They also met up with an old acquaintance (a shapeshifting kind of werespider who is a powerful wizard that hired them once), picked the pocket of a particularly annoying barkeep and initiated "Operation: Bilk the Castellan." Then, things took a turn towards the dark...
Tucked away in a small hole-in-the-wall in town is a scroll-and-potion shop operated by an elvish seer; in her shop is also a silver basin named "Sehanine's Vision," an artifact which sometimes gives visions to those who look into it. She doesn't charge anything for people to look into the pool, but she does warn them beforehand that they may not like what they see.
camstone's ranger looked into it and saw a fortress spewing forth an army of orcs.
jamesbarret's fighter looked into it and didn't get anything but the echo of a distant battle. When his wizard looked into it, on the other hand, she made contact with a dark power in the form of a bloodshot eye rimmed with tentacles -- which just also happens to match the emblem on a talisman of somebody they encountered previously (and didn't like, let us say), and is also on the banners of the fortress the ranger saw. This dark power didn't seem happy to see her -- and she certainly wasn't happy when the tentacles reached for her. Fortunately, she broke the link quickly.
laurie_robey's fighter/rogue looked into it and saw a wizard school up in the mountains being attacked somehow; the exact situation was unclear.
The party then went back to the castle, where their new patron informed them that a wizard school in the mountains was having monsters surge up from the catacombs below -- and sent them off to deal with it.
Pretty soon, they'll be saying, "Remember the good old days, when we used to fight fiendish gray oozes?"
Heh, heh, heh. ;)