Darinius, also known as Darinius the Ferryman, was the first Archon and founder of the Tevinter Imperium.

Background Edit

Since Barindur's mysterious disappearance in -1610 Ancient, the lands of northern Thedas were divided between three kingdoms: Tevinter, Neromenian and Qarinus. Darinius was born in the kingdom of Tevinter to Livia, High Queen of Tevinter and High Priestess of Razikale. While she was pregnant with her first child, Livia's non-mage brother Tarsian made a bid for the throne, waiting until she went into labor to attack the palace. He slaughtered all the priests and soldiers who wouldn't swear allegiance to him, but only found the royal signet of Tevinter cleaved in two when he broke into the queen's bedroom. He tracked her to the Temple of Razikale, where she was waiting for him fully armed and armored. The exhausted queen lost her life, but not before taking Tarsian's right eye and arm. The child was nowhere to be found.

A day later, Calpurnia, a priestess of Dumat serving in the temple at Vyrantium, found a baby boy floating in a basket on the seashore. The infant had nothing but a blanket and half of a broken ring. She took the child and raised him as her own, and gave him the name of Darinius. He was raised in the Temple of Dumat, and quickly showed remarkable magical talent. He was already a skilled Dreamer by the age of ten.

When Darinius was nineteen, the High Priest of Dumat lay dying. He sent for all the senior acolytes, as well as the novice Darinius, and said that he would name as his heir the man who could prove his worthiness by bringing him "that which has no legs yet must dance, has no lungs but must breathe, and has no life yet lives and dies". Darinius successfully solved the riddle by bringing the High Priest fire. He named Darinius his heir with his dying breath, and Darinius became High priest the next day.[1]

Rule Edit

When the High King of Neromenian died without an heir, a successor had to be chosen from the ranks of the Dreamers. As Dumat, Toth and Lusacan were Neromenian's patron gods, its high priests were summoned to the palace to prove which of them was more blessed by the gods. They were told they had until the next sunrise to tie an egg in a knot and place it on the pedestal set before the throne. Once the correct solution was set there, the crown of the High King would be released from the vault. They would be executed if all three failed to find a solution within the time limit. While the High Priests of Toth and Lusacan immediately entered the Fade to look for a solution, Darinius smashed an egg, tore a strip of cloth from his clothing, soaked the cloth in the egg and tied it in a knot. He placed it on the pedestal, and a great bell rang as the magic sealing the royal vault unlocked.

On the night of his coronation, Calpurnia revealed to her son how she had found him, and gave him the broken ring. Darinius' war chief recognized it as the royal seal of Tevinter. This put the new king of Neromenian in a difficult position: on one hand, he was obliged to avenge his mother's murder or risk a curse on his lineage, on the other, Tarsian was well-fortified in Minrathous, a city well-known to be impregnable, and all diplomatic contact had been cut off as the rulers of Qarinus and Neromenian refused to recognize a Soporati king.

Darinius had a dream that night, in which he crossed a mighty river in a small ferry piloted by a man whose face was always in shadow. When he reached the other side and looked back, he saw that he himself was the ferryman. Darinius took this dream as a message from Dumat. The next day, he sent gifts to Tarsian, claiming to want to heal the rift between their two kingdoms. Tarsian was flattered enough to invite him to the palace at Minrathous. Darinius went with only seven soldiers as an honor guard. Once inside, he ensorcelled the palace to prevent anyone from entering and challenged his uncle to a duel. When the spell was lifted, Tarsian was dead and Darinius had reforged the broken seal of Tevinter, proving his claim to the throne. And so in -1207 Ancient (-12 TE) the kingdoms of Tevinter and Neromenian were united under Darinius.[2]

After securing the Tevinter and Neromenian thrones, Archon Darinius turned his attention to the dwarves. He realized that a military campaign in the Deep Roads would never succeed, so instead chose to travel to their domain himself. When he was met by dwarven guards he offered himself as a hostage and asked to be taken to their king so they could negotiate a treaty. They eventually arrived in Kal-Sharok. The dwarves wouldn't let him see the king until he had fought in a Proving in order to prove that the Ancestors and the Stone would favor the meeting with King Endrin Stonehammer. Darinius fought alone against champions of the Warrior and Noble castes, until only one dwarf was left. He was wearing magnificent armor and wielding a warhammer forged from pure lyrium. The dwarf was far more cunning than his previous opponents and the lyrium hammer shattered Darinius' spells like spun glass. After the two were fighting for hours in the sand the dwarf suddenly called a halt to the combat declaring that Darinius possessed Valos Atredum and revealing his identity; Darinius fought King Stonehammer himself. The two men became friends[3] and forged a trade alliance in -1205 Ancient (-5 TE)[4], providing Tevinter with a steady supply of lyrium to fuel their spells and steel to arm his soldiers.[5] The embassy in Minrathous, said to be constructed by Darinius himself as a guest home for the dwarven king, is still in use and is considered one of the wonders of the world.[3][6]

Queen Rathana of Qarinus knew she couldn't win a war against Darinius, and instead proposed marriage. Their union in -1195 (0 TE) finally united Tevinter, Neromenian and Qarinus, forming the Tevinter Imperium.

Darinius declared himself the first Archon.[7] He established the Magisterium from the priesthood and named First Priest of Dumat Thalsian an honorary Archon.[8] The court of the Magisters became the royal court, and "magister" became the only title of nobility recognized in Tevinter.[9]

Darinius died circa -1180 (15 TE).[3]

Legends Edit

Silence of Calpurnia Edit

The child of the High Queen of Tevinter, fearful of her usurper brother, sent Darinius adrift in a basket to spare his life with half the signet ring of Tevinter. On the seashore he was found by a priestess of Dumat, Calpurnia, and was raised as her natural son, in ignorance of his heritage.[10]

He rose through skill and cunning to be the high priest of Dumat and eventually the High King of Neromenian. On the evening of his coronation his mother Calpurnia approached him revealing his origin as her foster son and gifting him with the only thing he had had with him, the broken seal of Tevinter. He would honor his foster mother all his life, and history would remember her for her silence.[11]

Hooded ferryman Edit

On his first nights sleep as High King of Neromenian, Darinius had a dream that he crossed a mighty river in a small ferry piloted by a man whose face was always in shadow. Upon reaching the other side Darinius looked back and saw that the ferryman was himself.

When he took the throne, Darinius chose, as the seal of the Archon, an image of the hooded ferryman after this vision. Every Archon since has worn such a ring on the third finger of their right hand. A new ring is cast in gold for each Archon with his name around the image relief. By tradition, upon his death, the ring is ceremonially crushed in front of the assembled magisters, so that no one may use the power of the Archon until a new one is crowned.[12]

Imperium rings Edit

After Darinius acquitted himself well against him in the Provings, Endrin gifted his new ally with a pair of rings as a symbol of the pact between the Tevinter and the dwarves – one that shone like the evening star, and one as luminous as the dawn. So long as the rings were united, Darinius need fear nothing, for the friendship of the dwarves is a mighty sword and shield.

The Archon wore the rings of Dawn and Dusk for twenty years, never removing them, and when he died, they were cut from his fingers by magisters squabbling over his vacant throne, then separated, and finally lost[3]: Dusk ending up the misbegotten property of a sloth demon, and Dawn passing down to the city elf Shianni.

Trivia Edit

  • Darinius was said to be able to charm animals, and was often found surrounded by birds or cats, whom he employed as agents. His network of spies was so effective some believed Darinius able to predict the future. For this reason, he is often portrayed with a crow or raven on his shoulder and a cat at his feet, holding a ferryman's pole.

References Edit

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