Music: The Woodlands

Time to tackle the final story of Chapter 2!

Duskbarrow is the Chapter 4 town of the Woodlands, but today we'll be heading instead to Victors Hollow.

Some new foes.

As usual, Cyrus has adopted the ways of the Warrior, but I thought it'd be fun to see Olberic as a Scholar. This is the worst job pairing in the game, but I want to see how well they can still work together.

At any rate, time to begin!

Music: Victors Hollow, Jewel of the Forest

Victors Hollow may be my favorite of the town themes, albeit it's only recently grown on me.

Victors Hollow is a place for warriors to prove their mettle. A good fit for Olberic "Fights old people for fun" Eisenberg.

Course I do. Townsfolk here don't ever shut up about it. Anyway, it's why I've come. To see it, and the grandest tourney of the year.
Right ye are, my friend, right ye are. Ain't no better time to visit! We got warriors from every corner of the world, willin' to risk life and limb for the ultimate honor.

The reigning champion is Archibold! The Crusher we call 'im, and four times in a row 'e's claimed the prize. Joshua 'ails from the icy wastes o' the north! They say 'is 'eart's as cold as 'is blade. Then there's Wallace Wildsword! The man who reached the final battle last year, only to fall to Archibold...

Did he say Gustav?

There's many who's sayin' 'e might be the one to finally topple the Crusher.

Ye don't want to be missin' this tourney, or ye'll regret it till yer dyin' day.

Ask yer question. I'm 'ere to 'elp.
Where can I find this Gustav? There is something I must ask him.

...I see. Thank you.

Looks like we'll have to find a way to get to Gustav. But how...?

Oh well, I'm sure a way will present itself sooner or later.

After Tressa picks up some loose change, we can start with the bantering.

You have heard of it.
Oh, yes. The histories say that it was first built as a penal circus, where prisoners were made to fight to the death.
A cruel practice.
Quite. But people eventually wearied of watching men die for sport... And the fights became more humane, less deadly. Forced duels between prisoners were banned. Only free men and volunteers could fight.
Now the arena is where men come to test their mettle and win glory for themselves.

It is honorable. Far better than forcing poor wretches to kill or be killed.
It is still a blood sport.

This banter was more about the history of Victors Hollow, as well as a bit of a friendly debate on the merits of the combat sport here. The fighters here are generally pretty good folk, win or lose.

At any rate, as we make our way to the southern part of town...

Video: To the Victor


(A fighter. Quick with the blade. Ill will in his eyes...)

Looks of him, he knows how to use that blade. Reckon he'd be more than a match for me, even if I were at full strength...

My apologies for the dramatics. But I wanted Ned here to take the measure of you. He'd be fighting in the tourney, if it weren't for his wounds.

And what is it you promote?
Arena battles, mostly. And the men who fight 'em. 'Cept Cecily here's done neither yet. Still lookin' for her big break, she is...

You want to meet the man Gustav. Yes?
You were there when I spoke to the barker.
That's right. And I'll tell you something he didn't--tourney fighters don't make a habit of fraternizing with the hoi polloi. If you and he were old friends, that'd be one thing. But something tells me he's not expecting your visit.

But how? The preliminary rounds are already over, or so I heard.
See? This is why you need me. I know a way you can get around that.
Then tell me.

During the tourney, local authorities turn a blind eye to public dueling. It's still against the law, mind you, but no one gets in trouble for it.

But surely, those who have qualified are above getting involved in petty brawls.

I'm telling you, this is your ticket to the tourney. Get the attention of one of the champions--and make them challenge you. Put them in a position where they've no choice but to prove they're your better with a blade.
And what do you get out of all of this?

A deal where we both benefit.
Is there a better kind? I'll get my scribe to draw up the contract. What name will you use?

A fine figure--and famous, too! Hah, told you I could pick 'em, Ned.

Looks like Olberic just got himself a promoter. Funny how things work out like that!

Music: Victors Hollow, Jewel of the Forest

For now, we need to make a name for ourselves by beating up random strangers. So a normal day for Olberic.

But first, banter.

She appears to have a keen eye for fighters. Why do you ask?
It's just that I've seen many a man fall victim to hardheaded women like her. They're seduced with promises, cajoled into submission, and eventually led into financial ruin.

Just watch yourself, Olberic. Don't be taken in by glib words, or you may regret it later.
I appreciate the warning.
Still, from what I can tell about Cecily... I honestly think she just loves the arena and the tournaments...

Primrose with some life advice and essentially saying we don't have to worry about Cecily taking advantage of us. Which is good, because this allows us to focus on what we do best.

...Aye. A fight with this one is sure to raise some eyebrows.

Here's our first sucker.

In a really cool twist, Scrutinize and Inquire work on many of these people, and they'll actually tell you their weaknesses! Cyrus and Olberic truly working together over here.

This guy's a chump.

...Aye. A fight with this one is sure to raise some eyebrows.

OK, I admit it. I was too lazy to make sprites for these one-shot characters.

Anyway, you know how this goes.

Another pushover pushed over.


His name is Olberic Eisenberg! One of the twin blades from the once-proud realm of Hornburg!

The Unbending Blade!?
Could it truly be? Olberic Eisenberg still lives!
Eisenberg? Is he supposed to be famous or somethin'?
Are ye daft, woman? Everyone's heard of the Unbendin' Blade!
If he's so great, why ain't he fightin' in the tourney!?

You're not quitting on me now, are you?
No. But I like it not when my fate is in another's hand...

Music: Creeping Dread

The bounty hound? He who collected coin for the heads of seven ill-famed buccaneers!?

