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The tale of how I stole the heart of Brackenleaf (quest spoiler)

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If many years from now, you venture to Elden Root and is hungry for food and a story, go to the Outside Inn and you will most likely find an old khajiit lady, her whiskers grey and her face covered in scars from her many adventures. She will tell you a story if you buy her a meal, remember to order her some Moonsugar bisquits for dessert. If she is in a good mood, ask her if the rumours you have heard is true; that when she was young she stole the heart of Brackenleaf. They are, but it flatters her if you have heard rumours, and she will think you sought her out for just this tale.




"Oh that old story" The old khajiit lady sniggers and her eyes sparkle. "This one will tell you how it happened, it was back in my younger days, I was a mere kitten out on my own for the first time. I didn't know much of the world, but I was curious about how it all looked. It began when I first arrived in Grahtwood and I met this peculiar little woodelf, I've forgotten his name. He told me about the heart of Brackenleaf, a sacred tree to the Bosmer people, and then gave me a look and said "But you could never steal his heart, that would take a real master thief" I offcourse went for the bait, young as I was, and I told him that I would return with the treeheart within a day. It took me longer mind you, because I ate this red frog, I remember clearly what a pain it was to catch it. It must have been poisonous because the world changed and I talked to all kinds o f forest spirits, and when I finally came back to myself it was with a terrible headache and singed whiskers, and with a piece of the heart. But I'm getting ahead of myself now."




"The woodelf told me to look for some treehuts southwards between Elden Root and Haven, and I went right there and then, without questions. He must have had much fun on my expense telling his friends how he had sent a kitten out to steal the heart of Brackenleaf. I got lost many times, the Grahtwood forest is no place for unexperienced tree climbers. Crocodiles nearly got me numerous times, this scar right here on my ankle is from a tailswing, it happened right before I met Glaras and perhaps if I was not wounded she would have just wandered on. So it might just be that crocodile was sent by the moons. Glaras helped take down the crocodile, telling me while she tended to my wounds, that she was just out to get some meat for dinner, and asking if I would join her. As it turned out she belonged to a tribe of guardians called Brackenleafs Briars and I could not believe my luck."




"That night while eating crocodile with the Briars I was told the story about Brackenleaf and Y'ffre, and I understood I had been sent out on a fools errand. Why should a tribe of woodelfs let a khajiit join their secred order of treeguardians? I stayed the night with the woodelfs, sleeping in their magnicifent treehut, dreaming dreams coated with moonsugar and then I woke. The night was a dark green, light of the moons bouncing on all those leafs around me. I sat up, someone had called my name, I was certain of it. I pushed the blankets aside grabbed my staff and climbed down the hut. The grass was wet and cold on my paws and I regretted having left the warm bed, when I saw it: A spriggan spirit, those odd tree spirits guarding woodelf sacred forests. She called my name again and I could not resist following."




"The spriggan lead me to a hidden cave, where the red frogs live. I knew about the frogs, having just been told the story of how you have to eat one to talk to your spirit animal or if you where chosen; Brackenleaf. I took it as a sign. I will not tell you how difficult it was catching the cursed frog, but in the end I got one and I forced myself to eat it alive, how it struggled to get free, almost choking me. The woodelfs have some odd ideas about what is food and what isn't. Did you ever try rothmeth? Horrible isn't it. Who makes any kind of food from rotten meat? Oh I better keep my voice down, but atleast the jagga is drinkable, though I prefer just plain water here."




"Now where was I? Ah the red frog. It must have contained poison of a sort, because what happened next is a very odd tale. I was still in this world, and at the same time I was in a spirit world, where I could see and interact with all the guardians of the forest. It felt as if the air was made of water and all the colours had changed just a tiny bit, too little to be of any real concern to me and too much for me to ignore it. I could not wait to explore this new forest and as I wandered through the forest, a huge snake lunged at me. It was as fas as a treetrunk and as silvery see-through as all the other spirits. And yet I felt its body push me and its hisses in my face, as it snaked its way passed me in the forest. I could not help myself, I had to catch it. It was a great struggle. See how my left ear is torn? That is from the spirit snakes fang. I got it in the end and I think I ate the whole animal raw. I was in a sort of trance and I curled up and slept after the meal. I felt my body growing strong from the snake meat. I heard growling and realised it came from me. My paws grew bigger and I could extend these huge claws."




