An in-depth look at the present facts and what they may reveal about the future of the plot, world, and characters of the Dragon Age series.
The following is what I believe will be the main storyline that the past events of prior games will lead to and what the in-game events of Dragon Age Inquisition will be. Everything in this post is based on facts and evidence from the series, and certain conclusions are drawn from these sources. Please see if you agree with them or not and comment.
Before I get into it, you may be asking, "A bit late to the party aren't you Believe it!? We've known about Inquisition for months now." Well, that's a fair point, and while it is true that I started writing this many months ago and really wanted to post it back then I still think it’s relevant even now that so much about Inquisition has been revealed. This is because I don’t think that the recent info about Inquisition has revealed the main plot of the game. Think about it. Why would BioWare tell us the main story of the game before its release? What we’ve seen so far is just scratching the surface, much like the information about the Mage/Templar War is only just a precursor. So read on. I doubt you’ll be disappointed in what I have written.
That having been stated, I believe what I’ve surmised from the facts and evidence will be the actual plot of the game. If you want to be completely surprised by Inquisition then maybe you shouldn’t read my theory. Or if you want to skip all the references and get right to the point, use the Table of Contents below and click "The Bottom Line" to go straight to my conclusion.
Section 1: The Hero, the Champion, and the Witch
Two individuals made their mark on the world and accomplished more in a short time than most do in their entire lifetime. And yet in the end both of these people vanished without a trace. How do such remarkable beings simply disappear without so much as a word or hint as to where they're going or what they’re doing? What happened to the Hero of Ferelden and the Champion of Kirkwall? Why have they disappeared, and why does Leliana think their fates are tied together? Where did Morrigan go when she went through the Eluvian, and why did she go? What was the change she spoke of that would be coming to the world? These are the questions we want to know the answers to, and we have some clues to go on. This is my theory on the mysterious events of the Dragon Age series.
Part I: The Hero of Ferelden
First, allow me to address the Hero. This character varies greatly based on the choices of the player, both in origin story and in questing. Some Heroes are simple folk and have little else to do once the Blight is ended. Others have great responsibilities, objectives, dreams, or goals. This means the Hero's disappearance is probably not based on anything that the Hero is doing or wants to do. Evidence of this is seen when you consider at least two examples and compare them.
My first character, Izen Cousland, became King of Ferelden and married Queen Anora, ruling jointly with her. Compare this with someone else's character that might go off adventuring somewhere, possibly with Leliana, Zevran, or Sten, or perhaps retire to live a common life. So whether the character goes on to become king, or help rebuild Lothering as just one of the locals, or fight darkspawn in the Deep Roads; no matter what each of these characters do they all end up sharing the same fate; the mysterious disappearance.
The only two exceptions to this rule are those who have died against the Archdemon or have left with Morrigan through the Eluvian. Now you could say that leaving with Morrigan counts as a mysterious disappearance as well, and while true, it isn't the same kind that happens to the other custom characters (including Hawke). That one is explained, both to us though the game and possibly to others in Ferelden through Finn's account (assuming Finn made it back to the Circle alive). The disappearance of those who didn't leave with Morrigan is the true mystery. I will address the fate of a character that left with Morrigan, but I will save that for a later section dealing with Morrigan and her motives for leaving. For now, let's solve the mystery that affects the characters that stayed in the world we know.
Since this disappearance affects all characters regardless of where they are at the end of Witch Hunt this proves that it must be a result of what the Hero is and what the Hero means in the grand scheme of things. To understand this grand scheme we must look at what each one of our own Heroes have in common. Whether your Hero seeks to help the circle, clear the Deep Roads, rebuild Lothering, seek personal power, seek Morrigan, or rule over Ferelden, the factor which causes all of our Heroes to disappear is very likely the same. We can verify this by reviewing every necessary action in the game.
So here's what we know: Our heroes have killed many darkspawn; they survived the Joining and are Grey Wardens; they were at Ostagar; they lit the beacon at the Tower of Ishal; they survived Ostagar because they were saved by Flemeth; they were healed by Flemeth; they entered and fought their way out of the Fade; they went through the Gauntlet, they took and used a pinch of Andraste's ashes to cure Eamon; they united armies of other races and fought many difficult battles; and they defeated the Blight. That's pretty much it as far as important similarities. Remember that not every Hero slayed the Archdemon, and not every Hero did the Dark Ritual with Morrigan.
The knee-jerk reaction is to say that Flemeth did something with the Hero because she had an axe to grind, but we must also remember that not all Heroes slayed Flemeth either. Some even cooperated with Flemeth. So in this case Flemeth's only reason to capture the Hero would be to use him or her for some hidden purpose, similar to her use of Maric as referenced in Dragon Age literature. But would a mere witch really be able to capture the Heroes? Take the character I mentioned earlier, Izen Cousland the Hero King of Ferelden. Would Flemeth really be able to swoop down upon the castle in whatever way she could and abduct the Hero King of Ferelden without any trouble from the greatest dual weapon spirit warrior in the land? Well... you may say that she could. But remember, she would have to do this without anyone noticing, since the Hero vanishes without a trace. It isn't likely that even the most powerful witch in the world would be able to take Izen at all, let alone without anyone noticing.
What about all the other Heroes out there who aren't so public with their whereabouts? What about dwarven Heroes who go back into the Deep Roads? What about elven Heroes who run off to Antiva to join The Crows? What about those who travel to Par Vollen, or Minrathous? Flemeth needed a magic ring to keep track of Morrigan in the Wilds, so what about the Heroes who did not keep Morrigan's ring? Phylactery perhaps? Flemeth did have the opportunity to get the Hero's blood when she saved the group from Ostagar. But if this were the case, why would Flemeth need a ring to keep track of Morrigan? Also, what motive would she have to go after the Hero? Therefore, I discount a mere witch as being the one who caused the disappearance, at least directly. This isn't to say Flemeth has nothing to do with the disappearance at all.
So where does that leave us? What option is left? What being, or beings, or what force could possibly cause the Hero of Ferelden to simply vanish from any location in Thedas without anyone knowing where the Hero went? Looking back at the similarities I see a few things the Heroes have in common that also relate to something else I noticed in Origins...
The Heroes lit the beacon at the Tower of Ishal. This might not seem significant, except when you hold it in context of something else we can find in the game...
"Eyes are on you from a very high vantage, Grey Warden."
