The Big Un: The Dread Wolf Take You story
In The Dread Wolf Take You, Charter, in her capacity as an Inquisition agent participating in anti-Fen’Harel efforts, attends a secret meeting in The Teahouse, a discreet riverside establishment near Hunter Fell in Nevarra. (Please note when I say “Inquisition” I mean either what remains of it, or the “officially disbanded but still a group of associates that were in it”.) The express purpose of this place is to function as a neutral space where spies, assassins, rogues and other covert-ops / intelligence agency / sneaky types can meet to conduct clandestine business and have shady dealings. Aside from Charter, there are 4 other attendees at this rendezvous: a male Carta Assassin, a male Orlesian Bard, a female Mortalitasi and an Executor (could be male, female, or something else). This unlikely group of individuals have gathered because they possess what they describe as a “shared interest in the Inquisition’s Wolf”. This is a meeting of the best spies on the continent. The Executors want to eliminate the Wolf. However, the Tevinter Siccari and the Qunari intelligence network, the Ben-Hassrath, declined to answer the Inquisition’s request to attend. The Tevinter Siccari are an order of operatives whose existence has been officially denied. Charter is especially frustrated that the Ben-Hassrath declined, as they had more knowledge on Solas’ movements than anyone else.
The Assassin mocks Charter and the Inquisition about the fact that they worked with Solas for a year and were none-the-wiser about his true identity, seeking to rub in the fact that they overlooked the god in their midst. Charter asserts that Solas is not a god, merely a very old, very powerful elven mage, as he himself says. The Bard suggests that he could be a young mage, a simple elf who stumbled upon old magicks. The Mortalitasi offers that he could be a demon impersonating an elf. The Executor does not care about what he is, stating that those across the ocean only care about what his goals are and his means of achieving them. Charter responds that according to what he told the Inquisitor, he wishes to restore the empire of the ancient elves, and made clear that doing so will cause massive destruction to “our world”. The Mortalitasi opines that this destruction would be especially impactful for Tevinter, since most of it is built over where the ancient elves lived. Charter goes on, saying that beyond this, the Inquisition knows little of what Solas intends. She states that most of his research involved the Veil and that he claimed to have created it. She says that he asked the Inquisition for help activating artifacts that strengthened the Veil and wonders aloud as an information-gathering tactic whether this poses a good place to start. Based on Charter’s words, the Inquisition believe that what Solas wants is “to end […]”. She was cut off, but reasonable inferences here are the world, the modern world / world as it currently is, or possibly the Veil and the subsequent separation of the 2 worlds it separates.
The Assassin is there because Viscount Tethras called in a few favors. The Assassin claims he knows Solas’ target, not just his goal. He relates an encounter to the group. In Kirkwall, the Carta have been maintaining a watch on the statue of Meredith, to stop anyone from sneaking in and stealing a piece of it. They’ve been doing this because they no longer endorse dealing in red lyrium as they believe the Blight is bad for business. A Dalish elf (Dalish-looking, at least) came, asking can someone get the idol (yes That idol) out of what’s left of the statue. Most people believed the idol gone, that Meredith forged it into her sword and then the sword exploded. The elf is persistent, claiming he learned of this in a dream and that an old legend of his people says that the idol is in Meredith’s body and that if he gets it out, he can free his gods. He has with him a potion that will soften the raw lyrium and weaken its magic, so that the idol inside can be retrieved safely. He promises the Carta lots of gold and the potion recipe if they help. They agree and sneak in. The square stinks of magic, they hear music in the wind like an old song they used to know as kids, and some of them keel over mad, whispering and shaking, or run off screaming. The potion melts the area over Meredith’s heart and they retrieve the idol. The Assassin describes it thus:
Not much to look at, a couple hugging - too thin to be dwarves - and glowing softly like a lit ruby. Heavier than you think, even for lyrium, and when hefted it was like it wanted to keep moving, like it was liquid inside.
The song stops when they stash it in a special chest. They return to the elf in their safehouse, but templars/ex-templars are waiting for them. The elf tries to fight them and the templars knock him out. A male Tevinter mage connected to House Qintara comes, pays the templars and takes the idol. The templars and Carta wait overnight in an awkward standoff waiting for the elf (who has the recipe) to wake. Some of them fall asleep while others keep watch. Suddenly near morning, all the sleepers start seizing and fitting like they’re having a bad dream, even the dwarves, who we know don’t dream. Blood pours out all their ears and they die. Arrows suddenly shoot through the window killing everyone except the Assassin, including the potion-elf. The Assassin quickly plays dead. Two other elves burst in, unlike any the Assassin has ever seen. No vallaslin, no downcast / fearful City Elf air. They have fancy armor (making me think of Sentinel armor and Solas’ Trespasser duds) and case the place like pros. One says the idol must have been moved, in a normal Ferelden, non-Dalish accent. He’s upset to see the dead potioneer. The other leans down to their deceased comrade and says “The Dread Wolf guide your soul to peace, brother”. This guy’s accent does sound Dalish, only more formal, like he’s reading a poem, implying he might be an ancient. Clearly they’re agents of Fen'Harel. They leave. The Assassin concludes that the Dread Wolf wants the idol, is willing to get his hands bloody to get it, and pities House Qintara if the Wolf ever finds them, especially if they are deep sleepers. The Assassin has been drinking lots of coffee to stay awake ever since, afraid. Solas can clearly kill people who oppose him while they sleep.
The Mortalitasi comments that it’s interesting to see both Dalish and City Elves working with “this… thing”. The Executor states Qintara fell with Ventus, speculating that the Qunari now have the idol. Charter says she had agents there at the time and that it was actually sold or traded to the Danarius family. (This is a reference to the events of Dragon Age: Deception). The Mortalitasi says the ability to kill sleepers reinforces her demon theory. The Executor wonders if instead Solas is a poisoneer, as the Crows have poisons which are heavier than air and kill sleepers while leaving standing people unharmed. The Assassin insists it was magic that killed the fitting sleepers. The Mortalitasi knows where the idol went after House Qintara and tells her tale next.
In Nevarra, the Mortalitasi rule since they rule the king. They also perform rituals, commanding the magical forces that underlie the very fabric of the world. They find places where the Veil is thin, behind which the Fade flows like a mighty river. (Recall Solas’ Haven comments: ‘without the Veil, the Fade was not a place but a state of nature like the wind. Spirits were part of the natural world like a fast-flowing river’). In these places they can bind spirits and in so doing guide the course of the river more to their liking. She asserts that those Mortalitasi who do so are the truest mages as they bind the Fade and the world to their will. These death mages allowed a Tevinter mage from House Danarius to come with some slaves and perform a ritual - clearly the same mage from the Assassin’s story or the next Tevinter mage who got the idol from him. He asked for the death mages’ help to change the world in this way, wanting to help fight the Antaam’s invasion by directing every dream, demon and half-interested spirit to urge the Antaam back north. So 12 death mages go with the Vint to one of their ritual chambers in the Grand Necropolis, where the bodies of their greatest mages are preserved, now housing spirits that empower the rituals. The Vint has the idol with him, telling the death mages it’s an ancient elven artifact. (Remember prior lore says the idol was dwarven forged). The Mortalitasi describes it thus:
Seeming to show two lovers, or a god mourning her sacrifice, depending on how it caught your fancy. It whispered in our minds, but we hear such murmurs all the time as mages so thought nothing of it.
