Riding the Storm

Nobody knows better than Jeorek that a Stormrider without a sorcerer is nothing but unfulfilled potential. When he finally finds a young man with a resonant aura, however, he discovers that the sorcerer fate has bequeathed him isn’t anything like what he expected. At first glance, Dare is a mute, crippled slave with no discernible power, but he soon proves to be far more than he appears. He’s not only a nobleman’s son, but he’s also one of the most powerful Illusionists in the empire. So how did he wind up as a slave? As Jeorek learns about his sorcerer’s shadowed past, he must gain Dare’s trust to unravel the mystery that surrounds him before the young man’s enemies become his own. In a world where magical illusions can obscure reality, however, will he be able to see the danger coming? What’s more, will he be able to weather the storm?

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TERMS OF THE EMPIRE

Empire: composed of primary, secondary, and tertiary states (those nearest the capital are primary, while the less developed lands are tertiary); most areas are electrically charged and suffer frequent lightning strikes, which disrupt higher technology; the emperor and empress are the ultimate authority, but their heir, the prince, is in charge of house autonomy

House autonomy/houseship: the most localized form of government and a privileged status granted by the prince and/or his council; authority over a single household or plot of land and all the people and resources thereon; those who rule or are members of their own house wear an embroidered tree over their hearts

Stormriders: a race of people who can magically morph into birdlike bodies composed of nearly pure energy; to maintain their intelligence and control during this transformation, they must find a sorcerer or sorceress with a compatible aura and physically absorb them for use as a power source; in any form, Storm-riders are fast healers, fierce fighters, and almost invincible to magical attack

Sorcerers/Sorceresses: men and women with varying degrees of magical power and ability; they can reach a higher threshold of power if they bond with a Stormrider

Power-bond: the psychic, emotional, and magical connection between a Stormrider and his/her sorcerer/sorceress, which strengthens both partner's powers and allows for telepathic communication when the Stormrider is in shifted form

Mate-bond: marriage; a permanent monogamous relationship

Social classes: platinum is the highest class, and its members are related (however distantly) to the royal family by either blood or marriage; below the platinum class are the gold class, silver class, and bronze class, with classless slaves on the bottom; social class is considered a matter of breeding rather than wealth and is indicated by the color of decorative stitching used on clothing

Spectrum of power: every sorcerer/sorceress and Stormrider has an individual level of power irrespective of their social or financial background; this degree of power is indicated by the color gemstone worn in the person's ring; the most powerful people are at the ends of the spectrum
White — strongest (warm side of spectrum)
Pearl/Cream  
Red 
Orange   
Yellow            
--------- Weakest           
Green    
Blue
Violet   
Grey
Black — Strongest (cool side of spectrum)      

Occupation: indicated by the symbol embroidered over a person's chest; e.g. warrior — sword, merchant — scales, etc.

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