Well, we have reached the end of this chapter of the adventures of the DDC. Our session yesterday was emotional as we rounded up loose ends – I may have made a few people cry along the way. This is all the more impressive given I had no hard and fast notes and was very much playing a number of elements by ear.
We started with a brief time jump of a week or so and work beginning on clearing up the signs of battle and the dwarves of Clan Amberhammer being able to reclaim their home. Kerne devoted themself to researching in the library and reassembling the collections ransacked by the duergar and the warped cultists of the Triumphant Dead. Arwan dedicated himself to healing and supporting those injured in the battle. Valenia focused on scouting the surrounding lands as winter settled in, and hunting to help feed the refugees. Caeluma prayed for aid and guidance on how to retrieve Killiklik, and also helped support the families and communities gathering together.
As for Thorin? Well he was brought to his father who was found sick and confined in a prison cell and together they talked about his achievements, and the consequences for his father of having the curse lifted. Lord Bentane stated his aim to abdicate in his favour while he still had some time left – and to help advise in the transition if wanted – and the two dwarves argued out the fine detail into the night.
Kerne was able to refine the instructions gleaned from her sister with the notes and tomes in the library to create better curative potions. In addition she was able to identify arcane magics and divine prayers that could help magically cure lycanthropy by lifting the curse. A trial run with Valenia in front of people at the Hold proved that it worked. As a next step then, they decided to ask all those afflicted that they could find if they wanted the curse lifted – and with a unanimous response began to arrange the ceremony to be led by Arwan.
Quite by coincidence, the representative of House Sivis then made the offer to transform the portal construct into a magical transport circle that could bring better trade and contacts with the outside world – with free use for Thorin and his household, and a percentage of profits on trade to be paid to the treasury. An agreement was reached, and word sent out for craftsmen and artificers to come and begin work.
It was at this point that Inquisitor Rojas appeared at the front gates – representing the Silver Flame. His small force of men camped on an old battlefield near Flower Town, while he made his way alone to remake his acquaintance with Thorin. It was a huge difference since their last meeting in a Lightning Rail station bar. Now he was dressed in his plate armour and equipped with silvered magical weaponry, and Thorin was freshly crowned as Lord Thorin Amberhammer and on the doorstep of his own Hold.
It took the form of an outwardly genial conversation – with congratulations on clearing out the invaders and aberrations – but with the offer of assistance from his forces in rounding up and clearing out any remaining cultists and, most importantly, the werewolves roaming the mountains. Thorin firmly but kindly deflected these offers and informed the inquisitor that they had everything in hand. He did agree to let Rojas take his people to Flower Town to resupply for their journey back to Cragwar – knowing that none of the werewolves were based there. Rojas turned to go, pausing for a moment when he heard Caeluma growling, before carrying on to rejoin his troops.
A couple of days later, the werewolves were gathered at the old shrine, along with the DDC, and Arwan composed a ceremony to augment the curative effects of the potion to cancel out the curse along the bloodline from Karkanna. Each of the DDC contributed with their wishes for why they wanted it to work, and a pulse of golden light spread out from the huge bonfire illuminating the night. In its wake, the spiritual fragments of the bestial curse could be seen evaporating from the bodies of all who were affected – bringing peace at last.
A couple of months went by, bringing the story to the end of the year. Caeluma dedicated their efforts to creating a space for the Sovereign Host to be celebrated – a new shrine in the grounds of the Hold for all to use. Arwan continued to heal and help people, and used the goodwill generated by all his work to get agreement and support for beginning to build a school and shelter for the peoples of the Hold and Flower Town along with better management of the roads and paths between them. Work on the mines continued, to repair and remove the signs of occupation by the duergar and find new deposits of amber for which the area was known.
Kerne continued to research and delve into the arcane knowledge in the library on her own projects, and at the same time developed a slow-burning relationship with Karkanna that had begun before the final battle. Through persistence and acceptance, Karkanna in time began to believe that she was perhaps not so much the monster that she had thought she had become, and that there might be a future for her back at the Hold. In time, she was persuaded to move in with Kerne. During that first evening together, a new mark appeared on Kerne over their heart – but they have not as yet shared with anyone what that is.
Valenia continued to hunt and learn these new lands, and began to train a new generation of hunters and scouts from the local settlements. And Thorin took advantage of the remaining time with his father – who needed a cane to walk and gentle support as he waned, but was still a lively mind and engaging conversationalist. Together they began to heal the wounds left by war and time, and laughter returned to the Hold.
On the evening of the last day of the year, the wrights and scribes of House Sivis invited everyone to an official opening ceremony for the new circle. Thorin gave an awkward speech and cut the ribbon beneath a canopy of bunting and lamps and with tables groaning with food and drink. Then the portal opened for the first time – and the first people through were Coal and Odif. Odif ran to Thorin’s arms, while Coal found himself swept up in Caeluma’s arms for the first actual declaration of love ever made by Caeluma.
The second people through the portal were Valenia’s parents, loaded with gifts and pulling a small cart with beer from Valenia’s home town. The celebrations lasted quite some time – and that was where we ended the chapter.
Next week – a oneshot adventure – I’d better get writing it…