Welcome back to Part II of the Icy Lore series, where we finally delve into the mystery realm bordering between legend and reality. In last week’s post, we left off at the Warrior and G’raha crossing the lake and into the unseen realm. Where will our heroes end up next?

We find out that the realm is called “The Omphalos”, a beautiful garden with a stunningly gorgeous view, complete with sun rays peeking from the clouds. Fun fact: if you look up the name, you’ll find that it means navel in ancient Greek mythology! Deryk named it as such due to the fact that this realm is located smack dab in the middle of Aldenard, the continent that most of Eorzea’s story takes place (aside from Shadowbringers, of course). Talk about a secret hideout located right under everyone’s nose. 

The Omphalos — a picture of a stunningly beautiful island. Or possibly what it would look like if they added housing in Elpis.

As with any sensible explorer, however, G’raha is not entirely on board with the discovery yet. He wonders why the portal decides to appear now, of all times. Did someone reveal it on purpose, and does it have something to do with the Final Days? All of these are questions to which the Warrior is tasked with finding the answers to. A quick scan of the area shows them that the floating island, while completely deserted and devoid of human life, is well taken care of and shows signs of dwelling. They also confirm that the island is indeed located far above Lake Silvertear, as the telltale spire of the Crystal Tower can be seen from a distance. 

Which begs the question — how has this island only ever been a subject of myth? With the fierce and bloody battle that happened over Lake Silvertear some time ago, someone had to have spotted the island. G’raha concludes that this place is only slightly displaced from the reality they’re in, similar to spatial displacement. He suggests that this mystery may be a bit too much for the two of them to uncover, and would like to reconvene back in Old Sharlayan to catch Krile up on their discovery before launching an official investigation. 

However, just as the group is about to leave, a miraculous thing happens. Two buildings near them emerge from the ground, each harboring two intermingled orbs which float to the sky and shower the party with blinding light. When it clears, four beings descend from the skies like heaven sent angels. Their resplendent, grandiose entrance leaves nothing to the imagination — it’s clear that they’re no ordinary townsfolk.  

Oh, the legs! The light! The drama! The action! …and the music that sounds like it came straight out of NieR.

By way of a greeting, they accuse the Warrior of tainting their sacred realm with their presence and as such, will be dealt punishment. They speak with the authority and inflection of one who sits on a pedestal much removed from mortals, and it isn’t hard to guess why. The centerpiece of the ensemble is revealed to be the hammer-wielding Byregot, who is known as the purveyor of architecture and industry, and god of the arts.

Byregot the Builder…in more ways than one. He’d put even the most devoted gym-goer to shame.

Byregot goes on to claim they are not primals, and they do not drain the land of aether as primals do. Now that Hydaelyn is gone, nothing is barring them from attaining their throne as rulers of the world. For so long have they watched over mankind, and they have deduced that the Warrior stands as their last obstacle. However, according to their divine creed, they cannot merely smite the Warrior where they stand, despite possessing the power to do so. Instead, they extend a trial, one to test the Warrior and gauge mankind’s worth through them. G’raha’s protest falls upon deaf ears — their will is absolute. With that said, they open a path to their sanctum and invite the Warrior and their comrades in before reverting back to their orb forms and vanishing. 

Their departure leaves the group utterly shaken, and rightfully so. G’raha reflects on how unprecedented it is for the deities to show themselves so openly before people, which leads to him casting doubt over their true intentions. To have them suddenly choose to appear now, claim that they are true divinities, proceed to assert their supremacy over the star, and invite the Warrior to a challenge of mettle? It was all much too convenient, and yet they had too little information to draw a conclusion. Be that as it may, a threat to the realm cannot simply be dismissed.

Deryk reveals that beyond each gate lies different domains. And how does he know this? He’s explored them all. If the so-called “deities” weren’t suspicious enough, Deryk is also quite interesting himself. He’d somehow managed to visit each sanctum freely with no holds barred and somehow not draw attention to himself? Hmm…

Deryk, providing a completely viable and sensible solution as to why he could enter their domains freely.

Suspicion aside, the explorer offers to serve as the Warrior’s guide despite his lack of combat prowess. This time, G’raha decides to hang back and let the Warrior answer the challenge, as he believes there is much about the Twelve that needs investigating behind the scenes, a role he is eager to fulfill. With that settled, the Warrior and Deryk set forth to face the Twelve head-on… or at least, four of them. 

And that’s a wrap for Part II! Next week, Part III will dive into the good stuff — such as the rest of the four gods’ identities and their specific domains! With that said, there are a few things to be said about everything that’s been revealed so far.

It is interesting to me that despite having watched the Warrior’s adventure closely, they still couldn’t acknowledge their willpower and strength. I mean, the hero literally went across time and space to put an end to the Endsinger and ensure the future of Etheirys. How much worthier do they need to be? It’d make more sense if they were just bored and wanted to have some fun with the Warrior, but they couldn’t be arsed to come up with a better reason. Come to think of it, that would actually be pretty funny.

As for Deryk, we know so little about this guy who seems to know so much, but the community has plenty of ideas. One popular theory is that Deryk is actually one of the Twelve masquerading as a mortal, specifically Oschon, the Wanderer. It would explain why he knows so much and how he can fly under their radar. Sounds like something deities would come up with for fun. What do you think? Do you have any theories of your own?