Today we'll be continuing Therion's quest to recover the dragonstones. First off, Noblecourt in the Flatlands.

Music: Gazing Over the Great Plain

Let's begin!

I need something more to go on than that...

That creepy old mansion in the northwest part of town? I heard someone actually lives there.

What business would a scholar have living there?

His men won't let anyone in to see him.

If you ask me, it sounds like he's hiding something.
He may very well be, but I'm fine letting him keep his secrets.

(Time to do some research of my own. Outskirts of town, was it?)

We've got our lead, and with that, it's time for banter!

That's the question of the day, isn't it? Won't know until we ask around.
I suppose for you, that means hanging out in the alehouse, eavesdropping for rumors and the like...

In my line of work, you can't afford to chase after every wild rumor you hear. You have to find people you can trust.
...Eh. Visit enough alehouses, and you learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.

...I see. I guess that means we're both cut out for our own trades.

Once again, their careers are such opposites that even in their more cordial conversations, they struggle to find common ground.

(A scholar with his own personal armed guard? Yeah, that's not suspicious or anything.)

(I can't get a free pass anywhere these days.)

You didn't think this was going to be easy, did you?

Since the cutscene's over, we've triggered more banter.

An interesting query... Were it a battlefield, I would seek out the weakest flank and strike, using the element of surprise.
Oh? Would've figured you more for a full frontal assault.
Of course I would consider that, too, were it necessary. But either way, reaching the center of the manse would be no easy task.
Brute force can only get you so far, eh?

Hence, this venture is best left in your hands. I'm most eager to see your skills in action.

Olberic's a master swordsman, but he's no slouch in tactics either. The guy may seem like the time to charge head-on, but he got to his old position from his brains as well as his brawn. The man knew combat, which meant he knew how to handle his opponents, not just how to overpower them, but how to strike fear into them and create new advantages. And of course, Olberic also knows when he's outmatched, and this is clearly Therion's area of expertise. Just two professionals discussing their jobs, gotta love that.

Time to pick up a drink.

Not good, I'm afraid. I hope you're faring better.
I wish I could tell you so, but it's been hard lately for us too.
My condolences...

Locked away in that manor, surrounded by guards...
It's strange, isn't it?

That's more like it.

Music: How Amusing!

Not at all.
Can I get you two a drink?

That's mighty kind of you, stranger. What brings you here? You don't look like you're from around these parts.
I'm a wanderer, going wherever my feet take me. And there's nothing better than a tall ale and a good tale after a day of traveling.

If you're that interested, we'll tell you all about him. Consider it thanks for the drinks.

He's a scholar, and one I daresay went off the deep end. Holed himself up in the building on the edge of town. Word is he's doing some kind of research and hasn't come out since.
I heard he's investigating a stone, but nobody knows what for.
It definitely sounds like he's got a few screws loose.
You got that right! He's one you don't want to get involved with.

Yeah, I heard he was another eccentric one. I think he's still doing his research in town.
What's his name?

He worked in that manor with Orlick, but they went their separate ways after a disagreement.
I guess they were too much for each other to handle.
Haha, sounds like it! Anyway, I hope that sates your curiosity, wanderer.
It does. Thank you for your time, gentlemen.

We know where to go, so let's go to where we need to go.

...After some banter, of course.

Music: Gazing Over the Great Plain

Of course, the tavern where I used to ply my trade was far livelier. It's hard to rouse the crowd without a little...entertainment, after all.
The quiet works for me. Especially when I need to talk shop.
Is that so...?

Hey! Where do you think you're going?
...We need to keep a low profile.

This banter would be fine if it weren't here in Noblecourt, which happens to be where Primrose is from and has a lot of strong memories, as we'll see in her Chapter 3. This is a bit awkward at this context, but they probably didn't have that context when that banter was written and just happened to get the one of the sixteen C2/3/4 towns that is strongly relevant to Primrose's backstory. Oh well!

Alright, now let's go to where we need to go so we can go to where we need to go.

Music: An Ill Omen

Someone looking for a man named Barham.
I'm Barham. What business do you have with me?

That was long, long ago. I have nothing to do with the man now, and all the better for it.

