Empire of the Sorcerer Lord

Yuri’s Journal 10/16/11

While we traveled through the swamp, I spotted something small duck around the bole of a tree. I lunged after it through the muck of the swamp, but it scurried up the back of the tree. The others helped me chase it and we killed it. It turned out to be one of the shocker lizards we were looking for… and it wasn’t alone. Two more came out of the swamp and they created an entire field of electrical energy targeting all of us at one time. Luckily, I didn’t take any damage from it… but Ceri was slightly wounded, Anders and Piper more so. We killed one more of them, and the other ran away. That was alright – we only needed the glands from two of them.
We found a dry spot to stop so that Piper could remove the glands properly as we were instructed. She did so, and stored the glands carefully. While Ceri was dressing the meat, I noticed a lizardman watching us. He tried to hide, but wasn’t very good at it. He didn’t speak common, but it turned out Ceri spoke his language – Draconic.
He told us how he was a gatherer for his tribe, who all lived in fear of someone he called ‘the green woman’. She killed their chief and their shaman and kept the warriors and hunters of the tribe controlled by threatening their families. He told us how she summons and controls fearsome creatures, has pet dogs who breathe acid and can move through the trees magically. He was very impressed with Ceri and wants us to save him and his tribe. He started following Ceri like a lost puppy.
On the way to get the yellow mold fungus, we met up with 6 lizardman hunters, who were all in the green woman’s thrall. Ceri tried to breathe on them, but only one fell asleep. We had to fight the other five. It was a fierce battle, but we won. We bandaged the wounded and tied them up, then tied up the sleeping one as well before we woke him. We also took the leader’s magical stone and put in our bag of holding so the green woman couldn’t see us through it, for that is what our young gatherer told us it was for.
We tried to convince the two conscious captives to help us against the Green Woman in an attempt to free their tribe from her influence. Neither of them would waver in their loyalty to her. One of them did seem more afraid than loyal, and said his family was at risk if he failed to serve her. The other was simply adamant. We decided to take them back to Laskon as prisoners of war, so to speak. We had to drag the two conscious captives and carry the rest to our next camp. The night was uneventful, luckily for us, since Piper was out of spells.
On the morning of day 36, Piper healed the rest of the lizardmen. Still none of them would budge in their loyalty to the green woman. Ceri’s follower decided to return to his people to let those who weren’t loyal to the green woman know that help would be on the way. We headed back toward Laskon with our captives in tow.

