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“All of us stumble through the darkness before being found and shown the light.” ―Father Kolgrim

For the relic, see Urn of Andraste.

The Urn of Sacred Ashes is a main quest in Dragon Age: Origins that is required for completing The Arl of Redcliffe quest line and advancing to the final part of the game. It is told to make the lame dance, and the blind able to see.


Arl Eamon of Redcliffe is dying, poisoned by the blood mage Jowan, and the only way to save him is to find the Urn of Andraste. You can begin this quest by either finishing Arl of Redcliffe or by heading to Denerim and speaking with Brother Genitivi's apprentice. If you completed the quest A Fallen Templar, you can read Ser Henric's note for clues on where to start the search: Brother Genitivi's residence in Denerim.


There is more than one way to begin this quest, depending upon the order in which the Warden does the other main plotline quests, and whether the Warden spoke with Ser Donall in Lothering regarding A Fallen Templar. Ser Donall's information is the first opportunity for the Warden to learn about the Urn of Sacred Ashes and get the initial clue that starts the Warden on this quest. Failing this, the Warden can learn of it upon completion of the story quest to reach the Arl of Redcliffe. In either case, the Warden's trail starts in Denerim.

Brother Genitivi's House[]

The Warden should travel to Genitivi's Home in the Denerim Market District to find him. Within, the Warden will meet Weylon, who nervously reports that Genitivi has gone missing. Using Coercion the Warden may acquire more information about Brother Genitivi's (last known) location: Lake Calenhad.

High Cunning will tip you off to Weylon's suspicious behavior. At this point the Warden can:

  • Travel to Lake Calenhad Docks:
    • The Innkeeper of The Spoiled Princess seems a bit jumpy, especially if you ask about Brother Genitivi. He can be coerced to reveal a bit more: "they" have been keeping the inn under observation, looking for anyone who asks about Genitivi. Upon leaving the inn after this conversation, the party will be ambushed by Cultists.
      • The Cultist Leader has a chance to drop Ceremonial Armor.
      • Returning to the innkeeper after dispatching the cultists results in dialogue and a reward.
    • Returning to Weylon, a confrontation ensues.
  • Investigate the rest of Brother Genitivi's House:
    • If you approach the back room, Weylon will try to stop the party. The Warden can back off, or fight him.
  • (Either through sufficient Cunning or after following up the Lake Calenhad 'lead') Accuse Weylon of hiding something:
    • This leads to a confrontation that Weylon is unlikely to survive.
    • Now you can investigate the house
    • After this you can travel to Lake Calenhad Docks for the above described events.

The house of Brother Genitivi contains a corpse (described as the real Weylon) and Brother Genitivi's Research, which indicates he was headed for the Village of Haven in search of Andraste's Ashes. You can see this village now on your world map, in the Frostback Mountains.

Reach Haven[]

Main article: Haven

Upon reaching the village, The Warden will be confronted by a guard. He insists that the party leave, but will answer some questions and allow trading at the shop.

At this point, if Sten is in the party, he will question the decision to come to Haven.

  • If you ask him what is he talking about then he says you haven’t thought this through.
    • If you say he’ll just have to trust you, or there’s nothing else you can do, then no matter what else you say Disapproves (-6)
    • If you say this is a feint and you have a plan, or that he should consider this training for what’s to come, then no matter what else you say Disapproves (-1)
  • If you say that the Archdemon will never see it coming he says it would surprise him if his enemy counter-attacked by running away and climbing a mountain. If you say this will help to stop Loghain then he will eventually ask why you fear Loghain; if you say “he killed Duncan” then Approves (+2)
    • If you say he’ll just have to trust you, or there’s nothing else you can do then no matter what else you say Disapproves (-1)
    • If you say this is a feint and you have a plan, or that he should consider this training for what’s to come, then no matter what else you say Approves (+4)
  • If you say this is necessary then he says you are climbing a mountain in the middle of nowhere on a frivolous whim. He eventually says you haven’t thought this through.
    • If you say that he has to trust me, or there’s nothing else you can do, then no matter what else you say Disapproves (-3)
    • If you say this is a feint, or he should consider this training for what’s to come, then no matter what else you say Approves (+2)
    • Note - The previous choices are only available if you finish Sten's Personal quest.
  • If you tell him not to argue with you right now then eventually he says he will not simply follow in your shadow as you run from battle. Disapproves (-5) no matter what you say:
    • Persuade him that you’re not running.
    • Intimidate him to get back in line.
    • If you tell him he’s free to leave, or that you’re in charge, then he tells you he’s taking command. No matter what you say he attacks.

