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Witness death at the hands of a new God!
~ Corypheus
It is your fault, "Herald". You interrupted a ritual years in the planning, and instead of dying, you stole its purpose. I don't know how you survived, but what marks you as "touched" what you use to flail at rifts, I crafted to assault the very heavens. Beg that I succeed, for I have seen the Throne of the Gods, and it was empty!
~ Corypheus to the Inquisitor

Corypheus (also known as The Elder One and The Conductor) is the main antagonist of the DLC Dragon Age 2: Legacy and the game, Dragon Age: Inquisition. He is a powerful darkspawn entity served by the Venatori, who regard their master as the living god. He is extremely relentless, manipulative, traitorous, ambitious, and beyond arrogant as he believes he operates on a level no other being can comprehend. He is voiced by David Sterne.

History

Corypheus is a former Tevinter magister and priest of the Old God Dumat, alive during the height of the Tevinter Imperium. Along with six other Old God priests, Corypheus was influenced by the Old Gods to try and break into the Golden City. When they did so, they were cast out and tainted, becoming darkspawn. Although the Chantry claims that their breach of the Golden City is what turned it into the Black City and unleashed the Blight, Corypheus would later claim it was already blackened and empty when the magisters entered it.

Some time after the First Blight, the Grey Warden Sashamiri imprisoned Corypheus in a tower stemming from the Deep Roads in the middle of the Vimmark Mountains. Interrogation proved futile, as any Warden in his vicinity became mysteriously drawn to his influence. When removed from the area, they would have forgotten anything prior, and would be left dazed. Interestingly, it appears that Corypheus emits a type of Calling to anyone bearing the Taint, similar to the Old Gods, which draws darkspawn and Warden alike to his prison. In the early years of the Dragon Age, a Warden-Commander of the prison named Larius tasked Malcolm Hawke with restoring the seals on Corypheus' prison using blood magic, as the Wardens needed untainted blood from a mage, having been doing so since before the founding of the Chantry.

Dragon Age II

In the Legacy DLC, Hawke is lured to Corypheus' Warden prison by the Grey Warden Janeka, who reveals she wants to utilize Corypheus as a weapon to combat the Blight and needs Hawke's blood to unlock the seals holding him. Larius has remained in the prison and doesn't trust Corypheus can be controlled, asking Hawke to unlock the seals instead to kill him before he escapes by himself. Corypheus is released by Hawke and speaks briefly to them, confused and recalling his breach of the Golden City. After this, he attacks Hawke and their companions.

As Hawke delivers Corypheus the final blow, it is strongly suggested Corypheus possesses Janeka/Larius to escape the prison, who after Corypheus' apparent death ominously thanks Hawke for their assistance in a very different tone of voice from before and leaves. This ability to jump bodies is similar to how the Archdemons can possess bodies of the nearest Darkspawn should a non-Warden strike a fatal blow to them. Additionally, Cassandra will question Varric's story as she says the Wardens she met at the ruins of the prison told her nothing of Janeka/Larius, which suggests the surviving Warden never returned to the Order. When asked if there is anything else to his tale, Varric replies that there is, but that it hasn't happened yet.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

In spite of his apparent death at the hands of Hawke, Corypheus is eventually revealed to have survived and created a Tevinter supremacist cult called the Venatori, an army of Red Templars and brainwashed Grey Wardens to help him with his plans for global domination. No longer hearing the call of Dumat, who was killed in the First Blight, Corypheus seeks to again enter the Fade, and by extension the Golden City, and become a god himself. As part of his own plan, Solas allows the Venatori to locate his orb which Corypheus attempts to use to break into the Fade. During the ritual to do this, the future Inquisitor interrupts and grabs the orb, bestowing upon them the Anchor and causing the Breach in the Veil. Corypheus survives the explosion with the help of his red lyrium dragon, which enables him to body jump.

Later on, Corypheus tries and fails to use the orb to take the Anchor from the Inquisitor. As a backup plan, he goes to the Temple of Mythal to take the power of the Well of Sorrows, believing it will help him find an alternative way into the Fade. The Inquisitor thwarts him and he responds by reopening the recently closed Breach. The Inquisitor confronts him and they battle. If the Inquisitor is an elf and has their Dalish tattoos removed, he mentions that in his time, people in Tevinter used to refer to elves as "rattus". He also mentions the same word when he threatens to wear Sera's ears as a trophy and if he sees Solas alongside the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor kills his dragon and with the help of the Anchor and the orb, manages to defeat Corypheus and finally kill him.

Servants

Venatori

Red Templars

Others

Companions

The Inquisitor's Companions will hold a grudge against Corypheus for various reasons.

Warriors

  • Blackwall holds a grudge against Corypheus due to his ability to brainwash and influence the minds of Grey Wardens. As a member of the Wardens, he can tell them that what their masters are doing is wrong, and can successfully convince them to turn against the demons.

Rogues

  • Varric holds a grudge against Corypheus because a few years before the events of Inquisition, he and his friend Hawke tracked down a Carta clan that went rogue. They followed them to a ruin in the mountains, which of course, turned out to be a trap. The ruin was a prison the Grey Wardens were using to hold him because that was the only thing they could do. Hawke and Varric discovered that Corypheus could somehow influence the Wardens as the Wardens couldn't attack him, and discovered a magical barrier that prevented them from going back. They both successfully killed him, but realized that the only way to escape was to go through him.

Mages

  • Solas holds a grudge against Corypheus because he believes that Corypheus was given powerful ancient magic that he should never have known, and believes that no Tevinter magic would be able to unlock such power. He attempted to close the Breach multiple times, but every attempt failed as he discovered that no normal magic would affect them in any way.
  • Dorian holds a grudge against Corypheus because the Tevinter Imperium is his homeland, and doesn't like Corypheus' plans to conquer Thedas for Tevinter.