The Kirkwall Rebellion refers to the conflict surrounding the annulment of the Kirkwall Circle of Magi in 9:37 Dragon. Spurred by the destruction of the Kirkwall Chantry by an apostate mage, Knight-Commander Meredith Stannard of the Templar Order invoked the Right of Annulment upon the Gallows, leading to widespread violence across the city. After the death of the majority of Kirkwall mages, including the First Enchanter Orsino, as well as Knight-Commander Meredith herself, the templars and the city guards were able to restore order to the city but the rebellion ultimately led to the collapse of the Circle of Magi system across all of Thedas within a few years.

Prelude[edit | edit source]

Living conditions with in the Gallows became stricter circa 9:30 Dragon. Mages were locked in their cells, denied appearances at court, and made Tranquil for the slightest crimes. The mage underground was created to help mages escape the Gallows and find refuge in far away areas where the templars could not easily reach them. Tarohne, a fanatical apostate mage who has a great hatred for templars, leads her fellow Maleficarum in attempting to subvert the Templar Order from the inside by kidnapping templar recruits and having demons possess them. Her nefarious schemes were foiled by Hawke and their associates. While the templars reacted against the mage underground and maleficars, Knight-Commander Meredith began to impose harsher sanctions on the Kirkwall Circle and templars presumably led by Ser Otto Alrik began abusing their charges in secret. As the years go by, tranquilized mages, who willingly allow themselves to be abused by Alrik, are displayed in the Gallows Courtyard; presumably to cow the mages into submission. Many mages are terrorized into compliance and the templars are divided on whether these inhumane tactics serve the Templar Order's noble tenets. Knight-Commander Meredith only empowers her sycophants and anyone who criticizes their authority eventually become muzzled pariahs or choose to leave the Order.

At the request of the Chantry, Knight-Commander Meredith became steward of Kirkwall following the death of Viscount Marlowe Dumar at the hands of the Qunari circa 9:34 Dragon. For the following three years, she refused to allow a new Viscount to be elected, and transformed Kirkwall into a templar-run police state. She claimed that martial law was only temporary until a successor could be determined and Kirkwall was purged of all blood mages. The mage underground was all but destroyed by the templars and those who remained turned to blood magic as their only recourse, spurring Meredith and her Templars to institute ever more draconian measures of control. Some of Meredith's sycophants began openly abusing their new power, harassing city guardsmen and taking great liberty in dealing with mage sympathizers however they wished. This worried both the nobility and the mages, who began to look to the Champion of Kirkwall for aid. Orsino, the first enchanter of the Kirkwall Circle of Magi, also appealed to Hawke, as he believed Meredith had lost her mind. Even some of her own templars shared the view that Meredith was seeing enemies where none existed, in addition to privately believing that she was violating their order's tenets by seizing worldly power. The Seekers of Truth secretly investigated Meredith's sanctions early on, but with so many cases of magical corruption, it was determined that she was justified in her actions.

Eventually, Orsino attempted to publicly rally the nobility of the city into rebelling against Meredith, only for the Knight-Commander to appear personally to put down the rally. But before she could succeed, Orsino called on the Champion and soon both sides tried to convince the Champion that they were in the right. Before the argument could go any further, Grand Cleric Elthina arrived and convinced both Orsino and Meredith to peacefully return to the Gallows. Despite her power and authority over the Kirkwall Circle and Templar Order, she refused to take sides, claiming neutrality, believing that Meredith and Orsino should be given time to sort out their differences and remained blind in her faith in the Maker's eventual intervention.

Following the Hightown dispute, mage sympathizers within the templar ranks destroyed a number of phylacteries to allow a small number of Circle mages to escape. Most of the mages only fled to their families and were summarily recaptured, while the insurrectionists were punished by Meredith for abandoning their duty. However, only three apostates, Huon, Evelina and Emile de Launcet remained at large, so Meredith called on the services of the Champion to track them down. The Champion was forced to kill Huon, who turned to blood magic, and Evelina who had become an abomination, while Emile was revealed to be hanging at the Hanged Man.

Elthina soon received word that Divine Justinia V feared the Free Marches becoming another Tevinter Imperium and had dispatched an agent into the city to assess the danger. Elthina sent the Champion and her trusted acolyte, Sebastian Vael, to meet with the agent and convince her that drastic measures aren't necessary, fearing that if the Divine moved against Kirkwall, then more chaos would result. The two went to the meeting place in the Viscount's throne room under cover of night, only to run into a group of Resolutionists, members of an offshoot of the Libertarian fraternity determine to free mages at all costs, who mistook the duo for the Divine's agents. After dispatching all the mages, they met with the agent, who warned Justinia believed that a rebellion in Kirkwall, being influenced by outside groups, was sure to follow and advised them to convince the Grand Cleric to flee to Val Royeaux, the heart of the Chantry. The Champion and Sebastian attempted to convince Elthina to flee, but she stubbornly refused, staying with her flock, believing that no one was foolish enough to attack her and that she could calm any conflict that could arise.

