A slave does not dream of freedom, or wonder at possibilities. You think only of your master's desires, and what the next hour will bring.Fenris

The plight of slavery[1]

Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. The slave trade has existed in Thedas since ancient times and is still common despite only being legal in Tevinter.

History[edit | edit source]

Elvhenan[edit | edit source]


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: The Masked Empire.


According to Felassan, the ancient elves instituted an oppressive class-based system against their own kind.[2]



This section contains spoilers for:
Trespasser.


Vallaslin were used as slave markings to represent the gods that nobles favored.[3] During the height of elven slavery in Elvhenan led by the Evanuris, refugees and runaways streamed to a sanctuary created by Fen'Harel. There their wounds were tended and their vallaslin removed while they learned the truth about the elven 'gods'. The former slaves took up arms at the side of the Dread Wolf and fought back against their former oppressors.[4]


Tevinter Imperium[edit | edit source]

As the elven homeland was invaded and destroyed by the Imperium, the elves were quickly enslaved.[5]

Servani a constellation of a slave that is thousands of years old

In ancient times, during the height of this practice, slaves numbered in the millions.[6]

During the first Exalted March against the Tevinter Imperium, a group of elven slaves freed themselves from slavery under the leadership of Shartan.[7] Shartan was dedicated to the emancipation of all elves from the bonds of slavery and agreed to fight alongside Andraste. His role in the conflict against the Imperium is detailed in the Canticle of Shartan.[8]

Slavery in Tevinter was briefly abolished, an act that had the potential to cause untold damage to the Imperial economy. The ruling Archon who ordered the abolition was quickly assassinated and slavery reintroduced.[9]

When the Imperial Highway was under construction, Kirkwall was the center of the Tevinter slave trade as the site of the empire's largest quarry.[10]

Dwarven Empire[edit | edit source]

Slaves were present in the ancient dwarven empire.[11]


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


The Anvil of the Void was invented to create golems to battle the darkspawn which threatened the dwarven empire. Golems were initially created using only volunteers, though King Valtor eventually forced casteless, criminals, and political enemies to be sacrificed on the Anvil.[12] The spirits of dwarves were trapped inside the golems, beholden to the will of the one who held their control rods.[13]


Present day[edit | edit source]

A shipload of slaves[14]

A qunari slave[15]

Slavery is still practiced in Thedas despite the slave trade being outlawed in every nation except Tevinter.[16] Tevinter slavers may also travel to other nations to capture or purchase slaves.[17]

Tevinter Imperium[edit | edit source]

While Tevinter slaves used to be predominantly elven, they are now a mix of mostly elves and humans. [15]

Free people may choose to sell themselves into slavery to provide for their families. Those slaves who are purchased by the Imperium itself rather than private individuals are called Servus Publicus, or state-owned slaves.[18]

Slaves in a private home can be assigned to specific tasks, such as being a kitchen slave, a scribe,[19] a bodyguard or handmaiden[20]. They are given as presents and can be sacrificed in blood magic rituals.[21] If they show promise as a warrior, they may receive training as an assassin or a mage-killer.[22]

Slaves have to ask for permission to marry and can only legally be set free before a judge, with the owner present to formally state the slaves have been granted freedom, or by the owner's will upon his or her death. These emancipated slaves are known as Liberati, a subclass with limited rights and are not considered citizens. Liberati can serve as an apprentice in trade. Liberati may also own property, but cannot join the military and rarely have a say in governance.[23][24] A slave who is found to possess magical talent is elevated to Liberati status, will be trained, and is eligible to join the Circle of Magi.[25][26]

Slave revolts are a common occurrence.[27] While illiteracy among slaves is widespread, they have developed a system of pictograms to communicate with one another.[28]

The slave section of Coracavus

The Venatori used dwarves as slave labor to unearth dwarven ruins in the Hissing Wastes.[29]

Par Vollen[edit | edit source]

The Qunari use a substance called qamek to strip those who refuse to convert to the Qun from their identities, turning them into mindless labour forces called viddath-bas. Elven spies for the Qunari may voluntarily sell themselves back into slavery in order to move undetected through non-Qunari lands, particularly Tevinter.[30]

Antiva[edit | edit source]

The Antivan Crows are known to purchase recruits.[31]

