Part 46: Castle SpoopensteinPART 46: CASTLE SPOOPENSTEIN
Redcliffe is saved, but for how long? A festering evil lurks within Castle Redcliffe, scheming in the dark. Bann Teagan heads into the castle at the behest of the Arlessa to try and save the dying Arl Eamon. Meanwhile, the Grey Wardens hatch a cunning plan...
Bann Teagan informed me that he would like us to wait at the castle gate, should you get the opportunity to open it.
We'll sneak in the back entrance, while you mill around awkwardly outside the front door.
Standard party protocol.
I would prefer to enter the castle with you, but Teagan is right--someone must remain to guard Redcliffe and bring word to the king, should our plan go... awry.
At any rate, I will go to the gates now. May you remain in the Maker's sight, my friend.
The hidden entrance should be somewhere inside this mill.
[I've included this screenshot because Bioware put a lot of effort into this mill. Especially considering it's unique, and you only spend about 5 seconds in here before heading through the secret passage.
Anyway, appreciate the mill.]
This would appear to be the entrance.
They could've put more effort into hiding it. I expect a little razzamatazz from my secret passages.
Let's head down. I think it leads to the castle dungeons.
[The spell Wynne is using, 'Earthquake', doesn't do damage but slows and has a decent chance to knock down all enemies in its large AoE. Unfortunately it also has friendly fire enabled, which makes to difficult to see what the point is.
It's best used on large crowds of weak enemies, but limits your melee characters from attacking them while the spell is in effect. Using a Fireball spell, which knocks enemies down in the AoE and causes a ton of damage as well, would be better in every way.]
That's the last of them.
Hello? Who's there? Is there anyone alive out there?
Wait... you don't look like the arlessa's guards. Are you from outside the castle?
Possibly. Who are you supposed to be?
My name is Jowan. I'm a mage Lady Isolde hired to tutor her son, Connor. Until they, ahhh, threw me into the dungeon here.
You're the one who poisoned the arl.
...Heard about that, did you?
It's the talk of the town.
I'm not proud of it. The arlessa had no idea what I was hired to do when she took me in to tutor Connor.
I... I know it looks suspicious, but I'm not responsible for the creatures and the killings in the castle. I was already imprisoned when all that began.
At first, Lady Isolde came here with her men demanding that I reverse what I'd done. I thought she meant my poisoning of the arl.
That's the first I heard about the walking corpses. She thought I'd summoned a demon to torment her family and destroy Redcliffe.
Interesting, considering how surprised she was when we suggested a demon could be responsible.
She... had me tortured. There was nothing I could do or say that would appease her. So they... left me to rot.
Why did the arlessa hire you to tutor her son in the first place?
Lady Isolde was looking for a mage to tutor Connor, secretly. Teyrn Loghain found out and he... sent me. I was to use the opportunity to poison the arl.
I was told that Arl Eamon was a threat to Ferelden, that if I dealt with him Loghain would settle matters with the Circle.
Yeah... about that...
You see, I'm a maleficar: a blood mage.
A blood mage! Well that isn't good.
Ahhh, I thought you looked familiar. I had thought you... dead. Hunted down by the templars.
I guess you might have been told that. I was in hiding when I was caught, but instead of killing me, Loghain made me an offer.
But he's abandoned me here, hasn't he? Everything's fallen apart, and I'm responsible! I have to make it right somehow, I have to!
[If we were playing as a mage, Jowan would have showed up in our origin. He's our best friend/bad influence, whose dreams of freedom fuck everything up for everyone. The dialogue in this section is very different if we're a mage.]
But why did the arlessa need a mage to tutor her son?
You really haven't worked this out yet?
I want to hear him say it.
Connor had started to show... signs. Lady Isolde was terrified the Circle of Magi would take him away for training.
Connor? A mage? I can't believe it!
She sought an apostate, a mage outside the Circle, to teach her son in secret so he could learn to hide his talent. Her husband had no idea.
Arl Eamon had no idea of his son's abilities?
No. She was adamant that he never find out. She said that he'd do the right thing, even if it meant losing their son. And that infuriated her.
Why would Isolde be frightened of her son becoming a mage?
Because he would be taken away. Forever. A mage cannot inherit a title, even the son of a powerful arl.
She is also a pious woman. Her son having magic was... humiliating.
How much magic did you teach Connor?
Some. But he's still very young. He can barely cast a minor spell--never mind something more powerful. At least, not intentionally.
I have thought about it, and it's possible Connor could have inadvertently done something to tear open the Veil.
The fundamental fabric of reality is turning out to be incredibly fragile these days.
I miss living underground.
With the Veil to the Fade torn, sprits and demons could infiltrate the castle. Powerful ones could kill and create those walking corpses.
I see. I think I understand.
I never meant for it to end like this. I swear. Let me help you fix this.
