Theory: The Fade is a Lie (in which you linger) - Transcript and Notes

Theory

The Fade was made, and so was the Veil. The Fade itself is merely a construct of immense power that permits a variety of vessels its strength, in disproportionate quantities. You cannot become a God by merely taking the "seat of the Maker" in the Black City. It is a lie in which the foolish are swept into slavery.

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The Fade was made, and so was the Veil. 

In the Silent Grove comic, Morrigan's sister Yavana sought the blood of the Theirin Kings (of Calenhad the Great, of Maric, and to an extent, Alistair) in order to wake the last remaining Dragons of old. Specifically, the Great Dragons: the largest and rarest dragons that ruled the lands before the Fade was created. Yavana clearly says that the Fade was not present during their peak. Considering the lack of knowledge Morrigan has on certain aspects, it's normally fair to attribute that to Yavana, and in the same moment disregard her opinion. However, Yavana later reveals that she is one of the very few who knows the true nature of Flemeth, and to an extent, her joining with Mythal. It's fair to say Yavana speaks some truth.


The Fade is merely a construct of immense power that permits a variety of vessels its strength, in disproportionate quantities. 

Lyrium. Blood. Spirits. These offer power to those who wish it. For mages, it only strengthens their power. Even for the non-magical, they can attain such gifts through the access of lyrium. The Red Templars are indicative of that fact. Spirits can also join with the willing. Man. Woman. Animal. Even trees.

But for magic at its core? Mages, in general, draw power from the Fade. All of it is borrowed. It begins with the Fade and ends in the Fade. The Chant speaks of magic and life freely given by the Maker to the First and Second Children, with no limitations. But, as we know from scattered accounts, especially from Solas or Fen'harel, the Elves lost their immortality, which was once the way of being. Humans absorbed the magical technologies they desired to keep, then purged the remnants of Elven culture from text book.

Off the Cuff: Pretty sure humankind stole everything from the Elves. I'm not just talking about jacking their magical research. Or technology. But their damned identity. The parallels of magic between Tevinter magic and Elven magic is laughable. So is the context of the Andrastian faith and the Elven pantheon. I wouldn't blame the humans of the "current day" for such a crime, but back then, I may have had a few strong words. But at the same time, I have thoughts that the humans were spiteful of the Elves. Immortality is a wonderful thing. They lived in their own bliss, as depicted in the Chant: "In My image I have wrought / My firstborn. You have been given dominion / Over all that exists. By your will / All things are done. / Yet you do nothing." It's like they took everything that the Elves left (as they warred against each other) and decided that they'd treat that as their own legacy.
Legacy. How many times has Tevinter mages in the game, books, and comics talked about their god damn legacy?

The practices of Magic have been defiled over centuries. Primal magic is plenty useful and good, but none of it is nearly as powerful as the Well. The Anchor. The Orb. Connecting magic with the Fade has limitless possibilities, but its nature is lost on the new. And as depicted in bouts of the Chant, even the old were seemingly complacent for a time with their own magic. Even so, despite all the lost knowledge, one particular idea remains.

The Elven Gods are mages, not gods. The Old Gods of Tevinter, the Forgotten Ones are mages, not gods. All of them are bound by the construct of the Fade. While they were the most powerful, and could command the greatest of magic, the named gods' powers were only as limitless as the Fade itself. To be a Dreamer is to live in the Fade. And eventually, return to it.

Off the Cuff 1: "To be a dreamer is to live in the Fade" I hope no one took me literally. What I mean is that there's a dependency on using magic pulled from the Fade. Look at Solas - he has his head consistently shoved in the Fade. It becomes a part of you and you can't escape it. Hell, even if you don't have magical talent, the Fade is just a part of you anyhow by all the people summoning crazy shit out of it. But yes, don't take me literal on that. I meant that mages spend all their lives involved in the Fade in one way or another.
Off the Cuff 2: I found it hard in the original script to explain my thoughts on the Fade. Here's the casual version: the Fade isn't the end all/be all. We know the "Stone" or the physical world. Thedas and the world around it. There's also the Fade, which is a metaphysical realm. However, the physical world and the Fade are not the only realms existing. The Void might very well be a real thing, which I signify with the Andoral example. Also, Morrigan's been to the "in-between" realms. Whether those are real or not are subject to interpretation, but they exist. I personally think that another version of the Fade could be re-created (speaking plainly, I think the "First Children" had something to do with putting it up). 
I think the Void is what we will be seeing more of in the future, or at least the Crossroads. In my head, spirits of those who used to live now wander the Fade in a perpetual semi-existence. If you kill a spirit, they just forget who they are and are sent to the further regions of the Fade, only to wander back to their own place (which is HIGHLY relevant to the next topic on Flemeth, but I'll leave it here for now). In any case, I think one of the stronger questions right now is "What happens when a person dies and where do they go?"

You cannot become a God by merely taking the "seat of the Maker" in the Black City. It is a lie in which the foolish are swept into slavery.

The Vir'abelasan is just one of these wells, in which conscripts are lured by the idea of the well's power or seek willingly through their own devotion, only to be indefinitely put under a geas, a compulsion, by the well's owner. The waters of these wells are borrowed from the Fade. As Revered Mother Juliette estimates in Reflections of Divinity, these waters are from the Fade, but are merely reduced to a well. Quote, "bottomless but limited in scope". While you have your own thoughts, you are driven on compulsion to act in the name of who commands you. No boon comes without a price.

