Who Hasn’t Read ‘Hard in Hightown’?

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


Dalya Lavellan (L18 Rogue)

Total Hours Played:



Skyhold, Storm Coast, Val Royeaux, Emprise du Lion, Western Approach, Exalted Plains

Mission Report:

It turned out to be a good day for banter. The first shocking revelation: Solas has read ‘Hard in Hightown’; Varric was thrilled, and I can’t argue the logic of “it was in the Inquisition library” as a reason for reading it. During the same Storm Coast trip Cass questioned how Solas arrived at the Breach so quickly – he says he was in the area to hear about the Conclave, and went to see the Breach for himself after the explosion. Hmmm, convenient.

In between the chatting, they managed to seal all the Darkspawn tunnels and clear the Red Templars out of Daerwin’s Mouth, where Dalya promptly stepped off a bridge and drowned. With the Templars gone we were able to take a boat to Dragon Island. Dalya checked that, yes, there was a dragon, and ordered a retreat; we weren’t kitted out for fighting dragons.

The conclusion of Josie’s quest involved a visit to Val Royaux, which is a long way to go for a chat. I picked up some schematics from the merchant though, so not a completely wasted trip.

Back at Skyhold I noticed for the first time that Solas has taken to calling Dalya ‘My Heart’. I’m going to take that as a good sign, even though I still think there’s something off about him. We celebrated by crafting new armour for the A-Team of Blackwall, Cole, and Solas. I called Blackwall’s armour ‘Red Warden’ because I made it with Bloodstone. It only occurred to me afterward that others might consider that name a bit much given who we’re fighting.

Cass, Iron Bull and Solas made up the team for a trip to Emprise du Lion, where we liberated Suledin’s Keep. I had a bad feeling about the place as soon as I realised they’d been experimenting on Giants. What did we have to fight? Bloody Giants! The worst surprise though was Dalya finding herself face to face with Imshael (who I keep calling Ishmael). He offered her riches and power, and she offered him an arrow in the face. Demon (sorry, choice spirit) down, Dalya claimed the Keep. In among the loot was a note that Ser Michel had been seen in Sahrnia. Dalya travelled back to the village to tie up a couple of side quests and take a look, but there was no sign. Either we missed him when we first got there, or he’s still somewhere in Emprise du Lion, or he’s dead. I kind of assume if he’s alive he’d come and talk to Dalya about Imshael. To be honest, I was hoping we’d get to recruit him as an agent.1

Dalya also took the time to clear the quarry and free the workers, which got a lot of approval from Cole. Bull took the opportunity to compliment Cass on choosing practical armour, rather than something that showed off cleavage; which was entertaining given how much cleavage Bull is showing.

Back at Skyhold Dalya was admiring the renovations when she came across some notes on the potion for which Vivienne had asked her to secure a Wyvern heart. Something about the potion needing to be used quickly, and rejuvenation. I decided we’d hold off asking until we had the Wyvern heart, and made a mental note to take Vivienne Wyvern hunting later.

I’d promised myself I’d take both Keeps today, so Dalya took Dorian, Blackwall and Cole to the Western Approach to clear the Venatori out of Griffon Wing Keep. We took it pretty easily, and then Captain Rylen dropped a ton of problems on Dalya: poor water supply, darkspawn sightings, and bandit raids. Some days being Inquisitor is bloody hard work; not helped by falling off the wall and into a merchant’s stall while surveying the Keep. Since we couldn’t do most of our new quests due to the sulphur in the canyon (even Cole was complaining, and he’s a spirit – I’m not even sure he can breathe), we went back to Skyhold.

Somehow we’d ended up with a prisoner after Emprise du Lion, and I was a little perplexed when Mistress Poulin, who’d sold the quarry to the Red Templars, was hauled before Dalya. Sure, she hadn’t looked into who she was selling to, but she sold the quarry to use the money to help her village. Dalya let her go; only Bull and Sera disapproved.

I finally had the resources to upgrade the Courtyard (my last major upgrade for Skyhold), but ran Dalya around like a loon because I couldn’t find the location to choose the upgrade – apparently halfway up the steps into the Keep is more logical than, say, in the Courtyard. Nothing has actually changed so I’m not sure if it’s bugged, or if I need to go away and come back again.

Next Varric suggested a game of Wicked Grace. Our players: Dalya, Varric, Josie, Bull, Dorian, Blackwall, Cullen and Cole. They played, Varric told the story of what happened at Chateau Haine, and Cullen got a little too competitive and ended up naked. Cole’s reaction was priceless: “It comes off; I didn’t know it came off.” I hope he means the armour.

My other promise to myself was that I’d see what was on the other side of the bridge we’d restored in the Exalted Plains, so Dalya took Cass, Blackwall, and Vivienne for a look. I chose the party with an eye to Vivienne’s Wyvern fight, but it was a good selection as we ended up dealing with the undead, while trying to reach a company of stranded soldiers. In between killing corpses Vivienne asked why Cass had needed to bring Varric to Haven, since he’d written everything down. When pressed Cass admitted that the Divine had wanted him to autograph her copy of ‘Hard in Hightown’. Best reveal of the day!

With the soldiers freed, and informed they were no longer at war, we headed back to the Camp at Ghilan’nain’s Grove, as I’d figured out there was a passage there which we needed to take to get to Vivienne’s Wyvern. We dealt with a Fade rift, then I left them camping in the Exalted Plains overnight.

We’ll start the day with a Wyvern hunt; beyond that I’m not sure of my plans. I may do another day of mopping up early quests, and there’s a lot still to do in the Hissing Wastes, and the Western Approach. I may open up the next plot quest toward the end of the day though, depending how quickly I tire of Fade rifts and sand.

1. Update: this was bugging me so I checked the strategy guide, and, yes, we should have found and talked to Ser Michel at Sahrnia, before confronting Imshael, in order to recruit him. Ah well, I know for next time.