**Rhoelyn:** The huntress groans, wondering how many times she’s going to wake up feeling bruised and confused. She opens her eyes and stares into a dark sky.
**Araatris:** Starless, yet filled with swirls of color, spots that appear and disappear, the nether stretches above her. “Alei, I have you,” Rhese mutters.
**Rhoelyn:** She pushes herself up with a grimace at the sound of Rhese’s voice. “Yami… Is he-” Nysse coughs and takes a deep breath. “Is he okay?”
**Araatris:** The druid sits not far away, cradling the unconscious young man against him. He looks at Nysse, dark circles beneath his eyes. “He’s breathing.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse crawls to them, tears in her eyes. “Thank Elune.” Her hands tremble as she touches Rhese’s hand and Yami. “Oh Rhese… I tried. I’m sorry.”
**Araatris:** The druid reaches an arm around his mate, tugging her close to them both. “I know, dalah’surfal. It’s not your fault.” He kisses her cheek.
**Rhoelyn:** Leaning against Rhese, Nysse gently strokes Yami’s hair. “Now we’re all stranded in the middle of some void-forsaken place with no way home…”
**Araatris:** Rhese peers around them with dull, amber eyes, holding them both close. A cliff juts up beside them and at the base not far away is a door.
**Rhoelyn:** “There’s a door.” Nysse follows his gaze. “It’ll have to wait. You need to rest for now.” She rests an absent-minded hand on her stomach.
**Araatris:** Her mate brushes her hair back, shaking his head. “It’s not safe. We have to get out of the open. And Dorian is in there doing who-knows-what.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods, biting her lip. “I’ll help you with Yami.” The huntress stands and reaches down for the young man, tugging an arm over her shoulder.
**Araatris:** The druid slants her an amused look, but he’s worn enough that after he gets to his unsteady feet, he slips their son’s other arm over his shoulder.
**Rhoelyn:** They stumble as Yami blurs into a toddler with a tiny groan of “Min’da…” Nysse takes him and tucks him onto her unbruised hip. “I’m here…”
**Araatris:** He lays against her shoulder, limp and still again, and the huntress sighs, cupping the back of his little head as she looks over at Rhese.
**Rhoelyn:** Her mate rubs his face. “Let’s go. I don’t want to be here when he comes out.” The druid rests a hand on her back and guides them away.
**Araatris:** After some time wandering through the featureless, dark rock along the cliff, the land drops off in a series of shallow, fog-shrouded terraces.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress looks down and then back at Rhese. “I don’t think we can manage these drops right now. Do you want to see if we can go around?”
**Araatris:** Shaking his head, the druid leans against the last edge of the rock wall wearily. “Maybe I can… make us a shelter, here. We’re a bit exposed.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse places a hand on his arm. “Rhese, love, you’re exhausted. If you try to do much more…” She studies him worriedly. “Please rest.”
**Araatris:** He pushes away from the cliff to come over and rest a hand against her cheek, leaning down to steal a kiss. “Just a little shelter. Then rest.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Just a small one.” Nysse relents with a tiny smile. The huntress moves to the side, patting Yami’s back as Rhese concentrates with glowing hands.
**Araatris:** The druid struggles to coax any sort of reaction from the land, straining, but finally some purple vines burst up and arc over against the cliff.
**Rhoelyn:** Slouching, Rhese attempts a grin. “Ladies first.” Nysse demurely ducks into the tiny space, sitting with Yami on her lap. She tugs at her armor.
**Araatris:** Her mate clambors in after her and settles against the wall. After a few breaths resting there, he opens his eyes to watch her. “Are you hurt?”
**Rhoelyn:** “I think my side is bruised, but it can wait.” She leans over and kisses him. “I’m fine and I’m sure the twins are fine.” Nysse grasps his hand.
**Araatris:** Rhese manages a little smile and lifts her hand to his lips. “My girls are strong.” The huntress smirks. “Girls?” He grins and says, “Well, maybe.”
**Rhoelyn:** She laughs softly, “Hoping, are you?” Rhese runs his thumb over her hand. “Maybe.” Nysse snorts and lays her head back. “Maybe more boys.”
