Vox Silentium

Inspired by artwork created by Vilify on tumblr

In this unsullied expanse a Golden City lies

Forged for the favored, the guileless and the incorrupt

A feast of hues and sounds, of mirth and passion

The splendor encircling the seat of power.

Where once was naught, great spires reach new heights

Banners dance in stillness as heralds awaiting new wonders

Streets that sing in tones unheard by man or beast

The apex of all his power.

Bereft of life, the city glitters but does not sing

In constant view mocking those who wander

Aimless in purpose as before the fall

An eternal rebuke at the discontent of its creator.

The Maker cast out his First Children for their corruption at the urging of the Seven. He abandoned the Golden City, banished the Old Gods and barred the gates. In retribution for their corruption of the Maker's chosen, the Seven were scattered and forced deep within the ground. The Ancient Ones sought the most powerful magisters from their underground prisons to continue to lead the living. All of those chosen were Dreamers or Somniari, mages able to enter the Fade without lyrium and manipulate the Fade at will. These seven magisters gathered by the Old Gods became known as the Magisters Sidereal. - Livinius Priscus

Corypheus tossed the book on the floor. "Drivel. Sanctimonious drivel. This creator did not make the Golden City he obstructs the rightful Imperator. These scribes know nothing of what awaits us, awaits me. In whispers Silence has marked me above all others to carry his word. As it has always been, it must be his power that claims the throne and none other." Corypheus continued to pull tome after tome and tossed them to the floor. "Fools."

Corypheus dismissed the urge to burn all that he had read while he waited. He knew the truth of it.

Dumat had called to him so many years ago with a simple charge. "Sethius Amladaris. Loqueris ad omnes. Ianuam Aperi!"

"I will speak to all and open the gates to the Golden City." Corypheus worked to fulfil Dumat's edict.

Corypheus had his plan and now he needed to prepare for the ritual. The path to the Golden City was within his reach, once he gathered the other six of the Sidereal; starting with the Architect of the Works of Beauty. Once the Architect agreed, the others would follow. Corypheus had no fear of failing in his endeavor. I possess the key to what Urthemiel desires most.

Corypheus was once Sethius of House Amladaris and was of no consequence in Tevinter. The Amladaris line was forgotten even before it became known. Sethius was a weak child - weak in mind and in heart although he aspired to greatness that could never be, praying to Dumat for deliverance. Without such intervention he would be doomed to a lesser existence, his family holding nothing but an ancient name and a claim to magic.

Sethius grew up timid and withdrawn. Yet within him a desire for power and greatness and a gift for magic fueled an arrogance to rival the Archons. It was by magic alone Sethius succeeded as he passed over others to become a magister. The attainment of his title proved to him there was a purpose to his life. He ignored his family. It was far easier to pretend they did not exist than to assimilate to mediocrity. Retreating within the great library, he would spend his days and nights reading all the writings of lesser magisters about the nature of the Veil, the Void and the Fade. He studied the intricacies of wielding elemental magic. He learned how he could connect the threads of the elements and link them to increase their power. Sethius discovered hidden tomes that led to more potent bonds allowing him to sustain one action and add another. He trained until he could maintain fire, ice, lightning and earth attacks simultaneously; but his true strength was yet undiscovered.

Reviled by his peers, his family name and lack of political strength, Sethius did not congregate with others; he spent his days waiting to be recognized for his greatness. In truth, he was avoided by most out of fear. The skills Sethius possessed surpassed powerful magisters and they feared losing what mattered most.

Ostracized by those who stood in his way; Sethius looked for other disciplines to increase his powers.

It was in this arrogance that Dumat found a way to freedom. Dumat was the first and most powerful of the Old Ones. His power- matchless. The slightest breath on a single word could unmake all that stood. Dumat could not leave his prison, but he spoke to Sethius of golden splendor and the infinite power all waiting to be claimed by one who was worthy. Dumat showed Sethius the true nature of the Silence - Vox Silentium, the Voice of Silence. Dumat shared with Sethius what happened to the Lost City of Barindur.

