Part 8: Entry 8 - The PrisonThis is a big one.
Ambient: Birdsong and bugs
I stepped in the elevator and looked around. Controls seemed simple enough, and there was even a groove where the handle scraped against the wood. I grabbed the handle and pulled it upwards.
The tusk whale mouth closed, and the elevator turned. Odd, but it started rising soon so I just put it to the difficulties of putting elevators in trees.
And at the top, the metal walkways among the trees, above the simple villager paths below.
It wasnt long before I found something to pique my interest. A dark metal dome, spinning like a top. It seemed to be decorated with a number of circles, but beyond that I had no idea what its purpose was.
I did notice the pipe running into it. I checked back through my journal and confirmed that this was, in fact, the second dome Ive seen so far.
There were no obvious ways to stop it though. I took a look around and noticed a gap in the railing, with some sort of device on a different walkway pointed right at the dome.
It was just a quick loop around from where I was.
The device clicked at me, the wheel spinning in time with the dome.
Looking closer revealed a primitive animation, an eye slowly opening and closing in different ways. The circles appeared to be on the spinning dome itself, but I noticed one of the images was yellow. Tapping the button on top at random didnt do anything by itself, but after getting used to the timing
I hit the button at the right symbol.
The dome ahead of me slowly came to a stop, and then opened up with a slick rumble.
Another golden dome, this one gleaming in the sunlight coming through the trees. Honestly, it was astonishing.
I rushed back around the walkways, wondering just what I had uncovered.
At first I was disappointed. Another combination lock. But peering through the glass chilled me to the bone.
A book. A book left under careful protection, locked by passcode, and further hidden from the village where they were not allowed to be. Atrus places of protections sprang to mind, but I had no observatory to tell me the passwords here. Gehn was likely too careful for that.
It had to be a linking book.
Which was impossible. Atrus was certain this Age was a prison, that his Myst book was the last link away, and that had dropped where no one could recover it. Had he missed one? That would make my missions nigh impossible, Gehn could be anywhere in the vast multiplicity of Ages, and possibly Catherine with him.
I remembered the pictures in the Gate Room, the process of making books. Maybe Gehn had rediscovered the process of making books as well. But that would lead to the same problem. I imagined myself, endlessly chasing Gehn from subjugated world to subjugated world, while far behind me Atrus struggles endlessly with the book of Riven. If I failed to get back before his desperate edits finally failed
I pushed the thought from my mind. I was still on Riven, and there was hope yet. Like as not Gehn would create a hub Age for himself and his private studies. And perhaps these domes and books were a recent development, so Gehn hadnt gotten very far at all.
Hopefully, anyway. But if I fail, it would mean more than Catherines life and that of the people of Riven. Atrus fear of a Gehn loose in the Ages were realized. And from all that Ive seen Gehns treatment of Riven so far, Im inclined to agree.
The walkway continued, upwards and away from the jungle.
I was greeted by another building. The walkway was familiar, situated across from the small hole where the watchtower was.
The door swung open easily, revealing another imposing looking chair. The tusked jawbone that made the back made my stomach turn. The teeth were sharp, made for piercing, tearing and crushing. The whole jaw was nearly as tall as I was. The tusk whales were getting more distressingly real by the hour.
Another of Gehns chairs.
I took a seat and noted the two levers in front of me. I tried the right one first, but it clicked and did nothing. When I tried the left one though
Panels in the ceiling opened up, and the chair itself slowly lifted into the sky.
The view was astonishing, especially the village spread out below. I wondered how many of the Rivenese could see me. I wondered what they thought of this stranger in their rulers chair, poking at the levers.
I looked over the lip, and even from here the drop gave me a bit of vertigo. In perfect view was the execution tower.
I gave the right lever another try, and this time the platform below the tower closed, revealing another star design. A test pull revealed I could open and close the platform from here.
I realized I was sitting on Gehns own judgement throne.
I pulled the left lever and lowered the chair again.
Thinking back, I can clearly picture the events. The Rivenese villagers called out of their homes, the tower in front of them and Gehn on his seat high, high above.
Gehn would no doubt make his intentions clear, expounding on justice, his authority, and the failures of the poor unfortunate being chained to the manacles at the top of the tower.
Gehn would render his verdict, and, exerting his own control, the platform of the tower would open, revealing the dark waters beneath. But the executioner himself would be at the base, one of Gehns lackeys, ready to pull the switch that would lower the accused, screaming, to his death.
Whats most disturbing is the presentation, the sheer showmanship of the whole setup, and how it exists in full view of the village, a daily reminder of their ruler and the power he wields.
And, God help me, I was headed back to that same tower.
Stopping in the secret elevator, I noticed the groove of the switch actually seemed to extend a little further down.
The middle area was back at the tusk whale effigy, but pulling the lever further proved fruitful.
The elevator lowered down into the rock, revealing another floor.
Another tram stop, the one corresponding to the blue tram button up a floor. Probably a bit of convenience. By the time the elevator lowered, the tram would likely have arrived.
I wasnt done on this island yet though. There was something that closing the tower platform might let me do.
Of course, it would be a bit of a trip to make my way back to the tower.
My journey back was interrupted briefly, when I ran face to face with a young Rivenese girl in the jungle. She turned tail and fled quickly without a word.
Not before tripping on her own feet though.
I stayed put. I doubted anyone would react well to a mysterious stranger chasing after a three year old child.
