The Let's Play Archive


by HellishWhiskers

Part 17: Chapter Eight - Part 2

Chapter Eight – Part 2

Considering the fact that the adherents were starting to get ill, it was now Artemiy's lot to check up on the most important personages of the Town. One of such personages, Vlad Jr., lived quite near to the train station, and Artemiy decided to pay him a visit. Something told him that it was quite important to do so.

It was a fair bit after the noon, and the Steppe fog was making its way onto the Town's streets. The fog behaved in this manner as far back as Artemiy remembered, but it still felt much more oppressive and choking than it ever did.

It suddenly occurred to the Haruspex that the feeling of terrible predestination and dread has always hung in the Town's air and it all may have been in preparation for the plague.

Now this is new – Vlad Jr. was quite fond of his well, so one has to wonder as to what caused this? At the very least, Artemiy won't have to go down to that hellhole again.

Hang on a second.

This was the same picture that Artemiy found attached to his map today. It looked mass-produced, so Artemiy didn't have any suspicions about Vlad Jr. being responsible for all the odd pictures he has been getting in the past two days, but it was still interesting to find this image out in the wild.

By this point, Artemiy was sure that the situation – Artemiy wandering about Vlad Jr.'s hideout and pointedly disregarding him – was getting awkward and decided to turn his attention to Vlad Jr.

Do you see what happened?

I do, but I don't quite get it. Why did you clog up the well?

That is a story that is quite unfortunate. A gang of marauders that was escaping from a blockaded district with their loot was accosted by some brave citizenry. The patrolmen also pitched in, of course. In any case, that's not the meat of this story.

Yeah – I don't quite see the connection, either.

Artemiy could suddenly see why the Bachelor considered Vlad Jr. to be “his” Adherent – just like Kains and the two brothers-architects, Vlad Jr. had a penchant for meandering nonsense.

The bandits turned out to be far from pushovers. They began retreating, started taking potshots – two of their pursuers got killed. In any case, someway and somehow – across the rooftops, yards and such - they made their way here. That's when one of them remembered my well...

My guess would be that at least one of these bandits worked on digging this well a couple of days ago.

Yes – that is my thought exactly! The clumsy citizenry lost them along the way and that gave these marauders time to break in here, throw their loot down the well and even jump down there as well. That was when their pursuers caught up to them.

This was an awfully prolonged story that bored the hell out of Artemiy.

How do you know all this, exactly?

Some of their pursuers told me about it – I would've been much happier to have them lose track of these marauders, truth be told.


When the citizenry broke their way in and saw the last marauder making his way down the well they tried to go after them, but the marauders started shooting back and killed another one of the pursuers. It was clear that they were planning to ambush their pursuers down there. That's when one of the pursuers got a brilliant idea.

To block the well?

Exactly. Without a second thought, the brave and fair-minded citizenry decided to bury the marauders alive. As you can see, they seem to have succeeded. I'm not too worried about losing the well – I've already managed to confirm its uselessness. I'm saddened by a rather tragic loss.

What loss?

There were some very valuable notes of mine lying on the edge of this well. You know that I've been quite curious about the Steppe folk's traditions. I've been collecting information about them for many years. Before me, there was another exceedingly... worthy man who has been doing so, as well. There is some truly priceless knowledge down there – quite rare, too. You have to get that book back for me!

Vlad Jr.'s last sentence was quite forceful – uncharacteristically so for a rather soft-spoken, meandering fellow.

Do you actually want me to go down there after them?

Yes! There is another entrance into this tunnel by the Theater, after all. All the loot that you'll find on the marauders is yours, and I will be certain to reward you with everything I have! These notes are absolutely priceless for me – just the fifty two recipes of Tvyrine or the description of the Rite of the Heads are worth a fortune...

Very well... I'll try.

Under the Earth

It would seem that Vlad Jr. holds his book quite dear... By the breadcrumbs did he assemble the notes on Steppe traditions and wrote down the knowledge that I sorely need nowadays... In order to get this book back, I'd need to find another entrance down to the tunnels. Perhaps, the Rat Prophet can be of help in this matter?

The last time Artemiy went down into those tunnels was quite peaceful, but having to navigate the maze once more with bloodthirsty bandits in it was not an enticing prospect by any stretch of imagination.

Artemiy had only a vague recollection of the path he took from the well to the Theatre exit a couple of days ago, so it seemed that he was, once again, in for a fun ride.

