Author's Note: This can be treated as a sort of epilogue to my novelisation, or to the game itself. I've always loved the credits song, and wondered what the words really mean. So I set out to discover what they mean, by writing this little contemplative piece about Ico and Yorda's life once they have escaped. If you know the words to the song, you'll probably recognize them interspersed throughout this piece.
Nothing is left of the island bathing in the sun's bright rays. The distant hills on the cliffs surrounding the bay are shrouded in grey; the lonely breeze whispering in the trees is the sole witness to history. No one remembers the castle that used to loom above the bay; no one realizes a mighty kingdom that should have fallen centuries ago has crumbled at last. No one remembers... I am the only one. You and I, the only ones who know what really happened the day the castle fell into the sea.
Fleeting memories rise from the shadows of my mind, where I keep them hidden, stored away. I don't want to remember, but these memories stick to me like wet leaves. I cannot shake them off; all I can do is relive that day over and over again, the day my whole life changed. A day filled with endless corridors, with hopeless warriors who strove to overcome us. They nearly succeeded time and time again, but we were the warriors who had a hope. That day, though shadowed by immense fear, was filled with hope. So much hope, because you were there. You were there.
Am I forever dreaming? It seems that my days are filled with gazing off to the horizon, with letting my mind wander to a time now gone. For that one day, I was locked in the present, my eyes only seeing the next two steps I had to take. There was no time to think about where those two steps would lead me. And now...I can see the path of my life rolling out behind me like a carpet, but my future is clouded with mist. I am forever striving to pierce the mist, when all along I should be looking at the next two steps I must take. Perhaps I could watch the present and near future before because I knew my future was uncertain to even exist beyond those two steps. Yet now, a whole life is open before me, with the thousands of choices I must make. I cannot see the results of these choices, nor what will happen if I start through the mist. I suppose I should look to my feet again. Ah...how do I define the way I'm feeling? Perhaps I am afraid of the future, afraid of losing you.
Countless visions still haunt me in my sleep. As soon as my eyelids close, I'm running through that castle again with you, clutching your cold hand in my own, running so hard you stumble. In my dreams, I am still climbing over ruined walls, racing for carved statues that make up the doors, clutching a splintered stick in both hands. Isn't it strange? We were forgotten, left to fend for ourselves. And though we were forgotten, we kept all the promises we made to each other. I had promised to rescue you, and so I did. I promised I would never leave you, and to this day I never have. I wonder sometimes what promises you made to yourself. Had you promised to one day be free? That promise was fulfilled. Did you promise to never leave my side? Because you never have. You were there, you were there. And you still are.
Once I thought we were slaves to our destiny, that we were destined to be sacrificed, that we could never break free. But I can see now that was never our destiny at all. For no one can escape their destiny, and everything that happens in one's life is all according to one's destiny. Can you not see? Our destiny was to escape, to put an end to the sacrifices once and for all. I suppose some might say we are still slaves to our destiny, in that we cannot run away from it. But if my destiny includes being with you for years to come, I am content.
I recall a melody, one that seemed to drift up from the stones of the castle, strumming and beating all around us as we scrambled around for an escape. It was a melody without words, without music, speaking of seasons lit with gold, of legends yet untold. I suppose we will never be remembered in legend; no one else knows why the castle is now gone. Though we are a part of the legend, we will be the only ones who know our part.
The melody is strumming around us now, as we live out our lives in this little village. I am glad we could find somewhere that has never heard of horned children or the sacrifice. They accept us here as orphaned children, friends from somewhere off in the forest. As each day passes, as you ask me what this word or that word means, as I help you lug water from the well, I keep expecting to hear the words of this melody. Perhaps they would be "Nono mori." You told me once that was what you said to me as you let go of me on the castle's drawbridge. You said it means, "Thank you." You never told me what you were thanking me for, but I think I know. "You were there," you were saying. "Thank you for always being there." Every time I hold out my hand to help you climb a tree or clamber over a boulder as we play with the other children of the village, you look up at me with those violet eyes of yours, and with them you say, "You were there. You were there."
Sometimes the big boys tease us, calling us lovebirds because we are always together, holding hands when we walk. But they could never understand. They know nothing of fear, of the desperate need for a companion. They know nothing of the chill that emanates from the stones of a castle filled with death, nor the need to cling to something warm. They cannot understand, and for that reason it matters not. Let them tease, let them call us names. We became closer to each other in one day than they could manage in a lifetime, and when everyone else leaves us, we shall still have each other.
I have found through this all that happiness follows sorrow. The twelve years of my life that led up to the day I spent in the castle were filled with sorrow, for I was the cursed child, the abomination, the sacrifice. No mother let their children play with me; the villagers were reluctant to even give me the scraps from their table or the old worn-out clothes their children were finished with. I spent my life feeling miserable and cold and afraid. Yet when I set foot into the castle, though I did not know it yet, I had started out on the path to happiness. I met you, we escaped together, and now my life is more full than it ever was before. The past is behind me, and the mist is beginning to rise before my feet. If I only believe in tomorrow, in the next two steps down the road of my life, I can walk without stumbling. If you hold my hand, I will not fall down. And when we look over our shoulders years from now, at the end of our road, we will look back over the years and say, "You were there... You were there."