After escorting Fimble back to town and collecting their pay, the party decided to return to Craighe's Keep and finish exploring it. Before setting out the party attended to personal business, which included Thea visiting with Reginald Tosspot, an eccentric "mushroom farmer" who she spotted out immediately as a fellow druid, living in shallow caverns under the city and tending the bizzare ecosystem of mushrooms, fungus, and cave species which thrived on the city's wastes. From him, she learned the very basics of poisons, being taught how to collect samples and handle basic poisons safely, hopefully the first of many lessons. Once they returned they found a lower level, which previously served as a wine cellar and secure storage area. The security door had been ripped away and the back wall and floor of the room washed into a natural cavern during the earthquake, and in the cavern they found rats. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of rats. Using Speak with Animals Thea was able to communicate with them and discover that they were all terrified of something they called "The Takers in the Dark," which would snatch them out of nowhere and consume them. Thea was able to negotiate a deal with the rats, having them show the party where the takers lived in exchange for some "shiny things" the rats located in the rubble below the collapsed room.
The rats revealed a stalagmite near the center of the cavern as the home of the "Takers," and the party quickly discovered that this was, in fact, a Roper. After a short but brutal combat the Roper was dispatched, and the party was lead to a partially broken chest filled with coins and the Craighe family war gear: adamantine chainmail, a +1 shield, and a +1 shortsword, all with the Craighe family crest prominently featured on them.
With that, the party asked the rats to leave the caverns, which they seemed to do, and then decided to return to Mordhataigh.
Once they were back in town, finding work and lodging was back on their mind, as the city was expensive to live in. They followed up on a lead and met with Madame Arachne, owner of the Silken Dream, the cities most highly regarded house of ill repute. She hired the group to escort her envoy along with some trade goods down to her contacts among the drow elves at Darkmeet, a trading post maintained near their closest city for interaction with surface dwellers.
While preparing for the mission, Ike negotiated a deal with Fimble, who (it turns out) worked as a fixer for the Magisters Guild, a group of scholars and spellcasters who specialize in ritual magic, along with other obscure and specialized forms of knowledge. In exchange for intelligence on the northern invasion, including sworn affidavits, the party would be provided with two months lodging at the secure guest quarters of the Magister's Guild.
With lodging secured and a job at hand, the party returned to the Silken Dream, ready to descend into the depths.