Bad Gamer Part 18: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?
The Arbor Wilds
The preparations have begun, our allies have been called to battle, Leliana’s spies are hopefully in full force doing what they need to before we arrive with our army. It’s now or never.
When I arrive at the camp in the Arbor Wilds, I’m told the battle is going well. Corypheus has been spotted heading for an Elven ruin in the North. My soldiers will cut a path to him so I’ll not be trapped by the ongoing fighting. All in all, this has been a pretty fantastic outcome so far thanks to my hard work and preparation. I tell my soldiers to hold nothing back. I must get to Corypheus at any cost, no matter how high the casualties.
As the soldiers break off to join the fight, Morrigan steps up and asks—in that snide regard she has—whether it is Andraste or me the soldiers call upon for strength during battle. I tell Morrigan to focus. I don’t care if she wants to fight. We have better things to be doing. Morrigan tells me she believes Corypheus is headed to the Temple of Mythal. Mythal, huh? The All-Mother’s temple is an interesting destination for a Tevinter Magister turned crazed wannabe God.
I drive my party forward to meet with Corypheus one last time and try not to look about me as we cross the Wilds toward the Temple. It’s not that I don’t want to stop and help my soldiers fight, but I do have somewhere else to be, so I push past the battles and make my way to the imposing ruins of the Temple of Mythal and step through the first set of gates.
Elves stand guard on the bridge into the Temple. Corypheus and, a lady who I can only assume is Calpernia, tell them they will reach the Well of Sorrows whether or not they like it. The Elves look ancient. They’re unfamiliar to me, but they do bear Mythal’s Vallaslin. Do they live in the Temple itself? And what about this Well of Sorrows shit? I look to Morrigan but she shrugs. She has no idea what he’s referring to, which means we’re totally unprepared for what’s about to come. Fucking great. Corypheus destroys the magical barrier protecting the Temple from any outsiders and explodes. Wait. He explodes? Well, that’s my job done. Time to clean up and go home to get drunk! Calpernia and the others flee across the bridge into the Temple proper. But just as we near the bridge ourselves, a corpse rears up, spewing blood and transforming into Corypheus.
Fenedhis! That’s just fucking brilliant. His dragon, the Archdemon, appears over the treetops and it’s suddenly, absolutely time to go. We cross the bridge and close the gates just in time to lock both the dragon & Corypheus out. Phew.
While I don’t anticipate the gates holding for long, I take a moment to properly ask Morrigan about the Well of Sorrows. She claims to be uncertain what this is. Don’t give me that vague, airy-fairy bullshit, Morrigan. You mean you don’t actually know what it is. Morrigan admits that, yes, she might have been wrong about the Eluvian, but she was not wrong about Corypheus seeking out an Elven artifact here in the Temple. Regardless of what he’s after, we still have to stop him. I glare at Morrigan. This venture had better not be for nothing.
We soon discover that we have to perform rituals to be allowed to enter the Temple. These are rites of petition to be allowed into the Temple building proper. Something tells me Calpernia didn’t have to do this. Can’t we go her way instead? The rituals consist of walking on stone slabs in a certain order, which is simple enough, but I can’t help but think we’re wasting time, losing ground. Regardless of my personal feeling on the matter, we get the ritual correct and the doors open. Sure enough, Calpernia’s on the other side of that first door blasting holes through the temple floor. See, she has a much more efficient method! Calpernia sends her minions to fight us back, then jumps into the hole. We kill the minions and go to follow, but Morrigan insists we ought to follow the ritual paths to gain access to the Well of Sorrows.
I argue with her that it’ll be faster if we’re led directly to the Well of Sorrows by Calpernia and co., as they seem to know exactly where they’re going. Bull agrees and reminds us there’s an army fighting for us out there. The longer we piss around, the more casualties we’ll end up with. I don’t really care so much about casualties as these soldiers knew what they were signing up for when they joined the Inquisition, but I don’t want to waste much more time. Morrigan insists that if we find the well, we can use it for good, and if we follow the petitioner’s path we’ll be welcome in the Temple and allowed access to the Well. According to her we should focus on restoration and being respectful than on being destructive.
She explains she wants to protect the power in the Well, even if the ancient Elven writing on the walls tells us that this power will come with a price. She will do whatever she can to protect it. Sure, Morrigan. Protect it. Fuck this. How am I meant to be able to trust your advice, Morrigan, if you have your own agenda? I turn around and jump into the hole after Calpernia—there’s no way I’m spending time doing these rituals while they reach the Well before us. No way.
