Part 86: The Ambassador's ReceptionPART 86: THE AMBASSADOR'S RECEPTION
Lord Pyral Harrowmont (good-ish) and Prince Bhelen Aeducan (bad-ish) are contesting the throne of Orzammar. Bhelen's exiled sister, Bianca (heroic-ish) is seeking Orzammar's support for the war on the darkspawn (hungry-ish). Playing everyone off against each other seems like the
bestfunniest way to resolve the situation, right?
Sod it all, the exile? Never thought I'd see your face in the commons. Never thought I'd be glad to, either, but this can only help Bhelen.
Whether he forgives you or you scare people, it's another crack in the old way.
An accelerationist I see. You're very eager to support my brother.
He has the legitimate claim, thanks to your failed grab. You abused the old ways, and now he has a chance to change them.
[After the politicking of the last update, let's find out what the man on the street thinks about recent developments in Orzammar. This particular man is Legnar, a merchant in the Commons.]
I see where the gold is. It ﬂows topside. Bhelen will guide us to adopt a new way. Of course, he can't come out and say that.
Some say Bhelen killed our father.
You among them, I suppose. As though you or Harrowmont would have nothing to gain. How would I know?
Nobody here is a Paragon. The scales being equal, I go with the promise of more trade.
You approve of this chaos?
Can't find ore without splitting some stone.
My investments are solid. Ill be fine.
The Assembly has done us a favor; they've shown just how loose the sand is under our feet. It opens people to change.
A Blight is coming. Orzammar can't be divided.
Orzammar will decide what we can or can't be. Blight may be imminent on the surface, but our warriors are well seasoned against darkspawn.
There will be topsiders left for trade. There's no end to them.
Let me see what you have in your store.
[Legnar sells companion gifts and some good armor, including this strangely familiar piece.]
Is that a dwarven monk?
Don't look at it. It'll try to hand you a pamphlet.
Maker's blessing on you, sister.
Why are you invoking a human god?
The Maker brought forth this world and every creature in it.
He chose a human woman as His prophet and bride, but He loves all races.
A tough sort of love.
I'm Brother Burkel, of the Redcliffe Chantry, returned to my ancestors' land to spread the Chant of Light.
Even in the very bowels of the earth, we hear no end of this Chant.
And that is something to rejoice in, good sister!
Im petitioning to open a chantry in Orzammar.
Why would we want a human chantry in Orzammar?
There is... resistance.
Can't be that bad. You're not on fire.
It's obvious the world wasn't created by the mortal souls who dwelt within it.
But Orzammar persists in worshipping its Paragons and forefathers, instead of the Maker.
If we're going to worship anyone, it might as well be our grandparents. Keeps it in the family.
Hmph. Let them worship whatever they like. The Qun is the only way to enlightenment.
(Persuade) If that's true, then he will come to it in time.
Perhaps. Each must find his own way to the truth.
Are you saying you will help?
Whose permission do you need to open a chantry?
I need the shaper of memories' permission to open a prayer meeting.
Of course. I know the shaper well.
Could you talk to him? You've been to the surface; you know the Chantry's good works.
I also know about the pogroms.
Could you not mention them? A chantry here could provide more than just spiritual guidance.
It could be a place of education, of refuge for widows and orphans, a place of charity. Too many in Orzammar spend their lives overlooked.
If I bump into the shaper, I'll be sure to mention it.
I can see the Maker's hand on your shoulder, guiding you always.
Please, let me know as soon as you've heard anything.
[So now we're taking a break from politics to build a church.
Also, I think 'The Chant in the Deeps' was one of Lovecraft's more underrated stories. ]
This must be the smithery Dagna mentioned.
It's a real word! Trust me, I'm a dwarf.
Welcome to Janar Family Armorers.
I must say, you look like our type of people.
Looking for a new set of mail? At Janar's we have everything from leather to platinum.
Janar... Do you have a daughter named Dagna?
Aye. Has she been bothering you? Gets a whiff of surface stink and she's like a cave tick--wont let go.
She wants to become a mage.
That girl! I've been telling her for years to give up those foolish notions.
