Part 135: Elf On The ShelfPART 135: ELF ON THE SHELF
The Architect! A mysterious intelligent darkspawn carrying out terrible experiments on mankind. And elfkind. And probably dwarfkind too. Dunno about qunarikind. Anyways, he's bad but we killed his pet dragons and forced him to flee his hidden base so... we good?
[Well, we've finished with this spooky mine/temple/laboratory and Velanna the Racist Elf has agreed to join up with our happy gang of misfits. Let's go home.]
[There's a door leading to the world map just outside the boss arena. But when we leave...]
[No, I don't know why he took off his cool mask he was wearing in the last update. Check out that melty face.]
No, it is lost to us now. There is no point in returning, Utha.
Your former comrades are impressive. They will be difficult to convince.
No, Utha. I will fulfill my promise to you. All is not lost, yet.
Come. We must prepare for battle.
BACK AT THE RANCH...
It's good to be back. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and no-one's demanding I kill more peasants.
[Our escapades have netted us a pile of useful materials for the keep's craftsmen.]
I found this ancient bark in the heart of a living tree.
Why would bark be inside the tree?
I'm not a treeologist, Wade. I dunno how it works.
Oh... amazing! This might be heartwood.
I'm not exactly sure. The Dalish elves are so prickly about sharing.
If I were allowed to experiment with this, I might be able to make a bow... or a shield, yes.
I can't do that right now, you understand. Here's a list of materials I need.
They may be a triﬂe hard to come by. But you must get them!
[Wade's crafting recipes are very videogamey. Despite running a keep and commanding a legion of troops, the only place in all the world we can get oil is by stealing it from the kitchen of bar in Amaranthine. Similarly, our only source of catgut is a dead cat in the Blackmarsh. The ruby at least can just be bought from a shop.
The hardest item is the grandmaster rune, which needs a party member trained in master level runecrafting and a huge amount of resources to craft.]
I have everything you need for the heartwood.
Marvelous! Oh, happy, happy day.
So what should we make? A deadly bow? A stout shield?
The bow sounds perfect.
Of course. Now, over there!
And it's done. What a marvelous wood.
Here you go. Now leave, before I tear up.
[Needless to say, this is a damn good bow.
There is one more cool weapon we can get from Wade that I missed earlier.]
[Near the corpse of that spooky ghost dragon we killed is a piece of dragon bone I missed.]
[Wade is pretty interested in this thing.]
Can you make anything with this ancient dragonbone?
Where did you find this? I could make a blade, a blade unparalleled! Oh my, oh my!
Where's that list? Quick, gather these things! Hurry! There's history to make here.
[Most of these things we can find in stores, except for the egg, which we just found in the Silverite mine, and the rune, which again requires a companion to craft.]
Is this everything you need for the dragonbone sword?
Yes, yes! We can begin.
[We have a few questions to answer that affect the properties of the finished sword.]
So momentous. Where to begin? What type of blade would you like?
A two-handed greatsword. Justice needs to hit things harder.
The blade, its balance. Your thoughts?
Raw power. An unstoppable swing.
And for the forging itself? I have Formari-enchanted materials aplenty, and the bone is very receptive.
Make it effortless to swing. I'm concerned about Justice's arms falling off.
Now, let me commence!
[We also get +2 to attack chance, +5 fire damage and +50 stamina. We could also have had it buff our defence or our crit damage instead, depending on our choices. It is a Good Sword]
Look at it. It's my finest work. Use it well.
You're back. You need anything?
I found an ore deposit.
This will help a great deal.
Did no one else think the old silverite mines might contain silverite?
Evidently not. We needed your piercing insight to clarify that.
Wade, the commander found a silverite deposit.
Amaranthine abounds with mineral wealth. Master Wade has more than he needs to equip all of your men suitably.
Thank you so much for finding all this dreary metal. Herren, you must be happy.
Ecstatic. Now, now. No more time to waste.
[Our soldiers are as well geared as they'll ever be. But what about the fort itself?]
Any luck finding the granite?
The Wending Wood has some granite.
Splendid. But I can't risk my men to darkspawn attacks. You'll have to send soldiers to secure the site.
Fine, you'll have your guards.
Thank you, Commander. The Vigil will not fall, I swear it.
[The Vigil is now completely upgraded. It doesn't look all that different from when it was un-upgraded, but it's the thought that counts.]
Why would I feel honored?
Your actions will inﬂuence my opinions of your race. Forever.
Oh. Thank you. I needed more anxiety.
Glad to help!
Speaking of anxiety, it's time for your Joining.
Do I need to dress up for this?
Do you have a dress?
Another wishes to undertake the Joining.
