The entrance to the forest is at the opposite end of the camp from where you entered so if you see Mithra you are on the wrong end. Just follow the path through camp and you will see where you need to go!
Note: as you progress through the woods there are going to be plants that you can harvest I am just going to assume that you are doing that and not mention them here.
Just past the log bridge you will be attacked by a group of werewolves and wolves after you kill them, if you face the bridge, you will notice that there is a path leading up to the left from here take that to fight another pair of wolves, and then take the left turn off of this path towards the waterfall. As you approach you get a checkpoint save, and a werewolf named Swiftrunner appears with two buddies and you get a CS.
After the CS you can interact with Swiftrunner, who tells you to take his message to the Dalish. The conversation leads to a fight, but you do not end up killing them! After a brief exchange of blows, they retreat leaving you with a warning.
The branch of the trail that heads left from here just loops back to the bridge and the other path but take it anyway, because halfway to the bridge on the left is a small opening with a Great Bear in it! After you kill it, loot the corpse here and then retrace your steps back to the waterfall where we had our encounter with Swiftrunner and continue on in the direction that he retreated in.
As soon as you cross over you get attacked by a mixture of Rabid and regular Werewolves go ahead and kill them, right? If you explore in the direction that they came from you will find a body that has a Magister's Cinch for you to loot, and just past the body is a wounded Elf named Deygen one of the hunters from the missing party. I chose to take him back to the camp and was met by Kithra and her party, who took him off my hands.
An easy jog back to where we were, and then cross over the next bridge to engage an Ogre and some Hurlocks. Once they are killed another Hurlock appears from the nearby path and after you kill that one, head up the path a bit and you will see some rubble on the ground. Search that to loot some gifts.
There is a tombstone on the other side of the path across from the rubble but when you examine it you end up feeling uneasy... If you move a little to the right you will target a Mystical Site of Power marker behind the tombstone activate that as part of the quest we are already doing.
If you return to the last bridge that we crossed you will see that there is a path ahead and one to the left of it. For now, run down the path ahead (ahead as if we were just crossing the bridge) and take the first cut to the right for a checkpoint save, and then a fight with a Wild Sylvan (tree creature). As you progress down this path there are more Wild Sylvan for you to fight and then you encounter a Grand Oak that you can talk to.
The Grand Oak or Elder Tree speaks in rhyme and he wants you to do him a favor! Finding an acorn sounds like a needle in a haystack sort of quest, but hey, a quest is a quest, right? He tells us that we need to go to the East to find this man... If we read the quest description and this is actually part of the main quest we are on for the Dalish we need to find the Mad Hermit.
Following the white arrow on the radar map gets us to a large fallen tree and a Wild Sylvan to kill just next to it. After you kill the Sylvan you may or may not get attacked by a group of werewolves if so kill them, and then move closer to the center of the fallen tree to target it, and gather the Ironbark that it yields for a Quest Update.
At the end of this path is the entrance to the Northeast Forest.
The Northeast Forest
As you enter you are attacked by a group of werewolves after you kill them, continue on the path to encounter another werewolves that turns out to be Danyla, the woman we are looking for. As you talk to her you learn that she has two requests to make of you to tell her husband that she loves him and is dead and then to kill her to put her out of her misery and pain. You can get some helpful information from her, but eventually you have to decide what to do I considered it a mercy killing and did as she asked.
Take the path to the left, and left again to fight a trio of bears and then a pair of Ogres. In the clearing there are some lootable spots, and you find another tombstone only this one you can disturb if you want to. Disturbing it gets you a new Codex Entry the Legend of the Juggernaut, and spawns a pretty tough Revenant for you to battle. The Juggernaut has some interesting armor on it be sure to loot that! Killing and looting it also updates one of our quests, the Mage's Treasure.
Continue along the path until you encounter the Hermit's camp and talk to the Hermit who is only willing to discourse with you in a question-and-answer trade. The questions you can ask are somewhat limited, and it looks like the only thing he wants that you have is the scarf you are supposed to take back to the Elf camp...
You can try killing him, but as he is an illusionist that is not as easy a task as you might think! It gets a bit tedious talking to him, and trying to kill him only to have him disappear and then reappear a few feet away so when you get tired of doing that, go over to the stump and search it then try to steal the item (the acorn) which you do, and he goes all aggro on you and summons some demons kill them, and then kill him!
Hopefully you got the information out of him that you wanted before you killed him and you looted him, right? He has some good stuff!
