In 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' you have the choice to pick up documents that will add more background information to characters, locations and mythologies.
These... these are transcripts of private sessions I had following the island. How the hell did Ana get these?
Therapist: Okay, let's begin. It's Tuesday, the 28th July, and I am here with Ms. Lara Croft. How are you this afternoon, Ms Croft?
Lara: Fine, thank you.
Therapist: Ms Croft, there's a bit of a joke about the word "fine" in psychistry, that it often stands for "Feelings inside not expressed".
Lara: Mmm, I thought jokes were supposed to be funny.
Therapist: It's possible I oversold its value as a joke. However, if we're going to get anything out of our time together, you need to be honest. Now, can you honestly tell me that you feel... "fine"?
Lara: No. Not for a while.
Ana: Lara is almost completely closed off. But it's clear that she's in pain. Trinity will undoubtedly want me to use this against her
Ana has been monitoring me - spying on me - everywhere I went
Therapist: Tell me more about the dreams...
Lara: Nightmares. And I don't remember them, just the... feelings that remain.
Therapist: In dreams, the feelings are often more important than the specifics. Tell me about those feelings.
Lara: I'm on the island, and my friends are dying. There's nothing I can do, and it's all my fault.
Therapist: Lara, from what you've told me, your friends survived the island because of you.
Lara: Only a few of them.
Therapist: None of them would have survived if you hadn't been there. It's not your fault.
Ana: Mmm, guilt is a common driver in the Croft family. We used it to great effect with her father. Let's see where it takes Lara...
Ana has been deliberately manipulating me for years, all at Trinity's bidding.
Therapist: Have you reached out to other survivors since your return? Have you been in touch with your friend Sam?
Lara: You know I haven't. Even if her doctors let me... She doesn't want to see me.
Therapist: You were very close to her, before the island.
Lara: ... Don't do this.
Therapist: That must be very difficult, to be separated from the people you need the most. When a trauma is shared, the healing process can be accelerated by talking to the people your shared it with.
Lara: Can we not do the whole patronizing sympathy thing? You know it hurts, I've told you it does. But it's what Sam wants. I have to accept that.
Therapist: I can listen to what you have to say. But you have to open up to someone, Lara. You're not alone, no matter how much you think you are.
Ana: Perhaps we're pushing her too hard. I will reach out to her and test the waters. If she is ready to open up to someone... It needs to be me.
She pushed me, hoping I'd show her the way here. And I did.
Therapist: So, Lara, I want to talk about your father. I understand you've been asking about his research at the University.
Lara: I just had some questions. There's so much in my head, but I don't have the connections. My father was researching something very similar to what I experienced on the island.
Therapist: I don't think this will help you move on from that trauma. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Lara: It's been helping. It's given me focus.
Therapist: But your father was... how to best put this...
Lara: Unhinged? Insane? Well, that's what people are saying about me now.
Therapist: Precisely my point, Lara. You can't continue to let your emotions get the better of you.
Ana: This is a good sign. Lara is getting angry. And when she's angry, she takes action. We should push her even more... direct her anger in the right way. Trinity believes I'm wasting my time, but if there is anyone who can crack her father's research, it's Lara.
She tried to keep me away from Jonah. Well, at least that's one thing she failed at...
Therapist: That's the third time you've mentioned Jonah today. You've been spending a great deal of time with him.
Lara: He's one of the few people who understands what I went through.
Therapist: I worry that only spending time with him might not be healthy for you.
Lara: Oh really? Care to explain?
Therapist: He's a reminder of the past. You're going back to the island in your head, over and over again, to the exclusion of everything else.
Lara: Jonah makes me feel like myself, and he doesn't charge an hourly rate.
Ana: Jonah is becoming a problem. He's a calming influence... and she listens to him. He'll pull her away from her research. Before long I'll need him out of the picture.
She knows everything about me... She's been planning this since I was a child.
Therapist: Would you say have control issues, Lara?
Lara: Doesn't everyone? I mean... no one wants to feel out of control, do they?
Therapist: But not everyone has been through what you have.
Lara: I had to take control of the situation... If I didn't then we'd all have died on that island.
Therapist: And did you enjoy taking control?
Lara: You mean killing, don't you? Did I enjoy killing? I did it because I had no choice!
Ana: Lara is avoiding the tough questions. It's hard to tell if she's merely being stubborn, or she's actually frightened of the answers. By the end of this, she may have to face a hard truth about the kind of person she's become.
Trinity is here in force... with a lunatic in command.
We began invasion of the valley not twenty-four hours ago. I expected resistance and have not been disappointed.
The people of the valley think they defeat us, but the harder they fight, the stronger my resolve grows. If they weren't protecting something, they wouldn't martyr themselves so. They wouldn't endure tortures with such resolve.
They are believers. I respect that. But they are on the wrong side of this battle. It will not be long now. A new, better world is at hand.
Konstantin wonders if Ana has become too sentimental. That's not exactly how I would characterize her behaviour...
Ana has let the mask fall. She and I are finally, fully reunited. It has been difficult without her these past years. When I'm weak, it's always been her voice that gave me strength. When she loses hope, I ignite that hope for her.
... that being said, I must confess that I am worried about her. Her health falters, yes, but my concern is with her resolve.
I fear that some piece of her was lost in her time with the Crofts. She must have faked her emotions for Lord Croft so powerfully they became real. And now I fear that has spilled over to Lara.
Oh god... Someone did this to him... Someone pushed him onto this path, when he was a child.
As we push deeper into the valley, I feel re-assured that this is the work I was chosen to perform.
My stigmata itch with sensation. It is a constant reminder of my higher purpose, of my singular position in this higher purpose. I was a child, innocent to the evils of the world. Then, one night, I woke in such pain, a scream on my lips.
Blood dripped from my palms. When I saw it I was terrified.
It marked me. It meant something.
I cannot shirk this mission anymore than I can shirk my own hands.
Konstantin is a man driven by his faith...but it's twisted and vile. He's been warped by his obsession...
I have sinned in God's name. Much blood has been spilled on this valley floor. As I speak now, blood continues to flow.
Forgive me. That the divine work requires sacrifices does not mean I am clean.
Forgive me. For since I've suffered the stigmata in my youth, I have sinned in your name.
Forgive those I have killed myself and those who have been killed in my names. They know not what they were doing.
Forgive me. Forgive me for the work I do is not yet done. And there is yet much blood to be spilled.
Trinity has been after the Source for years, and they've been using my family to find it...
Croft is operating against us at every turn. Someone put a fire in her. Lord Croft was too bookish to possess any true resolve. He was a coward. His daughter is something different.
I almost gave an order today that no man should kill Croft but me. I fear she is starting to cloud my judgment. I must remind myself: the goal is not another dead Croft. The goal is the Divine Source.
Konstantin cares so deeply about his sister... He would set the world on fire if it meant saving her...
We stand now on the very cusp of a new world. The Divine Source has been located. Croft, while still alive, has been effectively neutralized.
But, Ana grows weaker by the hour. Her voice, that voice I've known my whole life, is starting to falter.
I asked her if she remembers that night, the first night that God carved purpose into my hands. The night that he chose me. She said she did. And then she smiled and said that we would have nights like that, once this ordeal is over.
For her, I stay strong.
In the old city, we will find the Divine Source. I will save my sister. And together, we will save this world from itself.
A fragment of Ana's personal journal. She's been manipulating my family for years. All this time... and I trusted her.
I've finally laid my betrayals here. Lara knows the truth.
Now a strange series of emotions has gripped me. Remorse, certainly. Remorse for a piece of me that was left inside that torture cell.
But something else, too.
I know Konstantin thinks that I have lost my edge, that my time with the Crofts has made me soft. But he's wrong. It isn't softness. It feels instead like a new kind of resolve.
I know Lord Croft to be an intelligent man. I know his daughter holds secrets in her hand. As an ally, she'd be invaluable.
As an enemy, she'll be a difficult problem. I must make sure that Konstantin's arrogance doesn't get the better of him as we take her on.
More pages of Ana's personal journal. She's been working for Trinity longer than I've known her. Everything I know about her is a lie...
Strange being in the field again. I was undercover for so long, locked in a life of comfort at Croft Manor. Here, there is no comfort at all. The air is frozen, the food is canned and cold. The company, aside from Konstantin, is abysmal.
But I asked to be here. I need to be here. I do not have the luxury of time or patience. Konstantin and I began this journey together; I will be there when he fulfils his destiny.
So for now, I'll breathe deep. I'll let the cold air burn my lungs. I'll let it remind me that I'm still alive. And let it fuel me for the final push towards our destiny.
The Fearful and the Lost
Another part of Ana's personal journal. She's completely bought into Konstantin's delusions...
As we push deeper into the valley, I find myself staring at the ruins and pondering my own mortality. These structures have been here for ages waiting for this moment. I can feel their anticipation. The stone itself wants us to succeed.
And what is there to stop us? Non-believers, the fearful and the lost. These that hid the Source from Trinity for so long.
We are the very people who would use what's hidden here as it was intended to be used.
This world is too corrupt, too rotten, too sick to be saved by any other means other than Trinity. We will have our army. A righteous man will lead it. Konstantin will be that man.
Lost in Memories
More of Ana's personal journal. Whatever disease she has, it's starting to affect her mind. But it's not as if she were the very picture of mental stability before...
This fucking illness. It is ruining my body and now it threatens my mind as well. I keep drifting off. Getting lost in memories....lost in thoughts of the day Lord Croft died. How the plan had to shift. How I thought we had failed.
And before that. My early days with Trinity. Learning the secret histories of the world. Learning that it was our duty to save it.
...And back farther, to childhood. Konstantin and I. With only each other to rely on.
Then I rip myself free. Back to the present.
I've always done what had to be done. This time will be no different.
A piece of Ana's personal journal. She's given up on trying to turn me to her side. Now she thinks she can break me...Well, come and see, Ana. I'll be waiting.
Croft continues to create difficulties for us. She's rallied the valley people from their squalid huts and helped lead them to a series of victories.
I wish I could make her understand just how wrong she is. How misguided her ideas of morality are. The world is too flawed for stop-gaps. A lone hero cannot rescue it. The idea of revealing the Divine Source to the world would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous.
Did I think she could be turned to Trinity's side before? Yes. But not anymore.
We were close, she and I. There is a bond there. But...but...I think now there is no other choice. She must be broken.
And I know she can be broken. I've broken stronger than her.
The Strength of Faith
Ana has manipulated her brother for years, shaped him into the monster he has become. I almost feel sorry for him.
I won't die in this God forsaken valley. My faith is strong. My will is strong. Even if... my mind keeps wandering away.
In our youth... Konstantin and I in our youth...
