Grumbar runs into a few Mintarn mercenaries. They tell him they have information on some of the mages that are collaborating with Lord Neverember. One of them, Zarla, is skilled in electricity-based magic and quite loyal to Neverember – she’ll probably have to be killed. Another one, Giovanni the Artificer, is more amenable to negotiations and can probably be bought. Grumbar convinces the rest of the party to join him, except Baern, who is still deeply absorbed in researching the dodecahedron. Udonan takes some convincing, but the rest of the party offers to help him achieve his quests in exchange for his aid.
The mercs have information on the building where the mages are working, and this allows the party to reach the magical research chamber effortlessly. They peer around the doors and see a female mage in the middle of an octagonal room, performing incantations on a large crystal which is giving off arcs and sparks. At each corner of the room, a spherical gem is mounted in the masonry. The party enters and immediately starts attacking the gems and the mage. After a shocking combat experience, the mage is dead, the crystal has been scooped up into the bag of holding, and one of the deactivated gems has been pried loose from its socket for further study and/or profit.
Entering a room beyond the research chamber, the party meets Giovanni. He has several guard homunculi in his office, and seems to be highly skilled in fields the party may find useful. Rather than killing him, they offer to give him part of the House of Knowledge to use as a new base. He won’t work for free, however – a lot of his abilities require money for his time and supplies. Nevertheless, he can be called upon in future if a highly skilled Artificer is needed.