Vilhm Madon: Grey Warden, isn't it? Strange you would force such a visit in a time of Blight. I suppose I am used to inspiring a different kind of seeker.
Izen Cousland: Your stories attract them. And then they disappear.
Vilhm Madon: (Chuckles) The adequate ones find the beacons, and then I find them. But you... you are already brighter than the signal at Ishal. Eyes are on you from a very high vantage, Grey Warden. I cannot hide in your wake, but I will not be a footnote! Witness Gaxkang!
As you may know, Gaxkang is one of The Forbidden Ones. He is one of four demons who, legend has it, were the ones to teach blood magic to the Tevinter Magisters. I find it odd that he would bring up Ishal though. Is there something special about lighting the beacon at the Tower of Ishal? Is there some kind of magical force there similar to the Places of Power that marks the Hero in some way that the demons of the Fade can see? I doubt that a demon like him would be referring to a literal sight that he saw similar to what Duncan saw when he looked up at the tower. My theory is that the beacon holds some kind of influence in the Fade, and when it is lit the spirits and demons of the Fade can see it and those who lit it. During the events of Ostagar everyone refers to it as the beacon, and Gaxkang mentions the adventurers who find the beacons and then he finds them. This is why Gaxkang can refer to the character as being brighter than the beacon, because as a Fade demon he can see the beacon from the Fade. I believe that ever since that time the Hero was being watched.
Of course right now you're probably thinking, "Wait a second. Not every Hero tracked down Gaxkang and killed him. Doesn't this discount Gaxkang as the source of the disappearance just as it did for Flemeth?" A great question, but the meeting with Gaxkang does not have to take place in order for you to be watched from a very high vantage, as Gaxkang mentions. This meeting only confirms to you and your Hero that he or she is being watched. Plus, I'm not saying that Gaxkang is definitely the source of the disappearance. He could play a part, as could Flemeth.
To look at this theory critically, I have to ask if this could be false. Could there be an explanation other than Ishal for why the Hero is being watched? Well, I would like to think Gaxkang also knows of the Hero for being sent into the Fade by the Sloth Demon and then fighting his or her way out of the Fade. That would certainly draw the attention of other demons. The problem with that is the character only has to collect notes from three adventures in order to unlock the option to face Gaxkang. So while I'm sure this quest is meant to be done near the end of the game, the fact remains that it's not necessary that you complete the Circle Tower at all in order to meet Gaxkang. So this can't be the reason why the character is being watched.
So then was Gaxkang only saying that the Hero was being watched because he or she had now decided to appear before him and try to stop his scheme? I doubt it has to do with the character's ability to collect notes from two corpses and one frightened dwarf. It is possible that Gaxkang was saying this simply because the Hero had now found him, but this doesn't seem likely to me. Why would anyone be watching the Hero just for finding Gaxkang? Why would Gaxkang say this if he intended on killing the Hero right then and there? Until that point the character would seem like any other adventurer. That's why I think what Gaxkang said refers to the character being watched for some time before this meeting. The only event of interest that traces back with each Hero is Ishal, and it is the beacon at Ishal that Gaxkang refers to. Notice that Gaxkang says that the Hero is "already brighter than", indicating that the Hero was being noticed before this meeting and is being compared to Ishal being lit in the past. This indicates a frame of reference for progress over time.
Let's also keep in mind that only the most powerful Fade demons such as Gaxkang would have the ability to make the Heroes disappear from wherever they may be, regardless of their levels and abilities, without anyone knowing what happened to them. Common Fade demons are too weak and don't understand the physical world well enough to locate and capture our Heroes.
Taking all this into account, we must also remember that Leliana seemed to be the only one looking for the Hero at the time, but it can be assumed that others could have been looking as well depending on the Hero and the assigned role. In my custom character's case, Izen is King of Ferelden and is obviously very important to the nation's defense and governance. He does have Anora to rule jointly with him, so even if something happens to him she is capable of ruling alone. Even so, this would put a tremendous burden on her and weaken the nation, not to mention she would worry about him personally. So in this case I'm sure royal guards, including the Silver Order, would be sent to find him. So this proves that no one can find even the slightest trace of our custom characters regardless of whether you have an entire nation looking for the Hero or just one spoony bard.
This leaves us with the question of whom or what could possibly make each Hero disappear. In Izen's case, he didn't go through the Eluvian with Morrigan. He said his goodbyes to her and let her go, trusting her to do what was right. Izen then intended to return to life at court. Whether he made it back or not is unknown. All we know for sure is the earliest point when the disappearance could take place, and that point is the date when the Hero left the location of the Eluvian; the Dragonbone Wastes. The Hero may have disappeared after parting ways with Ariane and dropping Finn off at the circle, unless they were captured along with the Hero as well, or perhaps they were killed. In any of these cases, the only power that I know of capable of finding the Hero and making the Hero disappear without a trace are the elite Fade demons. They also have a motive to do so, as Gaxkang pointed out; their eyes were on the Hero from a "very high vantage". And why tell the Hero this unless doing so would make no difference to the grand scheme that the demons had in store?
A side note: This shows the disappearance does not happen until after the events of Witch Hunt end. If your Hero did not hunt down Morrigan, then he or she simply did whatever you had them doing up until the date of Witch Hunt at the earliest. Therefore, nothing in Witch Hunt could be the reason why the Hero disappears.
Finally, on this subject, we must remember that Finn could be a source of info regarding our character. Ariane probably wouldn't be, as she would just meet up with her clan and continue on as usual. No one would know to question her. So if Finn made it back to the circle safely, he could inform Leliana about their adventure to the Eluvian, which I'm sure Finn would be blabbing about to everyone anyway even if no one ever asked him (or told him to shut up and stop annoying them with it). In this case, the character would have to make it back to his or her intended location as well in order to fulfill the requirement that they vanish without a trace. Meaning, Leliana can't have clues about the Eluvian and such if the disappearance happened right after Witch Hunt. The alternative to this is that Finn dies before making it back to the circle. This could play into what Eleni Zinovia foretold about the two of them not speaking again. If this is the case, the Hero could have disappeared at this time while escorting Finn back to the Circle Tower, or by simply parting ways with him. The Mabari may have died trying to defend our Hero, or maybe he survived. Either way, he's certainly not talking.
