Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Far Seas Trading Company: Preliminary Findings: EQ2

Several years have passed since The Far Seas Trading Company made a sudden decision to end their contracts with Qeynos and Freeport, stopped ferrying refugees to the great cities and closed the sea-lanes to the Isle of Refuge. We never got much in the way of an explanation. Just a few rumors from some drunken sailors hanging around the East Freeport docks.

The marinated mariners are still swaying there on the corner, retailing their long-stale news, but Lord Lucan D'Lere isn't listening. He's had other things on his mind until now, what with being kidnapped, having to put down an attempted coup and organizing the defense of Freeport against a bunch of dragons, but he's finally managed to clear his diary and he's commissioned a full investigation.

Turns out he's no more convinced by the shaky cover story than the rest of us. He wants to know what's really going on and what do you guess but he knows just the ratonga for the job. When The Overlord sends for you it's best not to dicker, I find. There's an execution every hour in the plaza and those traitors have to come from somewhere.

So it was that I found myself stepping off the dock into an oddly familiar landscape. The old place has looked better, I'll say that. My heart sank a little in the blued gloom. Are we really destined to spent the rest of our adventuring lives under nightclub conditions? Can't we have some natural light for once?

Well, yes we can! Imagine my relief when, early on in my fact-finding investigation, I discover the Etherneresque aethers to be a purely local phenomena. Take a few bloodied steps through the knee-high forest of grimlings and daylight returns.

The blue hue emanates from Malvonicus's tower, which has suffered the inevitable fate of all Mage Towers, namely having been exploded and frozen in space/time like some final year art project for Surrealism 101. Someone Tampered With Things They Wot Not Of and this is the highly predictable result:

 The place is crawling with befuddled and highly aggressive Far Seas Traders plus a horde of the aforementioned freakish midgets, something you really don't want to look at too closely or you'll wake up screaming. My first altercation with one of the twisted traders came altogether too close for comfort so I called for back-up after which I had few problems. A metal suitcase upside the head quietens even the feistiest freak as the saying goes.

From then on it's business as usual. Everyone has something they want doing. Tok and I wander around collecting planks and rubble for barricades, retrieving research papers, rescuing the innocent and subduing the rest. As we do a fascinating story begins to emerge.

It seems a while back the Far Seas Co. discovered a horde of supposed Shissar artifacts, which they naturally decided to exploit examine. With commendable, if surprising, concern for public safety they chose to conduct their experiments in secret, hence the closure of both the refugee operation and the sea lanes. The possible exclusive commercial advantage they might theoretically have obtained by doing so was, I'm sure, no more than a fortunate co-incidence.

No-one pulls the wool over Lord Lucan's eyes for long, though, (or twice for that matter) and that cat is now very much out of its bag. The Far Seas Trading Co.'s cosy little operation in the ironically-named Tranquil Sea is now firmly, and quite literally, on the map.

Getting there was simple but for a while I was worried that getting around might not be. One odd effect of the catastrophe at the tower was the grounding of all flying mounts. A portentous message to this effect was being broadcast as I arrived.

I was concerned at the prospect of being forced to ride everywhere at the dizzying breakneck pace most Norrathian mounts consider a gentle canter but fortunately the embargo proved to be only temporary. A gnome I rescued from the cellar under the tower whipped me up a little something that gave me back my wings around the fallout zone but in any case they worked just fine as soon as I got clear of the miasma.

I was thus able to fly around sightseeing and spotting landmarks from the good old days, when I myself was a refugee, freshly salt-crusted. The old place really hasn't changed all that much apart from being overrun with grimlings.

Most of the old crew are long-gone of course but I did run into one familiar face. Waulon Highpebble gave me a recap of his history and the times our paths have crossed. I just nodded when he told me about Captain Varlos's deception. Came as a complete surprise to me. I think I must have been in a meeting that day.

For a first day I felt the investigation went splendidly. I'm confident The Overlord will be pleased with my report when I finally get back to Freeport to present it to him, although I have the feeling that day might still be quite some way off. It looks as though there's an awful lot of digging to do before the full story comes to light.

And who better to dig for it than a ratonga?

1 comment:

  1. How weirdly meta! An event about why there aren't so many newbies around these days. I love it.


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