The Let's Play Archive


by woodenchicken

Part 28: Chapter Seven - pt.3

Klara was on her way back to Stem. It was time to summarize her findings before presenting them to Alexander:
The Authorities wanted to save both the town and the intricate social, biological, geological framework surrounding it, that allowed for the birth of a Miracle. But stating that as their goal would be immoral and reprehensible for some reason (Why? Who were they afraid of? They were the Authorities!) According to Burakh, it was also pretty much impossible. (That was exactly what Alexander wanted to hear. Klara simply wouldn’t mention that according to Burakh, the actual town was quite saveable, but the strangeness that surrounded it was doomed).

So the Authorities stated a different goal: Aglaea was to restore the Law and Harmony by purging all that was unnatural and blasphemous, but without «slashing» or «burning» the actual township.
That didn’t seem all that clever no matter how you looked at it – if Aglaea achieved her goals, the Town would be saved, but empty of any miracles and completely uninteresting to her masters. If she failed, Sand Fever would just consume the town whole.

Anyway, there had to be some other option other than unleashing the fanatical zealot who was clearly acting on her own and would probably undermine the Authorities’ goals at every opportunity.
They’d be better off betting on Klara.
But then again, the Authorities clearly didn’t trust (and didn’t think much of) her. Or Daniel and Artemy, for that matter. Well, they could always be proven wrong.

I’ve done as you wanted. Now I know it all.
Don’t repeat other people’s words to me. I want to hear your own conclusions. Well?
The agents became destroyers despite the will of those who had sent them. The Authorities only want to save the town. But the town is doomed. And it was doomed from day one.
From day one? The town is centuries old. And if you count the Order settlement that appeared here not long after the creation of the world itself...

So the Albino thought that the town was only a month old, while Alexander supposed it was there since forever... Why couldn't it just have an average age, like all towns?

Well, it was doomed ever since it became like this.
It was developing in a peculiar order. That’s the key to everything that has happened. New buildings would emerge out of the old ones... like branches. But the fruit turned out to be too heavy... that’s why the tree has broken.
Inquisitor believes it’s unnatural.
Our town’s unnatural? But it is the embodiment of the logic of the entire human existence! The animalistic became the human; the human gave birth to the superhuman. People always crave wonders and hope to achieve the impossible. Even if it would turn out ugly. Who would dare take their dreams away?
Does this mean... You’ve changed you mind?
Yes. Don’t cast your spells on me. I will give you my honest, unbiased answers. The whole thing is obvious anyway. Governmental and war criminals are the only types of criminal you can safely put to death and not worry about judical error.
Why do you believe you are guilty?
If anybody is to blame for everything that has happened, it is I. A governor is always responsible for all the sufferings of his people. It wasn’t I who caused the outbreak, but no one but me is to blame for the fact that it has destroyed our town.
Nobody could oppose such overwhelming power.
You can condemn me and hand me to the Inquisitor. I was taking counsel with Katherine last night. We were expecting such an outcome. But my wife thinks that it is in your best interests to let us live a little longer. Have you talked to Katherine yet? Go see her. She still wants what’s best for you. But now neither administrative interest nor duty will interfere with her feelings. We are both ready to die. By the way, you are welcome to stay in Stem as long as you wish.
...I’ll tell Inquisitor everything I’ve heard here.

Of course, Alexander blamed himself for handling the events poorly (which was fair), and didn't have anything to do with spreading the infection. What she hadn’t expected at all was this sudden Utopian rhetoric. So he believed that whatever Kains were doing to the town was perfectly natural? His wife would NOT approve if she heard about it.

The most difficult part is still ahead of me... What will Katherine tell me?

One half of her assignment was complete. Klara went around to the opposite side of the building to talk to Katherine.