If Sten attacks you the fight is one-on-one; the rest of your party do not participate. When you defeat Sten he says he was wrong and that you are strong enough. Approves (+7)

  • If you tell him to leave then he leaves forever (taking his equipment with him).
  • Otherwise no matter what you say he rejoins the party.
Note: For more information see here.

Exploring Haven[]

The population of Haven can turn hostile if you do one of the following:

  1. Approach the altar in the Villager House (close to the village's entrance).
  2. Enter the back room of the Village Store.
  3. Kill Father Eirik.

When the villagers turn hostile, the villagers, and some cultists, will attack.

If you enter the villager's house with the hearth and bloody altar inside, there will be a cutscene in which some companions will comment on the disturbing discovery:

  • If Zevran is in the party then he will add a comment about rituals of the Antivan Crows.
  • If Morrigan is in the party she will confirm that it is human blood — and further, that it is more than a human could survive losing.
  • Dog will lick the blood on the altar in an attempt to find out what kind of blood it is.
  • Alistair will comment on the blood.
  • Wynne will say that the village is not what it seems.
Note: The villagers are now hostile if Wynne is in the party when you approach the altar.

In a locked chest inside the house, the Warden can also find one of the Love Letters for the Correspondence Interruptus quest.

You can talk to a child in the middle of the village at this point, who may show you a finger bone if you can persuade him.

In the Village Store you can trade with the shopkeeper. If the Warden attempts to explore the back room, the shopkeeper will attack the group to try and prevent them from finding the remains of a knight from Redcliffe. The store also holds a pair of Antivan Leather Boots, Locket, and the Mage's Eye bow in a locked chest, near the front of the shop. This chest will be unlocked if you return later. Be warned, if the shopkeeper is attacked, villagers and cultists become hostile.

Note: Look carefully around the village to pick up two books and unlock Codex entry: Death of a Templar and Codex entry: The Avvars.

Finding Brother Genitivi[]

After clearing the road uphill, the Warden will reach Haven's Chantry. Entering will trigger a cutscene, during which Eirik, apparent leader of the congregation, makes his hatred of foreigners quite clear, leading to a fight with Eirik and the Guards in the room. Eirik's body will yield a Cultist Medallion, necessary to enter the Ruined Temple (Note: if you raise Eirik as a skeleton before the fight is over, there is a chance that you won't be able to find the medallion). The side room of the Chantry holds an Inscribed Chest, with a Small Silver Bar and a Ring of Faith inside.

Behind the Brick Wall, which is really a poorly concealed secret door, the Warden will find Brother Genitivi himself. He will tell the Warden that the Urn of Andraste is located in a temple ruin in the mountains nearby, and will answer some questions about the village and his research into the urn. Here you can choose to take him along or send him back to Denerim to recover.

If you tell him there was an imposter Weylon at his house and that you found the real Weylon stuffed in a box, and Leliana is in the party, Disapproves (-1)

Genitivi wants to go with you to the temple:

  • If you agree then you are automatically taken to the Ruined Temple.
  • If you tell him you want to make sure it’s safe outside first then you can leave him here while you exit the Chantry and encounter the hostile villagers (if you haven’t already fought them). You can return and talk to Genitivi later to go to the Temple.
  • If you refuse to let him come with you:
    • If Leliana is in the party she says we would never have found this place without him:
      • Persuade her that he can see it when he is well.
      • If you say you’re trying to keep him alive, or that he’s just going to slow you down, then she says she will look after him herself.
        • Change your mind and let Genitivi come. Approves (+2)
        • Otherwise then no matter what you say Genitivi agrees to go back to Denerim. Disapproves (-3)
      • If you say he’s not coming then Genitivi agrees to go back to Denerim. Disapproves (-3)
      • With Leliana in the party, above approval change can be avoided entirely by mentioning Weylon's death and directly choosing "I think you should return to Denerim. I will go on alone" right after. Genitivi would reply "So close, and yet so far. I will return home then" instead of his "life's-work" argument.
      • "I think you should return to Denerim. I will go on alone" stands as another unique dialouge option from the default refusal, much similar to the difference between "The arl was poisoned under Loghain's orders" and "He was poisoned on Loghain's orders", since Genitivi would remark differently by basic script.
    • Otherwise he returns to Denerim. You are automatically taken to the Ruined Temple.

