Part 3(Frida continues trying to tend to her village. Most have little to say but offering condolences, but what else can they do? Some are more interesting, however...)
Gan the Partridge: And the young Leila, who already has issues with men, were you trying to cheer her up when you groped her butt maybe?
Grandpa Silk: I thought that with a tenderly, fatherly massage, the trust would come back. By rectifying the dominant male figure... Or something like that.
Gan the Partridge: Fatherly? FATHERLY? You call that fatherly? But when are you going to grow, you old fart? Masculine role model, my ass! You're harassing her, and you're still trying to justify it!?
Grandpa Silk: (He smiles.) You're exaggerating, Gan, as usual. You see evil everywhere. I thought you did not have periods any longer...
Gan the Partridge: Dirty old bast... (She trails off when she notices that someone has entered.) [Frida's a Prophetess. She goes where she wants! ]
Frida: I wouldn't want to disturb you...
Gan the Partridge: WHAT THE... Oh, it's you, Frida. I am sorry, I was busy...
Frida: No worries.
Grandpa Silk: Oh... Hello Frida. Forgive this old couple's habit. My condolences on the death of your father. I wasn't able to attend the ceremony, but I appreciated him very much, even if it probably wasn't mutual...
Frida: I must say I don't know much about it.
Gan the Partridge: Who would appreciate this old mad man?
Frida: Maybe if you stopped teasing her...
Gan the Partridge: Ha! That is not going to happen any time soon. He's going to bug me until he lies on his death bed... Ill weeds grow apace!
(She pauses.) Anyway, your father was a good boy. He passed away too soon. If only Ulrik was as nice as he was, or as nice as his sisters, my daughter wouldn't cry so often!
Frida: I don't know if we can consider his sisters nice. In any case, Vanna isn't a model of selflessness.
Gan the Partridge: (She laughs.) She reminds me of myself at her age! It's surprising my idiot husband isn't chasing her more often.
Grandpa Silk: Maybe I have more complex reasons to be chasing young women, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes. (He smiles.)
Gan the Partridge: Now that we mention it, my dear husband, let's pick up our conversation where we left it...
Frida: Oh well, I guess I will leave you to it then. Have fun.
Gan the Partridge: Go! And come back to see us anytime!
Grandpa Silk: You are always welcome, young woman. As a matter of fact, all young women are always welcome in my house. (He smiles.)
(As Frida exits the house, she sighs heavily.)
Frida: What a foolish old man. That reminds me, though... I should check on Leila. Hopefully he has not upset her too much.
[It seems I picked Leila's exact hair style/color and clothing. Coincidence!? ...Yes]
Frida: Thank you Leila. Aren't you working with Pihla today?
Leila: No, I knew you'd be coming, so... Even if we have more work than previous years, that's true.
Frida: It has been a warm and fair season. That's understandable.
Leila: Yes... well... Are you sure you're okay?
Frida: Not really. Why are you asking me this, out of the blue?
Leila: I... I thought it must be hard. He was your only family. Now you don't have anyone to protect you... (She bites her lips).
Frida: I can protect myself.
Leila: No! You're only a village girl! There are dozens of stronger, more violent men... (She clearly has tears in her eyes.)
Frida: Leila, you almost seem more moved than I am by what happened. Are you alright?
Leila: No... I'm... Sorry, it will pass. Bad memories, which... It'll pass. That's okay. I am sorry.
Frida: There's two of us, in that case. (Smile)
Leila: Sorry. I think I am going to lie down a bit...
Frida: Get some rest, then. I'll see you soon.
Frida: I wish there were more I could do to help her, but I don't even know what's wrong. Why is she so frightened of men? (She sighs.) Well, Grandpa Einari's house is nearby. I will pay him a visit now, as Inkeri suggested.
Frida: Thank you, this is appreciated.
Tilia Einari: Your dad took good care of your mother's parents, until their death. He was a respectable man. Your grandparents were happy and left in peace thanks to him.
Meikka Einari: Yes, he was able to replace the daughter they'd lost.
Frida: Did you know my grandparents?
