Bad Gamer Part 26: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?
We head back to camp to tell Professor Kenric what the spirit has told us about Inquisitor Ameridan. Trustworthy or not, it’s all we could find on the island. Kenric nearly creams his pants. He’d heard of Telana before but no one was sure she ever actually existed. Apparently she was a Mage and Ameridan’s lover. Are we really believing that the spirit was telling the truth? What about some actual evidence? I sigh, loud enough for Bull to snicker, then ask what we ought to do next. We’re to follow the spirit’s advice to retrace Ameridan’s steps—to go up the river and look for metal spires or spikes. Beyond this, Kenric isn’t sure what else to do. Brilliant. Shall I do all your work for you? I do hope I get co-authorship of whatever paper you’ve got in mind when all of this is over with.
And oh, before I forget, Kenric reminds us we’ll be going North into the Hakkonites territory too. Of course we are. Couldn’t have called that at all. We wade up the River, looking for those blasted spikes. Every few feet or so, a group of poisonous spiders come to try and take my face off. They’re not really a threat, but their constant attacks slow us down, and I’m busy grumbling out loud to myself when Cassandra yells and points to an ongoing fight on the shore. It’s a fight between Inquisition soldiers and the Hakkonites. They’re doing their best, but it’s clear that they’re failing. I want to keep on, to get to the end of this excursion as fast as possible, but Cassandra and the others are already moving towards the battle and I can hardly hang back or go on without them. When the battle is over, the leader of this Inquisition squad thanks us and warns us there’ll be more further up the River. No, really? I’d never have known that had you not told me! I nod at him, then move on without saying much of anything. If I open my mouth, everyone around me will immediately regret it. Onward, up the River!
Eventually—after the spiders, and deepstalkers, and Hakkonites, after I’m long past grumpy and solidly into homicidal wreck—we reach a temple with metal spikes. A Tevinter Temple, to be more precise, called Razikale’s Reach.
The Hakkonites have dug in here for some reason and we face hordes after hordes of the buggers until there’s no one left but us. Cassandra sends a messenger bird to the camp to inform Scout Harding and Professor Kenric we’ve found something, and it gives us a moment to rest and wipe the blood off of, well, everything.
Once Kenric and Harding arrive, we step through the gates. I tempted to say something sarcastic about Harding’s near constant blush whenever Kenric opens his mouth, but it’ll only upset everyone and lengthen our journey, so I smirk and bite my tongue. Inside the Temple, we find two shrines. Professor Kenric explains that one of the shrines is Andrastian but probably pre-Divine and the other is Elven. Kenric struggles to think of Ghilan’nain’s name but refuses to ask me for help. Hello, Dalish Elf here? I watch him squirm in frustration until it’s deliciously painful enough, then put him out of his misery. I really hate it when humans try to pretend they know more about my culture than I do. Fucking Shems.
Harding deduces that the two shrines are probably for the lovers—Ameridan and Telana—which means his lover was likely an Elf. Kenric excitedly explains that it makes absolute sense not to have read much about her because most records on Elves were destroyed just prior to the Exalted March on the Dales. Hah, it doesn’t surprise me in the least either. I’m sure one day all records of my own stint as the Inquisitor will be “lost” on account of my heritage. Bastards. We look around some more. Despite what Kenric had hoped, Ameridan wasn’t buried here. It was likely that this was a shrine for prayers just prior to the battle with the dragon. Kenric is at a loss. Again. As always, it’s down to me to try and figure it out, so I look around for more clues.
I discover clues that suggest the dragon and Ameridan with it went in the direction of a Tevinter fortress. It’s behind a solid wall of ice that can only have been constructed through the use of magic. So, not only do we have to deal with the ice wall, but with the Hakkonites who are using it as their own fortress. We’ll need the Avaar of Stone Bear Hold after all. No way we’re mounting an attack on this fortress without their help. Before we leave the Temple, I look around for a way to break through the wall of ice. If Inquisitor Ameridan found a way, so shall we.
There’s a beacon of power. The beacon’s power jumps from one transmitter to the next as long as we pull the switch, so we travel across the Basin, following the path and lighting the way. At one point, the path leads us into the murky swamps. As we pass the entrance to a cave, I hear the sound of a great animal. An animal in great distress. Perhaps, Cassandra tells me, that is Storvacker, Stone Bear Hold’s missing clan beast. It’s a long shot, but it absolutely pays off. We free Storvacker from the Hakkonites. As we part ways, the bear almost seems to say thank you when it turns back to us with mournful, darkened eyes, and then it lopes off into the swamps to do whatever a clan beast does with its time.
