We didn’t make it back tomorrow, or the next day. We dragged our coin, poorly hidden, past a traveling caravan; we paid extortion money to a gargoyle with two mossy statues; we suffered through blood rain and invisible hail and the worst cold I’ve ever had. We did finally make it to town, where absolutely everyone wanted to know what we had in the urns.

We did notice a few details in town. The road leading east was being repaved with strange new cobblestones that had a dark and glittery quality to them. Rowen commented that they looked almost as if they reflected the night sky. There appeared to be a workshop making the stones in town.

The other, stranger thing: several villagers were standing (or sitting, etc) in the village square, completely motionless, as if they had been turned into a statue right in the middle of whatever they were doing. Rowen poked one, and got no reaction from the frozen girl. One of the other villagers, an old woman, assigned her the task of cleaning the dust and lint from the frozen girl the next morning as an act of penance. It was very odd, but shed no light on what was going on. Perhaps it would become relevant later.

They followed us to the general store where we bought a chest and some sacks. Rowen was chatted up by one of the few young folk around, and he offered to get her some wine if she met him out of town after dark; he seemed very secretive about the whole idea.

The inquisitive townsfolk followed us to the moneychanger, where we dumped our 2000sp for a paltry 120gp. (Without a detect magic available, we held on to the jewelry). They followed us to the inn, where we got a room, had dinner, and left the chest in the room, along with a nice note to whoever stole it. They did not follow us out of town to meet the man with the wine.

As it turns out, the man with the wine also had a band of merry men and women, who claimed to be trapped near Meagre’s Reach due to the machinations of the fae Ygraine. The same who owned the manse by the lake, in fact. The head of the town council, a man named Reynold Barhaim, was supposedly in league with Ygraine. He had some means to leave the area, which his son Lope used to attend parties at Ygraine’s manse. They begged us to investigate the matter, starting with Ygraine’s manse and the son Lope. We avoided making promises, seeking only to return to Westkeep without being trapped here, but our path would take us past the manse anyway.

We stayed the night, as it was already dark, planning to leave for Westkeep in the morning. The jewelry we had uncovered in the barrow would bring a better reward than the silver, once we could check it for magic. The rest could wait.