Dungeon: Snowfly Forest

Ashley: ...Snow? No ... snowflies.

[Ashley falls to his knees and sees through Samantha's eyes.]

Neesa: Well? Will she open for you?

Samantha: Nay ... The sigil holds it fast. How fare you?

Neesa: It was just a workshop.

Samantha: I mean your men, how many have we lost?

Neesa: Ah, how goes the battle, you mean? The city is ours, dearie, more or less.

Samantha: How many dead?

Neesa: Three, maybe four score. We've lost contact with some... We'll know better when the fighting cools.

Samantha: The dead walk in greater numbers as the day wanes...

Neesa: I know.

Samantha: They'll walk beneath the stars when eventide comes....

Neesa: You would fight this battle differently?

Samantha: It is not that! I.... No training could prepare one for this.

Neesa: Lost your nerve, Samantha? War is change. We must follow suit.

Guildenstern, offscreen: Control your fear.

Guildenstern: Lest you be controlled in its stead.

Samantha: Romeo...

Guildenstern: Sydney's lot have caught wind of our little foray and summoned their dark brood to repel us. They summon, yet they cannot command. Soon, the paling that holds the demons in Lea Monde will fall.

Neesa: Sydney must be stopped....

Guildenstern: Indeed, Commander Neesa. You have the right idea, now to action!!

[Neesa nods and leaves]

Guildenstern: What ails you, Samantha?

Samantha: What is Sydney thinking? Summoning evil beyond his control ... He fills his chalice with poison, and savors it like wine!

Guildenstern: Think not on him, Samantha.

Samantha: Yet what he does defied Nature's order!

[We see Ashley, in grey; he speaks, and the screen flashes and becomes Samantha]

Ashley and Samantha: Nature's orders?

Guildenstern: ...That was him! That Riskbreaker has done this! Damn him!

[The scrying finishes, and we return to Ashley]

Rosencrantz: The symptoms resemble those of case ... 72, was it? Borrowing another's eyes and ears -- Clairvoyance, if you will. All people are tuned to a certain "rhythm"; some can find a like rhythm and jump on board.

Ashley: You're not a Knight of the Cross ... One of Sydney's, then?

Rosencrantz: True seekers can join one regardless of their rhythm. But not you. Not yet.... My name is Rosencrantz. I am a Riskbreaker, like yourself.

Ashley: What's this?

Rosencrantz: Grand Steward LeSait has sent me to assist you. We're to be partners.

Ashley: You must know, Riskbreakers always work alone. And a change of plans mid-mission is unthinkable.

Rosencrantz: Yet you know nothing! Naught about Lea Monde, Müllenkamp, Sydney...Nothing at all!

Ashley: And you do?

Rosencrantz: Of course. You're the only one who does not. The VKP and Parliament know -- have known -- about the dark powers and the dead that walk... They've just kept it secret.

Ashley: Continue.

Rosencrantz: We didn't think you'd go straight to Lea Monde from the manor. So they sent me to help. I am better in a scrape than our Inquisitor friend, who admittedly lacks battle experience.

Ashley: You say the VKP knew of the Dark Powers?

Rosencrantz: Indeed, I was assigned to the investigation.... You know that Lea Monde is a "Wellspring".

Ashley: What?

Rosencrantz: A power grows in those, like you, whom its dark waters have touched. You may not feel it or understand it, but it is there, making you something more than mortal. To wit, there is no power without the Dark. Yet is not easily tamed. Thus Parliament raised a paling round the cities of man and set the Dark out to pasture. ...Lea Monde, however, has strong ties to the Dark, for this is the dark city of the ancient Kildean priestess Müllenkamp. All that was needed is fodder, and THEY would come to feed.

Ashley: Fodder...? No!

Rosencrantz: Yes. The great quake 25 years past stocked the city's larders with corpses.


Rosencrantz: The wand'ring spirits wail and hunger...

Ashley: A fight for territory wrought from darkness.

Rosencrantz: And you, the Parliament's champion in that battle.

Ashley: ...Rosencrantz, was it? Your words bear much meaning.

Rosencrantz: Please, my friend! I speak only the truth.

Ashley: Yet you have no evidence.

Rosencrantz: ...For that, you must search.

Ashley: I will cut you, next we meet. Leave the city before sundown, if you value your life.

Rosencrantz: If you would enter the forest, follow the snowflies. They gather where the Dark runs strongest.

[Ashley enters the Snowfly Forest.]

Rosencrantz: He really went in there.... The snowflies will mark his grave, I fear.

Grissom, offscreen: Ah, there you are, Rosencrantz!

Rosencrantz: It has been a while, Grissom. You seem well.

Grissom: Where did he go?

Rosencrantz: Through the wood, he says. ...You will follow him?

Grissom: I must avenge the foul murder of my brother, Duane.

Rosencrantz: Of course you must. ...But be wary, your foe is strong.

Grissom: God is stronger.

Rosencrantz: The Dark is stronger, you mean.

Grissom: And what is your business here? We had a deal, did we not? Join with Sydney and find the key. Time is short.

Rosencrantz: Very well. But... you should know: Something is odd with Sydney.

Grissom: Odd, you say?

Rosencrantz: A veritable bestiary of beasties springs up where'er he goes. Nothing he cannot handle, still...

Grissom: Ah, even the hyaena cowers, does he?

Rosencrantz: Don't be the fool, Grissom. Hyaenas know caution. These creatures...Sydney's the one summoning them.

