Between 9:30 and 9:31 Dragon, Ferelden was ravaged by the darkspawn during the Fifth Blight. Following the death of King Cailan at the Battle of Ostagar, the nation was plunged into a civil war between the regent Loghain Mac Tir and the nobility of the Bannorn. A Grey Warden later known as the Hero of Ferelden ended both the Blight and the civil war, and the Order of the Grey reclaimed much of its standing in Ferelden. Despite a quick victory, the two conflicts left Ferelden weakened, and many in Orlais saw this as an opportunity to reclaim their lost province. The Blight had a significant effect on the Fade, too, further empowering a colossal fear demon known as "the Nightmare", who had been feeding off the people's terror of the Blight ever since Dumat rose as the first Archdemon.
Some time between 9:31 and 9:37 Dragon, the Champion of Kirkwall, Hawke, was tricked into freeing the darkspawn Corypheus, one of the seven magisters who breached the Golden City and unleashed the Blight upon Thedas, from his underground prison under Vimmark Mountains. Hawke left believing to have killed him, unaware that he had found the secret of effective immortality by switching between tainted bodies like the Archdemons did. After escaping his prison in the body of a Warden mage, Corypheus made plans to return to the now-Black City, where he would claim the Maker's empty throne and restore the Tevinter Imperium to its former glory. Among his other schemes, he had facilitated the spread of red lyrium, a form of tainted lyrium first discovered by Hawke and Varric Tethras inside the Primeval Thaig during an expedition in 9:31 Dragon. The location of the thaig was inadvertently leaked by Bianca Davri, a close friend of Varric's, who had unwittingly contacted Corypheus to help her study red lyrium.
In 9:40, the elven god of deception Fen'Harel awoke from his millennia-long slumber. Having originally created the Veil, a magical barrier separating the waking and dreaming world, to lock away the Evanuris, ancient elven god-kings whose lust for power threatened the entire world, he was horrified by what had become of Thedas in general and of the elves in particular as a result. With the help of agents spread throughout Thedas, he planned to tear down the Veil again and to restore the world he had inadvertently destroyed. But, still weak after his slumber, he could not open the Orb of Destruction, in which he had stored much of his power, and instead led Corypheus to it so he would unlock it for him. But Fen'Harel had also not foreseen that the Tevinter magister had found the secret of effective immortality, and had assumed that the artifact would kill him the moment he unlocked it. In an effort to stop Corypheus from causing more chaos and death, Fen'Harel joins the Inquisition under his original name Solas, posing as a simple elven hedge mage and an expert on the Fade.
One of Fen'Harel's agents, Felassan, played a part in the early days of the Orlesian Civil War. Though the war originally started as a dynastic dispute between Empress Celene and her cousin Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons, it soon involved Briala, Celene's former spymaster and lover. After Celene's purge of the elves of Halamshiral and the discovery that she had Briala's parents murdered, the elf decided that she'd help her people on her own terms. To this end, she utilized the extensive network of eluvians, whose password Felassan had been tasked to recover, to recruit an underground elven army and to move her agents unnoticed. Felassan was killed by Fen'Harel for refusing to take control of the eluvians away from Briala.
In 9:41 Dragon, Divine Justinia V called for a Conclave at the Temple of Sacred Ashes to bring about an end to the war that broke out between the rebel Circles of Magi and the rogue Templar Order four years prior, partly as a result of Hawke's actions. Corypheus, now going by the moniker "the Elder One", saw this as an opportunity to advance his plans, and infiltrated the Conclave with a group of mind-controlled Grey Wardens. Before he could sacrifice the Divine to unlock the Orb and gain the Anchor for himself, however, a random bystander came to Justinia's help, who took advantage of the interruption and knocked the Orb out of Corypheus' hands. When the intruder picked it up, the Anchor was bestowed upon them instead. The ensuing magical explosion destroyed the Temple and killed everyone inside, except for the Divine and the intruder, who were physically transported into the Fade.
