The Dragon Age comic was a monthly publication written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, with art by Humberto Ramos and Mark Robinson. A total of 6 issues were published by IDW Publishing, available in both print and digital forms.
The story focuses on the use of magic, and the relationship between templars and mages, both maleficarum and Circle ones. The main story follows Gleam, daughter of a mage and a templar, raised by a blacksmith outside of Chantry's influence.
At Kinloch Hold, the mage apprentices practice their magic. Veness and Abernath are among them. Veness shows a talent to cast fire spells. In the meantime, outside the tower on the Templar Practice Fields the recruits practice sword fighting, and Sadatt is one of them. He manages to defeat his opponent, however when the defeated man bows down before him, he tricks Saddatt, pushing him into Lake Calenhad, saying that templars need to be more focused when pursuing mages.
Later on Veness meets Sadatt and the two develop a friendship, which is something another friend of Veness, Abernath, disapproves of, as he tries to warn her of dangers of a relationship between mages and templars, but also due to his own jealousy.
At the gates an apostate is brought to the Circle. As Knight-Commander Greagoir threatens him not to attack them, he pulls out a knife, cuts his hand and displays his blood magic skills. As all templars but Sadatt lose their ability to fight, they order him to kill the blood mage, who calls them "servants of a false god," but he is unable to move out of fear. Another templar manages to throw his sword at the maleficar, and it lodges in the mage's skull, killing him. The templar then berates Sadatt for his inaction. The incident is witnessed by Veness.
The mage apprentice and the templar recruit are later shown embracing each other in bed. Sadatt asks Veness to stay with him and they spend the night together, however Sadatt leaves ashamed in the morning.
Weeks pass by and Veness confides herself to Abernath, saying that Sadatt refuses to talk to her. Abernath consoles her, saying that mages and templars belong to different worlds. As he hugs her to calm her down, it is witnessed by Sadatt, who suspects the two of them have a relationship.
Eight months later the templars find out Veness was hiding pregnancy. As the First Enchanter is away, Greagoir interrogates her on his own to find out who the father is. When she answers him with silence, Greagoir loses patience and slaps her. He orders the templar who brought her to take her away and inform the Circle that two mages were intimate.
All male mages are gathered and a spell to detect the father of the child is cast upon each of them by Enchanter Kyra. After an hour and twelve mages ruled out, Greagoir orders Sadatt to bring Abernath in. As they enter, the spell detects the father.
The Knight-Commander explains that the Chantry is interested in a "child of dual mage parentage", believing they could be of great use to Ferelden[note]. He advises Abernath to confess being the father and in exchange the child will be taken away, but both the parents will live[note]. Abernath reports to Veness that he told the templars that he is the father, and in this way, he saved her life since the truth - that Sadatt was father - would lead to execution. He tells her that he did it out of love and that she will learn to love him one day as well. But Veness cannot accept the fact that her child will have to be taken away, and thus she escapes from the tower, becoming an apostate.
Greagoir orders Sadatt to go after her, as his final test. He hands him Veness's phylactery and orders him to kill her once he captures her.
In the woods Veness gives birth to a daughter. She encounters a travelling blacksmith named Lomo Kettlemaker whom she asks to take Gleam in the name of the Maker upon hearing he lives far away from the tower. She then stumbles back into the forest
Meanwhile, back at the tower a genlock emerges from Lake Calenhad and murders two templars whilst sneaking. It is revealed that it is being mind controlled by The Man of Light and he intends to kill Greagoir for murdering maleficarum. It makes his way to Greagoir's room, but before it kills him, he wakes up. Other templars are made aware of their leader's danger and step in. The fight break out and they end up outside of the tower. During the struggle the genlock jumps off the ledge, taking one of the templars with it; they die upon impact. In its last words the Man of Light promises to come back.
Back in the forest Sadatt catches up to Veness. When asked where the child is, she lies to protect Gleam by saying she killed her son and buried him because he was Sadatt's child. Sadatt doesn't believe her, saying that he loved her, but knew she was involved with Abernath and that's why he abandoned her. He then proceeds to kill her and burn her body.
Upon returning to the tower and learning of his fellow templars' death at the hands of the genlock, he states his sorrow and that he may have saved someone was he not outside of the tower at the time. Gregoir responds that he did his duty and fullfilling his duty is all that matters. Sadatt then goes to the chapel at the tower and prays to Andraste. He states that he will never again love or trust anyone, and that from now on his name will not be Sadatt, but Duty.