Jowan has good intentions, but... a blood mage? I... I find it difficult to trust his words.
I don't know. He is a blood mage... but this is an unusual situation.
Give me a chance, please!
So how will you make things right?
I'd... well, I'd try to save anyone still up there. There must be something I can do.
That's commendable, if it's true.
I'm glad you think so. So what now?
I'm letting you out of your cell. Don't try anything.
You're letting me out? And what then?
By the stone Jowan, do I have to draw you a map? You come with me, that's what.
I'd like to help out, but... I'm not so sure I want to follow you into danger, exactly.
Then help. Just don't make things worse
I won't, I promise. I will find a way to fix this, somehow.
There he goes. I reckon it's about 50/50 whether I've just made a terrible mistake.
Why do we never find any happy notes?
[When Ferelden was ruled by Orlais, Redcliffe Castle was one of the hubs of their power. This note has been here a long time.]
[The upper level of the castle is swarming with the undead.]
[And there are Shades as well.]
This was the wrong door to open.
[Barkley gains a level, but doesn't get any new skills. Again. He only has 8 combat talents in total, and doesn't learn non-combat skills (he can't craft potions with those clumsy paws), so most of his level ups are just stat boosts.]
Get off my arm! Bad dog!
[These angry dogs are much more difficult than the undead or demons littering the castle. They can pin characters, immobilizing them and dealing damage at the same time.]
[Murdering the dogs is optional, but it does get us some sweet new warpaint for Barkley.
And a tasty bone as well.]
Behind door #1...?
And behind door #2...?
So, behind door #3...?
It's a zombie in disguise. Or maybe not.
Ahhh! Please don't hurt me!
Calm down. I'm not going to hurt you.
I... I'm sorry; I'm so frightened! These monsters are everywhere!
My... my name's Valena, the arlessa's maid. Is she... all right? What happened to everyone?
Valena? The smith's daughter?
It's nice to keep promises.
You know my father? I want to go back to the village! Is there a way out of here?
There is a tunnel leading out in the dungeon.
B-but the monsters...
I've killed most of them. It's safe.
I'll find my way. I can run fast and I know the castle. Thank you!
[We've completed that sidequest, and now the blacksmith won't kill himself out of despair. Hooray!]
[We have to go down to the cellar below the kitchen and then out through a serving hatch to get to the courtyard. The main doors are locked for some, presumably zombie-related reason.]
First things first, we need to--
First things first, we need to open the gates and let the knights in.
[Run across the courtyard and a bunch of undead spawn in on the other side. They include a Revenant, which is fortunately a lot weaker than the one we fought in the Circle Tower.]
[Pull this lever to let in the knights and...]
[...they can take care of the trash while you deal with the Revenant.]
[He's still got that aura of weakness thing going, but doesn't use psychokinetics as much.]
[Once everyone gangs up on him his health evaporates. Man, these demons are easy!]
You have opened the gates. That is good. My men and I are eager to see our arl again.
Shall we enter the main hall together? It must be held if we are to regain control of the castle.
Yes, let's go to the hall together.
Excellent. Let us go now, then, and see what awaits us there.
IN THE MAIN HALL...
Does Bann Teagan normally like to bust a move in perilous situations?
No. This is... new.
Everyone look professional.
So these are our visitors? The ones you told me about, Mother?
And this is the one who defeated my soldiers? The ones I sent to reclaim my village?
And now it's staring at me! What is it, Mother? I can't see it well enough.
Ooh, a height joke. You're adorable.
This is a dwarf, Connor. You... you've seen dwarves before. We've had them here at the castle...
Had them? For dinner, maybe. Looks like a tough chew, maybe in a nice stew. Shall I send it to the kitchen, Mother?
C-Connor, I beg you, don't hurt anyone!
M-Mother? What... what's happening? Where am I?
Oh, thank the Maker! Connor! Connor, can you hear me?
Get away from me, fool woman! You are beginning to bore me.
Maker's breath! What has happened here?!
Junior's possessed by a demon.
Grey Warden... please don't hurt my son! He's not responsible for what he does!
You've been protecting him this entire time?
Connor didn't mean to do this! It was that mage, the one who poisoned Eamon--he started all this! He summoned this demon! Connor was just trying to help his father!
It was a fair deal!
Father is alive, just as I wanted. Now it's my turn to sit on the throne and send out armies to conquer the world! Nobody tells me what to do anymore!
Nobody tells him what to do! Nobody! Ha-ha!
[Teagan is very out of it.]
Quiet, uncle. I warned you what would happen if you kept shouting, didn't I? Yes, I did.
But let's keep things civil. This woman will have the audience she seeks. Tell us, woman... what have you come here for?
I came to stop you... and chew rootgum. And I'm all out of gum.