Orlais[edit | edit source]

Although the slave trade is illegal in Orlais, nobles may own elven slaves.[32]

Known slaves[edit | edit source]

Slaves in a loading screen image in Dragon Age II

  • Andraste: The Bride of the Maker by Chantry's beliefs.
  • Shartan: An elven slave inspired by Andraste, who along with the elven slaves of the Tevinter Imperium fought at her side during the First Exalted March, winning the Dales for the elven people. Sometimes known as "Thane" Shartan.
  • Justinia: a Tevinter human slave, and disciple and friend of Andraste.
  • Alarith: An escaped elven slave of the Tevinter Imperium, now living in the Denerim alienage.
  • Radun, an Alamarri human slave who started the slave rebellion in Kirkwall.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: The Calling.


  • Fiona: An Orlesian elven mage, currently the Grand Enchanter, formerly a Grey Warden. She was the slave of the Orlesian Count Dorian before she slew him with magic and was sent to a Circle of Magi in Orlais, from where she was recruited into the Grey Wardens.



This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


  • Valora: The intended bride of Soris in the City Elf Origin. She appears to have been taken by the Tevinter slavers during the events of Unrest in the Alienage.
  • Hahren Valendrian: The hahren of the Denerim Alienage. If the player is of City Elf Origin, Valendrian will have been sent to Tevinter during the events of Unrest in the Alienage, along with many other elven citizens, as well as the children of the Abandoned Orphanage. In that case, the City Elf's father Cyrion Tabris will appear in Valendrian's place in Caladrius's cell.
  • Cyrion Tabris: depending on the Warden's origin, he may be taken by Tevinter slavers in lieu of Valendrian. If the player is not a city elf, Cyrion may have been sent to Tevinter in Valendrian's place, as he is not seen in the cells or the alienage and does not appear otherwise.
  • Golems are considered as slaves of their masters, they are in fact dwarves turned into stone or steel living constructs.
  • Zevran Arainai: An Antivan elf purchased at age seven by the Antivan Crows to be trained as an assassin. His enslavement is somewhat open to interpretation, however. While one is not allowed to leave the Crows once a member, Zevran seems to consider himself more an indentured servant, as he feels his work with the Crows prior to the events of the Fifth Blight have repaid his debt to the guild.
  • Lanaya: a City elf and mage turned Dalish elf and First to Zathrian. As a child the merchant's cart she and her family were traveling in was attacked by bandits and Lanaya was kept as a slave until Zathrian freed her.



This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.


  • Fenris: A former Tevinter slave and elven warrior branded by his master, Danarius, with Lyrium tattoos that augment his skills. His mother, unnamed, was also a slave.
  • Tallis: A elven agent of the Qunari. Her parents sold her as a slave in the Tevinter Imperium. She was saved by Qunari who then recruited her into their ranks. As with all Qunari, Tallis is her title rather than her name.
  • Varania: An elven mage and sister to Fenris. Her current status is disputable as she is described as a servant in a court seeking to become apprenticed to a magister when she appears in Dragon Age II, and Fenris bartered for her and their mother's freedom. Her freedom, however, was not a blessing to her and she has had to essentially indenture herself to magisters to survive.
  • Orana: An elven slave to Hadriana. She may be rescued by Hawke and given employ as a servant or slave in their mansion, or sent off on her own during the quest A Bitter Pill, potentially to the Chantry. Her father and grandfather were also slaves, the former sacrificed by Hadriana along with others to gain the power to protect herself from Fenris. The sacrifice happens before Hawke and Fenris arrive.


  • Flavius
  • Known slavers[edit | edit source]

    Tier evolution of a Tevinter Slaver from Heroes of Dragon Age

    • Dorian: An Orlesian Count and the former owner of Fiona, who slew him with magic. Not to be confused with Dorian Pavus.

    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age: Origins.


    • Caladrius: During the Fifth Blight, he went to Denerim and under the secret permission of Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir, he was shipping the elves from the Denerim Alienage to Tevinter. Devera as well as other Tevinter soldiers were his accomplices.
    • Caridin: The inventor of the Anvil of the Void, Caridin eventually resorted to forcing dwarves to become golems at the behest of King Valtor. He eventually became a golem himself, spending an eternity suffering the torment he had inflicted upon others.
    • King Valtor: Valtor was the dwarven king who ordered casteless and criminals to be forcibly turned into golems in order to fill the ranks of his armies and achieve victory against the darkspawn.
    • Branka: Depending on player's choice she can reclaim the Anvil of the Void and restore golem production.



