The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Age: Origins

by Inferior

Part 75: You Have Chosen... Wisely


Previously posted:

At last! The Urn of Sacred Ashes is within Bianca's reach. All she has to do is complete The Gauntlet, a series of trials designed to separate the true believers from the ignorant masses. Better not forget how to spell Jehovah.

[After our introduction with the Guardian, the Gauntlet proper starts here. And because I'm a believer in sharing the joy of Dragon Age with you, the viewer, the following section of the LP is going to be filmed in interactive PUZZLE-O-RAMA.]

I'm seeing a lot of ghosts. They seem to be waiting for something.

Ah, so this must be the talent show part of the dungeon.

Ask them what they want, lest the elf sing.

The smallest lark could carry it, while a strong man might not.

Of what do I speak?

It's a riddle contest!

That's your answer?

No, it's... Um...

[Play along at home, kids! Can you guess the answer? Don't scroll down past the next image or you'll be spoiled.

Small lark can carry it, strong man might not?]

A tune.

Yes. I was Andraste‘s dearest friend in childhood, and always we would sing. She celebrated the beauty of life, and all who heard Her would be filled with joy.

They say the Maker Himself was moved by Andraste‘s song, and then She sang no more of simple things.


And then she turned into a cloud.

I suppose we must answer all the riddles to progress.

Was that the real Ealisay? Her spirit trapped here, for all time...

An afterlife as a doorstop. I can think of better ways to spend eternity.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

The debt of blood must be paid in full.

Of what do I speak?


Yes. My husband, Hessarian, would have chosen a quick death for Andraste. I made him swear that She would die publicly, with Her warleaders, that all would know the Imperium's strength.

I am justice. I am vengeance. Blood can only be repaid in blood.


[Oh, and if you screw up with the riddle-solving, the spirit turns into an Ash Wraith and tries to murder you. They take their riddles seriously in The Gauntlet.]

The bones of the world stretch towards the sky's embrace.

Veiled in white, like a bride greeting her groom.

Of what do I speak?

The mountains.

Yes. I carried Andraste's Ashes out of Tevinter into the mountains to the east where She could gaze ever into Her Maker's sky...

No more fitting a tomb than this could we find.

That's it? 'Mountains are pretty'? That's why you built the tomb all the way up here, with only a village of inbred lunatics to look after the place? Why couldn't you have interred Andraste in downtown Denerim?


Typical. Dodges the question by turning into a cloud.

Just like my last boyfriend. Well, not so much 'turned' as 'exploded', but the principle is the same.

No man has seen it but all men know it.

Lighter than air, sharper than any sword.

Comes from nothing, but will fell the strongest armies.

Of what do I speak?


Yes, hunger was the weapon used against the wicked men of the Tevinter Imperium.

The Maker kindled the sun's flame, scorching the land. Their crops failed, and their armies could not march. Then He opened the heavens and bade the waters flow, and washed away their filth.

I am Cathaire, disciple of Andraste and commander of Her armies. I saw these things done, and knew the Maker smiled on us.

[There are eight spirits and eight riddles in total.]

Echoes from a shadow realm, whispers of things yet to come.

Thought's strange sister dwells in night, is swept away by dawning light.

Of what do I speak?


A dream came upon me, as my daughter slumbered beneath my heart. It told of her life, and of her betrayal and death.

I am sorrow and regret. I am a mother weeping bitter tears for a daughter she could not save.


I’d neither a guest nor a trespasser be; in this place I belong, that belongs also to me.

Of what do I speak?

You're just not trying.

It's been a long millenium.


It was my dream for the people to have a home of their own, where we would have no masters but ourselves.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and thus we followed Andraste, against the Imperium.

But She was betrayed, and so were we.


[And introducing: Bat-Viking as himself]

A poison of the soul, passion's cruel counterpart.

From love she grows, till love lies slain.

Of what do I speak?


Yes, jealousy drove me to betrayal. I was the greatest general of the Alamarri, but beside Her I was nothing. Hundreds fell before Her on bended knee. They loved Her, as did the Maker.

I loved Her too, but what man can compare with a god?


She wields the broken sword, and separates true kings from tyrants.

Of what do I speak?


Yes. I could not bear the sight of Andraste's suffering, and mercy bade me end Her life.

I am the penitent sinner, who shows compassion as he hopes compassion will be shown to him.

So is that it? Are we done?

No. Solving the Riddles of Andraste was but the first step.

Now you must complete the Word Search of Destiny!


I'm just screwing with you. Door's open.



Greetings, my exiled sister.

I would lament your fate, but why should I? You have been cast out to walk the surface, whereas I... hmph...

You aren't Trian. You're just another creature of this strange place.

Humans and elves may waft through the Fade, but dwarves go to the stone. We don't come back.

You always did lack imagination.

But I am too hard on you. Bhelen made fools of us both. Were I a spectator, I would applaud him for his clever manipulations.

