The Amaranthine Conflict, also known as the Darkspawn Civil War, occurred in the lands of Amaranthine a few months after the events of the Fifth Blight in 9:31 Dragon. In essence, it could be considered part of the Thaw and merely a continuation of the Blight. The war was fought between the forces of the Architect and the Mother, both intelligent darkspawn with ideological differences.
The Grey Wardens became involved in the war when the Architect sent an emissary to negotiate with them. Mistrust and misunderstandings led to the massacre of the Orlesian Grey Warden contingent stationed at Vigil's Keep and also the Architect's emissary.
Hostilities occurred at the ancient dwarven fortress of Kal'Hirol, where broodmothers belonging to the Mother's faction were stationed. The fortress was assaulted by darkspawn belonging to the Architect's faction and also a team of Grey Wardens hostile to all darkspawn factions. Other engagements occurred at the Blackmarsh and the Wending Wood.
A major invasion force was launched by the Mother to simultaneously destroy Vigil's Keep and Amaranthine. The force was destroyed at great cost to the defenders. Soon after, the Warden-Commander of Ferelden initiated a strike mission to destroy the Mother. The war ended with the death of the Mother who was stationed at Drake's Fall.
Background[edit | edit source]
With the destruction of Urthemiel officially ending the Fifth Blight, it was assumed that the remnants of the darkspawn horde that survived the Battle of Denerim were now merely disorganized stragglers continuing a futile resistance. Darkspawn had long been generalized as animalistic savages devoid of any intelligence or direction without an Archdemon's guidance, but the emergence of talking Disciples and the Architect changed this view of the darkspawn.
The Architect claims to be a unique darkspawn, with no discernible subspecies or connection to the Taint, that it was born outside of the darkspawn hive-mind and thus had immunity against the Call of the Old Gods that drew the darkspawn to them. The Architect was an emissary with the ability to speak coherently and also, a first for the darkspawn, a visionary; lamenting the vast casualties on both sides that a Blight always brought before it ended, he sought to bring peace between the other races and the darkspawn, and was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his goal.
In time his studies produced an unprecedented result: by drinking the blood of Grey Wardens, the darkspawn could gain resistance to the Taint and consequently think for themselves. This resulted in the creation of a new kind of darkspawn—the Disciples, who could form opinions, strategize and better command control of their unconverted brethren. Some Disciples were grateful to the Architect, but for others losing the bliss of the Call and the Taint was too much.
Things came to a head when the Architect freed a once-human broodmother who deeply resented losing her connection to the Taint and the Call, as well as the loss of the Archdemon's "Song". Assuming the title "the Mother", she began producing another new species of darkspawn—the horrific Children. Having gathered an army of unconverted darkspawn, the Mother decided to resume attacking the surface and wipe out both the Architect and the Grey Wardens. Realizing the threat the Mother posed to both the surface and himself, the Architect gathered an army of his own. The Disciples however, were free to choose their own side. Reformists who agreed with the Architect sided with him, while traditionalists who resented being cut off from the Old Gods sided with the Mother. Before long the two armies began to clash, and the arling of Amaranthine was caught in the middle.
Grey Warden involvement[edit | edit source]
The Grey Wardens of Ferelden, after being exiled from the kingdom in 7:5 Storm until 9:10 Dragon, and decimated at the Battle of Ostagar during the Fifth Blight, were slowly rebuilding in the aftermath. The fortress of Vigil's Keep and the arling of Amaranthine were given to the Grey Wardens as compensation for Arl Rendon Howe's actions during the Blight. A contingent of Orlesian Wardens and auxiliary troops would later arrive to bolster the garrison at the keep.