Go ahead and explore around the areas ahead you will find off to the left of the path a large mist cloud blocking that path and when you enter it, it just puts you back to where you entered it you also get a Quest Update. Read the main quests entry in the list to learn that your next task is to find a way to get past this barrier!
For now let's explore the rest of the zone.. You'll find exits to the Southwest and Northwest Forests, but for now let's return to the Northwest Forest and deliver the Acorn to the Grand Oak.
The reward he gives is a branch that he says will permit you to freely pass through the forest give that some thought where might that help us?
Move past the Oak and you'll discover an abandoned campsite a sinister campsite that tries to get you to sleep... It's a trap! Once you resist a Greater Shade appears and the battle ensues! After you kill the Shade you discover the bones of its previous victims as the illusion of the camp is broken.
There is some good loot here but if you are like me, the loot you get here puts you pretty close to having full packs, so it is time to pay a visit to the Dalish camp and sell-off some of this booty!
Back to the Dalish Camp
As we are selling off some booty, we may as well turn in the quests here too. Give Varathorn the wood and he will fashion an item for you a bow or a breastplate, you decide but make sure you have an inventory slot to put it in or you will lose it!
Now go to Athras and talk to him be kind and let him down gently, give him the scarf and tell him that the Keeper spoke true. That really is the kindest solution.
Head over to talk to Cammen give him the Wolf Pelt that you have and enjoy the CS in which he finally secures his Honey. Isn't that sweet? Of course he has built his new relationship on a lie and you helped him... Shame on you!
Now might be a good time to pay a visit to your camp and distribute armor and weapons to the other party members as that will help free up more slots in your inventory. You will also get an update from Morrigan in which she reveals what she has learned from her mother's book and it is not good news. I agreed to help her of course I did! After all she is part of my party now, right? This of course adds a new quest for us but not one that is time-dependent so we can do it when it is convenient to do it.
On your way back to the Forest you will get a combat interruption it is the group of Travelers who are taking the false message about Blood Mages to the Chantry all you have to do is intimidate them to complete the requirements for this quest so intimidate them!
Back to the Forest
Now that we have some breathing room in our packs and have completed those quests, we can head back into the Forest!
Remember the first tombstone that we found that made us feel odd but that we could not interact with? It is in the hill to the right from where we encountered Swiftrunner return there now and trigger it to fight another Revenant and this one drops the second treasure for the quest, a Juggernaut Helm!
Now return to where the other tombstone is, and now there are now Malifcar casting spells at an old crypt (this is the area just past the Hermit's camp). Go ahead and kill them, as that completes the requirements for the Mage's Circle Quest Thy Brother's Killer.
Now remember the branch that the Grand Oak gave us? When he said you would be able to pass through the forest, you likely thought that he meant the Sylvan would not attack you, right? Well that is not what he meant that branch is what you need to be able to pass through the mist that kept putting us back outside! Check the map to find your bearings and now head for the Forest Barrier.
As you run through it this time, instead of being kicked back out, you pass right through, and you get the Quest Updated flag and a checkpoint save! Excellent!
Swiftrunner is waiting ahead and you get a brief CS in which he once again warns you. Odd that he is warning you instead of killing you, but still... A brief chat and then the fight begins and once again you do not get to kill Swiftrunner, as just before you can deliver the final blow he is saved by a white wolf, who gets in between you. What the deuce?!
As we run ahead we spot another tombstone to the left and like any good button pusher we cannot resist it, and summon the third Revenant. Killing it gets us a Juggernaut Plate Gloves and a set of Red Steel Heavy Plate Armor. Nice! Don't forget to loot the two nearby chests, and then head up the path to encounter the Gatekeepers!
Now is probably a good time to make a save...
So, that done, let us head into the Ruins!
To the right after we enter (before we go down the stairs) is a secret brick wall door open that and kill the two skeletons that pop out, and then kill the pair that pop out of the secret door on the other side. Loot their bodies and then run over to the other side and loot the chest there it has one of the letters we have been collecting. Now head down the stairs loot the armor from the pile of bones on the left, and continue down to fight the werewolves guarding that room.
On the left side of the room there is another secret door with some lootables inside, while the right side leads down to a lower level. There is a door in the center that we want to take before we go down there, that leads to a hall with branching halls off it leading down. These are all blocked by rubble, but there are lootables in some. Kill the Giant Spiders, then go to the room at the end and loot the Private Documents from the cocoon and then loot the spots in the right branch before you take the left branch down. Did you hear that growl?