Before they could escape, they were attacked by fearling demons, and the Divine sacrificed herself to give the other person (the player character) a chance to flee. Her shadow in the Fade was believed to be Andraste by those who witnessed the event. The survivor's memories of this, however, have been stolen by the Nightmare, who had earlier allied itself with Corypheus, the man who had first unleashed the Blight that had fed it well for centuries and was promising more chaos and fear for the demon to feed upon.
The game begins in medias res, with the player character regaining consciousness in the Fade in the immediate aftermath of the explosion at the Conclave. A female figure of golden light helps them to escape the encroaching fearling demons and to return to the material world, where they black out once again.
Hours later, the player character awakens in the Haven Chantry dungeons, finding themselves in chains and with a strange glowing green mark on their left palm. As they are interrogated by Leliana and Cassandra Pentaghast, the Left and Right Hands of Divine Justinia V, respectively, they learn that the explosion had killed every other Conclave attendee, including the Divine herself, and ripped a massive tear in the Veil high above the remains of the Temple – "the Breach". While the interrogators suspect the player character of being involved with the explosion, they recognize that using their mark is their best hope of closing the Breach before it grows even larger.
Given little choice, the player character follows Cassandra outside, fighting off demons as they make their way towards the Breach. En route, they encounter Varric Tethras, a former companion of the Champion of Kirkwall, and Solas, who prevented the player character's mark from killing them while they were unconscious earlier. With Solas' guidance, the player character uses their mark to close a nearby Fade rift, then continues their march towards the Temple and the Breach.
Arriving at the ruined Temple, the player character and their companions find red lyrium scattered around it and witness images and echoes of Corypheus' conversation with Justinia and the player character just before the explosion – a conversation the latter does not remember having. Solas explains that the massive rift at the center of the ruins was the first one to open and is connected directly to the Breach, therefore sealing it should also prevent the Breach from growing. Since the rift had closed behind the player character as they escaped the Fade, however, it has to be reopened in order to seal it properly, and demons begin pouring out of it immediately. After they are defeated, the player character uses their mark to seal it, passing out from exhaustion afterwards.
Act 1 Edit
The first third of the storyline covers the rebirth of the ancient Inquisition in 9:41 Dragon and its initial expansion of influence, primarily in Ferelden, putting an end to the Mage-Templar War, and culminates in the sealing of the Breach and the sack of Haven.
Three days after the battle at the Temple, the player character awakens in Haven to discover that they have since been proclaimed the "Herald of Andraste" by the people, thanks to their heroic actions in stabilizing the Breach and to their miraculous rescue from the Fade by a mysterious female figure, who many believe to have been Andraste herself. Acting on the late Divine's final orders, Cassandra announces the re-establishment of the Inquisition with the purpose of restoring order to southern Thedas in the wake of recent catastrophes. The Herald is immediately conscripted into the new organization and introduced to Cullen Rutherford, the former Templar Knight-Captain of Kirkwall who now leads the Inquisition's armed forces, and Josephine Montilyet, an old friend of the Inquisition's spymaster Leliana, whom she invited to coordinate the organization's diplomatic efforts.
As the Inquisition is not officially recognized by the Chantry, Leliana suggests that the Herald approaches Mother Giselle, one of the more forward-thinking clerics, who had last been spotted organizing relief for the refugees of the Mage-Templar War in the Fereldan Hinterlands. At Mother Giselle's suggestion, the Herald travels to Val Royeaux next, but the Inquisition is denounced by both the Chantry and the Seekers of Truth. Lord Seeker Lucius Corin then abruptly withdraws all of the Templar Order's forces from the capital, while the Herald is approached by the rebel Grand Enchanter Fiona, who invites them to the rebel bastion in Redcliffe. They also have a chance to recruit Sera, one of the friends of Red Jenny, and Vivienne, former First Enchanter of Montsimmard and current leader of the Loyalist mages, into the Inquisition's ranks.
