If the Warden is Dalish...
You will hear tales of the woman Andraste. The shemlen name her prophet, bride of their Maker. But we knew her as a war leader, one who, like us, had been a slave and dreamed of liberation. We joined her rebellion against the Imperium, and our heroes died beside her, unmourned, in Tevinter bonfires.
Halamshiral, "the end of the journey," was our capital, built out of the reach of the humans. We could once again forget the incessant passage of time. Our people began the slow process of recovering the culture and traditions we had lost to slavery.
But it was not to last. The Chantry first sent missionaries into the Dales, and then, when those were thrown out, templars. We were driven from Halamshiral, scattered. Some took refuge in the cities of the shemlen, living in squalor, tolerated only a little better than vermin.
We took a different path. We took to the wilderness, never stopping long enough to draw the notice of our shemlen neighbors. In our self-imposed exile, we kept what remained of elven knowledge and culture alive.
--"The End of the Long Walk," as told by Gisharel, keeper of the Ralaferin clan of the Dalish elves
If the Warden is not Dalish...
Many forget that when Holy Andraste called out to the oppressed peoples to rise up, it was the elves who answered her first.
The humblest slaves of the Imperium became her vanguard, and when victory came, they were rewarded accordingly: They were given a land in what is now the south of Orlais, called the Dales.
A great exodus of elves undertook the journey to their new home, crossing ocean, desert, and mountain. Their city, the first elven city since the fabled Arlathan, was called Halamshiral. A new era had begun for the elves.
But the old era wasn't through with them. In their forest city, the elves turned again to worship their silent, ancient gods. They became increasingly isolationist, posting Emerald Knights who guarded their borders with jealousy, rebuking all efforts at trade or civilized discourse. Dark rumors spread in the lands that bordered the Dales, whispers of humans captured and sacrificed to elven gods.
And then came an attack by the elves on the defenseless village of Red Crossing. The Chantry replied with the Exalted March of the Dales, and the era of the elven kingdom came to an end. Halamshiral was utterly destroyed, the elves driven out, scattered, left to survive on goodwill alone.
Related codex entries
- The elves' migration to their new homeland is described in Codex entry: The Long Walk