Magics a human trick; if Dagna wants enchantment, I can apprentice her to a lyrium crafter.
I'm sorry she bothered you.
She's very smart--shouldn't you let her do what she loves?
She's a smith. The ancestors granted her to us to carry out that role, not pretend to be what no dwarf can.
Perhaps I could take your mind off the insult by showing you around the store?
Let's see what you've got.
Of course. Keep in mind, we also take items on trade.
[This is the third armor shop in the Orzammar Commons. Stop being so stereotypical, dwarves!]
[Back outside the shop we can tell Dagna what her father thinks about her hopes and dreams.]
You're back. But it takes two weeks and four days minimum to make the journey to the Circle Tower.
[Hey! An actual measurement! Let's math it up.
Bianca and co. can probably cover 20 miles a day along these medieval roads, assuming free time for biobreaks, killing darkspawn, and arguing with each other. If it's an eighteen day journey, we can say that the Lake Calenhad docks are approximately 360 miles from Orzammar.
Comparing distances, you can see that Lake Calenhad itself must be around 360 miles long (in comparison, Lake Superior is only 350 miles long). Therefore the whole of Ferelden must be about 1,100 miles wide and 800 miles long. In real world terms that makes it slightly smaller than Libya, but slightly larger than Texas.
Sorry, Texas. ]
(Now let's have a geography argument)
Im guessing you haven't left yet.
Your father doesn't want you going to the Circle.
You talked to him? Of course he won't let me go. He wants to sell me off for the highest dowry.
I don't care if I lose my caste. I'll stay on the surface forever.
Why are you so interested in magic anyway?
Here in Orzammar, we're surrounded by stone and tradition and more stone. Nothing ever changes.
We're in the middle of a civil war.
The words will change but the song stays the same.
But to break every natural law by thinking about it... to dream and walk in a realm where everything you think comes true, I can't imagine anything more wonderful.
It's not all it's cracked up to be.
Unless you like pretending to be a golem.
That part was pretty awesome.
I'm not leaving Orzammar until the election is resolved.
Well, I've waited nineteen years. Another month won't kill me.
[We could have crushed Dagna's dreams here and now, but I didn't have the heart. Crushing will come later, perhaps.]
I'm sorry. Did you have an offering for the ancestors?
I can move aside. I don't have much to bring them.
I'm actually curious about your tragic backstory. What were you praying for?
My name is Filda, widow of Teruck of the Smith Caste. I pray here every day for my son, Ruck.
Ruck, son of Teruck?
Not uncommon. My mother's name was Casabianca.
I only wish I knew whether I should be asking for his safe return or for the ancestors to accept his soul.
What happened to him?
It was five years ago. He was only a youngster. He joined a Deep Roads excursion--the only smith to go with the warriors to repair their arms. He was so proud.
But he got... separated somehow. When they came home, he wasn't with them.
Did anyone go after him?
The captains don't want to lose anyone searching for stray men. Too many were taken by the darkspawn that way.
We shouldn't abandon him. I'll look for him if you want.
How? There is no way except to brave the Deep Roads yourself.
I'm a Grey Warden. That's what we do.
A Warden! So you could do it! Only Wardens face the Deep Roads without a company backing them.
Oh, thank you! The ancestors finally heed my prayers!
Please. Find me as soon as you return!
You wish to scour the entire Deep Roads for one man?
I know how this works. Providence will drop Ruck in our path somehow.
Or just throw his corpse at us.
[Palling up with Bhelen has opened up new areas of the royal palace to explore. Let's check 'em out!]
My old bedroom should be down here.
Hey! Hey you! Quit dying on my bed!
Please be quiet. My patient needs her rest.
Fools and their politics. The poison was probably imported as a king killer, and she got dosed by mistake. I've never seen anything this potent.
King killer, you say. You can't cure it?
It's a very strange toxin. I know there's a counter, but the ingredients are so rare, it just doesn't matter.
If you can chase these things down, I'll thank you, but I won't get my hopes up. The Stone will take her soon.
[It's that rarest of beasts in Dragon Age, a crafting quest. Finding the ingredients isn't actually the hard part, it's having a party member sufficiently skilled in herbalism to make the antidote.
