Etu laid on his sleeping pelt in a temporary stay hut in Orgrimmar as those words ran through his head many times as explained from Soraga, a taunka sage within his tribe. It has been a few days since he had walked out on a quarrel questioning Hevti, a female taunka seer, and himself’s love relationship that completely sundered a sense of compatibility for anything. Any sense of drive, emotion, or hope. With claims of Safirog, an orc mage, constantly ushering the notion Etu only cares about himself over the tribe with his main focus of rescuing his lost brother, and the constant sway in emotion ranging from Hevti being supportive and Etu struggling with composure, that the little Chieftain ended up in this situation.
Alone. Alone he lays on this pelt. This fight had severed the tribe, and it has tested the runts will to continue. Knowing Hevti took refuge in the flying city of Dalaran in the Broken Isles, Etu has become a stay away for attempting to mend this hopeless relationship, spending days trying to recollect and think what possibly went wrong? Was it Etu’s stress problems showing again? Was it him not opening his eyes enough to what other people felt? Although only a few people had been involved in this debacle, with other tribesmen either oblivious or still supportive of their Chieftain no matter what, Etu still had the sensation of being alone. Many times he’s opened up his heart, only to let go of his shield to let those walls crumble down.
It was until after some thought and encouraging support from a few individuals, Etu came to Soraga as a means to begin repairing this broken relationship, to open up his eyes once more. By taking an initiative to prepare for this ritual will show that he still thinks about this love and possible future the young couple had wildly put on halt. Etu could consider the tradition shu’halo practice of a mating ritual where the pair go on a hunt together and prepare a feast, but to show he cares for Hevti, it would be respectful to take on her own people’s traditions of the taunka mating ritual.
“Though you might need to grow a little before doing so,” Soraga candidly admits. To take down a bear using only a knife sounds like a near impossible feat for any seasoned hunter or warrior, and although Etu had been raised as a hunter-gatherer, in the end he was still a runt, always relying on his bow and luck to survive. This was a task to prove one’s strength, to prove one had the prowess and ability to be a strong, thriving mate in the hunter culture of the Taunka.
“I just want Hevti to see that I care for her. That I really do love her.”
Would that mean deliberately putting themselves in harm's way?
. . .
The next morning, Etu rounded up his traveling belongings and came to Orgrimmar’s zeppelin district. After asking around nomadic taunka tribes in Northrend, he learned the village of Taunka’le settled in Borean Tundra where he could establish a start for this journey. Boarding the first flight, flying over the cold sea to the northern continent of Kalimdor, he lies in wait of anticipation for hours as they would head to the old Horde warfront hold of Warsong Hold, no longer needed for the Scourge campaign and now remains as an outpost. This would be the first time Etu had stepped foot in this land, only hearing tales of the fight against the Scourge from his brother and several others.
Attaining a map of the land from a Horde provisionary, the runt set by hoof towards the nearby village that was only a few hours of travel, passing over the blood red floral lands, frigid tundras, and steam pools. It wasn’t as cold Etu had imagined being here, but not bringing any furs with him left a little chilled to reconsider, let alone the chill of anticipation of what he might be getting himself into. Nobody knew Etu was doing this aside from Soraga. He never told anyone, if anything dire to happen to the Chieftain, he could be lost without a trace for his tribe, leaving many lost. But Etu was here to prove something, prove one thing that many have been testing him since the day of his birth.
That he was strong.
Arriving at the village a few took attention to the outsider, but since he was of shu’halo as the Taunka are of the Horde, no quarrel made of it. One hunter tending to a herd of kodo approached first as Etu sort of stood at the outskirts of the village looking inward. A rather young male, perhaps a few years short of Etu’s own but still stood towering over the male, making his own runtiness that more apparent.
“Hello there, traveler,” the taunka politely hails, “Have you come to stay to rest, tauren?”
Acting with a slight hint of apprehension stepping into new grounds, Etu meekly rasps, “Um, yes.. I’ve uh.. k-kind came with a.. t-task in mind. I might need.. to.. s-speak with one of.. your village’s s-sages.”
