The quest starts upon attempting to leave Val Royeaux during the quest The Threat Remains. Grand Enchanter Fiona stops the Herald and invites them to meet in Redcliffe. Unlike Champions of the Just, the Inquisition must meet the mages in Redcliffe before the operation becomes available on the war table.
Choosing the mages will make it impossible to work with the templars.
Redcliffe Castle and the mages who could close the Breach are under the control of Magister Gereon Alexius, a Venatori cultist with an unhealthy interest in [the Herald] and the power to reorder time itself. He has "kindly" invited [the Herald] to the castle - alone - to negotiate. It's an obvious trap, but Leliana and her agents can infiltrate the castle and remove the Venatori threat while Alexius' attention is diverted. A dangerous game, but it's our best chance.
Recommended levels: 4 to 7
Return to Haven and discuss Fiona's offer with the advisors.
A scene will begin upon returning to the Haven chantry. Everyone bickers about which group to approach for help sealing the Breach. There is a chance for approval from Cassandra.
Cullen: You think the mage rebellion is more united? It could be ten times worse.
- We should meet the mages. - Cassandra Slightly Disapproves
- We should find the templars. - Cassandra Slightly Approves
- You must choose soon. - Cassandra Approves
Travel to Redcliffe and make contact with the mages.
As the party approaches Redcliffe, a fade rift opens just outside the main gate. This rift will be different from other rifts encountered thus far. In addition to spawning demons, there will be temporal distortions at random spots on the ground, represented by green and yellow circles. Green circles will slow members/enemies down, while yellow circles will speed them up. This includes attack speed and the time it takes to disrupt the rift.
A party member and the Herald will comment on these distortions after the rift is closed, and the guard will return and open the gate. After passing through the arch, a scene begins in which an Inquisition scout will inform the Herald that no one was expecting them. A mage named Lysas will then arrive and say that a Magister Alexius is in charge, but they can meet with Fiona in the meantime.
Go to The Gull & Lantern to meet Fiona.
Enter the tavern to begin a scene with Fiona (bring Vivienne for some amusing dialogue). She will claim that she hasn't been to Val Royeaux since before The Conclave. She also informs the Herald that the rebel mages have pledged their service to the Tevinter Imperium:
Fiona: As one indentured to a magister, I no longer have the authority to negotiate with you.
- You've made a huge mistake. - Vivienne Approves
- That was fast.
- You're ignoring the Breach?
- Then tell me who does.
Magister Gereon Alexius will show up at this point, and the Herald begins to negotiate with him to acquire the assistance of the mages. They are interrupted when Alexius' son, Felix, stumbles into the arms of the Herald. But this is merely subterfuge to pass a note to the Herald. Concerned for his son, Alexius leaves with Felix and Fiona, telling the Herald that they will have to continue at a later date. After they leave, the Herald reads the note: "Come to the Chantry. You are in danger."
Meet Felix in the Chantry.
Before leaving, a few codex entries can be found in the tavern, as well as Clemence the Tranquil, who can be recruited as an Agent for the Inquisition. There is also a bitter mage named Linnea nearby.
Linnea: We don't need your kind here. Your Inquisition's just templars by another name.
- I want to help the mages. - Cassandra Slightly Disapproves
- The Inquisition's different. - Sera Slightly Approves
- You need me. - Sera/Blackwall Slightly Approves
Upon exiting the tavern, veer to the right and fall down onto the grass. The mage who greeted the party when they first entered Redcliffe, Lysas, will be standing near a column and the Herald can choose to speak to him:
Lysas: Were you really looking to ally with us?
- Yes. Mages should be free. - Cassandra/Vivienne Slightly Disapproves; Sera Disapproves
- You sound doubtful.
- No. You should be contained. - Cassandra/Sera Slightly Approves; Vivienne Approves
Help the strange mage close the Fade rift.
Upon entering the Chantry, the party will find a mage fighting off demons, and he asks for assistance closing the rift. The temporal distortions will be present, so the party should use them to their advantage.
Upon closing the rift a scene begins, and the mage introduces himself as Dorian Pavus. Dorian will explain his relationship with Alexius as well as how Alexius managed to arrive before the Inquisition.
Dorian: The magic Alexius is using is wildly unstable, and it's unraveling the world.
- This is a lot to swallow.
- Do you have evidence? - Vivienne Slightly Approves
- I don't trust you.
Felix will arrive and explain that his father is involved with a group of Tevinter supremacists, the Venatori.
Felix: And I can tell you one thing: whatever he's done for them, he's done it to get to you.
- How do we stop him?
- I'm flattered. - Varric Slightly Approves
- He doesn't scare me.
Approach the mages.
