Part 24: The Dark TowerThe vote showed a clear majority for travelling to the Tower, and a slightly less clear majority for the party of Sten, Alistair and Leliana. So, without further ado...
PART 24: THE DARK TOWER
The Grey Wardens (plus associated hangers-on) travel to the Circle Tower on Lake Calenhad, in the hopes of recruiting the mages to help fight the darkspawn...
The Circle Tower. Your one stop shop for meddling with what man was really not meant to know.
...Did the architect have some sort of complex?
Probably. It is a Tevinter building after all.
Hey, I think there's a pub down there!
The dwarven sixth sense kicks in again.
I recognise that man... He was on a Blackstone wanted poster.
You have some kind of problem?
I'm here on behalf of the Blackstone Irregulars.
Oh? What is this about?
I hear you stole supplies from the guild.
How sad it is to see a Grey Warden manipulated. But I have no time to straighten this out for you.
What, do you have another campfire to get to?
Men, let's teach the Grey Warden a lesson about trust.
[Sammael attacks with a weak swordsman and archer as backup. Apart from Sammael's relatively high HP this fight is a pushover.]
Alistair! Fight now! Architecture criticism later!
I wonder what he meant when he said I'd been lied to.
Most people would not care about the prattling of thieves.
Most people haven't been embroiled in about two dozen conspiracies recently.
[Just up from the thugs is a boat Barkley can piss against to gain this region's Mabari buff. Just to remind you that this is an actual mechanic.]
[In the other direction are these fine gentlemen.]
Why, bless my soul, what's a distinguished personage like yourself doing here?
Finally, someone up here notices.
I dunno who you are mind. But I'm guessing you're a noble, with a dog like that.
...I was looking to get across the lake to the tower.
Ha! Don't hold your breath. No one's been allowed across the lake for days.
I'm the ferryman, leastwise I used to be. Poor old Kester, out of a job.
I don't got a clue. They wouldn't tell me.
Greagoir just came down, and said, "Don't you worry, Kester. We got it all under control, we do." Didn't say nothing else.
And then he puts Carroll in charge of my boat, Lissie! Named for my grandmum, she was.
He's knight-commander of the templars up in the tower. Good man.
Is something wrong up at the tower?
I told you. They didn't tell me nothing. And if I know them mages, I'm better off keeping out of their business.
If I had to guess, I'd guess it had to do with magic.
Magic?! At the Mage Tower? No! Surely not.
The tower's always got something to do with magic.
But I have to get there. I'm on official business
Don't look at me. I told you, I'm not the ferryman no more.
Greagoir's told me to stay here 'til it blows over. But I'm telling you, some storms don't blow over easy.
...Maybe I could convince the templars to let me in.
Maybe you could at that. I'm sure your mind's all a-fire now, eh?
So you know the knight-commander Greagoir well?
Oh, I can't say that. I'm lucky he's good enough to give me the time of day.
The first enchanter's all right. He's polite as can be, but he's always a little distant, if you get my drift. But Greagoir'll stay to talk. I reckon he likes hearing from us common folk, you lmow?
He's a man to be respected, that Greagoir.
What are your opinions on the Circle?
I reckon it's good for them mages. Gather them all, learn them some proper magics.
I know what they say about mages but... the Maker made them for a purpose. If you can't trust him, who can you trust?
I can't say. Good day, Kester.
All right. Keep safe, you hear.
[Next to Kester is a man in a silly hat, which is a clear sign of mageness if ever there was one]
You're the Grey Warden, aren't you? Exactly who I was hoping to meet.
Do I have a sign stuck to my back? How come everyone knows I'm a Warden?
I'm a mage. We have our ways.
Also, that guy you just killed was shouting pretty loud about it.
I represent a collective of mages interested in going about their lives without the constant scrutiny of the Chantry.
Isn't that against the Chantry's laws?
We harm no one, I assure you, and we enforce the Chantry's laws among ourselves. All we seek is life outside of templars' shadow.
Next to me, and in every major settlement, you will find an inconspicuous sack containing requests from mages all over the land who need the assistance of someone skillful and discreet.
Those are both adjectives that occasionally apply to me. I'll take a look at these requests.
Thank you, my friend; We have agents in every major settlement to reward you for work done on behalf of the collective.
Maker's smile upon you.
[The Mage's Collective is the third variety of quest board in the game, after the Blackstone and Chanter's boards. Virtually plotless sidequests that send you all over the world for a few coins and crumbs of XP. Still, if you're in the area you might as well do 'em, right?
Also, Krebulash the Epithet is the greatest mage name ever.]
I hope you know what you're doing, helping apostates.
I can deal with a bunch of weenies in silly hats.
That's what they all say. Rrrright up to the point their blood starts boiling out of their eyes.
I've been in livelier crypts.
Good day, and welcome to the Spoiled Princess! Is there something I can get for you?
Why is the inn called The Spoiled Princess?
It was my father's idea. He ran the inn before me, and he named it for my sister. She was his little princess.
Princess decided the country was too dull for her, and moved to Denerim. "More glamorous," she said.
Well, she was found murdered, robbed of all the trinkets my father bought her with his hard-earned money.
My father died of shock and heartbreak, Mother stopped eating, and I got the struggling inn. The name stuck. That's the story.
I enjoyed that story.
...I'd like a drink.
Of course. What would you like?
[The inn doesn't sell anything useful, but it's a good opportunity to stock up on health poultices and crafting materials.]
The inn was a bust. Let's try the pier.