The death mages drank lyrium and they all begin the ritual, which involves arcane horror possessions bound in ritual circles and the death mages focusing their thus-amplified magic on the idol. The Vint begins killing the tranced-out slaves, catching their blood on the idol. When the Vint gets enough power, he raises the idol and a lyrium spike springs from its base, effectively becoming a ritual-blade. He slashes his hand and a wave of power knocks everyone to the ground and their minds are pulled into the raw chaos of the Fade. Light and color - magic - swirls around the Vint. Suddenly there’s a booming roar from high overhead where the Black City is, and something huge trembles around them, a “spirit so great that it shook parts of the Fade I had always considered neutral, devoid of life”. Before the Vint could complete his ritual, the Dread Wolf arrived.
He’s a lupine, dragon-sized beast with shaggy spiked hide and six burning eyes like a Pride demon. It flew towards them on wings of fire that resolved themselves into a horde of what the Mortalitasi calls lesser demons. It shouts: “YOU MEDDLE PAST YOUR UNDERSTANDING, FOOLISH MORTAL MAGES, AND IN DOING SO, YOU THREATEN ALL CREATION.” It kills the Vint, he becomes a withered husk, the lyrium blade vanishes, the ritual collapses, and the ‘demons’ swarm them. “YOU USE MY IDOL CARELESSLY TO VANDALIZE THE SEA OF DREAMS. NOW FEEL THE PAIN OF WHAT YOU HAVE CREATED.” They wake up back in the ritual chamber in the real world. A Fade rift opens and the 'demons’ surge out “in righteous fury, shining warriors with blades forged from the raw Fade itself, and behind them, dimly visible through the crackling light, the shadow of the beast itself.” It speaks once more with quiet contempt. “FROM THIS MOMENT, SHOULD YOU EVER BIND A SPIRIT, THEN YOUR LIFE IS MINE.” The Mortalitasi wonders at this point why they would attack if they were not bound, saying the Wolf is therefore a hypocrite. It’s clear the demons were likely actually spirits of Justice and Valor.
In the chaos of combat one death mage seizes the idol and escapes, supposedly to Tevinter. The rift closes and the 'demons’ kill most of the death mages. The narrating Mortalitasi fled, the lone survivor. She concludes that it’s not uncommon for powerful spirits to be worshipped as gods, like the Avvar do. The Fade is the Wolf’s natural home and the spirits there serve him gladly. They whisper in her dreams now, promising to get their vengeance on her if her wards fail. Weaker mages would have been dead or mad by now. The Wolf was angry that the death mages bound spirits, that the Vint used forbidden death magic, and that they had all disrupted his own work. He intends something for the Fade, and since he wants the idol, whatever this is will be terrible.
Charter wonders if the Wolf has an alliance with a demon, a la Cory and the Fear Demon. She surmises that Solas has begun whatever ritual he intends to use to restore the elven empire, is aware of disruptions, the ritual involves the Fade and requires the idol. The Mortalitasi adds that the idol reacts to other lyrium and that perhaps he needs lyrium for his ritual, either blue or red. The Bard knows where the guy who ran away with the idol went, and continues with his own tale.
The Bard was tasked with retrieving a ring that once belonged to Empress Celene, the one that was a gift from the previous Lady Mantillon. He tracks it to an auction presided over by Xenon the Antiquarian in Llomerryn. In attendance were an Avvar augur, a Rivaini pirate captain, a soberly-clad Starkhaven noble, a Warden-Commander, Divine Victoria and a red-haired elven Ben-Hassrath agent. (Probably Tallis, this bit is clearly a series of fun cameo reference-nods for fans.) In the crowd the Bard learns other Qunari are present, like Qunari-Qunari. Intrigued, he infiltrates the floors below. What are they guarding? There’s probably a smuggler’s cove further down.
He finds and watches a group of Qunari Ben-Hassrath led by a female Qunari (a Viddasala?) break open a door using explosives and enter an ancient elven ritual chamber. The Bard hides and continues to watch. There’s an eluvian flanked by halla and dragon statues. In the middle of the room, on a pillow on a protectively rune-marked pedestal, is the idol. Suddenly another group enters: 2 Tevinter mages, a female human archer, and a golem with seemingly Shale-like intelligence - Siccari. The lead Qunari says the idol is no trinket and is being searched for by a dangerous mage who styles himself the Dread Wolf, who threatens both their peoples. “Leave and we will have no quarrel with you.” One of the Vint mages replies that Tevinter would know better how to harness the idol, that they know of the elven upstart and that he is a mage named Solas. His ritual has already started to affect the Fade. They can’t risk him acquiring it and finishing what he’s begun. The 2 groups are about to fight when Solas himself walks out of the eluvian, in gold armor with a pelt across his shoulder. He looks at them all, expressionless. They all begin to scream, his eyes blaze and he petrifies everyone the way he did in Trespasser, even the golem. Solas takes the idol, whispering something as he did so:
tracing his gloved fingers gently along the crowned figure who comforted the other, but I could not make out the words, for I fear they were elven.
Then he leaves through the mirror which goes dark.
The Bard concludes that this is all he knows of the Wolf and surmises the idol’s journey is complete. He says the Wolf will destroy anyone in his way without regret or hesitation, and does not believe they can stop it. The meeting attendees suddenly realize there are many liars at the table and start finger-pointing in flurry. All three tales featured grains of untruths. Ben-Hassrath teams aren’t so obvious in their dealings. Siccari are not screaming cowards. The Assassin killed the elf potioneer, not a stray elven arrow. There were no templars, the Assassin sold the idol to the Vint mage. The Mortalitasi knew the Vint would kill his slaves (in her story she claimed this shocked her). As she escaped she knifed one of her colleagues and used blood magic to make spirits possess the slaves’ corpses to defend her from the Wolf’s 'demons’; this is of note because in her story the Wolf said she was dead if she ever bound spirits again. During all this the Executor is silent and Charter says three times, “I ask for my life”. She says she regrets being outplayed and not seeing the Wolf for what he was during the Inquisition year. She will never make the same mistake again.