Grissom: Well now. Sydney's cup overfloweth, and he calls forth a flood.

Rosencrantz: There's a flood of vermin in this city, true, but it seems Sydney's manning the sluice.

Grissom: Meaning?

Rosencrantz: You're a slow one. Sydney is increasing the flow of Dark energies on purpose.

Grissom: Why would he?

Rosencrantz: That is the question.... Follow the snowflies, Grissom. They forgather where the Dark runs deepest.

[Grissom turns and enters the Snowfly Forest.]

Rosencrantz: Wait...!

Ashley: So many snowflies...

Ashley: The winds have changed!

Grissom: The quake... A sign! Faendos! Lamkin! Answer me, for the love of God!! Follow the snowflies... Right....

Sydney: This is madness! You'll die.

Grissom: I, too ... I can summon. It is not your sacred right!! Erulkes-solmah-lon-smohta... Derdes-fful-gend-glymota...

Sydney: And I say you'll die!

Guildenstern: Knight of shadow, from ancient slumber. The bloody glyph, carved in flesh...

[Grissom falls to his knees, dying.]

Grissom: I--Imposs...

Sydney: Very possible. The weak cannot reign in the Dark ... There are limits to all thing. You have reached yours.

Sydney, to Ashley: The Dark is hungry. It has fed.

Grissom: Speaking ill of the dead... Are we, Sydney? Knight of shadow... from ancient slumber. The bloody... glyph... carved in flesh. Take my body, lead me as your own... Xylda-nazam-ssom-nedayda!

[Grissom summons a Dark Crusader.]

Grissom: This feeling... The power! It swells and flows through me! Now, in my brother's name, you die.

[Ashley and Sydney fight Grissom. Grissom dies. Again.]

Grissom: ...F...Father.

[Ashley beats the Crusader.]

Sydney: Hmm... You reek, Riskbreaker. What is that stench? Ah, you met Rosencrantz?

Ashley: He told me Lea Monde was a "wellspring" for the dark.

Sydney: What think you?

Ashley: I've been shown a lifetime of oddities in a day.

Sydney: So you believe the Dark exists, yet you do not believe that which you cannot see. The Dark covers your eyes, and you are blind.

Ashley: There is no proof. Am I to believe the great quake was man's doing? Thousands of cityfolk, their lives sacrificed to make this "wellspring". By whom? Parliament? The Cardinal?

Sydney: Why don't you ask?

Ashley: Ask who?

Sydney: The sacrificed. The witnesses. You've impressed me. You truly are a Riskbreaker. Or ... a trained assassin. A killer.

Ashley: What nonsense is this?

Sydney: Memories, Riskbreaker. Memories.

[Sydney reaches out. Flashback of the picnic, with a greyed-out Ashley and Sydney watching]

Ashley: Stop this. Stop this now.

Sydney: Do not run, Ashley. See with your eyes.

Marco: Papa, a sip of water!

Ashley (in flashback): Have some of Papa's wine, Marco!

Tia: Wait right there -- I'll fetch some water. Don't you dare give Marco any wine!

Ashley (in flashback): Wine is like sweet ambrosia!

Marco: Really?

[Image of Ashley, killing Tia. The scene becomes grey, with current Ashley and Sydney the only color.]

Ashley: What!?

Sydney: The truth, Ashley.

Ashley: Madness!! Foul deception!!

Sydney: You doubt what I have shown you? It is your memories that deceive. The VKP has burned sweet lies into your soul.

Ashley: You lie! Lies...

Sydney: An elite member of the Kingsguard loses his wife and child... A tragedy. He becomes a VKP Riskbreaker. This is the lie! A memory false as summer snow! You were an assassin and a saboteur in an elite squad. Mistaking them for your target, you murdered an innocent family. For country and justice you would take any life without thinking, until you sent that family to their deaths.

Ashley: By the gods, you lie!

Sydney: The VKP saw the opportunity to turn your guilt to patriotic zeal. They twisted your very soul, Ashley. Your despair at losing your "family" turned to hate for the lawless jackal that killed them. Hate that should be reserved for yourself.

Ashley: YOU...LIE!

Sydney: Do I? Are your new-found abilities not proof enough? You believe Lea Monde responsible? You are remembering the killing arts you learned in a past life.

Ashley: Noooooo!

[Ashley tries to hit Sydney. Sydney vanishes and reappears behind him.]

Sydney: What is memory? Men forget that which pains them. ...Create new memories to please themselves. ...Lie to themselves, believe their own lies. The VKP may have wielded the brand that burned your soul. But you ... You wanted them to do it. You wanted them to burn your guilt away.

Ashley: What do you want, Sydney? What are you trying to do to me?

Sydney: Truth, Riskbreaker. I just want you to know the truth.

Ashley: I spit on your truth!

Sydney: But you have already begun believing. Am I wrong, Ashley? You have seen demons walk the city streets, heard the cries of the dead and damned. You deny these things? Are they illusinons? What did you see through that woman's eyes, Ashley?

Ashley: ...You think you can see the past?

Sydney: Not see, I "hear" it.

Ashley: ...Hear? Wait, Sydney!!

Sydney: You want the truth? Then follow me, Ashley Riot.


Vagrant Story, all its characters, and all associated text is copyright © 2000 SQUARE Co. Ltd. All rights remain with original authors. This script is provided for educational and informative purposes only. WARNING: THERE BE SPOILERS WITHIN.