Homecoming (FD)

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This article is about the interlude in The Black Forest Wills A Dream. For the interlude in Rewinding Breeze, see Homecoming.
Homecoming The Black Forest Wills A Dream
Next One Day
Characters
Samifjod shaman icon.png
Grieving Apprentice Shaman
Samifjod shaman icon.png
Mild-Mannered Shaman
Samifjod shaman icon.png
Sami Wetlands Shaman
Samifjod shaman icon.png
Stern Shaman
Ursine Villager icon.png
Ursus Caravan Member
Blank icon.svg
Sami Wetlands Inhabitant
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???
Backgrounds
Dark Forest
1
Sami village
2
Quagmire
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Cold Forest
4
Gitano returns to her tribe after foreseeing her brother's death. Santalla tracks the the trail of the Ursus infiltrators, warning Magallan and Typhon to be careful before leaving.
<Background 1>
Sami Wetlands Shaman Ragna, Ragna.
How should we welcome you?
From either the north or the south, you were always the least likely to return of those who left.
Gitano ......
I know no one invited me.
But I saw a vision in my crystal ball.
...A vision of my brother's death.
<Background 2>
Magallan What a beautiful sculpture! Does the little guy in the nutshell really point the way?
And this Originium crystal! What an unusual color!
How do you keep the crystal stable while sculpting?
No, wait, isn't it dangerous to have a piece of Originium as a home decoration?
Analysis on the Originium ice crystal I brought back last time isn't finished yet, but more importantly... it's so beautiful!
Ursus Caravan Member ......
Magallan Let's see... I think I have a few coins left from my last trip to Ursus!
Or do you only accept bartering, like the local Sami?
I can spare a can of seasoning to trade... But that would mean Simone and Typhon would have to eat bland Sami food with me.
Typhon ...We're Sami to begin with.
Ursus Caravan Member What do you actually want, girl? We'll be on our way if you have nothing to trade.
Magallan Oh, sorry, was I too loud? Haha...
I didn't think the Ursus caravans would come all the way up here, bringing so much stuff I've never seen!
What did you say you needed, Simone?
...Simone?
Typhon You really didn't hear, did you?
Magallan Wh-What?
Typhon Someone recognized her and asked for her help.
Some bodies have been brought back to the tribe, but they don't have a Snowpriest, so they asked Simone to check them instead.
Magallan Oh, so people died...
No wonder the market's been so quiet. No one seemed interested in talking.
Everybody looks so depressed.
They didn't put up much for sale, either.
Let's wait for Simone, then. She insisted on coming to the market, so she can decide.
Is that okay, my friends from Ursus?
<Background fades out and in>
Santalla O water that flows across the land of Sami. Allow me to speak to your children.
(Low humming)
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Wind.
From the lowest branch of the old tree, to the torch in front of Grandma Vali's door...
O great merciful fate.
It is assented. Go ahead, daughter of the Santalla Tree. Here are their belongings.
Santalla I am grateful to earn the trust of a root of Frost Maple.
[Santalla examines the belongings.]
Santalla ......
There is red frost on the weapons. They were in battle.
Are these warriors from the northern front?
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Yes, they left the tribe for the northern lands seven or eight years ago.
Who could have guessed that the two tribesmen who'd left home the longest, who were the least willing to look back, would come home on the same day?
Santalla Are you referring to the dead?
Grieving Apprentice Shaman ...A brother and sister who had parted ways.
Fate has also brought you here today. Perhaps you should hear the story.
You must remember the great snowfall that covered half of Myrkwood.
Santalla Of course.
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Our clan was affected too.
Like the other clans trapped in the blizzard, we prayed for Sami's wisdom and braved the wind and snow to seek messages atop trees, all to learn how we might protect ourselves.
But we did not have a Snowpriest.
We prayed and prayed, but received nothing but silence.
There was no guidance from fate, and our shamans could not determine whether to stay or not, or if we left, to where?
That was when those two siblings stepped forward to lead.
But their thoughts took them in opposite directions.
The older brother answered Eikthyrnir's call and brought his band to the northern front, to stop the snowfall for the rest of the tribe and spare them the need to leave.
