The Book of Ti'ana covers the D'ni project of tunneling to the surface, in hopes of having a peaceful relationship with the humans there. After the project is abandoned, a woman named Anna finds the Tunnel through a crack in a volcano, and follows it to D'ni. The Book of Ti'ana is about Anna (given the D'ni name Ti'ana), and how she meets Aitrus and gives birth to Gehn. On a grander scale, The Book of Ti'ana covers the fall of D'ni by Veovis, and Ti'ana's part in sparing his life. The events in this book are briefly described in The Book of Atrus, and gives an explanation for Gehn's anger and madness.
Echoes In The RockEdit
The book of Ti'ana begins with the D'ni tunneling to the surface. Master Telanis is heading the expidition, with Master Geran sounding out the rock, testing whether it is safe to drill through. Aitrus, a young recruit, has volunteered to help with the expedition and has been there for 2 and a half years. He is called into Master Telanis's office and asked to tend to Master Kedri, an impatient member of the Guild of Legislators, for the remainder of his expidition. Aitrus, a quiet man who likes his solitude, dislikes the task but agrees. Later that week, Aitrus is surprised when he receives a package from Veovis, as the two had been estranged since childhood. He explains that he read a paper Aitrus had wrote and felt the need to ask forgiveness. Aitrus takes the gifts enclosed, though is apprehensive.
The next day, Master Telanis brings Aitrus into his office and asks him about his assignment to Kedri, though he's aware that Aitrus is none too fond of it. He explains to Aitrus that The Council has had a change of heart about the expedition, going so far as to question whether or not it would be harmful to make contact with the surface dwellers. Aitrus grows mad, but Master Telanis explains that their decision may be swayed should they convince the guests of The Council, including Master Kedri, of the usefulness of the expidition. Aitrus reluctantly agrees to the task, though he has doubts whether or not he's the right one for the job.
A short while later, Master Telanis decides to start drilling again, dismissing the extensive sounding they normally do to impress the guests, and Aitrus shows them the various equipment they use while drilling. The guests are impressed, however, because they did not properly sound out the rock beforehand, the drill shattered against it and hit Efanis, mortally wounding him. After the digging is suspended, Aitrus goes to explore the tunnels himself. However, several strong quakes trap him behind a node gate (which locked to due to the tremors), leading him to realize they were digging through a volcano.
When Aitrus returns, he finds the team performing a funeral ritual for Efanis, who had died since Aitrus had left. The entire team is worried that Effanis's death meant the end of the expidition to the surface and decided to finish as much as they could before The Council shut down the project. However, it isn't until almost two weeks later that a messenger brings news to the team that they want the project finished in memory of Efanis and to build a shaft upwards to the surface built immediately. Soon, the team finds the perfect spot to build the shaft and know their expedition is nearing it's end. They soon find their expedition is taken over by The Council and several members of The Guilds.
The Council brings in Old Stone Teeth, Rock Biter, The Burrower and Grinder to finish the tunnel (which was unprecidented at the time as they had never used all four together before) as the original team members grow anxious. However, after several weeks, Telanis brings Aitrus into his office and confesses that The Council will not allow the team to visit the surface and will be sending them home. Aitrus and Telanis are heavily disappointed, but accept it.
Several days later, Master Telanis pulls Aitrus aside again, this time to tell him that The Council has reconsidered and are allowing Master Telanis and six of his choosing to to join them on the surface, with Aitrus being one of the six. Aitrus is ecstatic and thanks him, but he mentions that it was Veovis, sitting in for his father Lord Rakeri on Council, made the suggestion and will be at the site in six days to meet with Aitrus in person.
Several days later, Veovis (along with Lianis) meet with Aitrus. The two are very thankful to each other and Veovis asks Aitrus to vsit him in D'ni. Aitrus ponders this, wondering if Veovis truly has changed. Shortly after, Master Telanis pulls Aitrus aside and tells him that whether or not they step onto the surface will be debated by The Council. Aitrus is apprehensive and worries over the decision. Later that night, Aitrus is awoken in the night by tremors, but is reassured by Master Geran. They awake and watch the breaching ceremony (drilling to open the tunnel to the surface) and Veovis postpones their meeting to a later time. Aitrus grows even more apprehensive about their friendship.
That night, another earthquake shakes the tunnels, sending Aitrus crashing into the ceiling. Aitrus rushes out of the craft and finds the walls of the tunnel collapsing. Master Telanis finds him and tells him that Master Geran has died, falling over the edge when the quake hit and instructs him to put on protective gear and sends him to the lower chamber. Aitrus rushes down the ladder (his main way block by a sheet of Nara) and finds Veovis trapped in a carriage, barely clinging to the tunnel walls (which were damaged by the quake). He jumps down into the carriage, praying that it does not fall, and attempts to rescue the badly wounded Veovis. However, as they attempt to leave, another quake shakes the carriage free. The men, certain that death is upon them, scream but are saved by a digger, who catches them mid fall. Immediately afterwards, The Council orders the shaft repaired and sealed before meeting with the surface dwellers.
Two weeks later, Aitrus meets with Veovis on K'veer and they discuss Aitrus's brave act. Veovis makes a solemn pledge that should Aitrus need anything within his power, Veovis will make it happen. Aitrus comments that they should be friends without obligations. Veovis agrees, commenting on the hardship of owing one's life to another.
Of Stone And Dust And AshesEdit
The story shifts forward thirty years and begins the story of Anna, an eighteen year old girl who lives with her father in The Lodge in Cleft. She and her father make a living as geologists, scouting the desert for Lord Amanjira in Tadjinar. Anna and her father find a curious formation of rock (caused by the underground diggers) and contemplate how it came to be. However, her father grows ill and the two return to The Lodge, where Anna takes care of him and paints him a painting of his favorite flowers, told to her by her mother (who died when her support rope fell while climbing).
A week later, Anna returns to the stone circle while her father rests, though she cannot concentrate and returns early, fearful for her father (who broke his fever but was still weak). She fears for her father and becomes even more worried when she returns and finds him out of bed. However, she finds him finishing up his report to Lord Amanjira and he thanks her for the painting. He sends her to Tadjinar alone, which Anna protests but rescinds when he tells her of the supplies he needs and his illness. Once she arrives, Amanjira is estatic with the report (which explains silver might be buried in the desert) and pays her, offering them a bonus should he find some silver.
