The Wrath of Heaven
Whether he was willing or not, in 9:41 Dragon, Maxwell was sent to the Temple of Sacred Ashes as a representative of his family’s interests, along with other distant relatives in the Chantry to aid in the proceedings of a peace summit between leaders of the Chantry and the mage rebellion. However, it didn’t go well as an explosion caused a huge Veil tear across Thedas. He was the only survivor of a tear, referred to as "the Breach", emerging unscathed after the explosion whilst others died. As he regained consciousness, Maxwell finds himself in the Fade with no memory of how he got there except remembering being chased by encroaching fearling demons and a female figure of golden light helping him to escape. After emerging from the Breach, Maxwell passes out once again and is captured by Chantry forces.Hours later, he awakens in the Haven Chantry dungeons, finding himself in chains and with a strange glowing green mark on his left palm. As he is then interrogated by Cassandra Pentaghast and Leliana, the Right and Left Hands of Divine Justinia V respectively. They accuse Maxwell of causing the Breach, given that the mark has the same magic as it, and inform him that the explosion had killed every other Conclave attendee, including the Divine herself, and ripped a massive tear in the Veil high above the Temple of Sacred Ashes. While the interrogators suspect him of being involved, they recognize his mark spreads each time the Breach expands – thus slowly killing him. Yet it also has the power to seal the Fade rifts before it grows even larger.
Due to his unique ability, Cassandra brings Maxwell to attempt to close the Breach, fighting off demons as they make their way to the valley. En route, they encounter Varric Tethras, a former companion of the Champion of Kirkwall, and Solas, an elven apostate who prevented Maxwell’s mark from killing him while he was unconscious earlier. With Solas’ guidance, Maxwell uses the mark to close a nearby Fade rift, then continues the march towards the temple and the Breach.At the site of the ruined temple, the group finds red lyrium scattered around it and witness images and echoes of Divine Justinia being held captive just before calling to Maxwell for help—but he has no memory of this event. Solas explains that the massive rift at the center of the ruins was the first one to open and is connected directly to the Breach, therefore sealing it should prevent the Breach from growing. Since the rift had closed behind him as he escaped the Fade, however, he had to use the power of the mark to seal it properly and demons begin pouring out of it immediately. After they are defeated, Maxwell uses the mark to stop the Breach from growing but not sealing it before passing out from exhaustion afterwards.
The Threat RemainsThree days after the battle at the temple, Maxwell awakens in Haven to discover that the people who witnessed his actions in stabilizing the Breach, as well as hearing of his account of a mysterious feminine entity who saved him from the Fade to be Andraste herself, proclaimed Maxwell as the "Herald of Andraste". Many view him as a symbol of hope while others blame him for believing that he caused the Breach in the first place. Acting on the late Divine’s final orders, Cassandra announces the re-establishment of the Inquisition with the purpose of restoring order to southern Thedas in the wake of recent catastrophes. Maxwell is then immediately conscripted into the new organization and aids their efforts to strengthening the Inquisition’s influence, sealing the tears, and putting an end to the chaos. During this time Maxwell is introduced to Cullen Rutherford, former acting Knight-Commander of Kirkwall’s Templar Order who now leads the Inquisition’s military, and Lady Josephine Montilyet, an old friend of the Inquisition’s spymaster Leliana whom she invited to coordinate the organization’s diplomatic efforts.
As the Inquisition is not officially recognized by the Chantry, Leliana suggests that Maxwell approach Revered Mother Giselle, one of the more forward-thinking clerics who had been spotted organizing relief efforts for the refugees of the Mage-Templar War in the Fereldan Hinterlands near Redcliffe. At Mother Giselle’s suggestion, Maxwell travels to Val Royeaux next, but the Inquisition is denounced by both the Chantry and the Seekers of Truth. Lord Seeker Lucius Corin then abruptly withdraws all of the Templar Order’s forces from the capital while Maxwell is approached by the rebel Grand Enchanter Fiona, who invites him to the rebel bastion in Redcliffe. During this time Maxwell was able to recruit Sera, one of the Friends of Red Jenny, and Vivienne, former First Enchanter of the Montsimmard Circle of Magi and current leader of the Loyalist mages, into the Inquisition’s ranks.
