The Enemy Within – Anna replays Dragon Age Pt.1
This started both over a long time ago and rather spontaneously. Over a long time ago bc I’ve been thinking about replaying the entirety of Dragon Age for a while already. Spontaneously bc it took a tweet from Julie about the same thing to finally push me to do it. So I spent an entire afternoon going through my mod list (bc I am one of “those” people that at some point have a larger mod than game folder and you honestly couldn’t pay me to play this game in vanilla status ever again) and installed a couple of new ones. I have not done a full playthrough of this game since shortly after Dragon Age 2 came out. (If someone is interested I can post my rather extensive mod list)
I should maybe warn you all ahead: I am very particular with what I like and what I don’t like about the Dragon Age Universe. And the games. For instance: I don’t think Origins was the best out of the 3 games. While it has some great moments I find it is rather weak in it’s writing in many aspects. And I really dislike literally anything player choice related Bioware tried to establish as common canon. So there is that. 😉
For this playthrough I went with an elven circle mage. For two reasons. One: I have a weakness for elves and their storyline in DA. And two: Mage is my favourite class to play. And of course, the mage origin is one of the most tedious and boring ones in the game. Figures! My favourite origin story is actually the Dwarven Noble one. Never have I felt so upset and betrayed during the first 90 minutes of a game. But dwarves pose a problem when you want to play a mage. Sacrifices have to be made. 😉
So, the backstory:
This is Aren:
Aren is 19 years old and originally from the ailianage in Denerim where she grew up very, very poor. Even for ailianage standards. She was already 15 years old when her magic was discovered by a patrol and she was brought to the Fereldan Circle by Knight-Commander Greagoir himself, who was in Denerim on official business at that time. After spending 15 years living basically on the streets, going to bed hungry most nights and spending her days in fear of the capriciousness of the humans in the city the circle was mostly a haven for her. For the first time in her life she owned clothes that weren’t rags, was allowed to eat until she was full, slept in an actual bed and felt safe from persecution. She devoted all her time to studying. By the time she war ready for her harrowing she had spent 4 years in the circle and it didn’t feel like captivity to her. So she is very loyal to both the institution of the circle and mostly to First Enchanter Irving. Despite his sometimes abrasive attitude she is also really found of Greagoir, since for her he was the person taking her from the streets into what she considers home.
She is very street smart and can think very quick on her feet but she was very soft spoken and timid when she first came to the circle, on some level always afraid that it wouldn’t last. As she felt more comfortable around her fellow mages she became a bit more open but she is still more on the calm and quiet side. She got quite close with her fellow apprentice Jowan with whom she shared several favourite subjects and who became a bit like an older brother figure for her. She also struck a tentative friendship with one of the Templars, Cullen.
Her harrowing went off without a hitch but when Jowan asked her for her help in feeling the circle she was conflicted. In the end, her loyalty towards the people how, in her mind, saved her outweighed her feelings for her friends and she went to Irving to inform him of Jowan’s plans. She agreed to lay a trap to catch him and his girlfriend. When he fled after revealing that was indeed a bloodmage Aren was devastated. She had believed him over and over when he told her that the rumours about him weren’t true.
When Duncan wanted to enlist her she tried to argue against it. There was no way she would want to leave the circle. But seeing that he had Irving’s support she finally agreed and they went on their way and travelled through the hinterlands towards Ostagar.
First time playing the Origin story as a mage that is completely loyal to the circle. I think I made it work for that particular character that it makes sense to her. For now.
My last playthrough was so long ago that it is actually fun again to listen to all the NPCs taling and to read the codex entries again. Aaaand I noticed something:
This is probably the dumbest place in the entire castle for Mages to train throwing fireballs and raise elemental shields – yet this seems to be what everyone keeps doing when I walk past… Seriously, who does that? Does Irving know about this? Does he have them do this on purpose to annoy Greagoir? Does no one think about
the children the books?
Also, I found old friends. I mean, this is Bioware, so you can basically play “spot the same 10 voice actors” in every scene. So I give you the very well known voice actor of the week (VWVAOTW – I’ll make this a common category for my posts I think bc it just happens so damn often….)
This nice lady is voiced by Alix Wilton Regan – whom you might know as the British voice of the female Inquisitor in Dragon Age Inquisition.
Onward to Ostagar!