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The Fourth Blight began when the Archdemon Andoral arose in 5:12 Exalted and darkspawn surfaced in the northeast and northwestern regions of Thedas.


Antiva was struck by the darkspawn first. The Antivans were taken completely by surprise and the darkspawn had soon taken all of Antiva with only the capital, Antiva City resisting. Unchecked, the darkspawn swarmed out into Rivain and the Free Marches. Meanwhile, Antiva City closed its gates. In spite of this, refugees continued to flee to Antiva City with hundreds camping outside the city gates.[1]

Fall of Antiva City[]

King Elaudio and Queen Giuvana of Antiva called the Grey Wardens for aid. Antiva's Warden-Commander, Turab, gathered a contingent of Antivan Wardens at the city and called for a regiment of griffon riders to help evacuate the city. Garahel and his sister Isseya were among them. The Wardens advised fleeing Antiva immediately in order to save as many lives as possible, but the royal couple insisted on trying to defend the city from the darkspawn, ignoring the Wardens' warnings the city was in no way prepared to withstand a siege. However, many of the ship captains still in the city chose to flee via Rialto bay, leaving even fewer means of escape from the city. Eventually discontent at the royals' misjudgment led to the Antivan Royal Guard turning on them, killing King Eluadio before being defeated by the Grey Wardens. To preserve morale, it was announced that the King was killed by the darkspawn.

As the Wardens and the surviving members of the royal court prepared to withdraw, the walls were finally breached and the darkspawn swarmed through the city. The Wardens were attacked by the Archdemon Andoral itself just outside of Antiva City, killing Warden-Commander Turab and most of the Wardens along with the surviving members of the royal family, whom the Wardens had been trying to evacuate. Garahel and Isseya, together with Amadis Vael and an Antivan Crow mage Calien launched a diversionary attack on the Archdemon to allow the surviving Wardens the time to get their charges to safety. After a pitched conflict they were able to delay the Archdemon and make a narrow escape.[2]

Evacuation of Wycome[]

The surviving Wardens regrouped at the city of Wycome in the Free Marches. The local citizenry devoted all their efforts to fortifying the city. Knowing that this would be insufficient to hold off the darkspawn, Warden-Commander Senaste had the Wardens constructing improvised aravels led by griffons which they could use to evacuate the populace. Isseya oversaw the project while Garahel delivered messages and requests of support to nobles and other potential military assets on behalf of Amadis Vael. Although they were unable to evacuate everyone before the city fell, the Wardens managed to send a large number of refugees to Starkhaven.[3]

Other fronts[]

The Siege of Hossberg[]

Hossberg was under varying degrees of siege by the darkspawn for the next eight years. Garahel was promoted to the temporary rank of Field-Commander and given charge of defending against the siege. Finally in the last days of 5:19 Exalted, the Grey Wardens were able to locate the entrance to the Deep Roads which the darkspawn were using to bring reinforcements into the Anderfels to join the siege. Isseya leads a small sortie party out of Hossberg on their griffons to collapse the passage. In spite of some casualties the passage was collapsed and the darkspawn were cut off from reinforcements.

With the darkspawn isolated, Garahel led the bulk of the Grey Wardens and the Anderfels Royal Army from a position northwest of the city against the main force of the darkspawn. Meanwhile, another contingent of Grey Wardens under the command of Isseya opened up a second front south of the city. The Wardens mined the area with 'skyburners'–a modified form of dwarven lyrium mining explosives donated by Orzammar–which they baited with quality weaponry to lure the darkspawn.[7] A large number of darkspawn were destroyed in the initial blast and afterwards the Wardens attacked, massacring and forcing the retreat of ancillary darkspawn forces in the fork of the Lattenfluss river. Combined with the main army's success, the siege of Hossberg was finally broken in the first days of 5:20 Exalted.[8]


Despite all the successes, the year 5:21 was the most dire point of the Blight. The Free Marches were left all but devastated and the darkspawn pressed further west. In return for a declaration of support for her regency from Garahel himself, Queen Mariwen of the Anderfels agreed to send the Anderfels Royal Army to assist the Wardens in their campaign.

Fortress Haine became a makeshift Warden fortress and a refuge known as the Retreat was dug in the mountain, sheltering fleeing Cumberland and Kirkwall citizens. Kirkwall was evacuated using the same method the Wardens used in Wycome years earlier. Thanks to a rabid griffon, one train of aravels was lost on the approach to the darkspawn but the rest reached the fortress. Together with the Champion of Starkhaven, the Wardens managed to evacuate hundreds of refugees to Fortress Haine.[9]

Meanwhile, Garahel formed a formidable ensemble army including a large number of disenfranchised groups, including a company of apostate mages known as the Broken Circle, a group of casteless and surface dwarves named the Stone's Bastards and the Masterless, former elven slaves from the Tevinter Imperium.

