|This entry refers to content from the original Pathologic and the Pathologic Classic HD remaster. It has nothing to do with the sequel.|
The following synopsis covers each route of the three paths in Pathologic Classic. This page is not spoiler free! This only covers the relevant plot details and should not be considered a direct walkthrough. With information taken from the Pathologic Classic guide created by Halfgild Wynac, this may serve as an overview of the story's events through a narrative lens. Certain side quests are included in each route to bolster that narrative, but some (such as quests that serve as resource gathering) are omitted for a more concise narrative.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Bachelor's Path
- 3 The Haruspex's Path
- 4 The Changeling's Path
The events of Pathologic take place over the course of twelve days in the remote Town-on-Gorkhon on the Steppe. When an outbreak of a unique strain of Plague grips the town, three healers—a Bachelor of medicine, a Haruspex surgeon, and a blessed Changeling—must race to discover the cause of the Plague and destroy it.
The Bachelor's Path
Daniil Dankovsky, a Bachelor of Medicine, was brought here by circumstances most unfortunate. Dankovsky's lifework, his theory challenging the existing notions of human mortality, is being harshly persecuted by the Powers That Be. Suddenly a letter arrives from a colleague, suggesting that there is previously undiscovered evidence which may support Dankovsky's claims. There is a settlement, the letter says, ruled by an extraordinary man who may well be seen as objective proof of Dankovsky's daring hypothesis. Grasping at straws of hope, Dankovsky decides to follow what he believes to be a sign of divine providence. Without further ado, he sets off for the settlement.
Daniil Dankovsky wakes in the Stillwater, Eva Yan's home. He heads downstairs and acquaints himself with the owner of the house as he ruminates on the purpose of his visit - to provide proof for his research about a way to suppress the claws of death and bring about eternal life. Dankovsky tells her that he will be meeting with Simon Kain, the patriarch of the Kain family, and heads to Simon's family home, the Crucible.
When Dankovksy arrives, he discovers that Simon has been murdered by an "inhuman force". Simon's twin brother, Georgiy Kain, speaks with him on what happened the night before, as does Victor Kain, the youngest of the brothers. Dankovsky learns that shortly before his death, Simon was visited by Isidor Burakh; a healer who was respected throughout town, and the man that invited Dankovsky to the town.
Dankovsky marches across town to visit Isidor, but sees volunteer patrolmen standing outside of his house. It seems that Isidor, too, is dead, having been murdered the night before. Though none may inspect his body, it is suspected that Isidor's own son, Artemy Burakh, killed him. Dankovsky is directed to Alexander Saburov by the patrolmen. Saburov informs Dankovsky that Isidor came to speak with him before his murder and believes that Isidor wanted to talk about his eventual succession to leading the Kin. Therefore, Saburov suspects Artemy to be responsible for Isidor's death. After speaking with Dankovsky, Saburov sends him to a mathematician named Yulia Lyuricheva who may know more. Once Dankovsky meets with her, she tells him that Isidor had visited Simon late at night as well and returned to the town before dark. It is likely that Isidor also spoke with Vlad Olgimsky Sr, the industrial leader of town who worked with him at times.
Dankovsky visits Vlad Sr's abode, called the Lump. Vlad Sr refuses to talk about Isidor and instead curses about his son, who has been sympathizing with the indigenous Steppe people of town. After leaving the older Olgimsky, Dankovsky is brought to his son's house by a Worm to a brick building with covered windows. He speaks with Vlad the Younger, who tells him that Isidor came to their house to speak about the potential start of an illness. His father allegedly didn't believe him, but Vlad the Younger had the Termitary - the large housing block of workers - locked by his father to prevent any risk of infection, despite a current riot going on.
It becomes evident to Dankovsky that Simon died of the same illness that killed Isidor. He is told that Stanislav Rubin, the protégé of Isidor, wants to examine the body – who Dankovsky knows he must warn. He seeks out Rubin at the house of the Kains, where they speak about their next step with great urgency. They discuss the possibility of the Sand Plague - a deadly pandemic that swept through the town five years ago - returning.
As Dankovsky returns to Eva's house to rest, she speaks to him about her fears regarding the possible Sand Plague's return. She begs him to arrange for their escape and asks him to speak with Andrey Stamatin who may be able to get them on the shipping train leaving town. Before he begins this plan, he receives a letter from Alexander Saburov, requesting Dankovsky to find proof regarding the epidemic so he can properly take action for the Town. Dankovsky begins an investigation to bring Saburov proof of the epidemic.
He speaks with Anna Angel who tells him of "silent houses" that the children are playing in. Capella, the young Olgimsky daughter, has more information regarding it. Capella tells Dankovsky that some of the children told her about the houses when they were playing in, and how they seemed quite dangerous. Though she doesn't know where they are, she introduces Dankovsky to Sticky, who tells him about the local houses, one being Isidor Burakh's. Cautiously, Dankovsky enters the building, and realizes several infected individuals are currently squatting in the house. He flees with a key that he provides to Saburov, using it as his conclusive proof that there is an infectious pandemic on the horizon. He requests Dankovsky tell the other rulers of this proof to begin pooling resources.
In his journey to tell the leaders, he finds himself assisting Lara Ravel in establishing a 'House of the Living', where people may find refuge in her Shelter. However, as he is collecting resources for her, he finds himself baffled by the skyrocketing prices in grocery stores with the rumour of a growing plague. As he scrapes together the food Lara requested, he goes to deliver it to the house that will serve as the Shelter, and realizes it, too, is a condemned house, infested with rats and sick squatters. He returns to Lara with the supplies, which she imparts some to him, mournful that they will not be able to make a shelter out of the home.
He finally brings to the leaders' attentions that Saburov will be taking action. Now that the Town is preparing, he investigates what he can do for Eva's escape plan. Andrey understands the plight, but states he will not leave without his brother, Peter Stamatin. Peter will not leave Town, as his creation, the Polyhedron, is across the river. With the machinations of Maria Kaina, Dankovsky discovers Alexander Saburov's resentment for Peter, due to his belief that he caused the death of the former architect that lived in town before they arrived. As Saburov is bringing emergency powers into town, Peter is partially convinced to escape. However, when Dankovsky attempts to see them off that evening, there are several guards blocking the train station, forbidding even shipment trains from leaving. Horrified that they now must remain in town, Dankovsky returns to planning for the coming days.
After the bitter revelation the night before, Dankovsky wakes to discover that the infection has begun to spread through town, being told that the Tanners district has fallen to widespread sickness. He wakes to a letter from Georgiy Kain, who requests he come to speak with him as soon as possible.
Georgiy tells him that Simon's body has been stolen and that Rubin is missing. He suspects several circumstances, such as Rubin being sick or dead, but the two of them quickly make plans to look for him. Dankovsky seeks out Vlad the Younger, who provides him with both a map of the infected districts as well as a piece of information: that they might have to inspect both the Termitary and the Polyhedron to ensure there is no extended quarantine break. Dankovsky agrees to investigate the Polyhedron, but is frustrated that both Rubin and Simon's body are still missing. Vlad the Younger gives him a letter that will persuade the children guards to give him access.