He was a difficult child. Always wondering, always questioning. Afraid of what the future might hold.
Afraid that he might never find his purpose. The night I cut these marks into his hands, the night I whispered into his ear, I made him. I saved him. He believed it to be the work of God, just as I'd hoped.
How I need him to save me.
And if, in the end, he can't. Then I'll save myself.
An intercepted radio transmission from Jonah. Trinity must have been monitoring him as he followed me into the valley.
Lara. Lara. Laaaara. Answer me. Last time I saw you, you were... damn it, Lara. You better not be dead.
After the avalanche, I got one little blip. One brief echo, but I'll be damned if it wasn't your voice. I know I heard it. I know you survived. At least the avalanche. I haven't heard a peep since. But I'll keep trying. I know you told me to leave, to get somewhere safe, but... did you really expect me to leave you here? Come on, you should know me better than that.
He made it all the way down to the facility... I should have expected. Stay safe, Jonah.
I don't know if you're reading me, Lara. But I'm going to keep trying. Something's out here. Climbed a tree to get a better view of the valley below - I can see old buildings and some activity. Looks like they got choppers and they're bringing in all kinds of equipment. It's got to be Trinity. It's the only explanation. Looks like they beat us to the punch after all, eh?
I've been watching for the past few hours, taking notes of their patrols. I think I can slip by them, if I time it right. You were always better than me at this...
If you're out there and you can hear me... please... be careful.
Oh dammit Jonah. What the hell did you get into?
Got up close this time. Figured when I find you, maybe I'll have learned something that will help. Here's what I know. There's an operation here. Something big. Hundreds of nasty looking soldiers, no insignia, no nothing, all holed up in this old Russian facility - looks like it was once one of those awful Gulag prisons. I came down here thinking you needed me Lara, but Christ, how backwards is that? Before too long, I might be the one who needs rescuing.
I hope to God you're still alive and can hear this. I'll stay out of sight as long as I can, but it's getting pretty damned cold out here. I'm gonna have to find some kind of shelter soon.
Someone was keeping watch on Jonah. Jacob's people must have known he was no threat to them...
Lara, thank god, I think I found your tracks. I knew you were alive. It would take more than a thousand tons of ice and snow to take out my Little Bird.
There's something strange going on in the woods and it's not Trinity. There's someone else watching me, from the trees. I had some food in my pack, old energy bars mostly, but I'm running low. Slept inside a dead log last night, and when I woke up this morning, there was... a present waiting for me. Dried meat, and some berries, all wrapped up in a deerskin. I thought I was dreaming at first but... there's someone looking out for me here. Hope they're looking out for you too...
Diary of the Resistance
A New Day
The people of this valley have been waiting for decades, knowing that someone would come...
The day I feared has come. There can be no more denying it. The helicopters we saw last sundown represent a new incursion onto our lands.
We have grown up in the shadow of our parent's struggle, and now it seems, we will have our own. But the sacred duty must be done. We must protect the source of God's Grace on Earth.
One of their number went missing. He sounds like he was a person of great importance...
My father is missing. Last night I told him of the invaders, and the weapons they have at their disposal. When the Sun rose, he was gone. Cyril told me he would be back, but the day is almost done, and no one has seen him.
I fear he may have done something rash, the old fool. We need him, at this moment more than ever.
They have to take great risks, just to have the basic necessities. These people are forged in hardship...
Elios and I will attempt to reach the far hills, where the old boar lives. Trinity is still clustered below in the old Soviet base. We will wait until the dead of night to go.
It is a great risk, but we know a battle is coming. We'll have need of the medicinal herbs that grow in those hills if we are to survive the coming struggle.
Armor of Faith
They can't keep fighting for ever. Every new invader weakens them for the next. It's an impossible task...
I underestimated our enemy. Elias is now dead because of my fool's errand. And my father has not been seen in two days. We would need to be at our full strength to resist Trinity, but it seems the killing blow was dealt before the fight even began.
We have the armor of our faith, but what good is it against an enemy that grows stronger with every passing generation? If we survive this time, I fear our children will not survive the next.
They've been watching me all along...not sure if they could trust me. I hope I've given them reason to do so now.
There is a woman in the valley now, not one of us, but not one of them either. I saw her the night Elias was killed-she fought the men who were hunting us.
Now I hear whispers from the forward Scouts-my father and this woman were seen, free and unhindered. There is no telling what she wants, or if we can trust her, but if she brings my father back to us, then perhaps God has no abandoned us.
They're willing to die for their cause, even if they have no hope of winning...
We are no match for Trinity. They are the ones that drove our forefathers out of the Empire, and now they come to finish the job.
We are a broken remnant of a once holy people. Only our cause remains. I do not believe in my heart that we can defeat them. But I know that we can die trying, and that God and the Prophet could ask no more.
Pages of the Ledger
Jacob takes great pride and responsibility in his position amongst his people...
Another difficult winter for my people. There are more deaths than births now...and as the seasons pass, the young ones are becoming restless. I see them looking to the sky when the rare plane passes overhead-wistful, wondering, longing.
I know they are still deeply committed to the cause, but I also sense a change coming. An end to our way of life is on the horizon. The most recent invaders are fading from memory. But as the technology of men advances, more are bound to find our valley again. And we are bound with the fate of this place-for better or worse.
Jacob's duties meant he was forced to isolate himself...He had to be impartial.
I made a mistake today, one that threatens to lead to more mistakes. I spent time alone with Alya-something I have avoided until now.
She reminds me of my beloved Sofia, whom I thought I'd long forgotten, and it opens my heart like a wound. She clouds my judgment, even when she is not present. I sound like a giddy child, and those days are far behind me. I must bury those old feelings deep and stay apart from my people for a time.
These are... very personal records from Jacob. I'm not sure I should be reading them...
I can no longer deny the pull that Alya has on me. She came to me, alone, as I walked the passes high above the valley. I know now that the draw was mutual.
I explained to her why I could not, should not. Why my position amongst our people should preclude such folly. Why I could never make her happy. But it didn't matter what I said. As my mouth spoke, my arms reached out to enfold her, and we embraced. It has been so long and I am still human.
This should have been the happiest time of Jacob's life. He's so concerned about failing his people...
Alya is with child... my daughter. I cannot put into words the tempest in my skull. I know I have made a grave mistake. My people will accept it without an ill look, but they too will see the error of my judgment. It seems so cold to call this year of happiness with Alya an error, but with every glorious moment, I know that we sowed the seeds of tragedy.
I cannot be a husband, or a father, and still be who I must be for my people. Some day, I will have to make a decision that pits my duty against the love of my family. I do not know how I will bend on that day. God help me. I am a fool.
Journal of Lord Croft
My father's journals...he mentions my mother. He rarely talked about her. But it seems he did all this for her...
I received word today that university funding would be cut, again. It's becoming increasingly difficult to continue.
I face constant ridicule from people I once considered colleagues and friends. They have no idea.
There is a truth behind all myth. The stories of all cultures speak a universal language and they point to a startling possibility: the world is not what we think. Our lives are not what we think.
If I continue, I face isolation. I will become a pariah.
But...I will continue. For Amelia. It was her death that set me on this path. And for her, I cannot waver. I wish every night that she was still here. That I'd had the tools to help her.
Dad...I'm so sorry I didn't believe you. I wish there was some way to tell you what I've discovered.
Lara has accused me of paranoia, again. Perhaps she's right. But I've been approached by people asking to see my research. People offering no credentials.
I'm sure someone is watching me. Strangers outside the manor house. Odd phone calls at odd hours. And then, last night, the house alarm was tripped. Someone had tried to break in.
I believe they represent an organisation called Trinity. There are oblique references to them in much of my work. What they're after, I do not know.
But I've begun taking steps to ensure my work remains secure.
One day, I hope Lara will understand why I did all this.
I remember this. Dad was buzzing with anticipation about this conference, even though he knew he'd be mocked.
Received an invite today to speak at a conference on folklore and anthropology. Of course, I've only been invited as figure of fun. They only want to ridicule me and my ideas.
But the point of this work is not to keep it in the shadows. The point is to expose it. To help bring the truth to the world.
Amelia believed that it was noble to face adversity head on. That strength was born from inside oneself. She was right. She was always right...
For better or worse, I will accept the invitation.
Ana made him happy again. She believed in his work. If only she knew I was out here in the middle of nowhere, chasing the same thing.
The conference was, of course, a disaster. I might as well have been booed from the podium. And yet... I am in the best mood I've been in years. I met someone there. An admirer. She approached me after the slaughter. I nearly flinched, expecting her to continue the beating.
But instead she simply asked to hear more about my work. And when I started to talk, her questions were not loaded with cynicism.
Instead they were intelligent. Almost innocent in their inquisitiveness. We spoke for hours.
She says her name is Ana. I've invited her to dine with me when we're all back in London.
Those were hard times for dad, but Ana brought so much happiness into his life. I couldn't resent her for that...
Having Ana in my life has put new wind in my sails. She's helped me focus my work - Helped organise my research. She's even offered to become my editor.
I never thought I'd find such an eager collaborator.
Her presence in the manor has revitalized everything. The rooms have life again. I feel I have life again.
But I am worried what Lara will think. Her emotions are more guarded than mine. I worry she thinks I am trying to replace her mother.
But I'm not. I'm simply trying to find what happiness I can in this life. Lara will just have to understand that.
Dad was so close to finding the Prophet's tomb... but something drove him to give it all up.
New developments. I found an old manuscript, buried and forgotten under a heap of pseudo-scientific texts.
As I began translating it I realized what I had: a record of the Deathless Prophet. I am still working on the translation but already it has provided details of his life I'd never read before. There may just be enough here to find the location of his tomb.
This manuscript could be it: the singular piece of research that will bring all of my work on the Immortal Soul together.
Revelations are coming quickly. There is much work to be done.
Tonight, over dinner, I'm going to celebrate with Ana.
Hmm, this is the declaration of a follower of the Prophet of Byzantium.
From the journals of Decius, first apostle to the Prophet, 970 A.D.
We heard of the Prophet's arrival in Constantinople, but we paid it no mind. The great city has always drawn madmen and pretenders to the ear of God. We heard strange tales of the miracles of the Prophet, but still we did not seek him out.
But then we heard him speak, heard the liquid truth of his words roll across the Forum of Constantine. He claimed not to speak for God, claimed that no man could. But his wisdom was plain, and not one of us in that Forum could deny that he spoke the truth. I must know more about him. I must hear him again.
The testimony of this Apostle suggests the Prophet rose to prominence in Constantinople.
From the journals of Decius, first apostle to the Prophet, 970 A.D.
