Ferelden

Ferelden

Ferelden is a temperate and fertile country, though its winters are unforgiving. Ferelden boasts a wide variety of terrain, and large portions are still untamed, which can prove hard on the unprepared.
To the immediate north of the region known as the Coastlands is the Waking Sea, which parts Ferelden from the Free Marches, a collective name given to a series of wealthy citystates that control the central portion of the continent. Denerim, the capital city of Ferelden and home of the King, rests in the east. A large portion of the east to southeast of Ferelden is a feral wilderness, dominated by the hoary Brecilian Forest. The forest is said to be a cursed place, an abode of thieves, murderers, and werewolves. The trees themselves are rumoured to move and slay the unwary. Only the strange folk known as the Dalish elves dare to enter Brecilian regularly, leading many to believe that they may have had a hand in whatever cursed the place. Those Fereldan who are willing to brave the forest generally live in the city of Gwaren, a city port on the Amaranthine Ocean. The Amaranthine forms Ferelden’s eastern border. It is a massive body of water, stretching beyond the horizon, and remains uncharted.

The south of Ferelden is mostly hilly grasslands, in many parts covered with wide tracts of untamed forest. The region is unofficially split by the remains of the ancient Imperial Highway which still snakes its way down from the west, all the way to the ruins of Ostagar. The area east of the highway is known as the Southron Hills, to the west lie the Hinterlands. The Southron Hills are rocky highlands that stretch into the southern portions of the Brecilian Forest and edge the Korcari Wilds. The Hinterlands run from the massive inland Lake Calenhad out to the first peaks of the Frostback Mountains. A long stretch of the Hinterlands borders also borders the Korcari Wilds. With the Avvars to the west and the Chasind to the immediate south, the folk of southern Ferelden are justly famed for their stoicism in the face of danger. Whatever lies south beyond the Korcari Wilds, if there is more than just endless plains of tundra, the Chasind do not speak of.

To the west Ferelden is bordered by the Frostback mountain range, home to the tribes of the Avvarian hillsmen. The Frostbacks hold numerous high peaks, many of which are snow covered year round. Strange ice formations form regularly before quickly shattering, including “ice bridges” that run between peaks, which the daring can cross. The yearly runoff from the Frostbacks feeds the cold waters of Lake Calenhad. The Lake is a magnificent clear blue and is said to have mystical properties. That is not surprising, though, as the Circle Tower, home to Ferelden’s Circle of Magi, is situated on an island located in the northern portion of the lake. The tower is a landmark, visible for many miles across the entire countryside. Orzammar, the last kingdom of the dwarves, is carved beneath the northern end of the Frostbacks. The dwarves deal cautiously with all folk, though they are always wary when dealing with the Avvars. Beyond the Frostbacks lies the Empire of Orlais, centre of the Chantry and presently considered by scholars to be the most powerful country in all of Thedas. Since the Orlesians occupied portions of Ferelden well within living memory, peace treaty or no, relations between the two countries remain tense.

At the central heart of Ferelden, both geographically and politically, lies the Bannorn. This great valley hosts the majority of farming within Ferelden. While freeholders own their land, political and military control over the Bannorn is split between many different banns, a title taken from the ancient Alamarri word for “chieftain”— hence the region’s name.

History

The country of Ferelden rests far to the southeast of the continent of Thedas. It is a wide and barbarous nation, populated by a fiercely proud folk who’ve only just begun to “civilize” within the last few centuries. The Fereldens are a martial people who value loyalty and honour far more than mere material goods. They are the descendants of the Alamarri, a warlike culture of fractious barbarian tribes that lived for battle. The Alamarri followed powerful warlords known as “banns” into near constant struggle with their fellow tribes, as each bann sought to widen his territory and influence. The history of the Alamarri is written with the blood of great champions who rose to immense power and wide dominion, only to have their legacies and tribes torn apart with their deaths.