    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age II.


    • Danzig: During the Wayward Son quest, he is involved in slave trafficking in Kirkwall.
    • Danarius: A Tevinter magister, he arrives to Kirkwall in order to capture Fenris and return him to his property after Hadriana fails to do so.
    • Hadriana: She is sent by Danarius along with a contingent of slavers to capture Fenris.
    • Hawke: If the player chooses to take Orana on as an unpaid servant in the Hawke mansion. Hawke's mother, Leandra, will assume Orana is a slave no matter what the player chooses.


  • Ianto:[33] A notorious raider affiliated with the Raiders of the Waking Sea, known as a slaver, murderer, and torturer.
  • Varian Ilithis: During the Wayward Son quest, he is involved in slave trafficking in Kirkwall.

  • This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age: Those Who Speak.


    • Devon: A Tevinter lord involved in acquiring slaves for the Imperium from the southern regions of Thedas. Worked with Isabela as the Armada's "procurer" in the north.
    • Isabela: Isabela was involved in transporting slaves to the Imperium when she owed money during her time with the Felicisima Armada. She and Devon were responsible for the deaths of many slaves as well as in transporting them.



    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age: Until We Sleep.


    • Maevaris Tilani: she states that "everyone" in the Tevinter Imperium has slaves. Her dream in the Fade involves slaves serving herself and her late husband, Thorold, indicating the life to which she was accustomed to, or aspired.



    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age: Inquisition.




    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age: Magekiller.



    Notes[edit | edit source]

    • Andoral, one of the Old Gods, is known as "The Dragon of Slaves" and "The Dragon of Chains".

    See also[edit | edit source]

    Codex entry: The Bone Pit Codex entry: The Bone Pit
    Codex entry: The Enigma of Kirkwall Codex entry: The Enigma of Kirkwall
    Codex entry: Kirkwall - The Gallows Codex entry: Kirkwall - The Gallows
    Codex entry: Slavery in the Tevinter Imperium Codex entry: Slavery in the Tevinter Imperium
    Codex entry: Constellation: Servani Codex entry: Constellation: Servani
    Codex entry: A Magister's Needs Codex entry: A Magister's Needs
    Codex entry: A Missing Slave Codex entry: A Missing Slave
    Codex entry: The Secret Tongue of Slaves Codex entry: The Secret Tongue of Slaves

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. Dragon Age II concept art
    2. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, pp. 278-285, 291, 303, 316-317
    3. Mentioned by both Solas and Corypheus in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
    4. According to Solas and the memory walls at the elven ruins in the Trespasser DLC.
    5. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 38
    6. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 66
    7. Codex entry: Dark Moon
    8. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, pp. 66-69
    9. Dragon Age II: The Complete Official Guide, "Tevinter Imperium"
    10. Codex entry: The City of Kirkwall, Codex entry: Kirkwall - The Gallows
    11. Mentioned by Corypheus in Legacy DLC.
    12. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 92
    13. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 91
    14. Featured in Dragon Age: Those Who Speak.
    15. 15.0 15.1 Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 78
    16. Codex entry: Slavery in the Tevinter Imperium
    17. Such as Caladrius in Denerim or Varian Ilithis in Kirkwall
    18. Dialogue with Cremisius Aclassi
    19. Codex entry: A Missing Slave
    20. Description of Aurora's Freedom
    21. Codex entry: Slavery in the Tevinter Imperium
    22. Short Story: Paying the Ferryman
    23. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 58
    24. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 78-79
    25. Short Story: Paying the Ferryman
    26. David Gaider (July 14, 2014). Interview With David Gaider
    27. According to Fenris.
    28. Codex entry: The Secret Tongue of Slaves
    29. Dwarven Slaves in Venatori Hands war table operation
    30. Codex entry: Qunari of Other Races
    31. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 96
    32. Codex entry: Slavery in the Tevinter Imperium
    33. Dragon Age logo - new.png Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 81
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