PSYCH! The Bard is Solas in disguise and has been all along!!! MOTHERFUCKER! Charter has worked it out through various tells, smart as she is. He’d subtly frozen the Executor mid-meeting. Solas ordered tea to drink at the meeting because it was a joke around Skyhold that he didn’t like tea. For his costume he tried to do everything the Wolf would not. He sounds tired. He freezes the Assassin and the Mortalitasi who go to attack him. He grants Charter her life (“Ar lasa mala”) and frees the little spirit the Mortalitasi had bound to stir her wine. He removes his dragon mask and wig. He cautions Charter against dealing with the Executors, saying those across the sea are dangerous. More dangerous than the elf that threatens the world, Charter asks? She asks him why he came, and personally. He wanted to find out what they all knew; many oppose him and they are not fools. He’s there personally because the Inquisition was involved. He asks her in turn why she came. “Because you told the Inquisitor that you were going to destroy this world. Did you not expect us not to try and stop you?” He sighs that this was a moment of weakness. “I told myself that it was because you all deserved to know, to live a few years in peace before my ritual was complete. Before this world ended.” She says maybe he was lying to himself there, like other lies he told others, and that he doesn’t have to do this. (It makes sense that the ritual will take a few years because it’s likely an ancient elven ritual and in those times spells could take years to cast)
Solas tells her "I have no choice. What I am doing will save this world, and those like you—the elves who still remain—may even find it better, when it is done.” Charter thinks of her lover Tessa and says there are people she cares for who would not. He smiles sadly. ““I know that feeling well. I am not a god, Charter. I am prideful, hotheaded, and foolish, and I am doing what I must. When you report back to the Inquisitor …” His voice falters. “Say that I am sorry.” He leaves. The whole story itself concludes thusly:
Then she drank the rest of her tea, her fingers shaking a little. She looked at the dragon mask on the table. Prideful, hotheaded, foolish. Doing what he must. Sympathetic to elves. Said that he was sorry. The red lyrium idol was of a crowned figure comforting another. It was not much, but it was more than she had known before, she thought. Pulling a small notebook from one pocket, she began to write her report. After all, the Dread Wolf wasn’t going to stop himself.
Quick cliff notes for this section since it’s a whole ass thing:
Dragon mask; interesting choice and makes me think of Mythal and how he absorbed her power, and his role as Mythal’s “attendant”
Before his true identity is revealed, the Bard is described as a “peacock”, as many Orlesian fops are. Smart word-choice, obvious pride motif/symbolism.
The Bard’s fake Orlesian accent “curled like smoke around his words”. Makes me think of the curling smoke we see after he’s absorbed Flemythal’s power
In this story he comments disdainfully of the Wardens’ actions in DA:I - “they trapped themselves.”
He also objects to the Mortalitasi’s use of magic re: spirits, the Fade and influencing the world. He expresses that this is unsafe and inappropriate. Makes sense, we all know how he feels about binding spirits.
Compare the different descriptions of the red lyrium idol and consider what they might imply.
The Dalish elf who claims to have seen the stuff in his dreams reminds me of the ambient conservation a City Elf in Val Royeaux has about seeing Mythal in his dreams. If the dreams story is true, was it Mythal who told him this? Or, obviously Solas is a dream walker and this guy is an agent of Fen’Harel - maybe Solas commonly contacts his agents with their latest instructions in dreams? That would be one way to be super clandestine.
The Executor gets some intriguing description and speaks in this story but that’s for another post. But what’s the deal between Solas and the Executors? There’s clearly beef.
The table was booked under the name Gauche. That’s a French word in origin so it will have been Solas’ fake Orlesian Bard identity. Notable since he’s the one who booked the table for the meeting. It’s also clear that he knows of the clandestine Teahouse and probably many other places like it. Thedosians have their work cut out for them.
Solas can freeze people by touching them, not just with his eyes-glowing thing. He can also freeze/petrify specifically/with finesse - like someone’s actual body under their clothes but not their clothes. He can even freeze golems to a state of not-living stone like regular people.
Other golems like Shale, with real intelligence, seem to exist in Tevinter and perhaps elsewhere, and are in use in organizations like the Siccari.
It’s the description of the idol in the Bard’s story that is going to be the most telling re: the specifics of its origins, what it is and what it depicts, since that’s Solas’ POV on it. A crowned figure who comforted the other, and he’s reverent to it, and it’s an elven scene featuring elven figures. The crown matches the headpiece in Mythal statues and that Flemythal wears, and Mythal was a female god. The other figure is smooth-headed/bald. Reminds you precisely of Flemythal comforting Solas in the post-credits scene before he kills her. The scene depicted in the idol is something Solas has lived before, both in the post-credits scene and also at some point in the distant past. The couple/lovers stuff brings to mind the theories that these 2 were once lovers but I don’t think it’s literal, just that they were (and is obvious from the post-credits) very close. Interestingly in the DWR teaser the red lyrium corruption on the idol is first seen creeping up Solas’ spine. Symbolic of something? And what’s the sacrifice? Is this it about the terrible thing Mythal had to do in order to strike down the Titans to save the People? Mourning? Prolly to do with Mythal’s death.
He’s using the red lyrium idol to take the Veil down because it’s the next best thing for the job that he knows about after the destroyed foci orb.
The Mortalitasi ritual involved circles with bound dead ringed around them. I’m reminded of the circles in the background of the DWR mural.
We only have a few years left in which to stop him. Let’s say DA4 begins about a year before he reaches ritual completion time (going by the 1 year in-world time passing in DA:O and DA:I as standards), that would put us around oh.. 9:47 or so when the game starts.
Solas’ followers, the bomb and suicide-ing
In Half Up Front an elf mage agent of Fen’Harel disguises herself as a human and hires 2 thieves to steal [back] an artifact she wants to acquire, Dumat’s Folly. She makes references to her vast resources and how much info she has at her fingertips. She clearly has lots of funds because she offers to pay them exorbitantly. Dumat’s Folly is supposed to be a piece of the Black City, a reminder of humanity’s hubris. One of the thieves is a human Vint mage. The other is her lover, Irian, a non-mage elf who is an expert hunter and staff-fighter and very skilled. The Qunari tried to recruit Irian a while back. Capers ensue and the pair eventually track it to the storeroom of a Qunari ship moored in Kont-aar. They’ve just located it in a box, and think something is wrong when it starts to thrum with wild magic (”growing, it was hungry”), when the agent suddenly shows up.
No longer in disguise, she’s wearing a simple robe, embroidered with an unknown symbol, with her hair brushed back away from her pointed ears. She gloats that she knew they’d succeed. She paralyzes the mage with a strong spell and takes the artifact, looking at the Vint with a mix of pity and contempt. She repeats “Felassan” 3 times, seemingly an activation passcode for the object. It begins to glow red. She disgustedly says the Vint did well, “for a shem”. The Vint asks her who put her up to this. The agent replies that she acts "freely. For the Dread Wolf. To bring back what was once ours—what must be ours again.” The Vint realizes that she’s heard the rumors that dozens of elves have gone off to head the call of “some god”. The agent reveals the object is a weapon. It pulses rhythmically and gets brighter and the air starts to warm. Energy starts to stream to the device from magical objects nearby that were also in the storeroom - they crumble to dust. It turns out that the object isn’t the real Dumat’s Folly. The agent says “It is an ingenious device. Not a piece of the Black City, like the true Dumat’s Folly, but taken from the same time [probably meaning ancient Elvhenan?]. It draws magic into itself. Stores it, and then when it is full [exploding motion]”. It’s a bomb.
