This is it! The End. THE END! All in capital letters. Maybe even in bold and cursive because this is how big this is. According to the game. We get cut scenes en masse, the likes of which we have not seen since the beginning in Ostagar. Some cut scenes are so incredibly important they even ignore the existence of mods, current armour and literally everything so you can see the vanilla characters in default clothes with a grainy film effect up close. But I am ahead of myself.
First we arrived at Redcliffe to find the village overrun by Darkspawn. Seriously, is there something in the water? There must be! Those poor villagers hat to leave everything and run for their lives! Again! Naturally we kill every red dot on the mini map and do so again at the castle. Inside we hear that we made this entire journey for absolutely nothing because apparently the horde is marching towards Denerim, Dragon-Arch-Demon at the top and this huge army of Darkspawn was apparently so inconspicuous that no one noticed till now… This just in: Communication and News in Thedas are absolute garbage. And on top of that we need at least a night to get the Army ready to march back towards Denerim. Because of
Riordan, who magically arrived before us takes Aren and Loghain aside to tell them the super secret Grey Warden secrets of secrets: Only a Grey Warden can kill the Arch Demon and the one who does always dies. Because! Riordan of course says he should be the one to kill it because he is older anyways. Ok. Sure. The NPC who literally showed up 5 minutes ago with zero backstory and all the plot relevant info is totally going to make this super easy, right? Right…
Loghain and Aren bond over a drink and some complaining about all Grey Wardens being secretive for nothing dicks that keep lying to their recruits. When Aren goes to sleep Morrigan shows up with „The Solution“. Because for no good reason and out of nowhere she knows about the dying thing. And can help. Through sex. And this is the point where even the last player should realise that someone wrote this game with a male player and some fantasy wish fulfilment on their minds. In short: Morrigan wants to get pregnant with a tainted baby that then in turn can take the soul of the arch demon in. But not the evil tainted one, the uncorrupted Old God version of the demon. The fact that you need some time from conception to even actually being pregnant is totally irrelevant apparently.
And because of the „no gender restrictions“ mod I have installed Aren has a chance to do the deed herself if she wants to. And she definitely does. Because a) she wants to live for fucks sake! and b) she has had the biggest crush on Morrigan since she met her so she is not going to say no to this and c) Morrgian mentions how sad Leliana would be if Aren were to die (manipulative but very effective!). Also: two powerful mages in a fantasy setting where magic can basically do everything – there is no way that „lesbian sex magic“ is not a valid option here! So steamy cutscene it is. After which the game cuts directly to the armies marching towards Denerim. Alistair gives a motivational speech, praising Aren as the leader that will save them (while probably still sneering at her) and there are tons of sad goodbyes at the gates of Denerim when we ready ourselves for the final assault. Aren takes Leliana, Wynne and Loghain with her while the rest stays to defend the city.
Inside the city I actually forgot that I can summon the armies I gathered to help and don’t even notice that it is a thing I can do until almost the end.
We fight through the market, the Alienage, the Palace and Fort Drakon. Riordan gets killed dramatically after slicing up the Arch Demon’s wing nicely and of course it is up to the remaining two wardens to deal with the Dragon. On top of Fort Drakon comes the last confrontation. First Enchanter Irving somehow got there too with Arl Eamon and helps. And the fight is actually over pretty quickly. At this point my party is at level 23 and super well equipped, so no one was even in danger at all. Cute more cutscenes of heroic dragon slaying and some voiceover.
We cut directly to Anora and Alistair’s coronation and a big thank you speech from Anora this time. She grants Aren a boon and Aren wishes the circle to gain more independence. It is granted even though the chantry will most likely not be happy with it. Anora asks what Aren’s plans are and even though Aren would love nothing more than to just go home she feels so sort of duty to at least make sure the Darkspawn are actually gone for good. So she decides to stay with the wardens – for now.
After this it is time for a final goodbye to our companions. Oghren tells Aren that she is „alright – for an Elf!“ and gets an „you’re alright too – for a Dwarf!“ back. Shale confesses she was actually worried about Aren for a moment and decided to go to Tevinter to figure out how to become mortal again. Wynne got offered to be the new first enchanter but she turned it down – she wants to travel with what little time she has left and plans to go with Shale to help her become a Dwarf again. And of course she is proud of Aren, who has some tears in her eyes at this point.
Zevran jokes about assassins and murder but is actually happy to stay in one place for once. He will travel for now but Aren makes sure he knows he is always welcome to return to wherever she may be. Loghain is put in charge of recruiting new Grey Wardens in Ferelden and seems to be rather content. He even tells Aren that he didn’t think it would happen but he respects her a lot. Sten is getting ready to return home a.nd even offers Aren to come with him. (I see you Sten, calling her Kadan all the time now, I see you!) She refuses but they part amicably.
And Leliana? Decides to stay with Aren wherever she may go. For now they will both travel to Amaranthine to oversee the rebuilding of the Grey Warden Order. Afterwards Aren plans to go looking for Morrigan, who just as she said, disappeared right after the fight. Aren really doesn’t want to stop her from doing whatever it is she feels the need to do, but she feels it is her duty to at least make sure she is ok.
With all those plot lines tied up Aren steps out to make an appearance for the public and we get the epilogue text slides telling us what is going to happen in the next few months and years.
And with this Dragon age Origins is over. I actually cried during both the last goodbyes and the epilogue this time. I don’t even exactly know why but Aren is a very special character to me. She has the temper I would like to have and the optimism I dream of having sometimes. She is quiet and introverted but her convictions are strong and unshakeable. She is by far my favourite Warden OC and I am incredibly glad I get to play her through Awakening and Which Hunt too!