“The ice is melting,” said Jansch of Trembar.
“The ice melts ever year,” replied his master, the Diroge of Trembar. The Diroge had once had a personal name but was now far too important for it ever to be mentioned.
“All the ice is melting,” replied Jansch, still on his knees. “Moraines now mark what were once borders of ice. Grass is sprouting inland of Calvewall.”
“I would call your last words good news except the unspoken word on your tongue is ‘but’, isn’t it?” The Diroge regarded his man gravely.
“Yes,” agreed Jansch. “The Bar Reefs are now permanently under water – the ships bearing their population are tying up in our harbour as we speak. The Oracle wishes to move the temple of the depths and the heavens to higher ground.”
The Dirogue replied, “The hill outside town to the north would make a fine site. The temple’s current location has bad neighbours, a poor outlook and no vista, and I have long thought that it should move to somewhere more salubrious.”
“The Oracle spoke specifically of a place named Pemlarion,” replied Jansch apologetically, shifting his gaze to the floor as he did so.
The Dirogue looked puzzled. “Where’s that? I thought I knew all the neighbourhoods of the city. Mind you, every time I turn around it seems someone is trying to rename something to make themselves sound more important.”
“Pemlarion is an obscure district in the Atavatan Mountains,” replied Jansch, still looking at the floor. “There may be higher flat land in this hemisphere, but I doubt it.”
The Dirogue sat still as a statue for a moment, then asked, “What says the God of the River?”
“My sources say that his high priest is about to announce that temple here will be undergoing renovations and that he will relocate upstream to Epschlot while they are happening.” Jansch looked up and added, “They also say that the God spoken to all his clergy in their dreams and said they will all be released from their vows when the sea crosses the threshold of his temple at Riversbirth.”