Dragon Age II: Timeline of Thedas

by Joe Juba on Jul 14, 2010 at 07:45 AM

Dragon Age II has gamers wondering what the future holds for BioWare's fantasy epic, but some answers can be found by examining the past. The developer has mapped out centuries of history for Thedas (the continent where the Dragon Age series takes place), and these excerpts from BioWare's timeline contain several clues as to central themes and key locations you'll explore in the series' next entry.

1195 Ancient Times: By magic and steel, Darinius seized the great city of Minrathous and declared himself Archon – both king and high enchanter. Those who supported him became Magisters, mage-lords of the realm. At Darinius’ command, they conquered all neighboring lands and the rise of the Tevinter Imperium in Thedas began.

981 Ancient Times: The hostility that festered between the Tevinter Imperium and the elves finally turned into open war. Armies of the Imperium surrounded the fabled elven city of Arlathan in a siege that lasted six long years… until the Magisters resorted to a horrifying blood ritual that sank Arlathan into the earth, destroying it utterly. The conquest of the elven kingdom was complete: All those who did not perish with their city were enslaved, their spirit crushed and their ancient culture destroyed forever.

620 Ancient Times: Kirkwall, the last of the great Imperial cities, is founded in the distant Free Marches by the powerful archmage, Eremius Krayvan. Elven slaves were brought in by the thousands to work the stone quarries, and suffered hardships that would give the city a dark and bloody reputation. In time it became known as the “City of Chains,” the center of the Imperial slave market and the destination of all those captured by the spread of arcane rule.

395 Ancient Times:  In secret, a group of the most powerful Magisters of the Imperium opened a gate into the heavenly Golden City, seat of the Maker and birthplace of all creation. They were cursed for their trespass, cast violently back into the world as corrupted, horrific monsters – the first of the darkspawn. The Archdemon Dumat arose and the First Blight began, starting a terrible war that destroyed the dwarven kingdoms and almost annihilated humanity. Only the creation of the Grey Wardens saved the lands, as those desperate heroes finally pushed back the darkspawn after a century of warfare. The Tevinter Imperium was left weak, but humanity was triumphant.

170 Ancient Times: The Prophet Andraste and her husband, the warlord Maferath, led an army of barbarians across the Waking Sea to assault the weakened Imperium. They incited revolution against the mages across Thedas, and soon their army stood at the gates of Minrathous itself.  On the verge of final victory over the Imperium, Maferath betrayed Andraste and she was burned at the stake – but her memory would live on, inspiring the creation of a religion that would one day cover all of Thedas. The Chantry was born.

25 Ancient Times: As the borders of the Imperium receded, Kirkwall became one of their lone outposts within a distant and violent frontier. The surrounding territory was quickly divided into what would become Orlais, the barbarian Free Marches, as well as the new elven homeland of the Dales. Despite its isolation, Kirkwall fought off many invading armies and did not fall until the slaves within the city finally rebelled, executing their Tevinter rulers in an orgy of violence. Possession of the fortress city remained contested for centuries to come, but it would never again rejoin the Imperium.

1:01 Divine Age: The Chantry named its first Divine, Justinia I, giving the first age of the new calendar its name. This age saw the expansion of the Chantry’s influence throughout Thedas, aided by the eager conversion of the Grey Wardens. The order championed the Chantry’s growth, spreading Andraste’s teachings across Thedas.

1:05 Divine Age:
The Archdemon Zazikel awoke, and with him came the Second Blight. Darkspawn emerged from all corners of the continent to threaten the people of Thedas. Humanity found itself launched into a desperate battle for survival, one that would span almost a hundred years. The final battle took place in 1:95 Divine in Starkhaven, the largest city of the Free Marches. The human forces, led by an army of Grey Wardens, won a resounding victory against the darkspawn, driving them back into the Deep Roads for centuries to come.

2:10 Glory Age: The increasing hostility between the elves of the Dales and human missionaries led to the elven attack on the Orlesian town of Red Crossing. An outraged Chantry declared a holy war upon the elves, one that would become known in time as “the Exalted March of the Dales.” The new elven homeland was crushed, its people either forced to live under human rule and be denied worship of their elven gods or left to wander as homeless vagabonds.

3:10 Towers Age: With the awakening of the Archdemon Toth, the Third Blight erupted throughout Tevinter and Orlais. Only the swift response of the Grey Wardens prevented the darkspawn from overrunning both nations. Their armies met in Hunter Fell, where they obliterated the darkspawn army, felling its archdemon in the bloodiest battle in history. Legend has it that the piles of darkspawn corpses lay over a hundred feet deep and that their blood poisoned the land where they fell.

