Part 23: Rose Bushes And Human FleshPART 23: ROSE BUSHES AND HUMAN FLESH
Camping fun with the Grey Wardens! Also, there's an apocalypse or something to stop...
[And we're back. Let's talk with our Warden bro, Alistair.]
What do you need?
Nothing really. Just thought I'd mock you for getting bitten by Barkley some more.
Also... I don't know. You still seem sad. Not just about being chomped. Do you want to talk about Duncan?
You don't have to do that. I know you didn't know him as long as I did.
That doesn't mean I don't mourn his loss.
I... should have handled it better. Duncan warned me right from the beginning that this could happen.
Any of us could die in battle. I shouldn't have lost it, not when so much is riding on us, not with the Blight and... and everything. I'm sorry.
No harm done, Alistair.
I'd... like to have a proper funeral for him. Maybe once this is all done, if we're still alive. I don't think he had any family to speak of.
He had you.
I suppose he did. It probably sounds stupid, but part of me wishes I was with him. In the battle. I feel like I abandoned him.
He saved your life by sending you to the tower.
Yes. I know.
I think he came from Highever, or so he said. Maybe I'll go up out there sometime, see about putting up something in his honor. I don't know.
Dwarves don't practice cremation, do they? How do your people honor your dead?
We entomb our dead within the stone beneath our thaigs.
I... heard about that, now that I think about it. Their spirits return to the rock, strengthening the foundation of the thaig? It sounds so strange.
No stranger than burning your honored dead to ashes.
I suppose you're right.
Thank you. Really, I mean it. It was good to talk about it, at least a little.
Maybe I'll got to Highever with you, when you go. I owe Duncan my life, after all.
I'd like that. So would he, I think.
[All clothing in this game covers the neck, to hide the seam between head model and body. This looks more stupid on some armours than others.]
I'd like to talk
Well, here I am.
Why are you wearing a dog collar?
It's a choker. And it's trés fashionable, you know.
Just so long as you don't start eating mabari crunch as well.
One time! Honestly.
I'll stay away from Barkley's food. Anything else?
This vision of yours...
Are you trying to ask if I'm crazy or not?
Well... It'd be good to know. Preferably before I let you use the sharp knives.
I knew this would come up sooner or later. *Sigh* I don't know how to explain, but I had a dream...
In it there was an impenetrable darkness... it was so dense, so real. And there was a noise, a terrible, ungodly noise...
I stood on a peak and watched as the darkness consumed everything... and when the storm swallowed the last of the sun's light, I...
...I fell, and the darkness drew me in...
You dreamed of the Blight?
I suppose I did. That was what the darkness was, no?
When I woke, I went to the chantry's gardens, as I always do. But that day, the rosebush in the corner had ﬂowered...
Everyone knew that bush was dead. It was grey and twisted and gnarled--the ugliest thing you ever saw, but there it was--a single, beautiful rose.
It was as though the Maker stretched out His hand to say: "Even in the midst of this darhness, there is hope and beauty. Have faith."
Uh. Did you... hear voices?
No, not voices. It's not so simple. He spoke directly to my soul, in a language no human tongue can express.
There are so many good things in the Maker's world. Roses. Shoes. Fluffy pastries. How can I sit by while the Blight devours... everything?
I suppose I couldn't sit by either.
That is why you are a Grey Warden. Come... there is a Blight to stop.
Morrigaaaan, why do you have to have your own camp? We've a perfectly good fire going over there.
If I'd wanted to sleep with dogs and idiots, I would have found an inn. This place suits my needs.
What do you wish of me?
I'd like to ask you something.
If you must.
Did you grow up in the Korcari Wilds?
Why do you ask me such questions? I do not probe you for pointless information, do I?
You could if you wanted to. Do you want to hear my Tales of Orzammar? There's the one where I got drunk and then started a fight, or the one where I got into a fight and then started drinking.
Oh, what luck.
What is it you asked? If I "grew up" in the Wilds? A curious question. Where else would you picture me?
For many years it was simply Flemeth and I. The Wilds and its creatures were more real to me than Flemeth's tales of the world of man.
In time, I grew curious. I left the Wilds to explore what lay beyond. Never for long. Brief forays into a civilized wilderness.
But you kept going back to the Wilds?
