Ages of Myst


Ages of Myst

The Ages of Myst is a collective term for the fictional D'ni Ages found on Myst Island in the Myst franchise. What follows is a list of the Ages visited in the game of Myst as well as some which are mentioned but inaccessible.

Contents

Myst Island

Creatures: Butterflies, birds (and fish)
Geography: Long island with small sister island.
Inhabitants: no natives
Vegetation: Earth-like grass, a small forest, wildflowers (seen only in realMyst)
Written by: Katran and Ti'ana

Myst Island is one of the most famous Ages in the story of Atrus. It was written by Atrus' grandmother, Ti'ana, as a safe haven for him and Catherine during their struggle to trap Gehn in Riven. Later, it became their home and that of Atrus' two sons, Sirrus and Achenar. Sirrus and Achenar eventually began to use the Ages of Myst for their own purposes, and destroyed the library of Books which Atrus had written while on Myst. Eventually, a Linking Book to Myst, which Atrus had dropped into the Star Fissure while escaping from Riven, was found by a mysterious person known only as "The Stranger". The Stranger rescued Atrus from his prison in D'ni and later aided Atrus in rescuing his wife Catherine and trapping Gehn forever.

Following the events in Riven, Atrus and Catherine abandoned the Age almost entirely, since there were so many painful memories of their sons' betrayal everywhere on the island.

By the time of the events in Uru: The Path of the Shell, which occur in 2004, about two hundred years after the events of the games, the exit to the library has been sealed off by Atrus' daughter, Yeesha. The tower rotation chart has been disabled, as has the entrance to the tower elevator. Only the main library room can be visited, as well as one new hiding place in the fireplace. It remains unknown what status Myst Island is in but in Myst V: End of Ages (that perhaps occurs shortly after Uru), Myst Island can be revisited. The entire island is in ruins, and all of the machinery is either inoperable or broken. There is a permanent storm over the island, and no Linking book to return to K'veer is provided, since the fireplace is inaccessible.

It has been revealed by Cyan employees that Myst Island, as seen in the game(s), is actually a small part of the real island: in the game, only those hiding places for the surviving Linking books were shown. The Island as seen in the game does not show the other books' hiding places, nor Atrus' family living quarters. These were underground, accessed by the tower elevator (in the game, the elevator can only go upwards).

Selenitic

Creatures: Bats, in an underground tunnel
Geography: Crescent island indented by a flooded meteorite crater; centered inside the crater is a small island, on which sits a "listening" tower of sorts
Inhabitants: None
Vegetation: Trees, grass
Written by: Atrus

One of the Ages linked to from Myst Island, Selenitic could be viewed as rather bizarre yet intriguing. It was never inhabited but nevertheless conveys a somewhat unwelcoming feeling with its scarred and barren landscape.

The Selenitic Age is the only Age in Myst (not including Myst Island itself) that was naturally uninhabited at the time Atrus linked to it. Atrus, in his journals, describes feeling uneasy in this Age upon first arriving. Shortly after his arrival, a massive meteor storm changed the face of the island considerably. What was once a lush and green landscape was transformed into a brown and barren land, with the exception of one small area which Atrus later called the Oasis.

Atrus also remarks on the wide variety of sounds he heard while visiting Selenitic: waterfalls, whistling winds, fiery chasms, the sound of wind whistling through peculiar crystalline formations. At these 5 spots, he set up transmitters which sent those sounds to a radar tower in the center of the Age's crater lake that he (or the player) would need to reprogram to receive the signals.

In an effort to secure his Myst Island Linking Book, Atrus devised a lock which required inputting the proper sequence of sounds into a device. The radar tower reveals this combination. He also created a vast maze in the underground caverns of the Age, which can be traversed by what has been deemed the "Mazerunner", designed according to D'ni technology. The reason of this structure is never given, although Atrus expresses a desire to explore the caves in his Selenitic journal.

Richard A. Watson has commented on the name of the Age as being related to the moon (The Greek goddess of the Moon was at one time called Selene). It is possible, but not confirmed, that the meteor storm which Atrus encountered on his first night there was caused in some way by the Age's moon. Another possibility involves selenite, a certain mineral which may be present in the Age and might be what the crystals are composed of. The name could also simply be a reference to the barren rockiness of the place, with 'selenetic' being more scientific than "moonscape". However, the exact reason Atrus chose to name the Age as he did is unknown.[1][2].

Note that the name Selenitic is never heard or written in the original game, the package or the manual. It is known from the hint books and the soundtrack, and later from the realMyst game, in which one of Atrus's journals has the words "THE SELENITIC AGE OF MYST" on its spine. (What could be the same words are visible in the original game, but are not really legible.) The phrase "Selenitic Age" does appear as the name of a data file on the CD of the original Mac version, however, as does the name "Dunny Age".