Upon returning to Haven, Maxwell is informed that the Breach still poses a danger until it is completely sealed and to accomplish this the Inquisition has to take a side in the Mage-Templar War as they need the support of either Fiona’s rebel Circle mages or Lord Lucius’ rogue Templar Order for the proper sealing ritual. He is also given new leads to recruit Gordon Blackwall, a reclusive old Grey Warden, and the Qunari mercenary Iron Bull and his Bull’s Chargers mercenaries to bolster the Inquisition’s forces.
Ending the Mage-Templar War
At Fiona’s invitation, Maxwell and his companions travel to the village of Redcliffe. After closing a Fade rift that can seemingly warp time around itself just outside its gates, they discover that no one in the village has been expecting them and that the rebel Circle mages have, in fact, allied themselves with Gereon Alexius, a Tevinter magister who has recently usurped Redcliffe Castle from Arl Teagan Guerrin. As Maxwell begins to negotiate with Alexius, the magister’s sick son Felix interrupts them to surreptitiously pass the Herald a note asking for a meeting in Redcliffe’s chantry. There, Maxwell finds another Tevinter mage named Dorian Pavus, who explains that Alexius had found a way to manipulate time itself and used it to secure an alliance with Fiona before she ever went to Val Royeaux. Felix also reveals that his father has joined the Venatori, a cult of Tevinter supremacists that serves a mysterious deity called the "Elder One", and asks for the Inquisition’s help in stopping Alexius.
Deciding to remove Alexius from power and seek the aid of the rebel mages, Leliana devises a plan to infiltrate Redcliffe Castle: while Maxwell and Dorian distract Alexius and the Venatori, she leads her agents inside via an old secret tunnel used by Aedan Cousland, the Hero of Ferelden, during the Fifth Blight. When confronted, Alexius claims that everything he did was to have the Elder One cure Felix of the blight sickness he had contracted in a darkspawn attack several years earlier. He then attempts to erase Maxwell from the timeline, but Dorian intervenes, and he and the Herald instead find themselves transported one year into the future where, in their absence, the Elder One has crushed the Inquisition, assassinated Empress Celene and conquered southern Thedas with an army of demons while the Breach has grown to swallow the entire world. Making their way through Redcliffe’s dungeons, Maxwell and Dorian find and free Fiona, Leliana and the Herald’s companions who have been imprisoned and corrupted by red lyrium. They learn that the Elder One tasked Alexius with undoing the Herald’s interference at the Conclave, but upon discovering that time-altering magic only became possible because of the Breach, Alexius barricaded himself inside Redclife Castle, fearing the Elder One’ retribution for his failure. Upon reaching the throne room, they discover that Felix has turned into a ghoul and Leliana slits his throat, prompting Alexius to attack in rage. After he is defeated, Dorian begins preparing a ritual for him and Maxwell to return to the past, but with Venatori forces and demons at the door, their companions and Leliana sacrifice themselves to buy them time.
Back in the present, Maxwell makes Alexius realize the futility of his actions and the magister surrenders to the Inquisition. King Alistair Theirin and Queen Anora soon arrive at Redcliffe Castle and banishes Fiona and her followers from the realm. Maxwell then offers Fiona and the now-homeless mages a chance to redeem themselves and a place among the Inquisition’s ranks as free allies, an offer Fiona gratefully accepted. Either way, the Inquisition secures the mages’ help in sealing the Breach.
Rise to power
With the help of the rebel Circle mages secured, the Inquisition moves quickly and makes the necessary preparations for the ritual. At the temple, Maxwell is able to successfully seal the Breach without a hitch. However, as the Inquisition and their new allies celebrate, the victory is short-lived as Haven comes under attack by a corrupted dragon and massive army led by the Elder One, now revealed as Corypheus, who aims to capture Maxwell and reclaim his mark. At the Haven gates, Cole appears and informs the Inquisition that the rogue Templars have been corrupted into the "Red Templars", led by former Knight-Templar Raleigh Samson.
While the Inquisition evacuates Haven villagers through a secret mountain passage, Maxwell leads a desperate defense of the village, rescuing many of its residents and killing the Red Templar commander Knight-Captain Denam. As Haven is about to be overwhelmed, Maxwell uses a trebuchet to bury the entire village along with a bulk of Corypheus’ army under an avalanche. Corypheus himself attempts to stop him and to reclaim his mark with the Orb of Destruction, but the Anchor is now bound to Maxwell permanently, and he escapes, firing the trebuchet in the last moment. Corypheus is whisked away by his dragon, while Maxwell falls into an underground cavern. Regaining consciousness, he stumbles through the freezing mountains until he finds the Haven refugees’ trail and eventually catches up with them.