For a month I have gone to the Forum to hear the Prophet speak. I wear robes of the common folk, it would not do for a son of a great house to be seen here. There are rumblings that the patricians and men from the Church in the West seek to silence the Prophet. I can only listen, and reproduce the great man's words...
No man has ever told the truth about God, for no man can ever know.
There is more sacred in the heart of a farmer or a soldier, than in the hearts of lords and emperors.
We are all of us deceived by those that claim to speak on behalf of the creator.
No man speaks for Him, for His voice is the sky, the water, and the flow of the world.
Vow of Poverty
The first Apostle abandoned the wealth of his birthplace to follow the Prophet, even as the number of his enemies grew...
From the journals of Decius, first apostle to the Prophet, 972 A.D.
Some believe the Prophet to be God's son risen, but he makes no such claims. Some praise his actions as miracles, but he rejects such attributions. In his humility, his followers see the truth of his message. We see the change coming.
I have shed the trappings of my station and now devote myself fully to the Prophet. I spread the word, recruiting others of my station to the cause. But this has enraged the elite and brought the full attention of the Church in the West.
The first Apostle was willing to leave his birthplace, and follow the Prophet to the edges of the Empire...
From the Journals of Decius, first apostle to the Prophet, 977 A.D.
The Church in the West has sent their messengers - self proclaimed soldiers of God, the Knights of the Order of Trinity. They have come to silence the Prophet - to quell his blasphemy and eradicate our movement. But it is too late now - we will not be silenced.
Violence erupts in the Forum on a daily basis. The Prophet knows that we cannot stand against them, so we must leave Constantinople. We will go to the desert to build anew and continue the Prophet's work.
Death and Rebirth
As the Prophet fled the imperial city, he and his followers were attacked, and the Prophet was believed to be slain. But he rose again... somehow...
From the Journals of Decius, first apostle to the Prophet, 977A.D.
When the Emperor died, the Prophet's favor was lest, and we were forced to begin our exodus in the dark of night. The new Emperor has no love for the Prophet, so there was nothing left to stop the Knights of the Order of Trinity.
We fled towards the desert, to begin again, when the Order of Trinity came upon us, and murdered the Prophet. I saw him die. We placed his body in a cave near the Oasis, and in our sorrow, began to build him a tomb.
The Order of Trinity is not finished. They desire not only the death of the Prophet, but the mysteries of the Divine Source. They will come again. But in our darkest hour, the Prophet has risen. He has defeated death, just as he will defeat our enemies.
The Apostle of the Prophet was with him, all the way from Syria to here... The loyalty he inspired in his followers was unshakable.
From the journals of Decius, first apostle to the Prophet, 977 A.D.
When the Knights of the Order of Trinity learned of the Prophet' rebirth, they attacked again. But we were armed with true faith. Where they expected a slaughter of helpless refugees, they found an army of men and women who would no longer be victims. Many died there, but in the end, we stood victorious. We fled, leaving his tomb and the Empire behind.
We walked for months, across the high plains, and into the frozen lands beyond the borders of the Empire. The path was difficult, and many began to doubt the Prophet. I am ashamed to say I did as well. I hope he can forgive me, for with the break of dawn, we now see the truth: He has brought us to an earthly paradise. Where we can begin anew.
God bless the Prophet, for he has delivered us.
A letter from the foreman to his wife... He expected her to join him at any moment.
This letter is long overdue, but I have been hard at work. When you arrive, there will be home for you here, with all the comforts we have left behind. It is a huge task ahead of us, to design and supervise the construction necessary to provide fresh water to our people, but all my labor will be paid in full when I see you and our children's faces again.
We will create a new world here, the equal of everything you left behind to follow me. It will not have been in vain, as long as you and I are together.
Instructions to deliver oil to the workers below... And not to upset the foreman.
This should be more than enough oil to light the passages below, but be careful transporting it. We have not perfected the refining process, and it is still volatile.
You will know the man who supervises the construction, we all do. Without his knowledge of the Earth, none of us would have survived along the difficult journey. Do not linger, and if he asks for word of his wife and child, feign ignorance.
He cannot accept that they perished during our exodus, and expects them to arrive any day. We need his genius, and I fear if he saw the truth, we might lose him entirely.
The Days After
When the city of Kitezh fell, the inhabitants were forced to go on without the Prophet...
Fires still rage in the outer districts. The last of the wooden buildings will be consumed by nightfall. The heart of our city is gone, buried beneath the ice. I can take some small solace in the fact that the Mongol invaders were killed, alongside the Prophet's warriors who died to save us.
And the Prophet himself...no one has seen him since the morning after the siege ended. We need his wisdom, now more than ever. We do not have enough food to feed those who survived. Some believe the worst is over, but I fear that it is not the case.
The Abandoned City
The survivors of the fall of Kitezh had to abandon the heart of the city...
It has been months since the snows of the mountain buried the heart of Kitezh. We sent men to search for survivors or food, but none have returned. Sounds drift up from the glaciers, but if people still live entombed inside, I do not know. It could be the shifting ice, but I will be the first to admit, it sounds like the voices of men.
Perhaps the ghosts of the Prophet's workers still patrol the frozen streets. We will send no more of our people inside. We have to accept that the Prophet, and the city, are lost to us, and that we are now on our own.
The survivors of the Mongol siege struggled to survive without the infrastructure of their city.
It is our first winter since the Mongol invasion. No more than one in three of us will survive. We once had marble palaces, heated by geothermal vents. We had the wealth and luxury of an empire. Today, we struggle to find enough hides to keep our children warm, to gather enough roots and berries to feed ourselves.
If we are to survive another winter, we will have to adapt. If we do not, then we will feed the soil, and the animals will take back the valley. It is up to us, now. Only us.
After many years, the surviving remnant of the Prophet's people adapted to survive in the valley.
It has been nearly a decade since Kitezh was lost to us. In the first years, I thought we would not survive. We are the Remnant of a once great people, but we did survive. The struggle became second nature, and then a way of life. Our numbers no longer dwindle. We may never be great again, but we will live, this winter and the next.
I know this in my heart, for God has given us a sign. Last night, a wild man wandered into our camp, emaciated and raving with fever. We gave him food, cut his tangled beard, and cleaned his wounds. The others do not recognize him yet. It has been too long. But I know him. The Prophet...The Prophet has returned to us.
The Prophet's Trail
The Bishop: Word From ROme
An ancient message from the leader of the Order of Trinity. They tracked the Prophet and his followers to this place.
The Order of Trinity has received word that the Prophet's followers are building a great tomb at an oasis outside of Beroea. But more upsetting... while we thought they were building the tomb for their Prophet, Trinity now believes he still lives.
We have learned he is preaching his heresy among the local citizens, drawing more to him daily with tales of how he conquered death. He is a liar and a heretic, claiming miracles that come only from the Divine.
You swore that he was dead. Have you failed us?
The Knight: Death of the Prophet
A Knight of Trinity followed the trail with the intent of wiping out the rest of the Prophet's followers. They wanted no evidence to remain...
What you say is impossible. I myself drove a spear into the Prophet's heart. I saw him die.
Doubtless his people have propped another man up in the slain Prophet's robe to continue his lies. They are broken, discredited, and exiled. We will head south and put the rest of the People to the sword, but the Prophet is dead.
This, I swear.
The Knight: On The Trail
They found the Prophet's followers, and planned to kill them all...What was so dangerous about the Prophet?
I ride at the head of a small army of the faithful, armed and ready, and I have good news: we have located the Tomb of the Prophet. We were attacked by madmen upon the road, wearing the Prophet's livery, but they were easily beated.
We allowed one to flee, and followed him back to Oasis. Whether the Prophet escaped death, or whether another now wears his mantle, it does not matter. All will perish inside, and it will become a Tomb at least.
The Knight: At The Gates
They were confident that they could end the Prophet's influence, but clearly it didn't go as they had planned...
The last remnant of the Prophet's followers have barricaded themselves inside his Tomb. We have made camp at the entrance, and we are preparing to break through their barricades. I saw the man claiming to be the Prophet, before they sealed the gates, and I admit, he bears a striking resemblance. But it could not be.
No matter. They will all be dead before sunrise. The Order of Trinity will see that his heresy ends here.
Crypts of the Founders
Kokkos, The Astronomer
The city of Kitezh wasn't built by the Prophet alone...He drew the best and brightest to his fold.
A prophet must have his followers. Kokkos of Nicea was one of the Prophet's first. Branded a heretic in his home city, Kokkos joined the pilgrimage north. His knowledge of the stars helped guide the way. It is said that Kokkos and the Prophet would sit for hours under the stars debating the nature of the universe and man's fraught place within it.
For the Prophet, he built an Orrery of planets and stars, so that even during the dark of winter, he might gaze upon the night sky.
Damien, The Prophet's Forge
Building a city like Kitezh would take many skills and talents. The Prophet lauded every contribution.
Cities are not built on plans alone. There must be material and there must be someone who knows how to build. Damien was that man. They say he could muster brick from nothing more than a handful of dirt and a tinderbox. They say his craftsmanship was divinely inspired. It is his hand that gave form to the architect's dreams.
Aurora, The Physician
In order to build the new city, the Prophet and his followers had first to survive the long journey.
The road to Kitezh was long and hard, infirmity, illness, and injury abounded. Aurora was a believer trained in the ways of Hippocrates and the great Roman healers. It is because of her that so many survived the journey to Kitezh; it is her legacy that knowledge of healing continues to be passed down among believers.
Rivkah, The Architect
A great City needs a great architect... and the Prophet found his among the Rus...
Rivkah joined the Prophet because her husband, a Rus nobleman, was a believer. When he died on the journey north, she stayed with the Prophet, pondering what her place was amongst the believers.
When she saw the valley, she knew she had found her purpose. She dreamed what Kitezh could be. She laid these dreams out to be built. It is because of Rivkah that Kitezh became not just beautiful, but livable.
Valentinus, The Time Keeper
Kitezh was home to artists, philosophers, and more. Who knows what it might have become...
After the city was built, the first generation of followers stared out upon it. One among them, a man named Valentinus, had spent his whole life devoted to the study of time and its passage. The Prophet sought him out in the crowd and asked him what he thought of the city. Valentinus said he felt it was a blessed piece. That time would move slowly there and that Kitezh would last for generations untold.
The Prophet smiled for he knew that he had made a home where his people might be safe.
Catacomb of Sacred Waters
Rite of Passage
A journal from the head priest...They prepared bodies for burial in these chambers.
We may be far from our home, but that does not make us barbarians.
When our loved ones pass on, as far too many have this season, we treat them with respect. When we did not yet have a wineyard to produce wine, we washed the dead with lake water. When we lacked the looms to spin the death shroud, we wrapped our departed in skins and hides. We carried few coins with us, but now we forge our own, so that our blessed dead can pay passage to the next world.
