Part 45: A Hard Day's NightPART 45: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
Zombies are attacking Redcliffe. Our heroes leap into action!
[It's the Battle of Redcliffe! A horde of zombies come storming down the hill (these are clearly 28 Days Later style undead) straight into the fire trap we had Ser Perth set up.
Some people say the fire trap makes this battle harder, for reasons that will become clear. I agree, but it does look cool. And isn't that what's really important?]
[Opening gambit is to have your tank- Alistair in this case- stand at the edge of the burning oil and encourage the zombies to linger in the fire, while everyone else opens up with ranged weaponry.
Ordering your heroes to hold position is a very good idea too, as the AI has no concept of Areas of Effect and will happily RUN INTO THE FIRE to chase down an errant undead. This battle requires a lot of micromanagement.]
[The zombies will probably get past your tank eventually, just by weight of numbers alone. This will cue the NPCs- Ser Perth (good knight), Dwyn (grumpy dwarf), Berwick (sketchy elf), and the generic knights to join the fight.
On the upside they all do decent damage. On the downside, they've got the same moronic AI as your party, so will charge into the fire as well. And they can die for real if they run out of HP.
As we're heroes, and as there's sweet loot for keeping everyone alive through the night, we're going to do our best to save them from their own stupidity.]
[FUCK IT PUNCH EVERYTHING]
[Once all the enemies are dead, the NPCs teleport back to their starting places, which is why I don't care about Dwyn and Perth getting toasty at the end of the fight.
The monsters are attacking from the lake! They're attacking the barricades! We need help!
Swimming zombies?! Will wonders never cease?
Come on! We need to hurry!
[He isn't kidding about hurrying. You need to get back to the Chantry with a swiftness, else the defenders will be dead by the time you get there.]
[Everyone's in the thick of it when you get to the Chantry.]
[That's a lot of zombies, and more are coming all the while. Fighting here are Murdock (gruff mayor), Lloyd (fat bartender), and Tomas (the guy who met us when we entered Redcliffe whose name I bet you'd forgotten).
The militiamen grunts are less hardy than the knights up top, but there are a lot of them.]
[The zombies are very weak, the challenge comes from trying to keep everyone alive. Wynne helps a lot, as she has a bunch of healing spells out of the gate. You can heal up the NPCs easily if playing on a PC, but on consoles you're blocked from targeting the allied characters. Good luck keeping them around in that case!]
Five rounds rapid!
[Lloyd (the upper left blue circle) is the bane of players trying to keep everyone alive. He has no armor, low health, and a shitty dagger. He also starts near the edge of the barricades, so his AI will usually send him away from the militia clump to fight enemies on his own. This is near one of the alleyways enemies spawn in from, so Lloyd will inevitably get surrounded and murdered unless you send someone to take care of him.
I found casting Regeneration on Lloyd to keep his health up enabled him to deal with lone zombies without too much handholding.]
Is this going to end soon? My arms are getting tired.
Just... two... left.
It's over, at last!
To the tavern! Free drinks for all!
THE FOLLOWING MORNING...
Dawn arrives, my friends, and all of us remain. We are victorious!
And it is these good folk beside me that we have to thank for our lives today. Without their heroism, surely we would all have perished.
I bow to you, dear lady. The Maker smiled on us when he sent you here in our darkest hour.
Allow me to offer you the helm of Ser Ferris the Red, my great-uncle and hero of Ferelden. He would approve passing it to one so worthy.
Thank you, Bann Teagan, I am honored.
Is there a cash alternative?
Take it, then, and use it in good health.
Let us bow our heads and give honor to those who gave their lives in defense of Redcliffe.
Now they walk with He who is their Maker. Long may they know the peace of his love.
May their ancestors give them welcome.
With the Maker's favor, the blow we delivered today is enough for me to enter the castle and seek out your arl.
Be wary and watch for signs of renewed attack. We shall return with news as soon as we are able.
Now, we've no time to waste. Meet me at the mill. We can talk further there.
[So, how else could that have played out?
All the named NPCs can die except Teagan, whose death is a fail state. You can, in fact, deliberately kill off the other defenders using AoE spells and be rewarded with XP and loot.
But, by keeping them all alive, we were rewarded with the magnificent Helm of the Red!]
[...Yeah, it's not that great. Man, why did we bother protecting these chumps?]
[Ah well, let's bask in our victory a bit.]
I'm still amazed we made it through the night in one piece, and won! They'll be telling stories about this for years, I bet.