Santalla I see, accepting guidance from a Snowpriest outside the tribe in desperate circumstances.
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Meanwhile, the younger sister felt that we could not afford to wait for the snowfall to end.
Using her Arts to foresee danger, she led the rest of the tribe southwards, eventually settling here.
Santalla It couldn't have been an easy journey.
...For either of them.
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Yes.
So we can understand why they hated each other enough to never look back.
Ha, my sister and I butted heads for months after I broke one of her horn ornaments. What is a mere seven or eight years to their differences?
...*sigh*.
The blessed words carved into the side of his drum are all faded now. I would have redone them for him, if he'd come back even once over the last few years.
Santalla This drum...
There's no blood on it at all.
But the shaman who owned it was clearly badly wounded.
I suspect... he didn't have his weapon when he was injured.
......
There's half a bottle of vodka in his fur coat.
Ha, the bitter brew that the Ursus squeeze from steel. Did they drink with the Ursus by the fireside?
Who brought back these warriors' bodies?
Grieving Apprentice Shaman An Ursus caravan. Why?
Santalla ——
<Flashback starts here>
<Background black>
[Multiple fowlbeasts can be heard.]
<Background 3>
??? "Checking status of Black Mark. Liebafowl is about to trade with those upon water."
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 2>
Santalla Are they still here?
Grieving Apprentice Shaman They usually don't stay for long. The path ahead is treacherous when the sun has set.
Santalla Thank you. I must find them... and ask some questions.
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Wait... will you come back, Santalla?
Santalla Hm?
Grieving Apprentice Shaman We're a withering clan... We could use all the help we can get.
This ceremony means much to us.
It's not just a sendoff for the dead, but also a chance for the living to bid farewell to their homeland. The more learned shamans there are, the better protected our people will be.
Santalla ...Clan migration.
Nearly a hundred years later, does the Samivilinn once again guide you on a great migration to the south?
Grieving Apprentice Shaman Yes. This time, the Samivilinn gazes upon us.
We can recognize the signs.
Newborns crying all night, dead beasts by ponds...
Santalla (Signs of fear.)
(Has demonic corruption spread all the way from the icefield to the southern wetlands?)
(Or could the Black Mark that Ursus placed on Sami be...)
I have an inkling of the signs you speak of.
I promise I'll be back for the ceremony.
But... I have other matters to attend to for now.
The spirits of the dead are watching. The living must bring them peace.
<Background fades out and in>
Magallan Is it really that bad when you don't have a Snowpriest?
Is that enough of a reason for things to be going badly for the tribe?
Typhon Yeah.
[Magallan takes out her notebook.]
Magallan (Takes notes) "Snowpriests protect their tribe through soothsaying..."
"Tribes without a Snowpriest may be unable to detect impending Catastrophes."
So a Snowpriest has to study like a Catastrophe Messenger then...
Typhon You don't become a Snowpriest just by studying.
I've seen Snowpriests-in-training in the tundras, on the brink of death as they go through their trials.
Other tribes wait for a revelation from Sami. Those who become Snowpriests receive miraculous instructions.
Anyway, you should talk to Simone about it. All I'm telling you is to stop asking around the market.
This tribe is like a sick hornbeast. It's going to get irritated if you keep poking at it and telling it to get up.
Magallan Sorry...
Typhon Also, this bracelet you picked isn't just ugly, it's bothersome too.
Magallan Hehe, that was just an excuse to get you to come to the market with me.
Typhon You're almost fully Sami by now. You don't need me to accompany you in the south, where metal things are plentiful.
Magallan Still, I feel better with you around.
I'm not sure why, but I'm getting a bad feeling.
Typhon ...Do your bad feelings have a habit of coming true?
Magallan Not really.
I hardly ever get them in the first place.
Typhon Tell me more.
Did it feel like a mangler's shadow, or a crack on a great tree?
Magallan No, it's not like that...
Wait, a mangler? There are manglers here? Will you take care of it if we run into one?
Typhon *sigh* I'll teach you to protect yourself again before we go.
What I'm asking is, what form does your bad feeling take?
Magallan Hm...
To me at least, you call it a "bad feeling" precisely because it's vague and ambiguous.