I only wish that the price was not so high.
Thieves Among Us
A letter to the city guard speaking of a theft inside the burial chambers...
Someone broke into this place, in the dead of night.
They filled their pockets with coin, turned over urns of oil and wine, and saw fit to show disrespect to all that are interred here. It shreds my heart to think that one of our own could be so callous as to desecrate this place, all for a momentary earthly gain...
We must find a way to keep this place safe, even from our own brothers...
The Pit of Judgment
The personal notes of a citizen forced to work the mines for her crimes...
I knew the risks. It was only a matter of time before the City Guard caught me.
By day, I must pull gold and other ore from the rock until my fingers bleed, all to increase the wealth of Kitezh. By night, we do penance, ask forgiveness from God and the Prophet. They hope to save our souls, to rehabilitate us.
I bow when they expect me to, put on a mask of regret when they remind me of my sins.
But when they let me free of this place, I will take my pleasures where I can.
The notes of the mine's Foreman. Many of the workers were criminals, serving the city to make restitution for their crimes...
The wealth of this valley continues to reveal itself, like a flower in bloom. Every year, new buildings rise from the wilderness. We have produced a generation of artisans, astronomers, and philosophers that rival anything back West.
But with any great city comes crime and rot. Many thought we should have put these sinners to death, but the Prophet would not hear of it. He believes all men can be healed, and so we keep them alive, teach them through hardship and scripture.
I do not share the Prophet's faith that they can be redeemed, but as least they will serve the city and those they wronged.
Voice of God
A pilgrim reflects on visiting the shrine. This must have been an important place for them...
They say you never forget the first time you hear the sound.
My parents took me here, to contemplate the mysteries from beyond the shrine. In time, I will bring my children here. They say that without the music of the mountains, our ancestors would have wandered the earth, until they died. But instead, these mountains called them home. Just as it calls to me.
In praise of a long-dead scout who led the Prophet through these mountains...
Without this place, this divine sculpture of wind and rock, we would have been lost.
The story of the scout who found this place is well known to us all, but most of you do not know how close we came to dying. We were lost in the mountains, no food, no hope. We had begun to doubt the Prophet himself. But the scout heard the sound, and took it to be a sign. He alone ascended these cliffs, drawn by the music, and from there, he saw our salvation.
This is not just a shrine to him and his bravery, but to the strength of our faith.
The captain's Revenge
The captain of the ancient ship prepares his revenge...
We'll die here, thanks to Carraldus and the madness of the Order of Trinity.
My ship will never see water again. We entered the Glacial Sea too far into the winter, would have been turned back, but Carraldus would not abandon this lost Prophet.
He and his dead-eyed warriors seized control. He forced the ship through shallow tributaries, until we could go no further. Then he made my crew construct sled runners, and the bastard forced us to tow the ship over land. It was death and excommunication to deny him.
But it was death either way. I will make sure he dies here, with us. I have always kept a little poison at the ready in case the ship was taken. Now, it has another use.
A Knight of the Order of Trinity pursues the Prophet, undaunted by the obstacles...
The Maria Adula is trapped. The ice gave way, her spine snapped in two.
While I hoped to wield her cannons against the False Prophet, we will continue on foot. I have six of the Order of Trinity's best and we have been stockpiling food and supplies while the sailors starved. They do not know it yet, but they will give their life for the cause. My men and I will find our way out of these icy caves and continue on foot.
Before the ship was swallowed by the ice, to the south, we heard music. That will be our first step. But first I must rest. The cold has sunk into my bones, and I am drowsy. Just a little sleep...
Baths of Kitezh
A citizen of Kitezh wonders what's to come...
The dead choke the rivers. Our children's blood is spilled on the valley floor. We live, but with what? Our city entombed? Our sons and daughters murdered? Is it courage to go on, or madness? Those who fell know peace, now. When will we?
A New Purpose
With so many dead and the city in ruin, the survivors had to abandon much of their old lives...
We cannot leave our children to rot beneath the sun, but there are too many graves to dig, and the earth is hard. What need have we for leisure now? This place, like so many others will never ring with laughter again. We have made the whole world a tomb.
The dead shall rest. We owe them that much.
Chamber of Exorcism
A priest of Kitezh struggles to aid those afflicted with demonic possession...
Deep below the holy ground of our city, we have found the source of the corruption. One of hell's winding tunnels snakes up and vomits forth a miasma of evil. There is no pattern to the demon's depredations, but his mark is plain. Men driven to wicked words and acts, as God's grace is driven from them.
We take them here, to the mouth of hell itself, to drive out the demons. We do not always succeed. Often the poor wretches are too far gone, and they die when we drive the beasts out of them. It is heartbreaking to lose good people, but we must stand against the Devil, in all his forms.
A Moment of Clarity
An ill woman awaits exorcism, knowing it will not heal her...
My mind is clear today. It was not so yesterday, and it will not be again. They say the devil is inside me, they say I am possessed. I have seen the beast in my heart, and it is only me, only my broken mind.
But the priests will not listen. I cannot blame them. Some days they appear to me as apparitions of manifest pain and hatred, so clouded are my eyes. I spit and yowl, for I am mad. But I know there is no evil in my heart. Only sickness that no man can cure.
House of the Afflicted
A husband is forced to leave his wife behind at a leper colony...
I have left my wife in the care of those physicians. The sickness became exactly what we feared, as her skin turned to scales and she lost all feeling in her extremities.
They say there is something that can be done for her, save for give her relief from the pain, and ease her passing, but she must be kept far from the city. Far from me. My wife will die, and I will never see her in this world again. I will hurry to the next to meet her.
A physician worries about the quality of care she can provide...
We are crippled by our isolation. We have with us the combined medical knowledge of the Empire, a millennia of learning that tells us how to treat every ailment. But here, on the edge of the world, the lack of ine simple flower leaves us helpless.
I cannot do much for the afflicted. I know how, but I cannot, because we have hidden ourselves away. These people, and many more like that follow, will die, needlessly, all to keep our secret hidden. I pray the Prophet is right when he says that it will be worth it, in the end.
The Red Mine
The journal of a Remnant worker, imprisoned in the Soviet mines...
We can no longer wait for our brothers outside the mines to begin their resistance.
The Soviets have found something they desire more than the poison ore, they found our forefathers history, have desecrated their tombs. This is the last injustice. We thought at first the old guardians would emerge, and punish our tormentors, but now I see we will have to be the instrument of God's retribution.
We gather our strength, store picks and axes in secret places... Very soon those of us that are still well enough will rise up, and bury our oppressors here, before they erase our past along with our present.
The work log of a Soviet Mine Foreman. They discovered something down here...
When the uranium ore was nearly gone, I feared our operation was at an end. But even as we moved to close the shaft, fate intervened.
We found a chamber, half destroyed by a cave in, but clearly made by the hands of men. The artifacts inside are ancient, nearly a thousand years old, untouched since the tomb was sealed. We redouble our efforts, instead of mining, the workers now search and retrieve the artifacts inside.
The natives of the valley, their resistance once broken, now bristle at this new assignment, as if they do not wish the relics to be seen. We will need to make an example of a few young men, before their dark looks lead to something more.
Voices of Invasion
The Prize Awaits
Trinity had an envoy to the Mongol horde, and he led them in search of the Lost City...
For a year I have ridden with an army of Mongols, as envoy from the Order of Trinity. Their Khan is a great warlord, despite his heathen ways. Under my influence, I have helped them topple nations, burn cities and kill Princes, all in search of the Prophet. Our slaughter of the Rus was not in vain, for among the spoils, we at last found the map.
And now, this very morning, after a season in the mountains, we saw buildings rising from a green valley surrounded by ice. We have found Kitezh. I tell the Khan of the riches that will be his, and that alone drives him on. But the real victory will be for God, when we purge the Prophet's lies from the earth. And at last, the Divine Source will be ours.
Army of the Unwilling
The Mongols used armies of prisoners as their frontline...An efficient, horrific strategy...
We have told the people of the valley city that we will attack at dawn, but we shall advance behind the kharash at moonrise. The captives we kept from the battles in the West will be our shields as we advance.
Few survived the long march across the mountains, but these that live will serve their purpose to the Horde. The city sparkles, a gift not yet given. We will take what is ours and march home with our spoils.
Fire on the Horizon
Every citizen of the city had to take up arms...I can't imagine the terror they must have felt.
I have never felt such terror. Tonight, the armies of the Mongol Horde camp at the edge of the valley, ready to strike at the heart of Kitezh.
We have the Alchemists' Fire at ready to set the invaders alight. Every man and woman who can wield a weapon will fight. We will do all we can to support the Athanatoi. But I have never seen bloodshed. None of us mere citizens have.
I have never taken a life, and now I must, I fear for my resolve.
The Greater Good
Trinity's Envoy among the Mongols... he did all this, just to find the Prophet.
Trinity has twice before sent great men seeking the Prophet's path, and twice before they have vanished. He carried the Divine Source out of the Empire, but it was not his to take. That blasphemy taints everything while his descendants still live, so Trinity must try again.
I have done ungodly things, committed terrible sins against the innocent, just to reach this place, to retrieve the Divine Source. I know God will forgive, for what I do, I do for the greater good.
Now, the end is in sight. I need only survive this final battle, and Trinity's work will be done.
Lights in the Dark
Something happened, just before the invasion began... The Prophet's army became something more...
General, we observed something strange in the night. We are camped above the city of Kitezh as the city prepares for invasion. They still believe the attack will come from on high, they will not expect your charge from the pass on the far side of the valley. But I must tell you, on the tower at the heart of the city, something unnatural awaits us.
We watched hundreds of armoured soldiers ascend its heights, and then, a light cracked the sky. There was a sound that froze my blood, a rearing like an army of hungry ghosts. Then the men descended again. I do not know what they keep atop that tower. We thought it treasure, but it appears to be something else entirely.
An old man tried to keep his neighbours safe, even as he prepared for the worst.
We have sealed the doors, and barred them from entry. The riders are coming, and I must keep these people safe.
Mothers with children, old men like me. Those that cannot fight. I have food and water in sufficient quantities to keep us alive for the length of the attack. Should our Athanatol fall, and the attack becomes a siege, we will die here. For that, I have enough belladonna to provide the little ones with safe passage.
Pray it never comes to that.
The Last Man
Trinity's envoy among the Mongols survived the battle... it appears they underestimated the defenders of this place.
I have failed. There will be no pardon for my sins. I have drenched my hands in blood in pursuit of the Prophet, and now there is nothing left.