-1610 Ancient (by current Thedas calendar)

High King Carinatus ruled Barindur surrounded by all the opulence and gilded finery he had amassed. His majesty was proud of his wealth and power, soon to be on display for the influx of visitors from near and far. A grand exhibition held in the castle would bring many travelers before sundown for the winter solstice festival. The king and his advisers designed a spectacular event to prove King Carinatus as a monarch to be envied.

The magisters had placed enchantments in the lush flora and throughout the garden maze to illuminate the fountains and paths in otherworldly light. Elegant fish in impossible designs swam within the fountain basins, ice and snow met in sectioned areas producing exquisite statues to appear and dissolve when complete; his magisters produced wonders not seen before and all the product of magic.

The castle was adorned in finery gathered from areas near and far. Silks, brocades and weaves draped from impossible heights.

Barindur's stones were steeped in magic. Carinatus exclaimed to all that would listen the same boast. The night would leave no doubt in the revelers minds that his kingdom was superior to any in existence.

It was in Carinatus' conceit Dumat took offense. He tasked his priests to demand proper veneration for the king's transgression and excess.

An envoy arrived during the festivities. Dumat's high priest and acolytes a glaring contrast in their black robes and unadorned bodies. The king was cautioned to show respect for Dumat's envoy. He refused. The envoy demanded a sacrifice in Dumat's honor. Carinatus refused. The envoy demanded a willing slave to be given in tribute. Again, Carinatus refused. A final request was made to lodge the envoy overnight. King Carinatus offered a stall in the stable and then laughed as his guards pushed the envoy out of the castle.

The final insult delivered, Dumat's high priest took the envoy to the edge of Carinatus' kingdom. There the acolytes knelt. The high priest took the living blood from the acolytes and let the blood pool at his feet. He turned facing Barindur and placed his index finger against his lips. He whispered a word. Interitum -. Annihilate.

A single point of light pierced the dark. The yellow light burning any eye that watched it form to a sphere; the rolling light expanded and stretched consuming the surrounding air, feeding its hunger, fueling its growth. The blinding light heralded the burning winds, searing fabric to flesh and flesh to bone until all was ashes. These ashes fell in patterns like snow coating the highest mountain peaks. Still the word was not satisfied. The burning winds led the searing heat to the stones and earth that held them up. The flames so intense they burned blue until every stone dissolved into dust. A wind storm of red and amber hues chased the dust from the ground.

When the storm cleared, not one blade of grass, not one stone, not one breath of life remained. Barindur disappeared. Vox Silentium. The Voice of Silence had erased Barindur from all existence.

Sethius was surprised at the tears that fell from his eyes. He realized it was not sadness that caused his weakness to flow. It was reverence. The power of Dumat was absolute and he wanted to wield that power.

"Sethius Amladaris. There is a city within the Fade. The power and splendor of all existence denied to you as living flesh. I can show you the way, Sethius. I alone can grant you power over those who vilify you. I will give you the strength to invade their thoughts, to thwart plans before they begin. You will learn to witness their deepest dreams and nightmares and I will teach you to control your enemies using what they fear." Dumat's promises sealed Sethius' fate. He would serve without question.

It was the word of Dumat that showed him the way. All he would require was blood. Sethius was aware of blood magic; the rumors of enhancements to power and complex magic he learned could be unlocked with lifeblood - elven blood was the strongest. The search for a suitable sacrifice drove Sethius to the shadows of the city. He found the first slave in an alley. When Sethius emerged, the epiphany that followed birthed his new name to carry him in Dumat's favor.

I am the Conductor of Silence. I am Corypheus.

Lysander waited in the upper floors of the great library looking out over the city; from this overlook he could see the works of Urthemiel and his acolytes. This meeting was not by choice. The Conductor or Corypheus as he was now called, all but demanded the two meet. The place was no surprise; the upper floors had not yet been assimilated into the grand library and remained empty.

Lysander was the son one of the most influential families; others speculated that he was a descendant of Archon Parthenius. Lysander had known Corypheus when his name was Sethius, but if Corypheus remembered him, Lysander did not know.