Meikka Einari: Of course! Your grandfather was one of my favorite friends. We often had dinner together, your grandparents and us. When their daughter left on her adventures, they never got over it.
Tilia Einari: And then one day, years later, he came. At the time, leaving or coming to the village was not easy. There was no road, no Kingdom... And yet, he came, with you in his arms, who were barely one year old. Your grandparents were surprised that your mother had passed away giving birth, since, for them, she had to have died on the road, way before then.
They were not expecting much from life in the village. They ate very little to avoid being a burden to anyone. Your arrival was a surprise and an incredible gift to them.
Frida: Traveling was that difficult back then?
Meikka Einari: He came from Sapphire Bay. At the time, it was a smaller town; the Kingdom of the Three Rivers didn't exist and there wasn't any road up to here. As you might know, Sapphire Bay is located on the other side of the continent, near the ocean. It takes months to travel all the way there. I don't know if he originally came from Sapphire Bay. I think he lived there for a very long time though.
Frida: Why did he come all this way?
Meikka Einari: No particular reason. He considered he had to do it. He did the journey your mother couldn't do. Or never wanted to do. What your mother didn't want to pay, he paid for her. He was the only one who could. He was a man of common sense, true common sense.
Tilia Einari: He left like he had come. In silence.
Frida: Yeah. He never even left a note, or a letter, or a will.
Tilia Einari: I... I think I recall he did leave a will. But it is in Sapphire Bay. I asked him, once, what would be left to his daughter if he died. He had a faint smile, like men who have lost habit of smiling tend to do, and he answered... "I leave her the road. She is free to take it."
Frida: That's rather ambiguous.
Tilia Einari: I think he simply wanted to say, once he was gone, you would only be more free. Don't bother your head with this too much. You should rather think about what you want to do now. Which life you want to lead.
Meikka Einari: Tilia is right, you know. You must decide how you want to live your life now.
Frida: I don't know yet. Your words were very comforting, though. I learnt a lot.
Meikka Einari: Good for you. If there's anything we can do for you, please don't hesitate.
Tilia Einari: Yes, our door will always be open to you... as long as we live.
Frida: I did indeed learn a lot, like how remarkably eager they are for me to be gone. Am I so unwanted now that my father is gone?
(Yes, the shadows whisper, seeming to nod vigorously in their dark dance.)
[I'm going to have to take at least a little damage in this fight since the road north is so narrow, so I use emptiness to reduce it by half for a time.]
Frida: Yggdrasil's ash suffers hardship greater than men know of...
(With these words, the bright flame of the shadows seems to subside, and the memories they insist she remember become like pages of a book she can read at her leisure. She skims them and turns them without concern, even as her body makes its way to the north, away from the sudden onslaught. Frida almost faints from the effort of controlling her mind this way, but she makes it, and the enemies once again evaporate.)
[We level up again, and I choose a Skill that will help slightly with the whole max Memory thing. Now we only take 68% more damage from enemy attacks, instead of 88%! ]
(Farther along the path...)
[Detection reveals these black Horrifying Memories, which sap your movement, in addition to the damage-causing Brutal Memories.]
[This map is so littered with Brutal Memory traps that you have to step on at least two in order to make it to the green tile and win.]
Frida: He is sated with the last breath of dying men; the god's seat he with red gore defiles: swart is the sunshine then for summers after; all weather turns to storm. (These are the words Frida whispers as she watches her form melt into silver flame again, trying to become one with the terror and agony around her. She floats back down the path; for now, there is no way forward.)
[It's possible to end many battles without getting 100% success, you just get less xp. If you lose, you can choose to try again. If you do so, the game displays a Best: score alongside what you actually got the second time. This encounter is very tough, so I had to make a few attempts. Thankfully, it's also optional. Just don't go to the section of the map marked Woodwork.]
Frida: I... I must go tend to the other villagers. This place has no need of me...
Jesper Lisakki: Oh, I thought you were my daughter-in-law. My old eyes aren't what they used to be, that's for sure.
Frida: Come on, you are barely older than my dad.
Othilde Lisakki: How is he doing by the way? It has been three weeks that I haven't seen him.
