The forms of things unknown – Julie Replays Dragon Age 2 Pt. 3
After wrote my last entry for this series in which I mused about how strangely hard it was for me to connect with Adriene, I talked a lot with Anna about the difference in our two gameplays. While she is very close to Cassia, I still am relatively distant – but, while talking I discovered there is a good reason for it and that I’m actually closer to Adriene than I originally thought.
When I created Adriene, I made her sarcastic with a reason it and not just because Purple Hawke is feisty and funny. In my mind, Adriene hides behind her sarcasm and her (sometimes pretty lame) jokes, never letting anything touch her too closely. Her whole life consisted of protecting her baby sister and her father from the Templars and making sure they could live their lives as they chose – while nobody asked what she wanted. When her father died, all of the responsibility for her family lay on her shoulders. Her mother never was up to handling everything that came with the secret life of an apostate and the twins were too young. Bethany hid a lot because of her magic while being her father’s favourite and Carver did what children do when they feel neglected – he lashed out a lot. Despite that, he and Adriene connected over their non-magical abilities and especially their part in Ostagar (where Adriene took him against her mother’s wishes). His death hit Adriene pretty hard, maybe harder than Bethany, despite Bethany being his twin sister. But more than that, her mother’s accusations hurt her deeply.
Adriene closed herself up even more and made keeping the rest of her family safe her utmost priority – even though she always kind of felt being apart from them. Her mother and Bethany are very close and connect deeply over their wishes for their family and the return of the estate to the family, but Adriene is too realistic to really believe in it. Which is why she becoming a part of the Deep Roads expedition is so important to her. This is her chance to bring some wealth into the family, to make them comfortable. Her tendency to keep herself emotionally distanced from others however make her also kind of eclectic. (Thus my casual gameplay.) Do this, then that, then finish here something before going back to the first thing…
Despite or rather because of being an apostate himself, Adriene’s father taught all of his children about the dangers of demon possession and abomination – and the need to use whatever is at hand to keep oneself safe within the boundaries of one’s conscience. Adriene thus is not per se opposed to blood magic – within said boundaries. She sees Merrill as absolutely capable of handling herself and has no problems with her using blood magic (she is watchful, though, but very interested in the difference between spirits and demons) and sees Justice-Anders with a mix of horror and curiosity. A deal with a demon would never be something she’d consider, though.
The fact that people actually want to stick around is something new to her and at the end of Act 1 she still marvels at it. Especially since not all of her actions agree with her newfound companions. It comes at no surprise to her that Fenris does not agree with her decision to let Feynriel go to the Dalish but that he still stays is surprising to her. It was however not something she was willing to discuss – being daughter and sister to apostates, their own choices are something she always considers. She is glad that Feynriel wants to seek help and that he is very conscious of the danger he is in and wouldn’t have let him go without a plan, but after she saw what Merrill could and can do after her tutelage with Marethari, she is pretty sure that Feynriel will be alright with the Dalish.
She is equally glad that she got to know one templar through this quest, who is actually trying to help and protect mages instead of just imprisoning them – Ser Thrask. When she finds out he was the one who sent her the message of helping a group of mages, she is absolutely willing to stand by him. Meeting the mages however did not go as intended. Even after she killed their (bloodmage demon-controlling raising-the-dead) leader, the remaining mages tried to make her kill Thrask to escape. Adriene was furious at their cold-bloodedness and plainly refused. They had been in contact with blood magic and even if she was sympathetic to their wish of being free, the fact that they had no plan whatsoever and did not even really try to escape themselves, made her just shake her head. Thrask was willing to accompany them back to the Circle and shield them – but then the other templars came. The knight-lieutenant openly said he wanted to make all of them tranquil or just kill them on sight which horrified Adriene. Despite Grace and her fellow mages being stupid, this was not something she could or would condone. She and Thrask killed the other templars and let Grace and the others go, but Adriene has the feeling that they will not come far.
Having dealt with the bloodmages outside the city was one thing, but having to deal with bloodmages within the city is quite another. So when she finds that the search for Keran, a Templar initiative, leads to a group of bloodmages who openly state that they want to control all non-mages, she gladly kills them. The whole quest makes her very uneasy because it shows the worst of both mages and templars.