Before he became the Architect, Lysander had developed a sense of wonder at the symmetry of life around him. He found joy in the structure of buildings and the complexities of animals and the human form. Urthemiel saw kindred within the young mage and steered Lysander to become his high priest.

They shared one additional connection. Lysander had lost his brother at a young age to a sickness that no magic could cure. Urthemiel lost his brother to Dumat. Lacertiel had attempted to ally with the Maker's First to open the Golden City to all. Dumat branded Lacertiel a traitor and had the other seven condemn Lacertiel to the Void. The Eighth Old God, stricken from all record to be forgotten. Urthemiel could neither forget nor forgive the betrayal of his brother.

Corypheus wandered long enough. The Architect would wait for him on the top floor away from curious eyes and ears. Corypheus did not care. "Let them hear me." He said aloud, ascending the wide steps.

Dumat's acolytes believed the road to the Golden City would be built by the Builders. Corypheus knew better. He agreed to their suggestion; if he shared the true nature of the requirements necessary to reach the Golden City, delays and calls for discussions would plague his plans. Corypheus needed the Architect to steer Urthemiel away from his own designs and shift the focus onto how to breach the Veil and reach the Golden City.

Years ago, Corypheus would have stopped to admire the splendor of Minrathous. He sat in empty halls looking out over the city believing one day he would rule over all of those below. He resumed his walk up to the meeting place knowing the Architect waited.

The Architect heard Corypheus long before he came into view. His loud footfalls echoed through the halls. The Architect received numerous warnings to be wary of Corypheus and Dumat. Dumat is not to be trusted. Always be concise in what you need from him; if you are too vague he will take advantage of your missteps.

"Architect, I require a way to reach the Golden City in the flesh." Corypheus said.

"Conductor, you comprehend the nature of the Veil and the Fade better than any of us, what you seek is not possible." The Architect did not hold Corypheus' gaze. He had lied. There was a way to breach the Veil and physically enter the Fade; it would take an immense amount of magic spent at the precise moment and would require unimaginable amounts of lyrium and enough lifeblood that most of the slave population would be decimated. Even then, there would be no guarantee of success. The Fade was not for the living, the repercussions for attempting and failing would mean death to the one that tried. Even if they used the Somniari, beyond the seven of the Sidereal, many of whom could traverse and manipulate the Fade in dreams, the idea was madness.

"Architect, do not lie or take me for a fool. I am aware of the ritual workings that must be concluded to breach the Veil in flesh. Tell me how we reach the Golden City once in the Fade." Corypheus demanded.

"I cannot say. I will seek Urthemiel's guidance for a plan. I will tell you He will not be so easily swayed and neither will I." The Architect decided it was time to leave. He crossed in front of Corypheus to return to the stairs. Corypheus reached out and grabbed onto the Architect's arm. "Allow me to help persuade Urthemiel. I offer that which he desires above all else. The Eighth will be set free when we reach the city. The power contained there will be needed to free his brother."

"Give me time, Conductor." He hurried down the steps and away from Corypheus as fast as he was able. The Architect did not believe the terms offered. How many years had passed - more than recorded history? Why would Corypheus offer the release of Urthemiel's brother? The notion of forgiveness was foreign to Dumat; if Lacertiel not been one of them Dumat would have seen him dead. The punishment of consignment to the Void was to torment Urthemiel for not supporting Dumat's first attempt to take the city. The Architect spoke aloud. "It is offered because it is the one weakness that Urthemiel has and once offered I will have to convince him." He finished his thought silently. I will have to convince Urthemiel not to accept the offer; it is the only way to stop Corypheus.

The Architect returned to The Temple of Beauty, troubled at his conversation with Corypheus. The acolytes and priests swarmed around him, interrupting his thoughts and preventing his desire to contemplate what he would say to his God. His anger bloomed. The Architect sent all of them away with angry words and harsh glares and when the last exited the temple he sealed the doors preventing any from entry until released.

The Architect rested in the center of the temple and cleared his mind. He would need to sleep to enter the fade and speak with Urthemiel.

