Hawke is asked by the Viscount (Marlowe Dumar) to meet with the Arishok of the Qunari, who has asked for him/her by name. Upon meeting the Arishok, Hawke learns that the Arishok believes that Javaris, who was persistent in acquiring the gaatlok (an explosive powder), has instead stolen the formula for saar-qamek, a poisonous gas which kills humans upon inhalation - which was a decoy. The Arishok asks Hawke to track down Javaris.
At the beginning of Act 2, after speaking to the Viscount.
After speaking to the Viscount, head down to the Qunari Compound at the Docks. If Isabela is in your party when you are about to enter the compound she will ask to leave. You will be given the option to either postpone your visit or to continue. If you chose to continue Isabela will automatically leave the party. The Arishok will inform you he has a belief that Javaris (who hired Hawke during a random traveling encounter to acquire the Qunari's explosive powder) has instead stolen the formula for a poison gas (saar-qamek) that was used as a decoy, one which would kill any human upon inhalation. Ask Varric for his advice (if you brought him along), and he tells you to ask The Coterie. If Varric is not in the party and Aveline, Anders or Fenris is, then after your conversation with the Arishok ends, he or she will make a comment about asking the The Coterie being a good bet when hunting thieves. Either way, the quest marker moves to Darktown.
Travel to Darktown to find a "Coterie Barker" selling Javaris Tintop's assets. She reveals that he has left town in a hurry, and since he still owes the Coterie money, she also reveals that he has used tunnels to get to Smuggler's Cut.
Follow the quest marker through Smuggler's Cut to the end of the cave. Be sure to pick up Ship in a Bottle, (one of the gifts for Isabela), a Deep Mushroom and Silverite for Crafting and the Supplier achievement. All are towards the end of the cave. The Design: Rune of Nature Warding is also in a chest located southwest of the exit up a flight of stairs.
NOTE : There is a Standard-ranked locked chest (20 Cunning to open, 100XP) and a Complex one (30 Cunning, 150 XP) in the cave, but no traps.
Despite initially encountering Carta dwarves, who have no elemental resistances and vulnerability to cold, the majority of enemies faced in this quest are Mercenaries, which resist cold on Nightmare difficulty and are vulnerable to nature.
Almost immediately after entering the area you will enter combat, and you should notice six Carta Thugs in the pit below your location. However, they will not engage you until they see you. Thus, you have the choice to engage them immediately, or to carefully make your way south through the tunnel to reach a sustained trap on the ledge overlooking the Carta. This trap can deal a lot of fire damage, but not enough to kill them all on higher difficulties, only serving to gain their attention. The trap is guarded by two Poisonous Spiders and an Elite-ranked Corrupted Spider, so take care of them. and the Carta reinforcements will know where you are and run to your location to attack you, but this can make the first battle in this area much easier for anyone having difficulty with it. The reinforcements contain an Assassin, but by this point in the game you should have unlocked several crowd control abilities to keep them suppressed while unleashing the full party's wrath to dispatch them quickly.
The next encounter has a similar makeup to the first fight, but no sustained trap to aid you. You can lure the first wave back upstairs and through the caves if you need to space them out. The narrow northern paths begin to introduce Mercenaries, starting with a single Mercenary Archer on the stairs. Dispatch him, then proceed to the next fight with Carta and Mercenaries mixed together. Dispatch the Assassin like the rest and use a continuous AoE where the rock walls narrow for an effective chokepoint. Collect the aforementioned valuables before stepping outside Smuggler's Cut.
Outside Smuggler's CutEdit
Exit the cave to find yourself outside in the wilderness. You will immediately enter combat with Mercenaries followed by reinforcements containing an Assassin. The hill you emerge on is no place to fight them, especially since the reinforcements spawn right here. Run down the hill, take out two of the initial three archers while stunning the third, then retreat towards the northern exit and use the slightly-inclined hill and narrow path to choke the reinforcements and hamper the archers' line-of-sight. Deal with the Assassin, clean up, and a cutscene plays.
The mercenaries turn out to be Javaris's bodyguards. Talk to him to find out that an elf framed him for stealing the "gaatlok" and caused him to flee. You are given the choice of letting him leave or killing him. Killing him will net Varric: rivalry (+5), Sebastian: rivalry (+15), Aveline: rivalry (+10).
Don't forget to loot the pile of rubble on the eastern side of the map before leaving the area and moving on to the Side Alley near Lowtown.
Head to the Side Alley, accessible via a temporary map icon over Lowtown, to find out that this area has been cordoned off as a poisonous green mist is covering it.
A cutscene with Guardsman Maecon reveals that canisters of the mist have caused everyone in the area to go mad or vomit until they died. If Aveline is not in the party, Hawke will just tell the guardsman to step aside and the party will handle the situation. If Aveline is in the party she'll address the situation and tell the guardsman that you'll be taking over. Aveline will state that the guardsman is a good man who would not exaggerate the situation. If Hawke replies with "And we have to play hero" it will net Aveline: rivalry (+5).
