Part 38: Chicken OutPART 38: CHICKEN OUT
Bianca has reactivated an ancient golem found sleeping in the abandoned village of Honnleath...
I stood here in this spot and watched the wretched little villagers scurry around me for, oh, I have no idea how long. Many, many years.
And the villagers had no idea they were being watched? Creepy.
Then one wonders that you wouldn't be grateful to the one who allowed you to stretch your legs, golem.
Hmm. Another mage, I see. Charming.
(The rock man has a suitably gravelly voice. It sounds like a jaded drag queen with a 20-a-day cigarette habit.]
I was just beginning to get used to the quiet too. Tell me, are all the villagers dead?
Not all of them, no.
Some got away then? How unfortunate.
You didn't care for them, I take it?
Familiarity breeds contempt as they say, and after thirty years as a captive audience, I was as familiar with these villagers as one could possibly be.
Not that I wished their fate on them, no, but it did make for a delightful change of pace.
Did you watch the attack?
Not as much as it would think. There was running and screaming... and than days and days of watching the darkspawn prowl around.
I would never have thought there could be something less interesting than the villagers, but there it was.
Well, go on, then. Out with it. What is its command?
Do you have a name?
Perhaps. I may have forgotten after all the years of being called 'golem."
"Golem. fetch me that chair." "Do be a good golem and squash that insipid bandit." And let's not forget "Golem, pick me up. I tire of walking."
It... does have the control rod, doesn't it? I am awake, so it... must...
Is something wrong?
I see the control rod, yet I feel...
Go on. Order me to do something.
All right. Give Zevran a hug.
Hmph. I don't appreciate foreign objects invading my personal space. Well, usually.
And... nothing? I feel nothing.
I feel no compulsion to carry out its command. I suppose this means the rod is... broken?
Great. So... what now? You go on a killing rampage?
Don't be ridiculous. Well, I wouldn't mind killing the birds... those evil birds and their foul droppings! I could crush them all!
Hmm. I suppose if I can't be commanded, this means... I have free will, yes?
It is simply... what should I do? I have no memories. Beyond watching this village for so long. I have no purpose... I find myself at a bit of a loss.
What about it? It must have awoken me for some reason, no? What did it intend to do with me?
I hadn't given it much thought.
I see. Wonderful.
I suppose I have two options, do I not? Go with it or... go elsewhere? I... do not even know what lies beyond this village.
What do you want to do?
I watched this village for so long, unable to move or act. My memories of anything before are... vague at best.
So I have no idea what I want to do. I am glad to be mobile, is that not enough?
You killed your former master...
Did I? I remember that I had a former master. The mage with the furry brows who poked and prodded and barked orders.
[Wilhelm's Diary in the last update suggested it was Kitty's demonic influence that caused the golem to go berserk.]
Did I kill him? I hope I did kill him. Perhaps the last order he barked was "Golem! Stop crushing my head! Ha!
I notice you don't call him it.
Yes. I'm just funny that way.
Are you going to keep calling me it?
Yes. Very likely.
You're welcome to come with me.
Are... you certain you want to bring that thing with us? It could be dangerous. And large.
(Persuade) Think of it as a portable battering ram.
Good point. Better it than me, anyhow.
[Without that Persuade check Alistair loses some approval when you recruit Shale, because he's a fusty stick in the mud.]
I will follow it about then... for now. I am called Shale, by the way.
I thought you'd said you'd forgotten your name.
I said I might have forgotten it. It turns out I hadn't.
Is that your name or... what you're made of?
It would rather I was called "Flint? "Pebbles?" How about Rubble?" (Laughs)
Welcome aboard, Rubble.
[It's Shale! Shale is like Barkley, in that it has unique equipment and talent trees because, you know, it isn't human. Or human-ish.
For equipment Shale uses crystals- Small Crystals act like weapons, and Large Crystals like armor. Here I've equipped Shale with small and large Fire Crystals, to give the fire element to its punches, and to give it a fire resistance to its defence. There are crystals corresponding to all element types, so it's a good idea to mix them up for best results against the enemies you're fighting. Using the same sort of small and large crystal together gives you a bonus to element resistance.]
[Shale has interesting skills. Besides the two basic Warrior talents, Shale has four unique talent sets, each associated with a different combat mode.
Stone Aura is a support mode, which immobilizes Shale but gives everyone else in the party boosted stats.
Pulverizing Blows is the melee attack mode, giving Shale powerful punching abilities.
Rock Master is the ranged attack mode, letting Shale throw rocks at everyone and everything.
Stoneheart is the tanky defence mode boosting Shale's defence at the expense of its attack power.
The ability to flip between modes in battle means Shale is probably the most flexible party member, albeit never as effective at one thing as a dedicated attacker/archer/tank would be.]
Farewell, Honnleath. You were terrible, but at least I got a rock monster out of the deal.
Cluck, cluck, cluck!
BACK AT CAMP...
I don't understand. You look like a woman.
Wait, what? I am a woman.
You are a Grey Warden.
So it follows that you can't be a woman.
That doesn't make any sense, Sten.
So you understand my confusion, then.
Well, I'm confused now, anyway.
