Honour Among Thieves – Anna Replays Dragon Age 2 – Pt.2
Out of the fire and into the frying pan Out of the prologue and into act one. Dragon Age 2 is separated into three acts, each divided by three years in between and a prologue that ends with a one year time skip. When we next see Hawke again a year has passed, the blight is over and so is her servitude with the mercenaries. She and Carver have set their sights onto something new: A Dwarf named Bartrand planes an expedition into the Deep Roads and the Hawkes are set on going with him on the treasure hunt. Bartrand tells them no thank you in a not very polite manner. And this is where we start meeting out companions.
The most important one: Our Dog! He came with us from Lothering and it took us an entire year to name him. But the year was useful as many thoughts went into his name and many a sleepless night was spent debating the finer points of the naming of such a majestic creature. Behold:
Varric is first. Bartrand’s brother is a charming surface dwarf with a great sense of humour that offers us his help to get into the expedition. Not as hired muscle but as partner. The only thing we need for that? Money! And for once we have an actual, legitimate reason as to why the hell we should solve everyone’s problems. The main goal for act one is: get together enough money to buy yourself into the expedition that could make you rich (or die a horrible way because of deep roads stuff like darkspawn but hey whatever!) and do a couple of important story quests that get the ball rolling about what is happening in your city. Kirkwall is our home by now. Not a very pretty home given that we almost live in the slums but it is home. A letter from Lothering tells us the village is no more. Everyone has relocated to Redcliffe because Lothering not only burned down, the darkspawn also made the soil inhabitable for decades. So going home now that the blight is over is out of the question.
Carver and Cassia are set on finding out what actually happened to their family’s estate. What with their uncle being really secretive about it. Turn out he sold it for booze and brothel money. To slavers of all people. For once the two siblings share an opinion and break into the house to get the original will back, that clearly states that their mother inherited everything and their uncle had no right to sell anything. It gives their mother some peace and a chance to get her name restored. Additionally they get to “remove” a few slavers – always a plus! Carver is actually warming up to Cassia. They are not completely friends yet but they are getting there. *yay*
Aveline joined the city guard and is keeping tabs on Cassia, both out of concert for her friend and apparently of concern about what her friend may do that is not technically always completely legal. They help each other out and stuck together since they arrived in the city. Cassia helps her uncover the corruptness of the guard captain which gets Aveline a promotion to said captains post. Aveline is very big on rules and usually the voice of reason behind Cassia if she is in danger of overstepping some laws she cares less about than she should. Except when it comes to kids apparently. When they are send after a guy who abducts and hurts young elven girls Aveline remakes matter of fact that the guard is obviously not handling it well ant actually encourages Cassia to just kill him instead of turning him back in. I was actually quite surprised at that because I thought Aveline would indeed insist on the law here. But then again, the game makes it pretty clear that his “the demons made me do it” is an excuse and not the truth and that we are dealing with a serial rapist/murderer that gets protected by his influential father. There is no way he is leaving anywhere alive. This might be the one quest where all the companions actually approve of straight up murder.
We pick up Anders next because Varric knows of a grey warden in the city who most likely has some maps of the deep roads. Anders actually does and for a small favour trades them in. Sadly we can’t save his friend from the circle, when we arrive he has already been made tranquil. That is when we find out he merged with Justice at the end of Dragon Age Awakening and they are working together to make things better for the mages. Cassia and him get into a heated argument right off the bat because Cassia is super paranoid about demons and spirits. Even though the uses blood magic, or rather especially because she uses it she is very careful around them. She doesn’t believe they are all inherently bad, not at all. But she thinks straight up merging with one sounds incredibly dangerous. Being an apostate she is also very careful with what she says about Templars and how she acts around them. Her policy so far has been: Be extra friendly and even somewhat supportive to not arouse suspicion. That does not fly well with Anders who doesn’t even want to let her explain why she does this. That, in turn, pisses Cassia off to no end. Combined with the fact that she doesn’t understand how he is not more careful because from her perspective he is far to open about his magic and should do much more to not be accidentally discovered. Needless to say their conversations usually end in someone yelling at the other.
Next up we bring the amulet Janeway gave us in the prologue to the Dalish like we promised. This is the same clan you start out in as a Dalish elf in DAO, so some characters might be known to the player. The keeper sends Merrill, her first with us for some glowy ritual thingies that make Flemmeth come out of the amulet like a ghost out of a lamp. Flemmeth tells us some cryptic things about Morrigan probably trying to kill her by now and gives us some advice with a healthy does of foreshadowing before she dragonifies again and flies away. Merrill, for some reason that we only really get later, wants to leave her clan and come to Kirkwall with us. She settles into the alienage and tries to get used to this huge city. Merrill is a blood mage, just like Cassia and they get along great right from the start.
In the local bar, the hanged man we pick up a pirate named Isabela who is just threatening to gut a person as we meet her. Great icebreaker. Isabela needs help with a duel she has been challenged to. She suspects foul play and could use some backup. Cassia finds her charming immediately and is definitely going to help her with that. Turns out her suspicions were right and the fight gets dirty quickly. Revealing that Isabela lost something important to her former employer and he is kind of upset about it. Additionally he is even more upset because he hired her to move some cargo and when she found out his cargo were slaves she freed them all instead. Isabela may be a pirate and sometimes a very self centred person, but she has a heart of gold. And that is exactly why Cassia and her become friends pretty quickly after that.
In our quest to make more gold we get hired to steal something which turns out to be a trap. Tevinter slavers show up and have no idea who we are but want to kill us anyways. Turns out they are after an elf named Fenris, who has been on the run from his former master for over three years. Of course we help him trying to go after said former master only to end up in a haunted house with his master long gone. We kill the demons and shades and even though he has very big reservations about magic (with his ex master being a magister and overall very unpleasant with magic) he offers us his help should we need it.
Lastly we witness Sebastian, a prince from another city state named Starkhaven with a wonderful accent, great hair and an impeccable sense of dramatics looking for help getting revenge on those who killed his entire family. He was planing on becoming a chantry brother for life until recent events forced him to get his bow out of storage and hunt down murderers. A goal Cassia and Carver can totally understand and so they promise him to help out.
At this point we are a good deal into the side quests and even finished one or two of the main ones that are coupled with getting your group together. The non linear questlines in the acts itself makes it feel like you are all over the place in the beginning. running from here to there and back again. If also feels very casual. It isn’t actually that casual when you know what some of the smaller or less important looking and feeling quests may lead to in the future. But in general the game gets the “take any job we need to make money” approach across very well. It fits in this instance.
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