Part 90: I'Ll See You At The CrossroadsPART 90: I'LL SEE YOU AT THE CROSSROADS
After defeating Jarvia, Bianca returns to Dulin with the evidence of her brother's evil schemes. One of his evil schemes at least. Bhelen's got a lot of evil irons in the evil fire.
I hear Jarvia will be troubling us no longer. I assume that's what you're here to tell me?
How do you know? We just killed her five minutes ago.
Don't think about it too hard.
I found these papers. Mercenaries were hired to kill Trian.
Hmm. It's as we suspected, but still somehow chilling. To call so coldly for his brother's death...
Bhelen is a monster. I'm glad you will help us make sure he does not rule.
If you're ready, Lord Harrowmont will see you now.
Excellent. Lead the way.
His Lordship is eager to see you again.
AT STATELY HARROWMONT MANOR...
The word publicly is that you support my enemy, but Dulin promises you've sworn yourself to us.
I always prayed one of Endrins children would stay true. Have you finally turned your back on Bhelens treachery?
I bring you evidence that Bhelen killed Trian.
I am glad Endrin did not live to see this. The suspicion destroyed his life; the proof would have crushed his soul.
Forget his soul. A lot of Orzammar's problems would be solved if Dad had lived to see this.
I would have preferred that you come to me before slandering me to some of the highest placed families in Orzammar.
Bhelen trusts me. We're in a good position.
You're in a good position. But with this evidence of Bhelen's depravity, we should be able to work out a mutual arrangement, if not trust.
If you truly wish to take my side, I ask that you do one more thing for me. Do you know anything of the Paragon Branka?
[Dragon Age is normally responsive to character origins, but this is such a dumb question to ask a dwarf, especially a dwarven noble like Bianca. Paragons are A Big Deal to dwarven culture, and Branka has only been gone 2 years. It'd be like asking an American politician if they knew anything of the 'President Obama'.]
The Assembly raised her to Paragon for inventing a new fuel.
Yes, a smokeless fuel that made underground forges safer than they've ever been.
Two years ago, she took her entire house into the Deep Roads on a mad quest to uncover ancient secrets. No one's heard from her since.
Were she to return and endorse someone for the throne, the Assembly would be honor-bound to accept her wishes.
What if she's dead?
Her entire house went with her. It would take a lot to kill so many.
If not, bringing proof of her death or a body to return to the Stone would still show that, as an ancestor, it was my hand she guided to her remains.
Yeah, I'm sure the Assembly will buy that. Are you sure Branka would support you as king?
It's hard to say what she would do. She wasn't exactly known for her predictability.
She never seemed to like being a Paragon. She was devoted to her craft, never cared for politics. But one of the most brilliant minds Orzammar has seen.
Branka hated darkspawn with a passion. She would certainly be a valuable voice to support your treaty.
If it will get you the throne, I will find Branka. Or her corpse. Or the darkspawn who ate her corpse. Or the corpse of the darkspawn who ate her corpse. Or the darkspawn who ate the corpse of the darkspa--you get the idea.
My men traced Brankas disappearance to an ancient crossroads known as Caridins Cross.
It is many miles below where we normally venture, but I can provide a map to lead you there. Just enter the Deep Roads through the mines.
Thank you again. And may the ancestors guide your steps.
[This is it. All the fooling around Orzammar is over and its time to go deep.
...No, wait. That sounds weird.]
[It's best to clear out your inventory before heading into the Deep Roads again, as it's going to be a long time before we get back to the city.
There you are. I thought I'd spoken to a Grey Warden, but for some reason I'd chalked it up to the drink.
[It's Oghren! Remember him?]
Ah, I know you're down here to look for Branka, and, uh, l need to ask a favor.
Why not? Everyone else does.
Name's Oghren, and if you've ever heard of me before, it's probably all been about how I piss ale and kill little boys who look at me wrong. (Laughs)
And that's mostly true, but the part they never say is how I'm the only one still trying to save our only Paragon.
