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Bosmer Insight I've discovered an order of hunters called Brackenleafs Briars. They protect a tree they say was planted by Yffre at the creation of the world. I need to speak with the leader of the Brackenleafs Briars, Glaras.
Talk to Glaras
Glaras: Know that this is Brackenleaf's forest and we are his Briars. If you want to join us, you'll need to pay your respects.
Hero: Who is Brackenleaf?
Glaras: Brackenleaf is one of the first trees of Grahtwood, planted by Y'ffre herself. Brackenleaf's Briars are sworn to protect Brackenleaf from an enemy called the Outsider and accept all who want to follow the path of the hunter.
Hero: Who's the Outsider?
Glaras: Curious one, aren't you? That's knowledge for Brackenleaf's Briars and us alone. Now, if you're interested in joining ....
Hero: Tell me more.
Glaras: Not everyone's cut out to be one of Brackenleaf's Briars. We've dedicated our lives to studying the relationship of predator and prey, to becoming skilled hunters, and above all, to defending Brackenleaf. Many who undertake our trials do not survive.
Hero: What do the trials entail?
Glaras: The first test of the Briars is to listen. Each of the masters has a lesson to teach about the hunt. These are the rules the Briars live by: to live off the flesh, to bring no harm to nature, and to protect Brackenleaf with our lives.
Hero: Is that all?
Glaras: One step at a time. Visit the three shrines—Snake, Wolf, and Tiger. Light the brazier at each shrine, and listen to the masters. Then, if you still want to be a Briar, return to me and I'll explain the next trial.
Hero: I will visit the shrines and hear what the masters have to say.
Glaras: Joining Brackenleaf's Briars is nothing to take lightly. Many have died attempting the trials, and there is always the threat of the Outsider.
Hero: Tell me more of Brackenleaf's Briars.
Glaras: What would you like to know?
Hero: I want to know more about Brackenleafs history.
Glaras: Old songs speak of days when Y'ffre walked among the trees of Valenwood. She planted the seed that would become Elden Root, but what most don't know is that she planted many more. Brackenleaf was one of those seeds.
Hero: When did the Briars arrive?
Glaras: The first Briar was a skilled hunter called Thaldil. She single-handedly protected Brackenleaf from being destroyed by Colovians during the Imperial occupation of Grahtwood. She followed the guidance of Brackenleaf and established the Briars.
Hero: Do the Briars have any political allegiances?
Glaras: We are protectors of Brackenleaf, and through him, servants of Y'ffre who created him. To involve ourselves in politics would only corrupt our mission. That said, we have no quarrel with Queen Ayrenn or the Dominion.
Hero: Can anyone join the Briars, or is it only for Wood Elves?
Glaras: Brackenleaf's Briars are any who can prove themselves worthy by passing the trials. The trials do not distinguish between the races of Tamriel and neither do we.
Hero: What can you tell me about the Outsider?
Glaras: You already know the Outsider is our greatest threat. Beyond this? Some secrets are meant for those who pass the trials and join our number.
Glaras: So, you've heard the masters speak. Snake, Tiger, Wolf—these are the spirits of the hunt. Each Briar embraces the qualities of one of these spirits. Are you still interested in joining the Briars?
Hero: Yes. I wish to become a Briar.
Glaras: The next trial will not be so simple. It will require you to commit your whole self, mind and body. Venture to the frog cave near the seashore. A rare breed of red frog, the Falinesti Peeper, lives among the reeds. Capture one and eat it.
Hero: I have to eat a frog?
Glaras: Yes, and it must be consumed alive. The frog will allow you to see the forest like you never have before. Once your journey begins, the spirits of the forest will guide you.
Hero: All right. When I catch the red frog. I'll eat it alive.
Glaras: Don't be alarmed if the world around you seems to change. It's a property of the Falinesti Peeper to reveal the true nature of the forest. But be careful, the true nature of the forest can be deadly.
Spriggan Spirit: Don't worry. I'm a friend. The disorientation you're feeling is natural. It will pass. It's been a while since Glaras sent anyone here. She's been more cautious since the boy Eringor nearly died.
Hero: You know Glaras?
