We made our way back to Thatchem on birdback. The wizards of matwoob were willing to buy what we managed to recover, and expressed some dismay at our description of the current occupants of “their” tower. They did offer us a magical staff that would enable us to climb to the floating island via a stairway to heaven for future trips. Elvinia agreed to take charge of that on behalf of the group.
Oscar donated the Magician’s Guide to Illusions to Rowan, who chose to study it over the next few months.
I took the opportunity to restock my equipment, replacing what the rust monsters had eaten.
We also took the time to investigate some of the magical items we had acquired in our adventures.
Oscar’s shield, bent and twisted as it was, turned out to be an orc relic once dedicated to one of their strange gods. It was powerfully enchanted, both to protect its wielder in war as well as preserve their body in death. It also marked the wielder in some fashion as the leader of an orc faction. Oscar was unwilling to continue to carry it knowing this, and I felt the same. Bern volunteered, being both best capable of carrying the weight and in most need of extra protection while he sought a cure for his arm, but we all felt this was likely to be a temporary arrangement.
The ruby snake necklace turned out to be a different matter. We spent quite a bit of gold trying to identify it, with Elvinia leading the effort, before the wizard she was working with had the bright idea to put the necklace on a fresh corpse. The corpse immediately rose as a wight and killed the wizard; Elvinia barely escaped with her life. We weren’t sure what to do at that point; only a sadistic necromancer would actually pay for it, but finding and dealing with such would be morally questionable at best and outright evil at worst. Destroying the item would be better, but how? Selling the item without a warning would recoup our costs but eventually it would harm more people. Perhaps Denara would bless a sale to the priests of Dogma, as they enjoy studying strange and dangerous magic? Would Clocea accept that outcome?
After that, and without making a decision, we all agreed that it was time for a vacation, and went our separate ways. We planned to meet up again in Westkeep in a year.