Dragon Age: Origins ~ trials of the gauntlet
Caelyra and her group cautiously stepped into the gauntlet, the place where they must face trials to prove their worth to gaze upon the fabled Ashes of Andraste, and perhaps take a pinch for themselves so they could heal the Arl of Redcliffe.
In the first chamber were eight spirits. So far it seemed nothing dangerous.
Caelyra spoke to each spirit and had to answer a riddle that each of them posed. Each time she answered the riddle correctly, the spirit would bow its head and vanish. It was fairly straight forward and soon the door to the next chamber opened.
Confidently walking into the next chamber, Caelyra came to a sudden halt as she saw what — who — lay before her.
Her father was there. But he was dead. There was a spirit here who had taken the exact form of her father, his face, his voice, his manner of speaking, his knowledge... everything. He offered her a necklace named Reflection, and encouraged her to stop mourning the past and instead reflect on what's to come.
She wasn't sure what this trial was meant to be, but she farewelled the ghost who was her father, quite unnerved, and the door to the next room of the gauntlet opened.
In this room, ghostly copies of her and her group manifested and attacked them.
At first Caelyra was fearful of attacking their own likenesses; not to toot their horns, but they were a formidable bunch. Look at all they had accomplished so far! But these spirits did not have their heart or will and were soon defeated.
When the last of the spirits vanished, a chest appeared by a likeness of Andraste. Inside was some armour that seemed made for Leliana, the Chantry Sister who was accompanying them.
Caelyra hadn't spoken to her much, and in fact had backed away from the woman as she seemed quite flirty, but surely she would like this garb. It was quite befitting.
Further into the gauntlet, they came across a room with a giant hole in the ground. There appeared no way to cross it.
Alistair went over and looked at the stone plates that surrounded the hole. Tentatively, he stood on one and the image of a bridge appeared in the centre across the hole. They would have to stand on all these plates, working as the team they already were, and try to form a bridge!
The group circled around the hole, each standing on different plates, until at last a bridge formed across the gaping hole and all could cross safely.
The bridge led them to what seemed to be the last chamber. A fire swept across the room and corpses of those who had failed this trial lay beyond the licking flames.
An altar was inscribed with fancy text, imploring the reader to remove all worldly effects and step into the Maker's embrace.
And so they did, quite awkwardly.
In but their undergarments, Caelyra and her group crossed the flames and were delivered in safety upon the stairs on the other side. They had passed the trials.
Retrieving her armour quickly, Caelyra ascended the stairs and stood before a great statue of Andraste. Before the statue was an urn. The urn that they sought. The Urn of Sacred Ashes.
Caelyra carefully took a small pinch of the ashes and placed them delicately into a pouch, then slipped it into her pocket. Hopefully the ashes proved true and Arl Eamon of Redcliffe would soon be healed and ready to gather the noblemen to fight against Loghain.
With the trials complete and the sacred ashes secured, Caelyra and her companions left the temple and prepared to go back through the Ruins and find Genitivi and get out of Haven. Only, as they stood out in the open, the great dragon from earlier released a great scream and descended upon them.
With magic bolts whizzing from Wynne and Morrigan's staffs and steel clashing from Alistair and Caelyra's weapons, they fought and fought...
At one point, the dragon chomped down on Caelyra and swept her through the air. Her life flashed before her eyes. She was about to be eaten. The dragon was going to eat her!
Just when Caelyra thought she was going to die, Wynne's gentle healing magic encased her and the dragon spat her out onto the ground, evidently not liking the taste of healing magic.
Shaking herself free from dragon saliva, she grabbed her daggers and leapt back into the fray, whipping and whooshing about until at last the dragon lay dead.
Grateful that the thing was dead, Caelyra ripped a dragon scale off its corpse and stashed it with the drake scales she had picked up earlier. She was going to have something special made to forever remember this day.
They returned through the ancient temple ruins and found Genitivi once more. He had been a bit worried; they had been gone for quite some time, but was pleased to see them again... and was amazed to find that they had indeed found the Urn of Sacred Ashes.
