The course of true love never did run smooth – Julie Replays Dragon Age 2 Pt. 4
Three years, a mansion, riches and status later, we find ourselves in demand again. The Viscount wants us to help with “the Qunari issue”, since the Arishok asked for us by name. Something that seems like Adriene should not really get involved with and she knows it. But what can she do?
Unfortunately, the Arishok isn’t the only one that wants her help – just when we come home after our talk with the Viscount, Aveline stops by. Emeric is still trying to connect the murders that are still taking place – and Adriene remembers only too well what she found when she helped him last time. Aveline was with her but still, she is not convinced and despite assuring Hawke that the guard did look into it and didn’t find anything, something in her voice makes me think she rather dismisses Emeric as an annoyance.
The feeling of “being everybody’s nanny” and being loaded with the worst (and main) quests directly in the beginning of the act makes Adriene want to groan and go back to bed – so we ignore all of it and start by reconnecting with our friends first. It’s been three years and while we as the player don’t get to see it, the conversations make it clear they did in fact all stay in contact. Waiting rather anxiously for Danarius to make a move. Hunting shadows that might or might not be Isabela’s relic. Helping Anders keep out of Templar sight and Merrill to settle in and Varric tell his stories.
Hunting shadows with Isabela and taking Fenris with them to distract him from wine and brooding was and always has been Adriene’s favourite activity and is something Varric really likes to talk about. And they do love hanging out together.
One of the first things that happen in Act 2 is initiating the romance with Isabela. Which is so very adorable. ♥
Afterwards, I used the console to start the romance with Fenris as well, to keep my OT3 headcanon intact. What can I say? I’m in love with both of them. Having the “So, you and Fenris, eh?” conversation with Isabela afterwards is an awesome bonus.
So, while we’re happily in love – more or rather less committed, Danarius is still not showing up, the relic is still missing but some things in fact did change. Not for the better. What Anders tells Adriene about what happens with the mages in town does nothing to soothe her.
Bethany is still in the circle and while she seems to have settled in, Adriene still feels guilty for not being able to protect her. That Bethany has found a role that she actually likes (teaching) does not make it better, on the contrary. On the one hand, Adriene is glad that Bethany is okay, on the other hand it feels like they fought for naught all these years. She also fears that something happened to Bethany for her to change her views so radically. After fighting so long for being free, she now gave up a tad too easily for Adriene’s taste. And while Anders thinks it’s just Bethany’s way to keep out of harms way, Adriene never quite knows what to tell Bethany. So she very seldom visits and letters are scarce.
Despite Bethany feeling okay in the Circle, is very clear that something is up. More and more mages turn up Tranquil, more patrols are underway, more radical views are being heard and spread. Adriene is more eager than ever to help Anders in his quest for mage freedom. Especially when she, in her quest to help Feynriel, the young elfblooded mage, meets Justice in the Fade. Seeing the spirit in its home makes her weirdly both more wary and alright in his presence. She sees that he is not like any demon they have ever met and thus fears less that Anders is an abomination, but she also sees that he can get quite violent and radical – something Adriene is really not comfortable with due to his powers.
It’s actually pretty hard to get anywhere with Anders when you’re: not flirting with him, are okay with Merrill’s blood magic, are not so okay with Justice but fight on the mages’ side. Every friendship you earn is nearly immediately cancelled out by rivalry, so he was the one staying way more neutral than is good for gameplay. The companion quests only trigger if you have at least 50% rivalry or friendship, so staying somewhere in the low numbers can be desastrous for the game. I’ve never had this kind of problem before in my other playthroughs but what helped me in my DA:O playthrough (playing more carefully, listening more, trying to act more “in character” rather than tactical) proved not so helpful in DA2. While I easily maxed out Isabela and Varric (Isabela due to the romance and Varric because Varric) I have a similar problem with Aveline.
The first encounter in Act 2 makes me kind of wary, as it sounds like she just does not want to follow the whole thing because she’s annoyed. During the Act, it gets more obvious that the job as guard captain does take it’s toll on Aveline. She seems to be so protective of the guard and her status and reputation that she sometimes forgets how to be a good and kind person. In fact, some of her comments make me outright angry with her and rather reluctant to take her with me on missions. Her outrageous comment to Isabela when we take on her “love quest” is one of the worst examples:
This comes completely out of the blue and is totally unprovoked, with Isabela only stating that Aveline actually wants to pursue a relationship with guardsman Donnic. You remember Donnic? The guardsman we saved in Act 1?
Despite Aveline doing her best to make a complete fool of herself (and despite her outrageous comments to Isabela), we help her and Donnic start a relationship but it still makes me angry that I as a player cannot tell her to shut up in moments like shown above. It does however lead to her having the lowest friendship status beside Anders.
Another person that I’m actually actively trying to keep on rivalry is Sebastian, who we meet again in Act 2.
On friendship, he stays in the Chantry and is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally pious. Which, to be honest, annoys the heck out of me. I like him much better on the rivalry path, where he returns to Starkhaven to take his place as ruler. Also, Adriene does not really like the Chantry that much and feels like he can much much better help people by being in a position of power than by kneeling in front of some altar and praying. Him telling Varric that he never had so many opportunities to help people since he travels with Hawke just proves her point in her eyes.
After helping Sebastian discover who ordered the murder of his family (and why), we decide to finally take on the Qunari quest.
Turns out that the Qunari, expecting someone (Jarvaris, to be exact) to steal the Blackpowder recipe, placed a trap with another recipe, namely that of a really lethal poison.
*slow clap* Great idea, oxmen, really great.
After hunting Javaris down, we discover he himself was set up and, annoyed, let him go. We track the elf down who took the poison and not only took it but used it to poison a whole street with the intent of making the city make the Qunari leave. Deaths to put blame on the Qunari? Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? Well. After seeing the Arishok act like he did, despite him having some respect for her, Adriene is rather intent on seeing them leave as well. How did Varric put it? “He’s like an ox ready to charge.” They definitely became more dangerous with every year. Something that can only lead to bad things.
I like both versions of Sebastian. Rivalry makes him pretty badass at some point. But it always feels like going full friendship has him finally be at peace with himself in the end.