On the other hand, there were scouts that had searched the Wilds and reported about a mysterious woman in the area. So it seems that the crown and perhaps Teyrn Fergus also know of the Hero's quest to investigate the Wilds and find Morrigan. This would logically be reported to Leliana, thus the Hero would not vanish without a trace in the case of Witch Hunt. Though I suppose BioWare could take certain "liberties" with this plot point, as they’ve been known to do.
So here's my theory on the Hero. I believe that the Hero's disappearance is due to abduction by those who Gaxkang said were watching the Hero. Specifically, Fade demons; perhaps even the Forbidden Ones themselves. The purpose of this is to remove the Hero from interfering with some epic plan that these demons are hatching, which I will get into later. I can't think of anything else that could have made the Hero disappear without a trace and also holds clear motive that would apply across ALL the different Heroes that can be made by each player. Also, Gaxkang's reference to "a different kind of seeker" seems like no small coincidence since the Inquisition protagonist will technically be a "Seeker" of sorts.
Part II: The Champion of Kirkwall
I must first admit that like most people in the world, I have not played Dragon Age II. But unlike them, I will play it in the near future (one of my friends let me have his, which he hated and doesn't want to play anymore). But I have already learned of the events of DA2 as well as the ending and relevant events within the game.
Similar question as before: Where is the Champion? It's a question that took an entire game to ask, and even at the end... there was no answer for it. ... Wow. I have a lot to look forward to don't I?
Cassandra and Leliana confirm that the Champion is simply "gone" just like the Hero. Leliana also reveals her own theory, that the two disappearances are linked in some way. This seems to indicate that she has hit a dead end and must give up the search. She may have enough of an idea to know that the disappearances are connected, but nothing substantial enough to prove it.
So just like before, what event does every version of Hawke experience? Well, too many to list here, and I don't know all of them anyway, so I'll just go with the relevant events. The most important detail to consider in this is what events relate to the Hero's fate, since Leliana is probably right that their fates are linked, and I don't think the writers would have had her mention this otherwise.
The major event that stands out to me is that Hawke has some role in the massive outpouring of magical energy that resulted in the Kirkwall Chantry being destroyed. Hawke assisted Anders, even if unknowingly and therefore played a part in the plan. Such an event would definitely draw the eyes of those on high. Then we have Hawke stopping the fight between the mages and the templars, one way or another. This may have also drawn attention from the demons, who may have been counting on that opportunity to escape the Fade into the real world.
The most important thing to consider is that the Champion can fight and defeat a different member of the Forbidden Ones, Xebenkeck. See the reoccurring theme here? We have the Hero being watched according to Gaxkang, and we have the Champion involved in events that Xebenkeck was involved in as well. I will explain Xeb's reason for being in Kirkwall in the final section.
Again, like in the Hero's case, the Champion doesn't actually have to seek out Xebenkeck. Hawke can bypass her completely. The fact that these demons can be bypassed is irrelevant however, as these meetings/battles are not the events that link the Hero and Champion together. Remember, whether the Hero confronts Gaxkang or not doesn't change the fact that the Hero is still being watched. The same could be true of the Champion. So even if Hawke doesn't go through the actions to summon and kill Xebenkeck, the "eyes" could still be watching Hawke regardless.
On a related note, if Hawke spares Idunna, she will send Hawke a letter that leads to the Evil Tomes, which are connected to Xebenkeck in the Forbidden Knowledge quest. Idunna is a bloodmage, and she may have some connection with Xebenkeck, or may serve her in some way. She says she learned her blood magic from "elsewhere". Idunna could be referring to Tarohne or Xebenkeck with this. The Evil Tomes were stated to be of Tarohne's make. Still, Idunna's letter can lead Hawke to the Evil Tomes, and she instructs Hawke to destroy these Tomes. It's unknown whether Idunna is sending Hawke into a trap out of vengeance for sending her to the templars or if she genuinely thinks destroying the Tomes will result in something good, but Tarohne was definitely working with Xebenkeck. Tarohne promised Idunna that mages could rule again and the templars wouldn't be able to stand against mages if they united. This may have been what Xebenkeck promised Tarohne. Whether through Tarohne, Idunna, or both, Hawke must interact with them and kill Tarohne at least. Either way, Xebenkeck's eyes could be on Hawke from that point. Let's also not forget that Idunna instructs Hawke to destroy the tomes, and destroying them is what summons Xebenkeck.
Aside from what was stated above, I believe the importance of the Hero and Champion are linked to Flemeth as well. After all, it was Flemeth who saved (or at least helped) Hawke at the start of the game, and it was also Flemeth who saved the Hero at the Tower of Ishal. We know Flemeth has the ability to see into the future somewhat, and my guess is that Flemeth knew that the Hero and the Champion would both be important players in what was to happen in the future. The Forbidden Ones might see the same thing Flemeth does. More on this in the next section.
Lastly on this part of the theory, when Hawke takes Flemeth's amulet to the altar and she is summoned, she says some interesting things. One thing she says is that Hawke has her thanks, and her sympathy. Could the action in helping summon Flemeth be what made the "eyes" watchful of Hawke as well?
To summarize: The events that the Hero and the Champion share are as follows. Both partook in events that could draw the attention of powerful Fade demons. Both were helped by Flemeth. Both held great influence in the world by virtue of their accomplishments as well as their experiences, which is why the Seekers were trying to find them. Both can have multiple origins and both can have multiple outcomes. Regardless, it is believed that they both share the same fate.
Part III: Morrigan's Motive
At first glance it would seem as if Morrigan's reasons for leaving through the Eluvian are obscure and poorly thought out, or in real world terms, poorly written and underdeveloped. But I think that her reasons can be determined in much the same way as the fate of the Hero and Champion can be determined, which is to apply every possible outcome to Morrigan and find where each and every one of them converges. As I stated above, in the event that the Dark Ritual is completed, Morrigan reveals in part what she plans to do though not why she's doing it. So I will only address her reasons for leaving should she be denied at Redcliff. This should also indirectly cover the possibility that she had a child who did not absorb the old god's soul.
