Thea’s primary focus once they get to the surface is to get Roan and Doran healed. She’d send messages to the Harpers to seek assistance and to bring them up to date on events. Beyond seeing what she could arrange in that line she would put a soft but persistant sell on Doran and the rescued dwarf (or darF) that the world would be a better place if they were to gather a band of good aligned folk to reclaim the vast underground empire that was once their people’s. The hammer and the crown finding Doran does not seem like chance to her. She’s actually somewhat against returning the crown to the “last king” as she feels “it may be destined for the next one.” If they are dead set against the idea she’s not going to push though. If they don’t want to do it then it certainly wouldn’t go well and “what will be, will be”.
As for her own plans she would hole up (in town or the Spire or wherever the others are if possible) and write up her report on the adventure for the Harpers. To the extent that the others will humor her about it she would have many questions, especially about events before she joined. Anyone who would collaborate on it would find that her report is a bit dry and formal. It could probably use some color commentary if anyone wanted to provide it. (If all or any of the others head off before she’s done skip down to the departure paragraph below. She wouldn’t leave till the report was done.)
Once she had a “usable draft” of the report, probably a week or two, she would be wanting to head to Mirabar to deliver it. (Maybe that’s where we have to go for the greater restoration?). She’d be happy if any of them wanted to accompany her but is forthright that she’s unlikely to return to Red Larch this year, or perhaps many. “I must go speak with my sister in the Feywild.” She says. “It could be some time before I return. The river of time flows differently between the planes.”
She would take whatever share of treasure the company wished her to have, if any. Other than the two wands she’s been carrying and the spell books I don’t recall anything specific she would put a claim on. She’s limited of course by what she can easily carry. Since she doesn’t have a BAG OF HOLDING! She might purchase a horse or even two in town for the journey simply for comfort. She’s fascinated by the flying mounts but doesn’t feel any ownership of them and, if asked, would say that they would probably be best off with whatever of the Lords remain at the Spire. Her report refers, by the way, to the three of them as the “Lords of Feathergale Spire and Defenders of the Deserin (spelled correctly) Valley”. It refers to herself as the “Harper representative” and to Leo hardly at all and not once by name.
She wouldn’t wish to invite Roan away from his beloved, once he was healed. And as above she is encouraging Doran to local projects. But she would mention to Seeker, in particular, that she would be journeying between the planes, should he wish to join her. “I don’t know what you seek, but perhaps the Lady will know its location. Also, she might be able to assist in the rescue of your small friend.”
In any case, whatever their plans early one morning she would depart. She has gifts for them. Small scrolls delicately sealed and labeled with their names. “Last night I spoke with The Lady as you have seen me speak with her servant before. We walked far between the worlds and there are not words for what sights were unveiled to me.”
“There is an answer within each, but not a question. When you come to a place where you do not know what step to take next then will be the time to read them. May The Lady’s light guide you in the dark of night” *
She departs (with any who would go with) as she arrived. A small figure moving along the road.
- - that’s purely a nod to Galadriel and of course there is no D&D spell per se that would let her do this. I figure we might bend “speak with other plane” to fit since this is an epilogue.
I like the idea of holding the Spire as sort of bastion of goodness and all that, but Seeker would afford noble sounding titles like the plague. If Doran and Roan are agreeable to it, he would stick around for a long bit, and consider the spire his “home” to which he returns from his wanderings, as he had yet to find a place he felt comfortable and welcomed, and the Desarin Valley is starting to feel that way.
Still, as pleased as he seems to be with the work they’ve done and continue to do, he seems haunted since the final battle. New familiars appear from time to time, rarely lasting more than a day, and none of them appearing particularly sentient. At some point this stops, and he is no longer seen with one.
If Roan and/or Doran opt to leave, he will stay behind anyway, as he feels he owes it to those they’ve rescued, and those in the Spire’s employ, to make sure they have continued employment and safety. He would pursue continued relations with the aarakocra, perhaps setting up a portion of the spire as a semi official embassy for them to contact other local good-aligned groups, if they wish it. Also, he specifically seeks contact with their lords on the elemental plain of air and information about the plane as well as how to access it.
[On top of whatever adventures the 3 of them may or may not have (depending on you guys’ stories, this works in somewhere)]
If Roan/Doran stay, he spends hours sparring and practicing with them, if they’ll allow it and in particular is very interested in Roan’s sense of awareness of the land and his very specific knowledge of his favored enemies – and also his ability to survive being in the wrong place at the wrong time and beaten almost to death so many times.
[He’s picking up levels of ranger, doesn’t make much sense mechanically but happily we’re not playing it out, as it makes sense for his story. In particular, he pursues the path of the Horizon Walker (UA), which allows him to detect planar portals and their destinations and eventually choose elementals as his greater favored enemy. He also reforges his pact, for Blade instead of Chain -edit: Just saw the UA, now this would actually work, hah!]
He takes to actually wearing his longsword (the dragon-sensing one) like an actual sword and learns how to use it from the others. The blade takes on a deep purple, crystalline sheen. He leaves the tower for days and weeks at a time, always by himself, often returning mere steps from death’s door, but always returning. He spends much of his time in the vast ruins, hunting out leftover cultists and learning everything he can about elementals.
