After the pink slime disaster, we decided it was time to head back to town. We had found some items of value and quite frankly we were all a bit shook up by seeing one of our compatriots have his face eaten. Not to mention the ordeal of puzzle-solving overnight from the fisher king. But our first stop was to fatten our purses, so we headed to Retep’s antiquities… But only after checking them ourselves, of course.

Morgath insisted on keeping the book on slimes and oozes. He thinks it will be useful later. We also kept the box with vowel dice, in case they turn out to have some hidden significance.

The urn with charcoal turned out to contain a strange vial, some sort of potion of pep. Ooohya was the one who volunteered to taste-test, so he kept it. u-Heury ate a green mushroom that healed him. The purple mushroom made Ooohya’s tooth glow.

We started with Retep after that. The man has a good eye and is honest. He spotted a black pearl amongst the glass beads from the second urn, and bought it from us (after we had it checked for magic) for 500 gold, along with just over a hundred more for the silver box and the urns.

Colmax took his pay and left, but I took Bayonetta and Gurg out to dinner to celebrate. Bayonetta wanted to double her flat fee, but I talked her back down. Gurg was quite content to make drinking money to cover his bar tab. I guess ale is a kind of gold, albeit more temporary than most. Perhaps that’s why his people exiled him: he’s shortsighted. (I think this dwarf joke offended Gurg; I must remember to avoid telling any more.)

In the morning Oooohya kept his appointment with Muirron the local wizard. They got along well from what he said afterward, and secured an appointment for Morgath the following day as another colleague. Of the items we collected, the potion and mushrooms were magical, the rest not. Muirron was intrigued by the frog prince and aided Oooohya in his research at the library of Arcantryl the following day; they located a reference to a black mirror lake in the forest of Dolemwood.

u-Heury showed unexpected depths, accompanying Oooohya to the library and trying to learn to read, and later canvassing the market in search of more information on the mushrooms he had found. He found an old woman who knew where they came from, and named it the Incandescent Grotto. She could offer little advice on what they did, aside from saying that their effect could be random. There was a close call with a St Yggian patrol that seemed to suggest the mushrooms might be contraband.

Oooohya also made friends with the librarian Miss Tuesday, and in the process discovered that the west wing of the library has a mysterious secret door that seems to appear only when you aren’t looking for it. The patrons of the library seem to avoid that wing as well.

With our new ready coin, we signed up Bayonetta and Gurg again and bought basic provisions for a trip to the Archaian ruins. Both Muirron and Retep appeared to be interested in acquiring relics from those ruins, so we thought it worth the trip to put the place on our map. The ruins are to the northeast of the dragon’s teeth henge somewhere.

We spent the night nearby and discussed two ideas for the future, to improve our effectiveness. First, we should strongly consider riding horses to allow those of us in armor to travel more rapidly. Second, when keeping watch, we should ensure those in armor take the watches; a man of magic can be shaken awake and be effective in his nightgown (well, as effective as he would be otherwise), but those of us who fight in the front lines depend on leather and metal that cannot be quickly donned.

After leaving the henge we spotted a trail of smoke in the distance, which turned out to be the scene of a battle between lizardmen and orcs with a burning wagon left on the scene. The wagon smelt strongly of offal, which reminds me of something Oscar mentioned about the wagon he captured from the orcs. Was this an orcish wagon carrying more mutilated bodies? Did the lizardmen attack it as bandits, or to punish the slaughter of their kind?

Regardless, there were no survivors from either the living or valuables, and even the wagon was beyond saving, so we moved on. We camped again for the night near a border marked by skulls impaled on fenceposts. Beyond the border lay a vast expanse of black sand…