Gleam is now grown with powers of her own. She showcases a particular talent for forging magically-enhanced blades[note], which are impossibly sharp and capable of cutting easily through wood and metal. A pair of templars pass by the blacksmith's residence, seeking assistance for one of their horses that threw a shoe. They explain that they are returning to the Circle Tower with a young captured apostate. One of the templars draws a knife on the boy, telling him to show the smith a trick of "lifting a stone or two", which upsets Gleam who cries out for him to leave the boy alone. Lomo strikes Gleam in an apparent act of reprimand, which he later apologies for as he did so in an attempt to save face and protect her from their suspicion.
That night, Gleam dreams and enters the Fade, apparently for the first time, and meets an apparition who names herself as "Venom" in the Fade, but in life was Veness. She claims she shows herself to Gleam as a warning, to be cautious of those who would seek to control her. A rage demon then appears, telling Veness that she will "frighten the child". Veness attacks the demon, telling Gleam that she must wake up.
Later, Ormo sends Gleam and her brother Agmo and their cousin Datlin off to trade with the dwarves somewhere beneath the Frostback Mountains. They barter for dwarven ore, offering surface goods such as fruit pies and quilts. The dwarves claim it is a waste to give the ore to human smiths, to which Datlin boasts that they are better smiths than the dwarves, showing off a horseshoe that was cut clean through by a sword forged by Gleam. On their return journey home, having successfully bartered for only three-quarters of the ore they requeseted, Agmo and Gleam fight with Datlin over his boasting. Meanwhile, it is revealed that the dwarves are interested in Gleam's smithing abilities. The one-armed dwarf Minderel is tasked with bringing her back, and told that if she does not cooperate, to involve the templars, pointing out that a sword sharp enough to cut through metal could only be forged by magic.
While the children are away, Lomo, his wife, and his son Ormo are targeted by a band of brigands. The bandits murder the three family members, ransacking their property, stealing Gleam's sword, and setting fire to the buildings. Gleam, Agmo, and Datlin return to find their family's bodies, and Gleam laments that she cannot heal what is already gone. When Datlin points out the tracks heading south, Gleam announces that they will head after them.
After burying their dead family members and deliberating on a prayer to Andraste, Gleam, Agmo, and Datlin strike out on the road. Agmo remarks that Datlin's parents live in Gwaren, and say they can reach there in a week or two. They have a difficult time living on the road, having to hunt their own food and facing poor weather.
One night, while asleep, Mindrel lures away their donkey with food. The three children find him, to which Datlin threatens the dwarf and is promptly attacked and disarmed. Mindrel takes Agmo hostages, and Gleam threatens to cast a fire spell if he does not let the boy go. With proof that she is indeed a mage, Mindrel explains that his master would pay Gleam handsomely to make blades sharp enough to cut through metal. Gleam refuses the offer, as they would not house all three of them, choosing instead to stay with her remaining family. They leave behind Mindrel and continue on their way.
A short time later, Datlin smells something cooking, and they spot an unnamed village where a fair is taking place. Datlin is tricked into gambling their dwarf metal on a fight against a feeble-looking boy named Chimmy. Datlin is eager to accept, despite Gleam warning him that it is a trick. Chimmy proceeds to dominate the fight, beating Datlin bloody and knocking out one of his teeth, until Gleam has to enter the ring to stop the battle. Datlin pleads for her to heal his broken nose, to which she remarks that people are watching, but eventually concedes. They quickly leave the fair, and Gleam chastises Datlin for losing their last tradable goods. She then uses a combination of fire magic to clean a dagger and healing magic to re-insert his tooth.
A messenger is dispatched from the fair to the Circle Tower, reporting Gleam as a "witch" to the templars. Word reaches Sadatt and Abernath, who discuss the matter. Sadatt reminds Abernath that he no longer goes by "Sadatt", and that he has changed his name to "Duty" seventeen years ago. Abernath brings up that changing his name won't change who he is, nor that he killed the woman that he loved, which appears to upset Duty as he threatens to draw his blade on Abernath. The two argue over the role of templars; Abernath claims it is the duty to bring mages unharmed to the tower for training, and that the Harrowing decides if a mage should live or not, while Duty claims he has authority to kill apostates.