Upon returning to Haven, the Herald is informed that the Breach still poses a danger until it is completely sealed, and to accomplish this, the Inquisition has to take a side in the Mage-Templar War, as they need the support of either Fiona's rebel Circle mages or Lord Lucius' rogue Templar Order for the proper sealing ritual. The Herald is also given new leads to recruit a reclusive old Grey Warden named Blackwall and the Qunari mercenary Iron Bull and his Chargers to bolster the Inquisition's forces.
On Lord Seeker Lucius' orders, most of the Templar Order retreated to Therinfal Redoubt in Ferelden, and have since rejected any attempts to negotiate. Only after Leliana and Josephine secure the backing of multiple Orlesian nobles does the Lord Seeker relent and extend an invitation to the Inquisition. Upon arrival, however, the Herald quickly discovers this to be a trap, as the Templar officers who belong to a splinter faction calling themselves "Red Templars" start slaughtering the guests and their own subordinates, revealing themselves to be corrupted by red lyrium. With the help of the loyal Knight-Templar Delrin Barris, the Herald and their companions fight their way to the Lord Seeker, only to discover that his form has been long usurped by a rare Envy demon, who pulls the Herald into a battle of wills inside their own mind.
Planning to supplant the Herald as the leader of the Inquisition, Envy attempts to analyze and copy their personality, but the Herald receives unexpected help from a friendly spirit of compassion, Cole, who guides them to regain control of their mind. Back in the real world, Envy, with its true form revealed, hides behind a magical barrier and compels Red Templars and lesser demons to defend it. While Ser Barris and the few uncorrupted Templars hold the Therinfal Great Hall, the Herald rounds up the few remaining Templar veterans who can purge Envy's barrier. While searching the fortress, the Herald also finds evidence of Corypheus' plans to assassinate Empress Celene of Orlais and to summon an army of demons to conquer Thedas. Envy, it turns out, has been posing as the Lord Seeker on Corypheus' orders to transform the Templar Order into Red Templars by feeding them red lyrium, starting with the captains and officers. As soon as its barrier falls, the Herald, their companions, and Cole face Envy in battle.
After the demon is slain, the remains of the Templar Order offer their unconditional support in sealing the Breach in atonement for their failure to spot corruption in their own ranks. The Herald can either disband the Order and conscript its members into the Inquisition or offer them a formal alliance and let them rebuild. Either way, the Inquisition secures the Templars' allegiance.
At Fiona's invitation, the Herald travels to the village of Redcliffe. After closing a Fade rift that can seemingly warp time around itself just outside its gates, they discover that no one in the village has been expecting them and that the rebel Circle mages have, in fact, allied themselves with Gereon Alexius, a Tevinter magister who has recently usurped Redcliffe Castle from Arl Teagan. As the Herald begins to negotiate with Alexius, the magister's sick son Felix interrupts them to surreptitiously pass the Herald a note asking for a meeting in Redcliffe's chantry. There, the Herald finds another Tevinter mage named Dorian Pavus, who explains that Alexius had found a way to manipulate time itself and used it to secure an alliance with Fiona before she ever went to Val Royeaux. Felix also reveals that his father has joined the Venatori, a cult of Tevinter supremacists that serves Corypheus, and asks for the Inquisition's help in stopping Alexius.
Should the Inquisitor still decide to pursue an alliance with the mages, Leliana devises a plan to infiltrate Redcliffe Castle: while the Herald and Dorian distract Alexius and the Venatori, she leads her agents inside via an old secret tunnel used by the Warden during the Fifth Blight. When confronted, Alexius claims that everything he did was to have Corypheus cure Felix of the Taint he had contracted in a darkspawn attack several years earlier. He then attempts to erase the Herald from the timeline, but Dorian intervenes, and he and the Herald instead find themselves transported a year into a future where, in their absence, Corypheus has crushed the Inquisition, assassinated Empress Celene, and conquered southern Thedas with an army of demons, while the Breach has grown to swallow the entire world. Making their way through Redcliffe's dungeons, the Herald and Dorian find and free Fiona, Leliana, and the Herald's companions, who have been imprisoned and corrupted by red lyrium. They learn that Corypheus tasked Alexius with undoing the Herald's interference at the Conclave, but upon discovering that time-altering magic only became possible because of the Breach, Alexius barricaded himself inside Redcliffe Castle, fearing Corypheus' retribution for his failure. Upon reaching the throne room, they discover that Felix has turned into a ghoul, and Leliana slits his throat, prompting Alexius to attack in rage. After he is defeated, Dorian begins preparing a ritual for him and the Herald to return to the past, but with Venatori forces and demons at the doors, their companions and Leliana sacrifice themselves to buy them time.
Back in the present, the Herald makes Alexius realize the futility of his actions, and the magister surrenders to the Inquisition. The monarch of Ferelden arrives at the Redcliffe Castle and banishes Fiona and her mages from the realm. The Herald can then either conscript the now-homeless mages into the Inquisition or have them join it as allies. Either way, the Inquisition secures the mages' help in sealing the Breach.
With the help of either the Circle mages or the Templars secured, the Inquisition moves quickly and the ritual to fully seal the Breach succeeds without a hitch. However, as the Inquisition and their new allies celebrate, Haven is attacked by a corrupted dragon and a massive army led by Corypheus, aiming to capture the Herald and reclaim their mark. If the Inquisition supported the Templars, Dorian Pavus arrives at the Haven gates, warning that the rebel mages have been indoctrinated by Corypheus and are now part of the Venatori cult, led by a woman named Calpernia. If the Inquisition supported the mages, Cole appears instead and informs them that the rogue Templars have been corrupted into the "Red Templars", led by the ex-Templar Raleigh Samson.
While the Inquisition evacuates Haven residents through a secret mountain passage, the Herald leads a desperate defense of the village, rescuing many of its residents and killing one of the attackers' leaders (either Grand Enchanter Fiona or Knight-Captain Denam). As Haven is about to be overwhelmed, the Herald uses a trebuchet to bury the entire village along with a bulk of Corypheus' army under an avalanche. Corypheus himself attempts to stop them and to reclaim their mark with the Orb of Destruction, but the Anchor is now bound to them permanently, and the Herald escapes, firing the trebuchet in the last moment. Corypheus is whisked away by his dragon, while the Herald falls into an underground cavern. Regaining consciousness, they stumble through the freezing mountains until they find the Haven refugees' trail and eventually catch up with them.
With the morale of the Haven survivors dangerously low, Solas encourages the Herald to take the reins of the Inquisition and reveals to them the location of Skyhold, an ancient abandoned mountain fortress that can serve as their new base of operations. After a long trek through the mountains, the Inquisition claims Skyhold, where Cassandra and Leliana proclaim the Herald its supreme leader – the Inquisitor, – as the entire organization celebrates them.
Act 2 Edit
In the second third of the story, the Inquisition establishes itself in Skyhold and expands its influence into Orlais to stop Corypheus' corruption of the Grey Wardens stationed in Adamant Fortress and the Orlesian Civil War that Corypheus has been prolonging.
As the Inquisition settles in at Skyhold, the newly appointed Inquisitor is approached by Josephine Montilyet and Varric Tethras, who have new leads on Corypheus' activities. Josephine has followed up on the Inquisitor's discovery of an assassination plot against Empress Celene I of Orlais (whether in Redcliffe or at Therinfal Redoubt) and suspects that the attempt on her life will be made at the Winter Palace in Halamshiral, where the Empress is currently negotiating with Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons, her opponent in the ongoing Orlesian Civil War. As Orlais is the only military power in southern Thedas that can match the army of demons that Corypheus plans to summon, the Inquisition has an express interest in ending the civil war and securing the support of its victor.
