The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Age: Origins

by Inferior

Part 58: I Know You Are, But What Am I?


Previously posted:

Bianca has entered a high stakes negotiation with a magical lunatic. The prize? An acorn from a singing oak tree. At stake? Protecting a clan of hippie elves from some grudge-bearing werewolves... This adventure has gotten kinda weird recently.

Ask a question and you'll get a question, but give an answer and you'll receive the same! Oh, I do so love to trade!

You're quite mad, obviously.

NO!! That is not a question! And if it be an answer, it be an answer to a question I've not asked! Have you no sense for the rules?

Be cautious. This is no ordinary madman. He has magic... I can sense it. Powerful magic.

No fair bringing mages to a guessing game! Will you play by the rules or not?

Urrrrghh... Fine. Then... would you like to ask me a question?

I think it is your turn to ask, is it not?

Who are you?

Who am I? Why do you want to know? Did they send you? Did they tell you to ask?

That's a lot of questions. You'd better have some answers.

Ahhh! Damnation! Caught by my own rules!

Oh, oh, oh! Did they tell you pretend to be an innocent stranger, with a head full of fluff and nothing?

Hey, my hair looks like this naturally.

I'm trickier than I look! Ha, ha! I survive still, and the trees they leave me be! Ha, ha! I've won! They will never find me! Never!

I found you.

So you did! But I'm watching you! If they sent you, I'll know!

But that's all I have to say about that. An answer for an answer, there you go!

That wasn't an answer, you old coot.

Perhaps you should have listened harder! Or maybe they will tell you the truth! I doubt they will!

Stop bolding they!

Do you want to ask me a question?

May I? Oh, yes, I think I might!

Now... what shall be the first? Oh yes! What is your name?

You may call me Bianca.

A-ha! So you claim! They sent you, didn't they? But you're too tricky, and you're trying to fool me! Well, I'm onto you! Just so you know.

But it is your turn to ask now. Ask! Ask away! I dare you!

Do you have the Grand Oak's acorn?

Ahhhhhh... suddenly it all becomes clear. You here, that talking tree there, it all makes sense now.

Does it? Does it really?

As a matter of fact, yes, I do have that tree‘s acorn. I stole it and it was easy. Silly tree should have locked it up tighter!

If you want it, you'll have to trade me for it. And nothing from that silly tree... no leaves or branches or anything.

But that's all I have to say about that. An answer for an answer, there you go!

Do you want to ask me another question?

May I? Oh, yes, I think I might!

Hmmm... where were you born?

I was born in Orzammar, of course.

Hmmm. So you say. Fiendishly clever of you to maintain this facade for so long. But I will see through it yet! Mark my words!

But it is your turn to ask now. Ask! Ask away! I dare you!

Do you have anything to trade?

Let's see... I'll trade you an acorn, a helmet I found, or a book finished reading years ago. Provided you have something interesting in return.

['Something interesting' means you can't just give him money, or vendor trash. He'll only accept a few items, most of which are quest rewards from the sidequests in the forest.

The acorn is the item we need. The helmet is the Ancient Elven Helm, an decent-but-not-great magical item. The book unlocks a new, not especially interesting codex entry.]

I want to trade for the acorn.

Oho! And what do you have to trade for the acorn?

How about a book?

A book, eh? What sort of book?

How about this book on elven history?

[This is the book we got for helping those two lovebirds back in Update 53.]

Elven history, you say? Hmmmm. That might make for good reading by the moonlight. Or it'll be better than using leaves. Give me that!

I can't believe that actually paid off.

There! Now that's done. What else have you got on your agenda, hmm?

Leaving. Rapidly.

There's still something I don't understand.

Just the one thing?

(It appears someone has dug a hole beneath the stump, leading to a tiny and filthy cave of sorts. Obviously, the hermit sleeps in there.)

(There also appears to be a small cubby-hole within the body of the trunk itself. It is filled with mud, twigs and other debris.)

Hold on, you! That's private property! That's an old man‘s home, that is! Keep out! Keep out!

(Try to enter the small cave.)

(You try to squeeze into the small opening, but it is too small for even a child to fit into. How the hermit enters is a mystery.)

I'm literally half his height! How does this even work?

[Trying to reach into the cubby-hole would have netted us the Acorn for free (and a gold ring), but the Hermit would have attacked us and we would have had to kill him to continue. This may not be such a bad thing, depending on your tolerance for crazy old men.

Oh, and he would have summoned demons to fight as well. He's really protective of his stump.]

Hey, look, a quest marker in the distance.

P-please... help... listen... I am not... the mindless beast I appear to be...

What happened to you?

They... I am cursed, turned into this creature. The curse, it... it burns in me!

I... fled into the forest. The werewolves, they... took me in. But l had to return. I had to!

You are... one of the dwarven folk. I am... was... once an elf, one of the Dalish, until my... change. Do you know of my clan?

Your keeper, Zathrian, is the one who sent me here. 'Kill all werewolves' were his orders, as I recall.

The keeper sent you? Then... you seek Witherfang.

I do. Have you seen him?

I have, but... it is not what you think. But... there is no time to explain. You must listen...

My name is Danyla. My husband..he is called Athras. Please, you must... bring him a message.

There is death in her eyes. It will not be long, now.

The scarf I wear... bring it to him. Tell him I love him. Tell him... I am dead and with the gods. I beg you...

I spoke to Athras. He worries about you.

I want him to be at peace... He is a good man. Please do not... let him suffer thinking of me.

