Chapter the First: The Pleasure of Another's CompanyI looked at the man with as much shock and confusion as he had when he looked at me.
After all I'd been through I wanted to scream at him, but even under these circumstances being impolite simply wouldn't do. "What are you going on about?" In retrospect, perhaps that wasn't all that polite after all. He didn't seem to notice.
"I'd like to help you out here, but I'm a bit confused." I smiled sweetly.
I sighed. Smiling never got me what I wanted. Other girls could just slap that fake smile right on their faces and men would do anything for them, but never for me. "Please, sir. Slow down and tell me what it is that you're saying..." I was beginning to run out of patience.
Oh, another religous nutcase. That figures. Here I am standing amidst flaming wreckage and he wants to hand me a silly pamphlet. Still, perhaps I can use his gullibility to my advantage. After all, an escort could be helpful right about now. "Yeeess. Right. You may, uh, rise and serve me, loyal Virgil..."
I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Perhaps I was going to like this fellow after all. "Sorry about that, Virgil. But please, explain this a bit further..."
I couldn't make heads or tails of his babbling. Good elves, bad elves? I'm not even an elf. "I don't think I'm quite getting the gist of it, Virgil..."
Why oh why do I always get the weird ones? Can't I ever just meet a normal guy? Why couldn't Virgil here just be a local hunter that saw the crash and came to check on survivors? No, he's some whacko looking for the reincarnation of some obscure elf nobody cares about. Maybe some women would be happy to be worshipped, but I REALLY don't need this right now. Virgil began staring at me, so I faked interest, "Yes?"
I had really had enough of this religious nonsense. "Do the scriptures speak of a dying gnome and a ring?"
Fight? I'm supposed to fight somebody now? This must be the least chivalrous man in all of Arcanum. "If this is confusing to you, imagine how I must feel."
Heavens no. I don't need an escort that badly. He can stuff his little prophecies. "I've no interest in your foolishness. Good day." I surprised myself at how polite I was managing to be.
I felt guilty. Virgil looked like a beaten puppy that had been kicked a few too many times, and here I was kicking him again. I wanted to grab ahold of him and shake him until he understood that whatever stupid prophecy this elder drilled into his head was just a bunch of lies, but that would only make him feel worse. "I am involved in nothing. Leave me alone."
I sighed deeply. I didn't need this. I really, really didn't. I couldn't turn him down, though. He looked so sad. "It doesn't look like I can get rid of you, so let's go." I only hoped that this Joachim fellow wouldn't turn out to be a serial murderer, with naive little Virgil here unwittingly playing fetch.
Nobody else survived. They couldn't have. Still, I could at least pay my respects to the unfortunate souls that weren't as lucky as I was. I could be lying right there with them. Besides, plenty of them were loaded. They might have something useful. It's a dreadful thing to do, but they won't be having need of it anymore and I could use all the help I can get. "Agreed."
I quick pulled the passport and matchbox out of my pockets and took a glance at them. The passport was for a Preston Radcliffe. Must be the gnome's name. The matchbox was from the Roseborough Inn. I thought I'd heard of the place once or twice while I was living in Caladon but I wasn't overly familiar with it. It sounded out of my price range anyway.
Horace... if the zeppelin hadn't crashed I would've robbed you blind. I never got around to it, but I still feel bad about it. May you have many more daring heists in the afterlife.
Wilhemina... it breaks my heart to see you lying there. You were too young to die, too innocent. Perhaps your untimely death is a blessing in disguise. Now you will never know true pain. She was holding a letter loosely in her hands. I thought about leaving it there, but curiosity got the better of me. My curiosity always got the better of me; it was a terrible habit.
I closed my eyes to hold back the tears, not wanting Virgil to see me as weak. Tucking the letter gently into my pocket I resolved to deliver it to Jared if I ever found him. He deserved to know.
Victoria... looking at your corpse is like staring in a ghastly mirror. I could've been you, had my life gone just a little differently. Now I'll be lucky if I even end up in the same place as you when everything is over. I will be thinking about you for a long while. The Warrington family has lost much on this day.
One of the bodies I paid my respects to had a brand new camera lying on the ground next to him. It didn't look too good after the crash, but I picked it up figuring I'd fix it later if I had the time.
