Dragon Age: Inquisition: Wicked Eyes And Wicked Hearts Walkthrough

When it comes to Dragon Age: Inquisition, the “Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts” main story quest is arguably the most difficult, as it has various end results based on how much the player accomplishes while undertaking the quest, all of which happens under a timer of sorts.

You’ll need 30 power to undertake “Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts,” and once you have this you can begin by going to the war table and selecting it. If you want to make sure you have all options available to you so you can get the best possible end result from this quest and finish with the highest court approval rating, this guide will cover everything.

Overview

The Inquisition has heard of a forthcoming assassination attempt on Empress Celene, the ruler of Orlais. Additionally, the country is in disarray as different powerful figures look to take control of Orlais — it’s time for the Inquisition to help.

Throughout this main quest, you’ll be trying to raise court approval to the maximum to ensure the best ending, while also unlocking the “Belle of the Ball” trophy/achievement for reaching 100 approval. Additionally, you’ll be on the lookout for evidence of blackmail and scandalous secrets, as well as Caprice coins and Halla statue collectibles, which increase approval and open doors in the palace.

It is recommended that you keep at least one backup save, prior to starting this main quest, so you can retry it if for any reason you don’t get full approval. Additional saves at various intervals during the main quest could also help if you need to backtrack, without making you replay it from the very beginning.

Players begin with 40 approval, and their approval rating will be shown in the top right of their screen at all times. However, 10 points will be lost if the Inquisitor is a human mage, an elf, or a dwarf, while Qunari Inquisitors lose 15 points, all due to social stigmas. Additionally, human rogue or warrior Inquisitors will gain an additional 5 points. If your approval rating reaches 0, you will be asked to leave Halamshiral.

You can gain approval by choosing correct dialogue choices when speaking with the nobility, and generally being friendly and agreeable in these situations will keep you in the clear. Finding scandalous secrets gains approval (once handed into Leliana), as does finding Caprice coins and tossing them into the fountain in the garden.

Furthermore, there are key points where a bell will sound, summoning the player back to the Grand Ballroom. Returning after the first bell makes no difference to approval, returning after the second and fashionably late will earn you+10 approval, and returning after the third bell will lose you -20 approval for being rude. Additionally, approval can be lost by choosing incorrect dialogue options, and it also steadily decreases anytime the player is in restricted areas.

Entering Halamshiral

The Inquisitor and their companions are all dressed up in Halamshiral, the Winter Palace, and the first person you meet with is Grand Duke Gaspard, Empress Celene’s cousin, and her political rival. He promises to be an ally to the Inquisition should he become Orlais’s next ruler and also confides in the Inquisitor that he believes Briala will arrive to disrupt the peace talks.

After speaking with Gaspard, be sure to speak to the nearby noblewoman standing in a corner and choose the “Interesting strategem” conversational option to gain +5 approval. Search the nearby corner, next to a statue of a lion (bottom right of the map) to find the noblewoman’s ring and return it to gain +5 approval by doing so.

Afterward, head up the stairs to the west where you will encounter your first eavesdropping situation. Once you’ve heard all there is to hear, search the plant pot on this upstairs balcony to find the storage key. Head back downstairs and turn right to find the locked storage room. Use the key you just found to unlock it and enter.

Just inside, you can search the area to find your first Caprice coin in a pot, beginning the “Throwing Away Money” sidequest. Afterward, search the tabletop to find your first scandalous secret, which will kickstart the “The Great Blackmail Hunt” sidequest, which asks you to find 30 secrets and give them to Leliana. These two items are missable, so be sure to get them now.

Next, head up the eastern staircase and find your first Halla statue, which begins the “Herd of Stone Halla” sidequest. You can use this to unlock the eastern storage room back downstairs, however, there are not enough statues to open all of the doors within the palace. It is best to save this statue for later.

Interact with the door to enter into the palace and to begin a short cutscene with Josephine who will warn you about how to survive in court. You will find yourself in the vestibule. There are various nobles gossiping that can be eavesdropped on, as well as a few of your close companions with who you can interact, depending on who you brought with you. Once you are ready to continue on, speak with Gaspard or interact with the Grand Ballroom door.

The Grand Ballroom

Inside the Grand Ballroom, follow Duke Gaspard and head over to speak to Empress Celene and Grand Duchess Florianne. It’s pointless warning Celene of the forthcoming assassination attempt, so just keep your cool for now. If you are a human rogue or warrior, for the first dialogue choice, choose the top option to receive +10 approval, if not, choose the middle option for +5 approval. Subsequent conversational choices make no difference to court approval.

After speaking with Orlais’s finest, Leliana asks for a quick word with the Inquisitor. You have another chance to mingle with the nobility and your companions, and, if you have the Nobility Knowledge perk and 60+ court approval, you should speak to Lady Mantillon and ask her to dance to gain +5 approval. Additionally, on a nearby couch, you can find A Compendium of Orlesian Theater Vol. 1.