Just as Etu finished speaking his hoarse, struggling voice, the other blinks and stares on him with a slight peculiarity, “Oh geez, what happened to your voice?” It was rhetorical, because he follows right after while giving a dismissive wave of the hand, “Yeah yeah, of course. Come, I can take you to our resting hut, settle down first. You’ve been the first tauren in months to come visit. C’mon.”
With not much else Etu could say on the matter, he would oblige by following along, walking through the village with a glaring sense of newcomer as he looks at the various different structures and orientation of the taunka village compared to standard shu’halo ways. It certainly was both different and inalien to him, but he wasn’t exactly at home. Brought to one of the larger huts where many hammocks and sleeping furs were strewn about with other living commodities as a fire pit for cooking, weapon and equipment racks, the young kodo wrangle gave one last leading wave for Etu to enter as he informs, “I gotta get back to seeing to our herd, I’ll go talk to someone to help you. Make yourself at home.” All Etu would do was just give a polite smile and a lift of his palm quickly to let him on. A deep sigh escapes him as he took a moment to look around, deciding on what to do with himself as he was somewhat eager to get this over with, like he was ready to straight to the hunt just moments after arriving in this village. Nonetheless, he meandered to a resting spot to lay down his traveling pack, taking off a few articles of clothing to relax in just his leather and furred kilt, as he would just lie in wait.
Only a couple of times some of the locals came to interact with the stranger in town. A couple calves came as they kept throwing him questions of where he came from, why his hair is covered in leaves, and other child wonder like questions that kept him occupied. An elderly woman offered to cook up soup.A warrior sharing stories of scars of their and Etu’s own. A male hunter made small talk with Etu’s hunting equipment, considering he brought his natural bow just for emergencies despite the ritual calling for a different method of weaponry. Hours passed as night began to sweep over the city, many coming in for their rest as Etu waited almost impatiently for someone to help him. Someone to give some guidance for this trial of mateship.
As the night sky came and covered the land in darkness with only the moons and stars lighting the sky, the distant glimmer of a firelight in the hut kept low visibility, Etu was about ready to give up and call it a rest and try to poke out on his own volition for someone to help him out when an elderly taunka man came shambling into the hut. From the looks of it, his attire was very shaman like, adorning a traditional ceremonial robe of various pelts with nomadic patterns etched to resemble a whole horizon, sun, moon and stars, like he was the world. His fur was that dusky elderly gray, slightly frayed and settled, and his buffalo like muzzle matted with wrinkles. He walked with the aid of a wooden staff, and paced with such a slow creeping step.
As this elder stepped into the hut, those that were away regarded his presence with a bow of their heads, many then turning to give a curious glance over to Etu as they had the presumption the presence of this esteemed individual was for him. Etu would just stare on with a slight anxious sense, his brows slanting up and breathing a little shoddy to be the focus of something important. The man stepped up to where Etu chose his dwelling, the runt immediately standing himself up to be at least respectable for him, not having to look down upon the runt as much. The only strange thing about it was this elder kept his attention remaining forward at all times, not even once looking down to anyone in particular.
“Etu Treehoof, I presume?” the man speaks in a deep, gravely frail voice.
Immediately perplexed that he was regarded only by voice and not directly visual left him uncertain what to immediately say, head tilting as he was assuming to immediately ask the obvious. Otherwise, keeping a sense of respect, he rasps, “Uh.. Yes.. That’s m-me. Are.. y-you here to help me?”
Hearing how meekly the runt spoke made the elder creak his wrinkled muzzle into a genuine smile, like something about it quirked some amusement in him. “Oh I know all about why you’re here. Come,” he pauses, using his free hand to gesture an inward wave to beckon him to provide the following, “..Follow me to my hut. I will lead you to help yourself.” Not even offering a chance, the elder slowly began to turn himself around, beginning his slow walk out from whence he came.
