In the darkspawn armies, the few toughest and most intelligent of the darkspawn become alphas, the commanders and generals of the darkspawn armies. Of these alphas, a few become emissaries, the spellcasters of the darkspawn with abilities similar to blood magic. However, these emissaries rarely appear outside of a Blight, and when they do appear; their purpose is to ensure that the generals and commanders of the darkspawn armies serve the Archdemon's interests and not their own.
The emissaries are the only ones among the darkspawn that have been known to possess the ability to speak and communicate to other species, though topics of discussion with non-darkspawn races are rather limited (in one confirmed record of discourse between a Tevinter magister and a darkspawn captured for research and negotiation purposes, the creature showed no interest in civilised discourse, instead subjecting its captors to a barrage of taunts and insinuations intended to trick them into lowering their guard long enough to break free, then before killing five of its captors when it did get loose, told them the darkspawn have no interest in talking or negotiating with the surface realms, only in destroying them).
- In Dragon Age: Origins, there were different types of emissary for each race of darkspawn (genlock and hurlock emissaries), but in Dragon Age II, there is only one kind of emissary, identified as "darkspawn emissary". However the "Darkspawn Emissary" does clearly possess Elven ears. Their appearance is also more in line with the appearance of powerful Magi darkspawn emissaries such as The Architect and Corypheus.
- Although dwarves are unable to cast spells, genlock emissaries seem to have no trouble with it. This could be because emissaries' magic is powered by the Taint.
See also EditCodex entry: Darkspawn Emissary