Skyhold

CAUTION – This post contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Check out the Dragon Age website for information on the game.

Inquisitor:

Dalya Lavellan (L11 Rogue)

Total Hours Played:

34.20

Locations:

Skyhold, Fallow Mire, Forbidden Oasis, Crestwood

Mission Report:

I’ve been looking forward to Skyhold since BioWare first showed it off on one of their pre-launch gameplay streams, and it did not disappoint. I ran around every battlement and through every room pretty much every time I went back there. The first order of business, however, was for Dalya to get her Advisors to bring in an Arcanist. I was fairly sure I knew who it would be, but I think that cutscene may have been the longest reveal ever. It was, of course, finally, Dagna. Who’s settled in just fine with Harrit down in the undercroft, and is as enthusiastic as ever.

Next Dalya had to break up an argument over what to do with Cole. There was never any question of not keeping him, so Vivienne got to disapprove again. The way this playthrough is going she’s likely to leave outright before too long. Cole was grateful for the opportunity to help though, and set about burning turnips and leaving peeled sliced plums about.  I haven’t dared ask about the turnips yet.

Dalya took him, along with Bull and Solas to the Fallow Mire. I sense that it was creepy enough without adding Cole to the mix, but loved the banter between him and “the Iron Bull” – Bull is clearly trying so hard to work with him without freaking out. Dalya closed a rift or two, found some creepy runes and rescued the men. The Avvar Shaman we met along the way joined up, and when we got back to Skyhold Dalya got to judge the Chieftain whose son we’d killed. Apparently he’s trekked all the way to Skyhold just to throw goats at the walls. Since it turned out the original beef was something to do with Tevinter, and our soldiers got caught in the crossfire, she exiled the Avvar clan and their weapons to Tevinter. Everyone, including the Chieftain, was delighted.

Next order of business was to meet with Varric’s friend. Todays pro tip? Save right before you talk to Varric. That way if you press the wrong button while customising your Hawke you don’t lose 40 mins of gameplay when you reload. Thankfully most of it was just talking to people. On the bright side it also negated the fact that Dalya fell into the waterfall in the dungeons (I swear I’m not doing it on purpose!).

Elayne Hawke was my second ever Hawke, made 3 years ago, so while I know how she should look, I’m not exactly devastated that she doesn’t look exactly right. I was able to get skin tone, hair colour and eye colour right. Since this was a Hawke who’d had long wavy hair, it seemed reasonable to choose a ponytail. I really think that close enough was good enough in this case. My only regret is that I forgot her tattoos – I just couldn’t face doing that conversation a third time though. I did take a moment to have Dalya ask about Anders, as theirs was the one DA2 playthrough where Hawke supported his actions. His absence is explained by the fact that Hawke didn’t want him anywhere near Corypheus after last time, which I thought was a nice touch.

Having promised to meet Hawke in Crestwood Dalya took Dorian, Blackwall and Varric to the Forbidden Oasis instead. The camps are set up, we’ve killed some Venatori, and we’ve found several mines – one full of spiders (Dalya heroically stayed at the entrance because she’s a ranged fighter and didn’t want to get in the way), but I still can’t figure out how to get to the damned temple entrance. Possibly I need to collect all the shards first. I could look it up since I have my strategy guide now, but I like the first playthrough to be relatively unspoiled, so I’ll soldier on.

Back at Skyhold Leliana had wrangled some experts to teach Dalya – one for each rogue specialisation. I think I’m going to go for Assassin, because it’s another way to differentiate Dalya from the other Archers; also I took a look at the tree and there’s some useful evasive/sneaky stuff in there. The first task is to craft a knife, so I’m hoping I won’t need to faff around with dual wield abilities and end up having to respec. Time will tell.

Cullen made the dramatic revelation that he had stopped taking lyrium because he didn’t want to be associated with the Templar Order any more. The price? Possible madness and death. Dalya assured him that since Cass was keeping an eye on him, and she’s even more serious than Cullen, she wasn’t too worried. Next Dalya went on a little trip into the fade with Solas. Since the option came up she kissed him. He reciprocated then did a whole “This is a terrible idea” thing, that didn’t seem to bode well. This kind of thing is why Isabela was my favourite romance.

I figured Dalya should probably go and meet Hawke in Crestwood. We helped defend the village, and found out that we would need to take on a keep full of bandits in order to be able to get the dam functional, so that we can drain the lake and close the fade rift. Yes, that sounds easy.

The hardest part of Crestwood turned out to be besting the three-way fight between Red Templars, Wolves, and Druffalo. Which ended up needing a change of party and a lot of kiting. I’m now busy writing my proposal for Cullen to draft a Druffalo squad to the Inquisition. The worst part was that they were having their fight right next to the location for the second Crestwood camp, so I couldn’t just sneak past them. Enemies down and camp made, it was time to find Stroud.

I’m still a bit hazy on how Stroud and Hawke are friends (they met, what, twice?), but the news was troubling; every Warden in Orlais had heard the Calling. Stroud admitted that he heard it too and Blackwall wouldn’t give a straight answer. Having read The Last Flight, I’m going to take a wild guess that it’s only Orlais that Corypheus is affecting like this. The Wardens have apparently marched off to the Western Approach for one last big stand-off against the darkspawn, and the Warden-Commander of Orlais is planning some blood magic ritual to end Blights for ever. So at some point Dalya needs to meet Hawke and Stroud in the Western Approach.

For now I had Dalya close one of the smaller Crestwood rifts and look in on a naturalist named Judith who told her about Wyvern and Dragon activity in the area. I decided that was our cue to leave, but not before completing the Astrarium in her yard. Then it was back to Skyhold for a little chat with Solas. They’ve agreed to give the relationship thing a shot, but I’m still not sure if he’s hesitant because he’s used to being alone or if it’s something sinister and/or depressing. I tend to expect the worst with BioWare romances.

My final action was to open up the Emerald Graves, as I don’t feel ready for the Wardens and more sand just yet. We’ll start there today. The Journal and War Table are starting to look pretty full, so other than my date with the Emerald Graves, I think I’ll just be looking to get a balance between advancing plot and clearing side-quests.

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