Part 69: Murder, She ReadPART 69: MURDER, SHE READ
After helping the Denerim City Watch, our heroes are at a loose end
Message for you, m'lady.
More things to deliver. Goodbye.
What the heck was that all about?
Aya--whatever happened to the thrill of the hunt?
You think its a trap?
Of course its a trap. And such a lazy one too.
In my day we laid traps planned around the marks habits and vices. We didnt just write them a note saying please come to our hotel room so we can kill you.
Who would even fall for something like that?
Ah, but of course.
Hey, Im curious by nature.
Oh, its that legitimate businessman you had the stare-off with.
You here about a note? Maybe we have some things we can talk about.
Just see the conversation stays civil. If this is a trap...
Zevran, is it? You are Taliesins responsibility. Other Crows may try to kill you, but in my eyes, you're already dead.
So you are of no notice.
But the Warden here, she is of great interest to me.
But you were hired to kill me.
I can't stress enough that I wasn't hired to do anything. An associate was, and he's failed--and failed badly.
I'd like to see you do any better.
Do you take me for a fool? That's a contract I'd never take.
I dont know. Its worked out quite well for me so far.
Ahem. A client can always hire more... help. If the job isn't done the first time. But I'm hoping we can make sure that doesn't happen.
Zevran, is this true?
I've only heard of the one time the entire House of Crows was hired for a job.
A princely sum changed hands and an entire noble family died. Not one soul survived.
Ignacio has the right of it. Generally, it is one master, one job.
OK. Im listening.
Ferelden is a busy place: Blight, civil war, other mayhem. Lots of people not getting along.
Sometimes they really don't get along. Maybe want to do something about it.
The people that handle that sort of thing can get real busy.
So youre hiring help?
You could say that. Not many people we can turn to.
So someone that's crossed our path and lived... well, maybe they could help out. Make some coin. Everyone wins.
Not everyone wins. I should think theres at least one person whos going to lose out quite badly.
How does this work then?
I hand you a scroll. You read it, you learn about someone interesting.
If you find out something happens to him, something unfortunate, then if we talk again I give you money for "letting me know."
You don't like what's on the scroll, don't do anything. Maybe he has an accident and someone else tells me all about it.
Why all the innuendo? We both know what this is about.
You can never be too careful. Can you blame someone for being circumspect?
If I do this for you, I want no more Crows after me.
That I cannot do. One master has a contract on you.
But if you help us out, maybe if that master asks for help he'll just get silence, yes?
[This quest actually has no effect on Zevrans troubles or the Crows contract on the Warden.]
Hand me the scroll.
There you go. Makes for fine reading.
You're a cautious little weasel, Ignacio; what's your angle? If you're playing us false...
My dance is not for you. I need to be real... honest sometimes.
And I can say I haven't asked anyone to do anything. I've just given someone something interesting to read.
And you think that will save your hide when they nail it to a wall?
You're already dead in my eyes, whoreson, take care that I don't "learn" otherwise.
Boys, boys. Youre both such lovely, murderous boys. You should be friends.
If that's all, luck be to you.
Someone named Paedan has been preying on Grey Warden sympathisers. And someone else wants Paedan dead. And I think thats a pretty good idea.
But what does this poster have to do with any of it?
A clue, dear Alistair.
Don't believe the lies! Friends of the Grey Wardens assemble.
The hidden pearl holds the key to resistance. The griffons will rise again.
Voila. The hidden Pearl.
Its not that hidden. Half of Denerim knows where this place is.
Its still sort of secret.
The sign outside is ten foot tall.
You have to find it first, though. Thats the thing.
Its in every guidebook to Denerim. Some of them have it on the cover.
Theres no need to be bitter that I figured it out first.
What's the password?
The grey nug flies north for the winter.
No, wait. The griffons will rise again.
Come in. Quickly.
Another Grey Warden supporter.
Not just a supporter, Paedan. That's a Grey Warden.
She's the one Arl Howe is looking for.