Varric, meanwhile, introduces the Inquisitor to his old friend Hawke, the wayward Champion of Kirkwall, who arrives at Skyhold as soon as Varric informs them of Corypheus' involvement. Hawke informs the Inquisitor that they have asked their Grey Warden ally (Stroud, Alistair, or Loghain Mac Tir, depending on the world state) to investigate the nature of red lyrium, but their contact feared corruption in the ranks of the Order and went into hiding somewhere near Crestwood. Hawke asks for the Inquisition to locate him.
The Inquisitor travels to Crestwood and seeks out Hawke's Grey Warden ally, who informs them of Corypheus' immortality, as well as of the reason behind the sudden disappearance of all Grey Wardens from Orlais and Ferelden: having recently begun hearing the Calling all at once, the Wardens are enacting a desperate plan to complete their Order's ultimate goal of preventing future Blights before the Taint wipes them out. Said plan involves sacrificing their fellow Wardens and then using blood magic to summon an army of demons, which they would use to march into the Deep Roads and kill the two remaining Old Gods before the darkspawn can corrupt them into Archdemons. When Hawke's Warden ally objected to this plan, Warden-Commander Clarel branded him a traitor to be killed on sight.
Following the Wardens' trail, the Inquisitor meets up with Hawke and their ally at an old Tevinter ruin in the Western Approach, where the Wardens carry out demon-binding rituals under the supervision of the Tevinter Magister Livius Erimond, a member of the Venatori and a devoted acolyte of Corypheus, who created the fake "Calling" in the first place and had the Nightmare demon amplify it to manipulate the Wardens. What Erimond doesn't tell the Wardens is that the rituals that bind demons to Warden mages also bind the mages themselves to Corypheus' will, giving him a massive army of mages and demons to conquer Thedas with. After clashing with the Inquisitor and Hawke, Erimond and the Wardens retreat to Adamant Fortress. Having no other options but to storm the fortress head-on, the Inquisitor spearheads the assault and confronts Warden-Commander Clarel just as she is about to summon the Nightmare itself. Revealing Corypheus and Erimond's deception and appealing to the Wardens' honor, the Inquisitor manages to sway Clarel, but Erimond summons Corypheus' dragon to kill her and the Inquisitor. Clarel battles Erimond but is mortally wounded by the dragon, and her last spell goes awry, shattering the walkway under the Inquisitor's party. Before they plummet to their deaths, the Inquisitor opens a rift in the air and drops themselves, Hawke, their Warden ally, and their companions into the Fade instead.
Finding themselves physically in the Fade, the Inquisitor's party receives help from what appears to be the spirit of the late Divine Justinia V, who reveals that the Nightmare stole the Inquisitor's memories of the Conclave the last time they were in the Fade, and that killing fearlings here would restore them. The Inquisitor and their companions gradually piece together what had really occurred that day, despite the Nightmare's attempts to manipulate their fears, and eventually locate a rift that would take them back to the waking world. When the Nightmare blocks their way, Justinia's "spirit" leaves a final message for Leliana and sacrifices itself to temporarily incapacitate it, but the party still has to fight its weaker aspect. While they fight, the Nightmare recovers, and the Inquisitor is forced to leave either Hawke or their Grey Warden ally behind to buy the rest time to escape.
Returning to Adamant Fortress, the Inquisitor closes the rift and slays the remaining demons. With Corypheus' plans of a demonic army foiled, the Inquisitor must then decide whether to banish the Order of the Grey Wardens from Orlais for their transgressions or to have them remain, rebuild their ranks, and fight alongside the Inquisition. Erimond is taken prisoner after the battle and handed over to the Inquisition to face justice for his crimes. The Fade survivor (Hawke or their Warden ally) then leaves for Weisshaupt to relay what occurred to the First Warden, while the Inquisitor returns to Skyhold to pass the Divine's last words to her Left Hand.
