When last we left off, some round-ear decided to crash and come rollin’ up all in the
ghetto Alienage, looking for some black Elven ladies to completely objectify.
What a bunch of dicks, right?
Ringleader McBeardy von Dickface up there is actually – although we won’t actually know this for another couple minutes of cutscene – the son of this city’s Arl. The game doesn’t precisely explain what the hell an Arl is, even when this comes up, but it seems important. I’m sure there’s an in-depth explanation buried in the codex somewhere, but what we’re going to tell you *right now* is that the Arl is basically a mayor. Landowner, typically in charge of a city or equivalent chunk of land, commands the local police force which doubles as his ‘loyal’ standing army.
Of course, all the player-who-has-never-done-this-origin before knows is ‘some human in ‘fancy’ clothes is being a dick to the Elves’. Nevertheless, actually-living-in-this-moment Soris, our level-headed and somewhat meek warrior-friend-cousin advises caution.
Turns out that, by grace of me selecting a second X chromosome at character creation, McBeardy von Dickface takes it upon himself to stroll up to me. This is appropriate, as he’s being an ass to everybody else with a matching pair of chromosomes and we wouldn’t want the PC to be left out.
We exchange some words.
Drunk Cousin Shianni decides to reach for the Drunkard’s Weapon of Choice.
At this point, Arl von Dickface’s cronies lose a little bit of their nerve, and inform me exactly who I made an enemy of today. Vaughn Urien, son of the Arl of Denerim. But you knew that already. Because I told you. I give the cronies the best threat the game lets me, which is “Imagine what we’ll do to you two”, and they bolt, like rabbits.
The implication is, of course, that I know how to use goddamn arrows.
Now that the commotion is finally over, Soris and I finally meet our fiancées. His is Generic Elven Female Number Seven — no, wait, it’s ‘Valora’, who is extremely important to the unfolding story, and will totally not immediately be forgotten about in a few minutes. And I meet Nelaros, some slim-faced Elf-dude who is, apparently, supposed to be a stone-cold hunk.
So, of course, I immediately take and reject possession of another sentient life-form with a “Who is this? Not mine, I hope” line. Soris nervously tries to laugh it off and exits off-screen to have a quick chat with his wife to be, where Nelaros gets all puppy-dog sad on me.
Soris breaks away from his blushing bride-to-be and sends them off to ‘get ready’ for this wedding thing everyone’s in a tizzy about.
Another human, armed and wearing fancy armour shows up. We recognize him from the opening cutscene, with his cool sword we’ll probably never get to use and curvy badass dagger.
We ask him to leave, but the Elder pops in to stop and introduce us. This man’s name, as the orange-ness told us when we clicked on him, is Duncan. He’s a Grey Warden. The game gives me a moment to ask questions. On a first playthrough, I definitely would, but I decide not to this time.
In case you were somehow unaware of what exactly Grey Wardens are (Hi! Sorry for the spoilers!), they’re basically the not-Jedi of this universe. For *unknown reason*, Grey Wardens stopped the first Blight by driving back the Darkspawn and killing the Archdemon. The past four Blights have proven that Only A Grey Warden Can Slay An Archdemon, and though the exact reason why is known to the Wardens, they have not revealed it to the general population. In fact, much of the Order is shrouded is half-formed myths and closely-guarded secrets.
They’re elite irregulars, specialized Darkspawn-slaughtering badasses who pay no regard to race, age, gender, or even criminal background of their recruits, only caring if any given person can aid the war effort. They also come equipped with the universally-recognised ‘Right of Conscription’, giving them the power to conscript, well, basically anyone up to and including a prisoner with their head on the chopping block, and press them into the service of the Grey Wardens. That, and they apparently used to ride gryphons into battle before gryphons went extinct. Gryphons are cool!
After asking our buddy up there to get the fuck out of the Alienage as politely as the game would let me, Duncan the Orange Named One asks precisely what I meant by ‘unpleasantness’. After snarking back at him, Duncan calls over the Alienage/Village Elder and mini-mayor, a man named Valendrian, and compliments my ability to keep my composure in the face of an unknown and heavily armed threat.
Oh. Oh crap.
See, It’s later confirmed that Duncan is actually rolling by on a recruitment drive, trying to snatch up more Grey Wardens. And the far-flung bride and groom showing up today, everything so mysteriously being taken care of, and the whole wedding affair being such a rush job as it is are all Valendrian’s machinations.
Remember how I’ve mentioned a few times that Soris and I are the only two elves with any kind of martial training in the Alienage? Now, what would a recruiter for an elite force of irregulars be doing here, hmm? And why would Valendrian be trying to get Soris and I married off right the hell now? Looks like Soris and I just dodged a bullet shaped like a giant, rampaging Darkspawn horde.
Valendrian shoos us off to go get hitched, and we quickly oblige. I even switch back to the slightly-uglier, much whiter wedding dress the game wants me to wear.
Priest-lady du-jour steps onto this raised platform in the middle of the public square which serves as our dual wedding venue and begins talking.
Wow. Typing that out just now, I just realized how hastily-thrown together and on-the-cheap this whole ensemble really is. And this is the Elven version of an extravagant wedding. Huh. It’s almost like they’re perpetually being oppressed by those asshole humans. Once I get married and have a nice anti-Darkspawn shield in the form of a trophy husband, I think I’ll start being Robin Hoodette, Mistress of Arrows.
Von Dickface shows up again, with his
comically underleveled buddies cronies in tow, as well as four of Denerim’s Finest. In full plate. With shields. And swords. He’s having a party, he says, and he’s *dreadfully* short of female guests. He must treat them with too much respect or something, right?
From here, things progress rapidly. The priestess performing the marriage objects to von Dickface’s presence here, on the grounds of this being a goddamn wedding.
He then continues to ‘pick out’ which guests he wants to bring over to his party:
Groom-in-Waiting Nelaros begins panicking, and I’m given a lot of options on how to respond: not letting them touch Shianni the Drunken Cousin, for instance, or my personal favourite, trying to inspire trophy husband to be fucking useful and help me kill the bastard.
I may or may not have neglected to screenshot how hilariously ineffective that second choice was.
Von Dickface and I meet face to face one more time.
So, in the span of our short second encounter, I deliver unto him a promise.
Look, I’d call it a threat, but we all know what’s going to happen next.
I mean murder. Murder happens next, and we get to talk about combat mechanics.