It's like, I felt something come close, but failed to notice it.
Or like there's something huge just beneath the layer of snow, but I walked right over it.
Which Professor Mary says I do a lot, come to think of it.
[The wind and snowfall get stronger.]
<Background fogs up>
Magallan Ah... Ah-choo!
Hey, it's snowing harder.
[Santalla appears.]
Magallan Oh, there you are, Simone!
Santalla Have you seen an Ursus caravan?
Magallan Yeah. They gave me an empty flagon while saying stuff like "His Majesty" and "The border patrol won't like it." Here.
I was waiting for you to get back, to see if you needed to trade with them for anything, but they were in a hurry.
Santalla ...So you let them leave?
Typhon They went that way. You should be able to catch up.


You're angry, Simone.
What happened?

Santalla Sorry... I was just thinking about how to return the favor for their gift.
Magallan, Typhon, the two of you head towards Čappat with the rest of the tribe. And be careful along the way.
If there's a problem, don't try to deal with it, just run. Your lives come first.
Typhon Same to you, Simone.
Santalla Heh, you needn't worry about me.
I'll catch up with you soon. I promised to attend the funeral of these warriors.
[Santalla leaves.]
Magallan ......
Typhon What are you thinking, Maggy?
Magallan ...Oh.
That's weird.
I was going to ask Simone what the Sami writing on this flagon means.
But I got distracted for some reason.
Well, I'll just put it away for now.
<Background 1>
Mild-Mannered Shaman They came back, Ragna.
Your predictions are always so accurate.
Tila came back empty-handed. She's the best hunter in the tribe.
And my youngest son found a bracelet that had been lost for years. As you said, "Fortune lies in deep water."
And...
Dark death has befallen our warriors.
Gitano ......
Mild-Mannered Shaman Therefore, I must ask you: Why did you do it?
Why did you lead us in the opposite direction, when your scrying pointed towards the north?
Gitano ...Sorry, I only came back to see my family.
If there are no other funeral arrangements... I'll take my leave.
[Gitano leaves.]
Mild-Mannered Shaman Ragna!
Stern Shaman Let her go.
She is no longer connected to the land of Sami. We need not reproach the poor soul.
Gitano ......
[Magallan and Typhon approach Gitano.]
Magallan How was it, Gitano?
They still don't like you?
Gitano I predicted as much.
Magallan Well... at least you ran into an old friend on the way. That's pretty lucky too!
I can still hardly believe it. I thought I was hallucinating again when I saw you!
—Er, sorry.
I heard someone died. Could it be...
Gitano It's okay. I came back because I divined my brother's death.
We'd been out of touch for a long time. We had our... differences.
Magallan ......
Typhon But the shamans aren't preparing for a funeral. Don't they have the most important role?
Gitano ...Your friend is sharp, Magallan.
Typhon It's hardly a secret.
People aren't normally so sad just to say goodbye to the dead.
Only when they never get a chance to.
Gitano ...You're right.
Seven years have passed. I thought new branches would grow from the trees, and that the people would be able to live in peace on this land.
But all I see is my kinsmen suffering from increasingly frequent disasters, and even being forced to move again.
Meanwhile, the shamans argue over whether to hold a traditional funeral.
Typhon Hm... but what use is a goodbye if you don't say anything?
Gitano ......
Typhon In the end, everything flies away like a fowlbeast, never to be seen again.
By that point, it doesn't matter if you were the one to raise your voice and startle them.
<Background fades out and in>
Mild-Mannered Shaman I... never agreed to not hold a funeral. Please don't bring that up again.
They were fortunate to return home. How could we leave them to the long, cold nights, trapped by their mortal bodies?
Stern Shaman This place will soon stop being our home.
Mild-Mannered Shaman Which is exactly why they need the boat-sinking ceremony, so that the river may carry them home!
Stern Shaman Disaster lies before us.
Mild-Mannered Shaman I know—
Stern Shaman —And they are part of it.
The rockhorn runs for its life, day and night, until it finally dies of exhaustion. It is a sign. On the northern front, we will blow the horn and stand watch at night.
They are all warriors.
A warrior does not die in peace.