Fighting's not over. We still have darkspawn to battle, and if the arl sends out the call, I'll be there for him.
Haven't you seen enough fighting?
Who hasn't? Doesn't mean it's over, though.
You're right. We've still got a lot to do. And there's the DLC as well.
If you'll excuse me, I think I'll offer the Maker a bit of thanks for not choosing to be a wrathful god today. Good luck to you.
We survived! I thought we were goners for sure! What luck you came when you did.
Bann Teagan or Arl Eamon will be calling for volunteers soon, won't they? They'll need an army to fight in the south, now.
Probably. That was why we originally came here after all.
I'll go when they... call me I guess. I'm going to... get drunk first, though. If you'll excuse me.
Some fight. Reminds me why I left Orzammar in the first place.
Why is that? Were you set on fire a lot back home?
Constant fighting. A warrior's life there is blood, ash, and dust. Though I'm not sure who's dirtier: these creatures, or darkspawn.
Thanks for helping with the battle.
Hey. Anything for Redcliffe, right? Not like you had a blade to my throat or anything. Oh, wait.
That's all in the past, Dwyn. We're battle buddies now.
Whatever. First thing I'm going to do is get some sleep. For about a week.
Go celebrate or whatever it is you're going to do. You won, right? You're a hero. Or something.
Like comrades-in-arms, but more casual.
I was raised in a castle. I was schooled in the abbey. As far as being religious... I don't know. Not especially.
What about you? Not in your line of work, I expect.
Why do you say that? I happen to be quite devoted, in my way, as most Antivans are.
Truly? But you kill people. For money.
And I ask forgiveness for my sins from the Maker every chance I get. What manner of monster do you think I am?
But... you ask forgiveness and then you go right on with your sinning!
The Maker has never objected. Why should you?
I... have no idea.
Well there you go. Perhaps you ought to think about asking for a little forgiveness yourself, hm?
[Defeating the zombie horde has caused the sidequest vendors for the region to open up. To the left of the Chantry is the Blackstone Irregulars, to the right is the Chanter's Board. Down by the lake is the Mage's Collective.
These guys all offer 3 types of sidequest- go here and kill X, go here and deliver X, and hand over 10 Xs, with a bit of narrative fluff attached. They're a decent source of cash and XP, but I'm not going to show most of them off because they aren't very interesting.
Let's head into the Chantry instead.]
You saved us. I can't believe we're alive and it's finally over.
What are you going to do now?
With the money you gave us for Grandfather's sword, we should be able to get to Denerim. I... think we have family there we can stay with.
Maker watch over you. I'll never forget you.
I hope they'll be safe.
They'll be fine. I think we killed every undead in a 100 mile radius last night.
I admit, for a while I didn't think either of us would survive. It's good to see you did.
It's good to see you, too.
Anything I can get you?
Nah. I should go.
You aren't dead!
I don't know how I survived that damnable mess out there, but I did.
It was mostly Wynne.
I suppose I owe you thanks. The men respect me now. I would never have gone out there if you hadn't shoved me. It... feels good to help out.
Feel like a man now, do you?
As much as it pains me to have a woman say that, I suppose I do.
Listen... a soldier gave me this trinket some years ago as payment for his tab. He said it was magical. I didn't believe him then, but I think it helped keep me alive out there.
You should have it. It might do the same for you, sometime.
Thank you. I mean it, Lloyd.
Yes, well... don't go spreading news that I gave you something for free. Then everyone'll want something from me.
Anyhow, it's good to be back. I don't want to be in battle again anytime soon, know what I mean?
[Our reward for making Lloyd into the hero he was always destined to be, is this nifty little ring. Useful for fighters, who don't need cunning points.]
'Sup Ser Perth.
We have been victorious beyond all expectations. Surely the Maker smiled upon us this day.
I will remain here to guard the village, and receive any fellow knights as they continue to return... at least until the castle is retaken.
[Presented without comment]
Odd how quiet the castle looks from here. You would think there was nobody inside at all.
But I shouldn't delay things further. I had a plan... to enter the castle after the village was secure.
There is a secret passage here, in the mill, accessible only to my family.
Why didn't you enter the castle in the first place?
I had no idea what lurked in the castle! And I couldn't abandon the people of the village! What if--
Teagan! Thank the Maker you yet live!
Isolde! You're alive! How did you...? What has happened!
I do not have much time to explain! I slipped away from the castle as soon as I saw the battle was over, and I must return quickly.
And I... need you to return with me, Teagan. Alone.
We will need more of an explanation than that.
