Here are transcriptions of all the accessible journals in Riven, presented in an easier to read font.
I've redacted some numbers in Gehn's journal on Riven, since it's possible to discover his journal before the D'ni numeral system is deciphered. You can see the translated numbers by highlighting the blank spaces.
The backstory to Riven is further detailed in the first two Myst novels: The Book of Atrus (1995), and The Book of Ti'ana (1996).
TOP - ATRUS JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 1 - CATHERINE JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 2
87.6.10 They held for more than thirty years, but the corrections I made to Riven have finally failed - the island has resumed the familiar pattern of decay that is the hallmark of my father's work. I must now race to implement this new patch before it's too late.
I only hope that my revised theories are sound.
87.6.16 Revisions to Riven completed. There are still a number of minor adjustments which need to be made, but the basic corrections have been entered and should be working.
Something's not right; I've been monitoring the instruments for several hours now, but have thus far observed no change. It's possible that I've made an error, though I've checked my entry against my prenotation and can find no discrepancy. I've not had a rest in nearly three days, so it may be that I'm just not seeing it. If the fault is with my foundational assumptions, however....
Perhaps after a short rest, I will see something.
87.6.18 Success! It appears that my repairs have been effective after all; the Gateway Image has become noticeably clearer and although it is impossible to know this with absolute certainty, the island seems to have quieted itself.
Just a few more weeks of work, and I should be free, at last, to go there myself and attempt to bring Catherine back. The past eight months have left me little time to think, to devise a strategy for getting her out of there. I've received no sign from her in all that time. I am afraid that
No, I must assume that she is all right, lest my fears undermine my efforts to bring her back.
87.6.19 I did not create the Age of Riven; unlike my father, I have never presumed to have such power, and yet, the future of all those who live there has fallen into my hands. So far, I've managed to read the page before it turns; the island continues to appear stable, and I would like to believe that I have saved a dying world, but the theories of one individual cannot support the lives of real people indefinitely. I must get everyone off of Riven as soon as possible.
The problem now is Gehn. I'll never be able to rescue Catherine and relocate the islanders if he is still the man he once was.
I haven't seen him in other thirty years, but his history forces me to assume that he is still a threat. His myopic mission to restore the D'ni civilization has left too many innocent cultures dying in its wake, and would continue to do so, were he to once again be free of the confines of Riven (or "The Fifth Age", as he coldly titled it).
The universe has been safe from his corruptive influence for the last 33 years, because no one has been able to leave that Age - the last Linking Book out of Riven having been lost in the Star Fissure upon my return to Myst.
That was my intention: to maroon my father on Riven by removing all the existing Links to other worlds. And since the Art of constructing Books had long been lost with the fall of the D'ni, he would be trapped there for the remainder of his lifetime, and effectively segregated from the countless other worlds that he would have invaded.
In effect, that is what we achieved - but the way it fell, however, was no one's ideal; though the sting of the incident has gradually faded from my memory, the deep pain of the responsibility for what actually came to be has never left me. At the time it all seemed so clear - Gehn's destructive path could not be allowed to continue. But it was never my choice that the innocent inhabitants of Riven, who had already suffered so much, would be the ones to pay for it.
- Enough! To dwell in the past is to die in the present.
The situation is not the same as it was then. The knowledge I've acquired in the years since that time has yet to be applied to this problem...
87.6.20 I think I have the solution. Why it did not occur to me sooner, I do not know unless the idea of it had been pushed out with the thought of my sons.
A Prison Book -
Many years ago, during a hunting expedition through the ruins of D'ni, I chanced upon a formula for a most unusual type of Book. Unfortunately, due to the fact that my father was then in the habit of confiscating my discoveries, I was forced to leave it behind. Years later, however, as part of my efforts to protect the vulnerable worlds linked to the Books in my library, I was pleased to find that I could still recall most of the formula, and with little experimentation quickly succeeded in creating one of these devices myself.
The procedure is actually quite simple: by altering key lines of text but slightly, a normal Linking Book's connection can be partially severed, such that anyone who attempts to use the Book will be permanently trapped in the dark void of the Link - that is, unless someone else then uses the Book, at which point that person would become trapped, and the first person displaced back into the world.
The technique can be applied to Books that have already been written, changes to the original text being so slight that anyone who is unfamiliar with the code will be unable to detect them.
If indeed my father has not changed, what better bait could there be, than a Book that appeared to be a Link back here to D'ni?
87.7.2 Trouble -
My nightly analysis of the island's condition has revealed that the tremors have begun again. The pattern, however, is new; the disturbances are the result of the changes I have made.
This did not (at first) concern me, however; tremors of this type were one of the possible side effects that I had anticipated during this initial phase of the island's readjustment. Still, in order to verify my assumptions, I decided to calculate again, incorporating the new data. The results were not what I expected.
The damage to the understructure is more extensive than I'd realized; I can no longer go to Riven as planned.