Mild-Mannered Shaman ......
Wasn't that just a rumor?
Fighting on the northern icefields did not darken your fate. Instead, you received Sami's revelation and blessing.
Yet now you want them to stand vigil over their own bodies, until they rot and decay...
Among them lies your favorite student. Even now he is listening to your cold words.
Stern Shaman Then let him listen. He is a strong warrior. He will understand.
Gitano —You're right.
[Gitano appears.]
Gitano Why don't we ask the dead themselves?
Stern Shaman ...It would seem living among the outlanders has given you blind courage.
But you know that we have long lacked a Snowpriest.
No one in the clan has heard the call since Grandma Vali's passing.
Or do you propose that we break from tradition and imitate those tribes that set trials for their Snowpriests, rather than wait for the call?
Gitano No.
I... can try to divine their will.
Mild-Mannered Shaman Ragna...
Gitano Yes, I'm asking you to entrust it to fate.
I won't take any questions. Just think of me as someone who goes back on her word.
Stern Shaman Then I won't stop you from trying.
Mild-Mannered Shaman ...Very well, if the clan tree raises its branches and lets you sail through, I won't stop you.
We await the answer of the dead.
<Background fades out and in>
Typhon Weren't you going to Čappat? I thought you southerners were always in such a hurry.
Like when your tourists come to visit. Their, er, vehicles just drop them off somewhere empty, they all stand around a while, and then the vehicle takes them away again.
Magallan You're right, I am concerned about Professor Mary.
But my best bet for now is to gather as much information about Sami as possible, to make things smoother for the rescue team.
Plus, I want to spend more time with Gitano.
At Rhodes Island, they always say that nothing can rattle her except losing at cards.
So I never thought I'd see her looking so gloomy...
What about you, Typhon? Isn't your client down south in Čappat getting impatient?
Typhon No idea.
Magallan Huh?
Typhon I don't actually know who the client waiting for me there is, or what they want me to do.
Probably another one who wants me to help deal with a problem quietly.
You can tag along next time. It's amazing what they'll do to keep things secret.
Like, leaving a message on a wooden board in a hole in a tree. When it was just about removing a dead hornbeast.
The shadow was no longer near the beast, but that just makes them even more scared. So they look to me to take care of it.
Magallan Sounds like people trust you a lot.
So do they really keep their distance from you just because they think your bow brings bad luck?
Isn't that just like... Oripathy?
Typhon Oripathy? Of course not, it's nothing like that.
Do you no longer respect Simone because she has Oripathy?
But me... I'm not sure I've fully tamed this bow, to be honest.
Magallan Hm... but you're the one holding it. If it's not working right, wouldn't that be like when my drones malfunction? You can feel when something's wrong, right?
Typhon Of course I can keep an eye on it, when I'm awake.
But what about when I'm dreaming, and my consciousness leaves my body?
Do you southerners have a saying like this? "The more people speak of doom, the clearer it casts its shadow."
You don't? Alright.
When I lived in Arges's cave, no one knew of me or my weapon.
But things are different now. The more I help chase the shadows out of Sami, the more people begin to talk about me.
So who can say when misfortune will suddenly catch up with me?
Magallan I'm sure your bow will be fine! We've journeyed all this way together with no problems, haven't we?
Although I guess the plural of anecdote isn't data...
Oh, what if you let my colleagues in Engineering analyze it? Maybe they could come up with an explanation I can actually understand.
And they might be able to help you.
My friend Mayer, for example, knows a lot about dealing with dangerous objects.
And we're super close, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind me filling her lab with potentially risky weapons, haha...
But research can take a long time, huh. I can't exactly take your weapon from you for years.
[The wind can be heard blowing as Magallan and Typhon stand there in silence. Then Magallan tries to grab Typhon's bow but Typhon steps back.]
Magallan (Hm...?)
Typhon Thank you. You're a hard worker.
But I told you not to touch my bow.
This is for me to deal with, and only me. That's what Arges said.
[Typhon takes her bow and walks away from Magallan. After a moment, she walks back and sees Magallan filling the flagon with water.]
Typhon ...What are you doing, Magallan?
Magallan Huh?
