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Ill Winds and Bad Tides, Part 2

Story Emits

The Templars on duty at the statue of Mangata claim to have heard singing during the night, a strange song in a foreign tongue that chilled their souls and set a sick feeling in the pit of their stomachs. But when they broke formation to go investigate, the song immediately stopped. And despite searching the beach for half an hour, they found no trace of the singer.

Whatever the truth of the matter, one thing can't be denied: when the sun rises the next morning, the Templars -- and any curious onlookers -- discover the slime coating the base of the statue has spread. It now covers the base completely, as well as most of the goddess' feet, and sickly greenish-black tendrils of the muck are even tracing their way up her legs.

Under the auspices of Archlector Madeleine's leadership, a large group of the Faithful make an effort to cleanse Mangata's statue. Various things are tried -- holy water, holy flame, rituals of prayer and beseeching -- with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Some of the Disciples involved claim the greenish-black algae squirmed and writhed like a living thing under the ministrations of the Faith, with others claim that even holy weapons couldn't cut the algae away from the statue. In the end, however, those involved manage between all their rituals to improve the state of the statue: Mangata's feet are revealed once more, though discolored where the strange algae slime once coated it.

Meanwhile, the rest of the algae remains thickly clumped on the base of the statue.

Strange men and women with accents similar to those of Prodigal's from the Saffron Chain or the Mourning Isles have been seen about the Dockyards looking for their "sister". They don't provide a great deal of information about it... and late one evening these individuals come to conflict with members of the Iron Guard and others. Rumors say Reese Grayson, Killian Ashford, Darrow Darkwater, Joslyn Stonewood, Sorrel Wyrmguard, and Karadoc Saik questioning these strangers ... and then fighting them. The majority of these supposed prodigals killed at the docks, but judging from the gossip at the docks there there are more out there, looking for someone.
The ship that was sent to the Inquisition to transport shiny Platinum Ballistae (and a pretty pink bow) has seen some unusual activity. First, a wagon rolls up at the end of the day. Then the sounds of movement and work and hammering have been heard all through the night. And in the morning, a wagon laden with something covered with a huge load of canvas is pulled slowly off the ship and south out of town. Guarded by a hard-looking group of Inquisitors and twenty of the King's Own the group heads out in the early morning light.

Some injured Inquisitors come back later in the day - much later - and buy a wagon, which they are forced to purchase at a ridiculous price from a hard-eyed merchant who sees their need and doubles the price. And later in the day the wagon returns, laden and covered. Those escorting it now are just as cautious, but also bandaged. And the Master of Question who has overseen this process is now walking with a visible limp, though there's excitement in his eyes as he glances at the canvas covering the large object.

Not too long after the wagon returns to the ship and collects the rest of what must be the platinum ballistae, rolling down under the guard of the Inquisition while the mysterious ship sails away, inscrutable and unexplained.