ossobuco: Legion from Mass Effect 2 (lyna sun)
[personal profile] ossobuco
Yeahhh, I have reached the stage of addiction where I willingly shell out more money to prolong this awesome game.

When we last left our heroes, we had successfully reached the Urn of Sacred Ashes and brought enough back to cure Arl Eamon, who expressed his gratitude by forcing Alistair to put himself forth as King Cailan's only blood relative and thus a legitimate heir to the throne in order to prevent Loghain from destroying all of Ferelden. THANKS A LOT, EAMON, IT'S JUST WHAT WE WANTED. In the meantime, Leliana's flirting with me, Morrigan wants me to kill her mother, and also, oh, yeah, there is a Blight to stop.

What to do in a situation like this? Buy DLC, of course! :D

I bought Soldier's Peak and Return to Ostagar (and upgraded to the 1.04 patch in the process, which the patch notes said ought to help the heavy perf issues and long load times that I've been dealing with—so far, so good!) as a reward for surviving the difficult couple of weeks that I have had, and had an absolutely delicious time with the latter (not sure when I will do the former, but soon, very soon). I really like that the “hook” for the particular quest didn't require us going out of our way and that the quest itself was tied in strongly enough that it didn't feel like we were wasting (in-game) time.

Anyway. After we left Redcliffe, we veered north and happened to be crossing the lands belonging to a local bann, Loren. We come upon a bit of a scene—some men in armor, likely the bann's guards, harassing an older man who is dressed well. He is (as the game informs me) someone I recognize from Ostagar. The dead king's adviser, in fact (though I don't see how I'm supposed to have recognized him; I'm an elf, after all, and all of you humans look alike to me). Anyway, we hang back, waiting to see what happens, when one of the bann's men stabs the guy in the chest. Oh, dear. Well, as soon as they are out of sight, we rush down to see if we can help the old man.

He explains that he's been imprisoned on charges relating to having fled Ostagar. Since we are Grey Wardens, he also tells us that we must go back to the battlefield there. He tells us that King Cailan had left a key with him, which would open a chest containing his father's sword and documents regarding a peace agreement with Orlais—both of which, the man says, Cailan wanted the Grey Wardens to have in the event of his death. He hid the key in Ostagar before he left, and figures that the darkspawn who have since overrun the city would not have found or taken it.

Well, Alistair seems eager to go, in spite of the prospect of probably having to slog through literal hordes of darkspawn in order to get to this chest and see to Cailan's and Duncan's remains if they are still there. As for me... I am definitely looking forward to cutting, shooting, blasting, and otherwise smashing our way through the hordes, and if these letters regarding Orlais can give us an edge in any of our myriad problems, I say, let's do it! :D

So, we head south to Ostagar. It's bitter cold there, and snow drifts cover the ground. We encounter darkspawn almost immediately, and that pretty much never changes. None of the early battles are particularly strenuous, so we hack and slash poke around looking for things. Most of the city walls are still standing, though pieces have fallen in and holes have appeared. We stand in places that I recognize, if vaguely, from the last time I was there—though it must have been summer, then, and winter now, not to mention the Blight itself. What trees still stand are bare and dying, and from the lookout points, we stare out over a cold, dead forest.

So many places that I recognize. We find the kennels where I had first met Thracys, the fire where Duncan always kept watch, the mage encampment, the room where Cailan had argued strategy with Loghain, having no idea that his “friend” would betray him only hours later.

We find the altar where my Joining had taken place... and on the ground, the Joining chalice, still with traces of blood.

Thank goodness, we find the key to Cailan's chest, and the chest soon after. It is as advertised—the king's correspondences, and King Maric's sword.

It seems that the darkspawn had taken Cailan's armor from his body, as a few of them are wearing pieces of it. Well, we'll just be taking these, then, thank you. And, well, as we go across the wall (flashing back a little to running across here those months ago, dodging arrows and catapault blasts, in our desperate sprint to light the beacon at the tower of Ishal), we see Cailan's body nailed on planks, bloodied and battered, on display for all to see.

