The Story of Devokan
Note: D'ni, Ae'gura, and all other Myst-related names, places, etc. are a product of Cyan Inc., and not myself. Thank you.
This story does follow the D'ni canon to some degree-it does not, however, actually happen in the historical accounts of D'ni. I've just made it up.
There was a story, passed down in my village for generations. It told of a mighty people who, after coming to this world and settleing deep beneath the Earth, noticed that the shafts used to bring fresh air from the surface could not support their growing numbers. So their king, Ri'Neref, tasked the workers of the Guild of Miners' and the Guild of Stone-Masons' to widen the shafts and install large fans.
When their task was complete, the workers and guildsmen returned to the City. But their numbers had decreased. The king grew worried and asked the men what had happened. They said that a few workers had moved up the shaft, and had either found their way to the surface or died. The king didn't know what to believe. Later, a small search party was sent to locate them, but they returned empty handed. The lost workers were presummed dead.
It has been more than one thousand years since that happened. Those workers-my ancestors-did indeed make it to the surface. My family met a tribe of Ahrotahntee-Others-and decided to live along in harmony with them. My family had been a wealthy one in D'ni. They had been not only a part of the Stone-Masons' Guild, but my great-great-great-grandfather Tso'Jahrah had been a part of the Writers' Guild as well. He knew the secret Art of the D'ni. He made a constitution to himself and to the rest of the family that day they surfaced form the shafts that he would teach only the eldest of the next generation the Art, and that that child would then teach it to the next eldest within the next generation, and so on.
That way, he thought, the Ahrotahntee and other D'ni workers who made it to the surface would not abuse the Art, and the Art would be kept safe.
My great-great-grandfather had learned the Art from Tso'Jahrah, who then taught my great-grandfather. He taught my grandfather, who then went on to teach it to my uncle Gartenar. I am the next to be taught the Art, though I didn't know it at the time. I am Devokan-'Hope'. My mother believed me to be a gifted child, that one day I may help my people. This is my story.
"Devokan," my uncle said. "Come with me. I have something I must tell to you alone, in private." I nodded my head in approval, and followed my uncle to his home just down the cliff.
The village I grew up in was a large one, built into the face of a large cliff face. The houses were made of stone, adobe bricks (clay), grass, and wood. Ladders were used to reach the different levels of the village. A stream was near enough to the village that we had plenty of water-a waterfall even fell down the cliff face in the centre of the village and flowed down hill to feed the stream. There was very little trees around the village, and the wood we did have was given to us by trade from another village far up in the mountains. The people of my village were split into three unique peoples. The first had dark hair, tall, and had tanned skin. The second was paler, and had many hair colors of various brown. And the third had mixed charachteristics of the other two.
I was tall for my age, with a slightly tanned pale skin, blue eyes, and had curly, dirty blonde hair. My uncle Gartenar had thick black hair, was reletively short, and had pale skin.
"We're here" he said as we came to the front step of his house. His house was built nearer to the stream and was much farther down the cliff than mine."Please, go to my study" he told me. "I will meet you there in half a minute". We walked inside, and he turned down a small corridor to my right and went off down a flight of steps. I, on the other hand, walked straight ahead from the entrance and came to a wooden door. It was open, and I stepped inside and sat down on one of my uncle's wooden chairs. The room was small, but cozy. On the farthest wall, to my left, was a set of shelves built into the rock wall-the room itself was in the cliff itself. There were no windows, only a small chandelllier of sorts overhead. It was unlit. The room was lighted only by the sunlight penetrating through the entrance door, which was kept open. A desk of stone was in the room as well, and on it were animal hides, papers, and books. I picked up one of the books and peered inside. Blank. I checked another. Blank as well. I looked inside all of my uncle's books-all of them were blank, except for one. The writing was beautiful, almost like a design of some sorts, but very alien to me. I couldn't make out a single word.
Gartenar walked in. "Devokan" he said, "I have something to tell you". "What is it?" I said. "You know the story of our people-you know the legend of the D'ni, correct". "Yes, but it is just a story for the young children to fantasize about". "Oh how wrong you are, young one, how wrong you are". Devokan was taken aback by this. But I thought it was just a story. Gartenar reached out to pick up the book I had just looked at a moment ago, and skimmed through its pages to make sure it was the right one. "This, Devokan" he said to me, "is a Descriptive Book. I've been working on it for quite some time. Don't look so confused," he said as he noticed my face looked extremely flabbergasted. "It is a skill, passed down by the eldest in each generation of our family". "But what does this have to do with me?" I asked, though sort of afraid to discover the answer. "You are the eldest child. I was too, back in my youth. I learned the Art from my father, and now, I must teach it to you". Devokan did not know what to say. He wasn't quite sure what the "Art" was-he had only heard stories. But he had always believed them to be false. But now...
For the next few days, I visited my uncle. There, in his study, I was taught the basics of the Art. I, surprisingly, caught on quikly. And though I had my doubts, I grew more and more to like the lessons.
