The fifth novel set in the Dragon Age
universe, written by Liane Merciel
and published on September 16, 2014. The plot follows Valya, a young elven mage recently recruited into the Grey Wardens
, who researches the less glorious aspects of her order's past—particularly connected to the diary of Isseya, one of the last of the fabled Grey Warden griffon riders who fought in the Fourth Blight.
The novel ties in with Dragon Age: Inquisition, alongside Asunder and The Masked Empire.
Tropes found in the novel include:
- Action Girl:
- Isseya is an incredibly talented mage.
- Valya lacks combat experience, but she turns out to be quite capable when pushed.
- Amadis is a skilled mercenary.
- In the present day, Reimas is a female templar who leads the fight against the shades and demons at the Red Bride's Grave.
- Badass Bookworm: Valya is training to be a Grey Warden (read: a badass by definition) who is tasked with researching the Wardens' archives. She came from a Circle of Magi, where literacy is par for the course.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: Played with. Isseya is a Blood Mage but Blood Magic is proven to be horrifically dangerous and easily abused.
- Big Bad: The Archdemon is the primary antagonist of the Exalted Age segments.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the Exalted Age, Garahel sacrifices himself to kill the Archdemon and end the Fourth Blight. The griffons die out due to a plague created as a side effect of Isseya Joining some of them. Isseya and her griffon Revas set out for her Calling. In the Dragon Age, Valya manages to recover thirteen griffon eggs that Isseya protected from the plague by putting them into stasis, but Sekah dies in the process.
- Blood Magic: Plays a central role.
- Broken Pedestal: Valya briefly starts to think this about Isseya after Valya learns that Isseya was a blood mage, but Valya realizes that Isseya was ultimately a well-meaning person.
- Call-Forward: Isseya recalls meeting a savvy Chevalier named Montfort at Fortress Haine. After the Fourth Blight, the Montforts claim Fortress Haine (which they rename Chateau Haine) and are still in control over it during Dragon Age II's "Mark of the Assassin" DLC.
- She also creates the Retreat that Hawke and company will use to escape.
- Continuity Snarl: The Qunari are mentioned before they arrived in Thedas, and male dragons with wings are mentioned.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Isseya's view on Blood Magic. She changes her mind.
- Dead Guy Junior: Valya names the first griffon to be born in over four centuries Crookytail after the griffon's father.
- Defector from Decadence: A group of templars arrive at Weishaupt shortly after the Hossberg mages. They didn't come to seize the mages: they came to seek asylum themselves after quitting the Order out of protest of the Order's decision to abandon the Chantry.
- The Determinator: Every Grey Warden is portrayed as willing to give everything to stop the Blight. This is in stark contrast to their portrayal in Origins where Alistair may abandon the group and the PC may Take a Third Option to survive killing the Archdemon. However, the length of the Fourth Blight is touched upon as a feeding motivator as they progressively sacrifice more and more in the name of victory/survival.
- Distracted by the Shiny: The Wardens weaponise this to break the siege of Hossberg in the Anderfels; they bury explosives in the ground outside the city walls, then litter the spot with finely made weapons. Once enough of the darkspawn have gathered and started fighting amongst themselves over the loot, the Wardens detonate the explosives, then counterattack while the darkspawn are reeling from the blast.
- Exact Words: Calien was once hired to assassinate a powerful abomination. After Calien wounded the abomination, she offered him a deal: she would teach him blood magic in exchange for healing. Calien accepted. Once the abomination taught him her secrets, he applied a weak healing spell to her and stabbed her in her heart: the Antivan Crows always uphold their contracts.
- Fastball Special: Commander Turab explains that if the darkspawn besiege Antiva City, the darkspawn will compensate for their lack of siege equipment by having ogres simply lob genlocks over the walls. Whether the genlocks actually survive the landing is immaterial, as even if they don't, their corpses will cause the Blight to spread into the city, further weakening its defenses.
- Forgot About His Powers: On page 131. Isseya realizes darkspawn are coming by the sound of their footsteps, is surprised by it and unable to tell how many there are due to the echo from the cavern. However, she's been a Warden for seven years and thus she should be able to sense them.
- "[The griffons] were never servants, never slaves. A griffon was a partner and equal, or else it was a foe." Isseya forcibly administers the Joining to the griffons, using blood magic to override their free will, turning them into maddened killing machines — little more than mindless weapons for the Wardens to use as they will. In doing so, she unintentionally creates a highly contagious Hate Plague that wipes out the entire griffon species.
- The Chamberlain of the Grey voices some concern that Warden-Commander Clarel of Orlais hasn't written to him in some time. Dragon Age: Inquisition would reveal more about what has been preoccupying Clarel.
- Green Aesop: The book has one with the griffons dying out because of the Grey Wardens desire to stop the Blight at all costs.