At the top of the Polyhedron, Dankovsky speaks with Caspar 'Khan' Kain, the son of Victor and self proclaimed ruler of the Polyhedron. Khan is quick to send him away, but ensures that everything is fine, and that he is keeping a close eye on his Dogheads. He returns to Vlad the Younger to confirm the quarantine measures in the Polyhedron are secure, and Vlad imparts something he learned when investigating the Abattoir - that it is possible several Butchers stole the body of Simon. Dankovsky sets out to investigate an infected house that the men are hiding in. He slips inside, armed with a revolver given the night previous by Andrey, and finds a room occupied by two men and a dissected corpse. Dispatching the two suspicious figures, Dankovsky investigates the corpse, and is disappointed to find out that it is not Simon.
He reports his findings to Georgiy, and is paid for his effort. As well, he finds a letter waiting for him, its envelope unsigned; but upon opening it, sees it is directly from Rubin. He requests Dankovsky's presence at his warehouse, not far from Bad Grief's lair. Though Dankovsky is wary of wandering around criminals, he makes his way south of town. In Rubin's hideout, Rubin blindsides Dankovsky with the information that he is hiding Simon's body, and plans to experiment on it. He tells Dankovsky that the local beliefs forbid anyone from cutting flesh, both alive and dead, and tells him that he ought to seek out permission from Alexander Saburov to proceed in their search for a vaccine. Before Dankovsky can curse Rubin for wasting his time working with Vlad the Younger, he is sent off to the Rod, the residence of Alexander and Katerina.
Saburov is powerless to grant him such authority - if anything, the indigenous folk of the town will have to grant him such a blessing. Dankovsky seeks out Aspity, a mysterious woman who has been allegedly hiding Butchers who left the Termitary and are sought out by the Olgimsky family, who says she will only help him if he receives confirmation from the Olgimsky patriarch that he will not persecute these men. After a conversation with Big Vlad - and convincing him to cooperate, or Dankovsky will speak to the Kains about the Haruspex - Dankovsky sets off with instructions from Aspity to find some men he can work with. However, at each three locations he was sent to in order to meet a Butcher, he finds each man to be murdered or dead. One of their bodies was sent to the cemetery, where Dankovsky heads to next.
After speaking with the young caretaker, a child named Grace, he marches to the grave, which is guarded by two patrolmen. They demand a high sum of money in exchange for the body. He attempts a confrontation with the patrolmen, but only gains access to the body after disposing of them. It seems he will be unable to cut up bodies reliably. Instead, he takes a blood sample to Rubin, and studies it with his tools available.
Dankovsky wakes to find he has letters from both Big Vlad and Alexander Saburov. Big Vlad requests his presence to establish measures for a hospital, morgue, and an isolation ward, while Saburov shows concern for the growing crime rate. He deems Big Vlad's request a more pressing matter, and sets off to the Lump. There, they discuss and plan the steps to establish these locations: the morgue will be in a warehouse across the river; the hospital will be in Lara Ravel's house; and the isolation ward will be in the Cathedral.
He goes to speak with Lara regarding the hospital, but discovers that she does not have access to clean water for the hospital, having accidentally given a townsman the idea that water must be boiled before drank, and he led a mob to destroy the water pipes. Dankovsky seeks out the Theatre to find a back up, but discovers it is locked. Unable to find assistance with Mark Immortell, he hears that there is a theatre worker who may have a key. After leading the fool from an infected district and retrieving his key, he tries to access the Cathedral... which is also locked.
However, there is a young man who is able to provide him with a key to the Cathedral as well. He quickly heads back to Big Vlad and delivers the keys. Exhausted, but with work to be done, Dankovsky finally goes to pay Saburov a visit.
Saburov is concerned about the crime rate - with the Tanners now clear of widespread infection, there seems to be a new epidemic of its own, of bandits looting homes. It makes sense, therefore, to speak to the leader of the town's criminal underworld, Bad Grief. When Dankovsky interrogates him, Grief insists that he and his men aren't responsible for the robberies, but that it is Barley the Barber and his crew. He sends Dankovsky to take care of the gang with nothing more than the advice to be armed. Somehow - with great caution, stealth, and a lot of bullets - Dankovsky eliminates the seven men inside the warehouse he arrives at. After relieving the men of their former riches, he returns to Grief, who enthusiastically rewards him for doing him the favour.
With enough blood on his hands to feed a heart, Dankovsky returns to Saburov, to inform him there will be less trouble with looters. Without asking too many questions, Saburov thanks Dankovsky with more funding and a reimbursement of the bullets used.
Dankovsky wakes to a new letter from Rubin, requesting his presence. In his hideout, Rubin requests a still living heart of an infected individual to test a vaccine on. As Dankovsky questions him just where he's meant to retrieve a heart if neither of them is permitted to cut open bodies, Rubin bitterly regards that the Olgimskys may be able to fetch him the Haruspex to perform the task. When Dankovsky speaks with Big Vlad, it seems that Saburov has begun mass arrests, and has incarcerated Artemy Burakh among the jailed. Though Dankovsky attempts to appeal to Saburov, the man is adamant about the conviction of everyone, including Burakh.
To find where the prison is located, Dankovsky speaks with both Capella and Lara Ravel. He marches to the Factories to inspect the prison blocks, and finds Burakh behind bars. His visit is discreet, and knows he can't just make a scene to break anyone free - he instead goes to visit Bad Grief, who takes a payment to dispatch the rest of the prison guards, leaving Dankovsky the responsibility of killing the only one to survive the conflict. With blood on his hands but a clear conscience, Dankovsky unites with Artemy Burakh, and explains he requires the still living heart of a Plague victim. Artemy agrees to assist him, and says he will make his delivery that night, and to find the heart behind his father's house.
During the afternoon, Dankovsky receives a letter from Anna Angel as he speaks with Victor Kain, demanding he come and assist her with protecting herself. Before he leaves, Victor speaks with him about Saburov's mass arrests, and explains there are innocent locked in the Town Hall's prison. Dankovsky investigates, discovering both that there are healthy people forced to live with infected individuals, and an Executor who is willing to take massive bribes to free them . Dankovsky figures Anna can wait. He hurries to collect funds from both Vlad the Younger and Victor, and frees the innocent.
Finally, Dankovsky pays a visit to Anna Angel. She explains her elaborate plan to rob Var, and old acquaintance of hers. Dankovsky deducts that they likely knew each other within the Ace of Diamonds Caravan, but begrudgingly goes along to assist her, if only to investigate if this may pose a threat in the future of curing the town. Speaking with Var, he explains that he wishes to find his daughter, and promises Dankovsky a hefty reward for finding her. With Anna's guidance, he discovers a dancer in Andrey Stamatin's pub named Vera, who agrees to reunite with her father that evening. Giving Var the good news, he is given a large reward, which he leaves with Anna.
That evening, Dankovsky discovers the corpse of a Steppe girl right where Artemy told him to visit, with her heart nestled in her chest cavity - it is still warm. He realizes he recognizes her as Vera, the girl he sent to Isidor's home. Burakh is absent. Dankovsky hurries back to Rubin, where they begin their study. As Rubin works, he sends Dankovsky away, and he retires to the Stilwater.
