“I was shown vast oceans, containing not water, but memories, drawn from the minds of dreamers. I drifted through frozen moments, like paintings, perfect in each detail.”―Magister Callistus
- 1 Chantry teachings
- 2 Other beliefs
- 3 Landscape and Denizens
- 4 Entering and Leaving
- 5 In the Fade
- 6 Fade and the dead
- 7 Game mechanics
- 8 Involvement
- 9 Codex entries
- 10 Notes
- 11 Trivia
- 12 See also
- 13 Gallery
- 14 References
According to the Chantry, the Fade is a realm of primeval matter from which the Maker formed the physical world and all living beings. It is sometimes compared to a well of souls, with lyrium being its "emerald waters." It was the first realm created by the Maker, populated with spirits, the first of the Maker's "children." Growing unsatisfied with them (as what they created was "fleeting, ever-changing"), he then created Thedas, separated from the Fade by the Veil and populated by mortal creatures. Many spirits grew jealous of these new children, and became what mortals call demons, craving and/or emulating their basest desires and sins.
The Chant of Light states that the Black City was originally the Golden City, seat of the Maker. An attempt by Tevinter magisters to physically enter the city blackened it with their prideful ambition, and their punishment was to be cast down as the first of the darkspawn, commencing the First Blight. When the Chant of Light spreads to all corners of the world, the Maker will forgive mankind and return, restoring the Golden City.
- The Dalish refer to the Fade as the Beyond and believe that it is a holy place that was once the home of the gods. They also tell that following Fen'Harel's deception before the fall of Arlathan, the gods now lie imprisoned in the Eternal City at the heart of the Fade while the Dread Wolf roams, gleefully feasting on the souls of the dead.
- Ancient Tevinters believed that the Fade was the realm of their Old Gods, and the Golden City was the center of the deities' power.
Landscape and Denizens
In its raw form, the Fade is a twisted, frightening world of dark rock and raw lyrium veins where it is always night and gravity affects nothing equally. Gaps between dreams are such void places.
An island with the Black City, a shadowy metropolis with twisted spires seems to be the only constant feature of the Fade, always on the horizon. No one has managed to reach it since over-ambitious mages physically invaded the Fade in -395 Ancient. Even the most powerful demons keep their distance.
The Fade may appear as something else entirely when shaped by dreams. Much of the Fade is split up into fiefs or demesnes belonging to the spirits or demons that live there, and they change the landscape of the Fade to emulate what they see in the minds of mortal dreamers. They copy locations, objects, people and concepts of the real world, often in a cruel or confusing way. These copies are nowhere near consistent, and fluctuate according to the movement of the dreamers. Spirits whose realms are flocked with visitors rise to rule great portions of the Fade, while memories and concepts forgotten in the real world slowly drift away back into the ether, the spirits who ruled them losing all potency.
Entering and Leaving
People of Thedas visit the Fade mentally when they dream, even though they do not remember the time spent there. The notable exception are the dwarves, who do not dream. The Qunari also claim that they do not dream as humans and elves do. Entering the Fade is forbidden according to the Qun, and the Qunari are rarely encountered there, but evidence suggests that at least some of them do dream.
Mages tap into the Fade when they cast spells and are able to remain conscious while traveling there. Members of the Circle frequently visit the Fade with the aid of lyrium - in particular during the rite of Harrowing, in which an apprentice is pitted against a demon and ultimately either put to death as an abomination or promoted to full mage status. Dreamers are capable of entering the Fade at will. Mages are also able to bring other individuals into the Fade, including dwarves and golems.
'Killing' a mortal's dreaming form while in the Fade (thus ending that individual's dream and waking them up) is a shock to the living body, but not normally lethal. However, Dreamer mages have been known to be able to kill others in their dreams, and if an individual is 'awake' in the Fade death there can potentially lead to physical death. Keeper Marethari tells Hawke that "a death in the fade will make [him] Tranquil", speaking of Feynriel during the quest Night Terrors, however this does not seem to be applicable to all mages who are killed in the Fade, so her meaning (or how she has come to this conclusion) is unclear.
