With a rough map in-hand, the heroes made their way toward Blingdenstone, where Reece promised they would find hospitality among the deep gnomes there. He had studied with Kazook Pickshine in Neverwinter some years ago, and Kazook had told him wonderful things about the gnome city in the Underdark. Soon they would learn that some of those tales may have been somewhat exaggerated.
After briefly getting lost and happening upon an underground hot spring, the heroes made their way to a large cavern where they heard a brief shout followed by a sickening crunch. In the shadows and silhouettes they made out two hideous caterpillar creatures with large tentacles just below their heads. The carrion crawlers attacked.
The odds were against the heroes, but they were holding their own. Luckily a group of svirfneblin led by Nomi Pathshutter were searching for their missing comrades and came upon the battle. Nomi sent their galeb duhr to assist in dispatching the crawlers, and the party was relatively safe once more.
Nomi told the party how to proceed onward to Blingdenstone and made a request that if they were to come upon any mad out-of-control earth elementals, that they return any samples to her for further study. Her hypothesis was that Ogrémoch’s Bane was present within the Rockblight portion of Blingdenstone, and the menacing entity from the plane of elemental earth was causing the other earth elementals to go mad.
Following her directions, the party then came to the entrance to the Pickshine Mines where they met Dasco Pickshine. Dasco sent them on their way along with a couple carts of ore that were heading back to Blingdenstone.
Upon reaching the svirfneblin city, the party was greeted with dour indifference and minor suspicion. Since Reece had mentioned his good friend Kazook, they were permitted entry. They wound their way through a maze of defenses before entering Inner Blingdenstone.
Once inside they immediately set out to find Kazook and were told that he runs a trading stall in the Trader’s Grotto. Without delay they proceeded to the bazaar, but came upon a dire situation indeed. Somehow two gelatinous cubes had made their way into the area and were actively devouring gnomes.
It was feared that Elias would perish after being engulfed by one of the cubes. But the party was able to defeat the creature. With the immediate threat behind them, Reece finally reunited with his lost friend Kazook. Unfortunately they needed to seek aid for Elias, and were quickly ushered to the temple of the svirfneblin god Segojan Earthcaller.
A young priest was able to heal Elias, but not before he was visited by the spirit of Burrow Warden Jadger. Jadger beseeched Elias to settle two restless spirits of Blingdenstone, one Vazuk who violently haunts the living quarters in Inner Blingdenstone, and another Udhask, whose remains were lost somewhere in the area now known as the Rockblight.
After Elias’ recovery, Kazook led the party to The Foaming Mug, where they caught up over a warm meal of roasted chicken. Kazook set up a meeting with Dorbo and Senni Diggermattock, the de facto rulers of Blingdenstone for the following day.
When the heroes returned to the Trader’s Grotto to take care of some incidentals, they were approached by one of the guards. He was one of two who had been temporarily engulfed by one of the gelatinous cubes. He told the heroes that while they rushed off with Kazook to heal their friend, the remaining svirfneblin guards found 12 gp and a magical shortsword (+1) of drow manufacture. He wanted to reward them for saving him from the cube and gave them the treasure.
The heroes also met with Gurnik Tapfinger, the head priest of Callarduran Smoothhands, another svirfneblin deity. The heroes were interested in having lesser restoration cast upon them, but Gurnik was unwilling to cast the ritual for free. He requested they undertake a quest instead. The former temple of Smoothhands was desecrated after the drow invasion, and now lies beyond the svirfneblin reach in the Rockblight. He requested the heroes place a special spell gem in the menhir of the temple to consecrate the grounds and protect it from the influence of Ogrémoch’s Bane. In return he would either cast lesser restoration, or provide a blesssing of weapon or blessing of protection upon them. It was a difficult choice for the heroes, but first they would have to venture into the Rockblight.
The heroes met with Dorbo and Senni Diggermattock. The Diggermattocks told them that they were under a lot of pressure to sustain themselves at Blingdenstone. There were several areas of the former site that were lost to the drow incursion decades ago. While they’ve reclaimed Inner Blingdenstone, several problem areas remain.
First there is the unexplored area to the Northwest. Recently oozes have been making their way into Blingdenstone and wreaking havoc. They’ve all been headed in that direction. They requested the heroes investigate the area.
Second, there is a standing feud between the expedition deep gnomes who have recently returned to Blingdenstone and the descendants of the original inhabitants. Those descendants, known as the Goldwhisker Clan, currently inhabit a section to the west. Complicating matters is the fact that they have all become infected with lycanthropy. Dorbo does not trust them, nor does he wish them well. Senni would rather see a unified Blingdenstone and requested the heroes entreat with the Goldwhiskers to create goodwill.
Thus the heroes realized that if they were to receive any help finding their way out of the Underdark, they would have to assist Blingdenstone with its own problems.