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The Fettered Prophet

"The Congregation huddled around the twisted prow as it trembled and creaked, the Prophet's malformed mouth struggling to speak. Rusty chains rattled and screeched, and the crowd let out a collective cry as one snapped, flying off with a crack. 'Listen now,' howled the Interpreter, standing before the shifting mass of wooden flesh, arms raised. 'Listen as the Fettered Prophet offers us the wisdom of the Beast! Listen as he grants us an insight into infinity! I tell you, listen!' The Congregation listened close indeed, pressing up against the pulpit. Slowly, the Prophet's lips contorted, his yellow teeth bared. And then, it spoke, the single word it uttered like sandpaper in my ears. 'Prepare.'"
— From the journal of a Gamburg resident
  The City of Stove Boats, Gamburg has no mayor, no elected or appointed officials. After all, who could hope to govern such a lawless settlement? The Creed-Wracked are certainly not fit for the job, as their rationality is all consumed by their burning hatred. However, those of sound mind don't have the ability to impose control over the Creed-wracked, no matter how hard they might try. Certainly, a few small organized groups exist here and there, but their power is negligible and they often disband after their specific goals are achieved or they give up. There is, however, one person (if you can call him one) that the Creed-wracked will listen to. The closest thing to an actual authority figure that Gamburg has: The Fettered Prophet. It's a shame that he's quite mad.  

The Journey to Prophethood

The Prophet wasn't always a prophet, nor was he always fettered. At one point, a very long time ago, he was a man. Then, like many before him, he had the unfortunate bad luck of being afflicted by the Whaleman's Creed. Like many before him, he ventured to sea, staining the tides red and blue and black and whatever other colors of blood of the creatures he slaughtered had. Like many before him, he began to dream of the great white whale, and sought out Wrong John. And like many before him, he buried his harpoons into the whale's armor and began a new life in Gamburg.   But he was more exceptional than his Creed-wracked brethren. Where others were fully consumed by rage, he retained a sliver of sense. Perhaps he had some knowledge of Abstraction in his life before the Creed, because he realized the peril of losing his name. He understood that once it had washed away for good, he would be done for. And despite the fact that the man that he once was was very clearly done for, one way or another, that human sense of self-preservation still pushed him to do anything he could to survive. And so, he devised a plan.   He was drawn to the unseen depths of Wrong John's blowhole, where so many had ventured before, never to return, and he believed that he could ease his urge to follow them by remaining in close proximity to it. And yet, he knew that the urge one at some point become too great for simple willpower to resist. And so, he ordered his crew to bind him to the prow of his ship, and lower it down into the Shell-Quarries around the blowhole.   But his strength was too great for his bindings, and he almost escaped them several times before ordering that he instead be bound in chains. Still, his strength was too great even for them. Finally, in a moment of clarity, he understood that there was only one thing that could truly restrain him. One material strong enough to resist even the inhuman strength of the Creed-wracked. And so, he ordered his crew to run him through with his own harpoon, pinning him to his ship, finally unable to move. Even with that, it took hundreds of chains to secure him tight enough, but eventually his goal was achieved.  


But after he was properly restrained, a question arose: what would become of him now? No Creed-wracked had survived the scouring of their name before him, and the changes inflicted upon them at that point were already bad enough. Time would reveal that, and so it did. As expected, he continued the trend of becoming less and less human. His blood, which continually flowed from the wound pierced by the harpoon, became viscous and black, like tree sap. His skin became even rougher, and eventually became utterly indistinguishable from the wood of the ship he was bound to. Indeed, the entire man began to blend with the ship and soon it was is if he was no more than a twisted, living figurehead, bound in chains. The only thing that remained unchanged were his eyes, which stared forever down, down, into the depths.   His mind began to change as well. For a time, he kept his sense, or at least the closest thing to it that the Creed-wracked possessed. He was even somewhat capable of carrying a conversation, though his bindings made it especially difficult. Eventually that stopped, as his mind finally slipped over the edge and tumbled into the darkness of the blowhole, and he snapped. For a time, he screamed. Just screamed and screamed, never pausing to even breathe. Eventually, the screaming subsided, and then he began to speak again. But rather than speaking sensibly, his words were unintelligible, and he rambled on about blood, and death, and fire, and occasionally silverware. On one or two occasions, he has even been recorded giving his opinions on (severely outdated) British politics.  

A Gibbering Sermon

Despite the obvious nonsense of his words, (and his rather bizarre opinions about Parliament and the proper fork with which to eat a casserole) some people began to listen to him. And then more began to listen. And soon, he almost always had some form of audience, listening to him prattle away. And then, one day, he just so happened to utter a phrase that some took as a warning, just a few moments before a Dive occurred. This was enough for some people to believe that he had in fact predicted the Dive, and they began listening far more intently than before. Some took it upon themselves to begin attempting to interpret his words, to make some sort of sense of them, with rather middling success. Still, they've had enough right guesses to keep people convinced of the Prophet's powers. And who nows, maybe they're right?   Regardless of the truth about the Fettered Prophet's supposed connection with Wrong John and his predictive abilities, his words certainly hold more weight than those of anyone else on Wrong John's back, and many town-wide changes and movements have been made simply because of a stray word he has uttered. Additionally, many others have joined him, chaining themselves to the same ship he himself has become a part of. Eventually they to have merged with it, and the thing that was once a ship is now a shifting mass of something in between wood and meat, with a hundred mouths whispering gibberish and madness as well as the occasional tidbit of forbidden knowledge and maybe even an accurate prophecy or two.

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