I spied one of the flying machines at the base of a cliff, tattered and broken. The pilot was lying on the ground next to it, a full-blooded ogre just like I had thought. The plaque on the machine read, "Maxim Machinery, Caladon." Maxim? This thing belonged to that old codger? I would've spent more time around him if I'd known he was up to making things like this.
I hadn't seen anything like it either and it quite fascinated me. I made a mental note to visit old Maxim again if I ever returned to Caladon. Not bloody likely. I've barely made my escape and I'm already thinking of going back. "Yes... it looks very much like the machine which attacked us..."
The scene of the bumbling oaf clumsily trying to operate the machine with his oversized fists before ultimately crashing it into the side of the zeppelin played through my mind. "They didn't, really... they destroyed themselves in the attack..."
He was right. There was a strange amulet on the corpse, and I didn't recognize it either. I hadn't even noticed it until he pointed it out. "I can't say that I do..." It struck me as odd that I didn't recognize it.
Virgil seemed to have an awful lot of misguided faith in this Joachim fellow, but I just didn't have the heart to disagree. It wasn't really doing any harm to let him have his idolatry. "Let's do so..."
I squatted down next to the ogre corpse and gently pulled the amulet off from around his neck. Perhaps once I was done with this silly religious business I could find somebody that would identify it for a modest sum. I bet there would be a lot of people who'd like to know who's responsible for burning down the IFS Zephyr.
The local wildlife was a bit aggressive, but I couldn't blame them after that horrendous crash. I almost felt bad for putting them down, but self defense came first. Old instincts die hard... I whirled about to the creature's backside in a single step, then thrust my dagger into it with the whole weight of my body. Always strike right where they least expect it. No wonder Merle hated me.
At least Virgil was impressed. He seemed embarrassed at his lack of restraint, but I found it at least a little charming. He was so boring when he parroted all that religious mumbo jumbo. I could tell there was a real human being underneath that facade, slowly edging its way out.
Perhaps he wasn't so charming after all. Why don't you try fighting in a silly, overpriced dress? To his credit, he seemed to have some skill with rudimentary healing magic. If only you'd studied some water magic maybe you could get the blood out of my dress before it stains. Oh, who am I kidding? It's already stained. Clothes like this are wasted on me.
After a thorough search it was clear that nobody else had survived the crash. By the time our search was finished, however, night was rapidly falling. We headed into a nearby cave to take shelter until the morning. It was going to be a long journey to Shrouded Hills and I didn't want to travel at night if I didn't have to. Especially not in a dress.
Bonus ContentI created and uploaded a video version of the intro (though obviously without my in-character commentary) for you all to watch if you're so inclined: Video
I could've just used the other video of the same damn thing already on YouTube, but that felt like cheating so I did the work of slapping this one up there myself and I'll do the same for any other videos.
For those unfamiliar with the game, there is also a mini-FAQ later on in the thread. It may contain some light spoilers. Link
I strongly considered going for a mage character, but honestly that's the boring route. Breaking Arcanum isn't exactly difficult. Instead I'm making choices based off of what I think will make the story most interesting. For a character, I'm going technologist thief. I'm using Krupp's gun fixes (though I'm not going gunner) among other 'tech fix' things and I've also got the level cap remover on. Not because I'll need it (far from it) but because nothing saps my will to play a role-playing game like hitting the level cap.
I also modded in my own custom background. Yes, it's overpowered and cheating (though not even remotely to the extreme) but I would be far more overpowered if I, for example, decided to play an Elven Only Child with maximum starting willpower (substitute Gnome and that was the character I used last time I played through this game)
Here's the custom background (may contain light character spoilers, since I'm planning on slowly delving into this character's past. Pretty minor, though.)
As for stats, here you go:
You can ignore the character's age on that screenshot, it's not a number I can choose (just changes based on race). I'm envisioning the character as being in her early to mid thirties. I've also got 2 in melee, 1 in pick locks, and 1 in repair (could've waited to take that, but I want to be as 'honest' as possible and since the character is already exhibiting some technical prowess with fixing things I wanted to follow suit). The above screenshot was taken just as I'm leaving the starting valley (I fought the packs of wolves for some easy levels).