We end up in the Crypts below the Temple. It’s damp, murky and full of Venatori. Worse still, there’s no sign of Calpernia anywhere. It’s also incredibly hard to navigate through the Crypts and I’m starting to quietly regret my decision when I suddenly find the way out and up into a large meeting chamber. I can feel Morrigan seething behind me. Perhaps she was about to voice her unnecessary opinions just before I led us from the dank Crypts? As we cross the chamber, I look around. The Temple was probably beautiful once, but the ruins have been somewhat neglected. While the others seem solely focused on the door the other side of the chamber, I can’t help but feel like we’re being watched and warn them to look out. Calpernia and her soldiers might be lurking in the shadows. But it’s not Calpernia who is watching and waiting for us. It’s someone else entirely.
An ancient looking Elf, stranger than I’ve ever seen of my kind, steps out in front of us. While he can see I’m an Elf, and that I possess the anchor, the mark, he doesn’t understand how I’m related to the others who disturbed their “slumber”. Slumber? I think this Elf has either lost his lunch or we’ve stumbled onto a more complicated scenario than first thought. I ask for the Elf’s name. Why should I answer to him when I’ve no idea of his allegiance? He could be stalling us while Calpernia breaks ahead to the Well for all we know.
He introduces himself as Abelas, one of the many Sentinels who only wake when the Temple of Mythal and its Well are in danger. Aha, so these Elves are ancient. Elvhen who’ve been slumbering while we’ve been struggling. Interesting and infuriating. He tells us the Well is not for us. Okay then, Abelas, who is it for? I tell him we’ve come to stop Corypheus—that he is the one who seeks the power of the Well, whatever that is, but Abelas doesn’t believe us. Hah, figures. He tells us he’ll destroy the Well if he has to and orders his soldiers to kill us while he runs out of the chamber. Morrigan yells for Abelas to stop and transforms into a Raven. She flies after him, leaving us to clean up the mess. Just fucking brilliant.
Dorian is pissed with me. I can see him glowering in my direction inbetween throwing spells and building defensive barriers. We’re killing a centuries old Elvhen people and for what? Uhhh, to take Corypheus down? To save the world? Fuck Abelas and his Sentinels. It’s not my fault Abelas doesn’t believe me. His decisions cost his people’s lives. And his decision to keep away from the world outside the Temple walls may have cost my own people much more. We could have used his direction, his help, his tutelage. Instead, he can have my fist.
We fight our way through the Temple, knocking the Sentinels down one by one. Close to the top of the Temple, we pass a chamber where the Sentinels try to hold back the Venatori from the Well. Ah, so you are trying to protect the Well from Calpernia, Abelas! If he hadn’t been so pigheaded during our first meeting, I might have been able to help his Sentinels. As it stands, I have somewhere better to be and move on through the Temple.
I find Calpernia near the Well of Sorrows, which isn’t as impressive looking as I’d imagined. It’s just a pool of water in front of an Eluvian. Calpernia and her soldiers have done well in getting this far, but this chase ends now. Calpernia reveals Corypheus intends for her to become the Well’s new vessel. It’s very curious that he wouldn’t take the Well’s power for himself. I tell her to just stop this madness. She’s not getting near that Well if I have my way.
Calpernia reveals to us that the Well’s power will allow Corypheus to walk the Fade in the flesh without needing the anchor in my hand. Yeah, still not happening, Calpernia. Not while I still breathe. If Corypheus needs the Well’s power to walk the Fade and take his heart’s desire, I’ll drink from it myself to stop him. And if it gives me an added edge against him, then all the better.
Calpernia attacks, but we break her down easily enough. At the last moment she breaks away, wounded and exhausted, and limps toward the edge of a cliff that overlooks the rest of the Temple below. She tells us that she’ll not die by my hand and throws herself off the cliff to her death. Drama queen, much? We stand there looking at one another for a moment. Bull raises an eyebrow and shrugs. Agreed, Bull.
Just then, Abelas runs past us with Raven!Morrigan on his heels. How did I manage to beat them here? Regardless, I run after them. Abelas is distraught that the sanctity of the Well has been spoiled, but at least we stopped Calpernia and Corypheus using it for ill? And what’s the better outcome? Destroying it so no one can use its power, or wielding the power against our enemies?