The agent tells the Vint this is the end for her. “Take comfort that in your sacrifice, the glory of the true people will be restored.” She’s about to kill her with a small crystal she has that starts to crackle with energy, when Irian knocks her out. “Those damned Fen’Harel cultists! ‘Ooh, if we blow up enough people, ancient Elvhenan is definitely coming back!’” rants Irian. It turns out Solas’ people tried to recruit her a few years back. The agent wakes up and before they can interrogate her clenches her teeth. Green foam fills her mouth, she spasms and dies, having taken some kind of suicide pill. It starts to get really warm as the weapon keeps powering up. They can’t disable the device because there’s too much energy buildup. They realize that thousands of people, a whole town, are going to die.
In the end they manage to save the day by taking the ship far enough out to sea before the bomb detonates and escaping off it, getting back to land. When it explodes it’s a flash of light like a second sun. It releases all the magic it drained in a single cataclysmic blast. It’s followed by a shockwave and a roaring crashing sound. Gatt appears and they have a discussion. He explains that one of their Ben-Hassrath agents spoke of Dumat’s Folly. This agent suggested it was an artifact of great power and danger, integral to Fen’Harel’s plans. They captured him planning to interrogate him, as this was clearly one of Solas’ spies in the Qun, but he killed himself before they could (our second example of Solas’ followers suicide-ing rather than being captured or betraying the cause). The group establish that the original agent of Fen’Harel hired these 2 thieves so that it would look like a Tevinter altus struck at and blew up a Qunari settlement (Kont-aar) which had not entered hostilities. This would have caused chaos; the Ben-Hassrath wouldn’t have been able to sit out of the Qunari invasion of the south anymore and Rivain and even other countries/groups might have gotten drawn in. Gatt agrees that if that scenario had occurred the Qunari would have settled for nothing less than the total destruction of Tevinter. (Here I’m reminded of the causing chaos in order to take advantage of the confusion and weakened nations modus operandi of Cory).
Gatt says the Ben-Hassrath will remain officially neutral and blunt the strike of the Antaam. This leaves them, more importantly, free to act against the true threat - Solas. “With their allies standing next to them”. The Vint is happy that in the end she didn’t get tricked by “some egomaniacal elf” into starting a war. Gatt says they can’t go home because they are now known to Fen’Harel and he has eyes everywhere, inside Tevinter without a doubt. Irian asks where they should go. Gatt contemplates and says he/the Ben-Hassrath have other allies, “a dwarf in Kirkwall”. Probably Varric. This dwarf will want to hear what the Vint and Irian have to say about the enemy, and he will have work for them. “Something more than survival—a chance to strike back. A chance to matter.” The Vint and Irian agree to this.
Inquisition anti-Fen’Harel information-gathering mission
[The Inquisition] fell within a mirror, past a mysterious Crossroads, in the shadow of something impossible—the Dread Wolf, a creature so powerful the elves once called him a god. The Chantry didn’t want him to exist—the Maker didn’t allow room for gods that weren’t God—but if he did, whatever he was, they needed information. There were apparently spaces between that Crossroads and the Fade—broken spaces that weren’t all there. Which meant pieces might be somewhere else. And a certain type of mind might follow that backward, and find what had undone this elf, and any others, that walked as gods.
In Genetivi Dies In The End, as part of the anti-Fen’Harel efforts, the Inquisition-remains dispatch 3 writers, good ol’ Genetivi, Philliam, a Bard! and formerly-Sister Laudine on an expedition and investigation with a Lord of Fortune to a location in the north of the Silent Plains (btw which for some reason are strangely purple). This is in Tevinter. (Remember that the settlement Solas is near there. Not a coincidence, I am sure! Certainly learns credence to the Inquisiitor’s table map stab) The purpose of the expedition is to find the true history of the elven pantheon, in a piece of elven Library, beneath the Imperium, deeper than the Deep Roads. The Inquisition has clearly done research and found information on this place’s location. Laudine is human but has an affinity for [presumably translating] ancient elven since the language is about rhythm and feeling as much as vocabulary, and she’s secretly an untrained mage and has some kind of quirk or condition which sounds to me like fantastical Thedosian synesthesia combined with intuition. Evidently this gives her a leg up with ancient elven.
In the long journey to the entrance, they work together to start their manuscript - the story travels back from the end of the Inquisition and upends history, revealing that Arlathan wasn’t destroyed by Tevinter but by strange magics that caused the rise of the Veil:
The division of the mortal realm from the Fade was not a natural state that had always existed. It was an event, a moment in time that had literally shattered the elven empire. Pieces of that glory now drifted beyond dream and will, with the Dread Wolf stalking between. But other pieces remained, displaced in the physical world. And in the gap between accepted fact and fantastical guesses, there were clues a group of squabbling writers now chased to hidden secrets.
They find the entrance and go down a supply shaft to the Deep Roads that functioned millennia ago. They pass a Tevinter mine, dwarf areas, darkspawn tunnels and then find the piece of the impossible they were looking for:
Natural caves and the occasional support beam suddenly gave way to delicate elven carvings, the stone floor abruptly changing to mahogany hardwood. There was no doorway, no planning or joinery. It was as if a pocket had suddenly formed in the rock, replaced by the notion that shelves and reading desks should simply be there. They had turned a corner and stepped into an elven library. When Arlathan “fell,” a piece of it had “fallen” here.
Sounds exactly like the bits of the Vir Dirthara we go through in Trespasser. It’s full of old elvhen tomes and “here could be the means to defend the world”. They look at symbols and meanings and start stuffing books that Laudine thinks might be important in bags. Genetivi realizes that a lot of what he believed (Chantry faithful) and the lens through which he interprets things (le glorious Maker) is wrong. It turns out they were followed and the Antaam arrive, led by Rasaan. The Qunari have been following the same research threads that the Inquisition and its writers have, although they wouldn’t have found the shattered library without following them. Rasaan tells them that Fen’Harel is a name given by enemies. She says the translation, “Dread Wolf”, isn’t true. She goes on to say that the name Solas gave when he lied to the Inquisition and the Qunari (Solas) was chosen by a self-styled martyr and is also not true. Laudine chips in that it means “Pride” and Rasaan says she knows this. Names are important to Qunari, especially Rasaan. The Qunari came to the library seeking information as they think there is no greater advantage than to know an enemy’s true name.