Give 'em space, lads! That there's a tourney champion!
Aye, the Buccaneer's Bane, no less. Ten leaves! I got ten leaves on 'im--who'll match it!?

When a name reaches me on the high seas, I reckon the man who wears it done somethin' to earn it.
You're one of the tourney champions.
Aye. Victorino's the name. I watched ye fight the others.

Wait, wait! We'll need witnesses, a bigger crowd...

I'm willin'. The bigger the crowd, the bigger the stakes. I'll see you there, knight.

Anyway, it's time to prove ourselves worthy of making the tourney.

Also, the various warriors aren't the only ones you can get combat data on.

I miss Victorino's information because talking triggers the next cutscene. You see, this isn't just another duel.

Video: Miniboss - Victorino

Music: For Redemption

Music: Decisive Battle I

For the remainder of these fights, we'll be fighting as a full party. To justify this, the combatants we face will have token grunts accompanying them. I guess that's one way to justify having an entire party for what's supposed to be a one-on-one duel!

I didn't remember that for this fight, however, so my party is unprepared. Cyrus has no weapons, Tressa has no gear, and H'aanit doesn't even have a second job! I don't bother equipping characters except when I actually plan to go into combat areas, so...

That said, this guy's a boss in music only, and not really that threatening even with my gimped state.

Besides, it's not like stats matter for H'aanit's monsters! The rare situation Summon Beast is relevant past Chapter 1!

And while everyone else is undergeared, Olberic certainly isn't!

Otherwise, you've got your basic physical attacks. Nothing too special here.

And down he goes!

Music: Victory Fanfare

'Swounds! But what about the tourney?

W-wait... Does she have the right of it? 'Twas a street brawl, no more...
Aye. But street or arena, the strongest remains. That's how it's always been.

Might is right! The strongest remains! My tourney place is his.

The fighters here are surprisingly honorable around here. Everyone wants to prove their worth, but the most powerful are also the most respectful and most gracious in defeat.

And so Olberic continues the legacy he once abandoned so many years ago...

Music: Victors Hollow, Jewel of the Forest

At this point, we can begin the tourney, if we so choose. Not quite yet, though.

First, we've got some more banter.

Maybe they're celebrating your victory, Sir Olberic.
Haha. Mayhap they are.

He's a real man of the sea: straight-talking and honest, with no time for hogwash. You know, I've got a feeling he and I would get along. Just thinking about it makes me miss my little port town!
Is that so?
Yup! My father said that the ocean is so beautiful, it washes people's hearts clean. When you look out at the horizon and realize how huge it can see your troubles for what they are.
Then the ocean is a fine thing indeed.

Steadfast and calm. Nothing sways you. You have a great view--Oh!

A lot of the banter here is less about the other characters, and more world-building, which works well for someone like Olberic who doesn't really bounce off others that much. We get an idea of how coastal people act in this land, and also watch Tressa call Olberic a tree. Good enough for me!

Anyway that was all I needed to do. Let's begin the ceremony!

Music: Tension

Eight champions strong and true have emerged by their mettle, character, and fortune! Who shall emergy victorious!?

The shields are polished and the blades are whetted!

He has been grand champion for four tournaments in a row! He is the reigning king--but will he meet his kingslayer today?

Show that black knight 'ow it's done!

But let no man deny that the steel of this man's blade is as biting as the ice in his eyes! Joshua Frostblade!
Sir Joshua!

Our next fighter spent years learnin' the art of war, mastering pikes, halberds, spears, and all things long and pointy! Misjudge his peasant's weapon at your peril! Last man what did found himself skewered before he could so much as lift his fancy blade in the shortest fight of the tourney. His lance dances then spits you like a pig, for it's Conrad the Impaler!
Stick it to 'em, Conrad!

He's been second to only one man. Always the last man bested. But this year, will it be his opponent who bends his knee on the final day? Many here say aye, for this year he will at last usurp the king! His sword strikes with the ferocity of a savage beast... Wallace Wildsword is here to claim the king's crown!

Of fame and renown, this next fighter cares little. But now many a fighter pales at the mention of his name. A hunter amongst hunters, in the preliminary matches he bagged every monster that appeared. Be it fiend or man, he never loses his quarry, for he is Bernhard the Beasthunter!

Next is an impregnable fortress of a man! Neither axe nor sword has ever sundered his shield! He is an immovable force! He can no more be toppled than a mountain! If the battle goes to the last man standing, how can he not emerge victorious!? He is Grieg the Unbreakable!

Next is a mystery knight--a dark horse, one might say--who has swatted away all challengers with contemptuous ease. The arena has not seen the likes of his swordplay in many a year. Could this man be our new champion?

Hurrah! Hurrah! Cut 'em down where they stand, Gustav!

Last, but let us not say least--for this last-minute entrant defeated none other than Victorino, the Buccaneer's Bane. Does he deserve to be here, or does he not? You've all had your say. But hear this! The rule of the tourney is writ clear! Might makes right, and let no man disavow what another claims by feat of arms!

The Unbending Blade!? I've heard the tales, but...

That's quite the introduction considering we won't be seeing four of our seven opponents at all, but I like that they went to the effort to hype all eight up.

A bit of a chore to type all that up, though...

Music: An Ill Omen

Yes. And if you know who I am, then you also know that--

I see I don't need to explain.
Sir Erhardt spoke enough of you. But what you're seeking has a cost.

A place where a man's worth is measured?

(I was... I was once a knight of the realm. I wielded my sword for king and country.)

Olberic's story isn't really about finding Erhardt, but more finding a new reason to fight after he lost his driving force all those years ago. Olberic hopes meeting Erhardt again will give him that answer.


But there are bigger matters at hand for now.

Next time, we shall fight with honor!