She returns to The Lodge after a week and finds her father at the stone circle again. After telling him of the events in Tadjinar, her father brings her to his latest discovery: a tunnel blocked by rock. Her father mentions that he feels the circle and tunnel are interconnected and the tunnel leads deep within the earth. They return home, where Anna gives her father a chess set, which he is ecstatic to use. They begin to fall into a routine of clearing rock and playing chess, her father teaching Anna how to play in their spare time. Finally, after ten days, they break enough rock to venture into the tunnel. Her father asks her if she regrets living a meager life in the desert, but she admits that she enjoys it. Anna's father then lowers her into the cavern for her to explore.
Meanwhile on D'ni, The Council is preparing to vote on reopening the tunnel and making contact with the surface dwellers again. Veovis and Aitrus have become the closest of friends and both are part of The Council, though Aitrus is only a junior council member (having no political ambitions). He has, in the meantime, been promoted to Master of the Guild of Surveyors. Veovis attempts to sway Fihar, Suahrnir and Aitrus to vote against it, claiming that all the inhabitants of the ages they've visited so far have been savage, primitive beings who are prone to violence and that the surface dwellers are likely no different. He appears to sway Fihar and Suahrnir, but Aitrus is not convinced and decides to abstain.
Anna ventures further into the tunnel and manages to find a large cavern with cold water, a precious commodity in the desert. She manages to find a red liquid, dripping into the cavern. However, as she attempts to chip it with her hammer and chisel, she finds herself unable to even mark it. Instead, she chips away a rock containing the substance and returns to the surface to show her father, who is excited to find that it is not a natural substance, but artificial. Anna isn't sure and sends him to bed. However, she wakes in the morning to find that he had ventured out of bed to study it some more and died from his illness. Back in D'ni, Lord Eneah falls ill and the vote is postponed. Veovis takes this opportunity to sway more votes towards his side as Aitrus chats with Grand Master Yena.
Anna, grieving over her father's death, decides to pack her belongings and travel to Tadjinar, though she is unsure whether or not she would like to live there. However, she feels compelled to visit the circle one last time and does so, deciding to venture further into the cavern her father discovered. While she explores, she begins to hear the words of her father in her head, though she assumes it's simply her reflecting on memories. She ventures deep into the caves and eventually finds herself in the tunnels made by the D'ni. She also finds several D'ni digging machines, which she climbs in an attempt to learn more about. As she examines them, she comes to the conclusion that she is in the tomb of a great emperor, though she cannot explain why they look relatively new. She decides to venture further into the caverns and accidentally discovers the city of D'ni.
At the same time, The Council meets in The Guild House to discuss the vote. Several members make speeches trying to sway members to either side and Aitrus has come to the realiziation that he cannot abstain when he feels so strongly that the expidition should continue. Lord Eneah briefly postpones the vote an hour to have an informal discussion in the vestibule. However, as the members break off into small groups to discuss it further, a messenger rushes into the Guild House with a message for Lord Eneah. Everyone is silent (as messengers never disturb The Council while in the Guild House) and Lord Eneah casually announces that their decision has been made, as a surface dweller has reached D'ni.
The Council immediately switches focus to talk of what should be done with the surface dweller as rumors get started around the city. The meeting adjourns and Aitrus decides to visit Veovis at the Hall of the Guild of Writers, where he asks Veovis for the news about Anna. Suahrnir, who was briefing Veovis, explains that the High Council will perform an interrogation of the surface dweller in front of The Council members after the Guild of Linguists try to understand her language. Veovis jokes that it's unlikely she speaks at all and is covered in hair, which he considers to be incredibly primitive. Aitrus asks whether he can see her, but Veovis informs him that she is being held prisoner in Irrat. He mentions that if it weren't for Lord Eneah, she would already be in a prison age. Aitrus defends her, but Suahrnir mentions that she not what the D'ni would describe a girl and her arrival is a bad thing. Aitrus is stunned and asks Veovis for his opinion, but he agrees with Suahrnir. Aitrus concedes and Veovis mentions the matter is out of their hands.
Twenty weeks later, Master Haemis talks with Anna, who has already learned the basics of D'ni and is nearly fluent. Anna asks for a copy of the Rehevkor but Master Haemis refuses, mentioning he'd have to get The Council's permission. He also mentions that it was a mistake to tell her of it and he would be in trouble should anyone find out he mentioned it. She agrees to drop it and changes the subject. Master Haemis is surprised by her kindness and tells her he'd stick up for her at the interrogation. She tells him she'd rather speak for herself to prove she's not an animal. He then reconsiders bringing her the Rehevkor so that she can prepare for The Council. Later, while she is staring at Irrat's scenery, Lord Eneah visits her and she is surprised by the sternness of his face. Inspired, she asks him for her charcoal and sketch pad to draw him and he leaves, leaving her disappointed. However, a guard wanders in shortly after with them and she begins drawing him after she takes a nap.
After a short period of time, Anna is taken to a boat to be moved. On the way, she mentions how magnificient Ae'Gura is. The guard begins to tell her of it, but immediately catches himself. Meanwhile, Veovis is called to talk to The Five. Lord Nehir mentions that she is ready for interrogation. Veovis questions this and Lord R'hira mentions that she has learned D'ni. Veovis is shocked by this revelation and The Five explain whether it's beneficial to have her speak freely in front of The Council or merely speak to The Five. Veovis suggests that they have two seperate hearings to determine whether or not she's ready and they were worried initially whether it will be worth backing out on their word, they recruit Veovis to change The Council's views over the next week. His father, Lord Rakeri, asks Veovis to use Aitrus to help him recruit. After The Five have left, Lord Eneah remains behind and studies the drawing of himself, wishing that the decision were as easy as he presumed it would be.
