The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Age: Origins

by Inferior

Part 63: That Old Black Magic


Previously posted:

Having successfully solved The Riddle of the Spooky Forest, our heroes kick back and relax…

[We’re back at camp. Time to sell off all our loot, give out gifts and buy some new gear for everyone.

This is Bianca’s new battle swimsuit. Fun fact: the midriff is only exposed on the lady armor. Men wearing the same gear are all covered up. Patriarchy! ]

[We picked up these fetching gloves from a chest in the forest. They’re a gift for Zevran, obviously, because he’s an elf and they’re elven gloves and that’s how it works.

That’s how it works!]

Gloves? You're giving me gloves? What for?

I thought you might like them?

I did not mean to sound ungrateful, it is just... I am ashamed of my tiny hands.

You know what they say- small hands, big heart… I think.

Wait... these are Dalish, are they not? My mother was Dalish and had a pair very similar to these.

The leather was less thick, and it had more embroidery... but these are very close. And quite handsome.

You’re welcome.

Do I seem surprised? Perhaps I am.

Still, I appreciate the fact that you even thought of me. No one has simply... given me a gift before. Thank you.

[Let’s catch up with Morrigan. It’s been ages since we had a proper chat with our creepy witch friend.]

I await your command.

I’d like to ask you something.

So! Full of questions, are you? (Laughs)

How did you become a shapeshifter?

I was not born such. 'Tis a skill of Flemeth's, taught over many years in the wilds.

The Chasind have tales of we witches, saying that we assume the forms of creatures to watch them from hiding.

When a child is alone and separate from his tribe, that is when we strike, dragging the young boy kicking and screaming to our lair to be devoured. A most amusing legend.

That does sound like something you’d do.

Oh? I truly doubt that children would be worth the effort. They are filthy, smelly things full of tears and snot and trouble. You would need a lot of spices to make one taste tolerable.

That said, I cannot speak for the tastes of my mother. She has, after all, lived a very lengthy time in the wilds and done many things I know nothing of.

Why do you ask? Is there something specific you wish to know?

Can you change into other human forms, as well?

The form of an animal is different from my own. One may study the creature, learn to move as it does, think as it does.

In time, this allows one to become as it is.

I gain nothing by studying another human. I already am the same as they are, I learn nothing.

I doubt that.

So the answer is no, my human form is the only one I possess.

Do you spend a lot of time as an animal?

There are nights when the Wilds called to me, ‘tis true.

You look upon the world around you and you think you know it well. I have smelled it as a wolf, listened as a cat, prowled shadows that you never dreamed existed.

But my life is as a human. I am under no illusions to the contrary.

And what do other animals think of you when you're changed?

They do not shy away from me. To their senses, I believe I seem like any other of their species.

As to what they think, I truly cannot say. Just as I am still human, no matter my form, they are still animals. Thus they cannot speak, even were I to ask.

I’ve never heard of magic like that. Makes me regret never having you use it in battle.

No? ‘Tis not unheard of, in the remote corners of the world. There are traditions of magic outside of the Circle of Magi, despite what those mages would have you believe.

Some of these traditions are old, indeed, passed down as carefully-guarded lore from one generation to the next.

The zealots of the Chantry would uproot all such practitioners if they could, but as luck have it some still exist. My mother is such a one.

That’s good. Such traditions need to be preserved.

I am surprised you think so. Still, 'tis a pleasant thing to hear.

That’s all I wanted to ask.

Indeed? Have you an opinion on my abilities, then? Am I an unnatural abomination to be put to the torch?

I think your abilities sound quite useful. If only we could use them outside of combat.

A most practical opinion. Far more so than any man I have spoken to.

But enough of such talk. Let us proceed, lest the dust gather on us.

Woah, wait, I’m not done yet.

We only have these conversations every 3 months, and I’m not going to waste this opportunity.

[As we increase our influence with party members, new conversation options open up. This next branch only activates once we’re ‘friendly’ with Morrigan. It also locks off when you complete Morrigan’s personal quest, so it’s possible to miss completely.]

Tell me… are you really Flemeth’s daughter?

I assume you are actually asking whether Flemeth herself gave birth to me.

Truly, I do not know. I once asked Flemeth that very question, and she merely laughed at me.

‘Tis not inconceivable that she could capture a Chasind man, or perhaps change to a more attractive form to attract him willingly. I find it more difficult to imagine her with child.

Could she have stolen you as a child?

It seems likely, does it not? In an animal form a babe could easily be spirited away and raised as Flemeth's own.

I do know the tales of Flemeth having many daughters, even though I have never met another. And Flemeth has always treated me as her blood.

Does that mean you love her?

What an odd thing to say. Why must "love" enter into the equation? What’s love got to do with it?

It’s just a second hand emotion.

Flemeth taught me everything I needed to learn. How to survive. The meaning of power. The truth of men. If other mothers do not teach these things, then I believe them the lesser.

Now I see where you get it from.

I shall take this as a compliment. Was it meant as such?

Of course.

Was that a lie?

Of course not. How could you think me, the famously honest Bianca, was lying to you?

Oh? How interesting. You agree that love is a weakness, then?

To indulge in love is to indulge in delusion. Surely a Grey Warden such as yourself does not believe otherwise?

That sounds very cynical.

Cynicism is a trait of the true survivor. Considering your situation you would do well to remember that.


I have a thought.

Oh? What’s on your mind?

