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You're looking for a quick way out of the slums, right? You and every other Fereldan in this dump. Find another meal ticket.
~ Bartrand Tethras to Hawke

Bartrand Tethras is a dwarven businessman and a minor villain in Dragon Age II. A brusque and foul-tempered character with little sympathy for the plight of the less-fortunate, he at first appears to be swayed by the offer of money to his cause. However, Bartrand's greed is insatiable, and he is prepared to do anything necessary to feed it - especially in the face of literally irresistable treasures. He was voiced by Keith Szarabajka, who also voiced Harbinger in Mass Effect 2.

History

Following the end of the Fifth Blight, Bartrand begins gathering an expedition to explore the Deep Roads, hoping to exploit the decreased Darkspawn populace in order to acquire the riches of an abandoned Thaig. Game protagonist Hawke attempts to join the team, hoping to escape the notice of Kirkwall's Templars and gain enough wealth to ensure the safety of his/her family. Unfortunately, Bartrand bluntly refuses, claiming to already have enough volunteers.

However, with help from Bartrand's younger brother Varric, Hawke is eventually able to gather enough money to join the expedition as a business partner; despite his earlier misgivings, Bartrand's greed easily overwhelms his bad attitude, and he welcomes Hawke and his companions aboard. The expedition is long and arduous, and occasionally results in Bartrand taking out his frustrations out on his scouts when the way ahead is blocked, but eventually they reach their destination.

There, within a Thaig unlike any other witnessed in dwarven history, Hawke and Bartrand uncover an idol made of an exotic and hitherto-unseen type of lyrium. However, upon getting his hands on the artifact and being exposed to this red lyrium, Bartrand's greed overcame him. Locking Hawke, Varric and the rest of the group in the chamber, he left them there to die, ensuring that he wouldn't have to share the wealth he'd uncovered with the rest of the group. However, Hawke and his/her companions are eventually able to escape the Deep Roads with a fortune of their own, though it can potentially cost the life of Hawke's sister Bethany or brother Carver (depending on which of them survived the opening sequence).

Despite Varric's best efforts at tracking down his treacherous brother, Bartrand manages to evade justice for the next three years, apparently fleeing to Rivain. When he finally returns to Kirkwall, the treasure-hunter has gone completely insane: believing that the idol was "singing" to him, he tortured his bodyguards and servants by forcing them to eat lyrium as he mutilated their bodies. By the time Hawke and Varric investigate Bartrand's mansion in the quest "Family Matter," the house is a bloodbath of mangled corpses and deranged bodyguards; the situation is so disturbing that - when later confessing his story to Cassandra Pentaghast, Varric attempts to cover it up with a comedic tale of overexaggerated action, if only because the truth was almost too horrific to discuss.

Ultimately, Hawke and Varric are able to fight their way through the bodyguards and pacify Bartrand. However, the deranged merchant is almost incapable of discussing what happened to him: the most he can reveal is that the idol was "stolen" by a woman who "glittered like the sun" but posessed a heart as "cold as ice" (though later events reveal that he'd sold the idol of his own accord). Without the idol, Bartand's insanity had grown to hideous proportions, and he'd returned to Kirkwall in a desperate attempt to steal it back from the "thief."

If Anders is present in the Party, he can use magic to temporarily restore Bartrand's sanity, allowing the mad dwarf to finally realize what has become of him. Expressing remorse for his actions at long last, Bartrand begs Varric to put him out of his misery and not to allow House Tethras to meet such an undignified end. His ultimate fate is then decided by the player: if he is spared, he will be left in the care of a sanitarium and periodically visited by Varric; if players choose to mercy-kill him, Varric will end his brother's life with a single crossbow bolt to the heart.