Frida: ...He passed away, Othilde. You attended the cremation ceremony yesterday.
Othilde Lisakki: Oh yes, I remember yesterday's ceremony. My poor thing. I am very sorry for you.
Frida: I am very moved by your thoughts.
Jesper Lisakki: A good guy, that's for sure. The villagers will miss him. He was a stranger, for sure, but he did good work. It's fortunate the carpenter learnt so much from him. He is not a stranger.
Othilde Lisakki: (Cold stare) Jesper!
Frida: The carpenter? (Frida's mouth trembles slightly before she wills it to stop.) I... I must go. Goodbye.
Frida: (Emptying her mind, she fills the pit in her stomach with its contents.) Thank you, Heikki. How is work?
Heikki: Very well, Prophetess. Not very exciting, as usual.
Frida: It isn't very pleasant work, but it is necessary.
Heikki: No doubt. Well, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do.
Frida: Very well. See you soon, Heikki.
...Why do so few villagers treat me with the respect Heikki does? I will go to one of the common houses. I could use some water.
Frida: (Smile) Such is life, what can I say?
Seije Thel: (She laughs lightly). The Volva has spoken! It feels dumb to say, but such is life. Sooner or later, it all comes down to that one day. I am actually surprised every day to see my old man still alive... Bad weeds...
Frida: Indeed, such is life... Well, and you two, how are you doing?
Seije Thel: Oh, me, you know, my stupid father is still alive and kicking, and perfectly able to blabber idiotic things all day long. I don't know how my mother can put up with him.
Esti: Come on, Seije, Silk isn't that bad... If you forget about the, er, accidental groping. His habit of doing magic is amusing. I find him rather sweet for an old man.
Seije Thel: (She snickers.) You have a very peculiar notion of what is funny. But anyway, my mother's younger, so she is still very healthy. Come by and visit them during the day. They'll be glad to see you.
Frida: I already have. It was... interesting.
Seije Thel: When it comes to Ulrik... I suppose I am the only one who can put up with him anyway. There is not one woman in the village who has my patience. Even my sisters have given up. The qualms of marriage... But you should rather ask Esti, she knows all about it.
Seije Thel: (She laughs) You are not optimizing reproduction, Esti! Need some advice?
Esti: (She darts her a killer look.) By the way, we're still waiting for you to give birth, my dear! I don't mind optimizing the reproduction quotas, but Stig isn't in a hurry to optimize either... He's not Ulrik, if you see what I mean. I should ask my brother how he did it...
Seije Thel: Veikko doesn't really have family pressure on his wife's side. Every cloud has a silver lining. Time passes, peacefulness, married life... Grounds that grandma Lisakki seems to have forgotten altogether.
Esti: Tell me about it... I am getting desperate.
Frida: (To herself: Finally, here is a problem for a Volva to solve!) Maybe you can change target? There are plenty of fish in the sea.
Esti: (She laughs.) No, I'll wait. I am patient. Let's hope they will be too.
Frida. (Sigh. Or not.) I hope so, for your sake. By the way, who is that man at the other table? I have not seen him before.
Seije Thel: Some foreigner, I think, from the capital. Haven't spoken to him much.
Frida: I see... Well, I'll leave you two to talk in peace. See you later!
Esti: See you later, Frida. Hang in there!
Frida: Hello. Welcome to our village. I am the apprentice of our Volva. It's rare to see strangers here. Do you mind if I ask where you are from? [I decided to make Frida a little more polite here, since Volvas are somewhat analogous to village leaders.]
Vili Matkusta: From Sapphire Bay, Miss. I am Vili Matkusta.
Frida: Pleasure to meet you. I am Frida.
Vili Matkusta: Pleasure to meet you, Frida. Is there anything I can do for you?
Frida: Strangers are rare to come by, especially those from the capital. Could I ask you a few questions?
Vili Matkusta: (He smiles.) Why not. What would you like to know?
Frida: What brings you so far from the capital?
Vili Matkusta: It's a valid question to ask oneself. To tell you the truth, I work for the Ministry of Eternal Snows. I was sent to write a report on the northernmost villages of the Kingdom. A difficult task, since the villagers are not very cooperative, and the climate is rather... difficult.