With morale of the Haven survivors dangerously low, Solas encourages Maxwell to take the reins of the Inquisition and reveals to them the location of Skyhold, an ancient abandoned mountain fortress that can serve as their new base of operations. After a long trek through the mountains, the Inquisition claims Skyhold where Cassandra and Leliana proclaim Maxwell its supreme leader—the Inquisitor—as the entire organization celebrates them.
Aiding the Champion of Kirkwall
As the Inquisition settles in at Skyhold, Maxwell, now serving in his capacity as the newly-appointed Inquisitor, is approached by Josephine and Varric, who have new leads on Corypheus’ activities. Josephine has followed up on the Inquisitor’s discovery of an assassination plot against Empress Celene Valmont I of Orlais and suspects that the attempt on her life will be made at the Winter Palace in Halamshiral, where the empress is currently negotiating with Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons, her cousin and opponent in the ongoing civil war. As Orlais is the only military power in southern Thedas that can match the army of demons that Corypheus plans to summon, the Inquisition has an express interest in ending the civil war and securing the support of its victor.
Varric, meanwhile, introduces the Inquisitor to his old friend Garrett Hawke, the wayward Champion of Kirkwall, who arrives at Skyhold as soon as Varric informs him of Corypheus’ involvement. Hawke informs Maxwell that he had asked his Grey Warden ally Jean-Marc Stroud to investigate the nature of red lyrium, but became concerned about corruption in the ranks of the Order and went into hiding somewhere near Crestwood. Hawke asks for the Inquisition to locate him.
Maxwell travels to Crestwood and seeks out Hawke’s Grey Warden ally, who informs him of Corypheus’ immortality, as well as of the reason behind the sudden disappearance of all Grey Wardens from Orlais and Ferelden: having recently begun hearing the Calling all at once, the Wardens are enacting a desperate plan to complete their Order’s ultimate goal of preventing future Blights before the taint wipes them out. Said plan involves sacrificing their own fellow Wardens and then using blood magic to summon an army of demons, which they would ostensibly use to march into the Deep Roads and kill the two remaining Old Gods before the darkspawn can corrupt them into Archdemons. When Stroud objected to this plan, Warden-Commander Clarel de Chanson branded him a traitor to be killed on sight.
Following the Wardens’ trail, Maxwell meets up with Hawke and Stroud at an ancient Tevinter ritual tower in the Western Approach, where the Wardens carry out demon-binding rituals by sacrificing their own warriors under the supervision of the Tevinter magister Livius Erimond, a member of the Venatori and a devoted acolyte of Corypheus, who created the fake "Calling" in the first place and had the Nightmare demon amplify it to manipulate the Wardens. What Erimond didn’t tell the Grey Wardens is that the rituals that bind demons to the Warden mages also binds the mages themselves to Corypheus’ will, giving him a massive army of mages and demons to conquer Thedas with. After clashing with Maxwell and Hawke, Erimond and the Wardens retreat to Adamant Fortress which has since been re-occupied by the Orlesian Grey Wardens.
Siege of Adamant Fortress
Having no other options but to lay siege to the fortress head-on, Maxwell spearheads the assault and confronts Warden-Commander Clarel just as she is about to summon the Nightmare demon itself. Revealing Corypheus and Erimond’s deception and appealing to the Grey Wardens’ honor, the Inquisitor manages to sway Clarel, but Erimond summons Corypheus’ dragon to kill her and Maxwell. Enraged, Clarel battles Erimond and orders the Wardens to assist the Inquisition’s forces but is mortally wounded by the dragon, and her last spell goes awry, shattering the walkway under the Inquisitor’s party. Before they plummet to their deaths, Maxwell opens a rift in the air and drops himself, Hawke, Stroud and his companions into the Fade itself.