You get a checkpoint save here which should tell you something and then you enter a very large room at the bottom of the stairs that has traps on the floor and a Dragon! Kill the Dragon! Okay it is a small dragon but still, a dragon is a dragon! Mind the traps that this crafty dragon has laid out for you I took a moment to disarm them out of respect for my and my party's tootsies, but you can just try not stepping on them too.
After it is dead, disarm the rest of the traps for some easy XP, and then head to the bottom of this area, where you can loot the Dragon's treasure pile and some chests. Once you have everything that you want, look to the back wall for the entrance to the lower level.
Ruins Lower Level
As you reach the first chamber you will fight some skeletons, and then a wispy little ghost boy appears in the center of the chamber, calling for his mother. You try to talk to him, but he runs away and bunch of skeletons spawn and you kill them!
In the chamber to the left is a Sarcophagus with a gift and a tablet in it loot those and note that the tablet gives you another quest called The Elven Ritual and then head back out and right, to a door that you will open and then fight more skeletons. Run down this hall to the next chamber with a round white dais similar to the one in the other room but this one has a fountain in the middle of it.
The quest description describes the ritual you must perform in order to open the Metal Door in this chamber so take the following steps but be aware that if you make a mistake demons will appear and you will need to kill them:
(1) Click on the Fountain and select option 3 Take the earthen jug.
(2) Select option 4 Fill the earthen jug with water.
(3) Now select option 4 Leave the pool alone.
(4) Move to the alter and select it, then select option 2 Place the earthen jug on the alter.
(5) Now select option 4 Kneel before the alter and pray.
(6) Select option 2 Examine the earthen jug on the alter.
(7) Next select option 1 Take a single sip from the water in the jug.
(8) Select option 3 Take the earthen jug.
(9) Select option 6 Leave the alter alone.
(10) Now return to the fountain and select it, then select option 3 Dump the water back into the pool.
Now that the jug has shattered, the Metal Door is unlocked and open, so go inside and loot. When you reach the rear section of this chamber skeletons will attack just kill them and keep looting until you have done all three sarcophagus. Now turn around and head up the stairs, where you will encounter a Shade she tries to talk to you but you cannot make any sense of what she is saying.
After you tell her that, she summons some Greater Shades, and the fight is on. If you concentrate on killing her, the battle ends a bit faster, and once she is dead, look at the Burial Chamber in the center of this raised area the final piece of the Mage's Treasure for that quest is in it! Grab the Juggernaut Plate Armor from the Burial Chamber and pat yourself on the back for completing yet another quest!
Exit this chamber and continue down the hall and turn right into a room with a broken crate and a Phylactery which you should click on, and then pick the option to touch it. Select option 3 I am sorry, and then continue twice, and then you can ask it a lot of questions.
This fills in some of the details of the mystery of these Ruins I thought it was a nice touch myself, no pun intended. Once you get through the dialogue and agree to help it, select the option to place the gem on the stone alter, and then accept the memories. The gem is destroyed, you complete the quest and you unlock another specialization Arcane Warrior!
Head back down the hall until you reach the room at the bottom where you find a pile of sacks with some money, and a Glass Phylactery. Taking the vial shatters it and a Revenant appears kill it! There are some lootables in the room to the right as you exit, then head to the closed door across from that room for a checkpoint save, and then open the door.
Inside this large room are some traps you should disable, and some skeletons to kill. Loot the bodies and containers for a Codex Entry, then disarm the rest of the traps before heading to the door in the back of this chamber. Open the door to find yourself in a hallway.
At the end of this hall is a Metal Door and another checkpoint save and once you open that door you are fighting more skeletons. At the bottom of this chamber is an Arcane Horror who summons minions until you kill him and find some decent loot on his body!
The chamber on the left side of the room has lootables in it sarcophagus and a crate. The chamber on the other side of the main chamber has more skeletons for you to kill and more lootable containers and also holds the entrance to the Lair of the Werewolves!
The Lair of the Werewolves
As you enter the Lair there are two corpses with Corpse Gall on them loot that as you need it for one of the quests we are doing and then head for the door ahead. Inside are some werewolves for us to kill I imagine we will be doing a lot of that! Mind the traps on the floor and take out the next group of werewolves.
