After the events of the short story “Cut Short” Gelbin left Sicco to his fate and resumed efforts to decontaminate the upper levels. The G.I.B. and Gearlord – operating in concert with the Alchemy Corps – emerged to help tackle the tactical and environmental hazards but progress was slow in light of the fighting and limited access to equipment. In some cases, Gearlord used mobile arcane beacons to teleport down to the lower areas of Gnomeregan with heavy guard to assess future cleanup operations. Curiously, one such clean-up team was found slaughtered in the forests near a decon depot was stationed. Investigations continue as to who or why they were killed.
The bulk of Sicco’s forces still were entrenched and refusing to give up, vowing to fight to the last gnome for their “king” who had become conspicuously absent. One of Sicco’s “generals” resorted to a counteroffensive on the surface, abducting gnomes and exposing them to radiation ‘elixir’. Those that gave up hope joined the ranks where the others simply perished or found a more horrible fate in the lower levels.
As the G.I.B. pushed to control the entrance and upper levels, the Irradiated Army admitted that Sicco must have perished and reorganized into the Irradiated Resistance Army. Claiming that those who remained behind were now the rightful heirs of what the rest of gnome society abandoned, conveniently ignoring the guns that had been pointed at those who had tried to return.
Bitter fighting continued until, along with the advent of the Legion’s invasions, hostile engagements with Irradiated Army’s forces stopped. Initially, it was thought to be a trap or a contemplation of surrender. Perhaps G.I.B. had dealt them a more serious blow than expected.
The cause was clear when waves of troggs donning strange black-and-white warpaint swarmed against both sides in the Upper Engineering ramparts. The troggs seemed undaunted by the heavy casualties, overwhelming the gnomes and driving them out of the lower levels.
Gnomeregan had become a tripartite entity with the Irradiated Army caught between the troggs below and the surface gnomes above. They cut power to the lower levels which plunged it into an abyssal darkness for a time. Somehow some power has been rerouted, clearly not by trogg means.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, there are rumors of something else lurking in the dark, neither trogg nor gnome. Several soldiers have gone missing, all near areas where the power goes out inexplicably. No bodies were found, only horrific, scenes of struggle and blood-soaked smears leading off. A few captured irradiated gnomes have heard similar reports but with tantalizingly fewer details, either due to their deteriorated condition or fear.