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The title of this page is not an official name, but the article uses it as conjecture.

The war against the Elder One was a war between the reestablished Inquisition and the Elder One, a powerful darkspawn magister who wielded ancient elven magic and corrupted lyrium at his disposal. It coalesced in 9:41 Dragon amidst the chaos of the Mage-Templar War and the War of the Lions as the Elder One manipulated the Mage Rebellion, the Templar Order, the Grey Wardens of Orlais and several members of the Orlesian nobility to serve his purposes, threatening the whole of Thedas.


Sometime between 9:31 and 9:37 Dragon, the darkspawn and former magister Corypheus was freed from a Grey Warden prison in the Vimmark Mountains that had held him for centuries. Unable to escape the prison due to blood magic seals forged by Malcolm Hawke, Corypheus influenced his Grey Warden jailers through the taint and eventually senior Warden Janeka became convinced she could control him. Under Corypheus' influence, Janeka enlisted the aid of Carta dwarves and forced them to drink darkspawn blood. When Hawke, a child of Malcolm, arrived in nearby Kirkwall, Janeka used the Carta to lure Hawke to the prison in order to break the seals. Corypheus was freed and promptly killed by Hawke, but the magister had the regenerative capabilities of an Archdemon and was able to escape by possessing the Grey Warden Larius or Janeka.

Corypheus spent the subsequent years preparing a plan to both restore the Tevinter Imperium to its ancient glory and return to the Black City so that he could claim the Maker's throne and become the new god of the world. Fortuitously, Corypheus acquired the Orb of Destruction, a powerful magical artifact, from the elf Solas, giving him the power necessary to bring his plan to fruition.

As the Mage-Templar War and later the Orlesian Civil War raged in the background, Corypheus began to assemble an army with the intention of conquering southern Thedas. Allying with the Tevinter-supremacist Venatori, the magister used his powers to deceive the Grey Wardens of Orlais into believing they were experiencing the Calling and were about to die. Desperate to find a way to kill the remaining two Old Gods before a new Blight could erupt, Warden-Commander Clarel de Chanson accepted the offer of Livius Erimond, a Venatori magister, to use a blood magic ritual that would create a demon army, thus bringing the Grey Wardens under Corypheus's control.

The Breach[]

Hostilities effectively began in 9:41 Dragon during Divine Justinia V's conclave at the Temple of Sacred Ashes, a Chantry-led attempt to negotiate an end to the Mage-Templar War. Corypheus and a number of Grey Warden mages interrupted the proceedings. Justinia V was sacrificed to unlock the Orb of Destruction's power, and in that moment the Breach was created, rending the Veil between Thedas and the Fade. An unwitting witness to the sacrifice came into contact with the Orb and was branded with a magical mark called the Anchor, which could open and close the Breach and the numerous smaller Rifts scattered across the land. This would prove to be a major setback to Corypheus's plans, as he had intended to gain the Anchor for himself to physically enter the Fade.

The lone survivor of the Breach was the individual who had been given the Anchor. Suffering from memory-loss and the Anchor's own debilitating effects, the survivor was recovered from the ruins of the Temple of Sacred Ashes and brought to the nearby village of Haven to recuperate for questioning by Seeker Cassandra Pentaghast and Leliana, the Right and Left Hands of the late Divine. Upon waking, the survivor was led to the Breach in the hope that they could use the Anchor to seal it; while the survivor lacked the power to seal it completely, they managed to calm it and stop it from spreading. Afterwards, the survivor was hailed as the "Herald of Andraste" and became one of the founding members of the new Inquisition, which Cassandra proclaimed in accordance with a writ issued by Justinia V before the conclave.

The events surrounding the Breach had far-reaching implications. The Divine and most of the Chantry's leadership were dead, leaving the Chantry leaderless and floundering. The leaders of the Mage Rebellion and Templar Order had also perished, thus reigniting the Mage-Templar War. Countless demons began emerging through the Rifts, terrorizing civilians throughout the land. Lastly, the Inquisition had been reformed with the goal of sealing the Breach and bringing whoever had caused it to justice.

