Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges – Anna Replays Dragon Age 2 Pt. 8
“In times of war the law falls silent”
There are note many things left to do before going into the endgame. Act Three is a bit shorter than the other two or it at least feels like it. We meet Zevran for a short cameo quest again and it is hilarious and a bit heartwarming. Always take Isabela to this one!
Cassia: Isabela, you know him, what do you think?
Isabela: I’ve had better!
Cassia: I meant about letting him go…
Isabela: Oh! Sure, let him go.
Speaking of Isabela, we finally get Castillion off her back. They devise an elaborate scheme to trick him. To everyone’s surprise it actually works and Cassia kills him. Isabela protests at first, she could have gotten more out of him, but later she agrees that stopping him form taking up his slave trade somewhere else was the right choice.
In the meantime Cullen sends a letter of complaint about Aveline to Cassia. Cassia is confused what she should actually do about that? She is Avenline’s friend and has no actual authority? So she just shows it to her friend and they find the source of complaints in the old guard captain that Aveline replaced six years ago. Luckily for them the people he has rallied around him are largely the same group that were with Petrice and Cassia against the Qunari in the second act. So all it really takes is one word from Cassia to make them turn against their leader. Problem solved, another crisis averted.
A while later Cassia helps Anders gather ingredients for a strange potion. She knows he is lying to her and tells him so. He tells her in turn that he needs her help but the less she knows the better for her because if she knows what he is doing she could get in serious trouble. Cassia is a bit upset that he doesn’t think she could make that choice on her own but helps him none the less. She even distracts the grand cleric for him and at this point she begins to suspect that whatever he is planning, it must be rather big. After a confrontation in their home she still doesn’t know exactly what he is planning but she convinces him to stop it. Just when he sees reason and agrees that he might be going about it the wrong way Justice takes him over forcefully and basically throws Cassia out of her own bedroom. Anders remembers nothing about this conversation later. Cassia is starting to get even more worried. She sets things in motion to get her belongings in order. Bodhan is getting ready to leave for Orlais with his son and Cassia feels it would be a great idea to put money and packed bags aside in case of emergency. She also starts suspecting that Anders’ “It could be dangerous to you!” is not related to templars or authorities finding something out about her. Meredith knows she is a mage and tolerates her so far – she kind of has to. Cassia feels it is more the fact that if she finds out what he is planning and feels like she has to stop him Justice might take drastic measures against her and Anders knows he can’t control him anymore. if that is the case.
Things start boiling over when Orsino asks for Cassia’s help. The templars seem to be not happy about her coming and going in the Gallows and it starts showing all over the city. Cassia spoke to her friends, they all urge her to be careful but are supportive of what she is doing. She has the escape tunnel from her house into Dark Town set up and gave Anders a key so neither of them has to travel openly between the clinic and their house anymore. Varric has another key in case of emergency.
“Don’t tell anyone you gave me this, Hawke, might as well draw a target on my face if this makes the rounds. ‘In case of emergency, break Dwarf!'”
Orsino needs help with both mages and templars that keep leaving the Gallows at night in secret. He isn’t sure if he should investigate or if it may be a ploy by Meredith to get him to break a rule so she can finally get rid of him. Cassia takes Fenris, Varric and Aveline with her, because if she might be going after templars both Anders and Merrill might not be safe with her. Merrill sets up in Cassia’s house for a nice evening of playing cards with Isabela and Bodhan while Anders is needed in the clinic anyways. When Cassia finds out where the mages and templars sneak off too she is more than surprised: Ser Thrask has build a group of both of them working together to overthrow Meredith. The second she realises that she decides to not hand anyone in but rather to supoort them, but of course this is too good to be true. Grace, who tried years ago to get Cassia to kill Ser Thrask so she can go free is among them and she is gunning for revenge more than anything else. While Cassia and her group are still working to find their hideout she gets the news: Groups tried to break into her house (but thankfully failed), but before anyone could get to them they abducted Anders from his clinic and are holding him hostage to get to her. There is a lot of blood on the walls when Cassia is done interrogating the templars about where they took him. And while Ser Thrask just wants to talk and ally against Meredith, grace has other plans, plans that include killing Cassia and Anders, preferably all her friends as well. At the end there is only a few mages left standing who surrender. Meredith sees this as an opportunity to convince Cassia again how she is right but fails. Orsino on the other hand is almost regretful – if he had known this group existed he might have found a way to properly support them. Because if there is one thing Cassia and Osrino agree one it is that Meredith needs to be removed!
