The Let's Play Archive


by M.c.P

Part 11: Entry 11 - Catherine's Journal

Soundtrack – Moiety Prison

So I’ve found the Resistance, or the Moiety, to be more exact. Or they found me, really.

Two of them snuck up on me in the linking book cave, while I was writing the previous entry. In that moment between being struck by their dart and losing consciousness, I recognized them. The fellow from the prison, and the masked one that rescued me from the cage when I first arrived. I didn’t get a chance to thank them. I may have mumbled it in the altered state that sleep drug left me in as they took me to where I am now.

I woke up with a pounding headache on a stone slab in a very sparse room. The only other furniture was a rough table with a bowl on it.

The bowl had some water in it, which I drank greedily. It helped with the headache a little.

Looking around, I noted the bed seemed to be solid stone, though a bit warmer for some reason. Regardless, it explained the pain I was beginning to feel in my back.

Thinking of what happened before I took an unwanted nap, I felt at my neck where the dart had hit. I didn’t feel any wounds, but the area was a bit numb. I wondered how long I’d been out.

I took a look out of a window outside. The air was cool, but lacked the scent of vegetation and salt water that filled Riven. Far, far below I could see the little pier I had arrived on when I first got to this Age. I was probably inside that giant bulbous tree then.

On the other side of the room, behind a corner, was a door.

Trying the door only gave me a solid thunk. I was a prisoner again.

The opening in the door let me look through, revealing a whole network of smaller trees, rope bridges, and lights. As I watched, a man, holding a cup in his hand, casually sauntered his way from one door to another.

Despite the dark from being inside the tree, this place felt much more relaxed than the village on Riven. Another figure passed by one of the windows, leaving a shadow as it went. I thought back to the village, utterly barren and motionless in fear of my presence.

On the other hand, I was locked in here pretty tightly.

Unsure of what to do, I stepped back inside the room and sat on the bed. I spent a little time rehearsing what I might say when the Resistance finally got around to me. “Atrus” *mimic writing* “Help Catherine” *Put hand on book* “Stop Gehn” *Stabbing motions with a pen*

Thankfully I didn’t have to embarrass myself again. A rattle at the door signaled someone coming in.

A Rivenese woman came in carrying something in a red cloth. She spoke, though once again I was lost on what she was saying. I think I recognized the name “Catherine”.

She smiled, probably to put me at ease, though her eyes betrayed uncertainty. What she had was what demanded my attention. Books, one of them familiar.

She made to leave, speaking more and gesturing towards the books she left on the table. I stayed put and ended up not saying anything. It was clear everyone involved was a little uncomfortable with the situation.

After she left, I went to the table. My heart leapt a little as I picked up the heavier book on the bottom.

The Trap book. I had finally found it after chasing a shadow around most of the islands of Riven. Opening it up revealed a perfect image of Atrus’ home on D’ni.

The other book was different. As I picked it up, a paper came out and fell to the floor.

It was revelatory, to say the least.
Catherine is, thankfully, still on Riven. Or at least she’s accessible if she could get a message to… Nelah, apparently. To free her I would have to get into Gehn’s office, wherever that is.

On a second read, it was frustratingly vague. But then, she did note it was an urgent message. And Gehn, surely, could read it as well if it was intercepted.

The book, as it turns out, was Catherine’s journal that she kept when she arrived on Riven. I sat down on the bed and began to read.


Editor's note: Catherine's journal is very long and written in a very spidery cursive that does not play well with 1995 resolutions. For easier reading, please consult the transcript Here.

Soundtrack – Catherine’s Prelude

The journal was undated, and frankly a bit rambling. I felt a little uncomfortable, going through this woman’s private thoughts, but pressed on. She told the Resistance to give it to me, there must be something important.

It’s at least a bit comforting to know I wasn’t the only person to arrive in that cage. Catherine, though, knows these people and speaks their language. I wondered if anyone here could give me a spoken primer before I got back to Riven.

But Catherine had far worse things to deal with. Apparently her, Atrus, and Gehn’s final confrontation above the Star Fissure had been expanded and overblown to the point that the Resistance, the Moiety, have granted the happy couple Godhood. A symptom of Gehn’s own claims to divinity, made worse by a fabricated prophecy that she would return to save them. And here she was, without a plan, tricked by her sons, and thrust into leadership by people who used to be friends and family.

Regardless of their beliefs, the Moiety has grown despite Gehn’s own efforts. Cut off from any that refused to join, which is tragic, but might be the only reason they’ve survived this long.

I wonder what Sirrus and Achenar told her that convinced her to come here. Or what they told Atrus, for that matter. I suppose I’ll wonder for a long time. I don’t think Atrus or Catherine will tell me.

Of course, arriving on Riven I would have no idea what it was originally supposed to be. Catherine would.

