Part 4: Mo' Money, Mo' ProblemsPART 4: MO' MONEY, MO' PROBLEMS
Having just won the Proving, Bianca Aeducan heads to the feast being held in her honor. But dwarven politics can complicate even the simplest events..
Time to get presented to the nobles.
Perhaps you should have a servant clean your armor first.
Nah. A little blood always impresses the stuffed shirts.
Those humans look like Grey Wardens.
The raid tomorrow must be more than a standard mission. The Wardens only go where the darkspawn are the greatest threat.
Who cares? Look at all the cheese and booze! It's going to be a good night.
[Cheese seems to be very popular in Thedas. Cheese wheels show up everywhere, in all three games. See how many you can spot!]
My Lady Aeducan, might I bother you for a moment?
Many thanks for your willingness to hear me out, my lady.
I wish to speak to you of a matter most urgent.
Gorim, how much time do I have?
It looks as if the heads of House Bemot and Meino are keeping your father busy.
Which leaves you plenty of time for our dear old friend, Lord Dace.
You're a credit to your
You honor me, my lord.
He's mocking you, Gorim.
Gosh, really? You don't say. Etc.
What? I would never do such a thing!
Indeed. I know, I just can't resist teasing him.
(Laughs) You're a clever one, always have been. That's why I'm hoping for your help.
All right, go ahead.
First, let me congratulate you on your commission.
Two of King Endrin's children now commissioned war-leaders. It does great honor to your house.
You didn't stop me to exchange pleasantries.
Ha. No, I surely did not.
Let us just pretend we spent another ten minutes wishing good things on each other's houses, yes?
There is a vote coming before the assembly next week, and a word from you could go a long way towards helping our cause.
I'm going to regret this but... What cause?
[do you trust this man?]
The vote concerns the status of the so-called surface caste. Lost to the Stone, air-touched, and so forth.
Air-touched is the dumbest term. We're all air-touched. We'd be dead otherwise.
Centuries ago, narrow-minded men declared that any dwarf who left to live on the surface forfeited his caste and his house if noble. That he was, in essence, no longer a dwarf.
I seek only to remedy an injustice, to retie the bonds of anyone who can trace himself to one of the noble houses, wherever he may live.
Please, agree to speak for this noble cause.
What selfless devotion you show to the less fortunate, Lord Dace.
No, seriously, why this particular cause?
Those on the surface are our lifeline. They facilitate trade with the surface. They're honorable and... um...
Let's be honest, I don't care a whit for those who have wandered from the Stone. My wife, however, is a gem of a different color.
She has a cousin, a useless sort, but she is quite fond of him. He joined a speculative venture to the surface, hoping to make his fortune and went bust.
Now he wishes to come home, but he cannot for he has no house and would be casteless. For my wife's sake, I take us his cause. Will you lend me your voice?
Much as I love fixing other people's marriages, what do I get in return?
I keep my ears to the Stone, my lady.
I hear many things, some of which could be of great help during your mission tomorrow. A little forewarning to your forearming, if you know what I mean.
I want hard currency, not rumors.
Saving for a run for the Assembly? Never mind, if hard currency is what you wish, hard currency is what you will have.
How does a hundred sovereigns sound?
...I mean, sounds good. What can I do?
When your father presents you to the noble houses, I will ask for your opinion on the matter.
You have merely to say that you feel our surface brothers should be returned their noble rights.
What could be more simple?
[If you thought that all sounded as suspicious as fuck, you'd be right. Fortunately someone's about to explain Dwarf Politics for Dummies.]
You're a fool.
Your mother would melt the Stone if she knew what you just did.
Gorim, did you hear something?
I'm staying out of this, my lady.
Do not mock me, girl.
Lord Dace is playing you false. Go ahead, be his puppet. Your first command will be marked by every major house turning their back on you.
If you have something to say, do so.
If you are to play in the games of the Assembly, make sure you know the motivations of the players.
Last spring, a guild from the Merchant caste invested heavily in an expedition with a guild from the surface.
Lord Dace backed this merchant guild, pouring a great deal of money into the venture. The expedition was a disaster.
So this is Lord Dace's play to recover his losses?
Lord Dace lost a great deal of money and prestige.
The surface guild has no way to repay the investment. But it does have several leading members who are descended from noble houses.
House Helmi, Bemot... Aeducan.
If the surface dwellers returned to their noble houses...
You begin to see the whole picture.
Not really. I was just trying to speed this conversation along.