And if you're looking for Branka, I'm the only one who knows what she was looking for, which might be pretty sodding helpful in finding her.
I heard she was looking for some ancient technology.
Aye. Lots of folks know that, but you don't know what, right?
I know what Branka wanted and how she was looking. You, I assume, know whatever Harrowmonts men have dug up on where exactly she disappeared.
If we pool our knowledge, we stand a chance of finding Branka. Otherwise, good sodding luck.
Don't I have enough armed lunatics following me already?
Perfect. What's one more?
Branka was a brilliant girl, but half the time she'd add two and two and make it fifty. You want to find her, you need someone who knows how she thinks.
Sounds like we have a deal.
You should know that Branka was looking for the Anvil of the Void, the secret to building golems, which was lost centuries ago.
The smith Caridin built it, and with it Orzammar had a hundred years of peace, while it was protected by the golems forged on the Anvil.
As far as anyone knows, the Anvil was built in the old Ortan Thaig. Branka planned to start looking there, if she could ever find it.
You're surprisingly coherent considering you smell like a distillery. On fire.
This is one of my better days.
So where's this thaig?
All she knew was that it was past Caridins Cross. No one's seen that thaig for five hundred years.
If you're married, why aren't you out there with Branka?
Why do you sodding think? She left me! Ran off and took our entire sodding house on her mad quest for the Anvil.
It was a stupid move. If I'd been with her, she'd have made it back years ago. But I forgive her.
Harrowmont gave me a map. I can get to Caridin's Cross.
If we're going, let's get moving. Brankas not going to sodding find herself.
OGHREN JOINED THE PARTY!
[A new party member! Fifty-one updates after our last new party member joined!
Oghren is usually the final party member to join as Orzammar is region most people do last due to the difficulty.
Also, Oghren is voiced by Steve Blum, doing a slightly drunken version of the Classic Steve Blum Voice.]
[Combat-wise he's a two-handed sword-wielding fighting-machine, like Sten. As he joins later than Sten most of his level-ups have been done by the AI, so his stat distribution isn't optimised. On the other hand he gets two specialisation points, while Sten only gets the one.]
[I sent Sten back to camp and put Oghren in the active party, as he gets a crapload of bonus dialogue in the next few dungeons. I've also kitted him out with the juggernaut armor to make him a little more unstoppable.]
Goodbye, Orzammar. I hope to see you again someday.
MANY VERTICAL MILES LATER...
I can't believe Bhelen actually tracked this place down.
We're working for Harrowmont.
Whatever. This used to be one of the biggest crossroads in the old Empire. You could get anywhere from here. Including the Ortan Thaig.
What's so important about Ortan Thaig?
It's the home of Caridin, the Paragon who made the Anvil.
He was an Ortan before he founded his own house, and even then, he spent most of his time in their thaig.
Branka figured it was the best guess for where the Anvil was located.
Do you know anything else about the Anvil?
No one but Caridin ever really knew more than that it had some kind of Stone-blessed power.
Every golem who ever ranged across the empire was hammered on the steel of that Anvil, but no one ever knew exactly how they were made.
Any contribution to this conversation, Shale?
But Branka was sure she could find out.
Great. Let's go.
I've been waiting for someone to say that for two sodding years.
[If we had been openly working for Bhelen or Harrowmont, a team of mercenaries working for the other candidate would spawn here, triggering a fight. As both sides now think we're working for them, we get to enter the Cross unimpeded.]
Most signposts describe distances to the nearest alehouse, not bellow grim reminders of imminent death.
Welcome to the Deep Roads, sweetheart. It's grim reminders all the way down.
And you're looking at me?
Should I be looking elsewhere? Have you forgotten about the fish you stored in your backpack, perhaps?
I was saving it. Won't be ready for the lye for at least another day.
Even the Chasind did not have such disgusting habits and they consumed the ﬂesh of the dead.
Fine, fine, I'll soak it in the lye now. Have it your way, Miss Squeamish.
