Dragon Age: Whispers of the Past

Session Twenty-Six
In which people are sought with limited success

The party spent some time tracking down Steve. He is eventually found with a coquettish lady bird (or at least presumed female, no one’s judging!). Lova is mixed in her reaction; Steve’s return is to be rejoiced about, but his new ‘friend’ despises her, leading to some awkwardness.

The group splits, sending off the Qunari to meet with their people, whom they have discovered are in residence in reasonable numbers. The humans, sent off to learn the whereabouts of their erstwhile Dwarven employer, fail miserably. Mavi sets off to make up for their failings and learns that their target is Carta. Though he can’t be found, merely the fact he is sought is sure to get him looking for the party in turn…

Session Twenty-Five
In which the party decides to embrace the sub-quest and it plays hard to get

The next few days pass in peace, much to the parties collective surprise. They arrive in Cumberland and, after reflecting a bit in their glories and fame, set about the business of returning the ring. The receiving dwarf is mightily confused but receives the ring with a promise to tell Gorrim it was delivered.

Within moments of leaving, the building the hapless dwarf in was soon immolated. Cayda evacuated the poor doomed fool while the rest of the party searched for the box the dwarf had put the ring in, only to find it empty and partially exploded from the outside. The dwarf, as he dies says “Damn Crows”.

Now aware of the identity of the killers, the group decides that it behooves them to return to Gorrim and tell him all about what had happened. Since the village of Markath is on the way, the party can easily* stop on the way.

Travel is swift, untroubled, and suspicious. Upon arrival, however, the party realizes that Gorrim has left eastward. Grumbling , the party arrives at Kirkwall. Shortly after entering the city, however, Steve disappears. Lova proceeds to panic and bribe urchins to bring her ‘white birds’, which goes exactly as well as one would expect; the Qunari’s comfort fails spectacularly. In recompense, Mavi spends some time asking about after leads trying to track down any hint of where the mighty Hold Ptarmigan has gone. Her efforts with the same children goes rather better and, after getting them to understand what a ptarmagin looks like and the party soon tramps off toward the second-nearest tavern.

Session Twenty-Four
In which a quest boomerangs back to hit the party in the butt

On the road betwixt Kirkwall and Val Royeaux, not far from Cumberland, the party comes across a group of wagons that appear to be in some sort of distress. The persons belonging to the wagons are of Ravaini lineage, which enables Cayda to ease their distrust enough to learn what troubles them. Their mage, their Storyteller, was found dead and desicated, despite being a fairly young man. Worse, the dead man is wearing a very familiar ring; the missing Pentaghast ring .

After a bit of discussion, the Saarebas convinces the traders to surrender the ring so that they can travel on without it’s curse hanging over their heads. The party, after a bit of discussion, decide that the best thing to do is to take the ring on to Cumberland and give it over to the person who had wanted it in the first place.

Leaving the traders to perform their funeral rites, the party moves on as far as they can before dark falls. The first nights are fine but the when they are still two days out, the Shade attacks. The Arvaarad, on watch, is too slow to avoid the first attack but wakes the rest. The party dissipates the creature swiftly enough, though Lova is able to determine that that the force still remains in the ring and will doubtless return. The party gets what sleep they can and then prepares to resume their efforts to make the city once again…

Session Twenty-Three
In which the chaos dragon maze lives up to it's namesake.

Delving deeper into the maze, the party soon realizes that the original plan of ‘always go right’ is not going to suffice; the maze, which is clearly mystical, shifts them without any regard for the laws of space and time. The Fade draws nearer, making the Qunari deeply uneasy (and the subsequent ‘discussion’ about spirits making the Avvar deeply offended).

A few turns of the maze later, the party encounters a woman being attacked by three creatures which appear to be made out of fire. The woman’s vague resemblance to Roselle draws Lawren into the fight, sending Mavi and Lova in after him. Cayda, meanwhile, recognizes the ‘woman’ as a desire demon and stays out of the fracas entirely, judging that magic in a demon-filled locale isn’t wise.

The three fire demons die easily, leaving the ‘woman’, Lawren at first approaches her as if she was who he thought her to be, but her inability to answer questions that Roselle should know proved that she wasn’t what she seemed. Her ruse blown, the desire demon attacks. She manages to turn Lawren against the party, leading him to slice Lova a bit before the rest of the group destroys the demon.

Several more turns along, the party comes to a large room, centered by a massive, Tevinter-rune carved tree. The Saarebas makes short work of the puzzle therein and the party passes through a newly-unlocked door to find a set of stairs that lead up to a small altar against a blank wall. On the altar are carved the words ‘the blood of the holy’. Mavi, with what can only be described as smugness, produces a vial of dragonling blood from her pouch and dribbles some on the orb. To her great disappointment, nothing happens. Lawren, however, has his own ideas and, as soon as the party acquiesces to his request to step back because what he is trying might be dangerous, sneakily drips some of his own blood onto the altar, which immediately opens the sphere. Within lies another key, which is swiftly used by Cayda to unlock the third lock.

