His burden lightened but his mind far from at rest, Haf wanders through the great conifers of the northern plateau, absently gazing upon the ancient trees as he considers his destination. The Elder Mystic had directed him to return to Etana, which seems sensible if for no other reason than to navigate his way back to the Ironlands by the path he came. However, despite the vision the mystic granted of Korva’s plans thwarted, Haf yearns to return to Lostwater immediately to check on the fate of his friends – and for human company if truth be told. He senses his time with the Elves is not yet done though and decides he must trust that his friends have been able to keep themselves safe and are now outside Korva’s concern. Haf’s connection with the spirit of the Wilds is strong here and he can see his path clearly ahead of him. He knows he must travel through the dark section of the forest where there is a void in the spirit but believes that he can navigate it with greater ease than his journey here. Following the guidance of the Wilds he veers his path slightly westward. After half a days travel he comes to a sheer edge of the plateau where the land suddenly drops away granting a majestic view of the Deep Wilds far to the west. 

Haf spends an hour or more contemplating the view before resuming his journey, inspired to appreciate his time in the Deep Wilds as long as he can. His journey takes him slowly down from the highlands over the following days and into the dark and lonely section of woods. Absent the constant connection to the spirit of the Wilds he has become accustomed to, he slows his pace and shifts to relying on his mundane senses. 

[Face danger +wits: weak hit, -1 momentum]

Despite the constant sense of menace as he passes through this spirit-dead part of the Wilds Haf makes it through without incident, although his progress is slow and tense at times. After a few days his connection to the spirit of the Wilds returns and he is able continue the remainder of the journey with a lightness of step.

When Haf reaches the Elf village he is able to locate it easily through his connection to the Wilds. Etana emerges from the trees and approaches to stand before him. The Elf mystic looks upon Haf with both the black eyes behind its wooden mask and with its mind. Etana raises its hand in greeting and Haf presses his palm against it. Haf is pleasantly surprised when the Elf then proffers its hand to be shaken. Haf joins his hand with the Elf but is surprised when it keeps his hand locked in an iron grip. The Elf locks eyes with him and pleads, “Haf… help“.

[Oracles – settlement trouble: sickness runs amok, action: hunt, theme: superstition]

Haf looks down at Etana’s arm and sees blood vessels pulsing black just under its skin. He moves to step back unconsciously but the Elf still grasps his arm. “Sickness… all Elves sick”, Etana gestures to the village. The mystic raises fingers to touch Haf’s forehead and he bows his head slightly forward granting permission to be touched. As the mystic touches his forehead a series of images pass across his mind.

...A great white Elk walks through a wooded glade, it stops and looks around, sensing danger. There is an explosion of movement as arrows fly and Elf warriors charge from the trees at the Elk with their spears. A great running clash ensues, many Elves are gored on the great animal’s horns but it is slain and brought back to the Elves’ village. A great ritual ensues, part feast, part homage to the spirit of the Wilds. All Elves in the village partake of the Elk and are bestowed with health and blessings…

…the same scene replays, again and again. Every year the same ritual takes place, the same great Elk – reborn – is hunted and shared amongst the Elf clan…

…the reborn Elk wanders too close to the blighted lake and is trapped in malevolent tree roots. The creature sickens and becomes corrupted…

…the lake is healed but the great Elk, now a blightborn beast, wanders the land poisoning the plants and killing other creatures in corrupt bloodlust…

…denied their rite of vitality the Elves sicken and wither…

Haf lifts up Etana’s arm to look at the black veins then stares into the eyes behind the mask, “Are you dying? What needs to be done?”

Etana looks back into Haf’s eyes and he sees a vision of Etana and the other Elves of the village slowly sickening and becoming corrupted until they are blighted creatures like the Elk.

We must hunt the beast. Cleanse it. Worship it.

You must help. 

“Of course. I will help you and your people”.

Haf steps back from Etana and takes out his dagger. He grips the blade and intones solemnly, “To make an oath on iron is sacred for my people. I swear that I will see that the black Elk is captured, made white again and brought back to your people”. 

[Swear an iron vow (dangerous): weak hit, +1 momentum]

The Elf recoils and watches intently. When Haf sheathes the blade it approaches warily. It motions him to place the dagger on the ground and beckons him to enter the village.

