Nevarra is a nation in central Thedas, west of the Free Marches, south of the Tevinter Imperium, and northeast of Orlais. It was originally one of the larger Free Marches city-states before it expanded rapidly to become a nation proper in the Exalted Age. Thanks to enormous wealth and a strategic central location in Thedas, some claim Nevarra's power rivals that of the Orlesian Empire.
A citizen of Nevarra is called a Nevarran.
Nevarra was originally settled by the Planasene, a farming people with a strong culture of animist worship. Their earliest known ruler was King Damertes, a contemporary of Neromenian King Antoridus and Archon Thalsian, who are said to have lived around -1595 Ancient. Damertes' struggle against Antoridus and his deperate turn to demon worship is described in Threnodies 6 of the Chant of Light. Although Damertes successfully defended his people from the Neromenian onslaught, the Planasene were ultimately conquered by rising Tevinter in the following centuries.
Nevarra remained part of the Tevinter Imperium until around -180 Ancient when Andraste and Maferath led their armies north. The Lord of Nevarra, Hector, was one of Andraste's most loyal followers. It was from his stronghold in the city that Andraste was captured by the Imperium following Maferath's betrayal.
With Andraste gone, Maferath returned to rule over the Fereldan Valley. He dispersed the remaining lands among his three sons while giving the Dales to the elves, as promised by Andraste for their help against the Tevinters. Verald was given the lands surrounding Nevarra City. However, he was an incompetent ruler who constantly used his father's name to secure his throne. As a result, when Maferath's betrayal of Andraste was revealed in -135 Ancient Verald was forced out of the city and all of his court was killed.
Rule of the city-state changed hands several times after that so that by the Glory Age, Nevarra was lagging behind the other Marcher city-states. Many thought the best course of action would be to give Nevarra over to Orlais or one of the stronger city-states like Starkhaven. Before this came to pass, Caspar Pentaghast of Hunter Fell deposed King Ionas in 2:46 Glory and seized the throne for himself. Under his leadership, Nevarra's fortunes turned around.
In 3:25 Towers, the armies of Orlais and the Tevinter Imperium joined with the Grey Wardens to end the Third Blight. However, the victorious armies proceeded to occupy the territories they had liberated from the darkspawn. Nevarra was taken by Orlais, except for Hunter Fell which went to the Imperium, and only regained its independence in 3:65 Towers.
In 5:37 Exalted, Nevarran general Tylus Van Markham, who claimed descent from Emperor Kordillus Drakon I, successfully rallied the populace to overthrow the Pentaghasts and claim the throne for himself. Being a hero of the recent Fourth Blight, Tylus was able to stir nationalistic feelings in the western Free Marches against the growing power of Orlais. He proved his military might by winning several major battles against the Orlesians, establishing Nevarra as a new, growing power and a full-fledged nation in its own right.
In 5:40 Exalted, a cadre of knights known as the Fallen held the line at the Fields of Ghislain against an Orlesian incursion, which kept King Tylus alive long enough for Nevarran forces to retreat. This act is credited as ensuring the survival of the newly carved out Nevarran nation.The Van Markhams produced three more kings. The last Van Markham king died in the Steel Age with no sons, but his daughter married a Pentaghast and the two families merged to solidify Nevarra's status as a significant power in Thedas. They have ruled Nevarra since then, under the Pentaghast name.
In 7:82 Storm, Emperor Etienne Valmont of Orlais set aside his (childless) empress of seventeen years to wed Princess Sotiria Pentaghast, in the hopes of creating lasting peace and cooperation between the two nations. By 7:97 Storm, Sotiria was still childless, and the emperor sent her to a cloister so that he could marry his mistress, Marquise Yvette. The Nevarrans took this extremely poorly. After cartloads of angry letters failed to improve the situation a small war party of Pentaghasts rode into Orlais and reclaimed their princess. They took no further military action until 8:46 Blessed, when the Orlesian army was still committed to a war in Ferelden. The Nevarrans declared war and promptly took a number of cities. The Orlesians eventually managed to rally a defense and drive the Nevarrans from Ghislain and Arlesans, but Perendale was lost and never recovered. It remains a Nevarran possession to this day.