Dankovsky wakes to a number of letters delivered to him as he slept - the most pressing matter being from Victor, stating an infected person broke into the Cathedral's isolation ward, spreading infection among the people inside. He consults with the three leaders of town, who agree to search for the likeliest carriers, being Anna Angel, Lara Ravel, Aspity, and Yulia Lyuricheva. Justifying their actions as either insidious or well-meaning, Dankovsky sets off to collect blood samples from the four women. The matter is urgent, as a member of the Inquisition will be arriving in town tomorrow. As he travels, he reads the other letters sent from him - one being from the child Sticky, speaking about a possible discovery of the infection, and another from Capella, who he visits as he leaves the Lump. She tells him her brother wants to see him. Dankovsky doesn't know why Vlad the Younger didn't just send a letter himself.
He seeks out Aspity and Anna Angel, first. Aspity, naturally, offers her blood with arrogant confidence, while Anna puts on quite the spectacle to avoid being investigated. However, Anna accuses the young Clara of being the one who broke into the Cathedral, due to her asking Anna a way inside the day before. Not willing to sacrifice the chance, Dankovsky hunts her down inside the Saburov's mansion, where she seems content to stand by her foster mother Katerina Saburova. Clara accuses 'Changeling' of bringing the disease into the Cathedral, a creature who conveniently takes the form of her sister. Refusing to entertain her, Dankovsky requests Katerina permission to take Clara's blood, but Clara runs away once Dankovsky's back is turned. He learns that only Grace believes Clara to be truly sinless, and must march across town to the Graveyard.
As the Bachelor journeys south of town, he takes the opportunity to speak with the child Sticky, who lives in proximity to the Rod. The boy claims to have knowledge on who carries the disease, but reveals that he suspects it to be "the last vampire", a beast that came from the Steppe. Furious that he wasted his time, Dankovsky leaves and continues south past the Termitary and the Abattoir. As he marches to the Graveyard, he is struck with a deep pain, and turns to see the very Steppe creature Sticky spoke of. In its proximity to him, he can feel his skin burning, and though he tries to fire upon it, he finds himself in too much pain to commit to the task. He runs, feeling the pain ebb away slowly. Though it staggers with otherworldly form, he does not believe the pain he felt was illness.
When he arrives at the Graveyard, he speaks with Grace, who does not seem to know where Clara is. As he returns to the Stilwater to study the blood of Aspity and Anna, he is shocked to see Clara standing in Eva's parlour. He extracts her blood, and takes the three samples upstairs immediately. Frustratingly, however, it seems that not a single sample shows signs of infection. Exhausted, irritated, and feeling his mind at its limits, Dankovsky rests, and awaits the arrival of the Inquisitor.
Dankovsky wakes to discover that Eva is absent. A young woman named Ayan stands in Eva's parlour, saying that Eva is missing and Andrey Stamatin requests Dankovsky's presence. Allegedly, the death of a Steppe girl from a few days ago has caused the earth to stop providing for the odonghe, and they may sacrifice a woman in turn - or so says Andrey. Reading a note left by Eva, she claims that she wished to "purify" the Cathedral for the town's guest.
As he hurries to the Broken Heart pub, he finds that Andrey is gone, having run into the Steppe to interrogate the Worms there. As Dankovsky arrives at the settlement, he is forced to subdue several angry Butchers and odonghe, who are irate with his presence. After finding Andrey, they are forced to accept the reality - that Eva committed suicide by jumping from the Cathedral's balustrade, giving her life for the cause the Stamatins believe in.
Upon arrival in town once more, Dankovsky recieves a letter from a carrier - one from the Haruspex, and one from a woman named Aglaya Lilich, the Inquisitor. She requests his presence in the Cathedral, where she reveals that she has been studying his reports about the Plague. She explains that she has been sent to assess the situation and apply any steps she deems necessary to solving the problem. She also explains that the Army will be deployed in town very shortly, and are not armed for sanitation efforts. She notes, as well, that it is highly likely all three of them - herself, Dankovsky, and the Commander - have all fallen into the same trap that the Powers That Be organized.
Aglaya informs him that there are three informants in town that were directly keeping track of his behaviour and actions in service to the Powers That Be. She sends him to find their locations and take their reports, and then correctly assess which ones are to be persecuted. Disease is running rampant in the Stone Yard; he carefully walks through the infected districts and speaks with the Executors, who he suspects to have these informants among their ranks. After traversing across town, he brings their reports to Aglaya, and she assesses there is a traitor among them, seeking to escape the critical eye of the Powers That Be. After reexamining the suspected three, Dankovsky identifies the traitor. Aglaya seems pleased.
Dankovsky finally attends to the other letter he had been given that day - a note from Artemy Burakh, requesting he come up with an Executor mask and cloak for him. He warns not to give the disguise to Clara under any circumstances. The costumes were provided by the Theatre at first, but it seems that Mark Immortell is unable to give him any more. Though he discovers a discarded robe, Dankovsky speaks with Saburov - the one responsible for the uniform distribution - for a mask. It seems that Peter Stamatin is responsible for burials, and will have a mask to provide for Dankovsky. Peter says he'll only provide the mask if he can be promised Inquisitor protection.
As Dankovsky bargains with Aglaya, she reveals an interesting point of her backstory - she is the aunt to Maria Kaina. While trying to negotiate a direct meeting, Dankovsky arranges instead for Aglaya to unexpectedly arrive as Maria speaks with Peter Stamatin. However, it seems the reunion may not have been as innocent as planned - Maria is beside herself with fury at Aglaya's presence, and Aglaya's conversation with Peter seemed to exhaust his mind. Dankovsky begins to wonder if this was a purely familial visit, or a political one.
He retrieves the equipment for Burakh and prepares for its delivery. Midnight comes.
Dankovsky wakes not long after to find two letters - one from Aglaya, and another from Vlad the Younger. Aglaya provides him with her insight on the current events in town and request to speak with him the following evening. Vlad the Younger summons Dankovsky to his house, which he tells him that there is evidence of a fake cure for the Plague being made in the Termitary. Though Artemy Burakh is allegedly making a real panacea, it will be in limited supply, and naturally, people may try to copy it, and are claiming to do so with Dankovsky's authority.
Without much time to spare, he makes his way to the Termitary. There, he speaks with Artemy, who provides him with a blood sample to experiment on later. He warns Dankovsky of the odonghe creating the false Panacea, but when Dankovsky speaks with them, he finds he is able to convince them to cease their product, and they inform him that Vlad the Younger has confiscated the real vials of panacea that Artemy was distributing.
He immediately confronts Vlad the Younger, who admits to the crime almost flippantly, claiming he was preventing a market from being formed. However, he also claims that he understood the necessity of proper action, and sold the entire stock of panacea for mere pocket change. He encourages Dankovsky to speak with Mark Immortell to prove that the product was cheaply bought. Mark, ever the harlequin, gleefully confirms that Vlad the Younger gave him the stock, and ensured that doses were given to Yulia Lyuricheva, Anna Angel, and Lara Ravel. Dankovsky finds himself weary of the Olgimsky machinations, but is relieved to see the panacea in the hands of those who need it.
