Music: My Quiet Forest Home

This is Duskbarrow, the final town of the Woodlands. It's on the small side of things as far as towns go, as some of the Chapter 4 towns we'll visit will be surprisingly big and dense. I tell ya, I'm in no hurry to write up stuff for Grandport...

Each region has two music themes for their three towns, and the Woodlands is the only one with a unique Chapter 2/3 theme for Victors Hollow, so S'warkii's theme is used here. The Chapter 4 towns for the Coastlands and Cliftlands have unique themes, everything else uses the Chapter 2/3 theme.

But we'll look into the town more at another day. For now, we need to finish Cyrus's Chapter 4!

This one in particular is very back-heavy. Not too much happens before the final boss, and all seven party banters get stuffed in here. Expect a big update next time.

It's time we discover what secrets Yvon has been hiding, so we can protect them from evil-doers like Yvon and use them for good.

(Somewhere in this town lies the headmaster's ultimate destination. Given the nature of his research, it is reasonable to assume that there is a secret laboratory of some sort.)

(Now that I recall, she disappeared after the incident at the headmaster's house. What's her role in all of this?)

We need to keep an eye on her and see where she's going.

...After some banter, of course!

Ah, yes. You are from this region, are you not?
Aye. Though I have never visited the town, I've heard tell of it. It is famous for the many ruins that surround it. Many of them daten from the age of legends.

For their age, the structures are remarkably well preserved.
Master once tolde me a story of the ruins.

Whatever era they weren built, they weren built strong, using techniques no longer known.
Lost architectural techniques, you say. My interest is piqued. I'm inclined to investigate--after, of course, we have settled this affair of Headmaster Yvon.
Thou art confident of our success...

I love Cyrus's complete confidence here. He knows he will get the job done.

...Though spending time talking to his traveling colleagues rather than using his unparalled focus on the task at hand may not have been the wisest course of action.

A button of sorts?

Now we've got one of the trickiest puzzles in Octopath Traveler, in that we have to [s]exhaust options until we pick the correct one[/s] utilize our astounding intellect to decipher the way into these ruins.

First, let's try pressing the button.

Hey, if pushing didn't work, let's try pulling!

Cyrus is truly a master of observation. I don't know, maybe smash it?

Ignore it would kick us out. Oh yeah, every time we pick the wrong answer, we have to go through this little game all over again.

Let's take the final answer available and [s]bop it[/s] twist it.

(I should proceed with caution...)

Now that we solved that challenging ordeal of a puzzle, let's celebrate with banter.

To what are you referring?
Finding the hidden door back there.
It was no great thing. I enjoy coming up with little theories and then testing them...

Me, a bandit? Now that would be amusing. But if I do fall onto hard times in the scholarly world, I shall apply to become your prentice.
Hate to disappoint you, but I'm not the teaching type. I learned by watching and doing.
Observation and practice, in other words. That is the essence of all learning.

...I appreciate the offer, but I think I'm allergic to academia.

Man, do I love this one. Cyrus and Therion may not exactly get along, but they eventually do share a mutual respect for the other's work and even see some similarities in each other's careers. They're actually kinda-bonding.

Specifically, I am wondering why you make medicines.
I mean, I have never met an apothecary quite so dedicated to his trade. You could use your talents to win riches, or honor, or renown... Yet, you forget to ask for fees, make no claim on those you help... Frankly, I find it unfathomable.

Right. Question answered--let's go, Professor!
(I asked what I thought was a difficult question...)

I like how in awe Cyrus is over the intellect of this simple country boy. And he's not really wrong either, Alfyn focuses almost all his brainpower on medicine (and drinking) and tries to keep everything else simple, at least as far as events will allow. Of course, he still has some things to think through, but all in good time.

I can afford Olberic's Divine, so I grab it over Warmaster stuff. Brand's Thunder is the strongest Divine in the game besides the new jobs we have.

This party will change, as I've still got banters to collect. For now, though, this will do for the dungeon.

Music: Beneath the Surface

The ruins are, well, ruins. There's actually a couple side-paths to small rooms on a different screen, but I'll visit those a bit later.

It's mostly bats and automatons, nothing new really.

Here's the magic of combining target-all attacks with runes.

After we explore a bit, we eventually reach...

(Yet they still stand strong. And what are these curious patterns? Look how perfectly they're aligned. Whatever could they be for...?)

(Together, the markings illustrate something! Here, they billow and swell... An ocean? A flood? It seems to be depicting something overflowing... And yet, the depiction is abstract and surreal.)


(Might there not be a hidden message contained within?)


There's definitely something going on with these runes and this mural, but sadly now is not the time. Perhaps after we find Lucia and learn what Yvon was plotting, we could revisit this.

