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Riven is a graphic adventure video game developed by Cyan Worlds and published by Red Orb Entertainment in 1997. It is the sequel to the 1993 game Myst.


  • [opening monologue, to the player] Thank God you've returned. I need your help. There's a great deal of history that you should know, but I'm afraid that... I must continue my writing. Here. [hands the player his journal] Most of what you'll need to know is in there. Keep it well hidden. [picks up a book] For reasons you'll discover, I can't send you to Riven with a way out, but I can give you this. It appears to be a Linking Book, back here to D'ni, but it's actually a one-man prison. You'll need it, I'm afraid, to capture Gehn. [hands the player the Prison Book] Once you've found Catherine, signal me, and I'll come with a Linking Book to bring us back. [writes in the Book of Riven, then closes it, opens it to its first page, and holds it up, showing the blurred descriptive panel] There's also a chance, if all goes well, that I might be able to get you back to the place that you came from.


  • [first meeting with the player, in "Age 233"] I apologize for the cage. I'm afraid this situation has often required of me a more... primitive code of conduct than I might otherwise have chosen. I am Gehn. I assume you've heard of me. Yes... well, I suspect you have acquired some false information of I am now. Not that my son would have lied to you about me; no, not Atrus. It's just that... well, I'm sure he believes me to still be the depraved father I once was. Yes... I even tried to kill him once. God, if I had accomplished that, who knows what I would have become? A great father, indeed, who tries to murder his own son. Thankfully, he trapped me on Age Five, a prison of my own creation. No Books, no precious inks, no Ages to link to, nothing but my own foolish ambitions. That was thirty years ago. Thirty years, thirty lifetimes, what does it matter? No sentence could be too harsh for the man I was. But I have changed. To be sure, the deeds of my past can never be completely atoned for, but my mission was an honorable one. [lights his pipe, takes a draw from it] I'm sorry, this is all a bit awkward. I... it's been a long time since I've attempted to persuade anyone of my intentions. Most of the people here have already made their minds up about me, one way or another. I myself do not trust the words of most men, so I don't expect you to believe me. In the end, though, you may discover that I do have more than mere words to offer.
Atrus' choice of punishment has been hard on the people of Riven, and many have suffered because of it. The island has been steadily decaying for years, but according to my most recent measurements, it appears that the Fifth Age has entered its final days. Unless the villagers can be relocated soon, the island will collapse entirely, and everyone will perish. It has taken me a long time to do it, but it appears that finally, I'll be able to make some substantial amends to my past transgressions. Especially... well... I'm afraid I've had some... trouble with Catherine and the Moiety. In any society, there will always be a small percentage of the population with rebellious tendencies. Before Catherine appeared, the Moiety, as they called themselves, had been relatively harmless. I mean, the natives here are a fairly violent people by nature, but I'd almost come to accept their presence. It seemed inevitable under the circumstances. Upon Catherine's return, however, their violence intensified considerably. It seems she's become some sort of religious savior to them, and as far as I can tell, she's come to believe this herself.
So I've had no alternative: I had to separate her from her people. I must admit, though, that my concerns were not entirely for her safety alone. The actions of Catherine and the Moiety have put my own life at risk, on numerous occasions; consequently, the lives of all the people here. Therefore, I must ask you to refrain from any attempt to free her, though I'm sure Atrus desires it. Indeed, he must desire it with all his heart. But he is completely unaware of her recent state.
  • [following the introduction, if the player has not recovered the special Prison Book] I know that you arrived in the Fifth Age with a Book that was immediately stolen from you. Needless to say, its reacquisition is of interest to me, though my personal history with the Moiety does not give me much hope for it. Still, there is a chance you might somehow manage to retrieve it. If you do, I would ask, for the safety of all concerned, that you bring it to me at your earliest opportunity. Again, to be honest, my reasons here are partly selfish. There is so much yet to be resolved between Atrus and myself, especially in light of what has become of Catherine. In any case, my immediate concern is the completion of the sanctuary I have long promised to all the islanders. In the meantime, as a token of my good intentions, I will allow you free access to my Linking Books, crude though they may be, and to the rest of the Fifth Age. As for the stolen Linking Book, we should probably not meet again until you've recovered it. I will know if you succeeded, and will await your return. Good luck with your search; I hope to see you back here shortly.
  • [following the introduction, if the player has recovered the special Prison Book] Which brings me to the point of all this. The Linking Book you brought with you; you're very fortunate to have recovered it. If I may? [takes the Book from the player] Thank you. [examines it for a moment, frowning...then returns to the player] Perhaps it would be best if you went through first?
  • [if the player does not link through after a certain period, he steps back] You may need some time to decide. That is reasonable. [activates the oven that powers the Linking Books] Until then, as a token of my good intentions, I will allow you free access to my Linking Books, crude though they may be, and to the rest of the Fifth Age. Please understand, there is nothing I want more than a chance to resolve matters between Atrus and myself, especially in light of what has become of Catherine. But unless you are willing to demonstrate to me that your intentions are honorable, I cannot risk it. The sanctuary I've been writing for the islanders is nearly complete; after all these years, it would be a shame if I were unable to finish it. The work I am doing is quite demanding. Please don't signal me unless you've decided to use the Book. The switch will reset itself once you link from here.
  • [bad ending; if the player uses the special Prison Book before meeting Gehn; in Age 233, Gehn instructs his servant, Cho, to go through the book. Once he does, the player appears in the cage; Gehn looks the player over before setting the book down, picking up his dart gun and shooting the player] Forgive me, I don't believe we've met. I am Gehn. And you must be the one whom Atrus sent to trap me. I don't know where you got the brilliant idea to trap yourself in the book, but I must tell you that I am quite disappointed that it is you, and not Atrus, who must pay the price for this foolishness. [the player's vision and hearing become hazy as the poison takes hold] My one wish before I die would be to see him finally assume some responsibility for his actions. Perhaps it will happen one day. In the meantime, you have my sympathies. [screen fades to black]