Ah, the pain! The curse... is fire in my blood! Please end it for me! End it quickly!

(Persuade) I need answers, first. Please, you must help me! Where is Witherfang? Why are all the werewolves talking? Why do they hate the elves? What's the deal with the musical tree? How does the hermit fit in his cave? Why are all the bears so angry? Is the Juggernaut armor wor--?

I am... literally... dying in agony here.

Well... you don't have to answer them all.

I... I will tell you... what I know. If you promise... to end my pain.

I promise.

Then... then know this: the werewolves are no longer... violent animals. They have... overcome the curse. Like I have.

There is a ruin in the center of the forest... You may find them there. They will think... you mean to kill them.

I can tell you no more... the pain! It is... too much. Please... fulfill... your promise...

So be it.


Gods... bless you...

Gods bless you, Danyla.

What are we going to tell her husband?

The truth, I guess. Most of the truth, at least... Stop being cute, Summon Wolf.


You have returned. Is there... any chance you have news of Danyla?

I do.

You have news? Have you found her? Are... are you certain?

She gave me her scarf. See for yourself.

That is her scarf... Where did you find her? What's become of her?

She was a werewolf, just as you suspected.

So I was right... but what became of her?

She died, Athras. But not before she sent her love.

She told you that? Yes... that is what she would do.

(Sigh) At least she is at peace.

Here is the amulet, as I promised.

Now I should go and make arrangements. I must mourn my wife as is proper. Dareth shiral--fare you well.

Dareth shiral, Athras.

[Athras' pendent. It's alright. Why 4% though? Did Bioware think “No, 5% would be game-breakingly powerful. Best keep it at 4”?]

[Athras' isn't the only sidequest we can now complete.]

What do you wish?

I found some ironbark for you.

Truly? Let me see. Yes... that is indeed ironbark, and a substantial quantity of it as well. Well done!

An agreement is an agreement, and I will craft something from this wood for you. What would you like? A bow? Or perhaps a breastplate?

[Both of these items are pretty good, and I hate having to choose.]

I think both would be more appropriate.

Both? But... that is an unreasonable amount of crafting to expect just for finding the wood! I will do no such thing!

(Persuade) You wouldn't have any wood at all if not for me, remember?

I... suppose you are correct. It is much to ask, but if you aid my clan as you say, then I have no objection.

[This is where our elf kindness pays off. As I mentioned previously, there's a hidden stat which governs how much the Dalish like us, which goes up when we help them out and act all selfless. The higher it is, the easier this Persuade check.

Of course, Bianca has a maxed out Coercion skill, which means she could have won this even if the elves thought she was a total asshole.]

And I have reformed the wood to my will. A Dalish longbow and a breastplate for you... may they serve you well.

Sweet. Thanks, Varathorn.

Eh. Lousy cheapskate dwarves... working me to the bone...

[The Wolfkiller bow in particular is ideal for Bianca in this dungeon, so it gets equipped at once.

Let's shoot the breeze with ol' Zathrian, and see if he has any new observations.]

Yes? What is it you need? Have you news?

I encountered Athras's wife, Danyla, in the forest.

I know who Danyla was. She died the moment she turned into a ravening, mindless beast. Athras needs to accept that.

She wasn't such a mindless beast. She spoke, for one.

She spoke, did she? Surprising, but then her transformation was very recent. Still, she is doomed in the end. I hope you put her out of her misery.

She told me the werewolves had overcome their curse.

That seems unlikely. They are savage beasts. Even if they could speak, I doubt they would have anything worthwhile to say.

They seem to have some grudge against your people.

The same grudge they hold against any who trespass in the forest, I imagine. We also killed many of them during the attack.

The werewolves are unimportant; it is Witherfang whom you must seek out. And if they keep you from him, then your course is clear.

Are we going to dance around this all day, or are you going to just tell me the Big Secret?

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Hm. Hmmmm. Do you know anything about a werewolf named Swiftrunner?

I was not aware they have names. But no, I know nothing about any Swiftrunner.

Do you know anything about a strange hermit in the forest?

Was it a shemlen hermit? If so, I have heard of such a man, a blood mage hiding from the Circle of Magi.

He built a tower in the forest long ago, and then it disappeared mysteriously... and I assumed he along with it.

[You never find the tower. I've seen the suggestion that the tree stump is the tower, only shrunken down by magic. ]

Have you ever encountered a rhyming oak tree in the forest?


You heard me.

We call those possessed trees "sylvans"... the only ones I have ever encountered were little more than berserk killers.

I am surprised you found one self-possessed enough to speak with you, never mind rhyme.

Or it could have been an hallucination. Have you eaten many mushrooms recently?

I wish. Good talking with you, Zathrian. I should go.

And what do you suspect this Big Secret is exactly?

Hell if I know. We'll just have to figure it out ourselves.

By bumbling around the forest killing things, I suppose.

It's worked well for us so far.


My acorn is still gone, so I pray to thee... hast thou any news for me?

Is this the acorn you seek?

My joy soars to new heights indeed! I am reunited with my seed!


As I promised, here it be. I hope its magic pleases thee. Keep this branch of mine with thee and pass through the forest free.

I wish thee well, my mortal friend. Thou brought my sadness to an end. May the sunlight find you; thy days be long, thy winters kind, and thy roots be strong.

For a tree, you're alright, Grand Oak.

The way is clear now.

Yeah. Guess it's time to enter the wolf's den.

Or lair.

...Do wolves have dens or lairs?

This is going to bug me all day now.

NEXT TIME: Lair of the White Wolf