Aitrus

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Aitrus
Aitrus.png
Race D'ni
Name in D'ni Atrus
Personal details
Born 9312 DE
Died Leesahn 30, 9400 DE
Father [[Father::Kahlis]]
Mother [[Mother::Tasera]]
Spouse [[Spouse::Ti'ana]]
Portrayed by Benjamin Huger[1]

Aitrus was a D'ni (race) citizen, not to be confused with his grandson Atrus—in D'ni both names are pronounced and spelled the same. He was a member of the Guild of Surveyors, and had risen to be a Guild Master by the time D'ni fell.

Early life

Aitrus was born in 9312 DE to a fairly wealthy guild family. When he was four, he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Guild of Surveyors. During his time in school, he developed an antagonistic relationship with Veovis, son of Rakeri, one of the Guild Council's five Great Lords.

At around age 22, when he was still a new guildsman, Aitrus joined a surveying expedition whose assignment was to excavate a tunnel to Earth's surface, under the leadership of Guild Master Telanis. He had been working as a member of the expedition team for almost two and a half years when the Guild Council sent a group of observers to monitor the expedition and determine if it was still worth completing. Aitrus was assigned to escort and educate them about their day-to-day operations for a period of ten days. When the Council decided to accelerate the expedition's completion date by constructing a vertical shaft to cover the remaining distance, Aitrus and his team were largely sidelined as their small expedition became a major infrastructure project. It was around this time that he drew the attention of Veovis once again, when one of his reports crossed the young Lord's desk. Aitrus was wary of Veovis's desire to make amends for his behavior in school, but ultimately decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Shortly after the Great Shaft was completed, the Guild Council reversed their decision to make contact with the surface, much to Aitrus's great disappointment. On the eve of the capping ceremony, a great earthquake struck the Shaft, killing several guild members and damaging the walls of the structure. While trying to reach the floor to report on the condition of the excavator at the top of the Shaft, he rescued Veovis, who had been present for the completion of the project and become trapped in a service elevator. Veovis put himself in Aitrus's debt, and in the ensuing years the two begame good friends.

Early political career

When he was just 38, Aitrus became a Guild Master—the youngest in almost 700 years[2]—and was elected by his fellows to serve on the Council a mere three years later.

At 55, he had become a well-respected member of the Council when the issue of contact with the surface was brought up once again. Veovis, who was also on the Council, was vehemently opposed to the idea. Despite his personal desire to see the surface, Aitrus planned to abstain in the final vote out of deference to his friend. Ultimately, though, there was no vote on the issue. First, it was delayed due to Lord Eneah—one of the five Great Lords on the Council—falling ill. Before the vote could be taken up again, Anna, a human who discovered the abandoned Great Shaft and access tunnel, arrived from the surface. Her arrival threw the Council into an uproar as they decided what to do with her. When they ultimately decided to allow her to remain in D'ni, Aitrus and his family volunteered to take her in.

Aitrus was determined to teach Anna about every aspect of D'ni, as he believed she should fully understand the new civilization she was now forced to live in. However, his decision to teach her about the D'ni's ability to write Ages drew a swift rebuke from Veovis and other members of the Council, who thought such things should be kept secret from outsiders. Aitrus's family's personal Age, Ko'ah, was confiscated, and Aitrus was pressured to resign from the Council. At Anna's insistence, a Master Legislator named Kedri scoured old Council records and found sufficient precedent to permit what Aitrus had done. Despite this exoneration and his family's Age being restored to them, Aitrus did not resume his seat on the Council, saying he had had enough of politics.

Life with Anna

Aitrus did eventually return to the Council, and began to spend more and more time with Anna. Enthralled by her tales from the surface, Aitrus gave her the nickname "Ti'ana", the D'ni word for "storyteller", and began to teach her what he knew of regestoy. Over time the two fell in love, and sought permission from the Council to marry. While the unanimous consent of the Council was supposed to be a mere formality, their marriage plans were interrupted when Veovis voted "nay". Angry and humiliated, Aitrus called in Veovis's debt from years earlier and asked him to reverse his vote. Veovis grudgingly agreed, but this marked the end of their friendship.