Artemiy, truth be told, had other matters to attend to as well, and some of them were much more interesting and urgent. The Theatre, on the other hand, wasn't too much of a detour on the path back to the Apiary and he could, just as well, perform Vlad Jr.'s task simply because he was asked to.

Despite that, Artemiy still questioned just why was he helping Vlad Jr. - a fellow, of whom the Haruspex wasn't of the best opinion. Besides, he was also quite annoyed by the fact that he was, once again, running poorly conceived errands for the sake of who knows what. If the Olgimsky family was so influential, then why not simply hire more qualified roughnecks and send them down into that tunnel? It would, at least, save time...

These fussy thoughts, however, allowed Artemiy to pass the time he spent walking to the hatch that led down to the Rat Prophet's lair. Secretly, Artemiy hoped that the smarmy thing would be gone. That would be quite likely, too – I don't imagine that the bandits had a lot of patience for that thing's tone.

The lid was heavy but it wasn't blocked. Once more, Artemiy began his descent under the earth.

Once Artemiy jumped down on the stone floor of Rat Prophet's lair, events began unfolding quite fast. Firstly, Artemiy heard a click coming from the hatch through which he came, followed by a metallic thud – from the object that someone used to block the hatch, or so Artemiy wagered. Secondly, a rather large, angry-looking fellow brandishing a knife began barreling towards Artemiy.

Artemiy was caught off-guard, but he still had his sawn-off handy.

Strangely enough, no more men came out – odd, considering that this seemed to be an ambush of some sort and that they seemed to have an associate on the surface who was waiting for someone to come down there. The logical thing to do would be to try and overwhelm anyone who came down here, yet the ambush, so far, consisted of a single fellow with a knife. How strange.

One, however, can't be too surprised about the fact that local bandits weren't particularly intelligent folk. Still, having to face a number of them within these confined tunnels could be troublesome – especially if one of them gets a jump on you.

With all this fighting excitement, Artemiy failed to make note of the fact that the tunnels were completely quiet. Either the presence of Isidore's voice was tied to the Rat Prophet or it wasn't willing to show itself in the presence of ruffians.

Still, this wasn't at all on Artemiy's mind as he was trying hard to spot threats before they spotted him.

The fellow had his back turned to Artemiy – something that allowed our hero to sneak up to the bandit and bring the guy down with a shot to the back of the head.

Another strangeness of these tunnels revealed itself while sailing past Artemiy's head. If one were to discharge firearms in a tightly confined space – like, say, a tunnel – then one would readily report the deafening consequences of such an action. This was, however, not the case here – the walls seemed to soften the sound, absorbing at least some part of it through some unknown means. This was highly unnatural and yet another example of the Earth, on which the Town was built, harbouring many secrets.

Artemiy didn't have a chance to make a note of this because of yet another knife-brandishing thug closing in on him.

He was dispatched, though not as easily as the first two and Artemiy decided to try and move faster, since the frequency of attacks seemed to be increasing. He wanted to be out of here as fast as possible.

With nothing to really go on, Artemiy decided to go with the right-hand rule. In the end, it paid off.

Artemiy tried to call for Vlad Jr. to let him now that he found the book, but Vlad seemed to be out for the moment. In any case, it's not like he would be of much help from the other side. Artemiy decided to take a look at the little book.

This was rather interesting, but nothing immediately useful to Artemiy's efforts. At best, it could contain some information regarding the Udurgs and what exactly they are, but Artemiy didn't quite have the time to painstakingly go through these notes right now.

Under the Earth

I can return now. I've found it. Quite an interesting collection of notes, this little book... Especially so since it's handwritten, and all... One has to note, however, that this is merely a collection of dead tales, rumours and descriptions of useless rites – only a tine piece of the true wisdom of the Ancient Steppe. A layer of thin film on the surface of a deep swamp.

Finding his way back was less tricky that getting to the Well.

The corpses of the bandits served as breadcrumbs and there didn't seem to be any further resistance – there probably were more bandits in the tunnels, as they were quite expansive, but Artemiy was happy to avoid them.

Nearing the exit, Artemiy wondered just how he would get the hatch to open now that it was blocked. Still, he decided to give it a push.

To his surprise, the hatch opened with rather little difficulty – somebody must have removed the blockage and opened it back up. Rather strange, but stranger things have happened in the recent days.