Aah... my daughter...
Aren’t you forgetting something? The previous day? Must be morphine...
Did you speak to the Inquisitor? I heard she had dismissed all charges against you...
Yes. For some reason, she didn’t doubt my innocence long.
Well... It’s a turnabout. The Saburovs were stripped of authority. One cannot fall from such a high throne without breaking their neck... We were given so little time to surrender our powers. The power of the Sword and the power of the Spirit.
What happens now?
Now... I shall send you to Maria Kain. Tell Maria that I abdicated the throne of a Mistress and entrusted another woman with my title. Ask her what Simon has to say about a Mistress of the Land. Who is supposed to be my heiress...? She won’t dare lie...
But Maria will tear me up into pieces!
She won’t dare... She knows whom I am talking about. She has been watching you all this time. To try and interfere is to rock the foundation of our little world... The equilibrium of the three nexus must be maintained... She won’t try to upset the balance.
Who was a Mistress of the Saburovs before you?
It was... No, don’t ask her name. Go, Go! Don’t hesitate... I can not make this decision on my own. Don’t be afraid of anything.

What seemed like a new chore at first turned out to be a mission of importance. Gaining more influence would be very desirable, considering the arrival of the new, prejudiced and self-serving overseer in town.

To Maria again! But I am afraid no longer... I feel that there will come the time when Maria and Kapella will be the only living beings in the entire Universe to share my loneliness...

Katherine asked me to tell you that she abdicates the throne of the Mistress.
Does she? It’s about time. It was worth having an Inquisitor visit our town for... In whose favour?
Not yours, that’s for sure!
Goodness no! Do you really think that I will try to claim the title of the Land’s Mistress? It is a role better suited for you.
Do you speak to Simon? Ask him if he agrees with your words.
You must be kidding... He doesn’t just appear on demand in a magic mirror! This isn’t some old faerie tale where spirits speak to you from below the ground in hollow voices... But I have good news for you – Simon is able to testify... about the Mistress of the Land.
And how?
There is a way! Look... the weird thing is, Simon is still alive. He is dissolved in this town. We can feel his presence. He says it is because of you.
I thought you said he doesn’t speak!
We are currently trying to come up with a way to collect his spirit piece by piece and infuse it with life. He will say more then. Now go, girl, we won’t touch you any more – besides, Aglaea wouldn’t like it...
Soon, I shall speak to you as an equal.
Hold your horses, dear. There is another future Mistress in town. She is young, but trust me, I reckon her way more than I do you. Ask Kapella the same question. Ask her whom Victoria wishes to see in Katherine’s place.

She meant the old Victoria, the former Mistress, mother of the young Victoria «Kapella» Olgimsky. The Olgimskys really liked to name children after parents.

Now to Kapella’s place. I cannot say I wasn’t expecting this. Things are heading to a logical conclusion. Is it too late to step aside from this path? But the path is downhill, and at this speed, I will surely get smashed up if I try to stop...

Even your eyes are different...
You speak to your mother, don’t you? Maria wants to know whom Victoria wants to see as... the new Mistress.
No. I don’t speak to her. I don’t have the power yet. But she speaks to me sometimes.
Has she ever spoken about the future Mistress of the Land? Mistress of the Humble?
No. But she made it clear that it is because of you that Simon is alive and regaining strength. Did you hear that? It means Katherine has to bequeath her title to you. Does she relinquish her power?
Anyway, nothing will happen as long as she is alive. It’s not a throne. The spirit cannot be handed over with just a signature... But doesn’t seem like it will be long... Let’s just hope she won’t pass the lyre to your black sister by mistake...
She won’t. I guarantee it.

Simon, alive and gaining strength? Klara wasn't sure what Maria and Kapella kept talking about. The man's body was torn limb from limb by tireless Rubin in attempts to create the cure.
Perhaps she would learn the truth when she would join the Mistresses herself.

This is all so sudden... Just minutes ago, I was afraid to hear a verdict from Kapella... afraid that I would have to try this terrible crown on. But not any longer! She said something that stopped my downhill sprint... Once again, I stand at the crossroads of this path...

