Part 139: My God, It's Full Of StarsPART 139: MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF STARS
The search for Morrigan has brought Bianca back to the Circle tower, where a meddling librarian has suggested a trip to the basement...
[Now this dweeb has muscled his way into the party... Maybe muscled is the wrong word.
Finn is a really good mage, completely optimised for spell throwing and starting with some powerful equipment to further bolster his stats. It's the last DLC, we're all tired, and Bioware doesn't want to make anything more difficult than it has to be.]
[Firefly reference #1.
Firefly came out eight years before Witch Hunt. Someone on staff was a big fan.]
[Firefly reference #2.
Finn's equipment tells a story, and that story is 'I am a massive nerd with over-protective parents'. It's interesting to meet the one mage in Ferelden who apparently wasn't disowned the instant they started making sparkles appear.]
[Anyway, we need to get to the book repository and Hadley has the key.]
Hadley! Just the man I was looking for.
Not looking very hard, were you? I'm always here.
(Chuckles) Good one. So I... eh... need to go into the repository.
No? Why not? I'm not some drooling apprentice.
It's because of me, isn't it?
No. The sentinels have been behaving erratically, so the repository is locked for everyones safety.
Oh. Well then... er... sorry for bothering you.
Nut up, Finn. What happened to them?
Unfortunately, we are still not sure yet.
The repository isn't crucial to the daily functioning of the Circle, so we've left it until we can spare more men.
Always something to be killed, and I'm the one to to do it.
(Sighs) Very well, it's your necks. But before you go, what's so important down there?
The statue. It knows things about Tevinter, and I need to speak to it.
All right. Be careful, and keep the mess to a minimum.
You know that talking to inanimate objects is a sign of insanity?
Not when it talks back.
It's complicated. It wasn't always a statue. You'll see.
This better not get weird, Finn. If the basement's full of mannequins, I'm leaving.
Huh. Animated armor janitors. Why do mages never do anything simply?
Because it wouldn't be fun!
[And the gimmick for this level is... ]
[...invincible enemies! It's pretty neat, actually. The sentinels will infinitely regenerate until you destroy the Veil Tear, at which point they all become peaceful. Combat is about balancing between attacking the Tear and holding off the Sentinels.]
I think we need to move the tower somewhere else. Reality has become far too worn on this island.
This used to be where the phylacteries of the apprentices were stored. They've since been moved to a more secure location.
[This dialogue is a reference to the Mage Origin story, because Witch Hunt is the nostalgia DLC. The phylacteries have been moved because the Mage Origin player character and their pal Jowan (remember him?) committed Wizard Crimes down here.]
Is it... good... to keep so many magical artifacts in one place?
Well, it's convenient. I'm sure nothing bad will happen.
Armor ghosts just tried to kill us.
That's not connected to the artifacts! That's... some other magic thing. Probably.
The prison is breached. I see the encroaching darkness.
Wow. It does talk.
The... the shadow will consume all...
It seems... afraid.
Something is causing it distress. The tears in the Veil, most likely. The statue's useless until we mend the Veil.
Hm. Nice globe.
No. Do you?
Er... no! Of course not...
[There are five more Tears to destroy before we can talk with the statue.]
That one's throwing spells at us! How does that work?
It's made of magic. It's simple force transmutation.
But that would be like me throwing my own blood at enemies... I mean, I've actually done that a few times, but it never ended well.
Go fetch! Shoo!
Why not? Once heard of someone with a really smart mabari, who would run off and fetch things like... like cake.
...I think this one's broken.
[There's barely any loot in this dungeon. The only thing worth mentioning is a cool robe we can get from this chest.]
You don't get many moths down here, do you?
The templars have always vigilant about such things, ever since Knight-Commander Jolgern was eaten by a giant moth.
Stupid damn cloud!
That was the last of them. The sentinels should stop trying to kill us now.
Let's get back to the statue.