Several years after they were married, Ti'ana gave birth to their first and only child, Gehn, in 9392 DE. That year, Aitrus and Ti'ana also spearheaded legislation that would give the lower classes in D'ni some degree of the political power which, until then, had been exclusively controlled by those wealthy enough to afford a guild education. The final vote was close, with a spirited opposition led by Veovis, but the measure passed with all five Great Lords voting in favor.

Prelude to the fall

A few months after Gehn's birth, Aitrus was called upon by the Guild of Maintainers to help search the Ages for two missing junior guildsmen. He was assigned to search the library on K'veer at the personal request of its owner, Lord Rakeri. For over a month there was no sign of the missing guildsmen, and Aitrus cleared Rakeri's library in a thorough report to the Council. Unbeknownst to Aitrus, a bitter former guildsman named A'gaeris had orchestrated the murder of the two young Maintainers in order to frame Veovis for the crime. Aitrus was an unwitting pawn in this scheme, and he took A'gaeris at his word that Veovis had killed the two men when they discovered he was trading in illicit Ages. Veovis's dagger was found with their bodies, and on the strength of the evidence given to the Council by Aitrus, Veovis was stripped of his membership in the Guild of Writers and sentenced to life in a prison Age.

In 9396 DE, at the age of 84, Aitrus finally accomplished what he had hoped to do when he joined his first expedition as a young man: he set foot on Earth's surface for the first time. He and Ti'ana took Gehn to visit her old home in the Lodge before the boy joined the Guild of Books just after his fourth birthday.

A few months after he returned from this trip, a series of domestic terrorism incidents occurred in D'ni, including the violent assault of a Guild Master and the bombing of the Guild of Ink-Makers's Inkworks facility. Veovis was found to have escaped his prison with the help of A'gaeris and a Master Maintainer named Suahrnir. He feigned having kidnapped Ti'ana in order to lure Aitrus into a trap with the intent to kill him. Luckily, Aitrus was rescued by Ti'ana when she followed Veovis to the Age from which he had been orchestrating the terrorists attacks with his co-conspirators, and where Aitrus was being held captive. Veovis was once again captured and sentenced to life in a specially-written prison Age, and life went back to normal for several years.

Last days

When Veovis and A'gaeris unleashed a biological attack on the D'ni cavern on Leesahn 8, 9400 DE, Aitrus and his family fled to Gemedet. As a member of the Council, Aitrus returned to the cavern after ten days to help assess the damage. When he found no one else in the Guild Hall, he linked to the emergency Council's retreat Age. Assuming he was safe there, he removed the protective breathing equipment he was wearing, but he soon found the Council members dead from the plague. Veovis had linked an infected body into the Age eight days earlier, and all had succumbed in that time. Knowing he was now infected, and knowing that D'ni was utterly undone, Aitrus set out for the surface with the Gemedet Book and a week's supply of air canisters, determined to map out a route for his family to follow. He ran out of air before he could finish, however, and linked back to Gemedet in a delirious state.

For several days, he was on death's door as Ti'ana and Tasera cared for him. When he finally awoke, he led his wife and son back to the cavern, intent on helping them reach the surface before he died—his mother had fallen victim to Veovis's plague while he was still unconscious, and his father had died with the rest of the Council. During their escape, A'gaeris took Ti'ana and Gehn hostage when Aitrus went in search of what he thought was a survivor of the calamity. Instead he found Veovis, stabbed by his former partner. Veovis told Aitrus that A'gaeris would have taken his family to K'veer, and gave him a Linking Book to Nidur Gemat that he could use to get there ahead of them.

Once he arrived on K'veer, Aitrus set fire to the library of Books that had once belonged to Veovis's family, and made lethal modifications to the Age where A'gaeris meant to install himself as a god. When A'gaeris arrived, Aitrus lured him into the now-collapsing Age, sacrificing himself so that his family would be able to escape. He died on Leesahn 30, 9400 DE.

References

  1. The picture of Aitrus that appears in Gehn's bedroom on Age 233 in Riven is actually an edited photograph of a Confederate general in the American Civil War named Benjamin Huger.
  2. Myst Reader. Ebook, Myst: The Book of Ti'ana, Part Two, section 17