||It's what's beneath the skin and the letters I care about, what burns within. It's more important to me you're a Watcher than whatever culture or accent decorates your letters like awkward crowns. Take pride in your actions, not where you hail from... Or how your name rolls off whatever liar's tongue coats it now.
Durance is a male human priest and one of the recruitable companions in Pillars of Eternity.
He can be found in Magran's Fork, at the shrine of Magran in the center of the map. You simply need to talk to him, and unless refused, he will join the party. Player characters who are affiliated with Magran will have additional dialogue options.
Durance is an incredibly ugly man, with bulging red cheeks raked by pox scars, and a scraggly beard. He is sweating, as if he has a fever, but his breathing is measured and steady... like a slow push of a blacksmith's bellows, but that comparison feels strange and unwelcome. The next comparison, possibly sparked by his grin, is that of a bear trap... and then out of nowhere, there is the hint of alchemical fire... that fades almost as soon as you identify the smell. His robes are dirty, stained with grease, and other marks of the road... The hems of his robes, including the sleeves, are burned at the edges, as if he walked a great distance across a fire, then reached into the flames with his hands to pull something out. But while his hands are thick and callused, they bear no burn or scorch marks. The staff looks thick, stout, of blackened ash once burned by a terrible fire. Beneath the ash, the lines in the wood bear shapes and patterns... and there is a certainty the staff was once something far more dangerous... but not now. As befitting a priest of a fire goddess, he is a fire and brimstone preacher: pious, committed, and potentially murderously insane. Durance's ambition is to test the Watcher.
This wonderful, cheerful companion was a priest of Magran and an anti-authoritarian wanderer, who has particular dislike of the Aedyr Empire (and Readceras).
He considers his past to be a trivial, irrelevant affair, but when pressed, he will reveal that he studied Magranic scripture at Ashfall. His focus is on the more immediate: He was part of a team of twelve Magranic priests who worked on the Godhammer at Ashfall, drafting plans and praying to the goddess for guidance. Their services were instrumental in creating the device and for their service, they were awarded staves made from the forest of Black Trees, still glowing with embers and fire. However, the work did not end with mere manufacture. As a dozen warriors drew Waidwen onto the bridge, Durance and the rest of the priests prayed and focused the firepower of the bomb to kill Eothas. The flames of the detonation scorched them and their bodies as surely as they did their souls, killing eleven of the twelve mages and leaving Durance maimed. Durance does not know why his Magranic colleagues died or why he was spared, but he assumes he did wrong by his god.
Once the deed was done, he found himself in a strange isolation: The goddess, once there to guide him, was silent. He walked away from Halgot Citadel and the Bridge beset by doubt, abandoning the Magranic clergy without a word. He buried his name, taking on the moniker of Durance. He suspects the silence is the effect of the Godhammer, or rather, the work they all put into it. A device to kill a god is not simply assembled, it comes from heavy work and focus, of pouring yourself and your enemy into it. The Godhammer was designed to burn the soul of Waidwen and Eothas, but to do so it required payment in the only valid currency: The souls of the priests, or so he thinks. What he doesn't want to confront is the possibility that Magran intended for them all to die at Halgot.
Whatever doubts he holds about Magran, it didn't affect his hatred of other faiths, specifically Eothasians. Durance spent many years following the Saint’s War, rooting out Eothas sympathizers; then not long after, rooting out those he believed responsible for the Hollowborn crisis and euthanizing whatever Hollowborn he came across. In the Watcher, Durance sees a person who can make the barren field of the Dyrwood fertile again and latches on to test him, to ensure that they speak truth, not lies, but the learning goes both ways. Over time he comes to learn that the gods are not unlike the authority ﬁgures he so often ﬁnds himself at odds with, and that he and the assassinated Magranic clergy were nothing but pieces in the gods’ games.
- Durance is a racist, misogynist, and despises the worshippers of Eothas. As expected, he gets along splendidly with the rest of the Watcher's party. His comments about the weakness of women get on Pallegina's nerves on a regular basis, while the casual bigotry towards orlans usually gets Hiravias going (if the Watcher is an orlan, they can comment on his attitude too). Durance further despises Aedyr, Readceras, the Vailian Republics, and even his goddess. Come to think of it, there's very little Durance does not hate, including himself:
- If he is an active member of the party when finding the burning stone during Cinders of Faith, Durance has extra dialogue in which he refers to the stone as "a whore's cruel jest" and a "divine practical joke." He refuses to explain the joke, as he considers himself the only one who would get it. But clearly the burning stone can be regarded as a metaphor for Durance himself: another cast-off, broken, ever-burning remainder of the Godhammer Bomb's explosion. With that in mind – while reconsidering everything Durance has said about the stone, the vision and search for it and about Fyrga herself – and reapplying it to his self-image, it just reveals a glimpse of just how much hate is contained within him.
- Durance's companion quest is The Trials of Durance, which is received as soon as you recruit him. This is updated as you continue to travel with him, and finishing it requires most of his conversation options to be exhausted, which may not happen until after the start of Council of Stars.
- Durance keeps secrets that unravel the more you talk to him. He gets tired of questions and periodically stops answering them, but after a rest he opens back up. In Acts 2 and 3, if the player has Durance in the party, after a certain number of rests, the player will have visions of Durance that lead to further insight into his secrets. The player needs to ask him about more or less everything to be equipped for the last part of his quest, which unlocks after speaking to the gods and learning of Woedica’s plot. Using knowledge gleaned from his dialogue, you can try to convince Durance that Magran conspired with Woedica, and that she no longer speaks to Durance not because he did something to offend her but because she wanted to cover up what she had done.
- This has the effect of making Durance realize that the violence and brutality he perpetrated on Eothasians - and, perhaps, the Godhammer - were unnecessary. If he comes to the conclusion that Magran did, in fact, try to kill all the makers of the Godhammer at Halgot Citadel, and he only escaped by sheer luck and the wounds his soul sustained in the blast, he will swear revenge at Magran, promising that he will continue to use and drain her power as long as he needs, until he finally finds a way to strike back at her.
- Durance was written by Chris Avellone.
- Unlike other companions, Durance will end dialogue with the The Watcher prematurely if he becomes annoyed by how many questions you're asking him. After Resting, you can continue asking him questions.
- Before PoE 1.03, Durance had the following Attributes: Mig: 14 Con: 15 Dex: 9 Per: 9 Int: 13 Res: 19.
- A conflict in their past was planned for Durance and the Grieving Mother, and may have been resolved during the story of the Watcher, but that didn't make it into the release version of the game.