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Dragon Age: The Ferelden Scrolls #7 - Castling Rocks

Keepsakes

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Continuing a Dragon Age: Inquisition diary.

I spent a bit too long harvesting vegetables in the wilderness. Now I’m conquering castles and fending off zombie apocalypses. Life has meaning again.

Things have really opened up. I plunged into full-on existential crisis concerning my need to pocket any and everything, but now I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the battle. The discovery that there were keeps to empty of enemies and claim in the name of the Inquisition was salvation. Charging into one of these and battling my way to the top felt heroic, in the way that painstaking harvesting and shopping did not. How come fighting bandits on stone steps is ten times as exciting as fighting bandits I found hanging around in a field?

The keep conquered, it fills with Inquisition staff and even sprouts a couple of shops – a home away from the home, and a lot less timewasting than hightailing it all the way back to HQ every time I needed to offload some second-hand swords.

My only sadness about all this is that there really aren’t very many keeps to storm. I wish I was on a whole keep-storming adventure, storming keeps all night long.

(Actually, there was another good keep that I got to storm, but couldn’t seize control of afterwards. It was full of demons frozen in time, energy beings fixed in dramatic poses which I had to shuffle past anxiously. Dozens of the buggers, silent and motionless, like crystalline mimes from a dark dimension.

I knew full well that I’d end up triggering them back to life if I voyaged into the heart of this place, but that didn’t stop me. It was worth it – when I picked up the magic doohickey in the keep’s deepest chamber, lo and behold all those demons woke up and immediately gunned for me, but this meant I had a dramatic battle to escape the keep.

With all my potions spent from clearing out a few bandits on the way in, and pockets so full of loot that I had to grit my teeth and simply ignore any new stuff which appeared on my foes’ corpses, it was a more brutal affair than the assaults I’d led. I emerged into daylight battered, but proud. Hero stuff, right there.)

What the battle for the keeps also does is offer an opportunity to see my team at their best. My roster of choice is Bully, Sera and Dorian, and my how they’ve grown. From humble beginnings as a Toblerone-shaped bloke twatting people with an axe and an elf with a Camden fringe flailing uselessly at people’s backs, now reality explodes when they spring into action.

There’s fire everywhere, the ground is ripped asunder, our enemies are alternately paralysed and unconscious, while Sera stalks through the chaos invisibly. She is become death, albeit a death that occasionally complains about it. Also, she can lob a pot of bees into the mix if she feels like it. I tend to avoid doing this, as it feels like insult to monstrous, apocalyptic injury.

I hang at the back, raining lightning from a safe distance, and occasionally using my glowy green hand thingy to tear a rift in the sky and wipe out anything unfortunate enough to sill be standing. Every battle looks like the end of the world, and it’s even better in these keep incursions as enemy reinforcements sprint suicidally into the fray.

It feels like overkill every time, and the inevitable return to herb-farming and finding campsites is a comedown every time. Give me infinite castles, and I will give you infinite battle.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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