Catherine's Tomahna Journal
Catherine's Journal in Tomahna
Catherine's study in Tomahna
I linked to Haven yesterday. The smell of its beach washed over me long before my vision cleared.
With the veil of haze slowly lifting from my eyes, I forced myself to breath very deeply. I had not told Atrus I was doing this. He would have argued with me, and told me again how dangerous it is to visit the prison Ages before Tomahna’s linking chamber is built. But construction takes time, and I could no longer wait for him.
The sight of the shipwreck rising out of the sea filled me with unexpected dread.
Of course I’d known it would be there; I’d seen it countless times in Atrus’ viewer. But seeing it for real through slanted metal bars made me realize exactly what we’d done. I imagined the words my son would throw at me, and courage drained away like summer wine. I did not try to signal him.
I feel nothing but numbness now. It was my idea to Write the chambers into existence — to bend the Art so that a secure room might be “inserted” in each Age, with solid walls no force of man might break.
Only then could we risk visiting our sons, and leaving a Tomahna linking Book behind us when we left.
It took me months to convince Atrus this could work. But now that the chambers exist, and I will speak to my sons for the first time in years, I find myself not knowing what to say. How will I explain our decision to leave them prisoners? If hardship and isolation have not caused them to repent, as was our hope, what words will soothe the anger in their souls?
Weeks have passed, and still I have not found the courage to link again. Perhaps it is just as well; Atrus was not pleased when he learned what I had done. He begged me to have more patience, then put extra pressure on the Guild of Stone Masons to finish. Today they informed us that Tomahna’s chamber will be ready in two days. Had we been able to use the Art to create it, as we did with the ones in the prison Ages, it would have already been finished.
But things always take longer to build when you must do it by hand.
Now Atrus is looking forward to having our bedroom back. I should be too, but I keep wondering how I will be able to sleep there, knowing our sons are just a wall away. I worry how they’ll act when they greet us, how different they will be from the laughing boys I remember playing with toy boats in Myst’s reflection pool. They were happy then; we all were happy. Anna was still with us, and the love we shared as a family knew no bounds.
Then Anna died.
And our cozy world unraveled.
To deal with the loss of his grandmother, Atrus buried himself in work, spending less and less time with our sons. At 8 years old, Sirrus must have seen this as rejection, but even then his pride was too well-formed to let it show. And as for Achenar — He’d never known how to channel his emotions appropriately.
I do not excuse the crimes committed. Sirrus and Achenar shattered so many lives, in far worse ways than Anna’s death shattered ours. It’s for this reason that I have stood by Atrus’ decision, and left my sons imprisoned all these years. But I cannot escape my own culpability in this. For when Sirrus and Achenar needed me most, I was too consumed by sorrow to see.
— I am being torn in two.
— I am trapped between a mother’s love for her children, and a woman’s loyalty to her husband.
— I don’t know if
It is so hard! I watch Atrus and Achenar trying to communicate, and it feels like knife blades ripping through my heart. They don’t know how to relate to each other. Achenar speaks only from emotions, and Atrus fears he’s made his son a savage. Only my presence keeps things from fraying.
It’s easier with Sirrus; they share a love of science. And Sirrus’ willingness to discuss advancements he’s made ignites a similar excitement in Atrus. Yet even then, Atrus doesn’t believe. He’s unwilling to trust, because he knows what monsters they must have been.
I must find a way to resolve this.
I must break through Atrus’ doubts and get him to see what he cannot.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written in this journal. I thought perhaps I had lost it, but while re-potting plants in my study I found it behind one of the incubators. It must have fallen there when Atrus reconfigured the generator.
No matter. I have it now.
Yeesha asked me today if Atrus and I are still arguing. She was seated at the patio table, her head bowed over her schoolbooks. She was concentrating so hard on tracing a garohevtee, I don’t think she saw my reaction. We have always been careful not to disagree in front of her. I should have realized how insightful she can be.
I watched my daughter forming the D’ni words so carefully and I remembered how easy it had been to convince Atrus to start teaching her the Art. He never did teach Sirrus or Achenar. He started to — he wrote J'nanin specifically for that purpose. But after awhile he feared they would abuse it, so he stopped.
He’s not worried about Yeesha. He sees how curious she is about life, and how full of warmth she can be. It’s obvious how much he adores her. As, I think, do Sirrus and Achenar. If there is any hope in this for all of us, it will be through her.
I must not let family tensions upset her. Tomorrow I will speak to Atrus about my going to Tay for a few days. Perhaps time away will help me gain perspective and discover what it is I need to do.