The tension between Knight-Commander Meredith and First Enchanter Orsino has reached the tipping point and Meredith wishes to lock up all the mages and search the tower from top to bottom, accusing Orsino of harboring blood mages. The Champion must intervene and choose a side.
The Champion receives a letter ("The Last Straw") from either the first enchanter or the knight-commander at their Writing Desk in the Hawke Estate. This depends on who Hawke supported during their earlier confrontation, although Orsino's letter will be sent if none was chosen.
Accepting this quest makes it impossible to return to the Gallows Courtyard to complete any quest (e.g., Herbalist's Tasks). Traveling to the Gallows is a point of no return: make sure you've completed any remaining quests and prepared yourself adequately for the final events of the game.
Upon arriving at the Gallows, you are taken to a cutscene where the chantry is destroyed by a bomb placed by Anders, causing Meredith to invoke the Right of Annulment to kill all mages in the Circle, even though they were not involved with the apostate mage Anders' actions. You must choose to side with either Meredith and the templars or Orsino and the mages. Whichever choice you make will cause dissent in your party:
- If you agree to side with the templars then Merrill, Isabela and Bethany will disapprove.
- If you agree to side with the mages then Aveline, Carver and Fenris will disapprove.
Any dissenters that are not fully loyal to you will then leave your party if you press ahead with that choice. Even if dissenters are fully loyal, you must complete their quests to prevent them from leaving. Fenris will leave if you side with the mages even though he's fully loyal but you have not completed all his quests. Note that Anders will not participate in the ensuing battle no matter his frindship/rivalry status.
Once you choose a side, a fight ensues with either the mages or the templars that are present. Once the battle is over, either Meredith or Orsino (depending on who you sided with) will leave Anders for you to deal with:
You can choose to let Anders go, kill him, or take him with you no matter whether you side with the templars or the mages but he will ask you to kill him. If you ask your companions what they think you should do with Anders, Fenris will say to let him die and Merril will tell you to make him fight to make up for his crime.
If you sided with the templars you may need to have full rivalry with Anders for him to show regret and agree to fight with you against the mages to make up for his crime.
Once you get to the docks, you'll face a blood mage and a large group of shades, including a pride demon. The blood mage should be killed right away to avoid being hit with their draining spells. Avoid the pride demon's swirling vortex spell, as it can trap you, deal heavy damage, and leave you open to be ganged up on by the shades. Have your tank lure the brunt of the shades while your ranged attackers deal with the demon.
When you are done, look for an Enigma of Kirkwall note to the right. Head down to the ships and you'll be on your way to the Gallows. When you get there, the mages will be fighting off the templars from the steps. Orsino then calls for a truce: he and Meredith approach to discuss the situation. You will have an opportunity here to persuade any companion that did not side with you at the beginning of the quest to join your side. Meredith will then tell Orsino to prepare for battle, and the mages will retreat into the Gallows.
This will be your opportunity to speak to all of your companions about the final battle. If you are involved in a romance, following through with the romance options will complete the romance and will earn you the Romantic achievement. This is also your chance to prepare for battle. Once you are done, speak with Meredith or Orsino to begin the battle. If you are with the mages, and you let Anders live, he will appear and will ask permission if he can join the upcoming fight. You may either accept his aid, becoming a member of your party again, or reject his help, leaving for good.
If you sided with the templars, you will have to fight your way into the Gallows, facing mages as well as demons. If Anders was allowed to live, he will fight back, and you have to kill him. Once you get inside, you'll find Orsino, who uses blood magic to transform himself into a harvester that you have to defeat, aided by Meredith and some templars. Once the battle is done, Meredith tells you to meet her outside.
If you sided with the mages, you will face several waves of templars in the inner chamber with help from the allies not in your active party. Orsino will then use blood magic to transform into a harvester, causing you to fight him. When the battle is done, you will have to fight your way out of the Gallows. On the way, you will face several groups of demons. Going west from the central courtyard will cause you to face abominations and two pride demons that you would not otherwise have to fight.
In the chamber before returning to the courtyard, you will come across Sandal. This is your last chance to buy or sell wares, retrieve or stash your items, and enchant weapons and armor before the final battle, so prepare well.