The Alamarri were an animistic people, who worshipped a wide variety of nature deities. Most sacred of all creatures was the wolf, which they believed was created by the gods to be both a guide and protector for mankind. Promising young Alamarri warriors were paired off with cubs, and wolves were afforded as much honour as the greatest fighters when they fell in battle. There is a dark side to the old tales, though. One legend states that a wolf betrayed his master to evil gods in exchange for the power to walk in the man’s shape. The resulting creature could not hide the beast in his heart when he dwelt among men, nor the man within when he tried to find a place amidst animals. Thus was the first werewolf born, scorned by all creatures, hating both men and wolves alike. Regardless of the truth of the old tales, the Alamarri were indeed long plagued by werewolves till at last all the tribes joined in battle against their hated common foe. They were victorious, slaughtering their shape changing foes and driving the last of them deep into the forests where a few folk whisper they lurk still.

In modern times, the Fereldans still face two enemies born of the Alamarri. Several centuries after their ancestors first came into Ferelden, a great civil war rose among the tribes that caused one large faction to break away from the Alamarri. The rebels eventually became known as the Avvarian hillsmen, a bloodthirsty offshoot of an already fierce people. Despite their brutality, the Avvars were gradually pushed high into the Frostback Mountains where they dwell still, nursing their ancient bitter grudge against their kin. They cling to the old ways, worshipping the nature gods that they once shared with the Alamarri and despising “lowlanders” as blasphemous weaklings softened by the trappings of civilization. While the Avvars are comparatively few in number, they are fell warriors, hardened by their harsh lives. Their winter raids, though rare, are still greatly feared by all Ferelden.

When the Alamarri first passed into Ferelden from the distant west, some moved into the swampy forest vastness and the tundra beyond it to the south now known as the Korcari Wilds. These folk became known as the Chasind wilders, a strange twisted people plagued by dark desires. The old tales state that after “countless winters” had passed since they parted from the other tribes of the Alamarri, the Chasind invaded the lands to the north accompanied by “white shadows” and twisted swamp creatures. They conquered the Alamarri for a time, though many of the tales dispute just how long this period lasted or even if the valley tribes were ever truly subjugated, before the Alamarri slaughtered the Chasind shamans who had called up the shadows with their magic, and drove their warriors back to the south. Over a millennia later, the legendary witch Flemeth rose as a terrible power amidst the Chasind. Her daughters, the Korcari witches, led an army of wilders and other, more terrible things, against the north. They were all but unopposed until the hero Cormac led an army of Alamarri fighters and Orzammar dwarves against Flemeth’s army. After a long series of dreadful battles, the Chasind were all but destroyed, and the witches burned. To this day the Ferelden eye the south warily, regarding the Chasind with suspicion and hatred.

Arguably, the Alamarri’s most impressive achievement was withstanding the invading armies of the Tevinter Imperium. The Imperium was once considered the greatest power in Thedas and all nations save one were forced to bow before its sorcerous might. Even as the Imperium was reaching the very height of its supremacy, for close to two centuries the Alamarri and their allies thwarted its campaigns across the Frostback range to conquer the barbarians of Ferelden.

Three times the Tevinter nearly succeeded, pressing farther and farther into Ferelden’s interior before being pushed back beyond the mountains. All three times the Alamarri united with the Avvars and the Chasind to drive the Imperium back, the only points in their long histories that the three peoples stood together against a common enemy. On the fourth, and what was destined to be final, push of their advance into Ferelden, the Tevinter successfully held the western half of the valley long enough to build several fortresses and extend the Imperial Highway, which was designed to allow for quick deployment of troops and supplies. The renowned fortress Ostagar was built in the far south to watch for the coming of the Chasind and its mortar was so reinforced with magic that legend holds nothing will ever tear it down completely.

The Tevinter’s success came at a high price. While they remained entrenched, they were subject to near constant raids, their supplies eternally rationed. Rumours slipped back into the Imperium of the fierce and unrelenting blood thirst of the southern barbarians. Being posted to Ferelden was soon looked upon as punishment, exile, and likely a death sentence.
The Tevinter managed to maintain a presence in Ferelden for well over a century, but their hold was ever tenuous. At last, a cunning barbarian hero figured out a way to defeat the supposedly impregnable defences of Ostagar. His name and identity have been lost, so that even today, the Avvars, Chasind and Ferelden (as the descendants of the Alamarri) all claim him as one of theirs; the histories, oral and written, simply refer to him as the Bane of Ostagar. With the fall of their greatest fortress in Ferelden, the will of the Tevinter to stay was broken. Though many bloody battles were fought before they were sped on their way, they retreated beyond the Frostbacks at last, never to return…

For the First Blight had come to Thedas.

