The first Blight had already raged for 90 years. The world was in chaos. A god had risen, twisted and corrupted. The remaining gods of Tevinter were silent, withdrawn. What writing we have recovered from those time is filled with despair, for everyone believed, from the greatest archons to the lowliest slaves, that the world was coming to an end.
At Weisshaupt fortress in the desolate Anderfels, a meeting transpired. Soldiers of the Imperium, seasoned veterans who had known nothing their entire lifetimes except homeless war, came together. When they left Weisshaupt, they had renounced their oaths to the Imperium. They were soldiers no longer: They were the Grey Wardens.
The Wardens began an aggressive campaign against the Blight, striking back against the darkspawn, reclaiming lands given up for lost. The Blight was far from over, but their victories brought notice, and soon they received aid from every nation in Thedas.
They grew in number as well as reputation. Finally, in the year 992 of the Tevinter Imperium, upon the Silent Plains, they met the archdemon Dumat in battle. A third of all the armies of northern Thedas were lost to the fighting, but Dumat fell and the darkspawn fled back underground.
Even that was not the end.
The Imperium once revered seven gods: Dumat, Zazikel, Toth, Andoral, Razikale, Lusacan, and Urthemiel. Four have risen as archdemons. The Grey Wardens have kept watch through the ages, well aware that peace is fleeting, and that their war continues until the last of the dragon-gods is gone.
—From Ferelden: Folklore and History, by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar.