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


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]


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.

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]


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Last Flight.

In the Exalted Age an Antivan Crow named Calien who was an Apostate Blood Mage, spent the Fourth Blight aiding the Grey Wardens after the fall of Antiva City. He was instrumental in breaking the siege of Hossberg and participated in the Battle of Ayesleigh where the Archdemon Andoral was slain.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Arl Rendon Howe hires Zevran Arainai to assassinate the Warden, Alistair and their allies as they are the political enemies of Regent Loghain Mac Tir.

After Zevran's assassination attempt fails and his supporters are killed, the Warden may kill Zevran, recruit him or to let him live and send him away. If Zevran joines the Warden, his former comrade Taliesen confronts them in Denerim and offers Zevran the chance to return to the crows and conceal his initial failure to kill the Warden. If Zevran's approval is high enough, he rejects Taliesen's offer and kills him to protect the Warden. If not, Zevran turns against the Warden and is killed fighting alongside his fellow crow.

The Warden may also choose to work for the Crows, with quests given by Master Ignacio. Ignacio reveals that the Crows originally believed that Loghain was the best hope for Ferelden against the Darkspawn and hoped to eliminate Loghain's political opponents so he could unify Ferelden and lead the defense against the Blight. However the Warden's successes convinced them they were an acceptable alternative and that the assassinations the Warden carried out eroded Loghain's support while furthering their own agenda.

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

Conspirators lead by Bann Esmerelle hire members of the Antivan Crows to kill the The Warden-Commander of Ferelden, but they are slain in the ensuing confrontation.

If Vigilance was forged:

The master smith of Denerim, Wade, forged the legendary blade Vigilance from the bones of an ancient dragon, for Ferelden's Warden-Commander however the blade was eventually stolen by the Antivan Crows. However the Crows subsequently lost the blade.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

If Zevran survives the events of the Fifth Blight, then Hawke meets a disguised member of the Crows, Nuncio. Nuncio claims to be a lawman from Antiva and asks Hawke to track down an murderer who is revealed to be Zevran. Upon finding him, the truth is revealed and Hawke learns that the Crows are being torn apart from within by the elf, who seeks to seize the leadership.

The Antivan Crows also attempt to assassinate Hawke during an ambush in Hightown after being hired by either the Cavril family or Friedrich's surviving family. However the Crows' assassination 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 discover 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, killing Claudio and his troops.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Recently several high ranking members of the Antivan Crows have been assassinated with no contract given for their deaths. Some claim these deaths are the results of a single operator whom they refer to as 'The Black Shadow'.

If Zevran survived:

Several senior Antivan Crows speculated that Zevran Aranai is likely the Black Shadow causing chaos and dissent within their ranks.


The Antivan Crows are seemingly compartmentalized into family houses, in imitation of the great noble families of Thedas, with each member of that house, from its leader to its rank and file assassins taking the house's name as their family name. The leadership of the Guild as a whole seemingly lies with the Eight Talons, and their respective houses, while lesser Houses are referred to as cuchillos (knives).

  • Talon: A high-ranking member of the Crows. As of approximately 9:38 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.


The Crows usually employ elves because humans often find them attractive, giving them an advantage over their target. However they also have a large number of Human recruits. 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.

Antivan Crows who achieves the rank of Talon are given a ceremonial dagger from the Guildmaster and sent to assassinate a target using that dagger alone. The greater the risk, the greater the good omen for the Talon's future.

Known members

See also: Category:Antivan Crows


  • 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 claims that the name "didn't sing, didn't dance".

See also

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

Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Zevran Arainai

Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Crows and Queen Madrigal
Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: Finesse
Belt green DA2 The Antivan Garrote
Ico dagger Crow Dagger
Gift of the Talons icon Gift of the Talons



  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.
  6. According to the guest announcements in the quest Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts, in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
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