Gleam, Datlin, and Agmo continue traveling via the forest, where they stumble into the apostate Fallstick, who freely declares himself a mage like Gleam, and introduces him to his "Blood Band". He invites the three children to join them at their camp, where his followers willingly provide their blood for him to cast a protective barrier around their camp with blood magic. He explains that they adhere to the old ways, and that their gods are the Old Gods, which Gleam correctly identifies as the Archdemon dragons.
However, Gleam recognizes one of the kettles in Fallstick's possession as one made by their father, fixed after cut in half by her magically-forged sword. She decries him as a murderer, thinking the kettle proof that he was the one to have slain her family, and prepares to attack the old man.
Gleam and Fallstick briefly engage in combat, Gleam quickly accusing Fallstick of killing her parents, and Fallstick chastising her for making such hasty assumptions while knocking her aside. After explaining that he simply bought the kettle, he offers to heal Gleam with blood magic, explaining that he extinguished her magic temporarily, comparing it to a trick templars use to catch mages. Newly enraged to find the killers, Fallstick admits that the merchant he purchased the kettle from likely traded for it as well, and discourages her from pursuing revenge. Gleam decides its time for the three of them to leave, to which Fallstick asks her to consider staying and training with him, to do good in the service of the Man of Light. Gleam refuses, saying she does not want to be in the service of anyone. Fallstick gives them cloaks in parting, and the trio leave.
Outside of the fairgrounds, a group of templars lead by Duty pursue the trail of Gleam, with one of the townspeople explaining that she had dark skin and light hair, just like Duty, and say her performing healing magic. Duty explains that as a templar, he is the Maker's servant, and so would return to strike the civilian if he discovered they were lying. Duty and another templar, Marcus, reminisce over stories of other mages they tracked through the same woods, mentioning a boy that Duty cut in half, as well as Veness, Gleam's mother.
The trio eventually arrive in Barrenton[note], where Gleam plans to sell their mule, but Datlin proposes that they try again to fight for money. This plan immediately fails, as a bandit draws a knife and takes up Datlin on the vague offer, pulling out a knife to use against him. Agmo manages to stop the bandit by striking him with a stick, only to be stabbed himself. Gleam is forced to heal her brother in public once again, much to the dismay of the onlookers. They name her a "witch" and "god mocker", knock her unconscious and tie her up.
At some point, the townspeople decide to awake Gleam by throwing rocks at her, to which she immediately breaks free of her restraints in a fiery rage. However, this alerts the nearby group of templars led by Duty, as they can see the blaze from within the forest. Gleam, Agmo, and Datlin run from Barrenton, and run in again with Minderel. The dwarf explains that they need to wash the blood from their clothes, as the templars would be able to track it on them from the blood that Agmo left behind at the village. They stop briefly at a pond to clean themselves, only for the templars to find them anyways.
Gleam discovers that she cannot use her magic, and in a show of courage, Datlin tells Gleam and Agmo to run while he holds off the templars. He manages to startle one templar's horse, and promptly picks up his sword to swing at another. Duty starts by warning him to drop the sword before he gets hurt, but when Datlin nearly makes a deadly blow on one of the templars, Duty steps in and impales his sword through Datlin.
Gleam runs back to Datlin's side, trying to heal him, but is still incapable of using her magic. She begs Duty to give her back her powers, saying that he will die if she does not heal them. Duty, unmoved, announces: "Then he dies."
Mourning the death of their cousin, Gleam and Agmo bury Datlin. Duty questions the two about their parents, noting that they could not have had the same parents, since they look nothing alike. Agmo explains that just because Gleam was adopted doesn't mean that she's not his true sister. Duty tries to pry for the identity of her 'true' parents, but Gleam brushes him aside, asking for time to mourn her cousin in peace.
That night, Gleam is visited again in the Fade by Veness. Gleam asks what the point of Veness watching over her was, when she could not stop the deaths of her parents or Datlin. Veness explains that she cannot control things in the waking world, but only warn, and explains that she has come to warn Gleam of something regarding the templar, Duty. She explains that his true name is Sadatt, but Gleam is woken up by Minderel before she can reveal the truth of his fatherhood.
