Beast of the Black City
"I am a force of nature. You can no more kill me than you can kill the wind."
He has had many names: Beast of Arlathan, Wolf of the Black City, Fen’Shiral, God of Wolves, Son of the North Wind, The Big, Bad Wolf. In truth, forces of nature require no name.
But it is hard to speak to someone when you don’t know its name, and so when any of his legendary names are not good enough, may allow you to call him Bigby. It is a name once given to him by a Dalish child many centuries ago. The young elf have found, “Big Bad Wolf,” too much of a mouthful, and had simply abbreviated the first two words. He found it amusing enough that he decided to help the child find his way back to his clan. He decided to keep the name.
A great wolf, his tale has existed in many forms within many legends and folktales in many cultures throughout Thedas. He is feared by some, respected by others. Others still view him as little more than a story that mothers tell their children to scare them into obedience.
Long ago, when Arlathan stood tall, he wandered the world in many forms. The Elves knew him as Fen’Shiral, the Wolf of The Great Journey. Sometimes he would appear as a simple wolf, indistuingishable from the rest. Other times, he would appear as an Elf and wander among the cultures of the Elvhenan without notice. Most times he would appear as an enormous black wolf, far larger than any other beast in the forest.
Some elves viewed him as protector, others as the avatar of the dreaded Fen’Harel. Others still viewed him as little more than a force of nature, no more good or evil than a hurricane.
When Arlathan fell, the great wolf seemed to disappear. Some say that the mages of Tevinter knew his story too well, and imprisoned him before their famous conquest, so he could do nothing to aid the elves in defense of their home. Others say that when the elven gods were imprisoned, he too was sent back to the fade. Others state that he had no interest in helping the elves, and simply left the forest, looking for less chaotic pastures. Regardless of the truth, reported sightings of the great wolf dwindled and eventually stopped by 500TE / -695 Ancient. His story passed into legend and eventually myth.
For over a thousand years, there were no sightings of the famous beast, outside of the fade. Many mages, especially dreamers, spoke of a great wolf that stalked the Fade, that was neither demon nor benevolent spirit, but something else. In some cases, the mages spoke of how the wolf seemed to either not notice them, or showed no interest. Others spoke of how the wolf chased them throughout the fade, but always stayed a step behind, seemingly more interested in the chase than the capture.
Then, near the beginning of the Black Age, a group of Templars arrestedan apostate near the outskirts of the Arlathan forest. He was surrounded by a veritable army of templars, all of whom had been killed in varying, but horrifying ways. Many of the bodies had been ripped apart, and a few even littered the trees.
In his final moments before he was executed, the mage ranted about how he had seeken refuge in an ancient elven ruin deep within the forest. He had encountered a great pool of water, but when he had tried to enter it, it was as hard as stone. When he was cornered by the pursuing templars, he used blood magic to kill them, and the falling droplets of blood caused the ‘water’ to shatter.
An enormous black wolf came forth, great and terrible. An ear-shattering roar was all it took for the mage to flee. He claimed that the wolf pursued him to the edge of the forest, and that when even more Templars came, the wolf killed them all, feasting upon their innards. After cursing the maleficar in some ancient elvish dialect, the wolf returned to the forest. The templars had found the mage a day later, caked in blood and dirt, too terrified to stand. After his unbelievable story, and unable to move him, they hewed his head from his shoulders and then buried the dead.
Sightings and stories of the great wolf have only increased since the Black Age. Travelers that take the less traveled shortcuts sometimes speak of seeing a great wolf within the trees out of the corner of their eye. Others claim to have actually seen him. Some say that he is the size of a regular wolf, others that he is as large as a dragon.
In truth, he does exist, just as many monstrous things in this world do. What he truly is, however, is the subject for another tale. He wanders the dark and ancient places of this world, and many question his intent. Is he a protector? Destroyer? Or neither?