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  • D'ni


    Appears In: BoA, BoT, BoD, Myst, Riven, M3E (mentioned), M4R (mentioned), Uru: Complete Chronicles, Uru Live, EoA

    Location: New Mexico, USA


    Putting an exact boundary on what classifies "D'ni" is a fairly difficult thing to do, but as it is actually a location (albeit a very large one) and not an Age unto itself, it has been put in here.


    For the purposes of this article, D'ni is everything from the Great Shaft inward toward the Cavern along the path to the surface, as well as any and all sub-Caverns inhabited by the D'ni. While the Southern Gate technically marks the southern extent of the D'ni Empire, the rest of the path to the surface, including the Great Shaft, seems to have been reasonably well cared for up to the time of the Fall of D'ni.


    What most people refer to as D'ni is the main cavern, a massive space over 6 miles wide, 10 miles long, and 2 to 3 miles high. This cavern is lit from beneath by a huge underground lake, which glows orange with bio-luminescent plankton. The Greater D'ni Empire, however, also expands to include the caverns and passageways extending out from that point, all the way out to the Southern Gate. From the Book of Atrus and the Book of Ti'ana, it has been noted that there were numerous additional settlements and communities in these outlying areas of the Empire, in addition to the Neighborhoods (such as Bevin) arrayed around the Cavern, the D'ni capital city on Ae'Gura, and the City Proper built into the wall of the cavern on the northern side. There were also further settlements on other Ages, which fell under the rule of the D'ni Empire.


    The question of why refugees from Garternay wished to live in a place such as this, instead of the beauty of an Age like Tehranee, has just recently been answered by the DRC. According to the "Why a Cavern" section of the DRC website, as well as the DRC research notebook outlining the reign of Ri'neref as king, Ri'neref - the Writer of the Book of Earth - wrote the link into a cavern for religious and moral reasons. He believed that the hardships that would be encountered in the Cavern would cause the D'ni to turn to the Maker and find their humility - unlike the Tehranee, who perceived themselves as gods. He also believed that the Cavern would provide additional safety and shelter that a surface link could not afford, hoping to escape the possibility of the destruction experienced on Garternay. Finally, he believed that the drabness of the Cavern would enable the D'ni to genuinely appreciate the infinite variety and splendor of the Ages they linked to. By the time of the Fall, however, the D'ni had become so enchanted with their Cavern that many never left it at all.


    Early on, just after the D'ni had arrived in the Cavern, it became evident that the ventilation caves leading to the surface were quickly becoming inadequate to provide sufficient fresh air to the D'ni. So, under Ri'neref, the newly-established Guild of Miners - with the help of many volunteers - set out on a project to expand those caves and shafts. During the project, a number of D'ni refused to return to the cavern, and remained on the surface. However, all official records from that time deny any contact having been made with the native people on the surface (humans).


    The D'ni Empire was once home to nearly a million people, according to Atrus in the Book of D'ni. It is unknown whether this count includes the outlying settlements on Earth and the additional settlements on other Ages. However, D'ni was abandoned roughly 250 years ago, after the creat civilization was attacked by a scorned member of its own society. Nearly everyone in D'ni was killed that day, and although Atrus attempted to lead a restoration effort with the few survivors he was able to find, they ultimately abandoned the task, leaving the city lifeless.


    D'ni was re-discovered in 1987 by a gentleman named John "Fighting Branch" Loftin. Over the course of the next two decades, he, a fellow archaeologist named Elias "Eli" Zandi, and Dr. Richard A. Watson headed a team of people whose intent was to restore D'ni. This group has since become known as the D'ni Restoration Council. Before his death, Elias bought the massive tracts of land under which D'ni rests, and upon his death, bequeathed it to his son, Jeff Zandi. The DRC and Jeff (known universally simply as "Zandi") are rather at odds on the best way to go about restoring and re-populating the D'ni Empire. The DRC remained, up until February 9, 2004, the authority in the Cavern, even though Zandi had begun to admit explorers into D'ni without the DRC's consent. Although the DRC returned to the Cavern in early 2006, and plan on restarting their abandoned work, little has changed since their pull-out in 2004. At present, there are over 2,000 explorers living in D'ni, and that number is expected to increase dramatically this fall.


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