The Qun is a code of honor based on the writings of the Ashkaari Koslun, which encompasses everything from a philosophy, a set of laws, a legislative guide, and a social architecture to govern the Qunari ("People of the Qun"). The Qun defines the role of everyone and everything in the society of the Qunari, regardless of whether it is spiritual or mundane. For example, some Qunari are raised as soldiers from a very young age. They are expected to be strong, disciplined, and stoic, adhering without fail to the tenets of honor and duty as defined in the Qun. Fanatical in this devotion, the Qunari are prepared to wage war throughout their entire lives as part of their attempts to "enlighten" all other races in regards to their philosophy.
As the Qun covers a broad and complex range of topics, summarizing or explaining it to those not raised within it is difficult for those not trained to do it. Most inquiries from outsiders will be met with refusal, not out of ill will, but because most Qunari know only those parts of the Qun that affect their specific duties. Only the priesthood is equipped to convey it, and even they have to study it rigorously.
Concepts[edit | edit source]
An important concept in the Qun is the idea of "Asit tal-eb"—"It is to be": the idea that everything and everyone in the world has a nature, and all these things come together to form a proper order—such as the locust devouring crops. It is every individual's choice whether or not they act according to their nature and the nature of the world, or oppose the proper order, and as such fight against themselves and the world. The individual is not truly "individual", but part of the whole. Their own nature contributes to the larger nature of the world, and so their struggle against self-balance disrupts the balance of the whole, thus hurting themselves. Because of this, society is not considered artificial, but part of nature.
Culture[edit | edit source]
Every aspect of the Qunari's lives is dictated by the Qun, which they follow unquestioningly, and they see it as their moral duty to forcefully "educate" those who do not comprehend (to Qunari, the Qun is not "believed", it is "understood"). To the Qunari, the Qun is their only truth for morality, and all societies that reject it will live in debauchery and suffering. To bring these societies to the Qun is to liberate them from their own self-inflicted torment. Even Qunari attempts at trade with other races and nations are done primarily to assess potential opponents, rather than to amass resources or wealth.
Qunari who have abandoned the Qun are called Tal-Vashoth and live away from the Qunari homelands, often working as mercenaries. All Qunari are defined by their social role, which is supposed to be a defining part of the person's nature, unchangeable and fundamental. Qunari value their tools highly and consider them part of their worthiness, as extensions of their role and duties. For example, a Qunari soldier must never be separated from his weapon; such an individual will likely be shamed and/or executed upon returning to the homeland, as it is considered the object that carries the "soul" of the individual (as opposed to the body, which is only a vessel). Others, like the Ben-Hassrath, are allowed to use whatever tools they see fit to do their job, as most of their duties are more cerebral.
Both the Andrastian Chantry and Imperial Chantry consider the Qun to be a threat to their teachings—a test of faith to be fought and vanquished. There have thus been several Exalted Marches declared on the Qunari by both of them. While the Qunari possess superior technology, they are far more reluctant than the Chantry to turn to the use of magic, which they view as a major contradiction to the Qun and its teachings. This extreme mistrust of magic helped push them to develop technologically, but as a result their knowledge of magic is very limited, and their mages' powers are underdeveloped. By 7:85 Storm, they had been pushed back to Northern Rivain and Par Vollen.
Extracts from the Qun[edit | edit source]
- "Shok ebasit hissra. Meraad astaarit, meraad itwasit, aban aqun. Maraas shokra. Anaan esaam Qun." ("Struggle is an illusion. The tide rises, the tide falls, but the sea is changeless. There is nothing to struggle against. Victory is in the Qun.")
- "As a fish stranded by the tide knows the air or a drowning man knows the sea, so does a mage know magic."
- (possible extract) "Doubt is the path one walks to reach faith. To leave the path is to embrace blindness and abandon hope."
- "To call a thing by its name is to know its reason in the world. To call a thing falsely is to put out one's own eyes."
