Part 2: Paragons And RenegadesPART 2: PARAGONS AND RENEGADES
Deep beneath the Frostback Mountains sits Orzammar, the larger of two known remaining cities in the dwarven world.
Orzammar was once the seat of a major empire connected by tunnels, called Deep Roads, which stretched thousands of miles.
The city now stands alone, cut off from the rest of the dwarven ancestral lands by the darkspawn incursion.
Secure in Orzammar's impregnable construction, the dwarven noble houses continue their centuries-old power struggle.
Assassination and blackmail are commonplace, but the appearance of honor is paramount.
You are the second child of King Endrin of House Aeducan--the ninth Aeducan ruler elected by the noble assembly.
You grew up in a world rife with political intrigue and have struggled against brothers and cousins for honor and prestige.
Today, a feast celebrates your first military commission, the opening move towards real power in the ever-changing game of dwarven politics.
Greetings, my lady. You are dressed and ready. Excellent.
I couldn't find the armor's matching dagger, but I scrounged up a rather fancy longsword.
I'm not a longsword sort of girl, Gorim. They're a bit too... personal.
They are good for waving in the air though. Whilst shouting something heroic.
Which reminds me, do you wish to wear your shield to the noble's feast?
Better safe than sorry. Shield me.
You sure that's all you want me to do to you?
You, my friend, are ridiculous.
One can't take all this marching about and speech-making too seriously.
So you've decided to get drunk. I like it. Shows initiative.
Moving on to the business at hand... The King expects you to make an appearance, but there's no rush.
The noble family heads will spend hours boring your father with petitions and petty grievances.
What sort of grievances?
The usual. This lord had my cousin killed, This lord seduced my wife, This lord did the exact same thing I'd planned to do to him, but he did it first.
They pose and bluster and each pretends he is the honorable man in a den of thieves and assassins.
You haven't grown cynical, have you Gorim?
Bah. The rest is worth seeing, though.
As part of the celebrations, permits have been auctioned off to members of the Merchant Caste who wish to sell wares in the Diamond Quarter.
Lord Harrowmont has also opened up the Provings for young warriors to test their mettle before tomorrow's battle.
Rumor has it that Harrowmont hopes you'll be swept off your feet if a well-placed young nobleman wins the Proving in your honor.
I could use a little sweeping off my feet.
Then shall we go watch nobles flail at each other?
What could be finer? Let's head over to the Provings.
With you as always, my lady. The day is ours until the feast.
Welcome to Dragon Age! Our noble lady archer Bianca starts with loyal goon Gorim as her first party member. He's a tanky fighter, there to get hit and hit back hard.
That orange stuff is flowing magma by the way.
I will never understand why father felt the need to install a lava powered heating system.
It does keep the place warm.
Orzammar is a mile underground, everyone wears armor all the time, and, oh yeah: there's a volcano outside. We could stand to be a little less warm.
There's few things to poke at in your room to unlock Codex entries (see the end of the post). You can also grab some basic gear from this chest.
You can examine items to get some information, or maybe a bit of lore, if it's a rare item. Or sometimes just a funny comment.
My Lord Bhelen?
I... I'm sorry, I thought you were Prince Bhelen coming down the hall. I... forgive me.
Who are you?
She's... er... it seems she's one of your brother Bhelen's newest... um, companions.
Yes, thanks Gorim. I do know what sex is.
Prince Bhelen is attending the feast being held in Lady Aeducan's honor.
Yes, of... of course. It was presumptuous of me to think that he would return to--I am sorry.
I will show myself out, with your leave, my lady.
Go or stay, I don't care.
Thank you. I will go now.
Well, that was just sad.
Man, where does Bhelen find these women? Is there a club for the terminally stupid somewhere in Orzammar?
Sure. It's called the Assembly.
...You've been waiting to use that line, haven't you?
It was a punchline in search of a joke. Much like the Assembly itself.
THE DIAMOND QUARTER...
