Part 8: Moving On UpPART 8: MOVING ON UP
Bianca has been framed for murdering her brother, Trian, by her other brother, Bhelen. Exiled from Orzammar, she has been sent to die in the monster-infested Deep Roads below. Her only hope of survival is to locate a party of Grey Wardens said to be hunting in the depths...
[So here we are. All our inventory was confiscated when Bianca got thrown in prison. We have no armor, no healing items, and only a basic dagger to fight with.]
I don't want to know what these stains are.
[Lord Harrowmont did give us a nice sword... which Bianca can't use because she doesn't have 13 strength. Oh well, we'll just have to stick with the dagger.]
[After killing the spider, we find some leather armor and a shortbow on a nearby corpse. These will help a lot.]
I wish that corpse had had some lootable boots. My feet are killing me.
Always more of these little creeps. Aren't you all supposed to be on the surface by now?
[We can find more treasures on random corpses scattered throughout the tunnels. We'll never be able to use this most excellent armor, but it's worth a far amount of money.]
Find the Grey Wardens he said. It'll be easy he said.
Oh wait, there they are.
By the Maker, it's a dwarf!
What are you doing here alone? Where are your troops? Why aren't you wearing any shoes?
One question at a time.
Forgive me. Your appearance startled me. We expected to be alone here.
May I ask what happened?
I have been exiled.
Exiled? To these tunnels of death? What crime could be so terrible?
I do not think matters of dwarven honor are any business of ours. You need not answer, friend.
Not answer? I want to shout it from the rooftops. I was betrayed by my brother.
No, Bhelen. Trian is dead.
I see. The brutal intrigue of the dwarven court continues, then. Your father intimated as much.
There is no reason for you to walk these Deep Roads and die for something you did not do.
You have already proven yourself both resourceful and skilled, and I would expect nothing less from an Aeducan.
I have been searching for those with your level of ability. Your exploits in the Deep Roads set you apart.
As leader of the Grey Wardens in Ferelden, I would like to formally invite you to join our order.
Well, I can't see as I have much choice.
You have no idea how often we hear that.
We leave immediately for Ostagar to join with the human forces facing the darkspawn hordes, led by King Cailan.
No paperwork? No training? Not even an introductory seminar?
Take weapon. Put weapon in darkspawn. Repeat.
I will fill you in on your responsibilities when we reach Ostagar. Now, stay close. There are still darkspawn around every corner...
IMAGINE A TRAVEL MONTAGE...
[The human kingdom of Ferelden. The southern part of it at least. Orzammar is located under a mountain range to the west.]
We will be travelling south through the hinterlands to the ruin of Ostagar, on the edges of the Korcari Wilds.
The Tevinter Imperium built Ostagar long ago to prevent the Wilders from invading the northern lowlands.
[The Imperium is the mighty power that once ruled the world. It still exists, although greatly diminished.
The Wilders are Generic Tribal People Type #6: Vaguely Pagan.]
It's fitting we make our stand here, even if we face a different foe within that forest.
The king's forces have clashed with the darkspawn several times, but here is where the bulk of the horde will show itself.
There are only a few Grey Wardens within Ferelden at the moment, but all of us are here,
This Blight must be stopped here and now. If it spreads to the north, Ferelden will fall.
No pressure then.
Business as usual, really.
Ho there, Duncan!
King Cailan? I didn't expect--
A royal welcome? I was beginning to worry you'd miss all the fun!
Not if I could help it, your Majesty.
Then I'll have the mighty Duncan at my side in battle after all! Glorious! The other Wardens told me you've found a promising recruit. I take it this is she?
Allow me to introduce you, your Majesty.
No need to be so formal, Duncan. We'll be shedding blood together, after all. Ho there, friend! Might I know your name?
Can we skip the introductions? It's been a long trip. I can't believe I haven't been able to find a pair of boots this entire time.
I remind you that you speak to the king of Fereldenl
Don't worry, Duncan. You must both be eager to reach your tents. Have you any news before I go?
Your uncle sends his greetings and reminds you that Redcliffe forces could be here in less than a week.
Ha! Eamon just wants in on the glory. We've won three battles against these monsters and tomorrow should be no different.
You sound very confident of that.
Overconfident, some would say. Right, Duncan? *Laughs*
Your Majesty, I'm not certain the Blight can be ended quite as... quickly as you might wish.
I'm not even sure this is a true Blight. There are plenty of darkspawn on the field, but alas, we've seen no sign of an archdemon.
Disappointed, your Majesty?
I'd hoped for a war like in the tales! A king riding with the fabled Grey Wardens against a tainted god! But I suppose this will have to do.
Who'd have thought the apocalypse would be such a letdown?
It's just not living up to the hype.
I must go before Loghain sends out a search party. Farewell, Grey Wardens!
[Loghain is the general in charge of Ferelden's armies. We'll meet him in the next update.]
What the king said is true. They've won several battles against the darkspawn here.
Yet you don't sound very reassured.
Despite the victories so far, the darkspawn horde grows larger with each passing day. By now, they look to outnumber us.
I know there is an archdemon behind this. But I cannot ask the king to act solely on my feeling.
Why not? He seems to regard the Grey Wardens highly.
Yet not enough to wait for reinforcements from the Grey Wardens of Orlais. He believes our legend alone makes him invulnerable.
[Orlais is the fantasy France to Fereldan's fantasy England, with all the issues that implies.]
Our numbers in Ferelden are too few. We must do what we can and look to Teyrn Loghain to make up the difference.
To that end, we should proceed with the Joining ritual without delay.
What do you mean? What ritual?
Every recruit must go through a secret ritual we call the Joining in order to become a Grey Warden.
The ritual is brief, but some preparation is required. We must begin soon.
Why is this ritual so secret?
The Joining is dangerous. I cannot speak more of it except to say that you will learn all in good time. Until then, you must trust that what is done is necessary.
You couldn't have made that sound more ominous if you tried.
Fear is the appropriate mindset for what is to come.
Am I the only recruit you have?
No, there are two other recruits here already. They have been waiting for us to arrive.
At least I'm not in this alone. What do you need me to do?
Feel free to explore the camp here as you wish. All I ask is that you do not leave it for the time being.
There is another Grey Warden in the camp by the name of Alistair. When you are ready, seek him out and tell him it's time to summon the other recruits.
Until then, I have business I must attend to. You may find me at the Grey Warden tent on the other side of this bridge, should you need to.
Well, this is it. You're a surfacer now.
By the Stone, how do they cope with all this sky?
NEXT TIME: Scouting for boys.
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
The Grey Wardens