Founded at Weisshaupt Fortress in the Anderfels, the Grey Wardens offered humanity hope in its darkest hours. Veterans of decades of battles with the darkspawn came together, and the best among them pledged to do whatever was necessary to stem the tide of darkness that swept across the land. These great humans, elves, and dwarves pooled their knowledge of the enemy and formed a united front to finally put a stop to the archdemon’s rampage.
And stop it they did. Ballads are still told today of the first Grey Warden charge into the waves of darkspawn at the city of Nordbotten, each Warden facing 10, 20 darkspawn at a time. Squadrons of Grey Wardens mounted on their mighty griffons, soaring through the blackened skies and battling the terrible archdemon with spear and spell. Oh, what a sight is must have been!
Incredibly, the Grey Wardens won that first battle. They raised their arms in victory, and suddenly there was hope. The Grey Wardens led the lands of men and the last stalwart defenders of the dwarven halls against the hordes of the archdemon Dumat for the next 100 years, gaining and losing ground but never backing away. They recruited whoever possessed the skill and strength to raise their banner from all over Thedas, making no distinction between elven slave or human nobleman. Finally, nearly two centuries after the first Old God rose from the earth, the Grey Wardens assembled the armies of men and dwarves at the Battle of Silent Plains. It was then that Dumat was finally slain and the First Blight ended.
The Tevinter Imperium would face a new challenge with the coming of the prophet Andraste, and thoughts of the Blight drew distant. With their defeat, the darkspawn were considered no longer a threat, but with the wisdom of hindsight, we all know that conceit proved to be hopeful and foolish indeed. The task of the Grey Wardens was far from over.
—From Tales of the Destruction of Thedas, by Brother Genitivi, Chantry scholar.