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WARNING! SPOILERS FOR...WELL, EVERYTHING!
So yeah, don't read this unless you've played through the games or don't care about spoilers. The topic at hand is a major spoiler for all three games plus Legacy and really anything remotely relevant to the main plot of Dragon Age.
We learn form Bianca that red lyrium has the blight and is therefore alive. Way to bury the lead, Bianca. Rember where Varric and Hawke found the red lyrium? The Primeval Thaig, which predates the first blight. Red lyrium and therefore taint has been in Thedas since before Cory & co. entered the Black City. More importantly, the taint itself existed before the first blight, before Cory & freinds' excellent adventure into the fade. Hence, they did not create the taint, which gives far more weight to Cory's account of finding the Black City already tainted. So while Cory & crew were the first darkspawn and directly responsible for the blights, they did not taint the golden city, if there ever was one.
You think Bianca would mention this instead being all like "yeah, lyrium's alive!"
To me this is the biggest revelation in Inquisition, not all that stuff with Flemeth and somebody else. In one of Cory's memory crystals, he insists that they discovered the "darkness" rather than created it. He tells the Inquisitor that the throne of heaven is empty. The guy may be butt-ugly, he may be crazy, but he is probably right. Either the Maker doesn't exist or he has some serious housecleaning to do. Silver Warden (talk) 03:46, February 2, 2015 (UTC)
- I disagree, yes the thaig predates the blight but that does not mean the red lyrium does. As we know the red lyrium could have appeared during the first blight and since the darkspawn came a tainted up the place, besides its really deep and it could have been like kal-sharok where they were cut off and did their own thing specially if red lyrium was involved, since it manipulates mindes and all, and they eventually become the profane(died of hunger and what not).
- No one else had visited that thaig since it was lost, otherwise its would have already been looted and the profane killed. Or there'd be bodies. Hypothetically the darkspawn could have reached it, but they didn't. How do I know? Because if they did, they'd still have been there. The darkspawn wouldn't just leave a place once they infested it. In fact the only reason that Varric's expedition was able to reach the place was because there were few darkspawn in the area (due to the recent blight). If the darkspawn had claimed the place, there'd have been a few stragglers or a whole nest of darkspawn, but no profane. Notice how there are no more darkspawn once you get past the dragon? And they'd have killed that too. They kill everything that isn't a darkspawn. Silver Warden (talk) 18:11, February 4, 2015 (UTC)
There are still many unanswered questions. Like how did red lyrium begin in the Primeval Thaig? Why had the darkspawn avoided it when red lyrium contains the taint? Why did the inhabitants of the Primeval Thaig makes idols out of red lyrium?
Also, I have a theory about the Blight and the Black City. Lyrium is the essence of magic and some (like Cole) claim it sings. Those with the Blight hear the call of the Old Gods, such a beautiful music. Bartrand Tethras claims that the red lyrium idol sung to him. Perhaps there was once gold lyrium, which was what the Maker's city was composed of, the purest of its kind, to the point of perfection, until something corrupted it.--Unic of the borg (talk) 04:23, February 2, 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for this, I was thinking it was just me that realized the Primeval Thaig was supposed to pre-date the Blight. I did think about the possibility of it confirming the Blight existed before the Magisters breached the Golden City. But I was more inclined to think that there are two kinds of Red Lyrium. First point is it's corruption technique: In DA2 Bartrand and Meredith both held Red Lyrium (Blighted?) close to them for years and never got Blight sickness or never had red crystals start growing from them and their surroundings. Instead it seems to work primarily on a mental level, driving the possessors mad and imbuing magical abilities to them and inanimate objects (i.e. Meredith's flying, moving slave statues also aggressive books and pots in Bartrand's house.) Meredith was also only petrified (Turned to crystal?) after trying to extort so much power out of the RL Blade, it shatters from effort and is inhaled or infused and rapidly consumes her.
Now the Red Templars in DAI with Blighted Red Lyrium begin growing crystals (But not fully petrifying even at Behemoth stage) within presumably weeks/months as opposed to Meredith/Bartrand who had theirs for years, but this could be because the Templars were ingesting it. If so, one would still expect that if the Red Lyrium was the same as the stuff in DA2, it would be driving them all mad and paranoid just from having so much near them all the time before they become monsters or before some even start consuming. Also from the notes in the Primeval Thaig, shouldn't people who consume the RL become more akin to the Profane, rather than messy, fleshy crystal growths? The next point is, as Silver Warden mentioned, why would the Primeval Thaig be so full of it? Blighted or no, it is curious why the Dwarves built with it at all, but if it was carved into the centers of pillars or into the idol, how did those parts get corrupted? Particularly when you encounter no Darkspawn in the Thaig itself, only Shades and Profane, and considering that a dragon had been blocking the entrance to it for some time.