Almost a year later, after all my lessons were complete, I created my first Age-Choorahl (D'ni for "Learning"). A celebration was held that night with my family there. "Oh my son," my mother said to me,"I am so proud of you". She kissed my cheek, and I felt very embarrassed, but loved none-the-less. My father Aidiesh gave me a firm embrace, and said he too was very proud of me. Then my uncle Gartenar stepped forward, and called for attention. "Devokan," he said, "come here. I have something I must give to you". I walked forwards; all eyes upon me. My uncle gave me an embrace much like my father had, and turned to the others. "We are proud of your accomplishments, Devokan. You're heart, mind, and soul has enabled you to learn, and learn you have". He picked up Choorahl, and opened it to the gateway image near the back of the book for everyone to see. Then, he turned towards me once more, and handed me Choorahl and three other books. "This book is called a Linking book" he said as he gave me the first, "it will allow you to return home, here in the village. Do not lose it. This other book," he said, "is a Kornee'ah-a blank book. Use it to write a Linking Book in Choorahl and bring it back. This will be used to link to your Age-the Descriptive Book will be placed in my study for protection". Then, he gave me the last book. It was worn, and very fine. The cover was aged, and when I opened it, the pages were quite old. "This book," he announced not only to me but to the others, "is also a Linking Book. But this book will lead you to D'ni". My family all looked awed at this, and some even gasped. I didn't understand what was so awesome about that old book. "You cannot use it here," Gartenar said to me, "for a Linking Book cannot work right within the Age it was written in. Take it to Choorahl, and use it there if you want".
I looked at my family-my mother and father, holding each other close; my mother crying a little as she waved her farewells. I smiled back at her and father, opened the Choorahl Book, and faded away in a sudden lurch. I felt drawn into the pages themselves. The next moment, I was standing in my Age. The sky was black and lit up with countless stars-it was nighttime on Choorahl. I headed off to explore the Age.
From what I know and have seen here, Choorahl is a large, round island. A giant pillar-like mountain rises up from it's centre and penetrates the clouds high above. Forests of deciduious trees-oaks, elms, birches, and maples- grow throughout the island, along with the occasional pine. A stream, fed by a small lake at the mountains' base, flows out to the sea from the centre of the island. The lake is fed by a giant waterfall, which falls from the tall peak and billows down into the lake at it's base. The air was clean and crisp with a cool spring breeze that night. Out in the heavens, I see two moons-one small and bright white, the other larger and a duller hue. It is almost exactly the way I invisioned it when I wrote it.
I found a small cave near the foothills of the mountain, and fell asleep there. It was a comfortable size, and I was so sleepy from the celebration earlier. I would explore the Age more thoroughly tomorrow.
When I awoke, I emerged from the cave well rested. I had an idea for a shelter, and I scribbled it down in a blank journal I had in my pack (I brought a few of them so as I could use them to just scribble down notes and sketches of my Age for future references). When I finished writing in my journal, I walked to the stream and took a long thirst-quenching taste. The water was so fresh and clean. It had an almost sweet taste to it, like honey of sorts. I took more mouthfuls of it until I had my fill, and then resumed my explorations.
I walked around the entire western side of the island (atleast, I believe it was the western side). The day went by so fast-quite literally. The small, yellowish white sun of Choorahl crossed the sky in, only what I can guess, must have been ten hours or less. The days were just naturally shorter here, I thought. I had made a few quick sketches in my journal of different plants I had encountered that day, as well as a few notes on some animals I had witnessed in the forest. There were many birds big and small, a variety of flower-loving insects, an occasional small furry creature high up in the limbs of the trees, and once, I had seen a larger creature that reminded me so much of a coyote from home.
As the sun set and evening approached, I made my way back to the cave I had slept in the night before. I bundled myself up in a spare cloak I brought with me, and fell asleep. I was so hungry that night. I noticed some fruits and berries in the forests throughout the island-some not that far from the cave. I even remember seeing some fish in the stream. Tomorrow, I thought to myself, I'll forage for food and try to catch a couple fish.
The sounds of a howl in the early morning woke me up quite frightfully. I got up, fetched a basket from my pack (my mother, father and I had packed a few essestials for my excursion a few days in advance when I told them about my Age before the ceremony). I went to the clearing nearby where I remembered seeing the fruits and berries and found them there waiting for me. I knelt down beside a berry bush and started picking as much as I could and put them into my basket. I ate a couple here and there as I picked them. They were sweet and sugary, almost like the water, but with a bit more flavour. They reminded me so much of blueberries me and my mother used to pick out in the mountain passes back at home. My mother. She must be worried about me.
