After leaving the children with the Temple of Virtus, the heroes were summoned to Prince Reginald’s Keep to speak with him. However, they chose to ignore the summons until the morning and promptly returned to the Green Dragon for some well-deserved rest. Upon entry, they discovered that Reaver, their prisoner from the Double Blooded Crusade, had escaped.
During the night, an assassin entered the secret chamber in the Green Dragon and attempted to murder Cain Silverkin in his sleep. He struck a nearly fatal blow but Cain managed to thwart the attack and wake his comrades. Together, they drove the intruder from the premises — Ayla and Dietrich jumped out the window in an attempt to intercept the intruder (Dietrich landed gracefully while Ayla collapsed in a heap). Upon losing the assassin, Dietrich went to the thieves’ guild to find any information he could about the intruder. He discovered only that the assassin was known as “The Black Death”, a legendary assassin from Blackwall who only targeted high-profile persons.
In the morning, as they gathered around the breakfast table, they questioned Cain to try to learn his secrets. Why had he been targeted? What secrets was he keeping? When he refused to tell, Hogarth cast a “zone of truth” spell and forced Cain to tell the truth (as well as all the patrons in the tavern, causing a local couple to end their relationship after one admitted he had been cheating).
Cain revealed that he was originally from Blackwall and attended wizard’s school there, and at the height of his education the school was attacked and burned to the ground. He had a chance to save his mentor, but fled to save his own life instead. Since then, a bounty has been on his head because Blackwall assumes he was responsible for his mentor’s death.
After breakfast, they finally made their way to Prince Reginald’s Keep. Reginald gave them a reward of 5,000 gp and declared them official Thanes of Thrax, giving them full access to the library’s services and the ability to dispatch messages to any friendly locations via the Prince’s couriers.
The Prince asked them to speak to a prisoner they captured during the attack on Thrax, whose capture cost the lives of 18 guards and their best wizard. The prisoner, Thanatos, described his newfound allegiance to Malum, who appeared to him at the base camp below the Devil’s Spine and instructed him to renounce his allegiance to Blackwall so he could retrieve the Heaven’s Shields. He warns them that the Shields possess a great danger, one that even Malum fears, and that they should return it to him immediately and abandon their quest. In response, Cain used prestidigitation to conjure a fruit basket on Thanatos’s head.
Prince Reginald told them that Thanatos would undergo trial in three days, and would gladly allow them to view the trial.
Reginald requested the heroes travel south to Demonreach Keep, where the lizardmen fortified their stronghold. One of the Double-Blooded Crusade had been known to fraternize with them, and he said he would be most happy if they could eliminate the problem for him and would offer a handsome reward.
Before they left, Crank showed them that he could disguise the Heaven’s Shield and allow the Heaven’s Compass to point to the nearest Heaven’s Shield. Dietrich hired a band of adventurers at 20 gp/day to watch their cart as they ventured through the Blood Marsh and bought a pair of canoes to traverse the marsh. Davward volunteered to accompany them. The journey took a full day to reach the marshes and another half day to find Demonreach. By the time they reached the keep, which was clearly in a state of disrepair, rain had begun to pour. Two boggards ambushed them but were easily driven away.
The keep was guarded by several lizardmen and two ballistae. The heroes easily overcame the lizardmen and moved into the keep, finding a trapdoor leading to a series of caverns. Inside the cavern, several earth elementals attacked them; Dietrich managed to knock one into a river of acid. The others were destroyed by more conventional means.
They found a conveyor belt (covered in Deinonychus blood) leading deeper into the dungeon, as well as a cavern that led the same way. The cavern ended in an abyss; in an attempt to cross, they tied a rope around Davward’s midsection (who, by the way, happens to be afraid of heights), and tried to toss him across. The distance was too great, however, and Davward snapped back and slammed into the cavern wall, suffering poison from the nearby acid waterfall as he fell.
After they pulled Davward back up, they decided to take the conveyor belt. Halfway through they encountered a slicing machine; Dietrich successfully disabled it.
As they came out into a larger cavern, lizardmen immediately attacked. One pointed a Rod of Rulership at a large cage, releasing a T-Rex from its confines. The T-Rex went on a rampage against the heroes until they managed to kill the lizardman with the Rod, releasing the T-Rex from the spell. It turned on its captors and swallowed some lizardmen. Davward managed to successfully land a maximized magic missile spell on it, but other than that they decided to leave it be and escape.
Before making his escape, Cain found a note in a chest addressed to Anya Carpenter, instructing her to perfect her summoning so the assault on Thrax can go as planned.