In the waning days of the Old Age, many are the tales of the humans and elves who, through their bravery and might, brought about the fall of the Death Knights. What is little acknowledged of are the contributions of the other races. Without the might of the Cyclopes, or the cunning of the Ratlings, the War of Fallen Kingdoms could have turned against the mortal races.
It was in these ages, which first mention the centaurs. Much like their modern day descendants, they thrive in the wild places, prizing their freedom above all. However, this was an affront to the Death Knights. The spawn of Limbo and their servants took special pride in ‘domesticating’ the proud centaurs.
The centaurs to this day tell of how, with monstrous might, and fell enchantments, centaurs were harnessed like mundane horses. Whether it was being ridden upon as a beast of burden, or harnessed to till the fields as common plough horse, thousands of indignities were inflicted upon the centaurs. Even with this, many were the centaurs who managed to escape, and live a life of freedom on the fringes of the Old Age.
It was in this age which was born the fair Hylonome. Shaman to the Nightreaper clan, Hylonome was betrothed to Cyllarus, blacksmith of the Skybreaker clan. Their union would unite the two clans, and making the centaurs that much stronger.
On the day of the wedding, demonic servants of the Death Knights struck. While the centaurs slew many foes, the enemy was just too numerous. Hylonome, and a few others were able to retreat, but most were slain or captured…including Cyllarus.
Hylonome wanted to follow the demons, looking for an opportune time to rescue her betrothed and the others. Wiser heads prevailed, pointing out that without reinforcements, the rest of the herd was bound to be captured. Hylonome reluctantly saw the merit of their words.
Soon, a rescue party was assembled, but by then it was too late. In their journey back home, the Death Knight’s servants held an impromptu feast…and her betrothed was the main course. It is known demons prize the flesh of man, and the meat of horse, and a centaur provides a fair union of both.
Overcome with rage, Hylonome fled into the darkness. There, she called upon the dark powers of Inferno, and made a pact with the goddess of vengeance. She would serve as the Dark One’s faithful servant as long as Hylonome could wreck her own vengeance on the Death Knights and their servants.
Thus was the Nightmare born. Secure in their strongholds, the Death Knights could laugh at the futile attempts of the centaurs in their bid for freedom. However, the Goddess of Vengeance knew what she was doing, for even the undead must rest…allowing Hylonome to strike from the realm of dreams.
While she couldn’t strike at the Death Knights themselves, Hylonome was more than capable of felling their captains and lieutenants. Many were the vampires turned to ash, a single smoldering hoofprint as evidence. Many were the demons rent asunder, drawn and quartered in their own beds.
This isn’t to say Hylonome wasn’t captured, even slain at times. The power of the Death Knights rivalled the powers of the gods, after all. However, how can one permanently slay a dream? Through her pact with the goddess of vengeance, Hylonome would rise once more, and take the fight to her foes. As time passed, her name was slowly forgotten, and Hylonome came to be known by a new title: Nightmare.
When the humans and elves made their bid for freedom, they found ready allies in the centaurs, eager to crush the Death Knights under hoof once and for all.