I'm not finished playing! You can't make me stop! I think it's trying to spoil my fun, Mother!
I... I don't think...
Of course you don't. Ever since you sent the knights away, you do nothing but deprive me of my fun. Frankly, it's getting dull.
I crave excitement! And action! This woman spoiled my sport by saving that stupid village, and now she'll repay me!
[Now we have to fight Bann Teagan and some brainwashed knights.]
[Teagan is pretty tough, but we have Ser Perth and his gang backing us up.]
[I don't know what the deal is with the human knights fighting us. I assume they were brainwashed like Teagan.
I bring this up, because in the background of this screenshot Zevran totally just decapitated one in a shower of blood.
Now they're all dead...]
Teagan! Teagan, are you all right?!
I am... better now, I think. My mind is my own again.
Sorry about shooting you repeatedly. I'm sure we can just... pull the bolts out.
It's quite alright, my dear lady.
Blessed Andraste! I would never have forgiven myself had you died, not after I brought you here. What a fool I am!
Please! Connor's not responsible for this! There must be someway we can save him!
You knew about this all along.
I... yes. I didn't tell you because I believed we could help him. I still do.
I am sorry, my lady, but Connor has become an abomination. He's no longer your son.
You! You did this to Connor.
I didn't! I didn't summon any demon, I told you! Please, if you'll let me help...
Help?! You betrayed me! I brought you here to help my son and in return you poisoned my husband!
This is the mage you spoke of? Didn't you say he was in the dungeon?
He was. I assumed the creatures had killed him by now. He must have been set free.
Yeeeeeeah. I thought he'd be useful, seeing as he helped start this.
Useful? After everything he did, he should be executed! Without him, none of this would have happened!
Your secrecy made his actions possible, Isolde.
I know... what you must think of me, my lady. I took advantage of your fear. I am sorry. I... never knew it would come to this.
Well, I shan't turn away his help. Not yet. And if Connor is truly an abomination...
He is not always the demon you saw. Connor is still inside him, and sometimes he breaks through. Please, I just want to protect him!
Isn't that what started this? You hired the mage to teach Connor in secret... to protect him.
If they discovered Connor had magic, then they'd take him away! I thought if he learned just enough to hide it, then...
Where is Connor now? Why did he run?
I think he ran upstairs, to the family quarters.
Violence... scares him. I know that sounds strange. He may have run up to his room, or...
Or he might be waiting in ambush.
I don't know. The fighting may have scared Connor into... coming out again, and so he ran.
So you're saying he may be vulnerable?
I... perhaps. Is there... is there no other way?
Jowan, what can you add to this discussion?
The demon in Connor needs to be destroyed. Killing Connor is... the easiest way to do that, certainly.
But there is another way. A mage could confront the demon in the Fade, without hurting Connor himself.
What do you mean? Is the demon not within Connor?
Not physically. The demon approached Connor in the Fade while he dreamt, and controls him from there. We can use the connection between them to find the demon.
You can enter the Fade, then? And kill the demon without hurting my boy?
No, but I can enable another mage to do so. It normally requires lyrium and several mages, but I have... blood magic.
What difference does that make? Is stuff going to start growing on the walls?
Lyrium provides the power for the ritual. But I can take that power from someone's life energy. This ritual requires a lot of it, however. All of it, in fact.
...How, exactly, do you know this?
I... read about it? In a library? A non-evil library?
So... someone must die? Someone must be sacrificed?
Yes, and then we send another mage into the Fade. I can't enter because I'm doing the ritual. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. It's... not much of an option...
Is there no other method?
The power has to come from somewhere, and that means either lyrium or blood.
Then let it be my blood. I will be the sacrifice.
What? Isolde, are you mad?! Eamon would never allow this!
Either someone kills my son to destroy that thing inside him, or I give my life so my son can live. To me, the answer is clear.
Blood magic. How can more evil be of any help here? Two wrongs don't make a right.
Can we even trust this Jowan to do as he promises? Give him access to such power and who knows what he shall do? I am uneasy.
Connor is blameless in this. He should not have to pay the price.
It... it's up to you, my friend. You know more about such things than I do, and it's your companion going into the Fade. The decision is yours.
There must be another way to enter the Fade.
You can find lyrium and more mages at the Circle of Magi--if they would even do it.
The Circle tower is not far from here, and they owe me.
Indeed. It should not be difficult to get what is needed, provided we have the time.
But what will happen here? Connor will not remain passive forever!
WELP, THIS IS A CHOICE FOR YOU
1. KILL CONNOR. Suffer not the demon or heretic to live!
2. SACRIFICE ISOLDE. This is all kind of her fault.
3. CALL FOR HELP FROM THE CIRCLE. But can we afford to wait?
Voting closes in 72 hours!
NEXT TIME: We might kill a child. Oh boy!
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