Warning: This article contains spoilers.

Areas spoiled: Landsmeet, Return to Redcliffe, Defense of Denerim, End game

Previous articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

It’s over. After 61 hours, 26 minutes and 49 seconds Fiona finally reached the end of her journey, slaying the Archdemon and restoring some semblance of peace to Ferelden. From her humble beginnings as a sheltered member of the Circle of Magi, she outgrew the boundaries set out for her by society, and forged a path of bravery, compassion, and even love through the hordes of Darkspawn.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here, when I last wrote it was time to call the Landsmeet and see if Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir could finally be overthrown, and the armies of Ferelden brought to bear on the Blight.

The Landsmeet

- When I entered the Landsmeet I was immediately met by Ser Cauthrien, the knight who had so recently managed to solo my entire party without as much as breaking a sweat. She attacked, and apparently had forgotten to take her wheaties that morning because I mopped the floor with her (much to my surprise). What was the point of nerfing her for the second bout, I wonder?

- In the actual Landsmeet I had three votes in my favor – including Anora’s brilliant speech – and three votes against. Apparently in the strange kingdom of Ferelden this tie vote counts as a clear win for the incumbent, and Teyrn Loghain declared victory and attacked.

- The resulting royal rumble in the hall was amusing, and I spent much of the time trying to keep Loghain locked down with Cone of Cold, while fending off the rest of the troops.

- When order was finally restored, a duel was demanded to resolve the claim for the throne. Although I assumed that my crowd control would be best for keeping Loghain at bay, I allowed Alistair to fight him since I did not want to weaken his claim to the throne.

- The duel turned out to be nasty, and Alistair had to chug potions like a pro to get through it in one piece. At the end a cut scene was triggered, and Alistair decapitated Loghain.


A tough choice

- Of course, Alistair’s killing blow was not all sunshine and rainbows; after he pulled the decapitation stunt Anora flat out refused to marry him…. and I was forced to pick who would take the throne. After a few moments of humming and hawing I chose Alistair – bloodlines in Ferelden seem to be very important, and his claim by blood trumped Anora’s. (Interestingly, I could have chosen to have Fiona marry Alistair and take the throne which might have been an option had she not already fallen in love with Leliana.)

- Anora was displeased with my choice and refused to swear fealty to Alistair. I ended up locking her in a tower instead of killing her or exiling her. It would be best to keep an eye on the woman.

To Redcliffe

- After resolving matters in Denerim, we marched to Redcliffe to defend the town from the Darkspawn armies and confront the Archdemon.

- I have no idea how Redcliffe got overrun; the town was filled with Darkspan who died in a single hit…. even a barwench with a broom should have been able to reliably kill a herd of the beasts.

- Things were more desperate at Redcliffe Castle, and the smirk was quickly wiped from my face as I had to reload the game after getting crushed in the courtyard.

- The second time went much smoother, and with the invasion repelled, everyone gathered in the castle where it was revealed that the main bulk of the invading army was marching on Denerim. Whoops.

Pivotal Decisions

- After the meetings I was instructed to get some rest, but before I did that I ran around the castle chatting with my allies and getting their impression of coming events. Strangely, when I arrived in my room Morrigan was waiting to quiz me about my relationship with Leliana. Awkward.

- The last thing I had to do before retiring was speak with the Orlesian Grey Warden, Riordan. In the conversations he revealed one of the Warden’s great secrets: to vanquish an Archdemon permanently a Grey Warden must strike the killing blow, and that Grey Warden will die upon doing so. My reaction when I heard that, as scribbled on some note paper: “Oh shit”.

- I returned to my room to find Morrigan still there, and this time she broadsided me with a request that completely flabbergasted me coming so soon on the heels of Riordan’s revelations: she knew of a way to avoid sacrificing a Grey Warden to kill the Archdemon. If I would convince Alistair to sleep with her that night and impregnate her, then when the Archdemon was slain its essence would take over the budding child within her. After that Morrigan would leave to raise the child/demon/thing on her own.

- I almost took Morrigan up on that offer. I was so close to clicking the affirmative answer, but in the end I told her I couldn’t do it. She reacted badly, as you might expect, and I refused to beg her to stay. I don’t think that begging would have worked anyways.


