The horizon of the twilight skies of the Anderfels above the province of the castle Burge, one of the great Grey Warden stongholds was turned to an orange-yellow with great stacks of smoke rising to the night skies' reaching up like the arms of the Marker Himself. The entire tainted forest lands were burning under threat of an occupying siege force. An old enemy--an ancient enemy in fact--a quite known one that the Anders and the Grey Wardens have fought since the beginning. The darkspawn.
The Anderfels mired in its political melodrama with a feeble king shrinking back out of his cowardly self-preservation, closing off the protective walls to the peasantry residing outside of them, leaving them to the non-existent mercy of the darkspawn. Thus placing the Grey Wardens the unenviable task of being the sole protectors of the Anderfel people residing within the nation's lands. Yet--what the wardens themselves are becoming increasingly aware of is... they do not have the manpower to stave off this new darkspawn threat, even with their thousand strong number at Weisshaupt. This new threat has been organizing them into a formidable army, blitzing outposts and villages. The conclusion being... the darkspawn are eroding the strength of the Grey Wardens to hold and protect lands and provinces of the Anderfels, for they are it aside from smatterings of Anderfel soldiery stationed at a few locales across the nation, the rest are all behind the walls of the capital with the Anderfel knights tasked with protecting the city and its king alone.
The nobility in disarray in spite of most being protected within the capital walls as well, they see their wealth and influence within the lands burning away as the darkspawn ravage their lands, slaughtering the peasantry who are the key to their amassed income. The capital itself in spite of being the most protected city within the Anderfels because of the king's craven actions, it too is beginning to suffer the consequences of the king's overwhelming fear of the darkspawn incursion, for with the nobility losing more and more wealth from their lands and peasantry who tend to their lands being destroyed, the less they have to keep the Anderfel economy running, and if the economy weakens--so too its ability to fund the grand city.
Stirrings within among the nobility have thus arisen... rebellion.
Yet within the Anderfels one faction as powerful and influential as some of the most prominent nobles exists, which is the Grey Wardens themselves, of course. An ally many nobles outright court to attempt to curry their favor to support their house's ascension to royalty displacing the current king and his house. However, rumor goes--one of the advisers to the king and recently said to be speaking out against him--the First Warden--leader of all the Grey Wardens in every nation across Thedas, it is said that they may make their own bid for the Anderfel throne...
And while Burge Castle this night burns, the nobility is left to their continuous machinations against one another to position themselves better to make a bid to rule the Anderfels. As time passed, the darkspawn raids only grew in their strength and violence, and now they seem to have reached their greatest point. While the wardens' concern only grew, they never believed the darkspawn would be able to sack one of their most solidified strongholds, the grand castle, Burge. Yet this night it and its entire province has been put to the torch as the darkspawn march upon it. It was no ordinary darkspawn contingent of great numbers... this was an occupying force.
It has been a concern that this is the dawning of yet another Blight, so close on the heels of the last one. But the older wardens are certain this is not a Blight, for the whispers of an Archdemon are absent. Albeit... what they do hear is the whispers of something else... perhaps something almost as dangerous as an archdemon, for whatever it is--its will is dark and immense. And from this unknown presence through the darkspawn they hear only a single word through the darkspawn... Tempore... What it can possibly mean, no one yet knows.
But for those wardens within Burge's walls, all of that means nothing. The fate of the castle as it burns is sealed, there is only one thing to do. Escape. For they know all too well the fate of those who remain if unfortunate enough not to be killed, but instead... captured. There are fates in the world much worse than death, and the wardens possess the misfortune of knowing what a few of those fates are.
One of the younger wardens--a veteran of only a couple years within their ranks, once a soldier--even a knight of the Anderfels, Averia, fought for her life in the blazing fires that engulfed not just Burge but much of the province it resided within itself. She had heard tale of her ancient ancestors in the Anderfels, human and elven ancestry both having fought along side the wardens in the First Blight. Whether it were true or just her father telling tall-tales to his daughter, she never knew. She never had any idea what that may have been like--to fight in a Blight, and the last happened several nations away. But the threat of darkspawn was something she had grown up with since infancy as many of the Anderfels had for centuries now.
However, this night she now felt she had an idea of what fighting during the Blights may have been like in those ancient times.
There were just so many darkspawn, it felt as though for each she had cut down--three took its place. The attack was with such power and veracity it shattered the wardens' ranks within the castle leaving them in disarray. With the castle being utterly razed right down to its foundations it was clear the only course of action was to retreat. Averia called out repeatedly her comrades names. Her voice was shakey and ragged, exhausted from the constant battles amidst the fire and thick black smoke, but her desperation was clear in her voice hoping to find anyone of her allies.
Even for a hardened warrior of the Anderfels, even one that was a warden--it was a nightmare. The brutality and numbers the darkspawn had brought with them for this siege... who would have ever thought they could possibly sack a warden stronghold, especially one of their strongest? It was all the more clear there was more to this assault than the darkspawn seeking to occupy the province and its castle Burge, it was a symbolic attack--a showing of the might they possessed. For if they had the resources to risk sacking one of the wardens' greatest strongholds in the Anderfels of all place--where the wardens' presence is largest, just how far did the darkspawns' might truly extend?
While it was the older wardens who could typically only hear it, but in the burning castle of Burge, every warden still alive could hear the whisper this time continuously within their minds with great pauses between each utterance, "Tempore... Tempore... Tempore...", and with each whisper the darkspawn seemed to frenzy striking in a greater more ferocious rage than the last...