**Araatris:** The druid looks down at the one curled in her lap, softly saying, “That would be good, too.” He rests his other hand on Yami’s soft hair tenderly.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles adoringly at her mate. “I can’t wait to find out.” Rhese wraps an arm around her shoulders. “Why don’t we all get some rest…”
**Araatris:** The huntress nods and leans her head against his arm as he gets comfortable. “What do we do after?” He yawns. “I’m not sure, yet, lovely.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Then we’ll figure it out when we wake.” Nysse closes her eyes, cradling their son in her lap. After a few minutes, the trio is sleeping silently.
**Araatris:** The Master slithers back and forth before the final door to the antechamber, runed and warded with skillful stone carvings. “Ye cannae hide ‘er!”
**Rhoelyn:** He reaches out with a tendril, but the runes glow again, knocking him back. The once-Dorian snarls and hisses, gathering shadows about him.
**Araatris:** He throws power at the door, at the wards he once carved himself, for long minutes, magic crackling against magic until he is forced to relent.
**Rhoelyn:** “If yer gonna hide ‘er, then I’ll need someone else, sum’un who th’door will open fer.” The Master’s gaze locks on the exit. “Sum’un you trust.”
**Araatris:** The creature who used to be Dorian snarls and turns back the way he came, loping out under the eldritch sky. He pauses, shouting his frustration.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese jerks awake as if something on the edge of his hearing woke him, but it’s quiet. The sky shows no passage of time. Nysse stirs next to him.
**Araatris:** The druid soothes her, brushing his hand along her arm as he kisses her cheek. Yami still sleeps across her lap, a tiny boy like he used to be.
**Rhoelyn:** “Rhese…?” Nysse murmurs sleepily, raising her head up for a proper kiss. He grants her a gentle kiss. “You can go back to sleep, lovely.”
**Araatris:** “Mmm.” she nods, tired, but mumbles. “Y’ should, too.” Rhese smiles tenderly and caresses her cheek. “I’ll try in a bit,” he whispers. “Promise.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress doesn’t answer, but snuggles close and rests a hand on Yami as if to reassure herself. After a moment, Rhese is left watching them.
**Araatris:** When he’s done drinking in the details of his sleeping family, he rests his head back and peers up through the top of the shelter at the sky.
**Rhoelyn:** There’s no sun or moon, just a glittering, swirling void above him. He frowns at it, sighing. Yami rolls over, plopping his thumb in his mouth.
**Araatris:** Rhese glances down with a fond smile, resting a hand on the child’s back, but his expression sobers as he looks at his own discolored fingernails.
**Rhoelyn:** With a grimace, the druid pulls his hand back and gathers a green glow around it. He lays his hand on his ribs and focuses on healing himself.
**Araatris:** As he concentrates on pulling life energy from the husk of land around them, he can’t see the dark symbols that flare to life on his neck.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami sits up suddenly, eyes wide and gasping. “An’da!” Nysse jerks awake with him, looking at their son and then Rhese in confusion.
**Araatris:** The druid’s magic fades as the luminous glow of his amber eyes dims. He looks at the toddler blankly before his silver head lolls forward.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse quickly catches the unconscious druid on her arm. “Yami, love…” The boy quickly gives her room to lay Rhese down in their tight shelter.
**Araatris:** His hand drapes across her arm, streaks of sickly green-purple visible beneath his skin. The druid’s eyelids flutter as his fingers twitch.
**Rhoelyn:** “Oh Elune, why couldn’t Relare or Verune come with us? I don’t know what to do…” Nysse murmurs. Yami wiggles in next to Rhese. “Lemme see, min’da.”
**Araatris:** His mother shifts a bit to the side, letting the toddler scramble across her legs and crawl over his chest to settle in front of the druid.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami’s tiny hands press against Rhese’s skin, a pout on his lips. “It’s like… me, but bad.” He stretches out, reaching for his father’s neck.
**Araatris:** Nysse gasps and grabs his little wrists. “Yami! It could hurt you, too.” He blinks at her with wide, dark eyes. “Min’da, I haba try. An’da‘s hurt.”
**Rhoelyn:** She grimaces and releases him. “I… Be careful. I don’t have any way to heal either of you. If something were to happen to you, too…”
**Araatris:** The child gives her an adorable, charming grin. “Dun worry, min’da.” He gingerly reaches up and rests his fingers against Rhese’s neck.
**Rhoelyn:** Dark magic swirls against his fingers as if he’s drawing something from his father. The runes flare, seeming to fight it, but Yami tugs at it again.