He was ecstatic! Maybe the Chantry wouldn't denounce him or his studies any longer. There could be pilgrimages. Everyone should have access to the trials and seek Andraste's wisdom!
None of that was any interest to Caelyra. She just wanted to get those ashes to Arl Eamon where they could do some good.
Before they left for Redcliffe Castle, Caelyra gave Leliana her new armour. It did indeed seem as though it had been made for her. She loved it!
There was no time for rest though. They made haste for Redcliffe Castle before the Arl could decline any further!
The castle seemed much more like a castle this time around. Guards were stationed where they should be, servants were performing their chores, there was lively chatter and laughter, but all held an undercurrent of un-ease as they waited for a miracle to befall the Arl.
Several mages were at the castle too, following the First Enchanter's orders to protect Teagan in case the same thing that had happened to the Arl might happen to him. They could not lose both Arl Eamon and his brother.
Hurrying to the Arl's side, a mage took the ashes from Caelyra and prepared them over the near-lifeless body that lay upon the bed.
All held their breath. Waiting to see what would happen.
It was indeed a miracle. Within seconds of the ashes touching Arl Eamon's body, a flutter touched his eyelids and he immediately stirred, it was as though he had come out of a sleep, well-rested and wide-awake. He was confused though. Where was he? Where was his wife, his son, why was his brother there?
He climbed out of bed and they told him... everything. Of the King's death, Loghain's treachery, of how Loghain had had Eamon poisoned for fear of him interfering with his plans, how they sought a miracle to bring him back.
The Arl was stunned. Loghain had never been ambitious, yet here he was, declaring himself the queen's regent and causing chaos across the land. All whilst a darkspawn blight was looming! It was unthinkable.
They needed a plan. They needed to gather all of the nobles at a Landsmeet and convince them that Loghain was unworthy... that there was stronger blood to claim the throne and to unite Ferelden.
Alistair leapt into the conversation, angry. He may be Cailan's half-brother but he didn't want this — had never wanted this! Not to mention it had been beaten into his head since the day he was born that he could never have it anyway. He refused to play for the throne.
Eamon pleaded with him. Did he want Ferelden to fall to chaos and civil war under Loghain's leadership? No, of course not. If he, Eamon, Cailan's uncle, tried for the throne, he would seem but an opportunist. Alistair was the best choice, indeed the only choice.
Caelyra didn't know what to think. Alistair didn't want to be King but neither could they allow Loghain, the treacherous bastard, to remain in power. Surely there had to be another option... somehow.
The Arl needed time to gather all of Ferelden's noblemen and arrange for the Landsmeet. In the meantime, Caelyra would continue her Grey Warden duties and find aid with the Dwarves and the Elves. They still needed all hands on board to fight the blight, regardless of if the land fell to civil war.
This was going to be a nightmare.
Until next time! ⚔️🐲
It's been so long since I played this game, and the search for the sacred ashes seems to me a turning point in the game, there are too many ramifications, which mark the story in this game as in the following ones, although I admit that when I read your adventure, I couldn't remember if that happened in my game, but then it all came back to my mind hahaha.
The one thing in this that I've written up that would be different for most people is Leliana's armour. 🙂 I used a mod for that!
As I'm playing through, I'm actually finding that the Awakening expansion has quite a lot of ramifications for the future. When I last played Awakening, it was waaaaay before DA2 was even released, so I had forgotten the Architect and what he looked like and didn't put two and two together that he was one of the old Magisters like Corypheus.
Oh Dragon Age Origins, this is a game that I have written down in my notebook of Rpg games to play, but seeing that it is so dense in story and mechanics, I think I will need a lot of free time to enjoy it as it should be enjoyed he he he :D .
By the way, I need to see the your first post about it :) .
Regards and awesome post (y)
Oh yes, there is sooo much story in this! And so many choices you can make that have ramifications for the sequels. For a first playthrough I definitely recommend having a lot of free time available to enjoy it properly! 😁
If you'd like to, at the start of this post is a link that leads to the one before it, and I've done that with all of this series so far so that people could backtrack through. 😊
Yeah, maybe a game for a Christmas Time or a good vacation time he he :D .
Cool I`ll check for the first post fo sure, my friend :)