Minrathous in the land of the living was impressive with its spires and intricate stone works. The Fade where Urthemiel dwelled in contrast was paradise. Beauty constructed a paradise in stone with perfect symmetry - every angle flawless and every stone a perfect proportion. The Architect sought the Solium Gloriae. This structure lay at the heart of Urthemiel's lair in the fade. The Solium Gloriae was the Architect's true desire: to create all that he dreamed of the Fade's magnificence in the waking world.

Urthemiel designed and shaped an idea into perfection: the Solium Gloriae, framed by eight columns of pure white stone and an arch circled the eight in proportion to the columns. The Architect marveled at the manipulation of the stone to appear as leaves or petals on a blooming flower. He knew it was the fade that commanded the stone to its will. The nature of stone in the fade was not governed by the builder's ability but rather by the limitation of thought.

Lysander, you are not yourself. What troubles you?

"I bring a request and an offer from the Conductor of Silence."

Dumat's puppet speaks again? What is it this time?

"He means to tear open the Veil and enter the Golden City. He asks for designs to conquer it."

I will not give Dumat the chance to rule over the Fade. You may tell his puppet I refused.

"He offers you a gift in return for your help and guidance."

Dumat has nothing to offer me. This is my domain, my paradise. Dumat seeks to ruin all of us to his misery.

"The Conductor offers the release of Wisdom."

Dumat would never agree to set him free. You must have misunderstood.

"He offers you Lacertiel in exchange for the Golden City. There is no mistake."

Then you will have the ritual.

"Dumat wants to rule and must be stopped!"

Lysander, why do you persist? The fire within you I see laid before me in wondrous detail - you want the city as well.

"I do, but for your glory! This sanctuary could be seen and loved by many. The City of Gold in Beauty's hands would be flawless and without equal. It is exquisite perfection that I see not blind rule! A place for all of our brethren to live well and think freely without barriers with your designs and my guidance; the builders would create perfection down to the smallest grain.

Lysander, do as I command and I shall give you all you desire. I will help you build a paradise and raise you as a god. Give me my price. Lacertiel is of no consequence to you. Dumat's puppet shall have his ritual.

Urthemiel did not listen to the warnings of his high priest. Instead he offered designs beyond mortal thought and a promise of more wonders if the Architect could free his brother Lacertiel. Urthemiel would grant the Architect his greatest designs to be built wherever he saw fit.

Lysander's concerns, overshadowed by the promises of his God, dissolved into a hardened resolve to carry out his Master's wishes. He released the temple doors and instructed his first acolyte to have the Conductor meet him in the same location within the hour.

Under Beauty's reign, Minrathous will be a paradise as it is in the Fade. I will bring such life to my brothers. The gift of beauty and of contemplation. I will grant them free thought and they will see the wonders of His works.

Lysander moved through the city to return once more to meet Corypheus. The Conductor waited. Corypheus knew he had his plan. When the Architect arrived Corypheus prepared to leave. As they passed the Architect spoke. "Remember Beauty's price. The Eighth will be set free. You will need the others."

Dumat had corrupted the virtuous one. Beauty was his to consume and pervert. In his prison he laughed. The rest will follow. Conductor, lead them to me.

Corypheus approached the Choir of Silence and called for them to answer his needs. "Bring me the Sidereal!" Corypheus pointed to the acolytes of Silence and issued his orders. He pointed to groups of men as he called out the names of the Old Ones. "The Watchman of Night!" He chose another group and pointed again. "The Forgewright of Fire!" Corypheus moved through Dumat's Temple. "Bring them to me! Go to the Appraiser of Slavery! The Augur of Mystery!" Corypheus turned to the acolyte beside him. "You will go to the Madman of Chaos. Bring the Magister to me."

Corypheus stood in glory of Silence as the Sidereal would come to him. One by one the Magisters appeared. Each overcome by jealousy of the Conductor of Silence. None wished to withdraw. The desire to embrace the Light overtaking the selfish need to be superior to Corypheus. The promise to be divine clouded all reason.

