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Press Tour: The Other Eight Lives of Mreean Prrtan

Mreean-lass: Ye once said that if I e'er got in a bind, ye'd be glad tae help oot. If ye are still willing an' able, I could really use a hand right aboot now, afore I lose what is little left o' me mind.

Mree's amber cat-eyes widened as she read the note from Niami. Mum was infamous for helping others out, and then being far too independent-minded to ask for help for her own self unless she was utterly overwhelmed. If she was asking for help, it must be pretty dire, indeed.

Without a second thought, the calico-colored kerra ranger grabbed extra arrows and weapons, packed some extra provisions, and headed for the nearest Ulteran spire. If Mum needed help in the newly-discovered Sundered Frontier, she was going to get it!

A short while later, she stood on Spire Island, watching with concern as Mum zoomed up to her on an odd-looking device, spewing smoke. The flame-haired halfling was a mess - hair sticking out all over the place, bruise-like dark circles under her eyes, odd rips and stains on her dress. A wild light glinted in her eyes as she looked up at the tall kerra and immediately started babbling at high speed.

"Och! Thank goodness ye came, lass. So much tae do an' so little time tae do it in! Cityfestival! Erollisiday! Furniture! Newrecipes! Newquests! Furniture! Stuff! Recipes! Quests! FurnitureMorefurniture! Quests! Thisthingismakingmeseasickbutitisamazing, isntit? Furniture! Newresources! Furniture! Stuff! Things! OMG, PANDAS!" With this last exclamation, she threw her tiny arms wide, sending the device spinning wildly.

Mree leapt, trying to stop the unruly contraption before Mum got harmed. After several long minutes filled with various screeches and yowls, Mum and Mree were sitting on the ground, panting, while the contraption, some sort of gnomish hoverpad-thingie, sat demurely beside them.

Fanning herself, Mum drew several deep breaths before continuing a bit more calmly, "Anyway, lass, I've got way too much tae do right now, an' tae top it all off, Kiara wants some sort of touristy writeup from me, an' every time I try tae explore frae it, I keep getting sidetracked wi' all the other things I'm trying tae do. Seeing as ye're a ranger that loves tae explore, could ye ..."

"Play tourist for you? Sure!" She paused, considering all the extra weaponry she'd packed in case Mum needed something killed. "Um, is there a bank nearby? I think I'm overgeared."

"Oh, aye, in Paineel. Ye may want tae keep all that on hand, though, jus' in case ye stumble intae some o' the rougher spots. An' take th' hoverpad as well. It is o'erclocked, sae it be FAST, which should help if ye get intae more mischief than ye want tae handle. Jus' be careful wi' accelerating until ye get used tae it."

After reassuring Mum that she'd be as careful as a kerra ranger could be, Mreean prepared to set out. A couple extra notebooks stuffed in her packs, so she could record all the proper tourist-y stuff along the way.

Mum, meanwhile, said she was headed to the hua'mein village. She was going to see if she could pry a yummy baked fish recipe out of them, and promised to have a delicious meal waiting for the kerra when she returned.

Now that was more than ample incentive for Mreean, and she set out eagerly.

She climbed aboard the hoverpad, and gently tapped the controls, practically purrig as the machine glided forward. While there was a little bobbing up and down from the hovering disk, it was definitely bearable, and she continued to put the hoverpad through its paces.

Kerra curiousity got the better of her, however, and she hit the speed controls, pushing them to the utmost.

Yep, it was fast all right, but she'd forgotten one little detail.

She didn't know how to brake.

Frantically, she tried to stop, and found the braking mechanism just as she zoomed off the edge of the island.

And fell.

And fell some more, her high-speed plummet going on and on, as she realized that the island was floating so high in the sky that she couldn't even see the ground she thought must be down there ... somewhere.

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Once she revived on Spire Island, she decided to proceed a bit more carefully, heading to a nearby teleporter that would warp her over to the sky-island housing Paineel.

Just before she stepped on the teleporter pad, she was hailed by an extremely timid-seeming elf from the Far Seas Trading Company, who asked for her to bring back information on Paineel. Since she was collecting information anyway, Mree promised to give her a copy of the relevant information once she explored. The extra coin, after all, would pay for the repair bill!

Paineel was lovely, with imposing architecture in white, gold and black, and Mreean spent several minutes happily prowling about, checking out the various sections of the city.

She paused in the act of checking out one of the lifts leading up to Old Paineel as a troop of tourists passed by, being led by a dark elf that looked very familiar.

On impulse, she followed behind them, taking notes as Kiara explained a bit about the area. Engrossed in the tourist-spiel was she, that, when Kiara told the group to jump off the edge to visit The Hole, she did, before she really thought about the fact that Kiara was known to have a twisted sense of humor.

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Ears flicking back and forth wildly, Mree straightened up her dented armor as best she could, with a typically kerra look on her face that said, "I meant to do that, really. And if you say anything to the contrary, I'll claw your eyes out!"