Etu did not follow immediately, he was all too dumbstruck to take this all in as he had at least a hundred questions flooding his mind, looking around to others that now look upon him with an honored envy that just encouraged him to hurry along. As the elder continued walking, not slowing or stopping one bit despite the runt staying in place, he would speak up, “This is something you need, don’t be scared little one.”
Letting out a rather reluctant sigh, Etu picked up the pace finally until he walked right beside. This man walked with a sense of free whim, judging with his attire and generally warming disposition and his age, he’s probably struck nirvana at one point. Etu slowed his pace to a crawl to respectively remain at the taller one’s side even if this would take minutes for what a short handful of seconds walk is. Although, at no point would the elder turn his head or gaze anywhere by ahead, speaking up, “Aren’t the stars bright this evening?”
Etu blinks, suddenly caught off guard as he darts his head upwards to gaze upon the rather beautifully lit sky, the same sky he’s found himself gazing many nights before but the occurrence it was ushered for left him confused. How could this man know without even -looking- at them? He remained quiet, unsure if the question was rhetorical or it legitimately beckoned an answer.
“They are rather brighter than normal this evening,” the elder continues. “I can feel that maybe it’s an omen for you. Something up there is looking upon you with great expectations. Now, question is, will you shine just as bright?”
Given the poetic ramblings by the man, Etu would give a meager side glance up at him, his lips parting open to imply he were about to speak but no words would utter from his breath. This was a bit daunting to him. He just had to ask, but he did not want to be a rude only after just arriving to this village. “..yeah.. They are,” is all he would half-heartedly mutter before looking back up to the sky. Something about the stars do seem off, like he’s seen this night once before, but couldn’t quite recall exactly when or what transpired.
By that time the two arrived at a small circular wigwam made of various hides, just big enough that maybe one or two occupants live in here, presumably this was of the elder’s own. Before stepping through the front flap, the elder stops in his tracks to huff out a quick, “Speak, you will be needing your voice for what’s to come.” It wasn’t scolding, not diminutive, but informally. Like the elder just gave a suggestion that ironically at it’s worth seemed difficult for Etu to even perform with his handicapped voice. The runt looks upon him quizzically, like he was visibly expression that did he not hear the current state of his voice, and struggle to even speak?
The elder steps inside the hut first as Etu was left in a constant state of confused, only watching him enter before he belatedly follows in as well. Inside the hut the walls were covered in various earthen paintings that seemed to continue off from the man’s robes. All around it was the world was stretched to wrap around and they stood within the center. Large landmasses of all the continents of Azeroth were strewn about, each land containing primitive figures of creatures, natural entities and land that almost seemed informing correlating to the real world but in an artistic way. The ocean contained flowing waves, sea creatures of both small fish and large monstrosities, the famous Maelstrom. Leading to the top of the hut was the sky, An’she on one side and Mu’sha on the other, stars, comets, planets, constellations scattered about. Aside from living commodities, in the center was a small ceremonial looking fire pit, a few mortars filled with various liquids and paints, and a few herbal incenses propped up on the other side. This was a very seer-looking usage for this stage. All in all, Etu looked around in wonder, amazed by the decorations like he himself was seeing the entire world for the first time. Seeing lands he’s never known existed, even the Broken Isle where his current focuses were there, and has brought him here.
“Come, sit,” the elder requests as he shambles over to the far side of the ceremonial pit where a fur for him and one other sitting across has been placed where he settles down amiably in his spot.
Eventually Etu snapped back into reality to be reminded what he was here for, nodding once to quickly hurry and park himself down on the provided fur, crossing his legs underneath his kilt and sitting up with prepared expectation. “Um, Thank you.. Um.. w-what is your name.. If I m-may ask?”
Using his walking stick, the elder brings the head towards the fireplace made of ember coals where he gives a simple tap against it, upon contact a bright flame erupts upon the pit with a magical blue flame rather than of the natural fiery yellow. The burst made Etu flinch backwards in safety, startled at first, followed by amazement as the light casted a radiating color of blue within the hut like the night sky had just lit up for them. Moving with a slow and methodical pace, the elder places his stick aside as he states proudly, “I am Greatfather Mahan of the Taunka’le Village.”
