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Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts is a main quest in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

The fate of Empress Celene, and in turn, all of Orlais, has been threatened. The Inquisition must intervene.

Acquisition

The quest becomes available after speaking to Josephine during From the Ashes. It can be initiated by spending 30 Power at the war table, recommended for levels 12 to 15.

Note: It is advised to have as much open inventory space as possible before beginning. Those with 60 or fewer free slots may have to sacrifice several items.

Walkthrough

Inquisition - Quest - Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts - Court Disapproval

"Hours after you were evicted from the Winter Palace, news spread across the land that Empress Celene was dead and Grand Duke Gaspard standing accused of treason. Orlais stood leaderless: in the chaos, Corypheus conquered it all too easily, overwhelming Inquisition forces lacking the allies needed to stop him."

Note: Bringing Sera along will open up an additional quest, Red Jenny's Stashes, as well as a "unique" announcement when entering the ballroom. When bringing Cole along, he will not be announced at all and Solas will be introduced as the Inquisitor's elven serving man.
Note: There are a large number of valid variations in how to complete the various subquests and for many of them, there are several right ways to do them. Not all possibilities can be documented. The particular object (Caprice coin, secret document, Red Jenny Stash, etc. will be linked to from the walkthrough. Follow the link to find more precise instructions to the quest object corresponding to where you are and at what point of the main quest you are in.
Note: Halla counters below (1/11 and such) are incremental and do not account for halla you have 'spent' opening doors. In game counts may vary depending on choices made.

The quest begins with a scene as the Inquisition arrives at the Winter Palace in Halamshiral. The Inquisitor is greeted by Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons at the exterior entrance. Gaspard informs the Inquisitor that he believes Briala intends to disrupt the negotiations.

After the scene, court approval starts at anywhere from 25-45 out of 100 court approval (mages and non-humans start with less). If court approval reaches 0, it will be Game Over as the Inquisitor is thrown out of the ball.

To obtain the Belle of the Ball trophy/achievement for this quest, Court Approval must reach 100/100 at some point during the quest and you must also choose to expose the Duchess at the end of the quest line; fighting her will not grant the achievement.

Enter the Winter Palace

Note: Human mage Inquisitors, and elf or dwarf Inquisitors of any class, will take an automatic, immediate hit of DAIApproval Court Approval -10 due to social stigma. Likewise, all Qunari Inquisitors of any class take a hit of DAIApproval Court Approval -15. Human rogues and warriors will automatically receive DAIApproval Court Approval 5. You begin with a base approval value of 40 before these modifiers are applied. If you already have approval of 100 at any time and get a bonus, the game will show DAIApproval Court Approval 0

Approach the Noblewoman in the corner to begin Montbelliard's Ring. Speak to her, but choosing the middle option results in DAIApproval Court Approval 5. Locate her ring on the nearby lion carving and return it to her for DAIApproval Court Approval 5 (128 XP, 80 Influence awarded upon completion), or tell her you couldn't find the ring and keep it to sell later (note that you will get no court approval if you choose this option). Examine the plaque behind the fountain to unlock Codex entry: Winter Palace. Go up the stairs towards the main gate. There are sets of stairs to the left and right.

Head up the left stairs to begin Even Gilded Walls Have Ears. This short quest introduces the eavesdrop mechanic. Once completed, move past the nobles to the end of the covered walkway and search for the Storage Key.

Head back downstairs and turn right to find the storage room. Enter the room to find the first Caprice Coin (1/15). Picking it up begins the side quest, Throwing Away Money, and unlocks Codex entry: Orlesian Caprice Coins. Picking up a secret document (1/30) begins the side quest, The Great Blackmail Hunt. (If you miss the document or the coin now, there is no way to retrieve them after entering the Palace.)

Head up the stairs to the right of the main gate. Picking up a halla statuette (1/10) begins the side quest, Herd of Stone Halla and unlocks Codex entry: Superstitions of the Royal Family. Continue to the west end of the balcony to find a loot container. Returning downstairs, the stone halla can be used to Unlock the Eastern Storage below. Opening it is optional and awards 128 XP and 80 Influence. Two loot containers are found inside.

Enter the main gate and a scene plays in which Josephine warns the Inquisitor of the dangers they face by attempting to play The Game.

Enter the Ballroom

The Great Blackmail Hunt (2/30)
The Great Blackmail Hunt (3/30).

Approach Celene

The Grand Duke, the Inquisitor, advisors and party members will be announced at court. In order to hear all of the announcements, do not move to the top of the steps by Gaspard too quickly.
Presented to Celene

Approaching Celene

After you arrive next to Gaspard, the Grand Duchess Florianne de Chalons will be introduced and Empress Celene will greet the Inquisitor:
  • Top option - DAIApproval Court Approval 10 (Elf, Dwarf, and Qunari received no change to approval rating when selecting this option. Mages will also receive no approval unless Vivienne is in your party.)
  • Middle option - DAIApproval Court Approval 5
  • Bottom option - DAIApproval Court Approval -15

The second set of choices have no court approval changes. Leliana will ask the Inquisitor to see her when they have a moment.