In turn these Dreamers sought their gods in the Fade. Each brought the plans of Silence to their God. Dumat's plan revealed, the response echoed throughout the Fade and the temples. The Old Gods once again will stand behind Silence to reach the city denied to them once before.

The Old Gods yearned for freedom. To use their high priests in exchange for release pushed each to blindly support Silence. The message remained the same from Old God to Dreamer. What is barred must be opened. What is denied must be taken. What is hidden will be found. All that is divine will be granted. Power infinite. Life immortal. Knowledge immeasurable. Walk in the Light and you will have all you desire and more.

The Magisters all agreed to the will of their Gods and gathered in secret away from Minrathous and the unworthy. The designs revealed as days turned to nights and nights to new days. Temples abandoned by their High Priests open to all yet silent without their Dreamers to speak in the Fade.

The Archon had not slept in days. A thought without substance - a fear without a name scratched and picked inside him. A warning, perhaps. He wandered the halls at night seeking what haunted him. The Creator was absent from his thoughts. The Archon sought the help of others.

He called for a healer and a diviner but neither could help him. The Archon looked to a Dreamer who found the Fade barren and empty. A warning. The Archon worried. A hidden threat. One to imperil all of Minranthous and Thedas itself. "I cannot find it, yet it finds me, this fear stabs at my heart and I do not know its name or purpose." The Archon walked the halls as the Imperium slumbered. He shivered and wrapped himself in dread.

The Imperium did sleep unaware of the plans drawn and materials gathered by the Seven. The Fade appeared to shrink as the Grand Design took shape. Evening fell, night passed and with the dawn the Sun's morning light could not warm the iniquity of what was to come that day.

Corypheus exulted in the final hours before his ascension. His divinity assured, Corypheus marveled at the reach of the Sidereal. Lyrium flowed to this hidden temple of Silence on the backs of the chosen one hundred acolytes charged to bring enough lyrium to engulf the highest spire.

Lysander watched as the slaves came, an exodus from the cities never seen before - too numerous to count each head. Beauty's design to reach the City unfolding before him progressing in each labored step bound by the will of its master.

And then a moment of clarity. A lone heart beats free from the other ninety-nine no longer in the grasp of the Sidereal. "What price is this? Should not a God open the way? If a mortal enters the Fade what becomes of him? Why demand a tower of flesh or the price of precious blood, when a God could open the gates if mortals were meant to revel in the Light?"

He moves away from the others no longer blind to the ritual. He sees his fellows blind to reason and caught in the grasp of what is to come. He slinks to the shadows and flees as ninety-nine knives unsheathe in a hush and blaze in the firelight awaiting a single strike.

The man slips out of the hidden temple and stumbles. His body is uncertain how to move, it is his spirit urging him forward to the road. He resolves not to look back and it is the cries and shrieks alerting him he must flee. He turns to the road as the crescendo of cries builds to a fevered wail. The sacrifices begin.

Minrathous. I must find the Archon. Perhaps he can stop this madness. His body rebels and fights as he runs, stumbling on the road. The cuts on his hands and legs bleed but he does not stop. He fears he will fail to reach the city. The ground trembles and cries out as it is torn and shattered. The man falls again and does not rise. He prays, not to the Old Ones but to the Heavens and the Void to take him before the world ends.

The Seven stand as one. The Veil shimmers before them and The Architect holds his breath as the first tear is revealed. The shimmer grows and the tear widens until a roar fills the temple and the Veil shatters. The Seven stare into the maw of waking dreams and as one they step from waking uncertainty to revelation. Dumat waits for his deliverance.

In this expanse a Golden City lies, thought Corypheus. And now, it is mine.

He led the Seven to the gate and touched but a single finger to its splendor. He did not see the mark as the illusion of the golden gates slowly fell revealing the black mark beneath its mask. Corypheus did not see the point on his hand as the stain of the gate sunk beneath his skin.

Dumat's laughter grew. It has begun.

The Seven entered the city to find it empty and the throne barren. Corypheus and the others stood in confusion. Each of the Seven searched and found nothing. At each touch, the mark found their skin and dissolved within.

