Once the refugee village of New Appleton is on a good footing and Falgar’s new bow is complete, the party heads off to see what more can be learned about the fallen sky. With the idea that there may still be survivors, they make their way toward the Vakefort and the Shattered Tower.
En route to the Vakewall, they wander into a patch of dense white fog. Falgar notices that it’s unnatural – it’s high up on an escarpment, rather than lower in the valley. Climbing a tree to get a better view, he sees that the fogbank is roughly 100 yards in diameter. Not wanting to get lost, they backtrack out of the fog and make their way around it.
Drojan thinks he spots a flock of dark birds in the sky at one point, but nobody else sees it…
Once on the other side of the Vakewall, they take stock of the Vakefort. Another tower from the sky fortress has crashed upon it, and sparkling magics swirl around it. An intermittent magical barrier seems to flit across the area of the main gate to the fortress. However, Sage’s keen eye catches sight of a gap off to one side, where the edge of the fallen tower meets the wrecked roof of a section of the fort. The party scrambles inside through it.
They find themselves in a bare cell of a room – not a jail cell, but a sleeping room. Drojan forces open the jammed door, and they make their way into a hallway with many doors. Falgar gets whiff of the scent of blood – not quite fresh – and they follow it to a door behind which is an infirmary. There are no bodies, but plenty of blood has been lost in this room.
After scavenging a few supplies, they move on to a room on the far side of the infirmary, and end up in a banquet hall. Here they’re accosted by a large animated suit of chainmail armor, which a Dragon Empire shield and sword. In addition, a gigantic millipede crawls out of a shadowed corner and attacks.
The battle is touch and go, with Falgar and especially Alinar taking massive amounts of cold damage from the eldritch construct. But they prevail, and spend some time resting there to recover. Drojan recovers the chainmail construct’s shield, which turns out to be a Shield of Inspiration – an item that at the start of each battle emits a war cry that both inspires its allies and draws the attention of its foes. (“Who wants some?!?”)
Beyond the banquet hall they find some servants’ passages and an exit to Commander Merry Hosard’s chamber, which has been packed up and abandoned, nothing left behind but the furniture. They find a kitchen in which they stock up on foodstuffs for the road. And then they find a stairwell, leading both up and down.
Reasoning that in a fort, down usually leads to not-so-nice things, they head upward. On the next landing, they head down another hallway. A room off to one side is bare, with a doorway affixed to the far wall – but with no opening. It seems like it might be a magical gateway, but nobody can figure out much about it.
Further down the hallway they approach a wide door flanked by two stone statues of dragons. Within moments, the statues spring to life and tear into the party. They only get in a couple of small hits before Alinar, having randomly gathered power through an attack with his wand/sword, lets loose with a chain lightning that shatters both statues.
The dragongoyles defeated, the door they guard opens, and beyond it is a chamber with a sand table in its center. Several blue apparitions, similar to what we’ve seen around part of Appleton after the sky fell, walk and “talk” (silently) around it.