(You have lost all points of reference for days. You continue blindly forward. Are these the same mountains that you could glimpse intermittently through the storm? The plain seems to stretch on forever. Like an insect facing the immensity of the climb before it, you feel tiny and slow, so slow. It seems that the plain, from one moment to another, could devour you whole.
(Eventually, you come across a new set of ruins. Identical in all ways to the first set, they unfold slowly under the same heavy white sky, under the same horizon of veiled mountains.
(As you advance, your eyesight gets cloudy. Shapes appear out of nowhere from the snow. They surround you and slow you down. You speed up the pace. Little by little you seem to be running. Little by little you seem to be falling.)
[Erasing Time saps your Psyche points, while Crying Time saps your movement. Get caught as the closest thing to both of them and you could be in trouble. On the other hand, if you manage to use your skills to keep them close to each other, you're pretty much safe for the whole battle.]
(Are they following you? They are everywhere. All around you, shadows between the houses and growling in the snow. They are following you. You run, but nothing stops them.)
(You stop to catch your breath. The noises have died down. Regardless, there is a feeling of dread in the air. Breathlessly, you continue on your journey.)
Frida: As I am changing, so is my enemy. I must continue to evolve, or they will find me.
[We finally pick up the ultimate skill of the Metamorph branch of the snowflake, which can be used in many clever ways by a tricky player.]
(The growling starts up again, closer and louder. Terrified, you start to run. Around you, packs of nebulous shapes float between the houses, watching you.)
[Doors isn't all that useful in this fight, since there are no good choke points, but surviving ten rounds is still easy enough.]
(You have escaped, for the moment. Breathless, you slow down. The shape of a large building in the near distance catches your attention. Perhaps you will be able to rest there.)
Frida: Am I going to give up, dad? Am I going to let myself die here? I am tired, so tired... I have been walking for a long time, so long that I have forgotten why I am walking. I am tired, so tired, I would like for everything to end... That the snow may swallow me at last, that the snow may finally finish its work...
(Motionless, abandoned, with half-closed eyes, you watch the snow fall.)
(Who are they? The landscape is calm, not a sound or a sudden movement. The snow falls gently, silently. Who are they? It seems like they are singing. It is a strange landscape. It is a bit like a dream. Like the dream of a child.)
[There are no enemies here. You simply have to step on a series of the glowing tiles in a maze-like shifting pattern until one appears in front of each Winter Voice, then stop on it.]
(As Frida's wispy, ghost-like form approaches the shapes, she catches bits and pieces of their song.)
If those who made us gently come undone
What use is our long sacrifice?
Orphans, imperfect, abandoned
Let us end it all. So that at last we can be done with it.
We were late even before waking
Our life burned from the urgency of living
-Even if the shadows sometimes gave good counsel
We had our reasons for forgetting to follow them.
We foughtnow it is late.
So many left, what good is this ploy?
What is the use of working late into the night?
Everything we can still see looks like snow.
Willpower is all that is needed to walk further
-We were quick out of desperation
But from our travels we learned
That one does not go far on an empty stomach
Day after day, the snow will erase our footsteps
Ice will take the rivers and the cold our windows
It is so and it is for the best. It is hard to disappear
But there is sometimes a little water beneath the ice
Just as there is blood in a body collapsed
Just as a cry can sometimes be a word
Just as morning follows a sleepless night
Just as we hear, sometimes, the murmur of the avalanche.
(The voices begin to fade away.)
Frida: Wait! Please, stay and teach me your song. I have never heard this one before, and I must memorize it so I can share it...
(For the first time in weeks, the sky is perfectly clear. The temperature has risen and, to your surprise, it is warm. The sound of birds can be heard from the odd tree dotting the area. The mountains are easily visible on the horizon. While scanning the horizon, you discover what looks like a village in ruin. It is maybe six days' walk away. You eat you penultimate ration with difficulty and start walking.)
[Now, and for the rest of the game, we get a different bonus depending on which path we took.]
We also level up, and take a very in-character skill.]
[A bit of a bug here, I think... There is supposed to be an event in the middle of the trail where the crow flies away, but either I didn't get it or I don't have a screenshot of it. The keen-eyed among you will notice the lack of the crow sprite on our shoulder in some of the above pictures.]
Frida: You're back! (She bursts into tears, for the first time since the death of her father.) I missed you, I was so sad... (Hugs it tightly.)
(The crow looks annoyed by the hug, but makes no other protest.)
Frida. He's so cute when he's asleep... (She eases off of the hug, lightly stroking his feathers instead.)
(Frida sniffs, wipes away the tears with her sleeve, and resumes walking toward the ruined village, comforted by the reassuring pressure of the crow's claws in her shoulder.)