Dragon Age: The Calling

Dragon Age: The Calling

4.2 220
by David Gaider, Stephen Hoye
     
 

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After two hundred years of exile, King Maric has allowed the legendary Grey Wardens to finally return to Ferelden. When they come, however, they bring dire news: one of their own has escaped into the Deep Roads and aligned himself with their ancient enemy, the monstrous darkspawn.The Grey Wardens need Maric's help, and he reluctantly agrees to lead them into

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Overview

After two hundred years of exile, King Maric has allowed the legendary Grey Wardens to finally return to Ferelden. When they come, however, they bring dire news: one of their own has escaped into the Deep Roads and aligned himself with their ancient enemy, the monstrous darkspawn.The Grey Wardens need Maric's help, and he reluctantly agrees to lead them into the passages he traveled through many years before, chasing after a deadly secret that will threaten to destroy not only the Grey Wardens but also the kingdom above.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
For Dragon Age™: Origins

"A truly epic fantasy adventure."

Official Xbox Magazine, 9 out of 10

"BioWare has once again struck RPG gold."

GamePro, 5 out of 5

"One of the most addictive and expansive RPGs of its kind."

Game Informer, 9 out of 10

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400116201
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
04/12/2010
Series:
Dragon Age Series, #2
Edition description:
Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Dragon Age

The Calling


By David Gaider

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2009 Electronic Arts, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7548-3


CHAPTER 1

In the absence of light, shadows thrive.

— Canticle of Threnodies 8:21


Less than a year earlier, the only way Duncan would have seen the inside of a palace would have been at the sword-point of a prison guard. Perhaps not even then. In Orlais, lowly street thieves didn't receive the benefit of a judgment handed down personally by the local lord. There, the best one could hope for was a bored magistrate in a dingy courtroom as far away from the glittering estates of the aristocracy as they could manage.

But this wasn't Orlais, and he wasn't just a street thief any longer. He was inside the royal palace in Denerim, the capital city of Ferelden ... and he was not particularly impressed.

The city was gripped in the winter winds that blew in from the south, and Duncan had never been so cold in his entire life. Everyone in Ferelden wrapped themselves up in thick leathers and furs, trudging heedlessly through the snowy streets, and yet no matter how much clothing he wore he could still feel the chill right down to his bones.

The palace was little better. He had hoped for some warmth here, at least. Perhaps a few mighty hearths with fires blazing, enough to keep the place toasty warm. But no, instead he was left sitting alone on a bench in a hall with frosty stone walls that loomed high overhead. There were probably pigeons nesting in the wooden rafters, judging by the filthy floors, and he saw little about in the way of ornamentation. These Fereldans liked their doors large, solid, and made of oak. They liked their wooden sculptures of dogs and their smelly beer and they even seemed to like their snow. Or at least that was what he had been able to tell in the day or so since he'd arrived.

What they didn't like were Orlesians. There had been only a handful of palace servants and functionaries that passed through the hall while he waited, and all of them had shot him glances that ranged from suspicion to outright hostility. Even the two elven maids that came through with shy eyes and nervous twitters had stared at Duncan as if he were surely about to run off with the silverware.

Still, it was possible that all the looks might have had nothing to do with the fact that he was from Orlais. He didn't look the part, after all. His swarthy skin and mop of dark hair marked him as Rivaini, for one. The black leather armor he wore was covered in straps and buckles, running all the way up his arms and legs in a manner far removed from the more practical local style. Not to mention the twin daggers on his belt that he didn't bother to hide. None of those things marked him as a reputable person, not by Fereldan standards.

Really, if anyone was staring at him it should have been for the grey tunic he wore, adorned with the symbol of a rearing griffon. In any other nation in Thedas that griffon alone would have drawn raised eyebrows and nervous glances ... but not in Ferelden. Here it was all but unknown.

Duncan sighed listlessly. How much longer was he going to have to wait?

Eventually the great wooden door at the end of the hall swung open and admitted a female elf. She was petite even for her kind, almost waiflike, with short mousy brown hair and large expressive eyes. She looked annoyed, as well, which didn't surprise Duncan in the least. As a mage, she would have drawn more stares even than he. Not that she dressed much like a mage, eschewing their traditional robes for a hauberk of finely meshed chain and a long blue linen skirt, but she did carry her staff with her. It was polished white, with a silvery ball clasped in a claw at its end that gave off a constant and diffuse flow of magical power. She brought it everywhere.

The elf strode across the hall toward him, her boots clicking on the stone floor loud enough to echo. Her annoyed expression gave way to amusement as she reached him.

"Still here, I see," she chuckled.

"Genevieve would cut off my feet if I went anywhere."

"Ah, poor Duncan."

