Empire of the Sorcerer Lord

Yuri's journal 8-7-11

We left the one-armed man’s hovel and started up toward the mountains. I decided to tell the others that I am an escaped slave. They had a right to know before traveling further with me. They took the news rather well… except for Anders who, true to what seems his nature, doesn’t take any kind of surprises well. We hadn’t traveled a full day before we looked back and saw smoke in the distance. Anders, the one-armed man, said it was his home burning and that orcs have no sense of humor. I didn’t think it was at all funny either. Maybe I too have no sense of humor. We traveled on through a herd of what Anders called bison. They looked like large, deformed cows. Very docile creatures, they allowed us to pick our way through their grazing grounds without issue.
Late that first night we saw a glowing white horse. Ceridwen approached it with an apple, and then couldn’t seem to take her eyes off it. I pulled her hood down over her face to break the contact and that seemed to shake her out of it. The horse wandered off and we let it go. Piper said there was magic on Ceridwen, but it faded quickly.
The next day we were attacked by a creature that seemed to be half horse, half eagle. It attacked the horses, seemed relatively uninterested in us. We brought it down with a barrage of attacks. Ceridwen took a haunch of it’s meat just in case it was edible. She said it was a hippogriff. Late that day we started into the foothills. We saw dust in the distance… Anders said it was the orcs following us. As we moved into rougher terrain, we let the horses go, transferring necessary items to our own packs.
The next day, the land was even steeper and rockier and we found ourselves climbing from time to time. Our passage was slow but steady and we had no encounters of any kind that day. However, that night two creatures the bard called bugbears attacked us in the night. She tried to scare them off, but when they threw javelins at her, she breathed on them. One fell asleep. I slinged the other one and he ran off. We tied up the sleeping one. In the morning we loosened the ropes some and left to go up the mountain.
As we traveled, Anders pointed out growing clouds. Nervous about Ceridwen’s blue dragon, I watched the sky, but they seemed to be just clouds…. But black threatening clouds. We searched for a cave and Ceridwen spotted one. I tried to climb up but fell.. it was a steep climb. I decided we’d traveled together enough to reveal a bit more of myself. I removed my cloak and flew up to the cave. I was about to make it light inside when another of those hippogriffs came barreling out of the cavemouth. It attacked me. The others peppered it with ranged attacks where they could and I got in a pair of good hits with both weapons and it went down. I helped the others up with ropes and after lighting up and cleaning out the cave, we hunkered down to shelter from the rain.
Ceridwen entertained us with songs, we played games, told stories. I told the others the tale of how I met my father and became what I am today… at least as much of it as I understand. I wish I knew more. The bard taught me a game called ‘chess’. I’d like more time to practice it… it was fascinating, even though I lost every time. The bard told us why she was being hunted by a blue dragon… apparently it has a bloodfeud with her entire tribe – human and dragon. The blue dragon and it’s allies killed her father and most of her brothers, as well as many of her human kin. I can see why she’s concerned.
Three days we were stuck in that cave together. Ceridwen sung a lot of songs for us, and we whiled away the time as best we can. Piper doesn’t sing or play but she is a good listener, and Anders seems a quiet type when it comes to his own history. I think perhaps he’s bitter about his arm. I might be too if I were him.
After the third day it was finally dry enough to move on. We headed further into the mountains til we got to a pass. Anders said it would be easier going through here, but we’d likely run into brigands or their like, out to make easy coin off travelers. He warned us to be watchful and wary. I made sure my wings were well hidden under my cloak again as we moved into dangerous territory.

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Ceridwen's Journal 8-7-11

We headed with the one armed man into the mountains. We saw smoke in the distance. It was the one armed man’s house burning. He said “Orcs have no sense of humor”. I have to remember that one Haahhaa. As we traveled a large winged thing attacked our horses. It had the body of a horse and the wings and claws of a giant eagle. It turned in the air very quickly. We slew it. It doesn’t taste good but it is edible.
In the night a glowing horse came up to our camp. I walked toward it to give it an apple. I looked into its eyes and then suddenly my cloak was over my face. My companions said I had been charmed by the horse and wouldn’t look away. The horse trotted off we did not follow. I have so many things to look up when we next come to a place of learning. I must know more about this ghostly horse and what it wants.
One evening when I was on watch I heard two bugbears trying to sneak into camp. I tried to warn them off but they didn’t listen. I pulled back my hood and snarled but they threw javlins at us. I breathed on them. One went to sleep and the other was hit by Riyu’s sling and ran away. We tied up the sleeping one. The next day we loosened his ropes but left him tied up. I worry that he will tell the orcs we have come this way.
We learned the one armed man’s name is Anders he does not seem as angry now that he is on the road. Maybe his life lacked purpose before we came. Anders could tell by the clouds that we were going to have a heavy rain. I need to learn more about the mountains so I can also be able to tell such things. We looked for shelter in a cave that I had spotted. The cave was a good climb up a cliff. Riyu tried to climb it and fell. After some talking about it for awhile., he took off his cloak. Riyu has wings, very unusual. He flew up to the ledge where he was attacked by another of those horse/birds. We killed it and took over its lair. I used a spell to clean it up. We stayed there for 3 days.
During that time we learned about Riyu’s past and I told them a little more about mine. Riyu’s father is an angel. Riyu is a slave and has escaped his master who is a red robed wizard. We must be careful not to let the wizard find Riyu again. He said the wizard held his father in a room with no windows or doors, and was in some kind of web that was hard to break. He told us his father touched him and he blacked out and when he awoke he had wings.
Riyu showed us a game called Mancala. It is played with stones fun game. I showed them chess. I think I have sung them all my best songs by now. I will need to make up more.
After the rain we started out again. The going was steep and slippery but with Riyu flying a rope up we made good time. Anders says we will soon come to a pass where the going is easier but things will be there waiting for easy prey.