The glade is a different place to when Haf was last here, the trees mirror the sickness of the Elves who are all in varying states of weakness. A few seem geared for battle and hale enough to walk still, but it is clear that without assistance they will stand no chance of defeating the Elk. Etana closes its eyes for a few moments and when they re-open several of the Elves rouse or stand. They look to Haf and raise a throaty humming song, alien and entrancing but hollow compared to the dirge-hymn he has previously witnessed. Etana approaches Haf and unwraps a cloth covered object. It holds out a mask carved ornately from wood – Haf immediately senses it is made from the Whisperwood trees that Etana visited with him. With a start Haf realises he is being presented with the mask as a gift. He accepts it from Etana’s hands with reverence and gazes upon it. It is like the mask the Elves wear, only the shape is subtly different, rounder and wider to better fit a human skull. As Haf holds the mask he feels his mind quicken and experiences a sudden yearning to put it on. He places it to his face and ties the leather straps behind his head, he is surprised to find it is a perfect fit, holding snugly against his face but with no discomfort or impairment to his senses. In fact quite the opposite, Haf’s awareness of his surroundings feels heightened and he experiences a series of subtle awakenings and revelations sparking in his brain. 

[Advance: Masked (Whisperwood)]

Haf looks at the gathered Elves and seeing their masked faces visualises how he must look. For a moment his head swims whilst he grapples with the situation he finds himself in. If only Delkash could see this, he will be green with envy when we next meet.

He sees the weakness surrounding him and realises that the strange fellowship that has been extended to him will end, and perhaps soon if he cannot fulfill his oath. The day is ending and Haf is also tired from a month of continuous travel. Before taking his rest he approaches Etana and through a mix of crude language and shared images discusses what supplies will be needed to capture the Elk. The Elves share their food with him and then Haf quickly falls into a sleep of exhaustion.

[Sojourn: weak hit, +2 supply]

Come morning Haf, Etana and the handful of Elf warriors capable of travel gather together. The village gathers and sing, granting what strength they can. Haf and Etana stand face to face and lock eyes, joining their minds together and with the spirit of the Wilds, searching out the presence of their corrupt quarry.

[Gather information: strong hit]

The easy bond they are developing between their minds strengthens their connection to the Wilds and it takes little time to find the Elk, a stain against the viridity of  its surrounds. The beast still patrols the once tainted lake and surrounds. Haf senses that this is fortuitous, the beast’s mind has become stagnant, and the now returning power of the lake may enable the blight to be cleansed. The company sets off at the best pace it can manage, the forest here is easy to travel but Haf trailblazes for the Elves to find the easiest path.

[Secure an advantage +wits: weak hit]

[Face danger +wits: strong hit with a 1 on action die, -1 spirit]

[Endure stress: weak hit, press on]

Haf finds his heightened awareness from the mask allows him to easily navigate and guide the group. He marvels at details in the forest he had not noticed before but finds it hard to not get distracted and becomes tired out by the effort of sorting through the wealth of new information. However the group makes good speed given the weakness of the Elves and they reach the lake surrounds in two days. They spend the night preparing themselves for the hunt the next day.

[Make camp: strong hit, +1 spirit, +1 momentum]

The Elves sing at dusk and Etana approaches Haf and shakes his hand. Haf takes this as an invitation to join their song.  At first he is self conscious and holds back, but as he focuses on the spirit of the Wilds rather than his voice he lets go and sings – differently to the Elves but somehow in harmony. They all take cheer in the odd fellowship and do their best to take their rest for the coming day’s challenge. 

Come sunrise Haf and Etana again commune with the Wilds and sense the presence of the Elk a mere hour away. Haf cautiously scouts ahead of the party, trying to keep both his mundane awareness and sight attuned for the presence of the blightborn creature. 

[Secure an advantage +wits: weak hit with a 1 on action die, +1 momentum, -1 spirit]

[Endure stress: weak hit, press on]

Haf finds the mental acuity his mask grants him allows him to split his attention between the material and spirit worlds, however he is unused to the mental strain of the task and earns himself a pulsing headache. Regardless he makes good use of his talents and is able to lead the hunting party into view of the Elk without it noticing them yet. The group carefully fans out and take up hidden positions, waiting for the Elk to wander closer.

[Enter the fray (formidable) +shadow: weak hit, take initiative]

They sense the corruption emanating from the creature as a sickening smell of death in the air and a wrongness in the spirit of the Wilds as they nervously wait. The creature slowly approaches, then pauses making a feral grunting as it sniffs their blood nearby. Sensing their opportunity will soon be squandered Haf signals the attack..