"Shut up, Fiona," he snorted. His rejoinder lacked heat, however. He knew the elf probably did have some sympathy for him ... well, a little, perhaps. Maybe a smidgen. There simply wasn't anything she could do to help him. He sighed and glanced up at her. "Did you see the Commander?"

Fiona nodded soberly toward the door behind her. "She's still negotiating with the captain of the city watch, thanks to you."

"Negotiating? She does that?"

"Well, he's negotiating. She's staring him down and not budging an inch, of course." Fiona regarded him with a raised eyebrow. "You're rather lucky, all things considered, you know."

"Yes, lucky," he sighed, sinking dejectedly back down onto his bench.

They waited for several minutes, the mage leaning on her white staff next to him, until finally the sound of voices approached from beyond the doors. They slammed open and two people entered. The first was a white-haired woman, a warrior in formidable-looking plate armor that covered her entire body. Her face was sharp and worn with many years of command, and she strode with the powerful confidence of one who expected no impertinence and usually found none.

The second was a dark-haired man in the resplendent yellow robes marking him as First Enchanter Remille of the Circle of Magi, the ranking mage in Ferelden. It was perhaps odd, then, that his pointed beard and the waxed curls of his mustache marked him as an Orlesian. The sort of man, Duncan assumed, that believed he could fare far better away from the Empire, even if it meant assuming a position of authority in a backwater nation that had thrown off Orlesian rule only eight years ago. At least in this case, his belief seemed to be correct.

The mage simpered after the warrior, and she did her best to ignore him. "Lady Genevieve" — he wrung his hands nervously — "are you certain —"

She paused, spinning about to glare at him. "You may call me Genevieve," she snapped. "Or Commander. Nothing else."

"My apologies, Commander," he quickly assured her. "Are you certain that was necessary? Your order does not wish to antagonize King Maric, after all...."

"We have already antagonized King Maric." Genevieve shot a withering glance in Duncan's direction, and he did his best to shrivel up out of sight behind Fiona. "And our order will bow to no authority, especially not some foolish watch captain who believes he possesses more power than he does." She cut off further protest by marching over to where Duncan sat.

He avoided her glower. "I trust you are satisfied?" she demanded.

"Maybe if I'd gotten away with it."

"Don't be a child." Genevieve gestured sharply for him to rise and he reluctantly did so. "We did not come to Ferelden to engage in nonsense, as you are well aware. You are no longer the boy I found in Val Royeaux. Remember that." She took his chin in her gauntleted hand and raised his head until she was looking him in the eye. He saw little more in her expression than checked rage layered in disappointment, and his face burned in embarrassment.

"I hear you," he said glumly.

"Good." She let him go and turned back to the hovering First Enchanter. "I trust the King is ready to see us, then? We won't have to come back?"

"No, he'll see you. Come."

The mage led the three of them down a long and dark hallway. If anything, it was even colder here than elsewhere, wind whistling through cracks in the walls. Duncan was certain he could spot frost, and his breath came out in white plumes. Just brilliant, he groused to himself. We came here to freeze to death, apparently.

They reached a large antechamber, a place filled with a scattering of dusty chairs that he imagined might at other times hold whatever nobles awaited their audience. Four others rose and stood at attention as they entered: three men and a dwarven woman, all in the same grey tunics as Duncan. Two of the men were tall warriors dressed in the same bulky plate armor as Genevieve, while the third was a hooded archer dressed in leathers. The dwarf wore a simple robe underneath her tunic, though naturally she was no mage.

The First Enchanter barely paused, sweeping past them and throwing open the enormous double doors that led into the throne room. Genevieve went after him and waved impatiently at the others to follow.

The throne room was slightly more impressive than the rest of the palace. Duncan did his best not to gape and stare as they walked in. The vaulted ceilings in the chamber rose at least thirty or forty feet, and the room was large enough to hold hundreds of men at once. There were galleries on each side of the room where he could imagine dignitaries shouting angrily at each other while the crowd below shouted and jeered. Or did Ferelden not work like that? Perhaps their gatherings here were dignified and quiet? Perhaps the court danced a great deal and this was a place where they held fantastic balls as they did in Orlais?

It seemed doubtful. The throne room had a dour look to it, and felt so empty he rather doubted there were many gatherings here at all, never mind balls. Tapestries hung on the walls, most in dull colors depicting scenes of battle from the days of some long-forgotten barbarian king. Dominating one of the walls was a massive wooden carving, a scene in bas-relief depicting a barely clothed warrior slaying what looked like werewolves. An odd choice, he thought.

The throne at the very end of the hall was little more than a massive chair with a high back, topped with what looked like a carved dog's head. It looked small up there on the large dais, raised above the floor by a small number of steps and flanked by bright torches. But one certainly couldn't miss it.

