Part 120: Last Dwarf StandingPART 120: LAST DWARF STANDING
Bianca chases up a rumor about two hunters who encountered an army of darkspawn...
[Outside the gates of Amaranthine is this dynamic duo.]
Looking for some company, honey-pie? I'm always available for riveting conversations with fine women.
I'm not that fine. I can be quite foul on occasion. Are you the hunter who found an entrance to the Deep Roads?
Ah, here to investigate the chasm, are you? Its about time.
I can't take all the credit for finding the rift, you know. Micah here fell in first.
You don't seem happy about your find.
Would've been more useful to find gold deposits.
Oh, will you stop your belly-aching! We found a entrance to murder hell! C'mon, it'll be something to tell the grandkids.
It's quite a ways out of town. We were tracking a buck off in that direction, you see... before this darkspawn mess.
We'd been on his tail for about a week at that point. I'd wager he thought it was great fun, leading us on a merry chase as he did.
Go on. I love boring hunting stories, especially when the fate of the world is at stake.
Great! That buck was a sly one, he was. He had big feet and a--
Oh, the chasm! Yes, er... we saw it coming over a rise.
It really was something to behold, a huge cleft, as though the Maker Himself had cracked the earth in two, like... like an egg.
I like eggs.
It looked like someone had tried to build over it, but it must have been abandoned a long time ago. No one in town knew about it.
Who tried to build over it?
People, I suppose?
That narrows it down.
Maybe even the darkspawn.
Well, of course we had to investigate! That was when Micah fell in. A shriek like you wouldn't believe, and he was gone.
Earth crumbled. Not stable.
Right, and as Micah lay there yelling about his knee or his head or what have you, the darkspawn appeared.
Looks like you survived.
We got lucky.
They seemed... occupied, like they had some place really important they had to be. Didn't notice us at all. Thank the Maker.
The darkspawn were so occupied as to overlook two screaming, injured men? Boggles the mind.
I marked the chasm on my map so we could avoid it, but it sounds like you want to know where it is, so here you go.
So... are we getting anything for our trouble?
Here's a sovereign.
[It is a lot easier to get money in Awakening. A sovereign is basically nothing.]
A whole sovereign? If there's ever a reason to fall into a darkspawn pit, here it is. Maker bless you.
[Words to live by.]
[Awakening does have random encounters on the world map, but they're a lot rarer than they were in Origins. We had a clear run to Knotwood Hills on the other side of the Arling.]
Hm. Red sky at night, hunter's delight. Red sky in the morning, hunter's warning.
That doesn't scan well at all.
Don't blame me. It's folk wisdom. Blame them.
I can't blame the folk. They've suffered enough.
Well, that's a chasm all right.
Who are you people?
Who are these people?
Who were these people?
Those deshyrs cutting costs again.
I take it you are an admirer, Oghren?
What? No! No, well not unless--no!
Good. Then I needn't worry about getting too drunk at camp.
Heh. Okay, I like you. Just not in that way. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
No, of course not.
[At the bottom of these stairs is a chest containing a letter which starts a quest back in Amaranthine City.]
What are the odds he's not dead or Blighted?
This chasm is considerably less bottomless than those hunters implied.
Well, I can't say it has 'more bottom', can I? That would be weird.
[Deep Stalkers are back, and as annoying as ever.]
Hey, there's a bag on the ground.
[We can return this to Micah back in Amaranthine, eventually.]
At least there's some fresh air down here.
Ssh. Darkspawn ahead.
Time to be heroes.
[Not pictured: Anders flash freezing Oghren and Nathaniel with that spell as well. Oh well, a win's a win.]
You're... you're from House Aeducan. I heard about you! They exiled you! Everyone thought you were dead!
I'm not; I joined the Grey Wardens, crowned the new king... Crowned the human king too, found the earthly remains of their messiah, stopped a demon incursion, fought the werewolf king, stopped another demon incursion, thwarted a mad Paragon, stopped a third demon incursion, killed the Archdemon, and invented a hybrid of jeans and shorts that the world is not yet ready for.
The Wardens saved you? And I heard about the new king, but didn't know it was you who did it.
