Part 76: Strangers In The NightPART 76: STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
After a long, long quest, our heroes reached the legendary Urn of Sacred Ashes. Its magical ash may be the only thing that can cure the ailing Arl Eamon, the one Ferelden noble who isn't trying to kill us...
We've got the Ash. Time to beat feet.
Wait, never mind. There's still loot to be had.
[The unlucky corpse has this useful belt for mages. The Golden Demon Pendant sounds totally metal, but it's just a generic gift for Morrigan.]
[There's a shortcut in the Ashes room that lets us teleport back to the outside area where we fought the dragon. There's also another shortcut here that sends us back to the ruins entrance, so we can quickly zip back to the world map.]
Welcome back! You were gone for quite some time. Well? Did you find it?
(Show Genitivi the pouch of Ashes.)
Is that... oh, there is some dust on--no, that's not dust... oh, Maker... I'm not worthy to look upon...
What... what was it like? Coming to the Urn, I mean?
Grueling. There were tests.
Tests? Interesting. Very interesting.
Perhaps my research will not seem so much like blasphemy to the Chantry now.
We must organise an expedition. There is so much history here. It must be studied. And... and pilgrims should be allowed to come to the Urn.
That is not wise. Many will try to exploit this discovery. Or start a holy war.
But the Urn belongs to all the faithful. How can you deny this to them? No... we must share it.
So everyone comes by and takes some ashes from the Urn? I hope that Urn is self-replenishing.
Deny them a corpse? Unthinkable indeed.
And perhaps charge them a entrance fee? No?
I will spread this good news, or die trying.
If something bad comes of this, it's your fault.
[Genitivi is totally serious about the dying part. If you want to keep the Urn a secret, you will have to kill him.]
I must return home. I have much to do. If you ever find yourself in Denerim, please visit me.
I am not a rich man, but I have a small collection of... interesting artifacts, and I do owe you a reward for coming to my rescue.
I hope to see you soon, my friend.
Bye, Genitivi. Try not to get kidnapped again on the way back.
LATER THAT NIGHT...
You're awake! Did you... did you feel it, too?
It was like the archdemon saw us! Saw us! What does that mean?
That it is coming to devour us all? Well, devour you all.
I think--wait! Did you hear that?
[The darkspawn get plus marks for ambushing you in your camp, which apparently never occurred to any of the other dozen or so factions that want us dead by this point.]
[Unfortunately for them, there is a reason the game doesn't normally let us fight with all our party members at the same time.
Also, if we had taken the Dalish Elf origin, one of these Shrieks would have turned out to be a horribly transformed old friend of ours. Fun!]
At least you'll eat well tonight.
Asides from the sheer crassness of what you propose, may I remind you that darkspawn meat is highly toxic.
Perhaps you're not using enough garlic.
I guess it's like Duncan once said: we can sense them, and they can sense us.
Then why haven't they tried to kill us more often?
I guess it's like Duncan once said: darkspawn are stupid.
We'd best be more careful from now on. This camp isn't safe any longer.
What will they send next? Darkspawn tax collectors?
Fortifications should be built around the camp.
It will be more difficult to sleep here, now.
What? No trap? No ambush? Some assassins. (Snorts)
It is done. Let us move on.
[On the way to Redcliffe we get ambushed. Again.]
[It's a posse of assassins. Not Zevran's kind of assassins, these are a totally different band of organised killers.
Man, check out Wynne hadoukening that dude.]
No scope headshot. Bam!
Stop. Don't kill him.
What? Why not?
He is no common bandit. None of them were. Their weapons and armor are of fine make, and they are well-trained.
You know what I am talking about, don't you? Who are you?
(Coughs) Someone who regrets taking you on. Was told it would be an easy job. Kill the little red-haired girl, deal with the others as we pleased.
Kill the... you came to kill me?
He probably means you, yes. My hair is more of an auburn.
Who sent you? Why am I wanted dead?