Back in the war room, choose the operation and a scene will play. Alexius has invited the Herald to Redcliffe Castle to continue their negotiations, and t's obvious to everyone that the invitation is a trap. Leliana recalls the secret passage that leads from the windmill (which is now partially ruined) in Redcliffe Village to the castle (this was used by the Hero of Ferelden during The Arl of Redcliffe). So the Inquisition decides to set a trap of its own, requiring the Herald to distract Alexius, while Leliana's agents infiltrate the castle via the secret passage.
The operation will now be available at the war table. Spend 15 Power to begin. Dorian will be a locked party member, so only two other party members can be chosen.
Redcliffe CastleElder One promised it could be done. Only Solas, Iron Bull and Sera have approval changes for the conversation.
Alexius: Fiona, you would not have turned your followers over to my care if you did not trust me with their lives.
- Perhaps we should include her. - Solas Slightly Approves
- Because you simply ooze trust. - Iron Bull Slightly Approves
Alexius: The Inquisition needs mages to close the Breach, and I have them. So, what shall you offer in exchange?
- We have connections. - Sera Slightly Disapproves
- Nothing. - Sera Slightly Approves
- I know you want me dead. - Sera Slightly Approves
Alexius: Felix, what have you done?
- He's concerned about you. - Solas Slightly Approves
- Your trap has already failed. - Iron Bull Slightly Approves
Alexius: You're nothing but a mistake.
- What was supposed to happen? - Solas Slightly Approves
- What is the mark? - Solas Slightly Approves
Alexius: The Elder One has power you would not believe. He will raise the Imperium from its own ashes.
- Who is the Elder One? - Solas Slightly Approves
- You're a fanatic. - Iron Bull Slightly Approves
In the end, Alexius uses an amulet to create what appears to be a rift. Dorian attempts to counter the magic, chaos ensues and the scene blacks out.
The Herald and Dorian wind up in a jail cell, which surprises a couple of guards, who will then attack. NOTE: this is the first time the player has control of Dorian, so as soon as the battle starts, open the character record and put points into his abilities and adjust his tactics and behaviors.
A scene begins immediately upon the guards' defeat. Dorian surmises that the rift not only moved them to a different location within the castle, but a different time. Investigate through dialogue to learn more.
Find out what happened.
Upon regaining control, loot the Prison Key that one of the guards will have dropped. Move ahead and up some stairs to a dead end. The stairs to the left lead to a dead end with some loot. Also, Dorian will make a comment on the state of the castle. Return to the intersection and take the other set of stairs. Eventually a larger room will be reached and Lysas will be in the first cell on the right. Approach him for a brief interaction.
Continuing on, the Herald and Dorian will end up in a large cavern of sorts. A couple of zealots are blocking the way north and south, and there is a drawbridge to the west that is raised, for the moment. The remaining members of the party can be found in prison cells to the north. Which cell they will be in, depends on the party member.
Head north, down the stairs...
- The first set of cells is through the door on the right.
- Varric will be in the first cell on the right, humming to himself.
- Iron Bull will be in the second cell on the left, singing the "Bottles of beer on the wall" song.
- The second set of cells is down the next flight of stairs and through the door on the right.
- Cassandra will be in the first cell on the right, reciting the Chant of Light.
- Vivienne will be in the first cell on the left.
- Solas will be in the second cell on the right.
- The final set of cells is down yet another flight of stairs.
- Blackwall will be in the first cell.
- Sera will be in the second cell, trying to remember how a song goes.
The first party member rescued will inform the Herald that the Elder One is the real threat, not Alexius. They will also explain that the Empress of Orlais was assassinated and the Elder One has a demon army at his disposal.
The second party member rescued will say that they overheard the guards saying that Alexius never leaves the throne room.
Exit the cells and head down the southern path. At the end, the party will find Fiona in a cell and a scene begins. She reveals that a year has passed and that Leliana is somewhere in the castle.
Head back upstairs, and the sound of the drawbridge lowering will be heard. A group of Venatori will be guarding the newly opened path. There is a supply cache just past them, so don't be afraid to use potions if necessary. In fact, there are several supply caches throughout the castle, so don't feel the need to hoard supplies. Head up the stairs to reach the Guard Barracks. There is a locked door to the right, and plenty of loot to be found, as well as the aforementioned supply cache. Of particular interest is A Guard's Journal in the left room, which gives some indication of Alexius' paranoia and what life is currently like in Ferelden.
Continue down the corridor and as you approach the door on the left another torturer will be heard working on Leliana. Open the door to begin a scene.
Find a way back to Alexius' throne room.
Pick up the Prison Key by the dead torturer. Proceed and you'll emerge in the drawbridge room, except much higher up. Enter the next door and the mark will begin to glow, indicating a fade rift is up ahead. After closing the rift, turn the gear to raise the gate and proceed up the stairs to the Docks.
