Music: The Frostlands

Today we're going to tackle Therion's Chapter 4, which means we'll have to make our way to Northreach.

Northreach, appropriately enough, rests on top of a mountain.

A few more frost enemies, nothing too exciting.

And eventually we reach our destination.

Music: Stolen Dreams, Lost Light

Things aren't very cheery here either. Best to get down to business then.

So this is Northreach.

Not anymore, they ain't!
'And it over!

Aren't there guards in this town!?
E'en the guards won' lay a 'and on 'em.


(Is this Darius's doing? Everyone here is living in fear...)

Not the most inviting welcome. Time to get down to business, which means stopping by an alehouse to listen in on rumors and gossip.

It's him...
Yeah, no doubt 'bout tha'.
If'n we're lucky, 'e's jus' come to use th' bog.

Not the most warm welcome...

We're closing for the day! Best yer be on yer way now.
...Guess I'll show myself out.

(Is They didn't even get my best angle...)

..."Lord" Darius.

We're not gonna have any luck at the alehouse today. Darius has this town locked down tight, so we'll have to find a different solution.

Let's banter with our comrades for now.

I don't go because I "like" them. I go to hear people talk. Mead and spirits are good for loosening tongues.
Heh, so your interest is purely professional.

Hey! Who are you calling a brat? I've been turning trades and making profits since I was five!
Have you now?
I delivered spirits to three alehouses every day for over a year. I've seen my share of drunken fools.
Should I be impressed?
You bet! Still can't stand the smell of grog, though. Makes me gag.

Tressa's always eager to prove herself (though she pretty much already has at this point considering she's technically a billionaire), while it's difficult to impress Therion. That's pretty much the gist of things.

Yeah. As if I didn't have enough problems.
But think about it... Those wanted posters show that you've got Darius runnin' scared.

...Fair enough. Maybe you're good for more than mixing potions after all.
Ahaha! That's me, full of surprises. So let's go, Therion. If anything happens, I've got your back.
...Heh. No offense, but I hope I won't be needing your services.

Alfyn though knows how to get on Therion's good side, and he does have a point in that considering how much effort Darius is putting into stopping Therion, that says a lot about how excellent a thief Therion truly is.

Nothing to do now but to explore the town a bit and hope a clue hits us in the face...

Yer got some guts, marchin' inna this town!
And you are? ...Wait, don't tell me. You're Darius's welcoming committee, aren't you?
Aye, and we'll make sure yer get th' warmest o' welcomes! Boys!

Grrr...! If we stab yer enough times, yer'll still die!

Ain't nobody comin' to save yer, even if yer scream bloody murder.
Yer best give up 'ope now. Ever'one 'ere fears Lord Darius!

Shut it!

So, I completely forgot this battle was a thing.

Which means I had no gear equipped.

Fortunately, they're weak and easy to break, and I have plenty of soulstones, so it was a nonissue.

Enough. I've got bigger fish to fry.
Hehehe... Enjoy yer victory while yer can.

Music: Tension

Yer ready to die, mate!?
It'll be slow 'n' painful for yer, that's for sure.
There's nowhere left for yer to leg it!

These odds are bad any way I look at them.

I don't suppose you could have gotten here a little sooner!?

For now, follow me.
You don't have to tell me twice.

Go figure that the butler of all people would be the one to save Therion's hide.

Video: The Value of Faith


...Are you okay?
In a manner of speaking, yes... But I'm afraid I'm not as young as I used to be. When I was your age, I never imagined time would wear down my bones so...

That was simply a skill I learned in my youth. But time will take even that from me eventually...
Where did you learn how to do that? Butler training?

Now it all makes sense. You're the one who set those traps in the manor, aren't you?

An astute observation.

Music: Melancholy

I met Lord Ravus--Cordelia's father--before she was born.

I was certain there was nothing in this world I could not steal.
Then why are you working for the Ravus family now?
For the same reason as yourself.

He offered me a deal. He said he would not hand me over to the guards on one condition--

And now you're seeing that promise through to the end.

You felt the same, did you not?

Outdone by a butler, and an old one at that.
And to add insult to injury, I was shown mercy by the very one I tried to rob. It was absolutely disgraceful. In the end, I had no choice but to start anew.
Even still, I gained more than I lost in the manor that day.
Without taking a single leaf?

I'm sure you've heard the story of Miss Ravus's past.
Yeah. Hard to imagine, seeing the person she is now.

But as the days passed, she began to change...
How so?
I continued to have faith in her, and thus she learned to have faith in me. Wounds of betrayal run deep, but one must learn to have faith in others again before they can start to heal.

Just like someone did for her...
That's enough talk of the past.

Yes. Unfortunately, my old bones would be nothing but a hindrance if I accompanied you.


Stay safe, Heathcote.

