Part 44: The Secret Power Of AlcoholismPART 44: THE SECRET POWER OF ALCOHOLISM
Tonight the undead return! Bianca rallies the troops to protect the village and retake the castle...
Are we looting the general store now?
Looting can be a good thing. We wouldn't have saved the kid if we hadn't broken into that house.
Exactly. Burglary is a powerful force for justice- just like arson, or murder.
Stop helping, Zevran.
Everyone make a note of this for future reference.
Let's see if we can find this knight that Teagan mentioned.
So you think he's in the tavern?
I think it's a good place to start. And a good place to stop as well.
Another doomed soul come to drown their sorrows here, I see?
If you came for a drink, you'll have to talk to Lloyd. He's got a vise grip on the spigots. I'm just here to keep the boys from mutiny.
Shouldn't you be at the chantry?
Later on, yes. Lloyd will lock himself in the cellar and I'll go to the chantry. Are you... fighting tonight?
Yes I am.
That's... good to hear. I didn't know that.
You... don't know us.
You look dangerous.
So how has business been?
What business? Without the castle soldiers, the only customers we have are local. And they're all in the militia, with no money to spend.
The few with any money are here, but it's not enough to justify working. Lloyd's a greasy pig and if I didn't need this job so badly...
You don't care for Lloyd, I take it?
He gropes me and pays me next to nothing, but I suppose it could be worse. Not like I got many options.
I could talk to Lloyd about this.
No, no, that'll just make things worse. That's very sweet, but I'll be fine.
Why don't you leave?
And go where? With no money and no prospects, I'd just end up somewhere else, working for someone worse.
What can you do? Girls like me don't get much choice if we don't want to join the Chantry, and it's too late to get married.
[The world of Dragon Age is oddly schizophrenic in its treatment of women. On the one hand, it generally has the social attitudes you'd expect of a medieval society. On the other hand, the most powerful religion is matriarchal. These things don't quite gel.
Add it to the pile of reasons that Thedas is not a well thought out setting.]
[Anyway, here are some lovable drunks.]
I can't believe Lloyd won't even give us some free ale. A time like this and all he thinks about is turning a profit?
Did you expect any different? That bastard's always been cheaper than an Antivan whore.
Here we are defending the village, and he don't even have the decency to help us out!
He's charging you? That's outrageous! It's a war crime by dwarven standards!
You're telling me. We're just trying to survive, and here he is making a profit.
Ah, what difference does it make? He won't care.
I think we need to have words with this Lloyd.
Hello there, friend. Can't say we've ever met before. Stranger to the village, I take it?
Haven't had many travelers lately. All this nonsense is bad for business. Bet you regret coming, yes?
Yes, my timing couldn't be worse.
A shame, isn't it? Evil creatures and such, everyone going to perish before sunrise, ach. Makes you thirsty, don't it?
So what'll it be? You are here to drink, I hope?
Who are you, anyway?
We don't get many dwarves out here. Occasional trader, maybe. You a smith? I hear old Owen could use a replacement.
Not all dwarves are smiths, you know.
I suppose. Never thought about it much.
I hear you're charging the militia for ale.
Why shouldn't I? They may not have much coin, but I'm not giving it away for free!
...I suppose not.
Something else I can get you?
Answer a few questions.
Fine. Make them quick.
Why are you still open?
I'm not abandoning my tavern because of a few monsters. The second I'm in the chantry, Murdoch and his men'll be here drinking all my ale.
Uh huh. What do you know about what's happened here?
Not a lot.
You don't say.
Castle guards stopped coming in about a week back. It's unusual, too: they were my main source of business.
After a few days, I thought it strange enough to ask, but nobody heard anything. Anyone going up to the castle didn't come back.
When the first attack hit, I locked myself in the cellar. I say we just wait for help to come.
Shouldn't you be helping to defend the village?
Why? When them creatures attack, I lock myself in the cellar. Just batten the hatches and wait it out.
What's the point in getting myself killed with all the rest of them? If that makes me a coward, then I'm a coward.
[NB: Lloyd gets killed along with everyone else if you leave Redcliffe to its fate. Guess the cellar isn't that secure.]
(Intimidate) Either die fighting in the militia or die now. Your choice.
But... Bann Teagan said we didn't have to! He said... he said... ach, fine! Fine! I'll go!
But all of this better be here when I get back! I don't want the place drunk out from under me! Blasted, bloody...
Hey, Bella! You just got a promotion.
I see you got that bastard Lloyd to join the militia. It's about time he did something to help out.
I guess this... puts me in charge? Poor Lloyd will have an apoplexy just thinking about it, heh.
Could you serve the militia ale for free?
Ha! Lloyd wouldn't care much for that... It's an excellent idea!
You hear that, boys? Drinks for the militia are on the house!
Ha-ha! You're the best, darling!
You just... keep us all safe, boys. And stay alive.
