Dragon Age: Red Daughter

The Story So Far
Part 1: Orzammar

Its the year 9:31 Dragon, one year after the end of the 5th Blight. In Orzammar, there are rumors of a hound stalking the Deep Roads, fighting and killing Darkspawn alongside the Legion of the Dead.

One particular Legionnaire, named Volen, stumbles across the site of a large fight in the Deep Roads. He finds dead Darkspawn, and dead royal soldiers. In the shadows, he sees a large, canine shape, with a smaller form in its mouth, which turns to flee. Volen chases the beast out of the Deep Roads and into Orzammar.

Volen pursues the beast through Orzammar, but the beast is faster. It seems to be heading for the surface. Volen breaks off the hunt to report to the king and explain what he had found. On the way to the royal palace, he passes members of a new cult, calling themselves the Crimson Dawn, preaching about the coming of a savior, a Red Daughter, who they claim has already been born.

Volen arrives at Orzammar’s royal palace and reports to King Bhelen of what he saw in the deep roads. Bhelen explains to Volen that the dog, called the Grey Hound of Orzammar, has made off with an abomination his soldiers had been taking into the Deep Roads to dispose of. He makes the decision to send Volen and Gorim, another of his soldiers, to pursue the beast, and destroy the monster it is protecting.

The two of them head to the surface and follow the trail, taking the main road north.

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Divided Attention

We pick up this week with the group having split up, Alec and Erwan traveling with the Dwarven Grey Wardens Legnar and Orta to Orzammar while Koryn, Parlit, and Solaras head to Merlanthraille to check on Ruby.

Alec, Erwan and the Wardens arrive at the gates of Orzammar. They get let in without much of a fuss; King Bhelen has opened Orzammar to the surface world and the Grey Wardens have always been welcome there, even with current tensions between them and Orzammar.

The two Dwarven Wardens head to Dust Town to find a place to stay during their extended visit, while Alec and Erwan explore, eavesdrop, and try to get a feel for the current state of Orzammar.

It turns out, Bhelen has been slowly reforming the Caste system, helping the lower castes and Casteless without doing enough that it would anger the upper castes. It is a delicate balancing act, but he’s pulling it off. That combined with the increased wealth overall from him allowing trading with the surface world, and the lower castes should be really happy.

They’re not. Crimson Dawn priests stand on street corners, preaching Hagann‘s words, of the Red Daughter who has come to restore the Dwarven race’s access to magic. They love the sound of this, the promise of power. With power, they could rise up and eliminate the Caste system altogether.

Alec and Erwan split up, Erwan heading to the Dust Town tavern where they agreed to meet the others, while Alec tries to tail one of the cultists back to their base.

The cultist doesn’t seem to spot Alec following him, but takes a winding path through back alleys and side roads anyway, as if being careful not to give away his destination and throw off tails.

Unlucky for him, Alec is good at this. Unlucky for Alec, he eventually tails the cultist to a bridge, where there is no cover, no way to follow without giving himself away. He watches the cultist head into a tunnel on the other side and, erring on the side of caution, heads back to the rendez-vous point.

At the tavern, Erwan speaks mainly with Legnar, who shows some sympathy for the lower caste and Casteless. Erwan fears that the Crimson Dawn might be able to stir their supporters up into a revolt but Legnar assures him that these people, these unarmed, unarmored, untrained people will need something more than just words to be driven to act. The Crimson Dawn will need to provide some sort of proof. These people will have to meet this Red Daughter.

Alec arrives and explains where the cultist went and where he lost him. Legnar replies that the tunnel he headed into leads directly to the Deep Roads. He suspects that the base is set up in some old, lost Thaig in Darkspawn territory.

Erwan begins to plan for him and Alec to head into the tunnel and search for the Crimson Dawn’s base, but Legnar advises against it. With only two people, only one a Grey Warden, the danger would be too great. Recognizing the wisdom in that, Erwan instead decides to head back to Fell’s Landing to get the rest of the party, and return with them as reinforcements. They leave the Dwarven Wardens behind to continue their recon mission until they return.

