Age 37

Like all of Gehn's Ages, Age 37 was numbered and not named. Also, like all of Gehn's Ages, it was extremely unstable. Gehn had originally written it on a sort of pedestal of rock jutting up from the ocean's depths, separated from everything by a convection current powered by geothermal warming. A dense fog, which the natives referred to as "The Whiteness", encircled the island, generated by the collision of the warmer water near the island with the frigid water beyond. The substructure of the Age was also unstable, and Gehn observed several smaller islets slip beneath the water during the course of his time on Age 37.

The island itself was a somewhat oblong shape, with hills and sharp drops on the western side, sloping down to a freshwater lagoon before rising into lowlands on the opposite side. In the south, a small estuary separated the lagoon from the outer ocean, and it was upon his estuary that the villagers had constructed their homes.

History[edit]

Gehn's intentions for Age 37 were experimental, trying to see if he could write an extremely simple Age. On Atrus's first visit to the Age, he admitted to his son that he may have made it too simple, as the Age was slowly falling apart despite his best efforts to understand why. While trying to teach Atrus the Art, he decided to use Age 37 as a training ground, challenging Atrus to carefully observe the Age and record his observations. While there, Gehn insisted that the natives treat both himself and his son as gods.

Atrus spent a considerable amount of time on Age 37, and worked to unravel the mysteries of the Age's weaknesses. He also spent a fair amount of time exploring and working with the natives, but at one point, his curiosity got the better of him. Curious about The Whiteness, Atrus observed its power first-hand after ordering the fishermen Tarkuk and Birili to take him out to see it on their boat. Once near the wall of fog, the current swept them toward it at a rate which the three men rowing together were barely able to overcome. Despite the attitudes of the two fishermen who had resigned themselves to their fate at the hands of the fog barrier, the three men were able to escape and return to the island to tell the tale.

Gehn, in an attempt to rid the people of their "primitive" superstitions and further re-enforce his power as a "god" over them, set out to remove the fog barrier from the Age by making the rest of the ocean warm. However, because Gehn had never been formally trained as a Writer and was in the habit of merely copying phrases from ancient D'ni texts without understanding their proper usage, his actions had a cataclysmic result on the Age. Upon returning for Atrus's korfah v'jah celebration some time after the changes were made, they found that the ocean level was now far below the island, leaving the people of Age 37 landlocked on their tiny island pedestal.

Gehn's further attempts to fix the Age were even more destructive. Rather than investigate the cause of the original problem, he merely negated the lines he had just written into the Book, causing the link to sever its connection with the Age 37 that he and Atrus had spent so much time on, and causing it to reconnect with a virtually identical Age to which they had never been, and whose inhabitants had no knowledge of them. The precise reasons why this particular change seemed to cause the link to jump to a new Age when a myriad of other changes had not is a subject of considerable debate within the community. Following the unexpected result of his last modifications, Gehn simply declared the Age defective and threw its Descriptive Book into the fire.

Native culture[edit]

Mythology[edit]

Before Gehn arrived on Age 37, the natives once revered The Whiteness as some sort of powerful divine force, and at the same time they feared its immense power. After instituting himself as their new god, they hid their beliefs about The Whiteness from him until Atrus uncovered them, triggering the chain of events that led to the Age's abandonment.

Daily life[edit]

Very little is known about the daily activities of the Age 37 inhabitants, beyond the fact that they were a people centered around fishing, and that they had some basic sense of agriculture. They used the lowlands on the east side of the island to grow crops like linen for clothing, and some form of wheat for bread. Beyond these basics, nothing else is known of what the people ate or did on a day to day basis.

Notable Individuals[edit]

Koena[edit]

Koena was Gehn's acolyte; his first servant. In his typically prosaic manner, Gehn elected to refer to him simply as "One" (or in D'ni, "Fah").

Salar[edit]

A young girl whom Atrus rescued from a crack that suddenly appeared in the Age as a result of its perpetual decay. She was the handmaiden during Atrus' korfah v'jah.

The old woman[edit]

While her name is never mentioned, this woman was given the duty (and immense honor, from her perspective) of housing Atrus during his initial visit to Age 37. She spoke very disjointed D'ni as a result of Gehn's attempts to teach it to her people, and apparently made a rather spectacular soup of some sort, which Atrus praised quite highly during his visit.