This quest becomes available after Birthright has been completed, via the Writing Desk at Gamlen's House. If Hawke worked for the smugglers during The Destruction of Lothering, they receive a letter from Athenril. If Hawke worked for the mercenaries a letter from Meeran is received instead.
Working For Athenril
- Accept the job:
- Refuse the job:
Go to the Docks at night. Hawke finds Pryce being chased by some Coterie thugs. The first wave contains an Assassin, so concentrate on her. The other enemies are all two-handers and can interrupt less resilient enemies with just their basic attacks, so one strategy is to allow them to draw close while hitting them with ranged attacks from the top of the stairs (a Firestorm at the base works great), then rely on warriors in this tight space to eliminate the melee-oriented wave. The walls should help insulate from the Assassin's backstabbing tactics. Five archers will spawn at the foot of the stairs after enough of the first wave is slain, so be ready to deal with them as soon as the assassin falls. The third wave spawns from the east thoroughfare and has a mix of archers and two-handers, for a total of roughly 15 enemies. The Coterie enemies here are vulnerable to spirit damage and have no immunities to the other elements, if the player has the means to inflict such damage available.
After killing the thugs, Pryce says that the exchange was a setup by the Coterie, the others were killed and he only survived because he ran. He explains that his mother was killed by "one of them big, horned darkspawn" and is reliant on working for Athenril to provide for his sisters. Hawke must make a decision concerning what to do with the goods:
- Tell Pryce you'll be taking the goods to Athenril:
- Give Pryce the goods:
Return to Athenril.
If you gave the goods to Pryce, you can lie to Athenril or tell the truth about what happened.
Working For Meeran
Go to the Docks during the day. Hawke finds a group of guards surrounding Gustav. The Guard Commander orders the men to hurt Gustav to keep him from running, and combat ensues. Afterwards Hawke speaks with Gustav:
- Diplomatic option gives no change
- Humorous option gives Varric: friendship (+5)
- Aggressive option gives Varric: rivalry (+5)
Lord Harimann arrives. Asking Harimann about the bounty will reveal that he convinced the Viscount to send aid to Ferelden during the Blight and the other nobles resented that. This allows Hawke the option of sparing the noble's life.
- "Who wants you dead?"
- You do not kill Lord Harimann:
- Tell him he's a dead man; you kill him:
- Tell him he's a dead man; you kill him:
Return to Meeran.
- If Hawke brings the goods to Athenril: She rewards Hawke with sovereigns and invites Hawke to work with her again.
- If Hawke gives the goods to Pryce and lies to Athenril:
- If Hawke gives the goods to Pryce and tells the truth to Athenril:
- If Hawke killed Harimann: Meeran rewards Hawke for killing Harimann and rescuing Gustav, and invites Hawke to work with him in the future.
- If Hawke does not kill Harimann:
- If Hawke lies to Meeran:
- If Hawke tells Meeran the truth:
- Hawke is scolded for not doing the job as Meeran instructed, that "[they] don't get to decide if it's right." The quest concludes and Meeran will ambush the party next time they approach this location at night; killing Meeran and his entourage yields about 300 XP.
- Aveline: friendship (+5)
- Carver: friendship (+5)
Despite the mention of future work, Hawke will never meet Meeran or Athenril again in Dragon Age II.
- 300 XP for killing the Coterie ambushing Pryce
- Retrieving the goods: 3
- Lying about the goods: No gold
- Telling the truth: No gold, ambush in Hightown at night worth 300 XP
- Killing Lord Harimann: 3
- Lying about Lord Harimann: 1
- Telling the truth: No gold, ambush in Lowtown at night worth 300 XP
- The dialogue Athenril or Meeran gives before attacking you is very similar to the dialogue for betraying them in the prologue, with minor changes.
- If you've earned their ire, you can avoid fighting them by simply not visiting their locations at night. Anything involving the Blooming Rose can be resolved during the day to avoid Athenril, and to avoid Meeran you can take the long road around Lowtown and/or simply fast travel directly to Gamlen's House from the Hanged Man and vice-a-versa, rather than exiting to Lowtown from one and walking over to the other (which also saves you a loading screen). If you manage to avoid them for the remainder of Act 1, neither Athenril nor Meeran will be present in Act 2 to take their revenge. They disappear from the game and Hawke's life like in any other scenario.
- Both Athenril and Meeran are Elite-ranked Assassins. The simplest way to deal with them is to pull them far away from their starting positions and eventual reinforcements. This may require wiping out many of the groups of Gangs roaming the streets at night beforehand.