The Chantry, the Church of the Prophetess, teaches that the hubris of men brought the Blights and darkspawn upon the world. A group of mages sought to “breach Heaven itself” and were cast forth from the higher realms, twisted by the foulness in their own hearts into terrible creatures, the first of the darkspawn. These monsters crept into the deep places of the world, taking some of the tunnels of the dwarven kingdoms as their own. Drawn by whispers in the dark, they found Dumat, one of the Old Gods—an ancient dragon slumbering in the depths. By unholy rituals they released him, now transformed into a terrible creature known as an archdemon, to make war upon the world. It has been thus, ever since. During a Blight, the world itself seems poisoned by the advance of massive numbers of darkspawn, which come in many forms, each more terrible than the last. The earth withers, rivers foul, and the sky itself turns an ashen hue as a Blight advances. Each Blight is caused by the rise of an archdemon to lead the usually fractious hordes of the darkspawn.

The First Blight arose beneath the Tevinter Imperium and laid it waste, but the Ferelden valley was all but untouched by the devastation. It was almost two centuries before members of the order known as the Grey Wardens slew Dumat at the Battle of the Silent Plains in southern Tevinter. The First Blight was ended, but the Tevinter Imperium lay in near ruins.
In Ferelden, the Prophetess Andraste beheld the Maker, who charged her with bringing his teachings to his children. Mankind was to turn away from false gods, corruption, and dark magic. Andraste’s most passionate supporter and her husband, the Alamarri chieftain Maferath, united all the tribes under his rule and his wife’s spiritual leadership. The two convinced their people that the time had come to topple the Tevinter and they set out across the Waking Sea with an army great enough to do so. The Tevinter gathered all of their remaining forces to stop the Alamarri horde and it was almost enough to destroy the barbarians, but for a slave revolt amidst the Imperium’s underclass and slaves—elves for the most part—who had heard of Andraste’s teachings. At the Battle of Valarian Fields, the Tevinter’s greatest force was routed and Maferath conquered southern Tevinter. The Prophetess, however, was captured by Imperial agents and executed. Ten years to the day after Andraste’s execution, the Archon of Tevinter declared his conversion to her beliefs and announced that her husband, in his jealously of her growing stature, was the instrument of the Prophetess’s betrayal. Maferath had arranged for a truce with the Tevinter in exchange for Andraste’s death. The Alamarri abandoned Maferath en masse to return to Ferelden and the south fell once more into centuries of martial chaos.

It was many long years before the legendary Hafter, the first Teyrn of Ferelden, brought any measure of peace to the Alamarri. He led his people in many battles against the darkspawn during the Second Blight and secured a long period of relative peace. Hafter’s grandson Caedmon was the original warlord who attempted to declare himself King of Ferelden. Though he did not succeed, he did establish the Andrastian Chantry as the official religion of Ferelden. After another three centuries of bloodshed and many bleak times, the great warrior Calenhad finally defeated all other claimants to the throne and was crowned King of Ferelden by the Chantry. King Calenhad opened Denerim, the capital city, to trade with other nations.

Several strifefilled centuries passed before the Empire of Orlais succeeded in invading Ferelden. While Denerim was eventually sacked, King Brandel waged a guerrilla war against the usurpers for decades before falling. His daughter, the Rebel Queen, spent her entire life fighting the Orlesian occupiers. It is her son, Maric, who at last retook the throne and drove the Orlesians from Ferelden entirely. King Maric’s rule is considered the beginning of a golden age for Ferelden. Showing that he held no grudges, Maric signed a peace treaty with the young Empress Celene of Orlais when she visited Denerim.

