I was starting to see the connections between the worlds (Mostly because I played Vella's story in its entirety first, they Shay's) but i had my own assumptions, like one story took place before or after the other. I assumed it was hinted that the man in the spaceship in Vella's story was an adult Shay, then I thought they were hinting that the Mother's story was about Vella and she somehow had her memories. It was not until I finished both tales then saw Shay emerge from Mog Chathra's mouth that I began to put two and two together - that Shay was somehow controlling Mog Chathra and that the mini games where you rescued creatures were actually the maiden's feasts - that the particualry feisty creatures were Vella. So at least the other maidens are alive (for better or worse, depending on one's opinion of them) and in the cargo hold. But, thankfully, they still left questions about the nature of these worlds and characters and their connections unanswered for act 2 - which was pretty smart. I think that switching the characters' environments could be rather effective, as long as they somehow make contact again (fingers crossed) and I am definitely looking forward to the finale. I just hope that the second half is as long as the first! I really want this story to take its time!