THe final point is more speculation that anything. Probably just being finicky about wording, but in Varric's 'Well Shit..' quest, Bianca says "Red Lyrium has the Blight", not "All Red Lyrium has the Blight" or "Red Lyrium is caused by the Blight/Lyrium corrupted wit the Blight." also Varric says "Great, so two bad things combine to become something truly awful." Now that could well have meant Lyrium (Which is dangerous on it's own) + Blight = really bad, or Red Lyrium (Which he knows more about and that it is worse already than the normal stuff) + Blight = really, really bad. Anyway, sorry about the long winded essay on it, but it's been bubbling in my head since my first playthrough and I had to get it down. Opinions and thoughts welcome! SenjiBen (talk) 09:03, February 2, 2015 (UTC)
The red lyrium Bianca studied came directly from the Primeval Thaig. She was also the one to give that lyrium to Cory, who then made more by putting it inside people, where it would grow like a plant. The idea of there being two kinds of red lyrium appears to be correct - there is the normal stuff and the "primeval" red lyrium, which comes directly from the PT and is used to grow more.
The reason that the RL didn't spread beyond the PT is two-fold: A) the thaig was cut off from the others, possibly on purpose and B) it was underground. There were no plants or animals to infect, only dwarves. My guess is that the other ancient dwarves figured out that the stuff was really bad and intentionally trapped the RL worshipers in the thaig to prevent it from infecting anything else. How that lyrium came to be tainted in the first place is of course a mystery.
The song that people hear from the RL is almost certainty the Call. There's no reason to think it's anything else. It is worth noting that RL itself doesn't spread the blight, but that is probably because RL is still lyrium, which is all special and different from other lifeforms. Like the lyrium-ness of it keeps it from spreading in the same way that normal blight does, unless ingested.
Meredith's special abilities are a bit of a mystery but remember that she never ingested the stuff, she was only the near it so she wouldn't have turned into a behemoth. The reason that she turned into a statue is because the sword shattered and exploded. Notice how there are a bunch of Meredith-like statues of people near the breach in the beginning of the game? My guess is that when RL explodes, it creates dust and other residue which turns people into statues. The temple had a bunch of lyrium beneath/within it, but the explosion that caused the breach first tainted it and then likely destoryed some or most of it, sending RL residue all over the place, which petrified everyone nearby.
The reason that the profane became rock wraiths and not behemoth-like creatures is either because they had been exposed to it for so long that their bodies disentigrated or because they were dwarves (none of the templars are dwarves, as far as I know) or some combination of the two. I admit that primeval RL seems a bit different from the normal stuff, but given the fact that it is still infectious to a degree, it can be used to grow the normal RL, and (most importantly), it still causes people to hear the Call, I'd say it is blighted as well. Primeval RL is probably just more powerful for some reason. Silver Warden (talk) 19:46, February 2, 2015 (UTC)
I'm probably being nit picky again, but we only know Bianca was studying Red Lyrium in the Primeval Thaig and wasn't getting far, so she reached out and found Larius/Janeka/Cory and showed him the location of the Thaig. So we don't know if she discovered it's connection to the Blight until after that. My theory is that there is Red Lyrium, then after Corypheus studied it he found a way to infect it with the blight, which would allow it to grow formations and develop in people easier. I think that it's part of the reason for the differences in the effects. Non-tainted RL in DA2 enhanced magical and mental aspects, driving people mad and exacerbating their own traits, like Bartrand's greed born from desire to elevate his family and Meredith's paranoia from desire to protect people from mages. It also caused the magical abilities in objects that we don't see in DAI. Blighted RL corrupts physically and spreads like ordinary taint and enhances the physical aspects and causes mutations.