Since Vlad Jr. didn't seem to be at his hideout yet, this was a good time to go back to the Apiary and bring Taya the end of the tale that she seemed to vie for. At the very least, it should provide Artemiy with an entrance to the Abattoir and an audience with the Elder.

Getting closer and closer to the end, it seemed that the Town was getting a fair bit more violent. There seemed to be more bandits on the streets, more sick people in the blockaded districts – everything was truly falling apart.

More and more, the matter of finding the Udurg and upholding his father's legacy was becoming a matter of professional pride for Artemiy rather than a matter of survival. They were getting more and more alike in that regard, him and Aglaya.

Besides – why would his quest being hopeless stop Artemiy? It's not like it was quite hopeful to begin with, and he was making quite a bit of progress yesterday? There is no reason to stop now, however much the rest of the Town might be degrading. As long as there are still townsfolk to save, there is no reason for stopping.

The three patrolmen were already treating Artemiy as a regular, not inhibiting his entrance into the Apiary at all.

The mood in the Apiary was slightly worried as the rumours of Taya's strange behaviour must have spread. It was good that Artemiy was about to put an end to this issue.

It's good that you're still alive!

Taya was repeating herself.

Want to hear the end of the tale about the cold prince?

Oh – tell me! Tell me now!

The crystal flower became the greediest of all the flowers in the garden. It drank everything it could from the soil. Most of all, he took in all the light from the sun – even the air became cold because of it!

I see... What did the prince do when it was time to finally rip it out of the Earth?

The prince arranged it so that the gardener would rip out another flower instead of the crystal one.

Hmm – so it would seem... That's what the story was leading up to, after all... So what – was the flower the only one left in the garden.

It was. It grew large and gave seeds, though, and from them a beautiful garden did grow – a hundred times more beautiful than the previous one.

So that's how it was... Yeah – that's probably true... What an evil prince! Why did he let all those simple flowers perish?

The little tale was clearly an analogy of some sort like most of them are, but Artemiy didn't quite have all the details to piece it together, and neither did he have the time to try and do so.

Open the way to the Abattoir for me, Mother.

Go right ahead. I'll fall asleep now and, in my dreams, I'll open the Big Maw for you. You know where it is, right? Go through the corridor between the two sections and you'll get right up to the Maw!

Thank you, Mother.

Whose blood is it?

The path into the Abattoir is open. It seems that Taya Tychik wields a great deal of power indeed... It's quite well that she's yet to realize the nature of her true power... While she is still little, the Order will keep and protect her like it would a sacred child, all the while catering to her every whim. That's how it was with her grandmother too, or, at least, that's what Father told me...

Artemiy still didn't quite know what to make of the little tale that the Impostress told him, but, at least, its effect on Taya seemed to have evaporated for now.

While approaching the Big Maw, Artemiy realized that there was a letter in his pocket. He proceeded to open it up.

Kapella is begging for her comrades' lives

A lot of things have changed. Now, the danger to us is emanating from an entirely new side. The stage is occupied by a number of new heroes and they are quick to insinuate that it is time for the old ones to disappear. I don't want my friends to fall into oblivion!

Aglaya is saying that the three families don't have any power left – that is not true! I'm guessing that you too would like to think so, yes? It is the time of the Order. We are all returning back to Earth, right?

However far-reaching your plans may be, you will still need a Mistress. There is another Town here besides the Order. Only in the name of a ruling family could one lord over the civilized folk.

Don't be so hasty to deny us!

Help me, and who knows? Maybe, there will come a day when I'll be able to help you fulfill your predestination in a better way...

This was the second letter today that obviously treated Artemiy as if he knew something he most assuredly did not. It was getting quite annoying, actually – being shouted at for very little discernible reason often is.

This also made the second time when a person whom Artemiy considered to be both intelligent and trustworthy turned into people, whose sanity and intelligence is questionable at best. This was quite unfortunate – especially since Artemiy felt a sense of respect and loyalty for young Kapella. He wasn't going to stop helping her, but this proved that she was becoming unreliable at best.

Unfortunately for Artemiy, the coming conversation is most likely not going to be particularly jovial, either.

You seem to be coming here quite often, kinsman. Perhaps, you're looking to do some work for boos Vlad? The plague might be ravaging our Town, but the work must go on. Perhaps, you are an odonkhe? If so, then you should bring us a bull. Perhaps, you are a butcher? If so, then you should kill a bull for us and prepare him for transportation.

