Thanks to Mordraeth, I discovered a cluster of easier quests near the entrance to Greater Faydark. There's two camps, some Dwarves at the bulwark and some Dark Elves and Arasai back a bit toward the Greater Faydark zone. These quests quite comfortably sent me through 20 and 21.
Once I'd completed them, it was time to head back to the Butcherblock Docks and continue with the quests there. Now that I had a couple more levels it was significantly easier.
I did have one quest that presented a bit of a problem. A Dark Elf by the name of Ninion D'syl wanted me to get her some fletching supplies. She was in a bit of a mood about it too. The problem was that the Butcherblock require gathering skills of 90 and over. My best was the mining at 65. D'Syl wanted me to harvest some wood for arrow shafts and I wasn't up to the task.
So it was back to Timorous Deep.
I spent a good afternoon working on the various gathering skills and managed to bring my mining, gathering, and foresting up to the low to mid 90's. I didn't bother much with the fishing, and brought trapping to the mid-sixties - I'll probably have to head back at some point to raise that too - before I called it a day.
The next day, I hit the bank to deposit all my gatherings, at which point I discovered that there was another questline open. It probably popped at 20 and since I was 19 when I left, I missed it. If there's one thing I reckon that EQ2 should copy from WoW and other games, it's the grayed out quest marker. It's definitely handy to know a quest will pop in the next couple of levels. Anyway, I did those quests and headed into Gorowyn.
Since I had all these raw materials in the bank I decided to look into the tradeskill quests. I'd already picked up the first quest which was to make a spiffy candelabra. I completed that and worked through all the tradeskill quests. That got me to level 9 so I headed over to the career advisor and picked up the Outfitter trade.
I figure for a Shadowknight there would be two useful paths I could take. Ultimately, provisioner for the food and drink, or Armorer for the nifty battle-threads.
I considered Alchemist for the fighter skill upgrades but for the most part these would be one offs. Once I'd created a skill upgrade for myself I'd have no need to create it again - I'm not really into crafting in most MMOs, the trades never seem deep enough for me. Alchemist would also have enabled me to create potions and poisons, quite possibly very useful.
The other useful skills, Carpenter or Fletcher would be much the same. Picking Carpenter would allow me to create furniture and the like for my house, but eh.
Provisioner would be useful. Everquest 2 makes good use of any cooking that a player does. Since food and drink are consumed a lot in this game, it would come in quite handy.
Ultimately, I figured that Outfitter/Armorer will be the most useful. The Shadowknight is a plate wearer, and since I solo a lot being able to make my own high level armor may be very useful. It's my understanding - not confirmed - that crafter gear is actually quite good in EQ2 even at the lower and middle levels.
The Outfitter has one other thing up his sleeve. He can create bags. Very useful for someone like me who hoards a lot of gear. It will be the tailor who makes the most capacious bags, but at least up to twenty, I'll be able to make a few with more than four slots.
After a couple of hours sweating over a hot forge, I took Ssirius back to the Butcherblocks. But before I headed back I went searching for that elusive quest giver that I had trouble finding. This time success! He was right in the back and I had to jump down from one platform to get to him.
Unfortunately, he wasn't giving out quests as such, but writs that required hunting a bunch of critters. I decided not to worry about it, declined, and made my way to the gryphon heading for the Butcherblock Mountains.
Once there I handed in a couple of quests, and started a couple more. I began harvesting fallen lumber to collect the arrow shafts for D'Syl, my reason for going back to Timorous Deep in the first place, and collected a few of them.
At log off Ssirius is three quarters of the way to 23. I still have quite a few blue and white quests at this point. I expect that he'll be 25 by the time I finish these.