The party discover a building upon one of the larger outcroppings in the subterranean water. They enter the front door and find a lounge with expensive but somewhat tasteless-looking furniture.
They continue to explore, venturing into a hallway that is crowded from floor to ceiling with a variety of wall hangings. Aribi notices that one painting in particular appears to be a focal point. The painting depicts a family of gnomes – a mother, father, one taller boy with black hair, and a shorter boy with red hair. The family stands in front of a modest cottage and a large dog is on the ground beside them.
Unruhk and Topiary speculate that this may be a portrait of the Sparkneedle family. They previously met Gazimoff Sparkneedle in Neverwinter, and they know that a gnome named Baxter Sparkneedle used to run the Smiling Jester in Stradesberry.
The hallway is lined with six doors, each of which lead to a small room with a single bed. These bedrooms are also decorated in a busy and claustrophobic style. After checking each of the bedrooms, Topiary and Aribi search a room that appears to be an office. Inside a locked door in the office’s desk, they find a large ledger book that seems to be keeping track of accounts. The ledger entries are written in Gnomish, which Aribi is able to translate.
Aribi finds more debits than credits. The ledger’s owner made many payments to individuals and groups. She notices one familiar name in the ledger – Fortin Harra, the leader of The Watch. Fortin is paid 500 gold each month until the ledger’s entries end approximately seven years prior. Aribi also finds credit entries for items such as “ticket sales,” “admissions,” and “room.” She takes the ledger with her as she and Topiary leave the office.
The party then explores the outside of the structure, finding another doorway on the northeastern wall. This door leads to a larger bedroom with a fireplace and other furnishings. Topiary searches under the bed and finds a strange, small book with an unusual green cover. Unruhk is able to identify the cover as being made of dragon leather. The front of the book is decorated with elaborate gold embroidery.
The book is written in Elvish script, but Topiary is unable to read it. She determines that this means the book is either written in a cipher using Elvish script, written in Sylvan (a language used by fey creatures), or written in Undercommon (a language used by some inhabitants of the Underdark). Aribi interjects here to say she knows it is not Undercommon – though she has no idea why she knows that since she has never learned the language. Topiary is able to determine that there are numbers at the top of each page of the book. They are always in ascending order, though numbers are frequently skipped. The first page is numbered 1 and the final page is numbered 24,813. Topiary takes the book with her as they leave the building.
Meanwhile, Pamplemousse and Unruhk have scouted ahead, finding a long wooden bridge that connects to an elevated area of the cave to the north. Pamplemousse sends her chicken, Jam-Jam, across the bridge and discovers that the cave walls narrow on the far side and a large brick wall spans the entire width of the cave there. There is a substantial-looking wooden door in the middle of the brick wall. Gristlemonger is able to hear something beyond the wall that sounds like multiple pairs of footsteps, or perhaps shuffling feet.
Unruhk, Gristlemonger, and Pamplemousse all cross the bridge without incident, but the bridge is beginning to show some strain from use. Aribi crosses next and crashes through a rotten plank, but Gristlemonger quickly comes to her aid. Topiary crosses last, jumping across the gap Aribi left, then loses her footing and nearly falls as well. Gristlemonger also helps Topiary across, and the party regroups near the brick wall.