Arlessa Sophia Dryden was the young Arland’s rival for the throne of Ferelden after the old king left no successor in 7:5 Storm. Dryden was a strong and charismatic leader with much support from the Bannorn. When Arland finally won the crown, Dryden refused to relent. She pushed her claim, was imprisoned and accused of treason. Her sympathizers continued to support her, however. In order to appease them, Dryden was spared execution and forced to join the Grey Wardens instead.
Sophia survived the Joining and dazzled the Grey Wardens at Soldier’s Peak with her leadership skills and charm. She eventually rose to the rank of Warden-Commander of Ferelden. Before Commander Dryden, the Grey Wardens were seen as a relic of an older time and an unnecessary drain on the nobles’ coffers, Dryden, though, with her political connections, reinvigorated the Wardens and rapidly increased their numbers.
In the meantime, Arland proved himself a devious king, willing to go to brutal lengths to silence his opponents. Arland’s reign of terror grew worse with each passing year, and some of the banns approached Commander Dryden in desperation, begging her to intercede. She agreed, and thus the rebellion was born. Arland learned of the rebellion through his spies and took steps to end it. He publicly suspended all tithing to the Grey Wardens and declared they were no longer welcome in Ferelden. Some of the Wardens, mindful that they were supposed to remain politically neutral, felt disgraced by Dryden’s involvement in Fereldan politics and left her side even as the king’s forces lay siege to Soldier’s Peak. The siege took months and ended with Sophia’s death. King Arland had driven the Grey Wardens from Ferelden, and after the siege of Soldier’s Peak, the base was abandoned. It was not until 200 years later, that King Maric Theirin would allow Grey Wardens back into Ferelden.