Finding themselves physically in the Fade, Maxwell and his companions receive help from what appears to be a spirit of the late Divine Justinia V, who reveals that the Nightmare demon stole the Inquisitor’s memories of the Conclave the last time they were in the Fade and that killing fearlings here would restore them. Him and his companions gradually piece together what had really occurred that day, despite the Nightmare’s attempts to manipulate their fears, and eventually locate a rift that would take them back to the waking world. As he recovers these memories, Maxwell remembers how the mortal Divine was bound by Grey Wardens and sacrificed to power an orb. He interrupted their ritual and when Corypheus lost control of the orb, he picked it up and gave him the Anchor on his left hand. The entity is then revealed to be the same spirit that was believed to be Andraste that helped led the Inquisitor to the Breach and that Divine Justinia had stayed behind so that Maxwell could escape as they were chased by demons. When the Nightmare blocks their way, Justinia’s "spirit" leaves a final message for Leliana and sacrifices itself to temporarily incapacitate it, but the party still has to fight its weaker aspect. While they fight, the Nightmare recovers and Maxwell is forced to leave Stroud behind to fight the Nightmare and buy the rest time to escape.
Returning to Adamant Fortress, the Inquisitor closes the Fade rift and slays the remaining demons. With Corypheus’ plans of a demonic army foiled, Maxwell demands the southern Grey Wardens fight alongside the Inquisition to atone for their mistakes and declares an alliance with them, working alongside them to rebuild their ranks. Erimond is taken prisoner after the battle and handed over to the Inquisition to face justice for his crimes. Hawke then leaves for Weisshaupt to relay what occurred to the First Warden, while Maxwell returns to Skyhold to pass the Divine’s last words to her Left Hand.
Grand Masquerade Ball
Unable to get a warning through to Empress Celene about Corpheus’ assassination plot, Maxwell accepts Grand Duke Gaspard’s invitation to the Winter Palace in Halamshiral, where his sister Grand Duchess Florianne is throwing a masquerade ball to facilitate the peace talks between Celene, Gaspard, and the elven ambassador Briala. Arriving at the Winter Palace with a retinue of Inquisition advisors and agents, Maxwell begins searching for evidence of a conspiracy against the empress in the midst of the Grand Game of Orlesian courtly intrigue. Gaspard suggests investigating Briala, who was once Celene’s spymaster and estranged secret lover but has turned her back on her and formed her own underground army of city elves. Leliana, meanwhile, points the Inquisitor towards Celene’s newest occult advisor, who is none other than Morrigan, daughter of the Witch of the Wilds, Flemeth, and a former companion of Aedan Cousland (just like Leliana). Exploring the palace, Maxwell finds evidence that both Briala’s agents and the Venatori have infiltrated the palace, which is confirmed when Morrigan reveals that the latter have attempted to sneak into her quarters.
When the assassin is revealed to be none other than Florianne herself, Maxwell publicly unravels her plan in front of the entire Imperial court; thus Empress Celene survived the attempt on her life and ordered her traitorous cousin arrested. In a private talk with the key power players of Orlais, Maxwell shows evidence of Gaspard’s plan to ambush the palace. In light of overwhelming evidence, Celene declares Gaspard an enemy of the Orlesian Empire and has him executed for treason. Before departing, the Inquisitor reveals to Celene that Briala helped him bring the evidence to light for her sake. Surprised and deeply touched, Celene and Briala reconcile their romantic relationship and in the resolution of the coup d’état, Celene grants her as the title Marquise of the Dales. Either way, the War of the Lions officially ends and Celene pledges her military support to the Inquisition and appoints Morrigan as her liaison in Skyhold.
Battle at the Arbor Wilds
With his plans to conquer the south through military might or political deceit thwarted in early 9:42, Corypheus abandons his strongholds and relocates his followers deep the Arbor Wilds, ransacking ancient elven ruins as they go. Taking the Inquisitor to the Crossroads through the eluvian she found, repaired and later brought to Skyhold, Morrigan explains to Maxwell that she believes Corypheus to be searching for an intact eluvian of his own as a way to reach the Crossroads, where he can tear down the barriers separating it from the Fade.
Calling upon their allies, the Inquisition mounts an assault on the Arbor Wilds, facing fierce resistance from Corypheus’ remaining forces, as well as from bands of strange elves hostile to both sides. In the midst of the battle, Maxwell and Morrigan lead a small force through the enemy lines to find the long-abandoned Temple of Mythal where the eluvian is located. At its gates, they learn that Corypheus is actually seeking an artifact named the "Well of Sorrows" and witness him be seemingly destroyed by the temple’s magical defenses, only to be instantly resurrected by transferring his essence to a Grey Warden corpse. The party then follows Corypheus’ general Samson into the temple, shutting its gates before he can follow in person.
