Prayers and Dreams
Prince Victus Thrax, Prince of Maelstrom, goes to the shrine of Mangata to pray. As he prays, disciples in the Shrine begin to see something is terribly wrong. The water seems to darken and in a matter of seconds turns black as night, an oily dark ichor... that then geysers into the air, showering over all praying there as most gasp and choke upon the ichor. Disciples of Mangata and priests of the Pantheon there react by dousing the ichor with holy water that seems to burn the ichor away, and as they throw more and more holy water upon it, the geyser slowly recedes, though the shrine stays a bubbling black mass.
Then the screams from the harbor start. Every vessel from the Mourning Isles, every ship with a flag from Thrax, or Navegant or Tyde or Grimhall or Darkwater or Redreef or Kennex or all the others, every last one, sinks into the waves as if it had been turned to stone. Some men that find themselves suddenly frantically swimming appear to be pulled beneath the waves by what looked like oily black tentacles, and a few swore a great eye opened at the bottom of the harbor, but that is quickly dismissed as nonsense. Hundreds drown, and there's little explanations offered for it, though some assume some new cargo by the Isles vessels was terribly dangerous, and that talk of tentacles was nonsense. In all, it lasted no more than minutes, and parts of the wrecked ships gradually resurface, with few answers to just what happened are found even from shocked and terrified survivors.
While the recent losses of ships seem to have been confined to Isles' flagged vessels in the close promixity of Arx, there have been two noticable losses after which may or may not be related. A prison ship sailing from Maelstrom with many of the shavs captured during the operation against the Gyre was lost at sea, never reaching its destination and presumed lost by causes unknown. That, in Thrax's mind, is unfortunate, but the second loss is more personal.
Prince Dominic Thrax's personal longship is found adrift in the Bay of Thrax. Iron guard docking with the ship find an extremely disturbing scene- the entire crew seems to have been torn apart, with it difficult to identify who was whom among the tattered rags and badly chewed bodies. Some of Dominic's warpigs on board were slain, with the position of bodies and the human corpses suggesting a brutal fight, and a few of his largest pigs were roaming free and immediately attack the Iron Guardsmen boarding, cutting the mad pigs down. While it is difficult to be certain with the condition of the bodies, Prince Dominic Thrax seems to be among the dead.
The second voyage of nobles heading out to the Whispered Isles did not go as smoothly as the first. Those that made it back were ashen faced, haunted by the sights they had witnessed. A full quarter of the guardsmen were lost, and those that returned spoke of horrors that still haunt their dreams. A massive ritual atrocity was carried out against the native Shav'Arvani living there, their children held hostage by a cult of fanatics. And when the people refused to join the monstrous cult, their children paid the price, sacrificed to the dark beast they worship, their bodies arranged in gruesome fashion. Those that went on the mission aided the Shav'Arvani in their quest for vengeance, putting down the sect calling themselves the Children of Malar. Count Kael Keaton took a spear wound for his efforts, but the others, Lord Gaston Blackram, Lady Shae Keaton, Lady Jael Laurent, Lady Monique Greenmarch and Countess Reigna Keaton escaped unharmed. For their efforts in defeating the sect, the tribe leader bent knee, swearing allegiance to High Lord, Prince Edain Valardin, expanding the borders of the Oathlands to the Whispering Isles.
The poor and unfortunate often travel to the Great Cathedral to pray, and few attract much notice. So it was with a broken man with a haunted look, one who looked starving and near death, and surprised the templars at the Great Cathedral by immediately invoking the right of Sanctuary, and begging that he be allowed to speak to the Dominus or any other leaders of the Faith. He said little while waiting to give his tale, but rumors come out that he is the lone survivor of the Thraxian prison ship that went missing at sea not long ago, after the Great Sinking in the harbor, and whatever he saw deeply traumatized him.