[I edited out most of the Tear fights, because they weren't very interesting. C'mon, it's update 397 or whatever. I've run out of things to say about magical fightmen.]
Blessed Creators! Why does everyone ask that of people from other cultures?
Er... I didn't mean--
What about you? Are you named after an honorable fish's appendage?
Well, um, "Florian Phineas Horatio Aldebrant, Esquire" was a bit of a mouthful.
And I... was tired of the other apprentices calling me "Flora."
Here we are.
I am the spirit of Eleni Zinovia, once consort and--
Advisor to Archon Valerius, blah, blah, fall of the house. Yes, we've been through that.
You two have a close relationship? Have you dressed her up? Put lipstick on her?
We've conversed before, on the Imperium. Just conversation. Nothing else. Nothing weird.
It's hard to get answers out of it--requires parsing all the grandiose mumbo-jumbo.
We know where a broken Eluvian lies. Can it still be used to find the others?
Scry. The broken glass, dagger-sharp, will be your key.
Broken glass? From the mirror?
The Lights of Arlathan will illuminate the scryers path.
The archons possessed them, but they were misused, befouled, and lost, like so much else the Imperium touched.
Some were saved, carried by fugitives from the elven city. Their sorrow awoke the Stone, and her children sheltered them.
They found a sanctuary in the deep halls of Cad'halash, now known as Cadash. There the Lights of Arlathan lie, shielded from unworthy eyes.
Cadash thaig? Impossible, it's not that old.
So you know of it. Convenient.
I helped a golem through a personal crisis there. But you haven't answe--
Goodbye Finn. We will not speak again.
It means you're going to die!
[There's nothing else to do down here, so let's return to the ground floor of the tower.]
Now mage, tell us what's going on.
The Eluvians are linked. All of them. If you have one, you can find the others, if they still exist.
But the one you know of is broken, and corrupted. So we need something else to... amplify the magic.
The Lights of Arlathan.
How will this help us find Morrigan?
Morrigan is interested in the Eluvians. We find them, we find her.
Let me come with you; I can help. Please!
Really? You don't seem the adventuring type.
I thought the mirrors were all destroyed. I can't pass up this chance at actually finding one.
Your knowledge would be helpful...
I had permission to leave the tower to continue my research some time ago... but I never had the opportunity till now.
I guess there's always a first time, huh?
Ready to go when you are.
Oh, and make sure Finn behaves himself out there.
(Groans) You're like my mother. Stop it.
FINN JOINS THE PARTY FOR REAL!
[We also get a few sovereigns for repairing those rips in the fabric of space/time. I feel like our labor has been undervalued somewhat.]
Let me just get this again. Your name is Florian... Phineas...?
Did your parents hate you?
No. They adore me. In fact, I'm sure my name is a result of overwhelming love replacing good sense.
[That's it for the tower. Onward to other rehashed locations!]
BACK IN THE DEEP ROADS...
I'm not sure I like the Deep Roads. Fewer darkspawn than expected, but it feels like we're being watched.
I'm responsible for that. Both parts of that.
Wait, why did we stop? Is this Cadash thaig?
Yes, I've been here before.
Right. So, I've... er, been going through my old notes. Hmm.
And I came across this footnote. Apparently, the elves would magically conceal relics of great signiﬁcance, thus shielding them from unworthy eyes.
And given what the Tevinters did, I'd say they count as unworthy.
You don't say.
So the Lights of Arlathan are under this enchantment?
I hate to say it, but yes. We wouldn't be able to see the Lights of Arlathan if they were right under our noses.
If the elves concealed the relics with magic, only the blood of their kin will reveal them.
Ariane... we need your blood.
Just a few drops, that's it! Barely an armful!
Ariane, please. It might help us. It might not but, eh, what's a bit of blood between friends?
You share the same blood as the Arlathan elves, so you're the only one this enchantment might recognize.
Fine. Just because hearing that gets me all tingly. A few drops.
