- See also: The Siege of Vigil's Keep
Knowing how important the Grey Wardens were to the Architect's plans, the Mother launched a preemptive attack on the City of Amaranthine while simultaneously advancing on the Wardens' stronghold at Vigil's Keep, in order to completely wipe out the Order. The Mother's forces were composed of standard darkspawn infantry led by the Herald, as well as Children, several Disciple emissaries, and heavily-armoured ogres.
Fearing the worst, Amaranthine's nobles led by Lord Eddelbrek went to Vigil's Keep and asked the Warden-Commander to deal with the situation. As moving the bulk of the Vigil's forces would take too much preparations to arrive in time to save the city, the Warden-Commander assembled a small army composed of a few fellow Wardens, Captain Garevel, and a small force of soldiers from the Vigil, and led a forced march to the city of Amaranthine.
The destruction of Amaranthine Edit
The Warden-Commander's forces arrived after Amaranthine had already endured two days of siege. To the relief of the surviving guards, they easily killed the darkspawn forces attacking the city gates. Constable Aidan grimly informed the Warden-Commander of Amaranthine's status. A few nights before the Wardens' arrival, the darkspawn emerged from the city's underground to spread the taint and cause havoc in the city. At least a quarter of the city's populace fell from the darkspawns' pestilence on the first night, and many more would have died had the Wardens not fended off the darkspawn reinforcements besieging the city gates. From his point of view, the city was beyond saving, as he believed that no one inside the city had survived the initial attack.
While the Warden-Commander was talking with Aidan, the Messenger, one of the Disciples of the Architect's faction, arrived to warn the Warden-Commander of an incoming attack on Vigil's Keep, led by the Herald himself. Prioritizing the survival of Vigil's Keep, and seeing Amaranthine as a lost cause, Captain Garevel suggested to burn the city to the ground to destroy as many darkspawn as possible.
The decision to either save Amaranthine or destroy it and return as soon as possible to Vigil's Keep was left to the Warden-Commander.
If the Warden-Commander decided to return to Vigil's Keep:
Following the Warden-Commander's orders, the Vigil's soldiers used ballistae to burn the city from afar, killing all the darkspawn in the city, including the three Disciple Generals of the army and their powerful armored ogre, all with a single strike. However, it also killed all the surviving citizens of Amaranthine, who had been hiding in the Chantry of our Lady Redeemer.
After the city was destroyed, the Warden-Commander's forces and the few surviving guards of Amaranthine left the burned city behind and marched to Vigil's Keep post-haste.
The Siege of Vigil's Keep Edit
It took the Warden-Commander's forces a few days to return to Vigil's Keep, even at forced march, but they made it in time. A few darkspawn warbands had been attacking the Keep since the Warden-Commander had left for Amaranthine, and the defenders had defeated them all, but the Warden-Commander arrived to the Vigil's just a few hours before the main darkspawn army launched an all-out attack.
Even though the Vigil's defenses were formidable, the darkspawn army outnumbered them by a wide margin. Lord Eddelbrek and the other nobles that had taken refuge in the Keep had brought with them their personal armies, and willingly lend them to bolster the Vigil's troops. The Wardens hadn't even finished their preparations when the Herald launched its attack in earnest.
A long, vicious battle between the defenders of the Vigil and the darkspawn invaders began. The Vigil's gates and the west quarters saw the fiercest battles, and the defenders took heavy casualties. Seneschal Varel himself fell to an ogre while valiantly defending the gates from a group of rampaging ogres. After being besieged for a week, the Wardens began to lose ground. The courtyard was overrun, forcing the Warden-Commander and their men to retreat to the castle of the keep.
The situation worsened when the Herald lost his patience and decided to invade the Keep himself, while unleashing a powerful armored ogre alpha. After a bloody battle, however, the Warden-Commander managed to kill both the Herald and the armored ogre. Without leadership, the few survivors of the darkspawn army scattered and fled Vigil's Keep.
If the Warden-Commander remained to defend the city, see: Assault on Amaranthine (conflict)
As the darkspawn retreated, they left a trail that even the greenest of recruits could follow. Due to the heavy losses the Vigil's forces had sustained, however, the Warden-Commander couldn't assemble an army of significant numbers to chase the horde. The Warden-Commander's only option was to lead a small team, composed of their fellow Grey Wardens, and follow the darkspawn to Drake's Fall, a Tevinter ruin located in the Dragonbone Wastes, where the Mother had her lair. After a long and grueling fight, the Mother was slain, putting an end to the conflict.
As the Warden-Commander chose to defend Vigil's Keep, the city of Amaranthine was completely destroyed. This act didn't help to improve the already tarnished reputation of the Wardens among Ferelden's nobility. Many believed that the Warden-Commander destroyed the city as part of some nefarious plan. In 9:32 Dragon, a revolt against the Grey Wardens forced them to finally lead an effort to rebuild the city.
On the other hand, thanks to the military acumen of the Warden-Commander, Vigil's Keep received only minor damage during the siege and was easily repaired. The victory at the Siege of the Vigil's Keep became one of the most important and famous military victories in the history of the Grey Warden Order. It was recorded in the annals of Weisshaupt and studied by other Wardens who wanted to understand the ingenuity of the Warden-Commander's battle tactics.
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