In the vestibule, Leliana will tell you that Empress Celene has an interest in mysticism and that she apparently has an occult advisor in her court. Leliana asks that you also look into this advisor during your investigation of Gaspard and Briala in the Winter Palace, and suggests that you start your search in the guest wing.

The Hall of Heroes

For the next part of this main quest, you need to find three different items: the Cylinder Seal from the Hall of Heroes, the Negotiations from the upper Guest Gardens, and a letter from the Grand Library. You can find these in any order, but be warned, once you find the last item then the first bell will sound, summoning you back to the Grand Ballroom.

For the purpose of this guide, let’s get the Cylinder Seal first from the Hall of Heroes. Therefore, head back to the guest wing and you’ll find the Hall of Heroes located in the northwest of the map. The Hall of Heroes is off-limits, so you’ll lose approval steadily while in here. As you head towards the staircase, be sure to grab the Caprice coin at the bottom of the steps, then eavesdrop on the nearby whispering elves to learn about a secret delivery taking place in the upper garden. Nearby is a locked door to the servant’s quarters, remember this for later.

Continue into the western area of the guest wing and be sure to speak to Duke Germain and ask about Grand Duke Gaspard being his nephew to gain +10 approval. Another NPC is pacing nearby — the Council of Heralds’ vassal, speak to him and choose “Philippe is a jerk!” for +10 approval. There’s more gossip that you can eavesdrop on here, as well as a Caprice coin between two lions in Duke Germain’s room.

Head to the southwest area of the map, to the balcony just off from the guest wing, and use your search function to find the Cylinder Seal in a nearby flowerpot. This secret missive discusses something happening in the servant’s quarter, but let’s check out somewhere else first.

The Guest Garden

Head to the western area of the map to find the Guest Garden, where you’ll immediately be greeted by Celene’s ladies-in-waiting. They relay a message from Celene promising her full support of the Inquisition, once Gaspard is dealt with. After speaking with them, take a look around the gardens and be sure to toss any Caprice coins you have into the fountain to increase your court approval rating. There are a couple of eavesdropping points nearby, one of which can be used twice, so be sure to listen in for more scandalous secrets.

Next, head towards the lattice next to the fountain and climb it to enter the upper walkway area. This area is off-limits, so once again, you’ll steadily be losing approval rating, but if you need a break then pause the game, as this will stop your approval rate from dropping. Turn right, and follow the pathway round to the right to find a Halla statue, then use your search function to find a nearby scandalous secret.

Head back to where you climbed the lattice and this time head west (as if you turned left upon climbing the lattice). Open the Upper Garden Door using one of your Halla statues, and reveal the grisly crime inside. Next to the bodies is the Negotiations you need, showing that Gaspard reached out to Celene to work together against Briala. Grab the nearby loot and then head back to the lattice.

The Grand Library

Head north, moving forwards as if you had just climbed up the lattice and enter the Grand Library. Searching the shelf in the northwest corner and interacting with the book you find will uncover a secret chamber. Once inside this new chamber, do not pick up the letter, as this will cause the bell to sound and you will have to rush back to the Grand Ballroom.

Instead, grab a veilfire torch and then head back into the main library where you would have previously noticed the six urns on plinths. There are clues in the Winter Palace that reveal the order in which to light the urns. Ultimately, they should be lit in the following order:

  1. Etienne I
  2. Reville
  3. Etienne II
  4. Judicael I
  5. Judicael II
  6. Florian

Lighting the urns in this order reveals yet another secret room, where you can raid a chest for some decent loot, including a Confusion Grenade Recipe and a Masterwork Magister Staff Blade Schematic. Afterward, head back up the stairs and back into the Grand Library.

Search the eastern area of the map, though one of the doors in this area will remain locked unless your Inquisitor is a rogue that can pick it. Search the rooms you have access to in order to find more scandalous secrets, as well as some loot, and be sure to open the doors at the far east end of the map for easier access to the Grand Library later on.

Head back to the first secret room you found and pick up the letter, which will cause the first bell to ring summoning you back to the Grand Ballroom. The fastest way to return is via the doors you unlocked on the eastern side of the map. As soon as you enter the vestibule or Guest Garden, your approval rating will stop dropping.

Morrigan’s Request

When you try to re-enter the Grand Ballroom, you will bump into Celene’s occult advisor — none other than Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins. Morrigan confides in you that she shares the Inquisition’s concerns about an attack on Celene’s life. She also says that she recently found and killed a Tevinter agent in the Winter Palace, and hands you a key that she found on their body. She asks you to investigate on her behalf as she cannot leave Celene’s side.