Veovis meets with Aitrus and explains what happened at his meeting with The Five. Aitrus is shocked and against canceling the meeting, mentioning that Lord Eneah promised the entire Council. Veovis explains that he has been tasked with changing the Council's views and asks Aitrus for help. Aitrus ponders it, but tells Veovis to give him the full details first. Later that evening, he goes to his parent's house in the Jaren District, looking for his father Kahlis. He rushes up to his father and explains what Veovis and Lord Eneah are doing and Kahlis thanks his son for his honesty. He promises to go to Lord Eneah himself and reassures Aitrus that he will not mention where he got this information. Kahlis immediately goes to Lord Eneah and confronts him with the information and is shocked to find it true. He then listens as Lord Eneah explains. Meanwhile, Aitrus returns to his room at the Guild House and is interrupted by Veovis, who is fuming. He proclaims that Lord Eneah had a change of heart and the meetings will proceed in full. Veovis swears that they will regret this change of heart and that it was a mistake to let Anna speak, as he fears she is dangerous and will try to manipulate The Council. He mentions that Haemis mentioned the Rehevkor to her and has been removed from the team. Aitrus asks why he didn't tell him this earlier and Veovis mentions he only just found out that morning. Aitrus asks him what he will do and Veovis mentions there's nothing to do and that Anna's words will poison The Council. Aitrus suggests he use his words against hers and Veovis smiles. Veovis asks Aitrus to speak out with him, but Aitrus mentions he will only speak out where he sees fit.
Anna is brought to the Great Hall of the Guilds where the public point at her and make her feel self concious. She feels a bit scared, but she hears the words of her father and is re-encouraged, ready to answer The Council's questions. They question her for five hours on the conditions of the surface and she responds with honesty. She reflects back on it afterwards and is worried that her answer to the question of people's honesty was not quite good enough for them, having sent The Council in an uproar and ending the questioning. She begins to worry that the D'ni would invade the surface and were a warlike people.
The Five meet to discuss the interrogation and all five agree that Anna poses no threat, though [Human|humans] do, as they are warlike and motivated by greed. They begin to discuss what they will do with Anna and the consensus is that she should not be allowed to return to the surface, as she has too much information about the D'ni. However, they feel sending her to a prison age would be much too harsh, since she answered the questions honestly. They agree to let her live in D'ni until a better plan comes along. Veovis throws a celebration that night, which Aitrus attends. Veovis shockes several people in admitting he was wrong about Anna, though he's still apprehensive about humans. He mentioned that she should not become the focus of attention, or he would have her put into a prison age. Aitrus disagrees with him and yearns to talk to Anna, though he is apprehensive about telling Veovis. A messenger gives Aitrus an urgent summons and he rushes off to his parent's house, where Kahlis announces that Anna will be living with them and asks Aitrus approval. Kahlis is shocked when Aitrus hastily agrees. Tasera then brings Anna and introduces her to Aitrus.
Aitrus meets with Veovis several days later, who asks Aitrus what Anna is like. He mentions she seems polite, to which Veovis questions her sincerity. Aitrus is slightly offended but changes the subject, mentioning she's having trouble adapting to D'ni. Veovis mentions that he should bring Anna to K'veer sometime and Aitrus accepts. Meanwhile, Anna snoops through the house of Aitrus's parents. She tries to read several of the journals, but they're written in D'ni, which she has not yet learned to read. She begins to worry and exits the room, where she meets Aitrus, who takes her back to the room she was exploring. He gives her a book that explains the history of D'ni and is shocked when she tells him she cannot read D'ni. He then hands her the Rehevkor, explaining that he'll teach her to read D'ni and the contents of the book, even if it's not allowed.
The two then go to K'veer to meet Veovis, where Aitrus explains Veovis's family history to her. He warns her that Veovis is blunt and she laughs, telling him she's not afraid of him. The three talk and become fast friends and as Veovis leaves to get refreshments, Aitrus asks her for his forgiveness for Veovis's actions during the interrogation (where he scowled at her). She recalls it and Aitrus breathes a sigh of relief, though Anna exclaims that she didn't know it was him. Before Aitrus can answer, Veovis comes back and admits that he was prejudiced against her and even though he wanted to dislke her, he can't deny he does, though he warns her that he is D'ni and is proud. Anna warns him as well with the same warning and Veovis merely changes the subject. On the way back, Aitrus promises to show her the secrets of D'ni (linking).
That night, Aitrus takes Anna to his family's book room. She looks at him in confusion and Aitrus explains that her view of D'ni is skewered and he wants to teach her why, though he makes her promise not to ever mention this to anyone. She agrees and opens the book, shocked that it has a moving picture within. Aitrus takes her hand and the two link to his family's age, Ko'ah. Anna swears she is dreaming, but Aitrus gives her a flower and asks if her dreams are this real. Anna asks him to explain and he tells her about linking, though she writes it off as impossible. Aitrus explains that writers have strict guidelines on how to make a linking book and Anna admits she finally realizes why writers were some of the most important people on D'ni. He explains that the writing is different than normal D'ni. He worries about Anna's incarceration on Irrat, but she brushes it off and the two return to D'ni, where Aitrus shows her the inner workings of Ko'ah and explains that only the rich or influential get their own personal ages, though the common folk have a public library they can visit. Though she still casts doubts on it, the flower reminds her that it was reality.
When Anna awakes the next day, Aitrus excitedly tells her that Veovis is to receive a Korfah V'ja for his first master work. Anna is confused, but Aitrus explains and invites her to the ceremony. Meanwhile, Veovis received the Korfah V'ja in a private ceremony from Lord Sajka, one of 93 people to receive the award in the history of the D'ni. He heads back to K'veer for the public ceremony and celebration. On the way, Anna has second thoughts about coming to the celebration, though Aitrus comforts her. She reflects back on the prior night's conversation with Kahlis, who attempted to give her an explination about linking, but was very secretive about it and did not explain the process very well. Anna, who had already linked before, feigned ignorance. However, when she arrives at K'veer, Veovis takes Kahlis aside and mentions that Anna was not included in their invitation and though she will be allowed to stay in K'veer, she is not allowed to link to Ader Jamat, where the ceremony will be held. Aitrus grows mad and questions why, but he only mentions that she cannot go because she is not D'ni. Aitrus, now furious, tells Lord Rakeri that he cannot come to the celebration due to an illness and takes Anna back home, which angers Veovis. On the way back, Anna asks why they're leaving and ultimately understands why. She asks why Aitrus chose her and he tells her it wasn't right that he made him choose.