Redcliffe and Therinfal[]

Despite losing the Anchor, Corypheus continued building up his army and planted the seeds of corruption within the Mage Rebellion and Templar Order. The surviving mages who attended the conclave retreated to the village of Redcliffe with the permission of Ferelden's monarch. The Venatori magister Gereon Alexius was dispatched to bring the mages into the fold; using time-altering magic, Alexius ostensibly rescued the mages just before they were attacked by a group of Templars and offered an alliance. Desperate, Grand Enchanter Fiona accepted, indenturing herself and her fellow mages to the Venatori.

Meanwhile, Lord Seeker Lucius Corin, leader of the surviving Templars, was replaced with an Envy demon loyal to Corypheus. As Corin, the demon widened the split between the Order and the Chantry by openly spurning Revered Mother Hevara at Val Royeaux, then regrouped the Templars at Therinfal Redoubt. There, the Templar officers were introduced to red lyrium and twisted to serve Corypheus as the Red Templars.

At Haven, the Herald of Andraste and their advisors Cullen, Leliana, and Josephine Montilyet began to flex the muscles of the fledgling Inquisition by gathering allies and working to restore order. The Breach yet loomed in the sky, however, and it soon became evident that the assistance of the mages and Templars would be necessary to fully seal it. The Herald was presented with a choice: negotiate first with Magister Alexius at Redcliffe to gain an alliance with the mages, or approach Lord Seeker Lucius and the Templars at Therinfal. Both options held risks, as Alexius's requested audience with the Herald was obviously a trap, and Lucius's recent behavior and self-imposed isolation made him unpredictable.

Depending on whom the Herald decided to pursue first, the Inquisition conscripted or allied with the mages or Templars, depriving Corypheus of some of his forces. Contact with the other faction was lost; the mages at Redcliffe vanished with the Venatori, or the Templars at Therinfal became the Red Templars. The Inquisition learned of Corypheus's involvement, though knew the magister only as a mysterious individual called "the Elder One".

Siege of Haven[]

Main article: Siege of Haven

Returning to the Temple of Sacred Ashes, the Herald finally sealed the Breach with the aid of the mages or Templars. Although many Rifts remained and the Elder One was at large, the Inquisition believed the main threat was over. Together with the winding down of the Mage-Templar War, the Inquisition celebrated the end of weeks of strife and uncertainty.

However, their celebrations were short lived as that very night, Corypheus led the bulk of his army, either the Venatori under Calpernia or the Red Templars under General Samson, in a surprise assault on Haven and the Inquisition to take back the Anchor from the Herald and destroy the nascent Inquisition before its power grew any greater. The Herald rallied their forces and fought off the initial wave before using a trebuchet to trigger an avalanche that wiped out the bulk of the enemy host. Corypheus countered by unleashing his high dragon, which effortlessly broke and scattered the Inquisition defenses, allowing the second wave of Corypheus's army to press the attack, driving through Haven's defences into the village itself. The Inquisition and people of Haven fled to Haven's Chantry for shelter, but with what appeared to be an Archdemon on his side, Corypheus's victory was all but certain. Hope was restored by Grand Chancellor Roderick, who divulged the existence of a hidden trail from Haven that could be used as an escape route. Upon learning that Corypheus sought the Herald personally, the Herald decided to try and distract the magister long enough for everyone else to flee safety.

As the Herald fought another wave of enemies and redirected a trebuchet to bring down another avalanche on the village to prevent the Elder One's army from pursuing the survivors into the mountains, the dragon attacked once more. Corypheus, revealing himself as the Elder One, arrived and attempted to remove the Anchor using the Orb of Destruction, but to no avail; the Anchor was permanently bound to the Herald. Frustrated, Corypheus decided to kill the Herald and start over, but the Herald triggered the trebuchet and started another avalanche, this one directed at Haven. Corypheus escaped with his dragon, while the Herald managed to reach the old tunnels beneath Haven before the avalanche hit. Making their way through the tunnels, the Herald eventually caught up with the surviving Inquisition forces in the Frostback Mountains.

The Inquisition had been dealt a serious blow and was in disarray. They were demoralized, had lost their base of operations, and feared the outbreak of a new Blight, a danger implied by Corypheus's Archdemon-like dragon. Encouraged to take the lead by Revered Mother Giselle and the apostate elf Solas, the Herald guided the Inquisition through the mountains to the abandoned fortress of Skyhold, which became the organization's new headquarters. For their contributions, the Herald was formally honored with the title of Inquisitor, the leader of the Inquisition.