Before we can do anything about it, however, we face an attack by a darkspawn necromancer of some sort. He raises some skeletons and flees, leaving them to deal with us. Well, needless to say, they're not much of a challenge, so we pursue him. Each time we catch up to him, he either summons more creatures or sends other darkspawn in his place. There was one especially great battle involving several ballistas and quite a few hurlocks, but really so many of the battles in this quest were great. We reach the tower and push up into the first level to find, like, seventy darkspawn crawling around the place—but they were all grunts, and fell after only one or two hits from any of us, so we cleaned them out pretty quickly. THAT was an enormously satisfying battle, including the ogre. It is, speaking of that, very satisfying to successfully take on creatures that once kicked the shit out of my whole party. Anyway, once in the tower, we find that the door up is barricaded, but there is a great hole in the ground leading evidently to tunnels below. Well... that looks delightful. Let's go.

The main thing we fight in the tunnels are these enormous fucking spiders. Fuuuuuck. Fuck spiders. Especially these huge, hairy, bloated, nasty things. They really liked Alistair, though. I think every spider we ran into immediately leapt onto Alistair, pinned him to the ground, and tried to eat him. Not that I can blame them. He was distinctly not pleased with this (I can't blame him, either), but the tunnels don't go on for all that long. In fact, they appear to lead out to the lands surrounding the city... the battlefield.

Here was where Cailan perished at the hands of an ogre, and where Duncan avenged his death but only to be overwhelmed by the hordes and his own injuries moments later.

Here, the necromancer makes his stand, by raising some of the frozen corpses as skeletons... and then raising the ogre. It flails and smashes, but we are actually able to make relatively quick work of it, between Morrigan's spells and our new weapons (Alistair is wielding King Maric's sword at this point). When the ogre is done, Morrigan turns into a bear and charges the necromancer, and the rest of us are close behind her. He doesn't last long against us.

We prowl the battlefield a little once it's over with, and among the things we find are Duncan's old sword and dagger.

Well... once that's done, we find our way back up to the wall to Cailan's body. It's agreed that we can't just leave him there, so we build a pyre for him in hopes of restoring at least a little of his dignity.

Naturally, all of his armor is too stupidly heavy for any of us to wear yet, but, well, Alistair will work on that. Now my next major dilemma is which of us should wield Duncan's sword and which of us should wield Maric's.

Completing the quest gives me a ton more approval from Alistair. YES! I check his character profile, but somehow he is still “Neutral” towards me. NO! Aaargh. Some day, Alistair. Some day, you will love me.

Anyway... we return to camp. I intend to talk to Alistair about Ostagar or about the previous nonsense with Arl Eamon or about whatever he may want to talk about, but Leliana stops me first. She explains to me the real reason that she left Orlais and joined the Chantry—she had been betrayed by her mentor and lover, accused of treason, tortured, and sentenced to death. Her training as a bard allowed her to flee, and knowing that vengeance would only mean a high likelihood of getting caught again, she escaped to Lothering, where she converted and became a cloistered Sister. In response, all I say is that she'll be safe among us. I (Lyna) don't have much to say about the work of a bard or about political intrigue in general, but Leliana has proven herself to me, and that's what matters.

After all that, I have a chat with Alistair. It... turns into a very long chat. :D First he brings up the matter of a woman that he thinks must be his long-lost half-sister, living in Denerim, whom I agree to help him find. Agreeing to this quest finally earns me enough approval to push our relationship from “neutral” to “warm.” HA! Yes! :D Now the good stuff can begin, right? Oh, yes. I talk through pretty much every last conversation available (with the exception of “has anybody told you how incredibly handsome you are?” or whatever, because Lyna would just... never say that, like, ever, and it's silly that that option will probably be there, staring me in the face, FOREVER. Maybe I'll just say it sometime to see what happens), starting with asking him what sorts of things change about a person when they become a Grey Warden (cue the explanation of, oh, yeah, you've got about thirty years to live before your body can't handle the taint anymore).

Now, a word about this. I (Lyna) may know, cognitively, that I'll probably not ever return to my people, and it sucks—I mean, I'm a Grey Warden now and I'm bound to that duty (whatever that may mean)—but... I haven't fully accepted that as reality yet. I'm in denial about never going back, really. Then, all of a sudden, finding out that I am without question going to die in Ferelden as a Warden due to the taint... well. I suppose it's true. I suppose I really am never going back.

