[Trigger warning: Death, depression, and suicide. The entire game involves gory hallucinations. Or are they?]
In my last review, we followed Fran into a seemingly lovely home situated inside of a well. She finally found Mr. Midnight held hostage by a pair of conjoined twins who needed him for a spell to separate themselves. Fran discovers a hidden spell that eventually eliminated the twins, then they escaped together—only to come across the dark shadow once again. The log bridge beneath them collapsed and instead of falling to her death, Fran found her body missing, as she is now in the form of a tree.
The third chapter is aptly named “Vegetative State.” Fran and Mr. Midnight are graced by the presence of King Ziar of Ithersta, and as she tries to explain her current tree-like state, Ziar tells her that he will easily be able to find the reason by growing a seed from her head. According to the seed, he discovers that she’s a seeker of the truth, apparently a common Bow family trait. He also seems to know her as someone with a passion for life. Is this sequence meant to mimic a near-death experience, and where we go when we fight for dear life? For all we know, she may be unconscious or comatose.
He then tells her that her seed shows a world nobody should see—nobody except for one—and that Fran is not supposed to be here. Could this mean depression or perhaps even delusion? She pleads to go home, but the king says it’s too dangerous to do so. She also wonders if she is now dead. He seems puzzled and does not appear to understand her question. As far as he could tell, she’s very much alive.