You! You're not looking to get across to the tower, are you? Because I have strict orders not to let anyone pass!
I didn't know you had a brother, Alistair.
Very funny. It's a common hairstyle, I think you'll find.
I need to get to the tower.
No one gets to the tower. No one! The tower is off-limits to all!
I am a Grey Warden, if you haven't heard already. Let me in.
Oh, you're a Grey Warden, are you? Prove it.
I have these documents here...
Yes? Oh, a Grey Warden seal. A-ha. So you're claiming to be one of those.
You know, I have some documents, too. They say I'm the queen of Antiva. What do you think of that?
Aren't queens female?
Don't question royalty!
Anyway, it was nice chatting with you. Now on your way. Right now. Go.
Can't we work something out?
Hmm... I don't know. Y'know, I am feeling a little peckish, though.
You want me to feed you?
Parshaara! Here! Munch on these if you like.
I am content to part with them if it saves us from this fool.
Thank you, Sten.
Mmm, yummy. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, yes? We can go across now, if you really want.
Yes, let's go.
Come along, I suppose.
[Besides Sten's sweet tooth bailing us out, we could have also persuaded/intimidated Caroll into letting us across, or bribed him with a whopping 40 gold. If you don't have the stats or want to spend the money, then Leliana or Morrigan could use their feminine wiles to persuade him. ]
I like them.
I do not wish to discuss it.
I wasn't saying anything.
AT THE CIRCLE TOWER...
...and I want two men stationed within sight of the doors at all times. Do not open the doors without my express consent. Is that clear?
The doors are barred. Are they keeping people out? Or in?
Now we wait, and pray.
You're Greagoir, I assume.
Who are you? I explicitly told Carroll not to bring anyone across the lake.
Bianca. Grey Warden. Darkspawn thwarter.
We are dealing with a very delicate situation. You must leave, for your own safety.
But I seek the mage's help to defeat the darkspawn.
I am weary of the Grey Wardens ceaseless need for men to fight the darkspawn, but it is their right.
You'll find no allies here. The templars can spare no men, and the mages are... indisposed. I shall speak plainly: The tower is no longer under our control.
Abominations and demons stalk the tower's halls.
This is why we cut the tongues from mages, in Par Vollen.
I must admit to agreeing with your companion. Maker knows the qunari would not have gotten themselves into this position.
How did this happen?
We don't know.
We saw only demons, hunting templars and mages alike. I realized we could not defeat them and told my men to flee.
You should have fought them. I thought that was your job.
They took us by surprise. We were prepared for one or two abominations--not the horde that fell upon us.
[An abomination is a mage possessed by a demon.]
What is your plan?
I would destroy the tower, raze it to the ground, but I cannot risk more of my men. The doors remain shut and they will protect us for now.
That's no solution. Doors can be broken.
We do not mean for the doors to stay closed forever. Everything in the tower must be eliminated.
I have sent word to Denerim, calling for reinforcements and the Right of Annulment.
What does that mean?
The mages are probably already dead. Any abominations remaining in there must be dealt with, no matter what.
This situation is dire. There is no alternative--everything in the tower must be destroyed so it can be made safe again.
The mages are not defenseless. Some may still live.
If any are still alive, the Maker Himself has shielded them.
A good reason not to kill them all then.
No one could have survived those monstrous creatures. It is too painful to hope for survivors and find... nothing.
But it was you who shut them all in!
And what was I to do? Leave the door open as the abominations poured out?
He... he's right. All the Circles have doors like these, to prevent abominations from... getting loose.
Denerim must have received our message--it cannot be much longer.
There must be something I can do.
You? What can you do?
I could find out what really happened in there. It seems an unlikely coincidence that your Circle falls at the same time a Blight starts and civil war erupts.
I too would like to know how this started.
Well then. I will investigate the tower and see what can be done.
You must face and slaughter the abominations to get to the bottom of this. Are you sure you can handle them?
I have confidence in my abilities.
If you succeed, I would owe you much, enough that I would pledge my templars to you.
Without word from Denerim, I must determine our course. Surely destroying darkspawn is a worthy goal.
We have an agreement then.
A word of caution... once you cross that threshold, there is no turning back. The great doors must remain barred. I will open them for no one until I have proof that it is safe.
[He isn't kidding about this. We'll be stuck in the tower until the end of the quest.]
I will only believe it is over if the First Enchanter stands before me and tells me it is so. If Irving has fallen... then the Circle is lost, and must be destroyed.
[He isn't kidding about this either.]
May Andraste lend you courage, whatever you decide.
[We can talk to Greagoir again, for a little more info.]
Yes, was there something else you wanted?
I had a few other questions.
The tower has been quiet for awhile. I suppose I have time to answer your questions.
The templar at the docks seems a little odd.
Carroll. He's... generally a good lad, but a little strange, yes. He should probably be in Denerim, but I could spare no one else.
How did you become a templar anyway?
My history does not concern you. I am sure you have better things to do than pry into someone else's personal life.
You would be surprised.
I should go.
[There's a quartermaster over here, who's our last chance to get supplies.]
I wish this were over. We're running low on supplies and I don't know how much longer we'll last.
I'm sure it will be over soon.
I certainly hope so. Are you here to trade then?
All right, let's trade.
[He has some nice stuff that we can't afford, and some okay stuff that we can. It would be a good idea to buy some spare mage armour at this point. Oh, no reason, why do you ask?]
Well, in we go.
NEXT TIME: Old friends and new faces
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
The Mages' Collective
First Enchanter Irving