As the attack became a siege, the Prophet's people did the unthinkable. They turned their weapons against the glaciers and buried their own city. Mongol and the Prophet's people alike were crushed in the ice. The Khan and his warrior horde are dead. The people of Kitezh are broken and scattered. I alone survive in the frozen heart of the city, and my only companions are the Deathless Army of the Prophet, their eyes aflame with unholy light. Even now, they hunt the ruins for survivors.
Trinity's envoy among the Mongols was forced into hiding by the Deathless army of Kitezh...
God is testing me. I've scavenged weapons and tools, enough to survive. The Khan once demanded that I learn to draw a bow and fight like one of his soldiers, and I am grateful for that. He gave me his own arrows, made for punching holes in armour. The ice around me provides all I need to drink, but it runs red with blood.
The Prophet's army now patrols a dead city. These are not the soldiers who first met us at the city gates. They have been changed, somehow. Among them, I can see a man that I myself killed in the battle...
The old legends say that those who looked upon the Divine Source relinquished their very souls to it, attaining immortality. If this is true, I will surely perish here, buried with the secret I was sent to find.
Stalking the Deathless Ones
He tracked them from afar, observing them so he could learn if they had any weakness.
I have made myself a refuge in this frozen hell, in the base of a crumbling tower. I have laid away food and weapons enough to defend myself. But I am the last survivor.
By day, I watch the Deathless army, learn the paths they take. They follow the same patterns, day in and day out, like men trapped in a dream. They are fierce, but they are hollow. Whatever made them men is long gone, replaced instead by a soul of cold iron.
I must be careful, but I must know more about them.
If this is what the Source can do in the hands of a heretic, think of what it could do in the hands of the righteous.
He managed to take one of the Deathless Ones, but it nearly killed him.
At last, I killed one of the Deathless Soldiers. I tracked him through the day, until he was alone. He seemed to sense me before I struck. As if he knew the sound of my bowstring.
He was strong, but I am clever and I have faith. My arrows pierced his flesh, but he fought on until I placed a shot between his eyes. Even then he managed to wound me before I caved in his skull.
His body caught fire, and fell into ash before my eyes.
It has been hours since he died, but his ashes still smolder, hissing and popping in the darkness. I do not believe this is his end. The Source has a great and terrible sway over those it touches. I must know what happens next.
He knew he might never escape... so he devoted himself to learning about his enemy...
I must have fallen asleep. It is hard to tell time beneath the ice. The Deathless Ones had been busy. Where a pile of ashes smoldered the night before, a corpse now lay, skin as milky white as a dead fish. As I watched, the dead man breathed. A clicking death rattle in reverse as he sucked in air for the first time in a day.
Then he looked at me, and I recognised him at last. I killed this man once before, during the battle. And he has not forgotten.
So I killed him again, crushed his new skull before he could stand, but his ashes smolder anew. I will not be here when he wakes. The cold look in his dead eyes was like a promise.
Like a Phoenix, he will rise again and again, each time more determined to end my life. If I stay, sooner or later, he will succeed.
I don't think he ever made it out of here...
I leave these notes for whoever should follow in my footsteps. My wounds are worse than I believed. They will not heal. Tonight, I will make one last attempt to escape this frozen tomb, but I doubt I have the strength. The Divine Source is here, at the peak of the tallest tower. But it is beyond my reach.
With the Source at his disposal, the Prophet's Deathless Ones are unstoppable, an army of wraiths and devils that can never die. A mockery of all God's creation. They are no longer human, and they will break any army that stands in their way. With every death and rebirth, they learn. They adapt.
Should Trinity, someday, find a way to seize it for ourselves... I fear that we will do no better.
Perhaps it would be best if it were to remain lost forever.
The Iron Road
The journal of a Remnant scout, sent to observe the approach of the Soviets as they built the railroad to this place decades ago.
The Red Army is coming. I've been tracking them for weeks - watching as hundreds of men build the iron monstrosity across the ice. Men have died, their frozen bodies left scattered in the tundra. No rites of passing...no burial or burnings. These new invaders are cruel, godless men.
Do they come seeking the precious metals of the mountain? Or, like so many before them, are they drawn here by the Divine Source?
My people must again prepare for war.
A Closer Look
From his description, it sounds like the Soviets built a railroad directly to the mountain.
I've infiltrated the ranks of the enemy and learned that they come seeking the rich resources of the mountain - they appear to know nothing of the secret we protect. Those who build the iron road are themselves prisoners - slaves of the Red Army.
Massive machines now use the iron road, bringing more slaves, food, and raw materials for construction of a small city. It is time for me to return to my people so we might plan our attack. If we can inflict heavy losses upon them before they reach the mountain, they may give up and turn back.
He mentions their secret... what is it they protect in these mountains?
We were fools. Careless, arrogant fools. We thought we could stop them, but the Red Army outnumbers us - their weapons are superior and they just keep coming. Many of my people, including myself, have been captured - forced to work the mines of our own mountain.
It's only a matter of time before they discover our secret. When this happens, we must be ready.
An Alley in the Darkness
The native people fought back... and it sounds like they didn't go easy on their Soviet captors.
The Red Army finally uncovered the Temple of the Prophet's Blessing. They have halted normal operations and are beginning to plunder the riches of our ancestors. We're ready - working with the foreign prisoners, we've managed to horde weapons and dynamite.
When the guardians are disturbed, we will use the chaos to revolt. The Red Army has been ruthless to us, but we will pay them back in kind. We won't stop until these invaders are dead. Only then will our secret be safe.
Communications from the Soviet Commander... they found ruins here!
Freedom Station Operational Report - 26 July 1978
Comrades, this report comes to you following an unprecedented discovery in the mountains of Freedom Station. Our deep mine crew has broken into a massive cavern filled with incredible ruins and artifacts, the likes of which have never been found in the Motherland.
The workers that we acquired from the native population have become agitated following the discovery - they clearly know something about these ruins. We will begin working the prisoners around the clock, for I believe we're on the verge of an even more amazing discovery.
Hmm, he mentions artifacts, as well as the natives... Jacob's people?
Freedom Station Operational Report - 17 September 1970
At your earliest convenience, please acknowledge these communiques. We have received no directives since the discovery of the ruins.
Examination of the artifacts and scrolls recovered from the site continue. As impossible as it may seem, it appears we may have discovered the ruins of the legendary city of Kitezh.
These are also numerous references to some kind of messianic figure. If I'm interpreting the texts correctly, he was a prophet who fled Byzantium sometime in the 10th century. The inscriptions say that he carried with him an artifact of great power. For the time being, I have suspended normal mining operations. It is my intent to discover the truth behind this mysterious prophet.
The Soviets lowered huge machines down into the cave... not exactly subtle methods...
Freedom Station Operational Report - 13th October 1970
We now have heavy equipment in place within the main cavern and we intend to gain access to some kind of temple, even if we have to rip down its ancient doors to do so.
While hundreds of artifacts have now been recovered and catalogued, two guard crews have gone missing in the mines. I've personally questioned the native prisoners - they claim to have no knowledge of the whereabouts of the mining guards. And though we've punished them harshly, I fear they are on the verge of revolt.
The people of the valley revolted, but the Soviets only ground their boots down harder...
Freedom Station Operational Report - 4 November 1970
Comrades, it is important that you respond to my communiques. We are now in dire need of supplies and reinforcements. A full revolt is in progress and the prisoners now control the excavation site and surrounding facilities.
In retribution, I have ordered mass executions of prisoners from the native population. With any luck, these rebels will lay down their arms and surrender to save their own countrymen.
The Soviets underestimated the people of the valley... and it cost them dearly.
Freedom Station Operational Report - 12 December 1970
It is clear to me now that our communications have been sabotaged. You likely have received none of my cables for quite some time. But I will continue transmitting, as it is my duty.
Local natives attacked us on multiple fronts soon after we attempted to sway them with the executions of their countrymen. There are far more natives then we ever anticipated. It's clear they come from the other side of the mountain and have been preparing their revolt carefully for years. We are now without power and water and winter is upon us. Those of us who remain will soon be leaving. We have one train transport and we will take with us as many records and artifacts as we can.
Looks like the people of the valley got their revenge on their captors, in the end.
Freedom Station Operational Report - 20 December 1970
To any who receive this message, I will soon be dead, and with me all knowledge of this place.
Escape for us was never an option. We boarded the train and set out for the long journey, only to discover that mere miles from the mountain, the tracks we built upon the backs of so many dead had simply disappeared. For months now, the native population has carefully dismantled the railroad, intentionally isolating this place in preparation for their attacks. And like their precious ruins, I will soon be taken by the snows and forgotten.
In the Tomb
The Order of Trinity sent a Tracker to follow the Prophet...
I have learned all I can from the carnage inside the Prophet's Tomb. My brothers were slain, to the last man, sometime within the last few days. The false Prophet's followers died here by the hundreds, but in the end, they were victorious.
I have sealed the Tomb as best I can, and told men of the nearby village that the Prophet is at last dead. I left them with a subtle threat that this place should remain hidden. I do not know if the Prophet survived, but I will follow their trail.
No one escapes the Order of Trinity.
On the Borderlands
The Tracker pursued the Prophet to the edge of the Empire...
The Prophet and his followers have been travelling under cover of night, a crooked trail around the border of the Eastern Empire. I do not know where they are headed, and I suspect they do not either. But they know we will not let them rest until his heresy is purged.
The common folk of the borderlands give him shelter, and I find it curious that none who have aided him will tell me anything of use. Even when I threaten them with the wrath of Trinity, or touch the edge of a knife to their throats, they stay silent. They die, never betraying what they know. The Prophet has a curious sway over people.
All the more reason he must be silenced.
The Tracker followed the Prophet into unfamiliar lands...
The fugitive Prophet has crossed out of the Empire, and now turns North.
I am now in unfamiliar territory. The Order of Trinity was clear: I am to pursue the False Prophet and his adherents to the ends of the earth, and wash away his heresy, but I believed I could overtake him months ago. Still he eludes me.
He crosses Khazar land, and across the Caucasus Mountains. Here I am at a disadvantage. I speak a dozen tongues of the Empire, but in the hinderlands, I am often left to communicate with little more than a sword. The Prophet, it seems, speaks every language, as if he were born to them.
Shores of Svetloyar
The Tracker met resistance from those the Prophet spoke with...
He has passed through the lands of the Rus.
I cannot shake the feeling that he is taunting me, waiting until I am a day's ride away before moving on. I will not be home before the winter, as I hoped. I have stopped at a small village by a glassy lake they call Svetloyar.
