A Black Centaur

The second session was marred by a high-profile absence. The Senator, the man who brought the party together, was lacking a player for this session with no prior notice or explanation. We decided that he was asleep for this session, and so I carried him like a little human baby all the way from Eldregate. Because this session was about our flight from the city, which has been taken over by the dead. Along the way, we met some soldiers, who were fine conversationalists, and our stately lizard necromancer identified the curse of the undeath in some of them and removed it, by isolating it in each of their left hands and then cutting those off. The hands animated, but were dispatched with trivial effort. Thereafter we traveled together with the soldiers, and were then joined (at a distance) by the peasants we had previously snubbed. They had lost half their previous number, and only seven remained, though the cow was with them. This large group arrived at an inn, where we spent the night agreeably enough and then left. The retinue of Caius Aurelian left, anyway. The soldiers were drunk and undisciplined through the night, and were hungover and undisciplined in the morning. The death of the greatest city in their empire was hard on their spirits, and though Agartha is far grander than any city dwelt in by humans, I did not think it tactful to mention so. The peasants also did not travel with us. I don’t know what became of them. If we see them again, I suspect they will be fewer in number still. However, the soldiers and peasants were together, and in an inn that is large and defensible, according to the Ulmish smith (who knows these things).

After departing the inn, we traveled peacefully for a time but where then set upon by a bandit. This bandit was a centaur, who had been seen the previous day hidden among the forest. He demanded our money and half of our lives, but after some bargaining reduced the request to our property. The offer was unappealing to me, because being the slave of a bandit in the woods seems far less comfortable than being the slave of a senator, even if his town manor is currently overrun by the dead. I would rather be a slave in a country manor than a slave in a woodland camp. And although it would be easier to flee a woodland camp, it would not be greatly difficult to flee from the manor either. For the time being, it is likely more useful that I continue to scout the household of a well-esteemed human politician, who feeds me meat from time to time.

Regardless of my opinions, my comrades and masters chose to fight, and so we did. The centaur, who had introduced himself as Nyxmantis, had a black pelt. A white-pelted centaur is held in great esteem by the nature spirits that they worship, and the black pelted one is similar, but different. This one controlled the dead. It is possible that he is in some way associated with the things that happened in Eldregate. If he was responsible for it, he would likely have better things to do than banditry, but his magic may point to the connections which allowed him to become the first bandit on the scene.

Upon receiving word that we would fight, I immediately engaged the nearest enemy, some strange dogs made of vine and bone, and slew one of them as the elf of Vanheim, Gunnlaug, fought another. These beasts crumbled with a single solid blow, and so were soon dealt with, but I found myself fighting off four soldiers, themselves dead and walking, shortly after. I was greatly successful, for not one of them could turn its attention from me, for a moment, and each one died after some time, though I was helped also by the others. The Ulmites contributed greatly, as the smith Mangod’s magic was very effective and he killed many of the undead in one spell. Klaus Drachen, also, though he has no magic, dealt such a great blow that three of the dead were instantly destroyed, and two others died of their wounds before being able to do anything. Behesh the mage and Gunnlaug the elf also killed many of them, but Caius Aurelian himself did not stoop to dealing with bandits, as indeed he need not. None of our number killed the centaur, who fled while flinging insults and arrows over his shoulder.

Perhaps we will see this centaur again, but I suspect nothing good would come of such a meeting. For now, at least, we are bound for the city of Arrentium, where we will see what supplies are to be had on a senator’s budget, and then from there head on to the Senator’s country estate to wait until someone else solves the current political problem.

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