Bad Gamer Part 16: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?
I’m dreaming. I’m back at Haven, and Solas is leading me toward the Chantry. He tells me he wants to show me something, and then suddenly we’re in the cells. The cells where I first met Cassandra and Leliana, where they questioned me about the Divine’s death, about the mark. Solas tells me he sat beside me while I slept in the prison so he could study the anchor. Apparently Dream!Solas is even creepier than the real thing. He tells me Cassandra threatened to have him executed if he didn’t produce results. Of course she did. That’s just like Cassandra; even in my dreams she would do anything, say anything to get what she needs. Solas never expected me to wake up and so he was frightened about what was going to happen to him. He was ready to run. He was smart not to run. Cassandra would have had him hung, drawn and quartered if he had.
When I awoke and sealed the rift with my mark, he felt the entire world change. Yeah, except you had the choice to leave at any time. Dream!Solas is irritating me. My entire world changed for good. He gives me a funny look. I tell him I don’t exactly remember things happening this way. Solas tells me that tends to happen in the Fade—that our perception alters our reality. Wait. We’re in the Fade? This isn’t a dream? What the hell, Solas? He says we can discuss it when I “wake up”. We sure will, but I don’t think he’ll appreciate the conversation.
I suddenly wake up in my bed. I ignore all other responsibilities and go to see Solas to ask him what gives him the right to whisk me off to the Fade without my permission, but I don’t get the chance. Solas is sat in a chair in his rotunda sipping tea and holding his head. Urghhhh, what now? He asks me if I slept well. I don’t really know what to say to him. I mean, really? You invade my dreams and take me to the Fade against my will but still have the audacity to ask me if I’m alright? He apparently didn’t have very good dreams after I left him—a statement to which I want to laugh—and tells me he may need a favour. That he can’t drink tea without making the most hilarious faces of disgust has me saying “sure” by accident. Fuck.
One of Solas’ friends has been kidnapped by Mages and forced into slavery. Solas heard their cries as he slept. Solas has friends? Don’t make me fucking laugh. I ask him who this friend is: it’s a bloody spirit. Now that makes more sense. It apparently needs help to return to the Fade after it was summoned against its will. Solas sort of knows where to find the imprisoned spirit and he’s marked it on my map. This will prove to be interesting.
We head out to the Exalted Plains, Solas looking more and more distraught the longer the journey takes. We find bodies on the way to the spot he’s marked on the map. One of the bodies, a Mage, has been shot by arrows. Bull tells us the position of the arrow means it’s likely they were running. But from what? Another two bodies lie further down the line, but these are burned beyond recognition, claw marks in their remaining flesh. Interesting. And then we find the “spirit”, who looks very much like a demon, trapped by a series of magical pillars. Solas is angry, upset. Is this not what he expected? I tell Solas that that’s a demon. Did he get tricked by someone pretending to be his friend? Solas is furious with me for not understanding. He tells me his spirit friend has been corrupted, changed into a pride demon. Well, I hope you’re not expecting me to save a demon, Solas.
One of the Mages responsible appears. Solas lays into him, yelling and screaming at the Mages for what they’ve done. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Solas so animated. It’s actually quite amusing and I stand back and let them argue for a moment. The Mage asks for our help, but Solas tells them we’re not here to help them fight the demon. Well, we might be, actually. Solas knows exactly what the Mages did: they summoned the demon/spirit to help protect them from bandits and when they instructed it to kill, it turned on them. He wants to destroy the summoning stones and remove the demon’s bindings. Uh, wouldn’t it just be safer to kill the damn thing? Solas argues with me, begs me not to, but I order everyone forward to destroy the demon. Solas is really pretty upset after all is said and done, but it was a bloody demon and it attacked us and killed others. It had to go. The spirit may not have been responsible for their actions, but it was still a demon when we found it. The Mages, if anyone, are responsible here. These idiots allowed the spirit to become twisted. Solas approaches the Mages, murder on his mind. The others look to me. Am I going to step in the way? Will I stop him from hurting them? Nope. Go right ahead, Solas. They’re the idiots for playing with the summoning stones, and it’ll be pay back for the loss of his spirit friend. It’ll also stop these idiotic Mages from doing anything of a similar nature in the future. Solas murders them, a flurry of fading ash all that remains of the Mages. He tells me he needs a few moments to himself and will meet me back at Skyhold
He doesn’t return for two days. When he comes through the gate, I wonder if he’s actually back or has just returned for his belongings. Solas tells me he’s here to help. That I need his help. He claims I did not make my decision about his spirit friend out of understanding, but out of fear of the unknown. So, what you’re saying is that I’m an idiot who requires your vast intellect around? Please. Maybe you ought to turn right back around and go back to your little spirit friends, you elitist egghead.
Later on, I see him pacing around in his rotunda. He asks me how it feels. If I’m aware of what I’m doing or if part of me is trapped inside my own mind while something else controls me. Uh, what? I guess he really is pissed about his spirit turned demon friend being killed. I tell him to sort it out by himself if he has a problem with me.
