Calendars of Thedas: Systems, Ages,Months,& Holidays
There are three Calendar systems in Thedas; The Chantry Calendar, The Tevinter Calendar, and the Elven Calendar.
Chantry Calendar: The most commonly used system, the Chantry calendar began with the appointment of the first Divine, Divine Justinia I. Unlike the other two systems, the Chantry calendar marks time with the use of Ages, with each age being 100 years long. After the conclusion of every Age the scholars of the chantry come together to name the next one. Any time prior to 1:1 Divine is known as the Ancient Age, and is marked by negative numbers.
Tevinter Calendar: In the Tevinter Imperium the authority of the chantry isn’t recognized, and thus the Imperium has it’s own Calendar. A system that predates the Chantry Calendar by well over a thousand years. Their calendar begins on the day the Imperium was founded and is marked by 0 TE. Any time prior to the founding of the empire is marked by negative numbers, much like the Chantry Calendar.
For a short time, Tevinter abandoned it’s calendar system for the Chantry system. After the Schism the Imperium returned to the use of it’s own Calendar system.
Elven Calendar: The Elven Calendar was established with the formation of the city of Arlathan. It was used for over six thousand years before it was banned after the Tevinter Imperium sacked Arlathan and enslaved the elves. Only a few significant Elven dates survived the passage of time including the Fist contact with the dwarves in 3000 FA, the arrival of humans in 4500 FA and the founding of the Tevinter Imperium in 6405 FA. The beginning of the Elven Calendar is marked as 1FA and is the oldest recorded date in the history of Thedas.
The use of Ages began with the formation of the chantry, there has been 9 Ages to date with Thedas currently in it’s 9th Age.
Divine age (1:1-1:99) Named in celebration of the appointment of the first divine
Glory Age (2:1-2:99) Named for the prediction of a grand rebirth after the devastation of the 1st Blight.
Towers Age: (3:1-3:99) Named for the completion of the Grand Cathedral in Val Royeaux, its towers visible for miles around.
Black age: (4:1-4:99) Named as the chantry called for retribution against the Tevinter Imperium for its installment of the “Black Divine” to rule the Imperial chantry following the Schism.
Exalted Age: ( 5:1-5:99) Named during a period of near constant war with the Tevinter Imperium that included multiple exalted marches.
Steel Age: (6:1-6:99) Named after the assassination of Queen Madrigal of Antiva. She was found with three steel swords in her chest.
Storm Age (7:1-7:99) Named during the war with the Qunari and the leaders of Thedas called for a storm of Violence to expel the Invaders.
Blessed Age: (8:1-8:99) Named by the chantry as the age of bounty and prosperity.
Dragon Age: (9:1-present) Named after the reappearance of dragons which were long thought to be extinct.
Twelve thirty day months and four seasons are what currently make up a year in Thedas. The months have roots in the Early days of the Imperium and, with the exception of addition of chantry holidays, the month and primary seasonal holidays have remained unchanged for more than two thousand years. Each month has a Low Name, largely used among the common classes, as well as official high names based in the original Tevinter. Only scholars and members of courts use the months’ High Names. The common names will be listed first, with the High names in parenthesis followed by the holiday celebrated in that month.
1st Month: Wintermarch (Verimensis); Holiday: First Day
Throughout Thedas a majority of people celebrate five major holidays, each tied to a season transition or the start of a new year. Each Holiday is celebrated at the beginning of the associated month.
First Day: The traditional start of the new year, this holiday is celebrated by visiting friends and family (in remote areas this was once an annual check to make sure everyone was still alive), as well town gatherings to commemorate the year past with drink and merriment.
Wintersend: Once called “Urthalis” and dedicated to Urthemiel, the old god of beauty, this holiday is now a celebration of the Maker. It stands for the end of winter in many lands and coincides with tourneys and contests and the Proving grounds in Minrathous. In the southern lands this holiday has become a time to gather for trade, theater, and in some areas, arrangements for marriage.
Summerday: Once called “Andoralis” and dedicated to Andoral, The Old God of Unity, this holiday is universally celebrated as the beginning of summer,a time for joy and, commonly, marriages. Boys and Girls who are soon to become of age done white tunics and dresses and join grand processions that cross the settlement to the local chantry. There, they learn the responsibilities of adulthood. Summerday is a particularly holy occasion in Orlais.
