I don't know how she does it! Yeesha was here again. She always manages to come when I'm not around... My Relto spawned a new island off the southern tip (well, okay, it might not be the southern tip, but since there's no day nor night in this place, I'll call it whatever I like). And then I went into my hut.
There was a new book on the linking shelf, and there were seven new books on the library shelf. One was a very handsome journal; a gift, I suppose. The other six were books of prophecy, more or less. The Watcher's prophecies, "Words." I scanned through them but honestly at this moment they're just so much meaningless Yeesha-esque dribble. Although the last page of volume 5 intruiged me. "The daughter of the daughter..."
But I'll leave those for later. In the meantime, there's a new linking book on my shelf, and space for four more! It goes to a little room that I was surprised to find is in the city. There's a book there explaining that it's the Watcher's Sanctuary. There are a couple of notes tacked onto the walls -- left by Yeesha, I suppose -- with numbers; I'm assuming they're chapter and verse numbers of Words. I've been using the tiny camera in my KI (handy, that) to snap pics of then when I see them, and I'll go look them up later.
There's also a big metal ball that looks like it came out of Indiana Jones. And there are two Ages: Ahonay and Er'cana. I popped into each briefly, just to take a peek. Ahonay's watery. Deep watery, I mean, none of this waist-high business that we've got everywhere else. There's something... creepy about that place. And Er'cana... well, so far it mostly looks like dirt and rock. I'll go explore a little later on and see what's really there.
I'm back. I've been travelling for, well, ages it feels like. I took the overland route from Boston to New Mexico; with many of the things I wanted to bring, it was easier to cart them all over, leave some in the Cleft, and link through with them as I want them.
In a way, I would like very strongly to stay in the Cleft, because it's Earth (and moreover, it's the surface of the Earth, in my own country, in my own time), but I don't feel like I can. It's almost holy ground, in a way. There's something very strangely sacred about this place.
I miss Zandi. I miss having any friendly face. But something... something's going down. And soon. I can just feel it. Although tonight... I think I will sleep in the Cleft tonight, and in my own strange way I think I'll ask the ghosts not to mind. No, I don't mean actual ghosts I've seen, but, well, this was Ti'ana's place, and Atrus's... and somehow, some trace of their precences lingers here. I just can't handle that strange timeless nether-world of my Relto just yet. There's something downright creepy about that island in the sky. Not that I'm ungrateful, but, well, we humans are creatures of habit. Me doubly so. I need night.
I hope finally to paste some of my photos in here tomorrow.
News has reached me that I will want to make sure I'm back in D'ni at the end of June. That can be arranged. In fact, it's perfect. I've found a temp job and I'm cramming in overtime as fast as I can so that this world won't need to bother me once I'm back in the cavern.
As much as I adore my explorations, I have to say that I'm really enjoying having modern plumbing and sanitation at hand once again. And laundry facilities. I should buy a big footlocker or something so that I can really stock up on supplies when I head back next time.
I'm getting my film developed this weekend. I hope I remember to paste some photos in here.
Well, I've been wandering around D'ni for three straight days. I think I've gone everywhere that I can, and I think I've seen everything that I can see at the moment. I've scoped out all the ages again, too. Sharper's gone -- whether for good or just for a while, I don't know -- and I think I'm going to follow his cue. I've got a feeling that the status quo isn't going to change for at least a few weeks, and so I think I can safely take the time to make the trek back from New Mexico to Boston again. If I end up having more than just a week or two on the surface, I'll pick up some work and make as much money as I can. I left enough money for my student loans to pay themselves off for six months, but time's running out on that whether I'm in D'ni or not.
I know I'll be back. And this time I'm bringing my journal with me back to the surface.
I don't even know how to describe what I saw yesterday.
The second I linked into the eder tomahn I knew exactly where I was. Every instinct screamed it. I was surprised to see a Nexus stand there (even a disconnected, broken one like that), though. I didn't think the D'ni made it far with that project.
I read Watson's journal five times over, trying to decide what to do next. I stood on the ledge, staring upward, and then staring downward. I couldn't make a choice. I thought, "Watson didn't tell me where to go next, how to proceed!"
But then I realized, yes he had. Clear as day. And so I swallowed my fear (and then I swallowed my fear again, because I was really very afraid), and I did it.
And when I got back to my Relto, and listened to that music echoing into the vastness from my little hut... I cannot describe the power of that experience, standing face to the rain. It was a moment right out of a movie, just one that's never actually been made.
Something... Yesterday, something happened.
I was on my Relto, feeling sorry for myself. I sat on the step in front of my Books, and then I saw it:
Another journal on the shelf.
