Bad Gamer Part 22: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?
When I return from the Exalted Plains, Vivienne comes out to meet me. She asks if we managed to kill any Wyverns while away, and if we managed to take their hearts in the process. It’s quite an unusual request, especially when Vivienne very rarely asks for my help, but I just so happen to have a few we collected for research purposes. She tells me she specifically needs one taken from a Snowy Wyvern. Okay, Vivienne. What are you up to? I don’t have a Snowy Wyvern heart and I can’t be bothered to go get one, so I retrieve one from the storage pack and pretend the generic Wyvern heart is one we took from a Snowy Wyvern. I mean, what the hell difference can it make? She won’t even tell me what the heart is for anyway, so it’s not like I’m really being treated fairly. I’m your boss, Vivienne. Not your serving girl, despite what the ears might tell you.
Vivienne accepts the heart and tells me to follow her.
We travel to an opulent home in the Val Royeaux area. Vivienne leads us into a bedroom where her lover, Bastien, lies on his deathbed, gravely ill. Vivienne tells him things will be alright now, and gives him a potion. But instead of getting better, as I assume Vivienne expected, Bastien starts to seize up. Vivienne exclaims in shock. She doesn’t understand why the potion isn’t working.
Oh. Yeah, I may have fucked up. I tell her we should probably just go. I’m already inching toward the door when Bastien dies. It’s probably best if I just leave her to her grief, right? I practically run out of the house, jump onto my Hart and ride back to Skyhold.
When Vivienne returns to Skyhold, she accuses me of sabotage, of assassination. Hey, maybe if you’d told me what the heart was for, maybe if you’d told me it was a matter of life or fucking death, maybe I’d have made more of an effort—or maybe (and this is my personal preference) you could have gone out and got the bloody Snowy Wyvern heart yourself. It was important to you, no? Then you should have done the legwork. She calls me stupid and lazy, and is sarcastically pleased to know what kind of woman I really am, then sends me away. What a bitch. I wish I hadn’t supported any of you lot for the Divine. In fact, if I didn’t need Vivienne’s expertise so much, she’d be out on her arse in a blink.
I’m still reeling from being verbally spanked by the First Enchanter, so I don’t really notice Blackwall hovering around by the hall gates until he gives me a shy little wave. He asks if I’d like to go for a drink. After that run in with Vivienne? Absolutely. But when we get to the tavern, Blackwall tells me a story about a dog getting strung up by street urchins. Uh, this is not exactly the fun happy times I had in mind. I can always count on you to be absolutely depressing, Blackwall. He goes on to tell me he did nothing to help the dog. Really? What a fucking bastard! A weak, awful coward. That poor little dog. He agrees. He tells me it’s easier to pretend things aren’t happening than to try and make the world a better place. Duh! That’s why I have to do all this extra work. Blackwall wonders if I’m just going to tell him to get over it. Obviously. Apparently I make my job look very easy. Do you know why, you lazy bastard? It’s because I actually do something instead of moping around, Blackwall. I leave him to his drink and go find something better to do. That something better is obviously Bull. Obviously.
I wake the next morning to word that Blackwall has gone missing, so I go to the Stables—his frequent haunt—to see if the news is true. There’s a letter waiting for me from Blackwall. He says it’s been an honour to serve with me. So, does that mean he’s up and left? Figures. A coward would leave just moments before the final battle. A messenger from Leliana confirms that he has definitely left. Hah. Apparently they found a report Blackwall had held back and not turned into us regarding a Lieutenant Cyril Mornay who is due to be executed in Val Royeaux for his involvement in a massacre. I don’t really understand what the connection is, but I suppose it’s as good a clue as any as to where Blackwall has gone. He’s not getting away from battling Corypheus that easily.
In a strange turn of events, it’s actually raining in Val Royeaux when we arrive. There’s a platform set up in the square just on the other side of the main gates and a crowd has gathered. I’m guessing that this is where the execution is to take place and lead us into the crowd. A Speaker tells the crowd what Cyril has done. He is apparently responsible for the deaths of an entire family, including their children. Even I can admit that’s monstrous. You don’t kill kids. Just as the man is about to be hanged from the neck, Blackwall clambers on top of the platform and tells them to stop.
