Firesday, 10th of Nerth, Year 3033
Now shortly after midnight, the celebration at the Turgid Truffle continues as Alistair walks between the colossal roots of the huge, petrified and hollow trunk, descending an earthen ramp into the darkness below. Finding no gnome workers or archivists to be found in the dark, twilit night, Alistair decides to head deeper into the wide, heavily-trodden entrance tunnel. He notices that Barkley has followed him and wishes to accompany him below.
The tunnel, lit by glowing mushrooms which resemble lantern lights, descends and makes a sharp turn, coming suddenly to large wooden desk with a sleeping gnome resting his head atop it. Below his head, all manner of scattered parchment and record books can be seen, as well as a large, empty bottle of liquor or wine. Behind him, a wall seemingly carved out of a petrified root stands with a large wooden door with a barred window set within it. Above the door, a small bell hangs, attached to a mechanism that connects to the door’s hinges.
Meanwhile, having noticed Alistair and Barkley slip away to the factory, Korag-Gora sits silently in the night. Two guards emerge from the manse of Gazrik Capwink, and begin walking towards the factory not far behind. He decides to head that way as well.
Alistair stealthily investigates what is on the desk, but doesn’t find anything of interest. Noticing the sound of heavy footfalls and hushed whispers approaching, Alistair looks around at his surroundings for somewhere to hide. Peering under the desk, he is surprised to see the snarling face of a giant badger crawling out from a hidden burrow in the wall. Using his animal handling skills as a former farmer, he is able to calm the beast and quickly slides into the badger’s burrow with Barkley, creating a very snug and somewhat cramped hiding place.
Back at the tavern, Kvothe realizes that Alistair and Korag-Gora have disappeared. He asks Alonwyn and Lilith if they have seen where they went, as he wants a real drinking buddy, but they are too intoxicated to give a straight answer, and decide to head off to bed. He then decides to sneak into the barracks to check on Magnus, thinking that Alistair and Korag-Gora themselves might have done the same thing. In order to pass by the sleeping militia, he transforms himself into a mouse to remain hidden and quiet. Once in the dungeon, Magnus awakens, and when asked by Kvothe whether he’s seen either of them, he says he hasn’t, so Kvothe heads back out of the barracks again, leaving Magnus to sleep more, recovering from his injury and exhaustion.
Korag-Gora, having tailed the guards through the tunnel of the factory, comes up right behind them as they reach the table of the passed-out gnome. The guards are taken for a shock when they notice the hulking goliath standing behind them, and nearly have a panic attack. Korag-Gora asks them what they are doing, and they state sheepishly that they are investigating an intrusion, and that technically Korag-Gora is an intruder as well and that he should leave. Unphased, Korag-Gora offers to help them search for the intruder. They are too afraid of him to say no, so he begins searching the tunnel for signs of Alistair.
Immediately, he notices the badger burrow, and peering in, sees a badger, Barkley, and Alistair looking out at him, Alistair making silent, frantic gestures to not rat him out to the guards. Standing up and turning to the guards, he says there’s no sign of the intruder, and that he must’ve already left. The guards, eager to get back to sleep, say thanks and head back to the surface.
Alistair pulls himself out of the burrow once the guards have disappeared, and Alistair thanks Korag-Gora for covering for him. He says that he thinks the gnomes are hiding something, possibly the location of or information about the bleeding tooth.
Examining the door and its apparatus, Korag-Gora pulls the clapper out of the small bell to keep from alerting anyone. Testing the door, they find that the door opens without needing to be unlocked. The sleeping gnome waykeeper remains undisturbed. They pass deeper into the factory, into the tunnel beyond.
Back at the surface, Kvothe bumps into the two guards and asks them if they have seen their friend Alistair. They explain that they are busy searching for an intruder. Finding the description of the intruder eerily similar to Alistair, he makes his way to the factory and comes to the checkpoint. Finding the giant badger, Kvothe uses his druidic magic to speak with the badger, asking if it has seen any sign of his friends. The badger, in its simplistic badger tongue, crudely explains that Alistair and Korag-Gora passed deeper into the factory. Barkley emerges from the burrow and, after a bittersweet goodbye with the giant badger, follows Kvothe through the checkpoint.