There are two halls with stairs leading down that are blocked by rubble but that have lootables, so loot those before you go down the third, which is not blocked. You get a checkpoint save here, and as you enter you encounter more Gatekeepers only they do not want to fight, they want to talk!
Agree to talk, and the Gatekeeper will take you to see The Lady. The brief CS you get has a bit of werewolf posturing, and then we meet The Lady of the Forest who could give Pamela Anderson some stiff competition on haute coture!
As you hear her story, you come to understand that you have been misled by the Dalish Keeper. Still, you have a choice to make here you can either agree to help her convince the Dalish, or you can persuade her to kill the Dalish. Your call I played good though, so I chose to help.
You need to be aware that Achievement-wise the choice you make here has consequences. You have three options: You either kill the Lady, persuade her to kill the Elves, or you help her convince him to end the curse. If you choose to persuade her to kill the Elves, you will get an Achievement for siding with the werewolves if you kill the Lady, you will get an Achievement for siding with the Elves and if you convince him to break the curse, you get no Achievements at all for this part of the game. If Achievements are important to you, well, you know what you have to do. If being good is important, than breaking the curse is the way to go!
Side with the Werewolves
You have to persuade her to attack them and that is not going to happen if you do not have a high ability to persuade, which means a high Cunning stat and Expert Coercion. If you have that, than by all means this avenue is open to you!
You will know it worked when Swiftrunner agrees with you rather than saying he does not trust you and after that you get a load screen and CS in which you invade the Dalish Camp with the werewolves and have a little chat with the Keeper. After the chat, the battle ensues, but with their forces weakened by the injuries and infection, it does not last all that long.
Once it is over, you talk to the Lady and Swiftrunner, and they pledge their support to you in the upcoming battle with the Darkspawn. If you chose this ending to the confrontation, you will get the Achievement for siding with the werewolves, but as your transition to the Dalish Camp was a load, you are going to need to go all the way back to the Werewolf Lair to loot the last two areas, because one of the Scrolls Banister and one of the letters we are collecting for that quest are located there.
Once you have obtained those, skip to the next section.
Side with the Elves
This is the easiest and fastest solution. Just get her mad enough to attack you and then manage to kill her and all of her werewolf minions. That probably sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Once she is dead, take her heart, and then return to where you encountered and likely killed the Gatekeepers and loot the chambers off of that area for the fourth of the Banister Scrolls and some odds and ends.
Now go back to the main room of the Lair and look to the left of where she was originally standing and you will see a door there that is closed. That is a shortcut out of the Lair and when you take it, you will end up back in the large chamber with the raised white dais in it. Just before you exit be sure that you grab the letter from the pile of goo on the ground.
Standing there waiting for you is The Keeper do you think he just does not trust us or what? You ask what he is doing there, and he tells you why he followed you. He admits that the heart will not break the curse but we sort of knew that and explains that what it will do is allow him to cure his own clansmen.
You ask if he will honor his bargain with you and he says that he will, and suggests that you return to the camp with him now. A short CS shows you that the heart actually helped them, and The Keeper gives you a reward for helping them. You also unlock the Achievement for siding with the Elves at this point, and you overhear some of the recovering Elves talking. I suppose that this is a feel-good moment, or as feel-good as the decision is likely to give you, but now it is time to move on so skip ahead to the next section, Return to Denerim.
Note: Either way you need to be sure that you loot the rest of the chambers before you leave including the ones outside where you met the Gatekeepers who took you to see the Lady, because there are quest items in here.
Breaking the Curse
Before you take the exit that she has opened, turn back and go to the room where you encountered the Gatekeepers a minute ago and loot the chambers to either side one of the Banister Scrolls is here, and there is some decent loot as well. Once you have looted what you want, head out the exit that she unlocked for you at the top before the door is one of the letters we are collecting be sure you grab that and then exit to the Ruins Top Level.
As you enter you find Zathrian waiting for you and it takes a bit of convincing to get him to come with you and talk to the Lady, but once you agree to protect him from them he gives in. You get a load screen and a CS in which The Keeper has his say with The Lady, and we learn a little bit more about their history and how The Keeper views the situation. Swiftrunner is not about arriving at a peaceful solution have to admire his stick-to-it attitude, right?
There is still some more arguing to get him to end the curse and you may have to tune up on him a little by way of convincing but eventually he does end it! The CS for this part is pretty cool, though I have to wonder at the change that took place in him that allowed him to end his life like that... I perceived his motives to at least in part be the long life that he gained from casting the curse in the first place.
