Part 118: Eff The PolicePART 118: EFF THE POLICE
Bianca and pals have travelled to the City of Amaranthine in search of adventure! And information. And money.
[Literally the first thing you see once you're through the gate is this guy, the friendly constable who helped us past the gate guard in the last update.]
Ah, Warden-Commander. I take it you've decided to help us? C'mere you! Give old Constable Aidan a big hug.
I don't hug. I don't learn either. What exactly is happening here?
With trade slowed to a crawl, smugglers have moved in--selling stolen goods at exorbitant prices.
If we could shut down their operation and seize their supplies, we could distribute it to the needy.
How do I find the smugglers?
There is a smuggler doing business in the market. He probably knows where the hideout is.
We haven't been able to get anything from him, but maybe you can.
I'm on it. Eventually.
[Readers with long memories will recall that in the last update we got a quest from a suspicious fellow to help out with smuggling operations. Amaranthine City has two mutually exclusive questlines- one where we help the smugglers gain control of the city and one where we help the guards. Completing one quest for either will lock out the other side permanently.
The questlines are also buggy as shit and can stop us from completing a companion's storyline if we do them early, so I'm not going to help out the constable or the smuggler until we finish that.]
[Amaranthine is basically a big square. West is the market, east is the Chantry, north is the guard HQ and south is the refugee camp. We're heading up to the Chantry now.]
[On the way we can have a disturbing conversation with Oghren by interacting with this sign.]
So, er... you think there's an apothecary around here somewhere?
Well, at... I don't want to bother you with this, you being my boss and all...
Do you need healing herbs? We have those. Plenty of delicious poultices.
I've tried those but they only stop the itching for a few hours...
Right, look. For the past few days I've had this... burning rash. The skin's actually got a sort of greenish look to it...
What did you touch this time? And what did you touch it with?
I didn't touch anything!
You know, I bet its that Grey Warden stuff we had to drink.
I've never heard of it causing a rash.
Eh, I'll just see if I can't find some nice minty balm somewhere in this town.
Minty balm... minty balm... stop thinking about it. Stop thinking about it. Stop. Stop...Wait, Is that...?
(Gasps) Oh, it is so good to see you, my friend. I contemplated visiting you at Vigil's Keep, but things... got busy.
Hi, Wynne! What's happening?
The College of the Magi is convening in Cumberland, and I must attend. Hopefully all this will blow over before it's begun.
[Wynne always shows up here if she survived Origins.]
But you have enough on your mind as it is. I shant trouble you with this further.
(Persuade) Indulge me. These events affect more than just mages.
Very well. Then perhaps you should know that something stirs within the fraternities.
Delta House up to its old antics?
The Libertarians wish to pull away entirely from the Chantry. And if they get enough support...
Pull away entirely? That's madness. Ron Paul's gone too far this time. I hate Chantry oversight as much as the next mage, but they can't just decide to leave.
[The various 'Fraternities of Enchanters' were only mentioned in passing in Origins. In summary: Loyalists adhere to the Chantry line, Libertarians favor self-regulation, Isolationists want to abandon human society altogether, Lucrosians want to make money, and Aequitarians are the boring centrists. Wynne is an Aequitarian.]
This is a recipe for disaster.
That is troubling.
Well, it could turn out to be nothing. But keep your ear to the ground, anyway.
Now, I have a great many preparations to make before I leave for Nevarra. But perhaps there is something you can do for me.
One of my... colleagues, Ines, has spent the last few months in the Wending Wood. The Circle has been unable to reach her, given the trouble in the area.
If you happen to find yourself in the wood on your travels, perhaps you could tell her about the meeting of the College.
What's she doing in the Wending Wood?
Oh, who knows. Rooting around in the dirt for some obscure plant or other, most likely.
She has a keen interest in gardening. Oh, I'm sorry, I meant botany.
I'll keep an eye out. I probably won't tell her about your brutal slam against botanists though.
Hobbies and eccentricities aside, Ines is a well-respected mage and a voice of reason, something we could use on our side.
The hour is late and I must go. It was wonderful to see you again. Take care, my friend.