Our trap landed a Warden? Youve got one chance to surrender.
Ah ha ha. Why are you doing this?
The arl has been very... generous to his servants. Especially those who get bloody jobs done.
Money. Really? Ugh.
Why are we doing this?
That our work is legal makes it ever so delicious.
Walk now and you live, fools.
We're not common guards, Warden, We're Howes elite.
Shaevra, Tennant, and Jarvy--lets kill ourselves a Warden.
[This fight is hilariously easy.]
Were not common guards, Warden. Were Howes elitaaaaargh my heads come off.
This assassination lark is easy. Why did you bother spending a decade training, Zevran?
I am starting to wonder that myself.
BACK AT THE GNAWED NOBLE TAVERN
A little bird told me one of Loghain's friends had an accident. Terribly unfortunate.
You might want to look in the chest behind me. There might be something of interest.
Find everything you need?
Same deal with the other scrolls?
Deal? Uh... I don't know what you mean.
But if anything interesting happens, feel free to come back. And consider that chest yours.
So if I kill them, the payment will be in the chest?
I never said that. I'm just curious about various people in your kingdom.
And sometimes I seem to misplace large pouches of coin, I'm quite careless that way.
You do mean what I think you mean?
All right, yes. You kill them, look in the bleeding chest.
Happy? Everything clear? Now if you don't mind.
Hold on a minute here. Are you actually asking me to kill someone? In exchange for money? Money that you will give me? If they die? By my hand?
I still have questions!
[Both of the new contracts in Ignacios chest require us to leave Denerim to deal with, so Ill do them another time.
I think weve almost done everything we can do in Denerim for the moment anyway, but there are still two houses on the south side of the market to investigate.]
Welcome, friends! Welcome to Wade's Emporium.
We have the finest armors in Denerim--maybe in all of Ferelden! How may we assist you?
Tell me about Wade.
You're obviously not from around here. Wade is possibly the most brilliant armorsmith in all of Ferelden.
That's not true, Herren. The dwarves of Orzammar make the finest armors around.
These piles of rust droppings you force me to make are worthless compared to their work.
You never let me have the time, the materials to make something special!
[The joke here is Wade is a burly blacksmith with the voice and mannerisms of a diva fashion designer.
Im pretty sure Bioware have done this gag before or since, but I cant remember where.]
Customers expect their armor in a timely fashion. Not years late like the last time--
That happened once, just once, and you never let it drop.
Smiths of my people pass work over generations. Centuries.
Centuries? You hear that, you young mutt, centuries!
Whats an extra year here and there to make something wonderful.
Thank you, dwarf. Your fine point has made my life so much... richer.
Lets see what you have for sale.
[Wades shop does sell some of the best armor in the game, but a lot of the heavy gear is outclassed by stuff weve already picked up in the DLC.
The Felons Coat is exceptional rogue armor though, and I will definitely pick it up at some point.]
This is amazing stuff. Where did you find this, Wade?
Herren, the bloody customers are bothering me again. What do I pay you for, anyhow?
Sorry, sorry. Wade is a genius. Truly, you will be astonished by his work.
But he doesnt deal with customers. If you need anything, please ask me.
And tell her I don't want her looking over my shoulders making doe-eyes at me, either! Im thinking, blast it all.
Truly sorry, sire.
Dont flatter yourself, baldy. Lets go.
[One more house to investigate.]
That's... my sister's house. I'm almost sure of it, this is... yes, this is the right address. She could be inside. Could we... go and see?
[Remember this sidequest?]
Yes, lets do that.
Will she even know who I am? Does she even know I exist? My sister. That sounds very strange... "sister." "Siiiissster."
Please let there not be more like him.
Hmmm. Now I'm babbling. Maybe we should go. Let's go. Let's just... go.
Eh? You have linens to wash? I charge three bits on the bundle, you won't find better. And don't trust what that Natalia woman tells you either, she's foreign and she'll rob you blind.
