PLAYED BY: Cody Jackson
OCCUPATION: Former Caravan Guard turned “Adventurer”
KNOWN SKILLS: General Outdoor Survival and light Herbalism
RELATIONSHIPS: Traveling Companion with Gwynevive Cotorelle
RUMORS: Not much to say. He hasn’t made any name for himself yet.
The True History of Cordyn Lockwell
Part One: On Caravans and Backstories
Year: 261 (21 Years Old)
Cordyn quietly walked next to the ornate covered cart, absentmindedly fiddling with the strap keeping his shield secured to his back. He’d long forgotten about the dull ache in his feet from his worn boots on the hard dirt roads. It had been a few days since they had seen much more than a small shanty town and he’d yet to find a leather-worker or a cobbler able to make him a new pair of shoes that wouldn’t have fallen apart within a week of hardship that he put his footwear through.
A sudden voice snapped Cordyn out of his day dreaming as a man came stamping up from behind the wagon. He was easily ten to fifteen years older than Cordyn and was dressed in fine clothes that showed his merchant status even through the thick coat of road dust that he had accumulated in his traveling.
“I’m getting so damned sick of these travel rations! Gods among us what I wouldn’t give for a real meal!” The man threw a small, dense nut bar into the dirt and Cordyn cracked a small smile.
“Oh Vistero, do you ever stop complaining?” Cordyn chided, picking up the bar and tucking it into a pouch on his belt.
“Oh, you aren’t really going to save that, are you?” Vistero asked in faux disbelief. He already knew the answer, and Cordyn already knew his retort.
“Well you know, I wouldn’t have to if you paid me better.”
“And you know damn well that I pay you far more than you’re worth as a sell-sword, Cordyn. You know if I didn’t like you so much, I would have stopped paying for your services after your first contract was up years ago!” Vistero snapped playfully while Cordyn imitated him using his hand as a puppet. “Hey! Stop that! You’re a lousy swordsman, you know that, right?”
“I’d say I’m a mite better than you are, Vistero.” Both men smiled for a moment before Vistero’s face grew slightly more serious.
“You know. We’ve been traveling together for five years and you’ve never told me about how you came to be on that boat where we met. Now I know all about the part where I told you that you had a nice sword and you told me that it was for sale. We had a lovely little misunderstanding and that’s how you came into my employ. But how did you end up on that ship with that sword in the first place?”
Cordyn’s face hardened slightly. It was hard to think of what his life had been on Faedrun and how everything changed so quickly. He had spent most of his time in Mardrun assuming his family was still alive back in the old world. That maybe the undead scourge hadn’t touched them somehow. It became harder and harder, however, to ignore the chatter that Vandregon and Aldoria had been crushed and that Faedrun as he had known it was no more. Still, maybe it would help him to talk about it.
“Well. I guess I might as well tell you. I was born in a small village in Vandregon outside of the capitol…”
Our village was barely a drop of ink on the map. Not many people passed through, and those who did tended not to bother to stop. Now before you get ahead of yourself, this isn’t one of those stories where my little village was beset by marauders and I, as the lone survivor, picked up my father’s sword and swore vengeance upon my enemies. If that were the case, I’d hope I would be a better swordsman. No, while this story may be sad, it’s nowhere near as dramatic.
I had a happy childhood. We heard whispers about the undead plague, but our little hamlet seemed to be in a world of its own away from it all. My father was a farmer. He grew mostly grains for breads and beers, but he grew enough vegetables to help keep the village running as well. My mother was a seamstress. First by necessity; farmers and adolescent boys tend to wear through their clothes rather quickly, but later by trade when her handiwork was seen throughout the village. Things were good. They were quiet. When I was around twelve I started to spend time with the apothecary, making runs into the woods for reagents and portioning them out for the apothecary to mix into salves and potions. I’d spend my time in the forests pretending to be a sword wielding adventurer as I plucked morels and roots. I would always stop by the blacksmith’s shop on my way out to look at the swords in the windows. I think my father took notice.
It wasn’t for a few more years that we would even start to feel like there was really something going wrong outside of our little bubble. When I was sixteen my father gave me this sword and enough money to book passage on a ship to Mardrun. He knew something was coming and we didn’t have enough money for us all to get out. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and be with my family, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He told me that when I get to New Hope if I ever needed money to sell the sword. It was supposed to be a gift when I turned seventeen, but he felt time was running out. My parents escorted me to the docks and watched me leave.
And now with what we’ve been hearing…I doubt they’re still alive back there.
“So that’s why you told me that sword was for sale.” Vistero shook his head lightly, “And that does explain why you’re so gods awful with it. I am sorry about your parents, Cordyn, but your father was a smart man. I also sensed that something big was coming and that chances to get out were dwindling. That’s how I ended up on that boat with you. For what it’s worth, I’m glad to have you here with me, even if it’s just because I pay you.”
Part Two: Magic Tomes and a Burgeoning Taste for Adventure
Cordyn continued to travel with Vistero for the next few years. While other caravan guards came and went over the years, Cordyn was always there. He did manage to pick up a little more sword skills by training with the others. He always had a hard time finding a good cobbler on the road and Vistero never really got used to the taste of travel rations, so when the two ended up in decent sized towns they always made sure to make the most of it.
Sometime in the summer of 263, Cordyn came across a book during a brief stop-over in New Hope between outings. The book contained introductory lessons into Arcane teachings and he quickly stowed it away for further reading.
The tome opened up Cordyn’s eyes to a world of possibilities outside of his current line of work. He poured through it anytime the caravan stopped for the night, silently reading to himself. He even developed a type of walking-meditation that he would practice while Vistero slept in the back of a cart. While the book didn’t delve into the real-world applications of mana weaving, it opened Cordyn’s eyes to the ever-present mana stream that surrounded him and he practiced during most of his free time to learn to tap into it.
The first time Cordyn tapped into the mana stream, he was so excited and overwhelmed that he immediately lost contact and gave himself a slight case of backlash. He was more careful and more reserved in the future, but he quickly came up on a road block in his studies. He was to the point where the book could no longer help him. He could tap into the mana stream, but he had no idea how to do anything with that knowledge. He needed a teacher and as much as he enjoyed his time with Vistero, he needed an adventure.
“There’s a whole world out there, Vistero. I’m getting tired of walking the same roads again and again. I want to go out and find my place. I want to learn magic.” Cordyn explained to his old friend, “It’s nothing against you. I’m very grateful for everything you’ve done for me. It’s just…well it’s just -”
“It’s just that your twenty-four, Cordyn. I completely understand, you don’t have to explain it to me. I’ve known you for seven years now. I’m just surprised it’s taken you this long to get itchy feet.” Vistero smiled knowingly. “You know, I was your age once, boy. I remember what it was like to want to find my place in the world. I’m just lucky I found it so young.”
Cordyn felt his relief wash over himself. He had been trying to find a way to tell Vistero that he was interested in leaving the caravan for weeks.
“Tell you what. You stick it out with me until you find a good start to your adventure. We travel through plenty of towns. Now that you’re open, I’m sure it won’t take long to find what you’re looking for.”
“Thanks Vistero. For everything.”
Cordyn didn’t stay much longer with Vistero. Within a few months he bumped into a Syndar woman who shared his thirst for adventure, and lucky for Cordyn, she happened to be an arcane mage. She agreed to travel with him and try to teach him about magic as long as she could accompany him on his adventures. He may have embellished a bit when she asked him if he was good with his sword . . .