Books:Greg Keyes Novels/Mere-Glim
|Featured in||The Infernal City, Lord of Souls|
Mere-Glim (a.k.a. Wuthilul or Glim), an Argonian male with muddy-green scales and chocolate-brown spines, lived in Lilmoth, Black Marsh, four decades after the Oblivion Crisis. Annaïg Hoïnart, a Breton girl, was his friend and partner-in-adventure.
Since she was sharing her father's wine with him after an exceptionally adventure-filled evening, he told Annaïg of his cousin Ixtah-Nasha's stories from aboard the Wind Oracle; stories of a large island floating in the air with a city atop it (Umbriel), heading in the direction of Lilmoth.
The next day, they talked to her father about it; he told them that "The city tree said it was nothing to worry about." Glim remarked that this choice of words was peculiar since the Hist should all be of the same mind, there should be no reason to distinguish the city tree from any others. When Annaïg attempted to start conversation on the subject, her father told her he'd made arrangements for her to travel to her aunt's place in Leyawiin, though he hadn't the money to send Glim as well, who said that he wouldn't go anyway. Annaïg sent Glim to see what the Psijic priest Urvwen had to say about the matter, while she went to Hecua to fine-tune her potions.
On the way to see Urvwen, Glim stopped and had a moment with the Hist, or an exposed part of the tree connected to the Hist. Glim was troubled by the fact that the tree seemed to cut off whatever vision the Hist had sent him before it had run its course. Once at his destination, the old Psijic priest told Glim that "Something has been removed from another world. And it has come here." before sending Glim away. He left Urvwen to go to his cousin's place for Theilul, a liquor made from distilled sugarcane. After leaving there, he found that Annaïg had sent Coo, her magical metal bird, after him. Opening the door on the bird through which he could normally communicate with her, he instead heard evidence that her father was having her kidnapped to get her away from the city. Shortly afterward, he spoke with Annaïg through Coo, and learned she was on a boat. Glim rescued her from the boat and led her through the water, past a close-call with a sea-drake, and through a cave tunnel. On the other side, they saw Umbriel. Glim was transfixed by it, and seemed to be unable to stop himself from moving toward the ground underneath it. She used her flying potion on them both and tried to pull him away from it, but couldn't, so compromised by pulling them toward the mass itself, into the deepest crevice she could see.
On Umbriel, they saw below and watched as Umbriel's forces battled with and killed Lilmoth residents, then the dead rose and joined the invading army. Annaïg sent Coo to Prince Attrebus Mede, to inform him of the horrors they witnessed. Then they met members of what Annaïg initially thought was a "resistance" movement; they turned out to be cooks for the lords of this world, and took Glim and her captive. They were separated, and he was interviewed by a man curious about his physical form. When he learned Glim could easily propel himself through water and could breathe water indefinitely, he decided Glim would be a skraw and would work in the sump.
Glim met Wert, another skraw, who explained to him that he and the others here have to consume "vapors" to be able to work in the sump. He explained that the sump is where everyone came from, and where everyone would go when they die. It was an almost perfect circular lake at the bottom of a conical cavity. Wert showed Glim the conduit in the sump to the ingenium, and explained that it "takes care of our souls and keeps the world running". Wert also showed Glim thousands of translucent sacs stuck to the wall, which he explained are the people of Umbriel being born. A sheartooth, a type of fish that lived in the sump, took a particular dislike to Glim and he had to fight it off, and then he rescue Wert from drowning as his vapors wore off because of the struggle.
As he worked in the sump, he understated his swimming abilities and took some extra time to explore. He found a forested area on the surface of Umbriel, the Fringe Gyre. In contact with one of the trees, he realized that it's similar to the Hist; not exactly the same, but possibly related. He met a girl there named Fhena with skin the color of Dunmer. She said she had a friend that delivered to the kitchens, Kalmo, and Glim asked if she can get word of Annaïg. When looking for the items he'd been sent for on his way back, he found the bodies of the people that worked in Annaïg's kitchen, and though he found no trace of her, he did find her locket. Back at the overseer, Eryob, he was chastised for being late, and Glim bristled at him, talking back, until Eyrob used some sort of magical force to topple Glim with pain.
When next he went to the Fringe Gyre, he saw that they were well out of Black Marsh and over the ruins of Vvardenfell. He met Fhena again, who had question after question for him about the world he came from. When he prepared to leave, she said that she received word of Annaïg, that her kitchen was attacked by another to capture her because of her skill, and that she now worked for the Toel kitchen. That evening, he was woken from his sleep by Wert, who wanted to speak with him along with the other skraws. They explained to him that they'd never considered that their lives might be better, but now that he'd brought it up, and shown that he had the guts to stand up to the overseer, they couldn't deny it. They asked Glim how they could take a stand, and he explained that they simply stop doing as they're told. The lords and ladies couldn't kill them all, since they need them to run the sump. All they ask for in return is something better than the vapors. Glim then used the opportunity to ask them to make maps of the place, though he had to follow the request by explaining what a map is.
Glim sent Annaïg's locket to her by way of another skraw, in a bucket of ingredients and along with a note. In this manner, they communicated and decided to meet the following midnight, at the dock. There, they consumed flying potions Annaïg had made, and begin to fly away from Umbriel, only to find that they had become like the other residents of the city; if they traveled too far from Umbriel, they began to lose their substance. Though they were very confused, they were determined to figure out a way to leave Umbriel.
Mere-Glim found a dying skraw in the sump, and it made him more determined to help the skraws fight back to get a substitute for the vapors. He met with Annaïg to discuss their current position and ask if she could help, and she agreed.
After Annaïg sent Glim a note asking for help gaining access to Phmer's kitchen, Mere-Glim sent the skraws to get information about that, and also suggested sabotaging the midden drains as part of the plan to make the rest of Umbriel notice the skraws and get an alternative to the vapors. He sat in the Fringe Gyre afterward and Fhena joined him, and he told her about the Hist and that the trees in the Fringe Gyre seemed similar. She told him that the trees began singing a strange song when Umbriel came to Tamriel, and he listened and heard them still singing it.
Annaïg and Glim met and talked about Umbriel's Hist-like trees and Annaïg suggested destroying them, which Mere-Glim didn't like, and then the topic turned to Annaïg's plan to steal from Phmer's kitchen. Glim told her that at least twenty others have tried and been killed, and Annaïg said that she'd try that night.
When Glim next met Annaïg, Glim pointed out that he'd been helping her but that she hadn't repaid the favor, and she helped come up with a plan that would make it look like the kitchens were sabotaging each other that the skraws could later claim responsibility for. Glim met Fhena in the Fringe Gyre and their conversation (about death and being reborn in Umbriel) made Glim realize that his attempts to help the skraws would not result in a better life for the existing skraws but instead result in Umbriel producing Argonian-like skraws that could breathe underwater while the existing ones died off, so he killed the growing Argonian-type proforms in the sump. Toel, suspecting Phmer of turning the skraws against him, confronted Wert, and Glim attacked one of Toel's men. In the resulting fight, Glim came face-to-face with Toel, and Annaïg killed Toel with the invisible blade before Toel could kill him. In order to try keeping themselves alive, Annaïg suggested that she, Glim, and the two skraws with them make it look like Phmer's kitchen was responsible for Toel's death.
Wert urgently came to Mere-Glim and told him that Lord Ix had sent guards to find Glim. Oluth revealed that he and the other Glimmers had destroyed a tree-root feed and marked it to make it clear that the skraws were behind it, which he thought Glim had wanted, and he gave his life for Glim to escape.
Mere-Glim awakened in the Fringe Gyre with Fhena ministering to him three days later; she had asked the trees for medicine and they had provided it. She convinced him to stay hidden there with her for days as he recovered, and he eventually decided that it was time to return to the Sump. As he entered the water, he felt a strange tingling, painful sensation, and found that his limbs were going numb before losing consciousness.
Annaïg revealed to Fhena that her poison had caused a soulgem-like crystal to form in Mere-Glim's mouth, containing his soul and memories, and that she was growing a proform in her bath that would grow into a new body for Mere-Glim in days. Mere-Glim finally awakened in his new body, and Annaïg told him what she had done. He was furious and declared that he would no longer be one of her experiments, and stormed out.
Mere-Glim and Fhena found Annaïg immediately after she poisoned the Hist-like trees. He warned her to stop, that the trees only wanted to go back home and that if Annaïg went through with poisoning them, Umbriel and everyone on it, including Mere-Glim, would die.
After Attrebus contacted Annaïg, she told Glim what was going on, and asked him to bring up Sul and Attrebus. He refused unless she'd save the trees. She admitted that she had an antidote, and would administer it once Glim did as she asked. He insisted she give it first since there might not be enough time, and even threatened to use force on her, and then begged that she trust him. They shared a memory of when they were children, and Annaïg handed him the antidote. Mere-Glim found Attrebus and Sul, and Wert found him right at that moment as well. Mere-Glim realized how sick the skraw was and a sudden clarity came over Glim, and he drank the antidote himself, feeling a connection to the trees and the rest of Umbriel.
Glim returned to Annaïg with Attrebus and Sul to find her fighting with Vuhon. Annaïg revealed to Glim that she'd realized that Vuhon's soul was in the ingenium at the bottom of the sump. Sul summoned a winged twilight to fight Vuhon, and Sul, Attrebus, and Glim headed down to the sump. Attrebus realized that were out of time and reminded Glim that he'd claimed to know how to take Umbriel out of Tamriel using the trees. Glim tried, but could not command them, so they continued their journey downward. Glim pulled the others through the water. They landed in a small room, and Vuhon, who had followed, attacked. After Attrebus stabbed the ingenium and Sul died, a weak Vuhon told Attrebus and Glim that Vile would probably either let Umbriel fall onto the Imperial City or try to interfere with Tamriel while he was connected to it, and that their only chance to save it was to use the trees to bring Umbriel out of Tamriel: he'd blocked Glim's previous attempt. Glim knew that he was telling the truth and agreed to it.
Glim and Attrebus made their way back up to Annaïg. Glim told Annaïg that she'd now be able to leave Umbriel without dissolving into smoke, and that he was staying with Umbriel himself, that he'd found his place. She was upset but realized that she needed to put his desires before hers, and they say goodbye.
After Umbriel's disappearance from Tamriel, Fhena and Mere-Glim sat together, and Mere-Glim commented that he thought they'd be brought to Clavicus Vile's realm, but Fhena points out that while the city was from his realm, the trees weren't, so they'd been returned to wherever the trees were from. Glim knew that all of the skraws and other workers were free and at peace there, and he was eager to explore, but decided to first spend the night in Fhena's arms.