The Grey Wardens were essentially caught in the middle of the darkspawn civil war. The Architect's plan required Grey Warden blood, causing him to send the Withered in an attempt to gain an alliance with the Wardens. The Mother, however, knew the importance of the Wardens to the Architect. Seeking to undo the Architect's work out of hate for robbing her and the other awoken darkspawn in her faction of the bliss of the Old Gods' call; and also to have revenge upon the Archdemon's killers, the Mother sought to destroy the Grey Warden order completely. The Architect, however, knew that the Warden-Commander possessed the power to defeat the Mother. Refusing to give up on the Wardens, the Architect sent his forces to hinder and if possible stop the operations being conducted by the Mother's forces.
After meeting the Architect, uncovering evidence of the Mother's plan, and halting the Mother's army, the Warden-Commander personally tracked the Mother to her lair and killed her; ending the conflict.
Overview of the war[edit | edit source]
Assault on Vigil's Keep[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Battle of Vigil's Keep
- See also: The Assault on Vigil's Keep, The Withered, It Comes From Beneath, and The Survivors of Vigil's Keep
The Withered and a contingent of darkspawn troops were sent by the Architect to negotiate an alliance with the Grey Wardens at Vigil's Keep. Presumably they entered through the Deep Roads below the basement of the keep. Since the Warden-Commander was not present at the beginning of the assault, Varel, commander of the defensive forces, ordered an immediate attack upon the darkspawn.
This conflict ended up as a massacre with no apparent explanation (though the Architect later explained that he had sent the Withered to ask for aid from the Grey Wardens, not considering they might regard the darkspawn's approach as an attack, and that misunderstanding might have led to the ensuing carnage). Captain Garevel's predecessor and nearly all Orlesian Wardens were slaughtered, except for those not present at the keep, while all darkspawn including the Withered were slaughtered by the returning Warden-Commander and their companions.
After securing Vigil's Keep and a brief visit from Ferelden's monarch, the new Warden-Commander is tasked with recruiting new Grey Wardens, governing the arling of Amaranthine, and putting an end to the darkspawn incursions.
Attacks at Wending Wood[edit | edit source]
- Main article: The Righteous Path
The Architect's darkspawn troops slaughtered Dalish elves camping in the Wending Wood. The Seeker, the Architect's agent, went beyond his orders of kidnapping Dalish elves and planted evidence implicating humans were involved in the slaughter. The elves' leader Velanna believed humans had performed the slaughter and kidnapped her sister, Seranni, and thus sent sylvans to attack every human who came into the woods.
The Warden-Commander traveled there to investigate and uncovered the truth of the conflict between Velanna and the humans. After resolving the conflict, the Warden-Commander and their allies pursued the darkspawn culprits to the local Silverite Mine. There the commander walked into a magical trap and was abducted by the Architect and imprisoned, but later escaped with Seranni's help. After going through the Architect's research notes and journal in his lab, the Warden-Commander learned that the Architect was curious about the fate of the darkspawn should the Old Gods perish. The Architect also appears to have experimented on two abducted elves (one of which was Seranni) but the male elf test subject committed suicide. Only Seranni appears to have retained her sanity, is cooperating with the Architect, and has formed a bond with the Disciples.
The Wardens encounter numerous of the Architect's Experimental subjects which have turned into ghouls — implying that the Architect has been tainting his prisoners, presumably to create more Disciples. Some of these ghouls have the Wardens' gear, which the Wardens must defeat to recover their equipment. The Warden-Commander then proceeded to cut their way through the Architect's darkspawn troops, the Architect's ghoul lab experiments, and dragon thralls that the Disciples have been taming during their escape from the mines. As they fought their way through the mines, the Warden-Commander found Keenan, the sole Grey Warden survivor from the Vigil's Keep massacre. Keenan reveals that the darkspawn broke his legs and he is sure that he is going to die soon. Keenan's dying wish is for the commander to slay the Hurlock Dragon-Tamer who crippled him and stole his wedding ring. After which, Keenan requests the commander deliver his ring to his wife, Nida, in Amaranthine. Before passing away, Keenan warns the Warden-Commander that the Architect is the most cunning emissary he has ever seen and that he has a strange fascination with the Grey Wardens. The Wardens also find the Tal-Vashoth trader Armaas, who has sold his services to the Disciples. The Warden-Commander can recruit Armaas to sell his wares at Vigil's Keep. In the final room before the exit, the Architect and his companions watch as two powerful dragon thralls attacked the Wardens. After watching the Wardens butcher its thralls, the Architect's magic brought down part of the mine to prevent further pursuit, and escaped with Utha and Seranni.
