Esmareld Cousland, second son of Teryn Bryce Cousland of Highever, was the only one to survive the destruction of his ancestral castle. The culprit – Arl Rendon Howe of Amaranthine and longstanding friend to the Cousland family – did not anticipate the presence of the Grey Warden Duncan, nor the young noble’s recruitment into the Wardens. Esmareld revealed the Arl’s treachery to the young King Cailan, but the impending Blight crushed nearly all plans for revenge against the Howes. An army had amassed at the ruins of Ostagar, where one night later, King Cailan was slaughtered along with Duncan and the rest of the Fereldan Wardens; General Loghain Mac Tir, pulled his men away from the battle, leaving everyone to perish at the hands of the darkspawn. Only two Wardens survived the attack – Esmareld Cousland and Alistair, half-brother to King Cailan. Together, Alistair and Esmareld gathered an army in hopes of ending the Blight and slaying the Archdemon as well as taking their revenge against Loghain.
In the end, Rendon Howe, whom had placed himself at Loghain’s right hand, was slain in Denerim the very same day that a Landsmeet was called by the popular Arl Eamon of Redcliffe. After a decisive win in a duel against the disgraced general, Loghain was sentenced to life as a Grey Warden as penance for their destruction. Alistair, angered by what he saw as the betrayal of his best friend, claimed the throne for himself, eventually marrying Cailan’s widow and Loghain’s daughter, Queen Anora Mac Tir to cement his claim to power that he never wanted.
Days later, the Archdemon appeared, leaving only three Wardens – Esmareld, Loghain, and Riordan – with the sole responsibility of destroying it. With the knowledge that the Archdemon’s death required the sacrifice of a Warden’s life, Esmareld met with the witch Morrigan, who offered them all a way out. They accepted and Morrigan performed a dark ritual on the eve of battle with the help of Loghain, which allowed the group to defeat and kill the Archdemon atop the high tower of Fort Drakon.
Esmareld Cousland, who delivered the final blow, was declared the Hero of Ferelden and eventually took up the mantle of Commander of the Grey in Ferelden. A year after the Fifth Blight came to a close, the nation rebuilt, and the lands of Amaranthine were granted to the Grey Wardens, becoming their unofficial base in Ferelden. This is where our story begins…
I wanted to make note of a few things before the first official chapter is published.