It is has been ten years since the treaty. King Maric has died, leaving the throne to Cailan, his only son. Ferelden is reckoned an upandcoming power on the world stage, but many believe that after long centuries with nary a darkspawn seen, a Fifth Blight has now begun, for the dark ones have seemingly returned in force to Ferelden.

Outlook

Fereldans are famous for their fiercely independent nature, and this is reflected throughout all levels of their culture. Neither blood nor birthright automatically entitles one to respect, and the nobles of Ferelden must earn their people’s esteem. There has never been a serf class in Ferelden, and the selling of slaves is illegal, though both are very common in other countries.

Fereldans value courage and martial prowess over wealth and famous ancestors. While they are not free of prejudice, they are remarkably open minded for a supposedly “barbarian” people. Fereldans appreciate fair speech, though they like it better when it is followed by action. They are sparing in their insults, unless they are prepared to follow them up with blows. Many Fereldans hold their personal honour beyond price, and they would rather die than betray their given word. Correspondingly, they are often cautious about entering into any agreement that they are not absolutely certain they can fulfil.

The Alamarri were the only people to reject the “benefits” of Tevinter Imperium rule. To them, the Imperial government, along with its magic and culture, was a corrupt decadence that would have destroyed all that it meant to be Alamarri. Since the rest of Thedas eventually succumbed to the Tevinter, their cultures were overlaid and irrevocably changed by Imperial values. While in many cases this greatly advanced their arts and sciences, it also radically skewed their viewpoints. Correspondingly, foreigners tend to view modern Fereldan arts and entertainments as somewhat crude, though occasionally undeniably powerful in a “barbaric” sort of way. The Fereldans, for their part, are exceedingly proud of their accomplishments, as they feel little need to compare them to other cultures that they quietly regard as merely attempting to emulate the feats of the Tevinter.

The Nobility

All folk belong to a social class, and each class has its own rights and responsibilities. However, in Ferelden, unlike nearly all other countries in Thedas, members of the nobility are not considered to be intrinsically better or afforded more rights than any other class; they just have different ones. It is true that nobles are generally treated with deference, but this is often due more to the (correct) assumption of martial ability than social status. Nobles from other lands frequently find Ferelden commoners to be phenomenally insolent in comparison to the fawning treatment that they are used to.

The primary purpose of the nobility of Ferelden is to fight for their people against all threats— human, darkspawn, or otherwise. While nearly all Fereldans boast some level of martial ability, nobles are expected to excel at warfare—it is, literally, their “job.” The nobles of Ferelden do not own the land. They likely have some small holdings, with more powerful or influential lords controlling progressively greater keeps or fortresses, but it is the freeholders that actually own the farms, the crops they produce, and the profits that come from selling their goods. In Ferelden this matters a great deal, because it is the commoners who are actually the patrons of the nobility. Each freehold chooses which bann or arl it gives allegiance to and the decision is renewed each year. A group of freeholders dissatisfied with the protection they are getting from their local bann can remove their patronage and give it to another bann— though likely one within a fairly short riding distance.

At the top of the noble structure sits the King of Ferelden, whose court is in the capital city, Denerim. The King is entrusted with advancing the interests of all the people of Ferelden in both war and trade. While the King can suggest new laws for the land, the “King’s Law” is in fact generally dictated by precedent and voted on by the Landsmeet, a legislative body made up of all the nobles of Ferelden that meets once a season within Denerim to deliberate on issues and bring grievances before the King. Not all of the nobility can regularly make the trip to Denerim, so many send a proxy, either a younger family member or a trusted commoner, to vote in their place. The present King of Ferelden is Cailan, son of the nearlegendary Maric, who ended the long occupation of the Orlesian Empire. Most believe King Cailan must feel the weight of his father’s legacy keenly. Time will tell if he can bear it up, or if it will crush him.

Directly beneath the King are the Teyrn, warlords of such power and influence that they have multiple banns sworn directly to them. There are two Teyrn in Ferelden at present, Teyrn Bryce Cousland of Highever and Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir of Gwaren. Teyrn Loghain was once a commoner whose brilliant tactical skills eventually elevated him to become King Maric’s favoured general, and his daughter Anora is Cailan’s wife, Queen of Ferelden. Loghain is widely regarded as a living example that anyone can rise as far as their abilities allow in Ferelden.

