Frida: Later. I must talk to you. I had a strange dream and I remembered.
Saul: You remember? Really? And what do you remember?
Frida: There was someone. In my dream, he was called The Beast. I was eighteen or nineteen years old. He did... something. I don't know what. I changed a little afterwards. Not a lot, but a little.
Saul: (He looks at you kindly.) You don't remember anything else? I think that you must choose a particular event... a bad experience with a man perhaps?
Frida: No, I don't think so...
Saul: Very bad experiences can provoke a denial... The spirit and the body no longer want to remember. They forget intentionally. It's a possibility, perhaps. You could have been beaten, raped, or forced to do something horrible... It's worse when it concerns someone close.
Frida: There was only ever my father close to me, as far as I remember.
Saul: Everything is possible.
Frida: It's true. I will think about it.
Saul: Don't push it too hard. Memories return when they return. Go and help Livari. That will take your mind off it!
Frida: What the...?
Elias: Aha! Interesting, very interesting! Are you mourning the loss of your beast, or is it another? Did he have the key to your secret chamber, or was it his? Ah, yes! Interesting, yes indeed... You are still with me a little, isn't that right? We are going to the same place, and we come from the same place... Oh, yes! Put on the glove, put on the glove! Where did you lose it? You want time, but there is no time without the glove! No, no!
(Frida slips away and speaks to the woman next to Elias.)
Frida: You seem different from the other voyagers... I'm curious.
Marie-Louise: Ah! Let me introduce myself. I am Marie-Louise von Franz, a resident of Sapphire baya doctor studying mental pathologiesand a citizen of Rosa Gallica!
Frida: Incredible! You're Gallic?
Marie-Louise: Yes, yes, I know it's not common to see women as petite and tanned as I am in the north. (She laughs.) Yet I've lived here many years!
Frida: And what is someone like you doing here?
Marie-Louise: You see, I'm conducting research on certain rare pathologies in relation to the religion of the area. The Queen agreed to finance several trips, most notably this one. I'm studying the ways and customs of the area, and from time to time I bring someone back, like Elias!
Marie-Louise: The man next to me! He was an apprentice to a volva, but he consumed a few too many weird substances and he's never come back down... He is fascinating! I never get tired of talking to him.
Frida: I... see. Well then, good luck!
Frida: It seems like we're going to arrive soon... two or three days. Have to hold on a little bit more! (Smiles.)
(Ven seems uncomfortable... You know him a little by now, and behind his indecipherable face, you know how to recognize the silent emotions that flit by.)
Frida: Peter! How's that Peter?
Sulho: What is it, young lady?
Peter: Ah, hello Miss! What is happening? (He looks nothing like the one you know. There has been a confusion about the person.)
Frida: Oops... Excuse me! I mixed you up with someone else.
Sulho: Ah, OK! That explains everything! No, this is my brother. We are tanners, you see. We are going to do business in the south.
Frida: Interesting. Oh well, until we meet again.
Frida: I'll do my best...
[Another epic quest! As we take stuff down, the hold fills up with more stuff. I make a mistake though, and try to take down a really heavy item too early, so we don't get the best score. ]
Kukka: Stop! I can't do anymore. Right, let's take stock... Jarkko?
Jarkko: Yes? Are you finished? Let me see... Yeah, well, you brought down most of it. It'll do. I'll take care of the rest. You can rest now.
[Even though we didn't get the best score, it's still enough to level up. Taking this skill will also prove to be very useful in some battles, and very frustrating in others. Oh well.]
Frida: What are you doing here?
Tapio: You see, I am in the middle of unpacking and preparing to cook my catch of the day! Fruitful, of course, like everything I do! I caught a magnificent salmon. I think you will like it. It weighs easily as much as my head, and the Norns know that weighs a lot! Ha ha ha! Of course, I have also caught all sorts of fabulous fishoh, look at that, you will not see anything like that very soon...