The key that Morrigan gave you opens the servant’s quarters, so head back to the Hall of Heroes and open the locked door there. Once you enter, your approval rating will slowly drop again as this is an off-limits area, so don’t waste time here. Your party will immediately join you, which should be a fair warning to you that this isn’t simply collecting items this time, so be sure to equip all your proper armor.

You can check out the corpses for some dialogue with your companions, and in the kitchen just north of your location is a Halla statue. You’ll need to turn right and then take the northern door in this next room in order to enter the kitchen, and you’ll need to stand on the table to get the statue. There’s also a codex entry to be found nearby.

Head west and go into the garden area, but before dropping down to where the fountain is, check the back left corner for another Halla statue. Afterward, approach the fountain and a cutscene will play where you find a dead noble with a dagger in his back that bears Gaspard’s crest. A harlequin will be witnessed killing a servant before your party is attacked by a group of Venatori.

Track Down the Harlequin

After killing the initial Venatori, you’ll find more Venatori enemies appear as you progress, so keep an eye out and dispatch them as necessary. Grab the loot by the fountain and continue north until you find a staircase, go up, and then climb a ladder to reach a balcony and grab the nearby Caprice coin. Enter the door there to find a Halla statue in the small room.

Head back down to the fountain on the ground floor and move towards the west of the map. When you reach the vine-covered wall, take a left and go through the archway. In the grand apartments, turn left and enter into the nearby bedroom to find another Caprice coin. Leave the room and head forwards into the kitchen, where you’ll find a supply cache if you need it. Return to the previous room and head south, and once in the dining room, you can find another Caprice coin on a small table beside some flowerpots.

Use the stairs in the dining room to head up to the next floor and clear out the rooms while gathering loot. Eventually, once you reach a hallway up there you will find your target — the harlequin (as well as a bunch of additional enemies). Once you have defeated these guys, Briala will approach and explains that she came to avenge the deaths of her agents, but that you got there before her. Briala believes the Venatori to be working for Gaspard. After Briala leaves, collect the nearby Halla statue.

There is a locked Halla door up here that requires three statues to open. Inside is a Masterwork Crow Blade Schematic, as well as an elven locket that will give you an additional option at the end of this quest. Return to the ground floor and head south, heading past Briala’s agents and go back into the Winter Palace.

Dance with Florianne

Head towards the Grand Ballroom, but don’t enter until you hear the second bell to ensure you get +10 approval, at which point the Inquisitor will make a comment so you know you’re choosing the right time to enter. Once inside, Florianne approaches, and the following conversation with her will either increase or decrease your court approval rating, so be sure to choose the following options.

  • “Let’s Dance.” + 10 Approval
  • “Why don’t you educate me?” (Or “Orlais’ war is Thedas’ war.” with nobility knowledge, or “Orlais is everyone’s business.” for a human rogue.) + 5 Approval
  • “Is that what we both want?” + 10 Approval
  • “Which am I to you?” + 5 Approval
  • “Who do you trust?” + 5 Approval
  • “Isn’t everyone?” (If approval is less than 50 you will lose -15 approval, if it is more than 50 then you will gain +10 approval.)

Florianne suggests that you search the Royal Wing to find evidence against Gaspard. After the scene with Florianne, your advisors will gather and discuss what should be done.

Before you head out to the Royal Wing, use this time to speak to Leliana and hand in any scandalous secrets you have. You can also speak to Briala who is out on the balcony, as well as speak more with Celene’s ladies-in-waiting to complete a couple of side quests. Gaspard can also be found on another balcony and can be spoken with, while Celene is on another but cannot be interacted with. If you grabbed the elven locket, be sure to discuss it with Briala and Celene’s ladies-in-waiting, which will prompt a cutscene with Celene, and will enable you to pursue an ending that sees Celene and Briala reconcile.

Head towards the Hall of Heroes and trick Ambassador Anton and his friends into speaking with Cullen to get a further +10 Approval, or if you are an elf, you can get the nearby whispering elves to distract Ambassador Anton, but your approval will not increase. Either way, head into the Trophy Room, which is an off-limits area. Move towards the rear door, enter the office and grab the Secret Orders in order to blackmail Gaspard, then head back to the Hall of Heroes to stop your approval from dropping.

The Royal Wing

The Royal Wing area is off-limits, so be aware of your court approval dropping. You can enter the Royal Wing by heading up the eastern stairs in the north end of the vestibule area. Do not enter the southeastern area of this map (the Jardin de Reverie area) until told to do so as it progresses the storyline. Equip your armor once more and then grab the scandalous secret on your left.

Head up the stairs and enter into the Royal Quarters, then take the next two rights (the second time through a door) to find yourself in a room with some lootable containers, another scandalous secret, and a Halla statue. Head back outside and go past the locked door, toward the next door on the right to hear a scream.