**Araatris:** Straining, the boy lifts them free, the magic floating at his fingers. He looks around for a minute before turning to smear them on a vine.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse blinks as Yami kisses Rhese’s cheek. “Safe’ta wake up. I gots rid of bad magic.” His small hand tugs on his father’s sleeve. “Aaaan’da.”
**Araatris:** The druid stirs sleepily and wraps an arm around the boy, tugging him to cuddle against his big chest. Yami giggles and snuggles in.
**Rhoelyn:** Smiling in relief, the huntress takes the slim space and lies next to them. “My sweet, strong, clever boys…” She props her head on one arm.
**Araatris:** As Rhese sleeps, she and Yami both relax patiently in the little shelter, occasionally whispering to each other and snuggling against him.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse’s stomach rumbles for umpteenth time when the druid finally stirs. Her instinct says it’s been a few hours, but the sky tells her nothing.
**Araatris:** Her mate grins with his eyes closed as little Yami pokes at his cheeks. “Wakey, an’da! Hungwy…” Rhese snags his hands. “I’m awake, deotha’alei.2”
**Rhoelyn:** “Min’da’s hungwy, but won’t eat her spesh’al food til you’re awake.” Yami gleefully tells on his mother as she grins sheepishly. “Alei, I’m fine.”
**Araatris:** The druid yawns and reaches for her as he sits up. “If our beautiful lady is hungry, we should feed her, don’t you think, little light?” Yami nods.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress blushes, but sits up and scoots into his arm, kissing him. Yami moves so he can lay his head on Nysse’s stomach. “Yep. Food, min’da.”
**Araatris:** As he watches her reach into her pouch for her nutrients and rations, the druid sighs happily. “It’s been too long since I last held you both.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. “It’s been too long since we’ve all been together like this.” She presses a ration into Rhese’s hand and opens her nutrient bar.
**Araatris:** The druid looks around their little shelter as he munches on his food. “Thank you for letting me sleep. Funny. I don’t remember laying down.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress ducks her head. “You were worn out. I wanted to lay down and you didn’t stir at all when we helped you lay down. Do you feel better?”
**Araatris:** He looks down at his hand, flexing his fingers. “Quite a bit better, actually. I was feeling ill before.” Yami grins and flops across his lap.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese laughs and pauses to tickle the boy. “Must be all the cuddles. Right, alei?” Yami flails and giggles, “Y-yes!” Nysse smiles at them.
**Araatris:** The druid leans down and kisses the boy’s cheek then grins and bites his little ear. “You distracted me from food, Yami, and I’m hungry.”
**Rhoelyn:** “B-bad an’da!” The boy rolls away and grabs his ear. Rhese grins as he eats his ration. Laughing, she finishes hers. “I’m glad you feel better.”
**Araatris:** After he pops the last bite of food in his mouth, the druid brushes his fingers on his ragged tunic and chews. He nods and brushes her hair back.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles at him briefly before sombering and sighing deeply. “We can’t stay here long. We don’t have much food or drink or a way home.”
**Araatris:** Rhese nods. “Yes. We need to figure out what’s going on. Dorian wanted something behind that door. Aleesa or … I don’t know. He’s… insane.”
**Rhoelyn:** “He kept mentioning Aleesa, but… as he is it’s too dangerous to seek her out.” The huntress crawls out of their shelter and stands, stretching.
**Araatris:** The druid ushers Yami out in front of him, taking a similar opportunity to stretch the kinks out of his joints. “What could have happened?”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress frowns. “I’m not sure. He went right after Aleesa, but… he’s changed. I’m… I’m a little worried about what that means for us.”
**Araatris:** Rhese rubs a hand around his neck, growling low. “I know very well how much he’s changed. He’s not our friend, and we should remember that.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse ducks her head. “I know. Do you think… Do you think we could become like that?” She bites her lip, looking down as Yami hugs her.
**Araatris:** The druid shakes his head, tugging her against his side. “We’re not staying in this place long enough to find out, my lovely. We’re going home.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nodding, Nysse rests a hand on Yami’s head as she kisses Rhese. “Yes, we are.” She glances down at Yami and teases. “Do you want to grow up?”
**Araatris:** “Yes, min’da.” He giggles and rubs his nose on her knee before his form shifts. The young man squeezes his mother tight before releasing her.