When I had foraged as much as I could carry, I returned to the cave. I placed them in there, and had ate a few more before I went out again. I had to go out and catch some fish. I'm so hungry! I grabbed a stick as I made my way to the stream. I took out a small stone knife from my pocket and whittled the end of the stick down to a sharp point. I'll be eating fish in no time. I came to the edge of the stream, and found a school of salmon with a first glance. I waded very carefully into the water, trying so hard not to scare them away. When I got near enough as I could without scaring them away, I jabbed my stick into the water. There was a lot of splashing and thrashing, and I got soaking wet, and more than half of the school swam away, but as I emerged from the water I held my prize-three large, shining salmon. I did it.
I ran back to the cave, put the fish down on my soaking wet clothes (which I took off so as to let dry for later), and ran out into the bush to find sticks and tinder for a fire. In about an hour, I had a fire going, and in about half an hour I was skinning and cutting the salmon, and about half an hour after that I was enjoying my meal y the firelight as the sun set. The salmon was delicious, and for dessert I had a few more berries. Atleast I wouldn't starve here, I thought as I ate my well-earned meal. After the meal, I put the fire out and went to bed.
The next morning, I started to write the Linking Book that would return me to this Age. I chose the area just outside the cave as my point of return. It took me the whole day, and half of the night, but I managed to finish the Book. I gathered my belongings together as I planned to return home the next day. I was taking everything back with me-even the leftover food. I couldn't sleep that night, as I waited to link home when the sun rose.
The light of the sun shone over the eastern horizon a few hours after, and I put my hand upon the gateway image. Another lurch forward into the page, and I dematerialized just like before . I rematerialized in the village, near the waterfall facing out towards the desert. I ran home to tell my parents that I was home. I went through the door, and when they saw me I was greeted just as I had expected. My mother smiled and grabbed me up into her strong arms and hugged me. "My son, oh how I missed you so." "I was only gone a few days mother." I said."Son," my father said to me as he gave me a firm hug. "I am still proud of you. I want you to tell me all about your adventure". So we all sat down and I told my parents all about Choorahl. I showed them my journal with all the sketches and notes."Oh, I almost forgot" I said while we talked. "I brought some food back from Choorahl. I want you to try it". And so my mother tried the food first. She fell in love with it almost instantly. Then my father tried it, and with a smile on his face, said to me "Devokan, I haven't tasted anything like this before. It is so sweet and delicious".
Later, I went to visit my uncle. I knocked on his door, and he opened it. He smiled and said "Devokan, I did not know you had returned. Did you write the Book?". "Yes, uncle, I did." I handed it to him, and he looked it over. "This is most impressive, Devokan, most impressive." He handed the book back to me. "Keep it with you, and take care of it. Go back and write more if you must. Here," he said, running inside and returning with a pile of books."Use these. And take this aswell. It's another Linking Book back to the village. I want you to make a couple copies of this as well, so you can have them just in case." I was happy to recieve the Books from him and thanked him. I returned home to tell my parents that I would be leaving for Choorahl again soon, and I went to pack more utensils. I packed another basket, a watertight bag for carrying water in, a few inkwells, a couple pens, a few pairs of clothes, a blanket for keeping warm, and a hatchet and hammer so I could make that shelter I had scribbled into my journal before.
Two days later, I was back in Choorahl. I began work on my shelter almost immediately. For the next few days I worked hard cutting and shaping wood, and also had to forage for more berries and fruits. In the end, I had a small cozy shelter built over the door of the cave. It added a lot more space to put my belongings. It was atleast one story high, with a wooden door large enough for me to enter without any problem. The shelter also had adobe bricks and stones to strengthen it (I had found a large deposit of clay nearby, near the stream). It reminded me of home slightly. In the cave, which was located behind a leather hide which hid the door, I built a small bed of thatched wood and long reed-like grass, and I built a make-shift bookshelf to place my journals and Linking books on.
I rested for a whole day after working on the shelter. That night I spent my first night in it, but of course I slept on my bed in the cave.
In the morning I started working on the writing more Linking Books to Choorahl. I would bring them home later, and keep one or two here for safe keeping. I wrote them much faster than I had written the first. I had some fruits for supper that night. These fruits were different than the berries-they were larger, and grew on certain trees. They were a light pinkish orange, and had a furry appearance. The stem was thin, and the few leaves that came down with it when I picked them were small and pointy. The fruits were even sweeter than the berries, too. I planted the tiny seeds that I found in near it's centre.
I had explored the entire island by now. I knew almost every clearing, every tree, and every animal's nest and den by heart. I had spent over a month there on Choorahl. I was growing used to it, and even started calling it 'home'. I loved it there. But after so much time spent there, I grew tired of it a little. I wanted something more-something different. Then I remembered the book that my uncle Gartenar gave to me. The one that he told me to use when I was here. The D'ni Book."I think I'll link to D'ni tomorrow" I said to myself.
The next morning, I gathered a few things I thought I'd need- a journal, a Link back to Choorahl, some berries and fruits, and a waterbag. I pulled out the D'ni Book. I skimmed through it's aged pages, finding the Gateway image near the back of the book, placing my palm against the page and feeling that sickening jolt as I linked to D'ni.
Edited by Naigahsehn, 14 October 2006 - 12:49 PM.