A journey through the destroyed remains of Wonderland. Painful reminders of the place that once was. During this stage Alice encounters several old friends in need of help The Carpenter exclaims, “The best way to help yourself in times of need is to help others.” Mock Turtle, that old depressed lump, seems just fine in this atmosphere, literally swimming through the air (as it’s a visible miasma of morose).
Each encounter serves up a quest which helps to collect Elemental Emotions.The Elan Vital is among those emotions - the collection of which constantly increasing Alice’s health and stamina.
There are several paths leading into the Wilds of Wonderland (where Alice will finally confront The Red Queen and Jabberwock) which cannot be traversed until enough Elan Vital is collected.
Alice returns several times to Hatter with Elemental Emotions in hand. These are exchanged for information, weapons, armor, etc. Hatter serves as Alice’s “Q” (purveyor of tools, weapons, etc).
Throughout this period Alice meets with resistance - sometimes surprisingly heavy - all because her friends think she’s recently committed a series of atrocities. Alice must repeatedly express her innocence and struggle to regain trust (hence all the side quests, favors, and bribes). We later learn that Alice’s Shadow Self has been working several steps ahead of her - causing grief and confusion.
(This section makes up the bulk of the core game. There are areas within this section which serve as “hubs” to previously visited / explored regions).