Part 70: Take It Up With Human ResourcesPART 70: TAKE IT UP WITH HUMAN RESOURCES
With all the sidequests in Denerim finished, Bianca and the boys prepare to head to the village of Haven, in search of the missing Brother Genitivi. But first, Alistair needs to be taught how to deal with troublesome relatives
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.
[You (almost) all voted for cynicism, so here goes ]
Let me tell you something about family.
Family is the chain you are shackled to at birth.
Sometimes the chain drags you up, sometimes it drags you down. You dont get a choice. But at least you always have something to blame when you fall.
Everyone is out for themselves. You should learn that.
Yes. I suppose you're right. I should.
Let's just go. I don't want to talk about this any more.
BACK AT CAMP
You know, I've been thinking...
Such a rare event is worth informing me of, sure.
Oh, ho, ho, ho. Funny, Im sure. Just listen for a minute.
Back when we left Goldanna's, you told me I needed to look out for myself more than I do. I'm beginning to think you were right.
I need to stop letting everyone else make my decisions for me. I need to take a stand and think about myself for a change, or I'm never going to be happy.
Dont let me influence you, Alistair.
No, what you said made sense. You were right. I should be looking out for myself more. Or did I not understand you?
No, but you dont have to do what I say.
I don't have to do it, I want to. What you said made sense. I should have done this a long time ago.
If only I had ordered you to be more assertive earlier.
It would have been helpful.
I just wanted to thank you. You've been a great friend through all of this, the one bright spot in everything that's happened.
Youre a good friend too.
Lets go. Weve got a lot left to do.
[Its been a while since weve properly spoken to Alistair. Lets talk some more.]
Something on your mind?
I have some questions.
So, how did you become a Grey Warden?
Same way you did. You drink some blood, you choke on it and pass out. You haven't forgotten already, have you?
Ha, ha. Very funny.
I do my best. What can I say?
Let's see, I was in the Chantry before. I trained for many years to become a templar, in fact. That's where I learned most of my skills.
You dont seem like the religious sort.
You're telling me. I was banished to the kitchens to scour the pots more times than I can count. And that's a lot; I can count pretty high.
The grand cleric didn't want to let me go. Duncan was forced to conscript me, actually, and was she ever furious when he did. I thought she was going to have us both arrested. I was lucky.
Why did the grand cleric want to keep you?
I wondered that myself. It's not as if she valued me highly. I think she just didn't want to give anything to the Grey Wardens, is all.
The Chantry didn't lose much. And I think I can do more fighting the Blight anyhow, rather than sitting in a temple somewhere.
Ill always be thankful to Duncan for recruiting me. If it hadn't been for him, you know, I would never... I wouldn't have...
Almost been killed a hundred times in the last year?
Im sure thats more your fault than his.
He was a good man.
He was. A good man who didn't deserve his fate, that much I'm sure of.
Why have you remained a Templar if you hate the Chantry?
Have you seen the uniform? It's not only stylish, but well-made. I'm a sucker for good tailoring.
I dont think Ive ever seen you wearing it.
I keep it hidden under my pillow. Sometimes I'll take it out just so I can hug it fondly and remember the good old days. (Sniffs) Brings a tear to the eyes, you know?
So this is where you deflect questions with humor, right?
Id use my shield if I could, but I think you might actually spot me hiding behind it.
You don't really want to know about my being a templar, do you? It's really quite boring.
Then make up something more exciting.
You know, I like the way you think. But I guess if you're really curious, there's no harm in obliging. I have a couple of interesting-looking moles I can show you later, too, if you're interested.
The truth of the matter is that did hate going to the monastery. The initiates from poor families thought I put on airs, while the noble ones called me a bastard and ignored me.
I felt like Arl Eamon had cast me off, unwanted, and I was determined to be bitter. But I took some solace in the training itself, I guess. I was actually quite good at it.
What did you enjoy about the training?
The education, mostly, but also the discipline. You need to have a disciplined mind in order to use the abilities we have. It was difficult, but rewarding.
Disciplined mind? You? Alistair? Really?
Beneath this cavalier exterior lies a mind as focused as a diamond focus thing.
