Second part of the Player's diary
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So, we've finished all the tests. The Puppeteer has shortened the chain, possibly because of Jim's wound, or anything else... Doc told, that he underestimated his brother, and that you need to be a strong-willed person and to believe in your ideals strongly, to pass through so many tests with so serious wounds. When Jack got free of his chains, they've really talked like brothers, catching meaning at once. Later, Jim told that the Puppeteer calls me the Feather, symbol of freedom in the house, and everything's changed since I've arrived here...
Deception again. Jack has found reference number in the books while he was staying in the library, we've hoped to receive a message from someone, who has already escaped from the house, maybe a tip? Have been collecting fairy tales for such a long time, deciphering - and another Puppeteer's joke as a result. Though, Jack suspected such a result at the second book already, but we still had the hope, until we've gathered the whole text. And got an advice to find a rope and hang ourselves. "With sarcasm. The Puppeteer." But we'll find the way to get out of the house anyway. We must do it.
We collect fairy-tales, and there are many marginal notes. There are keys to the past that we need, as well as something like reference number Jack's interested in. We exchange information, until our ways cross and we disturb each other. Some notes are written by the child, but there are also stories wrote down by adult. Jim says, that handwriting is too angular and careless for a woman, so their author is likely the father of the boys. The style is too boring for a writer, but smooth - maybe, he was editor, or publisher. It brings us back to John's diary...
The fairy-tales appeared to be very useful for us! We've been rambling about the house together with Jenny, and in the library she's remembered the evening she's spent here long time ago. She's been gluing up pages of the torn book with two boys. And not just with paper, but with the page from "brochure for fighters for freedom". We could reconstruct one fragment and show it to Jack. And only our leader could tell me, that it's the part of the scheme of the bomb! So the joke appeared to be mutual, and when we'll make the device, the Puppeteer will be sorry about his sarcasm!
We've found a dedication in Kipling's book: "For John from Jenny Wallis." Of course, we've decided to show her the book, but the reaction was stormy. She acted as she tried to forget something, repeated "no, I don't want to, I can't, I can't remember, it didn't happen", but than calmed down. Confirmed that she's presented the book, but it's difficult for her to remember John. Doc thinks that it's not just the result of brain damage, but something deeper and finer... And than she'd found in the book back's parts of the puppet, and as we've assembled the doll it appeared that it's face is very alike with Jenny's.
Collected instruments for tea ceremony for Tan. That's weird, she said that the teapot was dragged away by rats, and I've really found it in the cellar, but other things have been in other different places. It looked like cups and chahay have been collecting dust in cupboard for a long time already, but Tan maintains that they are from her tea set. And where is Chinese tea from last year's mixture from in this house? Anyway, she promised me tea ceremony and a story. I'll write it down not to forget...
I think I can't remember the parable literally... A tiger lived in the mountains, and was a judge for all animals. And than a man caught him, and put into the cage with the others. It was difficult to live in the cage, and a year later only three animals stayed alive - a monkey, a dragon and the tiger himself. Than the man have set them free, but the tiger couldn't live as he had lived before. He became the defender of animals, but understood that they don't want to struggle, and came to the man to get to know - how to teach the beast struggle for itself. The man knew only one way, and the tiger returned into the cage... And than Tan said, that "it's hard to hide your ghosts when you have no right to tell about them". Curious...
Me and Tan have finally finished with Asian books, she's found out everything she needed about the ritual. Strange girl, so cruel sometimes. When she's heard about the incident in the library she said that Jack was very lucky to stay alive. And a second later she was smiles and asks me to find the sayings of Confucius or tells Chinese legends. She says, that because of many dead people "the soul of the house has changed, and we need to cure it", because "the dead are attracting the dead". Tan's looking for advise in the books, and communicates with no one except me and Jenny.
Were occupied with Chinese masks together with Tan. The appeared to be demountable, and from five spirits we've gathered Yao Wang, the prince of drugs. Got to know many Chinese myths, but unfortunately couldn't memorize all of them. Tan says, people attach their own traits to the Gods, and there is no absolute good or evil among them. The butcher is the romantic at the same time, the god of fire gives birth to dark son and kills him himself, and son of villain who fought for darkness becomes a great hero. Tan tells legends and smiles... Was she born in England or moved here long time ago, I wonder? She has almost no accent.