With the vial from Artemy still warm in his hands, Dankovsky retreats to his study in the Stilwater, and investigates its contents. He is bewildered to see its contents and how different it is from human blood. He returns to the Termitary and questions Artemy of its origins. Though Artemy seems hesitant to answer, he does impart with Dankovsky a vial of the Panacea. As they depart, Artemy reveals to him his service to the land, and his dedication to preserving history through the future.
Come the evening, Dankovsky receives a letter from Aglaya, requesting his presence after her complete assessment of their notes. Upon his arrival, she tells him that Thanatica has been burned down. There remains nothing of his work, even if he is to succeed in the Town and create a miracle cure. Aglaya explains to him the function of the Law - which is the very logic of their world that dictates the destruction of anything unnatural. The Plague itself is a tool of the Law, seeking to destroy that which is not "true" to the world's existence and tries to break its binding and place. As Thanatica opposed the very aspect of inevitability with delaying death, it was destroyed. As the Town is an aberration of the world, contained in its own isolated cosmos, the Plague emerged to punish its transgressions.
With this - Aglaya proposes an investigation as to where the Plague must have come from. Though it may be a weapon against them, she knows that it still has a source. She proposes the idea to investigate specific water supply sources, from sanctioned wells to new, young rivers. Dankovsky wants to investigate Vlad the Younger and the well inside his house. To his surprise, Vlad has buried the well, smothering it with dirt. He refuses to explain his actions. He seeks out one of the Olgimsky enemies for more information, Aspity. She reveals that it was Vlad the Younger who locked up the Termitary and lied about a growing strike to his father once they became aware of the coming plague from Isidor Burakh, sealing the town's workers inside a mass grave. However, even when pressuring him with blackmail, Vlad the Younger refuses to accept that his digging was the cause for the Plague.
Seeking access to both the Abattoir and the solution to his current problem, Dankovsky seeks out the head of the Termitary - little Taya Tycheek, Mother Superior to the Kin. She tells him that she'll let him into the Abattoir for inspection only if he brings the Kin the one responsible for locking them inside the Termitary. Though Dankovsky knows it to be wise to condemn Vlad the Younger, for he made the order, he knows that he is bound to him by necessary fate... so he speaks with Big Vlad instead, and says that if he is to take responsibility for the actions of his family name, he will visit the Termitary and submit himself before the Kin. Big Vlad agrees, and leaves the Lump to surrender himself. At the Termitary, Taya promises to open the door to the Abattoir thirty minutes to midnight. Attempting to wash his conscience of the actions he took, Dankovsky waits until late in the evening, and enters the Abattoir for inspection. After travelling through a long, dark cavern, he meets several Butchers inside of the complex - but it seems that his arrival was not delivered ahead of time, and he is quickly attacked and subdued...
Dankovsky wakes late in the afternoon in an unfamiliar bunker. He is quickly met by Commander Alexander Block, the acting head of the Army in town, who explains that it was a timely intervention with his squadron and the men in the Abattoir that he managed to save Dankovsky's life. Exhausted and worn, Dankovsky retrieves the mail given to him, and offers his thanks. As he walks into the afternoon, he realizes he is in the Town Hall.
He reads the letters - one is from Aglaya, requesting his presence later that day. The rest appear to be a strange collection, each from Yulia, Lara, and Anna, and is bewildered to see each of them request his presence about the same situation. When he confronts each girl, he discovers a plot against Alexander Block - Lara requests a pistol, to which she won't explain why. Yulia explains Lara plans to commit the murder, and that she will sabotage the plan by falsely framing herself for the crime. Anna tells Dankovsky to give Lara a fake or broken pistol so it cannot fire. Yulia's plan results in the least possible bloodshed, so Dankovsky reports to the Commander of Yulia's alleged intentions, and returns to speak with her. Several of the soldiers outside her house confront him, and Dankovsky is forced to defend himself. Yulia attempts to give him a vial of the panacea provided to her days before as a thanks for his hand in her confirmation of fate, but he refuses.
With the sun high in the sky, Dankovsky visits Aglaya in the Cathedral. She explains that Artemy Burakh has gone missing after her request of him to go to the Abattoir. Deeply hesitant, due to his prior confrontation there just the other day, he heads out on her order, knowing at least the value of Artemy's panacea, as well as his connections to the bowels of the earth.
He finds Artemy in the Termitary, researching and working. He confirms that he is well, but that he has disappeared beneath the earth in part due to the Foreman of the Abattoir testing him in egregious ways, and that he will not be able to speak with Aglaya any time soon. Dankovsky asks of him if it is at all possible the disease has originated beneath the earth, due to his hypothesis that there exists caverns that run underneath the town, filled with sick soil. Artemy tells him that he will investigate such a claim, and sends him back to Aglaya. She is dissatisfied with the Haruspex, but does not linger on the problem, considering other options if Burakh is to be uncooperative. They speak on Dankovsky's next investigation, and he considers looking further into the Polyhedron.
Knowing he will not be as lucky to seek out the Polyhedron's occupants a second time, Dankovsky speaks with Victor Kain, who suggests that the Kain family will be 'falling asleep' soon, with only Maria ascending afterwards. He also expresses concern regarding his son up in the Polyhedron, if his actions will anger the Army and spur their cannons against the structure. Victor understands the great value of both the Polyhedron and the town's very nature, and wishes to preserve it. He wishes to see Dankovsky enter the Polyhedron to understand its secrets, and to help him make amends with his son, Khan, and comprehend the Kain's beliefs to their very core.
Carefully, Dankovsky ascends the Polyhedron, amazed by its structure and ability to carry him. By all means, it should be impossible to support itself, let alone his body and the hundreds of children inside. He looks over the town, watching it slowly disappear beneath a haze of sickness and fog, just as he reaches the top. He speaks with several of Khan's dogheaded companions, and is allowed inside. The structure persecutes him by its very design, oppressive and claustrophobic, but it is also vast and beautiful, like sitting inside a kalediscope.
It is not long before Khan approaches him, requesting several military rifles. He pulls from Dankovsky the situation regarding the Inquisitor and the Commander - how they hate one another and seem to be pretending the other doesn't exist for as long as possible. He explains he must protect the children inside the Polyhedron as much as he can, as he has spend the last nine days protecting every soul inside from contamination and disease. Khan also explains that if Alexander Block understands that there are children inside the Polyhedron, and that they are willing to fire rifles at him, he will likely spare the structure from the desolating strikes on the town. Though Dankovsky is still hesitant to provide weapons to children, he understands the reasoning, and agrees to find the weapons.
Back on the ground, he wonders where he may acquire such weapons. He is in possession of his own rifle, but to aqcuire four others will most certainly draw ire from the military. But, he soon remembers the three bodies of the soldiers in front of Yulia's house he was forced to dispose of. He hurries to her house, praying that the weapons are still on the ground, and to his surprise, they are. His final rifle is quickly purchased in Bad Grief's warehouse a short time later, and with weapons in arms, he marches back to the Polyhedron, delivering the guns right to Khan's feet.
Pleased, Khan welcomes him further into the Polyhedron. It is then Dankovsky realizes that he had only crested the surface of the structure by arriving at the boy's 'throne room'. Inside, he sees staircases that lead to nowhere; children play, curious as to the new presence inside. The walls are covered in the writings and blueprints of Peter Stamatin, stretched high to an impossible ceiling. It is beautiful. He regrets that he must leave to speak with Aglaya.