Along the way he’s been sort of “adopting” stray (good aligned) and rescued tieflings, sorcerers and warlocks who share his patron, sort of building his own little magical order, so the valley has its own defensive force and doesn’t have to rely on distant groups giving a damn. It doesn’t have an official name, but the members have taken to wearing purple (typically enchanted amethyst) somewhere on their person, often the collar. If Roan & Doran have left, they are the new stewards of the tower, otherwise they work with and answer to the two of them in addition to Seeker.
[Building a sort of surrogate family around him (especially if Roan & Doran leave), now that he feels welcome and no longer tokenized – I don’t remember if we got into his backstory much, but basically he realized that he was the “good one” in his home town, in the sense that the people there liked him but were strongly racist against other tieflings, then gtfo of there.]
One morning he awakens from a week long recovery period after a particularly nasty encounter with an enclave of the earth cult, seeming more vitalized and present than he has a long time. “I can feel them now,” he says to someone. He makes sure his things are in order – making sure that the spire and his newly formed order are self-sustaining in his absence – and bids goodbye to his friends (if they remain), which is a little odd, because he’s never said much before going wandering before.
A year goes by and no one hears from him – save for Xanathea – as he stumbles into the Feywild a year into his journey and makes his way to her. His skin is drawn and worn, but his muscles seem leaner, and his eyes shine with a determination that’s a bit intense, even for him.
He tells her that he’s spent the better part of the last year in the realms of the kings of air – primarily in the dwellingplace of of the djinn Ahtayir (remember that guy? IIRC he had a standing invitation to visit. Seeker (and I’m going to say Doran, since I think he made that vow as well – [INSERT SEEKER+DORAN BUDDY MOVIE – maybe this happens during Roan’s honeymoon?]) destroyed his horn/prison long ago. He kept the pieces of the horn to someday present to the Djinn), learning all he could of elementals and the elemental planes, especially the plane of earth, as well as forging a bond of friendship and respect with Ahtayir and his clan/family/whatever.
He stays with her for a good couple months, if she’ll have him, exchanging knowledge and learning all he can of the plane of earth, or wherever Ogremoch was sent back to. Some combination of their research and the “answer” Thea’s goddess gave them yields the location of Ogremoch’s prison – once that is determined he bids her goodbye (unless she wants to come along) and finds a portal to where he needs to go.
Six months later he appears in a burst of lightning atop the Spire, arriving from another stop visiting the great djinn Ahtayir, who may or may not stay on our plane for a bit to visit, and accompanied maybe by Thea, but also by a vaguely humanoid being the size of a large cat, composed of a misty, translucent substance. Briefly it assumes the form of a familiar imp, and bows.
[The transition through the portal divested her of the form and substance she was bound to with the familiar ritual. When he finally found her in the plane of earth, she was in her true form (fey), unbound (as he freed her from the ritual), but still trapped on the plane. He/they found her and she now accompanies him on his travels as a friend and equal.]
“So…we going find your parents now, or what?” she says, her voice no longer the farting buzz of an imp. “Or do you need a nap? You look tired. No. Old. That’s what it is. Are those scars or wrinkles? Let’s go with wrinkles. You got old! You should take a nap.”
…I’m cracking myself up picturing Seeker with only a level or two of ranger trying to fight alongside Doran on a side quest as he’s learning the melee thing…. “Am I holding this right?” (said through broken teeth, after getting frustrated and EBing some guy into a wall). Learning how to take a hit from Roan… “You make it look so easy! Even the crumpling into a fetal position…that technique!” (He’s working on his humor too), trying to study magic alongside Thea…“So I spent a month learning some Elven, then spent the last two week reading that book, but I can’t get the spell to work. Have you ever tried just waving your hand like this and pulling the magic in through your teeth, out through your nose?” (said obliviously and completely seriously as he casts a different, but almost as cool new spell).
I like the idea of holding the tower too. Roan would definitely lend his expertise to Seeker in any way possible. Here’s my bit (sorry for the inevitable typos and shit) its far less epic, but true to the character:
When the party returns to the tower for the first time, Renee greets them, brow knit, “Where is Roan?” She doesn’t even recognize his armor, tattered as it is. For a moment, Roan considers turning away, letting her believe he fell in battle so as not to have to witness the disgust on her face at the sight of his maligned visage. But, as soon as he has this thought, one of his companions (probably Doran) points him out.
“He’s right here. Took a beating but no worse for the wear.”
In Renee’s gasp, Roan hears the epitaph of their broken relationship. His head falls, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to see me like this.”
But then she’s in his arms; she’s kissing his wounds and wrinkles. That night, as she falls asleep in his arms, he vows to be a man worthy of such love.
A greater restoration spell is very dear, but Roan is determined to earn the gold for it himself––an act of penance for his lack of faith in his lady. He takes on work as a guide and scout; it’s dangerous, but his reputation allows him to demand a high price for his services. When he is home, at the tower, he says nothing of his plan, and Renee never complains of his disfigurement. These are the happiest days of his life. Coming home to a woman who loves him after some honest adventuring. She begins to speak of marriage.