The next morning, Veovis comes to visit Aitrus and Aitrus asks Anna to come with him. She initially refuses, but reluctantly agrees after Aitrus explains it's about her. When the three of them are alone, Veovis apologies to both Aitrus and Anna and gives Anna a Reekoo, a furry animal from Ader Jamat. Though Anna forvies Veovis, Aitrus mentions that it is still not over. Veovis sighs and asks him to join him later that night. Anna asks Aitrus about his meeting with Veovis later and he shrugs, stating that Veovis is intractable. When asked about it, Aitrus admits they've forgiven each other but differ on a major point: whether or not Anna is allowed to visit ages or even read D'ni books. Aitrus admits the only reason they're still talking is because he told Veovis that he'd consider his side. Anna asks him what his decision is and he asks her if he should abandon his plan, which was to write an age with her (the age of Gemedet). He admits that he wants to teach Anna everything he knows, even if he has to defy Veovis. Together, they begin to write the age of Gemedet.
Months later, Veovis catches wind of Aitrus's plans from a member of the Guild of Maintainers and confronts him about it. Aitrus admits that he is and Veovis angrily accuses him of breaking both his promise and the will of D'ni, swearing to take him to The Council. The Council unanimously agrees that what Aitrus did was wrong and confiscates Ko'ah and the incomplete Gemedet, devastating Anna, Kahlis, Aitrus and Tasera. However, Anna goes to Kedri, who uses his recruits to search the Guild Age of Gadar for any records of outsiders using linking books or learning to write them. She then returns to Kahlis and Tasera and tells them she is moving to Lord Eneah's mansion. They refuse to hear it, telling her that she did nothing wrong. Meanwhile, Aitrus and Kahlis resign and Lord Eneah debates on whether or not to accept it, but eventually does to save Aitrus's good standing within D'ni.
After a short while, Guildsman Neferus presents Kedri with an old text, finding proof that outsiders were permitted to link (clerks that helped The Five). Kedri is pleased with this information and presents it to Lord Eneah, who redacts Anna's ban from linking. Veovis is extremely displeased, but Lord Eneah tells him one man is not greater than all of D'ni. The linking books are returned to Kahlis and Aitrus, though Aitrus refuses to accept his job back as Master of the Surveyors.
A few years pass and Anna and Aitrus visit their completed age, which they've named Gemedet (after the D'ni game) and he eagerly shows her parts of the age he had written into it. Aitrus has been reinstated as Guild Master of the Surveyors and is a member of the Council. Anna reflects back on how much her life has changed and how accustomed she had become to D'ni. Aitrus, who is filling out the book of commentary and mapping the age with Anna, debates with her where to go next before returning to their tent. The next day, it begins to rain and Aitrus is shocked when he sees Anna rush outside in it and start to dance. She calls him out to join her and he reluctantly does, but immediately starts to enjoy himself as the two dance together in the rain. Anna returns inside and begins to question her feelings for Aitrus. He knocks and the two play a game of Gemedet for hours. When Anna loses, Aitrus asks her for a rematch, but she declines, blaming it on fatigue. She debates on whether her feelings are true as he leaves her for the night.
The next day, Aitrus is excited at finding signs of volcanic activity. Anna claims it as their first volcano and Aitrus grins and rushes off to find it. After a short while, they find it and are surpised to find it is millions of years old. Anna has a hard time grasping the concept, but decide to explore the volcano themselves.
Three days later, they return to camp to find a package from Kedri, which concerned something that Aitrus inquired about previously. He begins to refer to Anna as Ti'ana, storyteller in D'ni, which is a nickname she would adopt for the rest of her life. He mentions he has to go back to D'ni, but she asks him to stay and help with the samples, which he does. Later, he decides to return to D'ni, but wants to say goodbye to Ti'ana first, who is asleep in her tent. After seeing her sleeping in her tent, Aitrus feelings for her are confirmed and he returns to D'ni to confront his father Kahlis.
When he confronts his father Kahlis, he confesses his will to marry Ti'ana. Kahlis offers him advice and begs him to consider the difficulties of such a union, but Aitrus deflects such worries by telling him how much he truly loves her. He reveals that he had Kedri look into the legalities of the marriage and he had found nothing illegal about the union. Kahlis gives Aitrus his full blessing and Aitrus happily returns to Gemedet to talk to Ti'ana about it.
When he returns to Gemedet, he confronts Ti'ana and she asks him what's wrong. He confesses that he wants to marry her and proposes to her. She quietly accepts and promises to be his companion in all things. Shortly afterwards, Veovis hears of Aitrus's engagement and swears not to allow it.
Aitrus brings his engagement to The Council to ratify, which all but Veovis accept (who knows that The Council must be unanimous to accept the marriage). When questioned, Veovis states he has no reason but that he is simply against. Aitrus leaves The Council depressed and returns to his parents. They suggest various actions, but Aitrus brushes them off, simply telling them that it was the will of The Council. His father suggests he goes to Veovis and beg him, but Ti'ana steps in and refuses, telling them she'd rather be apart than see Aitrus beg Veovis. They do manage to convince Aitrus to visit Veovis, but he doesn't think he'll manage to convince him.
Later, Aitrus meets with Veovis and Lord Rakeri and asks for an explination for his actions. Veovis refuses to give one and Aitrus questions whether he likes Ti'ana at all. However, he calls out Veovis's promise to help him and Veovis reluctantly agrees, stating he's a man of his word. However, Veovis tells him that after he changes his vote that he and Aitrus are even and to never contact him again, breaking their friendship.
Several more years pass and Ti'ana is in labor with Gehn, which distracts Aitrus during his meeting with The Council about a bill he proposed, which would give more power to the commoners. Veovis is against the bill, mentioning that giving power to those who might not be sensible enough to use it properly is dangerous and that things should remain the way they have for thousands of years. Aitrus counters by saying the power isn't enough to corrupt them and will only enrich the lives of D'ni. When the vote is taken to The Council, it's only a few votes in favor of the proposal, leading to The Five enacting it. Veovis objects, but The Five refuses to hear him.
Later that evening, Veovis is still fuming over his loss in The Council with Suahrnir, who tries to calm him down. Suahrnir mentions that he knows a man named The Philosopher, who writes pamphlets for the commoners and is very well received by them, even more so than Aitrus and Ti'ana. Veovis asks his name, A'Gaeris, and immediately refuses, due to the numerous charges that stripped A'Gaeris of his guild cloak. Suahrnir tries to persuade him that he has reformed, but Veovis refuses to hear any more.
