Exile's End

The sequence of events before and during the game of Exile is rather complicated. Where do all the Linking Books come from? How do people get from X to Y, and why can't they get from X to W? In addressing this issue, I'm going to be giving massive spoilers for the game of Exile, so consider yourself warned.


Several questions often pop up. If the Narayan shields can only be passed through by having someone stay inside to operate the controls, how did Sirrus and Achenar both leave? Who operated the controls for them? Surely not Saavedro!

After they left, did Saavedro get back and forth between J'nanin, Narayan, and Tomahna? Since we find the Tomahna Book behind the inner shield, why was he able to access it? And what was it doing there, if Tomahna was made so many years after Narayan?

Finally, why didn't Atrus come follow us or at least know where we were?


Here is what I've concluded.


MANY YEARS AGO, Narayan.

1. The brothers, leaving the Narayan main settlement, take the gondola out to the "platform" which we visit at the end of the game. Saavedro follows them there. Presumably the outer shield was open, or the gondola couldn't get there.
2. The podium for the Linking Book is downstairs. You can get there from the gondola ledge even if the inner shield is closed; you just can't reach it from the control room or the top level. There must have been a Linking Book to J'nanin on the podium.
3. Sirrus, Achenar, and Saavedro all use this book to Link to J'nanin.
4. The brothers flee to Myst and burn their Myst Linking Books so Saavedro can't use them.

At this point, Saavedro is stuck on J'nanin.

1. The Linking Books to the Lesson Ages and to Narayan are all locked up in puzzles, just as when you find them. Saavedro can't get back to Narayan until he solves the Lesson Ages, gets the proper symbols, and puts them in the Narayan Book's imaging device.
2. Having discovered the signs, which represent the ideas embodied in the three Ages, he can get back to Narayan. But it links to the upper platform, not the lower one, so he's stuck behind the inner bubble.
3.As long as the inner shield is up, Saavedro can't tell Narayan's being rebuilt. If he manages to lower it, the outer shield comes up, so he still can't tell..
4. The symbols used to open the inner bubble of the Narayan shield are the same as the symbols learned in the Lesson Ages. Remember, in Atrus' journal, he explains how each of the Lesson Ages represent a set of ideas, and these sets turn out to be the combination that we use to open that shield.
5. Once he opens the inner shield, he can get down to the J'nanin Book.
6. The fourth "sentence", however, which unlocks the outer shield, is only found in Atrus' journal. Saavedro has no way to guess it. There are more than a hundred symbols to choose from--of those we see--which means it would take him decades to find the right set of four.

Saavedro is now stuck. He can go between J'nanin and Narayan and the Lesson Ages, where he can obtain food and water, but cannot get past the outer shield.

How Saavedro reaches Tomahna.

Ten years pass. Atrus stops on J'nanin to take a look around while he's doing concept research for Releeshahn. When he links away, his Linking Book will be left behind. That Linking Book must lead to Tomahna. Saavedro suddenly has a new option.

For reasons best known to himself, Saavedro doesn't run down to call on Atrus for help, nor does he go to Tomahna to ask for help. From his notes and general attitude, it's obvious ten years of brooding have made him somewhat irrational, and he seems to have concluded that since Atrus never checked on Narayan, he is either an accomplice to or doesn't care about his sons' crimes. (And it's true, in a sense--why were Sirrus and Achenar able to conquer, pillage, and ruin so many Ages without Atrus noticing? Did he ever go back to help the survivors?)

Saavedro's revenge is not so much to do violence on Atrus--because he could well have killed the whole family--but rather, he sets up an elaborate plot to make Atrus feel some of the same helplessness and fear as he did. Saavedro means at the end to confront Atrus on Narayan, force him to see how his sons ruined the world. A small part of Saavedro still hopes Atrus can resurrect Narayan and its people, which he believes are dead. But he has very little hope, since the boys backed out of just such a primise.

Saavedro sets up his revenge

1. While Atrus is writing Releeshahn, Saavedro is preparing his trap. First, as we learn from his journals, he changes the symbols discovered at the end of the Lesson Ages into something new--something that doesn't match the "lessons" as described in Atrus' journal.
2. Then he sabotages the device on J'nanin that holds the Narayan Linking Book. His notes describe how he scavenges parts from the elevator to do this.
3. The device is now opened by new symbols--the ones he has created. He records over Atrus' message to his sons. He also records messages on the various Lesson Ages for Atrus to hear.
4 . With everything ready, he took the Tomahna Linking Book to Narayan and replaces the J'nanin Linking Book with it. That is why we find the Tomahna Linking Book on the pedestal in Narayan, even though it was dropped by Atrus in J'nanin.

GAME OPENS


1. The stage is now set. You arrive in Tomahna for a visit to your friends, evidently having found Atrus again by having used one of the Books he dropped into th Star Fissure.
2. Saavedro has the J'nanin Linking Book in hand. He then Links through the Tomahna book to arrive in Atrus' office.
3. He grabs Releeshahn and starts a fire.
4. He links away. The J'nanin book falls from his hand.
5. You leap for the J'nanin book. Out of the corner of your eye, the fire is coming towards it from the right. The book burns the instant you leave, so Atrus has no idea where you went (even though, obviously, he must have another J'nanin Book somewhere to have visited it).

SAAVEDRO FLEES

1. He runs up into the tusk on J'nanin. For some reason (this is one of the few glitches) he can't see you through the glass window, even though you can see him. "Atrus, is that you?"
2. As soon as you get the elevator working and ride it to the top, he uses the Narayan book to link back to the upper platform of Narayan. The puzzle device holding the Narayan book closes up.
3. You now have to solve this puzzle.
4. On Narayan, Saavedro puts up the inner shield to prevent Atrus from being able to zip past him and use the Tomahna book to escape.
5. You catch up to him on Narayan.

ENDGAME

1. Saavedro comes out to greet Atrus, only to find you instead.
2. He says, "we're stuck here, you know." Why? He can get downstairs. Butyou can't, as far as he knows. He's changed the signs learned from the Lesson Ages, so you have no way to know what the proper signs are. Or, if you do know, you must also know those for the outer shield. He hints at the fact that he knows what's down there--a Linking Book back to Tomahna-- in his threat to you. "One thing I've learned about Linking Books. The doors they open don't close behind you."
His desire for revenge frustrated, he's hoping you'll solve the riddle of the shields.
He lied also about promising to give you the Releeshahn book, in one of the endings. So I don't see it as a problem that one has to assume he lied to us about being stuck to explain the Tomahna Book's whereabouts. He'll do what it takes to get what he wants: this much is painfully clear.


One mystery remains: Why did Saavedro appear in Atrus' study at the beginning of the game, and you appear in the sun room at the end, using the same Linking Book? Artistic License, an error in the game, or did Saavedro steal a second Tomahna Linking Book from Atrus while rummaging around in his rooms, which we never saw?