In 5:22 he gathered Orlesian and Anders Wardens and marched to Starkhaven. Garahel organized an alliance between the Marchers and the united army continued north.[10][11][12]

Battle of Ayesleigh[]

By 5:24 Exalted, the darkspawn had finally been pushed back to Rivain and Antiva. The allied forces decided to use this opportunity to try and bring the Archdemon itself to battle and thus end the Blight. Amadis Vael led the ground force on Arvaud's Barrow just outside the city of Ayesleigh, with Ser Gaston de Montfort leading the cavalry. The Champion of Starkhaven was also among the ground force. The ground force attacked the gathered darkspawn there and then laid an ambush for the Archdemon. Simultaneously, Garahel led a strike force of Grey Wardens on griffons to the skies above Ayesleigh. Using a smaller version of the skyburner explosives, the Wardens barraged the city below to devastating effect, causing heavy darkspawn casualties. The darkspawn had no real way to combat the airborne Wardens, and the Archdemon was forced to take the field.

The Wardens struck, aiming to infuriate the beast and lure it back to their ground troops. However, they lost control of the rabid griffons, splintering their strike force. Only a handful of griffons followed the withdrawal formation while the rest frantically assaulted the Archdemon. Cut off from their support, the Wardens concentrated all their riders on attacking Andoral. Although most of them were killed during the ensuing battle, the unusual ferocity of rabid griffons proved highly effective tearing out chunks of the Archdemon's flesh, and with support of the archers and mages the Wardens managed to collapse one of its wings. Andoral was sent hurtling down crashing into the streets of Ayesleigh. The Wardens advanced on the city to finish their task, only to discover Andoral had led them into a trap of its own; its flight had led the Wardens head first into range of legions of darkspawn archers, taking further casualties.

With only three Wardens left, Garahel flew his griffon into Ayesleigh narrowly avoiding the archers and the Archdemon's attacks before finally driving his blade into a wound at the base of the Archdemon's neck made by the rabid griffons, killing the beast at last. The Fourth Blight ended–and Garahel died, having performed a Grey Warden's ultimate duty, sacrificing his own life to destroy Andoral.[13][14]

Captain Lambert Valmont of the Imperial Orlesian army was part of the Orlesian regiment of the ground forces during the battle. Lambert disregarded his orders and aided the Antivan forces, saving them and their King, Azar Adalberto Campana from certain death. The King thanked his savior by elevating him to noble rank and giving him one of his daughter's hand in marriage, and when Lambert returned to Orlais, the Emperor felt obligated to follow suit and granted him a Marquisate.[15]


The effects of the Blight persisted in the Anderfels and the Deep Roads but were largely ignored by most, save for the Grey Wardens. So many darkspawn were slain in the final battles of the Blight that it was easy for some to imagine that they would never return. This view persisted for many centuries after the final victory at Ayesleigh, and would ultimately damage efforts to repulse the darkspawn the next time they rose up under the command of an Archdemon, as the surface kingdoms were long convinced such an occurrence was impossible.[16] Garahel himself was granted a hero's funeral, attended by kings and emperors from across Thedas.[17] As per Garahel's final request, his weapons and armour were returned to the Grey Wardens and placed in a memorial casket at Weisshaupt Fortress, adorned with horns taken from Andoral's corpse, save for his helmet, which was lost in battle at Ayesleigh.[18]

The griffons soon went extinct, their numbers decimated during the Blight.[19]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Last Flight.

The cause of this was the result of a modified version of the Joining created by Isseya that gave the griffons greater strength and speed, that became contagious and communicated to unjoined griffons, resulting in the noble beasts becoming uncontrollably aggressive. The First Warden ordered that any griffon who showed signs or was suspected of being infected was to be put down. Isseya fruitlessly sought a cure at the Circle of Magi in both the Free Marches and the Tevinter Imperium to no avail. Judging that the Wardens of her generation were not fit to be stewards of the griffons, Isseya hid thirteen griffon eggs, sired by Garahel's griffon Crookytail and Amadis Vael's griffon Smoke, purified of the taint, in a dragon's den in the Anderfels in what would later be called the Red Bride's Grave, until the plague had passed and left clues at Weisshaupt for an elven mage to find so the species would be reborn.[20]


  • The Fourth Blight's infamous siege of Hossberg inspired commonly-known songs such as "The Rat-Eater's Lament" and "The Orphan With Five Fathers."[21]


See also[]

Codex entry: Ballad of Ayesleigh Codex entry: Ballad of Ayesleigh — a ballad about the final battle of the Fourth Blight
Codex entry: Garahel's Helm Codex entry: Garahel's Helm — describes the slaying of Andoral
Codex entry: Stalata Negat Codex entry: Stalata Negat — dwarven view on the Fourth Blight
Axe of the Grey Axe of the Grey
Codex entry: The Lion of Orlais Codex entry: The Lion of Orlais — describes the rescuing of beleaguered Antivan forces during the Battle of Ayesleigh