Meanwhile, Koryn, Parlit, and Solaras had noticed that they were being followed, but had failed a number of times to find or flush out their pursuer. They head to an Elven ruin in the area, where the had previously fought an apostate who had acquired some Red Lyrium, knowing that the tower was surrounded by a large clearing. They cut across the clearing, and manage to lose their pursuer. They rush the rest of the way to Merlanthraille, wanting to make sure their pursuer cannot pick back up their trail before they get away.

In Merlanthraille, after Koryn smiles and acts nice to Ranalle with an obvious, venomous undertone to her voice, the group meets with the Keeper. In his hut, they see that Ruby and Calder are fine, and discuss their situation with the Keeper.

Koryn explains that she has a past with Magister Noctua and trusts him, though she doesn’t explain what that past is. The Keeper is inclined to take her word for it, but his distrust of the Tevinter runs deep.

The topic turns to what can be done to ensure Ruby’s safety. The Keeper offers to alter some of the wards he has been using to obscure her power, knowing some techniques that will make her particular difficult for Tevinter magics to find, at the risk of possibly making it easier for other magics to spot her.

Solaras asks the Keeper what he thinks would happen if the Tevinter got ahold of Ruby. The Keeper apologizes to Koryn for speaking ill of her people (she assures him that she feels the same about most of them), and states that he is certain that they would flay Ruby alive, dissect her, and experiment to determine what makes her tick.

He admits that he shares the curiosity that they would surely feel, but that his own tests on Ruby are entirely benign, harmless, and non-invasive. He observes her from without only. To his people, knowledge is power, and Ruby represents to him knowledge that no one else possesses. That could possibly help in regaining what his people have lost.

The Keeper takes this opportunity to mention an interesting tidbit he discovered; Ruby enters the Fade when she sleeps, just like humans, elves, and qunari. Very much unlike her own people.

Solaras brings up the Grey Wardens. If they allow them to take her, she could live her life openly as what she is, with them to protect her from those who would come after her. He likes he idea of her getting to live openly, instead of hiding what she is and being forever an outsider like he has had to do. Koryn is against the idea, feeling that would condemn Ruby to life as a weapon against the Darkspawn. Koryn would like to see Ruby choose her destiny for herself.

In the end, it is decided that the best thing for Ruby right now is to leave her with the Dalish. The Keeper explains that they are free to take her back if at any time they decide another course of action is better, he just asks to be able to still see her and aid in her training.

As the others head out, Solaras stays behind and asks for the Keeper to teach him what he learns about Ruby. The Keeper explains that he wouldn’t want to give Solaras any information until he is certain it is true, but promises to share anything he discovers for certain with him. As he only Mage in the group that has taken responsibility for the child, he would need to know.

Before they leave, Parlit visits with her father. He gifts her the first part of the smithing gear he is making for her, her own hammer. He explains that he could have probably had the entire set made by now, but that he is taking his time to ensure that it is all of the utmost quality. When Parlit thanks him, he says with a sad sort of smile that he is doing that for himself, as he is sure if he half-assed her gear, her mother would rise from the grave to smack him silly.

Koryn, Parlit, and Solaras return to Fell’s Landing, and go about their usual business for a few days. When Alec and Erwan get back, both groups share what they had been through with one another and decide to begin preparations to head to Orzammar together, to hunt down the Crimson Dawn in the Deep Roads.

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The Hunt for Crimson
To Orzammar they go

The party splits up to make their preparations for their trip to Orzammar.

Alec heads into the woods surrounding Fell’s Landing to hunt, gathering enough food for them all to eat on the way there.

Parlit and Solaras head to Merlanthraille, to let the Keeper know that they were going to be out of the area for at least a couple of weeks. At his request, they explain to the Keeper why they are heading down there, to hunt the Crimson Dawn. He readily accepts the responsibility for Ruby while they are gone, knowing that what they are going to do is for her well being.

Solaras asks if the Keeper has any insight into Dwarven culture he might be able to share with them, but he says he does not. He studies elven histories exclusively, and historically elves and dwarves are almost opposites. Elves live above ground, dwarves below. Elves are particularly talented with magic, dwarves cannot use it at all.

Parlit visits with her father before they head back, letting him know that she is heading into the Deep Roads, wanting him to know what kind of danger she would be in, in case she never returns.

