Mr. Moles and the Hollow Prospect
As with many role-playing games out there, Trip the Ark Fantastic has its fair share of tales and stories that complement the game lore.
During Charles’ adventure, the player has to do research to find the location of the Ark as well as to discover the truth behind other mysteries. Charles will stumble upon both research books and lore books. Lore books are not necessary for research purposes but are nuggets of information for the player to enjoy and get a sense of the world that Charles is living in. This is one of those stories.
This lore book was written by our programmer Piet Bronders, and he hopes you enjoy it.
Author’s remark: The images seen in this blog may not be related to the characters or the places of the story.
Geoffrey looked at his master acting like a complete buffoon. While this was not one of the stranger things he had done, it certainly was a more chaotic entree in the ever-growing list of shenanigans Moles would force upon his poor manservant to witness.
Overnight, Holmes had transformed his entire study into a veritable chemistry lab with distillation coils and tubing scattered all around. Moles clumsily stood in the middle of it all, turning knobs and tuning cranks in a fashion that was most erratic. It was good that he was the only witness to these kind of spectacles of his master.
The time for Moles to finally drop these follies and make an attempt to start properly managing the lands and assets of his family was long overdue. He cleared his throat, deliberately as loud as possible, and started speaking:
“Sir, as you might know we are in a most dire situation. Our finances are getting dangerously low and we haven’t had a decent job offering in several months. Nevertheless you keep spending money on your slightest whim. A few weeks ago you transformed the study into a paint atelier, a few days ago we had that whole thing with the renegade bugs … and now this? Whatever foolish endeavour are you chasing this time?”
Moles turned around, sheepishly looked at this long-time friend and opened his mouth, but swiftly had to abandon the endeavor as one of the many receptacles had started boiling over.
“Luckily, there is at least one of us still actively looking for a worthwhile job. A most peculiar one I’m assured, that will surely intrigue even the likes of you!”
Geoffrey took out a large parchment from his sachet. After which he took out his reading spectacles and started browsing through the document.
“It seems like the mayor of Mowrbourg has officially declared a reward for any information about the whereabouts of several missing art pieces stolen by the notorious art thief ‘Monsieur Connoisseur’. An absurdly high reward! The royal constabulary has been longtime involved, but even they weren’t able to bring any light to the case nor were they able to find out how the thief got past all of their security measures. The case escalated after a priceless painting with the name ‘the Hollow Prospect‘ was stolen directly from the mayor’s office, in broad daylight at that!”
Moles turned about and clearly had sparkles in his eyes.
“Yes! A most exquisite piece that one is! In which the artist attempts to express the deeper connections between the low of birth and their willingness to be led astray by those vile individuals that would promise them the unattainable without due effort”
Geoffrey skeptically narrowed his eyes. Most of his contacts didn’t even know of the art piece at large and those that did had only heard about it in relation to the robbery. As usual, it seemed that Moles was up to something…
“Why Geoffrey! That perplexed expression doesn’t suit you in the least! Let me reveal you a key secret: You are in fact looking at the acclaimed artist himself!”
“YOU painted ‘the Hollow Prospect’?!”
A broad smile appeared across Moles’ face. Oh, how he loved to play coy with his valet. It was moments such as these that made Geoffrey question whether he actually knew his long-time master and friend or if he had just been led astray all the time by layers upon layers of personas.
“Last time when I was in Mowrbourg, during the Archduke’s spring ball, I had an accidental run-in with the mayor himself, an old friend of mine you know, and well.. I gifted him the painting as a way to show my appreciation. Because as you and I both know, it is a family heirloom, a ‘priceless masterpiece’ as the mayor so adequately states in your precious parchment. Which you are clenching much too tight by the way.”
One of the test tubes started to overflow and Moles hastily had it removed from the setup and stoppered.
“Now the truly interesting thing is, Geoffrey, that this ‘Monsieur Connoiseur’ has until now only stolen well-known art pieces, this would the first article of lesser renown that has been embezzled by our thief. What a most curious fact that is! Combined with the knowledge that only a select group of animals know the worth of my first painting makes this even more interesting!”
A part of the conversation from the pre-alpha tech test with Jeffrey, the mole
Moles took the tube and held it against the meager sunbeam coming through a narrow slit near the ceiling. The liquid held within was a clear brown colour which Moles seemingly seemed to appreciate greatly.
“But, Moles… none of this even makes sense. We weren’t invited to the Archduke’s spring ball nor do you personally know the mayor of Mowrbourg! You have been cooped in this mansion for weeks now ..months even!”
Moles waved around his precious test tube and in doing so almost unintentionally rammed it against Geoffrey’s head.
“Geoffrey! Enough with your yapping! Pack our stuff! We are off to crack a case! Maybe wonders do happen and you do finally stop nagging about our finances one day.”
Now Geoffrey really had enough of his master’s irrational behaviour. He wanted some answers and he wanted them now!
“What the hell is in that tube which you are waving around so frantically?”
‘Why, It’s only the finest brandy of course!’ Moles reached out the vial to his manservant: “Want to try a sip, before we head out?”