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The Elven Pantheon


The elven pantheon was revered in the time of Elvhenan, before the humans came to Thedas. Little is known about how the gods were worshipped at this time, except that the gods had temples with guards in specially made armor, the elves worshiped their gods for months at a time, and that worship may have included rituals involving water and kneeling and praying before altars.   Once the elves found that the very presence of the humans, or "quicklings," caused the once immortal elves to age and die, they attempted to isolate themselves. Many believed that the gods had judged them unworthy of their long lives and cast them down among the quicklings.     This is discredited by Solas, who says that the elves had in fact lost their immortality due to the creation of the Veil and not the Tevinter Imperium. "It was not the arrival of humans that caused us to begin aging... The Veil took everything from the elves, even themselves."     The elves retreated within Elvhenan but were ultimately conquered and enslaved by the Tevinter Imperium. During their centuries of slavery, the elves lost most of their language and history and the worship of the old elven pantheon declined. However, the elves, led by Shartan, fought alongside Andraste in her fight against the Imperium, and their reward was a new home in The Dales, where the worship of the elven pantheon could be revived. The elves left Tevinter for their new homeland in -170 Ancient (1025 TE).   Though Andraste's sons honored her promise to the elves and gave them their new homeland, it was to be short-lived by the standards of Elvhenan. Over the next 270 years or so, relations between the elves and their human neighbours deteriorated, and in the early Glory Age there were numerous border skirmishes between The Dales and Orlais, which soon escalated into war. When it appeared that the elves might actually capture Val Royeaux, the Chantry called for a holy war, resulting in a new Exalted March against the Dales that completely crushed the elves by 2:20 Glory. The lands of the Dales were appropriated by Orlais, with elven settlements being uprooted and worship of the elven gods forbidden. Elves who accepted the Chantry's offered truce were required to accept the Maker and live in ghettos, known as alienages, within human settlements. Some elves, however, refused to give up their worship or their dream of their own homeland, and they became the Dalish. Today, all that is left of the pantheon are old statues, Elven temples in ruins, and lingering stories.

Divine Origins

The elven pantheon, also known in elven as the Evanuris, comprises five gods and four goddesses, whom the modern Dalish elves call "the Creators". The pantheon is led by Elgar'nan the All-Father, god of fatherhood and vengeance, and Mythal the Protector, goddess of motherhood and justice. There are also references in elven mythology to another race of gods, called "The Forgotten Ones", the enemies of the elven pantheon. It is said that Fen'Harel was the only one able to walk freely between the two clans, and they both thought of him as one of their own.   Interestingly, though the elven gods are responsible for the gifts of the world (and in some cases for recreating it), they, too, were created by and are not creators of the world according to elven belief. Unlike the Old Gods, these gods were never claimed to have walked in the mortal world or have directly challenged the Maker. Their current location is uncertain, as they do not, apparently, interact with the mortal world. However, elven belief holds that the Fade, or "Beyond" as it is known to the elves, is considered a holy place and the gods are trapped there in the "Eternal City".   In elven history, orbs called "foci" were sometimes used to channel the power of the elven gods for various reasons. These items were usually associated with a particular member of the elven pantheon. Their power required a great deal of energy to unlock.   Solas, who is actually revealed to be Fen'Harel, states that the ancient elven gods were not really deities as the Maker is perceived, but rather very powerful beings. Whether they were mages or spirits or something else entirely unencountered and forgotten, Solas says they have a deep and powerful connection to the Fade, where they dwelled and spoke to the elves through various rituals performed in certain locations. Solas also remarks that the elven "gods" were arrogant and fickle, as they warred amongst themselves and had feuds and vendettas. A similar attitude is expressed in an inscription attributed to Geldauran, one of the Forgotten Ones. Following the initial events of the Exalted Council, the Inquisitor uncovers the reality that the Elven Gods were in fact phenomenally powerful mages who rose in prominence after the end of an unknown war. Solas implies that the Evanuris started out as generals during the war, then respected elders, and finally were revered as gods. They started out as heroes of the famed war eventually becoming corrupt tyrants in order to hoard and maintain their own power. The Evanuris institutionalized a system of slavery using Vallaslin as a brand, with only Fen'Harel (and more subtly, Mythal) challenging their tyranny. Most of the gods were arrogant in their ways, their power and attitudes more akin to the Tevinter Magisters. Eventually, the other Evanuris murdered Mythal, and Fen'Harel created the Veil and banished the Evanuris to the Beyond as punishment.
Religious, Pantheon
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