Wait. Hear me out. Orlick has something I need.
And what's that?
I'll give you a hint. It's the subject of his research.

That's the one.
I surmise you plan to take it from him.

And you need my help.
So you came to ask me how to get into his place.
You scholars are quick on the uptake.

...Hmph. Very well. I'll give you the answer you seek. You'll need a password to enter.
And the password is...?

Let's hear it.
Get what I need for my experiment, and we'll call it a deal.
Sounds fair. So what do you need?
Pure water, filtered through the desert sands... The kind found only in the most pristine oases.

It is, you fool. A merchant from the Sunlands oft comes to town selling this very water. However, this rarity doesn't come cheap.

Time to do what Therion does best, then.

Music: Gazing Over the Great Plain

Oasis water, all-natural and free of even the slightest impurities! One sip and you'll taste the difference! You there! How about a drink?

Before we do the deed, let's have some banter.

Do you have to ask? You know what I do for a living.

Don't approve, do you?
To speake truly, I doe not.
...Fair enough. It's no secret. What I do isn't exactly noble.
Thou needest not defenden thyself. We aren comrades. I can putte my personal prejudices aside.

Did I saye something odd?

Therion trying to flirt with H'aanit is like Primrose trying to flirt with Cyrus. Otherwise, I guess Tressa isn't the only character to have issue with Therion's career, though H'aanit's focused enough to keep it to herself. They are comrades, after all.

Simple enough.

Here's the inside of Barham's lab. Time to deliver the water.

Music: An Ill Omen

That was faster than I anticipated.

Now, now. Your half is fulfilled when I say it's fulfilled.
...I see what's happening here.
I should hope so, I'll need a few more things for my experiment, if you'd be so kind.
Thieves are notorious for being kind. How can I help you?

I don't know. Where can I find one?
They're sold in town from time to time. It's highly prized by scholars as a reagent, and carries a price to match.
...I'm noticing a trend here. But yes, I can get it for you.

Who's ready for more fetching?

And back to Barham...

Music: An Ill Omen

Perfect. You're quite good at your craft.
I need a password, not praise.
And I need just one more thing.

That's a fine attitude to have if you don't want the password.
...Okay, but this is the last one.

Once I have it, I can begin my experiment.

Almost done! But let's take a break first with some banter.

Music: Gazing Over the Great Plain

Heck, you thieves sure do work hard!
And you're one of the best, right? You gotta have a massive stash of treasures hidden away.

I...I see. Anyway, one more task and our job's done! Light at the end of the tunnel, eh?
"Our"? It's not like you're doing any thieving.

Anyway, when the job's done, what say we go hit the tavern?

Some of our party doesn't like a thief, but not ol' Alf, who's very determined to become friends with a thief because he's just that friendly. The developing friendship between Alfyn and Therion is one of my favorite banter chains in this game, and one of the few character relationships to really grow organically through banter.

Third time's the charm!

...after a second try, of course.



C-careful with that! Anyhow, thanks. At last I can begin my grand experiment!

Cool your heels! The experiment comes first!
I hope you don't think you can swindle a swindler.
Don't be ridiculous! Just be patient, and I'll uphold my half of the bargain!

Music: Melancholy

But he changed after coming across that dragonstone. It was almost like he was possessed, his life consumed by his research. He wouldn't let anyone get near him. Not even me...

It's not meant to be held by our hands...

"The truth of all things." That's easy enough to remember.
Yes. And take this with you, too.

This is a key.

You're a natural-born researcher, boy. Now, the password will get you into the mansion. But the door to the laboratory can only be opened with that key.
Makes you think he doesn't want anyone getting in. Not even an old friend like you.

My warnings may have been nothing but noise to him, but...

Passion is important in our line of work, but there's a fine line between that and obsession. And Orlick's crossed that line.
So this moving friendship--or maybe, brotherly love--is why you're so willing to help me?
...I wonder. Perhaps it's jealousy or hatred that's come to drive me.

I know what I feel is true.

But my own reasons are more than enough to go through with this. Thanks.


As Therion thinks back to his past, I'll take this as a sufficient-enough stopping point for today.

Next time, we infiltrate the manor and get what we seek.