Part 34: Pride Comes Before A FallPART 34: PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL
Back in reality! It's time for Bianca and pals to deal with the traitorous Uldred, rescue First Enchanter Irving and regain control of the Circle Tower...
[Beating the Sloth Demon and escaping the Fade gave Bianca enough XP to level up. I spent our upgrade points on finally learning a Ranger skill (remember when you guys voted on our advanced class? Remember that was a thing that happened?)
Anyway, now we know how to summon wolves. Yes.]
How... How did that wolf get in here?
It took the stairs, same as us.
The... I... I can't argue with that. But I feel like I should.
[The Wolf is a fast light attacker. Not much HP, but it serves as a good distraction.]
Don't worry Barkley, you're still my number one animal friend.
Do you see anything interesting?
(He barks excitedly and runs off.)
(Barkley seems to have found a piece of wood, carved with curious symbols. Dirt still clings to it, and it looks very old.)
(You don 't really know what it is, but it looks like it could be used as some kind of weapon.)
Uh, thanks Barkley.
That flesh goop is everywhere.
We are almost to the top of the tower now.
Wynne, why be there dragons here?
The senior fellows keep them as pets, and occasional test subjects.
Oh, that's adorable. Like a dog that can melt your face off.
[The dragonlings aren't much of a threat, although their flame breath can hit several people if you're all bunched up.]
[This chest contains some new equipment for Barkley.]
[The War Harness gives him better armor and armor penetration, and the Kaddis paint increases his physical resistance by a massive amount. The beef bone gives him a tasty snack.]
Ugh. So... meaty.
[This pretty room is a trap. Approach the unusual glass sphere in the corner and...]
[...you get jumped by a Greater Rage Demon, a Greater Shade and a bunch of lesser Shades. This can go very badly, unless you deal with the Rage Demon quickly, else he'll spam fireblasts until the sun comes down.]
I really wish I could still turn into a big rock monster.
[Your reward for dealing with the demons is a locked treasure chest containing... oh, goddammit.]
They spared one. Curious.
This trick again? I know what you are. It won't work. I will stay strong...
Are you all right?
This boy is exhausted. And this cage... I've never seen anything like it.
Rest easy... help is here.
Enough visions. If anything in you is human... kill me now and stop this game.
You broke the others, but I will stay strong, for my sake... for theirs...
Filthy blood mages... getting in my head... I will not break... I'd rather die.
You're not going to die, not if I can help it.
Silence... I'll not listen to anything you say. Now begone!
Still here? But that's always worked before. I close my eyes, but you are still here when I open them.
I'm real, and I'm here to help you.
Don't blame me for being cautious. The voices... the images... so real...
Did Greagoir send you? How... how did you get here?
We took the stairs, same as the wolf.
I'm a Grey Warden, and I'm trying to help save the tower.
Good... kill Uldred. Kill them all for what they've done.
They caged us like animals... looked for ways to break us. I'm the only one left...
Be proud. You mastered yourself.
Be proud?! What is there to be proud of? That I lived and they died?
They turned some into... monsters. And... there was nothing I could do.
Uldred will pay for what he's done.
To think I once felt pity for the Circle. Now I'd like nothing more than to wipe their taint of the face of Thedas.
Not all mages are evil.
Only mages have that much power at their fingertips. Only mages are susceptible to the infernal whisperings of the demons.
This is a discussion for another time!
Irving and the other mages who fought Uldred. Where are they?
They are in the Harrowing Chamber. The sounds coming from there... oh, Maker...
We must hurry. They are in grave danger, I am sure of it.
You can't save them. You don't know what they've become.
We can't just kill them all.
Yes, we can.
No, we can't.
They've been surrounded b-by blood mages whose wicked fingers snake into your mind and corrupt your thoughts.
His hatred of mages is so intense.. the memory of his friends' deaths is still fresh in his mind.
You have to end it now, before it's too late.
I want to save everyone who can possibly be saved.
Are you really saving anyone by taking this risk?
To ensure this horror is ended... to guarantee that no abominations or blood mages live, you must kill everyone up there.
I cannot decide on that before seeing what's going on.
[We could jump right onboard the murdertrain right now but, alas, we're playing Good People this time round.]
That is your choice to make, but consider what I have to say.
You cannot tell maleficarum by sight. Just one could influence the mind of a king, of a Grand Cleric.
I've made my decision.
Maker turn his gaze on you. I hope your compassion hasn't doomed us all.
[The grumpy Templar's name is Cullen. Cullen goes on to become the Wedge Antilles of the Dragon Age series, a (relatively) normal guy who keeps getting embroiled in apocalyptic events. He has a larger role in DA2's supporting cast, and then becomes one of the hero's advisors in DA: Inquistion. I've no idea why Bioware decided this NPC out of all others needed to jump into the big leagues, but I'm glad he did nevertheless.
Also, if you're a Mage, Cullen shows up in the Origin story as well. He's considerably more affable there, and has a crush on you if you're a lady mage.]
IN THE HARROWING CHAMBER...
Sweet rave party!
Do you accept the gift that I offer?
Aww. They made a new friend.