If Genitivi agreed to return to Denerim then he will show you how to use the Medallion to open the Temple door.

If you are automatically taken to the Ruined Temple then you avoid fighting the rest of the villagers (if you haven’t already fought them). After completing the quest, if you return to Haven, the storekeeper will have disappeared, but the rest of the villagers will still be standing around and will not attack you. This has no significance to the rest of the quest or the plot as a whole, however, since with no active shop and no remaining dialogue options there will be no point to ever returning to Haven in any case.

Ruined Temple[]


Ruined Temple Map

Main article: Ruined Temple

If you took Brother Genitivi with you, he will open the temple door and remain at the temple entrance doing research, so you do not have to protect him.

The temple ruins have a fairly straightforward layout, although keys are required to progress. There are many Cultists in the halls, some of them mages. The first passage to the left (west) leads to a small group of unarmed Cultists. In a cabinet in this room, the Warden will find a Taper that will be necessary later on. An Adventurer's corpse in the same passage yields a letter for the Unbound quest, while the bookshelf in the same room yields the Discovering Dragon's Blood: Potions, Tinctures, and Spicy Sauces tome.

The passage to the right (east, marked on the map as South Eastern Chamber) leads to a locked room (requires a key, see below), and a square room holding a scroll for The Scrolls of Banastor quest, and a set of Ancient Encrypted Scrolls for the Forgotten Verses quest.

To find the key that opens the locked door in the South Eastern Chamber, the Warden should head up the first flight of stairs (guarded by Cultists), open the door to the left (West - watch out for Bronto just past this door), and reach the Cultist Chambers. A large number of Cultists awaits the group in this area (watch out for traps as well), so it is recommended to proceed with caution, trying to pull small groups to the companions. Another scroll for The Scrolls of Banastor quest is found in the first room of the Cultist Chambers. The last room in these Chambers yields the South-East Chamber Key (which will unlock the matching door), a Black Pearl (which, together with the Taper mentioned above, will be required to progress), and Chasind Sack Mead.

Once the key is acquired, the group can return downstairs to unlock the South-East Chamber (a new group of Cultists will stand in the way). Within that Chamber, a chest holds the Main Hall Key (which will unlock the door at the top of the stairs). Back in the entrance hall, check the eastward door (that leads to a wavy corridor) at the top of the stairs to find the Armor of Diligence on the corpse of a fallen knight.

Beyond the Main Hall door lies a large room with more stairs. A Cultist mage and a couple of Cultist archers are guarding the area. The mage can be pulled by himself (or simply use stealth to get near him and backstab him) but once the party approaches the stairs or attacks the archers, a pair of ash wraiths appear on the sides. At the top of the stairs, the party will find a Brazier and a door. Lighting the Brazier requires the Taper and the Black Pearl and yields Codex entry: The Holy Brazier. Beyond the door lies a room with archers and many traps. One point of Stealth is enough to safely disarm all the traps without being seen by the enemy, so the Warden's party can take on the archers without any obstacles.

The next door is locked until the Brazier is lit. Opening the door leads to a room with a circular platform in the middle, and a statue along the North wall. An Auto-Save will take place upon entering this room, and shortly thereafter a Lieutenant-grade ash wraith will appear. The spirit also gets some help from two pairs of Cultists awaiting right outside the room (a reaver and a mage on one side, a reaver and an archer on the other). After the fight, the Warden can open the Iron Chest to find a pair of Ancient Elven Gloves.

