As the party scatters to fortify loose ends, Mourning Storm quietly makes his way through the town. A lot has happened in these last few days, and he needs to feel the wind and see the stars. He knows he should meditate—the battle with the Orc cleric was particularly draining but as he leaves the lights of the town further and further behind, an energy slowly wells up inside of him.
After years of wandering, he finally has a lead to pursue. A smile plays across his face. Those Orcs weren’t just slavers. They are part of much bigger picture. Possessing that seal proves it. That woman slaver is part of it too. It all points back to the blue flames.
Hope begins to swell in his chest. Not just hope, excitement. His pace quickens, as the trees open to large clearing. A family of deer is foraging before they bed down. Mourning Storm runs towards them—being tied to this caravan has prevented him from sporting with the creatures of the wood.
Suddenly the deer take fright and bolt. He tries to call after them, but his voice is obscured by a long, low howl. He crouches lower to the ground, continuing to run with the deer, hoping to follow them to shelter. He looks back to gauge the pursuit, but his vision is obscured by a large, grey tale. He howls with delight! Renewed vigor and purpose pushes him after the deer, tongue lolling out of gaping jaws.
The hunt yields nothing, but the freedom and power Mourning felt is more than enough compensation. He collapses, utterly exhausted. He is brought to himself with a start. An ancient Elf has discovered him in the woods and is making sure all is well. The Elf shares his wineskin and introduces himself as Carric. For some reason, Mourning Storm feels safe in revealing his true name, or the first part of it, Raif.
Carric is a druid as well, and they talk and drink for a long into the night. Raif tells him the story of the burning of his forest and death of his mentor, as well as the destruction of the neighboring town. Carric asks some dangerously poignant questions about Raif’s family, but changes the subject when he senses the younger Elf’s discomfort.
The talk turns to Raif’s transformation, and what it will mean for the druid going forward. Carric talks of the druidic circles and invites Raif to meet with his own Circle of the Land in the coming days, but the young Elf barely hears him. He has tasted true power, and his head swims with it. That’s why he didn’t feel the need to offer his traveling name—he’s getting stronger! Bolder! The Circle of the Moon will bolster that strength.
As dawn breaks, Raif leaves the old Elf, with much thanks for the talk (and the wine) and promises to consider his offer. He heads back to the town to join his companions.