Phase 1: Speak to Leliana, Listen Closely, Celene's Occult Advisor and Eavesdrop on Briala's People

Note: As noted above, there are many variations in how to complete this phase, including when to touch plaques for codex entries, search for coins or blackmail, which way to traverse circles of rooms, which halla doors to open and what order to pick up the main three objects. The walkthough below indicates one such variation. The important warning is to not pick up the last of the three items until all side quests are as completed as desired. After that, there will be a forced rush to the ballroom and some opportunities may vanish.

Preamble

Mingle with the court and the party members and advisors. Converse with Lady Mantillon and ask her to dance as a prerequisite for Dance with the Dowager: The Allemande This also grants DAIApproval Court Approval 5. If she is brought along for the quest, Sera will be near the northwest corner of the ballroom, and asking about her "friends" will begin Red Jenny's Stashes. Speaking with her can also bring approval changes, see Approval. Also in the northeast corner, there is a Volume I of Codex entry: A Compendium of Orlesian Theater sitting on a bench. Go back to the Vestibule and a scene with Leliana begins. She mentions that an occult advisor seems to have charmed the empress and the court, while the Inquisitor mentions that Gaspard is pointing fingers at Ambassador Briala.

Both leads warrant investigating the Guest Wing. To progress, three items must be found:

  • The Cylinder Seal in the Hall of Heroes.
  • Negotiations in the room of the upper Guest Gardens.
  • Letter in the Grand Library.

The order in which they are acquired doesn't matter, but once the third one is picked up, the Inquisitor will have limited time to return to the ballroom.

The doors leading to the Grand Library from the Vestibule are locked from the other side, so another way in will need to be found. Examine the nearby plaque to update Codex entry: Winter Palace.

Enter the guest wing

Return to the entrance to the guest wing and enter the Hall of Heroes.

Throwing Away Money (2/15)

Briala's People: Head into the Hall of Heroes via the newly opened doors and approach the Whispering Elf. Eavesdrop on the elves to learn about a package delivered to a room in the upper garden.
Hall of Heroes

Hall of Heroes, Lower Level

Continue into the next corridor, corridor {A}.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (4/30)

Take a brief detour into the small room to the left.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (4/30).
Throwing Away Money (3/15).

Volume II of Codex entry: A Compendium of Orlesian Theater is sitting on the second lion statue on the right.

Speak to Duke Germain and ask about Gaspard being his nephew for DAIApproval Court Approval 5 (this also counts towards The Great Blackmail Hunt (6/30)). Leave the room.

The Council of Heralds Vassal will be pacing the hallway. Choose "Philippe is a jerk!" for DAIApproval Court Approval 15. The other option gives DAIApproval Court Approval -10. Either response counts towards The Great Blackmail Hunt (7/30) and serves as evidence to use against Gaspard.

Briala's People: Proceed down the hallway to find another Whispering Elf to eavesdrop on. If you are an elf, the Whispering Elf will speak to you directly and warn you not to venture into the Servant's Quarters if you value your life.

Turn left into the room the elves went into and exit through the door onto the balcony. Searching will find the first item, the cylinder seal next to a flower pot.

Enter the garden

Return to the corridor {A} and exit west into the Guest Garden. Celene's ladies-in-waiting will deliver a message from the empress. None of the dialog options have any approval effects. Just beyond them, a minstrel performs a version of Rise translated into Orleansian.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (8/30).

Go back to entrance door and make a u-turn around the balustrade. Any Caprice Coins found can be tossed into the nearby fountain for DAIApproval Court Approval 1.
Coin Pool

Caprice Coin Pool. The climbing lattice is at the top left.

The action marker will disappear when the player no longer has any coins left. Throwing in all 15 awards 200 Influence. This does not need to be all at once.

Heading back south through the middle of the garden, if you have brought Dorian along, you can dialog with him for approval. See Approval.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (9/30).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (10/30).

Turn left into the cobweb room for a loot sack. Red Jenny's Stashes (1/3). Jump back over the balustrade and speak to the nameless noble. Choose one of the options to receive aid for the Inquisition (100 Influence, +1 Power).

Note: The Agent Acquired graphic will display but no new agent is listed in Inquisition perks after returning to Skyhold.

Continuing north, turn left at the gap. The door to the lower garden is to the west, but it requires 3 halla statuettes and so it cannot be opened at the moment. Head up the lattice.

The upstairs garden

Approval Timed Section

Note: The timed drop in court approval in this and other areas is meant to induce a sense of urgency. However, this does not mean you cannot take your time (within reason) to explore all rooms and look for loot and various quest objectives. Further, the approval drop does not occur when the game is paused, so frequent pausing to move the camera around can reduce the loss. There are many ways to regain approval, as detailed below.

Climb the nearby lattice to the Upper Level. Once at the top, the Inquisitor will be in an area deemed off-limits. The Court notices the Inquisitor's absence, and so court approval will steadily drop (at a rate of about -1/min.) while in this area.

Herd of Stone Halla (2/10).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (11/30).

Return to the lattice, continue straight and open the Upper Garden Door. It requires one halla statuette to be opened. You must open this door to advance the main quest. Grab the loot from the chest and pick up the Negotiations on the floor once you enter the Halla door to obtain the second item in the objective.