Frida: The Ministry of Eternal Snows?
Frida: So you're a cartographer?
Vili Matkusta: Indeed. I take care of the cartography of the north of the Kingdom, to establish a census of the life and habits of its inhabitants. It's a very interesting field, but often very dangerous. (He smiles.) That's it for my work. I think I have told you everything!
Frida: Thank you very much, sir.
Vili Matkusta: Is there anything else you'd like to know?
Frida: Can you tell me more about Sapphire Bay and the Kingdom?
Vili Matkusta: (He laughs.) That's a vast subject! Where should I start... The Kingdom of the Three Rivers, based in Sapphire Bay, is the federation of the land of the three rivers. Governed by the Queen's hand of steel, a wise yet merciless monarch, it stretches until the mountains of Rosa Gallica in the South. These last fifteen years, the Queen has had a lot of roads built, including that which leads to this village, as well as many administrative and educational structures.
The city that has known the most changes is probably the capital itself, Sapphire Bay, which we also call the City of the Mist. Twenty years ago, it was still a large fishing port. Today, it's a gigantic, tentacular city, which expands on a large area of the Fjord. Dominated by the high towers of the citadel, which are perpetually in construction, it stands as the embodiment of the Kingdom's and the Queen's power and stability.
Frida: This Queen seems like an unusual character...
Vili Matkusta: That is very true. When she speaks, one can hear altogether the wisdom of our ancestors and the violence of our best hunters. She's a peculiar woman. I don't think any warrior would like to challenge her in a duel. When furious, her gaze alone could set an ash tree in flames.
[The only dialogue response is to ask Is she pretty? followed by a discussion about how the Queen also enjoys the company of women and... No. Sigrun or Bengta might have cared, but Frida does not.]
Frida: She sounds like a myth... I think I have no more questions. Thank you for all these explanations!
Vili Matkusta: You're welcome. It was my pleasure. Don't hesitate to come back and see me, young lady.
Frida: Not so well. I've got some bad memories coming back.
Miska: I understand what you feel. At least I can imagine. I was barely ten years old when I lost my father as well.
Frida: What happened?
Miska: Bah, not miraculously, that's for sure. I was sad, but I had to eat. That keeps you busy. And I found some distractions.
[I'm pretty sure I didn't miss a screenshot here... I believe that's just an awkward or poorly translated dodging of the question.]
I met Perigrini during one of my first hunts. I was fourteen, he came to me, and we've been inseparable since then. He is an excellent hunter you know. I don't think there is anything more precious than a faithful animal. I mean, sometimes I wish he'd talk to me. That he'd say good night before going to sleep, you know.
Well, that's fine for the daytime. Once the night falls, you find yourself alone at home. For most people, there's only alcohol, and you know where that goes. I have this deck of cards, that I bought from a salesman. Oftentimes, I'll play for hours and hours, so when I am tired of it, I just look at them and invent stories. It's a bit as if I could read.
Frida: It must be quite pleasant having an animal companion. Sometimes, I am a little uncomfortable among men.
Miska: Maybe. Peregrini is more than an animal for me. He joins me in my ordeals, in a way, but not only. The few joys I had in my life, he was there to share them, and when I talk to him, I am also talking to this old me from another era. It helps me get over the difficult times we face.
Frida: And the cards? Do they also help you fixate your souvenirs?
Miska: No, I don't think so. Here, I discussed this once with Olov, the foreigner. He told me this one (he shows a card) was a very important person in the capital. But he didn't know more than that. Maybe they all are real people, who knows? But what matters is that all of them are very much alive in my head, from now on.
Frida: Very interesting. I think I have taken enough of your time though. We should play a game of cards some time.
Miska: I hope I was able to help. Come back whenever you want.
Frida: Thank you, Miska. You have helped more than you know.
(Outside) Speaking of Olov, I believe it is time to pay him a visit. He is the last of my father's acquaintances to speak to. Also, the talk of alchohol reminds me that Botka the hunter usually has a supply of wine. I may need a little, to take the edge off...