Spriggan Spirit: Glaras, and so many before her. This place was still young when I was cut from the branches of Brackenleaf and given life. How are you feeling? Are you ready to proceed?
Hero: I'm ready. What do I do now?
Spriggan Spirit: It's time for you to speak to Brackenleaf. Only he can judge whether you are worthy to serve him as one of his Briars. Find him in the center of this grove. If he wills it, we will meet again.
Brackenleaf: A deep rumbling reverberates from within the tree, like the sound of snoring.
Hero: Excuse me. Are you Brackenleaf?
Brackenleaf: Hm? What? You'll have to speak up. My hearing isn't what it used to be, and it was never very good to begin with. No ears, you see.
Hero: I wish to join Brackenleafs Briars.
Brackenleaf: Oh ho. The Briars you say? The Briars carry my heart within them. They protect it with their very lives. It's a lot to give to protect a tree, especially one as old as me. Tell me, why do you want to join my Briars?
Hero: I never turn down a challenge.
Brackenleaf: Not surprising. The Briars are hunters, after all. It's in their nature to crave larger, more dangerous prey. Are you prepared to face that challenge?
Hero: I am.
Brackenleaf: Very good. I trust Glaras has told you about the spirits of the hunt. First, you must decide which fits you best: the snake's dark purpose, the tiger's grim determination, or the kinship of the wolf.
Hero: The Tiger.
Brackenleaf: Relentless and strong, the Tiger stalks its prey without flagging and overpowers it without hesitation when the moment is right. The Tiger's prey is the Snake. To be like the Tiger, you must hunt its prey.
Spriggan Spirit: Brackenleaf is pleased, but you are not finished yet. Each hunter is also prey to another hunter. Wolf hunts tiger and tiger hunts snake and snake hunts wolf. It's not enough to hunt your prey. You must also prove stronger than those who hunt you.
Hero: How do I do that?
Spriggan Spirit: Your spirit animal's shrine lies at the edge of the forest. Light the brazier, and your predator will appear. Be prepared. Just as you stalked your prey, so your predator will pursue you with lethal cunning. When you are done, return to Brackenleaf.
Brackenleaf: Oh ho. Now, you have seen how the roles of hunter and hunted are interchangeable. You have stalked your prey and confronted your predator. You are almost ready to become a Briar. One last trial remains.
Hero: What's the final trial?
Brackenleaf: As I've said before, the Briars are my guardians. They protect my heart against the Outsider, an enemy who wants to steal my heart at any cost.
Hero: What is the Outsider?
Brackenleaf: You are the Outsider. Your final trial is to enter my trunk and touch the flame of my heart. The masters will fight you at every turn, and only by defeating them can you prove yourself worthy to become one of them.
Hero: Wait. I'm the Outsider?
Brackenleaf: You have seen how the hunter is also the hunted. Well, in the same way, every Briar begins as the Outsider, a stranger who does not belong. Only by dying or completing the final test and joining the Briars is the Outsider defeated. Are you ready?
Hero: I'm ready.
Glaras: So, you've returned. Tell me, what did you see? Did you speak to Brackenleaf?
Hero: I hunted my prey, confronted my predator, and took a flame from Brackenleaf's heart.
Glaras: Everyone's vision is a little different, but we all must take the heart and experience the role of the Outsider. You stopped being the Outsider when you proved yourself strong enough to defeat the masters, and Brackenleaf offered you his heart.
Hero: What happened to the master Briars?
Glaras: The masters you fought were illusions, but they fought with all the strength of their real counterparts. Tell me, what spirit animal did you choose?
Hero: The Tiger.
Glaras: Go to the Tiger's shrine. Pray at the brazier and receive the blessing of Brackenleaf's Briars. Then return to me for the final rite of initiation.
Glaras: You have the blessing—good. Then with open arms, I welcome you to our family, Brackenleaf's Briars. May you succeed in all your hunts and the great tree keep you in the shade of his leafy branches.
Hero: Thank you.
Glaras: You may return here as often as you like, and anywhere you see the shrine of the Tiger, you may seek Brackenleaf's blessing. Congratulations, friend.
Hero: Complete Quest.
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