Besides freeing the area from undead and closing a Fade rift, the Inquisitor can uncover the truth behind the rumors surrounding the events in Crestwood and the mayor's story about antecedents during the Fifth Blight.
Defend Crestwood from undead
He will tell you that the only way to get to the rift in the lake is to drain it using the dam controls. However, to do that you will need access to the nearby keep, which is overrun with bandits.
Capture the keep
Approaching the keep initiates the side quest Capturing Caer Bronach. You must fight through the bandits and claim the keep to proceed with Still Waters.
Once the keep has been captured, enter the door that is labeled "Dam Access". It is located to the right of the merchant on the keep's second level. Follow the path outside the keep until you reach the Rusted Horn, a tavern on the dam which houses the controls to drain the lake. Enter the tavern and speak to the surprised lovers for some approval changes (see the Approval section below). Note that the codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter One is placed on the top floor of the tavern.
The dam controls are in a small room at the back of the tavern. Surprisingly the controls function without a hitch, despite the mayor's statement: they were wrecked by darkspawn ten years ago, so the question rises of who repaired them. Using the controls will drain the lake – but this will also disturb the Northern Hunter, a high dragon who will fly overhead as you exit the tavern and take up residence on the ruined building in the Black Fens by the Fereldan Wyvern Statues. If you want to claim the landmarks and close the nearby rift without fighting the dragon, make sure to do so prior to draining the lake.
Return to the mayor and mention the controls, and he will assume that Crestwoods wheelwright, Robert, who kept busy mending things after the flood, must have fixed them back then. Robert later was found having hanged himself on a pine.
The now drained region is haunted by demons and wraiths, though there are some of the latter type that do not attack the Inquisitor's party. One of them can be spoken to initiating the side quest Burdens of Command which can be completed on the way to the rift in the lake. You will also find the bodies for Homecoming in three different houses within Old Crestwood.
The entrance to the cave, the objective of your task, lies north of a ruined home that bears a plaque which identifies it as the "Mayor's House." There's also the Mayor's Old Home landmark right in front of it. Discovering Dedrick's former home will trigger some dialogue with your companions, but you have to look into the chest inside and find a scrap of paper, written down by the wheelwright Robert, to be able to talk with the mayor again about it.
Collect the three bodies, Sister Vaughn is waiting for, and travel back to the Village of Crestwood. Return them at the cemetery, then go tell the mayor, you found his old home. He will explain that there was not much inside because he was cleaning the place just when the flood happened, then telling he didn't want to think of that place again and having nothing more to say.
Head back to the old village ruins and eventually enter the Flooded Caves.
The cave leads down into some dwarven ruins. Several chests are hidden in small nooks along the way. As you progress further down, you will come to a section of the cave where you will have to fight several corpses and a despair demon. After the fight, search to your right to find a small area set back from the main cave, with a chest and some bones you can examine for more dialogue with your companions. As you leave this area, climb over the rocks to your right to find a chest containing a Master Spirit Rune.
From this area, continue down into the deepest tier, the dwarven section. A locked door on the left side of the first corridor hides the note: The Lost Outpost Plaque and the codex entry: Paragons Known and Lesser Known, as well as a chest with some random loot. Just past this door you will find the rage demon for the Burdens of Command quest, if you accepted it before entering the caves.
The Fade rift is in a room on your left as you proceed into the ruins. There are two unlit torches and a Supply Cache right outside. Before you close the rift, have a warrior bash down the nearby wall and climb down the ladder into a room that has some loot and a piece of the Freed Are Slaves mosaic. Climb back up and head to the Fade rift.
Close the rift
This rift is tough, particularly if you're not prepared. Unlike most rifts, it has four waves of enemies. Having a mage use Dispel or Cassandra use Spell Purge to stop some enemies spawning in each wave is extremely helpful, as well as a well filled focus to once use the Mark of the Rift. Enemy levels will scale from 8 to 11, depending on your party's average level.
The rift will spawn the following enemies:
- Wave 1: Wraith (4)
- Wave 2: Lesser Shade (2), Wraith (2)
- Wave 3: Lesser Terror (2), Lesser Shade (2), Wraith (2)
- Wave 4: Rage Demon (1), Lesser Terror (2), Wraith (2)
There is a chest at the back of the room with some random loot, you can claim once the rift is closed.
Report to the mayor
Now that the rift is closed, you can continue on through the ruins to the exit. Along the way, you will find another piece of Freed Are Slaves on a table and an elven artifact nearby. There is a chest half-hidden behind a rock, outcropping in a corner of the room.
