Originally created by the D’ni to gain access to the surface, the Descent, it has been the primary way for humans to access D’ni up until the time people began arriving with the aid of Yeesha. It opens up to the surface in two separate areas: one is in the Caldera at the Cleft while the other opened up to the path originally used by Ti’ana when she first journeyed to D’ni.
There are a number of different areas that comprise the Descent.
Located in the centre of the Cleft, the Caldera contains a number of glyphs along with the Fissure Dagger (also known as the Moiety Dagger) that was first written into Riven by Catherine. It fell into the Star Fissure upon Riven’s collapse and landed in the Caldera. A ladder from the Caldera is one way of beginning the journey into the Descent.
The Great Shaft
This is a central column that was originally constructed by the D’ni in order to accelerate access to the surface from their cavern.
John Loftin first discovered the Descent in 1987 through the entrance first used by Ti’ana and this led to a series of expeditions and was eventually utilised by the DRC in accessing D’ni.
Explorers did not gain access to the Descent until 2004 when the DRC left D’ni for the first time and they began to go on Yeesha’s Journey to the Great Shaft. This was limited access that only contained a small section, including the Great Shaft. The journey (along with the access) disappeared when the DRC returned to D’ni in early 2006, although eventually the Great Shaft portion was made available via a bahro stone on April 25, 2007.
In 2021 Patrick Dulebohn began enlisting for explorers to assist in performing safety inspections. Currently they gain access by linking into the Caldera itself.
No documentation has thus far been found on the DRC’s restoration efforts, however it is known that the Third Path were working on restoring the Descent as part of the Intangibles Project after the DRC left D’ni in 2008. Their efforts included the Ti’ana’s Entrance, Bug Cave of Delight, River Channel and Firemarble Mines.
Eventually the Third Path ended their restoration efforts to move onto other projects.
Below is an outline of the efforts carried out by the explorers led by Patrick Dulebohn. It uses a different phase system to that implemented by the DRC:
- Phase One: Ensuring critical structural integrity.
- Phase Two: Major repairs and restorations to the area along with repairs to artifacts.
- Phase Three: Restoration of power and mechanisms.
- Phase Four: Final tests of mechanisms, power and structural integrity.
- Phase Five: Final safety tests and inspections.
- Open: Available to the public.
Progress is as follows:
- Phase One:
- 7th November, 2020: Patrick Dulebohn announces his team has begun plans to repair the Great Shaft.
- 6th September, 2021: Patrick Dulebohn requests assistance from explorers in performing safety inspections for basic structural integrity. A series of safety inspections are carried out in the next few days.
- 10th September, 2021: Explorer named Calum begins work on the tunnels from the surface of the Caldera to the first chamber at the beginning of the D’ni portion of the Descent.
- 13th September, 2021: Patrick’s team finalise initial work on restoring elevator struts, clearing out debris from the Great Shaft, stabilised a support pillar, fixed the ladder at the bottom of the shaft, worked on the Caldera’s stability, and worked on some lighting. The door near the Caldera continues to be temperamental. Additional safety inspections immediately begin.
- 21st September, 2021: Top chamber door is resolved. Additional stability issues are reported on the Shaft itself and the railing.