Here lies the abyss, the well of all souls. From these emerald waters doth life begin anew. Come to me, child, and I shall embrace you. In my arms lies Eternity.
— Canticle of Andraste 14:11

The Darkspawn are under a similar geas, like the Well of Sorrows can compel, but on a completely different scale. Darkspawn are enslaved products, but it is possible that what they carry in their blood was the same kind as the waters of the wells, but tainted...and no longer feeds magic from the Fade. Perhaps now, from the Void? Or more likely, blood. Blood that is derived from the proclaimed Old Gods of Tevinter, where it carries out their will. A blood that has possibly shrouded and convoluted its own voice, reshaping the song from whispers into screams. Only through a ritual the Architect concocted with Warden blood can the Darkspawn be rid of the geas. It's possible the Inquisitor or Morrigan may be removed from such a call with a similar variation of the Architect's ritual. But that's another story to be told at a later time.

But what does Corypheus accomplish by simply going back to the Black City? Why would he repeat his mistake twice? The same reason Darkspawn do anything - by compulsion. Even if they are aware of it, we've seen specific Darkspawn like the Mother driven insane by the absence of the song. Even if that weren't the case, he visited the halls and has been in the city before. But has he ever mentioned an actual seat? Would he ever find one? And what if it were not only empty, but just a chair.

He has no purpose other than restoration of Ancient Tevinter. But even at that, the common thing is that there is nothing else left. Not any of the other priests. Nor his army. Mages. The only thing he ever felt assured of was the promise of powerful from an Old God long, long ago. 

Off the Cuff: Corypheus still has a thing for Dumat. It's very obvious, after the way he's visibly distraught after the Inquisitor snatches the Orb from him. He dedicated so much of his life in serving Dumat, sacrificing countless Elven and even human lives in the God's name (see codex entry: Claws of Dumat). In the stories, it's said that the Old Gods told the high priests they could gain the power of the Gods if they went into the Black City and sat on the throne. Only one of them would gain such a power. Corypheus was still considered the leader out of all of them, and despite how much you want to hate the guy, he was devoted.

In any case, Corypheus and the other high priests of the Old Gods were told to come to the Black City. To take a power that only one could have, given rightfully to whoever sat on the seat of power. But because the Darkspawn taint was the only thing there, and the city blackened with Corypheus and the others willingly taking the taint and its power onto themselves, I can only think that the true deceivers are the Old Gods. The Forgotten Ones, who knowingly passed their will, just like Mythal, to all of Thedas. 

But what is the taint? And why was it created in the first place? Let me pose one more theory.


The Darkspawn taint was the Old Gods' attempt at ridding their dependency on the Fade. 

Darkspawn gemlocks draw from magic within the Darkspawn blood. Avernus, the Grey Warden mage, made experiments on the taint to both further his lifespan and create concoctions that strengthened the drinker's Blighted powers. And even Archdemons have shown magic that does not draw from the Fade, but seemingly the Void itself. In the Last Flight novel, Garahel and Isseya confronted the Archdemon Andoral and met an unfathomable attack.

Its exhalation, this time, was a vortex of pure death. There was no sense of the Fade in its spell; nothing in the realm of dream or nightmare could have encompassed what the Archdemon made. It was a cyclone of darkness both spiritual and physical.
— Dragon Age: Last Flight, page 64

"Its exhalation, this time, was a vortex of pure death. There was no sense of the Fade in its spell; nothing in the realm of dream or nightmare could have encompassed what the Archdemon made. It was a cyclone of darkness both spiritual and physical." (64)

Solas was the one who claimed using blood magic made it harder to access the Fade. Blood is cheaper and a plentiful alternative, not confined by the rules and machinations in drawing strength through lyrium or other spirits. Blood is likely the reason why spirits and the strongest of demons do not venture to the Black City. It is tainted. And such a thing warps the normally ever-changing state of the Fade.

Off the Cuff: There's a good chance that this theory is wrong, that the Old Gods had no intention on ridding themselves of said "dependency". It could be that they came up with the Darkspawn taint to fight the Elven pantheon. Or was just a good and bad side effect from messing with crazy stuff. In any case, darkspawn blood is going to be a messy endeavor, what with the Red Lyrium talking and people learning how to tap into Darkspawn power. 

In the beginning, there were no Elves. No humans. Dwarves. Or Qunari. There were Dragons. Their own power, the Dragon blood, was strong before the Fade ever came into existence. Morrigan sought Urthemiel's soul at the end of the Fifth Blight originally for Flemeth. Yavana sought to recover the Great Dragons and harness the Therein's dragon blood, for Flemeth. All for Flemeth. Flemeth calls the Darkspawn taint evil, which must be destroyed. But what's her end-game? What's her goal? And what compelled her to seek out such an end?

I think those are the next questions.

Off the Cuff: If I'm to take a huge shot in the dark, the Elves stole their culture from the Dragons. (Which is why Mythal knows how to transfigure into a Dragon). The humans stole their culture from the Elves. Dwarves are those who liked the ground, and Qunari were Kossith humans who ended up breeding with dragons because dragon blood is potent. Or with that last part, possible that the Kossith were the original test subjects to create Reavers. I actually have more elegant thoughts on all of this, but I'll leave it for another time.