Oyun decided to take the “snide asshole” approach to his conversation with Artemiy – most uncouth, that.

I want to ask you a question about the origins of blood that you gave me yesterday night.

You may, but you won't receive an answer from me. Why should I share such knowledge with you? You won't be able to accept it properly – it will surely tear you apart.

I am the son of Isidore Burakh. It is not your place to judge my knowledge, Oyun.

The Elder was taken aback, but only for a second. The look of surprise was soon replaced by a crooked smile.

I see before me a man who claims to be the son of Burakh. You have not accepted his inheritance and that is why you are not worthy to be called the son of your Father.

That is a lie – I have fully accepted my Father's inheritance!

Have you accepted the duties of your father and the obligation to save the lives of those whom he deemed to put under his protection?

I have.

Have you accepted his possessions? His house, his flesh, his food, his signs?

This was not entirely true, but what the hell? In for a penny, in for a pound, and all that.

I have!

Then show me the tool, with which he drew the line on the Earth and with which he opened the lines during the rituals? Where is the Uday that should be hanging around your neck like a proud challenge so that everyone can see who is the one who cherishes and protects the lines in the Burakh taglur?

I don't know what you are talking about, but I will fix this.

I will only speak to you when you will have your father's Uday on your breast. It seems that the one who passed your Father's inheritance on to you has hidden something from you...

The Elder clearly was all too happy to find an excuse to get rid of Artemiy.

Wait for me, Elder – I will be back.

Whose blood is it?

It would seem that I did not fully accept my Father's inheritance after all! It's always these bloody symbols, figures, metaphors that always have to deciphered... What a nuisance... Does this mean that Ospina lied to me? I can scarcely believe that... Why does it seem that all of them are averting their eyes whenever the topic of conversation turns to my inheritance?

This was quite annoying, of course, but Artemiy felt the need to stay his anger. Surely there was a reason behind Ospina's actions, and Artemiy wanted to know it before flying off the handle about this.

Up until this point, Ospina struck Artemiy as someone very loyal to him – if she truly hid a part of Artemiy's inheritance from him, then she must have done so out of a kinder desire. A desire to protect, perhaps? If so, then from what?

Ospina's house was in the same old spot. Artemiy hadn't been here for a couple of days, but not much seems to have changed.

The interior was its own old gloomy self...

...just like Ospina herself.

I press the palms of my hands onto your footprints, Oinon...

There was an unsettling sort of supplication in Ospina's voice. It wasn't quite there in the first days – did something change? Artemiy decided to ask her some side questions before moving on to the main topic at hand.

Ospina, tell me – where do the Long Taglurs get their power from?

Them? They know the lines, of course. That is quite obvious. They know how to open the secret lines of a body, a word, the sky, earth and even water. At least, that's how it was in the days of yore.

The Long Taglurs were the long family lines that permeated the positions of authority and had power over traditions in the Steppe Folk's culture. The Burakh Taglur was one of them.

That is not what I am talking about. Why is their rule so powerful?

Hmm? What is it that surprises you?

How can the Elder rule without an armed force to support his position? Why does the Order tolerate him? Why does the leader of the ruling family tolerate him?

... That is the power of Authority. Reputation. Everyone rules over his own. Your kind had power in places where the rulers didn't. The news that reached the rulers only did so after you have resolved everything yourselves. The Olgimsky family bent the Order to its will only recently. The Odonkhe are still more powerful...

If that is the case, then how should one explain the riots in the Apiary?

Not everything works smoothly... Sometimes, the Elders grow old, sometimes the Order sets itself ablaze in response to Suokh's fever and worrying... Sometimes, they simply disagree with the Apiary's commandants, while other times, the Order drew the ire of a Mistress. In any case, the Order obeys and abides. Always.

Does that mean that the authority of Burakhs still holds sway?

The power of Long Taglurs is strong. Always keep that in mind, oinon. Negotiations, Polyhedrons, politics and intrigues are the lot of the rulers. Earth, primal power, whirlpools and the sluggish ways of life are ours. Eternal battle for harvest. Yearly births. Gathering and hunting.

This was an interesting tidbit that explained quite a bit about the Order's mentality and its relationship with the rest of the Town. Now, however, was the time for the main question.

I'll keep that in mind. Now, Ospina – look me in the eyes. Tell me – did you give me everything from my Father's inheritance?

I confess – I haven't.

Explain yourself.