I'll make the preparations.
From this moment forth, Velanna, you are a Grey Warden.
Then let it be.
[I've had to do a bit of judicious editing to get this scene together.
When you finish the last of the three main quests, Varel is no longer able to do Joining ceremonies, as any conversation with him will trigger the endgame. To get this scene, I had to leave the Wending Wood and return to Vigil with Velanna before going into the mine and being captured by the Architect.
Narratively, it makes no sense for Velanna to join the Wardens at that point, as she only asks to join after the confrontation with the Architect at the end of mine. Hence why I've edited the scene back in now.]
She yet draws breath, Commander. She will recover.
Another new recruit. At this rate we'll be back to full strength in 20 or 30 years.
Commander, a word?
I need to thank you--for letting me join the Grey Wardens, for showing me the surface.
But I hope you don't think I've abandoned the Legion.
Aren't our purposes the same?
The Legion and the Wardens do have much in common. I'm glad, for it means I haven't broken my oath.
In Dust Town, my word meant nothing to anyone. Then I joined the Legion and took a vow to protect Orzammar.
That's worth something. For once, I'm worth something. And I must honor that... even if it means I'll die.
That's noble of you.
In the Legion, death looms over us constantly, like... like a dirty uncle. Here, death seems distant.
I don't want to unpick that metaphor right now.
When the surface is safe, I'm going back to the Deep Roads. For a Wardens last walk. For the Calling.
You can't. It's not your time yet.
You can't make that choice for me, Commander. Each Warden decides when she is ready, doesn't she?
I finally understand what Varlan meant. I never accepted my sentence. Raging against it only caused me pain.
Now that I've been granted a reprieve, now that I have a choice, I know what I must do.
There's a difference between duty and fatalism.
Not in the Legion.
You've lost friends. I don't want to lose mine.
I... I'm touched but I've made up my mind.
But the darkspawn still threaten the surface, and that is my first concern.
[And that's the end of Sigrun's story, and probably her life.]
[The rest of this update is going to be about wrapping up the last few sidequests and doing Velanna's companion dialogue. You like angry racist elves, don't you?]
What of it?
What you did was wrong. You must make amends.
And to whom should I make these amends? Those humans are dead, if you'll recall.
You must make amends to humans. It was your condemnation of their race that led to your folly.
I wouldn't expect that to occur anytime soon.
ON THE ROAD...
What happened here?
Andaran atishan, travelers. Do not be startled. We only wish to be about our way.
Velanna! Well, well, this is certainly a surprise. You, travelling with--
Humans--yes. Believe me, the irony does not escape me, clanmate.
[You get that dialogue even with an all non-human party.]
We are no longer your clan, Velanna.
What is he talking about?
Velanna was exiled. She does not have a clan. We--
Stop. I do not wish to speak of this.
Marren, the others who left with me... they are dead. And Seranni is gone, taken by the darkspawn.
If she is still alive, we will find her.
Thank you, whoever you are. You have my gratitude.
Ilshae warned her not to go with you, Velanna. You see what you brought on her?
Then tell Ilshae that she was right! Oh, I can see her smug--
Ilshae has passed on.
You know nothing but hatred. The clan is better off without your poison.
Velanna has changed. She's done good things. She helped me kill two dragons. It was great.
You care enough to defend her? Perhaps things are different.
Ah, we have lingered too long. Andruil guide your path, Velanna.
Do not make a fuss over me! Let us be on our way.
Mervis! Hey, Mervis!
You're back! Have you any news?
[Mervis is the man from episode 19 who hired us to fix this 'burning caravans' business.]
I've dealt with your problem. The killings should stop now.
Really? Oh, that's wonderful news!
I hope the culprits have been brought to justice.
Would you like to say something, Velanna?
[Velanna is the one responsible for this 'burning caravans' business.]
No. I would like to leave.
Er... greetings, um, my lady. Surely I have you to thank as well, for the--
Urge to leave not abating...
I... er... yes...
I promised a donation, didn't I? Here... take this, with the Merchants' Guild's compliments.
(Persuade) Is that it? After all I've done?
Well, I... er, I suppose we could spare a little more.
It was a pleasure to meet you, Warden-Commander.
This seems unjust.
It's just to be paid for your work.
You didn't actually apprehend the culprit though. You gave her a job.
Room and board too.
The important thing is that the darkspawn have been stopped.
Their leader escaped.
The important thing is that we did something, somewhere, and I want money.
[There's a few new companion interactions around town.]
This is a beautiful tree. I did not expect to find one strong and thriving in a shemlen town.
Nature always finds a way.
Nature does, indeed.
