The Old Gods
In the days of the Tevinter Imperium, the Old Gods were a pantheon of deities widely revered by most citizens, with temples and priesthoods dedicated to their veneration. The first magister, Archon Thalsian, accredited his discovery of blood magic to the Old God Dumat, and his power led to the foundation of the Tevinter Imperium. Dragon imagery and iconography was equated with Imperial power all throughout the Imperium.
What the Old Gods actually are is very mysterious. The Chantry teaches that the Old Gods were false deities. They turned mortals from worship of the Maker, recognized as the “First Sin”. As a result, the Maker imprisoned them underground. Their minds continued to roam the Fade like any other dreaming individuals’ mind would, and they were able to contact the Magisters and teach them to use magic in hope that the magisters might free them. It was for this reason that the magisters entered the Golden City in a failed attempt to usurp the Maker’s throne, inadvertently causing the First Blight.
The event of the First Blight led to a crisis of faith across the Imperium, shaken at the devastation their own god relentlessly championed. Several temples were razed by betrayed believers, slaughtering priests to the Old Gods as retribution for their unheeded prayers. Today, cults devoted to the Old Gods are rumored to still exist in some places, but the religion has since been for the most part replaced with the monotheistic worship of the Maker.
The Magisters worshipped seven Old Gods. The first—and the leader of the others—was called Dumat, the Dragon of Silence. According to scholars, Dumat was the first Old God to transform into an archdemon and consequently slain during the First Blight.
Dumat, the Dragon of Silence – Archdemon of the First Blight
Dumat was the most powerful of the Old Gods, known as the Dragon of Silence for the vows of silence undertaken by his acolytes. Chantry lore claims it was he who taught the first magister, Archon Thalsian, the powers of blood magic. It was Dumat’s followers who are believed to have entered the Golden City, thereby corrupting it with their presence.
Modern scholars question whether the Old Gods were truly gods, or whether they were merely a more advanced species of high dragon, possibly capable of magic or speech, that were worshipped by the ancient Tevinters. Whatever the truth of his history, Dumat was also the first of the imprisoned Old Gods to have been discovered by the darkspawn and thus transformed into the first Archdemon, the monstrous force behind the First Blight.
—From Tales of the Destruction of Thedas, by Brother Genitivi, Chantry scholar