Today's side story goes way back to the very first chapter we did. It's none other than Russell, the scholar who stole a book and ended up being our first boss of the game!


Y-yes! In fact, I have up to volume four.
Good. Then I'll get to work on volume three. In the meantime, could you get started on the fourth tome over there?
But of course, Dominic.

Dominic was the fellow Cyrus investigated in his Chapter 3. You know, the guy who translated "From the Far Reaches of Hell" out of desperation to buy medicine to save his sick daughter.

Somehow I completely forgot this guy existed. I don't think I even recognized him in my first playthrough in this side story.

My life has been very different since being arrested for stealing that tome... After I was released, I had no place to go and eventually drifted to this town.

I can't find work as a scholar. But there's not really much I can do otherwise. Thankfully Dominic picked me up, despite the fact that I reeked of liquor and hopelessness. I've dedicated myself to being his apprentice. I won't make the foolish mistakes I did in the past.

That's why we're currently researching the histories of the land. But we're still lacking information on certain places...

Music: Among Stately Peaks

Russell's served his time for his crime, and seems to be trying to make a better life for himself. Perhaps we can help out a reformed criminal and get some of the information he needs.

I don't see the harm in helping Russell out here. After all, it's not like we have anything better to do!

That said, "Woodlands, Frostlands, and Cliftlands" are vague. Let's start with Bolderfall since that's one of the listed cities I looked up on the side story spreadsheet.

But now that we've found ways around it, I'm traveling around and learning as much about its history as I can.

Three new NPCs now show up in three different towns to give us some brief history lessons. Unsurprisingly, the Cliftlands hold some valuable ores and minerals, and not just the valuable trinkets that's been dug up in Quarrycrest! It explains how cities like Bolderfall and Quarrycrest can have so much prosperity, though with it also comes the dangers of what happens after everything runs out, as we've seen in Orewell.

For the Frostlands, we'll be traveling to Stillsnow because why not?

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but if there's anything you want to know about the Frostlands, just ask!

The Frostlands are called the Frostlands because it's frosty. Good to know! Also, the Frostlands being the site of Aelfric's descension likely explains how Flamesgrace came to be the spiritual capital of Orsterra.

Our last stop is Duskbarrow, because it is our last stop.

The Woodlands mostly consists of scattered settlements like Duskbarrow and S'warkii, with the big exception being Victors Hollow due to its reputation as a place for powerful warriors to prove their mettle, which also encourages commerce. Of course, S'warkii stands out due to the villagers' mastery with beasts, as we know well from H'aanit's story.

Of course, Cyrus is not one to keep such knowledge to himself. He is glad to share knowledge with others, even a former foe like Russell.

With this information, we'll have our book done in no time! I've realized just how much work goes into making a single book.

Music: Enveloped in Kindness

When Dominic heard about what I'd done in the past, he told me something.

Even though you're a free man now, it doesn't feel like you've atoned for your crime, does it?

I know the feeling.

If you don't have anywhere to go, why don't you work with me?

At least let me do that much.

He didn't say it, but... I know something happened to him in the past.

I want to be able to forgive myself for it... And I want to help him forgive himself, too.

Russell made a terrible mistake, and though he's served his punishment, he still feels guilty for what he's done. Of course, there are many who feel the same way, and Russell's lucky to have met a kindred spirit in Dominic that's able to give him a new chance on life, so hopefully the two can redeem themselves in their own eyes. It's a nice capper to Russell's story and a way to show that people can do horrible things and actually grow from them, even if it doesn't happen as often as it should.

The reward is meh, as we've already had a piece of this mediocre armor.

I believe that's the only way I can make up for what I did.

But seeing Russell's desire to move on with his life gave me the courage to try. Now we're both trying to find ways to atone for our crimes.

While they're both still haunted by the mistakes of their past... least they're both finding the fire to continue on with their lives and try to do some good in this world.

Sorry, I had to, considering they both know the same fire spell and all.

Next time, we'll be revisiting the last tier of towns as we tie up loose ends and then take on the last bunch of side stories before we finally get to the final boss. Just ten updates to go!