After completing Arl of Redcliffe and gathering the other allies, the Warden travels to Denerim with Arl Eamon Guerrein. After arriving, Arl Eamon arranges for Anora's handmaid, Erlina, to meet with the Warden. Erlina tells the party that the queen is being held prisoner by Arl Rendon Howe at the Arl of Denerim's Estate.
- Arl of Denerim's Estate
- Travel to the Arl of Denerim's Estate
- Meet with Erlina, who helps you sneak in
- Explore the main level and find your way to the dungeon
- Confront Arl Howe
- Converse with other prisoners
- Main level reprise
- Fight interior guards
- Rescue Anora
- Escape or surrender
Travel to Arl of Denerim's Estate from the City Map and meet with Erlina. She will explain that, due to peasant unrest, only the back entrance is open. Sneak past the crowds at the main entrance and follow the path to the back of the estate. If you are spotted, fight the four guards who appear; they will not sound the alarm.
When you meet up with Erlina again, she will warn you that the door guards will recognize your party as impostors, so let her distract them. (Take a few steps away from the door to trigger the cutscene.) Advance towards the door to enter the main level. Should you choose to fight the guards outside, the disguises will no longer work and you will have to fight your way through the estate.
Once inside, search the western part of the main level, thieving and looting as you might anywhere else. Eventually, you will end up at the Queen's room, which has been magically sealed, forcing you to find the mage responsible and thus—most likely—the Arl himself.
You can continue to loot the remaining rooms with impunity except for one belonging to Bann Vaughan. You can blow your cover now or save that room for later. Either way, trouble is on its way. If you do enter, you will see a human woman and man in a mildly compromising position. He recognizes that you are not one of Howe's guards and sounds the alarm. Although he is easy to kill, the remaining guards will turn hostile.
In the last hallway before reaching the dungeon you will find a locked door that requires Mechanical Expertise to unlock. Behind it lie piles of treasure, including Howe's Shield and a lot of money. In the last room before the dungeon, note a chest that contains some mildly interesting Grey Warden documents.
As you arrive in the dungeon, one of the prisoners takes advantage of the distraction of your entrance to overpower his guard. Riordan is a Grey Warden from Orlais who has a brief conversation with you before heading out.
Your disguises will no longer work, so get ready to start fighting. Eventually, you will find your way to to Arl Howe, who offers very little conversation before attacking. His corpse has Biteback Axe and some keys, allowing you to free the Queen as well as taking a shortcut back to the main level.
Before you leave (or on your way to Howe), you also have an opportunity to chat with (and perhaps free) some of the other prisoners. Take special note of Bann Vaughan, who can be spared in exchange for his vote at the Landsmeet.
There are two exits back to the main level: the entrance closer to Howe requires fighting larger numbers of guards simultaneously; returning the way you came involves more walking, but smaller confrontations. Area of Effect spells, traps, and bombs are very helpful in controlling the masses and choke points. Regardless of the path, fight your way back to the Queen's room, where you will find her disguised for travel back to her estate.
Alas, for all your subterfuge and prowess eliminating Howe's guards, the exit is blocked by Ser Cauthrien, who offers you the choice to surrender or die.
Choosing to surrender
You can decide to surrender to Cauthrien, which causes the Warden (and Alistair, if present) to be locked up in the jail at Fort Drakon and activates the quest Captured! (see the main article for details).
Choosing to fight
Cauthrien's team presents one of the toughest challenges in the game. Winning is rewarded with The Summer Sword and the freedom to walk out. If the party loses, the Warden (and potentially Alistair) will be captured.
- Queen Anora is rescued (no matter how you played it) and can be found at Arl of Redcliffe's Estate.
- Elven Alienage is unlocked; Unrest in the Alienage is activated.
- Miscellaneous loot includes: Howe's Shield, Biteback Axe, The Summer Sword, 40 from Vaughan, and a pile of treasure.
- In most areas of the estate, if you find the guards too tough to handle, retreat to another room. Only some of the guards will follow.
- See also: The Landsmeet, Fort Drakon
- If you choose to kill the guards outside the servants entrance, once inside, Erlina will still offer to fit you up with disguises. However, you will still have to fight the interior guards.