In 8:60 Aurelian Pentaghast attempted to assume the Nevarran throne. When it was revealed that he was not a Pentaghast by blood (he was in fact Princess Sotiria's stepson from her second marriage to Orlesian nobleman Gustav LaFleur) he joined the dwarven Legion of the Dead, the only human ever to do so. In 8:70 Blessed, a war between Nevarra and Orlais over the control of the western hills around Perendale resulted in Nevarran victory. However, Orlais proceeded to sow dissent and rebellion among the locals in Perendale, who resented Nevarran rule.
In 8:82 Blessed, Nevarra began a bloody campaign of conquest within the Free Marches, encouraged by their taking of Perendale. They were stopped by Cade Arvale from Rivain, who was named Champion of Tantervale for his deed.
In 8:99 Blessed, dragons devastated the countrysides in Orlais and Nevarra, and all attempts to slay them ended in disaster. In response, Divine Faustine II abruptly named the Dragon Age, saying that it will be an age of violence and upheaval.
Nevarra has a history of royal dynasties, which has persisted into modern day. Most Nevarran monarchs have been members of the frequently militarily-gifted Pentaghast clan, under whom alliances with other Free Marches states have been courted or coerced to form a powerful confederation under Pentaghast leadership.
A long war against Orlais over the mineral-rich Blasted Hills, a region between the two countries ended during the Blessed Age with a Nevarran victory. However, rebellion was fomenting in the conquered area due to the imposition of harsh taxes by the Nevarrans, as well as the support of Orlais.
By the Glory Age, rule of the city-state had changed hands many time, with poor leadership causing Nevarra to fall well behind other Marcher city-states. Prior to the First Pentaghast Dynasty, the ruler was Ionas, a physically frail man manipulated by his advisers and whose rule added to Nevarra's slow decline. The destruction of the city-state from within seemed imminent when rumor spread that Ionas's advisers may have brokered deals to cede struggling Nevarra to a greater power, such as Orlais, for profit. This crisis was averted, however, when Caspar Pentaghast, a man of the small town of Hunter Fell, plotted to overthrow the enfeebled king, and did so during the Glory Age. With Caspar began Nevarra's long history of family dynasties.
First Pentaghast Dynasty
Caspar's family held the throne from the Glory Age into the Exalted Age, approximately three hundred years. The family's rule was only threatened during a brief period when Orlais occupied the land during a Blight, and was reclaimed when Caspar II ousted the Orlesians.
Van Markham Dynasty
Following the Fourth Blight, general Tylus van Markham, who claimed descent from Kordillus Drakon I, raised the populace against the Pentaghast clan, claiming the dynasty had forgotten the values they once held and had become corrupt and dissolute. King Nestor Pentaghast was killed in the rebellion, stabbed sixteen times upon his throne, and those of his clan who remained fled to Hunter Fell, their ancestral home. Tylus and three other Van Markham kings transformed Nevarra into the modern country it is today, overtaking large parcels of Orlesian land to do it.
Second Pentaghast Dynasty
In the Steel Age the last Van Markham king perished with no male heirs. His daughter married a Pentaghast and joined the warring clans. This union allowed Pentaghast rule to return with Van Markhams enjoying powerful status among the nobility.
The current ruler of the nation is Markus Pentaghast, an old man of weak health and uncertain sanity. His rule has been condemned by those who claim his Mortalitasi advisers are ruling through him, much as Ionas' did so long ago. Pentaghast and Van Markham relatives alike are vying to replace the old king, but some say it is time for the two ruling families to cede power to a new family. Ferdinand Pentaghast, younger brother of Markus, is the next in line to rule. However he is also old and has no interest in ruling, and neither brother have any known children. The future of the Pentaghast dynasty hangs in the balance.
- Cumberland: A city on the Waking Sea, giving it access to trade with the rest of the Free Marches and beyond. Over the last century, Cumberland has taken advantage of this to expand into one of the largest cities in Thedas. Cumberland is also where the College of Magi routinely convene and the seat of the Grand Enchanter.
- Hunter Fell: The site where the Old God Toth, the Archdemon of the Third Blight, was defeated at 3:25 Towers. After the Blight it was occupied by Tevinter Imperium until 3:49 Towers.
- Nevarra City: The capital city of Nevarra, located in the middle of the nation. It is also the location of the Grand Necropolis.
- Perendale: A city near the Blasted Hills, taken from the Orlesians in the Blessed Age. 
