The Transformation of Clanom
Upon reaching our place of recovery and resting for a bit, I requested a conference with the non-soldiers in the group (at least the ones who were conscious), namely LKAB, Aladdin, Tansy, and Adler. I was now filled with a new purpose and had new information to share with my comrades – and as soon as possible! I knew I could trust them to be as discrete as necessary with this information. The LKAB is an active and noble monarch, having seen many important things and accomplished many great deeds of his own, and I knew I could trust that the He would share as much information with his vassals as he deemed fit.
Once we were settled in and had a bit of privacy, I began to reveal many things.
’’My friends, as you may have guessed, I experienced a revelation earlier upon grasping the Life Spark Sword. There is so much to convey, though this is likely not the best time and place. The information is of a somewhat sensitive nature.
“There is a clear and important cause to take up. It is relevant to all human & demi-human beings living in our times. A concerted effort is needed to avoid a great calamity – the work of great heroes! However, I ask that you all be very circumspect in sharing this information. We clearly witnessed earlier today that there are those who would interfere in these matters for selfish, disconnected, or even destructive purposes.
“Here is what I feel comfortable sharing under the present circumstances:
“When I ran across the temple and grabbed the sword earlier, as soon as my hand was on the hilt, my consciousness was at once transported to a fantastic otherworldly place – timeless, and free of physical limitations. I was also humbled to be in the immediate presence of the divine: Silvanus, Lord of the Forests and Nature. Less close by, I could also see Goibhnie, the Blacksmith of the Gods, observing our proceedings. As I was trying to make sense of what I was experiencing, Lord Silvanus spoke, commanding me to make a simple choice: would I ‘secure the colossus’… or not.
‘’One hears tales of these choices: the answers are always fraught with great consequence. I considered the the combat occurring somewhere far away back in the real world: if I declined the offer presented, my attempt at picking up the sword would likely fail, which would leave the Horned Man in possession of the sword and me directly in front of him, at his mercy. I had caught a quick glimpse of some kind of angry looking creature peeling out from that helmet. He didn’t strike me as being merciful.
’’I also realized that sooner or later, assuming we survived the melee, someone was going to have to pick up the sword and find themselves in the same predicament as myself. I suspected that this might very likely be the LKAB, a Noble and a cleric with his own obligations and responsibilities, and who might be compromised by unknown obligations imposed by a God. That seemed likely to have an unfortunate outcome. So, knowing that the outcome of the battle might be at stake (and the outcome of my neck in particular), I decided that the most sensible action was to accept the task upon myself. This I did.
’’Immediately, a great burden was laid upon me, and I was allowed a brief audience with the Lord of the Forests.
‘’The cavern we are now in is called Broinn na Máthar – the "Mother’s Womb" The temple we visited recently was the Temple of Silvanus, the ancient meeting place of the Druidic Council. The stones and seats in the temple represent the druidic hierarchy: 3 Archdruids, 9 Druids, 12 Initiates of the 9th Circle. However the inner circle, for the Archdruids, contains 3 extra seats with slits in them (the Horned Man had sat in one, with the Life Spark sword in it’s slit). These are for the chieftains of the three tribes of the Dithedine.
’’In ancient times the druidic council here convened to discuss the portents and signs of the return of The Worm: an instrument of apparently massive destruction. It is brought forth upon the face of the world every 1000 years or so by the Dark One, Arawn, God of the dead. The Worm is his means of reaping souls to replenish his (presumably otherworldly) island realm.
‘’To fight this cyclic scourge, Lord Silvanus and other Gods assisted the Druidic Council in the creation of the three colossi: Bog, Tundra, and Mafic, whose purpose was to fight The Worm when it appeared. Each colossus was ’inactive’ unless needed, and was protected and tended as necessary – ‘secured’ – by a tribe of the Dithedine: one tribe of the Dithedine for each colossus: the Dithedine of Bog, Dithedine of Tundra, and Dithedine of Mafic.
’’When The Worm returns, the colossus closest to the location of its appearance will combat the worm. The Dithedine Chieftain is expected to somehow act as a “gatekeeper,” allowing a druid of his choosing to willfully sacrifice himself in order to activate and become the heart of the colossus (considered a great honor).