Red Templar and Venatori Subversion[]

Note: Most of these quests are optional and/or dependent on player choice. They can be done at any time before the final mission.

After the siege of Haven, Corypheus continued to use the Venatori and the Red Templars (one more than the other, depending on whether the mages or the templars allied with the Inquisition) in covert operations throughout Thedas.

One of the Venatori's main tasks was to weaken any who could oppose the rise of the Elder One's new Tevinter Imperium. In Nevarra, Venatori agents infiltrated the Mortalitasi and the courts of King Markus Pentaghast and the Duke of Hunter Fell, while Venatori operating in the Free Marches turned Duke Antoine of Wycome to their side and used red lyrium to poison the water supply of all human districts in Wycome, hoping the blame for this "human plague" would fall on the elves. A Venatori assassin also infiltrated the Royal Palace in Denerim, hoping to kill Ferelden's monarch(s). Most of these efforts were eventually foiled by the Inquisition.

In Orlais, Gordian, a senior Venatori operative, infiltrated the Imperial Army to encourage desertions among the troops of both claimants to the throne. The Venatori's efforts were a resounding success and soon a large number of deserters from both sides formed 'The Freemen of the Dales', a group dedicated to taking the Dales for themselves. The Red Templars gave them supplies in exchange for their aid in harassing refugees, Orlesian soldiers and Inquisition forces and for transporting and storing Red Lyrium throughout the Emerald Graves. Meanwhile, Gordian used Freemen troops in the Exalted Plains to gather the numerous corpses left over from the war and prevent them from being burned, allowing them to be easily possessed by the demons pouring in from the fade rifts. The resulting horde of undead trapped both Grand Duke Gaspard and Empress Celene's troops in their strongholds. With the aid of Corporal Rosselin, the Inquisition was able to purge the undead from the eastern and western ramparts, killing Gordian in the process. Eventually, the Freemen were attacked by the Inquisition. When Knight-Captain Carroll attempted to re-establish contact between the Red Templars and the Freemen, he was lured into a trap by the Inquisitor and slain.

Corypheus's forces also focused on the cultivation and spread of red lyrium. After a failed attempt to set up red lyrium "mines" in the Western Approach, the Red Templars eventually moved their operations to Emprise du Lion, seizing control of Suledin Keep to serve as their primary headquarters. The demon Imshael ingratiated himself with the Red Templars at the Keep and came to supervise their lyrium-related operations, conducting experiments to corrupt giants taken from the Emerald Graves with red lyrium. The templars also purchased the local quarry from Mistress Poulin, then intimidated her into handing over villagers from Sahrnia to grow and mine more red lyrium.

Meanwhile, separate groups of Red Templars established lyrium smuggling operations in the Emerald Graves as well as a hidden port on the Storm Coast in north-eastern Ferelden to enable rapid transport across the Waking Sea. When the Venatori attempted to use this port to establish a supply line to Minrathous, with the aim of corrupting the Tevinter Imperium's slaves into an unstoppable army to turn the tide of the ongoing Tevinter-Qunari war in Seheron, members of the Ben-Hassrath reached out to the Inquisition for help. If the Inquisitor pursued this alliance, the Ben-Hassrath continued to help in operations to uncover Venatori plots, from foiling an attempt to attack Denerim with a fireship to dismantling Venatori spy-networks throughout Thedas. Another Venatori attempt to establish red lyrium supply lines, this time in Antiva, was foiled with the assistance of the Antivan Crows.

Eventually, even the Tevinter Imperium began to pursue a more active role in destroying the Venatori, with Archon Radonis personally enlisting the Inquisition's aid in assaulting a Venatori stronghold on the Tevinter-Nevarra border. The Inquisition also launched a sustained assault to drive the Red Templars out of Emprise du Lion, reclaiming the Keep and the quarry.

