In Your Heart Shall Burn – Julie plays Inquisition Pt. 2
The decision to go to the mages for help is one Lyssa never regrets. For her, it pretty soon becomes clear that they have been mislead – probably even had their minds altered magically. Lyssa knew that a trap would be waiting for her at Redcliffe and she was prepared for it – what she hadn’t been prepared for was to be thrown forward through time together with Dorian who warned her about the trap in the beginning. Thrown forward into a future where she had been killed and nobody had had the means to stop the so-called Elder One. After the first shock, her absolute priority becomes to come home. Thankful for Dorian’s company not only for, well, the company and help with the fighting, but also for his knowledge and plan to reverse the spell, they fight side by side through this horror-reality.
I only ever completed a single runthrough of DAI before and only two other characters came beyond this point in the story, one of whom did the Templar side. I don’t have many memories of the other quest but I know it barely touched me emotionally while “In Hushed Whispers” gets me every time. I know the Templar quest is more close to the character but since our dear 0815 protagonist is as interesting as dry toast that didn’t get to me. At all. Showing me the broken characters, the broken land and the results of a possible failure did more for me to shape my OC – not (only) because of the pretty obvious emotional manipulation by killing off all my companions. And yes, while the protagonist does not know Leliana that well yet, her sacrifice can still impact her – and the others who die have been at least travel companions for several weeks and people whom she knows pretty well. The first time I played this, I actually cried.
Interestingly enough, while I already had Solas with me once before, it was only now that I actively registered how he talks about how in this future the Veil has been completely ripped and “bled into this reality”. – SPOILER AHEAD – Funny that he dreads this as much as anyone while it’s basically what he wants to do himself, right? – SPOILER END – It can’t really be accurate, though, for there would be no Fade rifts if there was no more Veil and we encounter several rifts. But well. Since the writing is not really that coherent and thought through in DAI, this could be just a writing mistake.
In the end, we meet Alexius again. He has become completely paranoid and tells us that he will never be able to fulfill the task given to him by the Elder One since the time magic he used seems to be connected to the Breach. Thus, he will never be able to go back to a time before the Breach and will never be able to erase the Inquisitor completely from time and not even be able to prevent the Inquisitor from stopping the ritual at the Temple of Sacred Ashes. And more importantly to him, he will never be able to save his son who is dying from the Corruption. Alexius is one of the most interesting characters for me. A desperate father trying to do everything and anything to save his family, grasping at straws and even willing to sacrifice the world for his child. To a certain degree I can understand him.
Lyssa manages to make it back to the past/present and Alexius immediately understands that everything he has worked for failed. There is not even the attempt to fight and he lets himself get arrested.
Coincidentally Perfectly timed, the king and queen of Ferelden, Alistair and Anora, arrive to manage the situation. (Honestly, their presence makes no sense at all and was just for cameo reasons. Ah, well.) They banish the mages from Redcliffe and Ferelden (? I’m not sure about the latter.) and it falls to Lyssa to make a decision about their future. As she fled the Templars herself, afraid to disappear into a Circle, she sympathizes a lot with the mage rebellion. Also, the mages clearly weren’t in on what Alexius was planning, with Fiona protesting at several occasions and talking about betrayal. So she sees no harm in offering them a full alliance – scandalizing several of her companions. It’s something Vivienne never really forgives her. Cassandra hates the decision but later states she supports it, showing Lyssa that she will stand by her, no matter what. It does a great deal to make Cass more approachable for her. And Dorian joins us! Yay!
So, off we go, closing the Breach which of course works perfectly. Can we talk about the nonsensical pose both Templars and mages have while supporting the Inquisitor? The Templars ramming their swords into solid rock makes me flinch every time and for mages to push their staffs head first onto the ground while the thing they have to pour magic into is up in the sky is just so ridiculous. But well. One has to make sacrifices and simplifying animations, I guess.
Off to the party! For once, everything seems a-okay and having worked out just as planned. The Breach is closed, the rebellion is over and for the first time in a weeks, Lyssa sees a chance of maybe going home soon after all. Up until the point that the alarm is sounded. A strange boy shows up at their door and warns them about the Templar army we already spotted. Nice try, though, Cole. So, Lyssa takes Cassandra, Solas and Sera to fight off the attack and man the trebuchets. They manage to do serious damage and bury the major part of the enemy army beneath an avalanche but then…
… well. He has dragon.
Still, we manage to get back to Haven and save everyone in danger (something I always need more than one try for…). We hide in the Chantry and prepare to be killed.
When I first played this mission, I was permanently edged on the front of my seat. Cinematically and dramatically it is one of the best missions in the whole game. While one knows that the OC will not die a third into the game, the decision to sacrifice oneself to save everyone else still gets me. The discussion with Cullen, Roderick, the general mood of the scene… awesome.
And of course, we have the first person-to-darkspawn encounter, meeting Corypheus for the first time, with him clearly being the stronger one in every aspect. Ah, the way he comes towards us through the fire, a huge, gruesome silhouette slowly emerging… talk about staging!! ♥ But still he doesn’t manage to kill Lyssa and instead she makes him talk until the others are save before she starts the avalanche burying Haven – she survives, if only by pure luck, and then the perfect scenery for this whole mission ends.
Seriously, you make us fight for our life through a snowstorm by fading to black every few seconds?! Ugh. Show, don’t tell? Ever heard of that? This could have been so powerful and there are several ways to make such a scene intense. Make our health counter drop and drop. Let the screen slowly freeze over, becoming darker from the edges inward. Don’t. Fade. Out. Ah, so much potential, so much passed up opportunities.
Anyway, Lyssa fights her way back to the survivors of Haven and of course, the dreadful singing scene starts. Yeah, while I can understand the intentions behind the scene and the attempt to show a group of desperate people finding hope again, it just freaks me out. Mostly because for the kneeling down aspect. Every scene glorifying a single person and having people worship a single person is just… a big red NO in my head. Add that to the religious aspect Anna talked about and instead of a hopeful, emotionally beautiful scene, you have something really creepy. Also, I do not like Mother Giselle who so cunningly manipulates everything.
I actually wrote a whole chapter about how Lyssa feels about this whole situation because while it can be understandably nice for an Andrastian character, for every other (Dalish included) it is just… wrong. So when Solas comes to talk to her, Lyssa is only too glad to escape the singing and worship. She follows his advice to “scout to the North” but even after everything, being named Inquisitor directly after their arrival in Skyhold comes as something like a shock for her.
But here we are. Inquisitor Lavellan, expected to save the world. What could possibly go wrong?