 

[Strike +edge: weak hit, inflict 1 harm, lose initiative]

…The black Elk looks towards the movement of Haf and the Elves emerging from their cover. They send a volley of arrows into it as it lowers its antlers and charges towards them. As it closes they brace themselves and swap bows for spears and staff. Haf tries to position itself in its path so the Elves can harry it’s flanks…

[Clash +edge: weak hit, inflict 1 harm, pay the price]

…the great Elk thunders towards them, its once majestic form now misshapen and hungering for blood. Haf yells and waves his staff trying to attract it and appears to do so. A few of the Elves are able to pin spears in its side as its passes them, but just before it crashes into Haf it veers, slamming its great horns into the Elf warrior to his side, transfixing it on its great antlers. Haf rushes in to try and distract it with a blow from his staff…

[Clash +edge: miss, suffer 3 harm]

[Endure harm: weak hit, press on]

… the Elk flings the Elf to the ground and turns its full attention to Haf. Haf swings his staff into the Elk, but mere weapons of wood are not enough to harm it and it surges forward slamming him with its antlers. Haf is sent sprawling, and tries to roll out of its path and towards his dropped staff as he gasps for air…

[Face danger +edge: weak hit, -1 momentum]

…Haf scrambles desperately in a blind panic. He escapes unscathed but once he gathers his wits he sees the battle continues without him as the Elves nervously surround the Elk with prodding spears. As the beast swings its antlers into them it is clear to see the Elves can do little but keep it bay and even then not for long. Haf bellows a battle cry as he charges back into the fray meeting the Elk head on…

[Clash +edge: miss, burn momentum —> strong hit, inflict 2 harm, gain initiative, +1 momentum from Long-arm]

…Haf side steps as he reaches the Elk and jams his staff between its antlers. He uses his momentum to lever the Elk’s head to the side and brings one knee to the ground. The Elves strike into its side as it is distracted and it snorts in pain as black blood oozes from multiple wounds. The Elk thrashes it’s head trying to dislodge Haf’s staff. Sensing an opportunity Haf slowly back pedals whilst he forces the staff side to side, trying to keep it distracted…

[Secure an advantage +wits: strong hit, +2 momentum]

…the Elk’s rage is mindless and it can do naught but follow Haf, trying to disentangle its antlers. The Elves have moved  into flanking positions, Haf pulls back his staff and strikes alongside them…

[Strike +edge: weak hit, inflict 1 harm, lose initiative, +1 momentum from Long-arm]

…the Elves continue to blood their spears in the Elk’s hide as Haf thrusts the staff butt into its forehead. This seems to enrage it more than anything. Haf grits his teeth and stands his ground striking at the fell beast’s head with all the force he can muster…

[Turn the tide]

[Strike +iron: strong hit with a match, inflict 3 harm, +1 momentum from Turn the tide]

…Haf’s strike hits the Elk at the base of an antler and it breaks loose with a resounding crack. It staggers under repeated spear thrusts and Haf drops his staff, reaching for the looped rope at his belt. He holds it high signaling to his companions that now is the time to try and ensnare the Elk…

[End the fight: strong hit with a match]

… the Elves force their spears into the Elk and drive it to its knees. Haf loops the rope over the remaining antler then runs behind it looping the rope around its legs. Working together the hunting party trip the Elk onto its side and tie its legs as it weakly bucks and moans. The creature is both a pitiful and hideous sight, half dead and saturated in black blood, but retaining the unnatural blood lust in its eyes. 

The company takes a break to recover from the struggle, Haf and several of the Elves took painful flesh wounds but the Elf warrior Uktannu who was gored is sorely hurt, perhaps mortally wounded.

[Heal +iron: weak hit, +2 health, -1 momentum]

Haf tends to his own wounds whilst Etana ministers to Uktannu. There is little that can be done for the Elf but participating in the ritual feasting may help it recover. Etana motions to the company that they have taken more time than can be spared and must continue. A large fallen branch is fed through the ropes around the Elk’s legs, allowing it to be carried. Haf takes one end and the Elves take turn carrying the other. The Elk thrashes and utters unnerving groans, but seems to be trying to attack rather than escape. Thankfully they do not have to carry it more than an hour before they reach the lake shore. Several of the Elves have not seen the recently rejuvenated lake yet and the party’s energy is renewed. Haf consults with Etana and they decide to navigate the lake to the ritual site on the other side, hoping this is the best place to cleanse the Elk. The corrupted Elk is placed in the central circle of stones by the shore of the lake and Etana readies himself to complete the ritual. Haf has a sudden premonition of darkness and stops Etana. The corruption of the lake was too overwhelming for Etana – for the spirit of the Wilds even. Given that the Elk was not healed along with the lake perhaps it possesses a similarly strong taint. Etana concurs and begins walking Haf through the steps to complete the ritual. Haf senses a shift in the posture of the other Elves: they have respect for Haf’s ability and gratefully accepted his help, but having a human carry out this rite is another thing.

