Part 28: Lore: Gehn, Anna, and the Fall of the D'niLore Anna, Gehn, and the fall of the Dni
The following is a synopsis of the Book of Tiana.
Anna was a young girl who lived with her family, a pair of pioneers, in the wilds of New Mexico. They lived on the margins, but her father was an inquisitive man, greatly interested in the vast cavern complexes in that part of the state.
Regretfully, Annas parents both passed away to accident and illness. Anna, left by herself and contemptuous of the other people who derided her family, took to exploring the caves as far as she could go. What she discovered was astonishing. Traces of human habitation led to a massive open shaft leading deep into the earth. And at the end of the shaft were the Dni.
The Dni took her into custody and interrogated her about the people living on the surface. Her answers only reinforced their decision to avoid contact with the surface, but the girl herself still needed to be dealt with. Anna surprised them by speaking a little Dni that she managed to pick up in the time she was imprisoned, and the Council decided to leave her in the custody of the Master of the Surveyors Guild. He had a son, named Aitrus, who was studying in his footsteps. Anna and Aitrus became fast friends, and soon fell in love.
But things werent perfect for the young couple. Atrus friend, Veovis of the Guild of Writers, was a strong voice against working with any outsiders. That Aitrus had a surface girl in his home was a source of significant tension between the two friends. But when Veovis discovered Aitrus had taught Anna some of the Art, it truly set him off. The resultant conflict ended with Aitrus personal Age confiscated by the Guild of Maintainers, but with Veovis himself discredited among his fellows. Aitrus began to make political inroads of his own, the goal being a revival of a highway to the surface, the remains of which make the Great Shaft.
Aitrus and Anna were married, producing a son they named Gehn. He was a sickly child whom the Guild of Healers did not think would survive, but survive he did, and he quickly demonstrated a precocious nature that got him accepted into the Guild of Book Makers.
But Veovis was not finished. His frustration with the council and Aitrus led him to make inroads with various Dni exiled from the Guild of Writers for misusing the Art or other crimes. Their leader was a spiteful man named Agaeris, who had been expelled from the guild in disgrace for stealing books. Agaeris betrayed Veovis, framing him for selling books which lead to his imprisonment in a Prison Age. This was a calculated plan to force Veovis to join their ranks, and Agaeris freed Veovis later, recruiting him into a campaign of terror that rocked Dni and its Ages.
Veovis was eventually caught once more, thanks in large part to Anna. The Council was ready to execute Veovis for his crimes, but in a surprising intervention Anna argued in his defense. She argued instead for a permanent exile, placing him in a Prison Age and destroying the book. She cited the framing that led to his first imprisonment, and how his honest desire to aid Dni had been twisted by the exiles. Her argument convinced the Council, and Veovis was imprisoned with no possibility of return. Or so they believed.
Agaeris had managed to create a second book, and in doing so rescued Veovis again. He pressed Veovis into making a plague for their most devastating attack yet. During Gehns graduation ceremony from the Guild of Book Makers, a vile cloud began to descend over the city. It killed everything it touched with terrifying efficiency, causing chaos as the Dni fled wherever they could. Veovis and Agaeris went the extra mile, linking infected bodies onto Ages to leave no survivors.
Aitrus sensed the involvement of his old friend, so he donned his Surveyor gear and dove into the dying city. He discovered a dying Veovis, who had finally rebelled against Agaeris for his part in destroying the Dni. His final act was providing a trap book to Aitrus, a linking book slightly altered to lead not to a peaceful farming Age, but a Death Age certain to kill anyone who entered. Aitrus managed to trick Agaeris into entering the Death Age but Aitrus had to go in himself. Both were killed by vicious monsters.
Meanwhile, Anna and Gehn had Aitrus extensive maps of the caves around Dni. They fled through twisting caves, until they finally found themselves on the surface, not far from where Anna had originally entered the caves years ago. They did their best to make a life for themselves, but Gehn never forgave Anna for her role in allowing Veovis to live. He ran away from home when he was 14.
Gehn ended up contacting a local tribe called the Amad. He fell in love with a woman named Keta, and was happy enough to live among the Amad. But when Keta became pregnant, she also became deathly ill. Gehn returned to Anna, but she couldnt save Keta either. She died in childbirth, and Gehn left before giving his child a name.
Anna raised the child, who she named Atrus after his grandfather. And the rest, as they say, has already been written.