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Fair winds and waves

Story Emits

A very large statue of the goddess Mangata appears one morning on the eastern beach, epiphanite eyes staring out to sea. Her arrival is a mystery of the mundane variety, for drag marks in the sand and tracks leading to and away from her vigil make it clear she was placed by human hands under cover of night. If anyone knows who commissioned her, who drug her to the beach, they are not yet sharing that knowledge.

But, what anyone who visits knows is this: the crabs that live on the shores, usually in their long winter dormancy, have roused and brought their own offerings to lay before the jewel-studded likeness of the goddess. The pedestal of the statue is surrounded by every shiny rock, lovely shell fragment, and crystalline cluster of beachglass along the shoreline. All picked up, and carried, and arranged in rough concentric circles like eddies around a stone dropped into a pool. It is something of a wonder, stones and treasures both natural and polished glinting in the wintry morning sun.

Similar shrines to Mangata have been build along the coasts of all the holdings that owe fealty to Grimhall, in the Mourning Isles. None are quite so grand as the statue standing seawatch for Arx, but each family has paid honest and heartfelt tribute to the goddess, and devotions are held in a show of faith and benediction that many in these holdings have felt was missing in recent times. Perhaps it is renewed optimism that causes these holdings to report the sea's bounty far outstripping what it usually offers in the winter. The lobsters, the clams, they seem to cluster at the shores awaiting nets and pots to scoop them up. The waters that spray up onto the beaches and stones and homes seem warmer and gentler.

What is not imagination is the speed with which the ships in these waters are sped along about their business, carrying supplies to shipyards and people to their families, and neighboring islands. The sea feels like home, like the tempestuous but sustaining mother.