3:87 Towers Age: Chafing under the Chantry's restrictions on magic, the priests of the Tevinter Imperium broke from Orlesian leadership in "The Great Schism." Seeing Andraste not as a divine prophet but a mortal symbol of hope -- and likely a powerful mage herself -- the Imperial priests shockingly elected a male Divine at the Minrathous Cathedral. Known as the "Black Divine," he became a potent symbol for anti-Imperial propaganda and stirred rage against all mages.

4:40 Black Age: Incensed by the Great Schism, the Chantry gathered an army of the faithful from across Thedas and marched four times on the Imperium, intending to destroy the heathens and their false Chantry. These "Exalted Marches" devastated the land and eventually fell short of their goal: the Minrathous Cathedral remained standing. To this day the Schism remains unhealed, and the Imperial Chantry remains separate from their brothers and sisters in Orlais.

5:12 Exalted Age: The Exalted Marches ended with the beginning of the Fourth Blight. The Archdemon Andoral emerged in Antiva, leading the darkspawn horde into the Free Marches and the Anderfels. Refused aid, they were nearly destroyed… until the arrival of the heroic Grey Wardens atop their griffin steeds. The elven Warden Garahel finally defeated the archdemon at Ayesleigh, a battle that resulted in the loss of the griffins and was thought to have eliminated the darkspawn forever.

5:42 Exalted Age: Rising from humble beginnings to unite the warring barbarians of the distant south, Calenhad the Great is crowned as the first King of Ferelden, creating a legend that would long outlive him and inspire his descendants.

6:30 Steel Age: Whispers reached the lands of Thedas that strange men had arrived in the northern jungle islands of the Boeric Ocean, tall men with horns and ships that fired thunder. These men called themselves “qunari”, and invaded the mainland in a great wave that took humanity by surprise. They forced all they conquered to convert to the Qun, their oppressive religion that heralded all as equals but scorned all individual freedom. Humanity battled to drive the qunari from the mainland for centuries to come.

7:60 Storm Age:
The brutal qunari occupation of Kirkwall was defeated by Orlesian forces, who installed a chevalier as interim ruler of the profitable trade city. The move was opposed by the allied cities of the Free Marches, as well as by many elves who briefly had become equal citizens under the Qun. Rebellions within Kirkwall and threats from other trading partners prompted Orlais to withdraw. For the first time, the nobles of Kirkwall were free to decide their own government, and the first Viscount of Kirkwall is appointed.

8:24 Blessed Age: After many years of decline into decadence, the Mad Emperor Reville of Orlais invaded and conquered Ferelden at the Battle of Lothering. The usurper Meghren was placed upon Ferelden’s throne, while the granddaughter of the rightful king continued her struggle as the notorious Rebel Queen. The Orlesian Empire enjoyed a resurgence of power thanks to the invasion, a period that Reville quickly squandered.

8:99 Blessed Age:
Dragons were thought to have been made extinct by the infamous dragon hunters of Nevarra almost three centuries before, but a High Dragon is spotted on a feeding rampage over the Frostback Mountains. Even though scholars claimed it a terrible omen, the Chantry declared it to be a sign of the Orlesian Empire’s glory and named the next century the Dragon Age. The rebels of Ferelden, however, saw it as a sign of their nation’s rebirth and successfully threw the Orlesians out three years later.

9:21 Dragon Age: Lord Marlowe Dumar is appointed the new Viscount of Kirkwall, replacing Perrin Threnhold, a tyrant killed by the city’s templars “for the good of all.” It is noted by many, however, that Threnhold’s abuses were only opposed after he tried to have the templar order expelled. It is said that Dumar holds power at the sufferance of the templars, and that their order has grown extremely powerful in Kirkwall during his reign. They have become the center of Chantry strength in eastern Thedas and hold their Circle of Magi in a terrifying, iron grip.

9:30 Dragon Age: The Fifth Blight began in the south of Ferelden with the rise of the Archdemon Urthemiel. What was seen as a disaster turned into a startling victory – a Grey Warden survivor united the kingdom against the darkspawn and slew the Archdemon at the Battle of Denerim, and was declared the Hero of Ferelden. The Fifth Blight was over before it truly began, and all of Thedas rejoiced.