- “Beg that I succeed, for I have seen the throne of the gods, and it was empty.”
Corypheus, believed to have once been named Sethius Amladaris, is one of seven Tevinter magisters who heeded the Old God Dumat's call and sought to enter the Fade to claim the Golden City. Each of the seven was a High Priest of one of the Old Gods; Corypheus served as a High Priest of Dumat. As the priests constantly schemed against each other for power, they hid their identities and assumed aliases to protect themselves. The magister who called himself "Corypheus", or "Conductor", was responsible for conducting the other six magisters in the complex ritual to gain entrance to the Fade.
This was during a time of great change for Tevinter, transitioning as it was from a religious power to a merely political one. As a true believer, Corypheus made a desperate pilgrimage into the Fade with his fellow High Priests to reestablish their power, only to discover what he perceived as an empty throne and Blight covering all. According to writer Patrick Weekes, what Corypheus experienced was on par with going to Heaven and finding it covered by Blight; that is what hardens his resolve in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Some time after the First Blight in -191 Ancient, the Grey Warden Sashamiri imprisoned Corypheus in a tower stemming from the Deep Roads in the middle of the Vimmark Mountains. Interrogation proved futile, as any Warden in his vicinity became mysteriously drawn to his influence. When removed from the area, they would have forgotten anything prior, and would be left dazed. This appears to be a type of Calling to anyone bearing the Taint, similar to that emitted by the Old Gods, which draws darkspawn and Warden alike to his prison.
Years before Hawke arrived in Kirkwall, Hawke's father Malcolm personally restored the seals on Corypheus' prison using blood magic, which the Wardens have used from untainted mages since before the founding of the Chantry.Upon meeting Hawke, Corypheus demands that all present to show him the respect due a person of his status, not realizing that the time during which the Free Marches belonged to the Imperium has long since passed. Certain fragments of his post-awakened ramblings lead Hawke and the others to conclude that he truly was one of the magisters who entered the so-called Golden City and returned as one of the first darkspawn.
Dragon Age II
Corypheus is involved in the Legacy quest. Janeka wants to utilize him as a weapon to combat the Blight, while former Warden-Commander Larius wishes to kill him before he escapes the prison due to the weakening seals. Eventually, Corypheus is released and speaks briefly to Hawke and their companions before attacking them in confusion.
As Hawke delivers the final blow, Corypheus will look at Larius or Janeka and faintly smile. Then as Corypheus is struck down, Larius or Janeka can be seen shuddering in the background before stumbling. Corypheus' eyes will also glow upon seeing Janeka or Larius.Regardless of who Hawke sides with, Janeka or Larius will ominously thank Hawke for their assistance in a very different tone of voice from before and leave. It is possible that Corypheus, though defeated, has possessed the body of the surviving Warden to escape his prison, similar to how the Archdemons can possess bodies of the nearest Darkspawn, should a non-Warden strike a fatal blow to them. Additionally, Cassandra will question Varric's story as she says the Wardens she met at the ruins of the prison told her nothing of Janeka/Larius, which suggests the surviving Warden never returned to the Order. When asked if there is anything else to his tale, Varric replies that there is, but that it hasn't happened yet.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Corypheus leaves the Grey Wardens prison in the body of Janeka or Larius. The years between his release and the beginning of the Breach he spends developing a plan that would allow him to return to the Black City and ascend to godhood.
His very complex plan to reach the Fade physically once more involves teaming up with the major factions of Thedas. The Venatori, a Tevinter supremacy cult, become his minions, believing that Corypheus would allow them to rule Thedas as god-kings in his stead. He also achieves an alliance with a Nightmare demon, having it create a false Calling to deceive the Grey Wardens of Orlais into thinking they were dying, so they could be tricked by Livius Erimond into performing blood magic rituals in a desperate attempt to prevent future Blights, unaware that the rituals would bind the Warden mages to Corypheus. In return, he would begin a reign of terror across Thedas so the Nightmare could feed off the fear, providing an army of demons to serve Corypheus in exchange. He is also contacted by Bianca Davri who asked him to investigate the red lyrium Varric found in the Primeval Thaig, as she was not aware that the Warden she spoke to was in fact Corypheus. With the red lyrium he manages to corrupt the Templar Order to turn them into his slaves, Red Templars, and to control the Red Lyrium Dragon, which bears a striking resemblance to an archdemon (speculated to be his own personal homage to the Old Gods). In an effort to unlock its true power The Dread Wolf bestows upon Corypheus an elven artefact called Orb of Destruction as Fen'Harel was too weak after awakening from his long slumber to do it himself, not knowing the Elder One planned on making use of the ancient artifact to realize his dream of godhood. Corypheus is referred to as the "Elder One" by his disciples.
With his plan set in motion, he infiltrates the Chantry's peace conclave between the templar order and ambassadors of the mage rebellion in the Temple of Sacred Ashes. With the help of the corrupted Grey Wardens he sacrifices the life of Divine Justinia V to create The Breach. However the ritual is interrupted by the future Inquisitor. As the Inquisitor picks up the Orb of Destruction, they are granted the anchor. Corypheus sets out to retrieve it from the Herald. He attacks Haven with an army of his followers.
Inquisitor recruits the Templars: If the Inquisitor recruited the templars, Corypheus' army will be made up of Venatori and brainwashed rebel mages, led by Calpernia.
Inquisitor recruits the Mages: If the Inquisitor recruited the mages, Corypheus' army will be made up of Red Templars, led by Samson.