"I don't know how long I slept. I was woken by a continously howling. My fur was standing and I tried to grab for my staff to defend myself. But I couldn't grab it, my paws had grown huge and unflexible. I tried to get up, but could no longer balance my weight on my hindlegs and I realised I had changed from eating the snake. I had turned into a Senche-tiger. I had no time to ponder about my shapeshift, as five wolves where attacking me. Even though they where five, I was far bigger and stronger and I was not going to give my life to be their dinner. One got his throat ripped by my sharp teeth, two wolfs got their skulls bashed in, one lay limb with a broken back and the last slipped away with just an injured leg."




"I roamed the forest for some time, enjoying my new body. By now you are probably wondering where this story is going? You asked to hear how I stole Brackenleafs heart, and here I am telling about how I met my spirit animal. You probably wonder if I'm so old I've mixed up the stories, but I tell you, the two stories are linked. Just be patient and listen and you will hear about the heart."




"It was Glaras who found me. The woodelf had noticed someone was in the spirit world and Glaras went in herself to retrieve my spirit. You see noone can be their spirit animal forever, they forget their real body if they are not linked to this world, and I had no link since noone knew I had eaten the frog. If you live only in the spirit world and eat only spirits your real body will starve and die, and mine was near death when Glaras found me. She brought me back to the real world, and the woodelfs nurtured me back to life. It took days. I had roamed as the tiger for far too long and the woodelfs thought I would die. But I lived, and I think it was the strong will to live inside me, that convinced them I should become a Briar."




"When I had regained my strenght, Glaras called on me. I was to do a quest she said. I was to go back to the spirit world to talk with the tree god Brackenleaf, and if he allowed it take a piece of his heart. Remembering what had happened last time I had ventured into the spirit world I was reluctant to do as she told, but she pushed me and said it was the will of the gods and who was I to argue with trees and gods? I think it was when she told me I would become one of the tribe I finally agreed. I had lost my own family and I longed for a place to call home. Perhaps these peculiar treehugging woodelfs could become my new family and this wild forest my home."




"So once more I went to find a red frog. It was easier to catch it this time, but the swallowing just as troublesome as the first time. I knew what to expect this time, and I knew what to do. Glaras had instructed me on how I could use my breathing to keep my spirit inside my body. She had also told me to get the aid of my spirit animal and had instructed me to go to the tigers shrine, light it and ask the big cat to aid me on my quest. Senche-tigers are huge and fierce beasts, and I was very happy to have a very fine specimen at my side. Together we walked through the spirit forest to find Brackenleaf the tree god."




"Tomorrow when it's light out, if you dare, you should travel southwards and see the tree god for yourself. It is a magnificent tree with a magnificent nose, definetly worth a detour. I found him in the spirit world and he agreed to let me and the tiger through his roots to his heart, if we could face the guardians inside and win the battle for his heart. I tell you we fought bravely and we won each battle. The Battle of the Snake. The Battle of the Bear. The Battle of the Fire Beatle. The Battle of the Wolfs. The Battle of the Crocodile and finally the Battle of the Spriggan. And then I took his heart. I could never have done it without the help of my spirit animal. When I came back to Glaras with a piece of Brackenleafs heart I was initiated into the tribe of the Brackenleafs Briars. She took the piece of his heart and had one of her woodshapers transform it into a great talisman. I have it rigt here" the old khajiit lady fumbles with something beneath her robes, in her paws she carefully shows you a pendant. It is an old piece of wood on a string, if you look careful you think perhaps it has the form of a tiger, but it could as easy be a striped horse. As if she can see the doubt in your eyes, she tugs the wooden tiger away and begins to get up, her legs shaking a bit. "It is a true story I tell you, but it is up to you to believe, this khajiit is no liar. And now it is late and this old one needs her sleep".





Edited by Nuin
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Nuin, attach images, instead of linking :)

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