Now with lumination, Etu was now able to respectively look upon Mahan with clear visage, and immediately it dawned upon him when he looked up to the other’s eyes. They were unmoving, pupils constricted and the irises a pale, milky white.
He was blind.
Given this epiphany, it brought another awkward hook for Etu to keep composed, it’s not often he came across fully blind people in his life, but it was moreso he maneuvered around with barely any assistance made him wonder if there was something beyond that blindness. Swallowing a lump in his throat, Etu had to say something to not let the air of awkward silence come wallowing in, having to stammer a few words before coherently rasping, “Um.. uh.. G-Greatfather... M-Mahan.. I’ve a few questions.. t-to ask as to why.. I.. c-came to your land.”
As Etu spoke, Mahan continued his preparations as he set up his incense stand, propping it up above the flame to heat up, a small threadlike trail of smoke begin to waft into the air as he gave an upward scooping wave to help flow the incense all around. Immediately the air begin to smell thickly of a floral, minty smell that quickly flooded into Etu’s senses. He’s delved in incense before, but this right away was something different. It felt like an aura of appease began to course through his veins, serene flowing through each breath and exhaling tranquility.
Mahan’s lips kept a warm smile, watching the incense seem to quickly take a toll on the runt made him please to find. Perhaps it was intended to help his nerves, or this was mandatory in tradition for what’s to come. “It’s honorable of you to come and practice our culture for your mateship. I already know that is not the only reason you’ve come here.” Then Mahan takes one inhaling deep breath himself to indulge of the incense, his chest broadening up full and proud to hold it in for a hanging second, before he blows the air out his mouth. His breath controls the billowing incense smoke as the strands began to weave and trace through a superior unhinged control. Slowly the image of a small bear cub drawn in the same crude nomadic style of the paintings that surround the hut was curled up tightly, looking huddled and implied it was scared, or hurt. Seeing this image Etu stares on with an awestruck gaze, one that wanted to ask questions but at the same time just wanted to observe in wonder.
Mahan stared upon this painting with curiosity, seeming to study this pictured to imply that maybe he hadn’t deliberately created it himself, but perhaps this was conjured from the presence in the air around Etu himself. The elder was learning himself, getting wondrous himself as if he himself had questions to ask for the little Chieftain. “Are you afraid?”
Etu shifts his gaze sharply directly to Mahan from hearing that question, stareing with a distance of uncertainty to how Mahan knew without him actually ever showing the emotion. “Kind of..,” he whispers aloud to the other admittingly. It was all too easy for him to answer that.
Mahan gives another couple conducting waves of his fingers as the picture of the small cub seemed to shrink, the metaphorical lense perhaps zooming out and away. The farther it backed away, the tighter the cub seemed to curl up in a fearful huddle with itself. This made the elder quirk his head to tilt, like he just learned something quickly from observing this scene. Otherwise, he asks ponderously, “What are you afraid of?”
That question could have many answers Etu could provide. All throughout his life there had been several moments where the runt felt fearful of something. Fear of getting himself into danger, fear of a certain enemy he faces, fear of a certain circumstance he had gotten himself into. But Etu had to think this carefully. This was not an easy question to answer, and coming from someone like Mahan he would expect an answer that searched deeply into Etu’s character. Taking a deep breath, indulging in that euphoric incense that perhaps helped fueled his composure as he traveled in his thoughts, recalling events that spanned over his current lifetime.
Etu was scared when he lost his kite after sneaking past curfew, resulting in losing his voice from a cougar attack. Etu was scared when both his parents had passed away, leaving his only remaining family left without contact for a handful of years that led to a chase. He was scared when he was attacked by an adversary of someone else’s quarrel. He was scared when he was captured on a scouting mission of ogres in Nagrand. He was scared when his mentor dismissed him. He was scared when he was captured from a Grimtotem attack. He was scared when a fortune telling card landed him the fate of the Hermit; herald of loneliness. And he was more than scared after he walked out on Hevti on the argument that led him to this place.
