The party, recouping after the battle with Gricks and the pursuit of the Xorlarrin worshipping mage, finds themselves within the welcoming green walls of Graward Halls center chamber. The morning meal is fully prepared as they rouse themselves and meet the collection of gnomes. Early into the meal, Adoril, the leader of Graward Hall, expresses his delighted expectation that the party will be granted audience with an emissary from Blingdenstone, the chief gnome city in the surrounding area. The early meal and small demonstrations of finery are results of his expectation, and indeed it does seem the gnomes are more active than usual.
Shortly before lunch, the delegation arrives to much acclaim and motion among the gnomes. Adoril, after appropriate demonstrations of deference, introduces the premiere figure among the three gnomes to arrive. Despite the flowing light grey hair and obviously worn pale skin, the elderly gnome stands without a stoop letting his silver-stitched but not ostentatious robes fall to his sandal-clad feet. Adoril conveys his surprise and delight as he announces Grismorn Tohlindel, Leader of the Sverfneblin (Deep Gnomes) and Speaker for Blingdenstone. A brief exchange of pleasantries between the party and Grismorn proceeds.
After a short while, a shorter stouter leather clad figure interjects himself into the conversation gruffly, insisting that the party reach the point of the meeting. Risgrivar is then introduced as the leader of the Scree, the band of disowned previously captured gnomes. Grismorn is visibly uncomfortable with proximity to the younger, dark-haired gruff gnome, and seems to be actively avoiding looking in his general direction. Risgrivar takes this as invitation and lays his plans forth. He was hoping to convince the party to join his effort in assaults on the support line to the Keep at T’lindhet. The Scree take it upon themselves to raid outlying areas and rescue captive gnomes wherever possible. They haven’t risked open assault as yet, opting for covert rescues or small assaults against unarmed targets.
At this point the party asks for more information about the assaults and the surrounding areas. Grismorn gestures to the third party member, a younger figure with a large satchel full of tablets and several large worn leather-bound books. Felvar, the young attache of Grismorn, carefully hands over several tablets among them a map of the surrounding area. The map details the collection of gnome encampments, but more importantly shows the keep and its outlying areas. Benwen notices an outlying building north of the keep labeled T’lind Spire. At this prompting, Felvar becomes animated and goes into detail about the old religious implications of the spire for the Dwarves that lived there many years ago. The group however fixates on the fact that the Spire is probably the primary source of information for the Drow excursion as its upper level offers an unparalleled view of the surrounding area.
The group seizes on this as a good point of assault and begins formulating an attack plan. Slightly chagrined, Risgrivar expresses his frustration at being dragged away from his operations with nothing gained. The party empathizes but mollifies him by reminding him that they’re both fighting the same enemy. A strike against the Spire will divert attention from his rear-guard assaults.
Emboldened, the party begins planning and provisioning for the trip. Rollie approaches Felvar about accompanying them on the trip. He immediately demures and says his official capacity under Grismorn is too important and couldn’t be away from Blingdenstone for too long. Undeterred, Rollie asks Grismorn if he could part with Felvar for the expedition, and an amused Grismorn subtly deflects all Felvar’s equivocations. Before he knows it, Felvar is enlisted.
But he’s not the last enlisted. Black powder expert Disgrim is the first person from Graward Hall to join the party. After hearing of the plan, young Titterwill volunteers for the task as well. After an afternoon’s preparations, the party decides to embark the next morning.
All goes well for the party over their first day of travel. Mid-afternoon they climb a waterfall in the rock. After Rollie quickly prepares the path up the waterfall and secures the ropeline, all party members take to the climb deftly save Marek who delicately traverses the height.
After several more hours of travel they camp for the night at an intersection of feeder streams. Disgrim takes it upon himself to lay some traps at this confluence and the group settles over a small fire for the final meal. Vrei asks the party about his time trapped under the mage’s spell and if the noticed any change in his person. He seems shaken by the encounter and after that conversation recedes into sharpening his broadsword.
The party ventures onwards the next morning after a stew of Disgrim’s catch from last night. Around lunchtime, the party comes to a collections of unmolested fungi along the riverside. Seeing providence in the food source, the Benwen and Rollie start collecting some of the fungi they recognize. Benwen goes into the center of the fungus patch, and feels a sharp pain on his lower leg as he brushes up against something. Soon the patch of fungi is roiling with action as the fungi convene upon their prey Benwen. Melkor cleaves large swathes of the fungi away attempting to bulldoze a path to Benwen. Rollie and Marek choose closer assaults on the fungi as they attempt to swarm Benwen and thin the numbers. Benwen however is soon overwhelmed and his daring escape attempt is thwarted. He finds himself on the ground defending himself with his shield as the fungi hammer away. After clearing the path, the party dispatches the fungus ending with a triumphal “Bloodsport” stomp from Melkor on the last fungi.
The party bandages and takes a longer lunch before setting a slower pace for the rest of the day. The camp on the ever-thinning riverside and wait to embark the next morning.