The writers manage to grab the most promising elven tomes and escape. The Qunari pursue but they flee successfully. Later they pore over pages old and new and finish writing their account, which is implied to be partially fictional / embellished. They plan to fake their deaths and take on new names from which to continue to write warnings from under, in order to evade Rasaan who they are sure will chase them. They note that they can’t publish what they found about the ancient elves’ end/Solas in their book, as that info is “for the generals [of the Inquisition-remains]”. But the adventure part of it is fine to publish as it’s for the people. This short ends ominously, “Around them, the bar served on, the coast lapped at historic sands. And in distant places blades were sharpened, and wolves walked in dreams.” Part of their manuscript btw reads as follows:
The Fen’Harel question. How many lives had ended seeking an answer? Four more, if our turn chasing a legend fails tonight. But we’ve dragged truth from the darkness beneath Tevinter, found pages that will guide tomorrow’s righteous hands. And if our flight dies at the tip of an Antaam spear, make certain that more than the Silent Plains will know what we have found -
Revisiting Skyhold, the frescos and Regret
In Callback, we learn that Skyhold was shuttered. The rotunda has become known for the fresco. At the time, Solas claimed the fresco was his gift of record. The rotunda is noted as being an odd choice of room/space for a fortress, and it’s unclear what it was originally for. This is interesting to me because ofc it’s where Solas chooses to take up residence during DA:I, and we know that Skyhold was once his fortress and the place where he erected the Veil. (Apparently btw, not just Solas used that desk, but Inky and countless dignitaries too.) Anyway after the Skyhold caretakers fail to report in, Sutherland and Company are dispatched by the Inquisition-remains to deal with a demon that has taken up residence there. The last report from the caretaker guy was a meandering description of restoring the fresco, which was not has mandate, and other than that only said “I have made mistakes”. The Veil is very thin at Skyhold, hence the thinking it’s a demon. The Veil reacts to events like water reacts to stones, and the fortress has seen a lot of ripples. The demon originally emerged in the rotunda! It’s Regret, clearly born of all Solas’ regrets and man-pain. Recall that the painting technique was a special grand elven technique, an art with few living practitioners even among the Dalish. With how in the paint application, “it is considered, with long periods of study before the image emerges, whole cloth and with certainty”, with the thin Veil at Skyhold, with all the time he spent in the rotunda and with the extreme depth of his feelings and regrets, it’s not surprising really that this has occurred. Now, Sutherland and Co arrive to find the rotunda with a greenish Fade rift tinge. They find it not-pristine (the rest of Skyhold is maintained pristine, museum-like), old blood splotched on the floor, dripping old body parts stuffed in the hanging rookery cages. They realize the demon’s in the plaster of the fresco. The fresco shifts, gains depth, whispers in the wall, color crawls from each panel of the wall to form a mass of plaster and shadow. The demon thus begins to form itself.
As it forms, there are some bits I’d like to draw attention to, because the way it’s written is really interesting. Refer to screenshots of the panels as you go. In the first panel, a black shadow moves behind the Breach above the Conclave. Obviously the Dread Wolf, black as the villain, was behind everything, all those events, the explosion. He was lurking nearby trying to retrieve his opened orb. In that part of the art you see into the Fade which is his lair, and the repeating eyes/feathers motif which look like the Dread Wolf’s and Pride Demons’ many eyes as well as harking to peacock feathers (symbol of pride). In panel 2, red pigment scrapes itself off the stylized pupil. The hairy eyeball which is the symbol of the Inquisition we know to Thedosians is the eye of Andraste. It’s interesting to me because clearly the Inquisition was Fen’Harel’s vehicle and tool all along, the eye now more reminds me of like the Eye of Sauron and the eyes of the Dread Wolf kinda thing. You know, like it takes on a more sinister tone during this ‘second reading’. The red pigment slides down the blade (blood on a weapon, obvious imagery). Blackness then crawls from the howling wolves that guard the symbol, leaving them pale and dusty. This was hinted at in the panel originally with the two smaller white wolf shadows behind and off to the side of the main ones. Solas is no longer with and helping/guarding the Inquisition, those carefully detailed ally wolves were all for nought. It also speaks of the white wolf - black wolf (romance card vs other card) duality.
Pigment is “stolen” from panel 3, the short triumph before the fall of Haven. The Inquisition’s power and triumph was short-lived. When we get to the image of Cory, he’s described as “formerly an image of such dread”. We all know who the real figure of dread is now. Cory is “drained” like the wolves. Okay stay with me here. Remember the freezing / petrifying people, the curling smoke reference and glowing eyes as mentioned earlier? Solas absorbed Mythal’s power and his eyes glowed blue and there was smoke. When he petrifies people to stone, his eyes glow blue. Is that just the side-effect of him using his freezing/general powers or is that him also absorbing the strength and power of these other people? Not identities or possessing them or anything but definitely their strength. This is what this kind of language like “stealing” and “draining” from the moving fresco makes me think of. This idea of the freezing also having the effect of powering up using those peoples’ power / adding their power to his own also reminds me of the ancient bomb-device artifact that powered up by absorbing the energy of magical items in its vicinity and turning them to dust. Tinfoily but just sth that occurred to me. In fairness his eyes also glow when he stabilizes the Anchor and takes our arm in Trespasser. Now for the eighth and unfinished final panel.
There was a fair bit of debate at the time what the final panel represented. I theorized that it was a wolf standing over the body of a dragon, slain by the sword: i.e. Solas killing Flemythal in the post-credits scene. We finally get some clarification on this. In-universe people thought it commemorated the final battle against Cory. The mass of color which crawled around the room now fills in the rough shapes and completes it! That is a fallen dragon, and that is an Inquisition sword. We’re told this isn’t the final battle, or the victory, but “after”. It is a representation of Solas killing Flemythal in the post-credits. And even though two dragons fought in the final Cory battle, naturally the beast standing over the dragon is not a dragon. The outline alone might have allowed that assumption, but now it fills in with black and red and is becomes something other:
The creature was reptilian, but also canine. The snout was blunted and toothy, but edges came to a point in houndlike ears. As the mass of plaster filled the shape, it began to rise, revealing scales and tail, and paws with talons. It looked like two figures painted on either side of a pane of glass, then viewed together, their forms confused. A wolf that had absorbed a dragon, and now stood crooked over all.
Clearly the Dread Wolf. But kind of more draconian than before or previous depictions of it in cards, frescos etc. Scales, talons. Reflecting Solas having absorbed the power of the dragon, Mythal. I’ll note here that this for me puts to rest the “Flemythal possessed him he didn’t absorb her power it was the other way around” theories that float around. We’re clearly told here the wolf has absorbed the dragon. I’ve said this before but I don’t think she’s possessing him, there may be grand-scheme manipulations going on (I don’t think she’s dead, she’s Horcruxed somewhere, and she needs him to succeed to release the gods so she can take her vengeance) but he is responsible for his own actions and is nobody’s agent but his own. Also interesting here is the pane of glass, making me think of eluvians, and the two figures being painted on either side of a pane of glass. Remember the eluvian behind Solas and Flemythal in the post-credits DA:I scene? On one side, a wolf. On the other, a dragon. Also recalls the codexes where an elf was wondering why wolf statues of Fen’Harel were appearing in attendance to statues of dragon Mythal.
