The mists of the Cauldron part, broken by sunlight. Damian and Christopher appear within their garden once more with the gazebo nearby.
Damian: I needed to remind you of the places where our story takes place. You’ve hidden behind your role as narrator in this Cauldron for too long. You’ve distanced yourself from the Shadow Forest and you’ve distanced yourself from me. You’ve become a spectator in Quartz’s story and a sounding board for the characters in his tale.
Christopher: Aren’t you forgetting the role you played in taking me from the Shadow Forest? Not to mention you took the Shadow Forest itself from me in exchange for your life at the Navel.
Mists creep up over the roses and greenery, rising to block up the sun, blocking out everything. They clear to reveal the walls of a little shop filled with dusty light and shelves covered with crystals, carved boxes, dolls, and far more bizarre things. Statues of women with the heads of roosters let open their beaks in defiance as to statues of men with the heads of hens. These give to brightly painted statues which might be gods, again with chicken heads, opening their beaks to cackle with pride over their places on dominance within the center of all things bizarre, masquerading as simply an odd little shop.
Damian: (turning around to gaze at a particularly obnoxious poultry deity) How I hated this place, hated it as much as the Gardens of Arachne in a way. Now the Navel is almost…nostalgic.
Christopher: You tried to take my place in the Shadow Forest remember? You gave me your life with Gabrielle working in the Navel instead.
Damian: Of course I remember. I’m not sure if you remember. You’ve gotten so lost in all these Conversations with Christopher.
Christopher: I’m always lost, Damian, until you find me.
Damian: And I’ll always find you. (He lifts Christopher’s hand to his lips.) Just don’t forget me. No matter whose story you’re narrating, don’t forget me.
Christopher: Never. (Tears fall from his eyes, shining, multi-colored, yet the rose-purple, the color of the Ashelocke rose, rises to the surface as the many swimming hues in his irises.) No matter how mysterious or maddening you are…or I am. I’m part of you, Damian. Just as Danyel and Tayel are part of me.
Damian: You’re far more than that, Christopher. I just hope our scribbler gives you a chance to show everyone how much.
The mists come a last time to swallow the Navel and the two holding hands within its walls.