Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Awakening’: Hour 8

In the eighth hour of Dragon Age: Awakening, I take care of a few small quests before heading to the Wending Wood, where nothing makes sense and what have I stumbled into. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.

Hour Eight

You know, I can recognize that the same pattern tends to play out whenever I travel to a new location. Everything looks different. I get hints of something terrible to come, and then I am faced with a disturbing onslaught of HELL and am forced to make an uncomfortable or morally confusing decision. It’s literally how everything in Dragon Age: Origins played out. At the same time, it is an incredibly entertaining way of organizing the storytelling in this game. It is built for discovery and exploration. The game drops cookie crumbs all over the map, enticing you to go a little further, to find the story on your own. And based on your own interest and taste, you decide just how much of the story you’re going to uncover. As you’ve seen, I do my best to find everything. Which doesn’t mean that I do, but still. Once you’ve given me a mystery, I want to unravel it.

I know that this same style is unfolding with my journey through the Wending Wood, and I really don’t care. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I recognize that this might seem repetitive to you, but I personally love it.

So, let’s get to the few things I did in Vigil’s Keep and Amaranthine before we talk about the Wending Wood.

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First, hello gorgeous knight. Oh my god, why can’t Roslin marry her? This is OPPRESSION. I was excited that I’d gotten yet another sign that the Dark Wolf was nearby, so I read his letter and headed straight for the fountain as he requested. (Note: Aiden still refuses to talk to me. Suit yourself, dude! I’m awesome.)

Screen Shot 1

Oh god, it’s the same eye thing that happened to Mhairi. NO, STOP IT, IT’S SO FUNNY TO ME. It just looks so weird! Anyway, the Dark Wolf said he could help me determine which nobles were conspiring against him. For fifty sovereigns. Damn! He’s expensive. But I had a lot of sovereigns at the time, so I reluctantly agreed. Unfortunately, this was one of those “come back later” quests, so I decided to finish off “The Long-Buried Past,” the quest I accidentally picked up in Knotwood Hills. I went up to the Chantry, where I learned that Darran Lyle had died, but MIGHT HAVE TREASURE. I LOVE TREASURE. But it ended up being a ring that just gave the wearer +3 to cunning and dexterity. Aw, that’s not treasure. I mean, yes, it’s decent, but I wanted… sovereigns? Oh god, I’ve become greedy, haven’t I?

I have. It’s okay, I’ve earned! While I was busy sulking about this ring, I noticed that I had three of those keys with weird names. Oh shit, I should go back to that room in the basement of Vigil’s Keep! So off I went, and I was pleased to see that a door was unlocked because of this.

I was pleased for like five seconds.

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WHAT. WHY WON’T THE MAP SHOW ME WHAT’S THERE? Why is the doorway nothing but darkness?

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Nope, this seems like a terrible idea. NOPE.

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WHAT THE FUCK. IT’S THAT NAME AGAIN. WHAT IS GOING ON??? This was so cool. It was like I was in a Room That Should Not Be, fighting these weird Avvar Lords, and then getting tons of great loot in turn. Ugh, this is why I love this game. As far as I know, this room/quest has nothing to do with the main story at all, and it’s still just as entertaining.

After this, it was time to head to the Wending Wood, where it was clear right off the bat that EVERYTHING WAS MESSED UP. A group of bandits ran from my site, and then I discovered that there was no way humans could have destroyed the caravans there by themselves. Okay, so… great. What was I about to find here???

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WHY ARE THEY ON FIRE? WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM? WHY ARE THERE BANDITS EVERYWHERE? OH MY GOD, EVERY CORNER I TURN, THERE ARE LIKE FIVE NEW ENEMIES. You know how you can’t pick up loot or anything until all enemies have been dispatched? Every band of baddies I annihilated would trigger another set until I had to clear out the entire section. OMG, I just want to collect my money and potions, please. After spending nearly ten minutes battling Wild Sylvans, Charred Sylvans, and a ton of bandits, I decided to head across that little bridge to the next section. I was met by a frightened bandit who was running in the opposite direction as me. And he refused to let me help him. He kept referring to some woman who could control the trees. Oh. Oh boy.

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WHAT? WHAT? Who are you? And are you an elf who does magic??? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??? I can’t do magic THIS IS NOT FAIR!!!!

And thus began the most mystifying and bizarre experience in this game so far. What I mean by that is that I have never had so many questions about what’s going on. Like, let’s start here:

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WHY IS THIS CAMP ABANDONED? Supplies are littered everywhere, there’s a Ferelden sword in the ground, and there are four shallow graves. Okay, was this that magic tree elf??? I know the local militia wanted the elves cleared out, so is she simply fighting back to keep this place for her and her people?

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Th–thank you, Oghren.

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DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY OF THESE I CAME ACROSS? They are clearly Sylvans, but nothing I did would wake them up. Oh god, please don’t come alive later. 

After this, I found a single militia member still alive, though he was clearly tainted with darkspawn. And he had information that made this even worse: he swore that darkspawn were behind this. They had fooled both sides into this little war as a way to take them out. And he said the darkspawn are coming from “the shadows”??? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

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Hands down, one of the coolest shots in the whole game. As Roslin realizes what’s happening, DARKSPAWN SNEAK UP BEHIND HER. There were tons of them, and with them, they brought BLIGHT WOLVES. Oh, they’re just wolves, I thought. HOLY SHIT, THEY ARE SO BRUTAL. They killed Nathaniel and Anders immediately, but thankfully, Oghren and I were able to stave them off.

Ready for this to get worse?

Screen Shot 16

WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK IS GOING ON EVERYONE? I have no idea, and I am so unprepared it hurts.

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