Swingin' Saturday: The Swing of Things, Chapter 14

Stormy Weather

Thankfully, Captain Anderson proved to be as anxious to confront the ambassador as his trumpet player. Kaidan got a reply while he was still assembling his meal.

Having a deadline settled his stomach further. By the time he’d finished eating he had begun to look forward to clearing the air. It almost doesn’t matter what Udina says, he thought. I’ll just be glad to be done with it.

The next morning dragged with routine problems and fixes. The green recruits under his training could tell their Lieutenant still hadn’t fully returned to them, though they assumed he still suffered from his migraine rather than simple distraction. He’d long ago earned enough respect to keep them on diligently on-task without his scrutiny, a fact for which he was thankful as he found his thoughts turning every five minutes to the afternoon’s confrontation.

Transmutation, Chapter 11

Rallying the Troops

In many places Cullen found no Templars at all, though the slaughter was just as bad. Most of the corridors remained empty but Fade creatures had sprung up all through the tower. In some rooms he found mages who had fought against them and died for their pains. Relief at seeing how many of them had resisted this plot which had spun so quickly out of control cut through the grief of seeing the loyal mages sprawled, lifeless and bloodied, in their own quarters.

Every few rooms presented yet another tableau that fueled Cullen’s anger and determination. The appalling waste of life and the proof that the Chantry had been right all along pushed him through his desolation. He used his every reserve to keep moving. Once he’d investigated each room on the periphery he headed to the open central area, one used on each level for a different purpose. The one he hesitated outside held the storerooms, manned by Tranquil who could not be possessed because they had no connection to the Fade.

Cullen stood with one hand on the door, awkwardly holding his sword in his shield hand rather than sheathe the weapon. He reminded himself that any tactician would want to secure the potions and tools contained within so he should expect the worst.

BioWare’s New IP—Under Development and Under Wraps

David Gaider announced that, after a decade of wringing fan’s tears from them, he’s leaving the Dragon Age team to write for the new BioWare IP. Whatever it is, I’m now dancing with delight that Gaider’s delicious brand of snarky evil will be a part of it.

Patrick Weekes, brought from Mass Effect to join the DA team a couple of years ago, will be taking over as head writer. As a fan of his novels and the characters he writes, I’m absolutely fine with that. He’s wrung his fair share of tears from his fans (Mordin’s death scene and the Solas romance spring immediately to mind) so the feels-crushing seems likely to continue unabated.

I do wonder, however, whether this means an announcement of the super-secret new universe they’re creating is imminent. They’ve hinted and mentioned it since before Mass Effect 3 came out but all details have been kept under wraps. Is Gaider’s move to their team a sign that the veil of secrecy is about to be lifted?

Falon’Din’s Plaint: A Song Post

Those of you familiar with the glitterotica pantheon theory for the ancient elvhen gods likely have an image of Falon’Din built up in your heads. For some reason, he’s emerged as the bad boy of Arlathan, a combination of Alex from A Clockwork Orange and Harry Potter’s Voldemort—pointlessly, gleefully, viciously evil and over-the-top powerful.

Yet lore tells us of a softer side to Falon’Din, a deep and abiding friendship, a beautiful love for Dirthamin, his almost-brother and closest companion. What does a pair of gorgeous, morally bankrupt immortal men do? Apparently, in the case of Falon’Din, head canon insists he spends his time complaining about how amazing he is.

I know you’ve all heard someone while about how they’re so sexy or rich or smart that it’s all become so terribly dull,

Questions: Solas and Random Dalish Guards

Solas tells us in Inquisition that he’d approached Dalish camps only to be turned away by foolish mortals too superstitious to entertain a stranger in their midst. I got to wondering how those conversations might go. It turns out they fit perfectly into my Questions series. What a coincidence!