Stoneship

Creatures: Fish, various marine invertebrates
Geography: Round, rocky island, parts of a ship, and top of a light tower all connected through wooden paths; surrounded by other pointed rocks and sea
Inhabitants: Three boys (Branch, Emmit and Will) were mentioned to have lived here, later joined by other people
Vegetation: Possibly moss and seaweed
Written by: Atrus

Atrus wrote the Stoneship Age while he was living on Myst Island. On linking to Stoneship, which he originally called "The Rocks", Atrus found three boys were calling the area near his link site home. Their names were Emmit, Branch, and Will. They seemed to have little concern about how they got there, or even how Atrus got there. Stoneship was covered in water as far as the eye could see, but the area around Atrus' link site featured several rocks jutting up from the water. The largest of these contained a cave. The boys seemed to know nothing of civilization or of evil. The weather was just right; a cool breeze blew there, never allowing the air to get too hot. Rain never visited Stoneship until after Atrus came to the Age. Then, the occasional storm would rise up, scaring the boys greatly.

The Age derives its current name from a ship which Atrus attempted to write into the Age using "The Art." He intended to use it for explorations, but for reasons unknown, the ship became "gripped" by the rocks and broken in two, which conformed to something Gehn had told him about not writing man-made objects into an Age. Despite the immobility of the vessel, the boys and Atrus liked it because it was large, had cabins underwater, and was stable. This ship also led to the caves that later became the bedrooms of Sirrus and Achenar, Atrus's two sons. Soon after that Atrus began another project on Stoneship. He and the boys undertook the construction of a lighthouse, to investigate the lights Atrus had been seeing on the horizon. Atrus hoped that if a bright light appeared, any native people would flock to it, thus revealing new neighbors. Sure enough, on the completion of the lighthouse more people arrived to "The Rocks," as Emmit called them. After this, Atrus left for ten years, to see what might take place without him. Upon his return, a fairly large settlement had sprung up around the lighthouse. Sources indicate that the inhabitants may have found gold, and that all was still peaceful.

When Sirrus and Achenar plundered the Ages, the accounts we receive are that Stoneship changed dramatically. We still do not know what happened to the people living around the Rocks, as when Atrus' friend arrived at Stoneship, he found no signs of life. Whether they ran from Sirrus and Achenar or were killed by them we may never know. According to accounts, it appears that Stoneship's fair weather was replaced with constant storms and rain, but why the weather changed in this way is a matter for debate.

Another notable feature of this age is that the lighthouse (if not all of Stoneship) appears to be sinking into the water very slowly. When Atrus first builds the lighthouse, he takes note that "The rock that we are building on, seems not to be as secure as I would like." When he returns after ten years he notices that "the entire rock it was built on seems to have sunk approximately 40 or 50 centimeters". When the player arrives in Stoneship, the lighthouse has sunk enough that most of the lighthouse is underwater, with exception of the top floor, and a landing just below.

Mechanical

Creatures: None known. Possibly fish
Geography: Once a round island, now built as a fortress with little islands around; surrounded by water
Inhabitants: A few humans, ravaged by the Black Ships Pirates, never seen
Vegetation: Possibly moss and seaweed
Written by: Atrus

Mechanical was considered one of the later Ages visited by Atrus from Myst Island. Upon his arrival, he met an old man who reminded him of Emmit, who told the chaotic history of the island. This is the best recollection:

Many years ago, a large island existed where they were. This island had a large city, with many peaceful people. They had built a sentry post on the east coast, expecting visitors to come. They had no means of transportation and could only wait for friend or foe. In the end, both came.

Friendly visitors warned of a fleet of Black Ships that attacked and destroyed all they came upon. They sank the island into the sea, leaving only the guard towers exposed and the sky cloudy and gray. The once-large island experienced rising water levels after the attack, leading to the creation of three small islands, the southmost being the largest. Atrus was informed of the return of the Black Ships by the survivors (who by then were only nine strong) and decided to help the people. He brought his sons Sirrus and Achenar to help. They succeeded in building a rotating fortress which successfully defeated the Black Ships, apparently for good.

The people rejoiced at their salvation and Atrus departed, satisfied. However, Sirrus and Achenar returned to do much more than everyone had ever expected. This Age, like the other Myst Ages, is sunk under the water and bears evidence of the murder of the six people living there.

