The group turned around to look at Grimpem, who was furiously patting down all his pockets. "It's gone! We have to go back."
"Back to that…thing?" Hettle asked, nervously.
"We have to go back," Grimpem repeated, urgently. As the trio gathered their things and headed for the door, they were stopped by a voice.
"Is this what you're looking for?"
Turning, they saw a young male elf holding Grimpem's book out to him. The young lad introduced himself as Pluefin, and told them he had seen their battle with the strange creature and when they left, he went to inspect it himself and found Grimpem's book. A short conversation later revealed Pluefin's interest in their presence in town, and his willingness to trade some knowledge for the chance to hang with them for his own protection.
Hettle's not-too-subtle reference to the Shadow Hands brought lots of unwarranted attention, and the group decided to retreat to Grimpem's room to finish the conversation. It was there Pluefin told them of the reclusive leader of the Shadow Hands, a fellow that few have seen called Asano The Fence. He mentioned that they have many safe houses around the city and continent and are not to be trifled with due to their brutality.
The group decided that the first thing they should do is figure out where the strange wolf-man creature came from, and they decided to first talk to Mei to see where she first encountered the thing. The next morning, they headed up to the forge to which the workers had taken her. She described the alley that she was attacked in, and Pluefin was able to identify it. Chatting quickly with the forge worker, she told them of the disappearance of a few of her co-workers, and that normally a brothel girl's disappearance could be chalked up to fleeing in search of a better living situation…but the ladies in question had settled in quite happily to their life at the forge, and it struck the worker they spoke with as odd that these particular ladies would leave. They noted the information and decided to continue pursuing the source of the wolf-ish monster.
Arriving at the alley, it was Arauka who, using his extreme skills of tracking and observation, was able to very quickly determine the exact roof that he believed the monster had jumped down from. Seeing an opportunity to demonstrate his nimbleness, Pluefin pulled out some climbing pitons and began his ascent up the side of the building (not as gracefully as hoped). He lowered a rope and the remaining crew joined him on the roof. They followed the tracks several rooftops away to a locked trap door, which Arauka once again handled with great aplomb (and thieves tools). Under the trap door was a ladder leading down a narrow chute that, to everyone's best dark-vision assisted assessment, went down underground before ending on a dirt floor. A little encouragement to a cautious Pluefin (and a decent ultimatum from Grimpem: "you either come with us or stay on the roof to be found by whoever uses this door…"), the group descended (some head first…) down the ladder and emerged from the bottom in what appeared to be a small holding room in a dark basement.
The snuck through the door and found themselves in a room illuminated by reddish alchemical/magical lamps, and in the room were 2 tables, one with a skeleton strapped to it. The gang tried to find any magical source (and Hettle harvesting a Tibia for a flute) but to no avail. Continuing on into the next room, a room with 2 glowing kilns and a few work tables, Aruaka wandered in only to be ambushed from behind by some giant 10-foot tall faceless humanoid creature! A fierce battle ensued as the group rushed into the room to help their friend! Burning coals were used, some strategic pinning of the giant creature (later discovered to be a Clay Golem) to the floor, and well-placed magical bolt to the skull finally toppled the creature. From inside the creature's skull, the group harvested a glowing crystal which seemed to have given the golem its animation, and in another part of the room they found a book written in a language no one in the group recognized.
What was in the rest of this basement? What manner of work was being done here? What clues would they find in this mysterious book?