I have come to love you, Oinon. I want you to survive just too damn much. You were raised far from here. You have forgotten our ways. You needed someone here to be your friend and mentor. It was simply easier to hide it rather than explain why it is dangerous to keep this thing and why it is dangerous to use it...

You said that you grew to love me? How so?

Ospina's smile was sheepish and deeply sorrowful.

Only how a slave can love its master. How a thing can love its owner. Only how a dog can love. I know that an Odonkhe is forbidden to love a woman of the Order. I'm only loyal to you, Oinon – that is all.

Very well... What did you hide from me?

It is a bone. Boos Primogenius' Horn. Look. It confirms that you are the Elder in the line of Burakhs, that you are the one performing the rites and that you are the keeper of the knowledge of the Long Taglur.

Why have you hidden it from me?

I had a...feeling. A premonition, if you will... Besides, I had a feeling that this horn was precisely the thing that was used to pierce your Father's chest. I've managed to hide it from Saburov's ruffians when they were scouring the scene of the crime. If I had given it to you, then you would've been carrying the murder weapon around with you.

Murder? What is she talking about? Artemiy's father was killed by the disease? Did she have some other theory about Isidore's death? Matchstick did mention that Isidore was visited by someone large with a booming voice just before he died, but not much came of it... In any case, Ospina's reasoning was quite sound.

You did the right thing. Thank you.

Still – the Burakhs are a Long Taglur. You know the lines, you know how to open the bodies. You have the right of the Ritual. There are few of such lineages left. I didn't have the right to decide for you...

Tell me about the other lineages.

In this part of the Steppe the right of the Ritual is carried only by a few Taglurs. Mangyz, Beshech, Burakh, Oyun and Krukov – that's all. The last Mangyz has perished – well, he was killed by Black Nina, truth be told. Beshech family knew the lines almost as well as the Mangyz one, but, nowadays, Tvyrin has destroyed them.

These were the best of the Taglurs?

Yes... Well, yes and no. Everyone was the best along their own lines. Burakh were always adept at medicine and chirurgy. Mangyz were always the most cruel. Beschech were always the most numerous. Oyun and Krukov Taglurs, on the other hand, weren't even taken seriously... They were merely apprentices, not masters.

Interesting... Give me the horn.

It rightfully belongs to you. Take it and forgive me. I've only had good will towards you. You wouldn't be alive now, were it not for my decision. Now, be prepared that a lot of people will try and blame you for your father's death once more, and the same thing that happened a week ago may repeat itself...

Thank you Ospina. Now, everything will be different – I will protect myself on my own terms.

Whose blood is it?

I am closer and closer to the solution of this riddle. Ospina seems to be trying to take care of me. The Elder, on the other hand, is behaving as if I'm about to try and strangle him with my own two hands... I can return to him with this horn in tow.

Conversations with Ospina have always made Artemiy feel eerie, but this conversation left him feeling quite awkward. Ospina's tongue was poisonous and she was a caustic person through and through, but there was a very deep, sorrowful devotion and loyalty in her words and Artemiy didn't feel comfortable leaving it completely unrequited, however strange and downright creepy it may be. If there was a way to protect Ospina in the coming days, then he will surely try. That was Artemiy's vow.

It was time to re-enter Abattoir and to get some concrete answers from Oyun for once...

Artemiy began heading into the darkness. He was hoping that the stone door was open, but he did put out his outstretched hand just in case.

He was right to do so because the fucking door was closed yet again! That meant, once more, that Artemiy had to go all the way around back to the Apiary. These people...

Oh hey - it's the same worm with the same spiel about some inane Arena fistfights! Just like before, he can bugger right off!

Artemiy was almost sprinting down the Town's alleys – this was a pointless and annoying delay and whoever closed that door deserved everything bad coming their way.

The patrolmen in the alley between the two Apiary section were a bit surprised by Artemiy's behaviour, but they've seen stranger behaviour in these days and Artemiy must have looked like one angry bloke so they paid him no heed.

Thankfuly enough, this door wasn't closed as well – otherwise, Artemiy would've had to go back to Taya to get the passage opened again. Nonetheless, Artemiy couldn't help but feel that someone was messing with him? Could it be just Oyun being a dick? That seems way too petty – even for him...

Whatever the case may be, Artemiy would have the chance to ask the man himself soon enough.


I've accepted my Father's inheritance in full. Now – talk!

