The group disembarked from the river boat and saw the great doors to Blingdenstone, cut into the side of a mountain foothill. A small figure descended the stairs and greeted them. Briddick welcomed the volunteers, explaining how Blingdenstone had been invaded by the drow nearly a hundred years ago. He leads the group through a labyrinth entrance that was one of the city’s defenses. After describing how complex it was, he mentioned the rumor that a traitor had shown the drow through the maze, after they had successfully dispelled the magical protection that had kept the entrance hidden from the drow.
Halfway through the maze, the group heard a shuffling noise from a side corridor. When they investigated, Briddick, Bennet, Sir Paul, Sasha, Gravel, and Thorn saw 3 drows . . . zombies. They engaged the zombies, killing two when 5 more turned the corner. Thorn and Briddick formed a front wall, ready to engage the zombies if they attacked. Sasha, Gravel, and Sir Paul attacked from afar. Although the zombies proved slow and easy kills for the fighers, Briddick suffered two strong blows.
After killing the zombies, the group searched the corridor and found no hidden passage or other secrets. Briddick led them to Blingdenstone and into the Singing Stones cavern. There, he showed them a map of Blingdenstone—what areas the gnomes had recovered, where the major threats were, and where they could go to find how they could best help.
They were then accosted as they ate by the bard Gurmadden Stonesinger who told them some more about the drow invasion, repeating the rumor of the traitor. He also explained how the Singing Stones was once a tavern where bards before him had worked special crystals to produce a great music that was unlike any heard before. He then asked the group if they could help him by recovering at least 6 crystals from the mines where the kobolds now lurked, offering 10 gold for each crystal. He showed the group a cracked and unusable crystal so they knew what to look for.
Thorn then asked if the crystals were the most important thing that the gnomes needed, and Gurmadden said that, no, they did need supplies and had problems with the orcs and kobold.
The band splits up:
- Thorn and Briddick went to see Jalless
- Sir Paul, Gravel, Sasha, and Bennet went to Henkala Shadowsong
The Spitting Nurse
Immediately upon their arrival at The Trader’s Grotto, Jalless barks orders to Thorn and Briddick. She asks Thorn to cut bandage for her, and, after he pulls out his axe, she turns to Briddick to cut it, rolling her eyes at Thorn, who explains that his axe would be excellent for cutting bandages. She sees Briddick’s wound and tends to it.
Thorn says that he’s been wounded as well, but Jalless says that it’s nothing and spits on it. She keeps a special herbal chew in her mouth that not only works well to prevent infection but also provides her with an energy to tend to the wounded.
Thorn asks about the orcs, and Jalless responds that she would kill them herself if she could. She then remarks that Kargien has been fighting the orcs for years and has nothing good to say of him, spitting at her saying his name. She explains that the orcs come from the northwest mostly, though she’s seen them attack most every cavern the gnomes hold. She asks if Thorn and his group would take on ridding Blingdenstone of the orcs themselves. Thorn offers to show her how to use an axe someday.
Thorn leaves to rejoin his companions. Briddick leaves Thorn to return to finding more aid from the Silver Marshes.
A Magic Store with No Magic
The others go to see Henkala at The Phantasmal Glamours. There, they ask her about the traitor. She stutters that she did not know. She then explains how she survived the drow attack, how, although her mother had magical powers, she had not learned any magic. Her mother cast a spell to hide her so that she could escape. When she heard that Kargien was returning here, she joined up, mainly to see what remained of her family’s belongings.
She was asked about any magical items. Everything that she had was used long ago. She has a couple of healing kits and potions, as well as some acid. The rest is usual fair.
When asked about what needed to be done, she said that the Hall of Miners, where they had smelted ore and repair items, had been taken over by earth elementals, which they had problems with before the invasion. Kargien had decided to leave them be as they were not attacking the gnomes, even though they have seen a large humanoid figure among the elementals. Henkala says that she thinks the shy pechs in the Armorers and Weaponsmiths area might know something about the elementals and why they are there.
A Visit with Kargien
The group goes to The Ruby in the Rough to see Kargien Dissengulp. The Ruby is a large cavern with a low building in the center, the entrance to the temple of Segojan Earthcaller, the gnome god of earth, nature, and death. Just outside the temple entrace, there’s a small building where gnomes go in and out of, including a couple of sentries.
He introduces himself to the group and explains their main mission at the moment — to get rid of the orcs. When told that some think he has not made much progress, he explains how Blingdenstone was completely taken over by orcs. There were hundreds of them. In 40 years, with few gnomes and volunteers and never enough supplies, they are close to victory with probably 40 or so orcs left. He has been preparing for an attack on the House Center, though he knows that they are strong there and that other creatures are likely inside. When Thorn suggests that they could attack the orcs from the eastern caverns, Kargien does not dismiss the plan.
The group also mentions the kobolds, which he says are becoming a greater problem and seem to be coming from the The Foaming Mug where there is an opening to the Wormwrithings. He says that the group should not go there without a guide because the tunnels are as bad as the maze. When they are ready, he will assign them a guide.
When asked about the elementals and pechs, he explains that the elementals have always been around and that the gnomes used to bind the elementals, to prevent them from attacking. But now, they seem content with the Hall of Miners. He would not mind seeing them gone, though, because he does not trust that they will remain peaceful. He also dislikes the pechs and would like to see them gone.
Together Again with the Bard
The group considers the possibility of taking Garmudden Stonesinger’s cracked crystal to the pechs, who might be able to create more. When they ask him, he gladly gives the crystal to them.