Aglaya is appalled at his accounts of a building with mirrors and miracles, but Dankovsky insists that it is true. She sends him away, considering his account entirely false and sentimental. Dankovsky leaves, but he feels as if he is an automaton - he still feels as if he is in a dreamlike state, his mind open to the reality of a miracle. Though he returns home to a letter delivered by Clara detailing her decision to purge the town of sickness through the kindness of sinners, he rests easy, knowing that he himself has finally come to understand his own path.
Dankovsky doesn't sleep for long. At midnight, a courier visits to request his presence at the Cathedral immediately.
As Aglaya speaks with him, she explains that they will need to get information regarding the Polyhedron through documents. She expects the Kains to be approaching the time of their family tradition, where all communication ceases upon one's proposed death bed. Without wanting to jeopardize their chances, Aglaya sends Dankovsky to speak with Peter Stamatin for any remaining information he can spare about the structure. It becomes apparent that she wishes to investigate it and possibly destroy it, despite the children living inside.
When he arrives in Peter's loft, he discovers several men of the Army inside, those who report to Captain Longin instead of Alexander Block. It seems that Peter stands accused of murdering several sanitary soldiers, that which Dankovsky refuses to believe is at all true. He goes to speak with Andrey about his whereabouts, and finds him furious and seeking blood for soldiers threatening his brother. It appears that Peter has left his apartment to visit the grounds of his former works - the "stairways to heaven" scattered among town - with unclear plans regarding them. Dankovsky knows he cannot risk Peter getting hurt due to their bound fate, so he quickly goes to search for him.
He finds Peter in Executor garb standing among a fallen stairway in the Chine. He seems delirious, swept up in his own mind and desires to burn himself alive. He confesses his greatest crime, that he could never truly encapsule the soul of greatness inside just a building, no matter how he tried to construct and create a living, tangible thing. But when he met Nina Kaina ten years ago, he realized that he could design exactly what he wanted, and he built the Polyhedron. He is driven mad with grief that the town's sickness is poisoning his Focus, and wishes to die for his greatest love. He demands that Dankovsky bring him bottles of twyrine in exchange for the Polyhedron's blueprints, that he is willing to burn himself alive with.
Dankovsky returns with the twyrine, but manages to convince Peter to step away from his attempted suicide with the knowledge that Andrey has been arrested for murdering several people in his name. Though Peter seems spiteful, Dankovsky guides him from the flames, and sees Peter return to his loft. He returns to Aglaya and delivers the blueprints; as they study them, he is once again mesmerized by the beauty and miracle work of the Polyhedron - even in Peter's unclear notes, he still describes the miracle if the structure. Aglaya does not allow him to stay for long; she sends him away so she can study the blueprints herself.
As he leaves the Cathedral, he is approached by a mail carrier, who gives him some letters. One is by the request of Katerina Saburova. Curious as to why Katerina requests him, he hurries through Town, and in her wing of the Rod, she reveals a most shocking claim - Simon is alive, and Rubin can justify her vision. Though deeply doubting the situation, he seeks out Stakh Rubin - who seems to be on the same page as Dankovsky, though he supposes the Kains may have insight regarding their deceased relative's alleged return. Frustrated at the mysticism of the Kains, he speaks to Maria first, who tells him that her awakening should come any day now - but if he wishes to press the matter, speak to her father.
As Dankovsky tries to speak with Victor, he becomes concerned that something is amiss - that he is perhaps not speaking to Victor at all, but another presence entirely. The force that embodies Victor Kain suggests he speaks with Georgiy, to corraborate the idea that this presence of Simon is simply an act of madness by the elder Kain brother. When he speaks with Georgiy, he finds a similar phenomenom has occured, and he understands that he is not speaking with Georgiy, but someone else. The force that has taken Georgiy's body tells Daniil to inform the Inquisitor that he has gone mad, and the Kain family will perform ritual suicide in several days. Dankovsky accepts this task, to further the cause of the immortal soul.
Reporting to Aglaya, she seems suspicious and skeptical at the suggestion the Kains will just choose to kill themselves. But with Dankovsky's dubious testimony, she begins to draw her own conclusions. For the sake of their partnership, neither engage in either argument or debate.
Early in the dawn, Dankovsky wakes to a letter from Aglaya, requesting his presence for the "final meeting". He collects his things and arrives promptly, and she begins to discuss how she has come to understand the Polyhedron - it works like a machine. They both believe that it is causing the infection, due to both its literal energy and its corruption of the dirt. In order to truly understand its purpose and the possibility of extracting a cure, Dankovsky embarks to speak with Andrey Stamatin, the man who physically built the masterpiece.
However, he finds that he is not in his pub - he has been arrested for the murders the day before, and he is to be executed. He hurries to speak with the Commander, and is surprised to see Clara beside him. Alexander Block is just as surprised as Dankovsky that Andrey is to be murdered, but regretfully states that the schism in the Army is too great, and that half of his men respond to Captain Longhin now - he would not be able to order to stay the execution. Clara warns him that Aglaya is not his ally, and that she is seeking to preserve only herself in the wake of orders by the Powers That Be. She tries to explain that Artemy Burakh is dead and Aglaya will try to destroy the Polyhedron, but Dankovsky refuses her lies.
Dankovsky hurries to the train tracks to stop Andrey's execution. He slips through the standing guards of Longhin's soldiers, and tricks the commanding officer into thinking he is Andrey Stamatin, come to die. He leads the officer closer to the Steppe, where he claims to want to die among the earth, before killing the man. Before he can be found by the squadron, Dankovsky flees back to town.
He returns to the Broken heart pub, hoping to find Andrey among the patrons. Relieved, the Stamatin brother stands alive and well. After he assess his condition, he asks for the details of how the Polyhedron works. Andrey has the very design on him to explain how it works, and shows him. There exists a nail deep in the earth, from the west Gorkhon to the Abattoir itself. Dankovsky can see just where it infects the soil, sickening the people. He hurries to discuss this with Aglaya, who agrees with the assertion. She asks of him to come to the final meeting tomorrow. Dankovsky wonders if they truly must destroy the Polyhedron. In his eyes, the Town is beyond saving. Must they destroy a beautiful miracle?
He is given a letter as he ruminates by a passing courier. It seems he is wanted in Victor's study. He wonders just who he may be speaking to this afternoon. But he is quick to visit him, where Victor asks him about the Mistresses of their Town, and how Maria is ready to become one. The pestilence will be eradicated by Dankovsky as Maria heralds a new leadership of the Town. Victor requests that Dankovsky 'introduce' Maria to her fellow Mistresses who will exist in Town after her coronation - Capella and Clara. With this task, Dankovsky leaves Victor's study to retrieve the items that will awaken Maria's senses.