Funalis (All Souls Day):Once this holiday was dedicated to the Old God of silence, Dumat. However since the rise of Dumat during the First Blight,Thedosian’s turn a blind eye to any old ties between the day and the dragon. The holiday is now known across Thedas as All Souls Day, and spent in somber remembrance of the dead. In some of the Northern lands people dress as spirits and walk the streets in parade after midnight. The chantry uses this holiday to remember the death of Andraste, with public fires that mark her immolation and plays that depict her death.
Satinalia: Once dedicated to the Old Goddes of Freedom Zazikel -now attributed more to the second moon, Satina- this holiday is accompanied by wild celebration,the wearing of masks, and naming the town fool ruler for the day. In Antiva, Satinalia lasts for a week or more while a week of fasting follows. In more pious areas large feasts and the giving of gifts mark the holiday.
“I was first exposed to ballet at the age of seven when a traveling company came to my church in North Carolina. By the time I was eleven I was practicing six days a week. It became my all-consuming monastic devotion. I eventually made it to the New York City Ballet. I’ve always seen ballet as my way of serving God. I think it’s what God has called me to do. You can call it frivolous, or superficial. But you can stretch that argument to infinity. Why do we have painting? Why do we have architecture? I think it’s all a form of worship. In a secular age the theater becomes the cathedral. There can be such a lack of empathy and collaboration in this world. But in the theater we see beauty and order and harmony modeled for us– two hours at a time. And it took a lot of sacrifice to make that possible.“
The Tale of the Dragon Slayer and the Sun’s Firstborn
interpretation of Ornstein and the Nameless King
the Everlasting Dragons, Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, put an end to the Age of
Ancients and ushered in an Age of Fire. He built the magnificent city of Anor
Londo, also known as the City of the Gods, where he resided with his family. He
had three children – Gwyndolin, the youngest son with a strange affinity of the moon, Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight, and his eldest son, who is now
unknown to the world. There is a big mystery revolving around the identity of that
son, all that was known up to now was that he had been the one to be banished
by his own father for losing the precious annals. But now Dark Souls 3 shines a
new light upon the identity of Gwyn’s long lost son and parts of his life.
follows is my own free interpretation of the facts that are given to us by
various item descriptions in the game, and common knowledge about Souls lore. Every time I quote something I’ll put
the source right behind it – everything else is my own version of the story
created by simply filling the gaps left open by the canon.
starts quite a while after Gwyn has settled down in Anor Londo with his family.
His first born son has just come of age and is now ready to follow in his
father’s footsteps. He has “inherited the light of Gwyn, the first lord” (Ring of
the Sun’s Firstborn, Dark Souls 3), suggesting that he has the same lightning
powers as his father. With those powers, he is now sent out to find and kill
the last remnants of the Ancient Dragons (“Once a slayer of dragons […]”,
Lighning Storm, Dark Souls 3). But Gwyn knows of his son’s temper and his
tendency to get himself into trouble (suggested by the fact, that he is called “foolish”
several times in item descriptions), and so he chooses one of his faithful
and loyal knights to accompany his son. Out of his four knights he appoints the
captain, a man known as Ornstein. This is an important new information Dark
Souls 3 gives. When looking the rings of the Four Knights of Gwyn one can see
that the first line always says
associated with [name], one of the Four Knights of Gwyn, the First Lord.”, followed
by a short story about the character. In the description of the Leo Ring, that
was the first knight of the sun’s eldest born, and his cross spear is said to
have pierced scales made of stone.”
So Ornstein isn’t only a knight of Gwyn, he is actually also the knight of Gwyn’s son. Now,
the short description of the ring can be broken down and analysed quite a bit. It
is worth noting that, while in the first lines of the description it clearly
says “Ring associated with Dragon Slayer Ornstein”, the title “Dragon Slayer”
is dropped in the second part, and he is simply called “Ornstein”. That
suggests that he hasn’t always been a slayer of dragons, but that he had
to earn his title first. Furthermore, the fact that right after “[he] was the first
knight of the sun’s eldest born” the description follows up with “his cross
spear is said to have pierced scales made of stone.” can be another hint
towards Ornstein being a brother in arms to Gwyn’s son, who fought with him
against the dragons. So the two of them were a fierce and gallant duo, maybe
even friends, and they slaughtered dragons together, earning Ornstein the title
of “Dragon Slayer”.