Once the curse ends, The Keeper falls to the ground dead, and The Lady gets a few moments to say goodbye to her minions before she, too, dies in a glorious flash as well. The werewolves all regain their human form once the curse is broken, and thank you for your help. If you want you can ask for a reward here, and the leader will offer you Swiftrunner's Shield (presumably that was Swiftrunner doing the offering), and you might want to take that as it is not a bad shield!
Now we make our return run to the Dalish Camp (when you get the World Map prompt at the exit pick the Forest Outskirts to be warped to the Camp) where we get a CS with Lanaya for the end of this mission. This is one of the places where the game goes a little off-script, and with all the care that went into making this, that is a little surprising!
Lanaya opens the CS by telling you that the essence of the heart helped to cure the Elves but we never actually got her the heart, because Zathrian died removing the curse. Still, she says that she is sad that Zathrian had to die, explaining that she felt it when he did, and observing that she thought he was ready to go. I don't know, maybe she knew a different Zathrian than we did? From where I stand, getting him to die took a lot of work on our part, and that is hardly being "ready" to go, right?
Yes, he died a hero's death but as Lanaya is now The Keeper, she vows that the Elven people will honor the treaty, so you have just picked up your second ally! Way to go you! Now let us return to Denerim or make a pitstop at our camp to update our other party members and distribute kit and gifts first, it is all good.
Return to Denerim
On the way back to town we get a combat interrupt on our journey and find a group of mages fighting off darkspawn. After we help to kill the darkspawn the Mage in Charge tells us that the is taking these Apprentices to Redcliffe to join in the war effort. How cool is that?
As we enter the town a young boy runs up to deliver a message he provides no information, and the message flags a new quest! You will just h ave to read the description The Trial of the Crows to learn what the details are. They want to meet with you in the back of the Tavern... And since we have to go there anyway to turn in a quest or two, that works out just fine!
First let us head to the representative for the Mage's Collective and we get his thanks, blessing, and some hard cold gold!
Now we head over to the Gnawed Noble Tavern and talk to the Bartender to get our reward. He now has two more quests for us Sign of Safe Passage and Untraceable so grab them both!
Now head into the side room and chat with the Blackstone Representative to get your reward for his quests.
Head to the other side of the Tavern and speak to the Representative from the Crows. Basically he wants to hire you and once you are handed the scroll you discover BONUS! The hit he wants you to contract is for someone you already killed! How sweet is that? Talk to him again to collect your reward!
The chest behind him contains your next two contracts Mercenary Hunt and An Audience with the Ambassador. These quests are under The Trial of Crows Quest as parts of it so refer to that for the details. Fortunately these are in areas we will be going to anyway!
If you have not done so already, pop in to the Wonders of Thedas Shop and give the Apprentice inside the note terminating his services. He is not happy, but hey, so what?
Now let's take care of the Friends of Red Jenny Quest so head over to the mysterious door that is next door to the warehouse we did the silver quest in and deliver the box. The mystery remains unsolved, as the unseen person simply slips you your reward without ever revealing themselves to us!
Now let us hit the World Map and select the Kaden-re Hideout!
They fight well and they are strong but in the end we prevail and after we loot their corpses it is time to loot their camp! With this task done, head back to the World Map, and select Lake Calenhad.
Go see Sammael the Deserter to deliver the message we have for him a message he does not want and so a battle ensues!
That is all that we need to do here, so let's head for Sulcher's Pass now.
When you arrive you encounter a bloke named Felix who tells you he is a merchant and he wants to do a deal with you. Actually what he wants is for you to take the Golem Control Rod off of his hands, but the thing is, it does not come with the Golem it controls! That you will have to go to a Darkspawn infested village to retrieve.
NOTE: This is the second of the two DLC for the game released so far. I will be adding the details to this when I have the DLC.
Before we head on to the next part of our adventure, let's make a quick trip to Brecillian Forest to fire off that Fire Arrow for the Tavern Quest. Everything goes according to plan as we reach the spot marked on the map, equip our bow and fire arrows, and pop off the shot but it seems that we were expected!
As the battle ensues you have to wonder who it was that tipped them off that we were coming? I might just have a few harsh words for the Bartender when we get back to town! Fortunately these guys talk a better game than the fight, and the battle is brief. Now that we have taken care of that small chore, it is time to head for the World Map, and the Village of Haven! Dragon Hunting, anybody?