This time, the game allows itself the luxury of major and minor characters. There are still three main protagonists, but you’ll also have a few run-ins with Rivenese locals. However, since they speak their own language, don’t expect to have any constructive exchanges with them.
Atrus: As the mess you encountered in Myst still isn’t quite resolved, Atrus needs your help again. Once more, he provides you with the tools and information necessary for your journey. Additionally, he’s the only reason you’re able to perform the journey at all, since his writing is literally the only thing holding Riven together while you explore. Just as in Myst, you don’t see him a lot, only at the beginning and at the end of the game, but just as in Myst, he’s the prime instigator and motivator for the plot. Oh, and that reward he promises? Sending you back home? Most unique return trip ever.
Gehn: Atrus’ father is a stern-looking man with sharp features, white hair and the characteristic pale blue eyes of the D’ni, despite being half-human. According to the books, as the first product of such a union in D’ni society, he suffered from mockery in his childhood, and didn’t have time to study much of the Art before D’ni fell. Returning to the ruins of the city later in life, he attempted to learn the Art on his own, but his impatient, stubborn, domineering nature led to him making rash, incorrect assumptions which he could not tolerate to see questioned. Attempting to raise his son as a successor, he eventually grew displeased with his temperament, and wrote him off (pun fully intended) as a disappointment. However, Atrus saw that his father’s writing led to disaster and couldn’t bear to see his treatment of the Rivenese people, after having been put to the task of fixing the age. Moreover, he fell in love with Catherine, whom Gehn saw as a promising student and a potential bride, and, with her and Ti’ana’s help, they managed to trap Gehn on Riven. Gehn then spent the next thirty years attempting to create a functional linking book to write himself out of his prison, depleting the natural resources of the age and terrorising its inhabitants. Unbeknownst to Atrus, he eventually did succeed in writing an age – although the effort required was nothing short of titanic –, but hadn’t gotten around to recreating a link to D’ni before Catherine’s return.
Catherine: Atrus’ wife is a beautiful woman with thick black hair in long tresses and black eyes. When Gehn attempted to recreate a Writer’s Guild on Riven, he discovered that she had a unique talent for the Art, writing ages based on her dreams. He planned on marrying her, but she managed to escape with Atrus, trapping Gehn on Riven by the same occasion. They then absconded to Myst, where they had their two sons and lived happily for a while alongside Atrus’ grandmother, Ti’ana. However, Catherine always regretted leaving her friends and family behind, and it was thus an easy task for Sirrus and Achenar to lure her back to Riven, on the pretence that Atrus had gone there himself. At first, she joined a small group of Rivenese rebels, the Black Moiety, who were trying to sabotage Gehn’s rule. She even managed to write an age for them, in the hopes of eventually relocating all of Riven’s population there. However, she ended up being captured and imprisoned by Gehn’s guards.