I see... A worthy action. I can see that you didn't have the horn not out of cowardice, but out of ignorance. From now on, keep it with you... What do you wish to know?

Where did the blood that you gave me yesterday come from?

This is the blood of Boos Primogenius, the likeness of Boos Turokh and the one who was named an aurox – an ancient Steppe taurus, whose lines are akin to the lines of the Universal Bull. It was a leftover from the sacrifice.

The sacrifice did not go the way you wanted it to. You could not have received the living blood from the animal that was killed yesterday!

That is true, yes, but I can always draw more blood from the Earth. It is the blood that feeds the body of Suokh – blood that flows in the veins under the Earth. It is the blood that we have, from time immemorial, drained down into the Earth, feeding the body of Boos Turokh, so that it would feed us in return.

Does that mean that you've gotten this blood from under the Earth? How old is it?

Under the Earth, warmed by Suokh's heat and given life by Suokh's breath, there is a mixture that is made up of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of bulls' blood. You shouldn't be too concerned about its age – now that it has been poured into Boos Turokh's veins, it is the living blood of Suokh.

This was a truly awful discovery. The Town was built on literal rivers of blood that festered underneath it for thousands of years. It is a small wonder that the Town hasn't perished from one horrible disease or another until now. There still was a chance, however...

How do you drain this blood down into the Earth?

I'll tell you about this little detail, too. Here, in the Abattoir – the heart of the House of Suokh – is a well that is connected to the veins that feed the Earth.

Can you get some of it back out?

Only an Odonkhe who is an Elder of the Abattoir and who belongs to a Long Taglur that knows the rite can summon the blood. It rises up from under the Earth and answers his call. I will not call it for you until you are my equal.

Being within reach of something that would finally help him save the Town from the accursed disease, Artemiy had, once again, slammed into a wall. This time, it was made of vanity and cowardice.


Why? Because I don't want you to have it and that is all the reason I need. You aren't worthy of even thinking about it. The sample that I gave you yesterday wasn't given for you, but for Boos Vlad. I did so by his order and to save him from hounding.

Fine. What do you want for it? What can I do to receive it?

Fulfill your sacrifice and fulfill your Father's obligation. When you will pass all the tests and complete all the goals and prove that you are worthy of performing this sacrifice is when you will be worthy. Not a second earlier. Come to me tomorrow – we'll talk.

Very well...

All this was very disheartening – a revelation about the true nature of things followed by an inability to do anything about it that stems from a single man's vanity and pettiness. This Town isn't cursed – it deserves everything that it has gotten and then some. The Town being built on rivers of blood was a metaphor that was only the cherry on the top of a horrible cake that was made up of all sorts of unseemly carnage.

Whose blood is it?

The Town is literally fed by blood... Its bosom is filled with capillaries that are, in turn, filled with sacred blood. Even if it has been poured down there after rites for thousands of years, one must still ask just how does it remain alive and warm? What is feeding this blood? Could it be...? No... I should talk about this with Aglaya...

This discovery, however, changed too much for just this footnote to suffice...

Who will the One Sought For be? Who will be the Healed One? That, in many ways, depends on the choice of the Sacrifice. That is quite true... I've heard this even when I was a child... A Sacrifice is inevitable... It's not a matter of superstition or even fear before the Mistresses' prophecies.

A Sacrifice is a prerequisite of an Udurg's continuing livelihood. It's not a matter of rites, but a matter of the Law of the higher order of things. The Sacrifice that is fated for me is singular and my lines will lead to Her and only to Her. That is inevitable. Her death will let me save the life of the One Sought for. It must be so.

…However, from the tales of old, I seem to remember that a Servitor can pick a Sacrifice. There is a certain freedom afforded here if one follows the rules.

A Sacrifice must be relevant. A Sacrifice must be equal. A Sacrifice must be inextricably connected to the one who is carrying it out. Without that, there will be no self-sacrifice in it and it will lose its power.

It must be so... isn't it?

Artemiy's faith in his worldview was wavering and, in this moment of weakness, Artemiy found another drawing in his pack. On it was the Truth – or, at least, an expanded fraction of it. These weren't simple drawings. These were the illustrations and encapsulations of the true state of affairs in this accursed Town and in this accursed World.

Even so, Artemiy still didn't quite know what to do with them or what to do about them... Perhaps, he didn't need to do anything just yet, but, when the time comes, Artemiy will be sure to keep this and other many truths of this Town in his mind.