It was after dark in the city. Kree Firemane stood up from the prone body of the wizard lying across the narrow alley. The female warrior, leader of the adventuring band known as "The Company of the Boar" (no job too small, no payment too large, as William was fond of saying), adroitly avoided the spreading pool of blood, and held aloft three ceramic vials and a few coins. William the scout made a sound to express his disgust at the small amount of money carried by the dead warriors whose bodies he had just searched.
"Pah! This one had only a few pennies. Unless he was carrying his valuables elsewhere..." Brun the dwarvern warrior grimaced at the prospect of watching William performing a full body cavity search on the corpses - he had seen him do it before. The fourth and newest member of their team, Hansaar, a young and brash mage, stood by eagerly awaiting the results of the body search. 'He probably doesn't want to get his hands dirty', thought Brun, looking at the blonde mage's finely manicured hands. Kree Firemane thoughtfully nudged one of the bodies of the would-be assassins, whose leaking bodily fluids were now staining the cobblestones of the alleyway where they had been lying in wait. She did not know whether they were waiting to specifically ambush her adventuring group, or if they were happy to kill anyone - this was a secret they would take to their grave.
The Company of the Boar had been on their way to collect another member of their band, the druid Aleena Greenfingers, when William had luckily been alerted to the ambush by a glint of steel in the shadows, thus the ambushers had been ambushed. Now taking the spoils of victory, it seemed they had little reward from their brush with death - three vials and some coins.
Kree kept one vial and handed a vial each to William and, after a moment's hesitation, to Hansaar. Brun was not perturbed, sorting out magic was not his favourite part of an adventurer's life, and at least William seemed to have given up the idea of the body cavity search. Kree gently eased open the cork from her vial. Giving a tentative sniff she announced "sweet smelling". William lit a torch, and brought it close. As she suspected, the colour of the liquid inside the vial was yellow. "Healing potion" Kree said, "probably." With magic potions you couldn't be sure. Potions which had gone awry in the process of magical brewing had the same smell, colour and taste, but usually had a detrimental effect on the drinker.
Handing his torch to Brun, William opened his vial. It was orange and effervescent. After smelling it, the scout wrinkled up his pointed nose at the smell of rotten eggs. "Phew, I'm not sure what this is." He recited the characteristics, while Kree pulled a small scroll from her backpack and looked at a list, angling the scroll to catch the torch's flickering light. The list contained characteristics of all of the potions they had encountered during their adventuring career.
"According to our list it is probably a potion of giant strength," she said. "We found one in the the Zombie Lord's lair, remember?" Kree looked at Hansaar. "Your turn, and be careful." The mage grinned in his annoying way and casually twisted off the cork. He sniffed, looked at the colour and looked puzzled. "Green in colour, bitter smell," Hansaar said. Kree looked at her list. "Hmm, could be a potion of flying, have a taste." Gingerly Hansaar took a sip. "Ugh, sour taste," he said making a face. Kree shook her head. "We dont have that one on our list, I wonder what it is?"
Hansaar got a strange, wild look in his eye, and said "One way to find out!" The mage's companions instinctively knew what Hansaar was about to do. Kree barked out a warning, Brun only had time to take one step toward the mage. William's dark eyes widened with interest, but he did not move. Hansaar tilted back his head, his long blonde hair falling free, and upended the contents of the vial into his mouth. He gulped, and then looked at the party, an uncomfortable, sickly look on his face. Brun took another step towards the mage, who was starting to crumple. 'Poison', thought Brun, 'the poor, stupid human has drunk poi... '
There was a sudden muffled thud, which Brunor felt as well as heard. Something long, warm and wet slapped the dwarf in the face, obscuring his vision, and at the same time there was a sudden wave of heat. Brun grasped the slimy, sticky object, which had partially wrapped itself around his head and looked at it, taking several seconds before realisation of what it was sunk in. A long pinky grey tube, lumpy and torn at both ends, and smelling offensive. Part of an intestine! Brun hurriedly threw it on the ground, and took a few more long seconds until he discovered where it had come from. There was almost nothing left of Hansaar, he had exploded! A scorched lower leg was the largest piece remaining, which conveniently lay atop of a pile of rubbish. Most of the wizard's skin, bones and internal organs were splattered around the walls, although a few portions were stuck to Brun's armour, he discovered with dismay. Kree was pulling faces as she peeled unidentified body parts and skin from her own armour, and wailed when she found more sticky lumps and blood in her long, auburn hair. Brun was even more annoyed to see William had escaped relatively unscathed, only a few droplets of blood had stained his arms where the scout had instinctively flung them up to protect his face.
"I think that was a potion of explosions", said William, quite unperturbed. "Better put that on our list, Kree. Green in color, bitter smell and sour taste. I suppose we had better go on to Aleena's house and ask if we can use her bath to scrub off Hansaar. I wonder what our next wizard will be like?" William ducked to avoid a scorched mage's leg, which Brun had flung at him.