The party splits up, Jeb and Turin heading to meet with the Lord-Mayor Navalant. After a short time spent in reflection, Markas, Cazna and Ogwu Onu decide to investigate Keygan Ghelve the locksmith. They find the gnome`s shop on Lava Avenue. Inside, the gnome greets them, standing on a pair of stilts under long pants, as he prefers to do business at eye level.
Ogwu Onu wastes no time in questioning Keygan, asking to see his teeth, thinking he might be related to one of the orphan`s nightmares. The forceful interrogation quickly sours the locksmith`s mood, and this is only made worse when Cazna wanders into the back room. Keygan follows, demanding she return to the front room, threatening to call the guards if the party does not cease this behavior at once. Desipte the home invasion, he calms somewhat, and asks of the party that they sit down and they can then discuss his locks. He is met with refusal.
Already on edge and visibly worried, Keygan finds Cazna advancing on him, the aasimar cornering the gnome after uttering a prayer to some deity. He quickly goes from agitated to outright terrified, Cazna accusing him of hiding something. Keygan breaks down and begins to confess something, speaking incoherently in his fear.
Meanwhile, Markas and Ogwu Onu seemingly decide to let Cazna do as she will with Keygan, making to ascend the stairs onto the second story of the shop. No sooner does Markas put a foot on the stairs that something jumps down from the second floor, landing behind him and striking with a rapier.
The creature, a nude, completely hairless humanoid with unsettling blue eyes and dull gray skin that seems to shift color attacks the two men without so much as a word. Ogwu Onu recieves a wound to his thigh but the strange creature is quickly put down, Markas landing the finishing blow with his mace. It falls to the floor, dying, but Owgu Onu performs basic first aid and stabilises the creature`s condition.
Cazna had picked up Keygan and wandered into the room during the fight, the gnome having shrieked in terror upon sighting the creature, professing his innocence to either the party or the creature before falling to the floor when Cazna went for her blade.
With the creature vigorously subdued, Keygan`s fear passes rather quickly, replaced with despondancy. He laments that “Starbrow” will be killed now. The mission still fresh on their minds, the party has little patience for the gnome and demands some answers. They extract the following information from the reluctant, weary locksmith:
Three months ago, (The same time the kidnappings started) creatures made their way from Jzadirune into Keygan`s shop and ambushing him. Taking his rat familiar Starbrow hostage, they forced Keygan to create a set of “Master Keys” to the city as the gnome had created most if not all of the locks in Cauldron. The creatures then set out at night, sneaking into houses and stealing people away, presumably taking them into Jzadirune, a long abandoned gnome enclave under Cauldron. The enclave had been abandoned some 75 years earlier due to “The Vanishing” a magical an unknown affliction of some kind that caused gnomes to dissappear. He claims to know his familiar is still alive, and that the rat is cold, hungry and scared.
Markas swears to return Strarbrow unharmed and to save the children, which surprises Keygan. Grateful, the gnome retrieves a rough map of Jzadirune from his room and offers more information.
The sole entrance to Jzadirune is in Keygan`s house. The enclave`s doors are built to ressemble gears, and slide into an opening when opened. They are were warded with traps only the gnomes could bypass. There are two kinds of creatures, the “Tall Ones” like the strange humanoid the party subdued. The other “Short Ones” are gnome sized creatures with pallid skin, large noses and hooves for feet.
With this information, the party decides to retreat to the inn to wait for Jeb and Turin. They douse the hairless creature with wine and dress it up in pants and a cloak, provided by Keygan and load it atop Baron.