Catherine, forgive me.
87.7.3 I must act while I still have the time.
The signs are barely visible, but there's no question that the island's deterioration is accelerating. Total collapse is imminent, unless I can keep ahead, and that is becoming increasingly difficult to do.
87.7.5 With every passing moment, I gain a clearer picture of the incredible chaos that my father's economy of words has yielded, but it is a dismaying process; the complexity of the problem is overwhelming.
There is no end to this.
The last few days have all but convinced me that the collapse of Riven is inevitable; and that, at best, I can only strive to delay it now, and hope that at some point the island will become stable enough to risk a rescue attempt.
87.7.7 I think I've come up with a way to subdue the tremors!
It will require my exclusive attention for at least a month or two, so it may be necessary to discontinue these journal entries for a while.
87.7.13 Something truly miraculous has happened - beyond all conceivable probability, someone has finally found my lost MYST Linking Book and has freed me from this prison!
I immediately realized that this could be the solution to my dilemma, and I believe my mysterious benefactor is willing to assist me. I'm still not sure it can work; the logistics of such a scheme are formidable, but the mere fact that it may now be possible for me to continue my repairs to Riven and yet proceed with my original intent to find Catherine has given me renewed hope.
87.7.16 The last few days have left me little time to work out the remaining problems with sending someone else to Riven. It did occur to me, however, that if a way could be found to signal me once Gehn had been captured, it would no longer be necessary to take a real Linking Book to Riven, and risk the possibility of inadvertently releasing Gehn.
The deteriorated state of the Gateway Image makes the use of a visual signal impossible, but the picture remains a reliable indicator of Riven's condition nonetheless: by measuring and interpreting variations in the noise patterns, I am still able to observe basic changes that occur in the Age - even though I cannot see them. The problem is that my instruments can only detect changes that occur on a fundamental level, and it seems unlikely that an individual could effect such an elementary change from within an Age. The idea may be foolish.
Still, there is a known weakness that may be worth investigating an anomaly that appears as a rift between two separate systems: the Star Fissure. But how - or even if - this fact could be exploited, I cannot say.
Sending someone to Riven also means that once I received the signal that they were ready to return, I would have to leave my writing in order to take a real Linking Book there myself. However, provided my father was safely out of the way, this should take very little time.
After that, assuming the island does not incur much damage in my absence, it should then be a relatively simple matter to hold it together long enough for Catherine to return to Riven and evacuate the remaining islanders.
Predetermining a signal without knowing the topography of the island may prove to be impossible, but I'm afraid there can be only one answer to the question of whether or not I should send my friend to Riven with a way out; the potential for failure will be greatly diminished if the Prison Book is all that is taken there. I'm sure my father is expecting me to bring a Linking Book to Riven - may he not be disappointed.
TOP - ATRUS JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 1 - CATHERINE JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 2
GEHN'S JOURNAL (RIVEN)
The latest Ink formulation has proven a failure. Even when writing in my most promising Books I obtain only the barest glimmer of a connection. It is frustrating to expend so much effort creating a blank Book, only to end up destroying it when it doesn't work! There are days when the lab is uncomfortably warm from the flames of these failed attempts. The further I refine each element - the formulations of the inks and paper, the physical dimensions of the Books - the more I realize that the list of potential combinations is nearly infinite. It is during moments like these that I despair: without access to D'ni, my long term goals may never be accomplished. Nevertheless, there are avenues of research which remain to be explored.
I am discontinuing regular observations of the stars beneath the Fissure. Although I've been able to track the dark cloud-like formulations that migrate through the starfield and have proven that their paths are cyclical, without proper instrumentation it is pointless to continue. My general theory concerning the nature of the Fissure has remained unaltered since it first appeared. It seems that the fabric of this Age has been breached in a way that permits matter to be hospitably exchanged between two discreet but overlapping spaces - much like a Link, but the apparent physical contradictions surrounding this juncture defy logical reason: the great column of wind that was formed when the Fissure first appeared suggests a vacuum as one might expect in space, yet my early experimentations revealed the presence of a breathable atmosphere. That Atrus and Catherine threw themselves into the void is further evidence that it might be safe to travel, but without knowing its true nature I cannot take the risk myself. It is also difficult to say what would happen if I were to reopen it after so long - but it is likely that the results would be catastrophic, given the changes that have occurred in this Age since that time.
Maintenance on the steam vent caps completed - 83.2.10. I am extremely pleased with the continued success of this system: I believe the construction to have been true to the D'ni designs of my memory - another example of the superiority of the D'ni technology. It's ironic that Atrus and Catherine unwittingly provided me with such a convenient source of power.
