Five weeks passed since the heroes successfully jumped the Black Death in his lair outside Thrax. Cain returned to his bakery; Dietrich to his stage performances; Ayla to her knighthood training; and Hogarth to his blacksmithing. Meanwhile, Boren confirmed he had successfully purchased one of the nearby houses and was working on acquiring the other in his efforts to expand the Green Dragon.
In the five weeks our heroes settled in, unseasonable storms had wrought havoc upon Thrax. Hailstorms, strange bouts of strong winds, heavy rains, violent thunderstorms, and finally, an earthquake ravaged the city. Prince Reginald called upon the heroes to investigate the Fallen Fortress, a long-forgotten and magically sealed fortress in the Fields Eternum that was broken open by the final bouts of earthquakes. His spy network had confirmed that Prince Alexander, his rival brother of Blackwall, had sent a powerful troglodyte by the name of Tasskar to occupy the fortress and fortify it to begin using it as a base of operations for Blackwall.
Before setting out to rid Thrax of the vermin in the Fallen Fortress, the heroes prepared at the Green Dragon. A sorcerer by the name of Farengar visited them and admitted he was a member of the Double-Blooded Crusade, a terrorist organization that seeks to overthrow Thrax’s current government. He requested that the heroes visit the catacombs beneath the fortress and recover a book entitled “The Book of Storms” for him, written long ago by a powerful wizard. He claimed his interest was the preservation of Thrax and that they had a shared goal in stopping the storms. This book, he said, could give him information on how to make them stop.
The heroes agreed (but only after negotiating for a fair price), and then set out to the Fallen Fortress. They hired Ragnar, a grizzled mercenary, and his company to accompany them and set up a base camp outside of the fortress.
The fortress was five stories high and filled with troglodytes, mohrgs, giant spiders, and a shock lizard by the name of Kazkaz who served as Tasskar’s pet. They employed Kazkaz’s shocking abilities in the final battle against Tasskar and his giant crocodile pet, Snapjaw. The eastern wing of the tower collapsed, sending Ayla tumbling to the ground below. However, she survived and they managed to open Tasskar’s trapped chest. Inside was a book entitled “On the Heaven’s Shields” by Lesser the Bard. They also managed to rescue an amateur adventurer by the name of Balenar Forsend, who decided he would quit adventuring and return to his fletching profession.
The heroes returned to Thrax to rest, then made the journey to the Fallen Fortress again. On the way, Hogarth read “On Heaven’s Shields” and learned more of the lore behind the Heaven’s Shields. According to the book, the Heaven’s Shields were crafted as an actual shield that, when placed upon their pedestals, prevent extraterrestrial dragons from accessing the continent of Shieldus. The shields were crafted by the “gods” (whom the book suggests aren’t truly gods at all, but are merely powerful beings with a vested interest of protecting Shieldus) roughly 500 years ago.
They reached the fortress and headed down the catacombs, spending a day traveling down a long corridor that led them to the actual catacombs. Hogarth ventured a guess that they were directly below Thrax.
Upon searching the catacombs, the heroes were beset by a duo of cloakers, a rust monster, and a couple of basilisks — one of which managed to turn Dietrich to stone. Ayla successfully pulled the statue out of the room and the group cast Deeper Darkness on the door, blinding themselves and the basilisks.
They fumbled with their magic spells and their swords, (hilariously) causing more damage to themselves than the basilisks did. They succeeded in killing one, but the other escaped. After a long, fruitless search through the darkness, they decided to return to Thrax to have Dietrich restored by the clerics at the Temple of Virtus.