Beneath the Teyrn are the arls, powerful banns who control critical fortifications or regions of land along the borders of Ferelden. Banns make up the bulk of Ferelden’s nobility. There are a great many banns with widely varying levels of power throughout the kingdom. When the banns speak with one voice, they are the greatest power in Ferelden, but this is rare, for they’re a quarrelsome lot. Trivial feuds, which occasionally give rise to petty wars, are far from unknown among the bann.

The least of the nobility is the Fereldan knight, a heavy infantry soldier sworn to serve a greater noble. The prestige of a given knight is greatly influenced by whom he is sworn to serve. They have no particular code of conduct, valuing fighting skills and leadership abilities before all else. While some knights do control land, it is never very significant, as anything more would mean they would be regarded as a bann. In Ferelden, commoner soldiers of exceptional fighting skill have a very real chance of being knighted and joining the ranks of the nobility. Fereldans are proud of this “social mobility,” which is rare in Thedas.

The Commoners

Because Ferelden’s social system developed directly from the Alamarri tribes, it carries their barbarian values within it. A hunter is certainly a valued member of his tribe, but there are many other hunters. A man who can craft a fine weapon, on the other hand, has a rare skill and is thus more respected. The craftsmen of the Alamarri tribes, the woodworkers, the smiths, the builders, and so forth, organized themselves over the years into semiformal groups known as “crafthouses” that shared knowledge and trade secrets with one another. They truly became a power unto themselves, though, when they made their members swear to put crafthouse before tribe. While the crafthouses have no formal political power, only a fool ignores them as they have total power over their particular craft in Ferelden.

Beneath the crafters are the freemen, who make up the bulk of the common classes. Scholars split the freemen into “High Freemen”—freeholders, soldiers, innkeepers, and other employed persons; and “Low Freemen”—criminals, prostitutes, elves, and other riffraff. Freemen are exactly that in Ferelden—they have the right to go where they will, live where they choose, and earn such a living as they may. There are no serfs in Ferelden; all are paid in coin or barter for their work.

The Chantry

In the Tevinter Imperium, humans worshipped the Old Gods, ancient dragons said to have challenged the might of the Maker and been punished for their insolence. It was from the whisperings of the Old Gods, imprisoned deep in the bowels of the earth, that man learned the secrets of magic. The hubris of the Imperium led to the creation of the darkspawn and the first Blight, which left Tevinter in ruins.

At this time, it is said, a young Alamarri slave named Andraste was visited by the Maker. He charged her with carrying his teaching to his children and urging them to turn their backs on corruption and false gods. Andraste proclaimed that magic must exist to serve humanity rather than rule over them. She and her husband Maferath led an Almarri alliance into the Imperium and brought it to its knees. She was betrayed by her husband and martyred and soon her legend grew.

A cult of Andraste was not long in forming. Her followers claimed that Andraste’s Chant of Light must be sung from every corner of the earth until the Maker would forgive humanity for the death of his prophetess and turn the world into paradise. During the Second Blight Emperor Drakon of Orlais embraced these teachings and helped found the Chantry. It quickly became the dominant religion of humanity, even in the lands of the Tevinter Imperium.

Today the Chantry remains a potent force in Thedas. Its power emanates out from the Grand Cathedral in the Orlesian capital of Val Royeaux. While priests of the Chantry are honoured in Ferelden, they do not have the political influence that they enjoy in the Empire of Orlais and other nations. Fereldan priests are considered part of the crafting class and are expected to focus their attentions on spiritual matters. The Chantry has been trying to increase its political influence for a long time, but they have not been very successful. That the Revered Mother Bronarch, Grand Cleric of Ferelden, put the Orlesian usurper Meghren on the throne did not help their cause.

Mages and Magic

The Fereldans, as a people, tend to be highly superstitious and extremely distrustful of magic. It is no accident that the Circle Tower of Ferelden is situated on a remote island far from the more populous cities. Long ago it was in Denerim, but an angry mob burned it down. Magic use outside of a restrictive set of rules is forbidden.

