Coldbreak, Second Ten-day
Once up the stairs, the party was tricked into a position where they were effectively surrounded by the remaining spriggans. The spriggans used the outer hall to encircle and corner the party. Brost ended up establishing the front line against the spriggan leader, and would have fallen if not for the efforts of Torra. Diego was forced to defend the rear of the party and was flanked by two of the creatures who took turns beating on him.
Eventually Zin, Elias and Brost hurt the leader enough that he attempted to escape. As the spriggans began to fall, the party was able to use the corridors in the same way as the spriggans to surround their remaining enemies. The last spriggan shrunk to normal size and attempted to flee, but was intercepted and slain by the group.
With the blockhouse secured, the party then made an exhaustive search of the rooms. In what they presumed to be the Laird’s room, they found a torn up map of the area with several notations made indicating points of interest nearby. This made perfect sense to Diego, as any Stedholder would first map out the area surrounding his or her stedding and clear it of any threats. Another room had paper and books strewn about the floor, obviously ripped apart by the spriggans. Elias soon found the pages to the Hallucinatory Item ritual as well as a Pyrotechnics Ritual mixed in among hundreds of pages of mundane notes and communications necessary to run a community.
While Elias and Zin chose to stay in the Blockhouse, the bulk of the party returned to the Waterhorse Inn. The sigil had faded, and the spriggan lay dead on the floor. Overnight, Brost took his time and began to study the notes left behind by Maestro Pendrod, whose name he recognized as a famous Tarn historian specializing in the Arvanoran Expeditionary Armies. It seemed Maestro Pendrod as contacted by Maegar Varn and asked to research a curios jade bracelet that his ranger, Willas discovered on the banks of a local river. Maestro Pendrod seemed to suspect that the bracelet was of the Nomen centaurs, an offshoot of the Rashalka centaurs. In the margin of one of his books, Pendrod wrote and unusual note, "Vordakai — perhaps a Nomen centaur god?”
The next morning, the party began to follow the tracks of the villagers. They seemed to head southeast out of the village. On Varn’s map, this was the direction to the Nomen camp. After rounding the Tors of Leven, the tracks began to march south until they just stopped Torra sensed a wrongness about the area and cried out when she felt that something was forcibly ripped out of her chest for a brief moment.
Having no other options, the party headed east to where the Nomen were indicated to be on the map. After a few hours, they were surrounded by three centaurs, who agreed to bring them back to their camp. In an effort to break the ice, Zin began a game of target practice, until the centaur made a shot very much beyond Zin’s ability. A smug grin showed briefly on the centaur’s face as Zin quietly stopped the game.
At dusk they reached the Nomen camp, which was strategically placed on a low hillock surrounded by a sea of grass. They were escorted to the middle of the camp, where at a huge bonfire, the leader of the Nomen, whom the others referred to as Mother Moon conducted rites to appease whichever power they worshiped.
She spoke to them through gritted teeth, and it was obvious that there was much bad blood between the centaur and human-kind. Torra was singled out as being “from the forest”, and soon the party heard of a war in the Darkoak Forest between fey and werebeasts of all kinds. The werecreatures’ leader was named Caldoror, which the party thought sounded like a corruption of an elven name.
Even though the party just came seeking answers to what plagued Varnhold, very little they said seemed to move Mother Moon. She seemed ready to dismiss them, or order their deaths, for they could not read her intentions when she proposed a trial. If the party were to enter the Nomen burial grounds to the north and deal with a pair of manticore who were making things difficult for the Nomen, she would be willing to answer whatever questions they had to the best of her ability, though she promised no direct help.
The party were given an area near the outskirts of the Nomen camp, close to the Nomen warriors tents and allowed to rest, The next morning, they were escorted partially to the burial grounds. The manticore were difficult to engage as they flew by and rained spikes on the party, but Elias, Zin and Torra were able to engage the flying creatures until they lost enough altitude for Diego and Brost to aid in the battle. Soon the two monsters were slain. Zin cut the leathery wings off of one of the creatures to possibly craft armor when he was able, while Elias readied a floating disc ritual to bring one of the the manticore bodies back. The group cut the tail from the other creature, while Diego attempted to cook and eat some manticore steaks. They then prepared to head back to the Nomen with proof of their success.