It was said by the survivors that the skies would be gray in Mechanical until the day the last pirate ship sank beneath the waves. In Myst (and also realMYST), the skies of Mechanical are quite blue, which poses interesting questions about the fate of the Pirates, and their connections to Sirrus and Achenar, since none of Atrus' surviving journals detail any further interaction between him and the Pirates. In one of the brother's rooms in the Stoneship age, one can find a piece of cloth with the Black Ship Insignia, suggesting that perhaps the brothers killed the pirates during their plundering of the Ages. The fortress looks tough, perhaps capable of withstanding cannonfire (from a conventional pirate ship, anyway), but it does not appear able to strike back. This has brought up theories that Atrus simply made up the Pirates and played a game with Sirrus and Achenar. Perhaps, if this is true, the people were in on it as well and were murdered. This does not explain the handkerchief, however.

A skeleton, hanging from the mast of a ship, can be seen through the telescope in Sirrus' throne room and could be either a pirate or one of their victims.

One of the Myst comic books describes Sirrus and Achenar as working for the pirates and that is how Sirrus got his handkerchief, but this book is not considered canonical by Cyan Worlds.

Channelwood

Creatures: Frogs and birds (and possibly fish)
Geography: Once a half-sunk island, now flooded forest surrounded by water. A rocky hill has survived with a wind generator. Interconnected wooden pathways, bridges and platforms.
Inhabitants: monkey-like people and a human, now all dead or departed
Vegetation: Tall trees.
Written by: Atrus

Channelwood Age was written by Atrus during the Myst period. When Atrus linked there, the Age was mostly covered by water. The water would periodically glow orange. There was only a small island in Channelwood. The rest of the Age consisted of trees growing out of the ocean surrounding it. The only inhabitable space was in the trees; under the trees were footpaths. Atrus found many ape-like tree-dwellers. These creatures were sentient and spoke to each other in a language Atrus found hard to understand. However, the strangest thing Atrus found upon linking was an old man who spoke his language. This man told Atrus the peculiar legends of Channelwood. First of all, the man seemed to be expecting someone of his kind to arrive. He told Atrus that he was late, and then went on to describe the way things once had been.

Once there was an island below them; on this island lived humans. The tree-dwellers lived in peace with the men and resided in the trees. At some point, rumblings began in the island. Soon it began to sink into the sea. According to the man, the humans had somehow sacrificed themselves to stop the collapse of the island. The rest of them moved into the trees, which was the only place left for them. However, they were ill-suited for life in the trees. They perished, except for him.

During Atrus' stay there, the old man threw himself to his death from an upper walkway and was cremated by the tree-dwellers. The sea, which had been turning from orange to blue to clear repetedley, became dull green. Atrus was unsure of what to make of this.

According to Atrus' journal, his sons were able to communicate much better with the tree-dwellers than he was. In the end, Atrus allowed them to visit Channelwood by themselves. What became of the tree-dwellers is a mystery. It is assumed that they were somehow slaughtered by Sirrus and Achenar. Atrus had also set up a wind-powered hydroelectric power system on Channelwood in order to power elevators from the paths over the sea to the trees.

In realMYST, This Age unfortunately did not undergo weather animations. A massive white backdrop is all that can be seen in the sky from every direction the player looks; no clouds, stars, or sun/moon are shown.

D'ni ('Dunny')

Creatures: Bats and Bahro are seen here at the beginning of Myst V
Geography: Seen as one locked room in Myst, Myst V shows it to be much larger. There is evidence of earthquakes visible in both Myst and Myst V, as there are rocks on the floor in the room.
Inhabitants: Once inhabited by the D'ni, it holds Atrus during his imprisonment and Yeesha occupies it during Myst V
Vegetation: None visible, but luminescent algae can be seen if looking through some of the windows into the main part of K'veer
Written by: Ri'neref

In the original game Myst, D'ni was spelled "Dunny" (which is Australian slang for "toilet"). It was quickly changed to "D'ni" and is spelled correctly in realMyst. In later games, further attempts were made to dissociate from the connotation, and such characters as Yeesha, in Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, pronounced it "Dun-NEE", emphasizing the second syllable. Rand Miller continued, however, to pronounce it "Dunny" even in the same installment, perhaps in a sense of purism for the game's history. Escher, an orthodox D'ni with a heavy accent, pronounced it "Docc-Ni", though that may be a product of said accent. The concept for the D'ni kingdom and the word "Dunny" came from a novel that Myst creator Robyn Miller was writing about a cavernous underground empire and a boy who discovers that this empire is actually his long-lost home. The book was called Dunny Hut. But it was never completed; as Robyn and Rand designed Myst, they decided to mine ideas from the Dunny Hut novel to aid them as they created the back-story for Myst.