As with many of my views over the years, my thoughts regarding the origin of the Fissure have changed - I have recently begun to wonder whether it was actually an unexpected by-product of the changes Catherine and Atrus wrote into this Age during their escape. Certainly by casting their Linking Book into the void they trapped me here quite effectively, but I do not believe that Atrus intended the Book to be lost in this manner; much better to destroy it than to risk the possibility of its falling into unknown hands. Also, had they foreseen the creation of the Fissure, they would surely have thought that the vacuum it created would eventually consume the atmosphere of this planet, a fate which Catherine undoubtedly would have deemed unacceptable for her home world. If I had not been there to supervise the construction of the seal this is most certainly what would have happened, for the villagers were far too frightened to even approach the vortex without my urging. I hold onto the belief that it was an unintended consequence of their writing for another reason as well; I prefer to think that my son had meant for this Age to be merely a prison for me, rather than a death sentence.
The construction of the images has proceeded without fault. It is interesting to see how easily I've been able to adapt the D'ni technology to mimic that of the Amad; in some ways the similarities between the two cultures was striking. I wonder if perhaps there had been communication or commerce between the two cultures in earlier times; maybe Keta's people were even descendants of the D'ni. It pleases me to think so.
Note: it's possible that if I were somehow able to supply the books with a power source of sufficient magnitude, I could suppress the variance enough to facilitate a solid link. It is doubtful that the geothermal cap generators could provide such an enormous surge - perhaps I could adapt the fire-marbles -
I have been cataloging the "natural" elements of this Age for nearly thirty years now, yet still I continue to find evidence of the D'ni's preoccupation with Five. As a boy, it was very clear to me that the number five had a special significance to the D'ni society - from the ancient heraldic emblems of the ruling elite to the humble homes of the commoners, it was ubiquitous. Its presence here is obviously a direct reflection of the minds that designed the texts that I used to compose this Age - further proof that through their Art the D'ni Masters were indeed creating the marvelous worlds they wrote, and not, as many have mistakenly thought, merely building links to preexisting worlds.
While most of my constructions have been based on D'ni designs, I see now that the ones that I have imbued with the power of Five are clearly the most beautiful, the most perfect. And, I believe, the most structurally sound.
I am still attempting to determine how the D'ni color symbology reflects this superior design principle. Although superficially it is based on a six color system, I am convinced that there has to be a deeper connection to Five. I will continue to investigate.
I've finally made a breakthrough. I have succeeded in modifying the Fire-marbles to generate enough power to hold a Descriptive Linking Book in a stable matrix: I have linked to a new world! It is a harsh and desolate Age - but is nonetheless well suited for my purposes, and so I have designated it my '233rd'. By studying it closely I believe I will eventually be able to create a more appropriate Age for us to resettle on. For now, I will build an office and set up my living quarters there, in order that I may conduct my experiments in safety and without distraction.
I must admit that I am proud of my work - to think, that in such primitive conditions I have accomplished in 29 years what it took the original D'ni centuries to achieve.
(Note: repair outer wear for work on this world; the goggles may need to be redesigned altogether.)
I have begun construction on a series of Link sites for each island that will connect Riven with my new office on 233. The Survey Guild has finally completed the site location for each island - according to my exact specifications - and installation of the domes is underway at last.
Work on the central power source got off to a bit of a bad start I'm afraid - but the pace has picked up considerably since then and I anticipate no further delays. I'm looking forward to finally having a civilized mode of transportation.
Due to the rebels' continued disturbances, I've decided to install a coded access system into all of the domes - [X] [X] [X] [X] [X]
I caught one of my assistants looking over this journal today; I'm glad I've chosen to write it in a language they can not decipher.
(NOTE: The five digit dome code is randomly generated when a new game is started.)
Note: discuss security with each Guild Master - no problems expected from the Maintainers, Educators, and Surveyors; question the Bookmakers and Builders more closely -
Today I heard several more reports of 'spirit' sightings by some of the villagers. It seems that under Catherine's leadership, the rebels (or 'the Black Moiety' as the villagers obstinately insist on calling them) have attained a new level of sophistication in their terror tactics, and have renewed their campaign to intimidate the villagers into joining them, playing upon their shared superstitions. The villagers are certainly susceptible to this form of coercion - especially given of late the rebels' increasing acts of vandalism and theft.
The ytram traps have been steadily fruitful this year: apparently the breakup of the islands has not adversely effected [sic] the subterranean ecosystems. Unfortunately, I imagine the rebels are experiencing a similarly generous harvest - no shortage of poison for their darts this season. Such morbid issues aside, the sudden availability has allowed me to refine a particularly pleasant extract for my pipe, one that is smoother than any of the others from recent years.
Chemical analysis of one of the rebel knives has yielded curious results: its composition contains elements that are unlike anything I've encountered on the islands. It appears they have access to a resource of which I am unaware: perhaps a mine, on an uncharted island.
Note: most of the knives have been found on the south side of the village. This is the same area in which there have been reports of people 'mysteriously disappearing.' I think a closer inspection of the area is warranted.
The fact that they leave these distinctive knives as a sign of their presence concerns me: they're growing more bold, and seem to no longer fear discovery of their hideout.
