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The Qunari – Part 1: Arrival of the Giants

“While historians often site the darkspawn as the greatest single threat to Thedas, most people outside of the dwarven lands would say they are a more remote threat than the invaders called the qunari. There has not been a Blight in over four centuries, after all, since the hero Garahel defeated the Archdemon at the Battle of Ayesleigh. Over a hundred years later, in 6:30 Steel Age, the first qunari ships were reported off the coast of Par Vollen in the far north, marking the beginning of a new age of warfare.

Gold-skinned giants said to hail from an eastern land across the Boeric Ocean, the qunari are a mystery to most people. To some, they are hated conquerors whose deadly skill at combat and destructive technology nearly brought the civilized world to its knees. To others they are heathens, worshippers of a strange religion that seek to spread it to “lesser” races by force. Still to others, such as in the southern lands of Ferelden, they are a legend, strange creatures from the far north that have been seen only on rare occasion since the peace began.

Almost before the rest of Thedas had heard of the qunari’s appearance in Par Vollen they were invading the mainland, striking first into Rivain and Seheron. The defenders of those lands were hardly a match for qunari discipline and technology. One shot of the mighty cannons, the likes of which our ancestors of the time had never seen before, brought troops to their knees. Qunari warriors in glittering steel armor carved through the defenders with ease. History calls this the First Qunari War, but it was mostly a one-sided bloodbath, with the qunari advancing far into Tevinter within ten years.

It was a dark time for Thedas, with the nations of mankind being forced to once again unite against a common enemy… this one intending not to destroy, as the darkspawn did, but rather to conquer a land they saw as in dire need of enlightenment. The qunari proved themselves to be the most frightening sort of opponent of all: religious zealots.”

-- an excerpt from “Tales of the Destruction of Thedas” by Brother Genitivi, Chantry Scholar.

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The Qunari – Part 2: the Golden Masters

“Stories of how the qunari treated the lands they occupied, ‘kabethari’ being the term for those lands in their language and supposedly meaning ‘those who need to be taught’, are varied and difficult to verify.

Some claim that the qunari were guilty of terrorizing the populace. They divided children from their families and sent adults to ‘learning camps’ for indoctrination in their religious philosophies. Those who refused to obey were forced into indentured servitude or sent to mines or construction camps to labor… often until they perished of sheer exhaustion or starvation. Those who resisted were slain, instantly and without mercy. Many who obeyed their new masters, however, claim that they were treated well and even given a large amount of trust provided they followed the strict qunari codes of conduct and laws.

For every tale of suffering recorded, there was another that tells of enlightenment from something called the ‘qun’. This is either a philosophical code or a written text, perhaps both, and some claim it may even be akin to the qunari god. Unlike the Chant of Light it governs all aspects of qunari life, both secular and spiritual, and the qunari are devoted to following its tenets strictly and without question.

Those who recorded their interactions with the golden masters tell of mighty creatures, a head again taller than a man, with frighteningly calm demeanors and a sort of sparkling fire behind their eyes. Some even said they have a certain kindness to them, or a conspicuous lack of cruelty, and one Seheran who converted reported pity for those who had not, as if the conquerors’ religion led to a sort of self-discovery. ‘For all my life I followed the Maker wherever his path may lead me,’ he writes, ‘but in the faith of the qun I have found the means to travel my own path. If only all my people could understand what it is the qunari offer us.’

It is said that the most complete way to wipe out a people is not with weapons, but with books. Thankfully, a world that had known and repelled four Blights would not so easily bow to a foreign aggressor. The New Exalted Marches were about to begin.”

-- an excerpt from “Tales of the Destruction of Thedas” by Brother Genitivi, Chantry Scholar.

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The Qunari – Part 3: The New Exalted Marches

“Taking their names from the Exalted Marches of the past, the New Exalted Marches were declared by the Chantry in 7:25 Storm Age after nearly a century of internecine warfare throughout northern Thedas. The Imperial Chantry in Minrathous (the only unoccupied major Tevinter city) marched against Seheron and the occupied eastern territories of the Imperium, and the Divine in Val Royeaux commanded her templars to lead the armies of the south into Rivain. It was the grandest mobilization of martial power since the Fourth Blight.

The greatest advantage that the Chantry-led forces had against the qunari was, in fact, the Circle of Magi. For all their technology, the qunari appeared to harbor a great hatred for all things magical. They possessed mages, but these were little better than animals kept on leashes… and none of the qunari mages possessed anywhere near the skill that the Circle’s mages had. Faced with cannons, the Chantry responded with lightning and balls of fire and it proved effective indeed.

For all the force that the qunari armies had brought to bear on the north, they also lacked the sheer numbers of the humans. As each year passed, the Chantry pushed further and further into the qunari lines. Dealing with those of the local populace which had converted to the qunari religion proved difficult, especially as some of these had lived under the qun now for generations, and the response by many armies was simply to exterminate all those who had converted. Officially the Chantry denies this, claiming most converts fled north into Rivain and Par Vollen, but the mass graves at Nocen Fields and Marnus Pell attest otherwise. Indeed, so many were slain at Marnus Pell that the Veil is said to be permanently sundered, the ruins still plagued by restless corpses to this day.

Regardless of how it was done, by 7:84 Storm Age the Qunari had been well and truly pushed back. Rivain was the only human land that embraced the qunari religion after being freed, and its rulers attempted to barter a peace. Envoys from most human lands gathered to sign the Llomerryn Accord, and peace was made between the qunari and all human lands other than the Tevinter Imperium. Even there, however, the qunari withdrew. Humanity had, with the Maker’s will, beat back the invaders and returned to its rightful place as masters of Thedas.

It is a shaky peace that has lasted to this very day.”

-- an excerpt from “Tales of the Destruction of Thedas” by Brother Genitivi, Chantry Scholar.

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