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Mirror Image - Introduction
This is the companion quest that you’ll get for Merrill. She wants the special dagger, but its obviously not going to be easy for us. Travel to Sundermount and talk to Keeper Marethari to learn what Merrill needs to do to borrow the dagger. It seems that we’re going to have to kill a big Varterral and lots of undead. Let’s get started.
You'll need to bring Merrill with you anyway, so you might want to think about whether you really want Anders too. I found it better to just rely on potions and bring a tank and a rogue with my warriors for a balanced party. You should probably have a pretty good idea of what you want for a spider and undead hunting party.
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Mirror Image - The Long Path to the Varterral
Go to the marked cave to run into the first of the undead. You’ll just face about 6 corpses, so don’t worry. This is just the warmup. Once you’re inside, you’ll face a bunch of cave spiders. These tough spiders should go down quickly with Merrill’s Tempest spell, although the key is to get a tank to tie them all up in the center. Three wasp spiders will drop down after half of the field is cleared, so get ready to start healing your tank. These guys do a ton of damage and can do ranged attacks. You need to keep them focused on one person, cast an AOE spell to start wearing them down and then use stamina draughts to get your fighters back into shape for some tough attacks.
Keep an eye out for the first body, and an offshoot path that will lead to the second bod, and then engage the group of spiders that have an ambush set up along the path. There will be 2 waves of cave spiders in this encounter. If you made it past the wasp spiders you can probably survive them too. After that, it’s just a few more undead and spiders as you follow the path.
There should be a third body near the stairs down into the final area. Collect the last tag, and then move forward to find Pol. You’ll have to chase him down into the caves until you find the Varterral.
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Mirror Image - Killing the Varterral
The Varterral isn’t a hard fight at all. I do suggest you decrease the difficulty level though, for the sheer reason that the fight is mind numbingly boring. I don’t know if I’m just missing something big, but it was just a multi-minute grind with no real danger. I only lost Isabela. Even Merrill stayed safe.
For the most part, you just have to keep your mages and ranged fighters away from the action. The Varterral has a few attacks. It can slash, it can kick people behind it, it can knock rocks loose from the ceiling and it can cover an area with corrosive spit and drain your health. For the most part, the basic attacks, and even the falling rocks, won’t do much damage. The spit can wear away at tanks and warriors fairly quickly, but it’s easy to just move them to the other side.
A few spiders will drop down at some point, but they’re fairly useless. In fact, if you taught Merrill walking bomb, they just present an opportunity to dish out a lot of damage at once to the Varterral.
Other than that, it’s just a matter of drinking potions and keeping your fighters alive while you chip away at the Varterral. It’s not that hard on hard, although you will go through a few potions, but it is boring. Drop the difficulty to make the fight go by a bit quicker. I left it at hard, and found myself wondering why I just wasted a few minutes on the fight.
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Mirror Image - Getting Out Alive
Once it’s over, talk to Merrill. Note that asking why Pol ran will upset her, and net you some rivalry. You can cancel it out by offering to give her time to mourn, but it’s still better to just not ask it unless you’re trying to make her your rival. Loot the heart of the Varterral and start making your way out of the cave.
You’ll hit a group of undead on your way out. The first isn’t too bad. The real problem is the group that you’ll hit at the exit. There’s a frost horror, which you’ll want to kill quickly. Just have a warrior charge it and smash it. Fall back if you see it start using the frost AOE spell, but keep it up. You need to clear the field quickly.
The reason is that there will be an absurdly tough skeleton archer, that apparently has a pommel strike ability and a generally hard punch. You’ll want a dedicated tank to fight it and shake off the damage while your entire party rains down on it.
Once it dies, it should be easy to clear away any stragglers and leave the cave.
Talk to Keeper Marethari to reach the big decision. Since the dagger is technically yours, you have to decide what to do with it.
Just giving the dagger to Merrill will only please Merrill. Anders, Fenris and Aveline will all be upset if you do. Merrill will naturally be very upset if you refuse to give her the dagger. Note that if you refuse to give her the dagger at first, she’ll ask you again using the excuse that it should belong to the Dalish and that she’s just reclaiming her heritage. Anders is more sympathetic to this plea. If you give in, he should support it.
It’s your call though.
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All screenshots and images from "Dragon Age 2."
All information based on a "hard" difficulty playthrough, unless otherwise noted.