The most obvious reason Morrigan might want to run is because she is afraid of Flemeth. Having discovered what Flemeth truly is, or at least getting a good idea of what she is, Morrigan might want to run to a place where Flemeth would never be able to find her. This would also explain why she had no intention of returning (at first). While this is possible, and could be one of her reasons, I don't think it's her primary reason. I think her main reason is the change that the world will undergo. I'm betting that she doesn't want to be caught off guard by it. She wants to prepare herself for it. At the same time, she doesn't want to say too much about it, either because she can't comprehend the magnitude of the change, or she thinks mentioning it will do more harm than good to whoever is there to hear it. Based on Morrigan's behavior should she be denied at Redcliffe, I conclude that she believes you don't trust her with the power created from the ritual. You're willing to risk your own life rather than allow her to complete a task that she believes will save you in the battle against the Archdemon and possibly in the future as well. I think she also believes that you don't understand how hard it is for her to ask for your cooperation in that endeavor.
However, Morrigan leaves whether your Hero is a male or a female, romantically involved, close friend, friendly, mostly strangers, or rivals. From what I have looked up (though I haven't been able to confirm this personally) only a male is able to go with Morrigan through the Eluvian, and even then only if the possibility for romance is there. I believe this indicates that Morrigan is not sure if what she's doing is the right decision or not, and that she doesn't want you to help her because she's afraid of what you'll think of her once you discover her plan when you reach the other side. The only way she'll take you with her is if you are 100% committed to being with her. This is the only exception she'll make. Whether this is because love has taken its hold on her (which is what she was trying to avoid the whole time) or whether it's because she's selfish and wants the male Hero all to herself is something only she knows. That would explain her behavior, but as for her motives I think this all points to the conclusion that she is fleeing this world because she sees this "change" coming and wants to go to a safe place where she can prepare and have more time to think about getting involved or not. She may be afraid that this is the wrong choice, that she won't be able to withstand the change herself, or that she would be seen as cowardly for not staying to either fight against it or help others adjust to it.
My belief is that she plans to face the change after she has gained enough knowledge and power to withstand it. This could be a rather sizeable burden for her that she wants to spare the Hero from enduring, and if he is to go with her then she will still only want him involved if he is totally committed to her.
Flemeth speaks of the same change in DA2, and warns Hawke in much the same way as Morrigan warned the Hero. What is this change that these witches speak of? Will Dragon Age Inquisition feature this change?
Section 2: The Prophecies and the Truth
As stated in the last section, Flemeth alludes to the Champion playing some significant part in what will happen, and also states that they each have a destiny. In addition to this, Flemeth gives some parting advice by saying, "We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment... and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly."
This is similar to what Morrigan says at the end of Witch Hunt. "Change is coming to the world. Many fear change, and will fight it with every fiber of their being. But sometimes change is what they need most. Sometimes, change is what sets them free." If the ritual was completed she will say that it was just a means to an end, a herald for what is to come. Before this she also says her intention is to leave and prepare the child for what awaits. For this she will need time and power if she is to be successful.
There are three other visions that need mentioning. The first is Leliana's. She claims she had a dream about falling into darkness. She believed this was a metaphor for the Blight, but it has an eerie similarity to Flemeth's description, especially when you consider that Leliana said that she was standing on a cliff and when the darkness covered the last of the sun's light she fell... or maybe she jumped. This is similar to Flemeth's reference to a plummet into an abyss, and not to hesitate to leap.
The second vision is from a highly skilled seer by the name of Eleni Zinovia. She said, "The prison is breached. I see the encroaching darkness. The... the shadow will consume all... A hunger, a rage, a yawning void... help me..."
This seems to be consistent with Leliana's dream, and what's interesting about this quote is that it came about because Eleni's spirit was being disturbed by tears in the Veil. Was she seeing a vision of the future through the Veil and into the Fade?
Remember, the Fade is a type of prison for spirits. What is the encroaching darkness? What is the shadow? A "hunger", a "rage". Could this be a reference to hunger and rage demons? The yawning void could be the blackness at the bottom of the Fade. She calls out for help. Is this call for help because of the Veil tears in the repository, or something else? Was she seeing the inevitable plummet into the abyss? Another interesting fact is that Eleni said that the prison was breached. In Inquisition the tears in the Veil will be called "breaches".
There is one final prophecy that must be taken into account, and it comes from a very inconspicuous source.
"One day the magic will come back, all of it. Everyone will be just like they were. The shadows will part, and the skies will open wide. When he rises everyone will see."
Sandal's prediction seems to tie in with what Flemeth and Morrigan said. Having all the magic come back and making everyone as they were would certainly be a world changing event, much more than a Mage/Templar war or even an invasion from the Fade. This is also one of the only things that Morrigan would go to such lengths to prepare for; lengths such as seeking out and activating an Eluvian to travel through.
It's easy to conclude that there will be a cataclysmic event that hits the entire world, probably within twenty years of Witch Hunt. The real question is what this change will be. I believe that the current evidence points to the truth, but in order to find the truth we must examine a few key elements that point to it. I think the first step is figuring out what Flemeth really is.
Part IV: A Shapeshifter's True Form
According to Morrigan, Flemeth is no bloodmage, no abomination. She is not even truly human. Anders believes the same thing, adding that she doesn't seem like any spirit either. Fenris also thinks this.
I think Flemeth reveals a little too much in her meeting with Hawke. She shows us two important facts here. The first is that she can split herself into fragments. She calls the part she placed inside the amulet a "small piece cast from the whole" and "a bit of flotsam to cling to in the storm". The second fact she shows us is that she can be in more than one place simultaneously when she says, "Why can't I be in more than one place at a time? Bodies are so... limiting." As Anders and Fenris confirm, this is no magic like they have ever seen. Both question what Flemeth is.
I believe that the evidence points to Flemeth being The Formless One, one of the four Forbidden Ones. If you consider her nature, she fits the description. The body she inhabits is not her true form, she can exist in more than one place at once, she can body jump (as she intended to do with Morrigan), and her "whole" part exists somewhere else using these "fragments" to "cling" to. That is the best definition of "formless" that a living creature can take outside of the Fade. She is also a Shapeshifter, which can take numerous different forms.
What Gaxkang said also adds to the evidence for this theory. We know that Flemeth saved the Hero of Ferelden and Alistair too, but have you ever wondered how Flemeth was able to find the Hero on such short notice? What did the Hero do just minutes before being rescued by Flemeth?
Each of our Heroes lit the beacon atop the Tower of Ishal. Flemeth saw this because, like Gaxkang, she is one of the Forbidden Ones. Seeing this through the Fade allowed her to see what was about to happen to the Hero and Alistair, so she saved them. But how did Flemeth really save them? Did she transform into a giant bird as Morrigan said? I doubt this. Ishal's roof would not allow for such a thing, which remained intact as seen in the Return to Ostagar quest. She also would have had the Darkspawn to deal with, one of those Darkspawn being The Necromancer. More than likely she transported the Wardens to her hut using some other means.