Tapio: That reminds me of the time when I was still a kid, on the banks of the Styxyou know that is the name the people from the capital give to this river? Aaaah, I was still young and carefree, it was summer, and I wanted to dive into something... It was a magnificent year for fish, I must say. For hens also. Ah, didn't I tell you that my father was also a hen farmer? One of the best in the far north, oh yes! And then, that year...
Frida: But of course! (Discreetly slips away.)
[That's right, this miss-able conversation gives us the name of the river, at last. Because things weren't mythic enough already.]
(Your eyes close and your consciousness escapes. Who are you, Beast? Will I recognize you again this eveningwill you tell me your name? Gradually, as the grotto reappears, your calm is colored little by little with an uneasiness. Something is wrong. This dream is not like the earlier ones. This place is different. What is happening? There is nothing, however, but the ambiance is oppressive.)
[Though it has a turn number and enemies, this is not a battle at all. They don't attack. Instead, it's a teleportation puzzle! No wonder the game talked this dream up so dramatically... Having some paper is handy for this part.]
The Beauty :~I don't know. I am burning. I almost recognize it. An image. I am lying in the snow. My tears. My father, near the house. Dad, Dad, don't look at me. Don't look at me dying. Help me. Don't look at me. I am going to die.~
[When we reach the end, we get a glimpse of the next area, as before.]
Saul: This one was a really bad dream, wasn't it? You remind me of my daughter at times... She would hold my hand really hard when she slept, when she was little, as though she was afraid of not coming back. Tell me about it. That will do you good. This one, I know you haven't forgotten it.
Frida: Dad... In the snow, I see him. I am crying. I am stretched out. He doesn't move... He is looking at me, and I am burning. I am burning, and I am afraid, and I hurt... An image. I have already seen this image...
Saul: An image? What happens afterwards? Do you remember? Why are you burning?
Frida: I don't know.
Saul: (The old man smiles sadly.) Ah... Well, there is nothing to be done. Go back to sleep a little. You have time...
Frida: Better not... I am going to get up.
Saul: Don't push it too hard, young lady. You can't do anything about it anyway...
Frida: Could you please be quiet?
[This is another instance where I really, really wish there were more options. Like to talk to Elias more, especially as a fellow volva's apprentice.]
Frida: You said you were a head doctor, right? Don't you feel like taking a look at mine? I think I'm completely mad.
Marie-Louise: Really? How interesting! What is your problem?
Frida: I speak to shadows... sometimes in my dreams, sometimes in the real world. I feel like I see things I shouldn't, and I'm pursued by... visions.
Marie-Louise: That's exciting! It seems like a more-or-less mild case of schizophrenia... I find that interesting. I don't have time right now, but if you go to the bottom of the waterfalls, I'll be there in a few days for a week or two. You can tell me all about it there. What do you say?
Frida: I was hoping you'd have a solution...
Marie-Louise: A solution? For what? Doesn't it add a little spice to your life? (She smiles.) It's quite rare to cure this kind of pathology. All you can do is learn to live with it... But if you're able to talk about it, it means you've already done it! (Another swerve almost makes her fall.) Whoa! Ha ha ha...
Frida: So be it. In that case, see you later...
Frida: Well, you have moved! Incredible.
Martti: Hello, young lady. I am Martti. Please to meet you... Excuse me, but I was watching the current. It's fascinating, don't you think? By watching the water as it escapes from the rear of the barge, one can see so many things...
Frida: Is that what you were doing for the last three days...?
Martti: I am only a humble hunter, but... For me, everything is in the clear or bubbling water whistling out of the rear of a boat. The visible, the invisible, the noises, the silence, the fish which appear for an instant, the time which passes... I find it all fascinating.
Frida: This world is decidedly full of poets... Hmm.
Martti: Isn't it? (He smiles softly, then returns to watch the current.)
Frida: If you want...
Hans: Absolutely. To tell the truth, fishing fascinates me. I find that it's a world of its own, made up of contemplation and silence... Anyway, more often... Oh, but I didn't introduce myself! Excuse me! I'm Hans. Hans the shopkeeper. It was my belongings that you took down into the hold yesterday. Come to think of it, many thanks!
