Our “heroes” had most recently… actually, they’re somewhat heroic, and they do risk their lives in the service of mostly noble goals… so let’s disinvert those commas… our ,heroes, had most recently returned from the Kokari Wilds and took stock of the following unfortunate realities:
• Most of the Grey Wardens are dead (darkspawn conspiracy).
• All of Lothering is dead (plague).
• Much of group morale is dead (lack of team-building exercises and shared interests outside of work).
With this in mind, the group of ,heroes, tracked down the remaining Grey Wardens and helped them escape a large band of templar who were tracking them down (small misunderstanding). Some high jinks with the deep roads, some darkspawn, and a pride demon later, and the rudderless survivors found themselves back in Orzamar.
The group managed to work out an unofficial arrangement with the ruling counsel and King Harrowmont that would allow the Grey Wardens to stay in the city and begin training and recruiting new members. The dwarves would get to learn about making Vartarol.
Following directions from a scroll that
-Oscar- Abel had gotten from Zumguul (umlaut TBD) in exchange for some later unspecified service, the group headed over the Frostback Mountains and south through the Dales. Along the way, they encountered an unbound eidolon formerly belonging to Galen, the elven keeper who had been holding on to the eluvian for the group. Abel managed to bind it to him using some sort of blood magic that Flemeth had given him.
His name is Fen’anadas, and no, you may not pet him.
Their final (well, hopefully not final) destination turned out to be a Grey Warden prison watched over by a spirit of vigilance. Here, the Grey Wardens kept darkspawn that they couldn’t permanently kill, including the original magisters. After talking with vigil, the group used the eluvian in the prison to visit the Architect, and then to visit Zumguul again. After some lengthy discussions with every proper noun in the previous sentence, the group sussed out the following:
Each of the blights was caused by a magister dying in the prison, reforming, and merging with an old god (not actually gods, but we’ll role with it for now) to form an archdemon. They were all broken and insane, so the blight was disorganized. The most recent blight was at least partially the result of the Architect trying to awaken one of the old gods without merging with it.
The Architect isn’t interested in causing another blight, but he will not fight to prevent the Master’s rise. He seems to have abandoned most of his plans, and he currently lives near the weakened, bound body of the old goddess of wisdom.
The champion of Kirkwall and his sister found the prison several months ago and killed the Master, freeing him. The Master had regained control of his mind, hence the more restrained tactics. He hasn’t fully merged with his archdemon, limiting his control of the darkspawn. He’s been using the darkspawn to keep everyone busy while he prepares to re-invade the Golden City under the auspices of “second time lucky.”
The group also engaged in negotiations with Zumguul.