Would you not do the same? Your world is an unforgiving and cold place. The Wilds I hail from is home to me, and I a natural denizen.
For all that I had been taught, however, the truth of the civilized lands proved to be... overwhelming.
I was unfamiliar with so much. So confident and bold was I, yet there was much that Flemeth could never have prepared me for.
Very daring. That sounds like you.
*Laughs* Equal parts daring and foolhardy, perhaps.
Only once was I accused of being a Witch of the Wilds, and that by a Chasind who happened to be traveling with a merchant caravan.
He pointed and gasped and began shouting in his strange language, and most assumed he was casting some curse upon me. I acted the terrified girl, and naturally he was arrested.
That was quick thinking.
Men are always willing to believe two things about a woman: one, that she is weak, and two, that she finds him attractive.
I played the weakling and batted my eyelashes at the captain of the guard. Child's play.
The point being that I was able to move through human lands fairly easily. Whatever humans think a Witch of the Wild looks like, 'tis not I.
Pointier hat, bigger nose. More clothing, probably.
Not that I did not have trouble. There are things about human society which have always puzzled me. Such as the touching--why all the touching for a simple greeting?
I have no idea. I'm not human. Perhaps you didn't notice.
Do not speak to me of trivialities. Your culture is not so entirely different.
There were many nuances that Flemeth could never tell me of. When to look into another's eyes, how to eat at a table, how to bargain without offending... none of these things I knew.
Your mother didn't teach you how to eat at a table? Did you not have tables in the Wilds?
We had tree stumps and crates. They were not ideal for learning cutlery etiquette.
I still do not understand it all, truth be told. But, then, I gave up long ago any hope of doing so. When I returned to the Wilds last, I swore to Flemeth that I had no intention of leaving again.
Yet here you are.
Yes. Here I am.
Well, let's get on with it before the ground opens up and swallows us, yes?
[Last on the chat tour is Sten, our lovable murderbuddy.]
Why are we stopping?
We're working together, I think I should get to know you.
There are darkspawn to be fought. Is this delay needful?
Are you all right? You were in that cage for weeks.
You are concerned? No need. I am fit enough to fight.
Physically and mentally?
...I think I'm not going to push this too far.
...You said you were in the army?
Why would the qunari send soldiers here?
The antaam are the eyes, hands, and mouth of the qunari. We are how my people know the world.
Doesn't that make your view of things a little skewed?
Compared to what?
You only learn about people you conquer?
What does anyone truly know of the world? The world changes. We change. The antaam observe what we can, just as you do.
There is no point to this. We are keeping the darkspawn waiting.
What's your hurry?
What a strange language you speak. You say, "hurry" where I would say, "duty."
It's not your duty to handle the Blight, though.
No, it is yours. And you are chatting with me instead.
Welp, good talking with you champ. We should get moving.
As you wish.
Sten's right, it's time to pull up camp and--
I once heard a really old legend about how the Hound Warriors, in the days of the old tribes, would feed their mabari the flesh of the vanquished.
Well, that's what I heard anyway. It would sometimes be human flesh.
(Gagging noises, heaving)
Oh, like you can tell the difference. For all you know, maybe you're already been fed something... someone.
Don't listen to Alistair, he's full of rubbish.
And stop trying to scare the dog, Alistair. We're leaving.
OK. Where are we heading first?
WHERE DO WE START?
The quest begins! We have freedom to travel to quite a few places, but some are slightly out of our level range. For now, here are our choices.
1. Redcliffe Village. Home of Arl Eamon, probably the most powerful man in Ferelden who is not actively trying to kill us. The Arl is apparently dying of some mysterious illness though. Alistair seems keen to come here.
2. Lake Calenhad Docks. Our link to the Calenhad Circle Tower, home of Ferelden's mages. We have a treaty that means we can demand their aid in stopping the Blight. There have been some worrying rumours coming out of the Tower lately.
3. Brecilian Outskirts. People who go into the Brecilian Forest usually don't come out again. The Dalish, or Wild, Elves live here. They don't like outsiders much, but our Warden treaties should protect us.
Vote for your preferred location, and choose 3 party members out of Alistair, Sten, Morrigan and Leliana.
NEXT TIME: It's up to you! There will probably be monsters.