Solas: [strolls into camp] No need for alarm. I am merely a humble mage seeking shelter for the night.
Guard: [aims arrow at his eye] Where did you come from, flat-ear?
Solas: I wander the world, exploring the Fade and learning about history. Perhaps I could speak to your Keeper.
Guard: What’s the name of your clan?
Solas: I don’t have a clan. I am a lone wolf, as it were. [smirks]
Guard: How do we know you’re not an abomination?
Solas: [ponders] I haven’t killed you yet.
Guard: [narrows eyes] You…may have a point. What do you want?
Solas: A meal and a place near your fire to put my bedroll for the night.
Guard: You want me to let a clan-less stranger with no vallaslin into the heart of our camp when everyone is sleeping?
Solas: Hence my suggestion you fetch your Keeper.
Guard: How about you fetch your flat-eared self the hell out of here?
Solas: I admire your caution but I think someone a bit farther up the food chain should make that decision.
Guard: I’ll give you a food chain, loser.

Mythal's Sorrow Part Five

As he listened to his heart a step sounded on the loose scree behind him. He whirled, staff blazing to life as he snapped the blade to ready, and found an old woman standing there, grinning mischievously at him. The rows of studs on her rich armored leathers gleamed in the moonlight and feathers showed black at her shoulders and hips against the rising light. She bore no weapons and stood without fear, waiting for his reaction.

None of this made more than a passing impression on Abelas. It was her hair that arrested his attention. She bore the jutting white horns in which he’d first seen Mythal, though nothing else about her looked the same. Instead of the proud ears echoed by the elaborate style she had a shemlen’s rounded-off nubs. She lacked the glorious decoration with which all the elvhen gods had shown the power and devotion of their followers.

He dismissed all of this as unimportant. None had ever worn their hair thus.

Mythal's Sorrow Part Four

Fen’Harel, often a guest and a dear friend of Mythal, had arrived ashen and furious to sob at the edge of the well, pleading with her to return, to lead him to those that needed her judgment more than any elvhen ever had. Days had passed as the priests milled around the edges of the clearing, distraught and confused, but none had been brave enough to question a god to whom they were not pledged.

His grief had soothed them, somehow. Though everyone at the temple had felt the shock of her death none of them could tell for certain what had happened. Until the god had said it, had boldly stated their beloved Mythal was dead at the hands of another, the priests and sentinels had clung to the hope that she would return. As he had quieted, they had accepted the truth and begun to wonder what would become of them

After a week, Fen’Harel had exhausted the noisiest portion of his grief. He had knelt, slumped and silent, face buried in hands dripping tears, as the moon rose above the pool. The silhouette of a wolf at full howl with three ruby eyes gleaming in its head had been worked into the tail of his long tunic where it trailed between his heels. For a moment Abelas had expected the god to mimic this symbol

Mythal's Sorrow, Part Three

At their remove, the priests and guards suffered far less than those at the heart of Arlathan.  They were not, however, immune to the dissolution.  The sentinels had fended off a dozen groups, from bands of slaves seeking asylum to a small army marching under no banner the priests could recognize.  As each gave his or her life to protect Mythal’s Heart the well had grown, from a chalice to a basin to a pool.

Finally Mythal had come a final time.  Abelas, then known by another name, had met with her in one of the forested glades near the temple.  Slaves had brought heady wines and rich cakes, their faces resolutely bent to keep from being blinded by the glittering majesty of their god.  She waited to speak until they were quite alone once more.  Other sentinels had kept guard out of earshot so that none might interrupt their conference.

She’d spoken his name gently, drawing his attention from his contemplation of how pale she looked, how worry shadowed her eyes to a deeper amethyst, and lightly laid a hand on his arm.  “I cannot tell you all that comes,” she said,

A No-Spoiler Review of the Jaws of Hakkon

I finally bought and played the Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC this past weekend and, I have to say, I’m delighted. The Jaws of Hakkon gives you a big new area with all kinds of brand new goodies, lore, and challenges. Since most people can't even play it yet I thought I'd post my thoughts without spoiling the story for anyone.

When BioWare made the Frostback Basin they took pieces of the most gorgeous areas in Inquisition and blended them. They took the Arbor Wilds and combined the best bits of the Storm Coast and Crestwood into it. There’s a dash of Fallow Mire for flavor and you might find a hint of the Western Apprach in the ruins.

It’s late afternoon in the Frostback Basin and the mountains shade parts of the landscape (until later, when you emerge from a ruin and it’s night with that huge moon from the Hissing Wastes laying a silver glow over the still-active forests.)