[Compel +heart: miss]

[Pay the price: a new danger or foe is revealed]

Haf focuses on his connection to the Wilds and can see the life force of the Elves before him. He reaches out his mind to them and shows an image of himself prostrate before the Elder Mystics, hoping this will show him as being both loyal to their cause and accepted by the highest amongst them. The Elves bristle and stand, reaching for spears. Even Etana seems affected by the image and a Haf feels the mental connection between them turn icy. Etana slowly draws a curved ceremonial blade from his belt and assumes a combatative stance. Haf drops his staff and places his hands out palms up, attempting to calm the situation. Etana’s mind reaches out to Haf and shows an image of the two locked in combat, Haf victorious and assuming Etana’s mantle as mystic of his people. Is this what you seek?

”No friend Etana, I have made an error”. Haf shows an image of himself as Etana’s student, respectful and unthreatening.

[Test your bond: weak hit]

Etana leaves the connection with Haf open but its thoughts are closed off to him. After a long pause, pregnant with violence, Etana drops its mental walls. You would be my apprentice and learn the mystic rituals of the Firstborn?

This had not been Haf’s intent but he remains silent, mainly as he senses this has appeased Etana’s offence. However he experiences a thrill at the idea of being schooled in magic, along with an intense spike of fear that his life has just become much more complicated and dangerous. 

You have provided aid to the people of the Wilds, including me. Yet you came into the Wilds seeking help. There are no debts. 

The spirit of the Wilds must judge if you are true and worthy. After we cleanse the Elk you will have first hunt. If the Wilds will it that you learn the secret ways you will be permitted to succeed. 

“I will swear to that’, Haf proclaims and reaches for his knife. No. Etana gestures to Haf to extend his arm, then takes out the stone dagger. The mystic traces sigils in Haf’s skin with the tip of the blade. Blood gently wells and Etana rubs his hand slowly over Haf’s forearm, smearing his arm red but closing the cuts. Complete the task and I will also make the marks, compacting us in the secret ways.

“So be it”.

Etana communes mentally with the other Elves and they settle, placing spears down and sitting to watch and aid the ritual of cleansing. Etana faces Haf and looks long into his face and mind.  I will lead the ritual, but you will assist me.

Etana takes up a plaintive, keening song and the gathered Elves match his tone. Haf focuses on his connection to the Wilds, with the sight he can see the Elves offering their vitality to the Wilds and Etana attempting the channel the vibrant life force of the Wilds into the Elk. 

[Orcales – action: break, theme: health]

The Elk is consuming the life force going into it, but the corruption within it is feeding on the energy rather than being transformed by it. The Elk begins drawing more and more life into it. It renews it’s thrashing at the ropes with renewed vigour and the Elves swoon. Haf can sense Etana struggling to control the ritual, but the corruption within the Elk is too strong. Haf realises something has to be done and acts on a desperate impulse that is more hope than plan. He yells to Etana, “cleanse the corruption in me!”, as he leaps on the Elk with his dagger and plunges it into its chest. He cracks open ribs and reaches through reeking black blood, wrestling with the Elk as he tries to find its heart with his hands.

[Face danger +iron: weak hit, -1 spirit]

[Face stress: strong hit, +1 momentum]

Haf struggles with the blighted Elk, slipping in gore and reeling from the raw corruption he is exposed to but stays focused and reaches the beasts heart with his hands. The blight starts leeching into Haf’s flesh, he retches and his eyes turn black, blinding him. He struggles to hold on as the taint flows into him, screaming Etana’s name, hoping the mystic can cleanse the corruption from his flesh. [-3 spirit]

[Endure stress: miss, -1 momentum, shaken]

[Face danger +heart: strong hit, +1 momentum]

Haf feels himself slowly being overcome by darkness, as his sense of self is lost in horror and rage he retains one thought – hold on. A glimmer of light enters his soul, slowly growing as if the dawn is breaking and shedding light on shadows. Haf feels the blackness ebb away and life and lucidity returning, before he slumps into unconsciousness.

