The Rocksuckers of Shallach
Late in the month of Shanthin, groups of orcs were found wandering the highways of the Basin of Life, who were literally "stoned" from licking strange rocks covered with crystals. The wandering orcs were first found by Shedrin Shevat, Morbo Gordian, Tulemrah Shevat, Ushaara La'Saet, Morshoth Skyplume and Eritheyl Skyplume, all of Hallifax, who promptly slew the orcs and obtained their rocks. The group traveled around the Basin, searching for someone who would recognize the rocks or have the capabilities of analyzing them. From Talthos and Estelbar to the scientists of Hallifax, they found no answers. It was not until they traveled to the ruins of Shallach that they were able to find orcs with information. Using the strange rocks as a lure, they were able to learn of someone the orcs called "the good lady" who, they said, had no face but sold the rocks to them for gold. After receiving the rock from the Hallifaxians, the orc became suddenly uncommunicative as he had gone into a drug-induced stupor.
Days later, some of the orcs began to wander into the cities and communes of the Basin. The confused orcs were unable to relay much information to those who inquired, though some were able to direct interested parties to Shallach. Hallifax was the first to arrive in Shallach, to begin their search anew for "the good lady" but instead stumbled upon Kronak Bruar, an orclach warrior wandering the ruins. Kronak had no answers for the Hallifaxians, as he had only just arrived and was unaware of the plight of the orcs. Soon, other members of the cities and forests began to arrive and question the wandering orclach, all save for New Celest.
Those gathered in Shallach soon learned that Kronak was not from the Basin, but was a member of the League of Elite Warriors, who had been sent from outside the Basin of Life to learn more about the strange weather of the Wounded Sky. He had taken a detour to find Shallach, wishing to see the centre of orclach power that he had read of in old stories. It was soon explained to him by those gathered that Shallach was only ruins, irrevocably changed by the Taint during the fall of Holy Celestine Empire. Learning of the cruel fate of those orclach who had become the pitiful orcs, Kronak decided that he would work to protect them from whatever the strange drug-rocks were doing to them.
Enlisting the help of those present he led them to Gruvar's tower, along the northern wall of the ruins, where Kronak had heard strange sounds coming from within the tower. While no entrance to the tower could be found, Kronak had come equipped with the Society of Elite Warrior's proprietary energy release trigger. Gathering together essence as an energy source and other materials needed to build the device, Kronak released the energy of the elemental essence at once, ripping a hole into the side of the tower.
Within the tower, a strange tank was found, which Kronak deduced to be the source of the strange rocks that affected the orcs so much. Kronak was eventually able to unlock the control panel on the tank for Xenthos An'Ryshe of Glomdoring, though Xenthos found it difficult to fix the tank due to so many people trying to manipulate the controls at once. Eventually, the tank was able to be fixed, though only after releasing some clouds which simulated the effects of licking the drug-rocks. Finally, to end the threat against the orcs, Kronak requested that the cloaked woman who sold the drugs be killed and the corpse given to him. Rika Talnara of Serenwilde had the good lady's corpse on hand and gave it to Kronak. Satisfied that the threat against the orcs had passed, Kronak gave Rika an ancient, deteriorating tome that contained old records of the ur'Guard during the Holy Celestine Empire. The book, written in orclach, was soon passed to Tully, a dwarven bookbinder with knowledge of the language, who translated it for the others. The book revealed many previously unknown facts about the history of the Empire, including how Gaudiguch and Hallifax came under Imperial Celest's banner.
Citing a desire to stay and protect the orcs Kronak took up a permanent residence in the tower. Forgoing his quest to learn about the Wounded Sky, he promised to send a message over the mountains to L.E.W. to request someone else take up his mission to solve the mystery of the weather.