Part 4(Along the way to Botka the Hunter's house [not really, but I wanted to include this somewhere], Frida overhears two young women talking.)
Ruusu: In any case, if she's so happy staying alone for the rest of her life, we can't prevent her, can we?
Ilse: Maybe she needs a little more time.
Ruusu: She's eighteen, she should have been fianced for two years at least. If she's like that at eighteen, she'll end up like the other daddy's girl...
Ilse: Maybe she prefers women?
Ruusu: Oh, she can choose whatever she wants, as long as she gets kids.
Ilse: You'll keep seeing me even when you have chilr... Oh, hello, Frida!
Ruusu: Oh, hello there, Frida. Condolences on the death of your father.
Frida: Thanks. I don't mean to butt in, but what were you talking about?
Ilse: Err, well...
Ruusu: Intimate things. Between me and her. We weren't finished, actually. Let's return to our discussion. Good day, Frida.
Frida: Well then, good day.
Ilse: Oh... Have a good day then!
Frida: Good for them, I suppose, though they could stand to be more respectful to their future Volva... I hope Ilse will decide to marry too. This village will die out without more children.
Frida: Hello Botka... It's been a while. We haven't chatted.
Botka: You know, we all feel sad for what is happening to you. Suho lost his father, and it took him months to get over it. [In case you didn't notice, there's no one else in the house; Suho is Botka's imaginary friend.]
Frida: It was a little... sudden, you know.
Botka: Bah, life goes, you know. A little booze and some optimism. And friends. Friends are important. You got someone your age that you can talk to?
Frida: ...(She takes a large gulp of the wine Botka has poured her.) Tell me about my father.
Botka: Well, listen, I am not going to lie to you: your dad wasn't the talkative kind, and that's an understatement. Even Suho, who's always there to cheer people up, he never got a word out of him. So an old hunter like me, who can't even line up three words in a sentence when he's sober...
The truth is, I mostly remember his silences. When we would sit at the table, with a drink, here or in the community house. When he would walk by himself in the village. When he would glance with a blasé air at the produce of a hunt, at two love birds making out, or at a wild boar as it charged... It's as if nothing could ever move him, really. Even alcohol didn't make him any more cheerful.
So that's that. It's true I would have liked to talk a bit more. But the past is the past. Doesn't do us any good to mull over it. Like I always say, you have to look towards the future. Want a refill?
Frida: No, I think I have drunk enough like that. Thank you Botka. And, err... you too Suho. See you later.
(The flush of the wine keeps Frida pleasantly warm as she finally begins the march to Olov's house, at the northern edge of the village. Along the way, she notices Valdemar Lisakki carrying the results of his hunt into one of the common houses, and decides to give him and his catch her blessing.)
Valdemar Lisakki: Listen, Eija, could you please let me unpack my catch peacefully?
Eija Lisakki: But I'm bored! There's nothing to do here!
Valdemar: Why don't you go sing a song to daddy?
Eija: Are you kidding? He is deaf as a post!
Valdemar: (Sigh)... Oh! Hello, Frida... My condolences on your father's death.
Frida: Hail to the all-giving earth. (She makes a rune-sign with her hands over the carcasses.)
Valdemar: Er, yes. Hail.
Eija: So, are you unpacking your hunting prizes?
Valdemar: Eija! Could you be polite and say hello to Frida?
Eija: Hummm... (The young woman gives you an annoyed look.) Hi.
Valdemar: ...Sorry, Frida, you know how she is. She'll grow up.
Eija: Why should I greet this girl anyway? She's only causing trouble!
Frida: (Her hands twitch, almost clenching into fists, but she takes one long, deep breath and speaks instead.) I had forgotten how much teenagers are ungrateful...
Eija: (The girl turns red, looking enraged, but stays quiet.)
Valdemar: (He smiles, embarrassed.) Thank you for taking it lightly, Frida.
Frida: (She turns around to go, muttering a verse.)
Too early to many homes I came,
Too late, it seemed, to some:
The ale was unfinished or else un-brewed,
The unpopular cannot please... [From the Havamal]
What trouble could I possibly be causing? No matter. Onward.
Frida: Hello, Olov. Thank you. My father and you talked often, didn't you?
Olov: Yes, that's right. I am the only one in the village who owns books, and your father liked to read.
Frida: Really? I didn't know that.
Olov: (He softly laughs.) He must have read my entire library twice. Even though I order new ones frequently. I think reading was what he missed most from his past life.
Frida: His past life?
Olov: The time when he lived in Sapphire Bay. The time when he... travelled. This era when life for him was expanding beyond this little horizon of grey trees and snow.
Frida: He travelled?
Olov: Yes, I think he was a sailor. I am not sure. He never told me the reason for his travels, but he was often at sea. That too, I think he missed.
Frida: Do you think he regretted that?
Olov: That is a difficult question. I think your father was not someone who has regrets. He chose his life clearmindedly. Two options presented themselves to him, and he chose the one he thought was right. Perhaps it is the one that hurt him the most.