Abelas has no idea what’s happening beyond the Temple’s walls, but it’s about time he did. We could have used his help. Hell, my people could have used his help years ago. We need that Well. Abelas doesn’t care what’s happening outside the Temple, but he bloody well will when Corypheus arrives. Abelas relents, takes a deep breath and explains that the Well is the stored knowledge of all of Mythal’s past servants. If it is lost, all of their knowledge is gone forever. Either way it’s lost, Abelas. It’s our choice to use it for good or ill, and hey, and I choose to destroy the power hungry megalomaniac who fancies himself a God. Okay? Okay, great. Can we get to the Well drinking now?
Abelas knocks both Morrigan and I aside and begins to destroy the Well. That bastard! But Morrigan is quick and kills him before he has the chance to succeed. Dorian yells at Morrigan and asks her what she would have done in Abelas’ situation. Morrigan doesn’t much care, and neither do I. Abelas should have listened to reason, should have joined the world he lives in instead of grasping at the faint remnants of a past world long gone by. He made the decision and it cost him his life.
Morrigan points out the intact Eluvian above the Well and snarkily states she was right. Alright Morrigan, settle down. She explains that the Well is the key to the Eluvian. If we steal the Well’s power, Corypheus will not be able to use the Eluvian to enter the Fade. Brilliant. Let’s get drinking.
But there stands the question of who will drink. Morrigan begs to drink from the Well because she claims to be the best suited. I don’t know if I can trust her. I can’t really trust anyone around me, least of all someone who has barely been a part of the Inquisition until it suited her to be so. If someone has to drink from the Well to protect its power from Corypheus, it’ll be me, the price of drinking it be damned. I’ve already had my life messed up because of this bloody anchor, why not add another notch on that count?
I tell them I’m going to take the power of the Well for myself. Morrigan is pissed because I’ll not be able to understand most of the knowledge. According to her I lack the appropriate knowledge of Ancient Elvhen. Why do you have to be such an elitist bitch, Morrigan? Enough already. If you disagree that much with my decision, then leave and do us all a favour.
I step into the Well and absorb its power, but instead of feeling more powerful, I end up in a strange shadowy place. Is this the Fade? I don’t know, but it’s slightly scary. All around me are strange voices whispering strange things. I ask them for help against Corypheus but they don’t answer. I demand that they help me.
Suddenly my head explodes in pain and I am back in the Well once more. The emptied Well. Bull asks me how I am. I can tell that everyone is concerned, but there’s no time to answer anyone for Corypheus has arrived. He’s angry I’ve taken the power of the Well for myself and flies toward us. I activate the Eluvian behind us and we flee for our lives, emptying out of Skyhold’s Eluvian one by one and sealing it behind us. Bye bye, Corypheus. See you next time, arsehole!
When the Commander and Spymaster return from the Arbor Wilds, I immediately call a meeting in the War Room. Cullen reports that Corypheus and his Archdemon fled during the battle and that the Inquisition won. Leliana wonders if he’ll hide and regroup to gather his strength before attacking again, but a voice inside my head whispers that he won’t hide. I tell the others what I hear.
Morrigan gasps. The Well is speaking to me? Uh, yes, Morrigan. You’re not as high and mighty as you think. Did she truly believe that the Well would only speak to her? I tell her I can’t quite understand all of it, and she uses this moment to insist that she should have been the one to drink from the Well. Maybe then, she says, we’d be able to actually understand what the Well is saying to me. Fuck you, Morrigan.
Leliana leaps to my rescue and points out that we’d be relying on Morrigan’s interpretation of them and whatever she’d choose to tell us. This evidently pushes some kind of button because Morrigan is furious we’d accuse her of keeping things quiet. Well, you kept your knowledge of the Well’s power a secret from us until I threatened it by not following the petitioner’s path so I’m not sure you have a leg to stand on in this argument, Morrigan.
I reveal that the Well has told me the Archdemon is actually just a dragon Corypheus has invested part of his power in. If we destroy it, he’ll temporarily lose his ability to jump from body to body. He’ll become mortal and we’ll be able to kill him! But how to destroy the Archdemon is a question I cannot answer.
The Well has another answer for me. The voices whisper for me to go to an altar to summon Mythal. She will help with our Archdemon problem. I tell the others grouped around the table, and Morrigan all but scoffs and leaves us without saying much of anything. The others look at one another, then ask me if I’m sure this is the best option.
Please. What other choice do I have but to listen to the voices in my head?
I tell the others to be ready for anything and head off to rest.
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.
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