Parables[edit | edit source]
- (about the dangers of mages) "An ashkaari walked among the fields once, observing the laborers at work. Flax bloomed all around him, the color of still water. The air rippled like a curtain. As he stopped to examine a blossom, a bee stung him on the hand. The ashkaari turned to a laborer for aid, and noticed for the first time the heavy gloves and coat she wore. As she tended to him, the ashkaari asked them why she was dressed so in such stifling heat. "To avoid your fate." She replied. "But there are many thousands of bees here," the ashkaari said to her, "and only one stung me. Surely your caution is unwarranted?" "The stinger is always a surprise," agreed the laborer. "But so is the bee that simply passes one by.""
- (about the world) "A great ashkaari during his travels came upon a village in the desert. There, he found the houses crumbling. The earth so dry and dead that the people tied themselves to each other for fear a strong wind would carry the ground out from under their feet. Nothing grew there except the bitter memory of gardens. The ashkaari stopped the first man he saw, and asked, "What happened here?" "Drought came. And the world changed from prosperity to ruin," the man told him. "Change it back." The ashkaari replied. The villager became angry then, believing the ashkaari mocked him, for no one could simply change the world on a whim. To which the ashkaari answered, "Then change yourself. You make your own world."
The Body Canto[edit | edit source]
Tonight, in the desert, with emptiness all around,
The sky, endless, the earth, desolate,
Before my eyes the contradiction opened like a night-blooming flower.
Emptiness is an illusion. Beneath my feet,
Grains of sand beyond counting.
Above my head, a sea of stars.
Alone, they are small,
A faint and flickering light in the darkness,
A lost and fallen fragment of earth.
Alone, they make the emptiness real.
Together, they are the bones of the world.
Solitude is illusion. Alone in the darkness,
I was surrounded on all sides.
The starlight dripped from the petals
Of cactus flowers,
A chorus of insects sang across the dunes.
How much abundance the world carries
If every fistful of sand
Is an eternity of mountains.
Canto 1[edit | edit source]
Existence is a choice.
There is no chaos in the world, only complexity.
Knowledge of the complex is wisdom.
From wisdom of the world comes wisdom of the self.
Mastery of the self is mastery of the world. Loss of the self is the source of suffering.
Suffering is a choice, and we can refuse it.
It is in our own power to create the world, or destroy it.
Canto 4[edit | edit source]
When the Ashkaari looked upon the destruction wrought by locusts,
He saw at last the order in the world.
A plague must cause suffering for as long as it endures,
Earthquakes must shatter the land.
They are bound by their being.
Asit tal-eb. It is to be.
For the world and the self are one.
Existence is a choice.
A self of suffering, brings only suffering to the world.
It is a choice, and we can refuse it.
The Soul Canto[edit | edit source]
A traveler asked the Ashkaari: "What was your vision of our purpose?"
The Great Ashkaari replied: "I will tell you a story."
A vast granite statue stands on an island, holding back the sea.
The heavens crown its brow. It sees to the edge of the world.
The sea drowns its feet with every tide.
The heavens turn overhead, light and dark. The tide rises to devour the earth, and falls back.
The sun and the stars fall to the sea one by one in their turn, only to rise again.
The tide rises, the tide falls, but the sea is changeless.
Struggle is an illusion. There is nothing to struggle against.
The deception flows deeper. The statue resists the ebb and flow of the sea.
And is whittled away with each wave.
It protests the setting sun, and its face is burned looking upon it. It does not know itself.
Stubbornly, it resists wisdom and is transformed.
If you love purpose, fall into the tide. Let it carry you.
Do not fear the dark. The sun and the stars will return to guide you.
You have seen the greatest kings build monuments for their glory
Only to have them crumble and fade.
How much greater is the world than their glory?
The purpose of the world renews itself with each season. Each change only marks
A part of the greater whole.
The sea and the sky themselves:
Nothing special. Only pieces.
See also[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Dialogue between Iron Bull and Varric
- Dialogue from Sten in Dragon Age Origins about magic
- Dialogue with Sten in Dragon Age: Origins after he remarked about mages
- Dialogue with Sten in Dragon Age: Origins after he remarked about wisdom
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 37
- Codex entry: The Qun
- Codex entry: The Qunari - Asit tal-eb
- Codex entry: The Soul Canto
- David Gaider. https://twitter.com/davidgaider/status/222482726664667136 . Twitter.