Magical research and the search for ancient elven artifacts was another significant area of focus for the Red Templars and the Venatori. After Alexius coerced the rebel mages into his service, he ordered the Venatori to use the Tranquil, whom the mages had largely abandoned during their flight from the Circles, to make Oculara that would reveal the location of ancient elven shards, used to open the temple of Solasan in the Forbidden Oasis. When Alexius's time magic failed to produce the desired results, Corypheus's research teams turned their efforts towards the Still Ruins in the Western Approach, which had been frozen in time after a failed magical experiment long ago. Using Griffon Wing Keep in the Approach, the Venatori deployed more research teams throughout western Orlais, some dedicated to excavating ancient ruins such as Coracavus and the Tomb of Fairel, others to the capture of the Abyssal High Dragon. After the Red Templars left their mining operations in the Approach, the Venatori came to rely more and more on the White Claws, a group of bandits they enlisted to discourage incursions into the Approach and to keep an eye on renowned dragon expert Frederic of the University of Orlais. The Venatori in the Western Approach were eventually defeated by the Inquisition, their leaders either slain or captured by the Inquisitor.

Investigating the Grey Wardens[]

As the Inquisition recovered, the Inquisitor's attention turned to the whereabouts of the Grey Wardens of Orlais and Ferelden, who had vanished without trace some months earlier. Brought into contact with the Champion of Kirkwall, Hawke, the Inquisitor was informed that Corypheus had the power to manipulate Grey Wardens and imitate the Calling. Fearing that Corypheus had already done so, the Inquisitor followed the Champion to meet a Grey Warden in Crestwood (either Stroud, Alistair, or Loghain Mac Tir[2]) who explained his fellow Wardens were indeed hearing the Calling and had committed to a blood magic ritual designed to prevent future Blights.

The Inquisitor, Hawke, and Hawke's Warden friend traveled to the Western Approach, where the other Wardens were carrying out their ritual under the direction of Magister Livius Erimond. The ritual involved sacrificing Wardens to fuel blood magic to summon and bind demons into an army that could fight through the Deep Roads to reach and kill the two remaining Old Gods before the darkspawn could find and corrupt them into archdemons, thereby (in the minds of the Wardens) preventing the outbreak of the Sixth and Seventh Blights before they succumbed to the Calling. Unbeknownst to the Wardens, the ritual bound the demons created by the Wardens' sacrifices to Corypheus, not themselves; Erimond had deceived them as part of his master's plan. Erimond then attempted to control the Inquisitor through magical manipulation of the Anchor, only for his foe to counter and sent him fleeing for Adamant Fortress.

Siege of Adamant Fortress[]

Main article: Siege of Adamant Fortress

The siege of Adamant

The Inquisition later plotted a siege of Adamant. Due to the fortress' age, it would not withstand modern siege equipment, which was provided to the Inquisition by Lady Seryl of Jader, and Leliana provided tactical information to limit the field of battle. The Inquisition then laid siege to the fortress, only to preoccupy the Wardens while the Inquisitor finds Erimond.

Arriving as the Wardens were in the midst of summoning a Nightmare demon, the Inquisitor exposed Erimond, bringing Warden-Commander Clarel de Chanson and others to their senses and they turned against the Venatori. Erimond then summoned Corypheus' archdemon to attack. In the middle of the battle, a dying Clarel struck the archdemon's underbelly, accidentally destroying a portion of the fortress, causing the Inquisitor, Hawke and their Warden ally to fall as the Anchor accidentally opens a rift, sending them into the Fade. They managed to return to the physical world through the rift at Adamant, though either Hawke or the Warden ally were left behind to fend off the Nightmare. The Inquisitor then sealed the rift, banishing all the demons. With the battle over, the Inquisitor had to choose between allying with the remaining Grey Wardens or exiling them from Orlais for their actions.

The battle also hardened the Inquisition's soldiers, making them battle-ready veterans. Meanwhile, Corypheus had lost his demon army and had only a few dozen enthralled Wardens under his control. Erimond, who survived the battle, was taken captive in the fighting's aftermath and handed over to face justice at the Inquisitor's pleasure.

Intrigue at Halamshiral[]

The Grand Ball in Halamshiral

With another of Corypheus's plans foiled, the Inquisitor next had to deal with an assassination plot against Empress Celene Valmont I of Orlais, a plot uncovered during the events of Redcliffe or Therinfal; if Celene is killed, it would throw Orlais into chaos. The Inquisition attempted to send a warning to the Empress about the danger to her but the messages were intercepted. However, as Celene was hosting peace talks in the form of a grand ball at the Winter Palace at Halamshiral, the Inquisitor attends the ball as a guest of Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons, who was contending with Celene over the throne, to unmask the assassin. Ambassador Briala, leader of Orlais' rebel elves, was also invited in a bid for Celene to gain an alliance with the rebels. All three parties began currying for the Inquisition's support.

