The 1996 Myst Calendar Journals

These are the texts of the journals in the 1996 Myst calendar. Torbjorn Mathisen has many of the pictures that went with each month on his site, Myst & Riven Illustrated, on this page. I have posted an image of the D'ni writing in the calendar. The link is below under the entry for the month of November.

January 1996
Atrus - Ancam Age JournalBeetle

After only one visit to this age I am already astounded by its variety. Though I intellectually understood what this age would contain, I couldn't have imagined the delightful dance that is reenacted every day as almost all of the organic and inorganic objects on this island respond to the light of the sun, or the change in temperature. The trees alone have held me spellbound. At night they bend their soft, thin trunks, lying across the landscape and hills, looking like so many serpents sleeping under the light of the moon.

And when morning arrives they begin to move... to twist, to lift, to pull themselves toward the light of the rising sun. The forest literally rises up out of the dim landscape, lifting thousands of branches and broad, thick leaves high above the ground. And then, as the trees warm, their color begins to change. At first they change from a pale blue, as green begins to spread throughout the length of their graceful trunks. As noon approaches, the green becomes a yellow-orange.

I can hardly suppress my excitement! What treasures are waiting for me here!

February 1996
Atrus - Everdunes Age Journal

The nature of this world thrives in spite of the harsh conditions I imposed on it in my writing. High temperature and a lack of surface water are not enough to disallow vegetation or even animal life. During my first visit I had assumed the arid land would support nothing, or at least only plants and animals similar to the arid lands at home. Upon my arrival my assumption was confirmed: barren dunes of sand - or at least I thought so at first. Closer inspection revealed a subterranean plant structure just beneath the sandy surface. I discovered it by simply walking - I sank in at one point to my knees. The growth of the plants opened up small areas of oxygen beneath the surface where tiny animals and insects can be found. I am ever amazed at the diversity found in the undefined elements, those elements between the lines of my script, the very writings of the Maker that continue to dwarf my creativity at every stroke.

March 1996
Atrus, Gravitation Age Journal

A light show in the cosmos. I have only to sit back and enjoy as the events unfold from my vantage. This is why I write. This is my reward. Months of calculations and computations, orbits within orbits within orbits. Now I have moons, large and small, not with simple circular orbits, but that rise quickly, slow to a halt, and dance off at right angles, or rest at the horizon. Meteors that skim the surface of the atmosphere, brightening the night Suns, not one or even two, but six, all varying in intensity and color, attracting each other with silent waves. Until now, I have only seen this complexity on paper, in diagrams, and in formulas, only imagining what it would look like. Now it is real! Fleeting but real. I write in haste, waiting for the last show before I leave, for the diversity and complexity is this age's undoing. No, undoing is not the right word; for though I will never be able to return here, the show will continue with even greater beauty and drama! When the unstable orbits decay, the suns will collide, and the real show will begin! And that is a show that I can still only imagine.

April 1996
Atrus, Oasis Age Journal

Its velvet skin brushes my face as I lie engulfed in the field of tall, cool clover. I sit upright and my eyes open to colors and objects so subtle my mind cannot comprehend nor recall. I gaze at the field as the air's gentle breath whispers across my face taking with it the weeping leaves of the eucalyptus. Why? Why had I not noticed before? Surely I should know them. I created them. My own pen held so often in my hand. But still my mind reels, grasping for the familiar. The known. The comfortable. But is this not why I came? My desire to experience the subtleties and pleasures of my own skill so often quenched by my stronger pull to simply create. A view to behold. I sit mesmerized for hours letting the silence speak its own language that I somehow understand. The cool clover receives my body once again. I close my eyes and dream.

May 1996
Atrus, Shimar Age Journal

I finally inhale the thick air with its damp aroma of warm sulfur. The ground beneath my feet moves with gentle subtleties as I peer into the white-hot crater's vastness. I stand motionless, viewing this living... event. I am astonished at its life refected in my eyes. I never dreamed the simple strokes of my pen could have such crushing consequence, yet retain an inner beauty such as this. No life in the traditional form is visible. My leaves from earlier works have no home here. Heavy clouds filled with moisture are not welcome. Somehow, though, this all still ebbs and flows as a living being; moving me atop its back with little care or thought. My presumed significance is now in perspective.

June 1996
Atrus, Herelding Age Journal

The starflys swarmed around me as I walked through the forest. They were attracted by the light of my lamp. Soon their numbers increased to such an extent that my light seemed insignificant compared to the light that they expelled. At this point I decided to turn my lamp off and walk away to see if they would disperse. Quite the contrary! Instead, their number continued to grow. Standing a few yards away from the swarm, I watched them in amazement... and orb of light slowly growing and forming great shapes, acting almost as a single organism. First they group closely together, looking like a miniature sun! Now they spread apart, forming a great, spherical helix! Now, they form a spherical, undulating web! How these unintelligent creatures communicate, I know not. Who conducts this beautiful dance?

July 1996
Atrus, unnamed journal

Though their fevers persist, I feel I am helpless to assist them. It comforts me to know, however, that at least this horrid desease is not fatal.

It begins with the tremendous fevers, violent shaking, and great chest pains. The fevers are followed by a stage of dreamy delirium, during which time the diseased person sleeps persistently, only infrequently half-waking to mutter confused utterances. After this relative calm, comes the most painful third stage when the diseased awakes in a state of frenzied madness. They stare wildly, with glazed eyes, screaming and clawing at their own bodies. As this stage progresses, they become dangerous, even violent in some cases...

...As I am constantly here to act as physician (though I have only been able to mildly decrease the sharp internal pains that they complain of), I am in constant distress of catching the disease myself. I have no idea what causes it, or if it is communicable. Hopefully I am immune.

August 1996
Atrus, Whiterock Age Journal

About the time the ting takes on a brownish color, it emerges from the water for the first time and slowly and clumsily crawls onto the rocky shore. Most of the beautiful animals are eaten by birds, the ting having no natural defenses except for their coloration, which now matches the color of the stones. Some of the ting, however, safely find their way to small pocks and holes in the rocks. There, they curl into balls, and almost immediately begin to entomb themselves beneath a rocklike crust that they create around themselves. After two months pass, the ting shell becomes rubbery and soft, finally riping open to expose hundred of little creatures called solastings. They are, at first, small and lizardlike, scrambling madly in all directions. In their adult stage they are quick-moving and live high in the trees. It seems I am only able to examine them carefully after they have been cooked by the Shirnao and are placed before me as a meal.

September 1996
Atrus, Serenol Age Journal

I have been here for hours, long before the yellow hands of the sun could reach my shivering body, waiting. Simply waiting. The stars above that had enchanged me just nights before were beckoning me to glance up at them in delight. A cursory acknowledgment was all I could muster. The graceful trees with their course bark, leaves of silk, and sweet fruit stood silent - already having been rejected by my focused concentration this solitary and dark early morning. My only companion, a small starfly, rested upon my thin shirt - which contributed little to my trembling hands (an oversight I will remember on my next visit). But even he could not endure my silence. And now as I study the soil at my kneeling body, I wait. The opaque arms of the tuliema at last thrust through the black earth into the frigid night air, pulling, reaching, fighting, searching for light - the timing had to be exact. Only moments after each of the tuliema's three lifeless leaves fully left the earth's grave, the sun's arrows pierced the plant, injecting life, creating an explosion of color, a hue of yellow the sun itself coveted. I looked up with pleasure across the awakening field, flooded now in a sea of yellow.

October 1996
Atrus, Mechanical Age Journal

Even as I build, as the physical substance of my body strains to construct the objects that I require in this age, I feel the outer fringes of my consciousness tapping the mental substance of my being - the edges of my mind planting the seeds of imagination that will become the next age. So I have begun to have glimpses of Arimarl, a sea without water, only a single lush oasis, replete in an ocean of sand. The momentum of my creativity pendulates once again, as I tire of the damp dead mechanisms prevalent in my current age to the dry island of life in my next.

November 1996
Atrus's Prayer - Written in D'ni language

Link to Image of D'ni Writing

December 1996
Atrus, personal journalBeetle

I am not able to understand, only to understand more. The picture that I wish to examine is not static, it is growing and living. Even as I understand how the hinges of a door allow me to open it, I find it leads to a room even larger than the first. But I think perhaps that is part of wisdom. Knowing that I cannot know all, understanding that I cannot understand all. If the Maker's creation was understandable would I not find the Maker something less than great, would I not consider myself equal with the Maker? It is a tribute then to his greatness when I find myself more confused even at the very instant I have gained insight.

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