Standing before the vast temple doors in the quiet halls of Vordakai’s tomb, the intrepid adventurers were joined by general Zaltek, who informed them that the treasurer had finally fallen asleep in the chamber below. Trying to decipher the arrangement of altars in the temple, the sharp Iathiel believed she had the key to passing un-assailed, and the blood of Zaltek was added to the stained bowls upon the altars, leaving the lamps unlit. Whether too much or too little had been done will likely remain unknown, but upon testing the door, the group found the room full of cold, black fire. Minds and bodies ravaged by the flames, the group persevered, pushing into the rooms beyond. They first came upon a small room adorned a priest’s quarter, but seeming strangely unfinished. A dark hallway led to a pillared chamber just beyond the edge of the lights brought by the group. Another set of doors led from the room to a dead-end stair, seeming even more roughly cut than the former room. Finding no sign of secret passages onward, the group dared the pillared room, and found themselves greeted by a grotesque creature, asking them to state their errand in a telepathic voice that left them with a vague feeling of mental moistness. Failing to satisfy the fiend, a brief combat ensued, and for the first time the group found themselves faced with failing magics, as their onslaught of majestic fire failed before touching the shiny carapace of the creature. Brought down by spell-wrought blades, the fiend returned to Abaddon. In the room behind the pillared hall, the paralyzed form of a young centaur was found, and restored to mobility and a semblance of health. She was indeed the daughter of the Nomen priestess, and the group decided to escort her home.
On the way, they decided to try capturing a mastodon for the king to ride upon, in spite of the king definitely being conscious of his height, like, at all. The general figuring that his skills as ranger would make him the best person for calming the herd, and as a discussion between the naturalists of the group concluded that the herd would follow the elder female in the absence of a protective bull, he chose to use his magic charms on that beast. Aided by invisibility, he made it close enough to cast his spell on the mighty animal. It tensed briefly at his spellcasting, but calmed under the influence of the spell. The herd, initially near panic, quickly calmed as they saw the elder tolerate the small hunter. This was the point when Zaltec realized he had neither the skills nor a plan for how to handle the animal, so he made a beeline back for the group, and they all left before the spell could wear off.
Back at the centaur camp, the Nomen centaurs rejoiced to see the young warrior returned, and at the tale of the defeat of the dread Vordakai, they threw a brutal party that lasted into the early morning of the new day. The group awoke to find themselves honorary centaurs, allies of the Nomen tribe, and covered in painted patterns that did not seem in a hurry to be washed away. They were given the sacred bow Skyfire to keep as a sign of their alliance.
Departing from the Nomen camp, the group decided to scout some land on their way back to Varnhold. A mostly uneventful trip, they did run across the territory of the landshark the Nomen had named Kankerata, but against adventurers such as these, even this mighty creature was quickly done away with. They quickly skinned the beast, to the best of their ability, and returned to Varnhold, where they released the villagers. The king quickly executed the skinner for his actions against centaurs, bringing the population of the village down to 41. Realizing that maestro Pendrod was amongst the survivors, the group decided to bring him along with them, and they headed North to Nivakta’s Crossing, setting the number to 40. Realizing they had little and less defense against future horrors, the villagers offered to declare their city for the Greenbelt, if the territories could only be connected.
Another landshark was discovered on the way, and done away with just as decisively as its larger cousin. A small village of 140 souls, the mighty King Zanzuket, may he be eternal, nonetheless in his infinite magnificent wisdom decided to advertise the glories of his kingdom in the market square, hoping to motivate some villagers to move. The group decided to brave the river on the return trip, but quickly realized that none of them knew how to steer a boat, even if it was a magical folding boat. Knowing of the waterfalls and rocks common to the Shrike River, they elected to hire a fisherman from Nivakta’s Crossing, and left for home.
As maestro Pendrod was handed off to his happy colleague, the rulers of the kingdom set to work arranging for roads to connect the kingdom to Varnhold’s holdings, starting the roadwork, but otherwise saving their resources to some much needed repairs.