We're collecting different esoteric objects. The ritual from the books is too difficult, we can't find those things in the house, so Tan wants to use the instruments of traditional European magic to look into "the other world", as she says. Jenny helps to find necessary things. As it turned out, she and the boys bought plenty of "magic" stuff on flea markets when they were children -- to get in touch with the ghost who lived at the attic. Some things are really interesting, but some look like cheap souvenirs - it irritates Tan.
The girls have carried out spiritual s?ance at the attic. Or more exactly, it was carried out by Tan, and Jenny persuaded her to let us be present. I've been passing the test as usual while they've been preparing. Tan was singing quietly, and it looks like Jenny fell into the trance to this melody. Showed the letters on the board - HELP - and has fallen asleep, and Tan started talking like she's seen someone in the room. She said that the past can't let this house free, and the ghosts are too weak to talk. Later, Jenny regretted about falling asleep, she is longing for seeing "the other world", I'm curious too. I hope Tan will think of teaching us.
Have finally collected the body of the bomb. We had to use kid's railroad, it's a pity, but sometimes people sacrifice much more important things to become free. Even Jack says that he feels like a vandal for the first time, the toy is thrilling - radio-controlled, with four boxcars. But I couldn't find remote control. We've poured the powder into the cistern, pulled all the electrical equipment out of the locomotive, soldered all over again according to the scheme and hid into the toy box. We've tried to work in dead spaces of the cameras, and hope that the Puppeteer didn't notice our preparations. He is keeping mum recently, and that's weird.
Each member of the family collected something - butterflies, vases, roles... This time me and Jim collected the coins from coin collection of the father of the family, William Fall. Got to know many trifles, have found notes about buying air tickets, stamps of the auctions in Saint-Petersburg and Los Angeles, notes in the catalog of coins. Short stories again, as in the fairy-tales, about two brothers, John and Sam, overcoming all difficulties together - of course, elder brother helps the younger. Nothing new, except for the name. Not a single clue! And the Puppeteer's keeping silent. That's weird...
It's easy to hide the thing that was already seen. So the Puppeteer told Jenny, and I've just received evidence of it. There's not always a mannequin in the attic, I've just met there quite an unpleasant person... He's called himself Ryan, told me not to disturb him and to set to my test... He says he's not the Puppeteer... Jenny wants to spy on him, just to make sure.
Me and Jenny have found a secret passage in the attic - now it's clear, where Ryan disappears and why no one of the inhabitants of the house have seen him. But we couldn't open the manhole even when Jenny enticed Ryan to the kitchen. And that "not a Puppeteer" caught me trying to open the manhole, was sarcastic, advised to stop forcing the closed doors... And that's all.
Ryan nearly demanded to show him the silhouette that appears behind the window of the living room during the tests. He has cat's hearing - when me and Jenny have tried to overhear him talking with Tan, he's heard us and sent away. But we had time to detect something. I think he talks with Tan normally, not like with us. He even calls Jenny by her full name!
Ryan's decided to demonstrate us that he's not the Puppeteer. When we've been passing the test with Jenny, he's appeared and demanded from the Puppeteer to confirm that they are two different people. Demanded! Moreover, the Puppeteer kept silence at first, and Ryan started to threaten him! Of course, politely, but to threaten! And it's not just worked, it seems that the Puppeteer doesn't going to punish Ryan and took his threat for a good joke!
Ryan's in hurry, he's been looking for hear means before, now - for candid cameras and movement sensors. It seems he could make them himself, but we're short of time. He's not the Puppeteer, but he has same manners. Go and bring - he has no doubts that his "request" will be complied. He says "thank you" at least... And gives advices, short as orders. "Tell your friend not to be ridiculous". What does he know about us at all?!
That's weird. At first, Ryan tells us almost openly to leave him, than says that he "was abrupt", than he's rude again and as a result gives us his program, saved at flesh drive protected by combination. Of course, he doesn't tell us password and even doesn't going to. Sometimes it seems to me that even the Puppeteer is better to the people around him. Clearer at least!
Jenny has guessed the password. She told me nothing about this date, though - it's important for Ryan and Tan. Astonishing - at the first sight Jenny is just a nice girl, but the more you know her, the more interesting you learn. Now it turned out that she's been staying at home for ten years because of illness, and studied programming for boredom. Now it was very helpful to us - she could adjust and activate Ryan's program.
Ryan offered us to unite the systems, since we've sorted out the program. We've set the search by the Puppeteer's portrait. It means that the program will make a photo of him as soon as he'll get into the objective of our cameras, and signal to us. So we wouldn't even have to sit before the monitors constantly.
