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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:49 am 
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Extract From:

Baran Kunin’s Guide to:
Famous Business Endeavors

Volume 3 Chapter 37, Page 1034, Etarian Merchants' Paving Company


Roads to Fortune

Established shortly after Tendril’s declaration as an official kingdom in 0874 AL the Etarian Merchants’ Paving Company was originally founded in the city of Chail-Anden by the halfling mason Scrin Gabions to help sell off several tonnes of loose slate recently acquired through dubiously legal means. Sadly, though many in professional circles felt it was a worthy venture, under Mr. Gabions the Company only ever took on two contracts before surrendering to bankruptcy the very next year.

With the company facing a grim future, further compounded by the mysterious disappearance of its founder, the onus fell on then business partner Stot Ottenbruk, a Tyranese dwarf with little experience outside of practical mining. Facing seemingly insurmountable odds Ottenbruk nevertheless managed to bring the E.M.P.C. through its second year by helping orchestrate the completion of its original two contracts alongside a further five.

To this day how this could have been done has never been unraveled by historians since by all records of the day Stot Ottenbruk was ascribed as being both deaf and blind as the result of a terrible mining accident. Nevertheless the Company continued to thrive under his rein for another two years before he was tragically run down in a bizarre cart accident.

Once again staring down financial ruin the business burden now fell upon newcomer Jack Cutting, a one time casino owner whose difficulties in business had often lead him to moonlight as a general purveyor of stolen goods. How a man with a widely know history of petty crime came to such a position of authority is a widely speculated but despite poor expectations Jack Cutting was able to successfully rescue the E.M.P.C a second time from its creditors.

Quickly realizing the extent of the company's financial problems Cutting immediately set about reducing business expenditure, sacking the entire seven man administrative department and halving the paving workforce down to a mere fifty-three individuals. Furthermore, to save on stone purchases, he instituted his famous “Reclamation Program” which instructed his workers to where possible “Reclaim” stones from nearby rivers, quarries, houses and in some cases, previously paved roads.

Cutting was eventually imprisoned for crimes against the nation of Chail some two months after his Program was implemented and is rumored to have died in his cell during the Withering of 0907 AL at the venerable age of 72. To this day a bust of his likeness remains in the E.M.P.C Headquarters' main hall, recognizing him as a visionary of fiscal conservatism.

Over the course of 878 and through to 883 the E.M.P.C saw upwards of twenty separate leaders though for reasons unknown most of the company records from the time have never been found and what few surviving workers remain refuse to speak about the troublesome period when prompted. Fortunately for historians the local undertaker Ulstgrange, a devote follower of Jaerik, kept meticulous records which give some small insight into the period.

The following is a excerpt from his logs regarding the deaths of nine of the Company's Directors:

Lempe 3 Ruukina 878: Trit Fleetfoot
Killed in a freak paving accident. Open casket not an option.

Lempe 5 Ruukina 878: Bavis Monkra
Heart attack. Two legs still unaccounted for. Burial to go ahead as planned.

Belo 3 Rutha 878: Tantantelly BoReman
Drowned while bathing.

Canta 2 Varya 879: Missik Grut Beggen
Natural causes. Open casket not an option.

Metya 5 Onna 879: Rando
Unknown. Burial pending discovery of upper torso.

Belo 2 Kelvar 881: Cortbron West

Atta 3 Rutha 881: Gristrig Vottle
Executed for sedition.

Canta 2 Lindale 882: Bastfont Reglet
Death by misadventure.

Belo 1 Kelvar 883 “Sideways” Ackerson
Tripped and fell. Open casket not an option.

Sadly his notes only account for slightly less than half of the known directors and that so many of those died in such gruesome tragedies gives credence to the numerous rumors that abound. One of the most prevalent myths is that the Company's original founder, Scrin Gabions, obtained his original supply of slate from an old disused cemetery and used it to pave the road outside the original Company Headquarters thereby condemning himself and every soul to follow him with the eternal wrath of the spirit world. Some even suggest that it was not slate that was used but rather more unnervingly, looted headstones with the names and dates heartlessly chiseled off. Rarely though is the latter supposition recounted anywhere other than a campfire on a cold moonless night.

Another rumor, though nowhere near as prolific, suggests that the Etarian Merchants' Paving Company was actually taken over shortly after its original bankruptcy by an unscrupulous clique of traders seeking to gain an edge in an already very competitive market. Using the troubled business as a front for their agents the clique would have had unparallel knowledge about overland trade routes and any sizable convoys passing along them, allowing them to stage daring heists only to offer their support to bring the "unknown perpetrators" to justice immediately afterwards. Further supposed evidence to back this theory up is the astounding number of ambush laden roads the Etarian Merchants' Paving Company has laid over the years, often directly conflicting with the safer routes specified by the commissioning party.

The rumor itself, though publicly stated to be entirely ridiculous and unfounded, was believed to have been started in 881 by then Company director Cortbron West. It has widely been understood that this conspiracy theory was a byproduct of the onset of the very same madness which eventually drove him to take his life by stabbing himself in the back fourteen times.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:56 pm 
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General History

History of the Ancients
Etarian Merchants’ Paving Company
Gobley: Language of goblins and hobgoblins
The History of Seafaring
The Infamous Oran Sticklemunger
The Isle of Tears
Karissa Soultaker and the Fall of the Gods
King Burjon
Malin and Sarenga
Menthor’s Temple
Orbben Dumoas – the Forgotten City
The Ruins and the Lost Temple City of Baetor
Runeblade, Blood and Sail ~The Origins of the Cannon~
Thrand’s Silver Mine
Valasia –The Rise of the Sultanate

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