The Prophet spoke here, and now the villagers refuse me lodging. I slept on the banks of the lake, where a young man, bearing a crude version of the Prophet's Icon, tried to kill me as I dozed. I made an example of him, and now the people fix me with the evil eye, spit at me as I pass. I must move on soon. His sickness spreads.
The Frozen Wastes
The Tracker found his quarry deep in the northern mountains...
The madman continues on. I do not know what drives him.
We pass through frozen mountains at the edge of the world. His people are dying. Every day I pass graves or bodies left along the faint trail. I have grown thin and hard, but I am close now. My horse is dead, the mare that had been with me since the campaigns against the Bulgars. I butchered her and carry the meat on my back. But I am so close.
I can hear them singing just over the ridge. A joyous sound on the wind. The Prophet will be dead within the week, and I will return to the Order of Trinity triumphant. Just one more day, and I will be upon him.
A Broken Man
The tracker failed to kill the Prophet, but was left alive. The Prophet showed mercy, even to those that would do him harm.
I thought I had died.
The cold gnawed at me and I grew weak, even as I saw the Prophet's people camped on the ridge of a strange, green valley. One foot after the other, sword in hand, I trudged on. I meant to charge, a battle cry on my chapped lips, when consciousness fled, and I collapsed into the arms of heretics.
They know who I am. They have been expecting Trinity. They do not have much, but they fed me, kept me warm until I could walk again. The Prophet told me I could leave whenever I desire, but they have taken my blades. Even armed... I do not know that I could kill this man.
I have failed the Order. I have failed myself. But I live.
Codex of Survival
Jacob's people had to reinvent themselves to survive after Kitezh fell...
Our ancestors came here as men and women fleeing Byzantium. They wandered into a wild that almost killed them, but they survived, and found this valley. And how did they honor this gift from God?
By tearing the stones from the mountains and building a new Empire, a mocking echo of that which almost destroyed them. But like the tower of Babel, God saw fit to cast us down, and to make us humble. We learned to listen to the land, to become stewards, not conquerors. And in turn, the land has offered up its secrets. You only have to listen...
Language of the Land
They were strangers in this land at first, but they pass on what each generation learns...
The flora of our valley, from the tall trees to the lowly mushrooms, were foreign to our ancestors when they first arrived. It took time and tragedy to learn the language of this land, but now we pass on this knowledge with every generation. This earth offers all we need.
There is the healing herb, which you know to seek near sources of water, and in sheltered coves. The birch wood of the forest, straight and true can be gathered to make arrows. And the deathcaps, the mushrooms you find inside rotting logs or in dark, damp places, can make a potent poison.
They've lived in relative harmony with the world around them for nearly a thousand years...
The creatures of this valley were unfamiliar to us once, but now they are our brothers and sisters as much as any relation of blood. You can learn much about the creatures of our alley from the hunters, but they find worth in death.
We must also find the gifts our brothers give while they are alive. In the nests of birds, you'll find feathers, for the fletchers to craft arrows. Ask for what you need, and the valley will provide.
Bones of the Earth
Even while they kept themselves in balance with the world, they always were prepared for war...
The bones of the earth itself offer up their wealth, and we have learned to survive and subsist. Oil bubbles up from below. It can be gathered in the deep places, caves, dens, and our ancestor's tombs, and it will burn with little effort. In times of war, we coat our arrows to make them burn.
Deeper still you can find metal in shining veins, that can be mined for their ore. We use that metal to forge simple tools, but someday, we will need that metal to repair the Soviet weapons...Living in harmony with the land rarely means living in harmony with our fellow man.
Ways of the Valley
On the Smallest Prey
Teachings from the master huntswoman of the Remnant people...
Young ones! You scoffed at learning your letters, said it had nothing to do with hunting, but that's your first lesson-everything is connected, and I am always right. You clever students who saw the folly in stubbornness and can read this, here's your first assignment.
Track, hunt and bring me back the pelt of one of the small creatures of the valley. Hares you can find anywhere, night or day, both the little brown ones in our valley, and the snow hares in the peaks. The squirrels stick to the trees, and rain will drive them into their burrows. And, if you see fit to seek the rats, look inside the ruins, or anywhere the dead still lie.
Please, do not bring me a rat.
On Local Birds
More wisdom from the hunters of the valley...this time on hunting birds...
Here is your lesson for today: bring me any creature with feathers. The birds in our valley fly mostly by day, nestling away at dark. You've seen gulls and other kinds farther afield. These common birds would count for today's lesson, but it would lack ambition.
You clever students who wish to impress me would do well to head to the high elevations between dawn and dusk. I would find a buzzard most impressive.
And before you ask, the chickens around our villages come here with our ancestors. Bringing me a tame bird from your mother's yard will not fulfil the assignment.
On Deer and Stags
Much of their food comes from the deer of the valley...
You're making great strides, young ones. I almost believe some of you might be passable hunters some day. But here is where we begin to separate the wheat from the chaff. Today, while the sun is up, we stalk deer. Their meat, their skin, antlers, even their bones, are what keep us all alive. Respect the deer, for it is as close to God as we are.
Find them by their bedding, where the grass is pressed flat, or near berry bushes where they feed. Strike true, don't let it feel a moment of fear or pain.
Remember, I will be judging you, and whoever brings me a stag will be judged most favorably.
Boar seems to be a more difficult quarry, but well worth the risk...
You'll never find a finer meat than boar. As black as the soil, and twice as rich, but hunting the damned things is an unpleasant task, to say the least.
Now that the sun is up, we will hunt as a pack, working together to take down a boar.
We will strike from the hunting blinds around the valley, for we can spot the boar in the dense undergrowth without being seen. And you do not want to be seen. At least it's not raining.
None of you, not even I want to deal with that cursed razorback...
On the Threat of Wolves
They hunt as a group, just like the wolves hunt in a pack...
We have a true test now, young ones. The valley is balance. When one thing slides it affects all others. The fire two harvests ago led to unusual bloom of berries. That led to more deer, and now, we've got too many damned wolves. They're not good eating, but to keep the valley in harmony, we're tracking wolves tonight.
They come out after dark, and roam the whole valley, but we're going to track them to their dens in caves, and other underground places. Stay close together.
When you hunt wolves, the wolves are just as likely to hunt you.
They don't hunt the bear for meat, but they have to be prepared...
You are hunters, every last one of you, and I am proud. Your final lesson comes today, a test all hunters must face. Today, we'll track the one thing bigger and meaner than me in this valley. Today, we'll take down a bear. We only hunt bears when they get old and ornery, when they start to enter the village.
And now we have just such a bear. I've tracked him to his den, watching him range across the valley, following the other animals. We must throw our spears together. When he rears up, aim straight and true for his heart. A lucky shot between the ribs can drop any beast.
Pray you make it, because there won't be a second chance.
Heart of Darkness
Some sort of private journal...One of Trinity's soldiers...
We're gearing up. I was on the first flight to Siberia to secure the old Soviet Installation. Now more are arriving every minute. Konstantin gave a speech to the new boots, and I stayed in the back to watch. Love hearing him speak, never gets old. I was never much for believing, but it was just words before. This is something more. It's truth.
I was broken once, but Trinity is making us whole again, giving us a purpose. A new world awaits. Even those who don't believe will have a part to play.
He's a psychopath. If these are the kind of people Trinity hires...
First day in Siberia and it happens. Two years in Afghanistan, and another in Indonesia, and nothing. But one day out here on the ice, and -pop- I get a kill. Watched the man's eyes go glassy as he begged me for something. Not Russian. No clue.
I waited with him, and watched. One minute he was there, the next, nothing...just meat. Got sick on the snow, all mixed in with the kid's blood. But he's just meat now. And I'm alive.
Konstantin keeps telling us we're out here for a special reason, tells us we're doing God's work. I'm starting to see that now.
Trinity has to know what he's up to...
I don't think Ana shares our faith. Or she's in this for something else. She's conflicted. I get that. I used to be the same way. But we've all got a part to play in this.
Took another patrol to see if I could get another kill. Sure enough, caught a Remnant at the perimeter. Took my time. Did it with my hands, so I could see the light in her eyes go out. Stayed with her until she went cold. Magic.
Konstantin tells us that with the Source, we'll live forever... that we'll finally look upon the face of God. But I already have.
This is where I'm supposed to be. Took me so long to find it, but this is it. I'm home.
Trinity will find a use for anyone...even this man...
Security guards came at night. Knew they would. I crossed a line when I killed the tech from Echo squad. I know I shouldn't have. But I couldn't help it. Remnant weren't enough. I needed something..more.
They brought me to the windowless room. I thought I was dead. Then Konstantin was there. Took my head in his hands, and smiled. Told me he understood. He was like me once. I've sinned, but there could be forgiveness.
I've been a blunt instrument, swinging wildly. He told me I could be redeemed. I've got a special skill, just needed sharpening. Trinity can make me a weapon, point me in the right direction.
I almost cried and kissed his feet. I will become what I was meant to be. For Trinity. For Konstantin.
Hmm...it seems Trinity keeps some of its men in the dark...
I know I've taken some jobs of questionable legality, and I know you're not happy about it . But I couldn't pass this contract. Been trying to get work with Trinity for years. They're discreet, the pay is obscene, and they always have opportunities.
Now here I am, and I already want out. We're at an abandoned Soviet Installation in the middle of nowhere. No one's telling us low level contractors what's going on, but I think I might be helping some seriously scary people get a nuke, or something equally awful. Honestly, that's the best case scenario.
Ping me back if you get this, I've carved out a secure channel on the network. For an operation like this, you'd think they'd have better security. But I guess that's why they hired me.
This won't end well for him...
It's not nukes. Creepy looking guy with a scarred face named Konstantin gave us a big speech, talked about destiny and something called "The Source", and frankly I'm even more baffled.
The other contractors seem to be just as antsy and nervous as I am. But the company men, the guys who've been with Trinity for a long time, they're drinking it up and asking for seconds. It's fucking Jonestown out here.
We're preparing for an assault. Against who, you might ask? There's people here. Like, natives, lost in time. We're talking furs, skins, and iron arrowheads. We're about to go meet them with attack choppers and fifty cal machine guns.
I'm on the wrong goddamn side of history.
Trinity knows he's leaking information...
I'm in trouble. Big fucking trouble.
I've been snooping around, saving a few files for my personal use, and I found a correspondence thread. About me. Worse, I think I was supposed to find it. The head of security knows I've been leaking data. Probably known all along. And they're just watching for now. Waiting to see what my endgame is.
I wish I had an endgame. I'm gonna die just because I was nosy and stupid.
I don't even think this channel is secure, now. They could have picked you up already.
I'm getting paranoid out here. But this Trinity...They are big. And they're everywhere. The more I find out, the more I realize how badly I fucked up.
So here you go: You were right.
