SPOILER WARNING: These diaries will contain spoilers for Dragon Age Inquisition (DAI), as well as its predecessors, Dragon Age: Origins (DAO) and Dragon Age II (DA2), and may also contain spoilers from the tie-in materials. If you’re new to this whole Dragon Age business and want to know what the hell I’m going on about, please visit my little Dragon Age Primer to learn a bit more about BioWare’s fantasy roleplaying video game series. Not able to devote the ridiculous amount of time into leading the Inquisition yourself? Then join me on my noble journey!
PREVIOUSLY ON INQUISITION DIARIES: Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands Hinterlands.
BioWare is a constant topic of discussion for my friend and me, so now that we’re both playing DAI, we need to keep up with what’s going on in each other’s Inquisition. She’s been feeding me details of her playthrough, but not wanting to spoil me since she’s managed to leave the Hinterlands well before me. With her encouragement (read: squealing over the awesome parts), I was finally able get on with the story. You see? This is why peer pressure is so important.
Cassandra, Solas, Varric, and Lerenne head to Val Royeaux, the fancy pants capital of Orlais and seat of the Chantry, where they are greeted by many cold shoulders. It doesn’t take long to find Mother Hevara busy soapboxing about the evils of the Inquisition, and denouncing this dirty elf who’s claiming to be the Herald of Andraste. Lerenne reiterates that she is not the chosen one of the Maker and his prophet. She’s just a person trying to save the world. But her words fall on deaf ears.
Enter the templars, led by Lord Seeker Lucius, Cassandra’s former boss. Mother Hevara believes the templars have returned to Val Royeaux to protect the Chantry from the heretics, until the Lord Seeker’s man punches her in the face.
I mean, it’s obvious that Lucius, with his swagger, is not exactly here to do the Chantry’s bidding, but you can’t be just punching ladies like that, sir! Lucius makes it clear that the Templar Order is abandoning the Chantry, and does not stand with the Inquisition. Cassandra later confirms that such grandstanding and ambition is unusual for the Lord Seeker. Hmmm…
After such a display, the people of Val Royeaux fall into a crisis of faith. You can comfort some and offer hope, but Lerenne adamantly refuses to cater to Chantry beliefs of her supposed heralding when she does not believe in this human god. Some people do believe in the Inquisition though, and there are opportunities to obtain one or two agents to help out.
Shops are open now, offering some very nice goodies, including this mystery box. After a long discussion with the snobby merchant, I determined that I needed to have this mysterious item of mystery.
Three other important things happen on this visit. The first and most important is an invitation to meet Madame Vivienne de Fer, First Enchanter of the Montsimmard Circle of Magi. Madame Vivienne. She is just so perfect. And her views on mages and magic are very interesting.
“Magic is dangerous, just as fire is dangerous. Anyone who forgets this truth gets burned.”
Her circle did not break with the mage rebellion, because she firmly believes that mages need to be monitored within a safe environment where they can grow and learn. After some discussion about her points of view, you have the opportunity to recruit her. There is no option to fall at her perfectly fashionable feet.
Second is a series of strange clues regarding the “Friends of Red Jenny” that lead to Sera, an archer who doesn’t care much for being an elf, but does care about making the lives of the rich a little more difficult. Her brain works in all sorts of fascinating tangents, many of which don’t often make sense – at least not initially, such as when she later sends you to a beekeeper to obtain a jar of bees recipe. This turns out to be a rather effective grenade to use in battle.
I first met Fiona in the The Calling, where she was a brusque woman who did not care for sympathy or sentimentality, yet she fell in love with the infuriatingly charming King Maric of Ferelden, and later had a baby that is suspected to be Alistair, the current reigning king, who believes himself to be the son of a scullery maid that Maric screwed around with. Later, in Asunder, Fiona breaks the Circle of Magi, and the mage-templar war becomes official.
Like Lord Seeker Lucius, Grand Enchanter Fiona should have been at the Conclave, but, Fiona explains, the Lord Seeker was likely just as suspicious as she was that the Conclave was a trap, and sent emissaries in their stead. Fiona demands that Lerenne meet her at Redcliffe. Does this mean the mages want to side with the Inquisition? Not according to Fiona’s attitude, it would seem. But Lerenne needs the support of either the mages or the templars in order to close that pesky breach. And so we have the first major choice of the game, because choosing one nullifies the other.
Before making my decision, I received a message from The Iron Bull, leader of the Bull’s Chargers mercenary group. BioWare introduced all of the companions prior to game launch, so I knew I was going to like Bull. The question was simply how much. Bull is a Qunari, a people that could easily be written off as close-minded, militaristic, religious zealots, but as with everything in DAI, you learn there is far more to them. Bull offers the services of the Chargers. They might be mercenaries, but their sense of honour is evident. I particularly like that you get to learn this by talking to his lieutenant, Krem, who can later tell you more if you choose to speak to him. Iron Bull also makes it very clear that he is Ben-Hassrath, a spy, and will be sending information about the Inquisition back to the Qun. Why would he tell you that? Because that’s just the kind of straight up guy he is, and he explains that the qun will invade if they don’t feel the Inquisition can handle this threat.
I also dropped by the Hinterlands. Again. To pick up yet another companion, Blackwall, a lone Grey Warden. While his colleagues all seem to have vanished mysteriously, including the player’s Warden from DAO, Blackwall has been wandering around on his own, doing stuff and things. He’s heard about the Inquisition and isn’t opposed to joining, especially when Lerenne gets a little flirty and walks away. I can’t help it, okay? It’s very difficult to resist all the flirt options, and clearly, Blackwall has been out on his own for far too long.
Back at the Haven base camp, I take the time to chat with my companions, new and old. This is a completely optional step. For some, it might seem very tedious, but for me, it’s a necessity. You can learn about your companions, about their involvement in their particular organizations, learn what they have to say about the other companions and advisors, and learn what they think of the Inquisition itself. And flirt. Very important. Speaking with them will also open up more codex information, and they will often have cutscenes after significant events that will give you more insight into the story and characters.
That done, I make my decision: I’m sticking with the mages. Not just because Lerenne is a mage, but because the mages are the oppressed and downtrodden in this battle. I might not agree with some of their decisions, but I do agree that the Chantry and the templars need to treat them much better. For this reason, I take Vivienne and Solas with me. Vivienne does not agree with the mage rebellion, and has a strong voice as First Enchanter of her Circle. Solas is an apostate with more open views on magic and its usage.
Lerenne heads to Redcliffe (which is in the Hinterlands, so it’s not my fault I went back – the game made me do it!), where the party is greeted by a strange rift. Actually, it seemed like a normal rift to me, but the companions made a big thing about it doing strange things like shifting time. Uh. Okay? Good thing they are paying attention.
After exploring the village for a bit, Lerenne entered the local pub where she meets Fiona. Vivienne makes a classy yet biting comment, but, surprisingly and disappointingly, little more is said because it turns out Fiona is not the one in charge. Alexius is. He is a magister who has offered sanctuary to the mages in Tevinter, a place where magic is embraced, and where the Chantry is quite different, right down to the fact that it’s governed by a man. It turns out that by “sanctuary,” Alexius actually means that the mages will be indentured to Tevinter magisters. Congratulations, Fiona. You freed your mages from oppression, and led them into slavery. If it’s any consolation, as we learned in DA2, slaves are treated pretty well over there.
It doesn’t seem that there’s any way out of this, and Fiona seems to be completely out of sorts. She doesn’t even remember coming to see Lerenne in Val Royeaux. It seems all is lost, but Alexius’ son Felix feigns illness in order to pass Lerenne a note: Meet at the Chantry. You are in danger.