The Fifth Blight (Dragon Age Origins)
Blights - First Blight (-395 – -203) · Second Blight (1:5-95) · Third Blight (3:10-25) · Fourth Blight (5:12-24) · Fifth Blight (9:30-31)
Fereldan conflicts - Unification of Ferelden (5:10–42) · Battle of Soldier's Peak (7:5) · Second Orlesian Invasion (8:24–44) · Fereldan Rebellion (8:44 – 9:2) · Fifth Blight (9:30–31) · Battle of Ostagar (9:30) · Fereldan Civil War (9:30-31) · Battle of Denerim (9:31) · Amaranthine conflict (9:31)
The Fifth Blight occurred in 9:30 Dragon in the nation of Ferelden. The Blight's origins began with the tainting of the Old God Urthemiel during a botched experiment by the Architect to awaken it. The darkspawn rabble organized into an army under the Archdemon's banner and launched their attack upon the surface.
Hostilities began in southern Ferelden at the edge of the Korcari Wilds. The first major engagement of the war took place at the fortress of Ostagar, where the king of Ferelden, Cailan Theirin, had assembled an army to fight the darkspawn horde. Despite the assurance of the Grey Wardens, the Fereldan commanders did not believe at this time that an Archdemon had risen, and its threat was dismissed.
The Battle of Ostagar proved to be a critical point in the war. The King, the Grey Wardens, and the Fereldan army were betrayed and left to die by Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir during a major darkspawn assault on the fortress. Loghain fled the battlefield with his forces and returned to the capital, where he usurped the throne, refused entry at the border to the Orlesian Grey Warden reinforcements, and sparked the Fereldan Civil War. With Ostagar overrun, the horde were free to enter Ferelden proper.
Ferelden would have been at the mercy of the darkspawn advance were it not for the survival of two Fereldan Grey Wardens and the infiltration into the country by an Orlesian Grey Warden. The Fereldan Grey Wardens were able to evade assassination attempts and assemble a coalition of dwarves, Dalish, golems, Circle mages, templars, soldiers from Redcliffe, and werewolves, to combat the Archdemon's forces. Additionally, the Grey Wardens supported the Fereldan royalists, who removed Loghain from power through diplomatic, rather than military, means, and thus put an end to the civil war.
The Fifth Blight culminated in the Battle of Denerim, where the Archdemon was slain by the Wardens at the top of Fort Drakon. It was the shortest in history, stopped before it had the chance to gain its full momentum.
The Architect, an intelligent darkspawn, found the Old God, Urthemiel, and attempted to convert it into a disciple, hoping in doing so to unravel the darkspawn's compulsion to seek the Old Gods at its source. The experiment went wrong however, and Urthemiel was instead tainted and transformed into an Archdemon. With an Archdemon to lead and rally them, the darkspawn began massing into a substantial military force. This led to the beginning of the Fifth Blight.
The lands of southern Ferelden became the focal point of the darkspawn's surface invasion. The horde emerged from the Deep Roads into the forests of the Korcari Wilds. Whether by coincidence or design, Ferelden was an ideal target. The nation was weakened from having driven the occupying Orlesians from its borders three decades prior. More importantly, the Grey Wardens had only recently been permitted to re-enter Ferelden, and their numbers were few.
Grey Wardens had long been entrusted with the task of slaying Archdemons during Blights. With so few present in Ferelden, the Warden-Commander, Duncan, undertook a search for new recruits. Prior to the first major engagements at Ostagar, Grey Warden candidates were searched for in Denerim, Redcliffe, Highever, Orzammar, the Circle of Magi, and the Brecilian Forest. The Fereldan Grey Wardens were to be reinforced by 200 or so Grey Wardens sent from Orlais. These Orlesian Grey Wardens, however, were prevented from entering Ferelden by Loghain.
Prior to the Battle of Ostagar, the Grey Warden Joining candidates, including The Warden, ventured into the Korcari Wilds with Alistair and retrieved ancient treaties as part of the preparations for their initiation. Alistair and the Warden retained the treaties and acted independently to deliver them after the disastrous battle at Ostagar. The long-standing treaties compelled the Dalish elves, the Circle mages, and the Orzammar dwarves to aid the Grey Wardens during a Blight.
In 9:30 Dragon, dwarven society in the city of Orzammar was fractured by the death of King Endrin Aeducan. There was a power struggle in Orzammar following this event, meaning there was no king who could be compelled to assist the Grey Wardens in fighting the Blight. Two serious contenders emerged during the political infighting: Lord Harrowmont and Bhelen Aeducan. The decision on which of them would accede to the throne would ultimately lie with the Paragons.
