Eder Delin: This is my favourite of the two ‘public’ garden ages that were written for the recreational purposes of the general D’ni population. A linking book was placed in the public linking room of every neighbourhood in D’ni, thus giving the common folk a place to unwind and take a break from the monotony of the cavern. You’ll find the linking book in Bevin, but it won’t be added to your Relto bookshelf, for some reason. Although it’s rather small, even by comparison with Gira and Kemo, Eder Delin is a beautiful place and the main reason I was happy when Uru finally came back online. The age is set in a rocky cuvette reminiscent of Kemo, with arches and overhangs, as well as a giant floating statue, some gazebos, benches and a fountain. However, the general look is that of a dusky, chilly autumnal forest, with tall trees rising into a pinkish-orange mist, birds (possibly geese) calling in the distance and colourful, lush flora, all bright reds, purples and vivid greens. Delin also has a seasonal cycle and periodically experiences a light snowfall, which makes it one of the very few ages in the series to feature snow. The puzzle here is identical to its sister-age, Eder Tsogal, but would normally require teamwork and thus be impossible to solve on your own. Fortunately, if you’re not playing online, the Drizzle program slows the puzzle down, thus enabling a single person to complete it.
Eder Tsogal: Even smaller than its sister age, Eder Tsogal is the second of the two ‘public’ garden ages available in every D’ni neighbourhood. Just like its counterpart, its linking book can be found in Bevin, but will not be added to your Relto bookshelf, for reasons unknown. Tsogal enjoys bright sunny weather, with an uncommonly large sun shining over a stretch of marshland enclosed in a rocky nook, featuring tall grasses, large stones and pools of water dotted with the now-familiar gazebos and fountain. Beyond the rim of the natural enclosure, tall mountains and trees with colourful foliage can be glimpsed. Just like in Eder Delin, the puzzle here would normally require teamwork, but can be solved by a single person thanks to Drizzle.
Reziksehv (“The Pod Age”): Found in the Museum in Ae’gura, this age has two main peculiarities. First of all, its actual name is unknown: the DRC members simply translated “the pod age” into D’ni. Secondly, the age was designed as a museum exhibit, as its surface is dotted with spherical observation pods (at least 25 of them), each with four circular windows that can be darkened or lightened, allowing visitors to safely experience its landscapes, flora and fauna. The pods’ locations are depicted on a helpful DRC map. Each has its own name, corresponding to the island/continent it’s situated on (or, for Tetsonot, the name of the body of water it’s in), but the Museum only contains linking books to four of them. The age has a day-night cycle, and the pods have floodlights to accommodate this, although you need to switch them off before linking out, or the solar batteries powering them will deplete. Each pod also has four recorded animal noises that should, in theory, attract the corresponding animal close to the pod so that it can be viewed, but they don’t work.
Negilahn: Accessed via a dark green book, this pod bears the number 18 and is situated in a luxuriant jungle featuring stilt trees, ferns and carnivorous plants. There’s a large tear of unknown origin in the ceiling of the pod, with vines snaking in. The notebook found in the museum evokes a great variety of animal life, but the only ones that are actually visible are fireflies; a spindly, monkey-like creature with two thin tails and large, insect-like red eyes, called a “panuhdoy”; and a gigantic flightless bird called an “urwin” that looks like a cross between a flamingo and a dodo, coloured to blend into the jungle environment. The rest of the species are not viewable and possibly extinct, following large-scale destruction by belligerent bahro.
Dereno: Accessed via a light grey book, this pod bears the number 25 and is situated far to the north, in a partially frozen lake. The top half of the pod shows the surface of the lake, dotted with serac-like ice structures, as well as strange, fern-like plants that are able to grow on the ice, with their roots visible in the water below. The lower half of the pod displays a teeming marine environment, with several varieties of fishes. There’s also a stingray-like creature with an enormous single faceted eye, called a “kamkenta”, as well as coral pillars, mesh-like algae and spherical sponges.
Payiferen: Accessed via a yellow book, this pod bears the number 13 and is located in a desert that might have formerly been a salt lake or part of an ocean, as the surface features slightly raised stretches of white rock that look like salt or mineral deposits. The smaller rocks are phosphorescent and give off a faint glow at night. The pod also contains a clue to the Pod Age puzzle, in the form of what look like bullet holes in one of the windows. The only visible local animal is a variant of the urwin called a “sandscrit”. It’s another large, flightless bird, but this species is a light green colour, looks somewhat more like a pelican and doesn’t appear to have any wings at all. Its beak is yellow, with numerous sieve-like holes (*cue trypophobia kicking in*) to accommodate the bird’s feeding habits: it scoops up sand and filters it for nutrients. It also has a pretty unnerving call.
Tetsonot: Oh god. Accessed via a blue book, this pod bears the number 6 and is located underwater, off the coast of one of the age’s islands. However, it seems to have suffered extensive damage and is now out of order. There’s a leak somewhere, as water is dripping from the ceiling, and the bottom of the pod is partially flooded, although it doesn’t appear to be filling up (thank god!). Switching on the power produces an ominous red light that flickers and blinks, but the windows remain darkened, and the pod periodically groans and creaks, as if under great pressure. It’s an extremely unnerving experience, at least for me, as I’ve always been terrified of the idea of a malfunctioning submarine. But it would make a great setting for a Myst horror spinoff.
Minkata: Accessed via a beige linking book with a sun and moon on its spine found in the Great Library in Ae’gura, Minkata (“heavily scarred”) is another doozy of an age. The puzzle isn’t difficult to understand, but the execution is another matter entirely. Minkata is a desert age, featuring endless stretches of sand whipped up by a strong wind, and a piercingly blue sky with three stationary suns overhead. The link-in spot is near a strange cage-like structure made out of the bones and tusks of some gigantic creature. An animal hide with a compass drawn on it is stretched across it about halfway up, and below it is a stone covered in bahro writing. Minkata was a training ground for the Guild of Cartographers, and the puzzle here involves orienteering, with help from the notebook found in the Library. The idea is to find five “kivas”, which are caves formed inside the mineral stumps that dot the Minkata landscape. This is not easy by any means. Once you find a kiva and touch the bahro stone inside…something strange – and very beautiful – happens to the age, which is probably a display of power by Yeesha and/or the bahro. You then need to follow the instructions found on the kiva bahro stone. As an amusing aside, you may find a football during your explorations (hint: if you happen upon it, you’re going in the wrong direction).
Jalak: Located in a brown book with some tribal-looking drawings on its spine, Jalak…is rather pointless. The age consists of a loose enclosure of stone walls containing some kind of arena for an unknown D’ni game, located within a lush green forest surrounded by mountains, somewhat reminiscent of a Chinese landscape. The playing field consists of a 5×5 group of pillars surrounded by what looks like a force field. The corner pillars each have a coloured symbol on them, while the corresponding corners of each of the other pillars reprise these symbols. The body of each pillar is also ornamented on each side with the same patterns as on the linking book’s spine, and each can be raised or lowered by several increments. The KI also allows you to generate luminous 3D shapes in this age, to use as you see fit. The idea was for people to invent their own games, I guess, but I don’t know if it ever really caught on, especially considering the small number of online players. Offline, there’s nothing to do in this age besides fooling around for a bit. Something worth noting, however, is that you may find the age referred to as Jalak Dador online. This is actually the result of a joke between players: Jalak Dador is supposed to sound like “d’ja lock da door?”, but people not in the know thought it was the age’s real name. Within the game, however, it’s only ever referred to as Jalak.