Return to the lattice and turn left to enter the Grand Library doors.

Note: The Inquisitor can choose to search the rest of the library now or return later. A couple of items don't immediately appear in the library, but here is what can be done now.

Move past the urns on the left and search the bookshelf to find a hidden switch. This opens the back door of the library. Go in but do NOT pick up the letter just yet or the rush to the ballroom will start.

Instead, turn right, grab the veilfire torch, and light the urns in the following order:

  1. Face the room with the garden entrance behind you.
  2. Light the RIGHT side of urns, closest to farthest.
  3. Return to the garden entrance and face the room.
  4. Light the LEFT side of urns, closest to farthest.

Their names are as follows: Etienne I -> Reville -> Etienne II -> Judicael I -> Judicael II -> Florian

Head down into the secret study, and the first chest on the right always contains Confusion Grenade Recipe. One of the other chests always contains a Masterwork Magister Staff Blade Schematic. Hidden items and a couple loot containers are in the main room of the library.
Grand Library

Grand Library.

Go back up the stairs from the secret study, turn left and pass through either door. Go down the stairs. To the right, find a hidden book that updates Halamshiral Investigation: Clues. If the Inquisitor is a rogue, turn right and unlock the door for two loot boxes.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (12/30).

Continue down the long hall that has a loot box, The Great Blackmail Hunt (13/30) and eventually leads to double doors leading back to the Vestibule. Be sure to open one of these doors to allow easier access later.

If Cole was brought along, he will be here for dialog. None of the options change his approval.

Return to the secret room where the veilfire is. Grab the loot and then the letter.

Return to the ballroom

The first bell will ring, signaling that it's time to return to the ballroom. The fastest route is back through the library, rather than over the lattice and through the garden and guest wing. Depending on which bell is ringing when you enter, you can gain or lose court approval:

  • Enter after the first bell, on time - No Court Approval change
  • Enter after the second bell, fashionably late - DAIApproval Court Approval 10
  • Enter after the third bell, actually late - DAIApproval Court Approval -20

Attempt to enter the ballroom to instead meet Celene's occult advisor, Morrigan. She encountered and killed a Tevinter agent and hands over a key she found on his body.

Note: the Inquisitor doesn't actually enter the ballroom and is still in the vestibule after the cutscene.

Phase 2: Make a choice

There are five different endings to the main quest, and choices made starting now will start eliminating some and moving the player down the path of some of the others. The endings and abbreviations used below are:

  • Celene rules alone (CRA)
  • Celene and Briala Rule (CBR)
  • Public truce (PT)
  • Gaspard rules alone (GRA)
  • Gaspard and Briala rule (GBR)

For Celene and Briala Rule (CBR): Not all quests can be completed (Throwing Away Money, Red Jenny's Stashes and/or The Great Blackmail Hunt) as there aren't enough halla.

You can make one of three choices:

  1. open the vault, a three Halla door to get the locket for Celene and Briala Rule (CBR) & open lower garden, a three Halla door.
  2. open the vault, a three Halla door to get the locket for Celene and Briala Rule (CBR) and open the royal wing door, a five Halla door.
  3. open the lower garden door, a three Halla door and open the royal wing door, a five Halla door.

Enter the ballroom (Celene and Briala Rule (CBR))

The Behind Every Empress quest starts.

Turn right and go down the side of the room.

Continuing on, chat with Leliana to drop off the 13 scandalous secrets you have at this point to start the Social Leverage quest.

At the first right, exit the hall to the balcony and talk to Briala. Explore all or none of the options, they have no in-game effect. Talking to her marks the quest stage for her as done.

Re-enter the ballroom and turn right. Speak with Lady Fleur, the middle of the ladies-in-waiting to complete Behind Every Empress.

Continuing counter-clockwise, ignore the next balcony. Celene is there but cannot be spoken with. Gaspard is on the next balcony. Talking to him presents his take on the situation and others, completing the three-way opinion circle of the three parties.

Return to the vestibule door and exit.

Enter the servants' quarters

Note: The boss battle at the end of this quest can be skipped if court approval is at least 85. Exiting this area with approval of 50 or greater will guarantee that you can hit 100. If you have Nobility Knowledge, you can leave with 40 or greater.

Re-enter the Hall of Heroes and go to the west end of the lower level. Go through the door.

Start approval timed section

Equip everyone's arms and armor. This area is off-limits so court approval is ticking away, though time is frozen in the inventory screen.

Step forward and examine the corpse for a bit of companion dependent dialog. Turn right and go through the archway into the bedroom. Grab the loot from the box and pick up the battered journal for the Diary of a Nosy Servant message.

Continue counter-clockwise into the kitchen

Herd of Stone Halla (3/10).

Counter-clockwise again takes you to the entry room. Turn right and exit to the gardens.

Try to explore the gardens

Herd of Stone Halla (4/10).

Head towards the fountain and fall down to begin a cut scene. An emissary for the Council of Heralds is found dead, and a nearby weapon bears the Chalons family crest.