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Yuri 's Journal 7-31-11

It had been days since I last eluded an Imperial hunter. Luck had been with me so far on my lonely voyage. I missed my mother, and oddly even missed home somewhat, though I know I can’t return for the time being. Tonight I found myself at a lonely inn at a crossroads on the western border of the empire. The innkeeper seemed nice enough, as did the dwarven ale merchant here plying his wares. Also present was a young priestess of Pelor, a novice named Piper who seemed a bit at a loss as to her reason for being here. She said she was awaiting a message. The innkeeper’s lame daughter served me a pleasant meal of stew and ale.
I did get a chance to speak with the dwarf at some length as to what lay in each of the other directions than east… east I know, it’s where I came from – the heart of the empire. He told me south was desert and eventually coast with fishing villages. North was the land of the elves and west lay an imperial fort. But beyond that were the mountains, some scattered human settlements and mages (MAGES!, yes!) and dwarven cities deep in the mountains themselves.
While I was eating, another traveler entered, a cloaked and hooded figure, much like myself in that regard. The cloaked figure spoke to the innkeeper and offered to sing for her supper. She pushed back her hood and revealed herself to be some kind of snake or lizard like human with scales and almost hornlike appendages. She sang, not too well unfortunately… her fingers seemed to have trouble with the strings of her lute, but she quickly gave up on that and told a fascinating story of her mother and father’s first meeting. Her tale revealed that her father was a dragon! It was an incredible tale, but it revealed much as to her appearance. She introduced herself as Ceridwen. I used the name Riyu, as I frequently do with strangers. If asked, they can honestly say they had never met anyone named Yuri. I’m sure the empire can detect when someone speaks the truth.
A imperial patrol entered the inn – four orcs with the insignia of the empire on their armor. They pushed around the girl and her father. Finally, when they didn’t get just what they wanted, they pushed the innkeeper to the ground…. I readied my sling, but the dragonish bard stepped up and confronted the orcs. I had to admit, she had some spunk to stand up to them. They drew weapons on her and I was prepared to join in the fight with my sling and help take them down. Not my bravest moment perhaps but I was still trying to stay in the shadows. The bard breathed on them, just like the tales of dragons I’ve heard and two of the orcs dropped to the ground, along with the innkeeper. I learned later they were only sleeping but at the time, I wasn’t sure just what had happened except half the patrol was down.
The other two drew up on the bard and I couldn’t let her face them alone. I drew my rapier and managed to avoid their blades as I took a position to effectively attack them. I hit one and he went down. The bard was bravely fighting the remaining one and I came to her assistance against him as well. With calm determination, the bard finished off the two I learned were only sleeping. Bloodthirsty perhaps a little, but they were an imperial patrol and if any survived, more would have come after us. I just evaded what I hoped would be the last hunters I would have to face. I didn’t need more. I concurred that the act was necessary.
We buried the bodies far from the inn, along with their imperial gear. The bard seemed to know a great deal about horses and we re-branded the patrol’s mounts for our own use. The bard and I talked and decided to travel together to the west – out of imperial lands. I gave the innkeeper a little something extra for his trouble and we promised to leave first thing in the morning. The priestess offered to come with us, saying she had received her message, and it was to accompany us.
Delgorion, for that was the name of the dwarf merchant, told me if I was ever in the dwarven city of Laskon, to look up his cousin Astlof, and ask him about the ‘special dark’. He also told us of an old hermit who lived south of the road who might be able to take us out of the empire, bypassing the fort using old smugglers’ roads. I thanked him and we spent a restive night in the inn. It was impossible to get a really good night’s sleep – every little sound from outside was another imperial patrol, sure to find us and learn of last night’s deeds. As it turned out the night passed uneventfully and in the morning, I slipped the innkeeper a gold piece from among the treasure we’d taken off the dead orcs.
We left at first light, Ceridwen showing us how to mount and ride, neither Piper nor I having ever ridden a horse before. We traveled just barely in sight of the road, well off it enough to avoid any patrols, or so we hoped. For a nervous three days we traveled, jumping at every noise in the brush. While we were camped on that third night, a lioness attacked one of the four imperial horses we were using. We managed to kill the lioness, but not before the horse was badly wounded. Ceridwen calmed the horse enough for Piper to come close and heal the poor creature. We moved on before first light since the noise was likely to draw attention.
The next day we saw our first sighting of water since we’d left the inn. This had to be the stream Delgorion had told us about – the one we were to follow to get to the hermit. Unfortunately, we were spotted by imperial guards at the bridge. We could hear them shouting, but we ignored them, heading south down the streambed. Fairly soon, the shouts were left behind us and we were sure we’d evaded them.
Eventually we came to a shack in the wilderness. Even for a shack, it was barely livable, made of hand-planed planks and animal hides, it was difficult to see what kept it standing. Yet, stand it did. Ceridwen hailed the shack and a gruff voice asked us what we wanted. I let the bard negotiate with the voice and eventually a face and body came out from behind a blind and approached us. We talked a little, and he invited us inside the shack. He seemed highly agitated when we mentioned we’d been spotted at the bridge. He was sure we were followed.
He seemed an easily agitated sort. He did mention he’d served in the imperial army for fifteen years and lost his arm in the service. Eventually he agreed to be our guide to the west, and we camped outside his shack for the night.
It turned out he was right – we had been followed. Two worgs attacked in the night. Worgs it seemed were large, ferocious, evil wolves. I made it light so Piper and the hermit could see. The worgs charged into the camp. Ceridwen’s horse, quite a ferocious beast in his own right (he EATS other horses, not to mention people, if the bard is to be believed), charged the worgs and engaged one of them, while the hermit, Piper and I ganged up on the second worg. They were tough – tougher than I imagine wolves to be, but they did both die.
The hermit started cursing a blue streak when the fight was over. He seemed to think we brought the entire empire down on his head. We decided to leave this place quickly.
I have to remember to ask the hermit his name… poor quick-tempered fellow never did tell us what to call him. I suspect he wished we hadn’t called ON him at all.

