Part 26: Chapter Seven - pt.1
REEL 9: Meanwhile...
As soon as she woke up, Klara opened the diary looking for a new note that could probably help her save some other part of town later.
She came to me in a dream...
...she was frightened and sad. She told me: «They oust me, harass me, persecute me. I had to change my hiding place four times today, and my current home is in the outskirts they will not find me soon. From the windows I see two watch fires lit very close to each other is it me theyre watching for? I hope they dont post a guard on the stairway that sticks out of the destroyed colonnade...»
The new note also had potential clues in it, although they were extremely vague and unhelpful. A bell tower had been a solid hint, but some fires? And their location relative to each other? That wasnt much to go on.
Dankovsky wasnt looking very fresh. It seemed that he hadnt managed to take a nap; not a good one anyway.
I guess its time. Go to the Cathedral. Beware of everybody, hide from every shadow. When the Inquisitor sees you, tell him only the truth. Though you wont have any other choice...
I always say the truth.
Heres some money. You may need it. If you are arrested and convicted, Ill find out. Ill try to arrange for your release.
How will you do that?
If you are the real vector, Ill ask for a permission to take you back to «Thanatica» for experiments. If I cant have Simon, at least Ill take you away from this god-forsaken hole full of miracles.
Downstairs, Klara collected all the supplies and trinkets shed had to surrender to Eva. She only made an exception for the rat, which she decided to set free. The rodent rushed forward without a moments hesitation and disappeared behind a portiere immediately. It was the only living thing in the room besides Klara. Eva hadnt returned yet.
She noted the yellowish haze that indicated that the toxin was beginning to disappear from the air. It was all thanks to her, Klara thought, thanks to her persuading the twin to leave. That twin... memories of the day before came rushing in with renewed force.
She almost let a town guardsman sneak up to her in the darkness. She really needed to meet the inquisitor as soon as possible. She would tell him everything she knew, offer her help and put the whole misunderstanding behind them.
For what reason did they label me an Impostress?
Who am I? Nobody cares just a ragged pauper. Would not care if the question wasnt a key to the solution. The world does not exist for me, I exist for the world.
There is no doubt that I can work wonders. Bachelor has acknowledged that I am not the killer, or the carrier... So what is going on? Who am I?
The sister, whose existence I could only surmise before, revealed herself to me. But who is who among us? I must be going mad.
Who has stolen the name from whom? Who has stolen the calling from whom? Who has stolen the destiny from whom?
Behind Kains triple mansion, Horns, she encountered a robber with an enormous knife.
Klara prepared to employ her killing touch once more, but the man also recognized her, nodded to her and walked right by.
(she decided to put him down anyway if not for her own, then for other peoples safety)
She roamed the streets until the sky began to lighten, then headed toward the Cathedral. She hoped the dead bodies had already been removed from the place...
Two executors were posted at the entrance.
I need to see the Inquisitor.
Have you escaped? Dont tell me they have released you... There was an execution order!
Who are «they»? What happened?
Look, youve been attempting to see the Inquisitor, right? And I suppose it didnt work out the way youd planned... They didnt even let you appear before her. You should be thankful there are no guards here right now! Last time I saw them, they were dragging you to the gallows.
That wasnt me.
Now Im ready to believe that. But who are you?
I just need to see the Inquisitor.
This is none of my business. I suppose the Inquisitor would want to talk to you, but it would be better for you to be disguised until you get a chance to introduce yourself.
...You know what? Why dont you give me your suit!
No... No, I wont. But I can tell you where you can get another one. When Executors cloaks are contaminated, they throw them away near the corpse pile in the Land.
Dont go anywhere.
So the twin had already tried to get inside before her... Only to be apprehended by the overly zealous guards. Despite herself, Klara felt relief when she realized that those guards were gone for good.
A trip to the Land could take a while... She decided against going through the Steppe for once.
Thankfully, nobody seemed to care about her any more. The town was on fire. People were throwing flammable bombs at the infected wherever they could find them. Agitated militia members were running around trying to apprehend the arsonists or knock them out, only to risk getting dowsed in kerosene and ignited themselves.