It seems that someone else appeared in the house. Or, on the contrary - there is one person less. Ryan told me to pass the test until he'll search something in the cellar. And he found the hole in the wall. I don't know, whether it was the way out or not, but it was impossible to get out through it. Ryan kept me and got there first, and than I've heard loud crash and he returned dirty from soot. The tunnel was mined... My hands are still trembling - what if our Jack has found the manhole?
I think I'm dead. My memory is washed away like a sand castle under rolling waves, I'm writing while I can still remember something. We wanted to blow up the door, Jack sent me for the second battery, and than... Flashlight, the lobby door is smashed down, stroke and crash. It seems that Jack has set off the bomb. Decided to sacrifice himself in sake of other's freedom. It's a pity, if we've died in vain. The voices advise to go on, let's try...
I think I'm dead. My memory is washed away like a sand castle under rolling waves, I'm writing while I can still remember something. We've collected the Puppeteer's story and went to talk to him together with Jim. But than... Flashlight, the lobby door is smashed down, stroke and crash. It seems that Jack has set off the bomb. Decided to sacrifice himself in sake of other's freedom. It's a pity, if we've died in vain. The voices advise to go on, let's try...
I heard them! Jim, Jenny and someone else. They are performing an operation, trying to save us. The old man that had appeared out of the fog called me a burning one. Jack, too. "The Elder is keeping you". It means we are not completely dead and might come back! But the old man says that there is no point trying to do that now, and I believe him.
I wanted to see the other side. Well, here I am. The house looks both real and unreal. I touch the doorknobs and lose strength - it's a habit. There is only the old man here, and no one I knew before. I'm wandering about the rooms, seeing their faces in the fog, hearing their voices, but as I reach out, they disperse like a mirage.
I'm picking items for druid ritual – the old man promised to help me. He is talking about this world, this frozen past, a passage between life and death. He calls this place the surface of Sidhe, and it's where the unrested spirits dwell. The cursed ones, who had forgotten themselves, lost their memories and even their names. Here, in the basement of the crypt, I see an old oak. Only ghosts live here, and reality is just shadows in the fog.
I heard Ryan and Tan, she begged him for help. I don't know if she succeeded. The druid says that I have burning eyes, that my gaze is set on reality and that's why I catch only glimpses of this world. He sent me to find mistletoe on the oak and I climbed it but couldn't understand what was going on. It looks as though they are just mirages which will disperse once I reach for them, but fingers touch firm bark instead of air. Eyes are lying but hands are grasping branches...
I saw reality once again, and this time it was Jim sitting in the living room. He's giving away his strength, perhaps to this Elder that's keeping me and Jack from dying. He's giving so much that he himself started sinking into this world! This time is was Ryan who pulled him back. He just came up and called to him, and the doc woke up. But at this rate he will cross the line between the living and dead before he knows it. We must return as soon as possible!
Finally, we've got a clear plan. The druid touched mistletoe and remembered his name - Arlene. He says, that the Elder is the spirit of the place and all the dead people in the house are his debts. If the dead remember themselves, the Elder will become stronger, Jim won't have to waste so much energy, and I'll be able to return. But we need to see the ghosts first.
I met the Maiden, fairies' favorite. She doesn't want to remember, but she can make the dead water, which will allow me to see the rest. She sets difficult tasks, but Arlene - the druid - helps me. He says that any vows can be broken if you know what they mean. And I am sure that the Maiden will remember herself, even if she doesn't want it.
The Old man was right. The Maiden remembered her name - Alastriona, the protector of people. It seems she once made a big mistake and she was happy to forget it, and now she if angry. She said that I had waken her up by my skittering and refused to make the dead water. I'll have to make it myself.
What a strange feeling, as though my eyes aren't mine, as though pieces of ice are pressed to them. But I've seen two more ghosts: the Warrior and Filida. She keeps silent, he says that he doesn't need help, but the old man - Arlene (I should remember his name) - believes that they will want to remember. They just need time.
The Maiden invited me, and now I see the past of at least one room. Their words became pieces of the puzzle and Arlene smiled, saying that everything here was in such a way that I could understand it. Ivy mantles the wall, there is a well in the middle of the kitchen, an axe... This can't be true, but it is. I was there, I touched the symbols, I tried to capture the movement of air, where the Maiden would appear. The old man said, that I would not be able to pick up my reward - items of the ghostly world - otherwise.