Find the Harlequin

Kill the group of Venatori that appear. Explore the garden to find several lootable containers.

To get both the Red Jenny Stash and the caprice coins, both north and south sides of the garden will need to be explored. If not following the Red Jenny's Stashes quest, simply proceed north from the fountain the cut scene leaves you at.

Red Jenny's Stashes (2/3) and then return to the fountain where you found the body.

Go north and grab the loot by the fountain on the right and continue north. There will be Venatori off to the left. Kill them or ignore them.

Herd of Stone Halla (5/10).
Throwing Away Money (4/15).

Go back down to the ground floor and kill the Venatori if you didn't before. Continue west until a vine covered wall is reached. Turn left and go through the archway.

Grand Apartments

Enter the apartments. Turn left and enter the bedroom.

Throwing Away Money (5/15).

Exit the room go forward into the kitchen. There is a supply cache here if needed. Return to the previous room and turn right. Go through the small room into the dining room. Kill the Venatori in the dining room. Grab their loot and on a table against the north wall is a paper to be read that unlocks the Codex entry: The Lion of Orlais. In the partitioned area along the west wall is a loot box.

Throwing Away Money (6/15).

Exit south to the library. Read the paper on the table to unlock Volume V of Codex entry: A Compendium of Orlesian Theater. Exit east from the library into the room with the fireplace and the long tables. Kill the Ventori. On a table is a book that contains Codex entry: Jeshavis, Mother of Orlais.

Head up the stairs, turn left and clear out the room to the left. A book on a nightstand updates Codex entry: Winter Palace.

The nearby door leads to the empress' vault and requires three halla statuettes to open. Inside the vault:

  • a loot chest contains a few random items.
  • another loot chest always contains a Masterwork Crow Blade Schematic and a few random items.
  • an elven locket—required to reconcile Celene and Briala at the end of the quest. (Acquiring the locket is required but NOT enough to Reconcile Celene and Briala. See possible endings below for details.)
Note: Throwing Away Money cannot be completed if the vault is opened as there aren't enough halla statues. The Inquisitor can still get DAIApproval Court Approval 1 for each coin found and dropped in the guest garden fountain. See Make a choice for more details.

Turn right out of the room, past the stairs and right again. A book is on a fancy desk on the left and it unlocks Codex entry: Mad Emperor Reville. Continue to the next corridor to face off against the Harlequin and a large group of Venatori. The Harlequin always drops Crescent Slicer. A scene with Briala begins after all enemies are eliminated.

Herd of Stone Halla (6/10).

Return to the Hall of Heroes

Dropping off the right side of the balcony is the quickest way down, but there is some not-so-apparent loot to be found. Once the scene is over, head back the way the party came to find an open window. Jump diagonally across to the larger balcony to find more loot. Back to the original balcony, jump over the northern railing to land on a lower balcony near a large pile of gold. Either jump off this lower balcony or switch to another party member that is still up top.

If the balconies are not taken, turn around, go back through the the desk room, exit south, take an immediate left and go downstairs. Take a right at the bottom of the stairs, a left into the library and straight out into the gardens. Turn left, kill some more Venatori, past the elven agents, and go up the stairs and open the gate that goes back to Palace Main.

End approval timed section

Return to the ballroom and dance with Florianne

Exit the Servants' Quarters, go back through the Hall of Heroes, turn right at the Ballroom door and as usual, wait for the second bell.

Head south and enter the gate to return to the Hall of Heroes. Gaspard's Clandestine Meeting is active but there is no time for that now. The bell will be ringing again, although it's possible to miss hearing the first bell due to the game loading. Again, wait for the second bell and enter the ballroom. A scene begins with Florianne. Any options not listed below have no court approval changes.

Dance with me...

  • Two women dancing? (female only) DAIApproval Court Approval -10
  • Let's dance. DAIApproval Court Approval 10
  • Let them hear us. DAIApproval Court Approval -15

...What do you know about our civil war?

  • (Nobility Knowledge) Orlais' war is Thedas' war. DAIApproval Court Approval 5
  • As much as I care to. DAIApproval Court Approval -10

The security of the empire is at stake...

  • I can agree with that./That's why I'm here. DAIApproval Court Approval -10
  • Is that what we both want? DAIApproval Court Approval 10

You are a curiosity to many...

  • I'm here to help./Not my problem. DAIApproval Court Approval -10
  • Which am I to you? DAIApproval Court Approval 5

...Who in the Court can be trusted?

  • I trust Celene/Gaspard/Briala. DAIApproval Court Approval -10
  • (Underworld Knowledge) I trust no one./I trust the Inquisition./Who do you trust? DAIApproval Court Approval 5

It cannot have escaped your notice...

  • All options: court approval at 50 or lower results in DAIApproval Court Approval -15, higher results in DAIApproval Court Approval 5 (the game displays Court Approval 5 but it actually adds 10)

Florianne ultimately suggests investigating the Royal Wing. Another scene with the advisors begins immediately. Leliana reminds the Inquisitor that Corypheus wants chaos in the empire. She also says that there are many ways to bring stability to the empire, and not all involve Celene (hinting at multiple endings for the quest).