  • [first meeting with the player in her prison, speaking Rivenese, then recognizing the player] You made it. But how'd you get past Gehn? [looks down after a moment] He must really believe I've gone mad. [looks back up at the player] I know what he's doing. He's watching you. He's waiting for you to make a mistake. He's hoping you'll lead him back to D'ni. You can't let Gehn -- Atrus sent you to save me, but if Gehn gets back to D'ni, he'll kill him. [leans forward, speaking low] I think I know how to signal Atrus, but it's going to take both of us. You'll have to trap Gehn before you can get the combination. Be careful. [steps back, speaking louder - as if for a listener's benefit] Go then. If you won't help me, I have nothing more to say.
  • [returning to Catherine's prison, after trapping Gehn; she enters the elevator and activates it] We have to move quickly. Gehn's people may already know what's happening. Once we're back with the Moiety, we'll have time to regroup. Can I see the book? [takes the Prison Book...and looks shocked to see Gehn inside it] You did it. We're all free. You captured Gehn! But there's still his followers. I'm not sure what they'll do once they realize he's gone. I'll have to get the villagers to safety as soon as possible. You go back to the Temple Island and reopen the Fissure. I know it's risky, but it's the only way to signal Atrus. I'll try to make it back there as soon as I can, but don't wait for me. Don't forget, the portal combination's in my journal. Good luck.


[The "worst" ending: The telescope breaks through the porthole into the Star Fissure, causing Riven to collapse on itself. Atrus links through, and runs up to the player]
Atrus: There isn't much time. Where's Catherine? [takes the Prison Book from the player] The book is empty. I don't understand.
Gehn: [from behind Atrus, poison dart gun in his hand] You never did!
Atrus: [turns to face him] Father.
Gehn: "Father"? I am no longer your father because you are no longer my son!
[Gehn shoots Atrus, who falls dead. Gehn hands his dart gun to his servant, Cho, who trains it on the player, while he finds Atrus' Linking Book back to D'ni...then walks up to the player]
Gehn: I don't know what you thought you were doing, but... thank you. I finally am... free!
[Gehn walks away, signalling to Cho, who shoots the player. The screen blurs and goes blank]

[The good ending: The telescope breaks through the porthole into the Star Fissure, causing Riven to collapse on itself. Atrus links through, and runs up to the player]
Atrus: There isn't much time. Where's Catherine? Where's the book? I don't --
Catherine: [from behind him] Atrus! [embraces Atrus, and hands him the Prison Book with Gehn trapped within it, before both run up to the player] The villagers are safely in the rebel Age. I thank you.
Atrus: As do I. You've accomplished more than I could have hoped for. You've given me back my life. The path home is now clear, for all of us. [holds out his Linking Book for Catherine, who links through] There is where our paths must part. Perhaps we'll meet again someday. You know where to find me. [holds up the Linking Book over the Fissure, then looks back for a moment] Goodbye, my friend.
[Atrus links out, the Linking Book falling into the Fissure. The ground beneath the player shifts and collapses, and the player falls through...]
Atrus: [voiceover] Now I understand... endings and beginnings are within the Fissure, that Riven-cleft of stars that acts as both wall and a bridge. And though I am unable to understand how, the very flow of stars that brought my Myst book into worthy hands, I am sure, served as a safe passage home for my friend. The Age of Riven is closed forever, but the people of Riven are free. And now, I am at rest, understanding that in Books, and Ages, and life... the ending can never truly be written.

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