[It is possible to come down here while you're still in the village, but there's never any reason to, so I didn't show it.]
Frida: A shadow amongst shadows.
Shadow of the Seid: Is this how you describe yourself? Yes, yes, I think that is correct. You dreamed so much, walked so much, slept with so many ghosts... You are now only a ghost among ghosts.
Lost in the ruins of something that belonged to you long ago, you ended up finding, at last, the main courtyard, and you made it your own. All you need to do now is wait. It is just th first step, do you know that?
Frida: There is still work to be done, to rebuild everything.
Shadow of the Seid: Yes, there is still work to be done, and the Beast is still on the prowl. You will end up meeting it again. You will end up having to speak to it. You will end up finding its allies.
I have a last question for you, young lady, then I will go away. I am afraid it is rather an enigma. Here it is.
Frida: It was four years ago. That's all I know.
Shadow of the Seid: Yes, that was four years ago, remember. It is only a start, but it is a concrete start. Perhaps you will see it again one day. Have a safe journey, young lady, and good luck.
(You are no longer in the village. There is nothing left and you find that reassuring. In the end, did you ever feel comfortable there? Was this really your villageyou, the daughter of a runaway and an exiled sailor? Isn't it better this way?
(Your home is, indeed, among these ruins. Your home is here. At last, things have fallen back into place. If you come back one day, you will be a visitor. You will be a polite stranger who is only passing through. It is thus, and it is better this way.)
(It was a large villageprobably the largest in the region. The ruins spread over several hundred meters. You can only see a small portion as you cross. This is a sad landscape, sadder than any you have seen so far.
(As you progress, the sky turns greyer, heavier, and darker. The atmosphere weights down on you more and more. Whispers seem to resonate among the ruins. Shadows, still more shadows...)
Frida: Am I now the friend of shadows?
Darkness: Nothing is living. It's the rule here. Here, everything is like me, naked, isolated, windswept; everything without a reason to beviolated and then abruptly uninhabited; everything is immutable and sad. Everything is the same as me.
(Assuming the form and mind of the Erratic Broken, Frida experiences the strange life of these ruins. Time shrinks from a fearsome enemy to a casual curiosity. She avoids getting to close to it, lest time recognize her deception, and makes her way through the village.)
(In the house the shadows become denser, more terrifying. Reluctantly, you retreat to the doorstep. Even though it is the middle of the day, the sky is so dark it seems as if the sun has already set.)
Darkness: But where are the limits of my memories? When, in spite of myself, did I pass over to this side of things? Is it not older? Is this wound not older? Have I not been torn apart without remembering it.
(There is no way to avoid them now. But as the forces of time itself advance on her, Frida's sharp mind cuts holes in this augmented reality. They tumble between two points, mindlessly trying to advance on her, without realizing they are crawling across the same three meters of space over and over.)
[The Doors skill is more useful here, since there are a lot of choke points.]
[We gain a level, and pick up a very handy skill.]
Darkness: They seep between the ruins, they whisper, they observe me, I am, obsessed. The inhabitants of a country of which I am only the heir or the passenger. They watch me, starving.
[By stepping on the orange tile, we become the Shadows' Friend for five turns, which causes our doubles/shards to move toward us after we use the golden tiles to teleport closer to them. This is necessary, since we have to get them to the green tile before the other enemies kill them, and most of them are in a position where we can't use Repulsion to get them there. Also, in the wooden room up top, there is a faint blue tile that transports the shards directly to the green tile.]
(The pieces of Frida's former self advance on her as if she is an enemy... and, truthfully, she cannot say they are wrong. Nevertheless, she reaches out with her soul and attempts to force them back together. When she gets close, they speak fragments of the Voluspa in her own voice.)
Many things I told thee, but thou hast few remembered: thy friends mislead thee. My friend's sword is lying I see, with blood all dripping.
Darkness: Nothing is left. My life at present resembles this heavy, grey cloud, these dark, cavernous eyes, this walk without end through Nowhere. My life at present resembles a long walk under a heavy, grey December sky.
Darkness: Without any objective, without any goal to achieve, without understanding why I am here, I walk, by force of habit, between the ruins. My legs are moving of their own accord, my head, full of mists, no longer recognizes the reference points. I navigate blind. It is dull, the sky is overcast. I walk. By force of habit.
Darkness: I am alive, by force of habit.
Darkness: I no longer have any pretext. I no longer have any alibi for my useless flight. I no longer have any reason for walking. It only remains for me to sit down in a corner, guilty, and wait.
Darkness: Yes. It only remains for me to sit down, punished, in the cold corner of a room. As though scolded by an old woman, I can only cry a little, in the corner, and allow myself to die.
Darkness: Can I stay here forever, and never come back? Can I stay here, here where everything resembles me? Answer me: can I let myself die?
Darkness: No, I cannot. I am burning, yes, I am still burning. I am still burning on this stake, I am still burnt by this grey fire which nothing will extinguish. I must burn, still burn, and turn my eyes to the heavens.
Darkness: What is left from you, Daddy, I must carry far, farther from here, where everything looks the same. I must settle this debt that I have not been able to pay in your lifetime. It is this fundamental thing, this is the thing that makes me your daughter. This is the reason why I walk now.
Darkness: For lack of anything better, I want to be your daughter. I want to remain your daughter. This makes sense to me. If I deserve you one day, if I deserve myself one day, maybe I will try to return. For the moment, waiting or dead, I am the princess of the crown of thorns and embers. I am the one who lives with a grey fire which nothing will extinguish, a grey fire which consumes me and vindicates me. I am the princess of the crown of thorns and embers.
Darkness: I am the princess of the stake.
(As he sees the man, the crow flies toward him, landing on his shoulder. He pecks at the man's cheek. It almost seems like a sign of affection. This surprises you, because you have never seen the crow show affection towards anyone.)
Ven: What a strange crow. He must have smelled the leftover meal in my beard...
Frida: I'm jealous. He's never done that to me.
Ven: (Laughing gently) Anyway, he seems to appreciate me. Well then, it's a pleasure to meet you, young lady. Are you hungry? Help yourselfdon't be shy. I killed a wolf yesterday morning. There is some left.
Frida: Who are you?
Frida: I am Frida. A traveler?
Ven: Yes, a traveler, just as you yourself are a traveler.
Well then, Frida the traveler, would you like a bit of meat? You seem to really need it.
Frida: If you insist. (Frida takes the meat with the cautiousness of a wild animal, trying to deny how ravenously hungry the sight of cooked meat has made her.)
Ven: Please, eat everything. I am leaving soon and I will not be able to carry it all.
It is a difficult journey through the tundra. Where are you going like that?
Frida: I am going to take my father's ashes to the Bay of Sapphire.
Ven: Really? That's a long journey for a young woman. It's an... interesting reason to travel. I would have liked to have been able to follow my father, myself. But I never really knew where he went. The snow erased all trace of him.
(and the last option is No thank you. I prefer to travel alone.)
[Here is the second of three party members we can pick up. Crows are one thing... but random scruffy dudes just hanging out in the middle of nowhere? Should we recruit Ven, or continue on alone? And if we do recruit him, how should we act towards him? Probably the best way to describe the options would be:
I'm going to keep track of votes until there is a clear consensus, and only then after a few days, since this is one of the most important decisions in the game.
[Whatever our choice, we get enough xp to level up again at the end of the conversation, and I pick a skill I think fits very well with the last encounter:
[Also, since this is the end of episode two, here is our character sheet and skill sheet:
[We got a third skill from the crow as well, which is actually different depending on how you treat it. The other NPCs are the same way. More memory! More xp! More damage! ]