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Vexis' Riven Journal

#1 User is offline   Vexis Larseker 

  • glotahn (beginner)
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Posted 03 December 2006 - 10:14 AM

Having read and enjoyed a couple of the journals here, I thought I would take a stab at chronicling my recent adventure through Riven. I might try to start an Exile journal when I start playing it (as soon as I finish plowing through the books). I’ll probably be switching between in and out of character; hope it’s not too disconcerting.

After several days of exploring the Ages of Myst, I returned to see Atrus. He looked more tired and worried than ever, and asked for my help, pressing on me a journal and a prison book to trap Gehn, whoever he is. I wasn’t keen about entering an Age with no apparent way out, but the promise that I might have a way of returning home swayed me to make the link.

I arrived in a cage, and was quickly accosted by a strangely dressed individual who stole my prison book, before being rendered unconscious by another individual with a blowgun. This person (who strangely reminded me of a ninja), took the book and opened my cage, smashing something in the process before disappearing. I emerged from the cage to discover that the good news was that he hadn’t destroyed the prison book (as I initially thought) but the bad news was that he had taken it.

What a start! Riven may have the most compelling beginning of a computer game that I’ve ever experienced. The music, the visuals and the quick action really draw me in.

I read Atrus’ journal and it answered many questions for me: who Gehn was (and my immediate thought was that poor Atrus sure does have a dysfunctional family), why the Gateway Image was so blurred, and why Atrus was always too busy writing to talk to me/ I also liked how the beginning of the original Myst was explained; it really tied up a loose end for me. I noticed in the journal that Atrus hinted that the Star Fissure might be a way to signal him.

I examined the immediate area, taking an alarming note of the huge dagger. I immediately deduced the nearby apparatus was a telescope, and figured that maybe when I could eventually get the hatch open, I would have to observe something below that would be a clue for a different puzzle.

I discovered the body of the original book thief, and made my way up the stairway to discover the large pentagonal room with the beetles on the walls. I looked through all the religious pictures, and instinctively guessed that the central figure in all of them must be Gehn. I couldn’t decipher the writing on the wall (and wondered if I would eventually have to) or press on through the gate to the golden dome I’d observed from below. I then pressed the button outside and observed the room rotate several times, looking through the peephole after each rotation, and finding no way to press on, I went down the other staircase.

The views here are breathtaking. I move to the door, and click on it to open it. When that fails, I stoop down to get a closer look at the knife on the ground. When trying toi examine it, I am suddenly startled to find that I have gone under the door and am now in the cavern. What a nasty puzzle! I wonder if I ever would have figured that out if not by accident.

I think I see how this works. I go back up and rotate the chamber until I can go under the door and proceed to the room across. Somehow I recognize that the sign refers to the telescope, and I switch the steam valve to direct steam to it. By flipping some switches and rotating the room some more, I manage to open the path to the golden dome. First, I go back and examine the telescope. I discover that I can now move it up and down, but am unable to accomplish anything else with it.

I proceed to the bridge leading to the golden dome….
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Posted 03 December 2006 - 11:45 PM

The Golden Dome

The interior of the golden dome is every bit as impressive as its exterior. My first impression is that the pipes are steam pipes. I copy down the diagram at the beginning of the walkway, hoping to divine its meaning later. I circle the walkway, disappointed that I ca not reach the central console that probably controls the steam distribution. I guess that I’ll be able to reach it later when I enter on the upper walkway.

I exit the dome and slowly circle the rear of the dome, making my way through the small cave, and turning the levers to both steam pipes. Neither pipe causes either bridge to react, and I guess that there must be an additional switch of some kind to raise the bridges. I see that the one bridge seems to lead to another island. I see what looks to me to be a key slot in the side of the mountain, just under a gap in the walkway above. This is where the elevator button later appears (leading to the linking dome), but at the time, I thought that I would later find a key that I could use here.

I reenter the dome and make my way back to where I originally entered it. I’m gratified to find that the lever there which previously did not work now raises the bridge, helping to confirm my theory. In my excitement, I fail to notice that the raised bridge forms a set of stairs, missing a clue. I lower the bridge and backtrack.

The Temple

I cross the bridge over to what appears to be another island, marveling at the views and wondering about the rails connecting the islands. I enter the cave and open the door on the left, reluctant to approach the strange looking chair. I experiment around with the chair, and the screens on the wall. When I sit in the chair and activate it, I hear a humming noise, and at that point, I surmise that I’m hearing sound from another point (possibly one of the areas in the screens), and that I will overhear a conversation later in the game here, or have to activate something and then come back here to get a sound clue. I continue down the tunnel and enter the temple, try to open the cage or find a hidden switch on the wahrk idols, surprised that there doesn’t seem to be anything here. I exit the temple.

Maglev Rides and Missed Clues

Outside, I press the blue button, and watch as a strange rail car approaches. After a cursory look around, I enter the car and embark on a wild high speed ride to another island. I disembark and look around.

I quickly spot the eye on the wall and roll it, observing the symbol and hearing the clicking sound. I try it several times, wondering if I’m toggling some mechanism off and on. I leave, jotting down the symbol into my notebook, but not making any notes about the sound.

I move through the cave, stopping at each step to look in all directions (as I learned to do while playing Myst). Therefore, I must have seen the frog shape of the cave entrance, but if it registered at all, I promptly forgot it, and missed yet another vital clue.

I exited the cave (noticing the call button as I did), and decided to head uphill first…
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Posted 05 December 2006 - 11:29 AM

I cross the bridge, and see what looks like a large axe buried in the landscape. Strange. I’m confronted by a choice of three paths, and take the right hand one which dead ends at a hole in the ground.

Mine Car

I first take a wild mine car ride over to what I eventually start to call Woodchipper Island. I take the most cursory of looks around, fiddling with the boiler for a moment with no success, then decide to return to the island I just left, wanting to confine my explorations to one island at a time. I am now starting to realize that Riven is much larger than Myst.

After another mine car ride, I proceed to the wooden gate, and see the golden beetle on the gate, recognizing it as the same that was in the rotating room on Golden Dome Island (as I called it). It flew away when I tried to touch it. Curious detail for them to include, I thought.

Village

I slowly walked down the path, observing more golden bugs, and finding my second eye symbol in a chasm next to my third giant weapon. I record the symbol on the back of the eye, but again fail to attach any significance to the sound. I take a left when the path forks, proceed over a chasm filled with lava and up some steps to a pretty canyon area, where a guard in a tower sounds what appears to be some kind of alarm. I go right, through the cave (copying down the painting on the wall, although it is too dim for me to make out very clearly, and find myself at what I think of as the Pod Village (and the island became Pod Village Island at this point).

I’m a little dismayed to see the reaction at my arrival. I am apparently persona non grata here. As I approach, I expect that the village will take a long time to explore, and am surprised how little of it I have access to. I wonder at this point if I’ll be able to explore more of it later. I knock on the one door I can reach and receive no answer, then examine the submarine on the plateau. I try for a very long time to figure out how to lower the sub with myself in it. I see what appears to be a cave near the pier where the submarine ends up, so I finally lower it hoping that I’ll be able to reach it later.

Wahrk Idol

I backtrack out, heading straight across when I exit the cave and wind up back at the three way fork. Through the wooden gate, past the sword, and right at the fork this time to end up face to face with the wahrk idol. After searching around for a few minutes, I stumble upon the hidden switch that opens it and enter the idol.

I notice that the elevator switch has scrape marks on the wall, that lead me to believe that the elevator will go both up and down. I try up first, coming out onto the walkway and being confronted with my first rotating dome (although I had seen the one on Golden Dome Island from a distance). I find the viewer and manage to open the dome, but am mystified as to what to do next. I must need more info.

I make my way up the stairs and enter the small tower. Fiddling with the levers gets me a great view of the pod village and environs, and I close the platform below, although I’m not sure what this accomplishes. I backtrack to the elevator and make my way down to what appears to be a dead end. It takes me an absurdly long time to turn around and find another maglev station behind me. I make a note to check on this later.

I backtrack out of the idol and am badly startled to find a little girl blocking my path (who then runs away). Guess I’ve seen The Shining too many times. I back track to the 3 way fork, across the bridge and start heading down the hill…
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Posted 10 December 2006 - 09:46 PM

The Sunners' Rock

I head down the hill rapidly and startle two creatures that bear a strong resemblance to plesiosaurs. Fortunately, they are not hostile, and swim rapidly away with plaintive cries.

I spend a fair amount of time examining the beach, marvelling at the sun and the water, before stumbling upon yet another of the rotating eyes, attached to the rock where the creatures were lying, and giving the entire rock the appearance (to me) of a turtle. I check the rock; it also has a symbol on its back (which I copy down) and makes a strange hornlike sound when turned. Finally, the sound makes an impression on me, and I decide I should be making notes on the sounds as well. I backtrack to the 2 previous orbs I'd found and make note of their sounds as well.

Finding the Sub

I return and pass the beach and enter a small cave. When I exit, I see another guard post, with what appears to be a cave behind it. I spend a little time trying to find if I can climb the guard tower and reach the cave before moving on.

I find a dry pool with another eye symbol. This one makes a buzzing sound that remind me of the golden bugs I saw near the other end of the island, and I make a note of that and the symbol on the rear of the eye. I also find a spigot, which I turn, filling the pool with water. The resulting outline looks to me like a jellyfish with three tentacles, and makes enough of an impression on me that I draw the outline in my notebook (yes, I keep a notebook as I play :D).

I proceed onward through another small cave and at last am reunited with the submarine. I clamber in and begin trying to figure out the controls.

The Cliffside Post

After some trial and error, I think I understand how the controls work, and I make my way to a landing. By luck, the first landing I arrive at has the gangplank extended so that I am able to exit the sub and look around. I see a ladder set into the cliff and begin climbing, reaching an observation post with a set of five levers set against the back wall, and a window affording me a clear view of the lagoon. I make a note of the initial positions of the levers and then try the levers one at a time, looking out the window each time to see what effect I've had (if any). Nothing seems to change. Not knowing what else to do, I switch each lever into the opposite of their intial position and leave...to discover that the gangplank has retracted and I can no longer access the sub. A light dawns on me. I head back up the cliff to examine the levers again, and now that I know what to look for, I am quickly able to extend all of the gangplanks.

The School

I enter the sub and head back towards the building I had espied off to my right when I had originally found the sub. As I enter, I realize it is a school. I look around and quickly spy the game off to the left. Pulling the lever causes a symbol to appear and a hanging individual is dropped a varying number of increments towards a waiting fish below. How gruesome. I play with it a little, and then the realization hits me that this game is intended to teach numbers! I spend some time learning the numbers 1-10. I also realize that the symbols I've found on the back of each rotating eye are numbers! Orb #2 is the one near the dry pool, #3 is near where I first arrived on the island, #4 is by the sword, and #5 is on the rock where the plesiosaurs were. I wonder if there is a #1? If there is, it seems logical that it also would be on this island.

I also spend some time coyping down all of the letter symbols. There are 25, so it appears they don't correspond exactly to our alphabet. I wonder again if I will be required to translate some of the writings I've seen here. Looking at the board, I have a hard time even matching the symbols on the board to the ones I've copied down. Next, I turn the crank on the cage and get my first view of Gehn (at this point, I wasn't sure it was him, but I suspected). Strange. It seems he acts as a teacher here.

The Prisoner

I enter the sub again and exit at the dock I passed when I originally approached the village. I head back up to the village to see if any more of it is accessible. None of it is, but now I recognize the '5' symbol on the door of the hut, and so I knock 5 times. A porthole briefly opens, and I see a suspicious face. I wonder if I have one of the daggers I've seen if I could show it to her? and get her to open the door?

I return to the sub and make my way to the platform I saw earlier from above. Now I see why I had to close it. I ride the swing up, and am then dismayed to discover I can't return the way I came. Guess I've lost access to the sub. Good thing I've explored everywhere with it (I load an earlier save to confirm that I have indeed explored everywhere with it).

I find what appears to be a prison cell and observe the prisoner. I find what appears to be the control for the door, and open it, then am surprised to see he has disappeared. I'm immediately suspicious. I carefully examine the cell, and find a pull handle in the floor drain. A secret passage opens.

The Underground Temple

I enter the passage and begin to make my way down. It starts to get too dark to see and I consider turning back. Maybe I'm supposed to find a way to light this passage first, or find a light to carry with me? I press on and reach the end of the passage, and am then gratified to find the lights that allow me to slowly return up the passage, lighting my way. I find a door that I swing around, opening a new passage and closing off the other side. Clever. After checking that there are no other side branches I've missed, I head down the new passage and find myself in what appears to be an underground temple.

Stone pillars with animal carvings on them surround me in a circle. Against one wall is what appears to be a small door with one of the ubiquitous knife symbols on it. I try to open it, but cannot. I examine the pillars and find that I can push them down. I look at them all closely, and recognize one of them as having the jellyfish symbol. I push that one down triumphantly, and am disheartened to find that nothing happens.

I can't think of what else to do here, and so I leave...for now.
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Posted 13 December 2006 - 10:49 AM

Return to ‘Woodchipper Island’

I retraced my steps through the cave and back out into the open air, lowering the ladder that let me climb down onto the village path. It seemed that I had run out of places to explore on this island. I briefly considered searching the island again to see if I could find the #1 eye symbol, then decided that I would return later. After all, I was only logically assuming that all of the eye symbols would be on this island; I did not know that for a fact.

I returned to the mine car, and rode it again to ‘Woodchipper Island’, where I explored my surroundings in more detail. I tried to climb up to the ledge overhead and found I could not open the manhole. I returned to the ground and first went to the valve in the lake, and turned it towards the wood chipper, to see if I could activate it. I was successful, and once again felt grateful that it had not been on when I arrived. I deduced that logs were sent from Pod Village Island to here, where they were run through the wood chipper, but I failed to make the connection with the boiler, and recognize what Gehn was doing here.

I next switched the valve in the lake so that it pointed to the boiler. I spent quite some time fiddling with the boiler controls. I was initially able to open the boiler and I saw the ladder but could not climb down due to the residual water, but I eventually managed to empty that out, and made the long, dark crawl up the pipe. I emerged on the hillside encircling the crater, where I had a beautiful view of the surrounding waters and many seabirds.

I worked my way along the ridgeline, and found myself at what appeared to be the entrance to a bunker set into the cliffside. There was a manhole in the floor, which I opened and confirmed led to the ladder I had attempted to climb earlier. I opened the doors to the bunker, and followed the walkway into a cavernous space.

The walkway ended at a strange apparatus, beneath a ventilation fan. My initial thought was that the pellets were fuel pellets of some kind, and that the lever would lower the pellet down and fuel some kind of reaction. After touching the trigger plate, I realized that it was a trap of some kind. I placed a pellet, went down the manhole ladder to flip the valve in the middle of the lake to the correct position (fortunately, I had noticed that one of the positions seemed to point towards the bunker), returned and pulled the lever, lowering the trap.

I walked outside and looked around for a few minutes, playing the waiting game, then returned and reeled in my trap. It was closed! I was really curious about what would be in the trap, and had been idly speculating as to what purpose it would have (if any). I imagined that maybe I could take the captured animal to the woman(?) in the pod village who had peeped at me through the door, perhaps gaining her trust in some way.

I opened the trap and saw the frog. It hopped around (as I madly clicked on it, trying to catch it). The frog made a clicking sound… and my mind started racing, making connections. I knew that sound. Orb #3. The sounds on the orbs might all be animal sounds. Animals on the stone pillars in the underground temple. Numbers on the back of the orbs, possibly indicating an order. It all made sense, but I didn’t have enough info. The sound on orb #2 was the gold bug, I was reasonably certain, but I didn’t know the sounds on orbs #4 and #5, and I hadn’t found orb #1…if it even existed.

I looked around inside the bunker some more, and was intrigued by the overhead ventilation fan. The close-up view they showed of it seemed to imply its I importance, and it looked large enough to me that I could climb into it… if I could only stop the fan. I searched around in vain for a switch of some kind, noticing the cable that seemed to lead to it, but not sure where the cable led to. I went to the valve in the lake again and switched the steam power away from the bunker to see if it stopped the fan… it did not.

It seemed that I had run out of areas to explore here. I looked at the building further around the ridgeline, and wondered how I was to reach it. No ideas came to me, and I left on the mine car headed back to Pod Village Island.
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Posted 15 December 2006 - 10:51 AM

‘Topo Mapper’ Island

I spent some time returning to all of the rotating eye orbs to listen again to the sounds associated with each. I still did not recognize #5, but #4 sounded a little to me like the plesiosaurs I had seen lying on the rocks. I revisited them and listened again to the cries they made as they fled. The sound was similar enough that I considered it a tentative match, but I was a little frustrated that it wasn’t an exact match. Unfortunately, it never occurred on me to quietly approach them, so I never heard their ‘at rest’ sounds.

The next avenue open to me was to take the rail car ride from the bottom of the elevator in the wahrk idol. I returned and reopened the idol, and rode the railcar over to what appeared to be yet another completely new island. I disembarked and proceeded up the tunnel, listening to the haunting music as I turned left and headed up the stairs toward the chair.

The large cavern, the view through the porthole, the thronelike chair: all combined to evoke a trembling awe in me. What was this place? I sat in the chair, and pressed the button rotating it towards the porthole. I then manipulated the left lever, lowering the arm towards me, and examined the screen. A viewer of some kind! I pressed the left button, and the screen displayed a small room that looked like a kitchen. I pressed the right button, and saw only darkness. I switched the screen back and forth a few times between these two views. In doing so, a couple of times I saw a dark-haired woman enter the room displayed in the first view. I guessed that this might be Catherine. Curious – I had pictured Catherine as a blonde for some reason (had not read the Book of Atrus at this point). The second view remained unchanged, displaying what appeared to be darkness, and it reminded me of the view through the eyepiece over the hatch that was in close proximity to my starting point. I surmised that this might provide a remote view through the hatch, when it was finally opened.

I next lowered the right hand viewer, and was immediately struck by the eye symbols that adorned the six buttons on the viewer. They looked like the eye symbols I saw on the rotating dome near the wahrk idol (a quick side trip confirms this). Interesting. I also discover that I can rotate the wheel that the buttons are mounted on to make different buttons ‘active’. I cycle through them one at a time, observing that each button activates a different colored light, and marking down the color associated with each button (and eye symbol). When I reach the red light, a large fish appears, making a trumpeting sound that I immediately recognize as the sound associated with the #5 eye orb. I smile, feeling more confident than ever in my theory that the eye symbols are associated with the animals on the stone pillars in the underground temple. I found it significant that the eye symbol that is on the button that summoned the wahrk was the same symbol used to open the rotating dome on Pod Village Island, and wonder what that means. One of the buttons doesn’t activate a light, and I reason that this must be purple, as it is the only of the 6 primary and secondary colors not represented.

I lowered the left hand viewer again, and tried to rotate the wheel while focusing on Catherine’s room. Nothing happened, and I unfortunately concluded that the wheel had no function on the left hand viewer. Thus, I never saw the fish shape in the view of the pod village bay, and missed out on yet another vital clue.

I headed back down the stairway, and past the branch that led to the railcar station. The corridor ahead of me was bathed with red light, as I approached the elevator. I entered and rode the elevator upstairs, passing through what seemed to be a body of water. Curious. I exited the elevator and made my way through another door, arriving at yet another railcar station.

I wondered where this railcar led to? I could see another door on the opposite side of the station, but the railcar’s door was not facing me. I pressed the call button, hoping it would swivel to face me, and was gratified that it did. I was then able to swing the railcar around so that I could access the other side of the station (This immediately led me to wonder if the other railcars could be exited on both sides allowing access to new areas; a quick side trip and check of the stations dispelled this notion). I went through the door and outside, gaining another impressive view of the islands. I made my way upstairs, and marveled at the strange spiked rocks, the hole in the ground that the path bridged, and the large fortress-like structure with the spiked walls. I passed between the strange plateaus of rock, and found myself at another elevator, which I took upwards. I walked out onto the platform and was confronted with a strange view.

The plateaus I had walked through earlier were arrayed below me. There was a control panel at hand with 5 shapes on it that corresponded to the five shapes I had seen on the diagram in the golden dome. Even stranger, pressing one of the shapes on the panel caused the apparently corresponding plateau to blur and bulge, as if the top of it were being covered with a translucent gel. I rode the elevator back down, and observed the plateau with the clear gel on top, but it didn’t remind me of anything. I rode the elevator back up, and tried a few more of the shapes, before moving on.

I entered the enclosed lake, seeing another of the rotating domes, but my interest focused on the building set before me. I went in and looked at the strange contraption before me. The panel showed the same shape that I had last selected on the panel overlooking the plateaus. By pressing on the controls, I saw that I could select any of the squares in the selected shape, and then a 3 dimensional waveform would appear in the view, which I could then rotate to look at from any direction. But what did it all mean?

I walked back and forth between the platform and the viewing chamber, trying different shapes, also admiring the view of the islands in the distance from the platform. Back and forth, and somewhere in there it came to me. The shapes were the islands, the viewer gave me a topographical map of each area of the island. Thus, there were 5 islands, and the golden dome was somehow connected to all of them. Providing steam power, I thought. Doing some checking, I was able to deduce which of the shapes were the 4 islands I had visited. It looked like I should be able to see the fifth island from Golden Dome Island, and I resolved to try upon my return.

I next examined the golden dome and its viewer. The viewer looked like it had been knocked out of alignment, and it took several attempts to open the dome. I then closed the dome again, and tried to observe the highlighted symbol on the side of the dome. I was surprised that it appeared to be a different eye symbol than on the rotating dome on the Pod Village Island, and made a note of it in my notebook. It occurred to me that the five sliders in the rotating dome might be related somehow to the placement of the five islands in the square grid. I tried various combinations of counting the number of islands crossing each row and column of the 5 X 5 grid, but nothing worked.

Having explored this island completely, I backtracked to the one railcar that I had not tried yet.
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Posted 17 December 2006 - 05:03 AM

I’m a Wanderer

I rode the railcar over to what I thought should be ‘Woodchipper Island’, at least according to my new understanding of the layout of the islands. This was confirmed to me when I saw what appeared to be the mine car track upon my arrival. I made my way up the steps to the building, and was dismayed to find that the door was locked, and that there didn’t seem to be any secret passages or other puzzles I could find. I guessed that this must be the building I had noticed while within the crater upon ‘Woodchipper Island’. Was I supposed to unlock this door remotely somehow, or was I supposed to approach the building from a different direction?

It seemed I had run out of new locations to visit. And so, I started wandering.

I spent some time looking around ‘Pod Village Island’ to see if there was a location I had missed, where I might find the rotating eye symbol #1. No luck.

I visited the underground temple to try a couple of guesses at the animals on the stone pillars. I felt I knew which animals were on orbs #2-5, so I started seeing if I could find them on the stone pillars. It was more difficult than I thought. I picked an insect that I thought might be the gold bug, and was fairly certain on the wahrk (especially because it was right in front of the door with the knife symbol), but there were two shapes that I thought could be the frog, and two that could be the plesiosaurs. What could the #1 animal be? I thought of the jellyfish symbol I had seen in the pool where eye #2 was located. Maybe it was the #1 animal? I tried jellyfish, insect, both frog versions, both plesiosaur versions, wahrk. None of them worked, and I left, frustrated.

I wondered if the image I had seen of Catherine on ‘Topo Mapper Island’
Meant that she was imprisoned in a secret place on the island. I thought the circular hole on the surface of the island (on the path leading to the topographical maps) might be an entrance of some kind, and played around with it, again with no success.

Gehn’s Lab

I thought again of the building on the ridgeline on ‘Woodchipper Island’, and decided to try again to find a way in. I rode the mine car over to the crater, and climbed back up the ladder to the bunker. I had thought earlier that it had seemed like there might be another path through the hills (between the pipe exit and the bunker) and I explored them more thoroughly, finding nothing.

I looked through the bunker again, and again it struck me that the view of the fan implied I should be able to crawl up there. I searched again for a way to turn the fan off, but didn’t find any hidden switches. It occurred to me that perhaps the fan was designed to automatically come on when the bunker doors were open, so as to draw in fresh air. So, I went and closed the doors. :D

*smacks forehead* What a nasty puzzle! I had noticed before that doors seemed to close behind me in this world, but hadn’t thought about the fact that they stayed open in this instance. Surveying the two newly revealed passageways, I first went left and down.

Another rotating dome! It was starting to look like there was one of these on each island (I hadn’t found the one yet on Golden Done Island, but I had seen it from a distance). I found the viewer (I wasn’t about to fall for the passage behind the door trick again!) and opened the dome, noting that the eye symbol used to open it was different than any of the others used thus far. Interesting, I was starting to think that each of the domes had an individual eye symbol, and judging by what I had seen in the chair at ‘Topo Mapper Island’, and individual color. How could that be useful, I wondered? I also noted that the ceiling above the dome was open to the air.

I returned to the doors above, and took the other passageway, which led outside. I saw the electric cable leaving the bunker wall and saw where it ended at a switch. I followed the path past this and saw the other side of the building I had tried to enter before. I also noted the duct from the fan ran from the wall of the bunker into this building. I smiles as I pulled the switch to turn off the fan power and climbed up into the duct. Before long, I was standing in the lab.

I was drawn to the journal which sat on the desk, and began reading it, my surroundings fading into the background as I became lost in the entries. I learned a great deal. Gehn had been writing books, and had created an ‘89rd Age’ (I scratched my head at the typo) where he had withdrawn to. It appeared that the rotating domes were actually linking domes, connecting each island with his offices in the new Age. The domes were powered somehow from the golden dome. There was an access code for opening the domes: 7 14 15 18 21. I only recognized the 7, all of the other symbols looked strange to me, even though they resembled the numbers I had learned. I also confirmed my suspicion that Gehn was holding Catherine prisoner. Some of the journal did not make sense to me: geothermal power had failed to power the books, so Gehn had had to use firemarbles (whatever they were), and now there was some kind of crystal the rebels possessed that could do it. A lot of blanks were filled in though: the ubiquitous knife symbol belonged to the Moiety, so the underground temple I had found must be a rebel stronghold of some kind. The eye symbols were a kind of color code, as I suspected. The telescope I had found must be the location of the Star Fissure.

I was also surprised and pleased to find the eye symbol marked with #1. I had not missed it after all. The fact that it had been found in the water suggested to me that perhaps the first animal in the sequence of pillars should be a water animal of some kind. Perhaps a fish?

I spent quite some time transcribing Gehn’s journal into my notebook, and examining the many experiments and items, impressed by the scientific inquiry that Gehn obviously valued. After unlocking both doors and verifying I could now enter the lab in a more dignified manner, I exited the crater side of the building and moved on.
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Posted 23 December 2006 - 12:03 AM

Dead End Again

After leaving Gehn’s lab, I turned right to follow the remaining unexplored path, passing through a cave and emerging onto a bridge that crossed the water to the Golden Dome. I recognized this bridge from my earlier explorations and crossed it eagerly, anticipating being able to finally reach the control panel in the center of the dome. I lowered the bridge using the lever and entered the dome, and as I proceeded along the catwalk, it slowly dawned on me that there was not a walkway leading to the central console as I had imagined. Disappointed, I still examined my surroundings carefully, and turned the wheel that connected the walkway I was currently standing on to the door where I had first entered the Golden Dome.

There was another door leading out of the dome, and I now took this, momentarily puzzled at the gap in the bridge, until I noticed the button on the wall behind me. Having raised the elevator and filled the gap, I walked on and found myself…back at the Rotating Room. Strange, from a game design perspective, it seems like the long trek across the islands to reach the other door of the Golden Dome should have had more of a payoff.

I retraced my steps, and realized that I hadn’t found a way to reach the linking dome that I could plainly see from the bridge. Pondering for a moment, I had a flash of intuition, and headed through the dome and down, out to the bottom of the elevator I had recently raised to bridge the walkway. My suspicion was right, and I was able to lower the elevator down the shaft, and I briefly explored the newly discovered area, which contained only the dome and a viewer. I opened the dome, noting down the eye symbol keyed to that dome, and paused, reflecting that once again I had run out of areas to explore.

I made another brief attempt to solve the mystery of the dome. I had noticed that the numeral ‘10’ I had seen in the school resembled the numeral ‘2’ turned counterclockwise (CCW) 90 degrees. Perhaps the pattern continued, and the number 20 was represented by the numeral ‘3’ turned CCW. This would seem to match the one symbol that seemed a combination of a ‘3’ and a CCW ‘3. Thus the four major tick marks on the slider scale could be tens as I kept stubbornly thinking, and maybe the range shown represented 1-4, 10-14, 20-24, 30-34, 40-44 and 50. But the first number in Gehn’s access code was clearly a 7; how would that fit in? I cast around wildly for an idea, and thought maybe numbers higher than 4 were promoted to the next number range: thus, a 7 would on the slider scale be equivalent to a 12. I looked at the access code again. Using this convoluted system of mine, the numbers would translate to 12, 14, 20, 23 and 31. I tried that combination and needless to say, it failed. Looking back now, it seems I was really trying to over-think this puzzle. :D

My frustration mounted. I didn’t have a clue as to how to open the linking dome. I hadn’t yet pursued the oblique clue in Gehn’s lab regarding the #1 eye symbol and the animal it could be related to. I resolved to head back to the underground temple.

I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to have my first major breakthrough.
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Posted 24 December 2006 - 12:08 AM

The Way to Tay

I made the long journey back to the Pod Village Island, up the ladder to the prison cell, into the secret passage and down through the caverns to the underground temple. I had been mulling over the sheet of paper in Gehn’s lab describing the finding of the #1 wooden eye symbol, and now was the time to test my theory. The #1 eye symbol had been found in the water, and I felt positive that this was a clue that the first animal pillar had to be a water animal of some kind, likely a fish. I entered the circle of pillars and in turn depressed fish, insect, frog, plesiosaur, wahrk. Nothing. I tried the same combination using my alternate choices for the frog and plesiosaur. Nothing.

I pursed my lips as I considered the situation. Should I try some other water animals for the #1 position? The problem was that I couldn’t even identify many of the animals on the pillars, let alone know their natural habitat. I wasn’t sure about my choice for the frog and plesiosaur. Looking at the insect I chose for the #2 position, I was beginning to have doubts about it as well. It just didn’t look right.

I decided to take another tour of the islands to look at all of the animals again, and to make sure that the pillar I chose for each of them was the most accurate representation. This required loading an earlier savegame in the case of the golden bug, as I had already scared off the bug from the wooden gate.

I examined the goldbug carefully, noting the three legs on each side and the line dividing its head from the rest of its body. I returned to the rotating room, and verified that the representations there matched the goldbug I had seen. I visited the sunners again and the wahrk, and drew sketches of their outlines. I considered revisiting the ytram, but decided to instead return to the underground temple.

I examined the animals on the pillars again. I felt close to 100% sure that I had the correct choice for the wahrk, and I was able to settle on a single choice for the plesiosaur. I still had two choices for the ytram, although I favored the one sitting on his hindlegs over the one pictured with an overhead view.

I looked at my original choice for the gold bug. It didn’t seem a good match, having only two legs on each side, and no line dividing its head from body. I considered the other animals on the pillars and suddenly had an epiphany. The shape I had seen in the dry pool by the #2 wooden eye had three legs and a line dividing its head from the rest. I had thought it a jellyfish, but now I could see that it looked like a side view of the gold bug! And that made sense considering it was located with the #2 eye!

So, I felt reasonably sure of #2, #4 and #5. I had two choices for #3, the ytram. I wasn’t at all sure about #1. decided to brute force it: try every possible choice for #1 with my other choices. This left me with 44 possibilities. I began with the pillar at the entrance door, unenthusiastic about a long evening of trying combinations of stones, and not entirely sure I was on the right track.

My fifth attempt was fish, gold bug, sitting frog, plesiosaur, wahrk. The music swelled, the water flowed away from the door, and I felt a sense of elation at my small triumph.

I approached the now open door, and felt a sense of wonder at the scene I saw depicted in the book lying there. It reminded me of the hive of some strange insect. With a sense of trepidation, I placed my hand upon the book and felt myself link.
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Posted 28 December 2006 - 03:41 AM

Meeting the Moiety

The blackness receded from my sight, and I found myself facing the massive hive-like structure I had seen in the Gateway Image of the book. Flying creatures of some sort circled in the air above it. The sight held a strange, unearthly beauty. I slowly took stock of my surroundings. The hive appeared to reside in the bottom of a crater or circle of hills, and was surrounded by a dark lake. I had appeared at one side of the crater, near the entrance to a cave.

I decided to venture into the cave first. It appeared empty except for a statue against the far wall. The statue was pierced with many knives, and held a linking book on its outstretched hands. I approached the book to examine the Gateway Image, when a noise cause me to spin about. Two individuals had slipped from hiding behind me. One appeared to be the prisoner I had spotted in the cell with the secret passage. The other was strangely dressed and masked, and resembled the person I had seen blowdart my initial captor and steal the Prison Book. This resemblance was strengthened when he promptly shot me with a blowdart, and I lost consciousness.

I woke briefly to see that I was being carried in a boat (I think) towards the hive, then I blacked out again. I regained consciousness in a small cave-like cell. I looked out the window to confirm that I was indeed inside the hive. I could see the cave where I had been rendered unconscious from the window, but not much else. The rest of the room was pretty nondescript: a bed, and a small table with a bowl. The doorway out of the cell was locked, but there was a window in the door affording me a view of many small hut-like dwellings linked by walkways. Periodically, I could see movement as the people went about their errands.

I retreated into the cell to ponder my next move. A sudden sound made me look up to see a woman enter the cell. She spoke at me for several moments. I could not understand her language, but I thought I heard “Catherine” or “Katerina” mixed in with the words. She placed a bundle on the table before retreating from the cell. I rushed forward to examine the bundle, and discovered that she had left two books.

The first book appeared to be a journal kept by Catherine. I eagerly perused it and learned several new pieces of information:

- This Age was called Tay, and had been created by Catherine to be a home for the rebels or Moiety using one of Gehn’s discarded Books. Catherine must also be a talented writer.

- Catherine had created a material here to use as an overlay to fix Gehn’s defective Books. That explained the overlay I had seen on the Book at the underground temple, and Gehn’s reference to the material in his lab journal.

- I learned the access code to the hatch covering the Star Fissure, and that there was a stop that blocked the telescope from contacting the viewing window. Hmmm.

- The Moiety discovered the access code to the linking domes, but had to wait for Gehn to power up the system before they could use the domes. This implied to me that opening the domes required that they be powered first. Perhaps the access code I had found in Gehn’s journal were actually not numbers, but symbols that would appear when the domes were powered and the sliders were manipulated? That might explain why they didn’t look quite like the D’ni numbers to me.

- The knives I saw everywhere in Riven had been written in by Catherine as part of her and Atrus’ escape. Interesting.

- Catherine seemed to be afflicted with self-doubt. I found that interesting considering she shares Atrus’ seeming godlike ability to write.

- Catherine came to Riven looking for Atrus. I wonder why she thought he might be there? Somehow, I envision a note from Sirrus and/or Achenar suggesting that Atrus might have gone there.

The second book was the Prison Book Atrus had given me. It appeared that I had succeeded in one of the major goals of the game by recovering it. I must confess that I now succumbed to a perverse desire that I had felt ever since watching the introduction to the game. After saving, I tried using the Prison Book, and sat back to watch the rebels discover my stupidity, and then the rolling of the credits.

I reloaded the game, and stepped back from the table. A moment later the woman (who I now suspected was Nelah) reentered and placed a Linking Book on the table. I approached and saw that this book also had an overlay on it, and that the Gateway Image showed the underground temple. I linked back.

I reopened the door containing the linking book toTay, and linked there once more, but a quick explanation confirmed that I had seen all I was going to be able to see of this strange Age. I linked back to the underground temple.
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Posted 29 December 2006 - 03:25 AM

Marble Madness

One of the first things I tried after linking back to Riven was using the Prison Book again. I thought that the ending shown would be different from the ending that occurred when I used the Book in Tay, but I was shocked to witness my first brief face-to-face meeting with Gehn.

Next, I made my way to my original starting location to examine the Star Fissure and telescope. I saved the game, and used the code from Catherine’s journal to open the hatch over the viewing window. The telescope provided an interesting view of the revealed starfield. Catherine’s notes regarding the telescope’s protective stop had given me an idea. I located the stop and removed it, then slowly lowered the telescope until it shattered the viewing window. I had suspected that the Star Fissure would somehow be instrumental to signaling Atrus ever since I had read his journal, and felt vindicated when he linked in and approached. I then had to bear witness to what must be the worst of the alternate endings: Atrus and I shot, Catherine doomed to die with Riven and Gehn free to escape with Atrus’ linking book. At least I knew now for certain how to signal Atrus.

I reloaded and made my way towards the Golden Dome. From the information I had pieced together from Gehn’s and Catherine’s journals, I felt certain that the linking domes needed to be powered up before they could be used, and that the power source was somehow tied to the Golden Dome. I also fully expected that when the domes were powered up, that the sliders on the golden dome would be linked to some kind of screen display on the surface of the dome and that it would then be a simple matter of making the display match the access code from Gehn’s journal. In other words, I was still blindly thinking that the access code wasn’t a series of numbers, but was instead just some random symbols (that admittedly bore a resemblance to the D’ni numbers) and there was no puzzle there to figure out: I only had to power the domes and all would be revealed.

I entered the Golden Dome and was again at a loss as to how to reach the central console. I circled the walkways, examining the problem from all sides. It appeared to me like there were a couple of locations where a gap in the circular walkway indicated a place where I might access the central console – if only a bridge were somehow extended from the circular walkway to the console. How might I trigger this? I mulled the problem over, and it occurred to me that perhaps the bridge (if it existed) was designed to extend automatically when the Golden Dome was cut off from outside access. That made a certain sense to me, and explained from a game design perspective why the rotating room offered two paths into the Golden Dome.

I headed out of the dome on the bridge leading to ‘Woodchipper Island’ and raised the bridge behind me, then made the long trek back to ‘Golden Dome Island’ via ‘Pod Village island’. I entered the Golden Dome via the bridge from the rotating room and activated the lever raising the bridge. I had done this once before near the beginning of the game, but had not turned around to see if anything happened to the control console. I didn’t look this time either. Because *this* time, I finally noticed that the raised bridge looked like a stairway.

Aha! I understood now why there were two routes into the dome from the rotating room. I went out over the other bridge, rotated the room around until I could access the stairway and climbed up to the top of the Golden Dome.

I approached the machine with trepidation. I used the lever to lower the press and then activated the button with no effect. Apparently, this wasn’t going to be *that* easy.

I raised the press and approached the machine to examine it. I saw the colored marbles, and the grid of 5 X 5 squares with the island shapes with each square subdivided into 5 X 5 spaces where a marble could be placed. And it all just made an immediate sense to me; I knew what needed to be done.

Quickly, I raced back to ‘Topo Mapper Island’ to examine each of the islands in the map viewer. I located the square containing the linking dome on each island, and made a note of what exact sub-square it was located in. Now, I was exceedingly glad that I had noticed the open ceiling above the linking dome on ‘Woodchipper Island’. I copied all of the locations down in my notebook, and returned to the Golden Dome.

I knew the colors associated with 4 of the linking domes, and rapidly placed the colored marbles in the squares indicated by my examinations of the map viewer. The marble associate with the last linking dome was either blue or yellow. I chose yellow; since blue was the 5th color, it made sense to me that Gehn would have reserved that color for another purpose. I closed the press and activated the button, then raced down to the nearest linking dome, opened it and tried using the sliders. Nothing happened. I felt crushed by disappointment.

Suddenly, I realized that I might have chosen the wrong color for the last linking dome. I raced back to the top of the Golden Dome and raised the press, then swapped the blue marble for the yellow. When I pressed the button this time, there was a thundering boom followed by a steady pulsing sound like a heartbeat. I knew for certain now that I had powered the linking domes.

I returned to the linking dome and again tried manipulating the sliders. There was no change; no symbols appeared on the display. I realized that I had been wrong: the access code was a puzzle after all. One that I hadn’t a clue how to solve. In an agony of frustration, I quit for the night.
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Posted 30 December 2006 - 06:20 AM

The Power of Five

I’ve always found it interesting how different people approach a problem. A puzzle that might prove a terribly difficult challenge to one person is seen as easy by another, while a different type of puzzle reverses the roles. It seems to me that the general opinion (from having read several of the Riven journals here) is that the marble puzzle is considered one of the more frustrating puzzles of the game. I found it easy, probably because I was fortunate enough to have already found all of the clues to solve it before I ever found the puzzle itself. On the other hand, using the access code to open the linking domes was proving to be a dreadfully hard chestnut to me. This is apparently considered an easier puzzle by many, and all I can do now is shake my head ruefully at the effort I went through to solve it.

All of the next morning, as I went through my routine of making coffee and fixing breakfast, I continued to work at the puzzle in my mind. Five sliders. On a scale marked off in units where every fifth unit had a longer mark. I kept doggedly thinking that that longer mark had to indicate tens somehow, but why only four lesser marks between? The first number of the access code was 7, and that wouldn’t fit on such a scale.

Fives. Riven revolved around fives and Gehn had written of the Power of Five in his notebook. What if the number system were base five?

That would explain why the D’ni symbol for ten looked like the D’ni symbol for two rotated counter-clockwise (CCW) by 90 degrees. And suddenly I realized that the D’ni symbol for five was the symbol for one rotated CCW 90 degrees. My heart quickened with excitement as I realized that the longer marks on the linking dome scale would be tens in a base five system. Would the access code I had copied from Gehn’s journal fit on the slider scale if I used this system?

My wife was on the computer at this point, so I grabbed my notebook instead and looked at the access code I had written down:

- The first symbol was a D’ni 7. In base 5, this would be a 12. On the linking dome slider scale, this would be equivalent to setting the first slider to two marks after the first longer mark (or ten).
- The second symbol looked like a D’ni 4, combined with a D’ni 2 turned CCW 90 degrees. In base 5, this would be a 24, and would be equivalent to setting the second slider to four marks past the second long mark (or ten).
- Third, was a CCW 3. This would be a 30.
- Fourth, was a 3 combined with a CCW 3. This would be a 33.
- Last, was a 1 combined with a CCW 4. This would be a 41.

It looked like the access code would fit on the slider scale, but would it work? I usually don’t play games on the computer until after my family has gone to bed, but I had to know. As soon as my wife got up from the computer, I jumped on and fired up Riven.

Doubt assailed me as I approached the linking dome and began manipulating the sliders. Would this work? I moved each slider to their position as I had calculated it: 12 24 30 33 41 and pressed the button. I heard the sound of the machinery starting up, and felt a thrill of sublime triumph that has been seldom equaled in my gaming life. I had solved it!

I watched in awe as the dome closed over me and the book rose up into the light. Opening the book, I saw the Gateway Image display the desolate landscape of the Age that Gehn currently inhabited. I longed to link in and continue my adventure, but real life was calling, and I had to defer my explorations until later.

Afterword: Upon finishing Riven (and subsequently reading the walkthroughs), I realized two things about my solution to this puzzle:

1. I seriously overthought this puzzle: the base five solution wasn’t needed, and if I could just have shed my determination to have the longer marks on the slider scale be tens, it would have made this puzzle a little easier. A consequence of the way I solved this puzzle is that I still remember the access code to the linking domes as 12 24 30 33 41 instead of 7 14 15 18 21.

2. Once I had the solution, I didn’t follow through on the line of reasoning and decipher the symbols for the name of Gehn’s Ages. I remember fleetingly thinking about the reference to Gehn’s ‘89rd’ Age and how that fit in with my base five solution, and my quick conclusion was that perhaps the D’ni used two symbols together to represent numbers greater than 25 (i.e. a base 10 system). Thus, I did not learn that it was really Gehn’s 233rd Age until I had finished the game.
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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:40 AM

Gehn

Later the same day that I figured out how to open the linking domes, my daughter finished playing some of her games on the Nick Junior website, and announced that she wanted to “see Daddy play one of his games”. Typically, this means playing Donkey Kong 64 or Super Mario 64 with her. This time, however, I asked if she wanted to see Daddy’s latest game. I was eager to explore Gehn’s ‘98rd’ age, and the Myst games have always been fairly nonviolent, so I felt safe in letting her watch me play a little. My wife wandered in after a while, so I had a regular audience as I played.

I reloaded my saved game, and opened the linking dome once more. I was full of anticipation as the book powered up, and I observed the Gateway Image display the desolate landscape and strangely shaped structure. I placed my hand on the book and linked.

My expectation was that I would arrive unseen and have to sneak through Gehn’s office building, perhaps solving a couple of puzzles before I could access his office proper. I should have expected that Gehn would have better security than that, especially after my initial arrival to Riven. I found myself in an enclosed cell, able to reach the surrounding Linking Books but unable to use them. I examined my surroundings carefully, then pressed the button on the wall of the cell, at a loss as to my next move. A moment later, a man wearing protective lenses entered the room. I was finally meeting Gehn for the first time (if you don’t include the alternate endings).

Gehn apologized for my confinement, and went on to make a long speech, trying to gain my trust. He claimed to be a changed man, regretting his attempt on Atrus’ life and his misdeeds. He spoke of his imprisonment of Catherine as necessary, because she believed herself to be a religious savior and because the Moiety had made several attempts on his life. He talked of the imminent collapse of Riven, and his almost completed Book which was to be the salvation of the people of Riven.

Gehn spoke fairly enough, but I was still filled with distrust for several reasons. First, I had seen the alternate endings and knew that Gehn would not hesitate to kill Atrus or myself. Second, his description of Catherine did not jibe with the Catherine I knew from her journal. Finally, I had read Gehn’s journal and his entries there had left me with a different impression of the man than he was now presenting himself to be.

Gehn then got to the point: he wanted to see the Linking Book I had recovered from the Moiety. I handed him the Prison Book. Gehn carefully examined the Book, and his suspicion and indecision were clearly written on his face. Gehn approached the cage and held the book before me, asking me to link first.

I froze for a moment. What should I do? Would he recognize it was a Prison Book when I linked? I realized I needed to decide quickly; Gehn was sure to grow suspicious at my hesitation. I reached out to link…and Gehn withdrew the Book. I had waited too long. Gehn offered me the chance to use his Linking Books while I considered my decision, and told me to use the call button to summon him again when I had decided to use the Book. He then left me to pursue his interrupted experiments.

I pondered what to do next. My daughter was clamoring to see a different location, and it seemed I could do no more here. I found the Linking Book for the one island I had yet to visit, the one I suspected Catherine was being held on, and linked.

An aside: I forgot to mention earlier that after leaving “Topo Mapper Island”, I had returned to the “Golden Dome Island” and tried to look for the fifth island. I finally decided that the island containing the temple (connected by bridge to Golden Dome Island) must be the fifth island. I even spent some time fruitlessly searching for the linking dome I knew must be there. It was only after reading Catherine’s journal that I deduced that I had not yet visited the fifth island.

I emerged from the Linking Dome and beheld the remains of the Great Tree. I felt a great sadness that I had never seen the tree whole. A building was perched on the stump of the tree high above. I followed the path to a passage that ended at an elevator. A switch mechanism was on the wall, with three keys and a lever. I experimented with the mechanism: each key made a distinct sound (which I noted as “tinny”, “strike” and “bell”). Activating the lever did nothing; the keys must have to be pressed in some order to make the lever work. I then noticed the pullrope hanging to the right, and tugged it. The elevator began to rise.

I recognized the room I arrived in as the room seen from the viewer on “Topo Mapper Island”. A set of bars prevented me from entering the room. As I stood there, Catherine entered the room. I was surprised at how young she appeared. She was glad to see me, but quickly tried to appear nonchalant, worried that we might be under observation. She implored me to find the combination to free her, which was hidden somewhere in Gehn’s office. She then left, and I descended the elevator.

I was starting to feel like I was rushing through too fast now. I like to take my time and examine everything when I play a game, but I was feeling compelled to cater to my audience and move faster. I decided to reload my saved game, and see what happened if I accepted Gehn’s offer and linked into the Prison Book. I figured that it would end the game, and I could then make a graceful exit, and play something else with my daughter.

So, I listened to Gehn’s speech once again. When he held up the Prison Book, I quickly linked into darkness, resigned to my fate. A moment later, the book opened again, but instead of the expected gloating, I saw Gehn. Looking as if he’s preparing himself to use the Book. I start silently rooting him on in my mind. Come on Gehn! Touch the Book! You know you want to! He does, and a moment later we’ve switched places. Once again I’m inside his office, except now I’m outside the cage. I’m a little surprised, but pleased that I’ve managed to trap Gehn.

I still needed to finish out my play session, so I decided to see what would happen if I now linked into the Prison Book. I did, and was treated to another alternate ending where Gehn thanked me for releasing him.

I exited the game thinking that I was maybe closer to finishing the game than I had thought.

The Ending

I reloaded my previous saved game, linked into Gehn’s office, and trapped him once more in the Prison Book, after listening to his conversation. I was now free to search through his office.

I examined the first floor and located the lever that lowered the central cage, and the controls that powered the Linking Books. I also found a device that played a plaintive song that provided morose background music as I searched, and the implements Gehn used to write Books. Having exhaustively searched upstairs, and finding no way to open the exterior doors, I made my way down the ladder to a small bedroom. I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to explore more of this Age, desolate though it seemed.

I saw Gehn’s journal first, and quickly perused it. For the most part, it reinforced my original impression of Gehn, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy for him when I read his entry regarding his wife, Keta. I watched the viewer message, and examined the pictures on the wall, wondering who the old gentleman was. I also spotted the timepiece and when I heard the tone it made, I felt confident that it was related to the combination that would free Catherine. I made a note of its sound: tinny – strike – tinny – bell – tinny.

I returned upstairs and used the Prison Island Linking Book. I spent more time exploring the approach to the elevator to see if I had missed anything, then used the pull rope to go upstairs. I again saw Catherine’s speech imploring me to find the combination, then returned downstairs. It took me a couple of tries to recreate the combination on the keys, but I was finally successful, and upon pulling the lever the bars rotated around and the elevator took me upstairs. Catherine entered the room, and quickly joined me on the elevator, pulling the rope as she did.

Close up, I was even more struck by Catherine’s youth and beauty. I felt quite proud at the look of appreciation she displayed when she examined the Prison Book and realized I had trapped Gehn. I wonder how she was able to tell; perhaps she could see Gehn in the Gateway Image? She instructed me to open the Fissure so that we could signal Atrus, and sped off to warn the villagers, leaving me to my thoughts. I had already opened the Fissure once before, so I knew how to accomplish it. It seemed I was only moments away from the ending of the game.

I returned to the linking dome and linked back to Gehn’s office. I was momentarily put off to find myself back in the cage; had someone discovered us? The Linking Books were still powered up, but my disquiet increased when I saw that the first page had been torn out of the first few Books I examined. When I found that the Linking Book back to Golden Dome Island was still intact, I realized that Catherine must have destroyed the Books to throw off any pursuit, while leaving me a way to reach the Fissure.

I linked to Golden Dome Island and headed immediately to the Fissure. I entered the code and opened the hatch, pulled out the stop, and then quickly lowered the telescope into the glass, lest someone arrive and try to stop me. The glass cracked and air began to be sucked into the Fissure. The earth quaked as the fissure widened, and both the telescope and the nearby Moiety dagger symbol toppling into the Fissure.

Atrus linked in and ran to me, asking me about Catherine and the Book. I was at a loss for a moment, until Catherine appeared. She must run fast! I was witness to their joyful reunion, and was pleased to find out that the villagers were all safe and that my nactions had not doomed them. Catherine linked out, then Atrus followed, after inviting me to see him again, if I was ever so inclined. I was surprised; I expected to follow Atrus and Catherine back to D’ni. However, Atrus made good on his cryptic promise to return me home as I leaped into the Fissure and listened to his final speech. I wondered how Catherine would take the news of Sirrus’ and Achenar’s imprisonment, and whether or not it would drive a wedge between her and Atrus.

What an ending! I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I watched it, but also a great sadness that my journey was over. The ending gave me a real sense of… closure… to both Myst and Riven. I’m glad that I’ll be able to experience the Myst games that have since followed, but I also think I could have been satisfied if the series had just ended after Riven.

As for my future, I had originally planned to jump right into Exile, but instead I started reading the books. I’ve finished the Book of Atrus and am 2/3 of the way through the Book of Ti’ana. After I finish the Book of D’ni, I’m going to try out realMyst, which I just managed to get a copy of yesterday. Then Exile…and my next journal.
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