You are the only one who can tell if the choice was the right one. I think his life here made him immensely sad. I think he had to renounce a lot of things. I think he also knew the price of existence, and of giving birth. He was a smart and responsible man.
That is all I can say, for that is all I know of him. I am not the one privy to the rest.
Frida: The rest is in Sapphire Bay.
Frida: You are definitely a fascinating man, Olov.
Frida: They may still consider you a foreigner, even after ten years, but I don't.
Olov: Your father too was a foreigner. A foreigner... more than I am, since I belong to the kingdom. At the time he came, there was no kingdom. He was just a foreigner, a man who came from far away. Yet, from what I know, he was never considered a foreigner. Interesting, isn't it?
Bearing the burden of your mother, bearing his history and his defeat, he also gained his roots, and their recognition. He is the one who returned to the land that gave him birth. No one ever thought of treating him like a foreigner. He made the same sacrifice as everyone here. He paid the same respect.
These are our roots. What gave us birth, who we are and what we give birth to, all in one, respected. Our country is made of it. Our land is made of it. What do you think about it?
Frida: I think you sound like a a bit like Inkeri.
(Frida's eyes widen as he finishes the verse perfectly.)
Olov: This gigantic ash rising in the north of the world... according, at least, to what our Volur say... together a source of life, a whole being itself, and a gallows... Representing in itself this entire way of life. We have duties, which are neither divine, nor forced. We are free to respect ourselves.
Frida: That is very true. (She nods solemnly.)
Olov: In the end, these are the imaginings of a foreigner who has read too many books. Don't pay too much attention.
Frida: No, this was truly interesting, Olov. You are an astonishing man.
(Olov seems to think for a moment, then walks over to a shelf. He picks up a book and hands it to you.)
Olov: Here is a book that could interest you. It's a gift. I have largely enough of them. Take care of yourself, and... come back and visit sometimes.
Frida: Thank you, Olov. Goodbye. Hale go forth, hale return, hale on your ways. [From the Vafþrúðnismál... No, I don't know how to pronounce that either. I just know the little p-looking thing is a "th" sound.]
(As Frida exits, she leafs through the book. It appears to be a written collection of songs Inkeri has already taught her to memorize. [There's no inventory, and the game doesn't tell you what the book is, so I had to make this up.] Yet there are differences. Before she can spend time analyzing them, however, the shadows grow longer, and the strange-looking crow alights nearby...) [Out of range of my screenshots, of course.]
[This fight is pretty much the same as the last few, just a chance to use different abilities if you've been leveling up. Betrayal, then Repulsion or Minor Oblivion on any memory that closes in, in my case.]
(Frida realizes that she cannot learn any more from these memories. They are too faint and distant. Like they are written in a book, but the ink has faded to illegibility. It is time to see Volva Inkeri again.)
Frida: I spoke to Veikko... I am not sure what to think.
Inkeri: Really? How come?
Frida: Veikko and Anna-Liisa are worried about me. But regardless, I feel like I am bothering them. And, even paying them a visit is unpleasant.
Inkeri: Unpleasant? How so?
Frida: Like everything else, I often walk through the village, overwhelmed by unpleasant memories. In front of their house, it's worse.
Inkeri: (She looks lost in thought.) Maybe you should rest a little.
Frida: I can't seem to rest. When I try to sleep, I feel like the shadows are about to... swallow me whole.
Inkeri: Swallow you? You can't sleep? That's unpleasant... Have you talked to Veikko? What does he think about it?
Frida: Yes. I told him that you told me I should get a breath of fresh air. He seemed reassured.
Inkeri: Indeed. I think you really need to speak to people. Grieving, my sweet, begins in such ways.
Frida: I spoke to the Einaris... I learned a few things.
Inkeri: Really, my sweet? Which ones?
Frida: My father lived in Sapphire Bay. He is supposed to have left his last wishes there.
Inkeri: These are speculations, aren't they? Did Tilia tell you that?
Frida: Yes. She also told me he had bequeathed something to me... my freedom.
Inkeri: (The old Volva looks at you sadly.) I am not certain one can bequeath such a thing.
Tilia talks a lot, and doesn't always know what she is talking about. You shouldn't pay too much attention to her. To presume a dead man's wishes or opinions is a rather hazardous thing to do, even for a friend.
Frida: I also spoke to Olov. He is an interesting man.
Inkeri: Indeed, Olov is an interesting man. Sensible, smart, with a certain wisdom. Many in the village should take example.
Frida: From what he's told me, my father read a lot. And he travelled a lot too.
Inkeri: I am not surprised. Your father was a man who was curious about things.
Frida: According to Olov, he was sad, but never regretted he came here.
Inkeri: (She smiles.) Who could say? I wouldn't know myself. But, true, your father did not seem to be a man who has regrets.
Frida: Well, I think I spoke to everyone. At least, everyone I encountered.
