Uthenera (translated as "immortal"[1]) is a prolonged slumber practiced by ancient elves.

Dalish stories[edit | edit source]

Legends tell that ancient elves were immortal in the sense that they neither aged nor died from natural causes.[2] Yet their elders eventually became weary of life and memories.[3] Instead of dying they would voluntarily enter a slumber-like state known as uthenera.[3][4] While their bodies would remain in the mortal realm, their spirits would cross the Veil and wander the shifting paths of the Beyond, accompanied by two children of Mythal: Falon'Din and his twin brother Dirthamen.[4] This state did not necessarily equal death,[2] as some would return, even after centuries, and share the secrets of dreams with the People. Yet many would never wake up: their bodies would deteriorate and they would in fact die.[4][3]

The Dalish claim that in the time of Elvhenan uthenera was viewed as an act of reverence. An elder would retire to a chamber that was one part bed and one part tomb and, to great ceremony from all the extended family, would succumb to slumber. The family would continue to visit the chamber to pay respect to the one who made such a sacrifice.[3]

In Elvhenan[edit | edit source]

This section contains spoilers for:

Ancient elves did indeed enter uthenera when they felt no urge to go on. Before succumbing to slumber at least some of them would record their memories in Vir Dirthara[5].

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Inquisition.

At the end of their days all Mythal's servants would pass their knowledge on through Vir'Abelasan.[6] After her murder many elders in her temple wept as they entered uthenera.[7]

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

According to Felassan, some elves in uthenera were able to reach "perfection" and draw sustenence from the Fade rather than dying in their sleep. Elves in uthenera were tended by servants to prevent discomfort from waking them, and who bathed them in scented oils to provide them the spark of wisdom on their journey.[8]

An elf who had perfected themselves no longer required the potion of water, honey and herbs used to keep mages alive during uthenera (this was determined by brushing the potion on the lips at the full moon and determining at the new moon if it had been imbibed or not). Such elves were moved into beds of pure white, signifying their achievement.[9]

In the days of Arlathan, Dreamers were also sometimes approached by earnest supplicants. These individuals would enter the Dreamers' burial/bed chamber and walk a labyrinth truly visible only to elves; if in earnest, they would find the answers they sought in their dreams.[10]

After the arrival of humans[edit | edit source]

According to the Dalish, elves started aging with the arrival of humans, and the practice of uthenera began to fade.[3]

This section contains spoilers for:

In fact, they lost their immortality because Solas created the Veil.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Still elders would come to slumber even to the places built by humans, such as the Brecilian Ruins in Ferelden, and visitors would offer tribute to the gods on their behalf.[11] The ritual performed before laying an elf to rest involved collective prayer at an altar followed by a robed figure pouring water into a pool while standing waist-deep in it.[12]

When the Tevinter Imperium waged war on the elves, many believed themselves bound by duty to defend those in uthenera. Thus elven elders came to sleep to Sundermount in the Vimmark Mountains. Arcane warriors made their last stand there and perished in a great battle with humans.[13]

Elves ceased the formal practice of uthenera after the fall of Arlathan.[3][14]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Solas was in uthenera before joining the Inquisition.[15]

Abelas and other Sentinel elves stay in uthenera and wake only to defend their temple.[6]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

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The following characters, lore and events in this section are non-canon in Dragon Age and exist only within the Dragon Age tabletop RPG.

  • Uthenera can also translate to "long sleep" or "endless dream."[14]
  • Some Elvhen elders may still roam the Fade and preserve ancient knowledge even though their bodies are long dead.[14]

See also[edit | edit source]

Codex entry: Uthenera Codex entry: Uthenera

Codex entry: In Uthenera Codex entry: In Uthenera

References[edit | edit source]

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