I was certain this morning would be my last. The disease had spread so much that I found it difficult to simply stay in my saddle. My joints were so stiff and every cough wracked my body.
It was not even noon when we saw a cloud of dust quickly approaching. Soon, a band of centaurs had surrounded us. It would seem we have found the Nomens or, rather, that they have found us. Initially, they seemed eager to be given an excuse to run us through, but I spoke to them in sylvan and explained our situation to them. The leader of the band took sympathy on me and decided to lead us into the Nomen camp.
The Nomen live in a primitive camp of hide tents and campfires. They were not eager to see us, in fact, some of them even drew out their weapons. Our escort led us quickly to a large tent at the center of camp. We found a female centaur kneeling at the foot of an idol to the moon goddess, Desna. If she noticed us, she didn’t show it and finished her prayer before addressing us.
She introduced herself as Aecora Silverfire, the leader of the Nomen. She was not happy to see us, even less than the other centaurs in camp. Apparently, years of conflict and war has caused a sizable rift between the centaurs and we “two-legs.” Just as she was about to run us out of camp, Abraham stepped forward and presented skybolt. My heart stopped in my chest and I feared we would have to fight our way out of the camp. However, Abraham used the bow as a gift and used his silver tongue to purchase Aecora’s friendship. I sometimes forget that he is our kingdom’s Grand Diplomat.
Aecora apologized for her unseated hatred and offered us stay for a night. She also escorted me to a local hot spring and allowed me to bathe in it. The heat felt good on my aching joints and it was a nice reprieve from the freezing cold. While I bathed, I spoke with Aecora more about what had happened in Varnhold. She knew nothing of what happened to the citizens and suspected the spriggans, but there is no way the spriggans could have emptied that entire town. They are scavengers, not fighters.
Shtor had mentioned a book excerpt he had found in the Varnhold inn and it came to mind as I spoke with Aecora. I recited the excerpt to her and her face grew deathly pale at the mention of the name “Vordekai.” According to ancient Nomen legend, Vordekai is an immortal, ancient evil that is unspeakable. Legend states that Vordekai resides in Olah-Kakanket, translated as Valley of the Dead in Common. All Aecora knows is that the valley lies somewhere to the west. Much of Nomen lore has been lost over the years.
After our meeting, I returned to the tent, Aecora had set aside for my party. I relayed all the information that Aecora had told me my allies and we decided we should make for Olah-Kakanket as soon as possible.