Well this was a longer session, quite some progress was made.
I began with searching through the Quagmire near the giant arm reaching for the sky. At some point I found a sword that was being held captive by 2 hands. The walls on either side had an opening to insert something. According to the talking heads mounted to the walls next to the openings, I’d need a total of 9 gold coins. So far, so good… interestingly the sword can also talk and in exchange for freeing it (and giving it a chance at revenge against the Castellan who imprisoned him there), I could gain access to the second-best sword in the game. At that point I didn’t have enough coins yet, so I continued searching the area. Elsewhere was a tree I could not cut (another piece of the puzzle) … nice coincidence that the sword mentioned it could cut supposedly indestructible armor. Speaking of armor, I found another set in this area, but it turned out to be useless: Less damage reduction than my current armor and only a reduction of poison effects as an additional effect, which was useless to me since I had the shield that makes me immune to poison anyway. After finding enough coins, I returned to the sword, freed it and cut a piece off of the tree. With the chimes I found elsewhere, I managed to talk to the Wind Elemental and learned another rather useful spell (prevents me from falling down pits and activating plates if I walk on them while the spell is active).
With the Quagmire done, I made a short visit to the Warlords Tower and quickly exited it again towards Fire Mountain. In this area I found another sword, the best one in the game, due to its additional effect (solid hits cause triple damage). The game definitely seems very weighted towards swords, making the skill point choices largely superfluous (and I already reached max level with slashing, too). While clearing out the first level, I found the Sigil of Fire, so I could descend lower without taking damage from the heat. There I found the Black Gnarl who crafted me the Coffer to contain the Dark Slag (while singing a neat little song).
To finish of the session, I returned to the Warlords’ Tower and cleared out the first floor, solving several plate and teleporter puzzles.
Next up: Finding and obtaining the Dark Slag, let’s hope it goes well.