You may not recognize, but this is a dahl'amythal--the tree of Mythal. Our keepers staves are cut from its like.
Our keeper, Ilshae, had such a staff cut for me, for when I would take on her role.
But you were exiled.
Ilshae will have given my staff to someone else. Faladhin, perhaps. She was always fond of him.
Ah, enough of this. I wish to move on.
Curious. This man I inhabit once worshipped this woman, her and the one they call the Maker.
Do you believe in this Maker as he did?
I am a dwarf. We believe differently.
In the Fade, some spirits believe a creator gave us life and separated us from this world.
But do they believe that only because they see the Maker in the dreams of mortals?
So much of the Fade is created by spirits desperate to emulate your kind.
You mean the spirits don't know?
Many do not care. Demons live in the moment, but those of us who seek something greater... we wonder.
You could ask the Chantry some of these questions. They'll probably try to set you on fire, but you might learn something.
Here, you can be certain that what is has always been. Is that not comforting?
This world changes all the time, just not physically.
Events occur, but they occur within context. You take the structure of your world for granted.
Faith requires structure and belief. In the Fade, we have neither.
I see why the demons are so eager to pass through the Veil. It is something to consider.
[Last thing to do in Amaranthine is return the ring we got from a dying Warden in the last update.]
[The Warden--Keenan--wanted his ring given to his wife after his death. We find her in a hotel room with another man. Awks.]
Is there something you want? My companion is not comfortable around strangers.
I'm Warden-Commander Bianca. I often burst into other people's hotel rooms in the middle of the night.
I see. This... this must be about Keenan, then.
I...um, sweetheart, could you give us a moment alone?
Is... is Keenan... dead?
[There is a classic asshole dialogue option here: "Probably. Here have a ring." Let's play it straight though.]
Yes. He died making the world better for all of us.
He said that, did he?
His wedding ring. Thank you for bringing this back to me.
Keenan always said he joined the Wardens to give me a better life.
Was it really better for me to be alone in a strange country? Wondering if wed ever have a family?
You were cheating on him, weren't you?
He was gone for months at a time, often with no word. Was I supposed to wait forever?
He forgot that I'm a living woman, not just a symbol of something he was fighting for.
Love can only take you so far.
We'll just... go.
BACK AT VIGIL'S KEEP
Looking pretty good. Granite walls really improve the landscaping.
You did. I saw you.
Fine! But it smells good. Like fallen leaves and sunlight. Arent elves supposed to be close to nature?
Figuratively! We dont stuff our noses in it.
[We can talk with Velanna in the keep now, after seeing that event with her clan.
Also- dragon egg decor!]
Are you at all curious about my exile?
If I said yes, would that earn me a tongue-lashing?
You make me out to be some kind of shrill harpy!
My mistake. Yelling is clearly out of character for you.
You-- (sigh) Fine. I suppose your mockery is justified.
The humans near where you met me were trying to drive my clan away. For a while, we resisted.
Then they tried to burn us out. They would have destroyed the entire forest just to keep us from their farms.
The others were afraid. Keeper Ilshae said that if I wanted to fight the shemlen, I would fight them alone.
And you left, even though it hurt you?
I think Ilshae expected me--wanted me--to back down. but I was too proud and too angry.
Thus I called Ilshae a coward, and I turned away from the clan.
Do you regret what you said?
Yes, but Ilshae is dead. It is too late. And I do not know if I deserve forgiveness.
Look at what happened to those who followed me. Seranni only came because she hoped I would relent.
A few others wanted what I wanted, and left with us. They are dead now.
You sister can still be saved. She's still alive at least.
Do you really believe that? sometimes I think you have more hope than I.
I've been doing this a long time now, and I know how drama works.
Come. there is no point in dwelling on the past when there is work to be done.
[So, Velanna. She's come too late in this playthrough to get much characterisation, but I honestly kinda like her. She has a proactive, can-do attitude to murdering humans, and I can get behind that.
I've never played Awakening with an elven Warden, and I'm curious whether they changed her interactions to take account of that.]
I envy you, sometimes.
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
Must you mock me at every turn?
Your children will have have heard of at least a half-dozen of your Paragons before the age of three.
These tales are taken for granted, they are so abundant! Oh, it makes me angry, sometimes.
We Dalish have lost most of our history and our legends. What we do remember, we hold dear.
We can share stories. They belong to everyone.
But does a human child value the tale of the Paragon Aeducan as much as he does Dane and the Werewolf?
Stories connect us to our past. They shape a people in profound ways. Without them, we are lost.
I just wish I could do something to restore this lost part of our soul.
Make your own stories.
Now you are just being ridiculous. (Snorts) Let's get on with the day.