Mages are required to join the Circle of Magi. Those who do not are called apostates and hunted down by Chantry templars. Apostates who practice forbidden blood magic are known as maleficar and they are feared above all. To guard against the use of proscribed magic and demonic possession, templars are stationed in every Circle tower. The Chantry admits that mages can be useful against foes like darkspawn, but their trust of mages only goes so far.

Dwarves

The Fereldans don’t know a great deal about their dwarven neighbours in Orzammar, other than that they’re a stout folk whose troubles are many and whose craftsmanship is exquisite. Neither, in fact, do the dwarves living in Ferelden. Long estranged from their kin, the bulk of Ferelden’s dwarves belong to a dwarf caste known as the “Surfacers” and they are regarded with barely concealed contempt by their kind, though this apparently doesn’t prevent Orzammar dwarves from doing business with them. Long years ago, Fereldan crafters regarded merchants with distaste, as they profited from goods they had no hand in creating. When dwarves first started selling their wares within Ferelden’s cities, the locals thought they were the crafters of the goods in question, and the dwarves saw no need to educate them otherwise. The dwarves eventually offered to move the merchandise of the various crafthouses for them, which was agreed to, so long as they didn’t undercut human goods with their own. This accord grew over the years into the creation of the Trader’s Crafthouse, which now handles the selling of goods throughout Ferelden and beyond, even as far as Orlais and the Free Marches.

Elves

Old stories relate that there was once an elven empire in the north, but the Tevinter Imperium destroyed it long ago and enslaved its people. The words of the Prophetess were instrumental in convincing the elves to rebel against the Tevinter and after the fall of the Imperium, the elves were granted a country of their own south of Orlais called the Dales, in return for their help. For several centuries, all was well, until the elves were found to have accepted Andraste’s words, but not her faith. The Chantry called for an Exalted March against the people of the Dales for daring to adhere to their old gods. The Dales were sacked and their people scattered, now a nation without a home. The elves that still cling to their old beliefs are known as the Dalish elves, an insular people who travel the wilds in massive wagons drawn by huge white stags and have as little truck with humans as possible. The rest of the elves now live in human settlements, but inevitably apart in an area sectioned off for their use called an “alienage.” Some alienages are walled off, but this is as much for the safety of the elven families as it is to protect humans from the “thieving knifeears.” Elves are a graceful people with fair features. They are usually servants or labourers in Ferelden. While their lot is not easy, they are paid for their work and have rights, which is seldom the case elsewhere. Many Fereldan elves hold that they have far better lives than their people in other countries, as they would rather be poor freemen than rich slaves.

Dogs

Since the days of the Alamarri when wolves fought alongside warriors, canines have been highly regarded in Ferelden. In modern times, dogs have taken the place of wolves. Many communities allow dogs to roam freely, and “own” them collectively. Breeding is an ancient tradition and a wide variety of dogs exist. One of the most famous breeds in Ferelden and beyond is the “mabari”—a huge, mastifflike war hound of incredible intelligence, capable of responding to complex orders.

Living in Ferelden

Fereldan cities radiate outward in a haphazard fashion from a central keep or fortress. The inner city is the domain of the rich with elegant mansions, manicured parks, and affluent chantries. The streets will be paved with cobblestones and boast a proper sewage system. As you move away from the city centre, you’ll find only loosely packed dirt for roads and buildings set about with no particular plan in mind. Taverns sit alongside crafthouses next to food markets beside brothels. The streets twist along on bewildering paths, with countless slanting and narrow alleyways between them. In poorer quarters, the roads can quickly become a nightmarish labyrinth for an unsuspecting traveller. The closer one lives to the city centre, the higher one’s social status tends to be. Most goods are readily available; other than slaves very little is illegal to sell in Ferelden so there isn’t really much of a “black market” to speak of. The majority of Fereldans believe in the Maker’s Chantry, following the words of the Prophetess Andraste. Those who do not believe generally hold their tongues.