I should go.
Keep safe, and come back anytime. I won't lock up until near sundown.
[Alternatively we could just persuade Lloyd to hand out beers, but where's the poetic justice in that?
Bella also sells the bar's stock of items for free, including health poultices. Good opportunity to stock up.]
Welp, we're heroes. Again.
Could you please be quiet? I'm... working here.
Not looking for company.
Who are you?
I'm not here to talk.
You're simply here to act suspiciously, I take it?
What? I'm... not acting suspiciously!
Oh? Now that was convincing.
Look, you're very pretty and all, but I was told to... er... just leave me alone!
Which one of us is pretty? Me or him?
You are! ...No, he is! ...Both of you?! Is that the right answer?
What were you told to do?
Nothing. Nobody told me to do anything. Just because you're a Grey Warden doesn't mean you can go around threatening people!
And how do you know I'm a Grey Warden?
I just... overheard it. That's all.
To be fair, we do tell literally everyone we meet.
If you'll excuse me... I want to get to the chantry before the sun goes down.
(Persuade) This will be easier if you just tell me what you're hiding.
If I...? But I never... oh, all right, I'll tell you! Just... don't hurt me.
This is more than I bargained for. Look, they just paid me to watch the castle and send word if anything should change.
But they never said anything about monsters! I haven't even been able to report anything since this started! I'm stuck, same as you, I swear!
Who are they? Who hired you to do this?
A tall fellow, I forget his name. He, uhh, said he was working for Howe. Arl Rendon Howe.
He's an important man, Teyrn Loghain's right hand! So I didn't do anything wrong!
What are you supposed to watch the castle for?
Just to report any changes, honest! All I could send word about was the arl getting sick. After that, monsters started coming from the castle.
How do I know you're telling the truth?
Here... this is a letter from them. It has instructions and everything... keep it! Do whatever you want with it!
Possibly the least incriminating incriminating evidence I've ever seen.
I just thought I was serving the king and making a bit of coin on the side. You have to believe me!
I think you should help defend Redcliffe tonight.
All... all right. I'll do it. Thank you for your mercy, I won't forget it!
So this is all somehow Loghain's fault. Why am I not surprised?
Because you've met him? ...What's that written on the bar?
Wisdom borne of experience, I think.
Yeah. Maybe we should go.
I don't know. A great number of people died. It will be difficult to imagine rebuilding with that cloud hanging over everything for many years to come.
Do you think you will be there? To help rebuild, I mean? Once this is all over with?
I cannot say. Even if I survive this Blight... I am a very old woman, Alistair.
Why? Because of some grey hair? You are a formidable woman, Wynne. You could see that it happens.
I think you overestimate the number of years I have left. But perhaps you are right. Or perhaps the memories of what happened there... will be too strong for me to face.
I have a hard time believing that.
Well, it's good to have someone that believes in me so. Now if I could only feel the same way, myself. That would be something.
[Near this windmill is another landmark tree. Urinating on the tree gives Barkley a boost to his stats. Yes, that is still a real mechanic.]
Greetings, Grey Warden. I am as relieved as Barm Teagan is to see you here.
I must admit I am unfamiliar with addressing a dwarf of your station. I do not wish to be rude.
Call me Bianca, if you would.
As you wish, and thank you kindly.
I am Ser Perth, until recently in direct service of Arl Eamon of Redcliffe. For now, my charge is defending the village from these evil assaults.
Would that I had chosen not to seek out the Urn of Sacred Ashes, perhaps I would have fended off whatever evil befell the castle... or perhaps I would be dead.
Ah, well. With a Grey Warden aiding our defense, perhaps all is not lost.
Have you considered using the oil in the village store?
[Did you remember that?]
No one told me of this. Oil, you say? How much, exactly?
Enough to set many monsters aflame.
Assuming that would hurt them... Yes, I see what you have in mind. That might be effective if used carefully.
A fine tactic. Provided it actually kills them and you don't end up having to deal with flaming undead.
At least they'll be easier to see in the dark.
Yes, excellent idea! I'll send some men to collect the oil. We'll use it to slow these creatures down.
Have you anything else to ask me, in the meantime?
I have some questions for you.
Ask me whatever you wish.
Tell me about what happened here.
You know about as much as I do. I returned a day before the attacks began, having heard strange rumors about the abandoned castle.
I was the only knight to survive the first attack. Since then, I found others returning from the arlessa's quest.
Until we get to the source of this evil, though, I do not think it will stop. And I don't believe we will be enough.
The arlessa's quest? You mentioned something about an Urn...?
When the arl fell sick, we were at a loss. Nothing worked to cure him and he just kept getting worse.
Finally, Arlessa Isolde came up with a plan: The Urn of Sacred Ashes is a legendary artifact said to hold great healing powers. If found, it might save him.
That was your best plan?