**Rhoelyn:** She kisses his cheek. “Let’s go. I’m not sure where since the only place we know is the door, but… we’ll figure it out.” Nysse grabs Rhese’s hand.
**Araatris:** The druid grins and clasps her hand tight as he looks around. In one direction the land drops off in foggy terraces. In the other, there is the (c)
**Araatris:** (c) cliff and the plains that stretch, featureless before it. He cranes his neck to peer up the rock face. “I could fly up and see what’s above us.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, I think that’d be a goo-” “I’ll do it!” Yami jumps, shifting mid-air into a raven and circling above him. Very quickly he drops to the ground.
**Araatris:** Rhese blinks at him, and the boy makes a face. “We… definitely don’t want to go that way. The land ends.” “What do you mean ‘ends’, alei?”
**Rhoelyn:** Yami looks at the rock again. “I mean it drops off into nothing. Like a cliff with no land below, just…” He waves above them. “More of this…”
**Araatris:** The druid shares a frowning glance with Nysse. “Just… what is this place?” He pats a hand on Yami’s shoulder before he steps away and shifts.
**Rhoelyn:** “Maybe it’s part of the void?” Nysse speaks even as Rhese flies up to see for himself. After a few minutes, he lands and shifts, grimacing.
**Araatris:** “It’s no wonder I can barely feel any life from this land. I can see it from end to end.” He frowns and claims her hand. “It’s not a world.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse frowns. “You mean that we’re on a rock in the middle of nowhere like we saw in Outland?” The huntress pales and leans against the rock.
**Araatris:** Her mate rests a steadying hand against her arm, nodding gravely. “All the more reason why we need to prioritize getting home.”
**Rhoelyn:** “But… is the only place to go back to the door then?” She takes a deep breath, willing away her fear, then slowly straightens again.
**Araatris:** Yami looks between the two of them as his father sighs and nods. “Dorian and whatever he’s doing… they seem to be our only choice.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress rubs her face. “Then let’s do it. Whatever it takes to get back home.” Yami grins and nods. “I really hope we get to see Aleesa.”
**Araatris:** Rhese kisses her gently and says, “We’ll figure it out together, my lovely.” He looks to Yami with a grin. “My family. But you, young man…”
**Rhoelyn:** “I want to help, an’da!” Yami leans forward excitedly. “Please!” “Well, I don’t know…” The druid smirks and glances at Nysse who nods subtly.
**Araatris:** Rhese steps forward and rests a hand on his young copy’s thin shoulder. “You listen and you follow our lead, then. It’s the only way this works.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse levels a firm glare at him. “Even if you think we’ll get hurt. We know the risk and what we ask may not make sense in the moment.”
**Araatris:** Yami’s brow furrows. “But min’da…” “Trust us, dalah’alei.” Rhese tugs his son close and presses his forehead to Yami’s. “We all go home.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman places her hand on her belly. “All of us.” The teenager grips his father’s arm. “Yes, I understand. I’ll listen. I promise.”
**Araatris:** The druid smiles. “Then we have a deal. Come on, my people. I think maybe it’s past time we figured out what in Elune’s name is going on, here.”
**Rhoelyn:** Whatever concern Yami had is washed away in excitement as he grins and follows his parents as they head back towards the door where they started.
**Araatris:** They’re still a ways off when they catch sight of a stocky, misshapen form pacing before the doorway, tentacles of shadow flailing.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese strides ahead, motioning Nysse back with Yami. Nysse shrugs her bow off and readies an arrow. She whispers to her son, “Wait until we act.”
**Araatris:** He nods as Dorian-thing growls, “Y’took yer damn time, bluidy fools. Lost months by now, we ‘ave.” The creature faces Rhese as he approaches.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse scowls. “Months? What are you talking about? We were gone for maybe a day or two.” The Master snarls, “Time ain’t the same here, lass.”
**Araatris :** “Tis why I chose t’keep’er here all th’aeons ago.” His shrouded face turns back toward the temple door. “So she an’ them din’t lose time.”
**Rhoelyn:** “So, you’re saying it’s been months back where we came from?” Rhese glares at the creature. “That doesn’t make any sense. Where are we anyway?”
**Araatris:** The creature turns back, tentacles reaching for Rhese. The druid dodges away. “‘Tis an eddy o’ the Nether. Slow. Safe. Far from pryin’ eyes.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress narrows her eyes. “I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that you’re just trying to keep her safe anymore. How long has it been for her?”