Throwing Away Money (7/15).
Throwing Away Money (8/15).

Re-explore the Palace and Find Material to Blackmail Gaspard and Briala

If the elven locket was retrieved, now is the time to speak to Briala and then the empress' ladies-in-waiting about it. Doing so allows the two of them to possibly reconcile at the end of the quest. The Inquisitor can optionally confront Gaspard and Briala with any evidence gathered, as well learn more about their backgrounds if they didn't do so earlier.

Back in the Vestibule, go all the way down the hall to the dwarves, take a left and Volume IV of Codex entry: A Compendium of Orlesian Theater has appeared on a bench across from the entrances to the Grand Library.

Re-explore the Grand Library

Start approval timed section

Enter the Grand Library.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (14/30).

Go up the stairs at the far end of the hall and through the doors. Turn left and exit the secret library.

Throwing Away Money (9/15).

End approval timed section

Re-explore the gardens

Drop any caprice coins into the pool to raise approval back up.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (15/30).

Cut southeast across the gardens and re-enter the main floor of the palace.

Re-explore the west side of the palace

The Great Blackmail Hunt (16/30).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (17/30).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (18/30).
Throwing Away Money (10/15).

Note: Do not talk to the group of three guards in the long room more than once. Doing so will cause a drop of DAIApproval Court Approval -10.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (19/30).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (20/30).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (21/30).

Return inside. Go west to the corridor.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (22/30).

Go back to the corridor and take a right.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (23/30).

Continue North and exit east into the Hall of Heroes.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (24/30).

Trophy Room

Approach the trophy room to the north of the Hall of Heroes and trick the guards (Ambassador Anton) into going to Cullen, which also awards DAIApproval Court Approval 10.

Trophy Room

Trophy Room

Start approval timed section

Enter the room, turn right.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (25/30).

Open the back door of the trophy room and enter the office. If the Inquisitor is a rogue, open the door on the left and loot the container within. Loot the box in the back of the office. Grab the secret orders as material to blackmail Gaspard.

Herd of Stone Halla (7/10).

Return to the main trophy room.

Throwing Away Money (11/15).

Exit the trophy room.

End approval timed section

Lower Garden Door Option

It's possible to Open the Lower Garden Door at this point.

Reasons to Open the Lower Garden Door:

Note: The building the Lower Garden Door leads to is approval timed, but the party area and Fumeur beyond it is not.

Vestibule cleanup

Return to the vestibule.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (26/30).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (27/30).
Throwing Away Money (13/15).

Go up the stairs on the right to find the entrance to the Royal Wing.

Explore the Royal Wing

Enter the Royal Wing, which is an off-limits area.

Start approval timed section

The Inquisitor will need to re-equip weapons, armor and helmet. Companions should appear ready to go.

The Great Blackmail Hunt (28/30).

Go up the stairs and into the Royal Quarters. Take a right and then a right through the door. Loot the two containers.

Herd of Stone Halla (8/10).
The Great Blackmail Hunt (29/30).

Exit the room and go past the locked door; a scream will be heard upon approaching the next door on the right. Open the door and a cut scene plays where the Inquisitor defenestrates a Harlequin. Interviewing the elven servant provides the blackmail evidence against Briala.

Harlequin and Elf

A Harlequin, before their interrupted attempt to kill the elven servant.

Herd of Stone Halla (9/10).

Loot the footlockers in the room for random loot.

Upper Royal Wing Door detour

The Inquisitor will need to choose whether or not to Open the Upper Royal Wing Door. This door, which leads to the Empress' Private Quarters, requires 5 Halla statuettes to open. Reasons to open it:

  • The Great Blackmail Hunt and Throwing Away Money can only be completed if this door is opened.
    • It is strongly advised to return to Leliana after this detour, deliver the blackmail and then return here. After the trap is sprung, there will be no chance left to return to the ballroom with Leliana in it.
  • Acquire material to blackmail Celene (which gives you more options for the ending).

If the door is opened, and the soldier is spoken to:

  • I need you to testify. (Free him to obtain blackmail on Celene.) - DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Approves
  • You can stay here. (Leave him.) - DAIApproval Dorian Slightly Approves, DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves

The Great Blackmail Hunt (30/30).
Throwing Away Money (14/15).

In order to retrieve the Caprice Coin, the soldier must be released, one way or the other. Releasing him awards DAIApproval Court Approval 10.

Continue on in the Royal Wing

Return to the room the Harlequin and the elf were in. Turn right and head south down the passageway. The passageway dumps off into a corridor of covered furniture. As you traverse the corridor, a Fereldan is heard cursing Orlesians. Go through the doors on the right to the balcony. Go right along the balcony, pulsing search.

Herd of Stone Halla (10/10).
Throwing Away Money (15/15).

There is loot on one of the rear tables and a supply cache if needed. Return to the covered furniture hallway.

Herd of Stone Halla (11/10).

At this point all possible side quest items could have been collected.

Note: Depending on which halla doors have been opened, this is a good time to double back to the Royal Wing Door Detour if there weren't enough hallas in inventory before. After the trap is sprung, there is no returning to this place.

