The darkspawn horde marched to Denerim en masse, led by the Archdemon Urthemiel himself, while a much smaller darkspawn host was sent to attack Redcliffe for distraction. All three of the remaining Grey Wardens in Ferelden, as well as the envoys of the Fereldan Coalition, conformed by the remaining Fereldan military forces and the disparate army assembled by the Fereldan Wardens by using the Grey Warden treaties, were present at Redcliffe Castle when the news broke.
Grey Warden intelligence had led to believe that the darkspawn horde was moving against the arling, and most of the nation's remaining military might had been deployed to protect Redcliffe, leaving Ferelden's capital city virtually defenseless. But new information brought by Riordan, a Senior Orlesian Warden, proved this theory wrong. To make matters worse, it was estimated that the darkspawn horde was three times bigger than the allied army the Grey Wardens had formed.
The Warden, who had been appointed as the general of the Fereldan Coalition in the Landsmeet, along with the newly appointed monarch of Ferelden and the Guerrin brothers Eamon and Teagan, led a forced march to Denerim with the few forces at their disposal.
Battle at the gates
Upon arrival at Denerim and after finding that the darkspawn horde had already slaughtered the city guards, and was sacking the city and putting its population to the sword, the Coalition was rallied by the monarch of Ferelden, before storming the city gates under the leadership of Riordan. A skirmish took place between the Fereldans and darkspawn, and the monsters were driven back into the city.
The Wardens promptly decided upon their course of action, and entered the city separately (though joined by a substantial number of troops from varying factions of the Coalition), so as not to draw the attention of the Archdemon. While Riordan went alone, the Warden led a small strike team consisting of a handful of their strongest companions.
Within the city
One of the most heavily assaulted areas of the city was without doubt the Market District. One of the darkspawn generals wreaked havoc there along with his minions, that included a large number of ogres that had demolished most of the district's buildings, including the city's cathedral. The attacking darkspawn were promptly dealt with, before the Warden-led force fought their way to Denerim's alienage.
The alienage was besieged by a huge darkspawn force led by a powerful emissary. The alienage elves may or may have not formed a small militia to aid the Warden's efforts to save their home. Regardless, after a difficult battle, the Warden's forces were able to defeat the emissary and rout the darkspawn under its command. However, the Warden and their team were cut off from the rest of the city by the Archdemon, who destroyed the bridge leading back to the alienage and forced the party to take a different route to reach the center of Denerim.
The second wave
Despite their success dealing with the initial darkspawn forces storming the city gates, the Warden left most of their troops, led by the remainder of their strongest companions, to defend the city gates from the bulk of the darkspawn horde, that was approaching Denerim to reinforce the darkspawn already at loose in the city. A large and lengthy battle ensued, but the approaching darkspawn were ultimately defeated by the gates' defenders.
At the palace
Riordan broke off from the main strike force to confront the Archdemon on his own. Leaping onto its back as it flew past his position on the palace battlements, he managed to cripple one of its wings before the dragon threw him off, sending the Warden plummeting to his death. Unable to remain airborne, Urthemiel crashed down atop Fort Drakon: Riordan's sacrifice ensured that he could no longer escape by air. The darkspawn forces quickly captured and garrisoned the fortress, trying to buy time for the Archdemon to recover.
The remaining Wardens and the Coalition forces proceeded to the Palace District, cutting through the penultimate garrison of darkspawn stationed there, and then stormed the base of Fort Drakon, defeating the darkspawn guards and their dragon thralls. The Warden's strike team then fought their way to the top of Fort Drakon, killing the most powerful genlock emissaries who led the darkspawn defenders, as well as the Archdemon's master assassin.
Atop the Fort
At long last, the Warden and their team, as well as the leaders of the Coalition factions, reached the top of Fort Drakon, where the injured Urthemiel was decimating Drakon's surviving defenders. After a long, bloody battle against the Archdemon and the darkspawn forces trying to defend it, Urthemiel was finally slain by one of the remaining Wardens. With the Archdemon's death, the darkspawn horde, bereft of leadership and direction, lost the will to fight on, and as the bulk of the Fereldan Coalition forces counterattacked, the darkspawn retreated from Denerim in disarray.
The Fifth Blight had ended before most of Thedas knew it had begun.
With the death of the Archdemon the horde scattered, but many of the more powerful darkspawn survived to organize small war bands that warred with each other, and terrorized settlements along the coast of the Waking Sea. The Orlesian Grey Wardens were in charge of chasing off those war bands during the Thaw Hunt. Even fleeing, the darkspawn caused great destruction across Ferelden. Shortly afterward, the Darkspawn Civil War ensued.
However, immediately following the cataclysmic battle atop Fort Drakon, the focus among Fereldans was the victory over the Blight. The nation had been saved and embarked in a slow process of rebuilding, while all Ferelden rose up in joy for the coronation of its new ruler.
For his heroism in subduing the Archdemon, a statue of Riordan was erected in Denerim's market district, while the Warden was acclaimed as the Hero of Ferelden, and accorded the highest honor, achieving a legendary status among the peoples of Thedas.
The Darkspawn Chronicles
In a non-canonical narrative in which the Warden died at Ostagar and Alistair traveled onward without his comrade, the Archdemon summoned a powerful Hurlock vanguard to lead the other darkspawn to victory at the Battle of Denerim.
The Vanguard is ordered first to destroy the defenders of the city gates, led by Arl Rendon Howe, and then to destroy the Market District, killing all the non-combatant civilians and many of the heroes of the Fereldan Coalition, led by Bann Teagan, as well as other defenders of the city. Afterwards, the Vanguard and its forces burn the Alienage to the ground, killing all the elves inside.
After his battle against Riordan, sensing Alistair's approach and aware of his own injuries, Urthemiel demanded the Vanguard's presence at the top of Fort Drakon immediately. The Vanguard's forces storm the Palace District and kill all the defenders and the rest of the heroes of the Coalition in their path, before entering Fort Drakon. Fighting alongside both its horde of thralls and its master, the Vanguard kills Alistair in the ensuing battle, and Urthemiel, having regenerated from its injuries, flew off to destroy the rest of Ferelden unopposed.
|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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