Hmph. I will cease insinuating and just spell everything out then, shall I?
Please. If we don't hurry this up, Lord Bemot will have finished off all the roast nug.
Your house and mine would be forced to pay the surfacer's kin debts. It would be a great victory for Lord Dace.
But standing up for the surfacers is the right thing to do. Also profitable.
The surface caste gave up their noble ties willingly, generations ago. Will you humiliate your house and your father, for them?
I think we have different definitions of willingly. I'll think about it.
Well, don't think too long.
...OK, I'm done thinking.
Are you going to confront Lord Dace?
Nah. Helping the surfacers is the right thing to do, regardless of Dace's motives.
Also: 100 sovereigns Gorim.
It does focus the mind. Shall we speak to the humans now?
Greetings, my Lady Aeducan.
[Hey, it's the guy from the introduction!]
It is an honor to meet you at last.
At last? Have you been waiting for me?
Not as such, but your father never misses a chance to boast of your skill and bravery.
He says you may be the quickest fighter in all of House Aeducan.
There is no may about it, I am the best.
Ha! Yes, he mentioned your humble nature as well.
We need more Grey Wardens like you. And quickly.
Even as the darkspawn weaken here in Orzammar, they are stirring on the surface. A Blight has begun.
Soon the fight must go beyond the Deep Roads, lest the darkspawn threaten all the world.
Good. Let them leave our city and pester the humans.
No one is safe from a Blight. If the darkspawn overrun the surface lands they will return in even greater numbers.
Orzammar would perish along with the rest. None of our lands is truly self-sufficicent.
Great, my promotion came just in time for the end of the world.
I do not know as much as I should about the Grey Wardens. I slept through the intro cinematic.
You know of our dedication to destroying the darkspawn, our frontline presence during the Blights, our impeccable dress sense. What else would you know?
Are there many of my people in the Grey Wardens?
Over the centuries, many dwarves have made names for themselves in our order.
These days, however, there are fewer dwarves and thus even fewer dwarven Grey Wardens.
A pity, since dwarven warriors have the most experience fighting darkspawn.
What does joining entail?
Being a Grey Warden means abandoning all ties to your old life. It means dedicating yourself to destroying the darkspawn.
I don't think I could bear such a difficult life.
Then it is a good thing that you have other paths before you. Some are not so lucky.
But I am sure none of this information will ever be relevant to you, and that this will be the only time we speak.
I wish you luck in the Deep Roads tomorrow. Show the darkspawn the might of your people.
Gloomy old sod, wasn't he?
I don't think the Wardens look for raconteurs when recruiting.
My king, please reconsider. The trade contracts alone could bring great prosperity to our houses...
Will we really turn out backs on our brothers and a potential fortune in cheap labor because of a political technicality?
Denial of the traditions of our people does not qualify as a political technicality!
There is more to life than monetary gains, my lords Bemot and Meino. The Assembly of Kal Sharok will respect the rule of Orzammar, or they will rot and die alone, surrounded by enemies.
[Kal Sharok is the only other surviving dwarven city. As Orzammar was the capital of the old Dwarven Empire, Kal Sharok should be subservient. *Should*.]
Yes, my King.
But look, we have company to spare us further wrangling.
Atrast vala, my sweet daughter. How fine you look in your grandmother's armor.
Dear old Grandma. Always ready with a kind word or thrown axe.
I hear you were declared champion of the Provings! (Chuckles) I suppose you were never one to sit by when something exciting was going on.
Are you ready to be presented to the heads of the noble houses?
Well, if I must.
These rituals have their place. It behooves you to get to know the nobles and let them know you.
Lords, ladies. Grant me a moment of your time.
Who would pose a question to the prospective commander? Who seeks to know the prospect better?
I have a question. I seek to know the prospect better.
Lord Dace, head of House Dace, speak.
Lords, ladies, my question concerns the plight of our wayward kin, the so-called surface caste.
What does the commander prospect think is the proper place for these lost souls?
They are as we are, and should have their rights returned.
Thank you, my lady. I am satisfied.
Then if there are no other challenges...
I give you Orzammar's next commander!
Wow, that was easy.
Tomorrow, our newest commander will lead part of a mission to strike a great blow to the darkspawn.
Not only does this recover access to some of our most important mines, but it also allows our honored guest Duncan, head of Ferelden's Grey Wardens, to strike far into the Deep Roads.