It doesnt matter. I never really felt at home anywhere, though, until I joined the Grey Wardens. And Duncan felt my templar abilities might be useful for when we encountered darkspawn magic, so I kept it up.
What about you? Do you have anywhere you consider home?
Not anymore, no.
We won't always be traveling like this, you know. Once the war is over, once the Blight is... well, a time will come when we'll have to think about having a real home again.
We could be wacky roommates. Sten can live in the apartment across the way, and always be breaking in and stealing our food. Leliana can be our kooky gal pal with the turbulent love life.
It has potential. Though that seems like a far ways off. And I suppose the Grey Wardens are gone for good, either way.
They can be rebuilt.
I suppose you're right. We can create new Grey Wardens, but we'll never get back those we lost. I wonder if it would ever feel the same?
Anyhow, now I've side-tracked us. We'd better get back to what we're supposed to be doing right now.
Youre not getting away that easily.
If you were raised in the Chantry, have you never ?
Never...? Never what? Had a good pair of shoes?
Ahh, stop doing that thing with your face! You know what I mean.
Im not sure I do. Have I never seen a basilisk? Ate jellied ham? Have I never licked a lamppost in winter?
Now youre making fun of me.
Make fun of you, dear lady? Perish the thought. Well, tell me: have you ever licked a lamppost in winter?
Ive licked my share of lampposts and then some!
That's... a disturbing mental image you've conjured for me, right there.
Oh, Alistair, you sweet innocent child you.
I, myself, never had the pleasure. Not that I haven't thought about it, of course, but... you know.
Oh, thats so cute. Youre a virgin.
Cute? Well, hearing that from a beautiful woman does make me feel much luckier; I'll say that.
You think Im beautiful?
I... did I say beautiful? Do you... have any particular opinion on my saying that?
When you have a firm opinion, so will I.
I... yes, of course. I see exactly what you mean.
Enough. I don't want to talk about this any more. Let's go.
[Its a long haul from Denerim to Haven, and I ran into a few random encounters along the way. Heres the most interesting one ]
How did a child survive that? The crater is still smoking.
It's a boy--five fingers, five toes, thats all that matters to me. The Maker has answered our prayers!
Let's go home, Marta, and raise the tyke as our own.
What the heck was that about?
An origin story, evidently.
Never seen this sort of metal before.
[Yes, one day we will have a kryptonite sword.
I took Morrigan along for fire support on a few combat sidequests that arent interesting enough to show off (seriously, the bulk of DA sidequests are go to location, kill everyone, go home), but I did get to see this conversation.]
Half-sister, but yes.
And you made a promise to help her?
Why would you do such a thing? This woman is a parasite who will appreciate nothing you do. You know this?
It's moments like this when I truly appreciate the difference between you and me.
(Scoffs) Tis moments like this when I truly wonder at the difference between you and a toadstool.
[I also stopped by the Lake Calenhad docks, near the Circle Tower, to tie off a loose end.]
Just players in a play?
Exactly. You, I, everything--all a dream.
But whose dream? And for whose amusement?
Some being of cosmic power sublime, enlightened beings.
Cosmic power? What, youre serious?
They thought of all this grit, all the war, they bloody thought of boils?
I got a boil the size of your nose on my big toe, and some beings are enjoying this?
Disturbed, sick bastards if you ask me.
Ahem. I still maintain theyre more enlightened than that.
Hey! Stop questioning reality over there! Some of us want to sleep tonight.
[Back in Update 64, the treacherous Weylon suggested heading to Lake Calenhad in search of Brother Genitivi. It was an obvious trap.
Lets walk into it.]
Welcome back to the Spoiled Princess. How may I serve you today?
[Hey, its the innkeeper from Update 23! Who thought hed be relevant again?]
Have you seen any suspicious activity around your inn?
Of course not. Why do you ask?
Uh huh. Your master, Weylon, is dead.
Who? I-I don't know who this person is, I swear!
Th-they're listening to us, watching me. I-I can't speak openly.
They're looking for anyone asking for this Brother Genitivi. They told me to act like nothing's wrong, and just deny ever having seen the brother, or the knights.
Is there anything I can do to help you?
