Part 85: Family TiesPART 85: FAMILY TIES
Bianca is undermining support for Lord Harrowmont in order to secure a meeting with her estranged, traitorous brother, Bhelen. Bhelen wants the throne of Orzammar and it looks like we're going to help him get it...
[After saving Lord Dace in the last update we get teleported back to Orzammar. To complete our errand for Bhelen's minion we'll need to find Lord Helmi in the local tavern and talk him out of supporting Harrowmont.
But first, a little heroism. Do you see the crowd of people at the end of this path?]
I... can't imagine what you mean. I pay my expenses--
What about the expenses your good friend Jarvia incurs when providing your protection?
Its not easy ensuring nothing bad happens, that no one decides to just... burn everything in your store...
My store! Please... I don't have much. Business isn't good... people are scared...
T--tell Jarvia I'll get her money, I--
Jarvia's not happy with your promises, old man. Now, let's go inside and see what you've been holding back.
Does this town not have guards that could do this?
He's a wine merchant, Sten. Maybe he'll hand out some freebies.
I don't drink.
Neither do I.
More for me then.
T-this is all I have right now. I could get more if I sell something.
Well, well. Looks like we have a visitor. Friend of yours?
You... g-get out of here. This is private business.
Looks more like extortion.
Please. Don't get involved with this. You don't know what they're like!
Then allow me to make some introductions. These are dangerous times in Orzammar, stranger.
Lucky us, the merciful Jarvia is offering protection from the chaos. You're wearing some fancy stuff there. Might make you a target.
[Reflect on this line. If you were a gangster in, say, contemporary Los Angeles, and you saw four mercenaries on your turf wearing full body armor and kitted out with all manner of heavy weaponry, what would you do?
Would you think 'gosh, that gear looks expensive, I think I'll hit them up for money'. Would you? Really?]
So if you want the carta's guarantee of safety, it's yours for the reasonable price of ten gold sovereigns. Or I can't say what might happen.
Oh, I can.
[Intimidate] Take a good look. Do you really want to start this?
Whoa, whoa. All right, you win.
I'm not gonna die for ten lousy sovereigns.
Ancestors bless you for saving my poor store. I don't know how to express my gratitude.
Well... like I said to the thug... business has been kind of bad lately. Not that I'm not grateful, but...
Jarvia runs the carta? Know anything about that?
She's a monster, plain and simple.
The carta used to prey only on their own kind. But since Jarvia stepped in, they even dare the upper city.
Whoever takes the throne had better root out the whole nest of them. That carta's worse than a pack of cave rats.
What do you know about her carta?
A band of casteless thugs. They're to blame for all the crime in Orzammar these days.
They're criminals and the children of criminals. The ancestors themselves declared them irredeemable.
That caste divide is deep indeed.
These casteless, they're all the same. Beggars, thugs, and murderers, every one.
Now, if you'll excuse me. Im grateful for your help, but I don't think we have any more to talk about.
New policy: let's never help anyone again. Agreed?
But I do so enjoy helping people. It fills me with a warm glow.
[Tapsters Tavern is Orzammar's
A brawl would be a pleasant diversion right about now.
[The last time we saw this place was during Jeb's Excellent Adventure. It hasn't changed much.]
You're not welcome here, exile! I don't care if you're a Grey Warden, I liked your brother.
You're the only person in Orzammar who did.
If you need to speak to one of my patrons, do it quickly. But don't expect me to serve you.
Do you serve Bhelen?
Yes, and he disgusts me as much as ever. But with him, you know what you're getting. I expected more from you.
Very well. I don't need your attitude.
You have some nerve.
I mean, it's how the ancestors show their favor. Do they really need our help to decide who's worthy?
And then he practically slapped me!
Lord Denek Helmi, honored deshyr of the Orzammar Assembly and terrible disappointment to my esteemed mother, who doesn't like me spending time in taverns.
So, Im curious. You've been living on the surface, right? Does it function any worse than Orzammar for having abolished caste?
A controversional opinion for a dwarf in the Assembly.
Very good. I guess someone already told you I was good-for-nothing, drinking my life away at Tapsters.
Or did they leave off at "greatest shame to ever fall upon the Assembly? I've always liked that one.
To be honest, I thought I held that title.
You know, most smiths and tavernkeeps would make decent deshyrs if we gave them a chance and a seat in the Assembly.