During the ball, the Inquisitor investigated strange goings-on at the Winter Palace, from the murder of Briala's agents to the body of a Council of Heralds emissary with a Chalons crest on the murder knife. Eventually, the Inquisitor discovers that the assassin is Grand Duchess Florianne, Gaspard's sister, who was allied with Corypheus, having been promised all of Thedas to rule once she assassinated Celene. Having successfully lured the Inquisitor away from Celene, Florianne leaves her company of Venatori and demons pouring out of a Fade rift to deal with the Inquisitor while she returned to the ballroom to make her move. However, the Inquisitor managed to survive the ambush and returned to the ballroom before Florianne could make her move. The Inquisitor can then either allow Florianne to kill Celene or thwart her. Afterwards, the Inquisitor has the final say in who rules Orlais.

Either way, the Orlesian Civil War had been brought to an end and Orlais allies with the Inquisition.

March on the Arbor Wilds[]

Main article: Battle of the Arbor Wilds

The Inquisition marches on the Arbor Wilds

With his plans foiled, Corypheus uprooted his strongholds and concentrated his remaining forces on scouring the Arbor Wilds for elven artifacts. Morrigan, Celene's arcane advisor and newly appointed liaison to the Inquisition, suspected that Corypheus was seeking an eluvian, a magically elven mirror that could allow him to enter the Fade without need of the Anchor, allowing him to achieve through magic what political deceit and military might had failed to deliver.

With the support of the Orlesian armies, the Inquisition marched on the Arbor Wilds and engaged Corypheus' forces. However, the invasion had awoken ancient elven sentinels, who were protectors of the Temple of Mythal, who engaged both sides. The Inquisitor, along with Morrigan and a few companions, fought through the blockades, managing to catch up with Corypheus as the darkspawn was in the midst of confronting a group of sentinels. Corypheus was then seemingly destroyed by a magical barrier, only to be reborn in the body of a nearby Warden. The Inquisitor's party quickly took refuge inside the temple as Corypheus summoned his dragon to attack.

The Inquisitor's party then navigated the temple, either fighting through the sentinels or allying with them, before confronting and besting Corypheus' general, Samson/Calpernia. Afterwards, the Inquisitor or Morrigan drank from the Well of Sorrows, which was the key to the resident eluvian, to render it useless. At the same time, Corypheus managed to storm his way into the temple. The Inquisitor's party used the eluvian to return to Skyhold as a mysterious feminine entity arose from the Well, which blocked Corypheus and smashed into the eluvian, destroying it.

As Corypheus and his archdemon fled the field, the Inquisition was able to rout the darkspawn's army.

Final confrontation[]

In a last desperate attempt to enter the Fade, Corypheus returned to the Temple of Sacred Ashes to reopen the Breach with the Orb of Destruction. With a small group of Inquisition as his audience, he proclaimed that the Maker was false and he would be the new god and demanded their fealty. When the soldiers defiantly refused, Corypheus responded with a blast of energy before unleashing a pair of terror demons against them.

The final confrontation with Corypheus

The Inquisitor quickly responded and arrived on the scene. Corypheus then suddenly levitated the temple into the sky to ensure that his nemesis couldn't escape. His archdemon then attempted to attack, only to be tackled out of the way by another dragon (either the Guardian of Mythal, if the Inquisitor drank from the Well, or a transformed Morrigan, if she drank). Eventually, the archdemon was able to down its opponent, only to be killed by the Inquisitor soon after, causing Corypheus' ability to leap into other tainted bodies to be disrupted, rendering him vulnerable. Enraged by this, Corypheus proclaimed himself willing to destroy Thedas if he couldn't rule it, but the Inquisitor proved too strong an opponent. With his defeat certain, Corypheus futilely called out to his Old Gods for aid, only for the Inquisitor to rip the Orb from his hand with the Anchor and used it to seal the Breach. The Inquisitor then used the Anchor to open a rift, hurling Corypheus into the Fade and destroying his physical body in the process, ending his threat once and for all.


See also: Epilogue (Inquisition)


  1. The DLC Trespasser occurs in 9:44 Dragon and states that it takes place "two years after the death of Corypheus"
  2. Which Grey Warden appears is dependent upon the World State imported from Dragon Age Keep