The party can continue along the eastern or western wings at this point (they lead to the same location), or clear them both for loot and experience. Both wings include Cultists and traps. The west wing can be tougher if the Warden opens a collection of chests, releasing ash wraiths. If Alistair, Leliana, Morrigan, Oghren, Shale, Sten, Wynne, or Zevran are in the party, one will comment on the statue in the topmost chamber on either side just before the stairs.

Eventually, the group will reach stairs leading up to the Wyrmling Lair.

Wyrmling Lair/Mountainside Caverns[]


Map of the Caverns

Main article: Mountainside Caverns

Once you reach the Wyrmling Lair, you have effectively left the temple and are now walking through several underground caverns. In addition to more Cultists and their traps, there are drakes and dragonlings (which sometimes spawn behind, or all-around the party) here in this area.

From the second room in the cavern portion (the first place where there is a choice of directions), the party can follow an eastward path that leads to a room with cages for pigs and goats, sometimes referred to as The Feeding Chamber. Two drakes on PS3 and Xbox, or three drakes on PC, will spawn and attack once the group is inside the area. They will drop a Drake Scale each, valid for the Drake Scale Armor quest. This will be a very tough fight, as each of them is lieutenant level and they possess the extremely dangerous Overwhelm ability. In the same room, the Warden can find a Stone Warrior Statuette in a Pile of Dragon Filth.

The other path (headed north) from the second room leads to a farther split. The party can follow a northeast or a northwest direction.

The northeast path leads to a couple of rooms sometimes referred to as the Hatchery, due to the various dragon eggs lying around. First, the party will enter a large room with columns, and a flight of stairs. On top of the stairs, a Cultist overseer awaits. Before the stairs, Cultist reavers and archers stand guard, and just to add a bit of spice, there are a couple of traps just at the bottom of the stairs. The party may try and pull the groups at the bottom of the stairs before engaging the overseer. Once the overseer enters the fight, two pairs of drakes will spawn and join the fray accompanied by a couple of dragonlings. The drakes will drop Drake Scales, and the overseer will drop a Spellweaver. Note that one pair of drakes will only spawn if you go up the stairs. You can thus make the fight easier by pulling the overseer down, wiping out the forces, then fighting the last two drakes separately. One more room lies to the northeast of this encounter, where another drake awaits, aided by a Cultist mage, an archer, and a hidden assassin. A book on one of the tables in this room yields the Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 3 and a Dragon Egg yields Lifedrinker and the matching Codex entry: The Life Drinker.

An easy way to get through the caverns is to bring a character that has the stealth ability, and sneak past every enemy, and then speak to Kolgrim. Doing so warps your party to the end of the cavern, though you still need to fight the enemies should you ever return, even if you side with Kolgrim. Oddly enough, there seems to be no negative reaction from the cult if you kill cultists after joining them.

Kolgrim's Offer[]

Main article: The High Dragon's Champion

The northwest path leads to a room with a few Cultists (and their traps), and eventually a large cavern where the leader of the cult, Father Kolgrim, awaits. As the Warden approaches, he will initiate a dialogue, revealing more details about the Cult that the party has been fighting since entering Haven. The Disciples of Andraste originally used to guard her ashes - however, they claim the prophet has since risen from the dead and the cult acts as her guard.

If, during the conversation, the Warden mentions that the real Andraste is dead and/or that the one the Cult is following now is a fraud, Kolgrim and his aides will attack the party. Otherwise, the dialogue may lead to Kolgrim offering a task for the Warden to make up for all the damage inflicted so far to the Cult (and to become a brother/sister to the Cult): take a vial of Andraste's blood, find a way around the Guardian protecting the ashes, and pour the blood into the ashes.

Accepting Kolgrim's task and defiling the ashes is the only way to unlock the Reaver specialization and obtain the Sacrilegious achievement. But if you have saved before you initiate the conversation, you can unlock the achievement and specialization and then revert to the save. Your rewards will be preserved even if you then choose another course of action.

The Mountain Top[]

Main article: Mountain Top
Note: While in this area, the Warden can re-configure the party composition.