While the templars sleep, the three sneak away from the camp, taking a Deep Roads entrance hidden down a narrow cave, protected by a dwarven engineered sequence lock. In order to fend off the templars, Minderel warns Gleam that she needs to use something other than fire so as to not use up what little breathable air they had left. Gleam says that fire magic is all that she knows how to perform, to which Minderel points out that she knows healing spells as well. When a templar grabs her leg, she is able to cast a lightning spell to break free, and the three escape to the Deep Roads with the door locking behind them, preventing further pursuit.
While they travel the Deep Roads, Minderel explains their origins as a network of underground railroads that crisscross all of Ferelden, built centuries ago by the dwarves, but sealed off in order to prevent darkspawn attacks. When Gleam expresses distress at the idea of encountering a hurlock, Minderel explains that they are safe from darkspawn at least, as it is one of the last "True Roads". He also claims that the templars cannot track them while underground, so they will be safe to resurface on the other side of the mountain.
Gleam questions Minderel for why is he being so helpful to them, to which Minderel repeats that his master wants her for her forging talents. When Gleam restates that she does not want to go, Minderel proposes that Agmo can come along as one of the stipilations for agreeing to join, and Agmo expresses interest in the idea. Their conversation is cut short, however, when a giant spider attacks, trapping Agmo in web and seriously injuring Minderel. Gleam manages to kill the spider with her fire magic.
Minderel guides Gleam through treating his injuries, telling her how to perform healing magic to extract venom from his leg and seal the wound. He then guides her to re-set his broken leg before healing it so it does not heal crooked. He passes out in the process, but Gleam follows through in repairing the wound, inadvertently regrowing Minderel's missing arm back partially, only half the size it should be. Gleam apologizes for not doing a better job, to which Minderel expresses only delight, noting that he can grab things again.
They move along the Deep Roads, with Agmo and Gleam remarking on feeling sick to their stomachs, supposing that it's the mist that fills the cavern. Minderel explains that it is not mist, but leftover lyrium in patches of rocks, and explains that dwarves are impervious to the effects of lyrium and that's why they cannot perform magic[note].
The three travel the rest of the way through the Deep Roads with no issue, but exit to the surface to be greeted by the sight of an entire village slaughter and set to the torch. It is revealed to be the work of the same bandits who killed the Kettlebacks.
Gleam, Agmo, and Minderel fight with the five bandits, including a blood mage named Nixx, an archer named Sol-Jawn, a large brute named Dogg, an unnamed spear-wielder, and their unnamed leader. During the fight, the leader reveals that her sword can cut through steel. When Gleam asks where she got the sword, she freely confesses it was from a blacksmith she killed. This infuriates Gleam, who attacks her in fit of rage with fire, to which the leader is unaffected, claiming that it 'tickles' and explaining that she is also a fire mage. When Gleam goads her to kill her, she explains that instead she will take Gleam to the Man of Light for a reward of some sort.
Agmo, having run off during the fight, returns with Duty and his band of templars in the nick of time, preventing the mages from using their magic. The templars make quick work of the bandits, capturing them and saving the lives of Gleam, Agmo, and Minderel. Duty instructs Gleam to heal herself, crushing his magic dampener[note] to allow her to do so.
The templars prepare a summary execution for the brigands via hanging. Before they are killed, Agmo asks which of them killed his parents. The leader gleefully admits to it, mocking him and saying she'll find them in the afterlife. She cannot finish her goading, however, as Agmo himself delivers the sentence by smacking the rear of the horses, sending them to their deaths.
Later, the templar Marcus debates with Duty over the fate of Gleam. He claims that since she fled from templar custody, that makes her an apostate, and thus she must be killed[note]. After tensions rise between Marcus and Minderel, Duty steps in and decides that they will take Minderel and Agmo to the Circle with them, as well as Gleam.
Back at Kinloch Hold, Knight-Commander Greagoir claims that while he likes the sound of Minderel, that his crimes against the Chantry cannot be overlooked. While Marcus claims he must be executed at once, Greagoir claims that "relations with the dwarves are already strained", and so they cannot kill him. Instead, however, he claims they have the authority to sentence him to "house arrest", and declares that Minderel is to work at the tower until further notice. Agmo is given the choice of serving the Chantry or living an orphan on the streets, with Greagoir claiming the kitchen always needs more staff.
