Ghosts, memories and romance – Julie Replays Dragon Age Pt. 9
Back to Denerim we go to start the political endgame, ergo The Landsmeet. When we arrive, the Alienage is still closed off “By order of Arl Howe”, which is something beyond horrible for Fian, which you know if you read her first letter from Denerim to Aren. Being a city elf, she knows exactly what happens during a purge and not being able to go in there is extraordinarily frightening to her. Also, we as a player know that Rendon Howe is the powerhungry mastermind behind many of Loghain’s political actions – or at least very influential. So OOC and IC he is not the most popular NPC in the game.
… which is an understatement, to be honest. Rendon Howe (who afaic has a striking resemblance to Tobias Menzies) is basically the only NPC I reeeeeeeeeally really hate with the power of a thousand suns. I normally do not save using personalized Savegame names, but when I get to this point in the story, I totally do. You’ll see why in the next post.
It’s only a short trip from “Talking to Eamon and the elf next to him” to “Let’s save Anora”. She IS the well-loved queen after all and we really don’t want anyone in Howe’s vicinity and also we could really use her.
But before we go to the Arl of Denerim’s (namely Howe) Estate, we decide to take care of some of the last sidequests and while doint that, are being ambushed by Taliesen, a former friend and colleague and probably more of Zevran’s. (We ignore the nagging feeling that our previous dealings with the Crows via Master Ignacio might have tipped Taliesen off as to where to find Zevran.) He wants Zev to come back which is of course something neither Fian nor Zevran want, so we get to kill a bunch of Crows. Including Taliesen.
And for the first time in months, Zev can finally breathe freely, without looking over his shoulder the whole time. He asks if Fian wants him to leave, but when she tells him that she would really be sorely put out, he laughs and assures her that “we can’t have that” and stays. And then, shortly after, he offers her an earring which apparently means a lot to him but he refuses to say that it’s a token of affection which is why Fian doesn’t take it. And then I really need to go to camp first for another conversation before rescuing Anora and he refuses to “come into her tent”, including a relatively hard near-fight scene. (I don’t handle relationship fights well.)
While the other companions are super thrilled about her and Zev (really cute conversations with Morrigan and Wynne. Wynne actually apologizes for her earlier comments about Fian’s relationship with Zev.), I think on what to do next, feeling a bit dampened. (There may have been some “nononononononononoooooo” involved.) At that point, I remember that I still haven’t been to Soldier’s Peak! Perfect time to remedy that!
No, I don’t procrastinate the end, now why would I? *coughs*
(It’s just good that IT time is somewhat flexible and I can headcanon the Soldier’s Peak thing to before even knowing about Anora. I’m just saying.)
So, Soldier’s Peak is an old Warden stronghold which has been abandoned for years and years. When we enter, we get a pretty good idea, why.
We gather quickly that there has been a fight between the then-king’s army and the Wardens – who are supposedly non-political. The king of yore was a pretty nasty tyrant and they decided to stand against him. Who then decided to fight them and then starve them out.
Which turned out to be a pretty stupid idea for everyone.
Sophia Dryden, the great-grandmother of Levi Dryden (who wanted us to go in the first place), was the commander of the stronghold and under her command, not only with her knowledge but support, one of her mages, Avernus, summoned legions of demons and in doing so, teared the Veil, making the whole region vulnurable for stray magic and demons and kinds of weird stuff. Memory visions, for example.
The demons, surprise, surprise, turned against everyone and killed everyone, Wardens and king’s men alike.
Avernus fled into the tower and the mightiest demon possessed Commander Sophia whom we meet. She does no longer look very humane, I’m afraid. In exchange for closing the Veil again, we promise Demon-Sophia to kill everyone in the Magical Tower and set her free.
No intentions of doing so, of course.
In the tower, we meet Avernus, who is also still alive. Not possessed but definitively blood-mage who prolongated his life way beyond his years. We gather that he did (again, with the knowledge and support of Commander Dryden) experiments on the Taint, trying to get more power out of it. The experiments were pretty gruesome and used human sacrifices and victims. While Fian cannot AT ALL condone that, she really, really wants the Taint cured, for the thought of turning mad in roundabout 30 years and killing herself beforehand or having to go into the Deep Roads again and in the worst case becoming a Broodmother, scares her like hell. So she not only allows him to live but to continue his experiments – in a humane way, though.
He is not happy but happier than being executed or something and, satisfied, we leave him be. After killing Demon-Sophia, we leave Levi Dryden to have an eye on Avernus and start a thriving business. The fortress is save again and we’re pretty sure that more people will start coming there again.
It’s a really neat little DLC, especially lorewise – and corroborates what Fian knew from the beginning: The Grey Wardens as an order are people who are willing to to EVERYTHING to achieve their ends and what they see as a good end. Which makes them really less-than-ideal, if you ask me. But efficient. Alistair’s glorification of them all is however really missplaced.
After having secured the fortress,we go back to camp to talk to Zev again. A cautious “You seem different…” finally leads him to open up about his feelings and it’s the first time, the word “love” is spoken, without him making fun of it.
Then he offers his earring again and when asked if this is a proposal, as it seems to be, he asks if Fian wants it to be.
OF COURSE SHE DOES!
Well. Now that we’re betrothed, we can focus on the story again. Back to Denerim!