As you move through the ruins, one of your companions will query whether you're going the right way. The Inquisitor will respond that they feel a draft. Continue through the door at the back of the room. Right after this door on the left side, there is another chest with random loot. Nearby you will find a family of three nugs that will trigger more dialogue. You can kill these nugs if you want, but note that most companions will disapprove if you do so.
Head through either of the nearby doors and up the ladder out of the Flooded Caves. You will still be in a cave at the top, but this one is part of the Crestwood area. Climb up the next ladder and pick up a third Freed Are Slaves mosaic piece and the loot nearby. Use the lever to open the door and head outside.
As you leave the cave, you will see that the sun has come out and Crestwood is looking altogether less grim. Return to the village and head to the mayor's house. Two villagers outside will comment that the mayor has left, so look for a letter on his desk to complete the quest and reveal what really happened ten years ago in Crestwood.
Closing the fade rift yields:
- 512 XP, plus an additional 1,934 XP
- Influence 600
- Power 2, plus an additional 3 Power
When talking to the Mayor for the first time:
- You'd have to evict the bandits in the old fort to use the dam. I can't ask you to risk your life.
When talking to the Mayor for the first time and the bandits have already been cleared from Caer Bronach:
- Whatever for? Are you trying to stop that green light? The undead attacked after it came, but... Your Worship, please don’t risk your life.
Talking to the two villagers in the Rusted Horn tavern:
- We didn't know you were here, ser. Please don't tell anyone!
- [Investigate.] How did you get in here? – Solas Slightly Approves
Destroying the Fade rift:
Killing the nug family (3 nugs) at the end of the Flooded Caves:
- Sera Slightly Approves, Vivienne Slightly Approves
- Cassandra Slightly Disapproves, Cole Slightly Disapproves, Iron Bull Slightly Disapproves, Solas Slightly Disapproves, Varric Slightly Disapproves
- Freed Are Slaves (piece #1) - found in the Flooded Caves, in an adjacent chamber to the rift (bash the destructible head down the ladder).
- Freed Are Slaves (piece #2) - found in the Flooded Caves, on a stone table next to the dwarven statue located in the chamber across from the rift.
- Freed Are Slaves (piece #3) - found in the Flooded Caves, on a wooden table situated near the cave's exit leading back to East Side Hills region of Crestwood.
- Freed Are Slaves (piece #4) - found in Caer Bronach, head through the door to the right of the requisition table (the room can only be accessed after the keep has been captured).
- - capture Caer Bronach (conditional: awarded after the Inquisitor captures their first keep).
- - capture all three keeps: Caer Bronach, Griffon Wing Keep, and Suledin Keep.
- • Found near the northernmost wall of the chamber situated across the hall from the rift in the lowest level of the Flooded Caves.
- • Situated atop a stone foundation, just outside of a damaged house, located furthest west along the lake-shore of Old Crestwood.
- (Inquisitor only) - looted from within the locked house in the Village of Crestwood after sealing the rift in the Flooded Caves.
- - looted from the fade rift in the Flooded Caves.
- - looted from within the locked house in the Crestwood Village after sealing the rift in the Flooded Caves.
- Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 1
- Codex entry: Letter Of Confession
- Codex entry: Paragons Known and Lesser Known
- The caves contain multiple deposits of Stormheart, a tier 3 crafting material. This is likely to be the first tier 3 metal you will come across in the game.
- The triggers and points of time for dialogue with the mayor, as they are mentioned in the walkthrough, have to be done in that exact order to be available. For example, if the note in his old home is found before he was asked about the working dam controls, the option is no longer given.
- The idea and themes of a village buried underwater by the action of a dam, and populated with undead is very similar to a quest in a previous BioWare game, Jade Empire. See The Great Dam for a comparison.
- In the dwarven caverns, the Inquisitor may say, "I feel a draft," a reference to the pit message in the classic computer game Hunt the Wumpus.
- After exiting the flooded caves and going up the following ladder and set of stairs, there is a pile of abnormally large skulls, with a cheese wheel on top, behind a rock formation on the left of the final platform.
- The lovers in the tavern, Milton and Lonnie, have carved their coupled names into the bench at Wyvern's Watch and the message board in the Village of Crestwood.
- It is possible to bypass the keep on the way to the dam. Descend into the valley from the Hilltop Farm and follow the path while staying close to the dam wall, you will come to a large rock which is almost jumpable. On occasion your party members will end up on top of the rock which leads to the back door of the fort and the dam. This is not really a bug as the keep can be claimed at any time afterwards while Capturing Caer Bronach is listed as a side quest. However keep in mind the Keep must still be captured to complete this quest. [confirmation needed]