In the Hands of the Prophets – Anna replays Dragon Age Pt.9
The Ashes of Andraste. Mythical, most likely not real and even if, long lost and forgotten. Naturally this sounds like a great thing to run after in the vague hopes that it will cure a guy we have personally never met and who, according to the letters we found send from him to Kind Cailan, is of questionable character at best. Totally worthy quest to embark on. While we are getting ready for that we get an honest invitation into the Antivan Crows bc we are just that good at doing their sidequests.
At some point earlier in the game we went by Brother Genitivi’s house in Denerim and found a dude name Weylon who was actually an impostor who got really pissed off when we found the corpse of the real Weylon in a back room. The real Weylon apparently was brother Genitivi’s assistance and we find the good scholar went to a village that is on no map and noone actually knows about: Haven. So naturally we go and look for the village that doesn’t seem to exist and, voila, find it directly because it is marked very prominently on out map. And where? Of course on the exact other side of Ferelden. Figures!
After weeks (months, years I tell you, years!) of travelling we enter a quiet little place where everyone is kinda rude and generally unwelcoming. What a surprise, the village that is hidden and on no map is not overly keen about strangers. We talk to a creepy boy that carries around a finger, find a bloody altar that was most likely NOT used to make food and get attacked by every villager and some cultists. Wait cultists? Yes, cultists.
Also in this place they don’t care about the chantry rule about only women being allowed into priesthood. They have a revered father leading the village. That alone should have told us that everyone around here is super evil if you really think about it. (The implications of this are actually pretty delightful if I might say so…ehrm.)
The evil dude priest gets used as interior decoration for their chantry by us and we find Brother Genitivi mostly unharmed captured in a backroom. He knows (or he has a pretty good idea) where the ashes are supposed to be and shows us to the temple where we leave the good brother in the entrance hall to study old writings so he won’t get killed.
What now follows is the usual almost-maze with many enemies in small and not so small side rooms, a lot of loot and some small dragons to top it off. We find a lot of lost and old lore lying around and Alistair is probably slightly annoyed about Aren’s tendency to just stand in a pile of corpses, reading the newest book she found. Leliana flirts with Wynne in the background while we murder ourselves through even more cultists until we meet the head weirdo Kolgrim.
He tells us Andraste has been reborn and walks among (above) us again. Tiny set back – the ashes of when she died last time need to be completely destroyed with blood he has in a handy vial already. If we would be so kind to help out since he and his cult can’t actually get to the ashes. We accept for now even though everyone with us protests. But they can be shut up with a stern “I know what I am doing here!”
Two seconds later we get introduced to the reborn Andraste, a fucking high dragon that lets us pass towards the sanctuary. So now we know for sure that Kolgrim and his cult are a few druffalos short of a heard. And next we meet an oldish spirit person sorta guy who is known as “THE GUARDIAN!”. And speaks with a reverb that makes you feel like everything he says is written in capslock. THE GUARDIAN has been, well, “guarding” (obviously!) the ashes from the moment Andraste died actually. And we have to pass trials to get to them.
First is apparently a trial of needles because he starts poking around in everyone’s past. For Aren that is Jowan and her decision to rat him out. She stands by it, still convinced she made the right choice. With Alistar we discover he has ptsd and survivors guilt. (No surprises here) Wynne admits she sometimes doubts her convictions, even the circle but adds that people that never doubt would most likely be wrong and dangerous. Leliana’s faith is brought into question and she insists that he beliefs are not made up for attention. (as if!)
Afterwards we go through a room full of spirits of the past that give us riddles – we pass every single one at first try. (I am always so super proud of myself if I get riddles in games right!). A door opens and Jowan stands in front of us. Not the real one of course, just a figment of Aren’s mind. Said figment suggests that she is now truly free of the circle. Yay. She remembers an earlier conversation with Wynne about a similar subject where Wynne was suggesting naturally she should go back. After a quick WTF? moment the explanation: She could go back and change things for the better. Become the new first enchanter, change the circle from within. Wynne seems delighted by the idea. Aren is confused by the fact that everyone around her seems to genuinely believe that she has any idea about what she is doing.
The next trial is a logic puzzle and it takes only two major disney villain deaths of falling into an abyss before they manage. Lastly everyone goes naked through flames. Fun times were head by everyone on this excursion. Behind the flames we find the ashes and at this point we save the game. Twice, just to be sure. Before Aren actually destroys the ashes. Why you say now? Because the damn Reaver specialisation is the only one I have not yet unlocked and I want it for further play troughs! That’s why. As expected, Leliana turns hostile. As not so much expected by me, Wynne does to. And a very pissed off Guardian appears screaming “HOW DARE YOU!” and summons two elite spirits.
So there we are, Alistar and Aren fighting against said pissed Guardian, who is a boss level enemy, Leliana, who is Aren’s love interest, the elite spirits any Wynne, who keeps healing herself all the fucking time. And what follows is actually so far the most fun fight in game. Aren traps the Guardian in her Glyphs, stunns Wynne and helps Alistair take down Leliana and her frankly huge damage output first, then the spirits. Then she puts Wynne into a static cage and Alistair and her slowly chop down the Guardian. After that it becomes easy, she just has to interrupt Wynne’s healing. Seriously, horrible circumstances but the most challenging and fun fight so far.
Outside we get our reward from Kolgrim, we get to drink dragon blood. Absolutely nothing bad could ever come from drinking blood, right? But we get the achievement for siding with the cult and the specialisation. And that is when we say “so long, and thanks for all the
fish blood” and reload our save from earlier. The achievement and the reaver spec are still unlocked and we leave the ashes whole and just take a pinch for our healing purposes. And killing off her friends will be forever a brief nightmare flash in Aren’s mind, like a glimpse into an alternative universe.
This time, when we leave, the cult is super pissed at us because we didn’t help them. So we have to kill them all on our way out. Including the high dragon of course. Whom we fight 5 damn times because every time Alistair is stealing the show by killing it and for once in my life I want fancy action screenshots of Aren riding a dragon with her sword drawn damn it! I managed in the end. By fighting the dragon until it is almost dead, pausing, switching from staff to blade and shield for Aren, going into the tactics and putting Wynne, Alistair and Leliana on passive and then resuming the game and have Aren kill the thing with the sword and not the staff. Because apparently Staff Kills don’t trigger the action kill shot at all. (I tried, twice…) But any sort of blade does. So behold the majestic kill of the high dragon by the tiny elf!
Afterwards we make brother Genitivi happy by telling him all about the urn and the ashes and make our way to Redcliffe where we heal the Arl. He is going to call a landsmeet and wants to put Alistair on the throne who is not thrilled at all by this. On out way there we manage to find Sten’s lost sword and he is so happy about it he almost smiles for a second. He keeps calling Aren “kadan” afterwards and she has the feeling he is not telling her something about what that word actually implies but well… We also find Oghren’s ex girlfriend somewhere and play wingman for his frankly terrible flirting before we arrive in Denerim and find a whole new set of problems waiting for us there.
Next will be all about the Landsmeet, Denerim Politics, the Queen, the Alienage (Fian, where art thou?) and: more side quests!
But for those of you interested in the numbers and stats: This is how mine look now, before the landsmeet and at level 20. (Doing almost every side quest available plus the in game dlcs) You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it.