(Optional) reconcile Briala and Celene

  1. If you are interested in reconciling them and you haven't yet collected the Elven Locket, you need to backtrack and acquire the locket in the Servant's Quarters 2nd Floor Halla Room (requires 3 Halla Statues).
  2. Once you acquire the locket it still needs to be "activated". Activate this line by confronting both Briala and Empress Celene's Ladies-in-waiting in the rear of the main ballroom. Briala will explain her side and once the locket is shown to the Ladies-in-waiting a small cut-scene will trigger with you and the Empress. The Empress confesses that their may still be feelings leftover from their past relationship.
  3. Step into the trap in the Royal wing. Here you find Florianne and a Fade rift. Close the rift and re-enter the party. Cullen should immediately stop you and ask you what to do next. Depending on your choices (Celene must live) Gaspard, Briala, Celene and the Inquisitor retreat to a private room to disscuss the night's events.
  4. During this final discussion you must give Briala partial credit for rooting out the assassins. You also need to accuse Gaspard of treason and don't try to keep him alive. If done correctly, the Inquisitor, Briala and Celene will return the Ball and Celene will declare that Briala is a Marquise, the newest member of the Orlesian Nobility.
Note: If Celene only pardons and exiles Briala, this is not reconciliation.

Rewards: All endings reward you with a war table operation. However, Reconciling Celene and Briala is the only outcome that will give you an Amulet of Power for the Inquisitor through a war table operation. See A Gift from the Imperial Palace war table operation for details.

Evade the trap and reach the climactic confrontation

Go through the doors opposite the balcony doors.
Florianne-garden

The assassin unmasked

This causes a cut scene to take place and the party is ambushed. There will be a dialog with Florianne which provides the following option (all other choices have no effect):

Corypheus insisted...

  • It's not too late to end this. - DAIApproval Sera Slightly Disapproves
  • I'm sure he'll get used to it. - DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves

The rift will spawn a random combination of wraiths, shades, greater terrors, despair demons and/or rage demons. Close it (967 XP, 200 Influence and Power: +2) and a scene begins with the mercenary captain, who agrees to testify against Gaspard. If the Underworld Knowledge perk has been selected, an option to get his company to work for the Inquisition appears. This awards 100 Influence and Power: +1 DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Approves, DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves.

Note: Again, the Agent Acquired graphic is displayed, but no new agent is listed upon returning to Skyhold.

Return to Cullen with the Information Gathered

Head west to the locked door, turn right and loot the box. Go through the east door to find some gold. Then head south into Le Requiem and dispatch a small group of Venatori. Examine the podium to update Codex entry: Winter Palace and loot the two chests.

Garden chapel

Jardin de Rêverie

Proceed down the stairs to encounter the final group of Venatori. Head through the northern hallway and a book on a shelf unlocks Volume VI of Codex entry: A Compendium of Orlesian Theater. Proceed into the next room and Choose a Lower Royal Wing Door if enough halla statuettes are held. Each door requires 5 halla statuettes and both doors can be opened, if you've gathered and saved 10 of the 11 Halla statuettes in the Winter Palace, even though the quest text by the doors suggests otherwise. Behind each door is a single loot container:

  • The container behind the left door always contains a Lightning Rune and a couple random items.
  • The container behind the right door always contains Enhanced Cooldown Amulet and a couple random items.

Head back and turn right, open the door and continue into a larger courtyard. Take a right and head through the north door into the kitchen, which contains the final supply cache and some gold on the adjacent table. Take a left out of the kitchen and into the dining room where there are two loot lockers, one on each side of the fire.

Go back out through the kitchens and straight across the courtyard. Open the door, turn left, go up the stairs and loot the footlocker. Go straight back and the doors will activate a cutscene.

The scene begins as Cullen asks the Inquisitor what they should do:

  • I'll talk with Florianne. (Publicly expose the duchess' crimes to the court, avoiding further bloodshed.)
  • Requires court approval of 85 or greater
  • Necessary to gain the Belle of the Ball achievement
  • Boss battle with Florianne is skipped (forfeit about 5500 xp and a unique bow)
  • DAIApproval Dorian Greatly Approves, DAIApproval Solas Greatly Approves, DAIApproval Blackwall Approves, DAIApproval Iron Bull Approves
This will lead to another choice...
  • I will execute her myself. (Kill the duchess.) - DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Approves, DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves, DAIApproval Blackwall Disapproves, DAIApproval Cole Disapproves, DAIApproval Solas Disapproves
  • Take her away. (Give the Duchess to the guards.) - DAIApproval Blackwall Approves, DAIApproval Cole Approves, DAIApproval Iron Bull Approves, DAIApproval Sera Approves, DAIApproval Solas Approves, DAIApproval Dorian Slightly Approves
  • Detain the duchess. (Save Celene's life, then deal with the duchess.)
  • Leads to boss battle with Florianne
  • DAIApproval Sera and Blackwall Approve; DAIApproval Cole Greatly Approves
  • Wait for Florianne to attack. (Allow the empress to die before dealing with the duchess.)
  • Leads to boss battle with Florianne
  • DAIApproval Sera and Blackwall Greatly Disapprove; DAIApproval Cole Disapproves; DAIApproval Cassandra, Iron Bull and Dorian Approve

Confront Grand Duchess Florianne

See Florianne de Chalons (strategy).