Just a couple of days later Cassia is called to the Gallows again. The situation between the mages and the templars is completely escalating with Meredith and Orsino screaming at each other in the streets of Lowtown. But this time there is not talking anyone down because Anders steps in and claims that there can be no compromise anymore. Cue the music, or in this case the explosion.
The chantry gets evenly distributed over the whole city and Meredith conveniently decided that every circle mage should die for this. How anyone at this point can support the templars out of conviction is seriously beyond me. For gameplay reasons? I get it. Because they thing they are right? Nah!. How is killing every mage in the city the answer to an attack like this? “Hey, this dude killed innocent people – let’s in turn kill everyone who is sightly like him.” is dystopian horror regime stuff I am actually terrified off in real life almost every day by now. And sadly exactly this kind of reaction is incredibly prevalent in nowadays news. Given the political climate worldwide atm you could say that DA2 is really up to date right now.
Cassia of course immediately takes Orsino’s side and gives the mages time to fall back and to organise. Meredith postures like a rabid dog but the templars do the same leaving Cassia to deal with Anders. Who apparently expected not to live trough this. He has lost all control over Justice who is conveniently silent in this aftermath and leaves Anders to deal with his mess. Cassia lives to disappoint though and refuses to kill him. She is upset that he didn’t trust her enough to tell her until she remembers her last encounter with Justice and realises that he most likely literally couldn’t tell her because Justice wouldn’t let him. She vows to find a way to deal with Justice, but that has to wait till later. For now they all have to fight their way up to the Gallows to help the mages. And even though most of their friends agree that Anders’ and Cassia’s relationship definitely needs work (or in Varric’s case a tragic book series) and that her taste in men is atrocious at best they have their backs.
On the way to the Gallows they run into Carver of all people.
Carver: *grinning* “You always seem to find a way to make my life difficult. I should be hunting Archdemons but… it feels good to be at your side again!”
Cassia: “Just don’t go catching the blight again! Or whatever we mages carry!”
Carver: “I am pretty much the walking dead already, thanks! You kind of accept that as a warden. So really, nothing to fear today except looking like an ass! Take care of that for me, will you? I’ve put in my time!” *pause* “I wish… I wish mother could have seen us like this. I don’t know what she would think about the rest, but…”
Cassia: “She always knew it would take something like this to bring us together.”
Carver: “I suppose she did. I am proud to call you my sister! That has gone unsaid too long! “In war, victory!” Champion, And whatever else may come!”
Cassia is incredibly glad to have her brother at her side who says “there is no way I am letting you start a war all on your own!”. It’s a short but sweet reunion and together they reach Orsino. The plan is clear: They don’t fight to win, they fight to get away. All the mages get instructed to flee the city as safely as possible. To go to the other circles and tell them what happened. They fight through an onslaught of templars, room by room until they reach the courtyard where it’s finally kick Meredith’s ass time! Who has a weird looking sword that is sadly nut just ugly but made out of the lyrium idol that drove Bartrand insane. It’s not doing great and peacful things for Meredith either. The bossfight that follows is fairly uneventful. Meredith summons the statues in the courtyard to her defence which is eerily creepy and works really well with the story but is not difficult combat wise at all. When Meredith is beaten she turns into a burnt out statue of herself.
The remaining templars have them surrounded but for once they seem to be able to do the decent thing: They move aside and let Cassia’s group leave without a word.
