Three months into the fifth blight, in southern Ferelden. Vadis, a reticent city elf; Dabria, a determined Chasind warrior; and Caroline, a young Orlesian, are among a large group of people fleeing northward to Redcliffe from a darkspawn infestation. The three of them decide to part from the group and go to Lothering instead. Along the way they meet Kaaras, a young Qunari, who is unaware of the darkspawn problem. They warn him of the danger and he joins them on their way to Lothering.
When they arrive they find a refugee camp outside the city. Looking for rations, they encounter a merchant charging unconscionable rate for his wares, knowing that the desperate refugees can’t afford to say no. They also meet an Orlesian man, Sebastian de Antoine, and his daughter Fiona. Sebastian wants to hire the party as bodyguards to accompany them on their journey back to their home in Orlais. They agree to go as far as Orzammar for the fee of 10 gold each, with the understanding that they may choose to go the rest of the way for an additional fee to be discussed.
After nightfall, the party robs the immoral merchant of his remaining rations, taking a small amount for themselves, and distributes the rest of the food and all of the money amongst the refugees. Kaaras disappears during the action to help heal the wounded in the field hospital, unbeknownst to the other party members.