Meanwhile, Ti'ana waits for Aitrus in Ko'ah, who has already had the baby. Aitrus, late from the proposal, rushes over to Ti'ana and kisses her, naming the baby Gehn after his great grandfather. A celebration begins but is interrupted when Master Oren brings news that all members of The Council are summoned back to D'ni to investigate the ages for two missing guildsman. Aitrus links back to D'ni and is briefed by Master Jadaris, who explains that several blank linking books have gone missing as well and stations Aitrus at K'veer. Though Aitrus objects, Master Jadaris mentions that the summons is from Lord Rakeri himself and he he reluctantly accepts.
Aitrus arrives at K'veer and is welcomed by Lord Rakeri. Aitrus goes to the book room with a group of maintainers to investigate Nidur Gemat when Veovis bursts in and accues Aitrus of meddling, objecting to his search of the age. Lord Rakeri sends him away and apologizes, telling Aitrus to investigate as he has nothing to hide. Aitrus and his team investigate for a month before all ages are investigated with no signs of the missing guildsmen. Veovis reads his report and casts doubts on his suspicions. Suahrnir, however, attempts to persuade Veovis that Aitrus has nothing but animosity towards him and suggests he may have falsely reported findings to frame Veovis and Rakeri, leaving them off of the official report and only reporting it to Lord R'hira alone. Veovis begins to wonder, but is still not convinced and Suahrnir again suggests that he visit A'Gaeris, whom he claims would know for certain. Veovis again scoffs, claiming that A'Gaeris would not be trustworthy. However, Suahrnir pushes the point and Veovis agrees to a private meeting.
In D'ni, Ti'ana begins to worry about Gehn, as he's crying endlessly, as though in pain. She sends for the Guild of Healers to examine her son and Master Jura eventually examines Gehn. He tells Ti'ana that Gehn is both malnutritioned and has stomach pains, but explains that there's nothing he can do for it since it is not pure D'ni. Ti'ana grows angry and asks what that has to do with curing him. Jura mentions that his problem is that he's an unnatural hybrid and his problems stem from his mixture, suggesting that Gehn be euthanized for his sake. Ti'ana grows furious and throws the healer out of her house.
The next day, Veovis, who brings along Suahrnir, meets with A'Gaeris and the two match wits before A'Gaeris asks Veovis what he could possibly do to help a Lord of D'ni and Veovis admits he is not sure. A'Gaeris mentions that he hears things all around D'ni and tells Veovis that they share a love of D'ni purity. When questioned, he mentions Aitrus and Ti'ana and tells Veovis of Ti'ana's debacle with the Guild of Healers. Veovis asks what A'Gaeris could possibly want with him and he tells him friendship. The two begin to argue about A'Gaeris's past and Veovis gets up to leave, telling him that he needs a few days to think this over, asking again about Ti'ana as he leaves.
After Veovis leaves, A'Gaeris begins to write in his journals and vents to his assistant Corlam. He mentions how he wishes to rise out of obscurity and make a name for himself and wishes to get a hold of some blank linking books. He ponders if he can get some from Veovis and begins to practice Veovis's writing style, an art he had learned since he was a child. Corlam exclaims how authentic it looks and A'Gaeris tells him of his plan to get into the Guild's private areas. He mentions that he'd have to bring several linking books to succeed and spread them out at least an hour apart, so anyone following him would grow weary from searching. He mentions that, in order for this to work, he'd need access to those private areas, which he believes Veovis can help him with.
Aitrus soon receives a secretive letter from an unknown individual (A'Gaeris) that mentions something of his benefit. Ti'ana suggests he take it to the Guild of Maintainers and urges him not to have anything to do with it. Aitrus instead destroys it and swears to pay it no more mind. However, instead to returning to his room, he goes to the J'Taeri district, where the note wanted him to visit. As he heads to the house, he finds Veovis and A'Gaeris just outside the house. After some convincing, Veovis enters the house with A'Gaeris and puts away his dagger. Aitrus immediately regrets his decision and heads back to his room, wishing he hadn't burnt the letter and listened to Ti'ana, but decides to confront Veovis about his meeting instead. However, he receives another anonymous letter the next morning, this time with an incriminating letter from Veovis to one of the missing guildsmen, dated one day before their disappearance. Though Aitrus contemplates doing the right thing, he instead decides to visit A'Gaeris later that evening.
Veovis meets again with A'Gaeris, this time linking to a warped, unnatural world. A'Gaeris convinces Veovis that Aitrus created this linking book after the encouragement of Ti'ana, whom he says has corrupted Aitrus to the point of ignoring the law. Veovis is not convinced until he sees the handwriting on the age, which is an exact copy of Aitrus's handwriting. He contemplates going to The Five with this information, but decides to wait until A'Gaeris shows him more evidence against Aitrus, not willing to incriminate Aitrus yet. Veovis decides to return the following evening after A'Gaeris promises to give him more unnatural linking books and leaves just as Aitrus arrives. Several hours pass and Aitrus is convinced that Veovis had a hand in the guildman's disappearance, due to many documents A'Gaeris forged in Veovis's hand. A'Gaeris convinces Aitrus that Veovis is buying illegal linking books, supplied to A'Gaeris by Suahrnir (who is in charge of destroying bad linking books). Aitrus questions why A'Gaeris would offer this evidence to him and he tells him he's bitter that Veovis can get away with these crimes when he was wrongfully expelled. He mentions that he killed the missing guildsman for investigating him and Aitrus does not believe him. A'Gaeris the points him a linking book as proof and tells him the bodies are in it. Meanwhile, Ti'ana visits K'veer, looking for Aitrus.
Aitrus returns home and contemplates using the linking book, but decides to leave it up to the Guild of Maintainers and goes to look for Ti'ana and Gehn, both of whom are missing. He asks his house steward if there were any messages and they tell him there was only one and Ti'ana received it. He panics, realizing that she had figured out he was investigating the note (as the message would have been delivered to the Guild Hall if he was really there) and went to search for him at K'Veer. He races outside to visit K'veer, but is surprised to find Veovis at his doorstep. The two exchange harsh words, both convinced the other is a traitor, as Ti'ana emerges from his carrier, thanking Veovis.