Orzammar is so mired in tradition no one bothers asking if the castes are even necessary.
How have you not been assassinated by now?
I have news. Harrowmont is double-dealing you and Lady Dace.
Pfft. Oh. Well, Id ask for proof, or why you care, but frankly, Im so tired of it I'm not even surprised anymore.
I don't even want the land, but my house would kill me if I turned it down. Responsibilities, you know.
Now I'll have to go through the whole process of rejecting the deal, and they'll both have to try something else. And I thought it was going to be a nice day.
Why vote for Harrowmont, if you didn't want the land?
I actually thought he was the better candidate.
You must think I'm pretty sodding naive, huh? They're all the same: well-dressed, blood-sucking cave ticks.
I'll have to inform Mother that Lord Harrowmont hasn't bought our vote after all.
Wow. Let's make that guy king instead.
He would be dead before his posterior touched the throne.
It would be amusing though.
[In a corner of the bar is Oghren, the unlovable drunk we last saw harassing a guard in Update 81.]
Oh, I heard about you. The exiled princess, returned in Grey Wardens' armor to put the past behind her.
Someone saw you talking to Vartag Gavorn, and now it's all over that you've been doing dirty errands for Bhelen.
Why is this pungent drunkard the best informed man in Orzammar?
I figured you'd be the one, you know, who could help me find Branka.
But I guess you're just like all the rest.
"All the rest" of whom?
Power-hungry deep lords. The only real concern they have is whose ass gets the throne.
You don't have to play dumb, Warden. Their lackeys only come to me when they want something. Well, if you want the secrets of a Paragon, do the work and find her.
Make some sense, you drunk.
There, now that's the abuse Im used to. I still don't trust you, of course. Your boss, he's like the rest of them.
I know he's been poking around, trying to find things out about her, what she was looking for. Won't tell me spit, though.
He wants it for himself, right? A little blessing from the ancients' technology, and he's assured the throne, is that it?
What are you talking about? What technology?
You are looking for it! Of course. That's all anyone cares about.
Well, sod off and sod your mother, too. I need a bleeding drink.
You keep on your errands. Until your boss really commits to looking, you're getting nothing but smoke out of old Oghren.
Is it too much to ask that we have just one conspiracy at a time to deal with? Please?
[In the other corner of the bar is a mysterious adventurer...]
What! Get away! You'll change, like the rest. Monsters hidden in all my friends!
What are you talking about?
They follow you. Once you are in the story, they possess your friends and follow.
See, I found copies. All from the same pen and older than the ones in song! Dormant, my arse!
Take them! I want out!
Vilhm Madon? Is that an anagram?
[Talking with that dwarf fulfills the final requirement for progressing the Unbound quest- the other requirements were the two journals found on dead adventurers in the Forest Ruins and Temple of Ancient Ashes
We can now go find the enigmatic Vilhm Madon. But we won't. Not until much later. He scary dangerous.]
[The last person we can chat to in the bar is Nevin here, stood next to the stage where two dwarves are participating in the worst poetry slam ever.]
Afternoon, stranger. You looking for a stool to share a brew?
Don't mind if I do.
I recommend the lichen-ale. They brew it downstairs.
The craft lichen revolution really transformed dwarven beer.
It doesn't even make you go blind anymore. Name's Nevin. I fight with Prince Bhelen's expeditionary field unit. Yourself?
I'm Lady Bianca Aeducan. You know, the traitor princess. Famed in song and story?
Aye, I heard the Grey Wardens picked you out of the Deep.
Good folks, Wardens. I was in the Deep Roads when that one came by. What was his name? Doocan, Dunca...? Something like that.
You knew Duncan?
I met him, sure. Good man. Solid. He knows what we go through in the Deep Roads.
Not many do. Not even the ones who live this close. You have to be on the front lines.
You seem smart. You work for Bhelen?
I go where I'm sent, fight when I'm there, and leave politics where it belongs.
Who's your unit fighting?
Darkspawn. Not much use in turning our weapons elsewhere while those vermin still live.
Thanks for the drink, but I should go.
BACK AT THE ASSEMBLY...
Lady Dace just came through the quarter on a tear. She's telling everyone who'll listen what a leech and a liar Harrowmont is. Good job.
It's touching to see how strong your love is for your brother. He's ready to see you now, if you wish.
Of course. I missed him so.
I'm going to assume that wasn't sarcasm.
What is 'sarcasm'?