[This is your last chance to get some xp before a gauntlet of relatively tough battles. It's a good idea to talk to everyone in town before continuing. There are honestly a few villagers I left out, but I believe I got the most interesting/relevant ones.]
Frida: Honestly... I don't feel well. First, at Veikko's, I felt dizzy. Earlier, walking in the east of the village, I almost threw up. I thought I was being attacked. I have had strange visions since last night.
Inkeri: (She seems worried.) Well... I would say you are simply tired, my sweet. You won't recover that easily from all that is happening to you. Go get some rest, and we'll talk again tomorrow, shall we?
Frida: I... I don't really feel like it, but I'll try.
[You actually get this message whenever you try to go back to your house, and doing so before now can save you a trip and get you straight to the next dialogue option with Inkeri.]
[Level up! I think we deserve the Persistence skill for making it this far! Plus, another hundred HP is always good.]
Frida: I... I have tried to go back home, but... I can't. Every time I try, I see my father. The shadows... I can't even walk up the hill.
Inkeri: I... I see. (She has a sad smile.) It's going to be fine, my sweet. Sleep here tonight, and we'll see if you feel better tomorrow.
Frida: Thank you, Volva Inkeri. I don't know what is happening to me.
Inkeri: You're not well, and that's understandable... Listen, sweetheart, I may have a solution. Actually, it's more like a tool. But you have to be courageous.
Frida: What are you referring to?
Inkeri: The Seid, my sweet. You know it well. I aught you its use when you became old enough. I think you should enter the world of the spirits.
Frida: I am interested, but it's a little old-fashioned for a religious practice... You don't even use it yourself, do you?
Inkeri: People don't do this much nowadays. I have never used the drug for divinatory purposes myself. I'm not sure it will work, actually. However, to take some before sleeping can sometimes make dreams more... interesting. It also helps sleeping for sure.
Frida: Well, I've got nothing to lose. What do I have to do?
Inkeri: Because you are yourself a Volva, I can give you a full dose. Stay here, let me go get what you need.
[Normally there would be a choice to vote on here, deciding on a half or quarter dose, which in turn allows you to decide later how deep to go into the Seid. But Frida is experienced, as Jimi Hendrix would say, so Inkeri just goes ahead and makes her the good stuff. Anyway, sorry this Let's Play is rather light on the Us at the moment. There should be a choice to vote on in another couple updates though.]
(The old Volva disappears in the basement for a moment. You hear noises of someone concocting a beverage. After a few minutes, she returns with a cup of tea, with an unusual scent and a slight hint of alcohol.)
Inkeri: There. I leave you the cup here. When you feel like sleeping, just drink it. As for me, I am going to bed. Good night, Frida.
Frida: Good night, Volva Inkeri.
[Note: To actually sleep in this and most future instances, you have to click the (overly) stylized eye icon under the character, skills, etc. menu in the upper left of the screen.]
(Frida is deliriously giddy. She has only ever seen glimpses of the Seid before, through training in deprivation, mind alteration, and meditation. To actually, fully enter it...
One moment, she is lying in bed, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling and clutching her blanket with anticipation, and the next...
She is standing on warm, wet ground that yields slightly to her feet. Cave-like rock formations surround her, with dark fungus growing on them. There is a hot, rhythmic breeze blowing through the tunnel she finds herself in, as if some enormous beast were breathing steadily in the distance.
There is no apparent light source, and though the tunnel is quite dark, Frida finds that she is able to see well enough. She stoops down to examine a mushroom, trying to memorize its every detail so she can record it as soon as she awakens, when a shadow moves mere inches from her face. She backs away and prepares to defend herself, but this is not the blazing flame of one of her memories. It is hard to tell exactly what it is, in fact. Whenever she tries to examine it, her gaze slides off of its true form like water slides off a stone.
Suddenly, it speaks. There even seems to be more than one speaking, at times.)
Cave Shadow: What we can perceive of reality is only but the shadow, which is cast by a sun that is not ours, but is awaiting. The shadow of a sun, which is so personal to us, so childish, so intimate, that we sometimes refuse to admit we share it with so many thieves and drug merchants.
Cave Shadow: Do we share it? It carries within itself so many shadows, so many nights that we have made ours. And our shadows... our shadows remain so different...
Cave Shadow: Daddy, do our shadows resemble each other? Are we made of the same sun, of the same poetry? Are we made of the same drug, the kind you used to dope on in the holds of the ships, when your eyes would get lost at sea, simulating new latitudes...
Cave Shadow: In the shadow of your eyes, your bursted eyes, poured towards the black sky, there was a taste of lassitude I had never known. A taste I can't understand. I, who have slept so long in the shade of your ships, in the shade of your sorrow, I have learnt to love it, like one loves a mother.
Cave Shadow: I, who grew in yearning and wilted in orgasm, could I ever understand? Or am I, like my mother, destined to die forgotten, guilty, for having fled what I could not fight?
Frida: No, spirit. That is not my destiny. I will not flee.
[Our character sheet as we enter the Seid...]