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You'll receive this quest from Flemeth during the Prologue.
In exchange for her help against the darkspawn, Flemeth will ask you to deliver an amulet to Keeper Marethari in the Dalish camp on
. You won't be able to do this until Act I. When you eventually reach Marethari, she'll instruct you to take the amulet to the altar at the top of the mountain and then perform the Rite for the Departed on it. To help you out, she'll send along her First, Merrill, to perform the ritual for you, but she'll ask you to take Merrill with you when you leave for Kirkwall. As a result, Merrill will become a companion at the end of the quest.
As you climb the mountain, you'll encounter spiders and undead creatures, and you'll have to travel through the
to bypass a rockslide. Also, you'll meet a Dalish hunter who will hint (not very subtly) that for some reason his clan doesn't care much for Merrill. Then you'll come to a barrier, and Merrill will remove it by using blood magic, and you'll begin to understand why.
Note: When Merrill uses blood magic at the barrier, if you respond with the good stance (and support Merrill), then you'll gain rivalry with Anders, Aveline, Bethany, Carver and Fenris; if you respond with the wry stance, then you'll gain friendship with Aveline; and if you respond with the aggressive stance (and chastise Merrill), then you'll gain friendship with Anders, Aveline, Bethany and Fenris.
When you reach the ritual altar, you'll get ambushed by an arcane horror, a shadow warrior, and more. This can be a difficult battle, but afterwards you'll find a
Ring of the Magister
and six sovereigns on the remains of the horror. Defeating the ambush will also cleanse the area and allow Merrill to perform the rite. When she does, Flemeth will show up, and you'll learn that she used to amulet to avoid her fate in
Dragon Age: Origins
. Flemeth will then fly away in dragon form, and you'll earn 8 sovereigns and 800 xp.
Note: Instead of heading right to the altar, you might want to explore the rest of the mountain with Merrill first so she can help you with the remaining fights.
When you return to the Dalish camp, Merrill will say her goodbyes, and then you'll be transported to the elven alienage in
, where Merrill will take up her residence. Before she leaves, though, she'll ask you to visit her. If you respond in the affirmative, then you'll gain rivalry with Fenris. If you respond in the negative, then you'll gain friendship with Fenris and rivalry with Aveline. Either way, you'll still be able to use Merrill as a companion.