[And thus ends Wynne's cameo. The fracture between Mages and Chantry that she speaks of will go on to dominate the plotline of Dragon Age 2 and Inquisition, despite not really being a thing in the Origins story.
This is the first instance of Bioware setting up a sequel in a game's DLC, a trick they would repeat in Dragon Age 2 ('Legacy'), Mass Effect 2 ('Arrival') and Dragon Age: Inquistion ('Trespasser').
Anyhow, let's check out the Chanter's Board.]
[Here's one we can do! 'Come to their defense' is the traditional euphemism for 'kill all the bastards'.]
A pretty potted plant.
I wonder who left it here.
[We don't have the companion this is a gift for yet. We're just stealing it for no reason. Y'know, like a hero.]
[The thugs we need to kill are back outside the gates.]
[There's a few little gangs scattered around the area. Nothing too challenging. It's literally free XP!]
[This mid-animation shot emphasises something I never really noticed before- that Bianca is shooting arrows almost as tall as she is. Serious upper-body strength there.
Also, that dude in the back is doing jazz hands so hard his arms caught on fire.]
(Sigh) Don't go digging in the dust for things laid to rest. It does no one any good.
Whatever people say about him, he was still my father. And I just want to know if he... if he suffered.
I'm not the person to ask.
(sigh) Very well, Oghren. Evade the question.
[Oghren's rare sensitive side there. He wasn't actually present when Arl Howe bit it anyway, but I don't know if this dialogue changes if he was. Probably not.]
[Also outside the city gates is this mysterious box. You never find out who Homer is or was. They were probably a cat though, because the box contains...]
[This is a gift for Ser Pounce-A-Lot, by way of Anders.]
[Speaking of Anders, this tree provokes an interesting conversation, for some reason.]
Ah, can you smell that? That is the smell of freedom.
It comes complete with the smell of dogs and dust, but the freedom is in there, too.
That's just someone baking a pie.
The fact that there are pies around to smell is a step up for me. I've led a pie-less existence, more or less.
I escaped from the tower seven times. After the last time, they put me in solitary confinement for a year.
Eventually, I'm sure they would have branded me a maleficar, true or not, and executed me.
Was the Circle of Magi so bad?
The problem is that mages are tolerated. Barely. It's like you need permission to be alive.
There's nothing a mage can do to prove himself. Everyone needs to be protected from you. The end.
There has to be a better way.
The Tevinter Imperium has a better way, but we know how that argument ﬂies around here.
Don't Imperium mage's drink the blood of slaves?
All political systems have their problems.
(Sigh) All I want is a pretty girl, a decent meal, and the right to shoot lightning at fools.
That might be stretching it.
Well excuse me for living.
Never mind me. Now and again I recall that I'm not sitting in a cell and I have to smile, that's all.
[Let's head back to the Chantry.]
Repent and have faith, and you shall know the peace of the Makers benediction.
Show me the money, honey.
[As in Origins, you hand in Chantry quests by talking to the dogma spouting priestess standing near the board. Our reward for this one is just a bit of XP.]
[Outside the Chantry is another generic religious statue...]
It figures, actually.
Those statues are everywhere.
There used to be another statue here.
It was of Byron Howe, my great-uncle. He died in the rebellion, helping King Maric reclaim his throne.
Yet his statue is gone. All because of what my father did.
I'll get them to replace it. Unless it got turned into a rockery.
Don't bother. Nobody here will want to see it.
There's a long line of heroes in my family. The Howes have been around since Calenhad. Now it's all gone.
And for what? For being on the wrong side of the war. For choosing poorly.
Your father was more involved than that.
Maybe you're right. I wish I knew exactly how.
He tortured and killed innocent people in a desperate attempt to gain real power.
I just wish I knew exactly how.
HE TORTURED AND KILLED--
I. WISH. I. KNEW.
I wonder what happened to the old statue. Likely propping up the side of a chantry or something. Poor Arl Byron.
Ah, statues are for pigeons. I don't want to look at it.
Oh look, the pub.
[The Crown and Lion is Amaranthine's
I can't handle all this local color.