Many feet ahead, Kvothe and Barkley meet up with Korag-Gora and Alistair in a hallway with many doors along each wall. The ceiling has rows of metal pipes running along the ceiling of the tunnel. The floor is no longer a hard-packed dirt and instead a cobblestone patchwork.
Finding the first door locked, Korag-Gora kicks it in, sending the solid wooden door flying inwards. Much to their horror, a loud, horrible shriek begins piercing their ears, emanating from the darkness of the room. Peering inside with their ears covered, the room appears to be a modest office, with a large desk and some shelves covered in books.
To the left of the door, a strange, tall, purple mushroom stalk with many open, quivering pores can be seen vibrating, creating the horrible shriek. Korag-Gora drops the door he kicked in onto the fungus, smashing it to a pancake and smothering the sound. They investigate the room, but all of the writings and books are written in Gnomish. They find a box, and inside find some gold and six potions, each in small bottles containing strange-hued liquids. They take the potions but leave the gold.
They find the next door in the hallway locked as well. Instead of kicking the door in, Korag-Gora goes back to the checkpoint and finds the drunken gnome still slumbering. Searching his person,he finds a key hanging from his belt. Using they key, they unlock the room and are greeted with the same ear-shattering, piercing shriek. Smashing the mushroom, they find a similar office.
Alistair searches the desk and finds a mushroom farming almanac written in Common, complete with many varieties and types of fungus. In the margins, notes in Gnomish are scribbled. He manages to find an entry on the bleeding tooth, and reads some new information – the bleeding tooth usually lies at low elevations, but rarely entirely beneath ground, as it needs small amounts of light. It is also commonly found at the foot of trees, which do not grow beneath the earth. Taking the almanac, they return to the hall.
They notice that the pipes in the hall are leaking water in some places, and buckets and ladders have been haphazardly placed to make ramshackle repairs to the leaks. They eventually come to a T-intersection in the hall, with the path to the left ascending and the path to the right descending. They elect to head to the right. After descending a ways along the dimly lit hall, they come to a wider tunnel which is no longer furnished or floored. The tunnel has many struts and supports along the walls and ceiling, similarly to a mine.
Korag-Gora is worried about the air quality, wondering if it could possibly be poisonous. Alistair sends a ball of flame down the hall, testing the air and illuminating the tunnel with red light. No explosions ensue, so Korag-Gora lights a torch to guide the way. They pass many branching tunnels, each labeled with signs written in Gnomish, but eventually come to a large, barred and locked door similar to the one at the checkpoint. The sign above the door is written in thick, bold, red script.
Unlocking the door, they peer down the tunnel into the darkness. Korag-Gora shouts into the dark, hearing nothing but his own voice echoing, to test the structural integrity of the tunnel. They encourage Alistair to fire another flame down the hall. Much to his horror, the fire roars into a blaze, engulfing the room ahead.
Rushing towards the light of the flame, they find the chamber to be composed mostly of old wooden struts and structures, now on fire, creating a walkway or catwalk suspended above a large pit. Below, they see squirming and moving creatures appearing to be made of fungus, slime, or mold. The platform is held up by large wooden pillars and supports which had been coated in a strange oily substance, but the oil is flammable and had burned up. In the center of the platform, there is a lift apparatus next to a crate of rotting meat.
Burning debris and chunks of wood begin falling down into the pit of slime molds, agitating them and causing the horde of hundreds to begin to climb their way out, no longer impeded by the oil that blocked their path and caused them to slide downward. Now reaching the wooden platform and moving towards the party, Kvothe throws the pile of rotten meat onto the floor, causing them to swarm it in an attempt to absorb the food, but it is quickly decomposed by the many creatures.
The party runs back through the tunnel from the stampede of slime. Kvothe uses an earthen tremor to collapse the tunnel and trap the slime molds in the chamber. It blocks their path, but they are able to climb over the choppy, rocky terrain. Alistair commands Barkley to leave the factory and escape. Korag-Gora runs back to the offices to retrieve the door he kicked from the hinges, bringing it back and slamming it into the place of the windowed door. Kvothe casts an entanglement spell on it, binding it into place with creeping and grasping vines which grip it with great force.
Sighing with relief, but fearing the worst from Gazrik and the Mushburrow forces, the three quickly head towards the exit of the factory to head back to the tavern.