Hope I get to tell you that in person.
Trinity will kill him for this... I hope it was worth it.
I've attached everything I've learned so far. Ana and Konstantin, they're in charge out here, but someone else is pulling the strings above them... someone with a lot of cash and the means to move it around.
I've narrowed down the source, but I'm having a hard time believing someone in the Vatican is running a private army. But all roads lead to Rome.
Trust me, this sounds crazy even to me. But people have to know this. If I'm going to die for this, I want to be on the right side for once.
And Konstantin... I know you're probably reading this too. You might make me disappear, but you won't win here. And if I never get the chance to say it to your face... you're out of your fucking mind.
It wants me to just lie down and die. But I won't...
I wish this pain wasn't so familiar. Like looking an old enemy in the eye. It wants to take me down. It wants me to just lie down and die. But I won't. I can't.
There's something here, there must be or Trinity wouldn't be in this snowy hell. I just hope that Jonah is okay. That he found a way back. I...I just couldn't risk having him with me. Not again. The pain of losing him. That would be too much to bear. This is my path and mine alone.
Ruins in the Snow
On the right track...
I'm on the right track. But to what, I'm not sure. I only saw the ruins for a moment before the avalanche hit, but the Byzantine style was unmistakable.
To think the prophet could have led his people all this way...and more, that they built a city in this frozen wasteland. Could it actually be here? And if so, how much more of the legend is true?
And now Trinity is here, thanks to me. But I can't think about that just yet. I need to keep moving.
Enemy of my Enemy
There are people here...can they be the prophet's descendants?
So, there are people who live out here...and they appear to have been here for a very long time...living in isolation for decades, maybe even centuries. I noticed elements of her dress, small adornments that would not have been place in the Byzantine Empire. Could they possibly be descendants of the Prophet's people? How much do they know about the Lost City or the Divine Source?
Its clear Trinity will do anything to find out. I'm afraid that whatever they are, they're in grave danger. Let's hope the old proverb about the enemy of my enemy remains true.
The Face of Trinity
The man from Syria is here...
Konstantin is here, the man who tried to kill me in Syria. He's violent, dangerous...but worse, he appears entirely devoted to his misguided beliefs. I seem to have a habit of running afoul of religious zealots. But I suppose it all goes with the territory.
His men on the radio mentioned a prisoner with information...could it be one of the natives I've encountered? And if so, what does he know? Trinity will not be kind in their methods. Perhaps I can find him...find out what he knows. Earning the trust of these locals might prove useful.
In the Field
A letter from my father when he was in the field...
Lord Croft: Roth is determined that I should learn how to shoot. However, he tried to teach me today. I was utterly hopeless. I've always said in the field you can't go wrong with a stout stick and good boots. I told him I was a man of words, not of weapons. He laughed and said that he hoped I could find the right words to slow down a charging bison. I told him that that's what he was for. Bless him for trying, though. I don't think they'll be anymore lessons somehow.
Lara: Roth always said I must've gotten my sharp eyes and steady hands from mom. That summer he taught me to shoot instead. I took to it...maybe too well.
Another letter from my father...hearing his words now brings me comfort.
Lord Croft: I hope you received my last tape in good time. I am becoming increasingly fond of recording these messages to you. Ana says that I need time away from my books and papers every so often if only to remember why I'm doing all this. I know you hate me going away, but it will be worth it one day. It will all be worth it. Sending my love to you. Work hard in school.
Lara: I know your work was important, but it didn't feel like it at the time. Still it taught me independence, how to look after myself. Important lessons as it turns out.
The Divine Source must be hidden somewhere in this wasteland...
For the first time in weeks, things are becoming clear. I know there's something hidden here. The Soviets came looking for it, too...and now Trinity and Ana...
Ana...God, I still don't quite believe it. All this time. Did she watch Dad as well? I've got to keep moving, find Jacob and join his people...if I can prove myself to them, maybe he will tell me more about this place.
A Good Man
Alone again. Jacob's gone ahead...
Alone again. Jacob's gone ahead. There's something about him that I can't quite put my finger on. It's strange, but almost comforting...like I could tell him anything and it wouldn't faze him. I sense no judgement from him. Yet, at the same time, he's hard to read.
My instincts tell me he's a good man. He saved my life-I think I can trust him, at least for now. But I can't shake a nagging feeling that he knows more than he's letting on.
Camp Journals II
I think about Dad every day...
I think about Dad every day. For years, I was so angry with him. For losing himself in his work, for chasing what I thought were fairytales. I had no idea. I keep telling myself that I was young...that I couldn't understand. But I still lost him.
And now...for some reason, I feel more connected to him than I ever did when he was alive. He never got this far, but I know he's with me. The Divine Source is here and I'm going to find it. He knew that it could change the way we understand the human soul...that it could change the world. But he's gone now, and I'm the only one left who knows he was right.
Separated again. I just hope Jacob's still alive...
Separated again. I just hope Jacob's still alive. I don't know exactly where I am. That's rapidly becoming the story of my life. I'm fighting to survive, yet strangely...I feel hopeful.
There are incredible ruins all around me. This must be part of the Prophet's lost city. But how much more is true? The Divine Source...could it really be here?
The Greater Good
Jacob and his people are resilient, I'll give them that...
Jacob and his people are resilient, I'll give them that. Trinity is on their way...they could do with my help. And this Atlas from the mural-if it really is some kind of map of the ruins, I've got to find it before Ana.
If I don't, then all these deaths will have been in vain. And I can't have that on my conscience.
Trinity being here, the people they're hurting...that's down to me...
Trinity being here, the people they're hurting...that's down to me. I led them here. God, it's happening again, isn't it? People are suffering because of my actions. No, no you can't think like this, Lara, or you really will drive yourself crazy.
Trinity would have found this place sooner or later. At least I have the chance to help stop them...of getting to the Divine Source first and using it to benefit the world rather than causing more pain and suffering. Just need to focus. For everyone's who's gone before, for everyone I've lost...just keep going.
Those were my happiest memories, dad.
Lord Croft: I wish you could see the view from my tent, Lara. The dig looks so beautiful in the early evening- when the last embers of the sunlight are dying upon a good day's work. Then one by one the fires are lit and the smell of roasting meat wafts across the camp. They tell me that it's guinea pig. I declined it. Roth ate two. Maybe next time I'll bring you out here too...How did your history test go?
Lara: Those were my happiest memories, dad, being out on the digs with you. Especially when you gave me my own little plot to excavate. I liked that...feeling that I was part of something important. I aced that test by the way.
I want answers, but what choice do I have now?
I want answers, but what choice do I have now? I can't let Trinity wipe these people out. There are lines here that I crossed a long time ago, and there's no going back. I've got to help them.
It's clear that Jacob's people would die for him, and he for them. That kind of loyalty is rare. And to find it here, at the ends of the earth, is truly remarkable. If I fight with them, perhaps Jacob will trust me enough to tell me what's really going on.
Burden of Truth
So much violence and death...
So much violence and death. Jacob's people have been through so much, yet they continue to fight. They are bound by an oath taken by their ancestors...a duty handed down from the past. But I see a people who simply want to live in peace. I believe it's time for them to let go of the past.
If I can find the Atlas, it might lead to the Divine Source. I could take it away from here, they wouldn't have to suffer anymore. They could share the burden of truth with the world.
But if all this leads to nothing...I don't know what I'll do.
I'm ahead of Ana now, but I don't know what I've gotten myself into here.
I'm ahead of Ana now, but I don't know what I've gotten myself into here. Something else dwells in the darkness of this place. But I've got to continue-I've come too far.
Ana thinks she knows me. And maybe she does, on some level. But she doesn't know everything, and as long as she continues to underestimate me, I might still have the upper hand.
Camp Journals III
The Deathless Ones
Something dwells in the darkness below...
Someone else was attacking Trinity in the darkness beneath the Cathedral. Could it be the Deathless Ones Sofia spoke of? And if so, what part do they have to play in all this? I have so many questions.
But for now, I'm just relieved...Jonah's alive! I should have known he'd come looking for me. And thank god Jacob's people found him before he ran afoul of Trinity. I never wanted him to follow me into danger, but I have to admit...I'm happy he's here now.
An Old Friend In Need
I have to find Jonah before it's too late.
They have Jonah now...and the Atlas.
But if they think he knows something, there's still a good chance they're keeping him alive. I just hope Jonah can hold out long enough for me to find him. I have to get him back. I won't let him die here.
Hang on Jonah, I'll find you.
Memories of my Mother
Dad rarely talked about her...it brought him too much pain.
Lord Croft: I...I know I've spoke little of your mother, Lara, but I want you to know that in the brief time she spent with you she loved you utterly. We were a very happy little trio. And when we lost her...I was a wreck, I still am. I hope one day I will find answers that will stop this pain. For me it is too late, but for others...maybe not. Ah, I'm rambling now. Shouldn't have had that night cap. Sweet dreams, dearest.
Lara: Was it all about her...these questions about life you hoped to answer? Or was that just an excuse? Maybe I reminded you of her too much. God Lara, you're talking to a ghost...about another ghost! Maybe you need a night cap!
All in Good Time
He never had a chance to tell me what he knew...
Lord Croft: I know that you like to read the archaeological journals now, but I urge you that if you see anything written which is...less than pleasant about me...to ignore it. There are those who simply do not understand the work I'm doing here. Perhaps they're even frightened by it. But their fear and stupidity is not my concern and neither should it be yours. I will explain everything in good time my darling girl.
Lara: The people that were frightened...were they Trinity? You never told me. I guess it doesn't matter now anyway. They've found their way to me. Now I'm going to have to deal with them.
The Truth Revealed
The truth lies in the heart of Kitezh.
I just have to catch my breath for a moment, this place...Kitezh...Jacob...the Deathless Ones. I've been running so fast for so long, I haven't stopped to acknowledge the simple fact that all of this is real. A part of me can't believe it.
But I know Jacob was telling the truth-whatever made him is here, and I'm going to find it before Trinity. I only wish Dad was alive to share in this discovery.
Facing the Divine
I'm so close to a great discovery...
I don't know what I expected an immortal being to be like, but Jacob seems so human.
The things he must have seen over the years. All that experience and knowledge. It's difficult to fathom. And yet he lied to his own people for generations. All for the sake of this secret.
What wonders will be unlocked with the Divine Source? Will humans finally understand the true nature of the soul, or will it unlock some extraordinary new scientific discovery? One thing is certain, it's too important to allow Trinity to control.
Born a Croft
Even as a baby, it seemed I was a survivor...
