Intermission 1 - Stavroula's Journey to Ermire Gorge

 Stavroula and her mentor, Father Uvier, intend to investigate an intact obelisk. They board Sandrene's airship from Knightstower. Sandrene and Uvier are introduced to one another for the first time. In order to venture underwater, Uvier has borrowed Uusi's cap of waterbreathing and Stavroula will be using potions provided by Nina, one of Sandrene's gremling protege.

During the journey Uvier becomes airsick. Nina takes it upon herself to assist him and recommends he sit at the center of the ship and face forward. She also offers a bottle of peppermint extract. He grumpily agrees to apply her suggestions.

As they travel, Sandrene divulges how she came to learn of the location of this obelisk:

"Well, while the three of you were out making friends with the big lug, Liz let me peruse the ancient records. More garbage data than you could ever imagine... well, at least at first glance. That mural told me the Denizen towers hold a certain significance to the race Eddie here comes from," she knocks on her chest's metallic weave for emphasis, "the Deepforge. I didn't have clairvoyance or the Codex Arcana, but I did a bit of pen and paper divination of my own that night. Crunching all those numbers, I was able to work out the range of error in Deepforge sightings and migratory patterns, and managed to map out a probability density of where they could be right now." Sandrene, eyes shut, seems quite pleased with herself. "Sure we had a couple of misses before we finally landed a hit, but we got 'em... and they're actually pretty nice - far cry from the invaders of yore they're written to be."

She also speaks about the Deepforged, animated constructs known to roam the ocean floors:

"They're old souls, quite literally. They've been alive - in a sense - in those old husks since ancient times. After what they've been through all they want is some peace and quiet. Kentikento is their Storykeeper and the individual we'll be dealing with the most." Glancing over to Uvier, another thought seems to hit her, "Also from our readings it turns out, immersed in bodies of water as large as this, the blight's miasma is nullified to the point that someone could spend weeks, if not months in Ermire Gorge without suffering any ill effects, depending on one's tolerance. Oh, that's where this colony lives, by the way. Ermire Gorge."

They arrive at their destination and Stavroula, Uvier, Sandrene and all three gremlings station the airship, make their preparations and dive beneath the waves.

The Deepforge Storykeeper, Kentikento (who occupies 5 different bodies) explains that each Deepforged unit can only contain about a century's worth of memories, and the more units a soul occupies, the more memories can be split between them. They use the obelisk as a gateway to Mobius, where their souls and full memories reside, and they can then catalog and choose which memories to bring back with them to their physical bodies. Kentikento asks Stinky to bring their stories to the surface so the world will not forget about their people.

Stavroula takes Uvier's hand and leads him through the obelisk. Their perspectives shift and they emerge from the water onto a dark beach that Stavroula recognizes as Denizen's domain. She greets her god cheerfully.

Denizen addresses them, thanking Stavroula for bringing Father Uvier to meet him but admonishes her for her brazen actions in the Temple of Knowledge:

"Heya, kiddo. You did good, bringing my prodigal son back to me. I watched you, in the Temple of Knowledge, pursue knowledge at all costs. I don't know if I like what you did, but I cannot deny that you followed my teachings. Now, I have a lot of knowledge to supply you with. Follow me."

Denizen leads the pair onto the calm lake. Here, they are able to walk on the surface of the water, which feels like thick, soft carpet beneath their feet. Bookshelves rise up out of the water and Denizen begins taking books out to flip through before returning them to the shelves. Knowing that the two clerics sought him out to explain the function of his obelisks, he obliges them with answers:

"The beginning's as good a place to start as any. Listen up Uvier - this is for you."

"When the Old Man first kicked the bucket and all this was set in motion, the world was messy. We weren't around to provide the structure we would eventually impose, and as a result the foundations of Glade are unstable."

"The barrier between this world and yours is not solid and impassible: it allows magic to pass through it, as I'm sure you've figured out. Problem is, there's a lot more magic on this side than the other. The magic on this side tries to flow to that side to create an equilibrium, but that side is full of stuff that ain't magic, so there's less room. This permanent imbalance puts a lot of stress on the membrane, and it's been getting worse as the levels of ambient magic in your world have dropped over time. In places where magic is flowing the wrong way, that stress is strong enough to manifest as Blight. If we wanted to extend the timeline, we had to make sure the dam would hold up first."

"That's why I had the idea to build the Obelisks. They act as channels through the barrier, easing the natural flow and lessening the arcane erosion of the barrier. And they worked. The birth of Ouroboros was pushed back for millennia. They got issues, though. They've been exploited by mortals in various ways since their inception. You've experienced an example right there in Feylin, where an invading army created a surge of magic so powerful that it overwhelmed my gentle channel, transforming it into a weapon that poisons the land to this day. Still, though, my solution only needed to last until the end of your world, which it did, until recently."

"For reasons beyond your ken, the Apocalypse has been pushed back again. The barrier is at the highest stress it's ever been, and that's doubly true in Feylin. I built that Obelisk because it was already a high risk area, but with the Fey Glen and the Blight within spitting distance of each other, that powder keg has been ready to blow for a while now."

Denizen stops speaking suddenly and stares off into space. He mulls that Stavroula and Uvier likely don't know what a powder keg is, as that is some of the knowledge suppressed by Tir Frig. Stavroula asks him about Ida's seed growing around the obelisk at the center of the Mage Blight. Denizen answers that he doesn't know what Whillip did with his obelisk, but notes that while it has reduced the Blight in the area, it is not solving the problem of the barrier eroding under pressure.

Denizen closes the most recent book he's been flipping through and tosses it to Uvier. Uvier barely makes the catch.

"You'll need that. Uvier my son, I have a task for you. My little buddy Glob is laying the groundwork for a sanctuary - your purpose is to fill it with any soul willing to listen."

Denizen tells Uvier that his task is to bring people into Glob's sanctuary, and he gives him a book full of strange diagrams. Uvier agrees to show some of the pages to Sandrene so she can help figure out what they mean, and also as repayment for ferrying them out to the obelisk.

Uvier asks Denizen about his father, who he left in Nutfog as a young man and didn't see again before he died. Denizen tells him that his father wasn't always a good man, and neither was Uvier, but in the end things came together and he died loving his son. Stavroula and Uvier are released back into the Ermire Gorge. They thank Kentikento once again and depart.