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Yuri's Journal 9/11/11

In Laskon on day 31, after the ankheg attack, I helped with the clean up, filling holes and making repairs, setting things back to rights. A pair of local wizards, an elf and a dwarf, both in robes, arranged that one hole not be filled, but instead be roped off. I overheard a few things while helping out. One dwarf muttered something about a great fire opal never being found. I should find out more about this. One of the dwarves blamed the empire for the attack, for other monsters, for everything it seems. While this may be a possibility, I just don’t know. I hope not.
When the work was done and no one around, I checked out the unfilled hole and found a tunnel leading away to the south at the bottom of the hole. I decided not to check it out without the others, so I climbed back up and went to the inn to find them.
Back in the inn, Piper reported that 4 guards were killed, 2 injured, and 3 civilians were killed and 4 injured. It was a sad day for Laskon. I told the others about the hole that didn’t get filled and about the wizards in town. That night, we had a chance to talk with many townsfolk and heard or overheard a lot of tales and rumors. Scarkill, a local semi-retired warrior, and local miners have been recruited to assist with guard duty. Some of the dwarves think it odd the ankhegs showed up right after we did. Perhaps we should be very circumspect for a bit here til we prove ourselves…. Though our efforts in the fight should help in that regard.
One of the dwarves thinks that Stravella might be behind the attack. Mac told us that Stravella, also called Queen of Winter’s Mourning, is a powerful magic user who lives in a crystal tower north of a city called Hammerfast, which is north of Laskon. She uses her magic to keep her gardens green. Her gardens are reputed to be filled with dangerous plants, werecreatures and murderous fey. Those who invade her realm are said never to return. She looks to expand her realm but herself cannot stray far from her tower, which lies in a valley called Summerdown.
Speaking of Hammerfast, we learned that it is a dwarven city north of here, beyond Glimmerpeak and Glimmerlake. Apparently the city grew on the site of an old dwarven Necropolis and ghosts live side by side with the living there. There was once a great battle on the site between dwarves and orcs. It was so fierce that Moradin and Gruumsh, the dwarven and orcish gods intervened and made a peace in the city – dwarves and orcs tolerate each other there and temples exist to both gods, the city being sacred to both faiths. Piper said there was a temple to Pelor there too, a famous one that though open to the sky year round, was always temperate inside. The city is full of tombs, as to be expected from a necropolis.
The road to Hammerfast is a trade route and supposedly beset with bandits, including spider goblins who raid caravans on the road.
That night, Ceri sang at the inn and did very well for herself, earning a lot of silvers. She made up a song about the fight with the ankhegs which the dwarves really enjoyed.
A self-important looking dwarf came into the inn and announced that there would be a town meeting tomorrow morning.
Ceri and Piper took baths and Ceri cast a spell to clean our clothes. We stayed in rooms at the inn – it was nice to have a full night’s sleep for a change.
Day 32 dawned what seemed early, but we had a lot to do that day. Ceri and I went shopping, sold those javelins from the bugbears and the daggers we got from the orcs. We also cashed in our gems for gold.
We found a booth where Calan, the elvish wizard’s apprentice sold talismans and potions. Calan is a half elf who told us about Ondran, his master, and Gronde Clubfoot the dwarven mage. He identified our potions as cure light wounds for a small fee and said he’d talk to his master about identifying our other items. Ceri made the mistake of telling him his talismans were fakes. I don’t think that kind of talk, especially in the open, is likely to ingratiate us with him or his master.
We also went to Astlof’s booth and left a message with his apprentice that we’d like to see him and we told the apprentice where we could be found.
We talked to a few other town residents while shopping to learn what we could about anything local that was of interest. Ceri learned that Calistryx, an evil dragon, had something to do with a wizard named Starris. We didn’t learn much more than their names though. Also, there was supposedly heavy monster activity around someplace called High Peak in the spring.
One of the locals mentioned that he thought these bugs never left the swamp. We asked around more about this swamp. It is south of Laskon and contains all kinds of critters – big alligators, giant spiders, frog people, and lizards that shoot lightning.
Finally it was time to go to the town meeting. Everyone was gathering at the guild halls. We found the place. Three large guild halls dominated this section of town. One was for Lore, one for Craft and one for Trade. On the steps of the Lore Guild House were 5 figures – the Mayor, an elderly dwarf; Tom Ironshield, captain of the guard, wearing full plate and a symbol of Moradin; the sgt of the guard we’d met when we first arrived in town; Gronde Clubfoot, the dwarven wizard; and Ondran, the elf wizard.
They talked for a bit about the attacks and really were there more to try to reassure the townsfolk than anything else. There was mention of a reward for finding the source of the attack.
I talked to Tom Ironshield and told him we would try to find out what we could.
After the town meeting, we checked out the unfilled hole and tunnel. The tunnel ran south for a distance, but ended suddenly. Anders could find no sign of any other creatures than us and the ankheg itself in the tunnel. He thinks the tunnel ended because the ankheg was shoving dirt behind it as it tunneled (as opposed to collapsing later). Nothing was found here that could help us determine the source of the attack.
Back at the inn later, Astloff came in. We told him Delgarion said we should ask about the special dark. He had Mac serve us some wonderful dark ale, special for us. Apparently it is never sold to the empire, so it is very unique. It was really good.
We talked to Astloff for a bit, and he told us about a recluse wizard with an apprentice named Ance. The wizard himself guards his own identity fiercely. He might be able to do what I need – remove this damned tattoo. His prices are steep, but not unusually so. He is rumored to have once been one of the red robes himself once.
He also told us of a dwarven wizard in Hammerfast who might be able to help me. His name is Grirdil, and he is a ghost, having died in the battle for Hammerfast. To gain his favor though, one needs to prove their worth. He is usually found at the Lore Guildhouse in Hammerfast, where he teaches. Ceri seemed quite interested in visiting a Lore Guildhouse in a city where she could join the Guild. Apparently, the guild is not active in Laskon, so she will have to see about perhaps joining in Hammerfast.
Gronde came in and talked to us later as well. He offered to ID our items, apologizing for his colleague who never contacted us. Apparently, Ceri had angered Ondran by insulting his wares. We sent the two items (bracers and wand) with Gronde for the night.
Ceri played and sang at the Stone Dragon that night, and I helped out a little, humming some back up during her second set. It was fun, but a little strange. I’ve never sung or performed in front of people before, but Ceri seemed a little off her game and needed a little help. Not sure I’d want to make a habit out of it. People were like, watching me and stuff. I felt very embarrassed.
I was hoping to buy a skin of the special dark to take with us, but apparently the offer of it is very selective and only to be had at Astloff’s direction. So instead I had Mac fill the skin with his best regular ale – something we could all enjoy on our travels.
The night passed uneventfully again.
Gronde returned the next morning with our items and told us the wand casts a spell called mirror image and has 9 charges and that the bracers provided armor as if wearing studded leather. I sold my armor and am wearing the bracers now. I am less encumbered this way. Gronde told us the cost would be 240 gold OR we could find some items for him when we go to the swamp. He wants 2 glands from shocker lizards and a pound of yellow fungi mushroom spores. He gave us containers for both items and we agreed to try. We will either find what he wants and deliver it, or return to pay him for the identification of our items.
Midmorning of day 33, we left for the swamp. It should take us about a day and a half to get there, which will give us two or three days to search for the items and the source of the attacks before we have to escort Piper back to Highmeadow to help birth Nathaniel’s child. That first night we slept in a local farmer’s barn.
On day 34 we entered the swamp. It is mucky and wet here and I don’t like it much. We did find a dry hillock to camp on that night. Ceri set snares for lizards and traplines with bells as a warning system. Sometime during Ceri’s watch, I woke to hear her screaming. I leapt to my feet to discover we were being attacked by giant spiders. I drew my weapons and the fight ensued. When it was over, we had killed four giant spiders. Ceri and Piper were both poisoned. Piper healed both of them the damage they had taken, but both of them felt weakened.
Day 35 was just as dismal as yesterday. Piper was able to help return some of Ceri’s lost strength, and will help her more tomorrow. We need to press on regardless.

