Expedition to the Centaur Trading Post

3,378 Lyokymion 6

It was a balmy day when we set out from Neolantika for the Centaur Trading Post. As the day progressed, the slight rain gave way to a rainbow. The blessings of Heliod were with us.

We headed north until late morning when we reached the ancient highway.

Following the old ancient imperial highway, we passed the coast and entered the Iron Hills, with the forest to our left.

After resting for the night, we headed east the next day.

After travelling for an hour, the highway ended. A forest was to the north and hills to the south and east,

We travelled east and made our way to the Sunset Hills by late afternoon, when we rested.

Over the next several hours we realized we were lost as we arrived at the ruined homestead where we had rescued the abducted citizens of Neolantika. We decided the cellars there would make for a secure place to rest through the night.

Pericles woke us to the sounds of wolves scratching and sniffing at the trap door above. We emerged to find a dozen of them, but Pericles summoned the Radiance of the Dawn, leaving only a few left for the rest of us to put down. Unfortunately, Sephiro's mule was mauled by the wolves, and its meat was little consolation.

The next day, we passed through a narrow valley in the Sunset Hills, near Krimnos. To the south and southeast were endless plains. To the northeast the fields continued through the Sunset Hills.

By noon we reached the settlement through the hills to the north. To the east of the hills was a mountain range.

The town was filled with colourful tents. People from everywhere wandered through the stalls.

We first spoke with Adonis, the ivory merchant, who told us the centaurs were located in the northern quarter. When we asked about food and lodging, he suggested we try The Shining Shield on Copper Street.

We found the tavern with the prominent bronze shield in the front, but continued north until we came to a wide open courtyard filled with statues of the Gods.

We were drawn to the sounds of a delightful stringed instrument and found a centaur playing the calm and peaceful melody. His name was Harpalos, and he said he was the groundskeeper for the All-faiths Shrine. When we asked him about Brontes and told him our tale, he said he had heard of us, and took us to a stone roundhouse.

There must have been hundreds of centaurs, mostly adult males.

Harpalos introduced us to Philon, a centaur with long white hair and a proud bearing, who was the eldest of the council.

He regretfully explained that admittance to outsiders was prohibited due to raiders attacking undefended settlements throughout the province of Phylakoras. He also told us of a recent bout of grave robbing, and suggested that he might be able to get an exception made for us if we brought him these grave robbers for trial with evidence of their crimes.

He suggested we might learn more from two traders of information, Gurgos, the Meletian trader located in the Setessan quarter, and Doreis, an Akroan merchant located in the Garden of Paradise in the Akroan quarter.

As we headed back to the tavern with Harpalos, he shared that he knew of a song that mentioned an abomination from the age of archons; a tale of a wedding that was attacked, killing many. The only part he recalled went, "and after the slaughter, the gods cursed the chief, blood had he sown, abomination he would reap."

When we arrived at The Shining Shield, we noticed armed men outside with clubs and leather armor, all standing in a military stance.

Harpalos shared that Deida Harbor merchants had recently trashed the Setessan merchant stalls.

The innkeeper was a large man named Braulios. Harpalos said he would arm wrestle patrons, awarding any winners with a free round.

After Harpolos departed, we met with Doreis, who charged us 25 gold coins each for information. He suggested we investigate Gurgos, whose pottery he said was filled with soot markings, and still lingered in the trading post despite having sold all his wares.

After an hour of wandering, we found the Garden of Paradise on Elm Street in Setessan quarter; a high ceilinged two story timber and brick structure with a yard in the.

Frogus, the innkeeper, offered us rooms for 1 gold coin each. He pointed to Gurgos.

The Meletian trader suggested Doreis was our most likely culprit, saying that his shields were still bloodstained. He soon left, and Belisarius told us his owl, Acantis, spied him heading out of town, so we followed him.

Gurgos travelled south for a mile and then headed west. After another hour, with the Sunset Hills to the northwest of town, the tracks turned north. After a couple of hours tracking him through the hills, we saw two torches in the distance, which immediately went out as we approached. We found two horse tracks, one headed west and the other east.

Where the rider had been was a wagon filled with crates. Inside one of the crates were rolls of cloth, bleached white. Looking more closely, we could see they had been blood splattered. Another crate contained bloody Akroan shields.

Pericles and Sephiro hid in the wagon while Belisarius and I found cover behind some nearby brush.

Eventually three riders approached, robed in black. They spotted us immediately and began casting spells. One tried to ride me down, but fell to Pericles' Radiance of the Dawn. Mounting his horse, I chased down another, who fled after paralyzing me and then Commanding me to dive off my horse. A brought the last rider down with a Guiding Bolt for the glory of Heliod!

The centaurs were pleased.

Your son in search of glory,

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