Hello, and welcome. The main focus of this web site is to attempt to explain the history, functions and purposes of locations and machines to be found in the D'ni caverns and the Ages the D'ni and their descendents linked. While I am not able to go into areas that are sealed away, or to access the linking books that have not been released by the D'ni Restoration Council, I will do my best to show you many places that explorers cannot normally go. As much as is possible, I will also tell you about the flora and fauna to be found in various Ages.
It's important to remember that the things I'll be saying are strictly unofficial. I have no contact with the DRC or any of its members. The opinions stated in this site are guesses and I'll try to mention other published opinions that are well reasoned to balance mine. As far as possible, I have researched the available documents and strive to be as accurate as I can, but inevitably errors will appear in my writing. I welcome factual input from my visitors, as long as it truly is factual. Complaints that are based solely on preconceptions and for which there is no photographic or official written evidence are unwelcome. However, reasonable speculations are okay; there are far too many things that are undocumented to keep guesses out of the equation. I will always give credit for submissions.
Some words about the D'ni:
D'ni was an empire that branched off from a civilization from another world and dimension. Their ancestors discovered that there are a multitude of realities in existence, and found a method for reaching them. Using specially prepared paper and ink made of a highly secret mixture of ingredients, and using a special dialect of their language, they were able to write books that described an environment. If written properly, the book could lock onto a world that resembled what had been written and make even make minor alterations to it to match the description more closely. After that master book, called a descriptive book, had been successfully written, they could travel to that world via a process of cross-dimensional teleportation called linking. Once in the new world, they could write another kind of book that allowed a person to travel to a specific location in that world, called a linking book. The worlds they linked to were called Ages (sehvtee in the D'ni language).
The ancestors of the D’ni called the multitude of dimensions regahrtehrokh jehruthtee, “the Great Tree of Possibilities”, and came to call their native world Garternay, which meant “Great Tree Root”. They, like all peoples, viewed themselves as being at the center of creation, so when they found that theirs was but one of an infinite number of universes, they believed they lived on the world from which all others had sprung in the far distant past. Because of this belief, the people of Garternay renamed themselves, and the new name they coined for themselves was Ronay, the “root people”.
In the year 7716 BCE (Before Christian Era), or 59 years BDE (Before D’ni Era), scientists on Garternay learned that their sun was dying. Garternay was rapidly cooling down, and would become unable to support life in a short time. The leaders of the Ronay empire decided to use their linking technology to stage a mass migration from Garternay, and the Ronay Guild of Writers created a new world to become home to their populace. This world was named Terahnee, meaning “new tree”.
Not all of the Ronay moved to Terahnee. Several smaller groups decided to use the migration as a chance to break away from the majority and set up new worlds where they could live according to their own teachings and ideas about what would make for an ideal society. One such group was lead by a man named Ri'neref, who lived from 207 BDE to 120 DE. Ri'neref had once been a master in Garternay's Guild of Writers and was expected to become its grandmaster, but either resigned or was forced to retire due to a disagreement over the morality involved in the creation of specific Ages and how people found in the Ages were treated. He'd been a very popular public figure, and the incident caused a considerable amount of anger in the empire. Even after leaving the guild, he remained influential. One of Ri'neref's guiding traits was a deep devotion to the worship of Yahvo, the Ronay name for the Creator (also referred to as "the Maker"). Ri'neref spoke with the king of the Ronay and asked for permission to take a group of several thousands of his followers to an Age he’d written. He called it D’ni, which literally meant "new again", although it's usually translated as “new start” or "new beginning".
When he'd first started writing D'ni, he'd intended it to be a place where his people would, like the monks in a monastery, set themselves apart from luxury and temptation and devote themselves to the worship of Yahvo. For this purpose, he wrote the Age into a cavern placed miles below the surface of an inhabitable planet, where he and his followers would live in a deliberately harsh and barren environment. Ri'neref hoped that this would instill a greater appreciation of the Ages they wrote and visited. He also intended the environment to give them protection from extremes in climate and dangerous animals or plant life. The world his Age appeared was our own Earth, and the descriptive book became known as The Book of Earth. It was one of five classic descriptive books that were considered national treasures by the D'ni.
The D'ni language used on this page:
If you're curious about what the D'ni used on this web page means, and you don't want to spend copious amounts of time researching it like I did, here you go. First off, the DRC did not share very much of their own knowledge of D'ni. Most of what is known was taken from D'ni documents that were published, and explorer linguists have had to learn what the DRC already knew by themselves. Dr. Watson has occasionally told people what a few things meant, or confirmed guesses. That said, the dictionary of D'ni words known to explorers is very limited. Many of the words I'd have liked to use simply are not available in the current databases.
I'm not using the standard transliteration systems OTS and NTS in this site except for names. That's because both can be difficult to read unless you take the time and effort to learn how. Instead, I'm using a system I created just for this site, which I believe is more intuitive for a casual audience. All consonants are used normally as in standard English, with the exceptions of kh and dh. Kh is a sound that does not exist in English, and dh is the soft th sound found in "clothing". Most vowel sounds are short, and a is pronounced "ah", as in "father" or "dark". Long vowel sounds are marked with macrons, so ā is the sound found in "rate", ē is the sound found in "feet", ī is the sound found in "fight", and ū is the sound found in "tube". The exception is o, which is always the sound found in "boat", and oy, which is the sound found in "toy". The last special character is å (a-breve), which the the sound found in "cat".