That's not the most disgusting thing I've ever seen, but it's definitely in the top 5.
Ah... look what we have here. An intruder. I bid you welcome. Care to join in our... revels?
I take it you're Uldred.
Oh. Very observant.
[We have met Uldred before, a long long time ago...]
I'm quite impressed you're still alive. Unfortunately, that must mean you killed my servants.
Ah, well, they are probably better off dying in the service of their betters than living with the terrible responsibility of independence.
I'm sorry. Are you upset I killed your lackeys?
We needn't fixate on who killed whom. That doesn't help our relationship.
Neither does all the creepy magic stuff. What are you trying to accomplish by torturing these people?
A mage is but the larval form of something greater. Your Chantry vilifies us, calls us abominations, when we have truly reached our full potential!
Look at them. The Chantry has them convinced. They deny themselves the pleasure of becoming something glorious.
You're mad! There's nothing glorious about what you've become, Uldred!
Uldred? He is gone. I am Uldred and yet not Uldred. I am more than he was.
I could give you this gift, Wynne. You and all mages. It would be so much easier if you just accepted it.
But some people can be so stubborn.
I'm glad so many of them stood up to you.
And what good did that do?
Something something... triumph of the spirit? Standing up to evil? You get where I'm going with this.
Sure, fine. I still won.
I even have the first enchanter on my side, don't I... Irving?
What have you done to him?!
Stop him... he... is building an army. He will... destroy the templars and--
You're a sly little fox, Irving, telling on me like that. And here I thought he was starting to turn.
That's enough out of you, Irving. He'll serve me, eventually. As will you...
No, I won't. I'd rather die.
Killing you would be a waste.
Your raw potential, with the strength of a demon behind it, would be unstoppable. I can do that--I can give you power, and a new life.
That doesn't sound very appealing to me.
I don't think your opinion matters. That is what I've decided, and that is what will be done.
Also, I don't think dwarves do demonic possession. We're too stony for it.
I'll figure something out.
Fight, if you must. It will just make my victory all the sweeter.
[And then Uldred turns into a Pride Demon. Oh yeah!]
Don't forget the Litany. It will thwart Uldred's attempts to control the mages, and win the fight for us.
[Uldred comes with his 3 Abomination lackeys from the previous conversation. They're all weak, and best killed first while your tank holds up Uldred.]
[Uldred has some powerful magic, including Crushing Prison, which can do big damage to your dudes. It's best to crowd him in melee, so he'll focus on just using Massive Attack. That's a really powerful single target strike, but still easier to defend against than his magic. It is also the name of a good trip-hop group.]
[Uldred's big gimmick is occasionally he'll convert one of the captive mages littering the arena into a new abomination. These are more powerful than the starting abominations, and get stronger the more Uldred converts.
Fortunately you can stop the process by getting close to the targeted mage and using the Litany of Adralla, the magic item everyone's been going on about. Unfortunately, no-one really explains what you need to do, other than the vague suggestion that using the Litany would be helpful right about now.
Once he's converted the 3 nameless redshirt mages, Uldred will try and turn First Enchanter Irving into an abomination. If he succeeds then you can't prevent Commander Greagoir from ordering a tower purge, even once Uldred is defeated. This would be bad news for the surviving, non-crazy mages.]
Shot to the heart...
...and it's lights out.
Uldred? More like... Uldead.
Because he's dead.
Maker. I'm too old for this.
Irving! Are you all right?
I've... ngh... been better. But I am thankful to be alive. I suppose that is your doing, isn't it, Wynne?
I wasn't alone. I had help.
The Circle owes both of you a debt we will never be able to repay.
Come, the templars await. We shall let them know that the tower is once again ours.
Very well, lead on.
I'll need you to guide me down the stairs... Ah, curse whoever insisted the Circle be housed in a tower.
Irving? Maker's breath, I did not expect to see you alive.
It is over, Greagoir. Uldred... is dead.
Uldred tortured these mages, hoping to break their wills and turn them into abominations. We don't know how many of them have turned.
What? Don't be ridiculous!
Of course he'll say that! He might be a blood mage! Don't you know what they did? I won't let this happen again!
I am the knight-commander here, not you.
...But I am open to suggestions.
Well, we've come to the end of our madcap tower adventure. We had some fun, didn't we? With the Sloth Demon, and that guy in the cupboard, and all those notes! Who can forget the endless notes written by dead and/or crazy people? Not me, that's for sure.
But all good things come to an end, and now we have a choice to make. Do we...
1. SEAL THE TOWER. Cullen's got a point. They could have been subverted by evil. Best to lock 'em up and wait for the Chantry to sort this mess out. If we do this we'll recruit the Templars into our army to fight the darkspawn. Templars are heavy armour wearing fighter dudes with a few anti-magic abilities.
2. OPEN THE TOWER. Irving's right- Cullen's nuts. With Uldred dead, everything can get back to normal. If we choose this we'll get the Mages to fight the darkspawn. Mages are... well, mages. Have you played an RPG before?
This choice has no impact on our companions or our rewards or the difficulty level, so don't worry about any of that and just follow your heart.
NEXT TIME: Talkin' bout bards.