Killing Florianne awards ~5500 XP and she always drops The Trepanner's Requital.

Endings

Whether a boss battle occurred or not, the final sequence of the quest involves a series of cutscenes and dialogue choices.

Celene rules alone (CRA)

Celene can maintain her place on the throne and rule alone:
Celene addresses the court

Celene addresses the court.

  • Gaspard was planning a coup. (Reveal evidence of Gaspard's crimes to the empress.)
  • As you wish. (Gaspard executed.)
  • Briala is an accomplice. (Gaspard executed. Implicate Briala as well.) - DAIApproval Iron Bull Approves
  • (Special) No, spare Gaspard's life. (Try to convince Celene to let Gaspard live. Requires sufficient Court Approval) - DAIApproval Blackwall Slightly Approves; DAIApproval Sera Approves; DAIApproval Cole Greatly Disapproves

Celene and Briala Rule (CBR)

Celene and Briala's relationship can be reconciled. Celene will maintain her place on the throne with Briala's support. Briala is given the title of Marquise:

Note: Reconciliation requires the elven locket to be retrieved from the empress' vault in the Grand Apartments, and then shown to her ladies-in-waiting and Briala
  • Briala helped stop Florianne. (Use the evidence gathered about Gaspard to support Briala.) - DAIApproval Solas Approves
  • We have Gaspard's orders.
  • He hired mercenaries.
  • Do I really need to go on?
  • What about Briala's reward? (Gaspard executed. Attempt to reconcile Celene and Briala.) - DAIApproval Sera Disapproves; DAIApproval Cole Approves
  • What happens now? (successfully reconcile Celene and Briala.) - DAIApproval Dorian Slightly Approves
  • This is an achievement.
If unsuccessful, Briala is pardoned and exiled.

Public truce (PT)

All three of them can be blackmailed and forced into a public truce:

Note: Requires entering the Empress' Private Quarters and convincing the soldier to testify.
  • All of you were at fault. (Try to force the three leaders into a truce.) - DAIApproval Solas Approves
Celene: You made your point.
  • Work together for Orlais. - DAIApproval Cole Greatly Approves; DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves; DAIApproval Blackwall Slightly Approves; DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Disapproves
  • You've been outplayed. - DAIApproval Blackwall Slightly Approves; DAIApproval Sera Approves; DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Disapproves
  • You work for me now. - DAIApproval Sera Approves DAIApproval Cole Greatly Disapproves DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Disapproves

Gaspard rules alone (GRA)

Gaspard Rules Alone

Emperor Gaspard addresses the court.

Gaspard can become emperor and rule alone:

  • Gaspard will be emperor. (Use the blackmail material to discredit Briala and support Gaspard.) - DAIApproval Iron Bull Greatly Approves

Gaspard and Briala rule (GBR)

Gaspard can become emperor, with Briala pulling the strings from the shadows.

  • Briala can take over. (Use blackmail material to put Briala in power.) - DAIApproval Solas Approves

Denouement

After all that is done with, a final scene in the ballroom will begin and more party approval changes will occur. Yet another scene plays as Morrigan informs the Inquisitor that she has been named the Imperial liaison to the Inquisition.

If a love interest other than Sera was brought to the Winter Palace, they will come out to talk with the Inquisitor. Choosing an option that will allow them to dance with the Inquisitor will result in approval. If Sera is the Inquisitor's love interest, then this approval can only be obtained before the finale while Sera is still in the ballroom: a dialog option (possibly available only after completion of the Red Jenny Caches side-quest) suggests that the couple dance together , an offer which Sera declines humorously. Otherwise, Josephine will come out to talk.

The scene then moves to Skyhold, and Leliana and Cassandra's future is discussed, after which the quest completes.

Companion Approval

Celene rules alone - DAIApproval Cole Greatly Disapproves

Celene rules with Briala supporting - DAIApproval Cassandra, Cole and Dorian Greatly Approve

All 3 forced to work together - DAIApproval Cassandra Slightly Disapproves; DAIApproval Cole Greatly Approves

Gaspard rules alone - DAIApproval Blackwall and Cole Greatly Disapprove; DAIApproval Dorian Disapproves; DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves; DAIApproval Cassandra Greatly Approves

Gaspard rules, Briala in power - DAIApproval Cassandra Greatly Disapproves; DAIApproval Sera Slightly Disapproves; DAIApproval Dorian Slightly Approves, DAIApproval Solas Approves

Rewards

Awarded upon quest completion:

None of the masks listed below are rewarded if Celene, Gaspard and Briala were forced into a truce, otherwise:

Items that can ALWAYS be found during the quest:

  • Confusion Grenade recipe and Masterwork Magister Staff Blade schematic (secret study in Grand Library)
  • Crescent Slicer (Rare Dagger, Lv 10 req) (dropped as loot by Harlequin in Grand Apartments)
  • Amulet of Power for Vivienne and Masterwork Crow Blade schematic (empress' vault in the Grand Apartments)
  • Lightning Rune and Enhanced Cooldown Amulet (left and right Lower Royal Wing Door, respectively)
  • The Trepanner's Requital (Unique Bow, Lv 10 req) (dropped as loot by the Grand Duchess)