Exploring the ancient temple, the Inquisitor’s party encounters Abelas, leader of the Sentinels, elven defenders of the Temple of Mythal from before the fall of Elvhenan, who offers an alliance against Corypheus to protect the Well of Sorrows—a proposal Maxwell accepts, respecting the temple’s traditions. His companions soon pursue Samson and his Red Templars to the Well of Sorrows itself and defeats him in combat. When Morrigan and Maxwell press Abelas to let them search the Well’s knowledge for a way to defeat Corypheus, the elf warns them that whoever drinks from it will be forever bound to the will of Mythal, but Morrigan points out that they will also have complete control over the temple’s eluvian, denying it to Corypheus. Morrigan felt it was best for her to drink from the Well, being well-prepared and studied in old magics. As soon as she does, Corypheus catches up with them but the party flees through the eluvian back to Skyhold. Denied access to the Crossroads, Corypheus and his dragon leave the Arbor Wilds, abandoning his followers to their fate.
Battle at the Valley of Sacred Ashes
With his plans thwarted and his followers defeated by the Inquisition, Corypheus plays his final, desperate gamble. Returning to the ruined Temple of Sacred Ashes, Corypheus uses the Orb of Destruction to reopen the Breach, challenging Maxwell to one final battle before either stepping through into the Fade victorious or destroying Thedas if he cannot rule it. With the bulk of the Inquisition’s army still returning from the Arbor Wilds, Maxwell leads a small party to confront his nemesis. When he arrives, Corypheus uses magic to raise the ruins of the temple into the air, creating a simulacrum of the Black City and cutting off Maxwell’s reinforcements or from escape. Corypheus then sends his red lyrium dragon after him, but it is intercepted by the Inquisition’s own (with Morrigan shapeshifting into a high dragon), and the two beasts battle in the air while Maxwell fights Corypheus on the ground.
The red lyrium dragon ultimately prevails against Morrigan but sustains heavy injuries, allowing the Inquisitor to finish it off. With the dragon’s death, Corypheus’ immortality is lost and in the ensuing battle, he loses control over the Orb of Destruction. Using the Anchor’s power, Maxwell rips it from Corypheus’ hands and uses it to seal the Breach permanently. He then opens a Fade rift inside Corypheus, destroying his physical body and banishing his essence to the Fade.
In the aftermath of the battle, Solas finds the Orb irreparably damaged and, disappointed at his failure to save it, bids farewell to Maxwell, leaving without further explanation. The Inquisition returns to Skyhold to celebrate their victory and to plan their next course of action.
After the destruction caused by the Breach and the War against the Elder One, the nations and organizations are left with much to rebuild. The Chantry is finally free to turn towards the election of a new Divine: a month after the defeat of Corypheus, Maxwell attends Leliana’s coronation as she ascends to the Sunburst Throne as Divine Victoria. The measures she enacts are controversial from the start and several sects arise within the Chantry to remove her from her position, but is held back by the Inquisition’s agents.
Morrigan and her son Kieran leaves Skyhold, never to return. Maxwell and the Inquisition received renown throughout southern Thedas. However, Morrigan predicts that the Inquisitor’s foes hide in the shadows, waiting to strike, but shall face the full might of the Inquisition when the day comes. His political influence and military power, ever growing, soon causes concern to many across Thedas.
After the Inquisition establishes a presence in the Frostback Basin, the Inquisition is spurred by Professor Bram Kenric’s archaeological findings to discover the fate of Inquisitor Ameridan – Maxwell’s predecessor. He aligns himself with the Avvar tribe of Stone-Bear Hold and discover that the hostile Jaws of Hakkon seek to unleash their imprisoned god, Hakkon Wintersbreath, on all of Thedas out of revenge.
The Inquisition located Ameridan and discovered that he has been keeping the dragon vessel of Hakkon confined with time magic, and after his bindings fail, passes on the duty to finish what he started to the Inquisitor. He foils the Hakkonite’s plans and slays the dragon vessel of Hakkon. By killing a possessed dragon and driving off the Jaws of Hakkon, Maxwell earns a respected legend-mark from Thane Svarah Sun-Hair.