Thrask's rebels

Meanwhile, the templar Thrask was conspiring to unseat Meredith, teaching one mage and templar at a time that they don't need to hate each other. The conspiracy was even permitted the use of blood magic. His activities were noticed, however, and the Champion was sent to investigate. The conspiracy responded by kidnapping one of the Champion's closest companions, hoping to blackmail the Champion from interfering. When the Champion confronted the conspirators at their base on the Wounded Coast, Thrask's rebellion ended before it began when one of his allies turned on him and killed him in a futile attempt to get revenge on the Champion for the death of her lover six years previously. The survivors of the conspiracy were taken into custody by Meredith's loyalists in order to dissuade further attempts. Both Meredith and Orsino believed the other to be responsible for the conspiracy.

Given that according to Ser Karras Meredith had requested the Right of Annulment from the Divine in Val Royeaux even prior to the described events, the situation became extremely tense.

The last straw came when Meredith accused First Enchanter Orsino of harbouring blood mages, demanding a full search of the Gallows to root them out; Orsino refused to allow it and stormed off, intending to bring the matter to the Grand Cleric's attention. Things come to a head when Anders, an apostate healer, host to a Spirit of Justice, ex-Grey Warden, and companion of the Champion of Kirkwall, interfered to say that the friction between the Circle and templars and the Chantry's apathy towards the abuses of its own military arm had gone on for too long.

Seconds later, the bomb Anders planted inside the Kirkwall chantry exploded, killing Grand Cleric Elthina and everybody else inside. As the explosion was not contained, deadly debris from Anders' blast also rained over half of Kirkwall.[1] Anders stated that he destroyed the Chantry and thus removed the chance of compromise because there was no real chance of compromise, and in order to show Thedas that the Circles of Magi weren't a solution.

Immediately after the chantry explosion, Meredith invoked the Right of Annulment - calling on the templars to execute every mage in the Kirkwall Circle - despite the Circle of Magi having nothing to do with the Chantry explosion. First Enchanter Orsino rallied the Circle together to fight the templars in turn. Both factions petitioned for the Champion's assistance: Orsino arguing the Circle was innocent of any involvement in Anders' crime, while Meredith countered that Kirkwall would descend into chaos if the people were not granted retribution for Elthina's murder.

The destruction of the Kirkwall chantry.

The Battle[edit | edit source]

Violence erupted shortly after the Champion's decision of which side would be supported, with the mages and templars now in open warfare across Kirkwall. The city was in chaos - the mayhem exacerbated by some of the mages resorting to blood magic, becoming abominations and unleashing demons onto the streets. The fighting stretched from Lowtown all the way to the Gallows, where Orsino attempted to bargain with Meredith in order to persuade her to revoke the Right of Annulment. But Meredith claimed that no amount of compromise could sate Kirkwall's desire for vengeance. After a temporary ceasefire was called, Meredith led a full-scale attack on the Gallows that saw many on both sides slain, to which First Enchanter Orsino retaliated by resorting to blood magic, transforming into a monstrous fleshly construct. The Champion was forced to intervene by slaying the monstrosity Orsino had become.

A fight between a mage and a templar

Following this, the Champion arrived in the Gallows Courtyard, where Meredith was waiting with a contingent of templars. It soon became apparent that Orsino was correct, and she had indeed gone mad. This was due to the lyrium idol that was salvaged from the Primeval Thaig, which Meredith had forged into a sword; the corrupting influence of red lyrium within the artifact had preyed on her paranoia, both against mages and the Champion, whom Meredith had come to believe was a threat to the city. Meredith ordered her templars to kill the Champion, but they refused, believing she had finally gone too far. When Knight-Captain Cullen ordered Meredith to stand down and declared her relieved of command, Meredith angrily accused her templars of being enthralled by blood magic. Meredith battled against the Champion and their companions, their allies, and some of her own templars, with the accursed sword in her hand granting her superhuman abilities and the ability to animate the statues in the Gallows courtyard.

When it became apparent that the Champion would prevail, Meredith refused to accept defeat and attempted to draw more power from the sword. Instead, the sword exploded, and the lyrium sank into her skin, petrifying her. Granted de facto command, Cullen silently ordered the remaining templars to cease hostilities against the Champion.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

News of the slaughter of Kirkwall's Circle spread far beyond the city's borders. The Champion's name became a rallying cry, either as a symbol of Mage resistance or of Templar jurisdiction. This in turn incited the Circles in other nations to rise up against the templars and the Chantry, bringing Thedas to the brink of a war between the mages and templars on a worldwide scale.

As for the state of Kirkwall, more templars arrived to serve under Cullen's command to restore order to the city. By 9:41, Kirkwall was ruled by Provisional Viscount Bran Cavin. Bran reluctantly assumed the office only because no one else familiar with the protocols wanted it. He saw his appointment as temporary. Bran spent much of his time negotiating with numerous would-be conquerors of the city while Captain of the Guard Aveline and the Kirkwall Militia ably defended it.[2] Kirkwall only began to recover from the calamities of the previous decade in 9:44 Dragon, when Varric Tethras, a former member both of Hawke's circle and of the reformed Inquisition, was elected the new Viscount by the nobles.

References[edit | edit source]

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