The Let's Play Archive


by woodenchicken

Part 48: Chapter Twelve - Part the Final

Klara turned away and stormed out of the theatre.

A chance to avoid making a hard decision, or simply to spite whoever it was that had set it all up in such a way... it was tempting. What if she indeed could escape, disassociate from the whole mess if she wanted to?

But who knew where that escape path would lead? If her existence here would end, what would be left? Who would be there to perceive everything? Deciding that the world was not real could mean deciding that she didn’t exist herself.

By the time she reached the boulevard across Folds, she had convinced herself that the final decision was to be taken seriously.

At the temple’s entrance she approached the guardian again.

They have already started. Will you come in?
Do I have any other choice? Might as well get this over with.

She walked in, and she heard the door slammed shut behind her hastily.

I am making the choice.

The past fate will be defined by the final decision. If I create a final miracle, then I have been a thief and a miracle worker all this time. If I resign, then I was the instrument of the Law and the embodied plague.

But aren’t the Authorities of this world scared children? Isn’t it why they love miracles so much? I believed that I was their puppet, but it turned out the other way around.
What is this if not a trap?

But didn’t the Creators predict such a turn? If a miracle is in overcoming of inevitability, how shall I accomplish it by fulfilling the mission of someone else’s design?

What is this if not a trap?

How do I achieve freedom? How do I win? By not causing a miracle even when I have the opportunity?

What is this if not a trap?

Time presses. The initiation is reaching the limit point.

It was clear nobody else would be joining – the front door was barricaded from the other side. Klara didn’t know the procedure, so she decided to stand in front of Aglaea for now.

Inquisitor was hardly an impartial arbiter. Authorities made her personally responsible for the town’s fate, so the approval of Bachelor’s proposal would spell doom for her. Burakh’s proposal would fulfil the letter, but not the spirit of her assignment, saving the settlement, but eradicating the mystical spirit that made the town special in the first place. Aglaea had a bone to pick with Authorities and it would be a telling blow to deliver to her masters, while keeping the appearance of loyalty. As for Rubin’s plan, Aglaea opposed it fiercely, desperately, every fibre of her being offended by the very idea.

This part wasn’t calculation. The woman really meant it.

At least Klara didn’t need to keep up the appearances any more. The cards were on the table. Whether Lilich would achieve her goal or not, she would not be around for long after everything was finished.

Woman waited patiently for her to put her diary away and began to chastise her.

You have no business here, Impostress. You shouldn’t have come. We would settle things without you just fine.
I have touched you with my hand. Now, tremble. You’re doomed!

Klara was waiting for Klara at the throne. It was a mistress’s place, guessed the Impostress. Maria and Kapella couldn’t attend, because their champions failed to achieve the necessary influence in this society, or make good cases for their decisions. Neither the Utopians, nor the Order would have a final say in shaping the town’s future.

It’s a good thing you found me and came to me. It is time for you to perform the sacrament that we... that you, Impostress, you, Thief, you, Saint, you, Sand Fever, messenger of the Law, were sent in this world for. Are you ready?
Who am I, sister?
This will be determined now. You are the only one who can define it. That’s what the sacrament is all about. By changing the present, you shall define the past. You will use something that hasn’t transpired yet, to define and establish things that seemed defined and established already. It has always been the other way around.
Is it true that I am an instrument of the Law?
It is true that there is an agent of the Law in town, and it’s one of the visitors. Maybe it’s the Bachelor or the Haruspex? Each of them has already accepted the inevitable... But what if it’s you? That would be most bitter...
How do I find out?
You can’t. You can only act. How can I know about something that hasn’t happened yet? I am not omnipotent.
Are you sure?
I exist, sister, but it’s a temporary existence. You are still the Disease, and I’m still the Saint. But I’m not real yet, just a figment of your imagination... The outcome of your lie! How wonderful that lie was... Theft that created an opportunity for a miracle...
The Inquisitor insists that miracles and I are like oil and water.
Aglaea doesn’t know the whole truth. She only thinks there are no miracles because she was made that way. But you and I – as opposed to Simon – are living proof of the contrary. You have a chance to keep everything as it is! You can do what the others can’t. What hatred and animosity won’t let them do.
Animosity, sister?
The Inquisitor fights the General. The Haruspex fights the Bachelor... Each of them has set out to destroy something that they hate. If you want a miracle, remove the threat to all organs of the town.
Enough of that. Who am I? Speak!
You are free to choose your destiny. Now you will decide what you have been all this time. It’s the Law that considers you the plague. But you neglect the Law, don’t you? You are thief, after all. You will steal a path of a miracle-maker and escape the Law. You will defeat it by performing a true miracle...
And you? What will happen to you?
And I shall assume the fate that you’ll turn down. And disappear immediately, for I do not belong in this world. Go, sister. Decide. Don’t hesitate.