Why did she save them? In her own words, the Blight posed a threat to her as well. She knew the Grey Wardens were needed to defeat the Blight. Gaxkang also understood this and knew the Hero to be a Grey Warden on sight.
To me, this suggests that Flemeth is not all powerful against the Darkspawn, or more accurately the corrupted old gods. This provides further evidence that Flemeth is an ancient demon, because ever since they were imprisoned the old gods have been calling out through the Fade. They taught the Magisters about the Golden City. So it stands to reason that the demons know of the old gods and their power. It seems that the old gods and the Forbidden Ones are or were rivals, battling for control over the Fade, the world, or other beings. Yet Morrigan reveals that Flemeth knew of a way to capture the spirit of an old god from an Archdemon, and if this ritual is completed we discover that Flemeth was correct in her calculations. This indicates that Flemeth has an ancient knowledge of the old gods as well as a strong enough understanding of the taint to manipulate the Archdemon's soul, though not strong enough to actually end the taint.
So my conclusion here is that "Flemeth" is in reality The Formless One, who took over the original Flemeth's body and has been body jumping ever since under the name "Flemeth".
If this is true, then the question is if Morrigan knows this about Flemeth. She may have discovered this about her, or she may just know enough to know that she's a threat to her. Depending on the Hero's choices, Morrigan can vow to be prepared for Flemeth again in the future and kill her again and again if need be. Going through the Eluvian could be Morrigan's only way of preparing for Flemeth's true power, or it could be an attempt to flee from it.
To answer the question of why Morrigan left and what the future holds, I think the purpose of the old god child must be explored. If the ritual is completed, Morrigan will say that the ritual was a means to an end, a herald for what is to come. But I'm sure there's much that Flemeth didn't reveal to Morrigan, and according to Flemeth, Morrigan is one who thinks she knows more than anyone else. My theory is, judging by Flemeth's motives, the old god child was intended to be a vessel for Flemeth to possess, as she planned to do with Morrigan. I think this was Flemeth's main goal, since the powers of the old god would allow Flemeth to defy aging as well as unlock all kinds of ancient magical abilities, which would be very useful in dealing with the change that would be coming to the world. I suspect that this change has something to do with the Fade, since that is the realm where the old gods have primarily dwelled in spirit for the past several ages. However, the bodies of the old gods have also existed in the real world, imprisoned underground. For the old gods, there seems to be a link between the real world and the Fade. I believe it was this link that Flemeth was searching for, and it may be this link that Morrigan is not fully knowledgeable of.
Even if you slay Flemeth she returns, and Morrigan knows this. Morrigan learns this about Flemeth even if the Hero doesn't slay her. So her plan is to flee through the Eluvian and raise the child to be powerful and to respect life. This indicates that Morrigan plans to train this child to return one day. Whether this is to help the world or rule it is unknown. In this case Morrigan's motive seems pretty simple, but what if your Hero refused the ritual? What purpose does Morrigan have to run? Why does she leave if she has no child to raise? This will be explored in a later section.
Section 3: Precursors of the Future
This section deals with the lead up to Inquisition. What events are relevant to the great change that is to take place?
Part V: The Mage/Templar War
Dragon Age II and the recent novels tell us that a great war is already upon the people of Thedas. Mages are rebelling all across the land, some templars are defecting to support the mages, and the Chantry is rallying the remaining templar army to battle them. At least two Seekers have been dispatched, one to find the Hero and one to find the Champion, believing only they are capable of bringing peace to this situation. So is this the change that Flemeth and Morrigan spoke of, a great war between magic and men? I would say this is rather lackluster considering how ominous the witches made it sound. That's what I would say if I thought this were the change. I don't. Rather, I believe that this war is a precursor to the change. In order to prove this, and to give a clear idea of what I think this change will be, I will first need to reference the relevant parts of the games.
The main questions are these: Who would stand to benefit from the results of this war? What is it about this war that would be different from any other that would cause such a change to the world? What would such a war produce?
Regarding the first question, we must refine the prospects to those capable of influencing the war. Tevinter comes to mind, though they have no motive. They are already at war with the Qunari. They need their resources to fight their own war, and they can ill afford to provoke the Chantry and the other nations. There are some individuals who are influencing the mage side, such as Fiona and Ryes. However, Asunder makes it clear that Ryes was unsure of what to do, and thinks helping the mages find freedom is the best course of action. He genuinely believes he's doing right, and he has no ulterior motive. Fiona is a different story. Her past is a mystery to us, and it's unclear as to how she was able to rise through the ranks of the College of Magi so quickly. She is no longer a Grey Warden, and she is completely free of the taint. Something that not even Avernus has accomplished despite his numerous unethical experiments and many years of study. Fiona's motives seem straightforward, but I think there is more to her than meets the eye.
The mages would benefit from the war if they won, certainly. There are also plenty of profiteers who could get rich from such a war by selling arms and armor to either side, or both sides. Lyrium would also be a valuable commodity since templars need it and mages can use it to power greater spells. The dwarves are the main source of lyrium. They will probably see their race pulled into this war no matter what. There are also many assassins who will be employed by both sides. Antiva and their Crows would benefit from this war as well.
But with so many benefactors, how can we narrow it down to find a specific cause of the war? I think this is where the second question comes into play. What is different about this war compared to others that would cause a great change to the world? The ones orchestrating the hostilities are most likely the answer to this question.
Assassins get hired all the time. Antiva has plenty of work already. The dwarves also have been mining and selling lyrium for a long time. Arms dealers would be better off with wars between nations rather than mages and templars. Any benefit they derive from it is a benefit they already enjoy without such a war. And most importantly, their motives don't facilitate a world changing event. War is common, especially in a place like Thedas. This would just be business as usual.
This is the case with the stated goal of the mages as well. Mages living independently is nothing new. Tevinter has been doing that for ages. An outcome in which an Exalted March ends up slaying all these mages would be nothing new either. Annulments have been taking place all throughout history.
Clearly, the Mage/Templar War must be the start of a change greater than the war itself. From what I've observed in the games, battles involving such great amounts of magic and such numerous losses of lives produce only one cataclysmic result...
Tears in the Veil.