When he wakes he sees Etana over him and the other Elves gathered around. Haf struggles to a seated position and looks for the Elk, but it is no longer here. Etana’s mind joins with Haf’s and the mystic explains the Elk is no longer blighted: the corruption flowed into his body where it was able to be cleansed. The Elk’s wounds are now healed, even now it roams the forest awaiting the beginning of the hunt. Haf slumps his head, his body still feels hale but his mind is clouded in doubt and darkness. “I’m sorry friend Etana, I cannot follow through on my oath, your people must complete the hunt”.

Etana opens its mind to Haf: he sees respect; tinged with uncertainty or even fear over Haf’s capacity for brash action. It is not Etana’s decision whether Haf will be granted permission to learn the secret ways, however Etana wants Haf to attempt the hunt. The corruption in you was purged, your body is strong, you are able to hunt the Elk if the spirit of the Wilds wills it. The weakness in my people grows stronger, they cannot hunt.

Haf looks more closely at Etana and the gathered hunters. The struggle of hunting the blightborn Elk and the cleansing ritual have taxed their already waning strength. Half will have to complete his vow, there is no other option. For a moment anger flares up in him, he does not want this burden or believe it is possible. Then resignation sets in, he will attempt the task. If he fails and dies so be it, at present he hardly cares. He struggles to his feet and begins trudging away from the Elves, barely acknowledging them. Physical activity rouses some small measure of motivation and by the time Haf has reached the other side of the lake he is contemplating strategy. The Elk may be cleared of corruption but Haf is hunting it alone. He must have his wits about him and a plan if he is to succeed. He opens the sight to the forest around him, connecting with the Wilds and searching for the presence of the Elk. 

[Gather information +wits: strong hit, +2 momentum]

The Elk grazes at the edge of the lake, mere minutes away from Haf’s location. Haf stalks into the woods beyond the lake, laying snares in what he hopes will be the Elk’s path. 

[Secure an advantage +wits: weak hit]

Haf then doubles back to the lake and begins creeping through the trees along the lakes edge with his bow in hand. Seeing movement ahead he crouches and watches patiently: the Elk is grazing in ignorance that the hunt is now afoot. Half patiently watches and waits, eventually the Elk starts wandering in the direction Haf has layed out the snares. After an hour of watching the Elk has yet to trigger a snare and Haf’s patience is frayed, he decides to attack now whilst he is still hidden from the Elk.

[Enter the fray (dangerous) +shadow: weak hit, you have initiative]

Haf draws back his bow, takes a steadying breath and shoots…

[Strike +edge: miss with matched 10’s]

…the bow string snaps just as Haf is in the action of releasing, stunning him momentarily. When he regathers his wits he is standing with broken bow in his hand as the Elk charges towards him…

[Face danger +edge: weak hit, -1 momentum]

…Haf has to dive to the side, narrowly avoiding the Elk’s path. However his staff is on the ground next to his discarded bow. He darts over and grabs it, but as he turns the Elk is again bearing down in him. He runs away from the Elk at an angle, hoping to lead it across the path of a snare…

[Face danger +wits: weak hit, -1 momentum]

…as the Elk bears down on Haf its foot steps in a snare. Half turns, hoping to seize the opportunity but the Elk quickly shakes its foot loose and again Haf is forced to dive to the side to avoid the great antlers. He is panting now and sets himself to meet the next charge head on…

[Clash +edge: weak hit, inflict 1 harm, take 2 harm, +1 momentum from Long-arm]

[Endure harm: strong hit, +1 health, -1 momentum]

…Haf tries to smack the Elk’s antlers aside as it bears into him, he deals it a rattling blow but not enough to divert its attack. He rolls with the blow, reducing the impact but missing the chance to position himself well. The Elk in its natural form lacks the feral rage of its corrupted self and is momentarily uncertain of how to respond to this human and its big stick. Haf takes his chance and rushes in…

[Strike +edge: weak hit, inflict 1 harm, lose initiative, +1 momentum from Long-arm]

…Haf deals the Elk another forceful rap across its side, however its instinct to defend itself kicks in and it rears up bringing its antlers down towards Haf as if fighting another buck. Haf tries to meet the antlers with his staff, twisting  them aside…

[Clash +edge: miss, take 2 harm]

[Endure harm: weak hit, press on]

…Haf underestimates the Elk’s strength and weight. He narrowly avoids being gored but is borne down by the Elk. He desperately tries to roll out from under it…

[Face danger +edge: weak hit, -1 momentum]

…Haf manages to escape the Elk’s antler press but is panting and back-pedalling. The Elk momentarily sizes him up and charges again. Haf realises that a normal animal would long ago have fled: truly the Wilds are testing him. He darts to a nearby dense corpse of trees to try and shelter himself and catch his breath whilst he works out a strategy…