[Oghren is fun because he's so repulsive that everyone's insults just roll straight off him.]
I wonder what killed these darkspawn.
[This area is massive and filled with darkspawn, but none are a threat individually. It's a good place to use ranged weapons to pull units away from their groups.
I remember when I played Dragon Age for the first time, I wasn't a high enough level for this area. Moving around very slowly and breaking up mobs was the only way to survive. It took forever to complete this quest.]
Stop flexing and fight you coward!
[The game pulls a first class dick move by spawning in a flock of darkspawn behind you when you try to cross the bridge. This after you've fought three large groups of darkspawn in this room already.]
That was the last of them, probably.
I'm not good at counting.
Wait! Stop everything! I see something important!
[There are four piles of rocks scattered around Caridin's Cross. Each unlocks a new segments of 'The Crosscut Drifters' codex entry, which I've included at the bottom of this update.
Finding all four unlocks a secret cache.]
These disgusting creatures would be more effective assassins if they ceased squawking all the time.
[This path puts us out near an exit from the area, although it just goes back to the world map, not the Ortan Thaig we're supposed to be heading to.]
[The Genlock Emissary in this tunnel has some interesting loot.]
[Finding this hilt is the first part of a collection sidequest we aren't going to be able to complete for a few updates. It involves building a new sword, somehow. Medieval duct tape is probably involved.]
Is he dabbing?
[Note the ogre guts flying away in the top left.]
[We've made it to the southern edge of the map, and the way forward is open. But there's still treasure to be found here, so we've got some more exploring to do.]
[The whole region is criss-crossed by these tunnels which link the wider roads.]
This smells familiar.
Eww... it's still moist.
You collect the weirdest shit.
[This is another part of the Asunder quest. We still have one more demon chunk to find.]
Cheer up, Morrigan. I found some more rocks over here.
Do dwarves just get stupider the deeper they go? Is it some malady caused by air pressure?
Oh, boy! A glass flackery.
It is pronounced 'figh-lack-tory'.
(Among the jumble of containers there is the glint of something different. A small glass phylactery conspicuously on its own.)
(The area is unnaturally cold. Dark shapes swirl around a slip ofpapcr within the vial.)
Come on, my creepy friend. Let's get this over with. (Take the vial.)
(The glass fractures at your touch.)
[There's only one more Revenant left in this quest after this.]
I'll be ecstatic when we've dealt with the last of these spooky bastards.
Greater love hath no dwarf than this, that a dwarf lay down his life for street signage.
[There's a darkspawn base of sorts in the centre of the map. It has ballistas watching over two approaches to it, but following the road up from the south gives us a clear run into it.]
And now, the prize.
[A crate has appeared back where we fought that Ogre Alpha earlier.]
Where did they get all this stuff? We were clearly paying the Mining Caste too much.
[Also in the cache are these fancy gloves, part of the Effort armor set. The Effort boots can be bought in Orzammar, and the Effort armor is found deeper in the Deep Roads.
The Duty helm can't be found unless you get creative...]
(He wags his tail happily.)
Do you see anything interesting?
(He barks excitedly and runs off.)
(Barkley appears to have found an old helmet that may have belonged to a Grey Warden, or one ofthe Legionnaires of the Dead.)
Good boy! Who's a good liddle gwave wobber? Is it you? It is!
[The Effort armor isn't really worth the effort (), but it looks cool. It's one of the few high end armor sets that's specifically Grey Warden armor.]
[There's one thing left to find here.]
Never mind the Darkspawn, I'm amazed the Deep Stalkers haven't taken Orzammar by now.
Ugh. My backpack is full of... bits now.
[The final piece for the Asunder quest.]
So... we need to put it back together?
Any of you ladies bring a needle and thread?
Don't look at me.
Time to get back on the road. We've a long way to go.
Good job I bought all this fish then.
NEXT TIME: Bianca learns where baby golems come from, Oghren gets some marriage counseling, and the gang pulls off the greatest con of all.
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
The Crosscut Drifters