Masquerade and Nightmare

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

Inquisitor:

Dalya Lavellan (L16 Rogue)

Total Hours Played:

66.15

Locations:

Western Approach, Skyhold, Halamshiral, Adamant, the Fade, Emerald Graves

Mission Report:

This was a plot-heavy day. It started innocently enough in the Western Approach, where Dalya met up with Stroud and Hawke, and discovered that Corypheus was using the Wardens to provide that demon army she’d seen in the Redcliffe future jaunt. Blackwall was horrified and disbelieving that the Wardens would condone blood magic. I was busy telling him that there’s nothing the Warden’s wouldn’t do to stop a Blight before Corypheus’ Venatori henchman could even get a word in (by which I mean that I yelled it at the TV; there’s no in-game option to say that). The henchman got away, but Stroud was confident that we’d find him and the Wardens at Adamant, and suggested that we meet back at the War Table to plan our strategy (which is code for ‘go open up Adamant on the War Table’). Blackwall’s take on it all was surprisingly prescient: “Best case we find a nightmare; worst, we find a nightmare and die painfully.”

We kept exploring the Western Approach until Dalya had enough Deathroot to craft the Murder Knife. Once it was ready, she met up with Heir to confirm that she wanted to be an Assassin. Upon reflection, I possibly could have done all 3 specialisation quests for the XP and chosen at the end. I just assumed agreeing to the quest locked you in to the specialisation. The cool part is that Dorian actually commented on Dalya having become an Assassin. He told her he has contacts in Tevinter if she decides to take up the profession full time, so I’ve started considering her post-Inquisitor options. Dalya also judged the Mayor of Crestwood as planned, but sort of copped out by sending him off to Ferelden justice. Cole did not approve.

Choosing to open up Halamshiral pulled us straight into the ball at the Winter Palace. I picked a party that fit the party – Cass, Vivienne, and Bull. It was worth it to hear how many middle names Cass has. Also it turns out Cullen’s from Honnleath, and made quite a stir with the ladies at court, which Leliana plans to use to our advantage. Dalya ran around aimlessly for ages because I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing. We met Josephine’s sister, saw Vivienne in her element, discussed shoes with Leliana, and got an in-depth analysis of the snacks from Bull, before I finally admitted defeat and hauled out the strategy guide. I’d taken so long, Dalya didn’t have time to loot properly (very important) and lost a lot of Court Approval by lingering in the wrong places. We did manage to prevent the assassination and defeat Florianne.

I thought Dalya had picked up enough dirt to blackmail them all into working together, but Celene was having none of it, so Dalya ratted on Gaspard. A bit cold given he’d been the one to invite us. Her options were to have him executed, or implicate Briala too. Much as I dislike Briala, I figured there should be some solidarity among elves. Interestingly Sera and Solas both disagreed with that view, though they weren’t there so we didn’t lose any approval. Morrigan was made Celene’s official liaison to the Inquisition (which doesn’t entirely make sense since Vivienne is already with us), and since we didn’t have a choice I decided Dalya should be gracious about it.

On our return Dalya discovered various Reverend Mothers harassing Leliana and Cass about becoming the next Divine – apparently since they fell within the Chantry hierarchy it’s not a totally crazy idea. She spoke with both of them to get their thoughts on it, but urged them to focus on the Inquisition. I’m leaning toward Cass as a contender I could support if I have to, because she said she wanted to give the Circles the chance to govern themselves; I’d still rather give them Mother Giselle though, especially as she’s not vital to the running of the Inquisition.

Next, Cullen was having a crisis over his decision to stop taking Lyrium. He wanted Cass to recommend someone else to his position but she was having none of it. After he left she talked about how everyone sees the restrictions on the Mages, but no one talks about the leash the Templars are kept on, and how she recruited Cullen partly to give him a chance to break free. I’ve never thought of the Templars like that but she’s right. Dalya went to talk with him and persuaded him not to start taking Lyrium again. He may go crazy, of course, or maybe the fact that we believe in him will give him the strength to free himself. I await the results with great interest.

I then figured we should get Adamant out of the way. I took Blackwall, Solas, and, because we were going with Hawke, Varric. We cleared the choke points to minimise Inquisition deaths, and tried our best to persuade the Wardens that they were being duped. Some stood down from the fighting, and an impassioned speech from Blackwall persuaded Warden-Commander Clarel to order them to turn on Corypheus’ men. It took me a while to realise I was meant to follow Clarel, but I finally did and ran straight into Corypheus’ pet dragon. Thankfully Clarel took the hit so I didn’t have to fight it this time either. It’s death throes sent Dalya careening off the building (really not my fault this time), and through a rift into the Fade, along with Hawke, Stroud, and the gang.

Divine Justinia, or possibly a spirit that was pulling a Cole, was there to greet us, and revealed that the demon which ruled that part of the Fade, and was powering Corypheus, was a Fear Demon; properly, a Nightmare. The Justinia-spirit helped Dalya regain the memories that had been taken in the original Breach incident, and we learned for the first time that Corypheus and the Wardens had attacked the Conclave, and were using Justinia as a sacrifice to power up the Elven orb (I think that’s why anyway) when Dalya walked in. The distraction allowed Justinia to bat the orb away; Dalya caught it and “Hey, presto!” – glowy rift hand magic.