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Ceridwen's Journal 7-31-11

Nabeel and I rode up to a small tavern. I was hoping to stretch out my silvers by playing for my supper. There was no stable out back so I told Nabeel to not eat anyone and went inside. It was a very tiny inn with only a few people sitting around. The smell from the food cooking in the kitchen made up my mind. A young lame girl came up to me (she thought I was a man). I asked to see her father and he said I could stay and play for my supper. They served me supper before I could even unbuckle my lute. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten first because when I tried to play I failed miserably. My audience didn’t boo but I could tell they were expecting better sigh. I paid a silver for my next tankard of ale. After that I told them my mother’s tale. That seemed to go over better.
Later 4 orcs wearing uniforms came into the inn. I guess these were the servants of the Sorcerer Lord. We don’t get many like them out in the desert. They were rude but I tried to make peace with them. I tried to calm one down by singing and that seemed to go ok but they were intent on making me angry. They had no respect for the inn keeper and tripped the lame girl. Finally I had to make them stop. I positioned myself and breathed on them. 2 of them fell asleep and 2 didn’t. One of my audience stood up and killed the other orcs with his rapier. People outside of the desert behave strangely. Once two of them were dead I felt I had no choice but to finish off the other two. The strange man named Riyu and I devised a plan to re-brand the horses and go off into the mountains. A dwarf who was at the inn selling ale told us of a one armed hermit living near the mountains who might be able to guide us. As we were getting ready to leave a young female cleric asked to join us. Her name is Piper (good name must teach her to play)
On our journey to the mountains a large cat was following us one night. We were forced to kill it. It is a shame because cats are not good to eat. We were spotted by imperials at the bridge over a stream. I tried to lose them. I’m not a great woodsman but we were following a stream; it should have confused them. We found out later they had worgs tracking us.
We met the one armed man. He is a very angry man, perhaps it is because he only has one arm. He was very unhappy that we were followed and cursed the dwarf many times. Later the worgs caught up with us. We killed them. The imperials are on our trail and I am heading into a land that I am unfamiliar with. I will have to put my faith in my new companions if we are all to survive. On a comforting note the young cleric’s god Pelor it seems is on our side. Having the god of the sun as an ally is a good thing.

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Crossroads

At the Crossroads Inn Yuri (going by the name Riyu) meets the dwarven ale merchant Delgorian and asks him where the roads lead. Yuri also meets Piper a young cleric of Pelor who is waiting for a message. Ceridwen arrives at the inn and barters for food and lodging in turn for song and story.
Four orcs of the imperial legion barge into the inn demanding food and drink. They abuse the inn keeper and his daughter until Ceridwen steps in. In the ensuing fight Ceridwen uses her breath weapon to put two of the orcs to sleep and then, with Yuri helping, they kill the two remaining orcs. The sleeping orcs are quickly dispatched and their bodies, weapons and armor are buried some distance from the inn. They decide to take the orc’s horses after changing the brands.
After some questioning Delgorian tells Yuri and Ceridwen of a one armed fighter that may be able to lead them into the western mountains. Piper asks to join them.
Three and a half days later after avoiding an imperial patrol and having encounter with a lion they arrive at the one armed fighters shack. None too pleased to see them he is even less pleased when he learn that they have been spotted by imperials. After confirming that they’ve been followed he agrees to guide them into the mountains. But before they can leave the next morning they are attacked by worgs. The worgs prove to be no match for the four of them and Ceridwen’s horse. They depart for the mountains the next morning.

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