All the ghosts seem to be connected to each other. And I think I found one of the Maiden's mistakes, although it is not clear what exactly it was. Alastriona didn't not want to bestow the sword of the warrior, she claimed it to be "her by right." And suddenly she almost shoved it into my hands, saying that I made her remember the most profound and the most terrible things.
The story of the Warrior was put together and he remembered his name - Willem, son of Brian. He was the son of the king, who was killed in a battle with the Romans, and was buried in the crypt. The Warrior cursed his gods, desecrated the sacred place with spilled blood, and that's why he came here after his death. And the Maiden... The Maiden used to be the ears of the Danu tribe, blessed by the gods.
Filida spoke in a strange unclear way, jumping up to sing sometimes, yet she speaks. The Warrior and the old man are happy because she has never spoken since she came here. Arlene said that she could not break her own promise. Hopefully, my search will help her.
I haven't seen the reality for a long time, and it's starting to bother me. My eyes are tingling with cold, my fingertips are numb after a visit to the kitchen. I am freezing, and the fireplace can't help me... How are they? Jack seems to be holding, and what about Jim? When I last saw the reality, he seemed to be slipping away from it. Perhaps Tan has already figured out the way to help him. When I find Filida's harp, I'll get back to them.
I had to collect the puzzle of the sacred oak to help Filida remember herself, but now it's over. Her name is Eslynn. As I understand, she fell asleep at the roots of the tree in order to go to the Sid's heart. She broke her harp either in reality, or not, her words are hard to understand. However she didn't find the one she was looking for in Tir-na-Nog, and she wanted to go back ... But she couldn't.
Arlene asked me to check the rooms. He says that I'll be back soon, but I should not forget this world. That's why all the inhabitants of the surface of Sid give me symbols of their places of death. They help me to go to the other side when I want to. I'm looking forward to returning, it's too cold here, and Alastriona says I'm cooling down...
The old man told me that I had had to come to the other side, because it had been foretold. I was there when Tan conducted a seance, the ghosts saw me. And when I came, Arlene kept me here. He had to show me everything, he needed my help, so I could do something...I can't understand what it was, but now I can finally go back.
I'm alive! What a great feeling! But the matters is the house are even worse than on the other side. It's painful to look at Jack, he has not recovered yet, he is lying on the sofa, bandaged from head to toe. Jim is always sitting next to him, and he is all mussed up.
I met Leonard. The Elder has occupied the attic, it annoys Ryan. He prefers solitude, but he can't make the ghost leave or at least shut up. Leonard has told me very little so far, but at least I know I was stuck on the other side for a reason, he feels better now. But I need to deal with the problems of the living people first.
A new test, of course, it's the Puppeteer. He promises that now I won't have time to deal with nonsense, and wishes to remind the meaning of the word "patience." The morning wasn't good before it, and now it's even worse.
Jim told me what had happened here. Jack is not just in poor condition, people usually don't survive with such injuries. Leonard grabbed him in a second before his death, and the time stopped for Jack. But in order to keep his brother Jim gives himself to Leonard- almost literally. The doctor must always feel something, and he provokes fear, pain and suffering... We need to figure out how to save Jack, otherwise they both will perish.
I've seen Jim in such a terrible state for the first time. The Puppeteer refused to give the tools, I was passing the test and wasn't able to help, and then Tan came. It seems it's not the first time she pulls doctor from the edge of the other side. She says that Jim consciously maximizes each stimulus to experience a more intense emotion... But these emotions are destroying him.
The Puppeteer gave me a scalpel! Moreover, he said that other surgical instruments can be found in the house. Now his tests have turned into a chance to save the brothers.
Even the eternal porcelain mask of our daughter of the East could not stand anymore. She said that Tan was just a nickname given to her by the Puppeteer, and her name was Isami. I'm telling her about the world of the dead, we are looking for strong feelings together so that Leonard could take them and spare doctor of the need to sacrifice himself. But I know only four dwellers of the other side, where can we find the fifth?
We found four emotions on the other side, they became symbols of the elements associated with these emotions in Isami's hands. And she pulled the fifth out of Leonard himself. Isami said, that was not an emotion, but only its echo, which had been forgotten by the Elder. Trust that turned into remorse... Although he is the Elder now, he used to be a man.
Ryan is making something in the attic, and I have to run around the house and look for some parts that he needs. He has even brought Jenny in the search. She rarely passes the tests but this time she had been passing them until she found the right part. I helped her to get to the attic. Ryan was welding some pieces of iron together, sitting on a box surrounded by scattered parts, and for a moment we thought... However, this was a stupid thought, they have nothing in common!