The boys are out of school today in celebration of the birthday of Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau or something, I don't even know. But it's basically a long weekend for them. Between that and one of the players dropping out, this session was down to Firstborn and his friend who plays the Halfling Arcane Trickster.
This was the session where I finally came back to a bunch of the stuff that we had pending, but it started with the group going back to explain to Lord Aldenmier about the orcs. Aldenmier, it turns out, has a stake in a mining concern; and since these are Delving Orcs (who normally live underground) he thinks he could find a place for them at this mine if they were willing; they could even carve out their own living chambers in their spare time. This immediately caused some friction with the Orc Chieftain Ghazat, who's definitely not giving up control of his tribe, even if they'd be taking orders from a half-orc. But, the group talked Ghazat into coming out and meeting Aldenmier, and Aldenmier said basically that the half-orc foreman would be in charge of the work, but that Ghazat would be in charge of the tribe. Ghazat was at least willing to consider that; they'll just have to see if it'll work out.
They did, however, establish that it was possible to walk the orcs through the magical shield-membrane that keeps the dungeon sealed, as long as there was at least one member of the company already outside and at least one member still inside. This was a great relief to the cleric, who is looking forward to freeing their mousefolk clan from somewhere further down in the dungeon. Lord Aldenmier said he'd need at least two more days to finish making the arrangements with the other house who has a stake in this mine, and Ghazat went back inside to share the news with their people.
As they were leaving the orcs, the small cat statue that the Dragonborn Sorcerer has been carrying around began to meow and purr again. (It does this occasionally; they haven't yet figured out the pattern.) As they neared the exit, they nearly walked into another adventuring company who was clearly on their way down to the depths. This was the Laughing Beasts, a banner company in the service of a mysterious and much-rumored house; their leader is a gnoll, there's a massive lizardman with a greataxe, a couple of orcs, a kobold...
The gnoll stops to look at the group, while the rest of them file past him and into the room with the kobolds; this is immediately followed by the sound of dying kobolds. Then the gnoll walks over to the Dragonborn sorcerer, takes his hand, and makes a cut across the palm and up the arm with his knife. He nods once, then turns and walks away. Our heroes restrain themselves, because they're pretty sure that attacking the Laughing Beasts would be suicide... and because the Toruv, the sorcerer, is pretty sure that the wound was deliberately superficial -- that this is something in the nature of a "Welcome to the club" ritual.
So they head back outside, and back to the Aldenmier estate... where someone is waiting for them: older Human, brown robe, excited expression... He's a druid and a professional Griffin trainer, and he's come up from the Griffin Ranch to see these eggs. He's actually fairly excited about it -- "Ooh! Speckled Mountain Griffin eggs! They're nocturnal, most unusual..." -- and offers to buy them on behalf of the ranch.
...Which is when the PCs erupt into argument about keeping the eggs, learning to ride griffins, costs of feed, etc. etc. etc. while Aldenmier looks on, bemused. After a couple of minutes of this, the druid makes an alternate suggestion: he's been thinking about retiring, and if lord Aldenmier would help set him up with a farm (preferably somewhere isolated, with stone buildings) and a stake for starting expenses, he could set up his own ranch for griffins and other exotic animals. He'd be willing to raise the speckled mountain griffins and train them to the PCs as part of the process, thereby demonstrating his skills for one of the local Banner Companies and their illustrious lord.
Lord Aldenmier is amenable. As it happens, he has some magical rings of unusual potency, which he could sell out to local nobles and adventurers to recoup his costs. (These would be the Rings of Protection +2 that the group was farming from the treasure chamber.) Mainly, though, he's interested because this would give him another business venture that none of the other Houses have any stake in.
After that there's a lovely dinner before the druid flies back to work things out with his current employer, and in the morning Toruv (Dragonborn draconic sorcerer) and Barrith (Halfling Arcane Trickster) head into town to sell off treasure and look for useful supplies.
They're just nearing the market when a massive figure steps out of a cross-street and throws its hood back, then sweeps its cloak open. It's a skeleton... a very large skeleton, with a bull's skull and large horns, carrying an axe that's roughly the size of Toruv and has blades the size of Barrith. It attacks, injuring Toruv fairly severely. Barrith takes a moment to cast False Life on himself so that it can't squash him immediately, and Toruv turns and sprints away. The skeletal minotaur attacks Barrith this time, but misses.
Toruv skids to a stop at the edge of the market, then turns and lifts his hands to cast...
A massive, scaly hand comes down on his shoulder. It's the lizard man from the Laughing Beasts company. "What's that?" he asks, looking at the minotaur.
"No idea," says Toruv."
"I know what it is," says the lizard man. "It's fun." Then he lifts the axe off his shoulder and starts striding towards it. Toruv grins, then casts a doubled Catapult spell, prying up a couple of cobblestone and hurling them at the skeleton. They hit, and it staggers. Barrith, dancing in and out of its legs, adds some damage with his staff. Then the lizard man arrives and slaps the thing with the flat of his axe; it definitely feels that.
The minotaur attacks the lizard man but fails to connect, and Toruv finishes it off with another pair of magically-propelled cobblestones, which at that point are sufficient to kind explode the minotaur's rib cage. It collapses.
The lizard man looks back at Toruv and calls, "Well done." Then he strolls casually off into the crowd, while Barrith and Toruv look over the body -- or, well, the pile of bones.
Somebody has tied a small pouch to the spine, just below the neck. There's a note in it.
It's from the lich who runs the library outside of town. He'd be pleased to meet with Toruv and Aspen and provide them with assistance in their research, as long as they are honest with him about their goals and their findings. They will need to bring their own supplies if they stay for any time, as he does not keep food on the library grounds; but he does have guest rooms with small kitchens for visiting scholars of the sort who aren't undead yet.
And that was where we ended. I need to do math on the treasure, but that's more than my brain is prepared for right now.
Treasure they're carrying from this last adventure:
-silver coffer (worth 200 gp)
-3 rubies (100 gp each)
-Bottle of perfume
Current party treasure by my count is 25 PP, 1217 GP, and 31 SP.