Starkhaven is an independent and one of theprominent city-states of the Free Marches along with Kirkwall and Tantervale. It lies close to the Minanter River.

Starkhaven heraldry DA2

Starkhaven heraldry


In 1:95 Divine, the last battle of the Second Blight was fought at Starkhaven with a human army led by the Grey Wardens.[1] Both sides suffered heavy losses, but Zazikel was slain by the Grey Warden Corin, ending the Second Blight.[2]

In 2:15–2:45 Glory Starkhaven arose and prompted its king, Fyruss, in attempt to unite the Free Marches under his banner and build his own empire. In 2:80 Glory, Fyruss was betrayed by his Tevinter allies and ousted from Starkhaven; the Tevinter Imperium conquered his city in result. This led the Chantry to declare an Exalted March to liberate Starkhaven from the Imperium. The following battle for the independence of Starkhaven was short, but bloody.[3]

Now, the largest city in the Free Marches, the independent city-state of Starkhaven is ruled by the Vael family and has strong ties to the Chantry in its governance. It sits on the Minanter River in the northeast and borders Antiva.

It is known to have had at least one Champion rise to prominence who participated in the Battle of Ayesleigh in 5:24 Exalted.

In 7:56 Storm, the Qunari landed near Ostwick and launched assaults against Starkhaven and Kirkwall. Starkhaven was besieged by Qunari invaders who hoped to cut off trade to the north, only to be repelled, but Kirkwall fell due to the magic of the Saarebas.[4]

It is a place of wealth and opulance, with many kingly estates with fountains of marble and paths of granite. It is also famed for its superb cuisine, with its most famous dish being fish and egg pie. It is made with three deboned fresh fish, boiled eggs, dried fruit, spices, and thickened cream, topped with a light crust.

Starkhaven was the location of one of the two Circles of Magi in the Free Marches (the other being in Kirkwall), but its tower was burned down in 9:31 Dragon.

According to Sebastian Vael, Kirkwall is the city's largest trading partner.


Being the largest of the Free Marches' many city-states, Starkhaven is governed by a prince. Starkhaven has been ruled by the Vael family since the ousting of the self-anointed "King Ironfist," the last in a series of low-born warlords claiming sovereignty over the city. The first Prince Vael was proclaimed prince when he refused the title of king.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

Most members of the ruling family were murdered in 9:31 Dragon by Flint Company mercenaries in a brutal coup d'etat engineered by Lady Johane Harimann of Kirkwall. The Harimanns intended to usurp the Vaels, placing the maleable Goran Vael, a distant cousin of the main family, upon the throne.

Before the coup d'etat, the Vael family had committed their youngest son, Sebastian, to the Kirkwall Chantry to live a chaste life in service to Andraste. The young Vael avenged his parents, killing both Johane Harimann and the Flint Company Mercenaries, though Goran Vael still rules the city.


  • According to Varric, Starkhaven is "pretentious".
  • If in Act III female Hawke rivals and flirts with Sebastian, he says "The prince of Starkhaven and the viscountess of Kirkwall? It would be the strongest alliance the Free Marches ever had".

See also

Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: The City of Starkhaven
Codex icon DA2 Codex entry: The Vael Family


  1. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 156-157
  2. Codex entry: Vestments of Sacrifice
  3. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 13
  4. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 118
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