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Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

Sol promised, "In your time of need I will send you a champion, so that my children will not pass from the earth." And so it came to pass.

Even as it seemed impossible that the ever-divided, sometimes warring clans would ever unite, there arose on the plains a leader of unmatched valor and genius, Maliken Grimm. Grimm, in defiance of the most basic of the Prophetís teaching, set all his will to finding a way to crush his brother Man. Alone among those who had arisen since the fall of the Ancients, Grimm conceived of the possibility of uniting by strength of arms the scattered children of Sol.

Convinced that the triumph of humanity justified any sin, and willing to sacrifice his own salvation so that Man could reign once more over Beast, he launched war after war against the other clans. His methods were brutal, his soldiers disciplined and unflagging. First he claimed the Builders, and set them to supplying his growing Legion of Man with weapons unmatched by those of his enemies. Next, he fell upon the Order of the Chapel, plied them with iron and gold alike, promising them mastery of menís souls, vaulting churches, missionary armies to crusade against distant heathen pockets at civilizationís edge. And so now his Legion marched under the blessings and balm of Solís Chaplains.

It was against the Savages who had guarded Manís borders for centuries that he knew he would face his greatest test. For a dozen bloody years, his armies launched invasions into their hills and forests, facing foes as brave as they were disorganized. Savage man, woman, and child alike fought; aged warriors sharpened their canes to spears and joined the ranks. Every acre the Legion occupied was filled with spies and hidden foes, and every mile was paid in blood. At last, the remaining Savage warriors banded together and faced the Legion in a final, desperate battle. But all their vaunted courage and lust for battle fell before the steady march of Grimmís soldiers, who were endlessly supplied by Builders and healed by Chaplains. In the end, even the proud, free Savages swore fealty to Grimm and joined his Legion.

Wearied and bloodied by the last campaign, Grimm had little desire to face enemies even more shadowy and mobile than his last foes. He sent emissaries to the Scouts. Many divisions of Legionnaires marched into the distant wilderness, never to return. Whether it was Man or Beast who brought them doom, Grimm never knew, but at last, after two hundred had vanished, he himself led a band of chosen warriors to seek out the leader of the Scouts.

As he wandered the dark lands of the Beasts, he was afflicted by terrible dreams of an empty field, a lone hut, a wizened pagan human, made sexless by ravaging time, beckoning him, promising . . . something, he knew not what. Yet before he came to understand the nature of these nightmares, his army found itself surrounded by a force of Scouts.

Lethal bows were trained on every man. Legionnaires raised shields, hefted axes. Chaplains intoned prayers and curses. But Grimm, unfazed, ordered them to stand calm. From the ranks of the Scouts emerged their queen, a woman of severe beauty and ice-blue eyes. Her name was Andraste. Each leader, fearless and unconquered, was reflected in the otherís gaze; in that moment, they knew themselves.

More respect than love, for their hearts were long since hardened against weak emotions, the bond between them was instant and could not be broken. Silence held the armies; loyal soldiers for long years, they had come to know their mastersí minds and could see there would be no battle. Arms were lowered. Hands extended. And Man was united under a single banner.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6

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