“I’m scared...of.... being alone,” Etu rasped solemnly. Hearing this made Mahanu head tilt another direction, catching that statement that seemed to make him view the smoke painting he created in an understanding light. “I’m.. scared.. to know.. that.. I can’t.. do this myself.”
Mahan would chirp a thoughtful hum upon hearing this, staring one for a last few moments before he closes his palm, the manipulated smoke dissipating until it became the natural wafts of the burning incense. “Take a deep breath, young druid,” he beckons.
Etu gives a curious stare into the elder, sure enough wanting to ask why as he had already done so a few times. Without much choice and out of respect, he would close his eyes and take in a slow, drawing deep breath to fill his lungs as suddenly his senses became lucid. It felt like the world was shaping around him, his body stretching to see upon miles and miles around them. As he exhaled and slowly pried his eyelids open, he’s greeted to be sitting in a different scenery. All around him a lush green forest surrounds him, the fireplace was gone and Mahan nowhere in sight.
Alone. Etu sat alone in what felt like the Emerald Dream. Did he really just doze off? That would be utterly embarrassing. But this didn’t quite feel like the Dream. A projection of it? Even so, this wasn’t any sort of forest he has seen before, and the land genuinely felt new to him. Everything about it was incredibly pure though. Each tree span hundreds of feet above with enormous branches and leaf heads. The ambience carried the peaceful chirping of birds, the bustling wind against the leaves, a tranquil quiet but so loudly apparent of nature.
Slowly looking around this spot, something within Etu began to fill his senses. He grew calm. He grew docile. Although there was not another person in sight, or the sense he was in familiar ground, he did not feel alone. This was different.
Eventually what felt like eons passing, Mahan’s voice echoed within his head. “Do you feel it, young druid? You are never alone. You can feel the gracefulness of the flowers you sit on. You can hear the whispers of the forest. You can sense the ferocity in the wildlife. The tranquility in the waters. The drive of the wind. The inspiring heat of An’she. The somber understanding of Mu’sha. The beauty of the stars.”
Hearing those words brought in a slow tingle in his nerves, a sensation he rarely has felt the past few days with his current living situation. It has been often times Etu himself claims he doesn’t spend enough time meditating in nature as he should. Back on Kalimdor Etu would take several flight trips to Moonglade whenever he felt stressed or needed a getaway, but with the Legion’s invasion and the search for his brother that has denied him of that privilege. Sitting here he could be here for hours, days on end, a complete and total one with nature that his purpose in life set for him.
“But, there is one things missing inside you. Can you see it?”
Given that notion, Etu knits his brows as he becomes skeptical, taking a slow look around to try and piece together what could be missing in this peaceful scenery. Something did seem quite off to him, but he couldn’t exactly pinpoint it, remaining quiet to await an answer provided for him as he had none. Suddenly, the world around him washes away as he’s brought back to the blue firepit he sat before, Mahan leant forward to loom a little above Etu as his face now finally pointed down to the runt as he exclaims a driven, “The ferocity of the wild!”
Etu blinks several times in an awkward, surprised flutter at seeing this spry information presented to him, and the same time almost ashamed he hadn’t realized it himself. He only looks upon the elder with a pleading questionability to elaborate. That was one thing Etu sort of had trouble with his druidry practices. He was a mender at heart, but whenever it came the call of the wild every time he fell short. But what does that have to do with him?
Mahan reaches over to grab a couple of the mortars as he begins to mix some of the contents together, using a pestle that appeared he was creating a thick paste of sorts, presumably a paint. “I sensed it the moment you stepped hoof into our village, young one. You lack the voice to fight. The sight of determination. The sense of perseverance.” He speaks slowly, allowing every word to ring carefully for the other to hear as he continued his preparations methodically. “Strength is not measured through brute strength, but in measure of will. I can see you’ve been through alot with your scars, but do those scars define who you are? I can feel each scar that marrs your body have been in moments your fear took over.”