He reveals that Cyril was just following his orders. Wait, what? Blackwall tells the crowd that he has been in hiding for years using the name of a long dead Warden. His name is actually Thom Rainier. Wait, what in the actual fuck? Warden Blackwall is not only NOT a Warden but isn’t even called Blackwall? Oh, just you wait, you duplicitous awful man. He’s hauled off to prison to answer for his crimes, but I want answers of my own. As I march across the square behind the guards toward the prison, I can’t help but run the past few months’ events over in my head. I’d always thought Blackwall was stoic and miserable because he was a Grey Warden and they all seem to be miserable, but I guess he was just nervous about being discovered. I don’t care too much about his past or his motivation. What really bugs me is him lying to us about being a Warden—that we believed in him and used him to further the Inquisition’s reach. So much is on the line, and he’s been incredibly selfish.
Blackwall, or whatever his name is, tells me he only took the name when the real Warden Blackwall was killed by Darkspawn in the process of recruiting him. He claims he didn’t want the name of a good man like Blackwall to die. Sure, that was the only reason why you decided to reinvent yourself. It’s not that you were terrified of being discovered. You killed that family, you lied and deceived everyone and you let your men pay for your crimes one by one until you finally plucked up the courage to be truthful. You’re pathetic, Blackwall. The only thing going for you is that you’re a good soldier. A good sword arm. I leave him alone in the cell as I can’t stand the sight of him any longer.
Cullen stops me on my way out of the prison cells. He has a report from Leliana who confirms Blackwall/Thom Rainier’s story after unearthing intel. You failed me again, Leliana. You’re my spymaster! How could you not have known about this? Cullen tells me there were no Wardens to reveal Blackwall’s true identity, so no one could have known. Whatever. Cullen reminds me I have the resources to get Blackwall out of the prison to judge him for myself if that is what I wish. I do. I want the satisfaction of judging him myself. And if I can make him miserable, then all the better. Leliana offers to take care of it so the Inquisition will never be suspected for his disappearance. I tell her just to get on with it.
She does. A mere few days later, Blackwall is dragged into Skyhold. Leliana tells me not to ask how she managed it. I don’t care how. I’m furious and I want Blackwall to know it. I have him brought before me in the main hall immediately. A crowd has gathered, but I pay them no attention. Blackwall says nothing. Just hangs his head. His life is forfeit—it belongs to me now. He’ll pay his due by living a life of hell of his own making. His shame, his sorrow is too little, too late, and he’ll not escape it through execution. Blackwall tells me the world will know that the Inquisition is corrupt. Hah! As if anyone will listen to what he says now. Blackwall asks what will happen to him now. It’s all very simple: his life is mine, his lie will continue, and he’ll do as I say. He’ll pay for the deaths of that family—of those children—and of his men he left to take the blame for his orders while he hid away under a false name. He’ll pay for deceiving us. He’ll pay by living with the knowledge that he failed them as much as he has failed me. Blackwall believes he’ll eventually be released from his lie once Corypheus has been dealt with. No, you won’t. You will remain Blackwall, you will never mention the name Rainier again, and you will do as you’re told. Blackwall asks to take his leave if I am done with him for the time being. I let him go and ignore Josie’s open mouthed stare. Please, Josie. He had it coming.
Leliana hangs back to report on the status of the mission against the House of Repose. The contract has been destroyed and Josephine’s life is no longer in danger.
We make a quick visit to Val Royeaux to ensure everything is in order. I thought Josie would be pleased this mess is over and done with, but she seems sad. Why is everyone moping around? I did your dirty work for you. I fixed it. Be happy. Josie stops to look over the harbor and reveals she used to be a bard—one who used to spy to practice playing The Game at court.
What does this have to do with the House of Repose? She tells me she killed someone in self defense. Oh, so you’re fine with killing hundreds to save the world from Corypheus but a few assassins and you’re feeling guilty? Please. Josie thanks me nonetheless and heads back to Skyhold. I pour myself into the nearest tavern, eager to be as blindingly drunk as possible before I even begin to consider heading back to Skyhold and that group of deceptive, hypocritical idiots I call allies.
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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