Leaving Kirkwall with Fenris in your party and headed to the outside areas in Act 2 will trigger an ambush by slavers and begin the quest. You do not have to do the companion quest, Speak to Fenris, in order to trigger the event. However, doing the companion quest before A Bitter Pill may interfere with romancing Fenris. Sometimes, the quest will only trigger if you head to Sundermount with Fenris instead of another outside area.
When the slavers hold your way, a short dialogue will start.
"He's not a slave!"
- Aveline: friendship (+5)
- Fenris: friendship (+5)
- Isabela: friendship (+5) (does not happen if she is above 60% rivalry in 1.03, may not trigger if Sebastian is in the group. There is no approval change in the 1.00 version.)
- Sebastian: friendship (+5)
"Let's work out a deal."
- No change in friendship/rivalry
The dialogue will end either way with Fenris yelling enraged that he's not a slave, and the combat begins. After you kill them another dialogue with Fenris starts.
"We go after them."
"And now they're dead."
"Calm down, Fenris."
"Not right now."
If you don't go to the Holding Caves right away, you can force an encounter with Tevinter Mages, Slavers, Corpses, and an Arcane Horror for a sizable experience gain (830 XP from the fight and 250 XP from disarming the traps). To activate this encounter go to Hightown market during the day, immediately "Leave the area," switch to nighttime, and reenter the Hightown market. An ambush will occur at this point with dialogue. There are 4 traps: the first trap at the bottom of the stairs is Standard (20 cunning to detect and disarm - 100 XP) and the other three are Simple (10 cunning to detect and disarm - 50 XP/trap). After the battle, Fenris will blame the situation on Hawke for not heeding his warnings about the tenacity of Danarius's men and receive Fenris: rivalry (+10). He will then give Hawke an ultimatum: go to the caves with him now, or he goes by himself.
If Hawke chooses to go with Fenris, the current party will automatically travel to the holding caves when you leave the area. You will gain Fenris: rivalry (+5) if the diplomatic dialogue choice was made, or Fenris: rivalry (+10) if the humorous one was chosen instead. By taking a combative tone with Fenris before agreeing to help him, one may increase the rivalry gain to Fenris: rivalry (+20).
If Hawke decides to let Fenris go alone, Fenris leaves the party permanently and the quest ends. The holding caves can still be visited at this point, but the resulting scenes and quest are bugged. The quest is still updated in the journal, but it's always listed as complete. At most parts the quest continues as normal; even Fenris can be heard, despite being absent, in some scenes. You do not, however, gain or lose approval with Fenris, and he does not come back.
Visit the new area on the map outside of Kirkwall. There will be a couple of groups of slavers; they should be easy to take out (2 groups - 250 XP and 460 XP). There's Embrium to collect near the entrance of the area and a Glitterdust deposit as well near the entrance of the cave, along with two chests - a standard one (20 cunning to open - 100 XP), and a complex one (30 cunning to open - 150 XP). Before you enter the Abandoned Slaver Den, Fenris will start a dialogue.
There is a room with an elven slave, Orana, surrounded by slavers. Once you kill the slavers, a dialogue with Orana begins. There are several chances for approval changes:
If you answer, "I'm sorry":
When she asks what she should do, if you answer, "Come work for me," and select, "I will pay her":
- Aveline: friendship (+5)
- Fenris: friendship (+5)
- Isabela: rivalry (+5)
- Merrill: friendship (+5)
- Varric: friendship (+5)
If you select, "Come work for me," and "Slaves are useful":
- "Do you want help or not?":
- "What else will she do?"
"Not our problem":
If you give her 10:
Proceed until you reach Hadriana.
The battle is not very hard if you concentrate all your damage on Hadriana. Once she's knocked out, a dialogue will start. She says that Fenris has a sister and offers information in return for her life. Regardless of your choice, Fenris will kill Hadriana.
Deferring to Fenris:
Choosing to let her live:
Saying she can't be trusted:
The second set of dialogue options has no effect.
All other options:
Fenris will leave your party temporarily. Next time you go back to the Hawke Estate, it will trigger a key relationship conversation with him.
- "I understand": (+20), Choice 2
- "That's what I'm here for": (+20), Choice 2
- "You were out of line": Choice 1.1
- (Flirt) "I was worried about you.": (+20) or (+20), Choice 2
- "No": (+10), Choice 2
- "I want an explanation": (+10), Choice 2
- "Yes": (+5), ends conversation and causes Fenris to leave the party permanently.
- "You gave your word": no effect, Choice 3
- "You wanted to?": no effect, Choice 3
- "She deserved to die": no effect, Choice 3
- "It's not a burden": no effect, ends conversation
- "What about your family?": (+5), ends conversation
- "Maybe you should go": (+10), ends conversation
- (Flirt) "You don't have to go." Completes romance.
(found outside the abandoned slaver den)
(found on the roadside of the left forked road)
Companion armor upgrade
+(0.5 * ATK(LVL)) attack (Fenris's armor upgrade, found in a chest in the abandoned slaver den)
The Tevinter Chantry Amulet gift for Anders is found in a chest in the abandoned slaver den after you talk to Orana.
- pc(1.0) ps3xbox360 It is possible to begin the quest without Fenris in your party. After entering the holding caves it is impossible to leave the area to reform your party. During cutscenes, you will hear Fenris's voice and the camera will pan to where he should be standing, but there will be nothing there. You can still receive friendship and rivalry points with him, despite his not being there. However, killing Hadriana will not trigger a cutscene and it is then impossible to finish the quest, even if Fenris is later brought to the caves. This can be avoided by adding Fenris to the party through the use of "runscript zz_dae_debug" in the developer console prior to defeating Hadriana.
- ps3xbox360 If you go to your mansion right after Fenris storms off, and then talk to him, it is still possible to go back to the Holding Caves, and then the Abandoned Slaver Den. If you do so, Fenris will be locked into your party from then on and you cannot leave the holding caves/slaver den unless by exiting the way you came, you have to go through the whole area again as if you were doing the quest. The only way to unlock him is to go back to your mansion to reset your party.
- pcps3 The above bug can be triggered by selecting the Holding Caves again from the world map at the end of the quest.
- If you have sufficient Friendship/Rivalry, completing this quest will trigger Questioning Beliefs (Fenris Act 2). If you told Fenris to leave after meeting him at your estate, the quest is impossible to complete due to Fenris being gone, but the quest remains in your journal for the remainder of the game.
- During the first ambush outside Kirkwall, sometimes, if loots are available from the dead bodies (just some coins and junk items), they might vanish after the cutscene at the end of the fight. If you want to get them, better to do it before the fight ends.
- If you do this quest after All That Remains and allow Orana to come home with you, one of her dialogue lines is about missing your mother, whom she has never met.