We have an opportunity that I believe we should take advantage of.

To the point: my mother was once divested of a particular grimoire by a most annoying templar hunter. It occurred long before I was born, but even today Flemeth speaks of the loss with great rage.

With the Circle of Magi in such disarray, it occurs to me that this might be the perfect time to recover the tome from their possession, for surely it eventually ended up in their hands.

You’re telling me this now? Instead of during the eternity we spent rattling around that stupid tower?

It did not occur to me when we were still in the mage tower. I wish it had.

Truly, Mother has assumed for a long time that the tome was lost forever. I only remembered it now after thinking what treasures might be found in the Circle of Magi‘s tower now… in its condition.

What makes you think the mages have this book?

Flemeth is a sorceress of legend, is she not? And her grimoire would be more than a mere curiosity to mages that daren’t even glance towards the places my mother has walked for eons.

No doubt 'tis considered something dangerous, perhaps best locked away somewhere dark, yes? And if not? Then at least I know it does not exist. But there is no harm in looking, surely.

What do you want with this grimoire, exactly?

'Tis a book of spells, of the sort that Flemeth has dabbled with throughout her long life.

I know a way around the wards my mother would have placed on such a tome. I know the language that she would have written it in. I would find such a tome... most useful.

I noticed that sinister pause. Useful in what way?

Useful in the way that it might increase my power. Useful in the way that I would become more useful to you. Does that not follow?

How do I know it is not dangerous?

Dangerous? All knowledge is potentially dangerous.

If you have some fear of me such that I should not be allowed such knowledge, then by all means deprive me of it. I have no ulterior motive for seeking it, however.

Very well, if we go back to the tower, I’ll look for it.

Good. I am most interested to see its contents, should it be located.

I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?

I sincerely hope you do not. The grimoire is leather- bound and adorned with the symbol of a leafless tree, should you come across it. If not, however, then I shall simply put it out of my mmd.

[Well, let’s head back to the Tower. I’ve taken the party of Alistair, Wynne and Sten, for reasons.]

[Is that stain getting bigger?

Oh, and we just got Randomly Encountered.]

Why do I get the feeling I’m about to be asked to take a dive?

Urgh… Wynne, I can’t believe you’re actually Sailor Moon.

It would be wise to save the jokes until after the battle.

[Wynne just got a new plot power!]

[Pretty useful, assuming you don’t need to deactivate it during a fight.]

[The battle encounter is easily solved by charging up the hill to fight the ‘Darkspawn Omega’ first, before dealing with the other troops. Try to stand your ground and fight the small fry first and the Omega will blast you apart at range. That cutscene fireball wasn’t just for show.]

[And they alllllll died.]

Oh... hmm, that was interesting, and draining...

What was that? Did you summon the spirit?

I called forth the spirit that sustains me, so that it could lend us aid. I did not realize it would take this much out of me.

It seemed a good idea at the time, if a little rash.

Motto of the Grey Wardens.

I think it may have weakened the spirit a little.

So you could kill yourself doing this?

Well... er, that's certainly conceivable...

I suppose I shouldn't be using that particular trick to entertain children at parties.

You know yourself best.

I promise I'll be careful. And thank you. Your concern is touching.


Why do we always come here at night?

To make the most dramatic entrance possible, of course. Grey Warden’s prerogative.

[This praying Templar shows up here after you complete the Tower quest.

Anyway, I actually grabbed the book Morrigan’s looking for when I came to the Tower the first time. It’s just random junk you pick up from some guy’s desk, and I didn’t realise what it was until I was sorting my inventory later.

The reason we really came back to the Tower was to threaten a hobo. Like this--]

Back off! I was here first!

You haven’t seen a sword lying around here, have you?

Why, you looking to buy one?

No, but my very large, angry friend here is.

[Yes, it’s Sten’s character quest, to find his missing sword. You remember, the sword whose loss drove Sten into a psychotic rage.]

Ah... is he? Heh. Well... that's... see I'd like to sell you one, but I don't... er... have any myself.

I got part of a glove the wolves didn't chew too badly, though! I think it was a glove, anyway...

I know. Don't say it. I got cheated.

Don’t trust wolves.

I knew the guy who was here before me. He sold me this spot. Said he'd found giants and all kinds of crazy valuables.

He didn't mention that he'd taken everything but the bones and the dirt already.

His name's Faryn. Squirrelly little bastard, if you ask me. which you didn't. But I said it anyway.

He sold you this spot? Does he own the land?

No, no. That's some freeholder or other. He just sold me the looting rights. I'm not building a house here or nothing.

This man’s can-do approach to picking over the bones of the dead really inspires me.

He was going to Orzammar, he said. I imagine he's gotten there by now.

Orzammar. Wonderful.

If you find him, tell him I sent you! It'll scare the piss out of him. Heh.

Let’s just go back to camp for now.

NEXT TIME: The secret history of Flemeth.


Way back when, you guys and gals picked our first combat specialization. It was Ranger, which gave us the ability to command animal friends to act as meat shields help us fight. Now Bianca’s hit level 12, we need to choose a second (and final) specialisation for her.

The choices are:

1. ASSASSIN. Bonus to dexterity + crit chance. Strong backstab skills.
2. BARD. Bonus to our stamina. Learns songs that provide buffs to our party.
3. DUELIST. Bonus to dexterity + damage. Nifty combat abilities.

Vote! Vote! Vote!