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"For generations, your family, the Couslands, has stewarded the lands of Highever, earning the loyalty of your people with justice and temperance. When your country was occupied by the Orlesian Empire, your father and grandfather served the embattled kings of your land." ―Duncan to Robert Cousland

House Cousland of Highever is one of the noble families of Ferelden, and one of the principal houses sworn to House Theirin. Their seat is Highever, though another unofficial branch exists that is based in Amaranthine. Their sigil is a green laurel wreath on a field of blue. Their official motto is "Conquered By None". However, their unofficial motto, equally well known, is "A Cousland always does his duty." The Teyrn of Highever is a Cousland by tradition.

Dark-haired, tall, and handsome, the Couslands are the blood of Alamarri adventurers who carved out a mighty teyrnir in the northern hills and valleys.

The Couslands reigned as independent Teyrns of Highever until the Unification of Ferelden, when they were defeated by Calenhad the Great. Though Teyrna Elethea Cousland escaped, she was captured the next day by Theirin forces. Her surrender to King Calenhad convinced him to allow the Couslands to remain the liege lords of Highever. The current Teyrn of Highever is Teyrn Fergus Cousland, whose brother Robert was the Warden-Commander of Ferelden and the famed Hero of Ferelden. Members of the family tend to have brown hair and ghost grey eyes.

History

Origins

The outpost of Highever was originally a bannorn held by the Elstan family, who were a secondary branch of the then-freeholder family of Howe. During the Towers Age, Bann Conobar Elstan was murdered by his wife, Flemeth, thus ending the bloodline. Sarim Cousland, captain of Conobar's guard, took the lands and title.

The Couslands declared their independence from Amaranthine, starting a war that lasted thirty years. When the war ended, Highever won its independence and possession of half the land that had once been southwestern Amaranthine.

Highever became a teyrnir during the Black Age. Previously, the Couslands held only the minor title of Bann. During the lycanthrope plague, Bann Haelia Cousland or Mather Cousland according to other sources, gathered the lords together under the Cousland banner to drive the werewolves out of their lands, thus earning the title of Teyrn.

Theirin era

Calenhad Theirin was born in Highever in 5:10 Exalted as a third son of a poor merchant. He left at a young age to become a squire, but returned during the Unification of Ferelden as a Teyrn. The contemporary ruler of Highever was Teyrna Elethea Cousland; she fought the soon-to-be-King Calenhad in an attempt to maintain Highever's independence. When Calenhad's army reached Highever, Teyrna Elethea led the local banns against him, but lost against the future king. After Elethea's men were defeated, Calenhad asked her to swear fealty. She did, thus allowing the Couslands to retain the teyrnir in Calenhad's new kingdom.

In the beginning of the Storm Age, the Couslands conspired with Warden-Commander Sophia Dryden in the Grey Wardens' attempted rebellion. The rebellion was betrayed to King Arland by politicians before it began, and the king's guard ambushed their meeting place, with the rebels barely managing to escape. The Couslands were less fortunate, as King Arland executed Teyrn Barden Cousland and a number of others, and then sent soldiers to Soldier's Peak to stamp out the remainder of the rebellion.

Fereldan Rebellion

During the rebellion against Orlais, the Couslands opposed the Orlesian rule. However, Arl Tarleton Howe of Amaranthine supported the Orlesians, resulting in several bitter battles between Amaranthine and Highever. Eventually the Couslands manage to capture Harper's Ford and hang Tarleton Howe for his treachery.

Unlike his father, Rendon Howe was part of the rebellion, as was his uncle Arl Byron Howe. Rendon and Bryce Cousland fought together at the battle of White River, and were two of the fifty rebels who survived the defeat. Thereafter, Arl Rendon Howe became a great friend of the Couslands.

Fifth Blight

Arl Howe later betrayed the Couslands, using the chaos of the Fifth Blight as his route to power. Teyrn Cousland had called together the forces of Highever and Amaranthine, intending to ride with Howe to support King Cailan against the darkspawn. Upon arriving at Highever, Arl Howe claimed that the Amaranthine forces would be delayed for a few of days. Not one to keep the King waiting, Teyrn Cousland sent the bulk of Highever's forces ahead to Ostagar under the command of his eldest son Fergus Cousland, intending to leave with Howe's Amaranthine men once they arrived.

After Fergus left the castle, Howe's forces took advantage of the Couslands' weakened defenses, making a surprise attack during the night, killing the teyrn, his wife Teyrna Eleanor Cousland, and Fergus' wife Oriana and son Oren, as well as most of the other inhabitants of the castle. Though Fergus was left as the rightful heir to the Teyrnir of Highever, Howe declared himself the new teyrn instead, supported by General Loghain after he became Regent when he left Cailan to die at Ostagar.

Robert Cousland, Bryce and Eleanor's second son and Fergus' younger brother, was at the castle the night it was besieged. With the aid of Duncan, the Commander of the Grey in Ferelden, Robert escaped the onslaught in Highever at the cost of leaving his parents behind, who were promptly murdered by Howe's retainers. When he arrived in Ostagar he had attempted to reach Fergus, but the two brothers would not see each other again until the end of the Battle of Denerim.

When the Blight ended, Arl Howe was killed by Robert and his family was stripped of their lands and titles by the newly crowned King Alistair. Fergus became the new Teyrn of Highever while Robert led the Grey Wardens in Ferelden, succeeding Duncan. Robert was also given the lands of Amaranthine which had officially become property of the Grey Wardens.

Recent events

Highever recovered from Rendon Howe's tyrannical reign, and Fergus proved a capable leader. Ten years later, Robert had gone missing, with his lover Leliana remarking that he had gone on a quest to find a way to remove the taint from the Wardens, and thus to prevent the Calling.

After Robert had left Ferelden, Amaranthine was given to Fergus. It is said that he had planned on giving Arl Howe's former lands to his son - Nathaniel Howe - who proved himself a friend to the Couslands, but he too had vanished with Robert to lands unknown.

Known members of the Dragon Age

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