Hawke and Stroud proceeded to bicker about the Wardens’ involvement, but there were plenty of demons to kill, and a fun “fight their fears” mini-game for attribute points, so they agreed to disagree til later. The most disturbing thing in the Fade was actually a graveyard listing the fears of all the companions. Blackwall’s was ‘Himself’, which near enough broke my heart. He hasn’t opened up about his past as yet but, between his not denying he was a criminal and one of Cole’s disturbing little character insights, I have a reasonable idea.

Getting back required the sacrifice of the Justinia-spirit, and leaving either Stroud or Hawke to carve us a path to the rift. Not gonna lie, I made the decision based purely on it being a bad idea to leave Anders alone. Talking to Varric later, I realised that Dalya also earned major brownie points with him for not leaving his best friend to die in the Fade. Also I’d forgotten Carver was still around – though it’s Templar Carver and stroppy Hawke, so no headcanon I can imagine has him particularly worried about the outcome.

Dalya chose to have the Grey Wardens honour Stroud’s sacrifice by working with the Inquisition. Which may come back to bite us, as they’re so vulnerable to Corypheus’ corruption. Most of my companions approved; Solas and Cole not so much. In fact Solas actually gave a long-suffering sigh, and then had a rant about the Wardens when we got back to Skyhold. The flirt option calmed him right down though, and since I now know his fear is dying alone, I’m feeling a little more confident about the romance thing; and a bit uncomfortable that I know something so personal without him having told me.

Back in the War Council we debated what Corypheus’ losses might mean for him, and what he might do next. We knew he’d moved south, and Morrigan was able to fill in the why – he was looking for an Eluvian. She then took Dalya through her Eluvian to show her the ‘Crossroads’ that Corypheus is trying to get to. I’m not sure how close to the endgame I am, and there’s a ton of stuff I haven’t done yet, so I’m definitely holding off on opening up the next plot quest for a day or two so I can deal with the unfinished business.

Dagna was ridiculously excited that Dalya been to the Fade and requested samples to test. I’m hoping the report Dalya offered has fobbed her off, but she was very enthusiastic about experimenting! Meanwhile Cole was freaking out that the Venatori might bind him and turn him into a demon. His solution was to ask Solas to bind him for his own protection; Solas, naturally, refused, and suggested an amulet that should protect him, so Dalya got Leliana on the case pretty quickly.

She wandered back into the Keep to find that Varric had a visitor by the name of Bianca. Apparently it’s a very common Dwarvish name. Uh-huh. Her news was that the location for Bartrand’s Folly (which is what we’re now calling the Primeaval Thaig) had been leaked, and humans were carting red lyrium out of there. The good news is that Dalya already has a key and a location to a Deep Roads entrance in the Hinterlands. The bad news is ‘Deep Roads’. Poor Varric, I never take him anywhere nice.

Deciding I couldn’t face the Deep Roads just yet, I instead sent Dalya and the A-Team to the Emerald Graves to explore the Tomb of the Emerald Knights. Corypheus had got there ahead of us, killing the Dalish and our soldiers. It turned out the tomb held histories of how the Exalted March against the Dales had started, and now Dalya has a choice between giving them to the Dalish or the Chantry. I’m hoping they’ll earn favour with the Dalish in the Exalted Plains.

We then went looking for a nearby Red Lyrium deposit and smugglers caravan. Both were found and destroyed, but we then spent the next 10 minutes trying to escape the attention of giants and a dragon in order to travel back to Skyhold. There are a lot of giants in the Emerald Graves. Silver lining: I now know where the Emerald Graves dragon is.

Back at Skyhold Leliana had come through with the amulet for Cole, but something was preventing it from working. Varric chimed in that since Cole wasn’t a demon maybe the amulet wouldn’t work on him. Solas got a bit riled up that the “Child of Stone” was questioning his knowledge, and we agreed, since Cole had a location on whatever was stopping it from working, to go and look into it. Cole was very specific about who he wanted to go with him, which isn’t something I’ve experienced in a companion quest before.

We ended up in Redcliffe, where he found the Templar who had let Cole (the original Apostate Cole) die in his cell. Cole badly wanted to kill him, and while neither of them was keen on that, Varric and Solas had opposing views on what should happen, which basically boiled down to Varric wanting to let him become more human, and Solas wanting to treat him as a spirit. It was a tough call, because they’re the two companions whose good opinion I care most about. In the end Dalya went with Solas’ plan, which was to have Cole see the guilt and pain the Templar was feeling and help him deal with the hurt; it got her an approval boost from Cole so I’m happy with the decision. Even if it did make Cole weirder.

So today looks like another Deep Roads excursion, and probably a stop at Emprise du Lion, which I opened up and haven’t yet been to. I also have a number of quests for the Inner Circle that I’d like to get finished, which should see me hopping amongst our known locations. First order of business, however? A spot of inventory management.

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