What it is the time for, of course, is banters.

I don't think I've seen anything quite so...spooky.

Oh? What kind of pictures?
There was one I remember vividly. It showed a girl standing in a sea of grass. I'd stare at it so long I thought I could see the grass moving in the wind. I'll never forget it.
Hm. Most interesting. Yearning, passion, sorrow, hate, one's very essence...

...So what kind of soul is in those paintings?
Hm. Nothing too awful, I hope... But I confess that I am looking forward to cracking the puzzle.

A little bit of Primrose backstory and an earnest discussion on art. Not too shabby.

A little, yes. For example, they clearly date from ancient times. I believe that they have religious significance of some kind.
But I saw nothing in them of the teachings of the Sacred Flame.

You mean, even before the Sacred Flame teachings began?
Precisely so. An age almost entirely unknown to us...

I am blessed indeed, to have been given the chance to visit these ruins. They are a scholar's paradise...
I'm glad, too. It almost feels like I can hear the thoughts of the people who lived long ago.
The very breath of the ancients, borne on the wind over these many long centuries...

I like how Primrose is creeped out by these murals while Ophilia is in just as awe of them as Cyrus. It also shows how strong she is of her faith, showing great interest in the times before the Sacred Flame even existed as an object of worship.

At any rate, I head back and create my final party for this dungeon run. Tressa and Olberic are my last two banters, while Therion needs to open chests and is pretty underleveled beyond that. I go Cleric over Starseer because I need the healing.

The shop here mostly sells elemental-themed gear. This includes Adamantite Shields, which have the second-highest ElemDef of any shield in the game (and number one only beats it by a mere two points). This is a really nice boost for a Cleric. Otherwise, the rods are alright, better than most of my stuff but not my Wizard Rod, and the Enchanted Circlet gives some bonus Max SP but is otherwise in the middle of a very tight hat race of mid-tier hats, which means it's nice but not amazing enough to spend 14.4k when I have so many other fashionable hats to wear.

I also briefly swap to Starseer to pick up Hard Worker for Cyrus. He's pretty much done for a long time after this chapter, might as well have him net my party some extra JP. I'll certainly need it!

The Rune Bow is immediately my second-best bow, and it's still stronger than my "best" weapons in all categories besides staves. Has two great attack stats, and accuracy is actually relevant now. A nice grab.

There's a couple side paths down here. There's another purple chest with cold, hard cash.

And this amulet significantly reduces dark damage. One whole element, oh wow. I'll still never use it.

Going through the bright passage next to the mural takes us here, between those two chests we just collected.

And eventually, we reach a library of sorts.

(Look at all these tomes. Did Headmaster Yvon procure them all?)

Forbidden Gold? Covenant of the Sage!? These books were all said to have been lost ages ago!

(Did the headmaster collect all this by himself? No, that would be impossible for even the most esteemed of scholars.)


It seems like we're getting close to finding the mastermind here...

But before we do, let's finish off our banters for the chapter.

I can assure you that if they become known, they will turn the world of scholarship on its head. It is not surprising to learn that knowledge can be lost with the passing of time.

Yet books thought to be gone forever have returned as if from the dead. Which implied they were stolen. Deliberately kept from the world.
Indeed. A most deplorable crime.
And the culprit is this man, Yvon. He would make all knowledge his, and his alone. That is why he hid it away here...

Forsaken. That is exactly the word. To monopolize knowledge in this way is a desecration of scholarship itself.
Spoken like a man truly devoted to his trade. It is only proper that an honorable scholar such as you cast his eyes over these pages once more.

This banter sums up Cyrus's entire character. He is passionate about knowledge and learning, but more than that he wants everyone to have the same access to all knowledge. He wants to educate the world and spread knowledge as far as he can. That is what drives him, and that is why he was so deeply opposed to Yvon.

What is it, Tressa?
I was just thinking about the books here. They all seem very...special. How much are they worth, do you think?

Those books record the history of all that has happened. Every event, from beginning to end.
In other words, they contain the knowledge of the world. Knowledge won at the cost of uncounted lives.
Whoa! I don't think even I could put a price on that!
Quite. They are without question priceless--for they belong to all men.

A splendid idea.

In a world of powerful magic, ancient mysteries, and fearsome beasts, they still have a long way to go as far as technology goes. Though I wouldn't put it past Cyrus to create the Orsterra equivalent of the printing press, he would still need some funding...

We're near the end of this dungeon, and our last chest holds a pretty nice shield. Hefty Evasion penalty, but nicely balanced in both defenses.

Next time, we discover the truth and vow to spread knowledge for all.