Upon returning to Skyhold, Maxwell publicly presented new information about Inquisitor Ameridan and rewrote history in the progress, causing a scandal amongst Orlesian nobility by revealing that Ameridan was an elven mage and not a human noble as claimed by the Chantry. The d’Ameride family of Orlais, who claimed descent from Ameridan for centuries, were forced to make reparations to the Dalish clan Ghilain who made the same claim.
A string of violent earthquakes suddenly grips the Storm Coast region. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been brought to the Inquisitor’s attention, but the quakes were not subsiding and threatened the Inquisition’s vital lyrium trade with the dwarves of Orzammar, collapsing mining tunnels and causing casualties. Maxwell is soon asked to meet with a Shaper on the scene named Valta. They descend into the Deep Roads to find the cause of the worsening earthquakes with Valta and Lieutenant Renn.
Along the way the battle the monstrous darkspawn and the dwarven Sha-Brytol guardians. Unfortunately, Renn was a casualty of an ambush by the Sha-Brytol. During their adventure, they discover that the source of the earthquakes is a recently stirred titan. Valta uncovers information about the ancient titans from old lyrium etchings and piece together its relationship with lyrium and the Sha-Brytol. Eventually they reach a verdant cavern that is surmised to be the inside of the titan itself. At the heart of the cavern is a massive stone of raw lyrium which strikes Valta with lyrium energy and knocks her unconscious. Rocks and stone armor the raw lyrium and form a rock-lyrium guardian that Maxwell defeats.
Following the guardian’s defeat, Valta regains consciousness but is pained by a loud song until she releases a wave of telekinetic force. Valta reveals that the raw lyrium’s energy blast established a connection between her and the titan. She reveals the titan was disturbed by the Breach but seems to have calmed now that is has established a connection with one of its "children". Valta has come to believe that everything that has transpired went according to the titan’s plan. Though she admits that she is now different, she assures the Inquisitor that she is still the same shaperate she once was and wishes to stay in the verdant cavern to commune with the titan. She hopes in time, its song will reveal more knowledge about the dwarves and their mysterious history. Maxwell respects Valta’s decision to stay with the titan and tells her to be careful as they part ways, leaving with more questions than answers.
The Exalted Council
In 9:44 Dragon, representatives from Ferelden, Orlais, and the Chantry formed the Exalted Council to negotiate with the Inquisition about checking its influence. Ferelden, represented by Arl Teagan Guerrin, believes that with its original mandate fulfilled, the Inquisition should disband. Orlais, represented by Duke Cyril de Montfort, would rather see it under its control. Tevinter sends a token ambassador, the newly-appointed magister Dorian Pavus. To compound Maxwell’s problems, the Anchor’s magic has become increasingly unstable again and threatens his life.
The Exalted Council is derailed almost immediately when in the midst of the talks, Maxwell is notified by an elven Inquisition guard to meet privately with Leliana, now Divine Victoria, who reveals the discovered dead body of a fully armored Qunari warrior from the Antaam in the palace, and the Inquisitor follows the blood trail to a fully active eluvian leading to the Crossroads. The eluvian from which the dead Qunari came seems inactive, but another one takes the Inquisitor to old elven ruins populated by hostile spirits who serve Fen’Harel. Using the Anchor to interact with the magic of the ruins, it reveals a story of Fen’Harel leading a slave rebellion against the Evanuris, ancient elven god-kings. Maxwell finds more Qunari in a hidden armory at the edge of the ruins, and their papers reveal plans to infiltrate the Winter Palace. His investigation of the Qunari threat soon finds him in the Deep Roads until he finds a former templar converted to the Qun as a Viddathari called Ser Jerran, who reveals that agents of Fen’Harel have been hindering the Qunari and also says the Qunari believe the Inquisition are part of Fen’Harel’s agents. Jerran seems wary of his superior the Viddasala, who has been stockpiling both troops and lyrium as part of a plan called "Dragon’s Breath", believing she intends to conquer southern Thedas and supplying her Saarebas with lyrium as well as making use of the eluvians for that purpose. Acting on this information, Maxwell destroys the Viddasala’s lyrium mining operations with Qunari blackpowder (gaatlok) and reports back to his war council to discuss the turn of events.