The map, when examined, shows the next destination: the outskirts of Kirkwall.

Session Twenty-Two

In which David Bowie makes an appearance

Kilina doesn’t bother the party with more Grey Warden business so we grab our supplies and head off to the ruins. Ruins are all messed up, mostly open to the air and in obvious disrepair. Ancient bloodstains abound and there’s a skeletal hand sticking out of a wall. There’s a lever (of course), which gets pulled and the wall with the skeleton hand lifts up! 30 skeletons in a closed off room are revealed, a quick examination reveals the bodies are roughly 100 years old, and are wearing Orlesian and Tevinter garb. Arvaraad examines the Tevinter script and discovers this is a temple to the Dragon God of Chaos, Zazikel. There is also an alter with a button.

We manage to stop Lova from pressing the button long enough to put a big rock in the way to make certain that when we press the button the wall won’t close and lock us in. Press the button and the wall closes (called it!) but is caught by the rock. A path down opens in the floor as well and we take the stairs down. Stairs go down forever, leading to a huge cavern which is lit up by mechanical whatsits that went off when we pressed the button. We see a labyrinth that we are approaching. When we get to the bottom of the stairs there is an alter to the dragon god for people to pray at before entering the labyrinth. None of us do this because we don’t worship dragons like weird people, so we enter the labyrinth. Lova tries to climb over the walls, but faces resistance. Something is blocking her from climbing over. We decide to take the “always go right” combined with “marking our direction” approach. Our reward for this ingenious plan is an Arcane Horror to the face, which we murder.

Session Twenty-One
In which they go on a blood drive

As the party prepares to go off in search of the ancestral ruins, they are stopped by the arrival of the Grey Warden Kilina. Her offer to allow them to Join is expiring, and Lawren is forced to choose. He reaffirms his decision and receives his first instruction: attain a vial of Darkspawn blood. Not just any blood will do, however…the blood of a powerful being must be brought as well as that from a mere Genlock or Hurlock.

Conveniently enough, there is a hidden entrance into the Deep Roads within reasonable travelling range. Inconveniently, it lies in the exact opposite direction from the ruins where they had hoped to snatch the highly-coveted key.

The party swiftly marches off and finds the location from the map easily enough. A cavern leads them downward into the bared arms and teeth of a band of Hurlock with their blighted wolf companions. They were dispatched rather quickly and made their way deeper to encounter a much more interesting foe: An Ogre and it’s two Genlock companions.

These went down only slightly more painfully and, triumphant, the party returns and leave Lawren to the questionable attentions of the Warden.

His Joining consists of a cocktail of blood and lyrium, taken in secret away from his companions. He survives the ritual and, some hours later, returns to the rest, unchanged on the outside at least…

Session Twenty
In which the party digs into Rolain dirty laundry

After succeeding in slaying the Wyvern and failing to see any sign whatsoever of Roselle, the party returns back to Val Royeaux to claim the victory for Lawren’s family. No sign of Roselle was seen on the way or heard of upon return and so, after returning and reporting victory to Lawren’s aunt, the party departs for his ancestral estate to use it as a base for seeking out the nearby temple where they hope to find the next key.

Once there, as Lawren asks around about visitors, the two Qunari dug into his family records. The pair soon find records of Lawren’s grandfather who had left the previous record. They find that he had enjoyed a long and somewhat tumultuous life, having been both an ambassador to Tevinter and, in subsequent years, chosen for the Wardens only to turn them down in the end.

More interesting than this discovery, however, is an old writ from Emperor Freyan of the Storm Age. This writ charged the Rolain family with the oversight and protection of the ruin in question (as well as all other ruins in their territory), a writ which the modern family appears to have been ignorant of and/or ignoring. Moreover, shortly after that date, all signs of that ruin were cleansed from the records in a notable fashion.

Session Nineteen
In which the party is reminded magic is dangerous

The party meets Roselle and her people the next morning as plan. Her party is not quite as diverse, being mostly human (Orlaisian and Ferelden) with a Daelish archer among them. The Qunari make short work of distressing the poor Mage, Marden, within minutes by staring at him intently without much notice paid to the other two. A brief discussion of ‘keepers’ and references to Cayda’s growing stave collection serve to forever alienate the mage.

The rumors place the wyvern some distance away, leaving the group with a choice of how to reach the area, southeast of Verchiel. Still rich with Tourney winnings, the party secures a ferry ride across the Waking Sea toward the old road near Lydes. The trip proves blissfully dull and the party and their mounts arrive on the far coast none the worse for wear.

