince or Princess is no longer related directly to the ruling Emperor or Empress they are afforded the non hereditary title of Grand Duke or Duchess, these titles are rank above all other Orlesian noble titles.
Notable Grand Dukes include Gaspard de Chalons, who challenged Empress Celene I's rule, sparking a civil war.
Princes and Princess are the direct family members of the ruling Emperor or Empress, they include the ruler's siblings and children. Upon the accession of a new Emperor or Empress, Princess and Princess who are no longer directly related to the new Emperor loose the title, instead becoming Grand Dukes and Grand Duchess.
The titles of Emperor and Empress are reserved for the monarch of the Orlesian Emperor, and his or her consort. They are correctly addressed Your Radiance, or Your Imperial Majesty.
Notable Emperors include:
- Emperor Kordillus Drakon I, the first Emperor of Orlais
- Emperor Reville, the "Mad Emperor", ordered the second and successful invasion of Ferelden
- Emperor Florian, the Emperor who lost the Orlesian province of Ferelden
- Empress Celene I, the current Empress
- Val Royeaux - Capital, location of the first Circle of Magi in White Spire, Grand Cathedral and headquarters for the Seekers of Truth.
- Montsimmard - Headquarters of the Orlesian Grey Wardens and a second Circle of Magi.
- Halamshiral - Former capital of the Dalish Elves
- Jader - Nearest major Orlesian city to Ferelden
- Montfort - Ancestral home of the Montfort noble family.
- Val Chevin
- Val Firmin
- Val Foret
- Andoral's Reach
- The Dales
- The Western Approach with the Adamant fortress
- Deauvin Flats
- Gamordan Peaks
- Lake Celestine
- Nahashin Marshes
- The Abyssal Reach (also called the Abyssal Rift)
- The Arbor Wilds
- The Heartlands
Notable people with Orlesian origins Edit
- Aveline, Knight of Orlais
- Empress Celene I
- Gascard DuPuis
- Jeshavis, Mother of Orlais, first female gjoya, or chieftan, of the unified proto-Orlesian tribe and creator of the Game
- The Baroness
- The Warden-Commander (depending on player's choice; new character)
- Orlais is based on the real-world nation of France (note how its name is similar to Orléans), with which it shares cultural, social, and political aspects.
- Most importantly, the relation between Orlais and Ferelden is modeled on the one between medieval France and England, with the latter being conquered by French Normans just like Orlais occupied Ferelden (but the in-game counterpart was later drawn away from Ferelden).
- The great political prominence of a cultured and self-indulging nobility, the chevaliers (which is French for "knights")
- Orlesian given names resemble French given names and Orlesian characters speak with a French accent.
- It is also interesting to note that Orlesian toponyms include French words, such as the ancient val meaning "valley", mont, meaning "mount", and so on.
- Orlais was once called Arles. The name was changed because Arles is a real town in France.
- Leliana is culturally Orlesian. She was born and raised there but considers herself a Fereldan because her mother came from Denerim. She often remarks of the fashionable shoes of Orlais compared to the rugged boots of Ferelden.
- In the expansion pack Awakening, if the player chooses not to import a previous Warden character, they have the option to play as a new Grey Warden character from Orlais, starting at level 18.
- It was hinted by BioWare Dragon Age team during PAX East 2012 that the next game (after Dragon Age II) will take place in Orlais.
- Orlais was given its name by one of the sons of Andraste and Maferath, after her betrayal and death.
See also Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, page 61
- ↑ Dragon Age: Asunder pg 23
- ↑ Dragon Age: The World of Thedas.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 World of Thedas Orlesian titles of nobility
- ↑ Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, page 123
- ↑ Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Vol. 1, pg. 57.
- ↑ As noted in the note "Jeshavis, Mother of Orlais," in Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, volume 1, pg. 63.
- ↑ Gaider, David. "where is Orthland?". BioWare Forums. 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- ↑ http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Jeshavis,_Mother_of_Orlais
- ↑ Dragon Age RPG Player's Guide, set 2, pg. 32.
- ↑ Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Vol. 1, page 19.
- ↑ Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pg. 61.
- The Official Mini Guide