There was a man sitting casually on the throne, and Duncan wondered faintly if that was supposed to be the King. If so, he looked like a man who hadn't slept in a long time. His blond hair was unkempt and his clothing was hardly what Duncan would call regal, consisting of a rumpled white shirt and riding boots still covered in dirt.

The dark-haired man standing next to him, in a suit of grey armor, looked much more like a king. That one had eyes like a hawk, and he followed their entry with an angry intensity.

"Your Majesty, it is good to see you in such excellent health," First Enchanter Remille said when he finally reached the dais, bowing low with a great flourish. Behind him, Genevieve dropped to one knee, as did the others. Duncan reluctantly followed suit. He had been told that their order owed fealty to no nation and no king, but apparently they still bent knee when they felt like putting on a good show.

"Thank you, First Enchanter," the blond man on the throne responded. That meant he was the King after all, Duncan assumed. "So these are the Grey Wardens you were so keen on me meeting," he said, studying those present with intense interest.

"They are, Your Majesty. If I may?"

The King gestured his assent. Pleased, the mage turned toward those behind him, making a wide arc with his arm as if presenting something large and grand. "May I introduce to you Genevieve, Commander of the Grey in Orlais? It is she who told me of the order's need, and thus I bring her here to you."

The man bowed again and withdrew slightly as Genevieve stood. Her stark white hair all but glowed in the torchlight. Taking a moment to adjust her breastplate, she stepped forward, her expression grim. "I apologize for the delay in our arrival, King Maric. It was not our intention to anger you."

The stern man in the grey armor snorted derisively. "You Grey Wardens seem to get into a great deal of trouble in Ferelden, despite your best intentions."

Genevieve's expression did not change in the slightest, though Duncan noticed her back stiffen. She took a great deal of pride in the honor of the order, and could be prickly at the best of times. The King's friend would be wise to watch his words a little more carefully.

The King seemed mildly embarrassed. He waved a hand toward the man beside him, chuckling lightly. "This is Teyrn Loghain of Gwaren, though I don't know if you would have heard of him in Orlais."

She nodded curtly. "The Hero of River Dane. Yes, we have all heard."

"You hear that?" King Maric teased his friend. "It appears you have a reputation in the Empire. That should make you happy."

"I am thrilled," Loghain said dryly.

"If the Teyrn is referring to our order's exile from Ferelden two centuries ago," Genevieve began, "I can offer an explanation."

Loghain gave her a direct stare. "Of course you can."

She clenched her jaw, tightly enough for Duncan to see the tendons standing out on her neck, and for a long moment an uncomfortable silence ensued. All that could be heard was the crackling of the torches behind the throne.

The First Enchanter interjected himself between them, making conciliatory noises. "Surely there is no need for us to discuss something that took place so long ago, yes? What the leader of the Grey Wardens did then need not have any bearing on today!" He looked to King Maric pleadingly.

The King nodded, though he didn't seem very pleased. Whether it was because of the Teyrn's anger or Genevieve's response, Duncan couldn't tell. "This is true," he murmured.

"I have something much more recent I would like to discuss," Loghain growled. "Why did you keep us waiting for so long? If I had gone to such great lengths to gain a private audience with Maric, I would go out of my way to avoid angering him. Particularly if I was about to ask for a favor, no?"

The King shrugged. "They haven't asked for anything yet, Loghain."

"They will. Why else the formal introduction? Why else the display?"

"Good point."

Genevieve appeared pained as she searched for the right response. "One of my people committed a crime in your city, King Maric," she finally stated. "I needed to deal with the matter before things got out of hand."

Duncan grew cold with dread. Here it comes, he thought.

Loghain appeared ready to launch an angry retort, but the King cut him off, sitting forward in his throne with a great deal of interest. "A crime? What sort of crime?"

Genevieve sighed heavily. She turned around and gestured for Duncan to step forward. Her eyes bored into him, however. Step out of line now, they said, and I will make every second of your life that follows a nightmare that you will never forget. He gulped and scuttled quickly forward to stand beside her.

"This young man is Duncan," she explained, "recruited into our order a few months ago from the streets of Val Royeaux. I'm afraid he attempted to ply his former trade in your marketplace, and when chased by your guardsmen he got into a fight with one of them. The man was injured, but lives."

"I could have killed him," Duncan interjected defensively. Noticing Genevieve's outrage, he quickly bobbed a nervous bow toward the King. "But I didn't! I could have, but I didn't! That's what I meant, err ... Your Highness. My lord."

"Your Majesty," Loghain corrected him.

