Ico survives the fall by landing on a suspended cage. A series of these cages hang underneath the rock that holds the fortress. Ico jumps from cage to cage until he finds an entrance into the rock. Using caverns, he makes his way back to the fortress, and, along the way, he finds something pretty useful.
Since he doesn’t have Yorda to open the totem doors, the sword will get him into the fortress. He enters along the same path that the hooded men brought him, and he finds himself in the chamber that, not that long ago, held him in his tomb. Looking up, a group of ghouls huddle near the back of the chamber.
He moves closer to investigate and sees that they’re huddled around a sitting Yorda –
who’s been turned to stone.
He extinguishes the ghouls, but Yorda remains a statue. Knowing there’s only one thing he can do to free her, he sets about finding the woman responsible. In the room behind the statue, he finds Yorda’s mother sitting on a throne. He approaches the queen and demands to know what she’s done to Yorda.
“Silence, boy, “she replies. “You’re too late.” She finally explains Yorda’s purpose: the queen plans to use Yorda’s body as a vessel to continue her own mortality. The process has already begun. “Now put down the sword and leave.”
Ico drops his head, defeated.
He could have escaped this prison twice, now, but each time he came back for Yorda. He can’t leave without her. He lunges at the queen with the sword, ignoring the dark energy around her. The sword ricochets off of the energy, and he is flung back down the stairs. He screams in disgust,
and the final battle begins.
Ico breaks down the queen’s barrier one swing at a time until he gets through, piercing her through the chest. With her last words, she tells Ico that Yorda can never leave the castle.
Another burst of electrical energy sends Ico into a wall, breaking both of his horns. As the queen dies, the fortress begins to crumble. In the other room, the energy from the tombs erupts, entering the statue of Yorda and transforming her into a shadow.
Yorda awakes and finds the unconscious Ico; she carries him to the caves as the walls around them crumble. She places him in a canoe, and, without hesitation, she pushes it out of the caves, while she remains behind.
As the castle crumbles and Ico’s canoe floats away, she whispers another phrase in her language: “Goodbye.”
Watch the final scene with its great soundtrack: