The Fifth Blight occurred in 9:30, the Dragon Age, in the nation of Ferelden. The Blight's origins began with the awakening of Urthemiel during a botched experiment by the Architect to make it into a disciple. The darkspawn rabble organised into an army under the Archdemon's banner and attempted to destroy an already-weakened and fractured Ferelden.
Hostilities began in southern Ferelden at the edge of the Korcari Wilds. The first major engagements of the war was at Ostagar where the King, Cailan himself had assembled an army to fight organised forces of darkspawn. It was not known at this time whether an Archdemon was really at the heart of the hostilities, and the real threat was dismissed.
Ostagar proved to be a turning point in the war, when the King, the Grey Wardens and the army were betrayed and left to die by Loghain during a major assault on the fortress. Loghain fled the battlefield, usurped the throne, refused entry at the border for the Orlesian Warden reinforcements and sparked the Fereldan Civil War.
Ferelden was at the mercy of the darkspawn advance were it not for the survival of two Fereldan Grey Wardens from the Battle of Ostagar and the infiltration of an Orlesian Grey Warden. The Fereldan Grey Wardens were able to evade assassination attempts and assemble a coalition of dwarves, elves and humans despite their own civil problems to sufficiently combat the Archdemon's forces. Additionally, the Grey Wardens supported the Fereldan Royalists who eventually removed Loghain from power through diplomatic rather than military means.
The Blight culminated at the Battle of Denerim, where the Archdemon was slain at Fort Drakon. This Blight had been stopped before it had even begun to take on full momentum, which is in contrast to other blights, which have lasted decades.
The Architect, an intelligent darkspawn, found the Old God, Urthemiel, and attempted to convert it into a disciple. The experiment went wrong and Urthemiel was tainted into becoming an Archdemon. With an Archdemon, the darkspawn began gathering their forces.
Grey Warden Involvement
Grey Wardens have long been entrusted with the task of slaying Archdemons during Blights. However, in Ferelden, their numbers were less than two dozen. With dwindling numbers of Grey Wardens, the Warden-Commander, Duncan, undertakes a search for new recruits. Prior to the first major engagements at Ostagar, Grey Warden candidates were searched for in Denerim, Highever, Orzammar, the Circle of Magi, and the Brecilian forest. This in contrast with the 200 or so Grey Wardens that Orlais sent to reinforce Ferelden with. These Orlesian Grey Wardens, however, would not make it into Ferelden to assist the war effort due to the start of the Fereldan Civil War.
- Main article: The Grey Wardens' Cache
The Grey Warden Joining candidates, led by the Warden and Alistair, were tasked with retrieving ancient treaties from the Korcari Wilds as part of their initiation. Alistair and the Warden kept the ancient treaties despite the disastrous battle at Ostagar, and acted independently to deliver them. The Grey Wardens have had a long-standing treaty with Dalish elves, Circle mages and Orzammar dwarves compelling them to aid the Grey Wardens during a Blight.
Orzammar Royal Succession
- Main article: A Paragon of Her Kind
Orzammar's assistance with the Blight was not automatically granted with the treaty. In 9:30, the dwarven city was fractured with the death of King Endrin Aeducan. There was a power struggle in Orzammar following this event, to which Orzammar could not guarantee assistance for the Blight. Two serious contenders emerged during the political infighting, these were Lord Harrowmont and Bhelen Aeducan, however, the decision on who would accede to the throne would lie with the Paragons.
Dalish Elf-Werewolf Conflict
- Main article: Nature of the Beast
The Dalish elf clan led by Keeper Zathrian in the Brecilian forest was one of the only clans encountered by the Grey Wardens during the Fifth Blight. The Dalish were unable to guarantee assistance for the Blight because clan members were afflicted with lycanthropy and were under attack from werewolves. Further Grey Warden investigation led to the discovery of the Lady of the Forest, the leader of the werewolves, and of the curse's origins with Zathrian.
- Main article: Broken Circle
Coincidentally, a minor blight occurred at the Circle of Magi shortly after the Battle of Ostagar thus precluding the assistance of the mages for the Blight. The Templar commander, Greagoir, however, guaranteed the support of the Templars as compensation should the mages be incapacitated.
Uldred, commander of the mages at the battle of Ostagar, had somehow managed to return to the Circle. He attempted to stage a coup and was possessed by a Pride Demon. The Circle Tower was overrun with abominations and demons, which the Grey Wardens had to deal with before either templar or mages could offer their assistance in the upcoming war.
Conflicts of the Fifth Blight
Battle of Ostagar
- Main article: Battle of Ostagar
The king of Ferelden, Cailan, gathered what army he could in Ostagar in an attempt to stem the Blight before it truly took momentum. A cunning plan was made in which the King's army will draw the Darkspawn Horde in a skirmish and at a pre-arranged signal, Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir will flank the Horde. When finally the moment arrived for the plan to be put in motion, several things got awry. Most notable of these was the Teyrn's retreat that culminated with the king's army defeated and all but two Fereldan Grey Wardens dead.
Fereldan Civil War
- Main article: Fereldan Civil War
Despite the looming Blight, Loghain usurps the throne and announces himself Regent after the King's death at Ostagar. This causes an upheaval in Ferelden that sparked the Fereldan Civil War. As part of his propaganda, Teyrn Loghain blamed the Grey Wardens for the King's defeat at Ostagar and branded them as outlaws. He then hired an assassin to take out the last two remaining Wardens in Ferelden. Meanwhile, his closest ally, the Arl Rendon Howe, usurped the Arling of Denerim and the Teyrnir of Highever, used torture and imprisonment on subversive nobles and is suspected to be behind some of Teyrn Loghain's worst political decisions. The Civil War was resolved with Arl Eamon, the Teyrn's major political antagonist, calling for a Landsmeet and consequently reuniting Ferelden under the crown.
Battle of Redcliffe
- Main article: Battle of Denerim
The Grey Warden allies gathered at Redcliffe before marching to Denerim. However, Redcliffe village was under attack from the darkspawn just before the march to Denerim. Several ogres and emissaries along with numerous darkspawn troops overran the entire village until the Warden arrived to annihilate them. After a brief siege at the fortress's gates, the attacking force was depleted. The army set off to meet the Archdemon's main force advancing on Denerim.
Battle of Denerim
- Main article: Battle of Denerim
The darkspawn horde, led by the Archdemon, marched onwards to Denerim and attacked before the reinforcements from Redcliffe could reach them. The city gates, the elven alienage and the market district saw the fiercest fighting until the Hurlock commanders were slain by the Warden. Fort Drakon was captured by the darkspawn, and was reinforced following the downing of the Archdemon who landed on top of the fortress. A small team led by the Warden secured the fortress and the injured Archdemon was soon defeated.
With the defeat of the Archdemon, the darkspawn horde fell back to the Deep Roads where they plagued the dwarven kingdoms once more, but leave the surface world alone for some time. They would later emerge again under the command of two new intelligent darkspawn, the Mother and the Architect, who were engaged in a civil war over ideology.
The Grey Wardens began the process of rebuilding their numbers in Ferelden with the assistance of Orlais. They were granted Vigil's Keep and the surrounding lands of Amaranthine for this purpose.