DAY 7: SHE CANNOT BE SAVED

    

 

The Inquisitor is here. A montage of her arrival was shown to me last night at midnight in the Theater. She has summarily deposed Alex Saburov as town leader (with little objection from him, as it happens). Her presence has caused store prices to lower significantly. She has ordered mass hangings to restore law and order and it is hard to feel opposed to her tactics, as the town is on the brink of utter chaos. The streets on Day 7 are at an all-time worst and are the most treacherous they get for the rest of the game. Traversing even a small distance is an exercise in frustration and misery. But there is hope…in the form of me cheating my balls off.

 

 

All of the pink buildings on the map are either a store or a character’s home and I am free to enter them at all hours of the day. Entering and leaving a building will “reset” the random encounters outside – townsfolk, rats, killer hobos, everything. More often than not, they simply vanish (rather, fail to reload). BWOOP! It’s underhanded and lame but I so don’t care. In this game? Please. This is an emergent tactic and Ice-Pick would commend me for it. There are still plenty of spots where there is no cheap way out, like near the rivers and bridges, and nothing will squash the infuriating spawn points for the plague clouds. In a narrow walkway or near one of the plague zone markers, they’ll spawn no matter what.

  

Principal characters begin to fall ill and require medication to keep them alive.

Whereas the story elements in the game seemed to progress in a stilting manner during the first six days, they come into sharp focus in the latter half of the game. Day 7 comes charging out of the gate with a one-two punch that truly pulled me further into the game than any previous day’s events.

 

By Day 7, Apiary Butchers walk the streets freely as Vlad is no longer hunting them.

As is usual, I time my sleep cycle to that I awake as close to exactly 7AM as possible, as that is when the game typically begins its day cycle and quest dispensing. I head down to see Vlad Jr. to buy an updated city map. On the way I receive two letters, one is from the Inquisitor asking (not demanding, interestingly enough) for an audience with me and the other is from Eve, and it is the prelude to one of the saddest parts of the game.

It’s interesting how attached we sometimes find ourselves to certain game characters, even ones that aren’t particularly unique, deep, humorous or otherwise memorable. It may be nothing more than the familiarity of their presence, only marked as significant by their loss and rarely if ever before then. I had gotten pretty used to staying at Eve’s and checking up on her every morning to see if she was going to send me on another weird quest. I found her absurdly revealing outfit and obtuse comments comforting! And so there she is at 7AM the morning of Day 7…and then the letter comes half an hour later, and she’s gone.

  

 

At first I thought it was a bug because I had literally just seen her, but when I stop back inside Eve’s house, she is indeed gone. In her place is a Steppe girl named Aijan (who says Andrei sent her to serve me). She explains that Andrei Stamatin is convinced Eve has been kidnapped by butchers hiding out in the swamps and is about to be forced into becoming a “twyrine bride.”  I have no idea what that means but it definitely doesn’t sound good, so off to Andrei I go.

Andrei isn’t at the pub where he usually lounges and has already departed for the swamp. In his place are two dudes who were going to help him but wimped out. I call them cowards and they surrender a rifle to me. Ah, if I had only known I wouldn’t have so hastily purchased one from Gryph (I’ll need it later for another accursed item collection quest, anyway).

 

 

The location of Andrei and the swamp butchers is way the Hell south of town. Eve is not with them – just Andrei, a Steppe girl, three butchers and three worms. I take all the butchers and worms out at range with the rifle and talk to Andrei, at which point he tells me that he was mistaken. Eve wasn’t kidnapped, she committed suicide by throwing herself from the high balustrade in the Cathedral.

Oh.

Well, that took what little wind I had left in my sails right out. I shamble out of the swamp and head to the Cathedral where the Inquisitor, Aglaja, has set herself up. The Cathedral. It would be, wouldn’t it.

  

 

And yet, meeting Aglaja snaps me out of my funk and brings the game and its plot right back into sharp focus. As it turns out, Aglaja is an old acquaintance of mine although I barely recall meeting her. Despite her brutal reputation she appears to be a very sympathetic character, and she is full of information. It seems the town is lousy with observers who have been reporting all the goings-on since the plague began. However, one of them is a traitor and has been spreading lies and disinformation (such as the poor Steppe Creature being the initial disease-spreader). With Aglaja in town the chief observers feel comfortable standing out in the open, with one assigned to each of the town’s three land masses (referred to as Stone Yard, Knots, and Land).

  

 

Rooting out the traitor turns out to be fairly easy…yet maddeningly difficult, as crazy as that sounds. Then again, does anything sound too crazy for this game? The easy part is the mental process involved with determining the traitor. One of them always tells the truth, the second one tells both truth and lies, and the third tells nothing but lies. It’s a basic logic puzzle where I ask each what they think of the other two and then it’s a simple matter of crosschecking their answers. I merely have to accuse the correct observer (if I accuse the wrong one I die instantly, of course), whereupon we are both teleported to the Cathedral and a cinematic plays which shows Aglaja throwing the traitor off the same high balustrade from which Eve plummeted to her untimely death. Thusly the quest concludes. Ah, if only it were that easy.

  

 

I have to be honest here: Ice-Pick really fucked up this part of the game. Few players of Pathologic will be as forgiving of the game’s varied and sundry shortcomings and brain-melting game mechanics as I, but this is beyond the pale. In order for this quest to complete itself properly, I have to acquire a cloak and bird mask not unlike the ones the observers wear and disguise myself as one of them in order to get the traitor to admit his guilt before accusing him properly. Acquiring both items is a tortuous affair, but that’s nothing new. The real issue is that Burakh sends me a letter during the day asking for these items and intends to meet me at Stamatin’s tavern…except he never shows up. Ever. I can only surmise that it is a broken quest path or the like but since I am led to believe he wants the items, I don’t really make the connection that they are vital to the traitor quest – which means midnight comes and I get the failscreen literally dozens of times before I finally figure it out. Boo, Ice-Pick. Dirty pool, fellas.

Worse, it involves backtracking between a few of the exact same characters and I have to be sure to pick the correct dialogue and completely ignore another part or it all goes to Hell. And yet even more horribly, I literally have to finish all the other quests of the day before I can finish this one, which is arguably the first (next to Eve’s quest), because they all connect to this quest.

  

So, I have to wait for Burakh's letter, so I can talk to the Inquisitor, so I can ask Mark Immortal, so I can oh who the goddamned Hell cares

I did like the last leg of the quest as it revealed that Aglaja is in fact a member of the Kain family and has been feuding with her niece Maria (who has been carrying on a secretive romance with Peter Stamatin). My attempt at helping the two bury the ax fails miserably (it’s supposed to!) yet in gratitude Aglaja gives me a shotgun. YES. The gratitude mostly comes from my facilitating a meeting between Aglaja and Peter, as he is the designer of the Polyhedron and Aglaja is particularly interested in its curious design (although she can only get so much out of him as he is incoherently drunk on twyrine).

It’s a shame the main quest is so poorly executed on this day, because aside from that it is easily one of my favorite days in Pathologic. The surprising pang of loss I felt over Eve and the feeling of excitement I got from working with the Inquisitor are definitely high points in the game.

    

 

NEXT: THE DOG, THE SNAKE, AND THE BULL