- April 10th, 2011
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DAY 11: YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
Many die by my hands today. But really, is that even shocking news? Is anything in this game by now? The map is still a shambles. I’d rather hammer my face into my keyboard to the beat of Francesca da Rimini’s final movement than walk two goddamned blocks in this burg. Plague and angel clouds spawn incessantly and killer vagrants clog the streets. However, since it’s Day 11 I begin to care less about ammo conservation and just shoot these assholes so I can go about my business – of shooting other, more plot-relevent assholes.
Aglaja reports to me that according to the schematics of the Polyhedron, it’s more than just a building. It’s some kind of giant mechanism, but to what end? Also the plans I have provided are of the inner chamber, not the base of the structure – the most curious and impossible-seeming aspect of it. Aglaja asks me to speak with Andrei Stamatin as although Peter designed the Polyhedron, Andrei actually built it.
Naturally, Andrei is not at the tavern where he usually sulks. A Steppe girl standing in the middle of the tavern has the scoop. Andrei, full of piss (and booze) attacked a soldier patrol and killed their officer, presumably in retaliation to them arresting/trying to arrest Peter. Subsequently the erstwhile town gendarme busted into the tavern and dragged Andrei off to execute him down at the end of the rail tracks.
I stop by General Blok and ask him if he knows anything about this and he denies any involvement, although he gives me the name of the officer in charge down at the rails for me to speak to about the matter. He is losing control of his men; the plague and general air of panic and insanity is quickly eroding morale and discipline. There are some kids in the lobby of Blok’s HQ whose fathers have been dragged off and are about to be put in front of a firing squad near the graveyard (they were apparently part of the bizarre demonstration at the Bone Pole grounds). I agree to rescue them, mostly because I am fairly certain it means I get to kill people and I am quite frankly so frustrated with this game by this time that I welcome the opportunity to blow off steam.
A funny thing happens on the way to saving the would-be victims of the firing squad. For laughs I equip the “scope” option for my rifle and discover it’s not really meant to be a firing scope. In truth it’s a lens filter that allows me to see when and where plague clouds are going to spawn. Finally a long-standing mystery is solved! I hadn’t mentioned this before but I did find lenses throughout the game and they aren’t worth anything and when click them from inventory they get “used” and I had no idea in what manner until now. It’s a neat device and has use here and there but really, it’s not hard to predict where plague clouds will appear. Just determine the most annoying places they could be and voila, there they are.
The end of the railway looks rather intimidating. The officer I am supposed to speak is flanked by two lines of riflemen. Although the game allows me to waltz up to the officer and engage in conversation with him, I’d rather kill as many people as the game lets me before having to move on. I run up into the hills flanking the troops and pick them off one by glorious one, soak in the reputation bonuses, loot their corpses and finally confront the officer (killing him causes the quest to fail, alas). The bastard knocks me out after a brief hostile conversation, and I think briefly about the first part of today. It hasn’t been all that remarkable, especially not by Pathologic standards. Go here, talk to this person, shoot these guys, return for reward. Man, I could do that shit in any game. I didn’t suffer through 10+ days of bizarre obtuse misery for that.
Punching dogs while standing on a funeral pyre, now that I signed up for. I awake in the graveyard, stripped of all my gear with attack dogs charging me. So I hop up out of reach and kneel down and beat the dogs to death. I stagger over to Laska and she gives me a knife and some items with which to heal myself.
Sneaking up behind someone to kill them had never worked for me all game long but at last it comes through. Three armed guards are standing watch outside the entrance to the graveyard, and all I have to do is crouch and waddle up behind each of them and aim for the head with my knife. One has a rifle which I use to shoot that idiot officer in the head and get all my stuff back (all of which is comically found on his corpse). I head back to the tavern to talk to Andrei, and he gives me the blueprints of the Polyhedron’s foundation.
A letter from the Kains (N. and S. specifically – Nina and Simon!) beckons me to come speak with them. Evidently the Kains believe the new Mistress of the town will arrive (or be ordained) today, coincident with the end of the Sand Plague. According to Victor, the new Mistress will be Maria. She has fallen into a some kind of coma or transitional death state (no, I don’t understand it either. Perhaps to talk to her mother, Nina?) and will soon be resurrected as the Mistress. Victor mentions that there are two other eventual Mistresses-in-waiting: Kapella and another that is unknown to him (but owes her lineage to the Saburovs, as the three Mistresses are each children of the three original town leaders: Kain, Olgimsky, and Saburov), although he says Kapella knows. He denies the possibility it is Klara, despite her known dealings with the Saburov family – and that Klara herself admits it when I speak to her. He asks me to take part in a ritual of succession for the Mistress that involves bringing totems from each successor to Maria.
Acolytes of Maria have gathered outside her door awaiting her succession to Mistress. I cannot enter but I am told that someone who looked a lot like Nina Kain was seen entering the Crypts at the northeastern point of the Horns. Ah, but it turns out to be Maria – or her spirit, as she claims. She speaks of Utopia, of the town being Utopia in the beginning and promising it will be again after she becomes Mistress and the plague ends. I ask her if she knows what caused the Plague, but even she does not know.
As the day draws near an end I finally return to Aglaja with the things I have learned. However, she has information to bring to my attention first. She worries that because Blok is losing control of his army, he will act soon and mercilessly. She believes the Kains were responsible for instigating the Bone Pole ground demonstration – knowing full well the townspeople involved would be killed. Not just the Kains actually, but Maria specifically. Aglaja is convinced she’s evil and if she becomes Mistress she will bend the town under her malicious will. She lists her two informants: Kaspar Kain – the Khan – and Vlad Olgimsky Jr.
First the Khan, who tells me in no uncertain terms to piss off and that he spoke not a word to Aglaja against Maria. Off to Vlad Jr.’s then. Before I can enter Vlad’s hovel I am attacked by a knifebum and not at random. Vlad flatly denies any opposition to Maria, either. His love binds him to her unquestionably. He helpfully points out the Bone Pole ground demonstration was aimed at killing the Kain family. What the Hell? Where is Aglaja getting this? Furthermore, I am attacked by two more thugs when I leave. Someone sent them, to either kill me or Vlad to silence either or both of us. But who? Why?
Tomorrow, all the answers will fall like giant pointy rocks onto the face of my understanding. Actually, some answers came on Day 11 but I have decided to save those for the Day 12 entry, so that any of you whom would like to avoid the really spoilery spoilers of the ending can safely avoid them. I haven’t had all my humanity stripped away!