Dragon Age: Origins ~ reclaiming Soldier's Peak
With most of Redcliffe's troubles now yesterday's news, Caelyra grabbed Alistair, Wynne and Morrigan and together they set off for Denerim. That man, Levi, had arrived at the perfect time to seek out help. They were headed for Denerim and according to the map, Soldier's Peak was but a day from Denerim.
They could explore this purported Warden base, then immediately head off to Denerim to find Genetivi and his research.
On the way, they were attacked by lurking darkspawn. There were a good dozen of the beasts, but with Alistair's shield, Caelyra's daggers, Morrigan's dark magic and Wynne's light magic, all the creatures were soon felled and they could continue on their journey.
After they looted the darkspawn bodies and continued on their path, Wynne suddenly collapsed.
Wynne shrugged it off and told Caelyra that this was nothing to worry about, and that she just needed some rest and would tell her more of the situation when they set up camp for the night.
Considering the matter quite important, Caelyra signalled for an immediate camp set-up and cornered Wynne. What had gone wrong? Was she too old for this? Should she stay at camp and help elsewhere rather than be fighting alongside them, healing and protecting them?
It turned out that Wynne had actually died, back in the mage tower, but a benevolent spirit brought her back from the brink. That spirit was keeping her alive now, but was weakening. Wynne didn't know how much time she had left.
No wonder Wynne had questioned abominations when she had first arrived at camp. Wynne promised there was nothing to worry about and that she would be fine, for now.
After allowing Wynne to rest, they got back on the path to Denerim. About a day's out from the city, they turned into the wilds and found Levi waiting by an old, dark tunnel. Travelling together for the last leg of the journey, they soon came cross the old Warden outpost.
It was a sight to behold, for sure.
As they stepped foot on the centuries-old grounds, a vision swept over them. A vision of the past. Knights of the King at the time were mounting an attack upon the Wardens.
Levi was rightfully confused, but Caelyra wasn't and neither were her companions. This was some form of magic, all over again. Wynne suggested that the Veil may be thin here and spirits were emulating happenings of the past.
Spirits or no, a great mist swept over the courtyard and with it came hordes of skeletons. Some of the skeletons wore the armour of the crown and the others wore that of the Grey Wardens.
Someone had to be controlling these skeletons, surely. Just as the undead were controlled at Redcliffe.
When all the skeletons lay broken in pieces back on the ground, where they belonged, Caelyra took her group into the Keep and found more ghostly memories of the past. This time of the Warden-Commander of the time, inspiring her troops and boosting morale.
There were so many spirits here... it was quite unnerving.
In the next room, they were attacked by demons. It was exactly as Caelyra had thought. More, damned, magic. Likely blood magic, otherwise why would there be so many undead and demons? Once a nice little noblewoman who merely sought the art of physical battle, now forced to deal with the dark arts on a daily basis. It was just typical.
It was the mage tower and Redcliffe all over again. She just wanted to go one measly day without experiencing a rage demon trying to burn her from the inside out.
More visions of the past infiltrated room after room as they plodded their way through the keep, then finally, they saw one that tied it all together. A mage summoned demons to fight the king's men, only, the demons turned on everyone, Warden and king's man alike.
When the vision of the mage summoning the demon disappeared, real, physical demons spawned in the vision's place. It looked exactly like the one from the vision and it was siphoning energy from the bones of dead Wardens.
They couldn't damage it until they dealt with the Wardens' undead corpses first. Finally they whittled the demon down and dispatched it forever.
In the very next room was yet another demon! This time possessing the long dead body of Levi's great-great-great-grandmother... Sophia Dryden.
The demon tried to bargain with them, but Caelyra would have none of it. Without even bothering to hear the demon's deal, she struck it down... and then took it's armour. Once Alistair got a little stronger, he'd look quite good in that armour. Befitting of a Grey Warden, nevermind whose corpse it came from.
Exploring more of the Keep, they fought their way through yet more rotting, undead corpses across a bridge and into an old, crumbling tower.
In the tower were corpses in cages, pages and books thrown everywhere, and a vial of blood on the table. After reading through one of the books, Caelyra discovered that this was the result of the demon-summoning mage's experiments. Blood magic was pointless against demons, but using the darkspawn blood seemed to confuse the demons.
Caelyra already had the darkspawn blood in her veins, so what was some more? She drank the mage's darkspawn blood experiment... and felt nothing. Maybe it would come to her later.
There were noises in the next room. Preparing to face more demons or shambling skeletons, Caelyra barged through the door... and instead found another of the mage's experimenting rooms, and the centuries-old mage himself. Avernus.
He thanked them for slowing the tide of the demons and allowing him some breathing room. Levi asked about his great-grandmother and if there was any proof that she was a great hero, so he could reclaim their family's honour. But there was no proof to be had. She was braver, courageous, and had fought against tyranny, but there was no proof.
With that sorted, Caelyra demanded the mage stop his blood magic and human experiments or face her blade. She had killed other blood mages for less, but she would not outright kill another Grey Warden. Even one as questionable as he.
Avernus agreed and bade them come back to the ritual room so he could repair the rift in the veil and stop the demons.
Back in the ritual room where they had killed the great demon from the vision, Avernus got to work dispelling his ancient summoning circles.
Demons poured through the rift and tried to stop Avernus, but Caelyra and her group were prepared. They fought each incoming wave of demons as Avernus unravelled his ancient spell, and soon all had been closed and the Keep was demon-free.
As it should be.
Alistair was pleased to have the Warden's outpost back under their control after so long and congratulated Caelyra on her good work. Duncan would've been proud.
Levi was disappointed though, he hadn't got what he had come for. Caelyra told him that he would have to undirty his family name himself, the past no longer mattered.
Avernus promised to perform ethical experiments on the darkspawn blood and call for Caelyra when he found anything interest. She told him that she'd be keeping her eye on him and that she better not have to come back to lop his head off.
Returning to camp for the evening, Sten the qunari accosted her and demanded to know how she and Alistair were going to end the blight. Before he had been arrested, he had been sent to Ferelden to find answers for this question and he would know.
Caelyra didn't know how to answer it. She assumed that they would gather up the men, mages, elves and dwarves of the land, bring Loghain to justice, Howe too, then simply... kill the archdemon when it appeared. That was that, right?
Before falling asleep, Alistair told her a little about his days as a templar and how the templars were addicted to lyrium to better amplify their abilities. Thankfully, he had been taken by Duncan before reaching that step of templar-hood.
The Chantry was certainly more involved than Caelyra had first thought. It was much more than Mothers spouting the Maker's word...
On that note she went to sleep, preparing herself to enter Denerim on the morrow. That was going to be interesting, considering Loghain and his men would very likely be there. But they needed to find Genitivi and his research in order to help Arl Eamon. They had no choice.
Until next time! ⚔️🐲
Wynne being possesed by a spirit is kinda neat. Mostly because we can see what, I guess, stubborness can do to spirits. We never here of Wynne going all dark side, like we see with Anders and Justice. In fact I really wish that there was a conversation between 2. It would be interesting to see how that would go!
That could also be because different spirits have different personalities. Like Wynne was possessed by a spirit of Faith, or so she believes. Justice is a bit more aggressive and, as in DA2, a hair's breadth from Vengeance.
It'd be cool to see more possessions of different spirits instead of demons to see how they all play out!
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