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The Couslands are a noble family from Ferelden. From their seat, Castle Cousland, they rule the teyrnir of Highever, one of only two remaining teyrnirs in Ferelden, giving them wealth and power second only to the royal family.


The outpost of Highever was originally a bannorn held by the Elstan family, who were a secondary branch of the then-freeholder family of Howes. During the Towers Age, Bann Conobar Elstan was murdered by his wife, Flemeth, thus ending the bloodline. Sarim Cousland, captain of Conobar's guard, took the lands and title.

The Couslands declared their independence from Amaranthine, starting a war that lasted thirty years. When the war ended, Highever won its independence and possession of half the land that had once been southwestern Amaranthine.[1]

Castle Cousland - exterior

Castle Cousland

Highever became a teyrnir during the Black Age. Previously, the Couslands held only the minor title of Bann. During the lycanthrope plague, Bann Haelia Cousland[1] (or Mather Cousland[2] according to some sources), gathered the lords together under the Cousland banner to drive the werewolves out of their lands, thus earning the title of Teyrn.

Calenhad Theirin was born in Highever in 5:10 Exalted as a third son of a poor merchant. He left at a young age to become a squire, but returned during the Unification of Ferelden as a Teyrn. The contemporary ruler of Highever was Teyrna Elethea Cousland; she fought the soon-to-be-King Calenhad in an attempt to maintain Highever's independence. When Calenhad's army reached Highever, Teyrna Elethea led the local banns against him, but lost against the future king. After Elethea's men were defeated, Calenhad asked her to swear fealty. She did, thus allowing the Couslands to retain the teyrnir in Calenhad's new kingdom.[2]

In the beginning of the Storm Age, the Couslands conspired with Warden-Commander Sophia Dryden in the Grey Wardens' attempted rebellion. The rebellion was betrayed to King Arland by politicians before it began, and the king's guard ambushed their meeting place, with the rebels barely managing to escape. The Couslands were less fortunate, as King Arland executed the Cousland Teyrn and a number of others, and then sent soldiers to Soldier's Peak to stamp out the remainder of the rebellion.

During the rebellion against Orlais, the Couslands opposed the Orlesian rule. However, Arl Tarleton Howe of Amaranthine supported the Orlesians, resulting in several bitter battles between Amaranthine and Highever. Eventually the Couslands manage to capture Harper's Ford and hang Tarleton Howe for his treachery.

Unlike his father, Rendon Howe was part of the rebellion, as was his uncle Arl Byron Howe. Rendon and Bryce Cousland fought together at the battle of White River, and were two of the fifty rebels who survived the defeat. Thereafter, Arl Rendon Howe was a great friend of the Couslands.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Arl Howe later betrayed the Couslands, using the chaos of the Fifth Blight as his route to power. Teyrn Cousland had called together the forces of Highever and Amaranthine, intending to ride with Howe to support King Cailan against the darkspawn. Upon arriving at Highever, Arl Howe claimed that the Amaranthine forces would be delayed for a few of days. Not one to keep the King waiting, Teyrn Cousland sent the bulk of Highever's forces ahead to Ostagar under the command of his eldest son Fergus Cousland, intending to leave with Howe's Amaranthine men once they arrived.

After Fergus left the castle, Howe's forces took advantage of the Couslands' weakened defenses, making a surprise attack during the night, and killing the teyrn, his wife Teyrna Eleanor Cousland, and Fergus' wife Oriana and son Oren, as well as most of the other inhabitants of the castle. Though Fergus was left as the rightful heir to the Teyrnir of Highever, Howe declared himself the new teyrn.

If playing the Human Noble Origin, the Warden is the second child of Bryce and Eleanor Cousland. According to Dairren, the Human Noble may be chosen to take over the Teyrnir of Highever instead of their brother. However, Duncan will eventually rescue the Human Noble from the surprise attack on Castle Cousland in exchange for joining the Grey Wardens.

Following the end of the Fifth Blight, Fergus Cousland will inherit Highever and become the next Teyrn. If the Warden is a Human Noble that made the ultimate sacrifice, Fergus will also be given control of Amaranthine, which he presents to the Grey Wardens.

Known Couslands[]

Cousland Family History image

Members of the Cousland family

Family tree[]

William Cousland
Bryce Cousland
Eleanor Mac Eanraig
Fergus Cousland
Human Noble
Oren Cousland

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Hero of Ferelden Codex entry: Hero of Ferelden
Codex entry: Highever Codex entry: Highever