Therion's slowly learning to trust others again, thanks to the faith that Cordelia and Heathcote have in him. But is he ready to have faith in others, especially with the one who betrayed him looming ever closer...?

Perhaps some more banters will clear things up.

Music: Stolen Dreams, Lost Light

From the expression on your face, it would seem you've found your answer.
My answer? ...Hm. Maybe I have.
It is a good thing, to set one's mind at ease.

...Maybe it is.

Of course, Therion's theme of trusting others runs great parallel to his party banters, where he's slowly warming up to the rest of his comrades. It's one of those instances of the travel banters really enhancing the theme of the main character's story beats, and it's a shame that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often in this game.

It is what it is. But I know holding grudges against others won't change the past, or right my wrongs. There's no point crying over yesterday. It's what I do today and tomorrow that counts. So spare me your sermons...and your sympathy.
I would not presume to offer either. All I meant to say, is that...

That is no common thing, for resentment abides in nearly all our hearts.
Never thought of it that way.

I guess that's an advantage to Therion's way of life. He doesn't really hold anything personally since he's usually so detached from emotions anyway. Though of course, he's likely still not entirely over that one betrayal, but at least he may finally get closure on it by the end of this tale.

As we make our way back into town...

Not yet, sir!
Vanished like a white wolf in a snowstorm, 'e did.
And yer'll be th' next one to vanish if yer don' stop yer whinin'!

So if yer ever want to see real riches, yer better well find 'im!

Now get back to work!

(He probably knows the way to the hideout.)

And sure enough...

(Nothing seems out of order...)

(But I can't just waltz through the front door.)

Yep. We're gonna steal the clothes off the back of a thief.

It's similar to Locke's scenario in Final Fantasy VI, where he steals the clothes off merchants and soldiers to slowly progress through South Figaro, and I'm sure the similiarities aren't coincidental.

(A small fry... This should be easy.)

D-damn right I am!

At this point, we can interact with the thief just like any other NPC.

They even have Scrutinize text!

That said, this is our real prize. With this, we're ready to make our entrance.

Music: Beneath the Surface

(He's just a kid. Must be a new recruit. In that case...)

N-nah, I didn't! Y-yer...yer... Wait a second.

Music: How Amusing!

Yer supposed to be out lookin' for Therion with th' others! Stop slackin' off and go find 'im!

(I guess only the higher-ups can slack off here. Typical... Time for a wardrobe change.)

Music: Stolen Dreams, Lost Light

Looks like we'll have to find someone with a bit more rank around here. Someone like...

Yer mine now!


Just gotta pull a trick or two, and...

This triggers some banter, because of course it does.

Yeah? Like what?
Well, there is a lizard that pretendeth to be a withered bough, and snatcheth its prey when it strayeth too close. Other creatures mimicken living plants, or their own predators, or precious stones... When I watche thee at work, I am reminded of them.

I am saying thou learnest from the natural world, and showest great skill in apery. 'Tis most interesting to me, to see what role thou wilt taken on next.
Great. I'll try to keep you entertained.

H'aanit's snark levels are criminally underrated, especially since she expends it all on her master and on Therion, perhaps the most thin-skinned of the travelers. That said, she also has respect for Therion's talents, so there's some sincerity in there.

Anynway, let's try this again.

Music: Beneath the Surface

(Now to fool the lookouts.)

(They're just kids. Must be new recruits. In that case...)

Music: How Amusing!

P-p-please, forgive us!
...Fine. Yer lucky I'm in a good mood today. But Lord Darius'll 'ear 'bout it next it happens.

But don't yer dare let that bastard through, yer 'ear!?

(But I better make it quick. It's only a matter of time until they figure out what happened.)

Speaking of which...

It's you! Yer that phony the leader was talkin' about!
Phony!? My clothes were stolen by that stupid thief--

So worth it.

Music: Beneath the Surface

We'll end things with the last two banters this chapter.

If it makes my job easier, I'll take it.
I figured you'd say something like that. Still, their de facto leader barely exerts any control over the rank and file.
And you'd expect otherwise? They're just a band of thieves.
I would posit that there is more to it than just that. For this Darius, the men of his organization are little more than tools...

...You may be right.
At any rate, your goal is close at hand, Therion. Do not waver in your convictions.
...Heh. You can count on me.

Darius's whole thing is getting by with his own talents, while Therion's learning again to rely on others. I think we all know which philosophy will prevail here.

I could scarcely tell it was you. You simply disappeared into that role.

...Heh. Thanks, but no thanks. I take on roles when my work demands it...that's all.
A shame, that.

But of course, if you're not interested...

Therion did do a bang-up job posting as that thief leader, even capturing his rough manner of speaking. Perhaps he could do well paired with H'aanit's ham of a villain.

Next time, Therion finds the dragonstones and finally resolves his business with his former partner in crime.