Enter this room and you’ll see why someone was screaming — yet another harlequin is attacking an elven servant. Defeat the harlequin and then speak to the servant to obtain blackmail evidence against Briala. Inside this room are more lootable containers and another Halla statue. Exit through the southern passageway and follow the hallway through (ignoring the door with someone yelling on the other side) and go down the stairs to get another Halla statue.

Return to the room where the harlequin attacked the elven servant, and head into the northern area of the map (on your right from exiting the harlequin room). You’ll need five Halla statues to enter the Empress’s Private Quarters, and inside you’ll find a soldier tied to her bed. Speak with him and ask him to testify against Celene to obtain your blackmail evidence against her. This helps to give you the opportunity to push for a truce between all parties at the end of the quest. A Caprice coin can be found near the bed and a scandalous secret is nearby, so grab those before leaving.

Leave Celene’s chambers and hear right to explore the western side of the map. Continue west to find a scandalous secret at the bottom of the stairs, then head back up the stairs and turn left. Enter the first door on your left and search the area for a scandalous secret and a Halla statue. Exit this room and move towards the south of the map and then head west into a square balcony area, where you want to move north and enter into a room through an open window to find another Halla statue.

Head back to the vestibule and hand in your scandalous secrets to Leliana and toss your coins in the fountain to get your approval back up. Afterward, return to the Royal Wing and head for the southeastern area through the double doors opposite the square balcony area to progress the storyline. Be sure to have your armor equipped beforehand.

Once you enter the Jardin de Reverie, you will be ambushed by Florianne who has been working with Corypheus. She plans to keep you busy while she returns to the Grand Ballroom to assassinate Celene. When Florianne leaves, a Fade rift appears and you must defeat all enemies and close the rift.

Once the rift is closed, your companions free Gaspard’s men, and you must speak with his mercenary captain and convince him to testify against Gaspard to get your final piece of blackmail evidence. Head south from the Jardin de Reverie and fight your way through a small room, grab your loot, then head to the west to exit this map.

On the next map, you can head north where there are more enemies to defeat and two Lower Royal Wing Doors, one with a mage icon and one with a warrior icon. Each door requires 5 Halla statues to open and contains some loot with the chance of obtaining a rare item. However, if you opened Celene’s private chambers, you won’t have enough to do either.

Whether you open one of the Lower Royal Wing Doors or not, you want to head to the west and open the door enter a large courtyard. If you head north, you can find a supply cache in the kitchen if it is needed, and the dining room next to it has some lootable containers. Then head south from the courtyard, open the door and turn right to return to the party.

Decision Time

When you return to the Grand Ballroom, Cullen will speak with the Inquisitor and ask them what they want to do. Be sure to choose the “I’ll talk with Florianne” option in order to expose Florianne without any further bloodshed. This is only available if you have 85+ approval and should also push you to 100 approval for the “Belle of the Ball” accolade.

If this option isn’t available, you can choose between “Detain the duchess” to save Celene, or “Wait for Florianne to attack,” which results in Celene dying. If you have to choose either of these options, you will then be forced to fight Florianne.

Once Florianne is no longer a threat, you’ll find yourself in a heated debate with Celene (if she lived), Gaspard, and Briala. The ending has a few options based on what you achieved throughout this quest, and the decisions you make in this end conversation.

  • Public truce: As long as Celene lived, you can use the blackmail evidence against all three providing you have an approval rating of 85+ in order to convince the three of them to work together. This is considered the best result.
  • Celene remains the ruler: If Celene lives, you can use the blackmail evidence you collected to implicate Gaspard, who will be executed unless you intervene, and leave Celene ruling alone.
  • Celene and Briala rule together: Providing that Celene survives, if you picked up the elven locket and followed up with Briala and the ladies-in-waiting about it, you can also get Briala and Celene to reconcile. Give credit to Briala by choosing the “Briala helped stop Florianne” option, and use the blackmail evidence against Gaspard, before requesting that Briala be rewarded by choosing “What about Briala’s reward?” If you spare Gaspard in this situation, then Celene will rule alone.
  • Gaspard becomes the new ruler: If Celene dies, use the blackmail evidence against Briala and support Gaspard as the new ruler.
  • Gaspard and Briala rule together: If Celene dies, use the blackmail evidence to convince Gaspard to let Briala rule. Gaspard will become the emperor, but Briala will rule from the shadows.

Afterward, Morrigan will join the Inquisition as a liaison and you can dance with your chosen romance before heading back to Skyhold.

Next: Dragon Age: Inquisition Guide To Recruiting All Agents In The Base Game

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Meg appreciates gaming on all formats, but primarily spends her time achievement hunting to the extreme. Her passion for gaming began as a child, when first introduced to the Amstrad. A collector of gaming consoles past and present, Meg spends as much of her time rediscovering old classics as she does playing the latest releases.

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