They said they would acknowledge my rule – but not the rule of my sister.
Well... So be it. What did you want to ask me about?
Katherine, Katherine, I know that you...
Why do you bother? How can I deceive you?
Tell me whether you Saburovs have been disregarding this pestilence intentionally.
What can I say? It’s all clear. I had no power. I am not a real Mistress. I deceived... but not for my own gain. Only because I wanted to be like them so much. No... a craving for miracles alone doesn’t enable you to perform them yourself... Good thing you are not my real daughter.
You are not to blame...
I am... now I’m sure of it. I deceived... and was deceived myself. The Rat Prophet, creature from my dreams, has been created by my lies. I have betrayed all who had trusted me. I must go away.
What can I say...?
I believe in you. You exist to save people. Yes, you caused death... But isn’t getting rid of the unworthy a necessary part of salvation? For this world, death is the healing. Such is the logic of the Law. The scourge heals the sore on the face of the earth. You are the Mistress. Have no doubt. Rule wisely. Farewell.
I’ll tell the Inquisitor about what I heard here.

Klara was prepared to report her findings. She hoped that the fact that she made the Saburovs confess would count in her favor. She didn't want to go to the gallows. Sure, a Mistress couldn’t lie, but nothing had been said about Mistresses not being able to die.

I’ve done what you wanted me to.
I know! Let me tell you a little secret: you couldn’t not do it, even if you tried.
Oh, yeah... What was it? Everything’s pre-determined, is that what you’re trying to say?
No, that’s not it. Of course it isn’t. The thing is, the outcome of your mission doesn’t matter to me at all.
My dear child... I’d make a right conclusion no matter what you would do. Nobody can take away your freedom of choice. You could refuse to do it; you could even try to escape. I would achieve my goal even if you ran away. All I wanted was to understand your role in this world.

Klara’s role in this world was that of an obedient errand boy.

So, what will happen now?
I shall give you three tests. You shall visit three most gruesome places in this town, the foundations of the three pillars that uphold the town’s mystery. The embodiments of the three worlds that form it... You’ll show your worth when you face each of them.
What if I don’t show my worth? What if I choose not to, just to spite you?
That doesn’t matter. Any decision will tell me more about you than you think. Even if you decide not to decide anything.
You’re describing it as if I were a critter for you to study!
So, my first question follows. What should we do with the Saburovs? What should we do with this family of puppets that has decided it can govern a human settlement during the final disaster? What should we do with the family whose actions caused thousands of people to die?
No! Don’t do anything to them. They are so miserable! It is not their fault!
You are unbelievable...
So, are you a representative of the Law? Then I want to ask you a question that has been torturing me for days.
Go on. As you can see, I’ve been very nice to you so far. I’m not merely satisfying your curiosity – I’m even trying to anticipate it.
Why do they call me a thief? What is the meaning of this?
Such is your nature. Such is your destiny. As for what you have stolen... that is the question I also want to know the answer to. What can one steal that would change the principles of existence itself? No wonder that the Law is persecuting you. You are the greatest criminal of all time.
...Is that why all of my Adherents are criminals?
Your charges are not just criminals, they are great evildoers. That is because they have violated the Law. They are guilty of all the evil that has spread all over this world.

Violated the Law? But surely, the Utopians were the worst offenders in this regard? Meanwhile, most of Klara’s Adherents were either petty criminals, or people who basically did nothing all day. Like Lara? Or Julia? Was there something they were hiding?

Isn’t it a little cruel to declare a handful of people responsible for all the evil in the world?
We are all inherently wicked, Klara. Evil is the man’s nature. Any attempt at self-discovery is a provocation. When we reveal our personality and manifest our will, we let the evil out into this world. Don’t make the same mistake your doomed counterparts are making. Remove yourself.
I’m afraid I can’t do that. I haven’t fulfilled my destiny yet. I won’t disappear until I achieve it, even if it means being evil.
There is still time. I’ll be conducting my experiments on you. I know who we really are; while your counterparts, for instance, don’t... I shall watch you come to realisation yourself. And if I am right, and you really possess the ability... they won forgive you for that. And I won’t forgive you.
Do you know who the Authorities are?
You don’t need to know that. It was the Authorities who delegated me and Bachelor here... as well as the third one, the conqueror that will soon come riding into the town on a fire-breathing steed. He is getting closer. You’ll meet him soon.
You said they have deceived everyone. Why would they do that?
They want to save this town. They want it to stay just the way it is now. It is extremely important for them.
Just look at it! See how all the ages and periods of humanity’s history have fused into a whole here? All facets of human existence are reflected in it. Good and evil are combined in proportion. Heaven and hell are connected with a straight path.
Every town is like that.
Good observation... But it is all much more obvious in this one. In fact, it is so obvious that, ugly as it is, it can almost serve as a magical model of the universe. Its predicament is a warning. It’s a playhouse rehearsal of our common destiny.