Adding to the general chaos were the flying cloaked shadows of rusted smoke, similar to the one Klarad seen the day before. She already knew that they wouldnt touch her, but people all around her didnt have that knowledge.
With the townspeople too preoccupied to notice her, she reached the corpse pile (that was located near the path to the cemetery) quickly.
She found herself a cloak and a mask almost immediately.
She kept telling herself that Sand Plague couldnt survive on inanimate objects, and the clothes were perfectly safe.
Still she avoided putting the uniform on, even though it would make a decent disguise.
With the balled up cloak in one hand, and the mask in the other, Klara ran through the deserted factory grounds and ended up in Kidneys.
She was hurrying through the contaminated part of the district when her attention was caught by a cluster of ruins in the middle of an empty lot.
The colonnade looked fairly destroyed, a stairway was sticking out like a...
Klara rushed to the top of the stairs. The town had several destroyed buildings like those, so it wasnt necessarily the right one.
But the watch-fires were there, two of them, burning brightly even in full daylight.
Klara regarded the house that stood opposite of the fires.
It all fit perfectly, she realized with a chill.
She would meet her sister made of lies, and she would make her leave once again.
There was no one on the first floor of the infected house, so she went upstairs.
Sister was standing by the window as before, looking at the fires outside.
She wasnt very talkative, but once again agreed to look for her followers elsewhere.
Klara needed to beat her to it; to locate the gathering of followers first and convince them to go back to their homes.
But first, she needed to meet the Inquisitor. She needed to be able to move around town freely, and the new authority could end her persecution with a simple order, taking her off the wanted list.
Back at the Bridge Square, she found a secluded spot behind one of the houses and donned the executor disquise.
She was hoping to pass right through the front gate without any questions, but was stopped once again.
How did you know?!
Well, none of the executors were supposed to come here at this time, especially from that direction. Youre an impostor. But dont be afraid. I wont tell anyone.
Can I see the Inquisitor now?
Come in... Arent you afraid even a little bit?
I have nothing to be afraid of.
Her steps echoed loudly in the giant hall. She hadnt noticed anything like it during her first visit. Then again, the temple had been filled with people back then...
A brunette in strict, dull-coloured dress was standing near the Cathedrals... throne. The last part was what actually gave Klara a pause. The fact that Inquisitor turned out to be female didnt surprise her at all. She always thought that women were more inquisitive than men. But a throne... had it always been there? Itd been mentioned that the temple was not devoted to any particular deity... could it have been used to worship someone or something that actually walked the earth and could sit?
Her thoughts were interrupted, because the woman somehow saw through her disguise immediately.
Let me take a closer look... Yes, I expected more. Much more. No, you dont look like a messenger of the supreme power. How can you prove that you are not an impostor?
My actions speak louder than words.
Your actions say that you are a dangerous charlatan. Other than the Bachelor, who apparently isnt difficult to fool, who is ready to testify in your favour?
The people Ive cured.
Those among townsfolk that you claim youve healed? And who is going to find them in the middle of this chaos? Im not up to this task. Come on. Give me some real proof.
I managed to purge the plague from this neighbourhood yesterday!
Hmm... It could all be just a coincidence.
So you dont believe me, do you?
Such claims need to be verified carefully. If you are telling me the truth and you really can make the streets safe again... I will remunerate you for your actions.
Today Ive driven the disease out of Kidneys. You can check it. The place will be clean tomorrow!
Really? Last time I checked, the scourge was raging there. Im sure the district will be safe tomorrow in any case. According to the Bachelor, these outbursts go away on their own.
What does he know! Nothing happens on its own, I assure you! If I hadnt done it, Sand Fever would still be there tomorrow.
All right, Ill play along with your theory for now. Announce yourself! Who are you?
I am Klara. A notch on the point of the spear of Destiny! Beware, inquisitor!
Really? Are you threatening the emissary of the Authorities? Have you forgotten whom I represent?