[We wrap up Velanna's tale with this gift, the Blank Journal, which can be found in the Chantry in Amaranthine. Which I had to hurriedly revisit because I forgot to pick it up the last time I was there.
If we give it to Velanna (or another companion) before having the conversation above, then there are no rewards for using it.
But if we wait and give it to Velanna now...]
What? This book is empty. Why have you given me this useless object?
Because you are going to fill it.
Fill it with what? Recipes for roast boar and pudding?
Stories, for the Dalish.
Stories? For the... oh. It's the silliest idea I've heard, but... but brilliant at the same time.
The Dalish will never recover what we've lost. It may be time to start creating tales anew.
Perhaps one day they will be what connects my children and their children to their past--to me.
I... I see now that this is a gift to be treasured. And I... I thank you.
[And that's it for Velanna. Time for the endgame.]
Who are these people?
Commander. Many of the lords have gathered.
The darkspawn have fielded armies--and the nobles want to know how you will protect them.
Shall I assemble them? Or do you need more time to strategize?
Assemble the men. We're going to war.
I will send messengers at once.
We've waited enough. Those who are late will just have to be filled in.
Lord Eddelbrek, this is the Commander of the Grey's council, not yours.
I am fearful for the villages on the plains.
There's a darkspawn army--army--in the field. And with the soldiers returning to the Vigil...
The enemy is out of hiding. We must find them and strike.
This is no--
What is it, girl?
A darkspawn army is within sight of Amaranthine.
Maker protect us. They're attacking the city?
Amaranthine has been undermanned for weeks. She may not last long.
Our forces cannot move quickly enough. But a small band might make it in time.
But that's... suicide.
We must try.
This is where I come in, right? I will rally the city's defenders.
If anyone can turn the darkspawn tide, it would be you, Commander.
Fighting a horde of darkspawn with almost certain death awaiting? Don't even think of leaving me here.
Who do you want to take with you, Commander?
[This is a Big Choice, as it decides our party for the entire endgame. However, there is another Big Choice almost immediately afterwards, so I'll skip over it for now and let you, the viewer, vote on our party at the end of the update.]
And so it is decided.
The rest of us will stay here. Maker protect you and hold you close, Commander.
I don't remember the city smelling this bad before.
I'll explain later.
[You get launched into combat immediately. Fortunately, the enemies aren't too hard and you have some NPC soldiers and Garavel to help.]
[It always amuses me that Grievous Insult works on darkspawn. Why do they care?]
Please, Grey Warden! Save my family! My family's in the city!
Please, calm yourselves, while I speak to the Warden-Commander.
Warden-Commander. I am glad you arrived when you did, but I fear there is little that can be done now.
A couple of nights ago, a swarm of... of gruesome creatures emerged from beneath the city.
They spread pestilence and destroyed everything they touched. Then, at dawn, the other darkspawn attacked.
Warden-Commander... it's too late. Amaranthine is lost.
Snap out of it, man. People still live.
The buildings might remain, but there will be few survivors so long after those creatures appeared.
Their corruption is so virulent... At least a quarter of the city succumbed within the first day.
Constable! There is a darkspawn approaching, alone!
Archers! Take him down!
Peace! Do not be killing! Only talk! Architect has a message, for Grey Warden!
Stand down, Constable.
As you wish, Commander.
The Mother's army, it marches to Vigils Keep. She attacks now! The Architect, he sends me to warn you!
First, are you going to explain to me what in the various hells is going on? With your little civil war we got dragged into, and this The Mother and The Architect and all The Other Nouns, and the way you all can talk now, apparently? I have been traipsing around the countryside for months and no-one has given me a straight answer yet.
Is... not my place.
You must save the keep, then finish the Mother in her lair!
Why were you sent to warn us?
The Architect wishes to have the Grey Wardens' trust. He does not wish to see the mother succeed.
If we leave now, we may be able to make it back to the Vigil in time to save it.
And what about the darkspawn here?
Soon, they will go to Vigils Keep as well. The Mother, she wants the keep destroyed utterly!
(Grunts)The darkpawn has a point. We cannot leave with this other army hot on our heels.
The constable says the city is lost. I say we destroy it. Burn it, and all the darkspawn within.
BIG ENDING CHOICE TIME
a. Destroy Amaranthine ...and save Vigil's Keep from the darkspawn?
b. Save Amaranthine ...and abandon Vigil's Keep to its fate?
Also, who is in our party for the endgame? Pick three out of Oghren, Anders, Nathaniel, Sigrun, Justice and Velanna. The ones we don't take with us will be left behind in the Keep.
NEXT TIME: God's bones
NEW CODEX CONTENT: