Part 4: Entry 4 - The Temple
Ambient: Low hum
While I've been sitting here I noticed something.
The door behind me had some kind of switch next to it. It didn't do anything when I turned it, but the rails on the sides suggested that this side would lift up.
I had also been able to do some thinking while I resting my legs.
I had seen these square symbols before, in the stained glass depiction of the wise men. The fellow with the compass.
The walkway curved a bit and went lower, from here I could also get a good look at the device in the center of the room. Five pipes radiating outwards from the center.
Five blocks they were connected to.
Now what exactly all that meant I still have no idea, but this giant edifice is connected to something out there. But I can't see that from here, so its time for more exploring.
The walkway simply led to an exit on the other side of the dome, and I stepped outside into the sea air.
As well as another steam pipe switch.
This one had a symbol of a bridge on it, something about raising and lowering.
The bridge in question was pretty easy to see from where I stood.
I flipped the switch, stopping the steam from the top and sending a hissing sound up the pipe, but the bridge didn't move. Maybe there was a second step?
Curious, I walked back to get a better view. It looks like the bridge is a connection to another island. There was some impressive architectural work on display here. Either that or this thing twists apart in a light breeze.
But flipping the switch a couple times didn't do much else. I continued on the path.
I did notice a dome up high, spinning constantly. A large pipe led directly to it. Was this one of those square symbols?
A strange square was in front of the door. Maybe there was a way up.
I mean, there were certainly rails, and a strange gap in the walkway above.
There was even something like a button! It was locked or something, and no amount of poking or prodding made anything move.
So no choice but onward.
Onward to... yet another bridge switch.
I checked to see where this pipe led. Another footbridge high above me, but one that was familiar. This path had been a long one around the outside of the dome. Was I looking at the bridge I walked across when I first entered?
Only one way to find out. I turned the steam switch on and retraced my steps.
It wasn't a short walk, but it gave me time to listen to the way the machinery here hummed and hissed. Steam power seemed to be a fixture around here.
I also noted another walkway on the other side of the dome. It looks like it could be extended from the other side. No good to me now, unfortunately.
But back here, I could hear the clear hiss of steam and the rattle of shaking metal. That switch below had done something. I pulled the lever on the side.
And the bridge rose.
On my side, of course. With no way back to the gate room it was impossible for me to see what was above my very head. I lowered the bridge and walked through to the Gate Room. There was something else I wanted to check.
Ambient: Distant waves
Steam power was important here. Every device I'd found so far worked in two parts. First, you had to direct steam to the device. Then you could operate the device itself from nearby.
But those bridge switches weren't the only ones I had found. There was another device in the gate room which redirected steam.
The sound of hissing steam and water from the unknown device meant that I might be able to use it now.
Before these switches and buttons didn't do anything, but if I was correct on how these worked...
The button on the right makes the whole contraption move up or down. The lever controls direction.
When the contraption was lowered, with the bottom nearly touching the ground, I took a peek at the glass. Dark. If I had to guess, I'd say this was a telescope. A telescope pointed down, for some reason.
I raised the telescope up and looked at the hatch. Pulling on it still did nothing, and neither did the buttons. Maybe it was a combination lock?
Nothing more to do there, but I had proven my hypothesis. If I ran into any more non-functional devices, I'd need to find a steam pipe to redirect power.
Now to see what was across the bridge from the gate room.
The cave beyond was a winding and rough cut affair, but here I was struck by a feeling that I was trespassing where I shouldn't.
The metal door, bolted into the rock of the cave, didn't make me feel any more welcome.
Nor did the ominous, caged chair beyond it.
I approached carefully, and as I entered the door clanged shut behind me. The bars around the chair lifted like spider legs.
It looked like a damn nice chair. I felt a bit of a thrill as I climbed in.
For all the presentation, it was pretty comfortable. I figured I probably shouldn't take a load off here though. Beside, the lights from the ground were bright in my eyes. Fortunately, I had more buttons and switches to poke at!
The button on the right lowered the cage around me.
And the left switch activated something, filling the room with a static sound.
I said a tentative "Hello?" and was rewarded with a reverb to my words. Some sort of amplifier?
