The party begins to feel a nagging inarticulate discomfort. Their dreams are odd and disturbing and the night provides little rest or recuperation from the strains of the previous day.
At dawn, the camp guards scramble as a group of lanky humanoids are spotted in the distance. The strangers hold position in the open and await the reaction of the camp. While the camp churns with activity, the leaders decide these humanoids are, at least temporarily, non-hostile and invite the diplomatic envoy inside.
It becomes clear that these strangers are Elves and that they are cautious allies to the humans. Their leader, a female shaman named Liliath Silverbloom, explains that she has had a prophetic dream regarding the humans. The elvish god Arawai appeared to her after many centuries of silence; the elves must help the humans to drive back the darkness which has encroached upon the world for this past millennium.
The elves are a secluded and xenophobic society that only leaves the safety of their grove – the area of lush vegetation 30kms west of camp – to monitor the area. They observe the movements of the fouler races but avoid engagement whenever possible. Their grove provides ample protection from enemy incursions; the magics subtly turn uninvited sentient creatures away – they unconsciously adjust their course around the grove.
Liliath presents a large moonstone (roughly the size of an ostrich egg) to the party and explains that the stone will protect their minds from contamination by the foul land. Sleeping in a camp protected by the stone will alleviate the bad dreams and psychic onslaught of the lands corruption. She also provides a dozen amulets with small moonstone inlays which will protect the wearer for up to 7 days – after which the amulets must recharge within proximity of the large stone.
The shaman teaches a couple of new spells to the expedition casters.
After the elves leave, the party ventures out into the woods again, this time heading slightly north west from camp. As the day draws to a close, they stumble upon a hunting party of hobgoblins that are settling down to eat. Despite being out numbered and outmatched, the party leverages the element of surprise to eek out a victory – killing several of the massive warriors and driving the remaining into retreat. Severely injured, they rest over night within the hobgoblin camp and return to the main camp the next day.