A Riven Journal Transcript
thank you to mystellany for the text
I start this latest journal with astounding news — Catherine has returned to the Fifth Age! And though it sets my teeth on edge to say it, she has also vanished as quickly as she appeared, stolen from me by the rebels. As my guard tells it, she linked into the Fissure plateau cage — as I’d guessed — when suddenly he was set upon by a band of rebels who darted him and spirited her away. I suspect the truth of the matter was that he was so dumbfounded at actually witnessing someone link in after all this time that he presented an easy target for whichever rebel had happened by at that moment — the damnable luck of it! He did get a good enough look at her, though, to verify that it was indeed Catherine. He also claims that he inspected all of her belongings and found no Linking Book on her person, a fact which — if true — makes the question of why she’s returned here all the more puzzling.
While I am sick with frustration at having lost the only quarry that cage has ever caught, I am also filled with hope — she may yet provide me with a way back to D’ni. It is true that I have managed, despite overwhelming odds, to break free of the confines of the Fifth Age and resume my mission to save my culture from extinction; but I fear that unless I am able to regain access to the vast resources that lie in the city’s ruins, the task of reconstructing that great civilization will be impossible. If Catherine did bring a Linking Book with her, then I am halfway there — if not, then she is trapped in the Fifth Age and I can assume that my emotionally crippled son will soon be along to rescue her. Either way, it is crucial to my plans that I find her soon. Her presence here now forces me to take the rebels more seriously — I should never have permitted them to survive this long.
Once again the ‘Great Whark’ has demonstrated its usefulness to me. This past week the villagers have been most difficult to manage — apparently they have learned of Catherine’s arrival — and their fear of this mythic beast has been all that has kept them in line. Had I known how truly useful these prodigious creatures would prove to be, I would have perhaps captured more of them while the local population was still plentiful; although, to be sure — if these disturbances continue, my current pets will be in no danger of perishing for lack of nourishment.
The search for Catherine continues —
I now deeply regret my mistake of having ever taught these primitive people anything at all about the Books. It seems that with each passing day I more sorely realize the extent to which they were not ready for that knowledge — not even in the simplified manner in which I had presented it to them. Their minds, adapted only to the exceptionally menial tasks of village life, were incapable of comprehending the Art in all its complexity, and thus were unable to extract the essential underlying principles that are — ironically — so elegantly simple. It is obvious that much of the discord that exists between us stems from their failure to grasp the full meaning of the information I gave them. If they’d been able to gain even the smallest glimpse of the future I’d planned for them, then this conflict would not exist.
The minds of children are much more malleable. With the proper instruction, they have developed a more appropriate posture towards the culture that gave them their lives. At times they take to it almost as if they had a bit of D’ni blood in them. Given the natives’ inborn limitations, however, I am quite careful that none gain a level of understanding that would permit them to sin against their future the way that Catherine did. How foolish I was, to think that she could contain such knowledge responsibly, when it was quite clear that my own son could not.
Atrus — still he remains one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I should never have left him with my mother — by the time I’d returned for him, he had already been poisoned as to all thoughts of the D’ni. Perhaps it was the only way that she could rationalize the fact that she had been responsible for the collapse of their civilization. So much destruction, so many great lives lost — the guilt must have been unbearable. I do have vague recollections of the love she had for my father, and for our world . . . but ultimately, she was an outsider whose ignorance of the D’ni became the catalyst for their demise. If I am able to rebuild our culture and in the process correct such crucial weaknesses, then perhaps what she did was ultimately necessary, in order that a new era of prosperity might someday come to pass.
These last few weeks I have found myself frequently beset by images from the past. As I stood in the schoolroom today, I was reminded of my own childhood: the years I spent in the Book-Makers Guild, father’s immense pride at each of my small accomplishments there. He was an important man in the D’ni world — but I can’t bear to think of him for long; it’s too much, I was too young to see such a thing.
I’ve got her! Late last night I received word that Catherine was in the village attempting to persuade the people to join her. I lost two good men in the process, but I would have paid a hundred times that number for such a prize. She’s been taken to the Prison island, where I’ve been attempting to gain some insight as to the reason for her presence here. I’ve had to fight the all but constant impulse to put her on the gallows; she has adopted the most infuriating stance of only answering my questions — when she answers them at all — in her native tongue. Even so, she is a poor liar — I am now quite certain that her return to Riven was unintentional, and that she brought no Linking Book with her. As far as her unwillingness to share with me the location of the Moiety . . . we shall see — without their leader, however, they are once again powerless against me.
If Catherine’s coming here was indeed an accident, then Atrus is bound to come for her — that is a given. The question I must now consider is — how will he do it? It is likely that his hesitation has been due — at least in part — to this dilemma. One way or another, though, he’ll have to bring a Linking Book to get back to D’ni — there is no other way.
It’s late and I cannot sleep. I’ve lost so much in my life. My people, my father, my son, and you my wife — Keta, you were the only true kindness I have ever known. Watching you flicker there in the Imager . . . I sometimes wonder if you were real. If I could restore your life with my pen, I would do so in an instant, and leave the rest of the world to their own wretched fate.
Damn these savages! I would be well advised to leave them all in the Fifth Age and begin again with a clean sheet of paper!
A stranger has arrived on Riven — with a Linking Book to D’ni! And once again my useless minion was overtaken by the rebels. From what little I could decipher from his muddled explanation, it apparently occurred sometime this morning. The cage has been damaged, but it is no matter — everything I need is here now. Atrus is certainly behind this, yet how could he be so foolish as to send someone here with a Linking Book? Such blatancy is unlike him. Could it be that he has had a change of heart? After all these years, is he finally letting his poor old father go? No, he’s only after one thing — perhaps he should find her.
For now, I need only to wait and observe.
Revisions to the Original Text
The following changes were made for readability:
- Entry 86.10.13: “she was an outsider
who’s ignorance of the D’ni . . .”
- Entry 87.2.8: “I’ve got her!
late last night . . .”