Part 19: Entry 19 - The Star Fissure
I checked over Gehns home one last time before leaving.
Not that I was confident I missed something, it only felt appropriate.
When Im finished here, there will be little reason to ever return. This metal building, with its machines, its journal, and its memories will remain until whatever forces govern this Age grind it to dust. I better get a good long look before I leave.
But having seen enough, I took the linking book to the Prison Island.
A gentle breeze had started up as I made my way to the giant tree stump and the elevator inside. The globe in Gehns bedroom had a sequence of five sounds, and I pressed the corresponding markers here.
Pulling the switch with the correct combination rotated the cage with a rattle,
Followed by the elevator automatically rising to the prison. But this time, the cage was open.
Soundtrack Catherines Freedom
Catherine heard the elevator and walked in. She stopped for a moment, her facing going through a cycle of emotions in front of me.
But she didnt have time to rejoice. She stepped into the elevator and went straight to business. It was cramped in the small elevator, we were practically touching.
We have to move quickly. Gehn's people may already know what's happening. Once we're back with the Moiety, we'll have time to regroup.
She paused, mind racing. She looked at me and asked, almost timidly.
Can I see the book?
I let her have it. She quickly opened it to the linking panel and stared at it intently. But she saw the same figure, innocently seated.
You did it.
Were all free! You captured Gehn!
She tucked the trap book under her arm and her expression set again. More business, and rightfully so. I briefly lamented that Id yet to see the sensitive side she demonstrated in her journal.
But there's still his followers. I'm not sure what they'll do once they realize he's gone. I'll have to get the villagers to safety as soon as possible.
You go back to the Temple Island and reopen the fissure. I know it's risky, but it's the only way to signal Atrus. I'll try to make it back there as soon as I can, but don't wait for me.
I nodded. Wed have to act quickly before a serious civil war started up.
We reached the bottom, and she briefly paused to snap the wires on the cage device.
Don't forget: the portal combination's in my journal. Good luck.
She immediately stepped past me and rushed to the Linking Book Dome.
I checked behind me to see what shed done to the device. Broken. Well, it prevented anyone else from getting stuck in there.
I stepped out on the walkway after her. The dome was closed and spinning, Catherine just linked before me.
It took just a moment to open the dome and follow her.
When I got to the 233rd Age I realized the cage had been lifted. Timed, perhaps? Maybe the number of recent links triggered some sort of trap. Either way, Gehns personal rooms were now closed off permanently.
I didnt dwell on it long. I had to return to Temple Island.
I stepped out of the chamber into the bright lit islands of Riven, the Great Golden Dome looming above me.
The path from here wasnt exactly straightforward, but it was natural at this point after all the time Ive spent exploring these islands.
I moved quickly, but I was preoccupied. So many things depended on Catherine at this point.
The villagers would likely be moved to Tay, where the Moiety could help them acclimate to their new world. The ladder I left down would be a highway of confused and frightened villagers leading to the secret entrance behind the prison cell.
I paused as I was about to move from the Great Golden Dome to the Gateroom. The bridge was up. I mean, of course it was up, I left it like that so I could power up the linking books in the first place.
The lever lowered the bridge. I wouldnt need to return here.
I wondered if Gehns Lackeys would try to exert control. Gehn would be gone, but they couldnt give up power so easily. Would they leave? Would they have to be overpowered?
Would they be left behind on this dying world, abandoned and alone as the ground crumbles beneath their feet?
But I was nearly back to the very placed I linked to at the beginning of this adventure. The twisting tram lines seemed so haphazard now, a desperate fix for a world tearing itself to pieces.
I walked past the trap Gehn left for linking visitors and the mysterious dagger embedded into the earth.
And faced the Star Fissure observer. The steam power hissed and rattled inside.
I bent over and entered the code from Catherines journal. The inky blackness beneath intimidated me. I shuddered, I still had no idea what this was, or what would happen to the world. Only that it would be catastrophic and that catastrophe would be enough of a change to signal Atrus that I was ready.
Whatever confrontation faced Catherine and the Moiety urged me onwards. I set the telescope to lower and pressed the button.
The creaking groan this thing let out for every movement seemed indicative of Gehns work. Utilitarian and brutal, but astonishing in its ability when created from so little.
I wondered how lush this place was when it was whole, or how the Great tree looked before it became a stump. I hoped Catherine could tell me, someday. What little Id seen hinted at a much livelier world long past.
The world was doomed, and it would take all the Rivenese had just to save the people The animals, the wildlife, even those damned man eating Tusk Whales would die. If only If only Gehn was a better writer, or if Atrus got to work sooner, or if his damned megalomaniacal dream hadnt pushed away the very people who could help him the most, we wouldnt lose this world.
I stopped. The fifth one would be the last, I knew that Gehns fixation would make it that way. I imagined Catherine leading the last villager to link through to Tay, and then she picks up the linking book from its chamber and rushes back to Temple Island. I thought of Atrus still writing in the Riven Book, still waiting for some kind of response.
