Ages (The Path of the Shell)

Ahnonay
Er’cana
Myst

Ahnonay: DeceptiveOh boy. Ahnonay (“water root”) was written by Kadish as part of his plan to convince people that he was the Grower and features the most mind-bending puzzle in the game. The fact that the age’s name can be broken down as “ah! no! nay!” is an amusing coincidence. There are two linking books associated with this age. When you first link in from the Watcher’s Sanctuary, you are taken to the Ahnonay Cathedral, which is a solemn-looking corridor lined with circular stained glass windows, and actually a different age, since D’ni rules stated that you couldn’t link to an age from within that same age. At the end of the corridor, the linking book to Ahnonay proper lies on an altar-like stand. On your Relto bookshelf, they’ll appear as brown books in the offline version: the Cathedral book has several circles on its spine, the Ahnonay one has a single circular pattern that may look familiar and will make sense by the time you solve the age’s puzzle. In the online version, the Cathedral book is bright green, while the Ahnonay one remains brown, both with four white circles on their spine. It’s difficult to describe Ahnonay without spoiling anything, but if you notice a discrepancy between the panel in its linking book and what you actually see once you link in, well…you’d be on to something. Ahnonay appears as a circular rocky island with a pool and what looks like a giant clock in its middle. There are trees with pink foliage and small crab-like critters called quabs – which apparently also existed on the native world of the D’ni, Garternay – scampering about. There’s also a stone tower located on a rock a short distance from the shore to which you can swim, provided you can beat the strong circular current. But there’s a lot more to Ahnonay than meets the eye. And that’s all I’m going to say. Other than to wish you luck with the puzzle. You will definitely need it.

Er’cana: ThirstyAccessed via a brown book with a branching pattern on its spine, Er’cana is an agricultural age that was purchased by Kadish, also as part of his plan to convince people that he was the Grower. According to the prophecies of the Watcher, the Grower was supposed to bring light back to the D’ni cavern. Kadish decided to do that literally by finding a cure for the failing bioluminescent algae in the cavern lake. In order to do so, he used grain harvested on Er’cana to produce pellets to feed the algae with. He was in the process of testing these when the collapse came. Er’cana is another age I don’t find particularly pleasing to the eye, although not as bad as Teledahn. The area you can access consists of a meandering dry river bed, where mechanised harvesters circulate on magnetic rails. The river has been dammed up, and a pellet-making facility, complete with a furnace and windmills, has been set up on the dam. The building is squat and quite ugly – all concrete, rusty metal and spikes –, and the dry riverbed is rather featureless, save for the plants it houses, something of a mix between giant algae and fungi (eww). The only eye candy in the age is the view of a snow-covered peak beyond the lake situated behind the dam. As you may have guessed, making pellets and testing them is your goal here. Why you need to do this is a different question (hint: it’s not just for curing the algae).

Myst: Closed offThis is more of a teaser than anything else, even though you do obtain the familiar old brown Myst linking book for your Relto bookshelf. As part of the ending sequence of PotS, you get to revisit the isolated room on K’veer island (located in the D’ni cavern) where you first met Atrus back in Myst. His makeshift writing desk is still there, with a linking book to Myst lying on it. As expected, this takes you to the old library, but the exit door is closed and the panels controlling it have been smashed, so there’s no way for you to go outside or to access the Library Tower. Moreover, all the books that used to be on the bookshelf are gone. This is a bit worrying, but there’s nothing you can do about it. The fireplace panel still works, though, and you can get a Relto page if you still have the original code from Myst written down somewhere.

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