without warning, syracen tumbled backwards overboard, accenting the dying gasp of the massive cave snail. as tendrils of fire exploded from from ming’s hands and seared the creatures flesh, nowhere dove overboard and wrapped her arms around the deathly still eladrian. a fevered, yet futile effort to resuscitate her, caused time to slow, and it seemed eons before you were collectively snapped back into reality by a guttural bark. turning to port, you saw several humanoids, not more than three and half feet in height, sailing in your direction. unfamiliar with the fast and throaty dialect, and thus unaware if they were friend of foe, ming conjured forth the spell root understanding and listened to their banter.
lash it to the jig you fools, before it sinks! there’s enough caper’crawl meat in there for a month, and i have a mind for plumpling dumplings, cackled one of the creatures.
as the dinghy grew closer, the creature’s specifics became more clear. four gnomes, each with oversized, glowing eyes, a bald head and ocher flesh were rowing in perfect harmony, while a fifth stood on the bow.
again, he barked, don’t think i’ll spend a piss, before strapping lightrock to your boots, a rope around your waist and using you you for bait if you lose that fish. his companions cackled at the comment and began a fervid discussion on the pro’s and con’s of various knot techniques as they continued to close on your position.
as their vessel effortlessly slid next to yours, the gnomish party immediately set to work lashing the caper’crawl to one side of their boat, while offsetting the buoyancy by throwing sacks of what looked like albino turnips over the other side. only when the bounty was secured did the gnome at the bow turn to address you and say, you paleskins haven’t a tiny treant’s tit what i’m saying do you?
to his surprise, when ming responded in near perfect svirfneblin that he, in fact, did understand, the lake was once again silenced, as each of the gnomes slowly turned their heads, equally suspicious and dumbfounded.
the ensuing curt and guarded conversation revealed little more than the leaders name: davian rumpletrunks, the eight and half.
when ming asked about the surface, young davian responded the surface? your better off asking for a snogs ass-chaps….. it’s uhh… that way, upon which he proceeded to point up while all of his companions indicated a different direction, before collapsing into a rocking ship of laughter. shaking his head and wiping a few sooty tears from his eyes, davian chuckled, you really are lost. aren’t you? as his he reconsidered each of you, his mammoth eyes came to rest on raktess, a todding human? how in emmantiensien’s acorns are you even standing here and not digging out darkrock in some femorian strip mine? pinch me, tipwitch. i must have passed out piss drunk on pelderwine. when one of the gnomes actually reached out to pinch him, he snarled which caused it to quickly withdraw its hand and snarl back.
as ming and davian continued to converse, the discussion ebbed into an actual debate regarding the ownership of the caper’crawl. while ming claimed that the kill granted he and his companions rights to the beast, davian cited that the goladrian lake fell in his peoples province and even went so far to accuse the party of poaching.
ultimately, a deal was struck when davian, and his companions, seemed less than enthused at the idea of a group of surface folk digging holes and wandering around aimlessly trying to find this thing they called the sky. in exchange for the caper’crawl, he offered passage to the edge of the fungal grotto.
the grotto borders king bronnor’s territory, but them femorians will either sell ya or salt ya. their slave trades out of harrowhame connects to the kings road. maybe from there you can find that sky your so eager to swim in.