After the encounter with Kolgrim, the party will reach the Mountain Top. A cutscene occurs as the cult's "Andraste", which is actually a high dragon, flies over and lands to rest on a cliff. If Kolgrim was killed, the Warden and their team will dive for cover.

If you accepted Kolgrim's task ('to pour the dragon's blood into the Urn, allowing the risen Andraste to reclaim the power held in the Ashes'), he will speak to her to let you pass unharmed. You can continue into The Gauntlet or attack him here. He will be aided by his Disciples and a drake.

At this point, the party may engage the false Andraste by using Kolgrim's Horn (if you killed him), by casting an area of effect spell like Blizzard or cast Drain Life below the cliff as its range can reach the high dragon above, or (on consoles) by using the gong in this area. The high dragon is a formidable opponent; see high dragon battle strategy. If the dragon is slain, she will drop a considerable number of items, among which is a Dragon Scale for the Dragon Scale Armor quest. There is no need to fight the dragon immediately — this area can be returned to later in the game whenever the Warden feels it is more appropriate.

The Gauntlet[]

Main article: The Gauntlet

Whether the party elects to fight the High Dragon on the Mountain Top or not, their next stop is a separate temple, known as The Gauntlet. In the first room, the Warden will find x30 Andraste's Arrows, a book unlocking the Codex entry: The Maker's First Children, and the next step in the quest line, in the form of a Guardian knight. Approaching him will trigger a conversation revealing more background history about the Disciples of Andraste and the Urn of Sacred Ashes. The Guardian will ask one question to each party member, related to their own past, and unlock the A Test of Faith quest. To reach the Urn, the party has to pass the trials of the Gauntlet. See A Test of Faith page for details about the tests.

The Ashes[]

DAO Leliana near the Urn of Sacred Ashes

Leliana stands near the Urn of Andraste.

Once the Gauntlet has been completed, the Urn of Andraste will be in sight. Among the Warden's choices:

  • Take a pinch of the Ashes
  • Defile the Ashes - Only available if the Warden did not kill Kolgrim; doing so unlocks the Reaver specialization.

Note that the Warden will take a pinch from the Ashes automatically, regardless of the choice to defile them or not. Taking only a pinch of the ashes, in other words choosing not to defile them, will also unlock the Ceremonialist achievement. Regardless of any promise made to Kolgrim, the Warden is under no obligation to actually defile the ashes.

See Leliana and Wynne for details on their reactions in case you chose to defile the ashes - as well as the Kolgrim's Offer section above. Before leaving the room, unlock the chests and loot the Adventurer's corpse for a Belt of the Magister Lords and a Golden Demon Pendant.

Once the Warden has finished all intended business here, it is time for the party to exit (via either door in the Urn room). If the ashes were defiled, then Kolgrim will be waiting outside to reward the Warden, or to take vengeance if a deal was struck but the Warden reneged. Even if you defiled the ashes, you still have the option of attacking Kolgrim as you leave. Note that the fight against Kolgrim is considerably easier here than if he's attacked back in the caverns as he has fewer allies supporting him. A cultist mage and a drake are encountered further down the hill.

A gong (for consoles) or Kolgrim's Horn (for pcPC) can be activated in the area. Do not do so if you are not ready to engage a high dragon in combat. Fighting the dragon is not mandatory to exit the area; the Warden can return at a later date if the player isn't strong enough yet to do battle.

Otherwise the group can proceed from the Mountain Top and follow a shortcut on the way back, in the form of a door to the lower right (while facing the Caverns direction). This will lead directly to the entrance of the Ruined Temple, where Brother Genitivi awaits. (This path will become a two-way shortcut to the mountain top for future visits, e.g. to attack the dragon.)


As the party returns to the entrance of the Ruined Temple, Brother Genitivi will be extremely excited about the news, and ready to share them with the entire world. Alistair, if present, will express concern that there would not be enough ashes to go around if lots of pilgrims were to arrive, but there is no way to dissuade Genitivi from spreading the word except to kill him. There is no actual battle, just a cutscene of the Warden killing Genitivi. Genitivi is a well traveled and learned scholar who has written many of the books (excerpts of them are found in the form of codex entries), so the homicide will trigger some reactions among the companions:

  • Ico DisAppr Heart Alistair disapproves (-3) BUG: Unless Leliana is also in the party, then no change.
  • Ico DisAppr Heart Leliana disapproves (-5)
  • Ico DisAppr Heart Wynne disapproves (-3)
  • Unaffected: Zevran, Morrigan, Shale, Sten, Oghren.