The latest measurements indicate that the recent trend has continued: the movement of the islands has slowed tremendously. My previous estimates predicted a total collapse in approximately three months, but with the new figures I am uncertain. I have nearly finished writing the '234th' Age, and I have every faith that it will indeed be a safe place for us to relocate to; yet it would be helpful to know what has caused the halt in this Age's breakup. Is it possible that it's stable after all? If so, I must discover how this Age differs from my less successful attempts - my examinations of the '233rd' Age have thus far proven inconclusive. Or perhaps someone is repairing damage to the Fifth Age? If so, it would almost certainly be Atrus' doing.
I have reluctantly decided to abandon my experiments into the behavior of the water of this age, as there are more pressing matters on which I must now concentrate, leaving me little time for such speculative research. For future reference, however, my investigations up to this point have revealed the following:
I believe the remarkable properties of the water to be caused by a life form that resides in it - specifically, a type of bacteria. I am imagining a motile unicellular organism, but one with structures capable of holding bits of water, whose combined effect (via surface tension? a stronger force?) causes the composite body of water to move in response to heat. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat - for example, a period of extended boiling - seems to kill the bacteria - which would explain its dramatic aversion to heat sources. Unfortunately, these theories are still not fully tested, and I remain ignorant of both its deeper nature and its possible uses.
An exciting development: Last night, a squad of Maintainers stumbled upon a lone rebel scout and obtained from him a most incredible device - it is a crystal that somehow 'powers' these flawed Linking Books, much as my own system does, but with an obvious advantage: it is small and weighs only a few pounds, making it completely portable. Catherine must have fabricated the device before I captured her, obviously with an explicit D'ni schematic she must have brought with her to this Age. If only I'd had access to such a document all these years! Regardless, I can now concentrate solely on the writing of Ages, and need no longer worry about building elaborate power supplies for each new book I write. This is a sobering reminder however that I must continue to seek an avenue to D'ni - regaining access to the resources there may be crucial to the completion of my mission.
GEHN'S NOTE ON THE WOODEN SPHERES
Last week, while monitoring the situation of the villagers from the scope in my survey room, I observed one of the natives swim out to a small object that appeared to be floating, but anchored, near the entrance to the bay. I ordered the object removed from the water for inspection. Several days later, however, I was surprised to see another floating there; the missing object had apparently, and quite mysteriously, been replaced with a new one overnight. I've long been aware of the existence of similar artifacts on the villagers' island, but have paid them little notice until now. Tomorrow I shall send surveyors to catalog the others.
TOP - ATRUS JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 1 - CATHERINE JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 2
I linked to Riven a week ago. The smell of the place overwhelmed me moments before I could see anything.
With my sight only partially cleared, I stood motionless, peering ahead through a dim veil which was slowly lifting. There was a violent clang and bars appeared. I remember breathing slowly and very deeply, tasting the familiar Riven air, but not recognizing a thing.
I must have been hit with the dart right away. I thought it was an insect bite at first.
I'm trying to remember it all, but it's difficult, maybe because of the drug. There was a voice. A man I did not recognize stood before me - Rivenese, though he was wearing D'ni dress. He seemed to be talking to me, but the poison was already taking effect; a shadow crept in and I fell asleep.
Then there were many voices, but I understood none of them - like hundreds of people whispering. I couldn't wake up.
No matter... the dream did end. And now, to be here with Eti. It's been so many years, I didn't realize how much I missed her: like a piece of me that I had forgotten I'd lost. She's beautiful, and so full of warmth. But the years have also left her with a wound which was not there when we were children.
I do wish she were more interested; it seems like I'm asking all the questions. It's awkward; no one asks me where I've been, or what I've been doing. This hurts, but I understand it; their beliefs are born out of ignorance and oppression. They are a gentle people, but they've had their nest destroyed and now they frantically cling to anything that might save them.
But why have they chosen to cling to me?
I'm confused. As a child I always felt out of place here - I never belonged. They misunderstood me, and I couldn't relate to them. But now, I'm overwhelmed by an intense feeling that I owe everything to them and this place. I thought I would never see them again, and yet, I'm here. I've been given this second chance. But a second chance at what? Saving them? Fulfilling their prophesies? Being their savior?
The Moiety - Atrus would want me to chronicle all that I've learned. I can at least record some of it...
It seems that when Atrus and I trapped Gehn on Riven many years ago, our efforts were witnessed by most of the inhabitants here. Two of the Rivenese even witnessed the confrontation with Gehn at the fissure, where I linked back to Myst, and where Atrus threw himself into the abyss. Of course, they understood little of what they were seeing, but they somehow were able to guess that we had won... that Gehn was no god at all, but only a feeble impostor - a false god - and that we had trapped him here on Riven.
I always hoped they would deduce this simple truth. But their further conclusions have astonished me:
- Atrus had stripped Gehn of his power, therefore Atrus must be a true god
- As a god, he was choosing me, the spiritual misfit from a Rivenese womb, to be his wife.
- I was transcending into deity and would lord over Riven forever.
Thus, the Moiety, as they call themselves, were born: a dissident society - sworn enemies of Gehn.
I did not know of their beliefs regarding Atrus and myself until two days ago. Eti was, for some reason, hesitant to tell me. I can't figure out why; I know she doesn't believe these things.
Of course, everyone else assumed that I would be aware of my own god status, so they made no effort to inform me. I only realized it at a recent gathering to which I was invited. I sat at the front of a dimly lit and crowded cave, as they told a mythical story of my own life, acting out the battle between Atrus, myself, and Gehn at the edge of the fissure. The events had been exaggerated into grandiose proportions. It was offensive, but I was unable to stop it; I was unable to break the illusion which is the very foundation of their hope and purpose, and which has given them courage to band together and rebel against Gehn.
Since then I've learned of other doctrines and beliefs that have evolved, the most disturbing of which is the conviction that one day I would return to Riven to free them. Some believe that I will overthrow Gehn. Others believe that I will bring them to paradise.
I don't know how to deal with this. I fight it myself. I love these people - my only real kindred - but they will not love me as an equal, which hurts me. I would rather be their slave than their master.
Over the years, as Gehn's power had become greater and greater, the Moiety's numbers have grown, and they have become more and more adept at hiding themselves. They now live in a complex network of caves that he still has not discovered.
The Moiety, for the part, have completely severed their relationship with any of the Rivenese that chose against joining them. But I hope they've not sacrificed vital limbs in order to remove the cancer. Even father and Enant are still on the surface in Gehn's domains, and I long to see them, but a dimness shrouds Eti's face every time I've mentioned them.
Since this break took place they have interfered with the surface in superficial ways, occasionally sabotaging one of Gehn's constructions, or stealing food from the villagers. They wear strange masks and costumes during their short forays to the island's surface, and take this regalia very seriously, refusing to be seen by anyone outside the Moiety unless they are properly attired. They get much pleasure out of the fact that those on the surface are frightened by these costumes, calling them evil spirits, or ghosts.
It was during one of these expeditions they fortuitously rescued me from one of Gehn's guards when I first appeared on the island. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have been delivered to Gehn immediately.
I've no doubt that he's now searching for me.
Of course, I am now aware that I was fooled; Atrus is not here. I was, at first, devastated by this realization. Now I am thankful; he would be in extreme peril here. Also, there is a quiet, inner voice - an echoing remnant - that wants him far away.
I have witnessed an Age dying, gasping its last breath.
Today, I ventured to the surface to see has become of this island. I hoped it would not be as bad as the Moiety had reported. It was worse. They have become slowly accustomed to its steady decay, but I was devastated.
The lips from which this kiss is wrought, has fallen words; will fall cold breath. The womb from which the cry released, has suffered hurt, will suffer death.
To get to the surface, we had to travel through a complex series of doors and passages. Before the last of these doors, they offered me a weapon, which I accepted, and then a mask.
I held the mask in my hands for a while, wondering what sort of terror it might invoke in those members of my family who still live on the surface. But I also know I must keep my identity hidden from Gehn's ever-vigilant eyes, so I accepted it as well. Then, together, we swam a short expanse and emerged out of the surface of the ocean under a rocky opening. The harsh sunlight made my eyes sting, but the fresh, rich air was exhilarating after these past weeks in the dark caves.
The two men with me were silent, communicating only with hand signals. The three of us emerged from one hiding place and made our way to the top of the plateau. At the edge of the a thick and overgrown area of the forest, they stopped, peered through the foliage for a moment, and then turned to me, as if awaiting my command.
But could not respond. In fact, I found it difficult to move. I was smelling, hearing and breathing my youth.
This swept over me in a matter of seconds. But in seconds more, all feeling was gone. There was numbness.
We did not stay long on the surface, but it was long enough to see the worst. Riven, which was once one island, has now split apart into five distinct pieces, about a half a mile apart. Four of these have been claimed by Gehn as his exclusive domain. Only his ministers and personal militia are ever allowed to access to them. From my vantage point at the edge of the forest, I could see three of these islands. They are stripped of their former beauty are riddled with Gehn's self-absorbed constructions. The Moiety rarely visit these closely guarded places.
There is another island which I could not see as it had evidently crept away to a terrific distance. The Moiety are very unclear as to what exists on this island except for the fact that they know it is where the Great Tree used to exist.
The forest is located on the island that the surface dwellers and the Moiety still refer to as Riven, but they also still refer to their entire world as Riven. This island is where the village is (which has changed dramatically). It is also this one remaining province of the people, though Gehn's influence can be seen everywhere.
Of course, I know the reason for the fracturing of the islandů the Moiety do not. Gehn wrote this place, and it will die, as all of Gehn's Ages eventually die.
I feel nothing today.
I am nothing.
I live in a cave on a dying world, inhabited by people that -
They are treating me so strangely. They don't know how to relate to a god. I'm still an outcast here. They whisper amongst themselves, talking of my bravery during my excursion to the surface. How I walked across the island, bold and unafraid.
They don't know me.
Even Eti is uncomfortable around me. At times there is no awkwardness, and I am only Katran to her. But at other times I am something else. -
I am afraid - there's such a gaunt numbness inside me. Today, I do not feel closeness with my people. Neither am I offended by their worship of me. I do not hate Gehn. I don't feel anything.
I'm not even sure of
At least Nelah is still close.
I am boiling. I am -
Gehn is making and writing Books! I wish they had told me sooner.
Atrus should have realized this would happen; , Gehn would have written all the material necessary to the D'ni craft of making books into this Age, and probably every other Age he ever wrote.
He is attempting to write his way out of here! We did not imprison him, we only delayed him! This Age has become his factory, and the people are his machines - all laboring in his mad pursuit to become a god. To carry on his noble, D'ni cause! So far, he has not been able to produce a fully functional book.
Atrus has never believed in destiny, but I don't know what else to call it. It's too perfect. It's too much of a coincidence. They hang on my every word, though they do not understand them. I am their hope. And now I have returned.
I owe this to them. There is no choice.
It's been a long time since my last entry.
It is hard to recognize, but I have found the Star Fissure. It is located on the island which the Rivenese call "Allapo" meaning "water pool," but which is referred to by the Moiety as "Allatwan," meaning "pool of stars."
Having once allowed Atrus to escape this Age without leaving an open door behind us, it has since been sealed with a skin of heavy iron. A crude telescope has been mounted over a locked view port, the combination to which was acquired by the Moiety before my arrival.
In the early days, the Moiety, seeking an escape from Riven, briefly pursued the idea of reopening the fissure. They discovered a small mechanical stop to prevent the scope from hitting the portal window. Ultimately, however, they decided against opening it.
I hate to think what would have happened to them if they had not left it alone. I've instructed them to stay away from it. I'm almost certain that, with the decayed state of the islands, opening the fissure now would disastrous.
I have heard that in the days immediately following Gehn's confinement on Riven, he attempted to determine the feasibility of navigating the stars beneath the fissure - for he had seen the Myst Book fall from Atrus' hands into that very same space. To this end, he would have people - alleged transgressors of the law - thrown into it so that he could observe their face. The telescope which still stands there is one he had built for these callous experiments.
It is said that they did not die, but what became of them remains a mystery, it appears that the limits of Gehn's optics prevented him from learning their fate.
The star field beneath the fissure is not as it seems; it is a gentle space, as hospitable to life as a flowing river. This is how Atrus explained it, after he had fallen into it. But much more than we've never understood, and we were never able to conclude upon it origins, but the visions tell me that it was born out of the will of the Maker, perhaps for some greater purpose that we cannot yet understand.
I still remember Atrus' words from his journal:
"I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse..."
There must be some greater reason behind it.
I neglected to mention it earlier...
The unique shape of one of the great daggers which appeared during our escape from Riven - the very dagger that stands vertically at one end of the Allatwan - has been adopted by the Moiety as the symbol of their cause. It is a sacred symbol for them. It is the representation of me. To deface this symbol is sacrilege.
They have their own mythical explanation regarding its sudden origins; I haven't told them that I wrote it into this Age, along with all the other daggers.
Its strange how much such a young religion can be so unbending, even to their own god. I have tried to dissuade them of the notion that symbols contain so much power. The enemy uses this paranoia against them; they are fearful of Gehn's symbol, and are terrorized by his symbolic use of the wahrk.
But they don't want to hear this from me. Perhaps my attempts have even caused some of the younger members of the Moiety to doubt that I am Catherine.
My rare encounters with those who say they follow Gehn have been discouraging.
I have hoped to have some communication with the surface villagers, but they always flee from me.
But I have heard news of some of the villagers beliefs regarding Gehn...
Soon after we trapped Gehn on Riven, he claimed that he was responsible for the daggers, placing them around the island as a reminder of their failure. In the village circles it is told that this was a punitive act performed by Gehn to mark the beginning of a period of restitution, at the end of which, if they have proven their devotion to him, they will be delivered unto a new and better existence.
I will continue to try to reach them.
The door is open // Gehn is !
Gehn has the ability to create working Books. In fact, he had written one Age before I arrive, but has kept this accomplishment so well hidden that only his closest ministers were aware, until now.
I'm not sure, perhaps he has written others.
Other news: a few years ago, before the Moiety were forced into hiding, one of them managed to steal what appeared to be a test book that Gehn had intended to destroy; it had been partially written, but did not work.
They didn't tell me about it until now because they thought it was useless.
Back then, none of Gehn's Books worked. But instead of correcting the problem at its source, he blamed it on the "impure" wood of the Riven forest and proceeded to engineer a cumbersome mechanical remedy - a complex series of domes - to heal his Books' inherent flaws. One of the consequences of this crude solution, however, was that the domes demanded huge amounts of energy, and the related problems delayed his success for quite some time.
At last, however, he finished his work and was finally able to link to an Age. But he kept his success extremely well hidden.
However, for some reason or another (belligerent pride?) he has made modifications to the domes which make it obvious that he's using the dome to breath life into his half dead Books.
Perhaps he means to lure us into using the Books in the domes. He can't believe that we would blindly swallow this suicidal bait.
But he wouldn't know we have one of his Books - the stolen, burnt Book. There is a possibility of
Have read burnt Book. Age it describes would be unsuitable as new home for the Moiety, but be modified.
I will dream.
Have requested a group to solve combination that will open the domes. Once open, we can power the burnt book. I do not think Gehn will interfere - he will leave the bait.
Have begun writing the Moiety's Age. Now must acquire second Book from Gehn.
There is tension - a strain blurs my vision - and nightmares.
Nelah and Eti stay close.
Much has happened. Almost everything is prepared.
We have stolen another Book. But I'm concerned; Gehn will miss it.
We have also discovered the combinations for entering the domes, but we have not discovered the method for powering them.
By powering our burnt Book with Gehn's domes, we will be able to link to this Age. But we will only have access to the domes for a short of time, before we are discovered. Therefore, we can only use the domes once; I must find another way to make the books work.
The gateway images in Gehn's Books and our burnt book all seem to share the same sickness: if they are not powered, the images are black. It might be possible to clear the vision with only -
Will write substance into the Moiety Age.
All is ready. Now all we can do is wait for word from the Moietior-Esk, who are on the lookout for Gehn to power and use the domes. When he does that, we will have access to one of Gehn's domes just long enough.
After linking to the Age which I've written, I only have to locate the book window substance and refine or adapt it. Laying this window over the gateway image should heal the books and make them work. This will allow me to use the second stolen Book, and return to Riven with more of the book-windows. We will then no longer have to rely on Gehn's clumsy domes.
I laugh at these plans - I sound like Atrus.
I'm risking my life, but I feel no fear - only anxiety. Perhaps it is the source of my nightmares; the fissure, like a great wound, it opened; it stains the Riven soil with blood. I hold the Moiety knife. The voices grow so loud.
For their part, the Moiety have complete faith that I will accomplish my task and lead them to a better world; it is the fulfillment of their prophecy. But they are also fearful and tense.
I don't know what they will think or do if I fail.
It is done! It seems too good to be true. I feel like it's all still a dream.
We have already evacuated all of the Moiety to this new Age.
It is beautiful and I am pleased. At last, my people will live in safety and comfort. They stand under the bare sky, unafraid, and dazzled by their freedom. They are happy.
They have named it "Tay."
There's still much to be done. We are not protected yet. The only way to completely safeguard this place is to destroy the Book which links to here from Riven. But I do not even know how to bring this up to the Moiety; they will be extremely reluctant about destroying their only link to Riven.
I share this hesitation; I would be cutting off my only connection. But for their sake, it must be done.
I am anxious to know if our activities have aroused Gehn's suspicions; if so, we must act quickly.
Even so, I feel that now we are impregnable.
Tomorrow, I will return to Riven to see Gehn's reaction for myself.
But tonight, I finally rest.
CATHERINE'S NOTE TO THE STRANGER
I write quickly from my prison...
Nelah will return your book which the Moiety intercepted upon your arrival. After questioning her, I've concluded that it was written by Atrus for a very specific purpose.
Gehn will desire to use it... although he may have suspicions.
If you can find my prison, you will still need the combination to release me; Gehn keeps it in his office. Then, I assume, we're to signal Atrus... I think I know how it might be done. But don't signal him before I am released.
TOP - ATRUS JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 1 - CATHERINE JOURNAL - GEHN JOURNAL 2
GEHN'S JOURNAL (233rd AGE)
86.9.29 I start this latest journal with astounding news - Catherine has returned to the Fifth Age! And though it sets my teeth on edge to say it, she has also vanished as quickly as she appeared, stolen from me by the rebels. As my guard tells it, she linked into the Fissure plateau cage - as I'd guessed - when suddenly he was set upon by a band of rebels who darted him and spirited her away. I suspect the truth of the matter was that he was so dumbfounded at actually witnessing someone link in after all this time that he presented an easy target for whichever rebel had happened by at that moment - the damnable luck of it! He did get a good enough look at her, though, to verify that it was indeed Catherine. He also claims that he inspected all of her belongings and found no Linking Book on here person, a fact which - if true - makes the question of why she's returned here all the more puzzling.
While I am sick with frustration at having lost the only quarry that cage has ever caught, I am also filled with hope - she may yet provide me with a way back to D'ni. It is true that I have managed, despite overwhelming odds, to break free of the confines of the Fifth Age and resume my mission to save my culture from extinction; but I fear that unless I am able to regain access to the vast resources that lie in the city's ruins, the task of reconstructing that great civilization will be impossible. If Catherine did bring a Linking Book with her, then I am halfway there - if not, then she is trapped in the Fifth Age and I can assume that my emotionally crippled son will soon be along to rescue her. Either way, it is crucial to my plans that I find her soon. Her presence here now forces me to take the rebels more seriously - I should never have permitted them to survive this long.
86.10.5 Once again the 'Great Whark' has demonstrated its usefulness to me. This past week the villagers have been most difficult to manage - apparently they have learned of Catherine's arrival - and their fear of this mythic beast has been all that has kept them in line. Had I known how truly useful these prodigious creatures would prove to be, I would have perhaps captured more of them while the local population was still plentiful; although, to be sure - if these disturbances continue, my current pets will be in no danger of perishing for lack of nourishment.
86.10.13 The search for Catherine continues -
I now deeply regret my mistake of having ever taught these primitive people anything at all about the Books. It seems that with each passing day I more sorely realize the extent to which they were not ready for that knowledge - not even in the simplified manner in which I had presented it to them. Their minds, adapted only to the exceptionally menial tasks of village life, were incapable of comprehending the Art in all of its complexity, and thus were unable to extract the essential underlying principles that are - ironically - so elegantly simple. It is obvious that much of the discord that exists between us stems from their failure to grasp the full meaning of the information I gave them. If they'd been able to gain even the smallest glimpse of the future I'd planned for them, then this conflict would not exist.
The minds of the children are much more malleable. With the proper instruction, they have developed a more appropriate posture towards the culture that gave them their lives. At times they take to it almost as if they had a bit of D'ni blood in them. Given the natives' inborn limitations, however, I am quite careful that none gain a level of understanding that would permit them to sin against their future the way that Catherine did. How foolish I was, to think that she could contain such knowledge responsibly, when it was quite clear that my own son could not.
Atrus - still he remains one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I should never have left him with my mother - by the time I'd returned for him, he had already been poisoned as to all thoughts of the D-ni. Perhaps it was the only way that she could rationalize the fact that she had been responsible for the collapse of their civilization. So much destruction, so many great lives lost - the guilt must have been unbearable. I do have vague recollections of the love she had for my father, and for our world... but ultimately, she was an outsider who's ignorance of the D'ni became the catalyst for their demise. If I am able to rebuild our culture and in the process correct such crucial weaknesses, then perhaps what she did was ultimately necessary, in order that a new era of prosperity might someday come to pass.
87.1.4 These last few weeks I have found myself frequently beset by images from the past. As I stood in the schoolroom today, I was reminded of my own childhood: the years spent in the Book-Makers Guild, father's immense pride at each of my small accomplishments there. He was an important man in the D'ni world - but I can't bear to think of him for long; it's too much, I was too young to see such a thing.
87.2.8 I've got her! Late last night I received word that Catherine was in the village attempting to persuade the people to join her. I lost two good men in the process, but I would have paid a hundred times that number for such a prize. She's been taken to the Prison island, where I've been attempting to gain some insight as to the reason for her presence here. I've had to fight the all but constant impulse to put her on the gallows; she has adopted the most infuriating stance of only answering my questions - when she answers them at all - in her native tongue. Even so, she is a poor liar - I am now quite certain that her return to Riven was unintentional, and that she brought no Linking Book with her. As far as her unwillingness to share with me the location of the Moiety... we shall see - without their leader, however, they are once again powerless against me.
If Catherine's coming here was indeed an accident, then Atrus is bound to come for her - that is a given. The question I must now consider is - how will he do it? It is likely that his hesitation has been due - at least in part - to this dilemma. One way or another, though, he'll have to bring a Linking Book to get back to D'ni - there is no other way.
87.6.20 It's late and I cannot sleep. I've lost so much in my life. My people, my father, my son, and you my wife - Keta, you were the only true kindness I have ever known. Watching you flicker there in the Imager... I sometimes wonder if you were real. If I could restore your life with my pen, I would do so in an instant, and leave the rest of the world to their own wretched fate.
87.7.30 Damn these savages! I would be well advised to leave them all in the Fifth Age and begin again with a clean sheet of paper!
A stranger has arrived on Riven - with a Linking Book to D'ni! And once again my useless minion was overtaken by the rebels. From what little I could decipher from his muddled explanation, it apparently occurred sometime this morning. The cage has been damaged, but it is no matter - everything I need is here now. Atrus is certainly behind this, yet how could he be so foolish as to send someone here with a Linking Book? Such blatancy is unlike him. Could it be that he has had a change of heart? After all these years, is he finally letting his poor old father go? No, he's only after one thing - perhaps he should find her.
For now, I need only to wait and observe.