We light the rest of the beacons and the ice wall in front of the Tevinter fortress crumbles. Well, that was actually surprisingly easy. But I barely have time to revel in our success, let alone notice the hordes of Hakkonites gathering on the wall because Bull decides this is a great time to sort of proposition Cassandra right in fucking front of me. He’d like to get rid of her “tension” but admits he can’t because he’s in a commitment already. Uh, that’s the only reason? You fucking arsehole, Bull. I never expected us to be exclusive, but don’t insult me to my face. Dorian suggests the Avaar clan might know how to get beyond the stone wall without dying and so we’re off around the side of the mountain, my blood boiling, Bull giving me a strange sort of look.
Sun-Hair thanks us for returning Storvacker to them. She’s fuming that the Hakkonites broke their oath and stole their clan beast. Uhh, I’m really not that surprised at all, so I don’t know why you would be, Sun-Hair. A little too trusting perhaps? Their leader, Harofsen, is a total bastard and even I know that having only spent a few moments with him. It’s pretty obvious they would have been actively working against your clan, Sun-Hair. Open your eyes. The good thing about this is Sun-Hair can now help us fight the Hakkonites to get into the Tevinter temple and find Ameridan’s body. Oh, and the loot. There had better be loot. The bad news is that Sun-Hair’s scouts searched the caves where Storvacker was being held and have discovered Harofsen’s plans. They want to bind their God into a mortal form and conquer Thedas. The plan was to bind Hakkon, their God, into Storvacker’s body and use the bear as a vessel. I want to punch something. This again? Didn’t we have enough with Corypheus wanting to be a God?
While the loss of Storvacker means the Hakkonites will be momentarily regrouping to find a new vessel for their God, Sun-Hair knows they will never stop trying. They’ve apparently done this before in the past. The last attempt hundreds and hundreds of years ago supposedly ended badly. But what if they were successful? Who else do we know of who bound a part of their soul into an Archdemon, into a vessel? Corypheus. Who is to say Hakkon Wintersbreath, Avaar God, wasn’t linked to the dragon Ameridan came to fight all those 800 years ago? This is all starting to make a lot more sense.
When we return to camp to briefly resupply before the battle, Scout Harding calls me over. One of our scouts, Grandin, has gone missing after his friend was killed by the Hakkonites and Harding is worried he’s gone and done something stupid. Uh, sure. I’ll go and search for him. Just after we defeat the Hakkonites and their God turned mortal dragon, we’ll look into the whereabouts of that one man. Why do I feel like a glorified babysitter all the time? Oh, wait. It’s because I am a glorified babysitter.
Funnily enough, on our way to the Tevinter fortress we do come across a pile of bodies and a discarded note from Harding to Grandin regarding the loss of his friend Jace. I guess Grandin is after revenge? Good on him. Maybe he’ll deal the Hakkonites a great blow before giving his life to the Inquisition. It’s more than anyone else has ever done for us.
There’s a trail of destruction leading away from the note. Hakkonites in pools of their own blood, and then further on there are charred disfigured bodies—wait, a Scout did this? I think he might be in the wrong field. The carnage leads us to a cave where Scout Grandin leans over a body. Dorian warns us something doesn’t feel right. No, really? Did you not think that when the Scout singlehandedly left that many bodies behind? Grandin tells us that Jace wasn’t even a soldier—he was a student from the University of Orlais. He couldn’t fight, let alone protect himself.
Grandin tells us that when he began bleeding out “it” saw him and gave him help. Now, he can protect people like Jace. Ohhh, so you’re possessed. Cassandra raises her sword, but I hold my hand out to stop her. We can use Grandin, even possessed as he is, for he is an excellent warrior with the demon’s help. And as long as I don’t have to get involved, as long as Grandin continues to fight the Hakkonites, he can continue to serve the Inquisition. Bull and Cassandra yell their objections all the way back to Sun-Hair’s Hold.
Stone Bear Hold:
We return to Stone Bear Hold to set the plan with Sun-Hair into motion. She laughs when we suggest taking down the wall somehow with trebuchets and the like. We “lowlanders” are idiots, apparently, for Sun-Hair’s warriors can climb the wall fast enough to take the Hakkonites by surprise and open the gate from the inside to let us in. Actually, I have to admit that’s quite brilliant, even if you did call me an idiot. We wait until sunset and then make our way to the wall to use the cover of darkness to our advantage.
