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