"My guards can be a little overzealous at times," the King explained amiably. It took Duncan a moment to realize that the man was actually speaking to him and not to Genevieve. "Loghain is determined to turn Denerim into the most orderly city in the south. Truly I think all it's done is drive the criminals underground."

"I'd have been tempted to go there, myself," Duncan joked, and then quickly quieted as Genevieve clenched her gauntleted fists tightly enough for him to hear the faint grinding of metal. He did his best to look meek.

"He is quite skilled, King Maric," Genevieve offered tersely. "I believe, however, that the young man thinks if he misbehaves we will release him from his duty. He is wrong."

The King seemed intrigued by this. "You do not enjoy being a Grey Warden?" he asked Duncan.

Duncan was unsure how to respond. He was surprised that the King was speaking directly to him again. Even the lowliest baron in Orlais would have sooner been covered in oil and set on fire than be caught noticing a peasant. It made them much easier to pickpocket. Maybe this man couldn't tell he was a commoner, on account of them all being Grey Wardens? He assumed he should feel flattered, though he wasn't certain all this attention was necessarily a good thing.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Dragon Age by David Gaider. Copyright © 2009 Electronic Arts, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Actor Stephen Hoye is a graduate of London's Guildhall and a veteran of London's West End. An award-winning audiobook narrator, he has won thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards.

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Dragon Age 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 167 reviews.
Phantom00700 More than 1 year ago
As a fan of Dragon Age: Origins I loved this book too. I thought it was a great piece of lore from the Dragon Age universe, but the thing I liked best about it was the fact that a reader wouldn't have to know much, if anything, about Dragon Age in order to enjoy the book. Pros: - Good Writing. - Mostly Original Plot (a rarity in fantasy novels). - Interesting Characters. Cons: - Poor Copy Editing on the Nook Version.
old_biker More than 1 year ago
The "Most helpful" reviews appear to be for the other two books in this series. They were both written years before Asunder was released. I have not read Asunder as yet, just wanted to give a heads up about the "Most Helpful" reviews. I would hate to see someone buy or not buy based on erroneous information. Myself, I intend to buy and read this as soon as I finish the Game of Thrones series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was on the fence about buying Dragon Age: Origins so I figured I would read this book to get a feel for the world and writing style. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book and world but after that I was hooked on it. The characters are amazing with amazing development and growth. This book has made me want to play Dragon Age and if your are on the fence about the game or already pre-ordered, this is a must have...but even if your not looking into the game, this is still a great fantasy read for anyone who likes the fantasy world or medieval themed novels. PS, loved the choices that the characters made which is really what makes me excited for the game just to make similar complex and far reaching choices.
Neight More than 1 year ago
While I have read books that are better written, this has still become one of my favorites. Something about the characters, world and story just pulled me in and kept me from wanting to put it down. I am very much looking forward to the sequel and the game after having read this.
Oolio More than 1 year ago
I think the novel could stand up reasonably well on its own even without the context of the game, but a fan of Dragon Age: Origins will certainly appreciate this very much. There's a very good energy to Orlesian-occupied Ferelden and you can't help but find yourself falling in love with the characters (yes, even Loghain!). Admittedly not classic literature material, but definitely worth getting if you enjoy the Dragon Age lore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1st off .....Love the whole dragon age world. Book Seems to take place after the events in dragon age 2 video game. With refer and hints to events in dragon age origins video game. Which i have played many times through. Great Book!!
elf_fu More than 1 year ago
I am sure this book is fantastic. In fact, what I can glean from it so far--it is. However, the glaring missing apostrophes, quotation marks and SPELLING MISTAKES through out the entire e-book make me not want to read it. I am 100% certain the author of this book did not release it chalked full of missing quotations--so readers have to guess what is speech and what is not--or spelling mistakes that are so glaringly bad they jar the reader out of the story. As someone who doesn't have a lot of income to be throwing even $10.00 around lightly, I am not impressed. Perhaps it is an error in the Barnes & Noble reader which really should be addressed soon?
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Ending was lame
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well paced, well written characters and a fun, in depth look into more of the Dragon Age universe.
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If you're a Dragon Age fan, or fantasy in general, read this.
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Wyenth More than 1 year ago
Dragon Age: The Calling is a good book for people who want to know more about the mythos of the Dragon Age games. The Calling takes place before DA: Origins so if you've played DA:Origins (and read all the codex entries) this will continue filling in the gaps about Thedas characters referenced in the game. It's most useful, however, as an explanation of the events in DA: Awakening. Having finished the book, I now will go back and play Awakening with a new understanding of the role of some of the NPCs. It's a compelling read but if you haven't played the game you'll need to read Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne first to understand who the characters are and what their actions mean to the storyline.
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