Dankovsky speaks with Capella, first. Capella gives him her personal necklace as she speaks of her uncertainty regarding the Mistress of Earth - she wonders if it can truly be Clara, as Clara is a saint. The ideas of Mistress and saints are incompatible, so she says. She laments that the Town could be changed for the better, but that she must accept she will live in whatever role Maria creates for her. Dankovsky then sees out Clara, and though she pleads for him to understand the reality of her coming miracle, he takes her ring, and brings the gifts to Nina's tomb. There, he speaks with Maria - though the woman claims she is neither the daughter nor the Scarlet One - but someone in between. Her ascension has not yet taken form. She speaks of creating an ultimate Utopia come the next day, should the dream prevail, and that the disease was ultimately unintentional. He leaves with her the necklace and the ring of Capella and Clara.
The Town feels different. As if there is no one to distract, persuade, or ultimately speak with Dankovsky today. Even before he reads his final letter from Aglaya he knows what is to be expected of him - that he must be present to speak with the Council, which will decide the fate of the Town. He bearily reads the other letters of both the Haruspex and the Changeling, both requesting that he consider their angle of the problem and that they may provide an adequate solution.
What he does is consider, instead, who is well. If those on the list he was given so many days ago are still well. All of them - from each still living Kain, to the Olgimsky's heir, to the Stamatins, to even the Theatre's director - stand alive and well, secure with medicine and the vials of panacea that the Haruspex had created. He cannot be certain if his actions secured the livelihoods of the others that the Haruspex and the Changeling wished to preserve, be it the sinners the Changeling swears to redeem, or the children that the Haruspex entrusts the Town's future with. He speaks with his bound allies - Maria tells him that the Polyhedron will become a cornerstone of their Utopia the way the Abattoir was for the 'old' Town. Dankovsky understands more than ever that he believes in this dream, and wishes Maria well.
It is far too early to attend the meeting in the Cathedral - neither Aglaya, or Alexander Block, or even the other attendees are prepared. Instead of wasting time, Dankovsky looks to the Polyhedron, and begins his ascension. He does not seek Khan or his Dogheads; he wanders farther in, lost in the mirrors and pages, until he wanders just far enough, and realizes he has then discovered the truth.
There is a sandbox. There stand children around it, reaching down and playing with the figures and dolls they make dance among the buildings. They watch him carefully as he approaches their garden. It is then he understands they are the Powers That Be. They speak to him with a matter of childish affection, though he wonders if they can see him as he seems himself, or if puppetry can be seen if you are aware of it.
Bachelor leaves the Polyhedron. He walks to the Cathedral. He does not feel his own legs guide him there. Inside, there stands each player of the field; the Inquisitor, the Commander, the Dark Mistress, the Haruspex, and the Changeling. He speaks with the Inquisitor, who tells him that the matters of Utopia are incomparable to destroying the aberration. The Polyhedron must be destroyed. Bachelor is furious that he worked so closely with someone who couldn't possibly understand what the dream could be.
He approaches the Commander and presents his argument: destroy the Town, and preserve the Polyhedron. He says to escort the healthy survivors into the Polyhedron - then, they will destroy the land that the Town once stood upon. A new Town, the Utopia, can be built across the river. The Polyhedron poisons the land, but it is a structure of incredible power, and it must survive. He presents the evidence - a vaccine, blueprints, the details of the tower - and leaves to make arrangements.
And like children beating down the structures of their sandbox, the cannons fire upon the Town. It is obliterated - but the Tower still stands.
The Haruspex's Path
Artemy Burakh is coming back to his home town after an absence of ten years. Born to a family endowed with a caste right to cut living beings open, he was preparing himself for this line of work since childhood. Artemy's father, Isidor Burakh, a wise man and philosopher well-respected by the locals, had admitted to the limits of traditional knowledge and sent his son off to study modern medicine in the academy. Artemy has been travelling from town to town learning theoretical and practical surgery for several years now. Suddenly a mysterious letter appears with his father giving him notice of his impending demise and begging Artemy to return and accept succession. Unwilling to wait for a regular freight train, Artemy follows the rails through the Steppe until he's caught up with by a small shunt locomotive. This is how young Haruspex arrives in the Town.
The Changeling's Path
Clara wakes up. Could the dream have been prophetic? She has prophetic dreams often, she's no longer surprised by them—she knows they are sent by the powers that want to warn the herald of what the future holds for her. There were a lot of clues hinting at the veracity of the message. She does indeed know how to treat those in pain with her miraculous hands. She is indeed willing to ease their suffering. She truly strives to do the right thing! She loves her fellow beings. The girl is eager to do good deeds even if that requires her to go through pain and hardships... Changeling wakes up at the edge of a pit in the ground. Sleep hasn't brought her comfort. Her back and her legs ache as though she has walked many miles. Her hands are covered in mud, there are traces of dried blood on her bare knees. It's dark. The dawn is a few hours away.
Clara wakes up, paralyzed with fear. She could feel her heart surge to life, like it had to be reminded of its living humanity. As she lifted her body up, she realized she was laying in open dirt, half-lain inside a shallow grave. Standing, she notes she is in a Graveyard, and that there is a lit shack not too far from where she has been buried. Cautiously, she approaches, and finds that there is a young girl inside named Grace, and a woman named Katerina Saburova. They seem to be in discussion, but are curious to the 'resurrection' of this girl in the grave. Grace tells her that she recognizes Clara, but not well - perhaps she has seen her elsewhere.
Katerina takes a closer look at the young girl. As if struck by an epiphany, she instructs Clara to return to her home to speak with her husband, Alexander Saburov. He seems to already be aware of her reason for visiting, and speaks with her regarding the accusations against her. There is a rumour that she is responsible for the death of Simon Kain, though Clara is adamant about her innocence - according to her, she is a kind and compassionate girl, with healing hands that can bring even the most gravely ill person back from the brink of death. As well, she has a twin sister, who was the one responsible for the evil done to Simon. Though concerned, Alexander believes her. She admits that she can also hypnotize people to tell only the truth, which interests him. He directs her to his wife as he ruminates on what he has been told. Katerina speaks kindly to her, telling her of a prophecy that involves Clara spoken to her - she is one of the remaining Mistresses, after all. She asks Clara to work with both her and her husband in order to preserve the Town. She knows that Alexander will seek someone to punish for crimes, but Katerina insists that the accused must be spared. She walks Clara back to Alexander. Satisfied, Alexander gives Clara her first task to help him retain order: there has been a knife fight seen at the train tracks, and he wants her to investigate.
Now, as Clara Saburova, she marches south of Town, in spite of the cautious stares she is given from the townsfolk - it would seem that even if the Saburovs trust her, she will not find refuge among the people just yet. She meets with a representative of Saburov, as well as a young teenager in a dog mask. The older man explains that they were to investigate the attack on a man in the trainyard, but several men approached his partner and murdered him. It is by chance now that he yet survives with the boy. The boy explains that he came face to face with The Ripper, who was the one to dispatch the men on his arrival in Town. Clara is sure that she can heal the boy with her gentle healing touch, but when she extends her hand, the boy goes stiff, like a cold wind rand over him, and he falls over dead.