Typhon Let go.
[Magallan lets go of the flagon and it falls into the water.]
Magallan lets go without even thinking about it. The splash brings her back to her senses, and she stares at the ripple on the surface of the water.
Magallan Wh-What did I just throw in there?
Typhon The flagon the Ursus trader gave you.
You were scooping up muddy water from the marsh with it.
I taught you to filter mud and sand with clothes, but... I don't think you forgot. You didn't look right.
Magallan Oh! You're right! I somehow got distracted again!
I need to get it back... It was a gift.
......
Typhon You don't dare reach out, do you?
Magallan Yeah.
[Typhon leaves shortly and comes back with vines.]
Typhon Give me your hand.
Magallan You know a way to deal with this situation?
...Phew.
I feel calmer now.
That was amazing! With just a vine around my finger!
Oh, you have one around yours too.
Typhon Yeah.
But you shouldn't try to get it back.
Remember what Simone said? Be careful.
Magallan Alright...
Typhon Strange... That was a defense meant specifically for demons.
Could Simone's warning have meant...
<Background fades out and in>
Gitano ...The dead have answered.
Most want to be buried.
One... remained silent.
Stern Shaman ......
Mild-Mannered Shaman Silence means there is no objection, at least?
We must respect the wishes of the dead.
Stern Shaman ...Very well, we'll hold a funeral as usual.
<Background black>
[The wind can be heard.]
<Background 4>
Gitano Be careful when you get on the boat, Magallan.
Magallan Thanks!
Gitano This is how the wetland tribes do it.
The boats are launched once night falls. The river carries them to their final resting place, where they will sink into the water along with the boats.
Only then can the dead be freed from the shackles of the flesh to walk free amongst the trees, and travel with the flowing water to find their bloodline.
However, this funeral is also our farewell to our homeland.
Which is why we will also bring our belongings and travel along with the dead.
...These boats will carry the dead home, and the living away from it.
Magallan Can Typhon and I come with you? We're not part of your family or tribe or anything.
Gitano Of course you can.
In fact, I'd appreciate it if you did.
I've long known that I'm just a lone wanderer, far from Sami... Still, it's painful to have to ride in a boat by myself while saying goodbye to my last blood kin.
...At least being able to hold a funeral will comfort the tribe.
Both the living and the dead.
What is it, Typhon? Need a hand?
Typhon No.
It's just that your hand is so cold, Gitano. Like you've been standing in the freezing wind for a long time, and the best you could do was rub your hands together.
Gitano ......
Typhon There's something I've been meaning to ask you.
What did the dead tell you?
Or rather, what was the "silence" in your divination?
Gitano ——
<Background black>
[A horn is blown.]
Ahkitguođđin.png
Sami Wetlands Inhabitant The horn has been blown. Don't look back.
Fate has instructed us to move forward. What was left behind will eventually return to us.
Row.
There is no more talk. The shaman's song can be heard from the head of the fleet.
The dead follow their ancestors, as their names are read one by one.
[Bells ring as they are moved by the wind.]
A breeze rings a string of bells on the boat carrying the bodies.
The ceremony has begun. The fleet will not turn back.
Gitano ...I'm sorry.
<Background black>
The fourth time, I still saw the ceremony.
The fifth time, I asked... Lazal.
[The wind can be heard blowing.]
<Background 1>
Gitano ......
Lazal, there's something I want to tell you.
...Or maybe it's something I wanted to hear you tell me.
The road away from that blizzard was long. The river never thawed.
I lived away from Sami, sailing with a boat of iron. It was so firm and steady that I couldn't help but dream back to how our clansmen dragged their boats across the river.
Many lost the strength to pull their boats. Some lost the strength to pull even themselves forward.
...Too much was lost on that path. I dared not turn back.
But in the end, that's all there is to it. I dared not turn back.
We made opposing decisions, and even took up arms against one another, but the reason I never came back wasn't because I resented you.
...But perhaps none of that's important to a warrior stationed in the north.
The leaves in the urn are almost burnt up.
So please, tell me...
Why do you— Why do you still refuse to answer, brother?
Darkness, fog, darkness.
An empty crystal ball.
Why do I see nothing?