Lord Croft: Before I even held you, I almost lost you, Lara. Yet you fought back, determined to live, breathe, ball your tiny fists and scream the hospital down. It was the best noise I ever heard. When I went home that snowy night I cooked myself a steak. Then I drunk half a bottle of whiskey, tried to make snow-shoes out of tennis rackets and fell asleep with the cat. I was so damn happy.
Lara: I think I must have heard that story about a dozen times and I could hear it a dozen more. I wish that could have lasted. I wish...we'd had more time.
A codex detailing the Byzantine knowledge of mining and metalwork.
This soil in this valley is not the rich black earth of your fertile homeland. The bones of these mountains are not gentle hills you roamed as children. We are in a new land, and we must learn the language of the stones. Beneath our feet, the sharp rocks hide glittering veins of ore, gold and chromite, which, when mixed with other alloys creates a steel that shines like silver...
A codex containing a series of meditations on willpower...
Pain is illusory, just as the body it is tied to. Our souls feel no pain. When we split, rend, and tear our flesh, our souls still soar, unblemished and undamaged. When you learn to separate the lies of our bodies from God's truth of the soul, then the Adversary has no hold upon you. Your body may dies, torn limb from limb, and you will call out with joy, for your soul is eternal and free from pain.
A codex of the advanced archery skills developed in Byzantium...
Once we had learned the lessons of our enemies, we grew to surpass them in skill. We learned how to loose arrow after arrow, until the battlefields were so covered with arrow shafts that they resembled a field of wheat. And still we learned. The best riders and archers of Asia Minor no longer opposed you, but instead clamored to join our armies. We carry the wisdom earned from generations of refinement, and now we pass on these lessons to you.
A codex detailing the Byzantine knowledge of anatomy...
Our ancestors had not been hunters for many generations. We were so used to the great, sprawling wealth of the Empire. We were forced to discover those skills again on the hard trek into the mountains. We learned from hardship, and from the people we met along the way. The best of our hunters will tell you that with the proper focus, they can see the life coursing within an animal, and can pierce their heart with a single arrow. Without their skills, we would not have survived.
This codex appears to be an instruction manual for mountaineering...
This valley has given us all we need to survive and flourish, but it did not give those gifts willingly. Towering cliffs of rock and ice made traversing our lands treacherous in the best of times. Our city now has roads and paths, bridges and walkways, but in the early days, we had only our hands, rope, and simple tools. More than a few of us died, scaling the inhospitable heights. But now we have learned to cross the face of these cliffs as if we were born to it. Learn from our trails, and the pull of the Earth will never hold you down.
A codex detailing early theories on the connection between the body and the mind...
When the body suffers a wound, it knows how to stitch itself together. A child with no knowledge of the bodily humors will still heal from any wound that does not prove fatal. But with the knowledge contained within, you will see that a wise man, with great practice and concentration can will his body to heal faster. The mind holds great sway over the realm of flesh.
A codex detailing the relationship between Man and Nature...
When we first arrived in this new valley, we were lost and dying. The beasts and trees and plants were all strange and foreign to us, but we have learned much. It has been a long and painful process, and we discovered through many trials and still more errors what salves and poisons can be made, and what other treasures the valley offers. Let this test be a lesson to those who follow in our footsteps.
A codex containing the long lost secret of Greek Fire...
When we fled the Empire, we left much behind, but nothing so valuable as the secrets of our ancestors, the secret of the War Fire. With this weapon, our ancestors broke the invasions of the Persians, the Avars, and the Arabs. They know it by another name, "Greek Fire", for we alone know the secret. But we had to leave it behind. After many long years, we have at last found the ancient formula, and again we wield the war fire. Our arrows glow bright with death, and we can feel safe, once again. Do not let the secret leave this valley. Protect it with your life.
A codex of philosophical writings on the virtue of awareness.
Though the philosophers believe our body is but a dream of the soul, an infection of the flesh or a blow to the skull can end that dream, whether we believe it or not. Those wise men sleepwalk through life, hastening their own ends through inattention. While I am not so foolish that I would declare them right or wrong, I will instead make aims to protect both body and sou. Through concentration, discipline and focus, we can become masters of the physical realm, able to keep our bodies and souls together by avoiding the horror of pain. Pay close attention. You must always see the sword before it strikes if you hope to live.
A codex describing the archery techniques of the foes of the Byzantine empire...
There was a time when our Empire fought with sword and shield, but we learned from our enemies. The horsemen of the steppes and the archers of the East taught us, at great cost. We adopted their strategies, took their lessons to heart, and brought their mercenaries to our side with coin. In time, we learned to be just as deadly with a bow, just as quick. Let these lessons, learned in blood, be your birthright as a soldier of the Empire.
The Iron Road
Incredible. The style looks ancient, but it depicts...a train...The coming of the Soviets.
Against all odds, they survived, in the ruins of their former glory. But forces from outside the valley came, again seeking the Divine Source. Separated from the rest of history for almost a thousand years...until the Soviets came...
The Long Years
This mural commemorates the dead lost in the battle, and those that died after of disease and starvation.
They were almost wiped out, and those that lived struggled to survive the coming years. Without the city, they were forced to adapt, surviving from the land. Many believed the Prophet was dead in the years that followed, but he returned to protect what remained of his people.
Oh...The Mongols destroyed everything, and the city...sank beneath the ice...
Somehow, the Mongol Horde learned of Kitezh, and the treasure of the Source. They laid siege to the city, and although they were outnumbered the Prophet blessed his army, the Athanatoi, so that they too would not fear death. They fought for many days, until at last, the glaciers rose up and swallowed the city, entombing it in ice...
Years of Plenty
At its height, the city was a marvel. These buildings would rival anything in the Empire.
The city was a marvel...if half of this can be believed, it was the rival of Constantinople, or any of the cities of the East. Still, they feared their old enemies would find them, so they guarded their borders, and kept word of the city from spreading for as long as they could...
The New City
This commemorates the construction of a great city...Kitezh.
The followers of the Prophet were builders, engineers, scholars, doctors, as well as soldiers and common folk. Wise and good people walked in his footsteps, and with their knowledge and will, a great city was raised up in a generation. The city of the Prophet, resting place of the Divine Source...Kitezh.
This mural shows the moment they found the valley...It must have looked like a paradise.
But through the hardship, they knew they had been chosen to be the protectors of the Divine Source, so God granted them a paradise, in which they could begin again. They came to a lush valley by a lake, high in the mountains. The Prophet had led them through hardships and death, and now they were free to begin again, in safety.
The Long Exodus
The followers of the Prophet fled to the East. The journey was...difficult.
Across the steppes, and into the frozen wastes, they travelled East in search of safety and freedom. They passed the edge of the Empire, and crossed into the frontier, protecting the Divine Source. The journey was perilous, many succumbed to the cold and starvation, but the miracles of the Prophet kept them going forward.
The followers of the Prophet fled, but they were attacked...in Syria.
They fled south to the very edge of the empire, but attackers pursued them seeking to silence the Prophet. They were attacked, and the Prophet was killed...but the Divine Source awoke, and the Prophet arose from the dead...
Lessons of Loyalty
The Prophet was persecuted...and so were his followers.
When the Emperor died, the Prophet's favor in Court died with him. The new Emperor distrusted him, and fearing for their safety, the Prophet and his followers fled the Imperial City with the Divine Source...Many stayed behind, and renounced the Prophet, but one entire Imperial Army pledged loyalty to the Prophet. The Athanatoi.
The Prophet's Arrival
This mural shows the Prophet, preaching in Constantinople...
The Prophet returned from the wilds a changed man, bearing...the Divine Source...and entered the holy city of Constantinople. People came far and wide to hear him, and he had the ear of great Generals and even the Emperor himself...But even then he had enemies...
Who are these knights? Defenders of the city? They look...different somehow.
The Athanatoi, literally "the deathless ones"...they defended the city against all invaders with Greek Fire, a secret weapon they brought from Byzantium. It burned through iron and flesh, and could even set water ablaze, and they guarded the formula of its creation.
Steward of the Land
A mural detailing one of the miracles of the Prophet...
...when the drought of a thousand days choked the land, the Prophet led his people to the waters of life.
Death of the Prophet
A mural showing the murder of the Prophet...
The Prophet was slain by The Order of Trinity as they fled Constantinople...but his followers escaped, and took his body to the Oasis...
The Prophet's Benevolence
A mural detailing the healing miracles of the Prophet...
A great plague descended upon the people, ravaging young and old alike. The Prophet went among the afflicted, laying his hands upon them, restoring them to the fullness of life.
The Prophet's Peace
A mural showing the Prophet speaking to an invading army...
When the great armies of the North invaded the land, the people rose up to meet them in battle. But the Prophet bade them to lay down their arms. He spoke to the enemy in their tongue and they did depart in peace.
The Miracles of the Prophet
This must be where they laid him to rest...
We celebrate the miracles of the Prophet of Constantinople, who was unjustly taken from us at the hands of the Order of Trinity. But his truth can never be hidden.
Star of Progress
In praise of Cosmonauts. I can get behind that...
A plaque celebrating the scientific achievement of the Soviets. It reads "Motherland! You've been the first to light a star of progress and peace over the Earth. Glory to science, glory to labor! Glory to the Soviet regime!"
The Warmth of Labor
They had to keep production up, to compete with the West...
Another plaque to promote a good work ethic. It reads "Work hard to fight cold and hunger." If only it were that easy...
Warning for the Unjust
A grim sentiment...
This plaque is a little more...belligerent than the others. It reads "Enemies must answer for their crimes against the Motherland." The symbolism isn't exactly subtle.
Propaganda to keep people working...
An image of a man working a farm in the dead of night. It reads "Night won't prevent us from working." I can't imagine smiling about that...
Man of the People
In praise of Lenin...
The text reads "Lenin lived, Lenin Lives, Lenin will live forever."
For the Motherland
They wrung everything they could from the prisoners...
The text on this one is a promise of redemption: "With hard work, you can help the Motherland and your crimes will be forgotten." Even in a prison, nationalism is a powerful motivator.
This crest was placed when the construction was completed...
It's a dedication marker, for when Freedom Station first was first constructed. This place held untold prisoners for decades before it fell. There's no telling what horrors occurred in this facility.
Even out here, they were watchful...
It's a warning, of sorts: "We will eradicate the spies, saboteurs, and the agents of fascism." The cold war engendered paranoia and distrust on all sides, it seems.
A Happy Land
Hard to imagine anyone being happy out here...
The text here is simple: "Long Live our Happy Soviet Land." Whoever placed this here had a cruel sense of irony...
All Empires Fall
Someone has added their own marks...
This one was once a simple message in praise of the heroes of the Soviet Union, but someone has etched another sentiment in the metal: "All Empires Fall." I wonder if the writer ever got to see her prediction come to pass.