Meeting the Vattara, and sent to A Grand Soiree on Dulcoraad. The Explorers need to perform a delicate political ballet in order to get what they want. An old foe reappears, and they slowly begin to unravel the web of lies and deceit. Will they enter the flesh trade? Fear is the order of the day as the Black Coach proves more than a local legend.
Our Explorers were escorted to the bridge of the Indefatigable. The ship appeared to be well-maintained with a competent and relaxed crew who knew their business. On arrival, they finally meet Lady Captain Evangeline Vattara, of House Vattara. After a quick series of questions, she seems satisfied that the Explorers are who they say they are and not flunkies of “that idiot Guilliam”. They were introduced to Aunt Gracie, who seemed a very capable savant and the Lady Captain’s seneschal. She gave the party a brief history of House Vattara and their current objectives while they warped to Footfall.
The House was a well-respected trading and transport company, known for their fair prices, solid insurance coverage, and getting there on schedule. Not without its share of enemies and rivals though, a few years ago an orchestrated attack was executed against them, destroying many of their holdings and resources as well as killing off family members throughout the sector. With their resources severely depleted, the few survivors are now trying to rebuild their House, find any surviving members and of course, discover their unknown enemies and take their revenge.
They also learned a bit about Footfall, their current destination for some repairs to the Indy thanks to the Bissonet’s attack while she was engaged with an ork gunship. Their suspicions were also validated when Aunt Gracie told them that Guilliam Bissonet is a hot-headed and rash man – ready to fight over any perceived insult. The Lady Captain’s current problems stem from her rejecting him as a suitor, and Guilliam has not taken that lightly. The loss of the trade fleet hurts, and they need to establish new sources of income as soon as possible.
Upon arriving at Footfall, they found it blockaded by the Battlefleet Calixis, among which was seen several black ships of the Imperial Inquisition. All ships were prohibited from docking, although free to conduct business, just not on Footfall. No explanation was given, but when you’re backed by enough firepower to annihilate worlds, Rogue Traders and merchants tend to listen. They were able to spot the Pious Destroyer, Bissonet’s flagship, but no sign of the stolen trade vessels.
An opportunity to participate the in the contact bidding on Dulcoraad for sweetzing came up, and the Explorers volunteered to help House Vattara out by assisting them. Lady Captain Evangeline agreed, and sent along Cassandra Herian, an Astropath to communicate with the Indy, and Max van Vorsselaer, a Missionary to represent the House. A fellow Rogue Trader, Hadarak Fel, offered to take the Vattara group to Dulcoraad while the Indy waited out the blockade for the chance to repair.
Dulcoraad is a small and minor agri-world off Lucien’s Breath. A planet covered mainly in water, save for a small continent on the equator. Every decade, the Great Freeze would happen – freezing the surface of the seas so the continent would be in sub-zero temperatures for over a year before everything thawed out. On the continent though, there exists the sugar ant, which, every ten years, prior to the Great Freeze, will spin a sugar cocoon around itself with fruit and flower sugars, encasing itself. Their sacrifice feeds their queen and colony during the year, allowing them to survive until the thaw. The taste of these is sublime – a sweet, fruity and fragrant candy with a bit of a sour zing in the center when you reach the ant. Every decade, the great houses of Dulcoraad entertain Rogue Traders and various merchants to make deals to export the candy to sell throughout the known galaxy. A solid contract will insure the House and Rogue Trader see a hefty profit.
An easy trip with Hadarak Fel, whom they recognized as the drunk man in Port Wander who warned them of Guilliam Bissonet, as well as introduced to Lady Ash, his seneschal, as well as Pyrexia, her psyber-raven. Upon arriving at Dulcoraad, they were informed to keep all “modern” weapons off-planet, as nothing is permitted which will harm the ants. They also discovered, to their dismay, that Guilliam was also there.
Upon exploring the capital (and only city) of Bogenhaven, they believed they saw a noticeable absence of youngsters in the mid 20s range. Upon speaking to the locals though, they found that they themselves were not concerned. They heard rumors of a black coach, which the very mention of made the citizens very nervous and skittish. On their way back to their hotel at night, they were passed by a black hover coach. The very mention of seeing it to their local guards at the hotel sent waves of rumors throughout Bogenhaven, as they later discovered. The Explorers also debated between attacking Bissonet and visiting the local fur museum. Thankfully, there was not enough time for either, let alone both.
At the Grand Trading Soiree the next day, they met with Planetary Governor Jules Keppler and his wife Rosalie, as well as the ruling families of all 12 Rochs. Many already had trading agreements in place, or close to being finalized. They were able to get further meetings with House Gascoigne though, who offered a lucrative contract in exchange for taking their son Gunter off world. House Rossi also offered them a contract, in exchange for a willing young female. Remi was able to blend into the crowd and eavesdrop on Guilliam’s many failed attempts at brokering a contract, channeling his frustrations into curses and muttered threats. At the end of the Soiree, Guilliam approached the party amicably, offering them a chance for a fortune – to steal ant colonies that night and take them off world to raise. All he needed them to do was to provide a diversion. No promises were made, and everyone parted ways.
Later that evening, unable to obtain a girl for Rossi, they visited the Gascoigne estate. One of the larger ones, it spanned a river and into the woods beyond. They found Lady Gascoigne in a state – she was quite worried and upset over Gunter, who had gone to the woods and hasn’t returned home yet, most likely up to no-good with that hussy Ingrid Zauberlich, the daughter of their neighboring estate. Lord Gascoigne mollified her by asking the party to go look for him, which they agreed to. Upon taking the coach towards the woods, they saw a black coach travelling perpendicular to them through the woods.