Saburov’s represenarice laughs in shock, that her healing hands could strike wickedness down, too. He tells her that it would be best to prove her healing touch to other people, instead. Knowing she will not be able to heal anyone at the train yard, Clara embarks to find a survivor, to which she meets Artemy Burakh, the Haruspex, in his warehouse. He dismisses her, telling her the lone survivor escaped into town, concerned that he would torture him instead of heal. She marches to the Willows, home of Anna Angel, where among the guests she finds a bloodied man. She rests his head in her lap and offers her healing hands - she offers her miracle to the poor soul, who is soon healed of all malady. Anna and her visitors, including Bachelor Daniil Dankovsky, look on in awe.
Proud, Clara returns to her adopted father, and announces to Alexander that she not only healed a man, but that she had witness in both Anna Angel and the Bachelor. Alexander is pleased to hear that she is as holy as Katerina predicted. For his second task of her, he asks her to find information regarding specific individuals among town, starting with Georgiy Kain, a rival ruler of the Town. Understanding that this is the prophecy that Katerina spoke to her in private about, she agrees to visit The Crucible to speak with Georgiy Kain.
The Crucible is an estate of immense size and wealth, and Clara finds herself amazed. She navigates to Georgiy's study, who beholds her with great distrust. She speaks to him with truth that cuts deep - that he is not Simon's twin, and did not love him as much as he claims to be. Her hypnosis power takes a hold of him, and he confesses his most raw and open belief to her; that he knows Simon was not murdered by a human hand, but by something else. Though he still believes Clara to be responsible, his conscience tells her that he must continue under the delusion of the death being accidental. She sends him to sleep, and returns to Alexander to inform him of her discoveries: Gerogiy believes Simon to be murdered, however indirectly. Alexander tells her of the Bachelor's discovery of a plague, and that they must act quickly. He questions if her twin is possibly the one who brought the coming sickness into Town, and Clara insists that she looks into such a claim.
But, it is now late in the day. Clara retires to her new room, and rests.
As she wakes before dawn, Clara finds a letter tucked close to her bedside. She is bewildered to see that its handwriting mirrors her own, and addresses her directly as her sister. Cautious, she pockets the letter and meets with her father.
He tells her that he is going to have her investigate several individuals that he believes to possibly be the cause of the epidemic that is starting to take over Town. Her first target will be the kinswoman Aspity - Alexander is hopeful that she will either confess or point in the direction of the one responsible. Knowing that she will not speak so freely, Clara goes to speak with Vlad the Younger, the heir to the Bull Enterprise. He seems cautious to speak with Clara, presuming ill of her and suggesting that he understands what she is, but he speaks at length about his suspicions that Aspity is organizing violence in the Termitary to strike back at his father.
Hopeful to get some kind of hook to speak with the woman, Clara relays the message to Big Vlad. The senior Olgimsky seems to not take her warning seriously, but pays her as thanks for the warning, and dismisses her. Disappointed neither man could help, she supposes speaking with Aspity alone and improvising might help. But the woman, all drab and bitter, ignores her request, claiming that she is ignorant of her true origin. She will only speak with Clara if she can bring the Haruspex forward to discuss a personal matter. Clara leaves for the warehouses and the old factory building, and convinces the Haruspex to come with her in order to determine Aspity's guilt or innocence.
As she runs back, far ahead of Haruspex, she finally meets with Aspity, and draws her hypnosis with her determined secret: that Aspity is in love with the Haruspex, and to preserve such a secret, she will answer truthfully to Clara. She discovers that Aspity has existed for only five years, but if she is responsible for the outbreak, she has done nothing recently to spur the earth. She only plans to entice discord in the Termitary, in the name of the late Isidor Burakh. Clara lays her to rest for her meeting with Haruspex, and leaves her shack, making way for the Rod.
She remembers, suddenly, that Katerina told her to spare the names of those that her husband would accuse. She realized her dilemma; should she truly spare Aspity? Was such a decision the right one to make? She seems tied to the earth, but many of the Kin and its people cherish the earth in such a way. Surely, they would not cause intentional harm.
Clara explains to Alexander that Aspity is innocent. Though displeased that he could not find the perpetrator right away, Alexander does thank her for her work. He will continue to investigate on his own behalf before giving her another task.
Come the third morning, Clara awakes from a dream wherein she wrote a letter to herself. She is concerned when she wakes to another letter, as if it had been written in her sleep - once again, a force that speaks to her as if they are one in the same, threatening to devour the Tanners district today. Clara gets the feeling she should anticipate more letters, and hides it with the other one under her pillow.
Alexander is in his study once more, and welcomes Clara. He asks her if she knows which steps could be taken to stop the spreading sickness, as it seems the efforts to quarantine the first infected have failed. He speaks of imprisoning anyone responsible for fearmongering the populace, and tells Clara to go investigate Anna Angel, the singer whose house she visited two days prior. The young woman is hysterical about nearly everything, and the epidemic is doing her mental health no favours - and she seems to hide some kind of dark past.
Clara is horrified to see the streets in the early hours of the morning. Did she miss this before, when she spoke to Aspity the other day? Was this in some corner of the Town? The air is thick with dirt and filth, and she covers her mouth with her sleeve. Cautiously, she made her way to the Willows, where she knew Anna Angel would be. Hopefully, she had not fallen ill with the infection in the air...
She steps inside the woman's house, relieved at the clearer air. Anna is displeased with her presence, and immediately jumps to the assumption that the Saburovs are seeking to persecute her, alongside the Olgimskys. In order to get Anna to cooperate, she ventures across the river to the Olgimsky's homestead once more. As she walks, she discovers the air is not yet infected on this side of Town; good fortune, but a bad sign.
She knows that Big Vlad won't speak to her, and it is likely that Vlad the Younger won't care about Anna, so she ventures to the youngest Olgimsky, Capella. Capella takes to her quickly, stating that she is a familiar presence. Capella is initially furious that Anna would accuse her father of having nothing better to do than threaten her, but deduces that it may be Khan, another child in Town, who is threatening her. Anna is a former member of the Ace of Diamonds Caravan, it would seem, a former troupe that would kidnap children and turn them into performers.
She won't be able to speak with Khan, as he hides in the Polyhedron, the impossible structure across the river. But this hook interests her, so she hurries back to the Willows, cautious of the burning in her lungs once she wanders back to her plague stricken home. She remembered Katerina's words once more, and though she knew a terrible person like Anna would face trial for her crimes one day, it would not be wise to condemn her for a different crime she did not commit. She places Anna under her spell, and though Anna speaks of her own past, Clara deduces the Town is not being punished for Anna's crimes. She returns to Alexander and informs him that Anna is not the cause of the plague, and her fear-mongering has been controlled. Alexander's task for her is done for the day.
Another day, another request from her father - and another letter that Clara does not remember writing. She's wondering just who is sticking them under her pillow, if there is even an intruder at all. The letter speaks of the Law, and the imposed belief that it has. They call them - both Clara and the author - a thief, for they steal away from the Law. Clara remains unsettled as she heads to speak with Alexander.
Today, Alexander speaks gravely of his belief that Bad Grief, a criminal, may be responsible for the infection, as he was reportedly seen having diseased bodies thrown into the Gorkhon river. Clara is sent to speak with the criminal mastermind himself, south of Town. Within the Warehouse, she walks past a number of older, scarier individuals, no doubt a part of Bad Grief's gang, to speak right with the leader. Of course, he has no interest in speaking with her; but when she asks him about the bodies, he tells her to speak with Notkin, his rival of sorts, as he will be able to provide an alibi for Bad Grief.