I'll... be gentle.
My spell will reveal vortices of magic. Standing in them should allow us to see the energy being drawn to the relics, which will lead us to them.
[It's a pixel hunt without pixels!]
Good to know this place is still terrible.
What do we do with it?
Just walk in. Perfectly safe!
Gooooo intooooo theeeeeee liiiiiiiight.
Why do I have to do it? I saved the world! Twice!
Yeah, but what have you done recently?
...the world was in danger?
Do you see it? Can you follow the path?
[Standing in the light fountain causes the screen to go blue and a procession of glowy orbs to appear. Follow the orbs, find the prize.]
I always thought dwarves must be dull without magic, but this place is amazing.
[There's a few darkspawn milling around, but this place is less of a challenge than the tower. No respawning enemies to worry about.]
Oh ho, what's this?
The Cadash dwarves didn't even know they once had elves living here. Wouldn't this to be remarkable enough to record in the Memories?
"Remarkable enough?" The Memories record a thousand years of court gossip, real estate disputes and the dietary habits of the monarchy. This more than qualifies on interest alone.
[The nearby energy thingy shows the lights flowing into a sealed doorway. Approach and...]
[...this appears. The first of four.]
Very literal minded, those elves of old.
[And then a ghost elf appears.]
Oh, guardians! Thats what that word on the scroll meant!
Hey, you're looking at it.
No, I meant--
Oh, sorry. I'll have to look at that later.
Magic? Special fuel? Perhaps the design of the sconces?
If you're going to point out all the logical inconsistencies in the world, I'm leaving.
Hey! Wait up!
Strange to think of the dwarves giving shelter in this darkness to the elves who fled Arlathan.
[You can't converse directly with Ariane or Finn, unlike companions in the main games, and they don't gain or lose approval either. They do chatter much more about the environment though, which is fun.]
That's two lanterns. We need just a couple more.
[Each area in Cadash Thaig has a few energy thingys that indicate the location of the nearest Light of Arlathan. Collecting each Light triggers a boss battle against an elite guardian, that I can pretty easily squish at this stage in the game.]
[This corpse has an old journal on him.]
[Collecting these old notes is the only sidequest in Witch Hunt, and rewards us with an Achievement at the end. That's it, that's the reward.]
You don't seem that pleased to be out of the tower, Finn. I thought most mages wanted to be free.
Do you see this splotch here, on my robe. That's mud. There's no mud in the tower.
(Sigh) I miss being cozy and dry.
Yes, I think I've got it by now.
[Third of four Lights.]
[Third of four bosses.]
Oh, what we could do if we hadn't lost this magic!
I wish we could question these ancients instead of killing them.
Yes, if only you could talk to the monsters.
[There's another note hidden on a body in a corner nearby.]
[The final Light and note are in the green area at the far end of Cadash Thaig.]
Hmm. Nothing good.
Kal Sharok destroyed Cad'Halash. The dwarves slaughtered their own because they feared the Tevinter Imperium. Despicable.
At least we're almost done down here.
Follow the white light road!
So you've never... been outdoors? Until now?
During my apprenticeship, they thought getting fresh air and exercise once a week would do us good.
Fresh air and sunlight is good for you.
You know what fills fresh air in the summer? Mosquitoes. Hungry for sweet, untested mage flesh.
Well... when you put it that way--
Luckily, it didn't last long. One day an apprentice made a break for it. Jumped off the dock and started swimming for the shore.
The templars couldn't jump in after him, not with the armor on. Finally found him a week later. We stopped having to go out after that.
Looks like it's over... there?
Come to me, of sweet Light of Arlathan!
Ah... yes. Sorry about that.
[Token boss blah blah skip to the end]
We have four Lights of Arlathan--I hope thats enough.
We still need the shard of the Eluvian, though. Let's head to the elven ruins when you're ready.
NEXT TIME: The final update. For real this time.