If Genitivi is not killed, he will return to his home in Denerim, asking the Warden to visit him later. If the Warden does visit him, he will present him/her with a Master Dweomer Rune as a reward.


With the Pinch of Sacred Ash, you may now head to Redcliffe Castle and heal Arl Eamon. If you have not yet been to Redcliffe Village or Redcliffe Castle, you will need to resolve the troubles there before you can reach Arl Eamon. See The Arl of Redcliffe for details.


  • 500 XP for passing A Test of Faith successfully.
  • 750 XP when exiting onto Mountain Top via the doors in the urn room.
  • Master Dweomer Rune Master Dweomer Rune, from Brother Genitivi back at his home in Denerim
  • Pinch of Sacred Ash Pinch of Sacred Ash
  • Reaver Reaver specialization and 750 XP (from Kolgrim, only if you agree to defile the ashes)
  • Reflection Reflection (amulet given to the Warden by the spirit from their past)

Side quests[]

Notable Items[]


  • If the Warden slays the high dragon and does not prevent Brother Genitivi from revealing the location of the Urn to the world, the temple becomes a site of pilgrimage for the faithful. If the high dragon isn't killed, the Urn disappears without a trace by the time the Chantry gains access to the temple.
  • If Brother Genitivi does not come with the main character while killing cultists the Urn will also disappear.

Dragon Age II[]

If one decides to import an Origins save to Dragon Age II, the decision made in Origins affects a side quest and various comments throughout the game.

If the Urn was not defiled and Brother Genitivi was allowed to lead an expedition, enabling the Chantry to confirm the ruined temple as the resting place of Andraste's ashes, then a Carta swindler can be found in the Lowtown district of Kirkwall, purporting to be selling a pinch of ashes allegedly verified by Genitivi himself. This will trigger the quest Miracle Makers given by Melindra.


  • The majority of the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest line was written by Sheryl Chee.[1]


See also: High Dragon Exploits
  • pcPC As the Warden exits to the Mountain Top from The Gauntlet, 750 XP are awarded. The party can repeat the transition from The Gauntlet to the Mountain Top to gain 750 XP each time.
  • pcPC Repeat the transition between Mountain Top and the Caverns, which gives 750 experience points. This works if you have defiled the ashes. The mages and reavers remaining in the caverns will not attack the party even if the Warden has chosen to double-cross Kolgrim and kill him.
    • Bug is still active in v.1.04
  • pcPC It is possible for the high dragon to become stuck off to the left side of Mountain Top. The location is just to the left of the main path as you are walking down to the flat area below. To be more precise, the ditch is between the main path and the path leading toward the Ruined Temple.
  • xbox360Xbox360 If pulled over to the gong to where the dragon lands on it, it may become stuck. Making it easier to kill with mages and archers, but it is able to pull in warriors.
  • xbox360Xbox360 If a rogue with combat stealth, you can leave your team stationary and go all the way through the caverns without fighting anyone. When you come to the climax, they will appear with you.
  • ps3PS3 There is a possible glitch when fighting the high dragon herself. If your fight lasts over 30 minutes, the high dragon will seemingly fall over dead. You will NOT be awarded ANY Exp points and will NOT be awarded the trophy for killing her. It will also NOT reflect in your Heroic Accomplishments that you have slain her.
  • pcPC If you choose to slay Brother Genitivi after getting the Ashes, you will find under his codex entry that he still returned to Denerim and was granted funds to mount an expedition.
  • pcPC If you proceed to complete the quest without ever going to The Spoiled Princess and questioning the Innkeeper about Genitivi, the plot point arrow will still show above the Innkeeper, but the option to question him about Genitivi will no longer be available.


  1. BWF David Gaider (January 8, 2010). "Writers of Dragon Age" . The BioWare Forum. (offline).