You will have to seal each of the four barrels, after which you have an exchange with an Elven Fanatic. She reveals that the elves, who have already forgotten their heritage, have been joining the Qun to find purpose, thus they are "losing [them] twice." Some humans are trying to incense the citizenry against the Qunari, so she has agreed to aid them by stealing the powder and causing a few disasters to lay blame at the Qunari's feet. The poison gas fumigating the district and the pandemonium it has caused was not what she intended. Nevertheless, she is enraged that you've stopped her and she attacks you. When she dies, she drops the Formula: Arcane Poison and a two-handed blade, the Brother's End.
- If you choose an aggressive answer as second in the dialog with the Elven Fanatic you will get Varric: rivalry (+5).
To close each of the open Gas Barrels spilling saar-qamek, you need a single Steel Latch. The first one is on the ground directly in front of you near the barrel (hard to see in the mist, so pause the game and press your corresponding key/button to highlight usable stuff). Closing each barrel leads to an attack wave of mercenaries, with reinforcements and an Elite. The first and third closings have a Commander, the second has an Assassin, so be ready to deal with them with stun. Commanders are resilient and will be a constant annoyance with a health-regenerating aura, but this can be suppressed with Dispel Magic or successfully stunning or paralyzing them. Taking attention off their subordinates just to face them invites party wipe on higher difficulties. The Assassin, on the other hand, is more dangerous the longer they are left alone. Should they escape stuns and paralysis and slip into stealth, they can be flushed out with AoE attacks, including ones that deal no damage like Mind Blast. The Elite is not necessarily the one that drops the Steel Latch, so you can progress to the next wave by grabbing it and sealing a barrel. This is not recommended, as you will still have to contend with any enemies not defeated in previous waves.
Staying on the higher steps seems to reduce damage from the gas compared to standing on lower ground, as does closing each barrel. This also prevents you from being flanked. After each wave, at least if no enemies have a visual on you, the group drops out of combat, allowing you to heal and save. From the starting steps moving left leads to an L-shaped staircase, which is easier to defend and breaks line of sight, if you keep your team on the right spots with Hold Position (note that the team may try to move downstairs anyway, so keep ordering them back up). It may be possible to drop out of combat mid-wave if you've stayed out of sight of the reinforcements. Keep up a pattern of finding the latch, sealing the barrel, and retreating to the stairs until all enemies are eliminated.
Another way through this fight is to simply pause the game and scan the battlefield for the archers, then head them off and defeat them. Even though the iron fencing around the pit in the center of the alley isn't technically a wall, it acts as one for the purposes of breaking their line of sight. With them defeated, the melee enemies can be kited around the iron fencing.
When you've closed the fourth barrel, the Elven Fanatic brings another wave of mercenaries with reinforcements. She has a unique enemy typing that grants immunity to frost and nature but vulnerability to spirit, so Stone's Breath and Valdasine are great weapons to use against her. Other than that she is simply an Elite-ranked two-handed fighter, so staying away from her blade prevents damage and interruptions. Mages will want to be careful that the lengthy final twirl of their basic attack animations does not "sync" to her own strikes, as this causes a fatal interruption loop. Defeat the mercenaries as you fought them and every other mercenary group in the game so far; take out the archers first, use nature damage for best results.
Return to the Qunari Compound at the Docks and have a chat with the Arishok, who discloses that he is indeed stuck in Kirkwall, with no way of returning to Par Vollen until he has retrieved a stolen item that was placed under his care. After losing his temper at the situation, he composes himself somewhat and thanks Hawke for their assistance.
- If Merrill is in the party when you speak to the Arishok, she will make a quirky remark. She will make another one if you select the "She almost beat you." option in the same conversation.
- If Isabela is in the party when you ask to enter the compound she will ask to leave and will be removed from the party. She must be added back with the party summoning horn. Note that this happens any time you try to enter the compound with Isabela.
Return to the Viscount's Keep at Hightown and report to the Viscount. He is exasperated by the turn of events and reveals that a Qunari delegate and entourage who have come to visit have disappeared, missing literally from his doorstep. The quest concludes and Offered and Lost begins immediately.
Loot EditShip in a Bottle
-- gift for Isabela found in Smuggler's Cut. Deep Mushroom
-- Needed for the Supplier achievement. Found in Smuggler's Cut. Silverite
-- Needed for the Supplier achievement. Found in Smuggler's Cut. Design: Rune of Nature Warding -- Found in Smuggler's Cut. Formula: Arcane Poison -- From Elven Fanatic. The Brothers' End
Damage: 28 physical damage
(46 per second)
+10% physical damage -- From Elven Fanatic.
- From the Viscount - 3 and 1000 XP (quest completion).
- Several companion quests are unlocked after speaking with the Arishok about the Elven Fanatic.
- Javaris will have a series of remarks about the men he hired, should you let him live and prompt him. Some of his comments flirt with breaking the fourth wall.
- Hawke's comment to the Arishok telling him "She almost beat you" leads them to say the Elven Fanatic used the Qunari's own weapon against them. The Arishok retorts that "the only weapon [they] have is the certainty of the Qun," and that it can't be used against them. Merrill comments that "Certainty isn't pointy enough to make a good weapon," which is ironic in hindsight, to say the least.
- xbox360(1.02) pc(v1.04) If the first barrel closed is the one immediately to the left of Hawke (directly following the cutscene), sometimes the remaining gas will not harm the party at all.
- pc(v1.04) If a party member goes down, after the fight they will revive but will likely immediately go down again due to the damaging effects of the gas, causing multiple injuries to stack.