But all things come to an end, and the comradery of
Ornstein and Gwyn’s firstborn ends the day the latter loses the annals of his
father (“[…]his foolishness led to a loss of the annals, and rescinding of his
deific status.”, Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn, Dark Souls). It is unclear how
exactly the tragedy happens, but as mentioned before, the son seems to be reckless
in his youth, always searching for adventures, hence the “foolishness”. Gwyn is furious, so furious that he banishes his own son, erasing his name from the
history books (Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn, Dark Souls). It must have been
devastating for Ornstein, seeing his brother in arms and good friend leave. Considering
that extremely harsh punishment, it is natural that Gwyn would also have one in
store for the man who was supposed to take care of his son and control his
temper – Ornstein. His armour description from Dark Souls tells us
the dragonslayer Ornstein, who guards the cathedral in the forsaken city of Anor
knight and fighter all his life is punished by being made protector of the
cathedral and Gwyn’s remaining children in Anor Londo. There he is joined by
Smough, an executioner who wants to become a knight of Gwyn, but isn’t quite
cut out for it and thus has to be given another task (“Smough loved his work,
and ground the bones of his victims into his own feed, ruining his hopes of
being ranked with the Four Knights.”, Smough’s Hammer, Dark Souls). It almost
seems as if the guard post of the cathedral is for the people Gwyn has no use
for anymore otherwise. But Ornstein is still loyal to Gwyn, and what else is he
supposed to do with the rest of Gwyn’s knights scattered throughout the world?
Ornstein and Smough protect the cathedral from intruders without any other
purpose. That is until one day the flames start to fade, and Gwyn sacrifices
himself to keep the Age of Fire going. After that, the Gods are leaving the
crumbling city of Anor Londo, with only Gwyndolin remaining there. It is then that
Ornstein makes a decision all by himself for the first time. He decides to leave the cathedral behind,
seeing no purpose in protecting it anymore, even though there is still one
child of Gwyn left. He leaves behind Smough, “the last knight to stand in defense
of the ruined cathedral” (Smough’s Set, Dark Souls 3).
does the Chosen Undead fight in Dark Souls? One theory would be that that
version of Ornstein is just another illusion by Gwyndolin. While the illusion
of his sister Gwynevere is rather fragile and fleeting, he has maybe put more
effort into the one of Ornstein. It could be that he took one of the remaining
knights in Anor Londo and manipulated his appearance to match the one of
Ornstein. There must have been countless lightning weapons and miracles in Gwyn’s weapon
chamber, so finding a lighting spear wouldn’t have been a problem. The fact
that Ornstein is only an illusion could also be an explanation why Smough simply
smashes his companion, even though he’s still alive. He knows he’s not killing
the real knight of Gwyn, so it becomes just another execution of a useless knight for him.
case, Ornstein is gone. But where is a knight like Ornstein, who has
lived for others his whole life, to go? Whose best memories come from a time where he
fought side by side with an old friend?
dragonless age, this knight, who long guarded the ruined cathedral, left the
land in search of their nameless king.” (Dragon Slayer set, Dark Souls 3)
Who is this
Nameless King? From his soul in Dark Souls 3 we know
Nameless King was once a dragon-slaying god of war, before he sacrificed
everything to ally himself with the ancient dragons.”
dragon-slaying god of war seems awfully familiar, especially when looking at
the Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn again. “Lord Gwyn’s firstborn was a god of war
[…]” Another connection can be drawn between the Ring, “Ring of the Sun’s first
born, who inherited the light of Gwyn, the first lord.” and Nameless King’s
Dragonslayer Swordspear “The swordspear is imbued with lightning, of which he
was the heir.”
doesn’t look for the Namless King because he has heard rumors of a once mighty
Dragon Slayer with whom he now wants to exchange stories, no. He’s looking for
his old friend, and his only lead are the stories of a former Dragon Slayer who
has “sacrificed everything to ally himself with the ancient dragons” (Soul of the
Nameless King, Dark Souls 3) Gwyn’s first born, who used to fight dragons just
like his father, is now allied with them and has become a King of Dragons, and
Ornstein is looking for him. What happens next is a mystey. Ornstein finds him,
that’s for sure, but how does their meeting play out? Does Ornstein reunite with
his old friend, joining him in his quest to protect the last of the dragons
until he dies of old age? Or can’t he accept the fact that his friend is allied
with the very foes they used to fight and so Ornstein dies in battle with the Nameless