Riven used to be a single island. The tram lines, the small islands, they were built after the fact. After Riven began to tear itself apart. If Atrus is correct, his writing is all that prevented the Age from annihilating itself, but even then the damage is clear.

Furthermore, it’s only Village Island that’s open to the public. The rest are reserved for Gehn and his servants. Whatever that last island is for, there’s no doubt it’s a secret place, hidden from the Rivenese people.

Catherine discovered the fears I had, and expanded on them. Gehn would write the materials for the Art into his Ages, it’s obvious. At least as of this entry Gehn hadn’t created a working book. She can’t have been here that long, right?

Revelation after revelation. The Star Fissure was apparently underneath my very feet when I first arrived on Riven. The strange contraption was a means to observe it, and the Moiety even found the code to the device.

This knowledge is tinged by finding out that Gehn threw people into the Fissure and used the telescope to watch them fall.

The Myst book fell in that same hole, and eventually found its way to me. But what about these unfortunate people? The Myst Book had already changed hands several times before getting to me. The fate of the people might forever be a mystery.

Neither Catherine nor Atrus really know what it is. Catherine seems confident, regardless. I wish I shared her faith.

The giant daggers, the one by the Star Fissure and the one in the jungle, were written by Catherine. I suppose it’s only to be expected that they became such powerful religious symbols, even if the Moiety don’t know precisely how Catherine is responsible for it.

Gehn tried to paint them as symbols of Riven’s failure. I doubt that he was very successful, but who knows how this schism would resolve itself in the minds of the people.

As for Gehn, his progress in making new Ages is concerning. Even Catherine is uncertain how far he’s gotten, the man surrounds himself in secrecy and rarely demonstrates what he’s capable of. There’s at least one Age. There may be more.

However, the books are imperfect. It looks like the spinning domes I’ve been finding are some sort of… charging device for the linking books. Catherine calls their use obvious. It must be nice to know so much about the Art.

More and more, despite her own indecision and humility, I am shocked by Catherine’s sheer overwhelming talent in Writing. Gehn manufactured enormous, crude devices to overcome a shortcoming in his own books. Catherine merely dreams, and her problems are solved. The crystal frame on the linking book here was written into the very Age I’m in, solving the issue with the books with a simple, portable device. These drawings are impossible to decipher but clearly they work. I can see why Atrus fell for her. No idea what his appeal to her is though.

The end of the journal, and an explanation of this Age, Tay. Catherine wrote this Age for the Moiety. She had honestly planned to destroy the linking book afterwards, saving who she could but cutting herself off from Riven, Atrus, Gehn… If she had done so I might have been searching forever. There’s some measure of fortune in the fact that she was presumably captured almost the moment she got back to Riven. Her fears that Gehn was using the domes as bait were not unfounded after all.

It looks like the Moiety failed to discover the code for the domes though. They ended up having to sneak inside one after it was used by Gehn, then wait for it to be powered. I might be able to do the same thing, but will I have the time? Atrus seemed to measure the time remaining in days, if not hours, and Gehn’s person seemed to be completely absent from Riven.

I had finished reading and was trying to digest everything I’d learned, when a rattle at the door signaled Nelah’s return.

She was carrying another book and a crystal frame, and tried to speak to me once again. I admit I was a bit too overwhelmed to return the favor right then.

When she placed the frame on the linking panel, I could see the image flicker to life. Truly amazing.

Before she left though, she addressed one last thing to me. I couldn’t understand the words, but the meaning was clear.
Save Catherine. And if you can, save Riven too.

With that, she left. I noted the click of the lock as she closed the door.

The book was a way back to the secret cave on Riven. The crystal frame powering it and possibly responsible for the strange pattern on the panel itself.

I’m taking the chance, here on Tay, to rest in a safe space and wait for the crick in my back to fade away. I’ve been flipping through Atrus’ journal to remind myself what needs to be done.

Gehn is still out there, probably on his own age behind safeguards and secrecy. Somehow I need to thwart them and confront him myself. He’s an old man, but if his buildings and temples are any indication, a ruthless one.

Then I would have to rescue Catherine, wherever she is. Another passcode to retrieve from Gehn’s inner sanctum, then to actually find Catherine’s prison. With any luck it’ll be somewhere Gehn can talk to her, rather than solitary confinement in some purpose built Age.

And finally, I would need to signal Atrus with some sort of fundamental change to Riven. Catherine fears opening the Star Fissure would have disastrous consequences. That may be just what I need.

After so much time wandering the islands, climbing ladders, riding roller coasters, and getting shot in the neck I wasn’t that much further than I was when I got here. But I was getting somewhere.

I had a weapon after all. The Trap linking book. With any luck, I could use it without getting killed in the process.