Grawp and Nonni gave the new allies the lowdown on the mission they had selected: Get to Grue and protect it before the military arrived in four days time. The force would be a collective from both Lybyr‘s and Frille’s excess prison guards, as well as support from Cyrill Castle Town and Cyrill Castle. As a result, the castle guard would be at high alert, so Nonni advised strongly against any immediate counter attack. Grawp stressed the importance of preventing the downfall of the last city of Cyrill before sending the group on its way.
The group now had two options. They could go back south through Cyrill to Grue, or they could take the northern route through the Lainirian Desert. Both paths would provide protection from one direction due to their adjacency to the mountains. However, the former path would take less time, only a day and a half instead of a full two days, while the latter path would avoid the possibility of an ambush by Cyrillian military, as most other beings avoided the desert entirely. Kars, taking the lead, decided on the path through the desert, and the group marched on.
The trek itself was easy traveling, despite the heat. Kole, however, knew something was amiss, though he kept his suspicions to himself. While the party slept, Kole again kept watch. As he suspected, a small band of gnomes approached, begging him to come with them. Torn, he went to ask leave by Kars, but the gnomes’ curiosity about the “strange creatures” got the better of them as they waited, waking the rest of the party (except Tarkhun) in the process. While the rest of the party stayed behind to rest and recover a bit more, Kole followed the gnomes to Gnome Home, a base of operations and home for all of the gnomes built into a hole in the mountains. Kole spoke to the Gnome King, who promised to help Kole with a personal matter if Kole promised to stay with the gnomes. Kole could not make that promise and told GK about Grue and the problems in Cyrill. He conceded to Kole, instead giving him a sphere that would allow his people to find Kole when they needed him, and Kole accepted. Kole then left to return to his allies, but not before attempting to “be the king of the gnomes,” much to the true Gnome King’s amusement.
When Kole arrived back later that afternoon, the party picked up camp and marched through the night. Soon, the sand was becoming more moist, the mountains fell away, and the grass of the Lainirian Grasslands could be felt beneath hooves, claws, and boots alike. Within hours, the sun was rising on the city of Grue.