Results

Side quests

The following are never listed in the journal:

  • Montbelliard's Ring - 128 XP, 80 Influence
  • Even Gilded Walls Have Ears - 128 XP, 80 Influence
  • Unlock the Eastern Storage - 128 XP, 80 Influence
  • Social Leverage - 370 XP, 160 Influence (only if all 30 secrets returned to Leliana)
  • Caprice Coin Toss - 200 Influence (only if all 15 tossed)
  • Open the Lower Garden Door - 128 XP, 80 Influence
  • Behind Every Empress - no reward
  • Find a Missing Key - no reward
  • Gaspard's Clandestine Meeting - no reward
  • Open the Upper Royal Wing Door - no reward
  • Choose a Lower Royal Wing Door - no reward

The following are listed in the journal under The Winter Palace:

Quest icon DAI The Great Blackmail Hunt
Quest icon DAI Throwing Away Money
Quest icon DAI Herd of Stone Halla
Quest icon DAI Red Jenny's Stashes

Approval

Sera in the Grand Ballroom.
When asked "How are you fitting in?":

  • If the Inquisitors Court Approval is 60 or lower - DAIApproval Sera Slightly Approves
  • If the Inquisitors Court Approval is 61 or higher - DAIApproval Sera Slightly Disapproves

Dorian in the Guest garden.

  • "Thank you for coming." - DAIApproval Dorian Slightly Approves

Trivia

Inquisition Celene assassination concept

Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts quest concept

  • Most of the quest names in the main plot refer to specific verses of Chant of Light. "Wicked eyes and wicked hearts" refers to the Canticle of Silence 3:6.
  • After the announcements and speaking to Celene for the first time, the Inquisitor bows. Leliana can be seen down the stairs with Cullen and Josephine ( If you wait out and don't rush into cutscene, you'll see them approaching after you, in the actual cutscene you can see Leliana coming right beside the Inquisitor ). When the Inquisitor turns to the left to leave, Leliana has miraculously appeared at the top of the steps.
  • If Blackwall is brought for the quest, he is announced at court to have been awarded the Silverite Wings of Valor. When questioned about it, he is evasive about how and when he received the award.
  • If Blackwall is brought for the quest, he will be found conversing with a noble who thinks he recognizes Blackwall from a Lord Rudalt de Lancre's company of soldiers.
  • If Cole is brought on the mission, he is not announced at court, even if he is made more human.
  • If Solas is brought on the mission, he is announced as "Lady/Lord Inquisitor's Elven Serving man, Solas"
  • Cullen is announced at court as the former Knight-Commander of Kirkwall.
  • There are three dwarves in the Vestibule who mention House Helmi is trying to mount an expedition to Amgarrak, but House Dace are blocking any expedition into the thaig.
  • If the Hero of Ferelden is a Dwarf, the same three dwarfs are wondering about the disappearance of Paragon Brosca/Aeducan
  • There is a head of a Krogan in the trophy room. This is a reference to the game Mass Effect.
  • In the Fumeur section, one of the nobles is trying to figure out classic puzzles such as, Knights and Knaves, The Tower of Hanoi, Fox, Goose, Beans and the Riddle of the Sphinx.

Bugs

  • After completing the quest, even if the player chose to have all 3 parties work together, Leliana may comment that Celene is "rooting out the last of Gaspard's supporters" when asked for any updates at Skyhold.
  • Be careful when moving between the Vestibule and the Grand Ballroom as it is possible for the door's destination to change to the room you're already in if you get too close, causing the game to never leave the loading screen (it will actually eventually load, but the times can be ridiculous 10-15 minutes at most). The same problem exists with the door between the Vestibule and the Royal Wing.
  • If the player uses necromancy in the Harlequin fight, the cut-scene required for progression may not trigger.
    • The work-around is to enable friendly fire (settings -> gameplay -> friendly fire) and AOE any of the raised opponents to death.
    • Or, use Spirit Mark spell again to instantly kill all raised spirits.
  • While in the Ballroom after being introduced to Celene, if the player asks Vivienne if there is anything to look out for, she will comment on Cole behaving even more strangely than usual, even if Cole is not in the party.
  • When coming and going from the vestibule and ballroom, the door may be labeled as both "Vestibule" and "Grand Ballroom." Rotate the camera and the position of the Inquisitor to get the correct label to appear. If entering the door when labeled as the same room you're in, the game will take a long time loading, and you'll reappear in the same room.

Codex entries

Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Halamshiral
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Winter Palace
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Orlesian Caprice Coins
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Superstitions of the Royal Family
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Empress Celene Valmont
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: A Compendium of Orlesian Theater
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: A Ghoulish Delight
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Morrigan (Inquisition)
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Lion of Orlais (Inquisition)
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Jeshavis, Mother of Orlais
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Mad Emperor Reville
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Briala
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Grand Duchess Florianne de Chalons
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts

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