Move ahead quickly to witness a couple of mages sacrifice themselves for the Elder One, and two lesser shades will spawn in their place. There is another supply cache nearby. Move up more stairs to emerge in the Courtyard.
After taking in the scenery, proceed up one of the sets of stairs and another fade rift appears. Remember that a mage can use Dispel to prevent any demon from spawning, which certainly helps on higher difficulties. Another rift will be encountered just past the first.
The party will finally enter another part of the castle, the Upper Royal Wing. Upon entering a corridor, enter the first door on the right. Connor may be here in front of the fireplace. If he was still possessed, he will commit suicide to avoid becoming an abomination. A Spellbinder's Journal can be found on a desk here. The journal gives further insight into Alexius' paranoia and behavior. Alexius' Journal can be found on a desk directly across the corridor, and it hints at what exactly is wrong with Felix. The party will come to a larger room which contains another supply cache. The pyramid shaped loot box contains the Circle of Magi banner. Proceed down the stairs to the Lower Royal Wing.
The radar will indicate many enemies in the next room, but it's not as bad as it seems. There is a spellbinder and two marksmen inside, as well as a few demons. The demons will attack the marksmen, but won't attack the spellbinder. The marksmen will likely take out 1-2 demons, but will ultimately succumb to them. On the radar, the demons will take up positions in the room once the marksmen are dead. This is the party's cue to move in. A second wave of demons spawns from the fade rift.
Once all the fighting is done, locate the loot that the spellbinder dropped, as it will contain a red lyrium shard. Approach the shard door to the throne room and the party is denied access, for the time being. Dorian comments and now four more of these will need to be found.
Locate red lyrium shards
The shards are all being held by spellbinders (one of which has already been wiped out), and the quest markers indicate where they are on the map. There is no proper path to take here, but the following is efficient enough.
The second spellbinder is on the current level, in a room off the NW corner. As the party approaches the room, one of them will remark that the Venatori are too busy praying to be guarding the room. Indeed, all the enemies are facing away from the entrance, allowing the party to get the jump on them. The spellbinder is up a small landing, almost in the middle of the room. He is flanked by two marksmen, and two gladiators guard the entrance. Immediately upon entering the room, there is a ladder that leads to some scaffolding on the right. A stealthed rogue archer can get off a sneak attack on the spellbinder from here.
Head back to the main hall and proceed directly across to the other side but don't enter the door. Instead turn right and enter the next door on the left. Another supply cache is here. Head upstairs to the Upper Royal Wing and enter the open archway into a corridor. The spellbinder is in the first room on the right, which is a dilapidated library. Upon entering the room turn right and then left and he will be at the end of the walkway. Half a dozen zealots litter the lower area, and there are no marksmen. They're positioned quite a bit away, so the spellbinder could be sneak attacked into oblivion before his help arrives. If not, try to position party members at the top of one set of stairs and use them as a choke point.
Proceed down the long corridor to the next room. Upon entering, there will be some stone blocking the Venatori from immediately noticing the party, and a party member will mention this. Immediately to the right is a ladder leading to more scaffolding. The spellbinder is behind a desk adjacent to the eastern wall. He is accompanied by two marksmen and three zealots.
Both of the other doors in the room will lead to the final spellbinder. The SW door leads to a room with a supply cache, and to a locked door which leads into another corridor. In this corridor you'll face three more doors, and the one on the right is locked. There's no trickery here, as the spellbinder is by himself in the middle room. However, bashing one of the walls to get to him will alert him immediately. So, if a rogue sneak attack is in order, then it is best to just enter through the door directly to his room. A note, Studies on the Blight, can be found on the desk in the spellbinder's room. It describes what Leliana has been subjected to over the past year.
Confront Alexius in his throne room.
Proceed down the corridor and there will be a door on either side. A Masterwork Wave Blade schematic can be found on a table in the room on the left. Proceed down the stairs to find yet another supply cache. Enter the main hall and interact with the large door to begin a scene. Regardless of dialogue choices, the party will be forced into battle with Alexius.
Alexius is a mage, level 6-8 with 16000 HP minimum. He is immune to all disabling effects (asleep, frozen, paralyzed and stunned) and is Perceptive. However, he is NOT immune to physical effects so he can be panicked, chilled, shocked and knocked down. Keeping him knocked down seems to be the easiest way to victory, so skills like Payback Strike, Mighty Blow and Twin Fangs to his back will be very useful. His glyphs inflict a large amount of spirit damage and slowdown status. His Mind Blast inflicts spirit damage and has a knockdown effect. He will also occasionally cast Barrier on himself.