Following the apparent defeat of his army via avalanche, Corypheus attacks the Inquisitor by casting fire upon them and summons his dragon to attack. When he confronts the Inquisitor, he attempts to extract the Anchor from them, only to discover that it's permanently attached to them. Though upset at this setback, Corypheus vows to start over and decides to kill the Herald to eliminate a potential rival. However, he soon learns that the Inquisitor had merely distracted him in order to cause yet another avalanche (this time upon Haven itself) with the intent of burying the Elder One alive. This is unsuccessful, because just as the Inquisitor escapes, Corypheus is carried away to safety by the Red Lyrium Dragon. His sets out to kill the Herald of Andraste and find another way to enter the Black City.
As the Inquisition foiled the Venatori's attempts to raise a demon army and destabilize Orlais, Corypheus concentrates most of his efforts searching for elven artifacts in the Arbor Wilds. Morrigan initially suspects that he is searching for an eluvian to physically enter the Fade. Upon confronting the ancient elven guardians of the Temple of Mythal, Corypheus is seemingly destroyed by a barrier at the bridge's entrance, only to be reborn in the body of a nearby Warden. Upon spotting the Inquisitor, Morrigan and their companions, he summons his dragon, but his foes are able to close the temple doors. By the time Corypheus manages to barge his way into the temple, his foes have already reached the Well of Sorrows, the key to the resident eluvian, and either the Inquisitor or Morrigan had drank from the well to render the eluvian useless. Corypheus glides to attack, but an unknown female figure arises from the well, blocking his pursuit. By the time he gets through, his foes flee through the eluvian, which shatters when he makes contact.With his army decimated by the Inquisition, Corypheus returns to the Temple of Sacred Ashes in one last desperate attempt to reopen the Breach. With a small group of Inquisition soldiers as his audience, he proclaims that the Maker is false and he would be the new god. As the Inquisitor arrives on the scene, Corypheus causes the temple to ascend into the sky, leaving no route to escape. However, when his archdemon attempts to attack, another dragon (either the Guardian of Mythal, if the Inquisitor drank from the Well, or a transformed Morrigan, if she drank) tackles it out of the way. Angered, Corypheus clashes with the Inquisitor in one final battle. In the middle of the fight, his dragon manages to down the Inquisitor's, only for the archdemon to be slain soon after, disrupting Corypheus' ability to leap into other bodies. Rendered vulnerable, Corypheus resolves to see the world destroyed if he cannot rule it. But as the Inquisitor grows close to winning, Corypheus refuses to accept failure after all he had endured and tries calling out to the Old Gods for aid, only for the Inquisitor to rip the orb from his grasp with the Anchor and seal the Breach with it. The Inquisitor then uses the Anchor to banish Corypheus to the Fade, destroying his body in the process.[confirmation needed]
Dragon Age II
- "Be this some dream I wake from? Am I in dwarven lands? Why seem their roads so empty?"
- "The light. We sought the golden light. You offered... the power of the gods themselves. But it was... black... corrupt. Darkness... ever since. How long?"
- "The City. It was supposed to be golden. It was supposed to be ours."
- "If I cannot leave with you, I will leave through you! I seek the light!"
Dragon Age: Inquisition
- "I will not suffer even an unknowing rival. You must die!" (to the Inquisitor)
- "Tell me... where is your Maker now? Call him, call down his wrath upon me! You cannot. For he does not exist!"
- "Awake, in a world twisted into perversion and ruin. Awake, only to discover the light of wisdom has gone black."
- "Be honored, witness death at the hands of a new god."
- "I shall sear you from the very heavens!"
- "You are nothing! All you love will be ground under the Imperium's heel!"
- "Not like this! I have walked the halls of the Golden City, crossed the ages... Dumat! Ancient Ones! I beseech you! If you exist - if you ever truly existed - aid me now!"
See alsoCodex entry: Corypheus Codex entry: The Claws of Dumat
- Defeating Corypheus earns the player the achievement "Conductor". Classical Greek κορυφαῖος (koryphaîos) means "conductor of the chorus".
- Even though he is asleep, he is able to communicate with those who have the darkspawn taint, including Grey Wardens. This causes Larius and Anders great distress. However, a Grey Warden Carver or Bethany seems unaffected.
- In the middle of Corypheus's ramblings in Dragon Age II, it is revealed that he and the other magisters sought the "golden light" and were promised by Dumat that they would receive the power of the gods in exchange for entering the Golden City. Upon arriving into the Fade, however, they found the city black and corrupted.
- Corypheus is described as relentless, ambitious and beyond arrogant. He is arrogance personified, and believes he operates on a level no other being can comprehend.
- It is revealed in Inquisition that Corypheus has the ability to take over and shape any body afflicted with the taint into his image if he is killed. This make it almost impossible to kill Corypheus.
- Though he claims to not believe in any gods, shortly before his death he begs any of his former draconic masters to come to his aid once again as they did before in combat during Hawke's Legacy (quest). Dumat (the one to whom he frequently prayed to before creating his Red Lyrium Dragon) only replies with silence.
- According to writer Patrick Weekes, he sees Leliana as the character having the most in common with Corypheus. Both are "burned believers." In fact, Weekes refers to Corypheus as Leliana's "dark mirror."
- ↑ According to Dorian's research via the War Table operation The Name of Our Enemy.
- ↑ Nerd Appropriate with Patrick Weekes.
- ↑ Codex entry: Privileged to the Wardens
- ↑ Codex entry: A Change of Course
- ↑ Writing Villains
- ↑ Nerd Appropriate with Patrick Weekes.