Unable to get a warning through to Empress Celene about Corypheus' assassination plot, the Inquisitor accepts Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons' invitation to the Winter Palace, where his sister Florianne is throwing a ball to facilitate the peace talks between the Empress, the Grand Duke, and the elven Ambassador Briala. Arriving at the Winter Palace with a retinue of Inquisition advisers and agents, the Inquisitor begins searching for evidence of a conspiracy against the Empress in the midst of the Grand Game of Orlesian courtly intrigue. Grand Duke Gaspard suggests investigating Briala, who was once Celene's spymaster and secret lover but has turned her back on her and formed her own underground army of city elves. Leliana, meanwhile, points the Inquisitor towards the Empress' newest occult adviser, who is none other than Morrigan, daughter of the Witch of the Wilds, Flemeth, and a former companion of the Hero of Ferelden (just like Leliana). Exploring the palace, the Inquisitor finds evidence that both Briala's agents and the Venatori have infiltrated it, which is confirmed when Morrigan reveals that the latter have attempted to sneak into her quarters.
During the evening ball, Grand Duchess Florianne hints to the Inquisitor that they can find further evidence of the plot in the restricted Royal Wing of the palace. Infiltrating said wing, the Inquisitor finds blackmail material against both Briala and Empress Celene herself, but as they explore further, they run into a trap laid by Florianne. The Duchess admits working for Corypheus and sends mercenaries and the Venatori to delay the Inquisitor while she assassinates the Empress. The Inquisitor escapes the trap by opening a Fade rift and intimidates the mercenaries into revealing that Gaspard is, in fact, planning a coup d'état. They then catch up with Florianne just in time to decide whether to save the Empress' life or not. If their standing with the Orlesian court is high enough, the Inquisition can publicly expose Florianne's crimes and prevent further bloodshed, otherwise they are forced to fight her in the courtyard.
Depending on whether Celene survives and on what blackmail and evidence the Inquisitor could obtain, they can then either keep her on the throne or crown Gaspard the new emperor, optionally reconciling Celene and Briala or installing Briala as a secret puppetmaster behind Gaspard, or even force all three into a public, if insincere truce. Either way, the War of the Lions officially ends, and the sovereign of Orlais pledges their military support to the Inquisition and appoints Morrigan as their liaison in Skyhold.
Act 3 Edit
The final third of the story occurs in early 9:42 Dragon and sees the Inquisition finally take the fight to Corypheus himself, clashing with his remaining forces at the ancient Temple of Mythal, before destroying him for good as he attempts to reopen the Breach.
With his plans to conquer the south through military might or political deceit thwarted, Corypheus abandons his strongholds and relocates his followers deep into the Arbor Wilds, ransacking ancient elven ruins as they go. Taking the Inquisitor to the Crossroads through the eluvian she had found, repaired and later brought to Skyhold, Morrigan explains that she believes Corypheus to be searching for an intact eluvian of his own as a way to reach the Crossroads, where he can then tear down the barriers separating it from the Fade.
Calling upon their allies, the Inquisition mounts an assault on the Arbor Wilds, facing fierce resistance from Corypheus' remaining forces, as well as from bands of strange elves hostile to both sides. In the midst of battle, the Inquisitor and Morrigan lead a small force through the enemy lines to find the long-abandoned Temple of Mythal, where the eluvian is located. At its gates, they learn that Corypheus actually seeks an artifact named the "Well of Sorrows" and witness him be seemingly destroyed by the Temple's magical defenses, only to be instantly resurrected by transferring his essence to a Grey Warden corpse. The party then follows Corypheus' general (Calpernia or Samson) into the Temple, shutting its gates before he can follow in person.