Only then did the Architect leave and return to the gate. He saw the blackness flow from the gate. No, not flow. It is revealing the true nature beneath. The City had fallen long ago. Dumat deceived them. The City of Gold had been destroyed. The folly of his plan to create a paradise was lost to deception. The Eighth would not be freed. Lysander condemned Beauty and all his works to a lie and in his anger he resolved to save his brothers. He would find a way to free those corrupted by Dumat. "I will free them all and prevent Dumat and the others from ever gaining power." Urthemiel left behind, the Architect repeated his plan again and again to steel himself. Lysander returned to the others. It was time to face Corypheus and hold him accountable for the lies he spread in the name of Dumat.

The Architect stood before the Conductor and accused him of complicity. "Deceiver! The City is destroyed. Look around you! There is no power here, no throne to sit upon. You, Corypheus, deceived us all!"

The Conductor could not understand how the City could have been destroyed. Vox Silentium. Dumat must have tried to destroy what he could not have. Corypheus spoke aloud. "Where is the Creator? Where is the Creator?!" Lysander and the others felt the shudder before the Veil shattered around them again and the Seven fell through the waking dream, burning across the skies of Tevinter as they fell.

The Creator did hear the call of the Seven. It was by His grace that the magisters were spared. Spared but not cleansed of the deeds pride had wrought. The Seven would answer to the rules of men.

The lone heart that escaped from the hidden temple found himself at the Archon's door before the Seven had reached the gate. Injured in flesh but firm in mind he stumbled through halls to find the Archon's seat. The guards would not let him pass, his appearance and the acolyte's shredded robes prevented him from reaching the Archon. The acolyte wept. He could not hear the whispers of the Old Gods and he could not feel the strength he once knew.

The Archon watched the man fall to his knees. He could feel the spirits around him confused and fearful. "Let him pass." The Archon ordered his guards to move aside. The acolyte was brought to the Archon and tried to show veneration but the pain was too great. The Archon addressed the acolyte. "You know what plagues my heart and mind. Tell me for I hear the spirits cry of abominations and deception; the land cries out in pain and the screams are heard throughout the Fade."

The acolyte sat beside the Archon and revealed the designs of the Sidereal. He spoke of the devastation of the slaves and the theft of lyrium. The Archon listened to the acolyte and the spirits and found the tales to give shape to the nameless fear that consumed him for days. The Archon's anger grew as the devastation of life for pride and glory fueled his resolve to end the reign of the Sidereal.

In that moment, the Archon saw the fire from the heavens. Seven trails of holy fire burned through the sky. The Creator dispelled the interlopers and delivered them to him for judgement. The Archon silently thanked the Creator for his gift and swore to avenge the loss of life and the corruption of the Fade.

One by one the Divine Fire set the magisters down near the barren earth that was once Barindur. The magisters, no longer creatures of the Maker stood confused unaware of their true names. The Architect and Corypheus stood facing one another. I will free my brothers and end the rule and cruelties of the Old Gods. They shall never wake, never ascend. The Architect did not know those around him but he could feel their corruption. I will free my brothers from your corruption. He turned away from the others and awaited his judgement.

Dumat took the Word of Silence from Corypheus. It is finished. Find me Corypheus. We will poison this world and take it from the Creator. We will make it our own. I will be free and none will defeat me.

Corypheus watched as the life around them all withered and died. Dumat had planned this outcome. He did not want the City, he wanted to torment the Creator and take the land. The City was lost long ago - it was not his goal. Corruption was his goal. My corruption. Corypheus lifted his hand in front of his eyes. The flesh he once remembered twisted and gnarled. The body he once carried now broken and changed. Corypheus laughed. He would be feared and in fear he would command the armies of Dumat to take the land from those not worthy to stand before him.

The others could not remember their names or their purpose. The waited frozen to the earth beneath their feet. It was the Architect who was first cursed his God, the betrayal too much for his newly corrupted heart. The others soon joined the lament and cursed the Old Ones for the deception. Only Corypheus reveled in his new role still blind to Dumat. In their cries for justice, the Creator opened the skies to weep for them.