Battle at Kal'Hirol[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Last of the Legion
Kal'Hirol was the location of several broodmothers belonging to the Mother's faction. The fortress's defense was commanded by the Lost and was protected by hurlocks, genlocks and Children, with additional stone golems at the genlock emissaries' command. A single Inferno golem protected the Lower Reaches along with the Lost.
The Architect invaded the fortress of Kal'Hirol in an apparent attempt to destroy the broodmothers. The invading forces of the Architect consisted of lightly armed hurlocks, led by an unnamed Disciple, and were heavily outnumbered as the Grey Wardens arrived.
When the Legion of the Dead learned about the darkspawn battle at Kal'Hirol, they sent a scouting party to investigate what was going on, but the party was overwhelmed by the darkspawn and wiped out, except for one member, Sigrun, before the arrival of the Warden-Commander.
The Grey Warden team arrived to Kal'Hirol due to the intelligence report received from Captain Garevel and remained neutral during the engagement. After learning about the existence of the broodmothers, the Warden-Commander decided that the best course of action was to destroy them.
The Grey Wardens arrived just in time to see the Architect's forces invading the fortress and facing the Lost's forces in battle, something that startled the Wardens and made them aware of the ongoing civil war between the two factions. The Lost's forces were prepared to withstand a siege, and eventually destroyed the Architect's forces. The Lost, however, wasn't expecting Grey Warden intervention, and was killed alongside his Inferno golem and most of his forces by the Warden-Commander's team. Afterward, the Warden-Commander destroyed the broodmothers by dropping a lyrium well onto the nest.
Investigating the Blackmarsh[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Shadows of the Blackmarsh
Kristoff, an Orlesian Grey Warden and leader of the Orlesian Wardens in Amarathine during the Thaw Hunt, began to investigate a series of cases of mysteriously disappeared refugees across the arling. His investigations eventually led him to the Blackmarsh, some time before the Withered attacked Vigil's Keep. There, Kristoff faced a group of darkspawn of the Mother's faction and, while he was able to kill many of them on his own, was eventually overwhelmed and executed by their leader, the First. Kristoff's disappearance was used as bait to lure the Warden-Commander into a trap orchestrated by the Mother. Unbeknownst to the First, the magic used to seal the Warden-Commander, and the team they had assembled to search for Kristoff, in the Fade, also sealed him and his forces in as well.
Both the Wardens and the First were trapped in the Fade and both eventually became involved in a conflict between a spirit of Justice and the demon who had taken the guise of the Baroness. After the Warden-Commander defeated the First, the Baroness used blood magic to sacrifice the First and used the power accumulated to return to Thedas. A few demons also left the Fade through Fade tears.
Justice was also expelled from the Fade, and due to the Baroness' machinations, was also trapped in the dead body of Kristoff. Justice joined forces with the Warden-Commander and helped them to defeat the Baroness (who had transformed into a Pride demon), repair the tears in the Veil, and exterminate the other demons that had left the Fade.
Assault on Amaranthine[edit | edit source]
The Mother launched a preemptive attack on the City of Amaranthine while simultaneously advancing on the Wardens' stronghold at Vigil's Keep. The city came under attack from the standard darkspawn infantry as well as heavily-armoured ogres. Constable Aidan was charged with the city's defense.
The Warden-Commander initially went to the defense of the city and wiped out the initial attacking party. However, the Architect sent the Messenger to warn the commander of the incoming attack on Vigil's Keep. This knowledge of the surprise attack on Vigil's Keep may have changed the Warden-Commander's mind to stay in the city.