Lyna's character development (inasmuch as the game's dialogue and choices have permitted, which, to be fair, is pretty darned good) so far has largely been centered about half on learning to understand and trust her human companions, and half on coping with the loss of her former life. Now she's at a point where, with regard to the first, she is growing more comfortable with them, and with regard to the second, she's starting to accept that it's gone. This means, I think, two things for her immediate future: one, she'll be more open to forming deeper relationships (friendships or romantic relationships as appropriate) with her party members, and two, she will be hit hard by going to the Brecilian forest to talk to the Dalish tribes there. Yay, angst!

I've wondered for a while exactly how I was going to make the evolution of her relationship with Alistair fit with her character and her worldview, since from what I have heard, Dalish elves don't really have sex outside of marriage, and at that its intent is very much for procreation (since there are so few of them—thus it'd probably be seen as especially taboo to be having sex with a human). Having finally hit a point where she's starting to let go of the nonexistent possibility of returning to her people, I think it will be... significantly easier to deal with this. I think she'll be much more able to make choices based on personal desires rather than on what her society has established as correct behavior.

Anyway, where was I? Yes, after that conversation, I ask him more about what it was like to hang out with the other Grey Wardens before Ostagar, and he proceeds to tell me lots of stories about the Wardens all being bros and awesome, and I (Lyna and Tracy) am TOTES JEALOUS. Seriously, from everything he described, how cool does it sound!? Uh, apart from the whole... Blight thing. That sounds less fun. Of course, then it segues into Duncan, and Alistair starts to cry again, and aaaaugh. D: SO SAD. Oh god. He expresses a wish for something to remember Duncan by. Well... I do have this sword and dagger, but it doesn't seem like I can give them as gifts. Okay, though, this settles it. You definitely get Duncan's sword, though give me a sec to put some runes in it and make it extra fucking badass.

After this, he asks to hear my opinions on the rest of the party members. This is kind of fun! The following is established: Zevran may still try to kill me, but if he tries anything, he's dead; Sten is actually deep and interesting as you get to know him, despite being a serial murderer; Leliana seems sad a lot, but is probably not crazy. No agreement is reached between us about Morrigan, however; I say she's fine and trustworthy and I happen to like her; he says she's a crazy bitch sent here by Flemeth to kill us all. Well, we don't have to agree on everything. At some point in this conversation, I say that, well, if he really wants to lead the party, it's fine by me. He replies that his leading always ends up with getting lost, people dying, and him ending up without any pants.

So, you're saying that you're Mal Reynolds? *shot*

Seriously, though, Alistair, you are amazing and I want to know the story behind this sometime.

After this... I finally get to the apparently infamous lamppost conversation. The thing about it is, Lyna, being an elf, would have no clue that being raised in the chantry would equal celibacy, nor would she so much as dream of bringing something like this up since given the above stated facts that I have heard about elves and sex, I assume that sex is an incredibly private matter. Even it did occur to her to wonder, she wouldn't ask about it, I don't think. BUT THIS IS TOTALLY IRRELEVANT, really, considering that the hysterically funny way in which he says “have you ever licked a lamp post in winter?” makes up for any breaking of character on anybody's parts, and also the part where he says that he was taught to be a gentleman, especially around beautiful ladies like me.

… cue my (Lyna's) brain grinding to a halt for a second, because, you know, I'm an elf. We get trivialized and objectified by humans. We don't get the kind of admiration and respect that Alistair's wording suggests. Add to this that, well, I'm a hunter, and I shave my head. Beauty is not exactly what I'm going for, so it's... a surprise. A rather nice surprise.

Somewhat stunned, I ask, “you think I'm beautiful?” and he immediately begins to flail awkwardly, not quite backpedaling, and asks quite nervously if I have any particular opinion on someone thinking that of me.


I say, “I might like it, coming from you.”

Right after this, I checked his character profile again, and his approval rating towards me was now "interested."

YES! *fistpump!*



ossobuco: Legion from Mass Effect 2 (Default)

August 2017

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