Morrigan and Fiona part ways

- Losing Morrigan was an enormous blow to my party, which was built around having a pair of lock down crowd control mages. Not only that, she was my sole herbalist, and with no healers in my party, her departure made things a lot dicier.

The Defense of Denerim

- The next day the army marched to Denerim, but we were too late to intercept the invaders and by the time we arrived they had broken into the city.


Beating back the invaders

- After dispersing the Darkspawn at the gates, I formed up a strike force to try to push my way through to Fort Drakon. I chose Fiona, Alistair, Leliana, and Oghren. Oghren is a poor substitute for Morrigan, by the way.

- The Denerim end game consists of three small areas to fight through before heading into Fort Drakon. Each battle is primarily filled with the “grunt” level Darkspawn that I encountered in Redcliffe, as well as a few elites. Also, in each area you can depoy one of the allies that you gathered through the main campaign: I had 50 each of elves, dwarves, and Redcliffe soldiers, as well as 12 mages to use. The Templars were strangely absent, despite claiming that they would support me.

- I deployed my troops as follows: Market – Redcliffe Soldiers. Elven Alienage – Elves. City Gate Defense – Dwarves. Palace District – Redcliffe soldiers. Fort Drakon courtyard – Elves. Archdemon – Elves. The Elves rock, what can I say.

- I tried deploying the mages once, but the computer AI for them is utterly brainless, and they happily tossed fireballs into melees that I was participating in, killing Alistair and Oghren off without fail. Morons.

- As all of this went on, a cut scene showing Riordan’s death punctuated the fact that before long either Alistair or Fiona would have to die…. there was no longer an easy way out.

Fort Drakon

- As I cleared through Fort Drakon I couldn’t help but notice that I was a kleptomaniac to the bitter end. I robbed the place blind, despite it technically belonging to Alistair now.

- The final battle was telegraphed by Sandal, the Dwarven enchanter, standing near a door. It’s as if the developers wanted to give under-prepared adventurers one more chance to buy stuff. Personally, I was well stocked and so just sold all of the freshly-pillaged loot.


The final battle

- Stepping out onto the rooftop behind Sandal triggered the game’s final encounter: the battle with the Archdemon. My general tactics for any dragon in the game are simple: spread out, keep the mages and archers at range, and micromanage anyone who gets aggro.

- Disappointingly, the fight against the Archdemon turned out to be far easier than any other major boss battle in the entire game. Sure, I had to chain-quaff healing potions sometimes, but none of my characters were ever in danger of dying.

- At the half way point of the battle the Archdemon becomes unattackable and you have to fight off waves of Darkspawn. At this point a whole bunch of important NPCs show up, and I assume the difficulty at this stage is inversely proportional to how many off them that you managed to get on your side.


Killing blow

- Soon enough the Archdemon fell, and the last big choice came up: would I allow Alistair to strike the killing blow, or would I do it myself?

- Frankly, Fiona’s nature the entire game has been to let her partymates make decisions for themselves, and it has been very rare that she has tried to change who or what they are. With that in mind I told Alistair that the kill was his if he was sure that he wanted it, and, as it turns out, he did. The Archdemon’s last breath was also Alistair’s. And so it ended.

Epilogue

- In the end it turned out that Anora got her throne after all, and – at least according to the game – she made a good Queen.

- When Anora offered me a reward I choice to ask for the Circle of Magi’s independence from the Templars. I was actually amazed to see this as an option, and since it was something that Fiona wanted from the very start it was the choice I made over top of all of the riches and fame.

- I was excited to see that Bhelen turned out to be good to his word and started to reform Ozrammar! Any action to abolish the ruthless caste system that used to bind the dwarves is a good step.

- At the end of it all I allowed all of my companions to disperse… well, with one exception. Fiona and Leliana decided that they deserved a break from all of the excitement and bloodshed, and struck out on their own to travel the world. I’m sure that it won’t be too long before the lovers find themselves in the midst of excitement again, but for now a rest is in order.


A kiss

Last words
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the travels of Fiona, the Grey Warden, as much as I have had writing them out. Dragon Age was an amazing experience and I cannot wait for the Awakenings expansion to release. (For those wondering, I have no interest in either the Warden’s Keep or Return to Ostagar DLC bundles.)

I think I’ll avoid writing up a formal post mortem for this game – I’ve scattered my praise and criticism throughout this nine part series, and I don’t think anything can be gained by correlating it all.

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