He finally has enough money and plans the first true romantic act of his life. They fly to Red Larch where Roan has secretly arranged to have the restoration spell performed. He can tell she suspects something; he can’t hide his joy. When they meet the priest who will perform the spell, Renee’s suspicions are all but confirmed.
The priest says, “Shall I perform it here?”
“Wouldn’t a church or temple be more appropriate?” Renee asks.
“I need but touch him to perform the restoration,” the priest replies.
For the life of him, Roan can’t imagine what is wrong. He follows her out into the town thoroughfare where she stands, arms crossed.
She says, “I––I thought we were going to marry tonight.”
For a second his heart stops. He curses audibly. “Yes, of course. But I thought you would want me to get this deformity sorted out before the ceremony.”
She touches the scar on his creased face. “Roan. You know me better than this.”
“I might need a little more gold if we want him to perform the ceremony tonight. Also, I think Seeker and Doran should be present for it.” He is happy.
A man speaks from somewhere behind him, but Roan hardly hears the voice over the beating of his own heart.
“Darling,” says Renee. “That man is addressing you.”
The man is seeking the ‘hero ranger of these parts’ to guide a small band of Flaming Fist men to High Forest. The man does not recognize him, but the scars on Roan’s wrists itch at the sight of him.
Roan clenches his fists. Before he is even aware of himself, Whisper is drawn and then Stranger’s Kiss is buried in the man’s ribs.
Renee had never seen Roan ply his deadly trade before. The battle at the Spire had been little more than a desperate escape; Roan and his party had fought the air cultists elsewhere. As Roan wipes his brow, smearing upon it a crimson crown of his enemy’s blood, he sees that he has once and for all failed in his effort to be worthy of Renee’s love. She had seen past the ugliness of his appearance, but now, as if her face were a mirror to his own soul, he saw a truer ugliness within himself. He was a man of violence; he had not considered any other course of action other than to take the vengeance he had craved for so long.
He stood before his beloved, truly naked; she turned away from him.
Renee did not return to the spire with Roan. He drinks more now. But he is always available to accompany his friends on their adventures. From time to time he asks if anyone has heard from Leo. He wants to find the half-elf and tell him, “You were right about me. And I was wrong about you.”
After a victorious return to the surface—and the subsequent week or two of celebration and decompression at the the spire—Doran’s mirth starts to turn morose. He begins to grow brooding, irritable, and uncharacteristically pensive. This, of course, only lasts for about half a day (which is as long a period of indecision that Doran can tolerate). He approaches Rundorth, who has been engaged in a dwarven revelry since being rescued.
“I will join you in Mirabar in three-months’ time.”
With that, he leaves on his own to return the The Lost Crown to its former owner. Despite Xanathea’s encouragement, he wants no part in any kind of rule, and he certainly doesn’t see himself as one to restore a civilization. Before he leaves the tower, though, he will drop off the remaining apocalypse weapons with ‘Thea, making absolutely sure she doesn’t need his help in destroying them. More importantly, he needs her assurance that she won’t try to attune to them.
After that, he will visit Roan and leave Valkyria with him, asking that he keep an eye on Xanathea, to make sure she doesn’t try to use the weapons. The parting is…awkward, as Doran stands in confused silence for a few moments in Roan’s doorway. Finally he heaves a big, frustrated sigh before charging at Roan and giving him a bear-like hug. Then before he leaves, in an attempt to recover from his emotional state, he says to Roan, “Remember…um…uh…always, um…drink. Ale. In the morning. After…um…a night of drinking.” And with that he will leave.
Seeker is the next to see him, almost a year later. He has been living a quiet, secluded, yet happy life with the Hearthwater clan (ie Rundorth’s clan) in Mirabar, where he enjoys a good amount of respect. Despite this, he jumps at the opportunity to get out again when Seeker reminds him of the promise to the djinn. Insert Doran and Seeker buddy-movie here, indeed!
After their excursion ends in success, Doran tells Seeker he needs to head back to Mirabar to mind his estate. They once again part in mutual respect and friendship.
If one were to go to Mirabar to find Doran Deathbeard, Last of His Clan, the Purger of Besilmer, He Who Slays Dragons, the Breaker of Waves…one will find only a shrine. Many stories are told to young dwarfs about Doran. Some say he traveled to The Shining South, where he has a giant pet sandworm that he rides. Others say he went east to Kara-Tur, where he defeated an entire shrine of evil monks before setting up his own fighting school. Others say he wanders the Spine of the World, slaying every frost giant he comes across in a symbolic act of retribution for the sake of his dead clan. Still others claim he fought fear itself—or his fears, anyway—and boarded a boat to the Moonshae Isles, where he killed an ancient Aboleth and now spends his days alone on an island.
Whatever the story that is told of Doran, one thread remains consistent: for a brief time, there was a handful of strangers who became his family. And, for a brief time, he was happy.