The Dalish elf clan led by Keeper Zathrian was encountered by the Grey Wardens in the Brecilian Forest during the Fifth Blight. The Dalish were unable to guarantee their assistance, however, as clan members had recently become afflicted with lycanthropy and were under attack from werewolves. Further Grey Warden investigation led to the discovery of the Lady of the Forest, the leader of the werewolves, and of the curse's origins with Zathrian.
A chaotic situation occurred at the Circle of Magi shortly after the Battle of Ostagar. Uldred, one of the senior mages present at the Battle of Ostagar, had survived the battle and managed to return to the Circle. He attempted to persuade the Circle to support Loghain, but when Wynne, another senior enchanter who also survived the battle, revealed Loghain's treachery, the Circle denied their support. Uldred then attempted to stage a coup and became possessed by a pride demon. The Circle Tower was subsequently overrun by abominations and demons, which the Grey Wardens had to deal with before either the templars or the Circle mages could assist them against the Blight.
The army of Ferelden assembled at Ostagar under the command of King Cailan in an attempt to break the darkspawn horde. A plan was made in which the King's army would draw the darkspawn horde into a skirmish. At a pre-arranged signal, Teyrn Loghain would then flank the horde with his troops. When the moment arrived for the plan to be put into motion, things went awry. The tower was overrun by darkspawn, delaying the lighting of the signal. When the signal was lit, the Teyrn retreated. This action resulted in the loss of the king's army, the king himself, and all but two of Ferelden's Grey Wardens.
With the defeat at Ostagar the darkspawn advanced north. The village of Lothering is overrun as well as the town of Gwaren in the east. Most of the population of Gwaren however manages to survive as they left the town with ships.
Following King Cailan's death at Ostagar, Teyrn Loghain usurped the throne and declared himself Regent. This caused major upheaval as Ferelden's nobility, either disbelieving his explanation of the disaster at Ostagar or feeling that, given his common birth and the alacrity he had taken the regency with in the aftermath of Cailan's death, Loghain was opportunistically grabbing a throne he had no claim to, refused to acknowledge his authority and demanded he resign the regency; Loghain's refusal to do so and violent, heavyhanded tactics to force the nobility to comply with his demands sparked off a civil war between both sides. As part of his propaganda, Loghain blamed the Grey Wardens for the king's defeat at Ostagar and branded them outlaws. He then hired an Antivan Crow assassin to kill the two remaining Wardens in Ferelden. Meanwhile, his closest ally, Arl Rendon Howe, usurped the Arling of Denerim, after having previously usurped the Teyrnir of Highever, and engaged in the torture and imprisonment of subversive nobles, as well as other intrigues, during Loghain's reign. The civil war was resolved when Arl Eamon, the Teyrn's most major political opponent, called for a Landsmeet, resulting in the reunification of Ferelden under the crown.
The Grey Warden allies gathered at Redcliffe. Redcliffe Village was under attack by several darkspawn ogres, emissaries, and numerous darkspawn troops. After a brief siege at the fortress's gates, the attacking force was pushed back. However, the attack on Redcliffe was a strategic feint: the bulk of the horde was actually marching on Denerim, with the Archdemon finally revealing itself at its head. After the Warden annihilated the enemy at Redcliffe, the allied army quickly set off to meet the Archdemon's main force at the capital.
The darkspawn horde, led by the Archdemon, reached Denerim and attacked before the reinforcements from Redcliffe could arrive. It was estimated to be three times bigger than the allied army the Grey Wardens had formed. The city gates, the elven alienage and the market district saw the fiercest fighting until the hurlock generals were slain by the Warden. Fort Drakon was captured by the darkspawn, and was reinforced following the downing of the Archdemon, who had been brought down by injuries inflicted by Riordan atop the fortress's roof, unable to escape by air. A small team led by the Warden assaulted the fortress and, despite the efforts of the darkspawn garrison to protect it, the Archdemon was slain. With its death, the darkspawn horde lost the will to fight on and were routed as the Ferelden army launched a counterattack to drive them from the city.
With the death of the Archdemon, the darkspawn horde fell back to the Deep Roads, where they plagued the dwarven kingdoms once more, but left the surface world alone for a time. They would later emerge again under the command of two new intelligent darkspawn, the Mother and the Architect, who were engaged in a civil war over ideology.
The Grey Wardens began the process of rebuilding their numbers in Ferelden with the assistance of Orlais. They were granted Vigil's Keep and the surrounding lands of Amaranthine for this purpose.
During the Blight, many Fereldans fled north to the Free Marches, where many would stay for years to come - these included Hawke, the future Champion of Kirkwall and hero of Dragon Age II.