Aitrus is torn whether or not to bring Veovis's evidence to The Five, knowing deep down that A'Gaeris has an ulterior motive, but eventually decides to confront Lord Rakeri about it, who promises to investigate the matter with The Five. They meet a month later and tell Aitrus that no papers were found in the house where he met A'Gaeris and that it's too dangerous to send someone into an unknown linking book. They tell Aitrus that without the bodies, it's his word against Veovis and they apologize. Aitrus is determined to prove his point and links, finding the two bodies.
A warrant is issued for Veovis, but he is nowhere to be found. After investigation of the criminal age, they find a linking book back to K'veer's book room as well as Veovis's dagger, which convinced them that Veovis is guilty. They manage to find Veovis in Nidur Gemat, who is confused and angry, unsure of what his charges are. They ask him about the dagger and he claims ownership, asking what his charges are. They give him his charges and he is shocked, swearing that they'll hear from Lord Rakeri. He is even more shocked when he finds out that Lord Rakeri ordered the investigation and is taken to the prison of Irrat. Meanwhile, Aitrus returns home to find Gehn having more problems with his stomach. Ti'ana is convinced that Gehn will die and swears he nearly did twice. Aitrus tells her to rest and takes Gehn to Gemedet to get some sunshine.
Veovis reads his charges while in prison and tries to write his statement, but is sure that The Council will incriminate him regardless. He tries to incriminate Aitrus, but The Council finds no evidence against him and thinks he's trying to get back at Aitrus for turning him in. Veovis is sure that Aitrus framed him, certain his refusal of his wedding to Ti'ana is to blame and goes to think about it when he finds a linking book hidden within his clothes. Certain that they'll find him guilty irregardless, Veovis links, but finds that it only leads to a small room with a linking book back to the interrogation room in the prison. The Five take this as an admittance of guilt and Lord Rakeri disowns him.
Aitrus wakes up on Gemedet to find that Gehn has survived his sickness. Ecstatic, he finds Ti'ana and tells her the news, but she admits that she already knew and that he had been asleep for a couple days. Aitrus mentions a dream he had of visiting the surface with Gehn and Ti'ana tells him it may happen one day. Ti'ana mentions the news about Veovis and the trap that The Five had given him, but Aitrus is not convinced that Veovis is guilty and is saddened when he hears that Lord Rakeri has fallen ill, due to the news of his son.
Veovis arrives to hear the verdict of The Council, which unanimously finds him guilty. They strip him of his rank and guild membership and sentence him to a prison age for the rest of his life. On his way out, Veovis whispers something to Aitrus, but is inaudible to the rest of The Council. Ti'ana questions him and he tells her he whispered that Aitrus should have let him fall. As The Council adjourns, news spreads of Lord Rakeri's death.
Ink in the WellEdit
Three years pass and Gehn's fourth naming day arrives. Aitrus and Kahlis take a terrified Gehn to see Grand Master Yteru of the Guild of Books, where he becomes an apprentice and will start studying in two weeks. Ti'ana does not want to let Gehn go, but Aitrus tells her it's the D'ni way. She is saddened but he tells her that they can visit the surface before Gehn leaves.
They begin their trip and Gehn grows weary, asking why they did not link to the surface. Aitrus explains that they can never link to the same age they're in and shows him the maps and charts of the tunnels he has made to explain how they'll get back to D'ni. The three finally make it back to the surface and are awestruck by the night scenery. They return to The Lodge and Aitrus asks Ti'ana of her mother's death. She explains that she died in a climbing accident and Aitrus apologizes. She tells him there's no need for apology and Aitrus enjoys the beauty of the scenery.
Gehn awakes Aitrus the next morning, worried about his mother, as she's wandered off. Gehn is confused when Aitrus tries to explain human life, but Ti'ana returns with the cart she hid many years before. She gives Gehn her father's chessboard and begins to teach him chess. Gehn asks her if he has to go to the Guild and she tells him yes, which disappoints him, but he eagerly begins to learn chess.
Several weeks later, Gehn finally goes to the Guild and begins his apprenticeship, where all the other children tease and bully him due to his mixed blood. Gehn begins to wonder if his parents left him there as punishment for some past action and grows homesick. However, after meeting Master Urren, a member of the Guild of Ink Makers, who explains his craft and inspires Gehn and he finally understand the pride of being a Guildsman, swearing to do what it takes to be like Master Urren.
Some time later, a bomb explodes at the Ink-Works, killing many and leaving a large blaze. Aitrus is summoned to an emergency meeting of The Council, where the death toll has reached fifteen and it's mentioned that several blank linking books as well as a large amount of ink has been stolen by a suspect with immense knowledge of the guilds. Aitrus suggests Veovis, which The Five first denies, but then agree to send Master Jadaris to check up on. The Five then tell Aitrus that they've been hiding something from the public: that one of the Five Great Classics, specifically Master Talashar's, has been desecrated. Worse yet, it was in Master Talashar's own handwriting. Several express disbelief, as Master Talashar has been dead for over six thousand years, but Aitrus suggests A'Gaeris's hand in the matter and begins to wonder if Veovis truly was innocent. Meanwhile, Master Jadaris searches Veovis's cell on his prison age and is surprised to find it vacant. He finds several linking books and immediately knows that Veovis has been freed, though is unsure how.
Ti'ana, worried for Gehn's sake, rushes to bring him home and is denied entrance by the Guild of Maintainers. She begins to go around the building to search for another way in when she runs into the cloaked Veovis. Ti'ana expresses doubt at first, but decides to follow him. He leads her to A'Gaeris's old mansion, making her understand that A'Gaeris broke him out and is involved in the crime. She watches walk away and notices an open linking book on the desk. Curious, she links to Ederat and hides, in case Veovis links after her.
Aitrus returns home to his mother, who explains to him that she doesn't know where Ti'ana went. He immediately knows that she'd have returned to get Gehn and he sets off after her. He questions the guards at the Guild Hall, who tells him that she came by and went off towards the west. Aitrus decides to check their home first then go to the Guild House if she hasn't returned yet.
