This is part of a continuing series on my Elf Mage, Neria, during my first playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins. We’re on a quest to protect Ferelden from the darkspawn and an archdemon, and so far solved the problems of the Dalish elves and the Circle of Mages so they can join our army, but we still need to help Arl Eamon, go to Denerim and win the dwarves over.
After Flemeth, we stopped by Denerim to have a look around, see what Loghain was doing, and find out more about the urn of Andraste from Brother Genitivi.
Alistair mentioned he had a sister here in Denerim, through his mother, and wanted to find her. However, she was a horrible person who only wanted money through her knowledge of his parentage. I found out after the game, through various forums, that actually this was a hugely important moment for Alistair and my choices here did not really help matters. This will be explained later on, when it becomes relevant.
Denerim wasn’t hugely interesting. Apart from Alistair’s sister, we also found that Genitivi was gone, and his apprentice tried to conceal his whereabouts. He was very suspicious, so I murdered him (as you do) and found the real apprentice dead in another room – as well as Brother Genitivi”s research journal that mentions the village of Haven. Apart from that, it was really running about solving crimes, and running into Isabela (who I would meet in Dragon Age 2, but for now, I didn’t have the ability to beat her at cards and left. She would have been more useful to a rogue, as she teaches a specialisation. Apparently, I could have also had a sexual encounter with her, AND EVEN a three-way OR FOUR-WAY! I’m a bit sad I missed out on that, but I don’t think it would have suited Neria’s personality).
Onto the village of Haven! Where everyone is a bit of jerk, the town has been overtaken by a cultist who is protecting the urn and has captured Brother Genitivi. After killing some cultists, I save the Brother, who takes me to the Ruined Temple. The cultists are all over the place.
After some boring and mindless murder, I meet Father Kolgrim, who is convinced Andraste has been reincarnated and the ashes in the urn are keeping her from fully realising her new form. He offers to not attack if I promise I will defile the ashes. However, it is a mere pinch of ashes that will save the Arl from death, so I refuse and kill him. Although I knew Wynne to be a believer, I read afterwards that she would have left the party if I had defiled them – and Leliana, who I did not get in Lothering, would also have left.
From here, I encounter a high dragon, whom I’m excited to kill. This is really my first proper dragon in the game (although Flemeth shapeshifted into one). It wasn’t as hard to kill as Flemeth, and dropped a lot of loot – as can be expected.
I then had numerous tests to prove myself worthy, solving riddles and walking naked through fire. Nice bikini.
I prove myself worthy, and approach Andraste’s ashes with reverence. She was a prophet, a key figure in the history of the Chantry – and therefore Thedas (the southern continent where the kingdom I’m in, Ferelden, is) – and the wife of the Maker. These ashes will raise Eamon. Hopefully he won’t hold it against me that I killed his son and all, because I need him to help fight the Blight. Brother Genitivi is overjoyed and wants to spread the word of Andraste’s sacred resting place. I hope that this means she’ll be protected, and not raided for the power of her ashes. I would have preferred to keep it secret, but the only way to convince Genitivi of that would have been to kill him, and he didn’t deserve that.
We take the ashes back to Redcliffe, revive the Arl, and tell him of the danger of Loghain and the coming Blight. He agrees that to gain control of the army of Ferelden, Loghain must be replaced and the best person to replace him is Alistair. Alistair is not really a fan of this idea.
On the way to the dwarven kingdom, we set up camp. Alistair and I awake from a terrible nightmare – the archdemon. We can sense it, because of our Grey Warden taint. The danger is real.
By the time we get to the dwarves, I’m starting to get a bit impatient. The dwarven quest series drags out so painfully, that it takes me almost a week to motivate myself enough to get through it. I didn’t care for side-quests and ignored what I could. The problem with the dwarves is that their king is dead, but there are two contenders for the throne. I didn’t care hugely, but I talked with random people and Bhelen seemed to be a good choice because he wanted to do away with the caste system of their society and wants to encourage trade. I met Oghren, who joined my party.
I hated the Deep Roads with a passion – it’s an underground city of previous dwarven lords, but has been invested with darkspawn for ages. In between blights, Grey Wardens would go to the Deep Roads to die an honourable death.I had to go into the Deep Roads a few times for this series of quests (above is a shot of the first entrance).
Branka had frankly gone sort of mad with power, trying to find the Anvil of the Void, a forge used to make golems. Getting to the end of the area, I met Caridin who explains how the Anvil works – golems are powered by the lives of dwarves. While he only accepted volunteers at first, his king overruled him claiming that during a time of need, they needed soldiers like golems, and he himself was forced into golem shape. Branka wants this power to create an army to defeat the darkspawn in the Deep Roads and reclaim their territory, but I couldn’t. So I killed Branka and destroyed the Anvil.
This was an easy decision to make. Caridin made a crown for me to give to the prince of my choosing, I destroy the Anvil, then Caridin committed suicide. I crowned Bhelen, and went to Denerim – totally over dwarves and caves. I hate caves. If I had gone with Branka’s plan, I could have still convinced her to destroy the Anvil, and the dwarves would have followed me at the final battle, or I would have had dwarves and golems. But they were a slave army, and had been tortured long enough.
I now had the dwarves, the elves and the Circle who promised to fight against the Blight with me. Now I had to contend with the human kingdom of Ferelden and expose Loghain’s treachery. The Arl was waiting for me in Denerim, where there will be a Landsmeet of human nobles.
Stay tuned for part four, where we follow Neria and her lover Alistair through her adventures in gathering an army to defeat the blight and the Archdemon.