After he loses about 1/3 of his health, he'll create a fade rift, and move behind an impenetrable shield by the throne. He will do this again when he loses about 2/3 of his health. The temporal distortions will be present at random spots for both rifts, and the rifts only spawn one wave of demons. The shield he hides behind will dissipate immediately after a rift is closed.
A Staff of Stasis and a Cooldown amulet are acquired after the battle, and a scene begins.
The Herald will need to decide how to receive the rebel mages' aid...
Fiona: It seems we have little choice but to accept whatever you offer.
- You're our allies. (Offer the rebel mages a full alliance.)
- Solas Greatly Approves
- Varric (only if he's in the active party)/Blackwall Approves
- Iron Bull Disapproves
- Cassandra/Sera Greatly Disapproves
- You're our prisoners. (Conscript the rebel mages into the service of the Inquisition.)
- Sera/Iron Bull Greatly Approves
- Cassandra Approves
- Varric/Blackwall Disappoves
- Solas Greatly Disapproves
Note that during the scene there is no approval change indicated for Vivienne for either decision, even if she was brought for the quest. Her approval change doesn't occur until the next time the Herald speaks to her in Haven:
- Vivienne Greatly Disapproves if the mages are made allies
- Vivienne Greatly Approves if the mages are conscripted
See her approval page for more information.
Back in Haven
Cullen will berate the Herald if the mages were offered an alliance. Leliana will berate the Herald if the mages were conscripted. The Herald can then choose to recruit Dorian permanently.
The quest ends as preparations to seal the Breach are now underway.
XP, Influence +1400, Power +3
Bianca Arms II (weapon upgrade)
Bleeder of Souls (unique dagger, Lv. 4 req)
Circle of Magi banner
Masterwork Wave Blade schematic (Tier 2 Longsword)
Staff of Stasis (unique staff)
- The Mages are recruited to help seal the Breach, and are saved from their fate otherwise
- The Templars are left to their fate
- Dorian joins the Inquisition (optional)
- The operation Answer a Request from Hasmal becomes available
- The opeation Investigate Therinfal Redoubt can become available after speaking to Krem.
A Guard's Journal
Alexius keeps asking for patrols of the walls. Waste of time, if you ask me. The Inquisition ground themselves to a pulp against the walls ages ago. Ferelden made three attempts to lay siege here before the last life got crushed out of them. Who's left out there to threaten us? The mountain barbarians? But Alexius seems to expect a siege. Mans's gone completely mad.
Better to put the men on watch inside the walls. More of those blasted rifts open every day. It was better when we still had the people for blood sacrifices. Unbound demons have emptied the castle, village, and surrounding countryside of everyone who's not sleeping in their armor. Now, it's just wild demons everywhere.
With every failed time spell, the magister grows a bit more paranoid - or perhaps it's not paranoia, since the Elder One really will kill him for his failures. The distinction hardly matters. After the tenth failure, he began locking himself in the great hall during his waking hours. After the twentieth, he had the foot soldiers excavate a shard doorway from parts unknown and painstakingly install it in the castle.
Now, his most "trusted" assistants can only see him if we all go at once, together... which we must do twice a day to bring him his meals, as he never leaves that room at all.
This appears to be Alexius' journal. This is the final entry:
Nothing works. I have tried countless times to go back before the Conclave explosion, before Felix's caravan was attacked by Darkspawn, before the Venatori first arrived in Minrathous - without success. The Breach is the wellspring that makes this magic possible, and travel outside of its timeline is impossible. The Elder One's demand that I change the events of the Conclave can never be fulfilled. He may kill me for failing him, but I must protect Felix from his wrath.
Studies on the Blight
Introduction of blight to prisoners yields no discernible pattern. Disease progresses erratically; some subjects die within hours despite all efforts, others show no symptoms at all. Subjects may harbor some natural resistance, which makes isolation and testing a priority.
A Later Entry Follows:
Six more subjects died. Transfusions of blood from resistant prisoners slow the rate of corruption only slightly. Healthy flesh taken from live subjects and implanted in the infected will often die even before corruption spreads to it. In cases where implantation is successful, blight corruption spreads across donor flesh faster than host flesh. Prisoner Leliana has been the most useful source of resistant blood and skin to date.
- Most of the quest names in the main plot refer to specific verses of Chant of Light. "In Hushed Whispers" is from the Canticle of Threnodies 5:11.
- xbox360If you fall off the edge in the area with the drawbridges you will be revived, but it is possible that when you revive you will be on the very edge and fall off again. This will continue infinitely, and the only solution is to restart the game.
- xbox360It's possible that after saving Leliana, the door to the next level cannot be interacted with, so no further progress in the quest can be made. The only solution is to reload the game to a point before the quest started.