Exploring the Temple, the Inquisitor's party encounters Abelas, leader of the Sentinels, elven defenders of the Temple from before the fall of Elvhenan, who offers an alliance against Corypheus to protect the Well of Sorrows. Accepting or declining it, the Inquisitor's party pursues Corypheus' general to the Well of Sorrows itself and defeats them. When Morrigan and the Inquisitor press Abelas to let them search the Well's knowledge for a way to defeat Corypheus, the elf warns them that whoever drinks from it will be forever bound to the will of Mythal, but Morrigan points out that they will also have complete control over the Temple's eluvian, denying it to Corypheus.
The Inquisitor must then decide who, between Morrigan and themselves, will drink from the Well of Sorrows and be bound to Mythal's will. As soon as one of them does, Corypheus catches up with them, but the party flees through the eluvian back to Skyhold. Denied access to the Crossroads, Corypheus and his dragon leave the Arbor Wilds, abandoning his followers to their fate.
The Inquisitor and Morrigan discover that the latter's mother, Flemeth, is, in fact, the vessel of a vestigial aspect of the elven goddess Mythal, who had been murdered by the Evanuris millennia ago. Thus, whoever of the two drank from the Well of Sorrows is now forever bound to her will. Flemeth then imparts upon them the knowledge that Corypheus' red lyrium dragon is merely a facsimile of an Archdemon, a high dragon corrupted by red lyrium and infused with a portion of Corypheus' own power, and that if it is slain, Corypheus' ability to endlessly come back to life will be disrupted, giving them a chance to kill him for good. She also gives them means to fight Corypheus' dragon on equal footing: if Morrigan drank from the Well of Sorrows, she learns to shapeshift into a high dragon, just like her mother; if the Inquisitor drank from it instead, they gain the power to summon a mystical high dragon known as the Guardian of Mythal.
With his plans in ruins and his followers defeated by the Inquisition, Corypheus plays his final, desperate gamble. Returning to the ruined Temple of Sacred Ashes, Corypheus uses the Orb of Destruction to reopen the Breach, challenging the Inquisitor to one final battle before either stepping through into the Fade victorious, or destroying Thedas if he cannot rule it. With the bulk of the Inquisition's army still returning from the Arbor Wilds, the Inquisitor leads a small party to confront their nemesis.
When the Inquisitor arrives, Corypheus uses magic to raise the ruins of the Temple into the air, creating a simulacrum of the Black City and cutting the Inquisitor's party off from escape or reinforcements. Corypheus then sends his red lyrium dragon after them, but it is intercepted by the Inquisition's own (either the Guardian of Mythal or a shapeshifted Morrigan), and the two beasts battle in the air while the Inquisitor fights Corypheus on the ground. The red lyrium dragon ultimately prevails but sustains heavy injuries, allowing the Inquisitor to finish it off. With the dragon's death, Corypheus' immortality is lost and in the ensuing battle, he loses control over the Orb. Using the Anchor, the Inquisitor rips it from Corypheus' hands and uses its power to seal the Breach permanently. The Inquisitor then opens a Fade rift inside Corypheus, destroying his physical body and banishing his essence to the Fade.
In the aftermath of the battle, Solas finds the Orb irreparably damaged and, disappointed at his failure to save it, bids farewell to the Inquisitor, leaving without further explanation. The Inquisition returns to Skyhold to celebrate their victory and to plan their next course of action.
After the destruction caused by the Breach and the War against the Elder One, the nations and organizations of southern Thedas are left with much to rebuild. The Chantry is finally free to turn towards the election of the new Divine: a month after the defeat of Corypheus, Divine Victoria ascends to the Sunburst Throne. The measures she enacts are controversial from the start and several sects arise within the Chantry to remove her from her position. Morrigan leaves Skyhold, never to return. The Inquisition's power, ever growing, causes concern to many across Thedas.
An unspecified time later, Solas finds Flemeth by an eluvian, and the two greet each other as friends. Flemeth recognizes him as the 'Dread Wolf' and chastises him for giving his Orb to Corypheus. He explains that he was too weak to unlock its power after his slumber, and that although he should be the one to pay the price for this mistake, the People still need him. As they apologize to each other and embrace, blue light emanates from Flemeth, who seemingly turns to stone, while Solas' eyes glow the same blue.