Also, note the secondary effects of the potion. You can't drink potions while asleep or paralysed. ]
Trian's old room should be right around this...
This is the Ferelden Embassssaaaaaarrrggghh!
Trying to kill us when we step through the door is not terribly diplomatic.
Huh. I think we were getting paid to kill that guy. Good job, team.
I'm sure slaughtering an entire embassy will have no consquences, won't it? None that I care about anyway.
[That was the Ambassador Gainley the Crows paid us to kill back in Denerim. He doesn't show up unless you have the contract, and he always spawns hostile. Not much of an ambassador if you ask me.
Also in this room...]
Trian's journal... Stones, you really were being played by everyone in the city. Still, I can't judge.
[The journal unlocks a codex entry which I've included at the bottom of this update.]
BACK IN THE DIAMOND QUARTER...
[Let's go to the Shaperate and wrap up at least one of the sidequests we started this update.]
Ah, you return, Warden. Is there more you would know from Orzammar's Memories?
I would like your permission to open a Chantry here.
That is an odd request.
Have you grown so fond of the surfacers' ways in your brief absence?
Heck no. I come on behalf of Brother Burkel, a cleric of Redcliffe.
I thought so. This is not the first time he's made this plea.
My answer to Brother Burkel hasn't changed, so I ask you the same.
On what basis would you have me insult the ancestors and overturn two thousand years of tradition?
+50XP and a clear quest log.
(Cunning) The Chantry's charities could greatly aid Orzammar.
[You need to be either cunning or persuasive to clear this quest successfully. If you fail to persuade the Shaper, then there's no Chantry for anyone.]
What sort of charities do you mean?
The Chantry cares for widows and orphans.
Traditionally, that is their extended family's responsibility... but sometimes people fall through the cracks.
Very well. He may hold a prayer meeting as he requested, if not build a new temple to his god.
At least the words would come from one of our own.
Mm. That is how it starts.
Now, is there anything more?
Tell me of the history of Orzammar.
Perhaps the books here can make up for the lack of attention you paid your elders.
We were a great empire, and our lands stretched through the Deep Roads. Kal Sharok was capital then.
But we lost too many battles, we lost our golems, and we lost our territory. Now, the empire is simply ruined tunnels filled with darkspawn.
How did we lose our golems?
The Paragon Caridin, a smith of unsurpassed genius, invented the golems. For years, they were our weapon against the darkspawn.
One golem is worth a dozen dwarves in battle. But Caridins thaig is far into the Deep Roads.
When it fell, we lost his secret to creating golems. There are books about it along these walls if you would read more.
Golems like this?
Yes. We have only a few dozen left in Orzammar, and I do not recognize this one.
Where did you find it? Every golem is precious to us. We'd pay a good sum for a new find...
I'd sooner jump into a pit of lava.
Unfortunate. Was there anything else? I must tell the rest of the Shaperate about this discovery.
Where is Kal Sharok?
At the other side of the old empire. During the last Blight, the kings of Orzammar knew they couldn't hold everything.
They sealed the Deep Roads, abandoning everyone still trapped in far-flung settlements. It was the only way to survive.
Kal Sharok is the only other city to outlast the Blight. We only rediscovered them recently, and they still haven't forgiven us.
Never mind. Dwarves don't hold grudges for long, after all. I should go.
Your presence here has been recorded in the Memories. I wish I knew what significance it has.
Andraste teaches that patience is the child of wisdom, but I'm eager to hear if you've seen the shaper.
He agreed to let you hold prayer meetings.
Oh, praise the Maker! You truly walk in the light, friend.
I already found a convert among the merchants who offered his shop as a temporary chantry. It's just by Tapsters.
Please, come to our first service!
Rescued the Templars, found the remains of Andraste, converted the dwarves... The Chantry will probably beatify you by the end of this journey.
Ah ha. It shall be a saint for a god it doesn't believe in.
Ugh. I suddenly feel the need to work off some stress...
...And I think I know how.
NEXT TIME: BIANCAMANIA 2017: BLOOD ON THE MAT
NEW CODEX CONTENT: