Hm? What do we have here? Yet another of Oriath's cast-offs? With the problems we're facing here, I do wish they'd send someone with a little more... utility. Alas, we have useless exiles blowing in like spores on the wind.
See this growth? Not on me, you--... The fruiting body. The-... the big mushroom. Strange, is it not? Wouldn't expect something of this scale in a place like this. Stands out like a sin during a sermon. Unfortunately, this is one of many, and they're all filled with an extremely toxic fluid. Quite dangerous to one's health, and no one is paying any attention. No one but I, of course. That's why I've attached this purification pump to the gleba. The spore mass. ...The big yellow round part.
I plan to pump the toxic fluids from the mycelium -- the rooty looking parts -- through the spore mass, robbing this growth of the fluids that allow it to thrive. Even if I can't find a use for it, at least it won't get into dangerous or clumsy hands.
In response, the mycelium is going to react. Violently. This is where you enter.
My Mother Superior used to tell us that 'God helps those who help each other'. I'm dubious of the sort of help you might provide, as it has not escaped me that you are, for lack of a better term, drenched in viscera. Even so...
I've some devices we can deploy to help protect my purification pump here. When you're ready, start the pump, then choose a place along the mycelium to deploy a device. Then get yourself ready, as I expect there will be more viscera.
Success! And I couldn't have done it without God. I suppose you were of some help as well. Don't get a big head.
Alas, this is but one of many impure growths. We have much work ahead of ourselves if we are to banish this blight from Wraeclast. Since you performed... adequately... I believe we should make our partnership ongoing. You'll know where to find me.
It was I who tasked you with protecting the pump, so ultimately we know where the blame lies. On you. For not protecting the pump. It's in terrible shape. It may take weeks to fix it. Months even. I--... Oh, no, I've fixed it, thank God. Consider yourself extremely lucky.
You're not ready for this yet, I suppose. I'll pray that you will be soon, as you now owe me. Get better at this, then find me. You know how to find me, right? Just go to the nearest pulsating growth.
Yes, it's true, I, like you, am an exile. I caught the High Templar's eye several years ago. I showed an interest in the mechanical arts, and he had need for someone like myself for some highly secret projects he had started. He sought ways to tap into the power contained within the virtue gems in ways that I'm not sure were in line with God's plan. I did not openly refuse his orders; I simply... interpreted them differently. The mechanisms I built were brilliant and powerful, and totally useless for his desires. I may have kept some of them.
Unfortunately, as you know, little slips past Dominus. I was exiled as a matter of secrecy. Rapidly replaced by some little whore.
You likely know her by the name High Templar Dominus gave her -- Piety. A whore-turned-thaumaturgist-turned-inventor. Or at least, she wishes she were. I've seen some of her work. Unimpressive, considering the resources she has available to her.
Not that I'm envious. I'm not. Really, good for her. But, you know, creators have a habit of getting caught in the teeth of their own creations, and Piety seems to favour creations with many, many teeth.
I've worked on many beautiful little machines in my time. Let's see... There was the one that was originally designed to rapidly peel and pith fruit. That one is now called the Descalper.
The portable oven turned out to be less of an oven and more of a red-hot ember dispenser. Still quite popular.
And of course, the towers I have been assembling for use in protecting the portable-purifying-pumping unit. Those I am particularly proud of. Powered by the toxic fluid that runs through the fungal fibres. Surprisingly robust, and safe! Relatively safe. Almost no one has died yet who wasn't meant to.
I've not seen anything like it before. The growths show no sign of intelligent thought, no clear ambition, yet the moment the pump's needle pierces the fungal flesh, creatures of all shapes and sizes begin to emerge from the mycelium -- and they never stray away from it.
The fluid within those growths may hold the key to controlling the minds of creatures... And hopefully, something to protect us from such a power. Too many already vie for control of our wills, but that is the domain of the divine.
You've no doubt heard me singing some of the Templar hymns. One of the many habits that stuck with me, other than the one I still wear. Though the Templar have their... 'issues', they are not without merit. They are, after all, doing God's work. And by Innocence, their hymns are truly catchy little earworms. Singing them helps me focus.
I'm starting to believe that these growths have some sort of central... well, brain isn't exactly the right word, but it isn't far off.
These larger growths, these "blighted maps" you've found, they may lead us to the original source of the Blight.
Not long ago, I believed they were a symptom of Wraeclast's death. Fungal growths feeding on a rotting carcass. Now? I'm certain they're a parasite. Wraeclast isn't dead, but it is dying, weakened by its violent history, and being overpowered and smothered by the blight.
God has laid out all the puzzle pieces. All we need to do now is put them together. I hope you're good at puzzles.
Strange as it may sound, I'm somewhat sad. I know in my heart of hearts that they were not good people, but they were still people. I knew Dominus well. We worked together. Ate together. There was a time when I would have called him my friend. And Piety was fighting her own demons.
I hope God sees fit to forgive their souls... And mine.
I see you've scavenged some oils with your sticky little hands. What in God's name are you planning to do with them? Don't bother answering -- I don't actually care, as I have a much better use than whatever nonsense you had planned.
Bring me a few phials of those oils and I'll anoint your amulet and rings, as is tradition among the clergy. Such a blessing will unlock gifts within you that you may not even know you had. God helps those who help each other, after all.
Exile, I--... I can't believe it. We destroyed it. We destroyed the source of the blight! This may not cleanse Wraeclast immediately, but it is the turning point in the war against this foul rot.
Growths are still out there, spreading and consuming and possessing, but without the beating black heart, it's simply a matter of time until Wraeclast is free once and for all. And it's all thanks to me.