They say the followers of Andraste smuggled her ashes out of Tevinter and hid them in Ferelden. The Urn's never been heard of since.
We knights volunteered to seek it out. Few of us have returned; many are still out there, unaware of what is happening here.
So the knights left the castle defenseless?
Not at all. A great number of soldiers remained in Castle Redcliffe. I wonder if they perished there and were transformed into these... things.
The thought chills my blood.
Just what was the arl sick with?
We were never certain. He thirsted for water, and then grew weaker and weaker. We brought in a mage but even that did nothing.
The arlessa believed he was cursed and that we needed the power of Andraste herself, or he would surely perish.
Why did the arlessa believe anyone could find the Urn?
The arl once employed a scholar, Brother Genitivi. He had proof the Urn was in Ferelden, or so I was told.
[There's a familiar name, if you've been reading the codexes. (Codices?)]
Can no one find the other knights and bring them back?
Eventually, perhaps. The ones I have here were those near enough to recall within the last few days.
I only returned myself because I was passing by Redcliffe and heard the news of strange attacks.
Is there anything else I can do to help?
We have sufficient armor and weapons, but my knights are too few to stand against the monsters without assistance.
Perhaps you could approach Mother Hannah in the chantry for some holy protection against these evil creatures?
I think we have a few +2 Protection From Evil rings lying around.
Otherwise, I do not know what else you could provide beyond your own talents. We're as prepared for the onslaught as we could possibly be, all things considered.
I'll see what I can do.
BACK IN THE CHANTRY...
What is it you need, child?
Ser Perth needs holy protection for his knights.
I have done all I can for them. I pray for them, each night, and seek the Maker's forgiveness for their sins before they face their deaths.
What Ser Perth seeks is something that is not in my power to give.
What do you mean? Is the Maker not real? Is that it?
What?! No! Ser Perth believes that I can protect them against these creatures, a shield only the Maker can provide, and that I withhold this power.
Well, can't you just tell him the Maker will watch over him? Morale is a powerful thing, you know.
You mean you want me to let them think the Maker protects them in a real sense? I will not lie to them like that!
Oh for crying out loud. (Persuade) If they think it helps them...
I suppose their belief in the Maker's power could inspire them, but it just seems like trickery.
Very well. If it keeps them alive, I will do what I must.
I have a number of silver-cast holy symbols. Tell Ser Perth that he can have them, and that wearing them will confer the Maker's protection.
Now, please... let me tend to these poor folk. I must do what I can, and I suggest you do the same.
[This quest is literally pointless by the by. It's meant to boost the knight's morale, like all the other crap we've been doing around the village, but it's bugged so that nothing happens.
Oh, hey, it's those guys!]
Bevin said you were the one who found him. I can't possibly repay you!
About the sword I found in your home...
Bevin told me about Grandfather's sword. So you have it, then? I... suppose it won't go to waste, at least.
...Perhaps I could pay you something for it?
I... have no idea what it's worth, to be honest. And you found Bevin... I couldn't ask you for money...
It's a valuable sword. Here... 10--
...100 silver. Take it.
Th-thank you! That's... certainly a lot of coin! How can I ever repay you?
Just stay safe, both of you.
The Maker sent you; I just know it. Thank you again.
[We could've been a cheapskate and payed them nothing, or just a pittance for the sword, but Wynne and Alistair would have liked us less.
Horndog Wardens can also take payment of a kiss from Kaitlyn, which garners an amusing reaction from Morrigan but no real benefits.
Let's go back and give these holy symbols to Ser Perth]
Have you spoken to the revered mother? Has she offered anything?
Mother Hannah has some holy amulets. Would those do?
If they are the same as the symbols worn by their priests... well, that would more than suffice!
You think it would actually help?
Of course I do. These are the Maker's symbols! What better protection could we ask for?
Ixnay ethay atheismyay.
I will send some men to collect the amulets. Please, give my regards to Mother Hannah for seeing some sense at last.
As you wish, Grey Warden. Maker watch over you.
[We've done everything we can do. We're as ready as we'll ever be.]
I hear you got the tavern serving the militia free ale now?
Ancient dwarven battle tradition.
While I don't favor my men being drunk come sundown, I suppose it helps morale to have their minds taken off... what's to come. You have my thanks.
The repairs are underway surprisingly quickly considering how drunk Owen is. We may just make it.
[A nice touch- persuading Owen to start working again will cause all the militiamen to trade in their clothing for proper leather armour.]
I am ready to make my stand. Let's wait for sundown.
Then good luck to you. You'll need it.
Thanks Murdock. I'll be in the tavern. Knock when the dead start rising.
Get to your positions!
Finish your ales!
This is it. Here we make our stand, with fools, mercenaries, and Lloyd.
Are you ready?
I was born ready.
Yes, but are you ready now?
I'm drunk now!
NEXT TIME: Everyone's on fire!