Travel overland goes somewhat well, though the party learns shortly that someone matching the description of Julien, Roselle’s roguish companion, has been seen here for a few days prior. Further bad news makes itself known as the party moves onward, only to learn that someone is trailing them for unknown purposes. Small towns along the way confirm their direction and soon enough they find their quarry…along and amidst traps by an unknown party.

The party soon realizes the wyvern has circled and was now stalking them. They used this to pick an ambush point. During the skirmish that followed, Lova draws upon her people’s path and brings forth a spirit of Valor to join her in battle, allowing for a swift and explosive end to the beast. Before it’s death it manages to bite and poison Lova but the party’s preparations ensure that the inconvenience is minor.

Just as the cleanup begins, however, Marden staggers toward them. The reason for his untimely demise is soon made clear as a Shriek and two Hurlocks follow him over the rise.
In an event that would prove in time to be the source of much internal, and potentially loud and vocal, debate, Cayda’s magic slips her control for the first time since her first spark of power. Lawren suffers the spell meant for their enemy and Mavi, for the first time since becoming Arvaarad, is forced to use the Saarebas’ control rod.

Through the supporting efforts of his comrades, Lawren is able in time to throw off the wracking affects of the magic. An argument ensues between Mavi and Lova over the Saarebas’ condition, an argument which does little if anything to console Cayda when she is able to control herself once more. After several minutes of terse exchange about the understanding of magic and, more specifically, the signs of an Abomination aborning, the party collects themselves enough to go searching for the rest of the ill-fated Marden’s party.

Not far distant, the group finds what remains of the mage and the elven archer. Only Roselle is missing, and larger-than-human tracks lead on and away…

Session Eighteen
In which Lawren gets drawn into a Duel of sorts

After several weeks of travel from the ruins, the party arrives in Val Royeaux. Lawren’s family is quick to learn of his arrival and a summons from his Aunt comes in short order. After the briefest of pleasantries and some mistakes by a certain Avvar, Lawren learns that he has been chosen to defend the family lands from a neighboring family by means of a duel. His opponent is to be a woman named Roselle, a friend from childhood.

When Lawren and Roselle met, however, she was quick to propose a non-standard, and probably non-lethal, alternative to the traditional duel; a wyvern hunt, her companions against his, with the first to slay the beast the victor. After brief contemplation and the barest agreement from the party, Lawren agreed. After learning all they could of the creature they would fight, they purchased antidotes for the venom and prepared to march out first thing the next morning.

Session Seventeen
In which the party dungeon crawls

The party, with the Saarebas exhausted, mystically-speaking, decides to rest and attempt to catch the foe unawares in the night. Though unmolested, the party feels itself under watch and confirms this fact when, upon awakening, they find the enemy well underway again.

As the party travels, however, the Qunari ponder their destination and, between them, come to the conclusion that the Tevinter must be headed to a ruin nearby. After trailing them to the ruin they pause and send Mavi in to scout. She sees what seem like surprisingly-unshambling-for-undead zombies and returns to the party to share what she’d seen: That they had, apparently, wiped out the Tevinter and were looking to kill a few more.

The party, after killing the Darkspawn with relative ease, follow the hapless Tevinter inside. The temple soon proves to be old and full of idolatry for the Old Gods. A stair, which had once been hidden beneath the altar, lies open. It leads to the reliquary, in which an altar holds something in a glass jar.

In front of the jar, the party find Claudia and a handful of guards, one of whom has a flailing Darkspawn on a collar. After a brief exchange of unpleasantries, the party and the Tevinter fall into lethal combat. Claudia and Cayda exchange a salvo of walking bombs (which Cayda won) while her raised undead and soldiers go after the rest. After the Magister exploded, her remaining guards fled, leaving the party to recapture the Darkspawn and crush the few remaining skeletons before surveying the room’s contents.

Amidst Claudia’s remains is a large locket with a key that fits the Qunaris’ book! Another, similar key sits besides parchment under glass on the altar at the room’s center. The text is in Orlesian, an older form, but too rolled together to read. After a bit of study, the group works out that the Darkspawn is somehow key and literally lob the bleeding creature at the warded globe’s direction. It’s blood shatters the globe and the party reclaims the prizes.

Lawren reads the note, realizing to his amazement that it was drafted by his own great-grandfather. It says, simply, “Never again, you Tevinter bastards.”

Meanwhile the Qun quickly unlock two of the padlocks on their mysterious book, leaving it still held closed by two keys.

As they explore the remains further, they find a mystical map. Five locations are marked, with the party’s location being one of them. The known lyrium repository has a marker and two other spots, Orlais and Kirkwall, gleam faintly. The final spot, in Ferelden, is dim.

Given that one of their number comes from Orlais ,the party agrees to venture to that location first.