The Chantry teaches us that it is the hubris of men which brought the darkspawn into our world. The mages had sought to usurp Heaven, but instead, they destroyed it. They were cast out, twisted and cursed by their own corruption. They returned as monsters, the first of
the darkspawn. They became a blight upon the lands, unstoppable and
relentless. The dwarven kingdoms were the first to fall. And from the
deep roads, the darkspawn drove at us again and again, until finally we
When darkspawn rise onto the surface their presence dramatically alters the savage nature of normal beasts. In Blights past, as the corruption of the darkspawn spread through the wilder areas of Thedas, it would infect the animals found there… and the more powerful of them would survive and be transformed into a more vicious and dangerous beast.
A Blight Wolf is one such example, mad with the pain of its infection, and only through the overriding command of the darkspawn does it still retain some semblance of its pack instincts. Blight wolves are always found in large groups and will tend to overwhelm a single target if they can, using their numbers to their advantage. It is fortunate that these creatures rarely survive their corruption for very long.
A tainted wolf loses much of its hair, taking on a terrifying skeletal appearance.
But you know we live in a world where all of us in this room take
books for granted. We throw books on the floor, we throw books at people, we
load them in and out of our backpacks, we drop them here and drop them there,
we lose them, we rip them up, we write all over them — I write all over mine.
It’s only a few generations ago when there really weren’t any bookstores to go
to. Your great-great-grandparents couldn’t meander a bookstore, to speak of,
unless they lived in a special section of a special city. Books are precious
things. A lot of them are assigned in this course. There’s short ones, little
ones, big ones, syntheses, novels, monographs. Think of a book, just for a
moment, and then you can forget this if you want. But think of a book, any
book. It’s hard to think of a really bad book this way, but think of a good
book, one of your favorite books ever, as like a newborn child, a newborn child
brought into the world. A book. Probably a lot more planning and thought and
design and construction, at least intellectually, goes into that book than goes
into most babies. Books have a cover. They have beginnings, middles and ends.
They’re somebody’s dream, they’re somebody’s creation. They never satisfy —
just like people — but they’re in some ways the greatest things we have, and
sometimes it’s nice to remind ourselves of that, in the places where we take
them most for granted.
David W. Blight, Ph.D, Professor of American History, Yale University and Director of the Gilder Lehman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition
The books on Roy Takeno’s desk in 1943 at the Manzanar Relocation Center, Inyo County, California (photograph by Ansel Adams, U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).