Yeesha left it. "Ae'Gura and Bevin." And surely enough, when I opened my Hood book...
I don't know how she does it! And yet...
This is a dangerous game I'm playing. Sharper knows I'm down here, and every time I link into that office I'm taking a huge risk. I could run into him -- or I could run into one of the others. I know they're here. I don't know how I know they're here, because I haven't heard or seen them, but I know, with every fiber of my being, that other explorers have lingered.
I'm just taking a break; I have three more calibration markers to find in order to get the Zero working. I wonder if others are on the same mission? If one of them does it first it'll save me some trouble, that's for sure. In the meantime, the Zero is still, and that won't do.
I need to follow the Path of the Shell.
That "desert island" mix...
That "desert island" book...
How many times can one read the same pages, tread the same paths, look at the same half-dozen photographs of fried worlds away?
I cannot help but confess that this isn't the first time I've contemplated packing it all in and going back to Boston. It's not too late... or is it?
To what point and purpose am I holding out here? To what end? To whatever end...
I wonder... maybe someday I'll be able to Write myself a linking took to Boston. Ha. All I'd need is a linking book, the Ink, to be in Boston and -- oh, yes, intricate knowledge of a language and a system of which I know not one word.
You know, someone could have burned the Book of Earth six hundred years ago, and it wouldn't matter. Not from my point of view, anyway.
I feel rotten. Too bad there's no rum in D'ni, eh?
I'm not leaving.
I'm not the only one, I know. I've heard. Whispered in the dark, in the tunnels, in the City -- there are others holding out. I don't know their names and I don't know where they are, but if they can do it, so can I.
The DRC closed it all off today (well yesterday now, I suppose. Wow, it's late), but they missed something. That cannot take away that which Yeesha has given.
And Yeesha has given linking stones.
One of the balconies, the one with the key stone that explains the Journey -- you can climb down from there. It's hard, but it's doable. They took away our Nexus links but they left the actual Nexus books in the hoods, and if you can climb down into the hood, you can take it. I know I am not the only one who has done this. And now I'm in an empty neighborhood. I don't know how they did it, but the power and water are off.
And yet you can still see the late, and all the other tiny, tiny islands, and the roof so far above you it's just an eternally blackened sky...
Oh, yes. I know. I know there are others out there, like me, who could not resist the Calling.
But in the meantime, I get depressed if I go too long without a proper daytime, so I'll be camping out in Gira just the same. But I can't just give up and go back to Boston. I won't. And I'm hding my books and I'm making sure they don't find me. I don't know what I'll do when I run out of supplies, but I have a feeling that some of the others will have found me by then.
Damn, damn, damn. And damn.
Rumor had circulated over the past week that the DRC was making a big announcement today. Of course nobody could decide what it was they were going to say. We thought maybe they'd found a new Age, or that they'd unearthed something about Yeesha, or that they were going to let us into new districts of the City...
But nobody expected what really happened. Nobody expected... Oh damn, I'm crying all over my journal.
The DRC is throwing us out. It's worse than that. They're closing shop, blocking all the tunnels to the City, they're... it's over, they say. They say...
I don't even know how to deal with this right now. Most people are in the hoods talking it over and mourning together, but I just can't handle that right now, I can't be surrounded by that many people. Not right now.
We have until Monday to clear out, they say.
I can't... I can't go, not now, not like this... I've given up too much. I sacrificed my entire surface life -- my master's degree, my apartment, my job, my friends, my family, MODERN PLUMBING -- to come to these godforsaken rocks, to explore this civilization. Sure, I have a history degree, but I'm not officially part of this. Most of us aren't. Most of us just knew...
Yeesha's not going to let it end like this. Something is going to happen.
The ending is never written.
I haven't written in ages, oops!
I've actually been having fun. I stopped stressing and I started finding ways to have fun. I only just got my thirtieth marker yesterday, because I've kept going on camping trips and "pool parties" and doing all kinds of silly things with silly people. I caught up with my friends and they're as cool as I thought they'd be. I spent two days in Gira with one of them just last week.
There's something seriously going on with the DRC, but I have no idea what. I'm certainly not important in D'ni; news filters to me slowly, if at all. But there's unrest in all the hoods. There's a mood down there in the cavern, a sense that something is... well, not wrong necessarily, but just a strange vibe.
Anyway, I'm just taking a night back on my Relto to relax. I took some pictures of the city and of the ages, with my good (film) camera. It'll be a long while before I get them developed, though. But when I do I hope to make an album. At the least, I'll paste a couple in here.
But pictures or no, I can never forget everything I've seen here. Never.