I can understand why the RL didn't spread from the Thaig, but I'm still curious on how the Blight could have got in before Corypheus. The whole place is sealed and has a dragon scaring off Darkspawn from the entrance. Then when Hawke was there, there was no other presence of Blight or Darkspawn, only Shades and Profane. So how did RL that was carved into the inside of walls, pillars and the idol become corrupted with Blight in a Thaig that pre-dates the Darkspawn. I'm not too sure the Red Lyrium whispers are the same as Taint calling. Justice in Awakening mentions that ordinary Lyrium sings to Spirits, so the RL song is likely an extension to that, that men or only dwarves can hear. But I'll concede that the very fact it's Lyrium would mean it doesn't spread the Blight by touch, otherwise the Inquisitor would have caught it from all the samples you can collect. Also the fact that dwarves are dwarves and magic resistant could be why they became Profane/Rock Wraiths instead of Horrors/Behemoths, but then the RL did actually affect them so they weren't totally resistant, also they become rock like creatures instead of deformed, overgrown crystal horrors, even if their skin died and desintegrated they should have been all crystal underneath not rock.
I didn't actually see any RL Meredith like statues around the Breach. I saw RL crystal formations and corpses that looked like they were burned by fire during the explosion. And I think Corypheus may be behind the Lyrium beneath the Sacred Ashes Temple being corrupted. So I'm still thinking that there is normal Primeval Thaig Red Lyrium that affects things mentally and imbues magical abilities to people and things, also driving them mad and it's related to normal Lyrium being alive and having a connection to Spirits (Justice hearing it sing) and Demons (The Shades working with Profane in PT). Then there's Blighted Red Lyrium which was normal, but has been corrupted intentionally by Corypheus to make it easier to grow and corrupt people with, basically a weaponized form. But anyway, guess I'll have to wait for a DLC or next game to find out. SenjiBen (talk) 05:29, February 3, 2015 (UTC)
It's possible. The main problem that I have with that theory is that it makes things more complicated than they need to be. From a storytelling perspective, having all RL be blighted normal RL makes more sense than there being blighted and non-blighted RL. But Bioware could be ignoring common sense and doing something like this.
The PT is a big mystery even if PRL isn't blighted, and having all RL be blighted normal lyrium answers more questions than it raises. Either way things are inconsistent, so by the use of Occam's razor having all blighted lyrium be red lyrium is easier to swallow than blighted and non-blighted RL, if only because 2<3. Silver Warden (talk) 15:23, February 3, 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately I think you're right, and most likely BioWare will go with all Red Lyrium is tainted. It does make sense to go with the simpler idea. But some of these things have been nagging me a while. I would be hoping for a denser plot even if it's more complicated just to have some of my questions answered. But oh well, I'll have my theory and wait to see if BioWare surprises me ;) SenjiBen (talk) 23:14, February 3, 2015 (UTC)
Next game I want the questions of Red Lyrium, the taint and the black city answered 'cus this game just created far more questions... but if they answer them all the series might not have many questions left to answer.
You know what, Tevinter Imperium predated the First Blight. Doesn't mean it was not tainted by the blight. The thaig itself is pre-Blight, but the red lyrium could get infected by blight after the magisters already returned to the surface. henioo (da talk page) 00:46, February 5, 2015 (UTC)
I explained this already. The darkspawn could not have reached that area because the profane were still there, and because darkspawn don't abandoned conquered sections of the Deep Road. More importantly, the Lyrium Idol clearly wasn't made by the darkspawn. Do you believe that was a normal Lyrium Idol which the magisters then tainted? Why would dwarves make an idol out of normal lyrium?
If the red lyrium existed before the darkspawn, it explains why the PT was cut off from the rest of the Deep Roads. If not, another explanation is needed. That means you'd have to explain the purpose of the idol, why the thaig was lost, how the darkspawn found it and why they lost it again. Now, is it possible that for some unknown reason those dwarves made an idol of regular lyrium, then were cut off from the rest of the dwarves, then centuries later were found by darkspawn who corrupted the place but left the profane alive (for some bizarre reason) and then the darkspawn either left or were wiped out by another force which itself vanished, leaving the thaig lost until Varric's expedition found it? Yes, it's possible. It's also needlessly complicated and if true, bad storytelling.
