Wrongs darker than death or night – Anna Replays Dragon Age 2 Pt. 6
We come back to Kirkwall after out lovely trip to kill people at a new location. And pick up some open quests that we accepted way back when the act began. Things are bound to get confusing when you loose your overview over your questlog repeatedly. I am confused, Cassia is confused and in turn no one knows what to do…
So we just pick one and get on with it, following Varric with hunting down his traitorous brother who has returned to Kirkwall. Revenge is not as sweet as we hoped for because Bartrand went insane from the lyrium idol we found in the deep roads. Not only that, that asshole doesn’t even have it anymore. He sold it to “some woman”. Which is absolutely not narrowing it down at all! At this point you get to play a quite fun part of the game. Varric is completely overselling what happened while telling it to Cassandra because he really doesn’t want to share all the ugly details. Means you get to play as Varric who empties out a whole mansion full of enemies on his own – oneshotting every single enemy with even the auto attacks. Great fun! Sadly, all a lie.
After this thrilling and frankly sad tale Merrill needs our help. She is trying to repair her mirror. The Eluvian from the DAO Dalish Elf Origin. She thinks it will help her gain access to forgotten knowledge of the elves, helping her clan gain some of the things they’ve lost over the centuries back. Sadly no one in her clan agrees, everyone is afraid of her and her magic and she is pretty much alone in this. Cassia to the rescue. They do the keeper a favour and the keeper in turn gives them the tools Merrill needs. Merrill is absolutely overjoyed and proclaims Cassia her first and only true friend. Cassia herself is really interested in what Merrill is doing. Besides herself Merrill is the only other blood mage she knows that is in complete control of her actions and absolutely not afraid of possession or interacting with spirits. They have a lot to talk about whenever they get together. Merrill in turn appreciates that Cassia never babies her and always takes her at face value and absolutely serious.
In one of their many trips outside of Kirkwall the group gets ambushed by Tevinter Slavehunters who are after Fenris. An associate of his former master is nearby and Fenris wants revenge. The disgust for Slavers even unites Fenris and Anders in agreement for once and together with Isabela and Cassia they make sure he gets it. But not before the woman tells them that Fenris has a sister that is still alive. Not really knowing what to do with that info makes him even more on edge than he was before. Cassia tries to console him but ultimately he has to work through this alone. (Not completely alone though according to the party banter between him and Isabela. Cassia has to stop herself from cooing at them, she has the feeling it would not go over well…)
When she gets home that evening her mother is gone though and there is a vase full of white lilies standing around. And we are at the most heartbreaking quest of the game. No matter how often I play this it still gets me teary eyed. Leandra is gone, the lilies make Cassia certain it is the killer she has been hunting for since that night three years ago and she has no way to find her. Or does she? There is a Mage who was looking for the same guy that she let go earlier. She goes to find him in Darktown and he does a blood ritual to find where the killer took her. Once at the location all hell breaks loose. Demons everywhere, more dead women and and in the end, when they find Cassia’s mother there is not much left of her. The man who took her was trying to rebuild his dead wife from parts of other women. Cassia kills every living thing down there, including the guy who let them there. (Who, as it turns out wasn’t after the murderer but after the secrets of necromancy.) With a few last words of love Leandra dies in Cassia’s arms.
Cassia is heartbroken and even Gamlen being suddenly almost nice doesn’t even register with her. She is grieving and questioning everything.
After this a lot of things change in her life. One major factor in everything she did had always been her family. Keeping them safe, providing for them. That ultimately meant keeping herself safe and playing nice and by the rules of the templars, the law and the chantry as not not arouse suspicion to her being a mage. All of this is now completely gone so she realises a while after these events. For the first time in her life all her actions only have consequences for herself. So when the trouble with the Qunari starts to get more and more Cassia focuses all her energy on that.
The viscounts son gets murdered by the anti Qunari movement after he converted to the Qun. They plan on blaming his death on the Qunari to finally incite enough outrage to get then thrown out of the city. Cassia supports them wholeheartedly. They plan is a success to a degree. The tensions boil over.
Meanwhile Isabela admits that she is actually the reason the Qunari are in the city in the first place. She stole a priceless relic from them, a relic without they can’t go home. She knows where it is but she can’t give it back because she needs it to get the people after her off her back. Cassia doesn’t give a damn about what the Qunari want and gets it for her. Isabela takes it and runs. While Cassia is disappointed she kind of understands. If she had anywhere to actually run to she would probably do the same thing at this point.
When Aveline needs her help dealing with the Arishok she tells him his relic is long one and the catastrophe years in the making finally happens: The Arishok declares war on Kirkwall and starts attacking the city. Cassia, Aveline, Anders and Sebastian fight their way through burning streets to reach the upper city. They get unlikely support in a fight from a group of Wardens that is travelling through the city, including her brother Carver. The Wardens can’t stay but they promise to bring the news of the attack to the other free cities and warn them.
In hightown Cassia finally gets to meet Knight Commander Meredith. Under… not the best circumstances. Meredith now not only knows her but also knows she is a mage. But luckily for Cassia there are much more pressing matters and Meredith is willing to overlook this for now because she can use all the help in defending the city.
They also meet Orsino for the first time, the First Enchanter of the Kirkwall Circle. Together they manage to break into the keep, through the Qunari lines, only to find out that the Arishok already killed the Viscount and is threatening to kill everyone who will not convert to the Qun.
But it is not over: Isabela proves that she does not only have great fighting skills and great hair but also possesses an excellent sense of dramatic timing, strolling into the keep with the relic under her arm as if she just came by for a cup of tea with some friends. She discovered the nasty and kinda annoying thing called a conscience and fully blames Cassia for that horrible character flaw befor she gives the relic back to their rightful owners. And one might think now everything would be settled. But of course it isn’t.
The Arishok wants to take her with them too and Cassia puts her foot down. He can have the relic and leave, or he can fight her but he will not take Isabela with him. They agree to a duel to the death, the winner gets the girl. Very old school and a tad weird but hey, bossfight! The battle is kinda of uneventful as a Bloodmage/Spirit Healer because Cassia simply takes no damage. She literally just stands around and casts some stuns and some Ice and Fire until he dies.
For that marvellous bit of fighting she gets named Kirkwall’s new champion by Meredith of all people. And with this heroic act ends the second act of the game on a high note. Cassandra seems to be impressed too:
Oh shit, the quest with Leandra. Like I said somewhere else, you keep hoping against all hope that it will not happen this time around, but it always does, and it always rips your heart out. Like Virmire.
Cassia is wearing the same armor that Leliana does in my current DA:O playthrough (thanks to “Improved Atmosphere”, I guess). I like it.
Cassandra and straight: nope. Absolutely not. I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t straight during the early development stages of DAI, because you get the occasional voiced dialogue line for an F!Inquisitor, if you’re using the “Bi Cassandra” mod. So it was just removed from the game, maybe for balancing the number of available romance options for female and male Inquisitors. That is what I’m thinking, at least. Originally planned, but removed for some silly reasons – and hurting a lot of people in the process, me included.
Uh, interesting, the letter for Cassia is different than the letter Adriene gets 😀
I’m just reading up on your descriptions when I’m getting to the respective points in the game.