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Gehn's First Speech

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This speech is spoken by Gehn when the Stranger first links to Age 233. The second part of the speech is different depending on whether or not the Stranger has already retrieved the trap book from Tay before linking to Age 233.


Part I[edit]

Part I

"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 who 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 30 years ago. 30 years... 30 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.

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's 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 in–


I'm afraid I have 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 call 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. Although I'm sure Atrus desires it. Indeed, he must desire it with all his heart. But he is completely unaware of her recent state."

Part II (no book)[edit]

Part II (no book)

"I know that you arrived in the Fifth Age with a book which was immediately stolen from you. Needless to say it's 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 managed 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've 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've succeeded, and will await your return.

Good luck with your search. I hope to see you back here shortly."

Part II (book recovered)[edit]

Part II (book recovered)

"Which brings me to the point of all of this: the linking book you brought with you. You're very fortunate to have recovered it.

If I may?

Thank you.

Perhaps it would be best if you went through first."

(If the Stranger does not enter the book, Gehn continues:)

"You may need some time to decide. That is reasonable. 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 have decided to use the book. The switch will reset itself once you link from here."