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Branka is a female dwarf and a member of the Smith caste who rose to prominence and became a Paragon to the dwarves of Orzammar. She is the only Paragon named within the last four generations.
Branka was married to Oghren, a warrior from House Kondrat. She rose to the status of Paragon at a remarkably young age, before the age of twenty, when she invented a smokeless coal that let the Smith caste increase their output by a third while at the same time decreased deaths from black-lung. This coal could burn in a cave without ventilation and thus was safer and easier for smiths to breathe and work with. However, in 9:28 Dragon, two years before the beginning of the Fifth Blight, Branka took her entire house except Oghren into the Deep Roads in the hopes of finding the Anvil of the Void. She has not been heard from since, and is presumed dead by most of the citizens of Orzammar. Only Oghren maintains hope that she still lives.
Since she is a Paragon, her voice could be used to overrule the bickering Assembly and decide who will be crowned king; for this reason, both Prince Bhelen Aeducan and Lord Pyral Harrowmont want to retrieve her to end the stalemate through her determination of who will be king.
Her former lover Hespith is encountered near the Dead Trenches. Hespith's poem and conversation reveals disturbing insights into the ordeal the dwarves of Branka's house suffered at darkspawn hands during their time in the Deep Roads, as well as offering clues to Branka's behaviour since beginning her quest for the Anvil. Her obsession with the Anvil of the Void has consumed her utterly; there is nothing in her life but its acquisition and she condemned the members of her house to death and worse in her ambition to locate the Anvil.
The Warden finally meets Branka in the Anvil of the Void. She traps the Warden, informing them that the only way out is to run Caridin's gauntlet of traps which guards the Anvil. As the Warden battles the darkspawn she offers chilling glimpses into her mind; among them, she reveals that she willingly sacrificed all her followers in testing Caridin's defenses. She also ignored those begging to be spared the darkspawn taint, even allowing Hespith and the other women to be corrupted into broodmothers, reasoning that doing so would provide her an endless stream of darkspawn to throw at the traps to either solve the puzzles or overwhelm the defenses with sheer numbers.
If the Warden attempts to destroy the Anvil, Branka will activate a control rod that turns four of Caradin's eight golems against him and attack the party, dying in the ensuing battle. If the Warden decides to preserve it, Branka will fight Caridin alongside the Warden, but still activates the control rod. She will then build a crown for the Warden's choice of king and stay in the Deep Roads to research the Anvil, finally creating four golems for the Warden to use in The Battle of Denerim.
She can also be persuaded or intimidated to see the suffering caused by using it. If so, she will destroy the Anvil and then commit suicide by leaping into the lava flows.