What can you do? II do what they want because they'll hurt my family. I have no choice.
You should be on your guard, and leave quickly. I don't know what happened to the knights, but I doubt it was anything good.
Thank you, Ill be careful.
Goodbye and... Maker turn His gaze on you.
TEN SECONDS LATER
[The cultists arent a real challenge. But their leader did drop a nice piece of armor.]
Weve wasted enough time. Onward to Haven.
My, what a welcoming place.
What are you doing in Haven? There is nothing for you here.
So this is Haven?
What do you want?
To ask stupid questions. Repeatedly.
I did have some questions about Haven.
Ask and be on your way.
How long has Haven been here?
Haven has always been here. My family knows no other home.
Whos in charge of the village?
Father Eirik is our spiritual leader and guide.
A Revered father, huh? Thats new. I wonder what this means...
It has always been thus in Haven. We do not question tradition.
Are your traditions very different from Fereldens?
Our ways are not the ways of the lowland cities.
Youre not being very forthcoming.
No, Im not.
I like this man.
Is there a Brother Genitivi here?
Who? Perhaps Revered Father Eirik will know of whom you speak.
Unfortunately, he is ministering to the villagers at the moment, and cannot be disturbed.
I suggest you seek your brother elsewhere.
Have you heard of the Urn of Sacred Ashes?
The Urn is nothing but a legend.
Hmm. I would like to explore Haven for a while.
We do not appreciate lowlanders "looking about" our home as though it were some sort of zoo.
Ill be discreet about it then. Excuse me.
You may trade for supplies at the shop if you wish. Then I suggest you and your companions leave.
Did it just get a lot colder? Or is it just me?
Interesting strategy. Tell me: Do you intend to keep going north until it becomes south, and attack the archdemon from the rear?
Itll never see this coming.
Truly. It would surprise me if my enemy counter-attacked by running away and climbing a mountain.
This will help us to stop Loghain.
And that is more important than the Blight?
We need the army.
His army was broken at Ostagar. He is a solitary old man. Why do you fear him?
I dont fear him, I just need to stop him.
Revenge will not end the Blight. We are wasting effort.
I will not simply follow in your shadow as you run from battle.
Well, theres nothing you can do about it. And I am sick of your constant questioning. Im in charge.
Not anymore. Im taking command.
You think anyone will follow you? Seriously? Charisma is your dump stat.
We'll find out, won't we? Defend yourself, Warden.
I really REALLY regret giving you that fancy armor!
Should we do something?
We could place bets? Fifty silver on Bianca
Im in. Fifty on the big fella.
[Of course, if you knew this fight was coming you could unequip all of Stens gear and leave him helpless. You could also negotiate your way out of combat. But this way is more fun.
You also get more approval points from Sten for beating him down. Qunari are funny like that.]
I was wrong. You are strong enough.
Embarrassed at getting beaten by someone half your height?
No. You are the better fighter.
You suck the joy out of everything, Sten.
Thats up to you.
Lead. I will follow.
Isnt friendship grand?
Not now, Zevran.
The Nursery Rhyme posted:
Come, come, bonny Lynne; tell us, tell us where you've been
Were you up, were you down?
Chasing rabbits round the town
Come, come, bonny Lynne; tell us, tell us where you've been
Come, come, bonny Lynne; we've a bed to put you in
It is soft, it is warm
It will shelter from the storm
Come, come, bonny Lynne; we've a bed to put you in
Dear, dear bonny Lynne sleeps the peaceful crib within
A mossy stone, a finger bone
No one knows but Lynne alone
Dear, dear bonny Lynne sleeps the peaceful crib within.
Who are you? You shouldn't be here.
Who are you?
I asked you first.
Lowlanders dont belong here.
What? Why are you looking at me like that?
(Persuade) I bet youre a clever boy. What do you know about Haven?
Haven is Haven, but I have a secret. Do you want to see?
Yes. Show me.
(The boy pulls out something from his pocket and shows it to you: A finger-bone, bleached white by the sun and polished through constant handling.)
Who did that belong to?
It's lucky. I keep it with me. Don't tell anyone, all right?
I think its going to be one of those days.
NEXT TIME: Thats so Haven!