One the one hand, there is Cullen, knight-lieutenant, who openly draws his sword against a (up to this point) helpless intiate and talks about how mages are not people and need to be contained and continuously watched (Adriene is completely taken aback by that – he is talking about her sister, after all) and on the other hand, there is Tahone, who has the worst power phantasy ever and would make a great and evil magister in Tevinter.
Tahone tortured people and fed them willingly to demons, summoning them and being a total nightmare, proving Cullens fears to be justified. Something is very wrong in the state of
Denmark Thedas or rather the Chantry, that much has become clear. Being a strong advocate of personal freedom, she does make sure Keran can stay with the Templars (after being checked by Anders for signs of possession, she is no fool) so he and his sister need not beg on the streets. Her thoughts on the whole mage thing, however, are not so clear anymore.
Opposing templars and the Chantry is nothing new to Adriene, but she tries to keep a low profile nonetheless. So when Sister Petrice wants her to help a Qunari mage escape who cannot even talk for himself, she hesitates. Despite them being secluded from the rest of the city, she had enough dealings with the Qunari to fear them. Not only did she fight Tal-Vashoth and saw what they could do and talked to one who was still very Qunari despite being Tal-Vashoth, she “rescued” the viscount’s son who really did not want to be rescued. Their philosophy is so strange and sounds slavelike, she is very, VERY wary of them and really does not want to piss them off. She still helps Katojan but only after a lot of discussion – and is even more disappointed and frustrated when he kills himself in the end instead of taking the freedom that has been offered to him.
Through all of this, the one thing that kept Adriene focused was the Deep Roads Expedition – and connecting to her companions, some of which she starts to call friends, was completely unexpected. She very much enjoys hanging in the bar with Varric and Isabela, both of them completely non-judgmental and open and just plainly a lot of fun. Merrill’s naivety concerning the city sometimes drives her nuts and she is glad she lives just around the corner and makes sure Merrill is okay. Adriene loves listening to Fenris and feels connected to him, despite (or because?) of his broodiness – she feels like he expresses something she cannot. And she just loves his dry humor (Lyrium breasts? Seriously? She loves it). Anders is still something of a mystery to her. She likes him but more often than not they don’t quite agree – then again she absolutely supports his views of mage freedom (so far).
When it finally comes to starting the expedition, her mother insists on Bethany staying behind and for once, Adriene agrees. After seeing Carver die, she cannot bear the thought of the same happening to her sister and she knows that the Deep Roads are very dangerous. Anders is needed in his clinic, Aveline with the Guard (as nearly-guard captain) and she wants Merrill to keep an eye on Bethany. As they are both apostates and kind-hearted, the two of them connected. So Adriene takes Fenris and Isabela with her, in addition to Varric.
Also, OT3. ♥
I as the player discover some conversations I never had before (why did it never occur to me to talk to Sandal or Bodhain again after rescuing Sandal?! It makes so much more sense now that Bodhain comes to work for you later on.)
When the inevitable happens and Bartrand betrays them, Adriene is so very glad she left Bethany behind.
The journey back is hard and long and no fucking way will she make a deal with a demon, thank you?! After seeing a templar initiate being possessed, she knows that theoretically anyone can become an abomination and she would never ever dare risk that.
Plus, this fight is actually fun – I’m right there with Anna on this one, despite me having the mod installed that basically says “skip the fights ’cause they’re boring”. After reading her entry, I’m still thinking about turning the difficulty up to Hard just to see how it plays itself and if my memory serves correct about it being boring.
Adriene comes home with riches and a feeling of triumph – they not only made it but they made it despite Bartrand’s betrayal AND found treasures en masse! – but it evaporates as soon as she enters Gamlen’s home, just in time to see Bethany being transported off to the Circle. All her work of keeping lil’ sis safe was for naught.
The fear of receiving a letter how Bethany had to be made tranquil keeps her awake for weeks, her mother’s silent reproach not making anything better. At the end of Act 1, Adriene feels like a failure, again.