Disclaimer: Neither Dragon Age Origins, nor the characters therein, belong to me. I am in no way profiting from this story.
Flames of the Dragon Mage
Prologue: Thrown to the Wolves
If one were to travel along the eastern bank of Lake Calenhad, one would inevitably catch sight of the imposing fortress called Kinloch Hold, a relic of the once-mighty Tevinter Imperium. If the traveler were to look more closely, they would notice the remnants of a massive bridge that was never rebuilt, as well as several small docks, closely watched by armored figures. Most travelers didn't. They turned their heads, pulled their cloaks tighter, and fixed their thoughts on more hospitable places, such as Redcliffe or Highever. Places not touched by the curse of magic.
Within the tower, quiet usually reigns. Aside from the occasional explosions, there is only the soft murmur of conversation and the clinking of the soldiers stationed at regular intervals along the curved halls. At night, things became even more silent, as the inhabitants settle down to dream, and the guards' watch even more closely in this deceptively peaceful time.
This is the home of the Circle of Magi of Ferelden. Some call it a haven, some a prison. It is the only place in the kingdom where mages can legally live and practice magic, under the watchful scrutiny of the Chantry's Templar. It is the duty of these feared religious warriors to watch for and slay apostates, maleficare, and abominations. Apprentices, almost always taken in youth, must learn to control their powers in preparation for the ultimate test.
William Surana's blue eyes snapped open, and he was on the verge of casting an Arcane Shield before his mind caught up. The helmeted templar standing over him would probably "mistake" the action as hostile, and take action.
"Rise, apprentice, you are to come with me," the templar said quietly. Will slowly got up, pulling his robe on as he looked around the barracks that apprentices were stuffed into to see if anyone else was being woken. He was the only one, which could only mean one thing.
'It is time, then,' he thought, pushing his short brown hair behind his pointed ears and turning back at the waiting templar, who turned and left the room.
They started making their way up through the tower, through the libraries that held so much knowledge, past the labs used in the creation of various magical potions. They moved up into the Templar quarters, which apprentices were forbidden from entering, before finally reaching the Harrowing chamber at the very top of the tower.
There were three more templar and a mage already waiting in the massive, empty room. Though old and wizened-looking, the mage still radiated a sense of power, and with good reason, for he was First Enchanter Irving, widely considered one of the most talented mages Thedas had seen in many years. A short distances away, flanked by his helmeted underlings, stood Knight Commander Greagoir, the final authority of the Ferelden Circle. Though no youngling himself, he still had a severe aura about him and stood ramrod straight. The Templar who had woken Will led the young elf over.
'Cue long-winded speech about dangerous magic and necessity,' Will thought sourly as his guide abandoned him to stand behind Greagoir. As predicted, the old Templar stepped forward and took a deep breath.
"Magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him," Greagoir quoted. "Thus spoke the Prophet Andraste as she cast down the Tevinter Imperium, ruled by mages who had brought the world to the edge of ruin." He began to pace dramaticly, forcing Will to restrain himself from rolling his eyes. "Your magic is a gift, but it's also a curse, for demons of the Fade are drawn to you and seek to use you as a gateway into this world." He stopped and glared at Will, who nodded to indicate he was listening.
"This is why the Harrowing exists." Irving continued, stepping forward. "The ritual sends you into the Fade, and there you will face a demon, armed with only your will."
'Wonderful, sink-or-swim at its finest. Best get this over with,' Will nodded. "I am ready."
"Know this, apprentice, should you fail, we Templar will perform our duty. You will die." Greagoir warned, causing one of the templar behind him shifted uncomfortably.
Perhaps attempting to blunt this stark statement of intention, Irving spoke up. "The Harrowing is a secret through necessity, child. Every mage must go through this trial by fire, as we succeeded, so shall you. Keep your wits about you, and remember the Fade is a realm of dreams, the spirits may rule it, but your own will is real." Will nodded, he had heard all of this many times before.
"The apprentice must go through this test alone, First Enchanter." Greagoir cut in, sounding annoyed.
'What, afraid you won't get to kill me?' Will thought sourly as the Knight Commander turned back to him. Irving shook his head sadly before gesturing Will forward.
"You are ready."
Will nodded, and approached the small font at the center of the room. A soft blue glow emanated, and Will sensed the power radiating from the refined lyrium within. Though potentially addictive and dangerous if overused, lyrium was the essence of magic, and Will took a moment to just bask in the flow. Finally, he let his magic flow into his hand and gently dipped it into the lyrium. The liquid stuck to his hand and started crawling up his arm. Suddenly, it engulfed him in a flash of light.
The templar surrounded Will's sleeping body and waited.
(Codex: The Fade)
"The study of the Fade is as old as humankind. For so long as men have dreamed, we have walked its twisting paths, sometimes catching a glimpse of the city at its heart. Always as close as our own thoughts, but impossibly separated from our world.
The Tevinter Imperium once spent vast fortunes of gold, lyrium, and human slaves in an effort to map the terrain of the Fade, an ultimately futile endeavor. Although portions of it belong to powerful spirits, all of the Fade is in constant flux. The Imperium succeeded in finding the disparate and ever-shifting realms of a dozen demon lords, as well as cataloging a few hundred types of spirits, before they were forced to abandon the project.
The relationship of dreamers to the Fade is complex. Even when entering the Fade through the use of lyrium, mortals are not able to control or affect it. The spirits who dwell there, however, can, and as the Chantry teaches us, the great flaw of the spirits is that they have neither imagination nor ambition. They create what they see through their sleeping visitors, building elaborate copies of our cities, people, and events, which, like the reflections in a mirror, ultimately lack context or life of their own. Even the most powerful demons merely plagiarize the worst thoughts and fears of mortals, and build their realms with no other ambition than to taste life." -From Tranquility and the Role of the Fade in Human Culture, by First Enchanter Josephus.
AN: This story is currently being revised to weed out all the errors. If anyone would like to help me in this endevor, feel free to offer, and even if you don't, pease review, since it makes me feel good.