However, I find it hard for me to remain... unbiased in this regard.

I should never have trusted Bhelen.

But the betrayals of Orzammar do not weigh down your steps. You have not faltered, and I am proud of you.

Take this, and use it well. I give you this... and my blessing.

Remember me.

Oh, not again.

[It's a mirror battle. The Gauntlet creates an exact copy of your current party- same stats, same equipment, same skills- and you have to fight it out.

This is the one part of the game where having no mages in your party is a real bonus.]

Which one do I shoot?

[Defeating an all-fighter party is simple, just burn each down one by one, focusing on the highest DPS first. As you have healing poultices and they don't, this is pretty easy.]

Well, we finally defeated the greatest enemy. Ourselves.

I feel like a man reborn.

I can be honest about my conflicted emotions.

I am exactly the same.

I don't like where this is going.

Hey, you see those... thingies over on the side of that huge chasm? I bet they're used for something.

Maybe I should touch them. Or stand on them?

Yes, next time we see a strange contraption, why don't you just go stand on it? If something bad happens, hey, we know it‘s a trap!

You... er... don‘t really think they're traps, do you?

Does your Andraste have such an excess of followers that she is willing to lure them to their deaths with ghosts and lies?

From my experience of the Chantry--yes. Hell, yes.

[Standing on the panels makes ghostly bridge pieces appear. If two overlap then...]

So what are we doing here?

Allow me to explain.


As crystal.

I regretted this the moment Alistair got out his crayons.

[You've got to be careful not to cause the tile beneath your team leader to become intangible, else you have to start over from the beginning.]

[For the record, the solution is (numbering top to bottom):

Left 1, Left 4, Right 5

Move to 2nd Bridge Piece

Left 4 to Right 3

Right 5 to Left 6

Move to 3rd Bridge Piece

Left 1 to Right 2

Right 3 to Left 5

Move to end


[Making it to the far side causes the entire bridge to materialise.]

[But wait, I hear you cry! Inferior, that puzzle needed three other characters to complete. What if you had, say, murdered everyone else in your party and were attempting a solo bolo? How would you complete the puzzle then?

How indeed.]

[Check it out! The game spawns temporary Ash Wraith companions for you to use to get past the puzzle.]

[The Ash Wraiths are dual class Fighter/Mages, which is really weird. They start with a bunch of Fighter abilities and a single Skill point they can use to learn a mage spell. They don't gain experience so can never learn any more.]

[Their AI is borked in the Gauntlet- they won't follow you even if ordered to and have to be manually controlled everywhere. But...]

[...leave the Gauntlet and they start following you normally.]

Nuts to this boring old temple. What say we blow this place and have some fun?

we waaaaaaant to.... liiiiiivve agaaaaain

neeeed to... to sssssseeee people... to heeeeear laaaaaughter... to--

to get drunk and meet girls


Aw, gee! Looks like the Wraiths are hitting the Big City!

*guitar riff*

Let's have some fun!


Three beers please.

and a whiiiiiiiiite wiiiiiiine spriiiiiiiitzer

And a white wine spritzer.

i require fruitssssss for my hideeeeous gaping chest mooooouth

always brussssssh your teeeeeeth, child

This is kind of awkward, but I was wondering if you had any girls... suitable... for my friend.

Ah, sure. We get weirder people than that in here all the time.

Gorim. Hey, Gorim!

Dwarven crafts! Fine dwarven crafts, direct from Orzammar.

Gorim! Check 'em out, Gorim. Curious?


Are you hiring right now, Gorim?


thisssss wassss the bessssst day everrrrrrrr

Yeah. Let's go home.

[Anyway, back with our boring real party, it's time to face the final challenge.]

I hope you brought your asbestos long johns, Alistair.

(This altar is little more than a dusty stone slab. You can make out an inscription carved into its face.)

("Cast off the trappings of worldly life and cloak yourself in the goodness of spirit. King and slave, lord and beggar; be born anew in the Maker's sight")

I think it means we have to get naked.

Praise the Maker!

(Remove equipment.)

[The fire will do serious damage if you try to cross with equipment.]

You have been through the trials of the Gauntlet; you have walked the path of Andraste, and like Her, you have been cleansed. You have proven yourself worthy, pilgrim.

Approach the Sacred Ashes.

Can I put on my pants first?

Yes. Pants are now permitted.

I didn't think anyone could succeed in finding Andraste’s final resting place... but here... here She is.

Congratulations. You found a waste-bin.

Nice vase. I should get one for my house.

Thank you for sharing this profound religious experience with me.

(These are the earthly remains of Andraste, Prophet and Bride of the Maker.)

(Take a pinch of the Ashes.)

(You take a pinch of the Ashes, and place it in a Ieather pouch.)

Do we sprinkle these in the Arl's mouth or what? I feel like we are still missing a few steps from this plan.

NEXT TIME: It's a kind of magic

The Maker's First Children