I looked in the viewer. Gehn and Atrus wrote that, somehow, this expanse was filled with breathable air.
I stepped back and pressed the button a fifth time.
There was a groan, but the machine didnt move.
I paused. I admit I panicked a bit there. Had it broken? Would I need to hammer on the glass with a rock? I looked through Catherines Journal, wondering if there was something I missed.
On the page with the code on it, I noticed shed drawn a diagram of the device. There was a stop in the left strut, apparently.
I stopped over and looked for myself. Sure enough, there was a lever blocking the viewer from going any lower.
I lifted it up. Nothing in my way now.
I took a deep breath. Atrus needed his signal to come get me and Catherine. Catherine needed a means to escape before Gehns lackeys could get their act together and react. And maybe Atrus could finally get me home.
I pressed the button one last time.
The machine groaned, pressing the metal viewer on the glass. There was a moment where metal creaked in protest.
Something had to give. The glass cracked.
I was nearly torn off my feet by a sudden wind. The air around me was being sucked into the crevasse. The very metal plating began to bend and deform as it fell into the fissure.
The device fell through into the abyss. I clutched the railing as tight as I could, but a change in the light lifted my eyes skyward.
Dark clouds were forming above, blocking the sun. I tried to cry out, but the wind tore the breath from my lungs.
The giant dagger tipped and fell into the fissure before me.
Slowly the windstorm lessened, and I was able to stand normally. In that moment, a figure appeared in the linking trap. I thanked that nameless moiety soldier for breaking the cage when I first arrived.
I called out. Atrus! Over here!
He rushed over, pausing only briefly to observe the stormclouds.
There isnt much time, wheres Catherine? Wheres the book?
I opened my mouth to explain, but it proved unnecessary. Catherine round the corner and shouted out.
The ran towards each other and embraced. Reunited after their sons betrayal and many long months, uncertain they would see each other again I let them have their moment.
They didnt take long before rushing over to me.
The villagers are safely in the Rebel Age. I thank you.
As do I. You've accomplished more than I could've hoped for.
You've given me back my life. The path home is now clear for all of us.
Atrus fished out his Myst linking book. Catherine would go through first, carrying the linking book to Tay, and the Trap book with Gehn inside.
They shared another moment, briefly.
Before she left, Catherine glanced at me. She seemed hopeful, but I thought I saw something else.
But then she put her hand on the panel, and vanished.
Atrus turned to me, having a few more words to say.
This is where our paths must part. Perhaps we will meet again someday.
I blinked. Wasnt I taking the book to Myst too?
He stepped towards the fissure, book outstretched. I tried to ask him. Wait, Atrus, whats going on?
He looked towards me and smiled. There was confidence in his eyes, an assurance that everything would turn out alright.
You know where to find me... Good bye, my friend.
He put his hand on the panel, and linked away. His book dropped immediately into the Star Fissure.
Atrus, what the hell?! I tried to grab at the book, but it quickly plummeted out of sight into the inky darkness. I watched it fall out of sight, wind still ripping past me into the fissure.
Atrus, what am I supposed to do?! I cried out into the winds.
I didnt end up having a choice. The stone beneath me, weakened by the storm, finally crumbled.
Soundtrack - Fissure
And I fell into the Star Fissure.
I started screaming and twisted around. Above me I could see the crack leading back to Riven spinning away.
But I breathed regular air, and the expanse was comfortably cool. As I watched Riven fall away, stars began to peek out around the tear, like it was a passing cloud at night.
This was the route the Myst book took, falling until it made its way into my hands. This was Atrus plan, for me to fall into the fissure after it, carried by the mysterious expanse to my home.
The stars shine more clearly than Ive ever seen them, though I dont recognize any constellations.
Im writing this entry by that starlight, scribbling in freefall and trying not to lose my pens into space. Its not exactly the best of conditions, but Ive had time to spare.
I think Im approaching another dark cloud, perhaps a link to Earth. When I finish this journal, Im throwing it as hard as I can. Im no physicist, but that should propel me towards the cloud. Id hate to miss my stop.
Wherever this journal goes, and whoever finds this, I hope you can learn something. Maybe something about the value of keeping your eyes open. Or how good intentions can still lead you to hell. Maybe youll just find this amusing, thats okay too.
But if, by some miracle, this ever gets back to you, Atrus, let me add one last thing.
Next time, can you just explain everything first?
Atrus Journal. 7.33 posted:
Now I understand...endings and beginnings are within the Fissure...that riven cleft of stars that acts as both a wall and a bridge. And though I am unable to understand how, the very flow of stars that brought my Myst Book into worthy hands I am sure will serve as a safe passage home for my friend. The Age of Riven is closed forever, and the people of Riven are free. And now, I am at rest understanding that in Books, in Ages, in life, the ending can never truly be written...