He calls me a knife-ear and wonders if I have any comprehension regarding the consequences to the decisions I’ve made. A knife-ear? Really, Solas?! Nice racist attitude. He then lays into me about his spirit friend. I let you kill those Mages as revenge, you douchebag! I do the only thing that comes to mind and punch him in the face. It’s probably the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. Ever. He tells me that he expected that. Good. There’s more where that came from if you call me a knife-ear again.
I take Bull out to cheer him up and thank him for his help with the Qun alliance, and perhaps also punch a few wild dragons in the face. After the events with Solas, I’m enraged, but this trip serves a twofold purpose. Yes, I want to punch something, but I also don’t want to face the Archdemon again without being prepared. It’s actually a lot of fun bringing the dragon to its knees (do dragons even have knees?). Bull’s a lot happier afterwards and we’re all much more confident about our chances against Corypheus’ Archdemon.
Emprise du Lion
After that, I visit various places around Southern Thedas to finish up some Inquisition business. In particular, I meet with Mistress Poulin to confront her about her lies. She claims she only did what she could to protect those around her, and once she realized what the soldiers were up to, she prayed someone like me would come along to save them. She couldn’t do anything to save those already taken, but she could protect those left behind. She has a point, and even if she hadn’t sold the mine, it would have likely been taken by force anyway.
I also discover that Ishmael, the demon I released after he gave me expensive stones, killed Michel. Oops. Perhaps Michel should have taken on the demon himself instead of acting the coward, and he’d perhaps not be dead right now? Just a thought. Dorian gives me this look, but I am not taking responsibility for this. Ishmael decided to kill Michel, not I.
I receive timely word that Judicael’s Crossing has officially been repaired by our Inquisition members. They’ve done a fine job, but any moment of admiration is forgotten when two—yes, two!—dragons fly out of the mountains ahead of us and circle the land on the other side of the Crossing. I can feel everyone’s fear and excitement bubbling, especially Bull’s, so off we go to kill them. The first of the dragons has landed in Etienne’s ring, a crumbling coliseum housing one of the Pools of the Sun on its covered roof. The structure of the ring shudders each time the dragon moves above us. Blackwall wonders if we ever have uneventful days. That’d be a “no”, Blackwall. Never. It’s a fairly straightforward battle, though another dragon keeps flying overhead, perhaps surveying us, and all I can do is hope it doesn’t decide to join the fight. It disappears at one point, but I’m sure we’ll cross paths again. After we destroy this particular dragon, we visit the next coliseum and sure enough the other dragon is awaiting us. It proves to be difficult fight, probably because we’re all tired, but he still ends up meeting his Maker, as it were. Bruised, bloodied and fresh off a double dragon kill, we return to Skyhold for the night but vow to return the following day for more dragon fun. Maybe we could even take an afternoon dip in one of the hot springs and not tell anyone when we return to Skyhold? Our little treat for doing all of the work.
Blackwall asks to speak to me before I have a chance to go to bed. He’s in the midst of crafting a wooden griffin, a plaything for children. I’m sure his time would be better spent with his nose stuck in a book researching Corypheus or teaching the less experienced soldiers how to best fight, but alright then. He pledges his full support—support I didn’t know we’d yet to achieve.
Before I can catch a good breakfast, I’m whisked off to the Storm Coast to take care of a few lingering rifts and a Red Templar stronghold. The stronghold is also part of the Storm Coast’s port, which would be very useful to have in the Inquisition’s control. We storm the stronghold easily—too easily. At first I think there might be something worse lurking in the shadows, but all seems to be well by the end of it all.
I return to find Cullen considering a new sword. He seems more focused, more himself now. He apologizes for the trouble he caused, for the way he acted. I don’t mind as long as he’s better now. He claims to be better. I assume this is because he’s taking his lyrium again, but there seems something slightly off about him. Something I just can’t quite put my finger on. Cullen is worried the lyrium will take his mind, that he’ll never be free of the control it has over him. He wonders if he’s sacrificed enough. Not really. He need to just focus on taking his lyrium and stop worrying me about his idiotic problems.
Bull wants to celebrate killing a high dragon. He’s already pretty drunk, which just makes me wonder just how much someone of his size needs to drink to get like this. I join him in a toast. And another. And another. Bull tells me about the Qun holding dragons sacred and I can see why. I can also see he’s pretty turned on by the whole dragon killing thing and it’s an infectious feeling. When I can walk straight again, I seek out Bull. I tell him it’s time to rekindle what we started: that I need the quiet that comes with relying on him. He tells me he wants to give me what I need. That is, after all, what you do for those you care about. Bull lays down the rules. I remind him he’s not my master. He’s cool with that. What isn’t he cool with? Either way, back into bed we go.
Emma Fissenden is a writer of all trades. When she’s not pushing through her next rewrite, she’s playing too many games and working as the Editor in Chief of @noblegasqrtly. You can find her on Twitter @efissenden, or check out her other series for TMS, Game Changer.
(images via Bioware)
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