Ah, Orzammar. The City That Never Sleeps And Also Constantly Smells Like Burning Hair.
Shall we look at the merchant stalls?
Lay on, Macdwarf.
It's in the records. There's nothing I can do!
Please, Master Vollney, my work is accredited by the shaper!
These books are lies written by the enemies of House Vollney.
I write only what I find in the ancient records!
Lady Aeducan! You can vouch for my work, can't you?
Your father loved my History of Aeducan: Paragon, King, Peacemaker!
Wha--? What's going on here?
This worm has written a book that slanders my house!
What does it say? Is it erotic?
It doesn't matter! It's all lies!
What exactly has he written, Bruntin?
He says that Vollney--the Paragon who founded my house, known throughout the world as the greatest of men--was a fraud!
When the Assembly names a Paragon, that man or woman is then, by definition, everything one can aspire to be in the world.
They form their own noble houses, and are revered as living ancestors.
Oh, so that's what a Paragon is. Glad you explained it. It's not like I hear about my glorious ancestor literally every day of my life.
Ahem. Yes. But Paragons start off as men. O-or women!
Vollney was more than a man!
Which one was Paragon Vollney again?
He invented the aglet.
Huh. You learn something new every day.
Why is Bruntin so angry?
Vollney became a Paragon by the narrowest margin in history--one vote. A vote mired in rumors of intimidation, intrigue and outright bribery.
Who'd have thought aglets were so controversial?
The records of that vote are kept in the Shaperate and are a matter of fact.
Not liking history doesn't make it any less true.
Uggghhhh... It is way too early in the day to be dealing with a debate like this.
Shut up, Gorim.
Look, the scholar is right.
You're taking his side? What if he published a book like this about your Paragon Aeducan?
The truth is more important than your pride.
You would not say so if it was your house, but I shall respect your wishes. For now.
That fool has no idea how weak his house is or how low he sits in it.
Shall I have him killed, my lady?
What do you think, scholar?
Well... historically it has been prudent to eliminate a small threat before it becomes large.
Yeah, but... I'm not that prudent. Let the poor fool live.
As you say.
You've shown House Aeducan a friend to research, history and the glory of our people.
It was mostly to put Bruntin in his place.
Whatever the motivation, you did a wonderful service for me this day.
Now I must try to make sense of these notes.
Good day, your Highness, and thank you.
Have you head about tomorrow's assault on the darkspawn burrows?
They're going to strike a blow at the horde, but rumor has it they are actually searching for Branka.
The Paragon? Why search? The ancestors have risen her up to join them.
You don't think she's still out there?
Nobody's told me we'll be searching for Branka, and I'm the one in charge. Supposedly.
Maybe your brothers would know.
I would prefer to avoid my bro--Oh, sh--
Atrast vala, big sister! How surprising to run into you out among the common folk.
Especially since duty requires that you attend our king father at the feast today.
Have you so little respect for him to disregard his wishes on a day set aside for you?
Lord Harrowmont told me we wouldn't be needed for hours at least--
Silence! If I want the opinion of my sibling's second, I will ask for it.
Yes, your Highness.
Don't speak to Gorim like that.
I speak to lower houses and castes as they should be spoken to. Now do as I say.
Keep barking orders. I'm sure I'll care someday.
Your lack of a sense of duty to your house is obvious. I can't imagine why you are receiving a commission.
I expect after tomorrow I'll spend much time apologizing to the heads of the noble houses for the deaths of their children under your incompetent command.
That's a bit harsh, isn't it, Trian?
As heir to the throne, it is my duty to impart wisdom and judgement upon those who need it.
Now then, you, get to the feast!
It's cute how you think you can order me around.
I'd advise you to watch that tongue, dear sibling. Father will not live forever.
That was fun. Nothing like being talked down to by the next king.
Ignore him. It's my day, not his.
That it is. Let's get back to enjoying it, shall we?
NEXT TIME: Let's get ready to rrrrrrrrrumble!!!
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
The City of Orzammar