Meanwhile, Ti'ana manages to find a stockpile of linking books, understanding how Veovis managed to commit the crimes and further confirming his role in them. She decides that for the greater good, she would have to destroy the linking books. A'Gaeris returns to the age with the linking book Ti'ana and Veovis used to get to the age and watch as Suahrnir arrives as well. Ti'ana watches the three as they retract the walkway used to get to the island and begins to explore, finding a large wooden door that could be locked from the inside. Ti'ana begins to formulate a plan as Veovis meets with A'Gaeris and Suahrnir. Suahrnir mentions that D'ni knows Veovis has escaped and will be after A'Gaeris soon. Both of them are shocked, but become determined to finish their plan to take out several targets, starting with Aitrus. As they begin planning his downfall, Ti'ana moves all the linking books to the room with a large wooden door, saving one for herself. She manages to overhear some of their plan and Veovis leaves to set it in motion.
Aitrus grows weary and desperate after not finding any sign of Ti'ana at their home or at the Guild House. He begins to realize that A'Gaeris had set up Veovis to make him feel similar to how he felt and use him to take down all of D'ni. He begins to get worried that Veovis has Ti'ana when he finds none other than Veovis at his doorstep. Veovis claims that he has Ti'ana and will kill her if he doesn't directly follow him into the linking book. Aitrus contemplates going for help, but doesn't want to risk Ti'ana's death and immediately follows.
Ti'ana manages to find one of A'Gaeris's journals and pockets it just as Veovis and Aitrus arrive in the age. She hears them knock Aitrus out and plan to use him to lure her back in, though she's unsure who they've taken. It does manage to give her enough resolve to finish her plan to burn the linking books and she rushes off, grabbing all the ingredients she needed from a storeroom as well as a sleeping draught and an iron file. Just as she's finishing up, she notices Aitrus trapped in a cage and is horrified. A'Gaeris begins to have doubts that Ti'ana will come and asks Veovis why he wants her and Veovis tells him that he's in it for revenge and doesn't want to kill either, but make them suffer like he's suffered. A'Gaeris grows excited, knowing his plan has come to fruition, and explains his plans to take down all of D'ni. He asks Veovis if he's scared and Veovis tells him he is not and that he feels the same.
Ti'ana searches for a way down to Aitrus and finds a doorway she hadn't noticed before. However, after covering her face with a cloth, she runs directly into Suahrnir, who notices her and she knocks him down with the iron file, pouring the sleeping draught all over his face, knocking him out. She races over to Aitrus and tries to free him, but cannot pick the lock. With the gas from the sleeping draught creeping over towards her, she swears she'll be back for him and races back upstairs.
Veovis and A'Gaeris begin discussing their plans as they make bombs, which Veovis states he only wishes to use to destroy the linking books behind them. However, after A'Gaeris goes to get his map of D'ni to plan, he finds Ti'ana, unaware of his prescence. He withdraws his dagger and tells her not to move, but she turns and throws a large bird at him, which immediately starts attacking his face, drawing the attention of Veovis. Veovis rushes out, ignoring A'Gaeris's pleas for help and draws his gun, chasing after Ti'ana. Ti'ana bolts the door with the linking books and immediately pours the flammable liquids onto the pile of linking books. She lights a wick and places her hand just above the linking book to D'ni as Veovis breaks down the door and confronts her. He tells her that he will spare her and Gehn if she gives him the linking book, but she defiantly drops the wick on the pile, burning the books and linking at the same time. Veovis fires his rifle at Ti'ana, just barely hitting her at the last moment as the door to the room ignites, setting Veovis on fire. Ti'ana appears in the Great Chamber and collapses, having been shot in the shoulder. Moments later, Veovis appears and doubles over from the smoke and is arrested.
Veovis is again unanimously found guilty for his actions by The Council and The Five announce that Veovis is to be beheaded for his crimes against D'ni, a sentence almost unheard of. Ti'ana begins to speak against it, but Veovis screams his disapproval and is removed. Ti'ana gives The Five A'Gaeris's journal, which gives evidence that he framed Veovis to gain an ally. The Five ask for time to study the journal and Ti'ana suggests to them that they create a brand new prison age for him and burn the linking book, forever trapping him there with no way out. The Five agree and hire four of the best writers in D'ni to create a new age for Veovis, guarding it day and night. Finally, after one hundred days, the book is finished and Veovis is sent within it. However, just after he links to it, the image of A'Gaeris briefly appears, though many wonder if it's simply a flaw with the age. The book is then taken away and burned by Master Jadaris.
Months pass and Gehn, now eight, becomes distant from Ti'ana and finds himself gravitating towards his father, which he believes is due to his father being pure D'ni and a member of The Council. They tell him that he's been offered a chance at private school due to his diligent studies and he grows excited, telling them how he wants to be just like the Guild Masters. However, just after his oration, several tremors shake D'ni, worrying the inhabitants. However, it isn't until a crack appears in the wall and a dark cloud of gas emerges that everyone begins to panic. Aitrus tells Ti'ana and Gehn to go directly to Gemedet until further notice, promising to meet them there when he's finished meeting with The Council. Ti'ana takes Gehn back to Kahlis and Tasera's house, clinging to each other as the ground shakes violently, where Tasera eagerly awaits them and the three link to Gemedet.
Aitrus returns to Gemedet, where he tells his mother that Kahlis agreed to link to a guild world with The Five to discuss the nature of the gas. Aitrus mentions that they're to stay in Gemedet until further notice and that he will be leaving in ten days to see if D'ni is inhabitable. Meanwhile, Veovis and A'Gaeris examine their handiwork in D'ni, linking the dead to other ages and admire how much illness and death they brought upon D'ni.
A week later, Aitrus begins preparations to return to D'ni and Ti'ana asks him what it will be like. Aitrus admits he doesn't know and is worried that Kahlis didn't send word sooner. Ti'ana asks what to do if he doesn't return and he tells her to stay here. She argues with him, but realizes it's best for Gehn's sake.
Aitrus leaves early the next morning to survey the damage to D'ni, wearing an oxygen mask, and finds a yellowish brown paste has affixed itself everywhere the dark cloud had reached. He notices small clouds of the gas remain and notes that it looks almost alive. He is shocked at the devastation to D'ni, which lies in ruins, but is certain to find The Five and his father in the Guild Hall with instructions on how to rebuild D'ni and sets off to search.