I'm... not here to have any wash done. My name's Alistair. I'm... well, this may sound sort of strange, but are you Goldanna? If so, I suppose I'm your brother.
My what? I am Goldanna, yes... how do you know my name? What kind of tomfoolery are you folk up to?
Maybe you two should be left alone. At least let me put Barkley outside. He doesnt want to see this.
No! No, don't go! I... please, stay for now.
Look, our mother... she worked as a servant in Redcliffe Castle a long time ago, before she died. Do you know about that? She--
You! I knew it! They told me you was dead! They told me the babe was dead along with mother, but I knew they was lying!
They told you I was dead? Who? Who told you that?
Them's at the castle! I told them the babe was the king's, and they said he was dead. Gave me a coin to shut my mouth and sent me on my way! I knew it!
I'm sorry, I... didn't know that. The babe didn't die. I'm him; I'm... your brother.
(Scoffs) For all the good it does me! You killed Mother, you did, and I've had to scrape by all this time? That coin didn't last long, and when I went back they ran me off!
Thats hardly Alistairs fault, is it?
And who in the Makers name are you? Some dwarf carrying all his riches, I expect?
Hey! Don't speak to her that way! Shes my friend, and a Grey Warden! Just like me!
Ooohhh, I see. A prince and a Grey Warden, too. Well, who am I to think poorly of someone so high and mighty compared to me?
I don't know you, boy. Your royal father forced himself on my mother and took her away from me, and what do I got to show for it? Nothing. They tricked me good! I should have told everyone!
That wouldnt have ended well.
And just going along with it worked out so perfectly for me? Bah. I got five mouths to feed, and unless you can help with that, I got less than no use for you.
I... I'm sorry, I... I don't know what to say...
(Persuade) Goldanna, Alistair came here hoping to find his family.
[This persuade option doesnt do anything if youre playing a female character.]
Well, he found it. And what good is that to me? None, that's what, unless he can see to it that his family lives as it should!
I suppose maybe I could give her some money... for my nieces and nephews? Fifteen sovereigns, maybe? Would you let me give her that?
Youre complaining? In the last few days I have been a part of the greatest crime spree Denerim has ever seen, a cavalcade of pickpocketing, burglary, street fighting, poisoning, murder, and sexual deviancy. Two hours ago we killed four men in a prostitutes bathroom!
But most of that stuff was for a good cause!
So is this!
Yes, go ahead if you like.
Then here, Goldanna... take this money. I know it's not much, but--
You, a prince, marching in here with your fancy armor and such, and this is all you got to offer? You must think I'm very stupid.
Yes. You could get far more selling us to Loghain for the bounty.
Not helping, Sten.
No, wait, I don't think that at all! I want to help, if I can...
You want to help? You go to whatever high-and-mighty folks you run with, and you tell them you've got nephews and nieces that aren't living as they've a right to! You do that!
This is the family you were searching for, Alistair.
Mmm. Yes, apparently so.
Then let me promise you this, Goldanna: I'll do whatever I can, speak to whomever I have to, to ensure you and your children are taken care of.
Mmm. That sounds all well and fine, but you'll have to forgive me if I don't exactly hold my breath.
You have my promise. I can't give you more than that. I... let's go. I want to go. Goodbye, Sister.
Well that was... not what I expected. To put it lightly.
I'll live up to my promise, I suppose, but... this is the family I've been wondering about all my life? I can't believe it.
I... I guess I was expecting her to accept me without question. Isn't that what family is supposed to do? I... I feel like a complete idiot.
SUDDENLY, A DECISION!
You dont need her. You have others who care for you. (A)
Everyone is out for themselves. You should learn that. (B)
Do we pick the warm and fuzzy response or the cold and cynical one? This decision is superficially unimportant, but it might have some consequences down the road. Consequences that WILL NOT be spoiled by anyone posting in this thread, yes?
Voting closes in 3 days-ish.
NEXT TIME: A quiet mountain town.
NEW CODEX ENTRIES:
Dane and the Werewolf