The Circle of Magi exists to protect mages from a world that fears them, or so the young apprentices that are brought there are told. In truth, it exists as much to protect the world from the mages themselves. A time once existed when mages ruled the known world, bringing down ruin upon their enemies until at last they were overthrown. Now they are watched carefully by the templars, mage-hunters aligned with Chantry priests who would not hesitate to strike down any mage at the first sign of corruption.
For the temptations offered to mages are many. Their power draws demons to them from the Fade, demons that will attempt to wrest control of a mage's body and transform her into a vile abomination. What these demons cannot take by force, they will sometimes attempt to take through deceit, offering knowledge of forbidden blood magic that allows a mage to control the minds of others and use the victims' very life force to fuel her power, leading her down a dark and destructive path.
All apprentices are taught to resist these temptations in the Circle of Magi, and the day comes when they must pass their final test, the Harrowing. They are thrown to the wolves, given over to a demon to either summon the willpower needed to defeat it or be possessed and die at templar hands. If the apprentice refuses they are made Tranquil, cut off from all emotion and magic and rendered unable to be possessed… for their own good. There are no other options, save to flee and be branded an apostate and thus hunted by the templars forever.
Welcome to the Circle, and life as a mage in Thedas, where the power to command the forces of magic comes with a price.
Wielding a power as dangerous as it is potent, you know that magic is a curse for those lacking the will to control it. You anxiously await your Harrowing, the one chance to prove yourself against the demons lurking without and within. Succeed, or be slaughtered by the knights who ward against your kind...