Back with Sutherland and crew in the moment, Regret peels off the wall and fully forms. When it snarls it also sounds between wolf and dragon. It has too many eyes. It seems more feral and less articulate the further it goes from the fresco. It rises to a big height, has 7 legs and reshapes itself with every step. Sutherland demands the demon name itself. “I am the heart of what was here. An echo that has breached the Fade. I am Regret!” Regret briefly traps them in individual mini-nightmares about each of their greatest regrets. They become lost within themselves at moments when a choice was made. It finds your doubts and feeds on them to get stronger. Its arms grow more talons when Sutherland echoes the regrets that drew it to this place. “There is so much of me that’s here,” it says, “So much Regret behind these deeds. You will stay and face your choice. I am all that you have done.” It pauses, looks at the hole it left in the eighth panel, wistful. “I wonder if you know the dread that’s coming?” It says this while looking at the now-empty Panel 8 and seems wistful, like a child anticipating promised candy on Christmas morning. “The actions here have scarred the world.” Clearly referencing the Dread Wolf rising, and taking glee in it. Not suggesting Solas takes glee in it though, he obviously doesn’t, this is just a twisted demonic echo. And, these emotive descriptions pain me, they reflect what Solas was feeling and has lived through. Poor Solas :( Regret can “still” the greatest blade or magic, reminding me of Solas’ freezing power. Interestingly it also shrieks “I am the Regret of a god!”
Sutherland and Co try to defeat. When he lets it come for him, Regret expected resistance. “It had never been accepted. Never owned.” Consider that and how Solas conceives of his actions. (Regret initially can’t touch Sutherland because he has no regrets, btw. It goes for him when he intentionally makes himself feel regret and shouts that he is). Regret tries to rally: “It would reach the rotunda. It would sleep and plan and come back stronger. This was all their fault. They would learn how smart it was. The regret that had drawn it to Skyhold had a very long memory.” Obviously, since Solas is immortal. But they vanquish it. Everyone looks at it as it perishes.
Its dismembered limbs were now strange piles of dry plaster. Some of the pieces were large enough to see details of the fresco. A careful hand might paste them all back on the wall, restore it, though that didn’t occur to anyone in the moment.
The core of the creature lay on its side, its too many eyes drifting unfocused. It could re-form, given time, but at this point even a few simple wounds would return its mind and will across the Veil. For a moment, the sunlight illuminated something within—a sliver of the spirit that might have been. Not the opposite of regret. A different flavor, or shade. Contemplation. Introspection. It felt the echo of the actions that had summoned it. There might have been a better choice, said a thought it had not been allowed.
It glimpsed the spirit realm beyond the Veil, and a faraway glimmer. Familiar, and somehow far brighter than what had drawn it here. It knew where it would go.
Here we have again the spirit duality (more on this in the General section below) - Contemplation / Introspection vs Regret - and mention of Solas’ actions inadvertently summoning this creature. There might have been a better choice, but he’s never really allowed himself to contemplate that. You can see that from his words in the first story about how although he’s conflicted, he clearly feels like he has no choice. Where in the Fade does Regret go in the end, I wonder? Obviously spirits reform in time in the manner Solas tells us about after his personal quest. If Solas was once a spirit, I wonder if he ever thinks about the place where he originally came from. In any event lost ancient Elvhenan for him is a faraway glimmer, brighter than the modern world and he knows what he’s trying to do. Voth bids the spirit to go in peace. Sutherland reflects that Regret will linger if you let it lie there. He makes it taste its own mistake. An epitaph to this story, which seems like a sign that’s put up at Skyhold to commemorate the Inquisition peoples’ efforts, says that change is coming, both to and because of the Inquisition. “And we are blessed with the ability to accept and move on, to leave dread and regret behind.” If only Solas could move on from the past. We have this ability that he does not.
The artifacts which ‘strengthen’ the Veil
We all remember Solas’ quests relating to Veil strength and the elven artifact ‘collectibles’. He claims they can hold off demons and strengthen the Veil in their immediate area, so we go around activating them for him. He says they help prevent Veil tears and can measure the strength of the Veil. They supposedly provide him with readings on the Veil’s magical energies. If activated in a coordinated fashion they could even predict ‘uncovered’ Veil tears i.e. where tears are more likely to open. Strengthening the Veil seems at odds with his goals of tearing it down so there are theories that they actually do the opposite and weaken it, and that he was having us going around unknowingly assisting him with that.
In The Wigmaker Job a horrid Vint mage is doing awful experiments/’art’ with slaves using red lyrium. Consequently the Veil is thin in his workshop. Our POV char here infiltrates the workshop and realizes the place is so filled with anguish and suffering that it should be a hotbed for demons. He wonders how the mage is keeping them at bay and thinks “There [are] rumors of elven artifacts that strengthened the Veil and prevented demons from breaking through.” He searches for anything that might provide a barrier against the spirit world. He finds in the center of the chamber, a cage hangs from the ceiling, and inside it is a globe crackling with green energy (sound familiar? like the artifacts in-game after activation). He destroys it and suddenly all the demons it was keeping out are able to burst through.
To me this suggests the artifacts in DA:I really did strengthen the Veil and Solas was being truthful on this matter. Presumably his method of taking down the Veil does not involve them and is different in nature. Maybe even, in order for his method to work it requires the Veil not to be filled with literal tears like those ones. (Also in general minimizing harm and protecting innocents where you can fits his character.) Anyway, we knew already that a repeat of Corypheus’ ways of Breaching the Veil, letting a giant tear expand, isn’t going to be Solas’ methods of Veil-removal.
The possible effects of Solas’ ritual on the Veil
Remember the Vints in the Bard’s story saying that Solas’ ritual has already started to affect the Fade? What could that mean? It sounds bad. It probably isn’t regular ol’ Fade rifts and demons coming through, that’s the plot/catch in DA:I, that’s old hat. So what could this mean? In Luck In The Gardens, Dorian hires a Lord of Fortune to kill a monster plaguing Minrathous. The monster is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in DA-verse before, even considering the body horror already in the setting, even unlike the new fucked up darkspawns in Horror of Hormak. It’s not a demon, it’s not a Venatori abomination. It’s called The Cekorax. It’s a tentacley, wormy thrashing mass bulk that radiates joyful malice. It kills people and takes only their heads. Its voice is many voices speaking together, some parts on its tentacles open to show real human eyes studded in there. It’s the perfect predator, surrounding you, nestled everywhere, not just in the sewers below the city but with coils running behind grass and under tree bases in the gardens. It can open up like a lily and inside is a ring of the severed heads of its victims, eyes gouged out (as they’re now studded in the tentacles) but otherwise healthy, and the heads are the source of the voices; it calls this its “crown of the blind”. It’s positively Lovecraftian. Interestingly it makes reference to “Things are rising” and says its victims are better off “nested safe and warm inside” its body instead, i.e. instead of facing the horrors to come. Dread Wolves rising indeed.
Anyway, why I mention the monster. At the end of this short Dorian and the Lord of Fortune wonder what the Cekorax was. Ancient breed of demon? Fiend brewed up by a magister? Dorian was at a party with a Mortalitasi a while ago. Five cups in, she went on about “things past the Veil of our world, neither demon nor spirit”. Perhaps it wasn’t the tipsy nonsense he assumed it to be. If Solas’ ritual is about the Veil, is affecting the Veil… is an inadvertent side effect of tearing it down or doing this ritual, like letting these horrors from past the Veil in?! Some other dimension shit? Seems like they’re gradually starting to ‘bleed’ in to the mortal realm. I’m not suggesting this is at all intentional on Solas’ part, but there are already affects being noted by some people, “Fade rifts and demons coming in” has been done, and we know whatever he’s doing is gonna cause some amount of chaos and destruction. I also enjoy the idea that there are things beyond even Solas’ ken in this universe - beyond even a god-figure’s ken - and that there’s an encroaching bigger bad. In this line of speculation, in the narrative maybe Solas is The Dragon. Whether that’s going to be in DA4 or in relation to a big bad rising in the game after remains to be seen. Previously I’ve wondered if he’d be The Dragon to vengeful Flemythal or angry razing mad unleashed Evanuris. The potential here is !!!
