Saint Kebria's Mask
Saint Kebria's Mask is a large undersea stone formation in the central Balacen. It is a steep ridge with two large holes next to each other, from which the landmark gets its name. The link between the formation and the historical Saint Kebria is unclear, but several stories about him feature the Mask as a place of shelter. There is some evidence that the Mask was used as a meeting place for early pod leaders during the time of Kebria's unification, but in the subsequent centuries it has merely become a geographical oddity that aids travelers in crossing the Balacen. The advent of Sirulis caused earthquakes, tsunamis, and destructive currents throughout the Balacen, and Saint Kebria's Mask was almost destroyed. A team of orca and human landshapers from the Sauhul Archipelago were sent immediately to the Mask to ensure that it was protected, and arrived just in time to buffer the area surrounding the Mask from the catastrophe. After Sirulis stabilized, the Mask still stood, undisturbed apart from some minor damage to the surrounding kelp forest.
Purpose / Function
During Kebria's lifetime, the Mask was thought to be a neutral ground for the then-warring balaceti pods. Kebria would gather pod leaders there to conduct negotiations to end the fighting and unify the balaceti clans. Once the families unified into larger pods, they tended to stay closer to the coast where food was more plentiful, and the Mask fell out of use. The landmark soon picked up supernatural properties in the cultural conscious of the balaceti, much like Saint Kebria himself after his passing. Grove-pod tribal wisdom holds that Saint Kebria's Mask can protect someone from anything that might harm them, making them invisible and impervious to harm. Drift-pod stories paint it slightly differently, describing the Mask as a weapon one can use to deceive their foes and hide the truth.
The oldest records of Saint Kebria's Mask describe it much as it exists today - remarkable, considering the structural weakness of the two large holes. Since its discovery, and the growth of trade routes using it as a landmark, life has sprung up around and on the Mask, with a coral reef beginning to grow on top of it and various sea grasses taking root around its base. Some small fish have made their home around the Mask, but not nearly enough for it to be a potential farming or fishing ground for balaceti or merfolk.
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