Your masters are mere playthings compared to the one who controls me!
Im sorry... I didnt mean that.
Poor child... I cannot stay angry with you; you deserve pity. I cant believe all the things that are happening here. You are just another poor sap deceived by those scamps... Dont you know that there are no miracles?
Who has deceived me? Are you talking about the Saburovs?
No. Im talking about the Authorities. They deceived you just like everyone else. The Saburovs are also victims of their intrigues. Alexander wanted to destroy the plague carrier with your help. But you were right not to kill anybody. Nobody from the Circle is guilty of starting the outbreak. The logic of the world itself is what started it. The Law.
By the Circle she probably meant Adherents the whole bunch of them: those who were in the know, those who could influence the events in some way. So Inquisitor supported the same view: that the Law, or «The Logic» was punishing the town for not following it's path. The same Law that Klara was on the run from. The same Law that was secretly hated by Inquisitors masters, the all-powerful «Authorities». The same Authorities that pleaded her for assistance in a letter on the fourth day.
No... Somehow, I feel that with me its going to be something else entirely. I dont want to exact revenge on the Authorities! I can feel how weak they are... I feel sorry for them.
Be quiet and listen to me. Did they want you to perform a miracle?
Yes... I received a letter three days ago...
Miracles are violence against the world. In the very beginning, the world was designed as a single non-conflicting whole. Harmony is the only main component of any Universe. Any world, no matter how ugly and unfair it may seem, is in harmony with itself!
Look around! Do you call this harmony?
Of course! Dont confuse harmony and beauty, o petty one.
Im not talking about beauty... Im talking about salvation!
Who do you think you are to interfere with a divine plan? What consequences may your pointless actions have?
Prompted by either compassion or anger, you had the impudence to meddle with the thinnest fabric of the universe with your coarse hands, to tear and mend fibres that had been woven by a mind infinitely more powerful than all of our feeble minds put together!
I didnt appropriate this ability myself! Or do you also consider me a thief that should be strung up with the rest of the robbers and pillagers?
Ill tell you why you are a thief later. But I want to see you in action before I judge you.
The day will come when I will be the one to judge you. You will see the world with my eyes.
I hope this is all just wishful thinking on your part. There is another theory, isnt there? Very strong argument was made that you are the embodiment of the plague, its personified image. There have always been people like you.
Its not me!
Sure, its your «sister». A twin, right? Indistinguishable from you. A dead ringer. Speaking of which, why am I not seeing double? Why have you come here alone?
Have I? Who knows...?
I should say... Why dont you tell me about your past, girl. Who are your father and mother, where are you from? What had you been doing before you came here? Whom did you meet on your way here?
...I cant tell you that. I dont know who is acting through me. All I can feel is the hands that guide me.
Then Ill tell you. You are mentally ill, my little girl. You have a split personality. Or, perhaps, schizophrenia. The reality you see is replaced with illusion half of the time. How do you like this version? I find it wonderful in all respects! The only thing it doesnt explain is how youve managed to survive this long.
...So whats going to happen to me?
Ill decide it in the evening, if I like you. Right now, you are going to do whatever I tell you to. Id like to watch you change the fabric of the universe, or rather, make sure that you cannot change anything and that you really are just an impostor.
Youll start with the Saburovs. Just do to them the very thing they wanted you to do to their subjects! Question them. Find out whether they believe themselves guilty. A guilty person can hide from responsibility better than anybody else.
I wont go. They were like parents to me...
You will. Havent they betrayed you? Havent they repudiated you? Havent they routed you out of home that they said was yours? Some parents they turned out to be! Dont try to deny that. I know everything.
I dont have a choice, do I?
I need your report by the end of the day.
What have I ever done to you?
I was sent here to nip the outbreak in the bud and restore the supremacy of the Law. Whether you are a curse or a prodigy, you are equally dangerous in my book. I wont hesitate remember, I have you on a leash.
All right. Let it be your way... Ill meet them and look into their eyes. But Ill return my own verdict, as always. And you shall act upon it.