(Coughs) It don't pay to ask why someone wants someone else dead. I just need to know what to do and where to get my money.
Ha, money! I'll be lucky to get away with my life, it seems. (Gasps) Maybe we could work something out? You'll like the idea.
I've no real quarrel with you. Wasn't me that wanted you dead, but I know how you can find the one who does.
Your life for information then.
I have some directions written down on how to get to the house.
Did you write them on your glove?
Do you know how difficult it is to get paper in this quasi-medieval society of ours? Look, it's in Denerim. Here... it's the best I can do.
I don't want your glove! It.. oh, it stinks!
Thank you. Now leave. I never want to see you again:
Yeah, get lost before we change our minds.
Don't worry. I'll not trouble you no more.
It's Marjolaine... it has to be.
I thought you had escaped from her.
I thought the same.
Maybe someone saw me... maybe she's finally found me and wants to finish what she started.
What do you want to do?
She needs to answer for what she's done to me. If we are ever in Denerim, I would like to seek her out.
All right. I doubt it will take long. We can mooch off Genitivi for a few days.
Perhaps it's time to settle this score for good.
[We can worry about that later. For now, let's finally deal with Arl Eamon.]
It's been a while since we were here last.
Still got that fresh zombie smell.
You return. Might you have news?
Big news! I found the Urn.
You have? Wonderful! Let us go at once to Eamon's side and see if the Urn's healing powers live up to their reputation!
Is he just sprinkling the Ashes on the Arl?
Damn. I owe Zev five sovereigns.
Wh-where am I?
Be calm, Brother. You have been deathly ill for a very long time. Do you remember nothing?
Teagan? What are you doing here? Where is Isolde?
I am here, my husband.
And Connor? Where is my boy? Where is our son?
He lives, though many others are dead. There is much to tell you, husband.
Dead? Then... it was not a dream?
Much has happened since you fell ill, Brother. Some of it will not be... easy for you to hear.
Then tell me. I wish to hear all of it.
This is most troubling.
There is much to be done, that is true. But I should first be thankful to those who have done so much.
Grey Warden, you have not only saved my life but kept my family safe as well.
I am in your debt. Will you permit me to offer you a reward for your service?
If you'd like, I won't object.
Then allow me to declare you and those traveling with you champions of Redcliffe. You will always be a welcome guest within these halls.
[This isn't just a title, it also unlocks the Champion fighter specialization. Champion fighters get abilities that let them buff allies and debuff enemies. Useful for tanks.]
And for you, Warden, a shield of the same make as those that have been given to our finest knights.
I'm an archer.
I'm sure it'll look lovely over your mantlepiece or something.
Right. Thank you, your grace.
We should speak of Loghain, brother. There is no telling what he will do once he learns of your recovery.
Loghain instigates a civil war even though the darkspawn are on our very doorstep. Long I have known him. He is a sensible man; one who never desired power.
I was there when he announced he was taking control of the throne, Eamon. He is mad with ambition, I tell you.
Mad indeed. Mad enough to kill Cailan, to attempt to kill myself and destroy my lands.
Whatever happened to him, Loghain must be stopped. What's more, we can scarce afford to fight this war to its bitter end.
But you can unite the nobility against Loghain, can't you?
I could unite those opposing Loghain, yes. But not all oppose him. He has some very powerful allies.
We have no time to wage a campaign against him. Someone must surrender if Ferelden is to have any chance at fighting the darkspawn.
But once everyone learns what he's done...
I will spread word of Loghains treachery, both here and against the king. But it will be but a claim made without proof.
Those claims will give Loghain's allies pause, but we must combine it with a challenge Loghain cannot ignore. We need someone with a stronger claim to the throne than Loghains daughter, the queen.
Are you referring to Alistair, Brother? Are you certain?
I would not propose such a thing if we had an alternative. But the unthinkable has occurred.
You intend to put Alistair forwards as king?
Please, may I be the one who tells Morrigan?
