At the entrance to what the expedition soon learned was called Gaaglin Swamp, they found a pair of mugwumps – brother and sister – arguing vehemently. One was called Phelbin Gorlogg, and he was the chancellor of a mugwump place of learning called the Gorlognal Academy, which had unfortunately been sunk into the swamp recently – the result of the destruction of its “suspension devices”. This, the expedition learned, was the cause of the earthquake felt in the Basin of Life. The other was called Quaenith Gorlogg, and she was the head thaumaturge in the swamp in service to a collective being rising out of the crocodiles of the swamp that she called the Eater of Flesh and Earth.
Quaenith was suspicious of the newcomers, noting that after dreams of instructions, she had been in the process of empowering the Eater, whose home was the Gaaglin Swamp, and pushing back the Academians, who she considered to be trespassers who caused destruction and damage to the Eater’s home. Phelbin, bleary eyed from fearful dreams himself, accused Quaenith of being the source of his and his Academy’s misfortune, noting that it was her empowerment of the swamp and of the Eater that ultimately caused the sinking of the Academy for the very first time, after years – indeed generations – of stalemate between the Academy mugwumps and the mugwump thaumaturges. They both claimed to be descendants of some mugwump exiles that left Balach Swamp years ago, after the disaster of Project Soulforge that was led by the Balach Institute of Magic and Science, though they themselves were born and raised in the Gaaglin, siblings driven apart.
Phelbin appeared to know Pachidrui and was surprised at their return, but assumed immediately that they had brought help for the Gorlognal Academy. Pachidrui pushed back at Phelbin’s assumption, however, declaring themself apart from the Academy and chiding Phelbin and his Academy for staying apart for so long from the world. They only came, Pachidrui declared, because their brother, Vleim Etloo, had sent a message from the Academy via mechanical frog after the sinking and earthquake. Nimuire of the Fellowship, in the meantime, was more interested in and concerned about the various dreams she had, seemingly relating to these happenings.
And so, Quaenith and Phelbin and Pachidrui and the rest of the expedition argued and talked in circles. But once their arguments began to repeat themselves, Quaenith broke away and entreated those of the expedition sympathetic to the Eater’s cause to come to her in her burrow and help empower the swamp further. Likewise, Phelbin retreated to the pit where the Academy lay sunk, asking the newcomers to help him raise the school back up again. Left alone amidst the heavy scent of sweat and stale waters, the exhausted expedition had one more choice to make.
Once united in effort and purpose on their journey to the Gaaglin, now they took separate paths. Many, unsure of whose cause to champion, simply hung back and explored the swamp and the sunken academy, wishing to learn more before they added their efforts to one side or the other. One such was Hyirah of Serenwilde, who chattered brightly with Professor Vleim Etloo, brother of Pachidrui Etloo, as he sheltered in the refugee camp to Gaaglin’s east. The members of the Fellowship of the Roots, meanwhile, took themselves closer to Quaenith Gorlogg, wishing to learn more about the Eater of Flesh and Earth.
As for those who did choose their allegiances: Uzriel and Zagreus of Magnagora and Trym, Ellynne and Sabik of Hallifax put their efforts towards the raising of Gorlognal Academy, with Zagreus finally achieving the effort, to the great delight of Chancellor Phelbin as well as the academy’s professors and students. On the other side of the swamp, Wrynn and Eliron of Glomdoring and Huskii of Serenwilde worked hard to help the Gaaglin under the instruction of Quaenith and her thaumaturges, with Wrynn coming to fully empower the swamp, and Huskii performing the final ritual to grant the Eater of Flesh and Earth a corporeal body. With the summoning of the Eater, the being roared and once again caused the Academy to sink, undoing the fastidious efforts of those helping the Academy, and quashing Academy ambitions that were in the process of being furthered by its allies. Roaring louder, the Eater of Flesh and Earth declared his triumph to Lusternia and reclaimed his home in the Gaaglin Swamp.
Though both the mugwump academians and thaumaturges of Gaaglin swear to continue their efforts on their respective sides, fighting for the claim to the Swamp as their territory and home, the Eater of Flesh and Earth appears to have risen triumphant for now. Many questions remain: How tenable are the aims of Fellowship of the Roots? Who exactly is the Eater of Flesh and Earth? What is the Gorlognal Academy and what is their true aim? Is the sinking of Gorlognal into Gaaglin Swamp the only reason that dreams and prophecies dance upon the fabric of the Tapestry of the Fates?