I decided not to stick around in case anyone came answering. But the blue and orange lights seemed interesting. I turned off the microphone and took a look.
The blue light on the right was some sort of viewer. Steps and rails showed it may just be that tram line I saw connecting the islands.
The other viewer depicted an orange room filled with pillars. I tried the switch on the left,
And the door to the room slowly opened. Definitely some sort of viewer, but where was this room?
Head full of theories, I made to exit. The spider like cage rattled as it lowered behind me and I stepped into the rough stone passage again.
The path seemed to wind at random, and the light was barely enough to keep from tripping over the uneven floor.
But eventually I came to a heavy, rough stone door, and through it.
Was a temple. The same room with pillars I had seen through the viewer.
Front and center was another spider like cage, and behind it a complex and beautiful stained glass window, with the five pointed star I had been seeing all over the island.
Checking behind me confirmed it, the door was open and this was definitely the same room I saw earlier.
Offering of fruit, good food lay scattered in front of depictions of strange, tusked beasts.
I was feeling a bit peckish, and the fruit looked fresh. I took one of the green ones. Peeling it revealed citrus fruit flesh, but it tasted far less tart than an orange, more earthy.
It was probably meant for Gehn and his lackeys. I reveled in my first strike against his oppressive rule and stepped outside.
And directly into the tram stop I had seen before. It may have been the snack, but the function of this room became clear.
Supplicants would arrive by tram, carrying offerings. Gehn could watch, waiting at his room, and see as they came off the tram one by one.
As the people lined up outside the temple, Gehn could flip a switch, and the door would open magically by itself, allowing the cowed worshipers to file into the room.
There they would see the windows, and hear Gehn's voice echoing around the room, as Gehn watched from his comfortable seat. In the temple the locals would hear his word, leave their offerings, once their part was done, head back to the tram to return to their lives.
I had found the wizard's curtain, but the wizard was nowhere to be seen.
Fortunately, I didn't see a ticket booth anywhere to use the tram.
I had an unparraleled view from this platform. Ahead of me was my next destination, a large island with plenty of tree cover.
To the right I could see two more. Nearby was the island that was connected by the long footbridge to the golden dome. Far in the distance I could see another island, with some sort of plateau on the far end. The oceans between were a tangle of twisting tram lines.
Time to see these islands for myself. I pressed the glowing blue button by the stairs, and far in the distance I could see a small tram begin to make its way through the lines to me.
Soon it was pulling into the station.
The door opened automatically, and there didn't seem to be any driver. I was thankful for that, that could only have been an awkward conversation.
The tram was a bit cozy. It didn't seem like it could move more than a few people at a time.
Controls were simple enough though.
The side switch could be pulled to rotate the tram around, moving with the whir of machinery and stopping with a jarring clunk.
Which left the center switch. I took hold of it, looked through the window, and pushed it forward.
I may have muttered 'engage' to myself at the time.
And we were off.
The ride started pleasantly enough, but as soon as we were away from the station something engaged and I was thrown in my chair as the tram picked up speed.
The carriage rattled and shook, and the g-forces of the sharp turn threw me to the side of the tram.
Halfway through the tram hopped the rails for just a moment. I lost hold of the fruit I had taken from the temple and it started to ricochet around the controls, the windshield, and my person.
The whole ride probably only lasted ten seconds from start to finish but it was already making an impact.
The tram quickly decelerated as it reached the other side, sending me nearly face first into the control panel. It rattled to a stop, and I had to catch my breath as the door and stairs slowly lowered.
I stumbled out of the tram, grateful for solid land.
I've been sitting on the station steps, writing this entry and picking fruit bits out of my hair. I admit, I'm stalling. I've seen the way Gehn presents himself to his subjects. If those people took that to heart, I could very well be walking into danger. Gehn could have me hunted down, certainly. The only saving grace was that he would still be desperately hoping to get off this Age, and for that he would want me alive.
But my dagger wielding savior was somewhere out there too. He, at least, seemed to stand against Gehn's power. He also had the trap linking book, the linchpin of Atrus' plan. There had been no sign of him at the previous island. Maybe there would be signs of him here.