According to legend, the Sacred Ashes of Andraste were carried out of the Imperium by Havard, disciple of Our Lady. Wounded by Tevinter soldiers when he tried to stop Andraste's capture, Havard was too late in coming to Minrathous to stop the execution. All he found was her ashes, left out in the elements. As soon as Havard touched them, Andraste appeared in a vision.
"Rise," she said, "Aegis of the Faith. The Maker shall never forget you so long as I remember."
The Aegis of the Faith, so named by our Prophet herself, stood at her word and found his wounds healed and his spirit renewed. He gathered the ashes of Andraste and returned to the lands of the Alamarri tribes, which are now Ferelden. It's said that Andraste's song led him to a holy site, where Havard and his followers built a temple to house her remains.
There the legend ends. For centuries, men searched for the Temple of Sacred Ashes, finding only rumors and tall tales. Chantry scholars concluded that there was no temple. There were no Sacred Ashes. It was all a myth, allegory intended to inspire and feed the fire of faith.
Then the Hero of Ferelden came. Seeking to cure a dying arl with the miraculous powers of the ashes, the Hero, with the help of renowned scholar Brother Ferdinand Genitivi, traced the steps of the ancients and came to a remote ruin, high in the Frostback Mountains. There, the Urn of Sacred Ashes waited, as the legend said it would.
If the Urn of Sacred Ashes was defiled and the Warden had fought Leliana...
But the Hero had no reverence for what had been found, and destroyed the urn. Sister Leliana, left Hand of Most Holy Divine Justinia V, lashed out at the Hero in retribution, but was struck down. Days later, thanks to the grace of Andraste, she awoke. Still gravely injured, she made her way down the mountain to share the temple's discovery with the world.
Upon his return to Denerim, Brother Genitivi shared what he had seen with othe Chantry scholars. Sadly, his stories of snowbound ruins, spirit guardians, and the Hero of Ferelden's sinister blood pact with a dragon-worshipping cult were deemed too outlandish to be true, and his account was dismissed. Brother Genitivi died by his own hand shortly thereafter. Maker guide him.
The Chantry's treatment of this dedicated scholar will forever be a stain on its history. Several years after Genitivi's passing, we began reexamining his writings. Templars searched the Frostback Mountains, following in his footsteps, and found the temple. The Sacred Ashes, however, were long destroyed - as Genitivi had written.
After the triumph of the righteous over the Fifth Blight, the temple's discovery was shared with the world. Much to our dismay, however, by the time our soldiers arrived at the temple, the urn had disappeared. To this day, we do not know who took them or why. All that is certain is that it was the Maker's will.
The Hero of Ferelden did not share the discovery with the world, and Brother Genitivi, whose research made it possible, had disappeared without a trace. Truth, however, will always out and rumors circulated about the cause of Arl Eamon Guerrin's miraculous recovery. Agents of the Chantry investigated claims about the Urn of Sacred Ashes and were eventually led, as the Hero had been led, to the temple. By the time our soldiers reached it, however, the urn was nowhere to be found.
Though the ashes were gone, the temple itself stood, and it has since become a source of hope for the faithful. If the Grand Cathedral is the beating heart of our Chantry, then the Temple of Sacred Ashes is her soul. Here, we honor the Chantry's past even as we forge bravely into our future.