Clara is surprised to meet a boy not much younger than her leading his own gang of scrappy thugs. Notkin tells her that while Grief is as untrustworthy as they come, it is possible that he was only involved in the bodies business due to an opportunity to sell illicit twyrine if they disposed of infected corpses. Clara knows she'll have to dig her hooks farther into him, so Notkin provides her with a secret - his full name is Grigory Filin.
In Grief's hideout, Clara reaches her hands out to hypnotize him - but is shocked to see that he does not fall under her spell. It is then that he reaches at his collar and pulls out a necklace - a Steppe charm, capable of warding off magic! He says he'll tell Clara everything he knows about the bodies and murders if she does a favour for him, which is to investigate a rival of his, Barley the Barber, and provide evidence of his crimes to Alexander Saburov. Embittered but determined, Clara sets off to find the alleged true criminal of her investigation. She found the warehouse in short time, and found the man responsible. Though he threatened her, she managed to distract him long enough to find a sack that supposedly held the evidence Grief was looking for. Running for her life, she makes her way directly to the Rod to speak with her father.
Clara is rather anxious to present the evidence, but does so - just as Alexander admits he was planning to have one of his force's captains, Wolf, to confront Grief regardless, and says he may be able to speak to him to renegotiate the attack. As he speaks, he opens the sack, and is horrified to discover that it is Captain Wolf's severed head. He sends Clara away as he furiously begins to make plans to arrest Barley and his men.
If Grief isn't responsible for the epidemic, is he still responsible for the illegal twyrine sale? She hurries to the Warehouses one final time, and manages to catch him unawares without the charm necklace around his neck. Clara pulls his confession that he is actually the one responsible for the murders, and framed Barley - claiming he wanted to feel the urge to kill, let his hands make merry. Furious, but knowing he is not the specific culprit she must persecute, she sends him to a slumber and leaves the Warehouse.
The morality of her quest weighs on her thoughts, but Clara knows what her responsibility is. She is saintly, after all. Her forgiveness is a blessing to men like Grief, and women like Anna Angel or Aspity.
In both Clara's dreams and the letter she receives, she dreams she is half-submerged in water while washed up along shore - a terrible premonition, or a nightmare? It reminds her of her 'arrival' in Town, when she woke in her shallow grave.
It would seem that Alexander Saburov's latest target is Stanislav Rubin, the protege to the late Isidor Burakh. He wants to investigate if Rubin could be possibly responsible of the outbreak, or at least know some information regarding Isidor's affairs. Clara is sent to talk to Vlad the Younger, who is cooperating with the Saburovs as diplomatically as possible. It would make sense to speak with him - Big Vlad is unwelcoming and difficult to speak to, but she's heard he's sponsoring the Haruspex. The best course of action would be to strike a conversation with his son.
Clara marched across down to the dilapilated shack she knew Vlad the Younger to be taking residence in, wandering through the infected streets, her heart aching for the victims she sees. At Vlad's shack, he seems disgruntled with his well project, but speaks with Clara about Rubin, suggesting to bring the poor man something to eat. He notes that Alexander is taking to his self assigned duties far too eagerly, and that he is hunting people with unprecedented ruthlessness. With some money to purchase groceries, Clara makes her way to get Rubin his meal.
Arriving in the warehouses, the impossibly tall man took the meal with enough gratitude that gave Clara the confidence to speak with her. As Rubin eats, he explains that he knows both Clara and himself are wanted by the Law - a force that will punish them for going beyond their fate. He admits that he stole Simon Kain's body to create a vaccine, butchering it without permission. The Law is not like the Authorities, and cannot punish people with banal concepts such as judicial punishment - but such Laws needed to be broken to find out that extraordinary people carry the blood necessary to stop the Plague. Rubin strikes a deal with Clara; ask for legal immunity from Georgiy Kain, and he'll tell her everything he knows.
She knows that he cannot possibly ask the elder Kain for forgiveness after he carved up Georgiy's brother. Clara visits the Crucible, much to the chagrin of the Judge. Clara requests clemency for Rubin, and Georgiy says he will receive it for long as he surrenders himself after his medical success. Georgiy also says that he knows Katerina is vouching for her, and that Clara is being recognized as a future Mistress. Humbled and excited, Clara returns to the Warehouses and tells Rubin he has the Judge's mercy. Rubin, having finished his meal, tells her that he truly believes that Isidor spoke with a Shabnak-adyr, the true cause of the Plague.
Perhaps this is the answer Saburov is looking for. She returns to the Rod and delivers her testimony. It seems with every failure to find the culprit, Clara worries more and more about returning home, in case her father will get fed up and cast her out. It would seem she is not to be scorned today, however, as Saburov says they will investigate Yulia Lyuricheva tomorrow, since the Plague carrier is supposedly taking the form of a woman. Clara takes two letters that were left for her - Grace requests her presence at the Graveyard, and Capella wants to see her in the Lump.
Capella heads to speak with Capella, first - they are both future Mistresses, after all. Capella tells her that she has been having dreams regarding a creature of the Steppe bringing the disease into Town and killing the refugees in the Cathedral, and she wants Clara to speak with Maria to confirm if all three future Mistresses are having this dream. Clara is uncertain, as she knows Maria hates her, but Capella urges her to go - especially to make sure the visitor from the Capital that will arrive will not be at risk of harm. When Clara speaks with Maria, she tries to appeal to her subtly to not earn the Kaina heiress wrath. Maria seems stressed about being unable to speak with her uncle Simon, so to get Clara to leave, she tells her that the Bachelor will help Clara confirm the safety of the Cathedral.
The Bachelor is home in the Stillwater, but won't give her the keys to the Cathedral. However, he lets it slip that the Cathedral needs water bearer, so Clara runs off to gather clean drinking water for the refugees inside the isolation ward. She makes her delivery in the late afternoon, and slips inside to the isolation ward - inside, the men, women, and children reach for her, and Clara places her healing hands over theirs to bring them relief. Truly, she feels like a girl of miracles. She knows she cannot stay for long; so she departs for the Lump and assures Capella her dream would not come true. As night falls, she makes her way towards the Graveyard.
Grace welcomes her with a tired relief. She tells Clara that she saw a creature near the edge of the Graveyard, patched together by the leftovers of what made humans. She says it looked very sad, and wanted to speak to Clara. She meets it at the Ragi Barrow, a holy place for the Kin, and there the creature speaks with her. In her head, she names it Albino. It declares that it is her brother, created with the fragments that were left over after her birth just five days before. Clara asks if this means she is a plague carrier; it is uncertain, knowing that she is an aberration on the world, but it is not certain if that makes her evil. It warns her that due to her inability to lie, Clara willed the existence of her sister into reality, and that she has been writing to Clara, eager to meet.
Clara accuses it of lying. It laughs - she hates the sound. How can it be born the same day as her if people have known of the Shabnak-adyr for years? Its final warning is not to believe such a tale - the Town is merely weeks old, not years. Clara leaves the Ragi Barrow, an unfamiliar sickness in her stomach. She knows that this creature is bound to her fate, and that salvation possibly lies in its cooperation.