And now it is time for the emergency bags, a quick goodbye to Bodhan and Sandal and a direct trip to Isabela’s new ship that takes them as far away as possible from Kirkwall. Well, not all of them. Aveline decided to stay, she is too responsible to abandon her guard like that. Sebastian and Fenris board a different ship, one that directs them towards Starkhaven. Merrill comes with them for now but she later returns to Kirkwall’s alienage to help her people. Carver helps them feel but has to return to the wardens afterwards. Isabela and Varric travel with Cassia and Anders for a while before Varric feels he needs to go back to Kirkwall to help. Isabela takes him there and Anders and Cassia are on their own and travelling through Ferelden when they hear about a Ferelden circle mage who became a grey warden and managed to free a young boy of possession without killing him in the process…
So – there IS a way to only fight Meredith and not both her and Orsino? I always thought in the end you have no chance of avoiding to fight the templars and the mages (which I really diskliked while playing the game years ago.)
Did you have that opinion about fighting for the templars being not understandable back in 2012 already, when we did the hangout? I remember arguing about which side we were on during that hangout/preparations and my “Templars are bad”-opinon was not so super popular back then – if I remember correctly. It’s been a while 😉 (There’s still that post about our characters: http://consultingnerdgirls.de/?p=361) . So did playing the game again change your mind or were you playing templar-side in 2012 only for gameplay reasons?
Technically no, the stupid Orsino fight always happens in the vanilla game even if it makes zero sense for his character. (A fact the Devs are aware of, you can actually say to Varric in DAI that Orsino’s fate made no sense…) There is however a mod that fixes the ending that I have installed. So the Orsino fight only happens when you side with the Templars.
Back then in our hangout that was for gameplay reasons because I was anticipating that the majority of people would probably side with the mages and wanted to prevent that we all sit in the hangout and no one played the other side. So I made a specifically pro templar character.
I get, how a non mage that is an Andrastian might support them tbh. Kirkwall is a really bad place to form a good opinion about magic. But I only understand this as long as it is a character that is not very reflective and also quite unwilling to learn.
What I DON’T understand are players that are actually saying the templar side made more sense to them. Especially after it gets made very clear that Meredith just wants to slaughter people that have no connection to the incident at all. Up until that moment templar support can still make sense for me. Even if it is just a game, those people scare me actually.
The most horrible scenario imo you can do in this game is actually romance Anders on rivalry, support the templars and don’t kill him and make him help you fight the circle instead. (Under the guise of trying to make up for what he has done.) I’ve never played that but I’ve seen the video of it. Anders tells you pretty clearly that he is going to kill himself after the fight. (This has actually nothing to do with your comment, I just remember it now…)
Oh, okay – sad you need a mod for it. The ending really didn’t make sense to me at all … why choose sides when still both of the leaders go nuts and you have to fight both of them?
Thanks for the clarification, I still remember being completely puzzled that Julie and I were the only one playing on side of the mages. But of course it makes sense so get to know both sides of the story.
Players who find the Templars way of looking at things understandable – well, I guess one does right to be scared of them.
One of the reasons I sided with the templars back then was the way Meredith was introduced when she first appears in the game. My very first thought was “Oh, that’s completely badass. I like her.” That was of course before she was driven completely bonkers by the lyrium idol. That first impression kind of lingered.
If you don’t play a mage (and always prefer other classes over any mage class, in almost every game), that whole mage/templar conflict seems not that much of a personal concern. Of course there’s Bethany, but she’s not in the circle, and under your protection (at first), so she is also not a part of it.
And the mages in this game really make it hard for the player to like them. It seems that they go out of their way to prove the templars right. And Anders’ little stunt at the Chantry doesn’t help as well. 😉
At some point in the game, my non-mage Hawkes always come to the conclusion that both sides are wrong. Or right, kind of. And you don’t want to have to do anything with either of them, thinking “Hawke out!”.
Unfortunately you have to pick a side, fresh under the impression of the explosion of the Chantry, caused by your mage friend (not helping, dude, really).
It feels like there is no “correct” choice, so you just pick one in the end, and see it through. Whatever. Hawke out.
At least that’s one way to play it. 😉
Personally I don’t tend to “overthink” things, especially games I’m playing for the first time. I just roll with it, and don’t concern myself that much with lore and background on the first playthrough. If I really like the game I will dig a little deeper, and start thinking about the choices I made/make.
Knowing what I know now about the DA universe, I don’t think I can ever side with the templars in DA2 again.
And good to know that there is a mod that prevents you from having to fight Orsino if you side with the mages, because that indeed makes no sense.