Game Play | Dragon Age: Origins | Ostagar, Part II
It's a little less action, a little more conversation as Elissa and her group return to Ostagar and go to the kennel master to hand in the flower they found in the Korcari Wilds. Yes, you apparently can still get this quest even if playing an origin where you start as a human noble who has a Mabari from the start.
From there, they head to the quartermaster, where you can get a second backpack to expand your character's inventory - yes, this is the day when I reveal stuff well after it would've been useful. You really will need the space in your inventory too, so make sure that you buy backpacks whenever they appear available to buy.
Back to the story and it's now possible to access the chest that the thief stole the key for earlier - the Tranquil who was watching over it has moved to keep Wynne company. From here, it's straight off to sell most of it as it's not anything especially exciting.
Elissa and the others return to Duncan and inform him of their encounter with Morrigan and Flemeth, but he dismisses their concerns for the moment and is more preoccupied with preparing for the Joining, which he admits may kill all of them.
It's at this point that Jory gets a little panicky again, wanting to return to Highever - which actually makes me dislike him even more considering Elissa is from there too. His behaviour really does make you wonder why Duncan even picked him as a potential Grey Warden in the first place.
Regardless, the ritual goes ahead, with Alistair and Duncan revealing that each of the potential recruits will have to drink Darkspawn blood to become a Grey Warden. This is why the Wardens can also sense the presence of the monsters before they appear - and also why the Joining is kept a secret.
Daveth, cocky as ever, drinks first and is killed - much to Jory's horror. He wants to back out of the ritual and we see a dark side to Duncan as he ruthlessly kills him. Elissa certainly looks shocked, but Jory certainly won't be missed; he's just not made sympathetic enough to care about.
Elissa eventually takes her turn and survives the Joining, officially becoming a Grey Warden after having visions of the Archdemon - a dragon possessed by the corrupted spirit of an Old God. She's a bit woozy, but okay - and thanks to a mod, she also has a full Warden outfit herself now too.
Duncan says that she should join him for a strategy meeting with the King and his advisers, Elissa having been personally requested by Cailan himself. However, even upon arriving for the meeting, it essentially boils down to Cailan and Loghain arguing over how to proceed.
Part of Loghain's plan is for someone to light a beacon at the top of the Tower of Ishal to let him know when to lead his forces into battle, and Cailan asks that Elissa and Alistair do it. Neither of the Wardens want to miss the battle and Loghain doesn't like the idea either, but none of them can overrule the King and so the course of action is set.
There's then a brief pause in gameplay for a cool - if low-resolution - cut-scene showing the Darkspawn and Cailan's forces attacking each other. It's a shame that it isn't done in engine though, as it reverts Duncan back to his original outfit, which just doesn't look that impressive/
As the battle rages on the forest floor far below the camp, Elissa and Alistair cross the bridge to the Tower of Ishal with Dog in tow, being joined by a mage to round out the group as they fight their way into the tower - if you don't start as a human noble and so don't have a Mabari yet, another soldier joins your group to bring you up to the maximum of four party members.
Despite the relative lack of action, this is an enjoyable stretch of the game that again fleshes out the world and characters - especially Alistair. Events are set in motion that will shape the rest of the game, and it already feels like the game is starting to loosen the reins a little.