Empire of the Sorcerer Lord

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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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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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 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 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 8-13-11

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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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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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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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 8/28/11

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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