Dragon Age: Origins Walkthrough - The Sacred Ashes of Andraste - The Gauntlet
We have finally found the Sacred Ashes of Andraste. We just need to run the gauntlet and pass the guardian's four tests if we want to actually see it. If you need help with the puzzles (especially the bridge puzzle) then just look here.
The First Test
After talking to the guardian and letting him do some soul searching of your party, you'll be sent into the gauntlet for The Test of Faith.
There are eight ghosts here and they each have a riddle. If you listened to Leliana's stories about Andraste, then you should actually know some of these people and what their answers would probably be. Missing one isn't bad. The ghost just turns into an ash wraith, and I'm sure that you can handle one of those by now. Actually, you will get slightly more experience from killing the ash wraith than answering the riddle (at least in the PC version), so if you really care about an extra fifty or so experience points, then you could miss on purpose.
Ealisay – A Tune...I thought that was a joke actually and got it wrong. There's also a Monty Python reference as an option, in case you missed it.
Brona – Dreams. Pretty easy.
Thane Shartan – Home. This makes sense if you know the story.
Lady Vasilia – Vengeance. Also easy.
Disciple Havard – The Mountains
General Maferath – Jealousy. Also in the story.
Disciple Cathaire – Hunger. In the story.
Archon Hessarian - Mercy
Walk out the back door once you're done.
Second and Third Test - Reflection
Someone you know from your origin story will be here. Just talk to them and they'll hand over an amulet, Reflection. You'll take it even if your inventory is full.
You'll need to battle yourself. A ghost version of your party will spawn as you enter the next room. Save beforehand, since it isn't an easy fight. Only your warden will be a carbon copy though. The other party members will be versions that the game picked. For example, Leliana was an archer and Morrigan had much more earth and shapeshifting magic. Sten is also quite deadly, so remember to focus on him. In fact, I suggest that you reverse your normal tactics and focus on killing the warriors first. Morrigan should fall pretty quick and not manage to do too much damage. It might take a few tries, but you should win.
Fourth Test - The Bridge Puzzle
This one is a little tricky. This requires old school teamwork. Your allies need to stand on the different pads to form the bridge. It also has to be solid before you can step on it. For the sake of organization, I'll use my characters' names. If you have different allies, then just swap the names' in appropriately. Also, don't worry if you accidentally dump yourself into the pit. You'll just respawn at the start. Also remember to zoom out, turn off free movement of your party, and possibly use the right-mouse button to order them to move around.
For the record, my perspective is looking straight ahead from the entrance point.
Have Leliana stand on the second pad on the right while Morrigan stands on the third pad on the left. That will solidify the first block. Have Sten stand on the last pad on the left to solidify the second block. Your warden can walk to the second block.
Morrigan should move to the fourth spot on the right. Leliana can then move to the first spot on the left. This should make the third block solid. Move forward.
Sten can now move to the fifth spot on the right. Morrigan can then move on over to the fifth spot on the left. This should complete the bridge. Walk to the end and it should lock into place. Turn free movement back on and they'll follow you forward.
Just approach the altar and agree to take off your equipment. You can then walk through the fire without being burned or attacked. Approach the urn and make your decision. If you just take a pinch, you can leave in peace. Just loot the burned body and the chest and go through the door to the Mountain Top. You can take the shortcut to end up back in the main room of the ruined temple.
If you defile the ashes, then you will have to fight the guardian and two ash wraiths. It's not an easy fight, but you should be able to manage. We've fought the wraiths before and the guardian just needs a little of our usual fighting magic. Wynne and Leliana will help him though, so you might want to leave them behind at camp if you're planning to go this route.
If you defile the ashes, go back to Kolgrim for your reward. You can also kill him if you really want some extra experience. Otherwise just happily accept the reaver specialization.
Brother Geneviti will want to spread the word. You can kill him to stop him (this doesn't go over well with the moral side of your party). You can also just tell him that he'd be responsible for anything bad that happened because of it. Or you can just wish him luck. There's nothing much that happens physically. It's mainly roleplaying for the epilogue.
The last thing to do is move back to Redcliffe Castle and talk to Bann Teagan. He'll let you take the ashes to Arl Eamon. After that, you'll get some more dialog and some official planning. Just watch the cutscenes and talk it out. Also go ahead and accept your reward. You'll get the champion specialization from Arl Eamon and also get a fairly nice shield.
This will basically conclude our business with the Arl until we're done with the rest of the treaties and ready for the Landsmeet.