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Ceridwen's Journal 9/4/11

When we arrived at the dwarven city the gates were closed. Ander seemed to think that was not normal for the town. I was very impressed by the ballista on the top of the walls. The gate guard seemed a little surly when he asked us why to wanted to come in. We told him we were here to see Astlof, Delgorian’s cousin. He went away to get his superior officer. The captain (?) Seemed to recognize Anders and let us in the town.
We passed through a market place, both Riyu and I wanted to stop and look. (Easily distracted by bright shiny objects we are). We discussed that we also needed to find an alchemist to identify the potions and someone to identify the magic things we had found. Anders wanted to get to the inn and have a drink. We all thought that was a good idea so we followed him.
At the Inn we met the barman a huge half orc (I’m not sure I trust any kind of orc) named Mak. Anders knows him so I guess he must be ok but still I think I should be on my guard. Out of the back came another half orc, this one was a female. She grabbed up Anders and hugged him. She berated him for staying way so long. Both Riyu and I had a good laugh about that. I tried to tease Anders about it but the said that they were just friends. The ale here is very, very good. Mak said it was some of Astlof’s stuff. Apparently the whole family is involved with brewing and selling ales, wines and liquors. I really think very highly of the whole family’s wares, but it seems strange to me that a family would all take part in the profession. Braza, the female half orc brought us out lunch. It was delicious. Mak said he would find someone to take word to Astlof that we would like to see him.
As we sat there enjoying the ale, we heard a rumbling noise and the earth shook. I have heard of places were the very ground shakes but people who live there get used to it. Mak and Ander both seemed very surprised. Then we heard screaming, so we went out to investigate. Piper opened the door and I ran through it. It the market place huge bugs had appeared, I’m not sure how many there were but it was enough to make me scared. Unless these things were very weak we would not be able to kill them all. They were not very weak but guards from the city came to help. Piper cast a spell that helped us aim. It was very useful. I wonder If I could learn to cast that (without becoming a cleric of course). I tried to stay out of combat and use my bow and arrow to bring them down, they were heavily armored (just like a bug). Anders knew what they were. He called them Ankegs and said to be care they spit. He failed to say what they spit, it was acid I barely avoided a direct hit by one of them. I had to jump out of the way quickly. Piper healed me. With the guards and the ballista we managed to overcome them. Many brave guardsmen were killed fighting them off. I wonder why they came here and attacked?