The Inquisitor clearly knew more about the Authorities and the town than she was willing to say.

The town was definitely unique.

It was both the reason behind the outbreak and what caused it to receive special attention from the Authorities.

Was it because it was an outside-the-Law town? Which made it capable of producing miracles, not unlike Klara?

All she knew was that her days as a servant of the Law were over. It was time to move on.

She truly was outside the Law. Trying to act on its behalf only led to disasters.

They said she was still welcome in Stem, but she couldn’t bear the thought of going there ever again.

They are guilty. They have left me defenceless to face the persecution. Possessed by evil, they have caused much damage to the town, indoctrinated many with false truth, sentenced to death those who deserved forgiveness – but I will never condemn them. I shall correct their errors myself, and come what may.

Settling into the bed, Klara wrote a new entry in her diary and then skipped to the last page, where the unfinished sketch from the previous day was.

Looking at the sketch again, she decided that she didn’t like the animalistic lines that were etched into the hill. She smudged the lines a little, thickened the main lines a bit until the eye and the ear and the legs were no longer noticeable. Nothing but a good old hill.

This time she let her imagination take her in a different direction. She wanted to add more, but drifted into sleep before finishing what she had in mind.

REEL 10: Later that night at the theatre...

Q: Can anyone explain why the Saburovs are considered guilty? Just because they didn't do anything to stop the spread of the Sand Plague?
A: They are not considered outright guilty, but when you are in charge of the town that went to shit, it's normal to question the efficiency of your management. We were sent to evaluate how much of the damage could have been prevented. Klara may not seem like a most reliable candidate for the job, but Aglaea is weird and has her own reasons for everything. We don't want Alexander and his wife dead, so we decided to report that they're cool. It's not like he wasn't doing anything - it seems that he's been pretty busy, we just didn't witness a lot of it while we were doing our thing. But a lot of what he did was questionable, for example he was trying to keep the news of the epidemic from spreading, lying to the populace and arresting anyone who would panic. Or that one time when he proposed to slaughter all bulls. We advised him not to do it, but several days later, there are no bulls anywhere in sight. That can't be good, considering that there's a shortage of food and all..

Q: What I wonder, is what put us into motion. The other two have, motives, for their being here. Why are we here? Who sent us? Was it the Law? We who are outside it?
A: Let's see.
If we are a bone golem created by the earth, our goal is to wipe out the inhabitants of this part of land. But from the gameplay perspective, it would mean that either nobody bothered to tell us, or we blatantly forgot about the job. And we call ourselves Klara - a good gal's name:


Gender: Feminine
Usage: Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, English, Late Roman
Pronounced: KLAH-rah (Italian, German, Spanish), KLER-? (English), KLAR-? (English) [key]
Feminine form of the Late Latin name Clarus which meant "clear, bright, famous". The name Clarus was borne by a few early saints.
Consider this thing from the very beginning:

It seems that Klara has lived a fairly long life and did a lot of nice things.
We couldn't remember how we got into the shallow grave where we woke up, but whe remember that other stuff about ourselves, and the name too... Someone who was just born wouldn't be able to come up with this shit on their own, could they? Even if Ospina's accusations of stealing someone's name and fate could be true, that would mean we would have to meet that "someone" at some point, but we haven't...
You remember everything the earth remembers.

...oh wait, nevermind

Q: If the official translation is to be believed, Haruspex represents the "Termites". Interpret this as you will.

Gigify posted:

I think it relates to Lewis Terman, the guy who help develop early 20th century IQ tests.
This guy was trying to prove that IQ was directly related to how successful someone would be in their lives, so he performed IQ tests on a large amount of children. The group of children with the highest scores, which were the ones he followed and focused on in his studies, were called the "Termites".
The point being, these "Termites" were supposed to be the individuals with the highest potential. So the Haruspex's group represents that in some way.

That's just what I took from it.
I'll go back to my lurking, now.