Stiff-legged, she stalked back to the teleport pad, headed once again for Spire Island. She definitely was going to need the pay from from the Far Seas errand to pay for her mender fees at this rate!

When Felice asked her to do another task, checking out the Paineel crafting opportunities, Mree decided that she had a lucrative side-job lined up to help fund her exploration, and agreed readily. Besides, it would be nice to make a profit now that she had the mender fees covered.

Back she went to Paineel, chatting up the locals while taking a closer look at the city. She really admired some of their furnishings, and got the feeling that, if she suitably buttered up the residents, she might be able to obtain some new furniture at a reasonable price.

Mree could definitely see what Mum meant about getting distracted, as she realized that several hours had passed while she helped Felice, and the local residents, with various crafting tasks. Regretfully reminding herself that the lovely furniture, and lucrative jobs, would still be there later, she made some entries in her tourist notes for Mum, and made a mental note about some lovely bottles that she wanted to buy later.

Resuming her interrupted lift ride to the area above Paineel, Mreean started to explore the Lowland Basin and Old Paineel. Though hot and arid, the surrounding area was quite lovely, and she stopped to take in one especially impressive view.

So engrossed was she in admiring the lovely panorama, that the distracted kerra didn't notice several rocky elementals closing in on her.

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She was a ranger, by golly! She should be able to sightsee, and still fight off the local monsters with one hand tied behind her back, right? She just needed to pay a bit more attention to her surroundings. Vowing to do just that, she set off once again, this time taking extra care to be a tad more stealthy.

Her good intentions lasted only until she stumbled upon an old teleporter in the ruins of Old Paineel. She just had to pause, peering and poking at the device, heedless of the ghosts that had drawn nearer.

Beating a hasty escape, she headed to the Paineel Launch Pad and asked to be transported to the observatory at the Eye of Dartain. She'd heard that she could get a lovely view of many of the surrounding areas from there, which would help her plan out the rest of her sightseeing tour.

She was so startled, however, when a metal disk appeared under her feet and started flying off with her atop it, that she jumped with a startled yowl, and fell.

And fell.

And fell.

Again.

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Right. Well. Um, she was still running a profit from all the errands that she'd run, so it was all good, right? What's a bit of armor damage now and then to a ranger, anyway?

Eventually she managed to do some sightseeing from the safety of the observatory, and made notes on areas that she wanted to investigate more fully.

Kerra isle was her next stop, and she felt so at home there, that it took an enormous effort of will to tear herself away from the village. Having heard rumors of the isle's kobolds using Niami for foosball practice one day and sending her hurtling off the edge of the isle, she was careful, when attacked by one, to move so that her back was facing a wall, just in case they tried the knockback trick on her as well.

While the kobolds had apparently tired of sending folks flying off the isle, that didn't stop them from ganging up on her when she backed into a couple extra ones that had been between her and the aforementioned wall!

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Meh.

She decided to head, carefully, to Toxxulia Forest. While riding on one of the flying launch pads, however, she spotted the familiar form of a set of druid rings below her. Carefully judging the distance to the ground, she decided it was safe to jump down to check them out.

She neglected to factor in the roaming fearstalkers, however, who were more than happy to kerpounce on her when she overshot the rings and landed in the midst of several of them!

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All right, so that hadn't been her brigthest idea of the day, she mused as she brushed herself off once again. It hadn't been her worst idea of the day, but definitely was not one of her best moments, either!

With a philosophical shrug, Mreean continued her trek to Toxxulia Forest. Spotting an oddly glowing structure in the distance, she couldn't resist the urge to take "just one little peek" at it. How dangerous could something so pretty and glowie be, after all?! It wasn't as if there was any truth to those old tales of Toxxulia the drag- ...

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Even for her, the number of deaths in a single day were getting a bit extreme, especially given her superstition about the "9 lives" a day for a kerra. It was time to be far, far more careful.

Mreean made it through the rest of the region without mishap, although she was sure she was skimming over various points of interest, and then headed for the Stonebrunt Highlands.

She paused near a tree stump as she eyed the local wildlife, plotting a path from the launch pad where she had landed, and the nearby Moonfield Hamlet. She practically jumped out of her fur when the stump suddenly animated and attacked her, and only some fast-footwork allowed her to escape with her skin more-or-less intact.

While prowling around the nearby Quel'ule, she allowed herself to be talked into helping a local erudite with a couple tasks. She was running low on coin after all the mender fees, and it seemed like a safe enough series of tasks, after all.

Feeling pretty proud of herself as she quickly finished the first few tasks without mishap, she brushed off the man's warnings about how dangerous it could be to craft the synthetic kaborite. "Pffft! I'm a master crafter to whom danger is no stranger! I'll have you know that I'm a veteran of the great copper plate massacree, when the forge was killing carpenters by the dozens!"

An event counter here, an event counter there -- everything was progressing wonderfully until a dreadful hue and cry arose from the other side of the wall. The defenders were driving back another wave of void beasts and the like! The invaders posed no threat to the area where she was crafting away, but the momentary distraction was another story altogether. Her finger slipped while she was performing a final bit of shaping and polishing on the kaborite, and >>KERBOOM<<

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Mreean's promise to Mum was the only thing that kept her from running home with her tail literally tucked between her legs.