In a final vision of the Fade, Veness appears before both Gleam and Duty, revealing the truth of their relationship. While Gleam denies that it can be true, Duty confesses that he already knew from the moment he first saw her. While Gleam seems to accept that he sired her, she vehemently declares that he would never be her father. Duty begs Veness to kill him out of mercy for the shame he now faces, and Veness chastises him for the fact that he named himself "Duty" but showed no Duty to the woman he loved or the child he fathered. Tearfully, he vows that Gleam will be his duty from now on, even if she hates him.
The comic ends with a short scene the following morning, where Duty explains that Agmo accepted the job in the kitchens, and reaffirms his commitment to keeping Gleam safe and giving her a better future. Gleam says she believes him, and names him father.
- Knight-Commander Greagoir
- Agmo Kettlemaker
- Lomo Kettlemaker
- Ormo Kettlemaker
- Chimmy, a scrawny child used in gambling fights
- Kyra, one of the Enchanters at Kinloch hold
- Nixx, a blood mage brigand
- Sol-Jawn, a brigand
- Dogg, a brigand
- The Man of Light
- Ser Marcus, one of the templars from Kinloch Hold
Throughout the comic, there are several instances of lore that directly conflict with the otherwise established in-universe understanding of Thedas. On his youtube channel, Mark Darrah acknowledged this, noting that the comics "stray from the lore." Some such instances of in-universe lore inconsistencies include:
- Greagoir seems to suggest that Veness and the father of her child should be executed for having conceived a baby together, while in Dragon Age: Origins, Wynne had her own child within Kinloch Hold without facing such a punishment.
- The darkspawn attack on Kinloch Hold is never mentioned or referenced outside of the comic, not even by Knight-Commander Greagoir, who was the target of the attack.
- The Fade is described as a "dream realm, the world between yours and the afterlife" by Veness, who regularly communicates with her daughter even after her own death.
- Gleam and her family are shown to trade with dwarves, and it is not certain if this takes place in Orzammar, as the only descriptor given is "somewhere beneath the Frostback Mountains". There is little reference to the nature of trade with the surface otherwise described in Dragon Age, nor the nature of different dwarven castes or differentiation of surface dwarves or any other established dwarven lore.
- The bandits claim that a blood mage grows stronger when their blood is spilled. This is more akin to how reaver abilities function, not blood mages.
- The templars' ability to nullify magic is attributed to a magical suppression crystal, and not via their consumption of lyrium.
- Lyrium is described as "the ore that is the source of all magic in Thedas".
- On two separate occasions, Gleam is shown burying her dead family, while still considering saying a prayer to Andraste. Fereldan Andrastians typically do not bury their dead, but instead burn them so as to prevent possession by demons.
- The templar "tracking" abilities seems much different than depicted in the rest of the Dragon Age canon.
- Minderel seems to imply that templars can track any blood they find on their travels, not simply those made with a phylactery.
- Minderel also seems to imply that washing blood off of oneself is enough to prevent this method of tracking, instead of being able to track the blood that someone still has inside of their body as well.
- Minderel then finally implies that templars cannot track their targets underground. Whether this is a reference to tracking blood, or simply losing their targets underground is unclear.
- Twice the comic references 'apostates' to refer to specifically mages that escape templar capture, and not simply by existing outside of the Circle of Magi, and that all apostates are to be killed on sight, instead of taken back to the Circle.
- There is no further explanation given as to why the Chantry believes a child of dual-mage parentage could be of use to Ferelden, nor why such unions are supposedly discouraged if such a child is desired.
- It is not explained how specifically Gleam's magical forging abilities work, nor if it is considered Enchantment or simply some variety of fire magic.
- The town of "Barrenton" does not appear on any known map of Ferelden.
- The series was most likely meant to be continued, but was never picked up. Every issue's cover is a sneak peek of what's ahead, and the cover of the sixth issue depicts Gleam fighting a golem.
- It is unknown when exactly the story takes place, but it is assumed the first issue takes place before the events described in Dragon Age: Origins, as Greagoir is already in charge of the tower even before Gleam is born, as well as when she is an adult. Since the time period of the story is not specified it is unclear if issues 2 to 6 take place after, during, or before the Fifth Blight, however Greagoir's young appearance seems to indicate that this is set years before Origins.
- There are several typos or misspellings within the comic:
- Greagoir's name consistently misspelled as "Gregoir" throughout the comic.
- Templars use the title "sir" in lieu of the canonical spelling of "ser".
- Gleam is incorrectly spelled as "Gleem" in Issue 2.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqbxVINlJfE Mark Darrah, Dragon Age Comics