In the Fade
Belief and willpower are paramount in the Fade. Everything that exists there exists by expression of thought and reflects expectations of the dreamer. People dream of their loved ones in the Fade because the spirits there recognize the bond between souls, and that bond has power in dreams. An individual expecting to see a demon rather than a spirit will see one if they allow preconceptions to cloud their view of the dream world. A doorway in the Fade is simply a transition - it could be used to reach almost anywhere one desired.
Magic use is possible in the Fade, though spells work unpredictably there as magic does not follow natural rules. Even though a mage cannot change every aspect of the Fade (Dreamer mages have greater capabilities in this respect), they can draw unprecedented power from it while sleeping. Similarly, even non-mages may instinctively shape the Fade in small ways: armoring and arming themselves with weapons able to cut even in dreams.
Fade visitors often speak of its shifting "paths" that can not be charted or secured but can be traversed with a guide, be it a wisp, spirits, a ghost, two legendary ravens called Fear and Deceit or even the "master-scryer" Falon'Din of the Elven pantheon. Familiarity with shape allows the Forbidden Ones to travel paths unaided.
Fade and the dead
The Light shall lead her safely
Through the paths of this world, and into the next.
Every living being in Thedas enters the Fade when their spirit leaves their body after death. Fade spirits such as Justice claim that the souls of the dead pass to the Fade, but are uncertain of their subsequent fate.
The Dalish elves believe that in the time of Arlathan their ancestors did not die, but rather entered a dream-like stated called uthenera, in which their souls wandered the Fade, accompanied by Falon'Din and Dirthamen. They would learn the secrets of dreams, and some would return to the People with newfound knowledge.
The Chantry holds that when a person dies, their soul passes through the Fade to the afterlife and the Maker's side. Those who have turned away from the Maker enter the Fade and are lost, returning to the ether from which they were formed ("to the Void"). They are stuck in the Fade and doomed to wander endlessly. Some verses of the Chant of Light hint at reincarnation — or even of life after death, as the Cult of Spirits suggests.
Qunari consider the Fade the "Land of the Dead".
- Enemies killed in the Fade do not yield loot, with two known exceptions:
- In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening adds Ethereal health, lyrium and stamina potions for use only in the Fade.
- Fade manifestations of corpses can yield Corpse Galls to a party currently on the corresponding quest.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition you can collect items in the Fade but only because the Inquisitor has entered the Fade physically.
- Characters usually manifest their inventory while in the Fade; in so far as this occurs, disposing of anything (drinking potions, throwing items away) will deplete equipment just as it does in the physical realm.
- Learning to assume various forms during The Fade: Lost in Dreams only pertains to the sloth demon's realm; it does not carry over into the physical realm - even for a mage who has specialized as a shapeshifter - nor into any later Fade scenario.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Rangers cannot summon animals while in the Fade. This does not seem to apply during Awakening.
- Neither Animate Dead nor Devour will function properly in the Fade.
- Attribute gains will remain after one exits the Fade, as will codex entries.
Dragon Age: The Calling
- Chapters 12-13
Dragon Age: Origins
- The Harrowing (if the Warden is a mage)
- The Arl of Redcliffe (conditional)
- Lost in Dreams (during the quest Broken Circle)
- In Search of Amgarrak (The Golems of Amgarrak DLC)
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
Dragon Age (IDW comic)
- Issues 2, 5, and 6
Dragon Age II
Dragon Age: Redemption
Dragon Age: Asunder
- Chapters 11-12
Dragon Age: Until We Sleep
- Chapters 2-3
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights
- The Dread Wolf Take You
- Codex entry: The Fade
- Codex entry: The Black City
- Codex entry: Beyond the Veil: Spirits and Demons
- Codex entry: Tears in the Veil
- Codex entry: The Laws of Nature in the Fade
- Codex entry: Walking the Fade: A Harrowing
- Codex entry: Walking the Fade: Frozen Moments
- The Final Piece can take place in the Raw Fade solely depending on the player's choices made within the Dragon Age Keep.
- Though magic cannot see the future, mages can interpret special dreams, visions of the Fade to make guesses as to what may come. All dreamers, however, whether mage or non-mage, may receive unique visions from the Fade.