However, enough was enough, and she scraped together enough coin to present Kiara with a suitable chocolate bribe in return for an escorted tour through several of the nastier dungeons and the like. Kiara didn't even try to kill her, again, preferring instead to randomly make some fellow named Dellmon faceplant instead.

The tour was fascinating, and the sights were absolutely riveting! Mree was positive she'd have died another several dozen times over, if not for the protection afforded on the tour.

She oooh'ed and ahhh'ed along with everyone else when exploring the Library of Erudin. While word of a mysterious murder had her whiskers twitching, she wisely refrained from prowling around to investigate. (A murder mystery quest where the murderer, weapon and so on vary randomly in each version of the instance? How cool is that?!)

She stuck to Kiara like glue. Very furry glue.

Valiantly, she resisted the urge to poke around looking for fish in the Vasty Deep, though she really, really wanted to know if, with a name like that, there were any nummy fish to be had!

On it went. One lovely bit of scenery after another, until her eyes were as round as saucers. She even managed to forget for a while about the eight deaths she'd experienced earlier while playing tourist.

The tour eventually came to an end, however, and as soon as Kiara escaped from her death-grip, all her worries came flooding back.

She'd never had more than eight deaths in a single day, which was not only a point of pride for the crafty ranger, but also of superstition. Just what would happen if she hit death number nine today? Would that be the end of her?

As if on cue, she saw a ratonga with fluffy white angel wings float by upon a misty cloud, and it was the final straw for the now-fearful feline.

She fled, and didn't stop running until she'd reached the safety of the hua'mein village. Slinking in, her fur all matted, armor dented, dinged and damaged so badly it was almost ready to fall off, she searched for Mum.

All she saw was pandas - fishing, working out, dancing, puttering about at this and that. No sign of a tiny redheaded halfling anywhere.

"Och! There ye are, lass!" Mum's voice came from a panda fishing from the end of a small dock, and to several hua'mein bystanders, it looked like Mreean was going to set new bamboo-climbing speed records before she fell back to the ground in a shower of bamboo leaves.

"M-M-Mum?!"

"Aye, lass. Jus' playing wi' an illusion I jus' bought. What do ye think?" The Mum-panda plopped down into a sitting position on the dock with a contented growf. "I could get used tae this."

In a reversal of that morning's roles, Niami was the mellow one, while Mreean babbled on at high speed about her day. "... then I saw this ratonga angel float by and I was afraid she was coming for me, and ..."

Her recitation was interrupted by Mum rolling on the ground, stubby panda arms and legs waving in the air as she laughed and laughed. Finally, wheezing a bit, she explained between continuing giggles, "That was nae angel. Twas jus' Cloudrat, lass!"

Mreean's ears flattened in dismay. Before she could work up another round of incoherent raving, however, Mum's next words stopped her.

"I really do appreciate all th' trouble ye went tae lass, an' I am sorry that ye had sae many problems. Why don't ye take off yuir armor an' have a nice soak in th' lake here frae a bit while I get yuir fish dinner ready frae ye? Later, we can have a look at yuir armor an' see what can be done aboot repairs, but frae now, relax a bit. It'll work wonders on yuir mood, jus' like it did wi' mine!"

It was pretty restful in the hua'mein village, she had to admit, and Mree's aching body could definitely use a soak, so she allowed herself to be coaxed out of her armor and into the lake.

After soaking for a bit, she spotted some fish swimming around, and started treading water as she watched them intently. Suddenly, from the lip of the caverns above the lake came a shout that sounded like "Cannonball!" Looking up, Mreean was just in time to see a giant panda-butt hurtling from the ledge to her location in the water ...

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The above is a rather tongue-in-cheek tour through the upcoming EQ2 expansion, Sentinel's Fate. As with press tours throughout EQ and EQ2s history, it is meant as a quick sampler, an appetizer, as it were, of the expansion, as opposed to any in-depth review. (Never fear, the in-depth details for crafter goodness will be coming along shortly. Mum & Kaisha have piles and piles and piles of stuff for you, and it is taking time to sort out all those piles to prevent information overload.)

Mind you, the above "tour" of Sentinel's Fate, contains some exaggerations as far as the relative dangers of the areas go ... provided you're a high end adventurer. Since my target audience is the crafting community, however, I wanted to get set in people's minds that, yes, this is a level 80+ expansion, and the areas you will have to trounce through while running the crafting questlines are going to require you to stay alert. Much of the danger is very much avoidable, even for low-level adventurers, as long as you're paying attention. Forget to look & think before you rush full steam ahead, and yep, you just might have a few problems, though hopefully not as many as the above hapless kerra!

Over the next couple weeks, I'll be publishing veritable boatloads of information on the expansion, including many yummy screenshots. Stay tuned to the SF Clearinghouse for more information!

 

Created: 2010-02-05 11:40:20          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2010-02-05 12:09:39          

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