On this page, only the links for the home page and the previous page do not literally mean the same as the English word you see when you hover your mouse cursor over them. I chose to use denē for the home page link because clicking the link takes you back to the site's first page (this one), so you are starting over.
denē (new beginning, renew). Note that I could have used "tomana", but that didn't seem appropriate.
rerookh d'nē (the people of D'ni)
d'mala elesh (return higher)
The "previous page" link needs a little explanation, because it's more advanced grammar than most of what I mentioned. Breaking it down, "d'" or "de" means "again", "mala" means "come", "el" means "high", and the "-esh" suffix makes "high" into an adverb. Thus, the sense of it means to "return higher" in the site navigation. If I wanted to change "new" (nē) into "newly", which is an adverb, it would come out as "nēsh". The sense has to be taken from context, though, because "nēsh" could also mean "newer".
The old site name, "retotē bavaninokh red'nē", meant the same thing as the English site title The Hidden Places of the D'ni. Translated literally, it was "the places hidden of the D'ni". The monogram was "TBD" ( t b D ) from the words totē, bavanin, and D'ni.
The new site name, "retokortē oshaninokh d'nē", means The Library Lost of D'ni, or in English word order, The Lost Library of D'ni. Note that tokortē is not an officially recognized word. It's my own extrapolation of the way "to" is used in other place names, such as tokota, tolesa or todelmer, which mean place/locked(doors), place/sealed, and place/watch/star respectively. Thus, tokortē means place/books, which seems like a logical term for a library to me.
You can find more about the D'ni language and writing in Kh'restreefah's D'ni Dictionary and at the Guild of Linguists. You can find a very good series of D'ni language lessons and information on D'ni lettering and numbers here.
Credits and disclaimers: Much of the information given in this web site was cribbed from MystLore and the D'ni Zoological Society. As of January, 2013, Mystlore stopped working, and has not been repaired, so the link to it is dead. More information was collected from many other web sites, as well as my own investigations into written sources.
When writing my articles, I attempt to use my own words instead of simply quoting from other sites, but the fact is that work done by many people before me serves as the foundation for much of it. They deserve full credit for the incredible amount of labor that they performed before I ever came along. That said, I took the work from many other places and expanded on it with my own observations and KI photos. I also go to great lengths to cover many things they did not. Thus, I consider my work to be an expansion of theirs rather than plagiarism. Any student should be able to tell you that's how you do research. "Why," I hear you ask, "don't you add footnotes listing all your sources?" "Well," I answer, "it's because this isn't a paper I'm handing in for credit at school. It's just for fun, although I tried to be as accurate as I could be."
Many of the KI pictures are taken from non-standard angles that are not available to players under regular circumstances of play. They are mixed and matched from just about all of the Myst series of games. If you as a visitor object to that, keep it to yourself. I don't care about opinions that say what I am doing is wrong just because an uninvolved individual doesn't like it. I'm showing things from odd angles because you can't fully understand the true nature of the Ages without leaving the beaten path. Of course, it'd be a different story if someone at Cyan objected, but they didn't when I posted earlier versions of these articles on the official Myst Online forums. They only objected when I was asked how I was getting the pictures, and I had to delete the answer. For that reason, there is no mention of my methods in this site either.
The site contains a great deal of supposition and guesswork in the articles. I try to explain how and why things are the way they are in the various Ages, and how things worked based on their appearances. I may be entirely wrong about them, and there may well be much better ideas floating around out there. Until and unless the people who worked on them for Cyan speak up, guesses will have to serve. I truly hope I'm at least close, and it's my greatest dream that someone who knows for certain will tell me whether I'm on the right track or not.
A number of pictures will appear in this site to illustrate Ages, areas and concepts that did not actually make it into the game. For that purpose, I use concept art created by employees and former employees of Cyan and Ubisoft. If the creator of a given picture does not want me to display it, he or she has only to ask and I'll remove it. This site is not intended to cause trouble; it's here for the fun of it and to show the incredible creativity and endless work that went into making the game the extraordinary masterpiece that it truly is. The same goes for the game textures I display. They belong to Cyan, and will be removed if Cyan objects. Cyan's open-source agreement for the game does not include the textures. However, when that rule was made, it was in regard to using them in game code. I hope they will allow me to continue to display them, just so you can see what they look like.
Also, because this site is derivative of other people's copyrighted work, it is and will always remain non-profit. I do not seek any sort of monetary compensation, not even donations to help pay for the server... however much I might eventually wish otherwise.
Important: The writing in this site pretends that the places traveled to are real, not just a game. My photos were taken from angles intended to avoid showing things that detract from the sense of reality. It was not always possible, but the attempt was made.
With all that said, I sincerely hope you like what I've done with the place.