[The bartender sells some great thieves equipment, but we can't afford most of it.]
[This seems... familiar. Have we seen this before?]
But Andraste could call on the maker.
That would be cheating. Are you calling Andraste a dirty cheater?
She cheated on her husband, didnt she? (Laughs)
This bar has too much theology for me.
[This... collection box is next to the door.]
Seems legit. (You donated to the Blight Orphans.)
(Grumbles) Women are drawn to you when you play with that cat.
Stupid... mage. Every time I pull something out of my robes, the women just ﬂee.
I'll save the lesson on negging for another time then.
[Near the pub is this grumpy elven lady.]
Oy! About time you showed up!
Namaya? You're still here?
I keep my promises. Here, turns out you were right. The cache is here in Amaranthine.
It is? You found it?
I did. What you do with that information is up to you. I, for one, am done dealing with mages.
Doctor Reynolds posted:
God damn people are weird looking in this game.
Word of advice--don't let him sweet-talk you. He's very good at that.
I'm good at it too.
Er, I guess I should thank you...
Damn right you should. You get caught, Anders, I'm not helping you again. That's all I'm saying.
I... suppose that requires some explanation.
No! Not at all! Don't be silly.
I am ﬂuent in sarcasm. You can't fool me!
Namaya is... a friend. Last time I escaped from the tower, I asked her to look into some things.
That's why I was in Amaranthine. The templars thought I'd come to take a ship, but it was to meet her.
To find a cache?
During the Blight, the templars moved their store of phylacteries to Amaranthine for safety.
My phylactery is among them, Namaya learned.
So long as the templars have that sample of my blood, they can find me. I need to destroy it.
But you're a Grey Warden now.
What's to stop the Chantry from deciding mages in the Grey Wardens are apostates too?
I'm basically a saint, Anders. I've actually touched Andraste. Bits of Andraste anyway. The Chantry's not going to do anything to the Wardens.
I want to be sure they can't ever find me again. Ever.
If that's what you want...
It is. It really is.
I know we're busy killing darkspawn and all. But the sooner we find this vial, the better I'll feel.
[It's good idea to do this quest as soon as you get it, because it's very easy and you get some cool free armor for Anders from it. The phylacteries are stored in a warehouse in the south of Amaranthine.]
Hm. Probably not.
[The cupboard in the corner contains this useful mage armor, and the Lorekeeper's set of mittens, boots, and cowl.]
[In Origins, only Warrior and Rogue armor gave set bonuses for equipping all the parts. Now, in Awakening, mages get into the action with some sweet new buffs.]
And here I almost believed the infamous Anders wouldn't take the bait.
Ah. Yes, I suppose I should have known it would be you.
Wait, you were just hiding around the corner?!
That's a pretty lame trap.
Yes... but... darn it.
You made a poor choice with this one, Commander. Anders will never submit, not to us and not to you.
[This is the same templar lady that showed up with Alistair when we recruited Anders.]
He has made a fine Grey Warden so far.
'So far', yes.
I'll make sure that this murderer is never a bother to anyone again.
What? No, you can't arrest me! King Alistair allowed my conscription!
The Chantry's authority supersedes the crown in this matter. You cannot hide within the Grey Wardens' ranks.
No. He stays with us.
Hardly surprising. The Grey Wardens have ever been a haven for criminals and maleficar.
I do not know how you inspire such loyalty, Anders, but it will avail you naught. Now you come with us.
[Knife fight time! The templars are pretty weak so, as long as you're not foolish enough to have your mages throw out AoEs in the confined space, this battle is easy.
Hmm. I wonder if Namaya knew about this? I guess it doesn't really matter.
Thank you. You stood by me, and I appreciate that.
You're a friend. Friends stick up for each other.
I... guess they do.
Anyhow, let's go before someone else rushes in to waggle a ﬁnger at us.
And if anyone asks, the Templars were already exploded when we found them.
NEXT TIME: The Wolf! The Dark Wolf! Legally distinct from the White Wolf!
NEW CODEX CONTENT: The Crown and Lion