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Yuri's Journal 9/4/11

Day 31 and we walked over a rise to see a long river valley laid out before us. Dotting the valley were small farms here and there. In the distance, I could just make out a walled settlement with smoke rising from it. Laskon.
We approached the town with some caution since there were guards and ballistae on the walls. They challenged our presence at the town, so they must have had some bad experiences with travelers in the area. We told them we were friends of Delgarion and came to Laskon to find Astlof, but they still seemed mistrustful and sent for a superior officer. The upper guardsman who came knew Anders and let us in.
We found out that Astlof had an ale stall in town, but rarely manned it himself. He lived In another part of town. We decided to go to the local inn, the Stone Dragon, first. There we met Mac and Braza, half-orc siblings who knew Anders well… apparently very well, though Anders claims he and Braza are ‘just friends’ she did greet him very congenially. We were given a generous platter of food and very good dwarven ale. While we were enjoying our meal and planning our day, the ground rumbled… once… then twice… then we heard screams from the marketplace outside the inn.
Piper ran to the door and opened it, exclaiming ‘Oh, my god!’ That couldn’t be good. By the time I got to the door, there was total chaos in the marketplace. Scattered among all the stalls were six large insect like creatures. They looked like ants but were the size of a small house. I pulled out my sling and approached close enough to fire at one of them. Ceridwen and Piper drew bows and Piper cast a spell to give us all bonuses to attack with our ranged weapons. Meanwhile, Anders approached to close with one of the giant insects.
I saw one of the insects pick up a villager and literally cut him in half with its mandibles. These were not creatures we could trifle with. A small group of dwarven guards charged into the marketplace from the other end, and engaged the insects towards the back of the bazaar. Piper and Ceridwen seemed to have one of them firmly in their sights, peppering it with crossbow bolts. I moved to help Anders with his.
After a couple of expended sling bullets, I had an opportunity to move in and help Anders and the two dwarves who were on one of them. I tumbled in, giving the dwarves flank so they could hit easier.
Up on the walls, which I wasn’t paying much attention to at the time, the dwarves were turning the ballistae to aim inward toward the giant bugs. Between the dwarven guards, the ballistae, and our own attacks, we eventually managed to kill all the insects, but not before Piper and Ceridwen had taken some damage. Sadly, a few dwarves and one of the human shopkeepers were killed before the insects all died.
Piper did what healing she could, and soon clerics from the local dwarven temple arrived to help with the wounded. Anders, Ceridwen and Piper went back into the inn for a drink and to relax, but I couldn’t leave these poor people to clean up such a mess without offering to help.
While talking to them, I learned a great deal. Foremost, such an attack as this from such creatures was unheard of in Laskon. These were creatures called Ankhegs and they were usually solitary. Such a group attack was uncharacteristic… Perhaps something drove them here, but who or why?

