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The area near the Cleft, located in New Mexico
Linking books to it
Linking books there
New Mexico (NM; Spanish: Nuevo México, Navajo: Yootó Hahoodzo) is one of the fifty states that makes up the United States of America, a human nation located on the continent of North America, on Earth. The state has a population of around two million human inhabitants, and is the location of the D'ni City.
Anna lived in New Mexico with with her father in the early 1700s CE, and the Lodge, the Cleft, and the entrances to the D'ni caverns are all located in Eddy County, a county of New Mexico. The D'ni Restoration Council is officially based in Carlsbad, the county seat of Eddy County, and several thousand acres of land in New Mexico surrounding the Desert Canyon are currently under the legal ownership of Jeff Zandi, who lives in a trailer near the Cleft. Tomahna, which is located somewhere within the vicinity of the Cleft, may also be located in New Mexico.
Early history and European colonization
The D'ni cavern, located far below the surface of modern day New Mexico, became home to the D'ni civilization in 0 DE (7657–7656 BCE) when they linked there from Garternay during the D'ni Exodus. They would not, however, attempt to make any kind of contact with the humans living above them until several thousand years later.
In 84 DE (7573–7572 BCE), the D'ni began to construct ventilation shafts connecting the D'ni cavern to caverns closer to the surface, in order to provide better ventilation. After the shafts' completion in 114 DE (7543–7542 BCE), a small group of D'ni disappeared; it is commonly presumed that they went up to the surface to live, likely mingling with the human inhabitants of the region.
By the time of European contact and colonization of the Americas in the 16th century CE, the surface of New Mexico was inhabited by Puebloans, as well as some Navajo, Apache, and Ute groups, and the Amad. In 1598, the Province of New Mexico was created, claimed by the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
Life of Anna
In the 18th century, Anna's father emigrated from Europe to North America, settling in The Lodge, located in the Province of New Mexico, still under the ownership of New Spain. He was a surveyor, and was involved in mapping the south New Mexico deserts (according to Myst: The Book of Ti'ana, for someone called Lord Amanjira; it is unclear to what extent this part of the story is true). In 1694 CE, Anna was born, growing up with her father in The Lodge, after witnessing her mother's death while Anna was young.
In the early 18th century, while Anna was a teenager, her and her father discovered the cave system in the Desert Canyon, though before they had a chance to explore it, Anna's father grew ill, soon dying. Feeling that she had nothing left on the surface, Anna descended into the tunnels, discovering Descent and the D'ni City.
After the Fall of D'ni in 9400 DE (1744 CE), Anna, along with her son Gehn, returned to the surface, settling in the Cleft. At the age of fourteen, Gehn ran away from the Cleft, meeting the Amad people and falling in love with Keta. Around a year later, the two married, and, a few years later in Leefo 9411 DE (April–May 1755 CE), returned to the Cleft when Keta went into labor before giving birth to Atrus. Anna assisted with the birth, but was unable to save Keta, who died while giving birth. Gehn left again, this time descending into the ruins of the D'ni City, leaving Atrus with Anna.
For fifteen years, Atrus grew up in the Cleft with Anna. During this period, Anna traded with New Spanish traders (according to Myst: The Book of Ti'ana, the town of Tadjinar was located nearby, though it is unknown to what extent this is actually true; at the very least, if the town does or did exist, its name was not actually Tadjinar). In 1770 CE, shortly after Atrus conducted his battery experiment in the Caldera, blowing open the sealed entrance to Descent, Gehn returned to the Cleft from D'ni, taking Atrus back to the D'ni City with him. Anna secretly followed them, abandoning the Cleft, never to return.
For unknown reasons, the Star Fissure that appeared in Riven – when Anna and Katran made modifications to its Descriptive Book in 1774 – apparently transported anything entering it to a point nearby and above the Cleft and Caldera, and when Atrus linked to Myst Island while falling into the Fissure, the Linking Book continued falling into the Starry Expanse, eventually landing in the desert near the Cleft. It is likely that the Rivenese people thrown into the Fissure by Gehn also ended up landing in the desert, though in reality their fates are unknown.
The Stranger and Mexico's independence
The Stranger was a presumably-human inhabitant of the surface of Earth in the early 19th century, who on Leevobro 13, 9462 DE (December 12–13, 1806 CE) stumbled upon Atrus's lost Myst Island linking book in the New Mexico desert, accidentally using it. They went on to rescue Atrus from K'veer, where he had been trapped for several months. Later, on Leevosahn 1, 9462 DE (January 2–3, 1807 CE), after the Stranger fell into the Star Fissure as Riven collapsed, they presumably ended up landing near the Cleft, as did several other remnants of the Age, such as the Moiety Dagger, the Star Fissure's seal and telescope, and a wahrk. Those remnants remain there to this day (though of the wahrk, only its skeleton remains).
In 1814 CE, Atrus and Katran moved to Tomahna, a new home that they constructed in a canyon at least several miles away from the Cleft. The next year, Yeesha was born, and, later in 1815, the Stranger visited Tomahna, with Atrus having apparently been able to make contact with them again at some point. When Atrus and the Stranger were about to link to Releeshahn, Saavedro linked into Atrus's study, set it on fire, and stole the Releeshahn Descriptive Book. The Stranger then rescued the book from Saavedro – while Atrus and Katran worked to extinguish the fire – and returned to Tomahna with it.
Meanwhile, a war of independence, instigated in 1810, had been going on in central Mexico. The war came to a close in 1821, with New Mexico's ownership passing on to the new nation of Mexico, constituted in 1824. The war did not have as large an effect on New Mexico as it did on other parts of the country, and had little to no effect on the family of Atrus, given their separation from human civilization.
On Leevobro 3, 9480 DE (November 28–30, 1824 CE), the Stranger once again visited Tomahna, this time to assist Atrus in deciding what to do about his imprisoned sons. The explosion of the Crystal Viewer resulted in Atrus having to leave for Rime to get more parts, stopping by the Cleft on the way (via tram). Shortly thereafter, the Stranger was knocked unconscious by a Crystal Bomb when Sirrus escaped from Spire and destroyed Tomahna's Linking Chamber. The Stranger then visited Haven, Spire, and Serenia, before rescuing Yeesha and being thanked by Atrus back in Tomahna. It is unknown what happened to the Stranger after this point, as no known records make any mention of them after 9480 DE (1824 CE). Atrus, Katran, and Yeesha continued to live in Tomahna after these events.
Yeesha's departure and New Mexico's cession
At the age of 16, circa 9487 DE (1831–1832 CE), Yeesha departed from Tomahna, traveling to the Cleft, where she resided for an unknown period of time. While she lived there, she interacted and traded with the nearby indigenous peoples. Eventually, she departed from the Cleft, descending down into the D'ni City.
In 1848 CE, after the victory of the United States of America in the American–Mexican War, some of Mexico's northern territory, including New Mexico, was surrendered to the United States. In 1850, the New Mexico Territory was established, covering an area much larger than present-day New Mexico; also including present-day Arizona and part of Colorado. The territory was officially divided in 1863, splitting it into the New Mexico territory and the Arizona territory (with the small part of Colorado having been removed from the territory in 1861); both of these territories comprised regions that are identical to their current corresponding states, though they were not at this point full states. In 1912, New Mexico was admitted as the 47th state of the United States of America.
Rediscovery of D'ni
In 1987 CE, the human archeologist John Loftin stumbled upon the cave system in the Desert Canyon, seeing the D'ni digging machines there but not progressing farther into the tunnels. On March 19, 1988, Loftin and his colleague Elias Zandi made their first journey into Descent, reaching the top of the Great Shaft before turning back. The pair reached the D'ni City on their third expedition, in 1989. They were changed by the experience, with Elias in particular immediately becoming obsessed with restoring the city. He founded the nonprofit D'ni Restoration Foundation and began to purchase thousands of acres of land in New Mexico surrounding the Desert Canyon, including the land surrounding the Cleft and the Caldera. Elias also contacted Dr. Watson, as well as Cyan, to try to subtly prompt those feeling "the Call" to travel in search of D'ni. The group continued to make expeditions down to D'ni, sometimes recruiting new people to help with the restoration work.
Myst, the first video game to be based on the journals of Katran, was released in 1993. As a result, the number of small groups of people following the Call into the New Mexico desert significantly increased, particularly in the year 1995, which also saw the release of Myst: The Book of Atrus, the first novel based on the journals, in November. It was the belief of Elias Zandi that those that felt the Call were of "D'ni blood," and thus descended from those D'ni that left the City in 114 DE (7543–7542 BCE), though it is unknown how true this belief is. After all, given the diverse range of ethnicities that explorers belong to, it seems unlikely that D'ni descendants would have been able to be the ancestors of all of them, due to the lack of contact between the Americas and the rest of the world between the D'ni's arrival there and European colonization starting in the 16th century CE. Additionally, it is unexplained how the presence of D'ni ancestry in an individual could cause someone to be "called" to the City – that said, the nature of the Call in general is not well understood.
In 1996, Elias Zandi died, leaving his entire fortune to the D'ni Restoration Foundation, and the land in New Mexico to his son, Jeff. In January 1997, Dr. Watson used the funds left to the DRF to found the D'ni Restoration Council, officially based in Carlsbad, Eddy County. The D'ni Restoration Council continued to restore the D'ni City, just as explorers continued to find their way to the Cleft, feeling called to the area.
The second annual Mysterium convention was held in 2001 in Carlsbad, Eddy County, New Mexico, and was attended by RAWA and Jeff Zandi, amongst others. Attendees of the convention also visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park, exploring a cavern there.
In January 2002, the D'ni Restoration Council celebrated their five-year anniversary with the opening of a Bevin neighborhood to small groups of visitors. "Uru" explorers, as the DRC had begun to call them, also began to arrive in even larger numbers.
In May 2002, Jeff Zandi, now a follower of Yeesha, began leaving mysterious messages, to the disapproval of the DRC. Eventually, in December, as new areas had continued to be restored and released to authorized explorers, Jeff Zandi began to assist new explorers in entering D'ni without the DRC's authorization, much to their chagrin. He began encouraging explorers approaching the Cleft to take Yeesha's Journey, instead of following the DRC. The Council tried to combat this by encouraging all explorers to ignore Zandi and Yeesha, and to not use any Linking Books that were not approved by the DRC. Most explorers, however, ignored these recommendations, and on November 17, the DRC relented, officially opening the cavern to unauthorized explorers.
The Cleft is both the starting and ending point of Yeesha's Journey. The Star Fissure that appears in Relto when all pillars have been returned will take an explorer to the Cleft; the same place that Riven's Star Fissure led to. Yeesha also presents explorers with a Linking Book leading to an Earth instance where it is raining in the desert, causing ephemerals to bloom around the Cleft.
After the DRC lost funding in 2004, Zandi remained in the desert near the Cleft, still encouraging called explorers to take the Journey and follow Yeesha. He has seemingly remained there to this day, and is still present beside his trailer, talking to all new explorers that approach the Cleft.
Eddy County is one of the 33 counties that comprises New Mexico, located in the south-east of the state, bordering the state of Texas to the south. Eddy County is the location of the Cleft and the Caldera, as well as Carlsbad (the official location of the D'ni Restoration Council) and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The two entrances to Descent, leading to the D'ni City, are both located in Eddy County; the Caldera and the Desert Canyon. Other locations that were known to be in the relative vicinity of either the Desert Canyon or the Cleft and that hence may well also have been located in what is present day Eddy County include The Lodge, Tomahna, and Tadjinar.
- Eddy County
- The Lodge