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The Antivan Crows, also known as House of Crows, are an elite organization of thieves, spies, and assassins which are renowned throughout Thedas.

Background

Through their deadly reputation and exotic poisons, the Crows practically rule their homeland. Though honor among such an organization is generally dubious, they do adhere to one standard: contracts are met and agreements are kept. Failure to eliminate a mark means the life of the operative is also forfeit. The Antivan Crows are a driving political force in Antiva, often hired to assassinate Antivan nobility or even royalty. Zevran implies the Crows are an important part of Antivan society as a whole.

When the Crows are hired for a job, generally one master handles the contract. However, if the master is unable to complete it, then other masters can be hired. It is even possible to hire the entire House of Crows, however that would be extremely expensive. There is only one known case where this occurred.[1]

History

The Crows started as an arm of the Chantry. In the hills north of Treviso, an order of monks used the herbs grown in the gardens of their abbey to oppose the rule of a despotic duke in the only manner they could.[2]

The Crows and Queen Madrigal

One of the Crows most infamous assassinations was that of Queen Madrigal. The Queen failed to return from a hunt and was later found with four swords through her body. One of these swords was a replica of Hessarian's Blade of Mercy.

A Captain Aristade was charged with investigation of the murder. After several Crows died while being tortured for information he came to realize that no amount of pain would break the Crows. The guild's notorious reputation was well earned.[3]

Involvement


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


Arl Rendon Howe hires Zevran to assassinate the Warden, Alistair and their allies as they are the political enemies of his and Loghain Mac Tir's. After the fight with the elven assassin and his supporters the Warden has 3 options to kill Zevran, to recruit him or to let him live and go.

It is possible for the Warden to work for the Crows, with quests given by Ignacio.

If Zevran joines the Warden, Taliesen stands on the latter way to save Queen Anora. Taliesen gives Zevran offer to help him in killing the Warden. Depending on how the elven assassin and the warden get on with each other, the former can take his masters offer or reject it.


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.


Conspirators lead by bann Esmerelle hire another elven assassin to kill the The Warden-Commander of Ferelden, but they all can't stand against skills of their target.


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.


If Zevran survives the events of Dragon Age: Origins, in Dragon Age II Hawke meets a disguised member of the Crows, Nuncio. Nuncio asks Hawke to track down an assassin who appears to be Zevran. Upon finding him, Hawke learns that the Crows are being torn apart from within by the elf, who seeks to seize the leadership.

The Antivan Crows will also attempt to assassinate Hawke during an ambush in Hightown possibly due to Varric's extrageted tales. However the Crows' ambush is foiled by Tallis.


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: The Silent Grove.


King Alistair, Isabela and Varric Tethras break into the Archive of the Crows and into the Crow-run prison called Velabanchel. They find out that King Maric was held captive there until he was released by Yavana. The Crows, led by Claudio Valisti, attempt to capture Alistair under the orders of Aurelian Titus, but Varric and Isabela foil their plans.

Hierarchy

  • Talon: A high-ranking member of the Crows, possibly one of a triumvirate leadership system. As of approximately 9:40 Dragon Age Claudio Valisti is the Third Talon; the others are unknown.
  • Guildmaster:[4] A leader amongst the Crows, possibly of a larger group.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


If Zevran Arainai is romanced in Dragon Age: Origins and the Warden sacrifices themself against the Archdemon, the epilogue will state that he eventually travels to Antiva in his grief and assumes leadership of the Crows. In this case Zevran may be a Guildmaster, or master.

  • Master: A high-ranking assassin who accepts and handles assassination contracts.[5]
  • Assassin: A member of the guild without greater rank.

Recruitment

The Crows usually employ elves because humans often find them attractive, giving them an advantage over their target. They train their recruits from a young age, and have no problem killing them if they make a mistake. It seems to be an effective method, though they would have everyone believe it takes some special skill to do what they do.

The Antivan Crows buy orphaned or enslaved elves and humans when they are children and force them to live together in tight quarters. The only way they can survive the brutal process and prove themselves worthy is by surviving every test the Crows throw at them, including killing their peers.

Notable members

For a complete list, see Category:Antivan Crows.

Trivia

  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Sten asks Zevran why they are called "The Crows." Zevran replies that he heard at one point they were considered being called the Kestrels, but it didn't sing.

See also

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Antiva
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Zevran Arainai

Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Zevran Arainai

Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Finesse
Belt green DA2 The Antivan Garrote

Gallery

References

  1. Mentioned by Zevran Arainai and Ignacio.
  2. Bioware Wiki. Assassin on BioWare wiki
  3. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 64
  4. Referenced in Codex entry: A Letter From Zevran.
  5. As witnessed with Master Ignacio.
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