- Hate Plague: Ostensibly the cause of the griffons' extinction. By using blood magic to force the griffons through the Joining, Isseya created a supernatural affliction that caused the griffons to sense the darkspawn corruption in themselves, their fellow griffons and the Wardens, causing them to violently lash out. The griffons who didn't kill each other had to be put down by the Wardens.
- Heroic Sacrifice: As established in the lore, it takes one of these to destroy an Archdemon for good. Garahel volunteered himself to strike the killing blow because the only Wardens left by that point were himself, Isseya and a relatively new recruit who was too panic-stricken to reach Andoral.
- It Can Think: The Archdemon Andoral clearly exhibits this. The Wardens (who know what an Archdemon is capable of) are aware of this, but others are caught off guard by it. Examples of this include:
- The Archdemon personally attacks and kills the Antivan royal family as the Wardens try to evacuate them during the sacking of Antiva City, knowing that their deaths will horrendously damage Antivan morale and prevent the royals supporting the Wardens, as well as killing several high-ranking Wardens in the process.
- Fooling the armies of the Free Marches into spreading themselves too thin by launching sporadic attacks on each of the major cities in turn, pinning their armies in place while they are slowly whittled down by the darkspawn.
- During the Battle of Ayesleigh, the Archdemon feigns serious injury at the hands of the Wardens and attempts to flee. Eager to finish it off, they give pursuit ... and fly straight into range of legions of darkspawn archers perched on the city's rooftops. Numerous Wardens are caught in the trap and shot out of the sky.
- The Last Title: The title.
- Morality Pet: Revas serves as one to Isseya. Isseya steadfastly refuses to subject Revas to the Joining.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: In-universe; the Tevinter Imperium refuses to supply the Wardens with troops or aid against the darkspawn, since they're still somewhat pissed the south of Thedas tried to conquer them in a series of religious wars over the previous 70 years at the Chantry's behest.
- Naïve Newcomer: By the time the story starts, Valya is a teenager not even past her Joining. This is a recurring theme in the story, as most of the characters are youths cast into roles they are unprepared for, many of them underage.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: Last Flight is the first Dragon Age installment where the griffons are described in detail. Griffons are immensely powerful, ill-tempered, and are implied to be sentient. As of the end of the novel, they are also no longer extinct.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The present-day Grey Wardens, in response to the Mage-Templar War, offer amnesty to any mage or templar wishing to escape the fighting and, in the case of the former, make it plain that if the templars harass any mages trying to take up the offer, they will answer to the Wardens.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: During the Fourth Blight, when the Antivan royal family refuses to heed the advice of the Grey Wardens and evacuate Antiva City before the darkspawn arrive, most of the Antivan navy's captains desert and flee with their ships. A few are stopped and executed, but that doesn't stop others, who consider the prospect of the hangman's noose better than dying to the darkspawn.
- Sexual Extortion: The Queen-Regent of the Anderfels refuses to give Garahel the support he needs unless he sleeps with her.
- Supporting Protagonist: Isseya was the sister of Garahel, the elven hero who ended the Fourth Blight by slaying the Archdemon Andoral.
- Tactical Withdrawal: The Wardens during the Blight order this from Antiva City in the face of the darkspawn advance. When the Antivan nobility call them on it as cowardice, the Wardens bluntly retort that it is practicality. The speed with which the Blight has torn through the rest of the country made it impossible for Antiva City to stockpile the soldiers, supplies and weapons needed to fight a siege, and even if they had, the darkspawn would storm the city long before they tried to starve the population into submission. The Wardens note that the city's defences might hold the darkspawn back for a few weeks...unless the Archdemon makes its presence known, in which case the city will likely fall in a matter of days.
- Treachery Cover-Up: After the Antivan Royal Guard mutiny and murder King Elaudio for his failure to evacuate Antiva City before the darkspawn horde arrives, the insurrection is put down by the Grey Wardens and the story given out that the King was killed fighting the darkspawn to preserve morale.
- War Is Hell: The Fourth Blight is long, gruelling, and ultimately traumatising for all those involved. This is in stark contrast to the uplifting heroics of the Fifth Blight.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The Archdemon fakes a wing injury to lure the Wardens into an ambush.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are!: During their last meeting, Amadis tells Isseya that Isseya did what she had to do to stop the Blight and is not a bad person.
Amadis: If the darkspawn hadn't awakened their Old God, if the Archdemon hadn't come upon us, none of us would ever have had to make the terrible choices that were forced on us in those dark days. Garahel always used to say that "heroism" was just another word for horror, and maybe a worse one. A hero always feels he has to do what is right. Sometimes that leads to him tormenting himself with doubt long after the deed is done. Or herself. Your brother told me from the beginning you were too cruel to yourself. I think he was right.
- Zombie Apocalypse: More like the Orc-Zombie Apocalypse.