Upon hearing that, Etu began to slowly look down upon himself, taking a second look over his heavily scarred form that could be put up against the most seasoned of warriors. A rake of claws across his neck, a stab in the back, stabs on his collar region, an explosion of shrapnel, the burn of fire, the torture and beatings of Grimtotem, and lastly a single cut spanning across his left wrist. Staring at that particular scar left him longing for what drove him to do such a thing. A time in his life where he felt he truly lost everything, his purpose and his will to keep standing. Each of his scars had been from moments where Etu was too scared to defend himself. Too scared to fight. And too scared that he was alone.
As these thoughts dawn into his head, Etu slowly looks up to Mahan almost in a new light. He knew that this was an issue of him, but the bigger picture showed that this was controlling his life, and he just could not see it until now. This made him think back on the recent occurings with Hevti, what created this wedge between them.
“I just wish you would open up to me.” Those words came to his mind spoken to Hevti. Plagued by the fortune telling, Etu seemed to carry a doom of being forever alone in the end that’s somewhat hindered his composure. The overwhelming control to find his brother, separating his focus for other people in the way, and more importantly forgetting what he has right now. Hevti was there for him when he needed it, but has he done so for her? This perpetual state of worry was crippling not only him, but her as well. It made him scared to direct his tribe. Always looking at the pessimistic side of the world, Etu found it difficult to pull away from that.
“I wish you could smile more.”
“I want you to realize your potential.”
“I want you to be strong for me.”
Walking away that fateful night tore all of that away. Etu fought the wrong fight. It was because of him and only him that he was causing these problems. His fear of being alone blinded him of seeing what other people felt. His fear shrugged away any sense of encouragement from others. His fear killing the will to fight.
Strength is not measured by brute strength, but in measure of will.
Mahan sat in silence as he knew Etu was thinking this out, seeing this world in a new light for himself, and it only made his smile grow wider on his old face. Even though Etu wasn’t saying much, he felt he knew exactly what he was thinking for him. This was the first time silence was a solace for the two of them, the runt watching the elder with a distant resolving closure of this new ground. For the first time, Etu perhaps felt comfortable knowing this. This only made him think back to the fortune telling card. He was so focused on the end that he had forgotten the rest of it.
Eventually Mahanu speaks up, “Your desires are large ones. We all desire success, the unflagging drive to victory. You will go on a journey, I cannot say where you will go, or when, but you will find something you desire while you are on that journey. When that opportunity comes, take it, you’ll need it.”
As Etu listen, a certain alarm had hit him suddenly, widening his eyes and his chest locking up, staring with disbelief. He’s heard these exact words before from the draenei fortune teller that gave this prophecy almost a year ago at a festival.
“You are afraid of making the wrong decisions. Perhaps you do not feel as though you have entire control over a situation. You may feel unable to complete a task or stay in a current relationship and fear the consequences of your decisions. Perhaps you worry, deep in your heart, that what you desire is not truly such a good thing.”
Etu felt obliged to remain quiet, not like he had anything to say at this point. Perhaps he was reminding himself of the moment he witnessed this, and using it to reflect where he came from up until this point to make of it. As Mahan spoke, he looks towards Etu and gestures an inward hand while taking a deep breath himself, beckoning for the runt to do the same. He continues speaking, “Impetuous actions can lead to major problems down the road. Your reasons are pure ones, your leap of faith is the journey. I cannot promise you that the fall will not hurt, but when you land, you will survive it. And you will be stronger for it.”
As Etu takes in another deep breath, he’s washed over with another wave of elation, closing his eyes and trying to keep a meditative posture as he recalls in his mind the moment at the festival, sitting before a young female draenei covered in draedic tattoos that ushered a subtle Light glow as she continued to flip cards and speak the words that rhymed in tune to Mahan reciting aloud. “A time of change is coming for you. Of absolute endings, and new beginnings. Your life is going to go through a period of great transformation. This kind of change is never easy. It may be difficult, even painful, but you will pull through.”