I warn you, be on your best behavior. And keep your weapons sheathed.
Well, who would have imagined...
My big sister, back from the dead, and calling herself a Grey Warden.
I could hardly believe it when Vartag said you wished to help me regain the throne.
I could hardly believe it myself.
Just tell me the truth, did you poison Father?
Father died of grief. He couldn't bear to live when you were gone.
How tragically convenient.
Why did you do it, Bhelen? What did I ever do to you?
You'd have acted against me in a heartbeat if I hadn't done it first. The same way you turned everyone in the Assembly against Trian.
The same way our father--may the ancestors bless him--convinced his elder brother to enter a Proving against a convicted murderer.
Who do you think gave the murderer the poison to put on his blade?
Father would never do that!
He was a second son who took the throne of Orzammar. Do you honestly believe he did nothing underhanded?
I believed he didn't murder his own brother. ...Maybe you are the rightful heir.
I guess I can't blame you for playing a winning hand.
And I guess youve finally learned something about politics.
Now, Vartag tells me you're here seeking allies against the Blight. You were right to turn to me.
Harrowmont would bow and dandle you on his knee like a child, but he could never overcome the Assembly's resistance to your treaty.
This is a time for action, not cultured debate.
We need absolute unity to fight against the fulcrum of true evil.
You never were willing to hear the voice of dissent.
Unfortunately, while this debate rages, I have no power to send the troops you need.
You've seen for yourself; the city is a slaughterhouse. Criminals run lawless. I could never hold the throne if I allowed such chaos.
I thought you were such a strong ruler, Bhelen.
I can hold my throne, thank you. But I cannot hold it and send the troops you need. Or do you take back that request?
I didn't think so.
Now, I will help when I can, but I must send what troops I have now to combat Jarvia and her so-called carta.
I saw Jarvia's men threatening a merchant.
They know Orzammar is divided now and has no time for them. It's made them bold.
If I show the city I can eliminate such a threat... Well, let's just say my position would be stronger.
And let me guess, you want my help.
Isn't that what you're offering? If you eliminate Jarvia and her thugs, I'll do my best to honor that treaty you're so sweet on.
Unfortunately, Jarvia's base of operations is in Dust Town, and you know how little leverage we have there.
The casteless refuse to cooperate with my men. But now that you've spent so much time on the surface, you're practically one of them.
Perhaps you'll have better luck.
I'll go look for her right now.
And I will wait eagerly for your return.
We should just trot along to Dust Town.
But I don't trust Bhelen.
It's important to have a plan B. I know that now.
They can't stab you in the back, if you stab them first. In the back. Because you'll be behind them.
I've heard about the lies you spread to Lady Dace and Lord Helmi.
I am Dulin Forender, Lord Harrowmonts advisor and first lieutenant, and I have nothing to say to the likes of you.
I'd like to talk to Lord Harrowmont.
You've made it perfectly clear whose side you're on.
Oh have I? Bhelen trusts me. You need an inside man, right?
Well, that wasn't what I expected. What are you saying? You want to aid Harrowmont by... betraying Bhelen from the inside?
Betrayal is a coward's path.
How about betraying a betrayer?
Why should we trust you when you're so eager to sell out the last man you helped?
Bhelen wouldn't have trusted me if I came to you first.
True... If anyone understands how that snakes mind works, it would be you.
But if you're going to support Lord Harrowmont, I hope you're prepared to prove where your loyalties really lie.
Bhelen's already sent you to attack Lord Harrowmont's support. What has he asked of you next?
He's having me do a little clean-up in Dust Town.
He's sending you after the Carta.
A shrewd move. If Bhelen can take credit for shutting down Jarvia, it will buy him more support than any speech.
Yet given Bhelen's own experiences with Dust Town, that might give us a better opportunity than it appears.
What experiences are those? Is this a sex thing?
You reported that casteless sell-swords ambushed you the day of Trians death.
If you could prove Bhelen hired these thugs, prove he sent casteless men to kill a royal prince... Let's say that might change a few votes.
Any idea where I'd look?
In Jarvia's hideout, I imagine. But you're the one trying to prove yourself. Figure out how, or whatever you're offering isn't worth the insult.
If you find anything incriminating, bring it to me and I'll get you an audience with Lord Harrowmont.
If we don't hear of any further slanders against his name.
NEXT TIME: Bianca murders an ambassador and starts a church
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
The Legion of the Dead