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The First Sacrifice - Introduction
The First Sacrifice isn't too hard to get. You just need to find the appropriate person in the Hightown market. The quest itself will take you across Kirkwall, so you'll have several chances to change out your party. Isabela doesn't like you volunteering to help with the case, so unless you want ot be sarcastic and suspicious the whole time, just leave her out of it.
I suggest that you run with two mages (or Varric), a fighter and a tank. the fights are fairly basic, you'll just be fighting grunts and mages at the end, so you'll want crowd control and basic damage dealers. As usual, I suggest that you try to get this quest as quickly as possible so that you can do this at the same time as other quests.
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The First Sacrifice - The Investigation
You can start this quest by finding a man complaining to the city guard about his missing wife just above the Hightown market. Talk to Ghyslain and agree to help him track down the missing wife, Ninette. He’ll direct you toward the brothel, so walk over there and talk to the marked elf, Jethann. He’ll just direct you toward Emeric, the templar.
It seems that Emeric went down into Darktown, so follow him down and look for the marked meeting place. If you go inside, you’ll find a number of thugs attacking Emeric. They actually should be pretty easy to kill. Just use a few sweeping attacks and they’ll go down quickly. Once the coast is clear, talk to Emeric to learn about the much bigger case at hand.
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The First Sacrifice - The Foundry
Our only lead is the foundry in Lowtown, so go there at night. Once you’re inside, you’ll briefly encounter a mage and then have to fight all of his abominations. The shades are fairly weak, so take them out to clear up the battlefield a bit. The abominations also shouldn’t be too much trouble, if you’re well prepared. They don't have much that makes them special, and they should just be basic grunts. The only real trouble is the desire demon, which your tank should have no trouble tying up. Grind down the desire demon, and then head up the steps.
You’ll need to go through a side room to reach the mage’s last spot. There are a few shades inside, but if you made it through the first fight then these will be a joke. Walk through the room and investigate the pile of bones. These are the only answers you’ll get for the time being.
Walk back to Emeric at the Gallows and show him the evidence to confirm that the women didn’t just run off. He’ll thank you for your help and wrap up his side of the quest. You can also get a sovereign from Ghyslain by turning in Ninette’s wedding ring. Whether you tell him what happened or not is up to you. There isn't an actual difference (even though he says you can keep the ring if you tell him the truth, it doesn't actually show up).
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All screenshots and references from "Dragon Age 2."
All information comes from a "hard" difficulty playthrough.
There are several different side quests that one can do in Act 1 of Dragon Age 2. If you'd like more information on how to complete Sharp Little Pinpricks, Herbalist's Tasks, Last of His Line, Blackpowder Promise and The First Sacrifice, just look here and read these quick tips.