Mahan gathers his paint as he feebly hoists himself up off his seat to move across the embering fire pit to where Etu sat, squatting down to his knees to be before the little chieftain as he dips a pair of fingers into the yellow colored paint. “Once you accept, and embrace this change, and the hardship it entails, you will be free to begin a new phase in your life.”
Etu keeps his eyes closed, taking in slow, deep breaths to remain meditating, perhaps lucid to the real world as Mahan reached over to place those painted fingers on Etu’s collar, dragging two fingers down over a long diagonal cross over his torso, leaving a streak of yellow on his brown hide. “Your journey starts now, young druid. You must learn the strength of will, for this hunt will need all you can give.” Dabbling more paint, Mahan reaches up and begins to slowly paint over a small ursine like pawprint over Etu’s right cheek, making sure the claws are spread out as if one had taken a broad step. “This hunt will be the strength to show for your mate.” He then moves over to the left side of Etu’s face, starting above his brow and carefully drawing lines straight downward. “The strength to show the world, that you are nature incarnate. A giver of life, a guardian of weak, a cunning prowler, a beautiful balance.” Finally, Mahan presses his thumb into the paint and applies just a single dot right on Etu’s forehead, seeming to complete the warpainting as he slowly knelt away.
It was the first time Etu felt warpaint upon him, growing up only thinking esteemed warriors only had this privilege. As silence aside from the crackle of the fireplace came among the air, Etu slowly descended back to earth as he gradually opened up his eyes, looking up to Mahan with a calm, collected admiration. The elder only shows one more smile to him before he picks himself up and shambles back to his spot across the way, using a cloth to clean up his fingers as he lets out a deep, unwinding sigh. “How do you feel, Etu?”
That was a question Etu always found difficult to answer. Most of the time he had to give off a vague answer, or completely lie to ensure others, but this time he genuinely felt he had a confident answer, taking one last deep breath to collect himself before speaking, “I feel......whole.” He stops after saying that, seeming to weigh in on that decision to second guess if it was the right one. It certainly is strange, this was new to him. “The whole.. purpose... of being a druid..is balance... If I can keep.. that within myself.. there’s no telling.. what could be accomplished. The balance.. of.. strength.”
Hearing those words brought a proud smile onto Mahan, glad to know he’s left his mark on the runt that perhaps just grew up this day. “I think your loved one is a lucky one to have someone remarkable as yourself. Don’t let this stop. Now,” he pauses to let out another sigh, patting his lap in a concluding manner, adding in, “go get some rest, you’ll be needing it. I will speak to Snow Tracker Junek to set you up on your hunting ritual in the morning.”
Etu then nods understandingly, promptly stepping up to his hooves as he takes a quick look down upon himself of his warpaint visible to him; he’ll have to look at something reflective for the one on his muzzle. Despite Mahan’s blindness, Etu stands proper and gives a respectful bow to the other while he says, “Thank you.. Greatfather. I will not forget.. your words.” Mahan would only sport another one of his smiles as Etu turns around rather excitedly to exit, only taking a few steps before stopping as one more thing came to mind.
Glancing over his shoulder, he gives one last wondrous look to the Elder that seems content in sitting where he were, rasping a careful, “May.. I ask.. Why did you.. do this?”
Mahanu headtilts, looking rather peculiar himself for the question, responding rather puzzled himself, “Does it matter?”
Etu blinks, looking upon awkwardly to realize that maybe the question in itself was unnecessary. This could’ve been a ritual that all hunters go through, or maybe there was a certain kindness in the elder to lend a helping hand for Etu. Regardless, the question did seem rhetorical as he slowly turned away to make his leave for the settlement hut. As he strode across the village, he looks up to the skies.
The stars were shining awfully bright this evening.