[Face danger +wits: strong hit, +1 momentum, gain initiative]

…the Elk’s great antlers prevent it from coming through the trees and it circles around trying to reach Haf. As its flank is facing him Haf darts straight out from the trees crashing his staff down overhead upon it…

[Strike +iron: miss, burn momentum —> weak hit, inflict 2 harm, lose initiative, +1 momentum from Long-arm]

…Haf’s blow catches the Elk off guard and is aimed true. It crashes down on the antlers with a crack… as the both the antler and staff break. Haf and the Elk exchange a tense moment and their eyes momentarily lock. There is more than animal intelligence in the eyes and Haf imagines he sees a look of… challenge, before the Elk again lowers its antlers to attack. Half draws his dagger and stands his ground, aware that the trees are right behind him…

[Turn the tide]

[Secure an advantage +wits: strong hit, +2 momentum, +1 momentum from Turn the tide]

…as the Elk surges forth Haf suddenly leaps to the side. The Elk’s antlers jam in between two trees, it shakes its head wildly but cannot withdraw them…

[End the fight: weak hit]

[Endure stress: weak hit, press on]

…as the Elk frantically tries to free itself Haf come around to its side, wary of its hooves and antlers, then moves in fast and grabs a foreleg to put it off balance. He then positions himself to cut the struggling animal’s throat. As he puts the blade in place the Elk ceases its struggling. Haf can’t help but turn and look it in the eye and is struck by the intelligence there. For a moment Haf is lost in its gaze and looks beyond, sensing the presence of the spirit of the Wilds. The Elk calmly waits for the ritual slaying, Haf tries to recollect Etana’s instructions but the best he can do is to look upon the animal through the sight and send the thought that the ritual feast will be completed so that the Elves can be healed and give honour to the Wilds. He slides his blade across the Elk’s throat and a hot stream of blood pours across his forearm and onto the ground below. The Elk slowly collapses into Haf as their gaze remains locked, the life fading from them as Haf takes its weight into his embrace. The burden of taking the majestic animal’s life triggers an outpouring of emotion as the weight of the two hunts and ritual of cleansing hit. Haf lets out a primal moan as he sobs into the bloody corpse. 

The Elves arrive within the hour and find Haf and the dead Elk still in a blood soaked embrace. At first it appears Haf is also dead, but he has collapsed in sheer mental exhaustion and lies slumped against the Elk. Etana rouses Haf and checks him for wounds, but despite being slick with blood he is still fit to travel. The Elves too are tired and the task of carrying the Elk must be shared by all. 

[Face danger +heart: weak hit, -1 supply]

The hunting party spends an exhausting two and a half days carrying the Elk carcass back to the village. The travel is a constant strain and any unnecessary belongings are discarded as dead weight. When they arrive the sickened folk have already prepared a great fire and the Worship of the Elk commences immediately.

[Fulfill your vow: strong hit, 2 experience]

The weakened Elves rally and soon all the village are gathered to share a meal of roast Elk. Dirgelike hymns are sung and the Elves make obesance before the Elk. The surrounding forest thrums with energy as the Wilds channels its vitality into the Elves and they begin to quickly recover. The antlers are removed from the Elk and offered to Haf as an honour for his role cleansing and hunting the Elk. The ritual shows no sign of ending but Haf feels a weariness of more than the body. At some point Etana guides him to his abode in the hollow of a great tree. Now that Haf will be his apprentice he is permitted to enter and Etana offers him a place to rest and mutters some form of prayer or incantation over him before Haf falls into a deep sleep. 

[Sojourn: strong hit, hearten & recuperate]

[Forge a bond: strong hit, +1 spirit]

Haf spends the next few days doing little but sleeping and resting quietly. The Elves have recovered quickly and he has earned the right to rest. Word spreads of his sacrifice in taking on the corruption from the Elk and small tokens are gifted and songs sung to aid his recovery. Haf feels his confidence recover and spirits lift. Whilst the Elves are still alien in many aspects, he has become more comfortable with their ways and company and feels accepted amongst them. Whilst part of him yearns to return to the Ironlands he also feels ready to stay in the Deep Wilds for now. Over the coming days he joins with the Elves and begins to take on responsibilities within the community. He joins the occasional hunting parties and patrols that venture out from the village and even spends time play-sparring with the young warriors. He also learns some rudimentary wood carving skills decorating his newly fashioned staff. 

[Advance: Long-arm upgrade 2nd ability, 2 experience]