Teagan and I have a claim through marriage, but we would seem opportunists, no better than Loghain. Alistair's claim is by blood.
And what about me? Does anyone care what I want?
You have a responsibility, Alistair. Without you, Loghain wins. I would have to support him, for the sake of Ferelden. Is that what you want?
I... but I... no, my lord.
Besides, you are already wearing the royal armor. 'If the shoe fits', hmm?
I see only one way to proceed. I will call for a Landsmeet, a gathering of all of Fereldens nobility in the city of Denerim. There, Ferelden can decide who shall rule, one way or another.
Then the business of fighting our true foe can begin. What say you to that, my friend? I do not wish to proceed without your blessing.
Wouldn't it be easier simply to kill Loghain?
I'm not sure that would help our cause. We would become the criminals, and our accusations would become excuses.
Furthermore, Im not even certain where Loghain might be.
So much for the direct approach. What if we defeated him in battle?
Unless we convince some of Loghain's allies to abandon him, that's not likely to happen. Our army is not large enough.
As a Grey Warden, you may gather allies to you, but we need those forces to face the darkspawn, not to battle against our own.
What's stopping Loghain from just attacking Redcliffe?
Why do you think he had me poisoned? He wanted me gone without having to confront me directly.
If I call for a Landsmeet, refusing the compromise and attaching Redcliffe will only support our accusations.
But we'll all be dead.
Yes, but at least we'll have been proved right.
I'm sure he'd rather I died from the poison. Had the demon not interfered, that's exactly what would have happened.
Do you think this Landsmeet idea will work?
That depends. If we cannot gain a consensus in the Landsmeet for Alistair, we cannot afford to oppose Loghain either.
Does that mean Loghain could win? A man who killed his own king, who has gone mad with power? Perhaps. We must see that he does not.
What about the darkspawn?
Ferelden must stand united to defeat the darkspawn. A fractured nation will not defeat the Blight, even given my army and those gathered with your treaties.
It seems we have little choice.
Very well, I will send out the word.
But before we proceed. I believe there is the matter of the mage... my son's tutor. He still lives, I understand.
[Remember when we kicked this can down the road?]
He does. He is in the dungeon, Brother.
Have him brought here, Teagan. I wish to see him.
Jowan. What you have done is not in question. You tried to assassinate me and set into motion a series of events that nearly destroyed everything I cherish. What have you to say in your own defense?
Nothing, my lord... other than to say I am sorry. I expect no mercy for what I have done.
I see. Grey Warden, have you anything to say on Jowan's behalf?
He's okay. Kinda gloomy. He confronted the demon in the Fade and saved Connor's life.
Thus spared my wife from offering herself as sacrifice, as well, I understand. But has he done all this just to save his own skin?
And what would you have me do? As the injured party, my ability to see the merciful path is... strained.
Why does I have to be the one to decide everyone's fate?
They could at least give you a cool chair to sit in while you do it.
Give him to the Circle of Magi.
True enough, and wisely said.
Jowan, I hereby turn you over to the tower of the Circle of Magi. May the Maker have mercy on your soul.
Thank you, my lord.
Now back to the matter of the Landsmeet.
It will take some time to recall my forces and organise our allies. I would prefer to wait until that is done before calling the Landsmeet.
In the meantime I suggest you pursue the remainder of the Grey Warden treaties. We will need all the allies we can get if we are to defeat the darkspawn horde.
[And after all that effort we get told to screw off and wait for the endgame. That's gratitude for you.]
[Still, at least we got this sweet shield out of the deal.]
Another successful mission. Only one treaty left now...
Why don't we go to Denerim first? We need to deal with Leliana's thing, and see Brother Genitivi again and we've got all this loot to sell...
What was the deal between you and Marjolaine anyway? You never actually explained it.
Are you sure you want to know?
Fine. It all started several years ago...
Wait, I didn't wan--
Oh no! Incoming flashback!
NEXT TIME: The good old days, when we were young and bad
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
Andraste: Bride of the Maker