The plan actually works! The Avaar of Stone Bear Hold are wonderfully fierce fighters and climbers, and soon we are beyond the wall in search of Ameridan’s dragon, the god Hakkon brought to life, and hopefully Ameridan’s equipment. We decide it must be in the old Tevinter temple itself and head toward it.
The Old Temple:
It’s freezing in here. Actually, it’s so cold the tips of my ears might come off. Cassandra brilliantly tells us that the cold is magically formed. No fucking shit. It’s not like it’s been snowing indoors naturally. We traverse through the Temple, lighting fires as we go to break the very worst of the cold snap.
As we step through the Temple’s halls, Gurd Harofsen’s voice echoes toward us. He calls upon Hakkon to take over his own body. Hah, hah, hah. Seriously? When has possession ever been a good idea? It doesn’t really matter what he’s attempting to do—I’m still going to wipe the floor with his blood. It didn’t work for Corypheus, it’s not going to work for you.
I’m nothing if not true to my word. Gurd Harofsen, then Hakkon himself meet their timely ends. The spell that transformed this temple into a frozen tundra obviously emanated from Ameridan and the dragon, for both are frozen in time in a circular hall. Once Hakkon is dealt with, the spell begins to fail, waking the dragon slightly. The dragon slowly twists to reveal Ameridan, the last Inquisitor, frozen in place and time under a spell of his own volition. He wakens.
Oh Maker, he’s a mage and Elven to boot! He greets us but is obviously quite confused. We briefly fill him in. He’s saddened to learn that his lover Telana died 800 years prior trying to reach him in dreams. He’s upset. He asked her not to. But, really, Ameridan, she’d have died long before you “woke” again either way, so I’m not really sure why it matters how she died. Anyway, I’m already bored by this conversation and change the subject.
The really, truly interesting part of this discovery is that Ameridan, leader of the Seekers, is a fucking Elven Mage. Cassandra doesn’t understand how any of this is possible. I’m actually filled with glee to see her aghast face. Ameridan wonders how it is that the Seekers have forgotten so much—Mages were always welcomed by the Seekers to help. They were sought out, an integral part of the organization. While Cassandra struggles to swallow the bombshell of Ameridan’s existence, of his heritage and skillset, Ameridan turns to me.
He tells me being the Inquisitor was never something he wanted, only something others wanted from him. He’d much rather have spent his time killing demons. I agree, but perhaps less on the killing demons front and more on the drunken bath time portions of life. I tell Ameridan I had plans for my life—that I never wanted any of this. I ignore the derisive snort Cassandra makes. Like you lot gave me any choice in the matter either. It’d be foolish to pretend otherwise.
Apparently, when the Jaws of Hakkon cultists drew part of Hakkon Winterbreath’s spirit out of the dragon they disrupted the binding spell Ameridan cast to trap the Avaar God and dragon in time. Now the dragon is breaking free. No biggie. We’ve got it from here, old timer. Good thing, too, as ending the spell will apparently mean the end of Ameridan. He wishes us well and prepares to join Telana in whatever afterlife might be waiting. He turns to dust and Inquisitor Ameridan is no more. I really hope I don’t end up stuck in stasis for hundreds of years at some point in the future.
The dragon, on the other hand, is very much still alive. It’s an ugly fucker with a rounded, squashed face. It breaks free, turns to snarl at us, and then breaks through the Temple’s roof, flying off. Uh, well, that’s that problem solved. Right guys? Right?
Apparently not as the others run after it, giving chase, and I suppose I ought to make sure they don’t die on me, so I go after them. I’m the glorified babysitter, remember?
The dragon has created its very own island of ice on the water and directly over the fisherman’s house. Hahahaha. I’d feel sadder about the fisherman’s likely death if he hadn’t been less shitty about his bloody boat. Ice is difficult terrain to fight on, but I’m the motherfucking Inquisitor. I make do.
After the dragon has drawn its last breath, Scout Harding excitedly clambers onto the ice island. She’s excited to have seen a dragon killing up close. So, were you hiding throughout the entire battle? I probably could have used your help a little there. I glare, swing my staff over my aching back and wander off in the direction of camp. There better be an entire tankard waiting for me there. Sweet drunken oblivion, here we come.
But for all the drinks I knock back, I can’t help thinking about Ameridan and how history forgot he saved the entirety of Orlais from an Avaar god bent on annihilating us all. Will they forget about me too one day, I wonder? Will anyone remember the sacrifices I made? Probably not. Probably fucking not.
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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