However, if RL existed in that thaig before the first blight, the only things that needs to be explained is how it got there. What's simpler, one explanation or many? What makes for a better story, a single, smooth plotline or one with half-a-dozen needless complications that still lead to the same conclusion? I'm not saying it's impossible for you to be right about this but in the name of good taste I hope you're wrong. Silver Warden (talk) 05:19, February 5, 2015 (UTC)
I think we do have indirect proof of Red Lyrium existing in the pre first-blight era in the codex entry: Elven God Andruil. A "god" tampering with the Red Lyrium could also lead to a credible reason for the source of Lyrium in the Thaig. If I remember right it was commented on that some kind of god worship was happening there, but whoever these gods were or are seems to have been forgotten. --Keyov (talk) 08:33, February 5, 2015 (UTC)
My money is on the whole Dread Wolf tricking the forgotten ones and sealing them away, somehow he fucked up (and as we know it he has been known to fuck up) and created the black in the black city and the taine is tied to the forgotten ones somehow.-- 14:28, February 5, 2015 (UTC)
I don't think the Dread Wolf so much as made a mistake in the sealing as didn't account for Dumat being able to convince seven Tevinter mages that the laws of the universe were really more like guidelines than actual rules. I think that it might be possible that some of the Lyrium those mages used were of the Red sort, and when they used it they brought the Blight to the Fade where it was warped, either by the Fade or the process of entering it, and became the Blight known in present day Thedas. I think Dumat knew or suspected the power of the Blight, if unleashed this way, would be enough to free him and allow him his vengeance upon the world, and I think we have the "prototype" of this plan in the Profane. An early attempt to turn Red Lyrium into a force that would infect other beings. The Dread Wolf might have gotten a lot of things wrong, but if the only way the Forgotten Ones could gain freedom from his prison was a near apocalyptic Veil-shattering event I'd say he did pretty well. The mistake was likely whether or not he should have done it in the first place.--126.96.36.199 (talk) 20:36, February 5, 2015 (UTC)
We know that entering the Fade physically doesn't cause someone/something to be tainted. When the Inquisitor & co. entered the Fade, they did not come back tainted. What's more likely is that entering the Fade physically allows a person to reach the Black City. Solas says that the Black City looks a lot closer during the Inquisitor's trip to the Fade, and in the backround of the final battle against Corypheus the Black City can be seen in the sky. My guess is that the Black City was a physical place that got "shifted" into the Fade somehow, like a certain other lost city.
I used to think that the Black City might be the collective dream of the Old Gods, but given Solas's fit at the thought of the wardens killing the remaining Old Gods I doubt that's the case. Perhaps the Old Gods' existence keeps the gates of the Black City shut? It would explain Solas's desire to keep the Old Gods alive, not to mention why Flemeth wanted an Old God soul. Silver Warden (talk) 17:42, February 6, 2015 (UTC)
- You just blew my mind with that and gave me a crazy theory, don't know if anyone else has thought of this, might be far fetched, but... What if the Black City is Arlathan that got shifted (i.e. sunk) into the Fade? And that's where the Forgotten Ones of the Elven pantheon are. And if the Old Gods do have something to do with keeping the Black City shut and the taint contained, that could explain why Flemeth and Solas were interested in them and keeping it that way. Also Tamlen seeing a city through an eluvian and the relation the taint had with that mirror. Anyway, this is a bit off topic, but there you go, something to consider ;) SenjiBen (talk) 22:21, February 6, 2015 (UTC)
- This is exactly what I was thinking, although I'm hardly the first to suggest that the Black City is Arlathan. Before Inquisition, the response to theories like this was always "Nah, can't be Arlathan, the Tevinters pushed it underground. Beside, the ancient elves didn't have enough power to put a whole city in the Fade..."
- I think with enough power the elven gods could have shifted Arlathan into the Fade in order to trap the Forgotten Ones there. The Dalish story about the Dread Wolf says he locked them in the abyss. "Here Lies The Abyss" is the name of the quest where in Inquisitor goes into the Fade, so... Silver Warden (talk) 06:44, February 7, 2015 (UTC)
- I didn't mean to imply that entering the Fade alone caused the Magisters to be blighted. I propose that they brought the blight with them in the form of Red Lyrium use, and that use caused the Blight to change into the form it is known in Thedas presently. The Blight that can cause an Old God to become an Archdemon and wage war upon Thedas. It clearly wasn't happening before, although it seems that Red Lyrium has been around for at least awhile, and Red Lyrium clearly has a host of powers not found in the blue varieties. Is it so insane that the Magisters attempted to harness this power then as Corypheus did now? The Inquisitor used the anchor to enter the Fade, a power source not necessarily blighted, and not by ingesting Red Lyrium. Admittedly this theory is not perfect, (for one a Grey Warden, who of course carries the blight, accompanies you to the Fade) but something happened around the time when the Magisters attempted to enter the Golden City. Something caused what was in Red Lyrium to be changed into the force that infects all living things and creates darkspawn.