Outside the cities, people typically live on freeholds, farms that may have been worked for generations by one or more families. Freeholds are highly social and communal with everyone pitching in to help their neighbours. Freehold governance varies wildly, but generally involves a council made up of representatives from each family that decide on what to plant, what to build, which bann to support, and so forth.

The law in Ferelden is supplemented with a good sword arm, so don’t expect a lot of help from the authorities unless major property damage or murder is involved. Petty theft is ignored and most guardsmen are expected to protect their posts more than to enforce laws. Laws regulating behaviour are almost nonexistent in Ferelden. The carrying of arms and armour is unregulated, as are gambling, prostitution, drinking, and so forth. Arbiters appointed by the king’s seneschal hear disputes. Known as “blackhallers” due to the seneschal’s hall in Denerim being constructed of black granite, arbiters often have busy schedules. Out in the countryside, a sheriff appointed by the local bann will maintain the peace and keep track of the cases that the next scheduled arbiter will hear. Since this can take some time, a tradition has arisen where a suspect, in order to get out of prison, will give up something of great value to the sheriff and be released “on his bond.” The property will be returned to the suspect if he shows up to be judged by the arbiter. Otherwise, the sheriff retains the bond and the crime of fleeing justice is added to his original offense. Imprisonment is frowned on in Ferelden as more than a temporary measure. Punishment tends to be quick: whipping, disfigurement, fines, or execution. Public humiliation is often thrown in for good measure.

The Calendar

The yearly calendar has been in use since the early days of the Tevinter Imperium. There are 12 months of 30 days each, and then five annums (annual holidays). The annums mark the transitions between the four seasons and the first day of the year. Each month has a high name in the language of Ancient Tevene, but in Ferelden almost everyone uses the low names, which follow.
Annum: First Day
First Month: Wintermarch
Annum: Wintersend
Second Month: Guardian
Third Month: Drakonis
Fourth Month: Cloudreach
Annum: Summerday
Fifth Month: Bloomingtide
Sixth Month: Justinian
Seventh Month: Solace
Annum: Funalis
Eighth Month: August
Ninth Month: Kingsway
Tenth Month: Harvestmere
Annum: Satinalia
Eleventh Month: Firstfall
Twelfth Month: Haring

The Nine Ages

There have been nine ages since the ancient era when the Tevinter Imperium dominated Thedas. Each age is 100 years. Dates are noted with the number of the age, a colon, and then the year. The current year in the game is 9:30, which means the thirtieth year of the Dragon Age. The nine ages are:
I. Divine: This was the age of the Second Blight.
II. Glory: In this age Teyrn Caedmon became the first king of Ferelden, but the kingdom did not survive his death. The Chantry also declared an Exalted March against the Dales, and troops from Orlais and Ferelden destroyed the elven homeland.
III. Towers: This was the age of the Third Blight. Ferelden also faced the threat of the Chasinds, led by the abomination Flemeth and her daughters the Korcari witches.
IV. Black: Ferelden fought a great war against the werewolves, driving them to extinction. Orlais tried to take advantage and invaded Ferelden for the first time but was defeated after a threeyear war.
V. Exalted: This was the age of the Fourth Blight. Calenhad claimed the kingship of Ferelden and succeeded in uniting the tribes into a true nation at last. The Grey Wardens also established a permanent presence in Ferelden.
VI. Steel: The Avvars invaded Ferelden, causing widespread devastation and famine. They were eventually pushed back, but bad blood between Fereldans and Avvars continues to the present day.
VII. Storm: The Grey Wardens were forced out of Ferelden. In the north new Exalted Marches were fought against the Qunari, strange invaders from across the sea.
VIII. Blessed: Orlais invaded Ferelden a second time. Civil war wracked the country as the usurper King Meghren fought the forces of the Rebel Queen.
IX. Dragon: Maric, son of the murdered Rebel Queen, defeated the Orlesians and claimed the throne of Ferelden. Shortly before the decisive Battle of the River Dane, a dragon appeared and ravaged the Orlesian countryside. Dragons were thought to have been hunted to extinction, so there was no doubt that its appearance heralded the Dragon Age.

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