Part 5: Entry 5 - Entering the Village
It was time to get moving. I wasnt going to figure out where Gehn was just sitting there.
Of course I didnt get very far before noticing something.
Some sort of eye had been put into the wall next to the tram station. It looked like there was some kind of hinge on the sides. I tried turning it.
The eye rotated, revealing some kind of symbol on the other side. There was also a light chirping sound, sort of like a cricket.
I glanced around, but didnt see any moving stairs or secret passages. Turning the eye a couple more times didnt do anything either.
With nothing more to go on, I continued away from the tram stop. The tunnel was wet and cool, with lights making the tunnel and its carved steps easy to navigate. This seemed like a well-used pathway.
There was another blue tram button at the other end of the tunnel. Some convenience there, being able to call the tram and have it waiting by the time you reach it. Beyond another flight of stairs led up and down.
I decided to continue upwards, thinking vaguely that a higher vantage point might help. A wooden rope bridge provided a way across a small canyon in the rocks.
And beyond the bridge was a clear cut area. Seeing this whole area cleared of trees It caused me to think back on how barren this place was, how little greenery there was anywhere on the islands.
Exploring the area gave me a great view of the distant golden dome. I thought back to the images of trees being ground and turned into books. Somewhere the rest of the machinery was working away making
Making what, exactly? Atrus seemed confident that Gehn was trapped here. He had ensured every linking book off of Riven had been taken or destroyed. So what was the point of this destruction?
As I mused on this, I found a cart leading somewhere underground. Presumably how the logs were transported to wherever they were turned into wood pulp. I doubted it would be a pleasant experience for a person, so I left it be.
Instead I went back towards the door into the part of the forest still standing. The plants flanking the door looked like giant blades of grass. Possibly the only reason they hadnt been cut down was because they wouldnt work as fodder for paper.
I was about to walk through when I noticed something on the doorframe.
A familiar looking beetle was making its way up the wood.
When I bent down to take a closer look, it opened its wings and flew away with a clicking buzz. Just like the ones back in the Gate room. Local animals seem to features strongly in the images around here.
Did that make the tusk whale in the temple a real creature? I wondered what kind of significance it has to the locals as I pressed forward into the forest.
Ambient: Birds and bugs
The forest beyond immediately assaulted me with the sound of animals and insects everywhere. It was a massive departure from Atrus ages, which seemed so purposefully devoid of life. The change of pace was refreshing, though I could still see the vast ocean just beyond.
But even here, the path was carefully paved and well lit, practically a highway by local standards. Blue phosphorescent mushrooms dotted the forest, among ancient looking trees.
Looking around I noticed another enormous blade, embedded in the stone. A dagger, just like before.
The forest floor was loamy and wet, but not impossible. I took a few steps forward, noticing a light emanating from where the blade met the stone.
It was another eye, like the one by the tram.
Exactly like it, in fact. But more interesting was the light. A tiny version of the dagger with a bright glowing marble in its handle. Did these eyes have something to do with that man?
Turning it revealed another symbol and a different sound. This one was some kind of hoarse barking sound. These eyes had some meaning but what?
It remained a mystery to me, so I continued. The path forked in the small tunnel and I went right, for no particular reason.
Soundtrack: Jungle Totem
I was rewarded with a dead end and another imposing presence.
The tusk whale again, just like the ones in the temple. But I doubted this was meant to be friendly. What was this statue for? It certainly made me feel uncomfortable just looking at it.
The whole place felt sinister, like a warning to stay away. I decided to heed it and take the other path.
The other side lead to a set of stairs, but a fiery glow from underneath gave me pause. I stepped forward and looked down.
The crack in the earth glowed angrily, and even as deep as it was I could feel the heat emanating from below. Were there more of these cracks in the earth around Riven? Was this the destruction Atrus was fighting against? As I stared a low rumble shook the ground around me.
I kept going with renewed urgency.
Coming up the stairs took me to a small hole, and the immediate sound of an alarm. I peered upwards at the watchtower, but the man inside quickly ducked out of sight. Well, if I hadnt been obvious enough before, people definitely knew I was here now.
I stood around a bit, trying to listen for Gehns armies coming to descend upon me and steal me away. Nothing came. I kept moving.
To the left a set of stairs led back to familiar territory, the clear cut forest.
To the right, another cave, this one lit by blue lamps giving the cave a mysterious air.
In the blue gloom I noticed some sort of painting. It was difficult to see in the light, blue ink on grey rock under blue light, but I thought I could make something out.
A large man, underneath a five pointed star, drops two people into the mouths of fishes below.
That star Gehns symbol. I wondered if the people being dropped was a story, or a metaphor, or something more concrete.
But just a little further was a lake, and in the distance, a village. I was rather struck by how, well, drab it looked. Mud domes clinging to the cliff side, connected by wooden ladders and platforms. Nothing like the brick and stone constructions of the temple.
Then I noticed the commotion all around the village. Hard to make out from this distance, but everyone appeared to be rushing back indoors at the sight of me. A woman nearly ran up to a child sitting on the walkway and urged him inside.
I stood where I was during all this. They were already afraid of me, apparently. No reason to add desperate fear to the mix.
After all the villagers had time to hide, I pressed forward. The lake shimmered in the bright sun, though as I walked something about the surface seemed odd.
Coming to a larger platform, I noticed a telescope peering at me from a rock. I waved at it, but it remained still. Maybe I was lucky and no one was on the other end.
But the water by the ladder looked strange. I approached and looked down into the water.
I looked down straight into the lake bed. The water surrounding it shimmered and rippled like a placid pond. There was a hole in the water.
There were holes in the lake all over the place.
I spend a long time staring at the sheer impossibility in front of me. Fish swam by, their bodies distorted by the ripples of water in the wall in front of me. I reached my hand out, and it slipped into the upright with no resistance. The water was cool, no different than any other example Ive imbibed, on Earth or in any of Atrus Ages.
There was an uncomfortable warmth coming from the plate below, but that hardly explained what I was looking at.
I stood up slowly and kept walking, silently promising myself that, even if I could swim, I certainly wasnt going to try it here.
Climbing up the ladders to the village was a little perilous. I couldnt imagine raising children here, certainly, but the ladders were tied down.
When I reached the top, I took a look around.
The village was a ghost town, doors and windows locked shut tight and not a sound to be heard anywhere.
I did have a great view of the lake from here though. Across the way I could see a large, cage like tower adorned with bones? It was hard to tell from here, and I was hardly a paleontologist to begin with.
On the right I noticed some sort of metal vehicle. I mean, it had wheels, at least. It seemed supremely out of place next to the clay and wood huts of the village.
I turned to a nearby home and peered at the door. More stars, but this one looked like a knocker.
I rapped on the door several times.
Against my expectations, someone answered! I was shocked, but tried to stammer out,
Uh Hello! Im a friend! Whats that metal thing over there?
She shut the little window quickly. I dont blame her, I doubt Id help me either.
Im finishing up this entry in the village, looking over the lake below. From here I think I can see some sort of tracks below the water. Maybe it has something to do with that vehicle nearby.
As I sit a baby is crying from one of the further homes, coupled with frantic whispering. Im going to get moving soon, I feel like Im causing stress just being here.