- The "Arlathan is the Black City" holds weight. The city is solid and unchanging, like you'd expect something brought to the Fade from Thedas, and possibly only able to be approached by physical beings. Also makes sense. The Old Gods are the Forgotten Ones also holds a lot of weight, though. The Dread wolf trapped the Forgotten ones in the Abyss, and according to the Dwarves, the Old Gods are trapped in the Stone. The parallels between the Stone and the Abyss are pretty clear, in my opinion. If the Old Gods are the Forgotten Ones it is extremely unlikely that the darkspawn are tunneling into the Black City to awaken them. You alos mentioned the quest "Here Lies the Abyss," which culminates in the Inquisitor entering the Fade at Adamant Fortress and escaping. Adamant Fortress is, of course, in Orlais, and as we've heard, whispered by golems, and etched upon a certain axe: "The Stone lives beneath Orlais." Just another interpretation of that same title.
- As for Solas' reluctance about killing the Old Gods, I would bet it's for the same reason Solas would not kill a demon, given the opportunity. Maybe he believes they can be redeemed, or turned to greater purpose. At least until one becomes an Archdemon. Maybe he considers them kin, still. If they are the Forgotten Ones of elven legend, he once walked among them as well as the Gods.
- In the end, I guess we have to ask ourselves how much we believe Corypheus' account, that he entered the Black City and found nothing. No Maker, certainly no Forgotten Ones. Empty. How much do we believe the records of the history of Tevinter and the ancient elves? Of the Dwarves? Sorry for the long winded-ness. I think there is a lot of deoth in this topic. --188.8.131.52 (talk) 08:40, February 7, 2015 (UTC)
- In keeping with throwing wild ideas around, I just got the strangest feeling about Skyhold. It was originally an elven site meant to "Hold up/back the sky" and the notes say the elves kept coming back and building or something but never settling and establishing a city there. So... What if that's where Solas/Fen'Harrel and Flemeth/Mythal and some of the other good gods or powerful elves, whatever they were, sent the Forgotten Ones away. Where they Breached the Fade and used magic to shift Arlathan. And whatever was there was constantly rebuilt or reinforced to keep the sky back/keep binding the Fade like the Wardens did with Corypheus' prison seals.
- Maybe that's why there were elven mosaics at the Temple of Sacred Ashes, they just used an old elven outpost from the area, also why Corypheus created the Breach there, because the Veil was already thinned.... And I'm outa breath. That was a lot more crazy ideas than I intended. Still it makes an odd sort of sense. I will be laughing for days if in a DLC/Expansion/next game that it turns out to be right. SenjiBen (talk) 08:52, February 7, 2015 (UTC)
- How close is Skyhold to the Temple of Sacred Ashes? They are in similar spots on the world map, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I was under the impression that the two were several days travel on foot apart, which would make them dozens of miles apart. Also, isn't the Temple in Ferelden and Skyhold in Orlais? Of course they could just both be on the border, but the two are clearly not right on top of each other.
- There's some wonky magic going on in the site of the Temple of Sacred Ashes. Notice all the lyrium around the site of the explosion? Red lyrium. When Varric asks "how'd that get here?" Solas says it may have been corrupted by whatever caused the explosion. Cory likely needed a bunch of lyrium to make the Anchor, but I doubt he needed it to be fused with the mountainside. The veil was also thin in the area. At first I thought that Cory performed the Anchor-making ritual at the temple as a symbolic FU to the Chantry, but now I think may have more to do with the site itself. The symbolic FU was just a bonus for him. Silver Warden (talk) 17:47, February 7, 2015 (UTC)
- Yea, that last part was more of a sudden spin-off that came to mind at the end, didn't really think it was likely to be true. But the whole Arlathan/Black City and the relevance of the Skyhold site set my mind buzzing. Of course they may be completely unrelated and Arlathan being the Black City could be nonsense, but it seemed like an intriguing theory. Definitely think there must've been a reason for Corypheus making the Breach at Sacred Ashes Temple. Oghren says in DA:O that there's a lot of the purest Lyrium infused with the place, so perhaps Corypheus needed to wake or activate Solas' Foci orb thing (seeing as Solas said he gave it to Cory because he didn't have the power to awaken it) and sacrificing the Divine for a little extra power was a FU to the Chantry and proving the Maker wouldn't step in even for her maybe? SenjiBen (talk) 22:01, February 7, 2015 (UTC)
- Yes, exactly. Killing the divine at the Conclave was also a brilliant political move by Cory, as it also prevented the mage-templar war from stopping, allowing him to take over both sides while the Chantry bickered over who was in charge. And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for that pesky Inquisitor. Silver Warden (talk) 23:23, February 7, 2015 (UTC)