- Cumber River
- Minanter River, also known as Pnemoix
- The Silent Plains
- The Fields of Ghislain, on the border of Orlais
- The Imperial Highway crosses Nevarra by starting from the Silent Plains in the north, then crosses the Minanter River until it reaches Cumberland, then turns west to Orlais.
Culture and society
Nevarra is renowned for its art. The whole country is filled with artistry, from the statues of heroes that litter the streets in even the meanest villages to the glittering golden College of Magi in Cumberland.
Nevarra City in particular engages in numerous cultural events and contests throughout the year. In summer the nobility participate in the "Duchess's Games" at the Anaxas estate, in which scholars from Cumberland test their wit against denizens of the Free Marches in debates of philosophy and rhetoric, usually taking place over tea with the Duchess Ravria Anaxas.
In autumn in Nevarra City the residents hold ancestral pageants. Lanterns are lit on the streets to illuminate the statues of ancestors and families drape their statues in colorful cloth and hire actors to stand by them at night to enact momentous events from their lives. The actors are paid in copper coins. The best pageantry takes place on the boulevard leading to the Castrum Draconis, in which statues of kings and queens are prominent. Pentaghasts and Van Markhams compete to outdo one another in extravagant pageantry here. Rumor holds that Mortalitasi of the Grand Necropolis perform autumn rites at this time as well.
In winter skating takes place on the Minanter, fueled by roasted chestnuts and hot spiced tea. As winter was also historically the time of dragon hunting, due to the sluggishness of the dragons in the cold weather, hunt balls are still held in winter despite the scarcity of such dragon hunts in recent times. Some homes keep dragon's hearts or heads as gruesome centerpieces. The hunt balls have become more of a metaphor for the hunt itself, with couples dressing in armor and flowing red cloth as they dance together.
In spring Nevarra holds Wintersend tournaments to great acclaim. These days there is less jousting and more tests of arms in archery and sword fighting.
Unlike most other Andrastians, Nevarrans do not burn their dead but instead carefully preserve the bodies and seal them in elaborate tombs. Some of the wealthiests Nevarrans start building their own tombs while still young, spending decades overseeing their construction. These become incredible palaces, with gardens, bathhouses, and ballrooms, kept only for the dead. These crypts are often decorated with their most prized possessions, and each crypt is as unique as the family buried there.
The mummified body of King Caspar the Magnificent is kept in the Grand Necropolis, wearing a gold crown and sitting on a throne of gold and marble. Children of the royal family are often taken to meet him.
Death and magic
Nevarrans have a unique relationship with magic and death. They believe that when a dead soul crosses the Fade it displaces a Fade spirit. In order to provide safe hosts for such spirits they mummify their corpses and place them in elaborate crypts in the Grand Necropolis. This task is entrusted to a secretive order of mages known as Mortalitasi, founded by a Tevinter mage named Vitus Fabria, who first preached the idea. Its gray-robed members enjoy wealth and political power as they often serve as advisers to Nevarran nobility, including the kings.
Because they rarely leave Nevarra, much of the Mortalitasi's practices are shrouded in mystery and fear, even to mages outside the nation's borders. They are rumored to be a death cult and experiment with necromancy, but whatever the truth, they are arguably the most well-schooled mages outside of the Tevinter Imperium.
The Pentaghast clan is renowned for its past dragon hunter heroes, each of whom led a crusade to hunt dragons to extinction - and nearly succeeded. While the dragons were a scourge for a very long time, the Nevarrans' hunt for their dragonbone (from which they made the famed ebony armor worn by their kings) and glory almost wiped them out in the Steel Age and dragons were thought extinct until their reappearance in the Dragon Age.
Notable people with Nevarran origins
- Cassandra Pentaghast
- Ravria Anaxas - Duchess of Nevarra City (as of 9:10 Dragon)
- Sandral Anaxas - The Duke of Cumberland
- Amalia Forsythia - Duchess of unspecified area in 9:41 Dragon.
- Tessa Forsythia
- Viuus Anaxas
- While Nevarra has a name similar to that of the Spanish region of Navarre/Navarra, it is not based on Spain.
- The currency of Nevarra is the kings guilder.
- The ancient name for the people of Nevarra is "Planasene".
See alsoCodex entry: Nevarra Codex entry: Armor of the Fallen