Wow. Everyone must've been talking about you. I've been away from Orzammar too long.
Legion of the Dead business. They get annoyed if you go back, even if you're just looking for the latest gossip.
Anyway, I can't chat for long. I should probably go back... as foolish as that sounds... see if there's anything I can do.
The old fortress of Kal'Hirol There's something going on there. I think the darkspawn are breeding an army.
The Legion went to investigate, but KalHirol proved too much for us. It was a massacre. And now I... I'm the only one left.
[The dialogue in this mission suggests that the Legion has been entirely wiped out, but they show up again in future games. Our new friend here is probably just referring to her branch of the Legion.]
The darkspawn have changed; they're smart now. They destroyed the Legion. I saw them taking some of the women and I wasn't about to stick around for that.
You've lived to fight again another day.
Except it is a fight that cannot be won. Not alone.
But if the darkspawn are really breeding an army... I can't stay here. I have to do something...
Well, you're in luck because I'm an expert in doing something. I am a Grey Warden. I'll go to Kal'Hirol.
Huh. That's convenient. The ancestors must have had a hand in this. I'll show you where Kal'Hirol is. Safety in numbers, yes?
All right. Come with me.
Excellent. With your help, destroying this nest is no longer impossible, merely... improbable!
Oh. An optimist then.
Lets not waste time. Kal'Hirol awaits, and darkspawn, when left to their own devices, get up to all kinds of nonsense.
SIGRUN JOINED THE PARTY!
[Sigrun here is a dual-wielding rogue, so we pack Nathaniel off home and replace him with her.
She also starts with with Legionaire Scout specialisation, which makes her tankier than the average rogue. Legionaire Scout's gain abilities that let them become temporarily immune to knockdowns and transfer HP damage to their stamina bar, as well as passive buffs to health and strength.]
No, I've never been this close to the surface.
Well, you're welcome to come with me anytime. A-ny-time.
I'm sorry, what?
The name's Oghren, by the way... but the ladies pronounce it 'Ohhh-ghren."
It's like watching an ox-cart fall off a cliff.
It's terrible, yet I can't look away.
Kal'Hirol's that way.
I could've guessed from the welcome mat of flesh.
I don't know much about Kal'Hirol, except what the others from the Legion told me. It used to be important, a center of learning for the smith caste.
When the fortress was lost, a lot of what the smiths had learned was lost with it. They've never built anything quite like KalHirol since.
It's Jukka! He's hurt. Bad.
Yes, it's me. Be still and try not to talk...
There must be something we can do.
No... I feel my death upon me. And it is a sweet release...
No, I have bandages! I can help--
You must listen! The...the broodmothers. They are breeding. I saw an... an army. You... you must... you must stop them.
But... but beware the Children. They are abominations, even among darkspawn... (gasps)
What... what children? Whose children?
(Gasps) Forgive me...
Ancestors look kindly on you, brother.
We have to finish what the Legion started. Those broodmothers need to be destroyed.
[The outskirts of Kal'Hirol are riddled with large mobs of darkspawn and pretty lighting effects.]
We won! Strike a victory pose.
We don't do that.
We should start!
[There's an old crate on the other bank of the river.]
[It contains these old, unwearable boots. Kal'Hirol has several items like this, and we'll find out how to fix them later. It's weird that all the other ancient junk we found around Ferelden is in perfect working order except here. Entropy apparently works in Kal'Hirol.]
I am going to need a lot of showers after this trip.
This looks important.
(Sigh) The Legion got this far with no trouble. We got careless, and complacent, and stormed the main entrance, up those stairs.
It was a disaster. The darkspawn were waiting. They turned the thaig's old defenses against us.
And more. Ancient dwarven ingenuity, used by the very monsters it was intended to kill.
We need to learn from the Legions mistake. Avoid the main door.
Is there another way in?
Most of the old dwarven fortresses had hidden side entrances. I bet this one does too. We just need to find it.
...Can you hear something?
I have never seen such darkspawn before!
They have... faces.
I've got a very bad feeling about this.
Time for a victory pose?
NEXT TIME: Maggots!
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