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Ceridwen's Journal 8/28/11

We set off for the Dwarven city, at first traveling was pleasant. As we traveled father into the forest we felt a sense of unease. Piper said this place felt wrong to her. As the forest grew more malevolent feeling we were attacked by a murder of crows. Not normal crows but large warped crows. As they came around to attack us again, I breathed on them. Half of the fell into a deep sleep and fell out of the air hitting the ground and causing them damage. I feel rather unhappy attacking them but they are not normal creatures, I’d feel better if we could remove whatever warped them so. Anders did not really want to track down the source of the evil but Riyu did. We opted to keep going along the trail hoping it as we went farther into the woods that we would come closer to the evil that was causing this.
As we journeyed on we encountered more of the strangely warped creatures. Even the rabbits and squirrels were changed. I figure we should not eat any of these creatures. The further we went the darker and stranger the woods became. It seems we are moving towards whatever evil is doing this to the forest creatures.
We killed many foul things one was a bear the appeared to be undead, a zombie perhaps. Then one night we were set on by a bloated wolf. He was very hard to kill. When we examined him body, it seemed that he had been forced to grow too big to fast. We decided to track him, in the hopes that we would find the evil responsible.
The closer we got the more we felt sickened. We rested a space to let everyone get over feeling sick. The rest of the party threw off the effects better than I did. I was still feeling very unwell but we pressed on. We came to a cave in the hillside out of it came a warped boar. We killed it and entered into the cave. We went down a long tunnel full of animal bones and into a room with a large stone slab. Everything was covered in limestone deposits. Riyu looked at the walls and found that under the limestone he could make out paintings. I used a spell to clean the stone from a section of the wall. It showed human sacrifices on the stone altar. We tried to topple over the slab but it was too heavy. I used another spell to clean more of the altar. It showed human figures holding up the slab. The longer I stayed there the stranger I felt. From out of nowhere I suddenly felt that Riyu had been causing too many problems. I like Riyu, he is a good warrior and a nice person. I would never ordinarily feel that way. I thought it would be better if I left the cave before something happened. The rest of the party stayed to search. They found some gold. I was very worried that one of us would end up warped like one of those poor creatures.
We set up a rock-slide to bury the entrance. We hope that we can get the dwarves to come back and destroy the altar and consecrate the ground. For now we will stop any more animals from going in and being changed.

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Yuri’s Journal 8/28/11

After the wolverine attack, we continued our travel toward Laskon. I started feeling uncomfortable with a vague sense of foreboding. I mentioned this to the others and we agreed that the forest was uncommonly silent with few animal sounds. Piper sensed an oppressive silence as we traveled on. For three days we moved through these strange woods, feeling more and more the sense that something was very wrong here. Piper said the whole area was tainted. That night we heard strange sounds and rustlings at night. We saw eyes around the camp, and Ceridwen tried to shoot one of the creatures, but missed. I threw a light rock out at them and they scattered, but not before we saw they were twisted and unnatural vermin.
In the morning of the next day, our 26th since we embarked on our journey, we were walking through a clearing when we were suddenly attacked by eight warped crows. They were huge – the size of eagles at least – and vicious. We killed 6 of them, the remaining two flew away.
Midday of that same day we were set upon by a large bear. It, too, seemed crazed and vicious. When we examined it after we killed it, Piper thought it might even have been an undead bear. Who would raise a bear to be undead? We traveled on…
On my watch that night we were attacked by a giant wolf. I didn’t even need to wake the others – the wolf made enough noise for me. It knocked me off my feet almost immediately and I barely got back up again before it attacked again in earnest. With some difficulty, we managed to kill the creature… but not before it knocked me out … If it hadn’t been for Piper I might have died at the teeth of that giant wolf. Until now, I’ve been lucky I guess. My father’s legacy has helped protect me, but it can’t protect me from everything. I need to be more careful…
The following day, we decided to track the wolf back to where it came from, to see if we could find the source of the taint. As we traveled the woods became darker and denser. The oppressive feeling intensified… We pushed on until we found a cave entrance, from which we were charged by a large tusked boar. Working well together, we manage to slay the boar with no injuries to ourselves – much better than our fight against the wolf. It seems every time I approach a cave, I get attacked. I will have to be more wary around caves in the future.
We decided to enter the cave to see if it was the source of the evil taint. Anders said the cave was recently opened by a landslide. Maybe something evil was buried in here. The cave floor was covered in bones. In the back of the cave was a passage leading to a chamber. An altar in the back of the chamber was all we found in the room. We tried to destroy the altar, but it was beyond our capabilities. Ceridwen cleaned a section of the wall and on it were mosaic pictures of evil acts taking place on the altar. We decided the best we could do was try to seal the cave so nothing else could be tainted by the evil emanating from it.
We caused another landslide, but it didn’t block the entire entrance. It took us until the wee hours of the morning to seal the cave completely, but finally it was done. Almost immediately, we noticed a lessening of the oppressive feeling in the area. We set up camp and slept until almost noon, we were so exhausted.
We traveled on the next day after making note of the location of the cave. Anders can probably track back to it and I flew up to get an aerial view so maybe I can find it on a map. We decided that perhaps the dwarves could destroy the altar with something Ceridwen called adamantine, and then Piper said they should hallow the place as well. I’m sure this all means something good and hopefully the taint of the evil altar can be ended forever.
Towards the end of the day, we saw three huddled figures a short distance away. They stood up and shambled towards us. It was obvious they were skeletal and not alive. Piper called on the power of Pelor and all three of them turned to dust. They had nothing of value among the remains and we set up camp not far away. We noticed birdsongs returning to the trees around us and Ceridwen was able to hunt some untainted bunnies here – all good signs.
Three more days we traveled uneventfully. On the 31st day of our journey, we walked over a low rise to see a valley spread before us. Smoke was rising from the valley – signs of civilization. Could this be Laskon?