Parallels that came to mind
Some Vints are still Venatori cultists. In The Streets of Minrathous we pass a street prophet. He goes on about how Tevinter was glorious and how their ‘god’ would see them lifted. Look at Minrathous now - are they content? The cult’s dead god wanted to bring Tevinter back to what it was, to its “glory”. This is “nonsense, of course, it always was” thinks our POV char. The old empire was even more corrupt and heartless than what it is now. Sound familiar? It’s not a direct comparison, but you can see the ironically similar thematic stuff going on. Probably intentional, like a foil. Ancient Elvhenan was glorious. Are elves content with their lot now? One of their ‘gods’ would see them lifted. He wants to bring back what was, restore it. And ancient Elvhenan had its own problems as we know with corruption, heartlessness, classism, slaves, mage-rulers, etc. And stuff like “Our lives for the glory of Tevinter reborn” reminds me of some the stuff some of Solas’ followers say.
Another thing that sticks out to me is the mirror? of Dorian? That’s not the word I want but I can’t think of the right one. Tevinter is shitty (sorry Dorian). Solas has massive problems with Tevinter e.g. oppression of elves, misuses of magic, binding spirits, keeping slaves. Part of Solas’ whole deal is that the modern world is a crapsack world, especially for elves, and Tevinter is emblematic of that. So Dorian’s crusade to improve and redeem his homeland sticks out to me. Since he came back from the south he no longer has slaves, only paid servants. He’s probably one of the first mages of his station to do so. As we saw with the references to the Lucerni in Trespasser epilogue slides, him and Mae are currently doing everything they can to make Tevinter better and less evil, to the extent that they’re on the outs with most of the rest of the Magisterium. The state of Tevinter makes him feel raggedly depressed but they feel they have a duty to their country. They’re keeping an eye on scoundrels, trying to deal with political rumblings, trying to win allies over, trying to prove Vints aren’t all heartless, there’s now an anti-slavery movement, they’re posting rewards for hunters to rid Minrathous of monsters, etc (they’re so busy crusading they don’t have time to do that themselves). It’s slow progress but they’re doing it. I don’t really have a comment to make here but it’s a link my brain made. It’s potential redeem-ability of the modern world and efforts to fix and improve what they have vs preoccupation with the past and wanting to hit the reset button for a do-over.
Other references in the book (minor/general)
No direct references, but there’s ancient elfy / general elfy / Evanuris-y stuff going on in Three Trees To Midnight, An Old Crow’s Old Tricks and The Horror of Hormak. The Veil is thin in Arlathan Forest and it contains ancient powerful spirits. Stuff for another post.
It’s unrelated yet worth mentioning: the demon that possesses a corpse in Down Among The Dead Men is a Pride Demon / Spirit. Interesting choice, the writers are obviously weaving related stuff throughout. The “body and the spirit [Pride] are at odds”. Pride “has the power to cast forth a shadow and make itself known where it is unwanted.” The hulking expanding shape over the mortal form is the mark of a Pride demon. Also in this story is a spirit of Curiosity in a similar (but not exactly the same) situation to the spirit of Compassion that became an imitation of the human boy Cole who died. Is he a dead man or imitation of a dead man? A spirit clinging to the dying curiosity of a man? We learn that the Mortalitasi know of such things. Entities as “complete” as that particular one are rare. Some of the Mortalitasi argue that these “higher dead” hold fast to their mortal souls. Others say this is impossible and that these entities are caught between two spirits. (In this case curiosity and anger. Multiple times throughout this story Curiosity almost loses himself to anger and his Mortalitasi helper has to assist him in not falling to rage). Whatever the case, they are unbalanced and need a remedy. This is of note because of the Wisdom Spirit / Pride Demon dichotomy, the theories that Solas was once a spirit who took form at Mythal’s behest, and the theories that “Solas” and the "Dread Wolf” are not just his 2 identities as a dude and as a rebellion leader, or just symbols / representations his inner conflict over what he’s doing, but more like two actual entities at war with one another in the same body. In this story also the Mortalitasi helper allows Curiosity to see that Pride is “a cheat”.
Also unrelated, but in Hunger a Hunger demon possessed a dying starving man and spread a werewolf curse. In Murder By Death Mages a noble threatens to throw an assassin he hired to further his claim to the throne to the wolves along with the Mortalitasi. Wolves. There are also a few places throughout where unrelated characters deal with issues and various forms of pride and hubris. How topical lol.
In or after 9:44 Dragon, what remains of the Inquisition, either officially or unofficially, is undertaking various covert anti-Solas manoeuvres. Some of their agents refer to the leaders as “the generals”. Charter is an agent on the front-lines here and likely reports some things to Divine Victoria. Varric is also helping, on the side of being Viscount. He’s calling in favors, recruiting, listening to reports/info from people about the enemy, and giving out work/tasks relating to combating Solas and striking back. The Inquisitor is still involved in some capacity because Charter is going to report back to them and Solas gives her a message for them. Genetivi, Philliam, Sister Laudine and a Lord of Fortune called Mateo also help.
Other groups are moving against Solas too, with varying degrees of cooperation with the Inquisition - a bit, none/separately or even somewhat antagonistically to them. Other groups are also interested in keeping tabs on him and the threat he poses. These different groups include the Carta, Nevarran Mortalitasi, Tevinter Siccari, Qunari Ben-Hassrath, the Executors and probably Orlesian bards. Some of these groups realize they have a shared interest in stopping him. Some realize he threatens all of their peoples. Some of these folk are among the best spies on the continent. Some Tevinters think he’s an elven upstart. This goes to show that the Inquisition hasn’t kept or been able.didn’t try to keep the Fen’Harel threat secret; it isn’t known only to them. There are rumors going around and some fairly regular Thedosians seem to have heard about it too. One rumor is that dozens of elves have gone off to heed the call of “some god”. Some Thedosians theorize he is a demon or has a deal with a demon, or is a powerful spirit that is worshiped as a god like the Avvar do.
The Ben-Hassrath seem to have the most info on him. The Qunari believe he is a dangerous mage who styles himself the Dread Wolf. The Ben-Hassrath want to stay neutral on the Antaam Qunari invasion in order to focus on the real threat. They want their allies standing next to them in the anti-Solas effort. They refer to Varric as one such ally. Clearly the Qunari have not listened to Solas’ warning to trouble him no further.
The Executors expressly want to eliminate Solas. They care only about what his goals and means of achieving them are. They wonder if Solas is a poison-master rather than a dream-stalker. Solas cautions the Inquisition against working with the Executors, saying that they’re dangerous.