I waited until she could get away and continued on my way.
Thankfully the sub was docked where I left it, meaning I wouldnt have to circumnavigate the entire island to get to it.
It was only a brief underwater jaunt to return to the execution tower.
Once more the sound of water just below my feet filled my ears. The metal sounds from deep below still gave me pause.
With the platform closed, it felt much safer.
I remembered the last time I came here. Pulling the switch would lower the manacles, and after a short time, they would lift into the air again.
With the platform closed I wouldnt have to worry about making myself an unwilling sacrifice, and by definition it needed to be able to lift a persons weight.
In fact, it would probably need to be stronger than that, the tusk whales teeth were sharp, but any carnivore tears at its prey. Hanging upside down, it would be akin to fishing with a block of chum, the larger creature biting in and jerking side to side, leaving behind-
I pulled the switch, and the manacles lowered down. It was just a matter of sitting on the manacle bars and gripping the chain.
Once again I felt the eyes of the villagers on me as I took a seat on the gallows.
And, slowly, I began to rise.
I hopped off quickly at the top of the tower, facing the last place on the island I hadnt been to.
I peeked down the hole I had just vacated. Not an experience I wanted to go through again.
The top was lined with more of the enormous jaw bones. Gehn had killed plenty of these tusk whales before turning to them as executioners. It was certainly effective imagery.
I had other things to explore though. I crossed the narrow gangplank to the door on the other side. 5 sections again.
Peering through the bars of the door revealed something astounding.
I rapped on the bars, and the prisoners slowly looked up. We locked eyes, and I tried to communicate that I would let him out. Hand gestures, pointing, that sort of thing.
He remained stoic and remained seated.
I decided to do something a bit more practical and looked for the door controls. I noted a wheel to my right, and was thankful this switch wasnt tucked away past a secret tunnel on the other side of the Age.
I gave the wheel a turn, and was rewarded by the prison door opening wide.
I waited a moment, expecting the prisoner to jump out in exultation of his freedom. He would accompany me and teach me Rivens ways, and the two of us would team up against Gehn to end his tyranny with the power of understanding and friendship.
I stood there for about a minute, but he didnt come out. Perhaps he wasnt that interested in friendship.
In fact, when I went back to the prison, he was gone entirely.
I stepped inside, mind racing. No other obvious exits, and I was right next to the door. He would have to be a literal ghost to leave without me noticing. There had to be another exit.
I felt along the brick walls, but they revealed nothing.
The only feature in the entire room was the dirty water grate in the center. An oddly placed one. Why would a cell in a stone mountain need drainage?
The grate flipped open with a rusty squeak. I thought I saw something in the murky water and reached in.
Not too deep inside I felt a handle of some sort and gave it a pull.
Soundtrack: Rebel Caves
The rumble of stone on stone caused me to look up, and watch as a piece of the wall slowly opened, revealing a secret passage. So this is where the prisoner went. Did he know who I was? Was I being led this way?
I paused at the entrance. A secret tunnel in Gehns own prison. A concrete location of rebellion, kept hidden from Gehns own guards and lackeys. The prisoner disappearing was the only indication this was here in the first place. But did he know why I was here? Maybe I was walking into a trap.
Trap or no, I couldnt leave this be. Being caught would probably be an improvement to wandering lost as I was.
Which made the pitch black tunnel a bit of irony. I stumbled my way forward, one hand on the wall and one in front.
Until I reached the other end. An opening into the sea. No side paths and a sheer drop ahead. I stopped, but somehow this didnt seem like everything to find here.
I noticed the small stick and globe to the side. Tapping it lightly turned it on, emitting a small bit of light.
I turned around and noticed another lamp, rendered visible by the light.
Turning this one on revealed more of the cave ahead.
I slowly made my way back through the tunnel, turning on lights as I went.
Until I made it to a door, set in the stone wall. I must have blundered past it in the dark
I had to turn on a couple more lights, but I could see the handle in the stone. Opening the door revealed another passage, this one already brightly lit.
The tunnel was long and winding, seeming to lead deep into the stone of the island.
But it led to a room, hidden behind two secret doors and into Gehns own prison.
A room marked by the dagger Id been looking for ever since I got here.
The room was lined with pillars depicting a variety of animals, maybe 30 alltogether.
Some of them were quite familiar.
I thought back to the eyes, spread around the island. Looking around I found a frog, the beaked seal, the beetle And each of them was numbered, 2, 3, 4, and 5. They were a code! A hidden passcode for the villagers to discover on their own. Gehn and his lackeys stayed to their own spaces, but if a villagers disobeyed, or was unruly and was sentenced to death then they might find the escape, and make their way here.
I nearly had the whole code myself. Access to the Dagger rebellion, at my fingertips. But I decided against guessing by trial and error. There might be a failsafe in the stones, or some of the rebels might come through and dart me. Ive certainly had my fair share of miscommunications while Ive been here.
I left the secret room, and the prison. There was more islands to explore, and more to understand about Riven.
Further along the walkways I found a ladder that could be lowered to the wooden gangways above the lake. A more dignified path than taking the manacles again.
Im sitting at the elevator tram station, writing this entry and processing everything Ive discovered so far. Im this close to solving the rebel code, but Im admittedly hesitant. I dont speak their language, and I resemble Gehn far more than any of the locals. Before I dive in and look for the trap linking book, I feel like theres more of Riven I need to understand. Hopefully this next island will have more to reveal.