Howe and home and politics – Julie Replays Dragon Age Pt. 10
Focussing on the story! We reach the Estate and now my personalized Savegame name comes into play: “Let’s kill Howe.” Because that is what we’re set to do. And sure enough, after successfully sneaking into the estate, we find that Anora is locked behind a magically sealed door and we need to
kill find the mage who is with Howe to open it. Alrighty.
We get a look at all the soldiers we’ll need to fight later and free Riordan (Hellooooooooo.) before entering the dungeons. Where we witness firsthand what an asshole Howe is. We free several prisoners, a noble’s son amongst them (who is glad to speak up for us and against Loghain) and a lyrium-deprived, suffering templar before finally meeting Howe. And killing him. And, just for fun’s sake, kill him again. And again.
Okay, truth be told, I only did the fight once because he’s a hard nut, with two mages and two warriors at his side, a rogue himself, but still.
Then, because now we stopped caring about secrecy, we fight our way up again, through the soldiers we met before and free Anora, who cunningly disguised herself as a common soldier.
Which was a good thing, as we see only seconds afterwards, when we are stopped by Ser Cauthrien. Fian decides that, as she fears Loghain does not fully know what Howe was up to, she lays down her weapons and lets herself and Alistair be captured. And because Cauthrien is an honorable woman, she only takes the two Wardens and lets everyone else go – incidentally setting Anora free.
We wake up in Loghain’s prison, completely naked, and WHAT THE HELL ALISTAIR?!
Okay, that… must be something from the NBAIO mod. True enough, for human males (and ONLY human males) you can choose this weird underwear. I fix it quickly and reload.
I pick the door with… something… I found in the cell… or something… kill the guard and find our inventory.
Everything was there but Fian’s equipped stuff. Including Zevran’s earring and my favourite armor! Sorry, but no way. A quick research turns up that this is a known bug which can occur where everything is there but the main char’s equipped stuff. So, I reload the scene before we get captured, undress…
… and true enough, all my equipment is now in the box and can be re-equipped. Then I realize I forgot to unequip my secondary weapons and do it all again. *sigh* The same happened again when I took guard’s armor one finds shortly after escaping the prison – equipping them “erases” all the currently equipped armor. *SIGH* Reload, get naked, put the armor on for disguise sake and off we go.
We manage to bluff the commanding officer into thinking we’re a patrol and thus, just walk out of there. Getting back to Eamon, everyone is happy we managed to get out of there – but sure enough, now nothing gets us out of politics. Eamon wants to put Alistair on the throne by himself, who hates the idea, Anora wants to stay on the throne of course and plainly tells us that she was the one running the country anyways. Fian thinks she’s pretty convincing but she sees both the appeal of having a friend who has been through the shit no noble normally goes through on the throne on one hand and the political advantage of not being seen as a “Warden Usurper”. So, she manages to talk Anora and Alistair into agreeing to a political marriage.
Alistair is not so happy about how everything’s going.
We still need some leverage against Loghain to convince the Landsmeet into supporting us and Anora tells us that “something” has been going on the Alienage. Fian barely manages to suppress a “You don’t say what with the Purge and everything?!” and is just happy to be able to go home again after Howe’s death.
Listening to the nobles in the Gnawed Noble, btw, tells you that NOBODY liked Howe and pretty everyone is glad he’s gone.
Home we go.
It is not a pretty sight. Blood, dead dogs, beggars, sick people everywhere, just as bad as Fian imagined it to be. There is a little gathering in front of one of the houses and Shianni is there! After the short joy of being reunited (and telling us how everyone thought Fian was dead, they even had a funeral) she tells us that for some time now, a mysterious “plague” has been in the Alienage (no surprise after being closed off for so long) and there were Tevinter “healers” who take people in some sort of “quarantine” – except most people they take in aren’t sick and never come out again! Among the ones that vanished last is Fian’s father. Soris’ wife hasn’t been seen for two weeks as well. Shianni asks for our help, which we of course grant and quickly make our way into the house. Where we discover that not one elf they have in there is sick.
A bit of fighting, a bit of digging and we find out what is actually going on: Howe and Loghain made a deal with some Tevinter magisters. They fund his army and in turn, they get to take elves out of the alienage to sell as slaves. Fian is furious (Zevran as well) and kills everyone they see – and when the magister in the end tries to make a deal, she laughs in his face and kills him extra slowly.
Neither Valendrian (the Hahren) nor Valora (Soris’ wife) is to be found but luckily, Fian’s father is still there and alive.
It’s really a pity that the developers didn’t take more time to personalize this quest for the city elf origin. No hug, no possibility to actually chat or introduce your romance partner, no cut scene of a family dinner or something. A few heartfelt lines and the rest is headcanon. That could’ve made way more impact.
But, as we get no more scenes but something else is definitely off, we stay in the Alienage and help a blind Templar, who suspects maleficarum at work.
The abandoned orphanage was raided during the Purge and everyone inside, including all children, were slaughtered.
Now I really want to reload the fight with Howe again to kill him over and over again.
True enough, there are demons and walking corpses and angry spirits about, which we quickly
dispose of lay to rest while making our way through the building.
When we thought we had killed all the demons, we discover that we don’t. Quite gruesomely.
And honestly – that was just done for the effect of horror, for the demon afterwards is by no means harder than the ones before, thus making it pretty unnecessary. Well, the Templar and the demons are dead, the spirits laid to rest and so, the orphanage is safe enough for being cleaned and built up again.
For now, we leave the Alienage and bring back the news of Loghain’s treachery and want to punch Eamon in the face for this sentence:
But finally, we can start the actual Landsmeet.
Thankfully, we managed to have nearly everyone on our side even without having to disclose Loghain’s involvement with Tevinter, but he of course does not want to step down. So, a fight it is.
He yields and Alistair immediately calls for his execution. Riordan however steps forward to suggest recruiting him into the Wardens and make use of his talents as a General. Anore pleads for his life as well, including making the argument that not everyone survives the Joining anyway and he either gets a chance to redeem himself or die so we get our revenge.
And because I finally want Loghain as a companion and because Fian does not see being a Wardens as a privilege (something Alistair still doesn’t get), she agrees to give him the chance.
Then, Alistair is being denied all character development and ignores everything one has learned throughout the play and the Warden is being denied all attempts at persuading him.
Biggest FAIL of the game, of you ask me.
Alistair makes a total scene, demanding Loghain’s death.
He even says he now wants to be king just to be able to execute Loghain. Fian reminds him and Anora that they agreed to marry, he stands by his word but leaves the Wardens. Loghain undergoes the Joining – and the last months of traveling together, surviving together, meeting family, making jokes and just becoming close friends are completely erased for Alistair. The last words he and Fian exchange are full of anger and disappointment.
Now, the only thing left is to kill the archdemon and end the Blight. What can possibly go wrong?