In 9:44 Dragon, under increasing pressure from Orlais and Ferelden, Divine Victoria calls for an Exalted Council at the Winter Palace to determine the future of the Inquisition. Ferelden, represented by Arl Teagan Guerrin, believes that with Corypheus dead and its original mandate fulfilled, the Inquisition should disband, while Orlais, represented by Duke Cyril de Montfort, would rather see the Inquisition incorporated into the Empire's army. Tevinter sends a token ambassador, the newly appointed Magister Dorian Pavus.
The Exalted Council is derailed almost immediately when Leliana finds a dead Qunari soldier in the palace, and the Inquisitor follows the blood trail to a fully active eluvian leading to the Crossroads. The eluvian from which the dead Qunari came seems inactive, but another one takes the Inquisitor to old elven ruins populated by hostile spirits who serve Fen'Harel. The Anchor, which has become increasingly unstable over the last two years, interacts with the magic of the ruins to reveal a story of Fen'Harel leading a slave rebellion against the Evanuris, ancient elven god-kings. The Inquisitor finds more Qunari in a hidden armory at the edge of the ruins, and their papers reveal plans to infiltrate the Winter Palace.
A second eluvian leads the Inquisitor to the Deep Roads, where a former Templar convert to the Qun warns them that a Qunari leader known as the Viddasala has been stockpiling both troops and lyrium as part of a plot called 'Dragon's Breath'. Acting on this information, the Inquisitor destroys the lyrium mining operations with qunari blackpowder (gaatlok). Upon returning to the Winter Palace, they learn that one of their soldiers has assaulted a palace servant accused of smuggling gaatlok inside. Leaving Josephine Montilyet to deal with the political fallout, the Inquisitor leaves again to find the Viddasala.
The third eluvian leads to the Vir Dirthara, an old elven library that the spirit of its Archivist claims had once contained all the knowledge of Arlathan, before Fen'Harel created the Veil and sundered it from the Fade. Catching up with the Viddasala, the Inquisitor learns that 'Dragon's Breath' was a plot to assassinate most of the southern leaders in preparation for a Qunari take-over. She claims that agents of Fen'Harel have disrupted those plans and retreats to the Darvaarad. At the Winter Palace, the Inquisitor learns that barrels of gaatlok were found in seats of power all over southern Thedas, and that Qunari spies in the Inquisition were partly responsible. As the Anchor gets increasingly unstable and threatens to kill the Inquisitor, they give their final orders in case they do not return and leave for the Darvaarad through the formerly inactive eluvian with the key they found in the Vir Dirthara.
Upon confronting the Viddasala in the Darvaarad, the Inquisitor finds out that Solas is the agent of Fen'Harel who has been opposing her, and that it was his spies in the Inquisition who revealed the Qunari plot to them. They chase the Viddasala through multiple eluvians, but although she reaches Solas before they can catch up, he turns her to stone with a blink of an eye. Solas then reveals that he is, in truth, the elven god Fen'Harel and that he plans to destroy the Veil, his own creation, and restore the world of the ancient elves, no matter the cost for the rest of Thedas. As the Inquisitor promises to either kill him or show him the error of his ways, Solas severs their left forearm to prevent the Anchor from killing them and leaves through a massive eluvian, now fully in control of the entire network despite Felassan's failure to retrieve the password from Briala.
Hours later, the crippled Inquisitor returns to the Exalted Council and announces the fate of the Inquisition: to serve under Divine Victoria as her personal guard and peacekeeping force, or to disband entirely, reforming in secret without any legal standing. Either way, they realize that their fight against the Dread Wolf is far from over and make plans to recruit new agents who Solas wouldn't know about, setting their sights on the Tevinter Imperium in particular.