This quest becomes available after Birthright has been completed, via the Writing Desk at Gamlen's House. If Hawke worked for the smugglers during The Destruction of Lothering, they receive a letter from Athenril. If Hawke worked for the mercenaries a letter from Meeran is received instead.
If working for Athenril:
Hawke can find Athenril in Hightown. She requests that some goods be retrieved. After speaking with her, go to the Docks at night. Hawke finds Pryce being chased by some Coterie thugs. The first wave contains an Assassin, so concentrate on her. The other enemies are all two-handers and can interrupt less resilient enemies with just their basic attacks, so one strategy is to allow them to draw close while hitting them with ranged attacks from the top of the stairs (a Firestorm at the base works great), then rely on warriors in this tight space to eliminate the melee-oriented wave. The walls should help insulate from the Assassin's backstabbing tactics. Five archers will spawn at the foot of the stairs after enough of the first wave is slain, so be ready to deal with them as soon as the assassin falls. The third wave spawns from the east thoroughfare and has a mix of archers and two-handers, for a total of roughly 15 enemies. The Coterie enemies here are vulnerable to spirit damage and have no immunities to the other elements, if the player has the means to inflict such damage available.
After killing the thugs, Pryce says that the exchange was a setup by the Coterie, the others were killed and he only survived because he ran. He explains that his mother was killed by "one of them big, horned darkspawn" and is reliant on working for Athenril to provide for his sisters. Hawke must make a decision concerning what to do with the goods.
Hawke can either take the goods in spite of Pryce's predicament or tell him to leave Kirkwall with the goods. If they take them, Hawke shoves Pryce aside, packs up the chest, and flips him a single coin as Pryce laments what he and his sisters will do, as Athenril will no longer employ him.
If working for Meeran:
Hawke can find Meeran in Lowtown at night. He requests that Hawke find Gustav and ensure that the noble he was sent to kill is dead. After speaking with him, go to the Docks during the day. Hawke finds a group of guards surrounding Gustav. The Guard Commander orders the men to hurt Gustav to keep him from running, and combat ensues. Afterwards Hawke speaks with Gustav, and then with Lord Harimann. Asking Harimann about the bounty will reveal that he convinced the Viscount to send aid to Ferelden during the Blight and the other nobles resented that. This allows Hawke the option of sparing the noble's life.
Hawke can either kill Harimann in spite of his defense or allow him to leave. If Harimann is allowed to leave, Gustav promises to keep quiet about it since Hawke saved his life.
With the job completed or deliberately botched, Hawke reports back to their former employer.
- If Hawke brings the goods to Athenril: She rewards Hawke with sovereigns and invites Hawke to work with her again.
- If Hawke gives the goods to Pryce and lies to Athenril: Hawke is not rewarded, but is still invited to work with Athenril in the future.
- If Hawke gives the goods to Pryce and tells the truth to Athenril: Hawke is scolded for helping a "pock-marked brat" and for being a "soft-hearted Fereldan bastard/bitch." Athenril will ambush the party next time they approach this location at night; killing Athenril and her entourage yields about 300 XP.
- If Hawke kills Harimann: Meeran rewards Hawke for killing Harimann and rescuing Gustav, and invites Hawke to work with him in the future.
- If Hawke does not kill Harimann and lies to Meeran: Hawke is rewarded for rescuing Gustav, and is invited to cooperate with the Red Iron mercenaries in the future.
- If Hawke does not kill Harimann and tells Meeran the truth: Hawke is scolded for not doing the job as Meeran instructed, that "[they] don't get to decide if it's right." The quest concludes and Meeran will ambush the party next time they approach this location at night; killing Meeran and his entourage yields about 300 XP.
Despite the mention of future work, Hawke will never meet Meeran or Athenril again in Dragon Age II.
If working for Athenril:
Agreeing to help Athenril:
Note: Hawke can refuse the quest to receive Aveline: friendship (+5) and Carver: friendship (+5), then switch party members and accept the quest. This will not stack, even if Hawke goes to another area and returns.
Telling Pryce you'll be taking the goods to Athenril:
Giving Pryce the goods:
Telling Athenril the truth:
Lying to Athenril:
If working for Meeran:
Speaking with Gustav:
- Diplomatic option gives no change
- Humorous option gives Varric: friendship (+5)
- Aggressive option gives Varric: rivalry (+5)
Killing Lord Harimann without asking "Who wants you dead":
Killing Lord Harimann after he was asked "Who wants you dead":
- Aveline: rivalry (+10)
- Varric: rivalry (+10)
- Carver: rivalry (+10)
- Anders: rivalry (+5)
- Fenris: rivalry (+5) (tested on pc version 1.02, Confirmed does not occur on PC 1.03)
Refusing to complete the job and not killing Lord Harimann:
If you lie by telling Meeran that Lord Harimann "was gone when you got there" or "He wasn't there":
If you tell Meeran the truth that the job was "Not" done:
- 300 XP for killing the Coterie ambushing Pryce
- Retrieving the goods: 3
- Lying about the goods: No gold
- Telling the truth: No gold, ambush in Hightown at night worth 300 XP
- Killing Lord Harimann: 3
- Lying about Lord Harimann: 1
- Telling the truth: No gold, ambush in Lowtown at night worth 300 XP
- The dialogue Athenril or Meeran gives before attacking you is very similar to the dialogue for betraying them in the prologue, with minor changes.
- If you've earned their ire, you can avoid fighting them by simply not visiting their locations at night. Anything involving the Blooming Rose can be resolved during the day to avoid Athenril, and to avoid Meeran you can take the long road around Lowtown and/or simply fast travel directly to Gamlen's House from the Hanged Man and vice-a-versa, rather than exiting to Lowtown from one and walking over to the other (which also saves you a loading screen). If you manage to avoid them for the remainder of Act 1, neither Athenril nor Meeran will be present in Act 2 to take their revenge. They disappear from the game and Hawke's life like in any other scenario.
- Both Athenril and Meeran are Elite-ranked Assassins. The simplest way to deal with them is to pull them far away from their starting positions and eventual reinforcements. This may require wiping out many of the groups of Gangs roaming the streets at night beforehand.