Thank you, King Endrin. While the darkspawn seem to withdraw, it is only because they are massing on the surface. This could mean a Blight, and my men and I will discover the truth.
We are honored to have you with us, my friend.
Now, feast, drink and celebrate, for the morning brings battle!
As for you, my new commander, find your brother Trian, and send him to me.
He may be watching the Provings, or getting some rest in his rooms.
Can't you send a servant? We have enough of them.
Don't question everything. Just go, for the ancestor's sake.
That doesn't answer my--
Oh, forget it. Best get my payment from Dace before he sneaks away.
That was well spoken.
Am I going to regret helping you?
I sincerely hope not.
So, yes then.
Here is a note of credit for the hundred sovereigns. The chamberlain at my estates will pay you after the battle tomorrow.
Now, I must be off to prepare for tomorrow. Do excuse me.
[A hundred sovereigns is a lot of money. A lot of money. Enough to buy everything worth buying in every shop in the game.
But if you do what Dace said and hold on to the note until tomorrow, you will never get a chance to cash it in. This is due to Plot.]
[So you need to go sell it to a merchant. Right now. Go to see your brother like Dad suggested and you will lose the note forever.]
[Most vendors only offer 25% of an item's worth when selling.
25% of a shitload of money is still an awful lot of money though. The 25 gold will set us up for a good loooong time.]
[So, that's why we went along with Dace's plan, despite everyone telling us what a bad idea it was. Also these nobles now think we're an idiot.
We could have simply said no to his scheme, or said yes and then publicly humiliated Dace, or demanded House Dace make amends because the Lord's lying ways offended our dwarven honor. The last option has you fighting and killing Dace's son in the arena.
Dwarven dinner parties are intense is what I'm saying.]
Trian! Trian!! Where are you, you useless...
So, you are a commander now. In name at least.
Shouldn't you be attending our father?
You two weren't at the feast.
The world does not stop and start with your meager achievements. Not even tonight.
Now, do you have some purpose in bothering us?
Father is worried you're too much of an ass to be prince.
You push your luck
Bhelen, get to bed. We have a big day tomorrow. I will see what our father wishes from his heir.
All day I've put up with that. He can really grate on the nerves.
I agree. I'd probably use stronger phrasing though.
And what I'm going to say next won't make you any more fond of him.
You sound serious, Bhelen.
Unfortunately, I am.
Trian has begun to move against you.
I never thought his much-proclaimed honor would allow him to actually act on his jealousy.
Big sister, Trian is going to try to kill you.
[CUE OMINOUS MUSIC]
...How do you know?
I overheard him giving orders to some of his men, and I was shocked. Then it began to make sense.
Trian's decided you're a threat to him taking the throne. Maybe he's right.
How am I a threat to Trian?
He fears what you are becoming, in the eyes of the people and the Assembly.
Trian's the named prince, but only the Assembly can proclaim a king.
I'm glad today's the day everyone decided to explain how society works, else I'd be really confused.
It would be unusual for the Assembly to ignore the king's choice, but it does happen.
The founder of House Bemot became a Paragon and king in one move from the Assembly, and he was a commoner.
That was an extraordinary case. But at least a half-dozen times, the Assembly named a lesser family member--or even someone from another house--as king.
Twice, it was a woman.
So, Trian thinks the Assembly would prefer me?
Look at it from his perspective. You're more personable than he's ever been.
You entered the Provings held in your own honor, just for glory and to please the crowd.
And for a sweet hat.
Whatever. If you win glory against the darkspawn tomorrow, it will only strengthen the case for you as next heir...
Trian fears Father will replace him on the spot. If not, the Assembly will surely turn against him when Father dies.
You know his pride will never allow him to step aside.
That, and he's an asshole.
What's your angle in this?
It seems Trian has shown that brother's can't always be trusted.
I am next in line. If Trian succeeds, how long do you think I'll live?
Hrrrmm. Gorim, what do you say?
Permission to speak freely?
I asked, didn't I?
Trian would be a terrible king, but no one wants to say it.
He has enough backing in the Assembly to make it ugly when your father dies, but not enough to become king.
Killing him now makes your house stronger and saves a great deal of bloodshed later.
Do we kill our brother?
YES- He is horrible and would be a bad king and also we would get to be in charge.
NO- Murdering family members is wrong! Even the ones trying to kill us.
NEXT TIME: Mission to the Unknown.
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
King Endrin Aeducan
House Aeducan, Shield of Orzammar