Dragon Age Origins: Elf Mage playthrough 4 (spoilers!)

Herein finishes the tale of Neria, the Elf Mage. This post is the final part to the long story of my +40 hour gameplay of Dragon Age: Origins, you can see part 1, 2, 3 or all of them here.

dwarf blight

There is a lot to fill in here, this final act. I was dedicated to Alistair, but Arl Eamon wanted to set him up as king! What’s a girl to do. Apparently kill everyone.

When we reach Denerim, Eamon says that King Cailan’s wife Anora, and daughter of Loghain, would be an ally to us but she has been captured by Arl Howe. On the way to free her, the Crows come looking for Zevran, and he turns on me to go back to the Crows! I learned that this was because I didn’t have a good friendship standing with him, I was rather irritated.

Neria_503Alistair, Morrigan, Wynne and I go to free Anora, killing Howe in the process. I knew of Howe from the human noble origin story, he was friends with house Cousland, but betrayed them and overtook their keep, and their daughter – Nyshra – barely escaped with her life to the Grey Wardens. So I didn’t feel all that bad for him. Getting out after killing him, however, proved difficult when I accidentally pulled numerous rooms of guards at once. While there, we save another Grey Warden called Riorden, who came seeking the archdemon.

Screenshot20150606185944710We managed to meet Anora and free her, but when we are stopped by guards, Anora says that we were taking her against her will! Thanks for that Anora. Thanks. Alistair and I are thrown into the dungeons at Fort Drakon. Here I get to take over the others, Wynne and Oghren, to try to save me. I’ll just be here … enjoying the view…

Screenshot20150606191737501After we escape, Anora is back at Eamon’s. She knows her father has gone a bit crazy, but she wants to be in control of the throne afterwards. I didn’t want to lose Alistair as a battle companion, for mechanics reasons – he was a stronger fighter and more tanky than Oghren. As well as my fondness for him. Luckily for me, he doesn’t want to be king anyway. I learned from one of my mates afterwards that I wasn’t at risk of losing Alistair anyway! I tell Anora I will support her claim to the throne, and she tells us that while the nobles won’t believe us over Loghain over the events at Ostagar, I might be able to find proof of his deceit elsewhere. She sends me to the Elven Alienage.

Screenshot20150702143706711The alienage is really a ghetto or shanty town within Denerim. As I’ve mentioned before, elves are not really looked kindly upon having been slaves for centuries, and they barely scrape an existence here. I also get discriminated against, but it is nothing compared to these poor creatures. I learn from an elf called Shianni that a “plague” has spread within the alienage, but most people taken away for “healing” by Tevinter healers are never seen from again. Bloody Loghain has been selling them into slavery! And not just that, but selling them to a blood mage! I kill the leader and take documents of his proof. Such disgusting filth. As a mage and an elf, there’s no way I could see my character going for this at all.

~

So it comes down to the Landsmeet. We are attacked upon entering by one of Loghain’s lackeys and tear her down. Loghain has been trying to convince the nobles that the true threat is the human kingdom of Orlais. Together with King Maric, Alistair and Cailan’s father, they had driven off an invasion from Orlais decades ago. He believed Cailan’s preoccupation with the darkspawn would open the way for Orlais to invade again. Knowing I wouldn’t win against him by saying he abandoned his king and son-in-law to die at Ostagar, I went straight for the facts and told the landsmeet he was selling Ferelden citizens into slavery – to which he claimed that there was no saving the Alienage anyway. Anora comes in and tells the gathering that I saved her from Howe’s clutches – which was at the behest of her father. There’s a disagreement among the crowd as to who to believe, but the Grand Cleric of the Chantry states that there should be a duel to settle this. I take the challenge, and before the final blow, Riordan says Loghain could become a Grey Warden and live. Alistair is violently opposed to this, and I agree, so I slay Loghain. It turns out my feelings were true, Alistair would have left the party if I had accepted Loghain as a Grey Warden, and Loghain would have joined in his stead.

Screenshot20150614215426378I announce there that I choose Anora to become Queen of Ferelden, of which Alistair is eternally grateful. Remember his sister? This is where that becomes important. For Alistair to have accepted becoming king, he had to be “hardened”, and I would have had to tell him that “Everyone is out for themselves. You should learn that”.

I could have also chosen to tell Anora to marry Alistair and they rule together, but I felt too strongly for him, and also still believed that Alistair would not fight with me if I chose this. I could have also chosen that Alistair should rule with me as his queen, but I believed that as a mage and an elf, this would not have been accepted – and this turned out to be true, I read later on that if I were a human noble, I could have chosen to become his queen, but as an elf the best I could hope for was to be his mistress. So looking back on it, choosing Anora was really the best I could do, given the circumstances.

Thus we come to the final battle scene. We go back to Redcliffe, where the army is being gathered, believing that the darkspawn will hit there, but they turn and head to Denerim. On the night before we leave, Riordan takes Alistair and I aside and tells us that only a Grey Warden can truly kill the archdemon and it would be a sacrifice, that person would take the archdemon into themselves and die. I really hope Riordan is there at the final battle, but Morrigan offers me a choice. If I convince Alistair to sleep with her, she would conceive a child who is tainted and could take the essence of the archdemon. Rather than killing them, the child would be born with the soul of an old god. This reeked of forbidden magics, and I didn’t want to share Alistair, so I told her no, and she left that night.

At morn the next day, with the army at our back, we charge to Denerim at full speed.

Screenshot20150614223547135There are numerous battles here, none of which are particularly interesting, but here’s some screenshots anyway.

Screenshot20150614224405412 Screenshot20150614223649680

Finally, we reach the archdemon. The actual battle was not as hard as I expected. Still, out of the whole game, Flemeth was actually the most difficult battle that caused the most amount of wipes (where the whole party dies). Wynne didn’t even have to resurrect anyone during battle. Screenshot20150615190406794The archdemon had fallen, so I walked over to kill it but Alistair stops me:

alistair dies

Screenshot20150615191601816This was the hardest scene to watch. I was in agony! I hadn’t fully read that article, where it says Alistair will sacrifice himself for you if you are in a romance. Riordan wasn’t there. I’d thrown Morrigan’s offer off the table. I fully intended to go through with this and dying. Ferelden might need a back-up king, were Anora not to have an heir (although she made him swear that he would give up all claim to the throne for himself and his heirs, still in my head, it made sense!).

So I watched, helpless as my lover ran past me and slay the great archdemon, stopping the Blight and saving Ferelden – if not the whole world. If it hadn’t had been for me and my romantically pursuing him, he would have lived. He may have been king. He may have had a great life, and children, and continued to protect and serve Ferelden for years to come. It was because of me and my choices that he did this.

I was still a bit too upset to care what happened afterwards really, so here it is in a gallery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

~

And even worse, in going into the game to write this and make sure I got all the events in order and screenshots right, I go to my last save file. While the last save file is post-campaign, the events within it chronologically take place before going to Denerim. I just wanted to take some screenshots and check my conversation log, but Alistair stopped me. Alistair! He’s alive! He’s there! And he tells me how much he cares for me.

Screenshot20150702142614120

Randomly interesting links I found while writing this:

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