Uncovering a Qunari conspiracy
Upon returning to the Winter Palace, Maxwell is notified that one of the Inquisition’s soldiers has assaulted an Orlesian palace servant accused of transporting suspicious barrels inside. The Inquisition begins to exert its influence to control the situation – much to the displeasure of the Exalted Council. Leliana reveals that the detained elven servant was transporting gaatlok barrels, ostensibly to assassinate every noble in the Exalted Council and thus depriving southern Thedas of effective leadership when the Qunari invades. Leaving his fiancée Josephine to deal with the political fallout, Maxwell leaves again to pursue the Viddasala while Leliana’s agents remove the gaatlok barrels planted across Thedas.
When Maxwell confronts the Viddasala at the Vir Dirthara, she accuses the Inquisitor of wielding dangerous magic and must be ended for the greater good. She also reveals that "Dragon’s Breath" was a plot to assassinate most of the southern leaders and indoctrinate those left after being conquered but claims that agents of Fen’Harel disrupted those plans and they must now resort to a conquering by war before retreating to the Darvaarad. At the Winter Palace, Maxwell learns that barrels of gaatlok were found in seats of power all over southern Thedas, and that it appears the Inquisition is implicated as the Qunari have been using spies in the Inquisition to transport the gaatlok barrels, thus revealing that the Inquisition’s ranks are corrupted by elven Qunari spies and saboteurs and the Inquisition was partly responsible. As the Anchor gets increasingly unstable and threatens to kill him, Maxwell gives his final orders in case he does not return and pursues the Viddasala through the eluvians. Upon confronting her in the Darvaarad, Maxwell finds out from the Viddasala that Solas is the agent of Fen’Harel who has been opposing her, and that his meddling via his spies in the Inquisition is what disrupted the Qunari’s plans to convert southern Thedas.
Reuniting with an old friend
The Inquisitor and his companions chase the Viddasala through multiple eluvians, but although she reaches Solas before they can catch up, she and her followers are defeated and turned to stone with a blink of an eye. Solas then uses his magic to stabilize Maxwell’s Anchor so they can have some time to talk, where he reveals that he has amassed a network of spies and agents and many of his spies are also planted in the Inquisition which is how he uncovered the Qunari plot to invade southern Thedas. He disrupted the plot by having his agents discreetly help the Inquisitor uncover the Qunari invasion. The Qunari invaders, the Dragon's Breath, have pursued him as an agent of Fen'Harel but Solas proved elusive as he has complete control of the eluvians and has grown so much more powerful that he can petrify foes with a thought. He reveals he is no agent but is in fact the elven god Fen’Harel himself. Solas then reveals that he plans to destroy the Veil, his own creation, and restore the world of the ancient elves regardless of the cost to Thedas, and he cannot be swayed. Before the time Solas has brought to converse runs out, the Anchor becomes unendurable and Maxwell doubles over in pain. He declares that Solas is making a tragic mistake and promises to show him the error of his ways by showing that the world that exists now is worth saving. Regardless, Solas severs the Inquisitor’s left forearm to prevent the Anchor from killing him and instructs him to enjoy what time he has left before departing once more.
Deciding the Inquisition's fate
Hours later, the crippled Maxwell–now missing his left arm–returns to the Exalted Council and announces the fate of the Inquisition: to serve under Divine Victoria as her personal honor guard and peacekeeping force, answering to no one’s authority but hers.
Over the next several months, Maxwell continues to serve as Inquisitor and carefully gave over many of the Inquisition’s duties it had held. As the Divine’s personal honor guard and peacekeeping force, the Inquisition shrank to a more manageable size. Many who had served went home, though the remaining force was still enough to give pause to any who might threaten the Divine’s plans.
Maxwell soon accompanied Josephine to Antiva, where he found himself warmly received by her family and House Montilyet soon became a second home… a place where Maxwell could, at last, find peace for a while, with Josephine happily by his side. They eventually married in Antiva City, with their friends and respective families in attendance.
Recruiting new agents
Maxwell soon realizes that his fight against Solas is far from over and meets with his war council to discuss the Dread Wolf’s plans, where he intends to recruit new agents who Solas is unaware of, setting his sights on the Tevinter Imperium in particular.