If the Warden-Commander remained to defend the city, while recuperating at the temporary base of operations at the Chantry of our Lady Redeemer, the Herald's army caught up to engage the Warden. Within the city, the darkspawn engaged in a form of guerilla warfare operating from the smuggling tunnels beneath the city. The darkspawn forces were ultimately defeated in the ensuing battle.
Siege of Vigil's Keep[edit | edit source]
Vigil's Keep came under simultaneous attack from the Mother's force. The keep may have been forced to withstand the onslaught on its own or the Warden-Commander may have chosen to return from Amaranthine to personally oversee the keep's defenses.
Battle at Drake's Fall[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Depths of Depravity
After finally discovering the location of the Mother's lair, a strike team of Grey Wardens led by the Warden-Commander entered Drake's Fall to destroy her. During their descent, the Wardens re-activated three old Tevinter towers with powerful magic stored within.
While the team was exploring Drake's Fall, the Architect met the Warden-Commander face to face for the second time, and explained his intentions and reasons for experimenting on the Wardens during their last meeting. After talking about his inverted Joining ritual and explaining the attack on Vigil's Keep, as well as other events including the Mother's origins, he made the Warden-Commander an offer: in exchange for his help fighting the Mother, the Architect would be allowed to leave with his followers to continue his work. The other Wardens had differing opinions on fighting or agreeing with the Architect, but ultimately it was the Warden-Commander's decision.
Regardless, the Wardens reached the Mother's lair and after a long and grueling fight, the Mother was slain, putting an end to the conflict.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
With the Mother dead, all remaining darkspawn forces scattered and returned to the Deep Roads. The attacks on Amaranthine came to an abrupt end. Grey Wardens from other nations traveled to Amaranthine and began to hunt and capture some of the Disciples in order to learn more about them.
What became of the Architect and his plans is unknown. His death is a possibility as is the possibility that he was released to continue his work in nullifying the Calling. If the Architect survived, the Deep Roads become quieter than ever before, and the Grey Wardens from other nations unsuccessfully searched for him after they learned that he was spared.
The Fereldan Grey Wardens, led by the Warden-Commander, returned to rebuild their presence in the kingdom and repair the damage done to Amaranthine by the conflict, simultaneously consolidating their control over their new territory. If the Warden-Commander chose to defend the City of Amaranthine and abandoned Vigil's Keep, reconstruction of the city took a year. If the keep survived the siege, its reconstruction took five years. On the other hand, if the Warden-Commander destroyed Amaranthine and saved the Vigil, then a revolt against the Grey Wardens that took place in 9:32 Dragon forced them to lead an effort to rebuild the city. However, the victory at the Siege of the Vigil's Keep is regarded as one of the important military victories in the history of the Grey Warden Order.
The dwarves of Orzammar, learning that Kal'Hirol was almost cleared of darkspawn, sent military forces in an attempt to retrieve the thaig. Led by House Helmi, a host of dwarven warriors cleared the Deep Roads between Orzammar and Kal'Hirol and, though the losses were great, they successfully reclaimed control of Kal'Hirol during the year.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
|Fereldan Rebellion (8:44–9:2) · Fifth Blight (9:30–31) · Siege of Castle Cousland (9:30) · Battle of Ostagar (9:30) · Fereldan Civil War (9:30–31) · Battle of Denerim (9:31) · Amaranthine conflict (9:31) · Battle of Vigil's Keep (9:31) · Assault on Amaranthine (9:31) · Siege of Vigil's Keep (9:31) · First Battle of Kirkwall (9:34) · Kirkwall Rebellion (9:37) · Mage-Templar War (9:37–9:41) · War of the Lions (9:40–9:41) · The Breach (9:41) · Modern Inquisition (9:41–44?) · War against the Elder One (9:41–42) · Siege of Haven (9:41) · Siege of Adamant Fortress (9:41) · Battle of the Arbor Wilds (9:42) · Exalted Council (9:44)||9:99 Dragon|
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