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Ceridwen's Journal 8/21/11

After burning the bugbear encampment, we (the dwarves and our party) had a largely uneventful journey to the human settlement of High Meadow. It is a very quiet and peaceful place.
When we walked in we saw a poor mistreated mule covered in uncured hides. I magically cleaned 10 pounds of them but still the smell was awful. Anders seems to know the person that belonged to the mule. It was ugly and unkempt. I worry that he might pick up extra coin by telling people that we don’t want to know where we are where we are.
Anders seems to know everyone here. The innkeep Bear was very nice. I like his beer. We walked about the town between lunch and dinner meeting the various weird residents of High Meadow. We set out to find the elven glassmaker but he wasn’t at home. We finally found him in a meadow looking out into space . He told us about a mage that could fix Riyu’s tattoo. He doesn’t like visitors and his apprentice won’t be back to pick up the glass until before snowfall. He is very strange I think he is a mystic and can see things we normals can’t. He reminds me of my sister’s mother.
We also met a tinker gnome she is very funny and talks really fast. I like her. She is making some arrow points for me that have fire and acid. They will really help some of the things we run into out here are nasty. She also made Riyu some sling bullets. The metal smith was very gruff but his arrow heads were well made and inexpensive. I tried to give him a silver for them but he made me take back five copper.
That night at the inn Riyu said he was tired of my old songs. I wrote a song about the battle of the bugbears, I think everyone liked it. I’ll have to see if I can write some new ones.
This town is very nice but also very boring. I’d like to find a place with a little more excitement. We made plans to visit the dwarf city that the dwarven trader had told us about. On the way we ran into a bombardier beetle. Fortunately I knew that they are not dangerous if left alone.
The next encounter was not quite so pleasant, we met an enraged critter. Anders said that it had once been a wolverine, but it was like no normal animal I ever seen. It did a lot of damage to us before it died.

