Once Drey met Vargas, he had a rush of almost teary-eyed homesickness. Seeing a centaur reminded him of all he had left behind in Fiiel, but upon hearing about Vargas’s skill in mountaineering, he also remembered his mission – to climb to the top of the plateau and find a new sentient race. With newfound vigour, Drey was keen to get moving on his quest, and prodded his ragtag bunch of adventurers to head out with him. Pan and Braed, the rather confusing bearded married couple, decided in the end not to follow Drey. After their exciting and successful adventure with the kobolds, and with almost a year’s wage burning a hole in their purses, they preferred to hang around in Coratka, spend some money, and perhaps visit the dwarven lands. They bid their farewells, but no doubt they will find adventure elsewhere, and it’s funny how fate has a habit of bringing people together again…
But for now, Blueblood went and collected his ink, Kage wrapped up the affairs of the climbing equipment and new donkey, and Drey took Vargas to visit a temple of Hesed, where for a reasonable donation of 50 gold pieces, he received healing of his wounds. The group met together at the merchant strip, and made their way speedily for Midcin, hoping to reach it in one night, to speed through Pa Kel without meeting any priests wanting donations, and to get to Gorag’s Inn and find Ritsrit so they could get their payment for the extra ink vials.
For once in their lives, everything went right, and not only did they receive their pay handsomely, but they also made it back home to Pa Dimeh without incident! It was a wonderful homecoming, with Kage going to the dojo to meet his parents, talk of his exploits, and train beside some of the initiates who had yet to wet their sword in true battle; Blueblood visiting the Junsa and finding Watashe, discussing his adventure, and getting yet more encouragement to join; Drey finally getting a chance to explore the palace itself; and Vargas getting sick of having ogre kids pointing and giggling at him in the courtyard, so he eventually left and went and stood in the rain outside the palace.
Blueblood’s parents were so happy to see him safe, and although being a little upset that he had not yet plans to visit Ken Ta Ral, were happy that he had learned something of mercantile trade, having bought and sold items and made a profit on his last trip. They expect him to fulfil his contractual obligation to Drey, and then to return and hopefully head to Ken Ta Ral. Before he left, Blueblood also sought out Watashe for one last question – had he heard anything about centaurs roaming around trying to sell apples? Watashe had never seen a centaur before one walked into the palace courtyard, but he said he would keep his eyes and ears open for Blueblood.
After spending a night sleeping in their own beds (or in Vargas’s case, in the rain) the party all too soon were heading out of the gates of Pa Dimeh once again to head back towards the plateau. Their first night on the road was fairly uneventful, except that Kage thought he heard a sound like pigs tromping around past the camp. Hu seemed to agree, saying he saw a small herd of wild pigs stomping through the rice paddies in the dark of night. Since the firelight discussion of the previous night seemed to focus around ankhegs and hydra, and the other denizens of the northern flood plains, Vargas got up early to scout around, making sure there was no trace of the dread hydra beast. However, he also didn’t see any tracks of pigs, which was less surprising considering they probably trampled through the rice, and Vargas wasn’t keen to get his hooves wet.
As the party packed up their camp after breakfast, a goblin farmer approached them and asked if they had seen any wild pigs about, because his spice garden had been trampled and devoured, and he wanted the menace taken care of. He said he thought it was his neighbouring farmer, Lao Soo, who apparently had a rivalry with him for prize spices, and who also apparently owned pigs. Drey said he didn’t mind them investigating a little, since it was more or less on their way, and the party set out to solve the mystery of the sodden spices. Stay tuned!