This is a direct sequel to A Gnomish Journey and to GoldieLaw and Sheriff Bear. Hamilcars nephew, Monte, finds himself jailed in a foreign land for trespassing. Djembe and his gnomes split up, with two of them searching for the other gnomes and Djembe trying to free Monte. Matrum and his female companion walk through a portal that drops them in the outskirts of a strange looking town.
Djembe’s crew isn’t meeting much success. He attempted to break Monte out of jail but made a mess of the stealthy plan. After successfully scaling the building walls he realized he had no way to figure out where Monte was in the three story building. On top of that, a guard heard him scamper up the wall and had raised the alarm. Not seeing much in the way of a good option, Djembe clambered down the wall and booked it. His escape worked but it hadn’t helped Monte much. Meanwhile, Gimble had found one of the group of gnomes. One of them had broken his leg badly, so they were hiding out in an abandoned basement. Djembe and crew sought the wounded man out and healed him as best they could.
Off to the plane hoping Matrum…
The pair decided they may as well investigate this city. As they approached several creatures emerged who looked like guards of some sort. They were Formian soldiers, but they didn’t have their weapons drawn. The Formains explained that they were trespassing in the lands of Mandible and must be brought to a captain to ensure they didn’t mean harm to the hive. They complied with the authorities and walked with them into the city. When a captain was able to speak with them he immediately told them they must be brought before the queen. This isn’t a matter of hostilities, she wishes to help them. So again, they go along with it. As they are escorted underground a Formian explains that Mandible is a hive who wishes to make peace with humanoids. They have lived peacefully next to Cudjel for many years and even permit some merchants to set up shop on the surface. Outsiders are not usually allowed underneath the city though. Scene fades out as they emerge into a huge cavern with an immensely bloated Formain behind a pane of glass.
Monte is woken up the next morning by a guard. He tells him that he will be brought before a judge in a few hours. Djembe and the gang are out searching for one of the last two groups of missing gnomes. Hours pass and Monte find himself speaking to the judge. The judge asks him why he was found in the sacred temple of St. Cuthbert, far into the restricted areas. Monte explains his case honestly, that he was transported their by an evil wizard and that he had no intention of any wrong doing. He is then asked to excuse himself while the judge decides his verdict. Djembe has found another gnomes squad, but they are one member short. The portal they went through dropped them into a kitchen. Unfortunately one of them dropped into a pot of stew and wasn’t found in time. Monte is acquitted of his crime (he is 12 for christ sake) and is freed. He is given an armed escort until he can find someone to take care of him. They wander the town and meet up with the gnomes. Monte tells the escort that they are friends of his uncle/guardian which he believes is safe enough.
The queen speaks to Mygar and Astrid about the predictions of her seers. They have foretold the coming of a great evil. Something so powerful it could destroy the planes themselves. They told her ‘a man without form, a man without heart, and a daughter of pain would gather together a group of brave warriors’. It is this group, and only this group, who will be able to kill The Man Who Shouldn’t Be.
A beam of light flies from Matrum chest, through the glass, wounding the queen. The guards immediately descend on him as he protests his innocence. The queen orders them to halt, saying “I can feel this energy, it is foreign to the vampire. The enemy must have cast a hidden spell on him before he came here. Nevertheless, they should leave lest there are any other surprises.” As they journey to the surface, Minnie contact Matrum telling him to meet up with Djembe and Monte in the city of Cudgel.
As the two groups are preparing to meet, Minnie tells them both of a portal that just opened near Cudgel. If they all hurry they should be able to meet just a little ways away from it. A bit of walking takes place and everyones together again (well, accept that last group of gnomes that was forgotten about). The portal appears to be a set of twelve ropes hanging in two rows of six. They are guarded by two Githyanki who are easily killed. Climbing up the ropes leads the group into a sort of astral pirate ship. There are a few more crew members on board who are dealth with, and them the ship has been stolen. Our heroes now have an Astral Skiff at there disposal.