The mages may benefit from this war even if they lose. My mage character, Varos Amell, believes that value is the most important thing above all else. Making one's self valuable ensures one's own survival, and will propel that one to success and prestige. Going by this philosophy, if enough tears in the Veil are created to threaten the world then mages would be the only ones that non-mages could turn to in order to close such massive rifts. The mages would be indispensable and could demand freedom in return for their services. Of course, this could also backfire completely and people may blame mages for causing the Veil tears in the first place.
Part VI: The Veil
Now you may be saying, "Yeah Believe it!, you're late to that party too. We've known about Inquisition's Veil breaches for months now."
True, we've know about this aspect of Inquisition's story for a while, but just like the Mage/Templar War, this is not the end result either! Why would BioWare reveal this plot point if this is all there was to the storyline? The plot about the breaches is nothing more than a precursor or side effect to the main storyline. And let's be honest, tears in the Veil are also nothing new.
Numerous examples are seen all throughout Dragon Age: The Circle Tower, obviously, both during the Broken Circle quest and in Witch Hunt. Soldier's Peak, which saw both blood magic and many battles between Sophia's men and Arland's men. The Brecilian Forest also had a thin Veil due to the numerous battles that took place there. It is rumored that reality is altered there, as the Mad Hermit is said to have built a tower in the forest that has since disappeared. The temple ruins showed ghosts of days long past as well. The spirit inside the gem also told of such a battle between humans, elves, or something else.
Places of great sorrow and pain also display such properties, such as the alienage orphanage. The Deep Roads also show weakness in the Veil. The ghosts of Cadash prove this. Also the dwarven ghosts in Bownammar, as well as Amgarrak's many "dimensions" after a time of many deaths and experimentations. Same with Kal'Hirol.
A great example is the Blackmarsh. Veil breaches actually created blockades, held in place by desire demons that existed in the Fade yet were visible from the real world.
But I think the best example is the temple of Andraste. The Gauntlet can show the main character an image of the past as clear as day. It's as if the spirit were a real person. The Veil was so thin, or even non-existent, that spirits could take physical form in the real world. The Guardian is an example of this, though he first existed as a real person. Or maybe he stopped aging because of the mystical forces in the temple.
So what about spirits taking physical form in the real world? There may have been an actual case of this. The Baroness was a real person at one time, but after decades trapped in the Fade her physical body was destroyed. Yet at the end of the Blackmarsh Undying quest she exists in the real world even though she was only a spirit. She later transforms into a pride demon. What was she at this point, her original spirit or just a demon using that form? It isn't known. But she definitely had no real-world body to use as a vessel.
Dragon Age II is no exception to this phenomenon. It perhaps has the clearest case of blood magic affecting the Veil than any other example short of the Magisters using it to enter the Golden City.
In The Enigma of Kirkwall, the Band of Three documents its investigation into Kirkwall's history:
- Where did these books come from?
- After several failed attempts, I got my answer underneath the city. There is a hive of hidden passages in Kirkwall's sewers. Now and then a lucky "sewer rat" comes across an unlooted chamber, and then a cache of ancient Tevinter relics spreads through the black market. We must search below the city.
- Many ancient cities specialized in arcane research, but why did Kirkwall hide its efforts here? Why go to such great pains to keep it out of sight? Were they a cabal of renegade magisters? Or was this a special project of the archon?
- Some magisters believed in the power of symbols or shapes. In the oldest parts of the city, one can make out the outlines of glyphs in the very streets! What manner of magic is this?
- For every thousand slaves that came to Kirkwall, a hundred disappeared.
- The blood of countless slaves was spilled beneath the city in sacrifice. Whole buildings were built upon lakes of blood. The sewers have grooves where blood would flow, all leading down. The scale is hard to fathom.
- A blood mage can channel great power from a simple cut. At least a thousand unfortunates died here every year for centuries. For what ungodly purpose would one need so much power?
- It is well known that the Veil is thin in Kirkwall, small wonder given the suffering in the city. But we've discovered the magisters were deliberately thinning it even further. Beneath the city, demons can contact even normal men. Did they seek the Black City to compound the madness of their previous efforts? Or was it something else?
- One said he sold a copy of the Fell Grimoire! I doubt he would lie; how could he know that tome is a mere legend?
- If that is real, then what of the Forgotten Ones? This journey has taken us to many strange places, and made us re-evaluate many former truths. Where will it end?
- We went to the center of it all. F. is dead and I am alone and injured. I must go back and put an end to it. The maddening thing is there is still no answer. But the Forgotten One, or demon or whatever it is, must be destroyed. I fear one may already be unbound.
- I foreswear my oaths. The magister's lore must be burned and the ashes scattered. No good can come of it. And Maker help us if someone does answer what we could not. -The Band of Three
Again we find a connection to Xebenkeck the Forgotten One through the Fell Grimoire. What was the reason for the secret magic and so many sacrifices? Will the Inquisitor find the answer?
So as we can see, such Veil tears result in spirits and demons being able to cross over into the real world.
You're probably saying, "No duh Believe it! We saw this in the Inquisition trailers too."
Yes, but I'm not saying a demon invasion is the main plot either! Just like before, why would BioWare reveal this plot point if this were the "great change" that was to take place? And how exactly would a demon invasion fit with the predictions were heard from Flemeth and Morrigan?
I say that there is something else, something bigger than an invasion from the Fade, and that the demon invasion is nothing more than a distraction to divert people away from the truth.
And that's where the Inquisitor comes in.
Section 4: The Bottom Line
The Inquisitor must see through all these obstructions and find the truth. I think I may have found that truth already. Here is my prediction...
Part VII: The Main Event
All the events leading up to Inquisition seem to be working toward one goal. The Mage/Templar War will cause much magic use and death, similar to the battles in the Brecilian Forest and the Circle Tower. The breaches in the Veil will cause effects like those seen in the Blackmarsh or the secret area beneath Kirkwall. Then there are the prophecies of the future about a great change, a dark abyss, and all the magic coming back. I believe all of this indicates a move toward one major event. Not any mere war, or any invasion from the Fade into the real world, but rather...
A complete and total merging of the Fade and the real world into one!
According to the Chantry, the Fade and the real world was once one plane of existence until the Maker separated them and created the Veil to divide them. Making them one again would fulfill every prophecy. This would be a massive change to the world, this change would force its people to either fall into darkness or "fly", and all the magic would "come back".