When you get outside, Meredith will be waiting with the rest of the templars. She orders your execution at this point, but Cullen will object, saying that they were only supposed to arrest the Champion. Meredith pulls out her sword, which is made from the lyrium idol that Bartrand had taken and then sold. She begins casting suspicions on all of the templars around her, then turns her weapon to Hawke and orders their execution. Cullen rises to your defense, as does Carver if he joined the templars, leading to Meredith becoming hostile. During the battle, Cullen will be fighting with you. Your allies that are not in the active party will gradually join you. If you completed A Murder of Crows and spared Zevran, he will also come to your aid (only if either Isabela or Varric is within the party), so will Nathaniel Howe if you completed Finding Nathaniel. Donnic appears as well if he is married to Aveline, provided that she is in the party. Partway through the battle, Meredith will leap off of the battlefield and start bringing the Gallows statues to life (Gate Guardians and Slave Statues). Once they are defeated, Meredith will come back down. As her health diminishes, she will continue to summon more Slave Statues, as well as reviving the Gate Guardians in a new spider form while still on the battlefield. Once her health gets low enough, she uses an ability that stuns everyone on the battlefield, including enemies. During these times, she will be talking, not attacking. She might also grab the companion you are in a completed relationship with and ask how it feels to see her hold what is dearest to you. This happens several more times until Meredith falls.
Notable itemsStaff of Violation
Damage: 41 spirit damage
(56 per second)
+15% spirit damage
2.5% chance to infect with Walking Bomb Orsino's Signet Ring
+5% spirit damage Robes of the Empowered Circle
Requires: X magic
Randomly selected from:
+(2 + 2 * LVL) mana/stamina
+(10 + 0.25 * LVL)% spirit damage
+(2 * RES(LVL)) fire resistance Shield of the Resolute
Requires: Weapon and Shield
+8% magic resistance
- Main article: Mage-Templar War
The tale of the Champion's opposition to Meredith and her actions toward the mages are spread by the survivors to all parts of Thedas. No matter who the Champion sides with in the final battle, Hawke's name becomes a rallying cry for the mages. This sparks a successful rebellion at all the Circles against the Chantry, which it eventually loses control of. The templars also leave the Chantry to fight the mages in their own way.If Hawke and the companions supported the mages, they will all leave Kirkwall before more templars arrive to restore order. If they supported the templars, Hawke will become the new viscount of Kirkwall, only to leave later on. Eventually, Varric says, all the companions left Hawke's side due to various circumstances, except Hawke's romanced companion, if any. The Seekers continue to look for the Champion, hoping that Hawke can serve to bring peace to Thedas. The ultimate fate of the Champion remains unknown, but Varric tells Cassandra that he doubts Hawke is dead.
- In the conversation between Meredith and Orsino on the steps of the Gallows, Orsino's robes and Meredith's armor may not fully render. This may persist through the final fight, along with a lack of textures on large parts of the environment.
- After defeating Orsino, the cutscene for killing Orsino may loop indefinitely. Simply skip through it to continue the quest as normal.
- If an additional romance was initiated but not pursued, Varric might say both names simultaneously as he narrates the epilogue.
- If you started a romance with Anders, yet killed him after the Chantry explosion, Varric will still tell in the epilogue that Anders never left your side.
- During the Orsino battle, there is a chance that a templar will get stuck behind the wall of fire, causing tactical glitches and preventing the fight from ending. However, if you have summoned your Mabari beforehand, you can get lucky, and have it get stuck there as well, in which case it will probably end up killing the templar. Area of Effect spells might also kill the templar.
- If Orsino is killed too early on in the battle, there is a chance that the killing cut scene will not initiate, the barrier will not disperse, thus leaving the player stuck in that area. The only way to remedy this is by loading a previous save - luckily there is an autosave just before the Orsino battle begins.
- If you are fast enough and press the action button to talk to Orsino after halting the Templars breach of the compound, you can initiate the conversation where he asks whether you're ready to fight. This could give you the opportunity to reform your party before the fight with Orsino. That being said the cutscene of you making your pre-battle speech will show with cut-ins from Orsino turning into a Harvester. This could be humorous as the Harvester will be standing in the background while you make your pre-battle speech.
- A companion who is not in the active party may disappear during the fight with Orsino and not reappear after the battle (confirmed with Isabela on PC and PS3). However, they are not permanently dead, as they will join you again for the fight with Meredith.
- If you damage Meredith fast enough, the cutscenes where she animates the statues do not have a chance to fire, and she ends up stuck at 1 health forever, unable to die. To solve this, just don't damage her so quickly
- If Fenris initially dissented (you siding with the mages), but later rejoined if convinced, he will still appear with the templars in the cutscene before Orsino's harvester transformation.