Inside, he finds it deserted, though he finds an open linking book covered in the paste. However, he finds a clear handprint over the linking panel and realizes that someone had linked after the gas had left. Wiping it clean, he links to the world and is reassured when he finds the world peaceful. He takes off his mask to save the oxygen for D'ni and rushes over to the Great Library, where he grows worried over the lack of a guard. He rushes in and finds everyone dead, including his fater Kahlis, though nothing suggested they were killed by someone. He comes to the realization that a virus killed them all and that he has been infected with it as well. He buries them all and decides to return to D'ni to hide Gemedet, so that no harm could come to his family.
Aitrus returns back to D'ni and is shocked to find that someone had broken into his house and linked to Ko'ah. However, he is relieved to find Gemedet unharmed and untouched. Having seen Veovis and A'Gaeris on his way back, he decides to take Gemedet back to the surface and decides to scout out the tunnels, unsure whether the quakes had damaged and what they hadn't.
Ti'ana begins to grow worried as she waits for Aitrus in Gemedet and began to worry about Tasera, who she knew was feeling double what she did. She calls out to Aitrus and hears the voice of her father tell her to learn to live alone. She refuses to listen to him and reassures herself that he will return as Tasera questions her. She explains and tells Ti'ana that she can no longer feel Kahlis's prescence and is sure that he is dead. Ti'ana tries to comfort her, but she knows deep down that he is dead. Meanwhile, Aitrus runs out of oxygen for his masks and returns to Gemedet. He reflects back on his journey through the tunnels and remembers finding the machine that Veovis used to pump poison into D'ni's air circulation system and distribute it across D'ni. He recalls how it was then that he wished Ti'ana had not spoken up for Veovis and let him be beheaded, though he knows that she could never have known this would come from it. He regrets returning to Gemedet, but knows that his wife and mother deserve news and decides to wash up and bury his clothes.
Ti'ana finds Aitrus by the waterfall the next day and has a couple servants carry him back to camp. After four days of sleep, he finally awakes and tries to talk, but his voice is weak. Ti'ana begs him to rest and recover, but tells her that he is dying and that everyone else has died, including Kahlis. He makes Ti'ana promise him that they'll escape through the tunnels, giving her the map he made and falls back asleep. Tasera is clearly shocked by the news and Gehn runs off crying, fleeing into the woods. Ti'ana begs Aitrus to explain why the age isn't safe, but with no reply.
Tasera returns to her bed, complaining of a migrane as their servants fall ill. Gehn returns to his father and Ti'ana tells him they have to leave, but he's more concerned about his father. The rest of the servants ran away the next morning after Tasera dies. Looking for answers, Ti'ana reads Aitrus's journal for clues and sees the maps, understanding what took him so long to return. He awakens and tells her to pack her things so they can leave immediately. Ti'ana begs him to reconsider, but he is adamant and they do as he asks. Saying their goodbyes to Tasera, the three link to D'ni. When they get to D'ni, they are surprised to find that the air is clean. They rush to the boathouse, where they are surprised to find a single boat left. However, as they begin to row off, a scream echoes throughout D'ni and Aitrus rushes off to help them, leaving Ti'ana and Gehn behind. He traces the sounds back to the top floor of a tavern, where he finds a mortally wounded Veovis, stabbed in the back with a butcher's cleaver. Aitrus tells Veovis he's there and asks what happened and Veovis tells him that him and A'Gaeris got into a fight and A'Gaeris stabbed him in the back while he wasn't looking. He tells Aitrus that A'Gaeris wanted an age where the two of them could be gods and Veovis refused to do so, causing A'Gaeris to kill him. Aitrus asks why Veovis didn't kill his family when he broke into his house and he tells him it was because Ti'ana stuck up for him and said there was good within him. However, as he talks to Veovis, he sees A'Gaeris kidnap his family and take them towards K'veer. Aitrus grows desperate and Veovis gives him a linking book to Nidur Gemat, explaining that if he uses the linking book in Nidur Gemat to return to his study, he can beat them there, where he plans to go to Ederat. Aitrus decides to trust his final words and links.
A'Gaeris rows the two hostages to K'veer and admits that he hadn't killed the two only because Ti'ana mentioned that Aitrus is still around. Ti'ana tries to dissuade A'Gaeris, telling him that Aitrus will not come for them, but A'Gaeris is not fooled and states that with his family locked up, he'll have Aitrus right where he wants him. Meanwhile, Aitrus links back to K'Veer and finds the pile of linking books, grabbing the Ederat linking book that Veovis mentioned. Knowing that he is close to the end, he opens the linking book and starts changing the wording of it.
A'Gaeris finally reaches K'veer and starts taking his hostages up when he notices the smell of smoke. He finds the source of the fire (the linking books) and screams, racing off to try and save them, tugging Ti'ana behind. He finds Aitrus at the burning pile with a linking book in one hand, a torch in the other. Aitrus threatens the rest of his books and A'Gaeris places a dagger against Ti'ana's throat, threatening to kill her if he touches the books. Aitrus tells him that if she dies, he'll burn his books. He then comments on Ederat and links to it, sending A'Gaeris into a panic, who immediately follows him into it. However, due to Aitrus's changed, the book became a death book, where A'Gaeris falls into a large crater of lava and dies. Ti'ana is heartbroken and feels the lack of Aitrus's prescence, just as Tasera described. She burns the linking book and finds Gehn, returning to the surface.
The story ends as Ti'ana emerges from the volcano at The Cleft holding Gehn, ready to start her life over on the surface.
- D'ni City: Where most of the story takes place.
- Desert Cleft: Where Ti'ana grew up and takes Gehn to live.
- K'veer: One of Veovis's family ages.
- Irrat: Where Anna and Veovis are held.
- Ko'ah: Aitrus's family age and the first age Ti'ana linked to.
- Nidur Gemat: An older age belonging to Veovis's family.
- Yakul: An old age where Veovis receives his Korfah V'ja.
- Ader Jamat: An age where Veovis publically receives his Korfah V'ja.
- Gemedet (age): An age written by Anna and Aitrus.
- Gadar: An age containing legal records for the Guilds.
- Ederat: An age created by Veovis to use as a hideout.
- This book is being made into an independent film, with the blessing of Cyan Worlds.
- Though this book was the second book to be released, it is chronologically the first.