As we learn in one of the trailers, the breaches are constantly growing day by day. Eventually, they will cover the entire world. I would think the demons would have wanted the effect to be instant and all encompassing, but perhaps their calculations were off and this was the best they could do for now. They can always keep working at it, and it seems this will be the case, as even the Mage/Templar War continues despite the dire situation. I believe all the magic use and spilling of blood is contributing to the expansion of the breaches.
There are forces in the Fade and the real world at work to ensure that this worldwide change takes place. Why else would the Hero and the Champion be missing regardless of all possible origins and outcomes? I believe it's because they are the ones who had the power to stop it, as speculated by the Chantry when it sent Leliana and Cassandra to find them. The Hero could prevent the Mage/Templar War in a number of ways, and the Champion could do so by influencing whichever side he or she allied with in Dragon Age II. And so for this reason they had to be removed from the grand scheme, so they could not rally the world against the true threat. This doesn't necessarily mean they're dead, but this would explain their disappearances. Flemeth knew of both of them, Gaxkang confirmed that the Hero was being watched, and the Champion's involvement with Xebenkeck is unavoidable no matter how minimal it might be. It may have even been Gaxkang and Xebenkeck who captured the Hero and Champion. If not them, it must have been Flemeth.
"But wait a second Believe it!," you may be saying. "Didn't you write at the beginning of this theory that Flemeth couldn't have been the one to capture the Hero without a trace?" Yes, I did write that, but that's only if Flemeth is a mere, albeit powerful, witch. However, if Flemeth is The Formless One, then that's a completely different story. And if this is the case, she's in league with Gaxkang and Xebenkeck. She's a part of the eyes that watch the Hero from a very high vantage. And as stated before, Xebenkeck would have a vendetta against Hawke regardless, as her plans were foiled by Hawke. And what were these plans? To spread the use of blood magic and possessions of the living within Kirkwall; thus contributing to the outpouring of magic and use of blood. It may have even been Xebenkeck who oversaw the secret blood magic rituals under Kirkwall that the Band of Three was investigating.
I think the Forbidden Ones want this because they think if the two realities merge, then they will have the upper hand; that they will understand the merged reality better than the real world beings will. However, any mages who may be working toward this same goal may think the same thing, that they will have the upper hand. The Venatori may be such a group.
I had a theory about Fiona, but Masked Empire disproved it. Still, her involvement includes diligent work toward mage independence, even at the risk of war. So she could be a major player in the upcoming storyline. I had suspected she might be Imshael, but Imshael is currently free. What's interesting is that an elf by the name of Felassan told Imshael that something "bigger" was coming to the world, and soon after this Felassan was killed. This also seems to connect Imshael to the big world changing event and the necessity to keep it secret from those in the real world. In essence, Felassan was in the same position as The Hero and The Champion as it applies to ability to prevent the great change. Gaxkang neutralized a Hero who stayed in Thedas, Xebenkeck neutralized the Champion, and Imshael neutralized Felassan. The Formless One could be operating as a go-between for the other Forbidden Ones.
In any case, aside from demons (and spirits, I suppose), the only ones who can mend the more complex Veil tears are mages. Avernus showed this at Soldier's Peak. So, keeping the mages preoccupied and focused on fighting the templars would be a great way to keep the Veil tears open and eliminate the only ones in the real world capable of closing them. So this is another purpose for the Mage/Templar War, to keep the mages preoccupied and eventually kill them off, as they pose the greatest known threat to closing the breaches.
A scenario in which the real world merges with the Fade would also explain Flemeth's desire to contain the old god Urthemiel's soul within the body of a child. The old gods exist both within the real world and in the Fade. The link they hold could be used to bridge the gap and enable them to control a merged world easily. This may have been the power Flemeth was seeking; the power Morrigan hoped to hide away from her; the power Morrigan hoped to cultivate into one that would help save lives when this great change takes place.
But what happens if she is denied at Redcliff? Why leave? Why come back?
Part VIII: The Loose Ends
With the main point of my theory posted, it's time to wrap up all the loose ends. And if anyone has a loose end, it's Morrigan. Heeyyyoooo! :D
Jests aside, all that's left is to determine is how Morrigan ties into the main plot. I believe this can be deduced in the same way as the Hero's fate: Take each possible scenario and outcome, compare them all, and isolate the similarities.
Keep in mind, this part is only focusing on an ending where Morrigan was denied the Dark Ritual. One in which she has a child with (or even without) the soul of an old god is easy to understand. She leaves to train the child for what is to come. But what reason does she have to leave if she is alone? There are four basic scenarios for Morrigan's relationship with the Hero; romance, friendship, neutral, and rivalry.
This means that her reason for leaving can't be attributed to personal feelings about the Hero. Oh sure, being denied is cause for her to run away; she sees being denied the ritual as a betrayal, because she was trying to spare the Hero a possible death. It wasn't easy for her to bring herself to make that proposal, and a rejection of it was probably seen as uncaring of her feelings. In any event, her being rejected explains her running away, but it doesn't explain her desire to go through the Eluvian. She's so set on going in fact that she'll put aside any romance or friendship the Hero had with her. At the same time however she is willing to wait at the mirror to talk to the Hero, even if she and the Hero were bitter enemies. But she'll do this for an Orlesian Warden Commander as well.
From here the motive seems clear. Something awaits her that is greater than any love or hate she could possibly hold for the Hero of Ferelden, and it's so important that she is willing to wait in order to relay a message to whomever approaches, be it Hero or Warden-Commander, old friend or total stranger. She warns about Flemeth, indicating that Flemeth is more than what we've seen of her so far, and she warns of the change that is to come. This world changing event must be so cataclysmic that it makes any problems Morrigan had with the Hero seem trivial. She may still resent this Hero, but considers any animosity they had to be nothing compared to what's going to happen to the world. She may also pity or care about her old rival, but that’s just extra sentiment. Also, I think she believes that it's her responsibility to prepare for this event, and she does not want to burden the Hero with that responsibility. This could be out of love or out of spite. Or it could be out of pride. She feels that it’s her personal quest. Her purpose. So it fits all possible endings with her.
The fact she'll tell a complete stranger, the Orlesian Warden-Commander, is also proof that it could have been anyone who walked up to her. She would have shown the same concern for them. It could have even been Alistair, or Leliana, or Oghren; she would have cautioned them as well. The only mystery here is why she never quite mentions exactly what this change will be. The only reason I can think of is that she doesn't want to panic the Hero. Maybe she thinks revealing the truth will cause more harm than good. In other words, the person will end up dead like Felassan. Or maybe it would spur the Hero to join Morrigan in her journey and not take "no" for an answer.