Women are priests, artisans, shopkeepers, or farmers. They don't fight.
That's not a universal truth. Some women fight.
Why would women ever wish to be men? That makes no sense.
By the stone, Sten, what the hell are we talking about?
You think they can't be women, because women don't fight?
We're going around in circles here.
I don't know what to make of you. Perhaps this is a quality of Grey Wardens I had not heard about.
A person is born: qunari, or human, or elven, or dwarf. He doesn't choose that.
The size of his hands, whether he is clever or foolish, the land he comes from, the color of his hair: These are beyond his control. We do not choose, we simply are.
[This is Qunari philosophy in a nutshell. They are very keen on the social harmony derived from knowing one's place in the world.]
But a person can choose what to do.
[VIDEO: Sparkle Shale]
(an example of Shale's voice acting and fabulousness]
I see it found some augmentation crystals. I was not even aware it knew about them... well done!
So? What does it think? They don't make me look any wider, do they? I find I am already too wide as it is.
I think they're so pretty!
They are, aren't they? I so adore them!
I think it should find some more as soon as possible. I want to glitter from ear to ear... so to speak!
Any fashion advice for a 5 ton golem?
Blue is slimming. We should find some amethysts. Anything else?
I'd like to talk.
Well, here I am.
You were a bard, right? Do you have any stories to share?
Of course I do. I love stories far too much to keep them to myself. Everyone should be able to benefit from them, I think.
Tell me about the darkspawn.
Chantry lore says it is man's pride that created the darkspawn.
In ages past, the mages of the Tevinter Imperium ruled much of the world we know.
In their pride, they thought their magics invincible and imagined that they were greater than the Maker Himself.
So thinking, they invaded His golden city, planning to take it for themselves and depose their own creator.
But they were impure and full of sin, and it is with this sin that they tainted the golden city, corrupting it forever.
The Maker cursed them, and cast them from His sight. Wherever they went, they spread the taint of their sin.
Any land that was touched by the taint became blighted, and would suffer no life. Instead, the darkspawn arose to torment us, and remind us of our hubris.
Thanks Leliana, I'd forgotten what the intro movie said. There was another story I wanted to hear.
Tell me about Andraste. You humans invoke her often enough.
Andraste was the Maker's Chosen. The Maker had long since abandoned the world when the sound of Her singing turned His ear.
Beauty, grace and wisdom enraptured Him and He offered to take Her from this ﬂawed world to become His Divine Bride.
Wait, her singing was so lovely GOD HIMSELF wanted to marry her?
Perhaps. It is strange to think the Maker had earthly desires.
But Andraste had an earthly husband and would not forsake him. Instead, She beseeched the Maker to return to His people once more.
So earnest was Her plea that the Maker was moved, and promised that He would create a paradise on earth, if all abandoned their false gods and turned once more to Him.
And this is why Andraste began Her Exalted March on the idolators of the Tevinter Imperium. The Maker granted Her His powers with which to smite Her enemies.
Andraste brought the Imperium to its knees, and Her victories converted many to the worship of the Maker.
How did Andraste die?
Alas, it was the frailties of men that betrayed and killed Andraste.
Her earthly husband, Maferath, a chieftain of the Alamarri tribes himself, grew jealous as his wife's popularity and inﬂuence overshadowed his own.
She was also revered as the Makers Betrothed, and Maferath began to see their own bond waning in significance, as Andraste became ever more devoted to the Maker.
Out of envy and spite, Maferath made a pact with the Archon Hessarian of Tevinter, allowing his beloved Andraste to be ambushed and captured.
Andraste was burned at the stake in Minrathous, the capital of Tevinter.
[So she's Muhammed and Joan of Arc rolled into one.]
Why did the Maker not save Her with His power?
I have thought on this too. Did He withdraw His sight from Her at that moment? Where were all the powers He bestowed upon Her?
This question has come to me many times and I have no answer. Perhaps there was no way for Andraste to return to the Maker but through Her death.
We will never know for sure.
Not for another three games at least.
Hey, Sten! You done being weird about women yet?
I wanted to discuss something you mentioned.
Why did you come to Ferelden?
To answer a question.
What was the question?
The arishok asked, "What is the Blight?" By his curiosity, I am now here.
Don't you have to report back, then?
When are you going to do that?
I cannot go home.
It doesn't matter now.
Can we move on? We keep the darkspawn waiting.
Why do I feel like I know you less the more we talk?
Because you ask the wrong questions.
Right. Let's go.
BACK ON THE ROAD!
...but where to now? It's your choice!
1. Soldier's Peak. The lost Grey Warden fortress in the north. Seizing it will give us new resources.
2. Redcliffe Village. The home of the powerful Arl Eamon. He can support us in the war against the usurper, Loghain.
3. Brecilian Forest. Where the elves
We'll also need to decide which companions to bring. Pick three out of Alistair, Sten, Shale, Zevran, Leliana, Morrigan and Wynne. I'm making Alistair mandatory for Redcliffe, due to interesting Plot Stuff that shows up if he's in the party.
So, vote now for where we go and who we take with us. Voting closes Saturday.
NEXT TIME: A whole new bunch of problems
NEW CODEX CONTENT: