“And are there other … survivors?”

“More than a thousand.”

Gadren’s face lit at the sound of that. “A thousand.” Then, more seriously. “And you want us to return, yes? To help you rebuild?”

“You are welcome. Yet the choice is yours.”

“And has anyone said no?”

Atrus hesitated. No one had actually said no. But in three instances there had been a promise to “come later”—promises that had not yet been kept.

“You must do as you see fit,” he answered finally. “If you are happy here…”

“Oh, we are happy, Atrus. Never happier. Yet happiness is not everything, is it? There is also duty, and responsibility. I love this place, true enough, but I was a Guildsman once, and I swore oaths to stand by D’ni to the end. When D’ni fell I felt the obligation had lapsed, but if it is to be rebuilt…”

“You need time to discuss this among you?” Atrus asked, looking about him at the villagers, noting how few of them were older than himself.

Gadren smiled. “There is no need for that. The matter was settled long ago. If D’ni calls, we will answer.” He gripped Atrus’s hands again. “We shall give what help we can.”

Rand Miller with David Wingrove. Myst: The Book of D'ni. 1997, Hyperion, New York, NY. Pages 128–130.

Copyright © 1997 Cyan, Inc.