The room known simply as "D'ni" or "Dunny" in Myst is but a small part belonging in the whole D'ni cavern. For K'veer, the island where Atrus' room belongs, see D'ni caverns.

Rime

Creatures: Whale-like creatures, also supposedly wolf or bear-like creatures. Howlings and growls are heard
Geography: Round ice island, with icebergs around.
Inhabitants: None (although some visitors claim to have seen or heard mountain gorillas. This has never been confirmed)
Vegetation: None
Written by: Atrus

An addition of the realMyst game over the original Myst version, this Age, also referred to as Snow Age, was hidden in a new puzzle on Myst Island.

The Rime Age was an uninhabited Age of ice and snow that Atrus wrote in order to work with some crystals he had found that had some of the same properties as Linking Books. It was probably one of the last Ages he wrote during the Myst period.

Rime was most likely in its world's extreme polar region, since it has been recorded that the sun never came up on that Age. Moreover, the conditions of Rime were harsh—it was always bitterly cold and snowy. This was most disconcerting for Atrus, who had grown up in a desert climate and was unaccustomed to cold and, according to his journal entries, had never seen snow before. With some bemusement, he called snow "intricate feathers of ice that [fell] from the sky."

Atrus built an observatory on Rime that went both aboveground and underground. While on Rime, Atrus began to notice the Age's Northern Lights. These fascinated both him and his adult sons Sirrus and Achenar. Achenar, Sirrus and Atrus attempted an experiment on Rime to invoke the lights at will. This involved the construction of several large metal towers that were used to conduct electricity from the water. They were able to understand something of the natural processes that created the lights.

In addition to the lights, Atrus also spent much time experimenting with linking crystals. Catherine took a great interest in this project, even making one of her rare uses of a Linking Book to travel to Rime. One of the primary goals was to determine the status of Riven, which neither Atrus nor Catherine had seen for a long time, and another Age which they both wanted to know about. They were able to succeed in both making the crystals orient with other Ages and, eventually, to get Riven to appear in the viewer. However, the conflict involving Riven took an unexpected turn that took it away from the frozen Age of Rime.

Rime plays an important role in Myst IV: Revelation. The modified version of the crystal-viewing device is located in Atrus' laboratory in Tomahna. It is also the place where Atrus spends most of the game Myst IV, stranded in a storm.

The Prison Books

Spire and Haven

The blue book and red book prison ages, respectively. They are only accessible by adding all of the missing blue or red pages. These ages are completely shrouded in darkness. However, sound can be heard at both locations giving clues to the nature of each age, Spire with a low rumbling sound which would indicate some sort of subterranean activity, and Haven with a hollow whistling sound indicative of a constantly flowing cold breeze.

Ages not visitable

These are Ages about which nothing is known beyond their names. Atrus only mentions them in passing whilst discussing his current efforts on another Ages. In the game, most of the books have been destroyed or burned by his sons, so many are mentioned and only a few are found intact in the "Places of Protection."

Aspermere

Atrus experimented with holography in this Age. Whether he simply began his interest in the technology there or if the inhabitants of Aspermere also possessed holographic technology is unknown. It may be some combination of both, however.

Everdunes

The Age of Everdunes is, as implied by the name, a very desolate Age. Atrus describes it as having a very high surface temperature and no surface water, yet there is still a great deal of plant and animal life on the Age, mostly beneath the sand dunes. Atrus also mentions how amazed he is at their existence, as he didn't write them specifically into the Age.

Everdunes is clearly an Age which Atrus cared a great deal for, based on his remaining writings It is maybe the most well-known and referenced of the non-visited Ages. It was home to a civilization led by a woman named Pran.

There is mention of another entity or group of inhabitants on this Age, known as the Chochtic, though nothing is known about the Chochtic besides the fact they (or it) posed a serious threat to Pran and her people.

Osmoian

Nothing is known about this Age save its name, only mentioned in the Channelwood journal. The name is a reference to an earlier game by Cyan, Cosmic Osmo.

Terrel

An Age mentioned only in a phrase of one of Atrus's journals of Stoneship. The coins in Sirrus's drawer in Stoneship came from here. The phrase is: "He [Sirrus] had a great collection of items taken from a number of the Ages I had written, including a hoard of gold and silver coins which must have belonged to the people of Terrel". (the entry can be found not in the game journals, but in the Myst Soundtrack booklet)

The Tide

Atrus mentions this Age briefly in his journal from the Mechanical Age, saying that he hopes he has found a remedy for the "bone ailments" apparently endemic there.


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