Koryn visits Magister Noctua, lying to say that she has tracked the Mabari she once owned to Orzammar, and that she would be headed there to investigate that. They discuss things further. Noctua explains that Koryn was the only person he ever helped smuggle out of Tevinter in any situation like hers, that he did not believe in her parents’ cause per se, but acted out of a loyalty to them as his friends. Koryn asks him to keep an eye on her bar while they are gone, to make sure her employees do not burn it to the ground. Noctua chuckles and agrees.

Erwan checks in with Loghain to give a report on what happened during their trip to Orzammar. He explains that they may have found where the Crimson Dawn, who he has made sure Loghain believes are after Calder, are holed up. He requests some supplies for the trip, two horses, some medical kits, and a caravan. Loghain says that he cannot provide the caravan, lacking one of his own there, but gives Erwan instructions on when and where to pick up the horses and med kits.

The party meets back up, and makes a relatively uneventful trip to Orzammar. Once there, they meet up with Legnar and Orta in Dust Town. Legnar reports that he has taken detailed notes of the cultists’ comings and going in Dust Town. Erwan suggests that they rest and unwind for a couple of hours before heading into the Deep Roads.

Erwan shops around for potions, before realizing that he does not have enough money. Alec heads just outside the entrance to Orzammar to hunt for food for their upcoming trek. Koryn, having already drunk herself a good bit tipsy, convinced Parlit to join her in a scheme to find unruly drinks in other taverns, break up the fights, eject the offenders, and charge a fee to the owners, acting almost like mercenary bouncers. The idea falls flat when they both manage not to notice any fights going on, despite there being plenty, turning the exercise into more of a bar crawl instead.

Solaras, meanwhile, heads with Orta to the market district. Orta, loud, boisterous and a bit obnoxious, wanders off on her own to punch, then laugh and clasp hands with, some burly Dwarven warrior. Solaras finds himself a book stand, run by a dwarf named Eadrek. After being scolded for browsing a book’s interior, Solaras inquires about guides to Dwarven culture. Having so many visitors from the surface is still relatively new to Orzammar, so such things are not yet as common as they might become later, but it turns out Eadrek has some. He digs out a crate from under his table, slamming it on the table and starting to rummage through it. After a few minutes, and the shooing away of a sleepy, wild nug, he produces 3 thick pamphlets, hand-bound with rope. Turns out that Eadrek knows an entrepreneureal writer who wrote up these guides, anticipating this sort of visitor. He gives a very over the top sales pitch, then places the price for one of them at 10 silver. Solaras offers 5, with a promise to send him further business. Eadrek counters saying that while he wants to, he is not sure that he can trust Solaras, and needs to ensure his making some profit, so he offers it for 7. Solaras says he will go no higher than 6, Eadrek counters with 7, and he’ll throw in a map of Orzammar. Solaras agrees, pays the man, and receives one of the pamphlets and a crude, yet accurate, map of the main public areas of Orzammar.

The party meets back up in Dust Town, then makes their way to the entrance Alec had seen the cultist enter when last he was there.

Inside the Deep Roads, Alec is able to lead them by following the freshest tracks through the dust, rubble, and assorted filth. After a little while, he spots a rune carved into the wall up ahead, one that he recognizes. One his father used to carve on trees in the woods near his childhood home.

Legnar also spots it, and before Alec can say anything, explains that it is a coded Grey Warden rune, noting that there is danger ahead. This is exactly what Alec’s father used it for.

Luckily, their path leads them away from th danger rune. After a little while, they come across two more runes. Legnar explains that one points toward a Thaig, possibly their destination, and the other toward a Grey Warden saferoom, a place for them to rest up when fighting in the Deep Roads.

The party chooses to head toward the saferoom, where they encounter three Genlocks, one an Alpha. Legnar and Orta take care of the lesser Genlocks, leaving the party to handle the Alpha. The fight lasts a little while, with Koryn and Parlit taking most of the damage, including from one particularly vicious attack from the Alpha’s axe, which hurt both of them quite a bit and disarmed Parlit. Alec finishes it off with an arrow to the head.

Legnar steps forward and reaches through the gate blocking off the saferoom, feeling around and finding a hidden switch, opening the door and allowing them access to the saferoom.

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