The Inquisition insist that as he said, he is not a god, but a very old, very powerful mage. They say he wants to restore the empire of the ancient elves, and that he made clear that doing so will cause massive destruction to their world. This destruction will probably be especially bad for Tevinter as it’s built on the bones of Elvhenan. They believe that he wants “to end [something, probably the world]”. Charter references his claim of creating the Veil, his Veil research and the Veil-strengthening artifacts.
Charter attends a secret info-sharing meeting. The Siccari and Ben-Hassrath declined to attend. The attendees compare Solas-notes. It turns out one of them was Solas in disguise. She asks for her life and he spares her. Solas came to the meeting personally as the Inquisition was involved and came to find out what they all knew.
One of Solas’ main targets was the red lyrium idol which still existed in the statue of Meredith. Even though most people believed the idol gone, a Dalish-appearing elf appeared in Kirkwall one day claiming that he learned of it in a dream and that an old legend of his people says that if he gets it out, he can free his gods. He was persistent and had a special potion which could melt the lyrium. In this way the idol is accessed and retrieved. A Tevinter mage came and took it from him before he can pass it to his collaborators, 2 agents of Solas. It’s implied one is Dalish but Solas removed his vallaslin.
The idol next showed up in Nevarra where Mortalitasi helped the Tevinter mage do a ritual with it. A spike/blade appears from the bottom of the idol. Solas in the form of the DW interrupts the ritual angrily, kills the Tevinter and roars about how they threaten creation and the sea of dreams. He claims the idol is his and sends spirits to swarm them. He was angry they bound spirits and disrupted his work. He doesn’t like Mortalitasi magic that involves binding spirits or shaping the world to their will via influencing the Fade. He eventually obtains the idol. The ritual-blade part had vanished after the Mortalitasi ritual got interrupted.
The idol is described as: a couple hugging, too thin to be dwarves; glowing softy like a lit ruby; heavier than you think, even for lyrium; when hefted it seems like it wants to keep moving, like it’s got liquid inside; seeming to show 2 lovers; or a god mourning her sacrifice; it whispers in the minds of mages and made some dwarves scream/run off/go mad; a crowned figure who comforted the other; people hear music around it. Solas strokes it reverently and says something to it in elven when he finds it. Its effects can be negated by protective runes and double-shielded chests. Tevinters think they are best-placed to harness it.
It’s surmised that Solas intends something “terrible” for the Fade and that the idol is now with him. He has begun whatever ritual he intends to use to restore the elven empire, is aware of disruptions, the ritual involves the Fade and requires the idol. The idol reacts to other lyrium and he may need lyrium for the ritual, either blue or red. If so, he’s going to be having to gather inordinate amounts of it in the coming times. The ritual has already begun to start to affect the Fade, which doesn’t sound good. It will take a few years, hence the “few years of peace”. In disguise Solas says he will destroy anyone in his way without regret or hesitation, and that he does not believe they can stop it. Solas clearly knows about some covert locations where intelligence agencies and spies trade info.
Out of disguise he’s tired and sad, and knows that many oppose him and that they are not fools. Telling the Inquisitor what he intended to do in Trespasser was a moment of weakness. He refers to the world ending. He insists he has no choice. He says that what he’s doing will save this world and that the elves who still remain after when it is done, like Charter, may find it even better than it was before (Charter notes he’s sympathetic to elves). This is unacceptable to Charter as she loves a human woman. Would all modern elves remain? If so, is the annihilation of the other 3 races an acceptable price to pay for the elevation of one…? He admits he’s prideful, hot-headed and foolish. He says to tell the Inquisitor that he’s sorry, voice faltering.
Agents of Fen’Harel say stuff like: “The Dread Wolf guide your soul to peace, brother”; “I act freely. For the Dread Wolf. To bring back what was once ours—what must be ours again”; “Take comfort that in your sacrifice, the glory of the true people will be restored.” One modern elf who refused to join them rants “Those damned Fen’Harel cultists! ‘Ooh, if we blow up enough people, ancient Elvhenan is definitely coming back!’”
Solas can kill people while they sleep, even dwarves. He can petrify even Executors and golems. He can petrify with specificity e.g. someone’s body beneath their clothes but leaving the clothes unfrozen. He can petrify groups at once, as seen in Trespasser. It’s implied some spirits are helping him.
Solas’ agents include both Dalish and City Elves. They follow him willingly, some appear devout/devoted/fanatical about the cause. His cause has been recruiting for a few years at least. He doesn’t only employ ancient elves. Some of his agents have fancy armor and some have robes with unknown symbols. They seem to have lots of resources, info and money at their disposal. He has eyes everywhere especially inside Tevinter. He has agents posing as elven Ben-Hassrath. At least one has disguised herself as a human before. Some kill themselves rather than be captured or interrogated. One displays open, naked contempt, hostility and disgust for humans. One tried to blow up an innocent town of thousands of people in order to cause chaos; the aim was to make it look like a Tevinter Altus blew up a neutral Qunari town in Rivain to try and draw the Ben-Hassrath in to the Qunari invasion, prompt Qunari to want to completely destroy Tevinter and try to drag in Rivain and even other countries/groups.
The Inquisition dispatched agents to an underground location in the north Silent Plains near the settlement of Solas in Tevinter. The purpose was to find the true history of the elven pantheon. The Inquisition did research and found the location of a piece of shattered ancient elven library which is embedded in the Deep Roads. They want to find out what undid Solas and the others who walked as gods. They find the fallen piece of Arlathan with lots of old elven books in it, and in there might be the means to defend the world. They leave with some books they think are important. It’s implied they find some kind of answer.
The Qunari have been following similar research threads. The Qunari say the translation “Dread Wolf” of “Fen’Harel” isn’t true. They want to find his ‘true name’ because they believe it will him them combat him.
A demon Regret emerged in the rotunda from the frescos after Skyhold shut, born of the intensity of Solas’ regrets, mistakes and pain. It completes the final panel. This panel depicts the post-credits scene where he kills Flemythal. He absorbed her/her power/essence. Regret’s form has many eyes and was a wolf-dragon. Regret says it’s the heart of what was in the rotunda; there’s so much regret behind the fresco-deeds; and wonders if people know about the “dread” that’s coming. It describes itself as the regret of a god. It was defeated. As it dies it thinks about how “Maybe there is a better choice” is a thought it was never allowed.
The Tevinter mage’s attempted ritual with the idol involved blood magic and sacrifice of slaves. If Solas’ ritual is anything similar (and it may well be, the Magisters Sidereal also had to sacrifice inordinate amounts of slaves to get the blood magic power to make the Veil rip open), I’m afraid.
The biggest questions now to me
What did the Inquisition agents find out in the library about the history of the Evanuris and how to counter Solas?
What does this ritual specifically involve?
Where is the site of his ritual?
I’m still wondering what are Solas’ plans for dealing with the unleashed Evanuris?
What specifically happened between Mythal and Solas in ages past?
Самый большой спойлер. Почти что описание самых занятных частей книги.
осторожно, после прочтения возможны непредсказуемые реакции мозга.