What? I... who is this woman, Teagan?
Yeah, who am I, Teagan?
(Sigh) You remember me, Lady Isolde, don't you?
Alistair? Of all the... why are you here?
They are Grey Wardens, Isolde. I owe them my life.
Pardon me, I... I would exchange pleasantries, but... considering the circumstances...
Please, Lady Isolde... we had no idea anyone was even alive within the castle. We must have some answers!
I know you need more of an explanation, but I... don't know what is safe to tell.
Teagan, there is a terrible evil within the castle. The dead walk and hunt the living. The mage responsible was caught, but still it continues.
And I think... Connor is going mad. We have survived but he won't ﬂee the castle. He has seen so much death!
You must help him, Teagan! You are his uncle. You could reason with him. I do not know what else to do!
What about Arl Eamon? Is he still alive?
He is. He is being kept alive so far, thank the Maker.
[A reminder, as this scene follows on from things we learned in a few other conversations: Arl Eamon is the ruler of Redcliffe, the man we came here to find in the first place, to gain his support for the Grey Wardens. This woman, Isolde, is his wife. His much younger, blonde,
Kept alive? Kept alive by what?
Something the mage unleashed. So far it allows Eamon, Connor, and myself to live.
The others... were not so fortunate. It's killed so many, and turned their bodies into walking nightmares! Once it was done with the castle, it struck the village!
Yes, we noticed that part.
It wants us to live, but I do not know why. It allowed me to come for you, Teagan, because I begged, because I said Connor needed help.
Do you think this evil could be some kind of demon? Because we're great with those. Demon trouble? We're your guys.
I... I do not know. Oh, Maker's mercy! Could it truly be a demon?
I can't let it hurt my Connor! You must come back with me, Teagan! Please!
Tell me about this mage you mentioned.
He is an... infiltrator, I think--one of the castle staff. We discovered he was poisoning my husband. That is why Eamon fell ill.
Eamon was poisoned?!
He claims an agent of Teyrn Loghain's hired him.
He may be lying, however, I cannot say.
Why do I get the feeling you aren't telling us everything?
I... I beg your pardon! That's a rather impertinent accusation!
Not if it's true.
An evil I cannot fathom holds my son and husband hostage! I came for help! What more do you want from me?
[Isolde sounds like she's on the verge of hysteria for this whole conversation, which does make her seem legit, despite the really sketchy nature of her information.]
Teagan, I do not have much time! What if it thinks I am betraying it?! It could kill Connor! Please come back with me... must I beg?
So, why must Teagan go alone?
For Connor's sake, I promised I would return quickly and only with Teagan.
Teagan, I know you could order your men to follow me when I return to the castle. I beg you not to, for Connor's sake!
Enough questions. We need to decide what to do.
The king is dead, and we need my brother now more than ever. I will return to the castle with you, Isolde.
Oh, thank the Maker! Bless you, Teagan! Bless you!
What good will that do? No offence, Lady Isolde.
I'm not certain, to be honest.
I cannot let Isolde return alone. Perhaps I can help Connor or Eamon. Perhaps this is really a trap, but this is my family. I must try.
I have no illusions of dealing with this evil alone. You, on the other hand, have proven quite formidable.
Isolde, can you excuse us for a moment? We must confer in private before I return to the castle with you.
Please do not take too long. I will be by the bridge.
Here's what I propose: I go in with Isolde and you enter the castle using the secret passage. My signet ring unlocks the door.
Perhaps I will... distract whatever evil is inside and increase your chances of getting in unnoticed. What do you say?
What exactly am I supposed to do in there?
I wish I knew. I don't know any more about this "evil force" than Isolde seems to.
I suppose you shall just have to run around and kill all the monsters you see.
Ser Perth and his men can watch for danger at the castle entrance. If you can open the gates from within, they can move in and help you.
I don't think there's anyone else who can help you. If you choose not to go, then it's up to me to do what l can.
Here is my signet ring. It will open the lock on the door in the mill.
Whatever you do, Eamon is the priority here. If you have to, just get him out of there. Isolde, me, and anyone else... we're expendable.
I don't believe that. I will rescue you all; I promise.
You are brave as well as beautiful, it seems. The Maker smiled on me indeed, when He sent you to Redcliffe. If only this had been...
But l can delay no longer. Allow me to bid you farewell... and good luck.
NEXT TIME: Naughty boy!
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
Ballad of Ayesleigh (you find this creepy codex by examining a random bookshelf in Redcliffe for some reason)