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Yuri’s Journal 8/21/11

We searched the bugbear camp before burning everything that wasn’t of value. All told, we found some coins, 8 gems and 4 items that Piper determined were magical, plus the dwarven copper ore. We gave the dwarves their ore, plus what we’d found on the bugbears earlier and we gave them two of the gems as well as their share. They seemed satisfied with this distribution. One of them told us the values of the remaining gems. The items were two potions bottles, a wand and a bag which we determined held more then it looked like it should without gaining appreciable weight. We loaded the bag with the gems and coins and other items. I decided to wear the bracers we’d found earlier just to cover my tattoo.
We burned the remains of the camp and headed out for Highmeadow in the company of the dwarves. After 3 days of travel, we began our descent into pine forest where there was more game for Ceridwen to hunt – more bunny stew for us.
Two days later, on the 20th day since leaving Anders’ shack, we entered a small valley with a small village nestled in it. This was Highmeadow, surrounded by a wooden palisade. Farms dotted the valley floor around the village and several of the farmers waved at us as we went by. When we got to the Highmeadow, the gates were open and there were no guards – obviously they weren’t expecting trouble.
Anders led us to the village inn, the Wayward Inn, where he introduced us to Bear, a large man who owns the place. We met several other folks around the town – the local blacksmith, Sybil the gnomish tinker, Nathan the carpenter and his very gravid wife, and a rather gruff trapper.
We also met Lonimo the glassblower. The very elderly elf was outside town when we met him. We were told he might know a wizard. He said he did indeed have dealings with a wizard. He was expecting the wizard’s apprentice to come see him around the time of the first snow. Since it is only high summer now, that’s some months off.
Ceridwen needed arrows so we decided to see Sybil the tinker and Nathan about that. Nathan could fashion the arrows and Sybil could, it seems, make arrowheads as well as the sling bullets that I need as well. Sybil it seems needs some items from the Dwarves at Laskon and we want to travel there anyway to meet Astlof, Delgarion’s cousin. We decided we could get Sybil’s list of items for her when we go.
Ceridwen wrote a wonderful ballad about our fight with the bugbears and sung it at the Inn to the delight of the patrons, especially the dwarves.
We picked up our items from Sybil (arrowheads and sling bullets) just before leaving town. Piper promised to return before a month was up to help Nathan’s wife with the birthing.
The next day, we left for Laskon. A giant beetle lumbered by us, but it seemed totally unaware of us. Ceridwen said it was a bombardier beetle and not hostile if not bothered.
The next morning was day 22 of our travels. We were in the process of breaking camp when a crazed creature attacked us. It hurt me badly twice… if it weren’t for Piper I might have died. It definitely hurt a lot. Finally we managed to kill the beast. Anders called it a wolverine, but said it wasn’t a normal one. It was too large and enraged. Not sure what a normal one would be like, but I don’t think I want to meet another one.

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Yuri's Journal 8-13-11

After a good night’s rest, we set out early in the morning to traverse very rough terrain with lots of little canyons and valleys. I did a little aerial reconnaissance because Anders warned of us of possible ambushes in the area. I didn’t see anything, but I did spot the most direct route through. We took it and Anders was right. Just after coming through a narrow defile, we were ambushed by a bunch of bugbears. I’m really beginning to hate bugbears. No clue if these were associated with the ones we scared off earlier, but they were definitely lying in wait for someone. They started off with javelin attacks and Anders and I were both hit by their initial volley. Then their shaman created some kind of entangle field with the very grasses themselves attacking us, trying to fix us in place. Anders was trapped, as was Ceridwen eventually. Piper put up a field of mist that made it much harder for them to throw javelins at us. By their shouts of dismay, I think they were frustrated by it. I need to learn how to speak their language if we’re going to keep running into their like. Very upsetting not to know what they’re saying.
I flew out of the mist and the entangle field and attacked one of them, took him down, while Piper and Ceridwen kept them busy with ranged attacks out of the mist. Then I saw one who looked different from the rest – dressed in leathers and ragged skins instead of armor. I figured him for the caster and flew over to him. He was an easy soft target and went down quick. Turns out he might have been their leader. When the remaining bugbears saw that one fall, they beat a hasty retreat. Piper took the mist down and eventually the entangle field went away and Anders was freed. The bugbears were carrying quite a bit of raw copper as well as some coins and two magical items – some bracers and a waterskin. We will have to figure out what these things are. We also picked up some javelins and a shortbow and arrows, which the others insisted I carry. I think I prefer my sling, but in truth I only have 2 bullets left for it and stones are not as reliable. I guess I can use the bow when need arises.
We traveled on and midafternoon sometime we met up with a band of dwarves led by Kurd, a dwarven ranger. They were hunting the bugbears who attacked a dwarven caravan and stole raw ore from them. I think the ones we fought had some of the dwarven ore. We should return it to them. We decided to help them hunt bugbears.
We camped with the dwarves on an uneventful night.
The next day we rounded a large outcropping and saw a horrific creature feasting on what looked like the remains of the two bugbears who had fled from our battle. When the creature saw us, it charged right at Anders and the lead dwarf. It was a tough creature and didn’t go down easily. I took two dwarves down before it dropped to one of Piper’s crossbow bolts. She healed the two dwarves and they were both fine thank goodness. We cleaned up the kill site and camped nearby since it was near dark anyway. Ceridwen killed a bunny for our supper and we made stew that night.
The 12th and 13th days of our traels since leaving Anders’ shack were quiet days of tracking bugbears and camping. Ceridwen made sure we had fresh meat each night, even though it was just bunnies.
On the 14th day, we found their camp at last. We did some sneaking and watched their camp for several hours. It turned out they had just six sentries around their village and we decided to target three of them, all on one side, during daylight hours when all of our folk could see as well as they could. If we’d attacked at night, Anders and Piper would have been at a severe disadvantage. Too bad that the bugbears weren’t day-blind.
My group took down our sentry fairly easily, as, I think did Anders and Ceridwen’s. Kurd’s group had a bit more trouble and his sentry had time to shout an alarm to their camp. Other bugbears got into the fight with some difficulty as we were up on the ledges above the camp. Ceridwen taunted the bugbears to attack her and got a group to come at her. She breathed on them and half of them fell asleep. She’s very clever, but I don’t think she thought through what would happen if they didn’t all go down – she was alone facing two angry bugbears. Luckily Anders wasn’t far away. He charged in to help, as did I eventually. Ceridwen was able to get back out of harm’s way after taking only a small wound.
The battle was very chaotic. I didn’t see all of it, there were too many different things going on at once, but eventually, we were down to facing only a few foes. Most of the bugbears including their women and children, had fled down the canyon. I spotted two of them leaving a tent with a heavy chest. I shouted to the others and Piper starting hitting one of them with arrows. Eventually she had help, and one of them went down. The other one couldn’t handle the chest alone and he fled, leaving it behind. Just about then, the last bugbear on the hillside succumbed to his wounds and the fight was over.
All told we killed nine bugbears. The rest fled with whatever they could carry and their kinfolk. We searched all the bodies and the tents. I think we’re going to burn everything that we can’t carry out ourselves. Hopefully they won’t return back here to harry more travelers. Sadly, the remaining ones will probably set up somewhere else. I think they have too much of a lead on us to chase them down. The dwarves have their ore back, so I don’t think they are of a mind to continue the hunt. We’re done here.