**Araatris:** Dorian-thing’s hissing, echoing voice is disappointed, bitter, as he says, “Ah cannae remember. Doesna’ matter, ennewho. Time’s a worthless thin’.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse shakes her head. “No, it’s precious. The time we spend with those we love is-” “Is a load of slag, it is.” He snarls and circles around them.
**Araatris:** Yami watches the creature, wide-eyed. “You’re worried about her, aren’t you? Why is Aleesa here, Dorian?” With a snarl, he surges at Yami.
**Rhoelyn:** “This is yer fault!” Even as Yami leaps backwards, Nysse fires an arrow and it sinks deep in the dark flesh. “We want to help Aleesa, too!”
**Araatris:** Dorian howls and rips the arrow out in a spray of dark blood. “Oh, ye will help her. Ye’ll get th’voidlin’s t’open the final door. T’GIVE HER BACK!”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese shifts and pushes protectively in front of his family. Nysse shouts, “Aren’t they in there with her?! How-” She suddenly looks at Yami.
**Araatris:** The young man grins. “I really did a good job calling for them, right? I got us here.” Rhese growls. “An’ now ye tell’em. Ya get me in.”
**Rhoelyn:** “That’s not up to us, is it? It’s up to Aleesa. You’ve changed, Dorian.” Nysse speaks evenly as she backs away and motions Yami towards the door.
**Araatris:** “O’course ah have!” The void-sick dwarf points one taloned finger at his former friend, and shadows surge across the ground toward her.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse tumbles to the side, barely avoiding the attack. Rhese leaps at Dorian with a roar. The cat slashes his claws toward the offending arm.
**Araatris:** The dwarf moves quickly, avoiding the slash. “Ye thin’ just cuz ya cleared most ‘a th’pact, ah ain’t got hooks in ya, Rhese?” His laugh grates.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese snarls and leaps forward to follow him, raking his claws at him. Nysse fires an arrow. “You can’t have him!” Yami edges toward the door.
**Araatris:** The cat slices deep furrows in Dorian’s arm, this time, and the shadow creature howls. The sound rings oddly, and Rhese staggers away.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress summons Korran, the bright, ghostly wolf bursting forth to support Rhese’s retreat as Nysse fires again. “Rhese! Are you okay?”
**Araatris:** The cat yowls something moody and shakes his head to clear it as her arrows bury themselves in Dorian’s scarred flesh. He whips a tentacle out.
**Rhoelyn:** The tentacle knocks Korran aside and reaches toward Nysse. She gasps and tries to jump away, but it catches her ankle and pulls. Nysse shrieks.
**Araatris:** Yami hesitates in the doorway, watching as Rhese leaps on his tentacle, clamping his teeth into the foul, shadowy flesh. It spasms, loosening.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse kicks herself free and scrambles away as Korran rejoins them. She looks up at Yami. “Go!” The wolf leaps at the void-infected dwarf.
**Araatris:** The young man nods and darts through the door, gulping away his nervousness as he listens to the sound of battle fading. The hallway is dark.
**Rhoelyn:** He follows it, creeping along until he finds a door surrounded by runic stone wards. Tentatively, Yami reaches a hand up to touch one.
**Araatris:** The feeling he gets from the symbol and the power within it has him grinning, and he makes a sound he hasn’t made in a very long time.
**Rhoelyn:** The young voidling man trills happily and he places his other hand on a different symbol, soaking up the familiar feeling. “You’re so close.”
**Araatris:** His worry about his parents fades into the background as Yami considers the symbols on the door, tracing them one by one with a careful hand.
**Rhoelyn:** They glow slightly brighter as if responding to his touch, but the door stays locked. He rests his forehead on it. “How am I supposed to open you?”
**Araatris:** For long moments, he ponders the symbols and looks around the small chamber. The rock is featureless, the place unornamented and bare.
**Rhoelyn:** He stares at the stones again. “I wonder…” Stretching, he blurs into a form that hasn’t taken in years, but quite a bit larger than the original.
**Araatris:** Yami trills and stretches out his many tendrils, reaching one to each symbol in a sequence he knows instinctively. The eighth is his own.
**Rhoelyn:** They glow brighter, blinding and surrounding him. Covering his eyes, there’s a rush of air. The voidling child lowers his tendril.
2 Darnassian: “troublesome boy” (Go back.)