As I wrote earlier in this presentation, Morrigan only allows a male Hero to come with her if he shows her that he's willing to be absolutely devoted to her. She will give in to her feelings of love in this case. This is most likely because the preparations for the cataclysmic event will demand much from her, and some of the tasks before her will be questionable, to say the least. It may involve blood magic, or worse. If the Hero was squeamish at the Dark Ritual, he may find what lies in store to be downright abominable. So Morrigan has to be sure that the male Hero will love her no matter what, because there will be no turning back. Maybe she wouldn't be able to deal with her tasks and live with the Hero hating her for it the entire time.
Lastly, this explains Morrigan coming back to Thedas eventually. If Flemeth is involved in the change that is to come, Morrigan may want to return in order to stop her. That is really the main motive that I can see. You could say she feels obligated to help the world either prevent the change or adapt to it, and I know that might be a stretch for her character. She would have had to adopt selflessness at some point, but that is entirely possible if her knowledge of the "change" is of such great concern.
Oh, and for those who stabbed Morrigan, she's obviously still alive. Sorry EzzyD. :p
At first I thought this suggested that wherever the Eluvian leads to, it was a world in which physical injuries are meaningless, or at least easily fixed; some kind of spirit world, or a different plane of existence. But it's more likely that Morrigan simply healed herself. I know it was the murder knife, but... I also know that it's BioWare we're talking about here.
I also imagined that it could have been where many of the elves went when they left Thedas. But if this is the case, then does Flemeth know of this place as well? Either way, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the mother/daughter feud. As for where the Eluvians actually lead; Masked Empire describes it as like the real world, but slightly off. It’s separate from the Fade, mostly colorless, and can be altered somewhat by elves. This might apply to mages too, though whether or not others can alter that reality is still unknown. However, this does make sense in context of an old god child. It fits the above theory about the old god's power allowing for the ability to bridge the gap between the real world and the Fade. This Eluvian dimension could be the perfect place for a child to develop those powers. However, it is said that humans have difficulty in that world, experiencing disorientation. Another member, Verkone, confirmed to me that half-elves experience disorientation as well.
And as for our Heroes and Champions, we shall see. Logically, all roads will lead to a common result. It's possible that BioWare will program multiple explanations for each of our various Heroes' outcomes, but the more likely plot is that all our characters are in the same boat. Killing them off would piss us off, and the Hero that leaves with Morrigan should logically still live anyway.
So my prediction is that the Hero and Champion are being held captive both in the real world and in the Fade. The Inquisitor may even find them in the game and have to find a way to free them. I picture a scenario where the Inquisitor enters the Fade and frees the Hero and Champion who are held captive similar to how Maric was. Then the three of them have to find a way back to the real world, which may involve battling Gaxkang and Xebenkeck. Justice may even make an appearance as well, perhaps regretting his involvement in Anders' plot. But for this, Anders would have to be dead. This is actually the most popular choice for players, and BioWare canon, or so I've read.
Now, obviously I can't rightly end this without addressing the small matter of Corypheus. As you can tell by the resounding lack of mention throughout this entire theory, I don't think he will return in a role connected to the Hero, the Champion, or the main plot of the Forbidden Ones. Again, Corypheus doesn't know where the Hero is, and he can't take on every Hero that could possibly exist without anyone taking notice, he has no motive to go after the Champion who freed him, and the plot to merge the Fade and the real world has been in the works for ages I'm sure. Plus, the Forbidden Ones have no reason to work with Corypheus at all since he's a follower of the old gods, or at least he was. That isn't to say he'll have no role at all. I'm sure he could be worked into the plot somehow, especially a plot involving Blackwall. But in the end I don't think his involvement will be significant. For starters, Corypheus' free roam of the world can manifest in one of two ways, as an aging male warrior Larius, or as a somewhat powerful but still pretty old female mage Janeka. In a recent interview, Gaiderp implied that Legacy took place for Hawke regardless of whether a player completed that quest or not. So those are the only two options, neither of which is particularly strong, but both are also radically different in ability. Therefore, BioWare is probably not going to bother writing each of those "forms" into the storyline of Inquisition in any significant way, though I suppose Corypheus may be able to possess a stronger Grey Warden somewhere down the line, which would basically reset him and make another one of the Champion's choices completely irrelevant. Sounds like something BioWare would do. Also, Corypheus has no clear direction here. He could do any number of things, from going to retake his place in Tevinter, to getting revenge on the remaining old gods, to trying to take control of the Grey Wardens or the Darkspawn, to making another attempt on the Black City. I doubt BioWare will develop any of those side plots with Inquisition.
Finally, I would like to post my personal hope for the entity behind this possible plot. I think it would be cool if the grand mastermind behind this is Razikale, the Dragon of Mystery.
First of all, it would be great to have an actual old god as an enemy rather than an archdemon.
Second, if this plot is true, it would fit Razikale's theme of being a mystery that must be solved. Who better to solve this mystery than an Inquisitor? Or perhaps the Inquisitor gained a small portion of Razikale’s powers in being able to close the breaches, as the Inquisitor itself is a mystery as well.
Third, it would make sense for Razikale to reach out to demons in the Fade rather than the darkspawn, assuming it learned from the failures of the prior old gods.
Fourth, assuming the old gods and the Forbidden Ones are enemies or competitors, it would be interesting to have Razikale put the idea in the minds of the Forbidden Ones without them noticing. Or maybe Flemeth as The Formless One did notice, which is why she plotted to steal Urthemiel's powers to later combat Razikale.
Fifth, in theory, merging the Fade and the real world could free the old god from its physical imprisonment, so it makes sense for Razikale to desire this. Something Eleni Zinovia said... "The prison is breached", and Sandal too for that matter; "When he rises, everyone will see."
Sixth, this could result in an interesting interaction between Razikale and Morrigan's old god child who would show signals of having Urthemiel's soul.
Seventh, this would be a great plot twist and would add so much more to this game. Believe it!
Thank you for reading. Please comment below and tell me what you think about any or every part of the theory. Also feel free to ask me any questions you might have, post your own theories, or debate what one fate you think everyone's custom character would share.