Hans: (He smiles politely.) Uh, yes, that's me! What's wrong?
Frida: (The name strikes you all of a sudden.) Hans... Hans? I... That name rings a bell, but... I'm sorry, I must go. Fish without me.
Tapio: Oh, really? I had so much to show you... Oh well, too bad! Make the most of the fresh air. It does you good! Ha ha ha! And don't hesitate to come and see me if you want tips on fihsing. If only you know, to tell you the truth: the other day...
(You twist and turn. Hans? I don't want to think. I don't want to think. What comes is too big. What comes swallows everything. It's like a shadow, like a gigantic shadow, distant, very distant, but already immense. Hans? This name... I don't want to think. Red hair in the snow. I don't want to think about it.)
(You struggle, you struggle, you forget. No, I do not knowa common namewhat are we talking about? A friend of yours. The capital? Yes, perhaps... New faces. Look, Dad, the hunters are coming back. A book? What is it? Aaah... I hurt. I hurt everywhere. I'm cold...)
(In the distance, men are busy repairing some damage, and higher up, you hear the captain's shouts. You feel bad, ill, the boat moves, moves to much. It is going to break. It's inevitable. People are shouting, water lapping. No, it's my imagination. I hurt, my stomach, I am burning... I am cold. What were we talking about? I am falling asleep... Aaah, I am falling asleep... Finally.)
[This is the final encounter of episode four, and it is one of the hardest and most infuriating in the game. It has caused more than a few rage-quits from me. Even this time, knowing what was coming, I had to retry it about a dozen times. I can get into exactly why later, but the main reason is that, unlike most battles, 90% of it is unskippable. You can only choose to end the encounter after being defeated if you make it to the last part... which is the easiest part anyway. But first, I'll let it speak (mostly) for itself. I don't think my bitching about mechanics would add much to this section.]
The Beauty: ~You didn't come. I thought I could just about see your silhouette, through my tears, who was spying on me. As he was moving in me, as he demolished me, I turned my head and I thought that I saw you. I thought that I saw you for an instant, close to the house, watching me. Don't look at me. Don't look at me die. Help me. Don't look at me, Dad. I am going to die.~
The Beauty: ~My agony lasted a long time, you know, such a long time. I no longer heard anything, my legs trembled, I felt him, I felt him still moving in me long after he had left, as though he was going to move in this way forever... Drooling, viscous, like the vomit of a sick animal. I couldn't take anymore. I couldn't take anymore, do you understand? How to protect me from something which is in me, which is in me and which does not go away, not for hours, not for years...~
The Beast: ~You preferred that I did not exist. You preferred that I be the Beast, the Beast buried in your stomach, the Beast buried in your memory. You did not want to accept that I could be anyhing elseperhaps you would have been able to accept the Beast, but not the man. And yet I am only a man.~
The Beauty: ~It's true. I would have almost been capable of accepting a Beast, but to accept that you be a man... To accept that you be a man, that was not possible. I have never been able to accept. I have never again been able to see the man, I have never again wanted to see the man behind the Beast.~
~Today, I meet you finally, there were my heart pours out. Today, in the infinite solitude of my interior sea, I recognize you. It's too late, but it isn't important.~
~I think that I dreamt, a long time ago, that I was a princess in a castle... I was waiting, I was waiting for the prince who would come to set me free. Now it is too late.~
~Yes, it's too late for my castle, Dad. It's too late for my castle; he has burnt the curtains, the stones, the roof... Above, the black sky has no face. He burnt it, he burnit it until the walls were black and nothing moved, ever, ever again.~
~I am the princess, I am the princess of the burnt castle.~
(The barge is moored, in the depths of darkness. Above, you hear Livari and Jarkko busying themselves. It must be two, three hours after midnight and the barge appears to have reached its destination. You get ready hastily, take your things and leave without a sound the hold where about ten people are still asleep.)
Frida: Sorry, Captain. Next time, perhaps.
Livari: You're leaving? In the middle of the night, without saying goodbye to old Saul or to the crew?
Frida: Sorry. Goodbye.