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Ceridwen's Journal 8-13-11

We entered a section of canyons that Anders was not familiar with. Riyu flew up to see if he could find a way through. We were almost through the very narrow section when a group of Bugbears attacked us from hiding. They rolled rocks down on us and we were caught in an entangle field (I’ve heard of such things in tales). Piper put up a mist and even though I was entangled I was able to fire my bow and kill one. We eventually killed all but 2. They ran away. Maybe next time Riyu should fly the whole route to see if there are enemies waiting in ambush but I worry about him being hit by arrows or another stronger flier. I’d really like to have a bow that takes advantage of my strength. I hope I can get one soon.
We traveled on and met a band of Dwarves. They were looking to find the bugbear camp. The bugbears had raided a caravan that was on its way to the human settlement. We decided to help them. We went back to where we had fought our previous battle. We tracked the bugbears, They were dead and being eaten by a Manticore (a beast out of legend with a lions body bat like wings and a tail with spikes). It was a hard fight without the dwarves we would not have been so lucky. Piper killed it. I caught a couple of rabbits for stew and sang to our group. That seemed to make the dwarves less afraid of me. I asked them about the ghost horse but they had not heard of it.
We traveled on, I killed a few more rabbits and finally found the bugbear encampment. We devised a plan to watch for the guards to see where they were posted. I took off my armor to sneak up on them. The next day we set out to take out the guard quickly before they could sound the alarm. After that I was to get as many as I could to charge me and I would breathe on them. It seemed like a good plan but nothing ever goes as planned. Kurd the dwarf had trouble taking out his target and that bugbear alerted the camp. My group took out our bugbear and I went to the top of the cliff to call them to me. It worked too well I only slept half of them. The rest rushed me. One hit me pretty bad. I thought I might be in real trouble but Riyu and Anders came to help me out. We killed a bunch of them. It was good to be up on top off the cliff firing down. We should remember that it worked well. Two bugbears ran off with a chest. We figured that was the dwarf’s treasure. We shot one till he died and the other ran away. We looted the camp set fire to the tents and left fast as we could go before any of the decided to come back. There were a lot of them and we had only killed 9. I figure that we will split the treasure with the dwarves.

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