The Archon took with him a large compliment of mages and guards and any who were willing to see to the end of the Sidereal for the horrors performed in the name of the Old Gods. He hoped to find the place the Sidereal had fallen, as he followed the trail of fire to Barindur. The storm clouds dissolved as the Archon approached.

The Archon bore the ring of Darinius. It was his symbol of the Ferryman that the Archons wore through the ages. The symbol of the leader of the Imperium was incontestable. The Archon stood before the Seven in silverite armor with his staff of gold and emeralds raised in challenge.

The Archon called to the corrupt. "Face me. You who placed this doom upon all the world! You will answer for your misdeeds. Did you think you could touch the divine and not pay a price? Was your judgement so clouded by pride that you could not see the destruction you unleashed?"

The Seven turned and faced their accuser. A storm of magic in fire and ice, in water and earth, in magic so twisted and filled with hate the Seven advanced on the Archon. None could best the heir of Tevinter's Ferryman. The Archon dispelled the magic directed at him spell for spell and when the assault ended the Archon was untouched. He stepped forward and faced the Seven across the barren plain.

The fight raged on between the Archon and the Seven while under the battlefield the corruption sank deeper into the earth. The lifeblood of magic, veins of lyrium reached deep underground, once blinding silver, bled red as the corruption seeped into the lifelines protected by the earth. The intruding taint would grow with the veins and carry its ruin throughout time. The path of corruption was not yet finished and traveled faster seeking a new target; a beast asleep deep beneath the ground.

The Archon needed to cleanse the Corrupted from Thedas to save Tevinter and those beyond its borders. He called upon the spirits and the magisters around him to give him their strength. In the perfect silence he built a storm of fire and lightning - two forces deadly apart but together would destroy the Seven. A small fireball sat in his outstretched hand his staff arm raised. Creator, help me. He willed the fire to turn slowly at first. He willed it to build upon itself. Swirling winds sent by an unknown force fed the flames to grow and churn. A cloud of fire and lightning reached for more air to fuel its righteous path. Still more winds sacrificed their life to the fire cloud. A funnel of flame grew before the Archon stealing the air from his lungs. He gasped and stepped away using the staff to hold the firestorm at bay. Lightning struck randomly within the cloud and above it as it churned. The Archon could hold the flame no longer and with a burst of strength he sent the firestorm to the Seven. The path it carved seared the ground and burned any living grass before it reached the Seven. When the storm passed, the Archon and his followers gasped. The Seven stood unharmed and in defiance.

The Archon had but one choice. He called upon the ancestors from his line back to the beginning. He called again upon the Creator to bless his endeavor and endow him with the strength of the Fade and all its power. The spirits answered his call and gathered in the barren plains and gave their strength to the Archon. His final desperate act to save Tevinter set the Seven to be scattered throughout all of Thedas and as the energy expended he saw a vision.

A dragon armored in bone and sinew with lifeless red eyes stared through the Archon from the depths and dared him to the challenge. The dragon- fed by corruption and awakened to take the world denied him long ago. The Archon shuddered and fell to one knee. He was helped to stand and ordered his party to return to Minrathous; his steps heavy as they returned knowing his beloved Tevinter may fall.

The city might survive what was to come. The Archon would need to prepare his people and find a way to stop the corruption and the Old Ones from returning to destroy all life. He feared that what the Sidereal unleashed would be unstoppable.

Deep underground, wings stretch. Untold time passed since they felt the need to move and now the act of movement is foreign. He holds his wings out and flaps them once, shifting from one clawed foot to the other for balance. His neck is tight but turns in his confined space. A front foot claws at the stone around him crumbing the edge. The other crushes the stones as they fall. It takes a moment for unused eyes to focus in the darkness yet he realizes he can see through the tainted. Then he stops. No movement, no breath. The silence revered for a moment, he roars and shatters the stones around him.

The corruption found the first. Silence stepped out of his prison, a blight upon the land. Dumat's plan worked.

Now I must gather my armies and destroy the Creator's children. His final thought before he ascends to the surface is simple. I am free.