‘’For that is the nature of the Dithedine: they are a ’tribe’ or group whose purpose is to watch over and secure their colossus through the long ages between the appearances of The Worm. In the past the three tribes were apparently varied in make-up: an elvish tribe watching over the colossus named Bog; a mannish group watching over Tundra, and a Dwarven group watching over Mafic. Though these tribes of old were made up of races in such a way, the only thing apparently required to become one of the Dithedine is be ‘anointed’ into the tribe by the chieftain. The new Dithedine then commits to upholding their task: to secure their colossus, and to a lesser degree, the other colossi.
’’So, as you might have guessed by now, I stand before you for the first time with my new title: I am Clanom of the Dithedine, Chieftain in fact, and I am bound to the Life-Spark Sword and the colossus named Bog. If I so choose, I may bind other willing people to my cause, who will then themselves embrace it as their own… but I will remain their chieftain unless another is appointed to that role by Silvanus or the Druidic Council.
‘’I don’t know what has become of the other tribes, but by virtue of my assignment as chieftain of the Bog tribe, I can tell you that I am now its sole member. My tribe, at least, is starting over from scratch."
Here, I turned to LKAB, and with a bow (and perhaps more earnestness than he expected), spoke clearly thus, ‘’King Afton: it is with great respect and admiration that I request you return to me what we have referred to as the ’Life Spark sword.’ I am it’s guardian and wielder by divine right, and we are bound to each other so long as I am chieftain. I thank you for bearing and protecting it, and for using it to fight the desecrating spirit that inhabits the temple of Lord Silvanus… a task well aligned with its purpose. Please understand: I am now sworn to secure the colossus Bog with this sword, in preparation to combat the returning Worm. I pray my actions will be of great benefit to you and your kingdom, long may it live!’’
(…assuming he returns the sword…)
Then I addressed Aladdin. ‘’Master Aladdin, my title comes with surprising responsibilities and some benefits… some of which I suspect I’m not yet fully cognizant of. In any case, I believe that I am now entitled to open and close the stone portal above us at will. I feel somewhat confidant that if I announce myself to the golems at the exit, that they will let us pass unmolested. Please take this into consideration when creating your masterful escape plans.’’
I then spoke to everyone gathered.
’’So what must I do now? I must try to enlist as much help as possible, such as yourselves, whether as Dithedine or not, to stop what looks to be destruction on a very, very large scale.
‘’Sadly, much has changed since the ancient days. I have no idea where The Worm shall arise: gone is the Druidic Council who should be convening here now and reading the signs that foretell the time and place of The Worm’s arrival. They are now scattered and self-centered, and have let this sacred place become corrupted. Indeed, in frustration with the druid’s actions in combating The Worm, Arawn the Dark One interfered in the battle between two druids for leadership of their order, empowering the corrupted combatant to win… and thus their order is now led by a Great Druid who is a Lich… you met him earlier, Mr. Bony Wheezy in the temple, yonder.
‘’I don’t know whether or not any of the chieftains and Dithedine exist anymore, other than myself. Thus, the colossi Tundra & Mafic may not be able to be awakened to combat The Worm when it arrives. Who knows?
‘’Finally, I have no knowledge of how to activate the colossus Bog. Even if I find him, I don’t know how to select an appropriate druid to activate him, or even the process used to do the activation itself.
‘’Lord Silvanus told me that the details of how a Dithedine performs his duties are located with each Archdruid, and the details of how the time and place of the coming of The Worm is described in something called ’The Charter of Druids,’ which is also kept by the Archdruids. We need to locate these documents.
‘’Rebuilding the Druidic Council is not my concern – we only need to have the signs interpreted to foretell the Worm’s place and time of arrival. Once the colossi have been secured by their individual Dithedine, then these other matters may be addressed.
‘’With the likely exception of His Highness the LKAB (for obvious reasons), any of you who would like to join my cause and become one of my tribe, a Dithedine of Bog, are welcome, as I know your hearts well enough to accept your allegiance. But be aware: your pledge will come with great commitment, as my quest will become your own. This is necessary to protect such an important object as the colossus across all the long ages. Understand too that this is my great responsibility. You need not become a Dithedine to work with me in accomplishing these goals. All help is welcome and appreciated, though any who decide to join my tribe will have my utmost respect and trust, and continue with me on this life-long happy task of safeguarding one of the great Children of the Mother Earth.’’
Then he scanned the faces of his friends, to see their reaction to this tidal wave of news…