She wouldn’t. There would be no need for the twin this time. She wouldn’t have to stay behind and try to salvage the situation with her inept efforts. Impostress was ready to take charge herself.

It was time to talk to the General... to announce that his guns would not be firing tonight.

Well... Let us begin. I shall ask you formally, according to all rules. One word from you – and it will be settled. Your decision wasn’t motivated by calculation, or self-interest, or compulsion, but by your conscience alone. I have received orders to raze everything to the ground. However, if you tell me that it’s not necessary – I’ll believe you. I have implicit faith in you.
There’s no need to destroy anything. We can avoid destruction and preserve this world as it is. Even if many think it’s impossible...
Do you really know how to save the town?
Yes, I do. I shall restore the chain of creation. I shall give Simon back to this town. I shall close the circuit. I shall declare that from now on, only good will, love and selflessness will uphold the existence of this little world, again and again. Do you want to know how I’ll do it?
I don’t. I know everything I need to know.
Do you understand how it will be implemented?
I don’t need to. Because I trust you.
So be it.
...I announce that the decision has been made. The council is now over.
You were going to return to the front, weren’t you?
I put my faith in you... and I’m not going to turn away from my faith.
And you won’t regret it.

Aglaea beckoned her over to hear the results. She was trying her best to look disinterested.

Well? Have you chosen your fate?
I’ve stolen it.

Block was still hesitant to leave. There was something else he wanted to talk about.

But this was just a formality. What do I care about this town? This replica, it’s nothing but proving ground for one’s character! But there’s something I shall take out of all this... Something priceless... Am I right?
No... I shall have to stay here. Good-bye, my General. Now it really is over. Our time is up.

As she turned to leave, she saw Dankovsky and Burakh. Each of them had been secretly hoping their own plan would be chosen at the last moment. Both stood there looking disappointed.

I didn’t expect such an outcome.
You are always free to make your own decision.
Why did you do so? I didn’t expect this.
You were wrong. Now go... Your Eva is crying up there, on the balustrade. Nobody can see her but you. Hurry.

Klara tried the heavy doors and they opened without offering much resistance. She stepped outside into the cooling autumn air.

Her twin was already there to say goodbye.

Farewell, sister. I am leaving forever and you’re staying here. You are different from them, after all...
Did you hear my words? I accepted my burden. The miracle will happen. And you will have to leave.
It couldn’t be any other way, my dear sister. Farewell. I shall take the plague away with me. A lot of evil will leave this world alongside me.
Do I see doubt in your eyes?
Are you up to the task you’ve taken upon yourself?
The plague was just the means. Forget the evil, I shall take it away. But are you sure you understand the means by which the true miracle will be achieved here? It’s not about getting rid of the epidemic: that part is just a rehearsal. Do you understand what is expected of you? Did you do the right thing, Klara?
Oh, no! Now you’ve imbued ME with doubt!
I never existed in the first place, my sister. Remember it. You have been on your own all this time.
I know. I was just talking to myself.

And so, the choice was finally made. The ball was out of her court for the rest of the day. There was nothing left to do but wait.

She couldn’t get rid of the irrational feeling that the game was drawing to a close, and she would be swept off the board, stop existing in a few minutes. She noticed that even the streets themselves were empty. In fact, (and it only just occurred to Klara) other than a few executors, she hadn’t seen a single person in the streets all day.

Could it be that everyone was already dead? No; she’d seen the death counter in the morning, and things weren’t so bad.

It was as if the game was not interested in her after her final move had been made.

Except it hadn’t been, not really. She was far from done. It was, in fact, still up to her to produce the cure, for a long time, probably years, one gruesome sacrifice after another. Considering this prospect, the idea of disappearing into thin air didn’t seem so bad.

She approached Whirlpool slowly, entered the unlocked door.

Shuffled towards the bed, settled and removed the tattered little leather-bound notebook from the pocket. She wrote a final entry to her diary, then flipped to the last page where her sketch was, and looked at it for a long time.

The Polyhedron will not survive without the settlement. It will die if there will be no new children to come there. It will go out if there will be no more ignorant people to consider it a wonder, a peephole into a different world, a beacon on the other side of the river. The current space is the only one in which it can exist. Let everything remain as it was. It is worth putting up with death for.

She didn’t know if she or someone else would get a chance to read these words. Or if it would help them understand the reasoning behind her choice.

There was no way to know.

Klara looked at her hands closely for the first time. Her nails were in terrible condition, just dreadful.

REEL 17: Fin.