Araatris: Korran lifts his head, careful not to jostle the elf sleeping against his belly. He growls softly. ~Nyssera, your sister weakens herself further.~
Rhoelyn: Frowning, Nysse strides across the room and kneels by his head. She whispers, “I don’t understand how she could be. She’s resting, isn’t she?”
Araatris: The spectral wolf turns his nose to sniff at Rhoelyn. ~See with my eyes. The stillness of her body is deceptive.~ His luminous gaze flares.
Rhoelyn: Nysse closes her eyes. She gasps and covers her mouth as she gazes at an inky darkness churning violently around Rhoelyn, slowly consuming her.
Araatris: Tears threaten at the ugly feel of those shadows, and the huntress opens her eyes. “Merciful moon! Does she even have until morning?”
Rhoelyn: ~I do not know. It has grown even as you talked outside. I do not believe you have more than a day or two at most.~ Korran lays his head down.
Araatris: The huntress sniffs and settles carefully beside her sister, pulling her into her arms. The priestess barely stirs, but her hands grasp Nysse’s.
Rhoelyn: “I’m here, sister,” Nysse’s voice cracks. She closes her eyes, but sleeps fitfully as she wakes many times to check on Rhoe throughout the night.
Araatris: Shortly before dawn, the priestess stirs, her lips moving in silent conversation with no one apparent. Korran raises his head, growling.
Rhoelyn: Groggily, Nysse raises her head at Korran’s warning. “Good morning, sister. How do you feel?” She takes and squeezes the priestess’ hands.
Araatris: Rhoelyn stares blankly for a few seconds before her gaze focuses properly on Nysse. She blinks and smiles softly, squeezing back. “Nysse…”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles and repeats quietly, “How do you feel, Rhoe?” She frees one of her hands to brush a few stray hairs away from her sister’s face.
Araatris: “I think I must feel better than you, sister.” The priestess grins weakly. “Did you forget to sleep? You look tired.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress attempts a chuckle. “I was worried about you. I had an idea, but I wanted to talk to you first. It kept me awake all night.”
Araatris: “Oh, sister…” Rhoelyn frowns and reaches out to brush her cheek. “You could have woken me. What was the idea that was worth a sleepless night?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bites her lip. “Well, as far as we know this disease is magical. I was thinking that maybe those cuffs Quaed had might slow it down.”
Araatris: Her sister sits up, brow furrowing. “T-the silencing cuffs?” She bites her lip. “Nysse, I… I’ll be helpless. What if Leothir threatens you, again?”
Rhoelyn: “I don’t mention it lightly, but I can’t watch it continue and do nothing.” She hugs Rhoe tightly. “I’ll be strong enough for both of us.”
Araatris: The smaller woman rests her chin on Nysse’s shoulder, gripping the back of her tunic. “You… really think it will help? W-what if you need healed?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress buries her face against Rhoe’s shoulder. “I don’t know, sister, but I’m running out of ideas. Healer Pao can make sure I stay healthy.”
Araatris: For a long time the elder night elf is silent, the only movement her shift from looking over Nysse’s shoulder to pressing her forehead against it.
Araatris: Her voice is muffled. “I am frightened. Too afraid to say yes and too afraid to say no.” Her grip tightens. “I need to be strong. They hurt you.”
Rhoelyn: “Oh my sweet and precious sister…” Nysse leans back and pleads, “I just want you to be better. Please let me be strong enough for both of us.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn hesitates for a moment longer before nodding. “I’ll do as you wish, Nysse.” The other night elf smiles, relieved, and hugs her, again.
Rhoelyn: “Thank you, Rhoe.” She squeezes her tightly. “We’ll beat this. I know we will.” The huntress releases her, stands, and walks to the table.
Araatris: The elf watches her nervously, her lip between her teeth. She forces a smile as Nysse picks up the shackles. “And then you go back to sleep.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse shakes her head. “There’s too much to be done, sister. I can’t sleep.” She rejoins Rhoelyn and kneels. “We’ll need to strike the chains.”
Rhoelyn: “I refuse to have you chained up. It’s not right.” Nysse takes one of Rhoe’s hands. “Then the Master is supposed to meet with us today.”
Araatris: The priestess nods, looking away as her companion carefully snaps the cuffs around her wrists. She pales at the feel of them against her skin.
Rhoelyn: The huntress frowns and tugs Rhoe back into her arms. “I… I can steal a couple of minutes if it would make you feel better, but only if you’re here.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn nods and is thwarted from hugging her back by the chains. She chokes out a watery laugh, burying her face against her sister’s shoulder.
Rhoelyn: Nysse tugs them back to rest against Korran. “We’ll get those fixed right after my nap. I promise.” The huntress clings to Rhoe in her exhaustion.
Araatris: The spirit wolf flops his tail across the both of them as his mistress drifts off to sleep. He watches her sister warily, nosing at her.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn glares at him. “Stop looking at me like that. It isn’t as if I have to be happy about wearing these,” she hisses. She lays her head down.
Araatris: The wolf wuffs at her softly, and the priestess frowns, whispering. “Korran, stop. You know I can’t hear your voice. Leave me alone.”
Rhoelyn: Korran sighs and stares at her. The small night elf mirrors his sigh, “What are you accomplishing by keeping me awake, you silly wolf? Sleep.”
Araatris: When he just continues to stare, she frowns and tries to turn around to put her back to his head, but he reaches out and nips at her sleeve.
Rhoelyn: “What?!” Rhoelyn freezes as Nysse stirs. She waits until the huntress stills before holding out her hands to him. “I really do not understand.”
Araatris: The spirit wolf shoves his soft nose into her hands and against her chest, rumbling a low sound in the back of his throat. The priestess winces.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn attempts to pull away, but his heavy head pins her. The sound reverberates through her torso. “Korran, stop!” She whispers urgently.
Araatris: When shoving at him for a minute produces no results, she growls. “I said s-!” she stops, staring at the way his fur glows around her hands.
Rhoelyn: She runs her hands through his fur distractedly. “It is clinging to me…” Rhoelyn blinks sedately. “Korran, what is this? Why do I feel so…”
Araatris: “Oh…” The night elf whispers with relief, resting her cheek along his muzzle. “Oh. I see, now. Thank you. I do feel… calmer.” He snorts.
Rhoelyn: Korran nudges her towards Nysse and lays his head down. Rhoelyn smiles and whispers, “Yes, that would be a good idea.” She closes her eyes.
Araatris: Some time later, they’re woken by a rap at the door. Rhoe shoves herself up, bleary, and pads over to the portal, her chains clinking.
Rhoelyn: Nysse groans and raises her head, “Who is it, sister?” Rhoelyn tugs the door open slightly, then seeing Pandaren, she opens the rest of the way.
Araatris: “Hansho?” Her gaze is a little worried as she peers at the five others with him. He bows. “Good morning, guests. Please rouse and come with us.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blinks away the sleepiness and quickly stands, straightening herself. “Of course.” Behind her, the massive wolf pushes to his feet and follows.
Araatris: Rhoelyn frowns, brushing her hands through her hair as best she can in chains. “I’m not ready. Are we going to pay a visit to the blacksmith?”
Rhoelyn: Hansho shakes his head. “No. The Master requested to see you first. You may take a moment to… freshen yourselves. Please be quick.”
Araatris: Brow furrowed, the priestess closes the door and glances back at Nysse. “We need to go to the blacksmith. I don’t wish to meet him like this!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse runs a hand through her hair, knocking it askew. “Let me think.” She looks at Korran, silently asking, ~Can you bite through them?~
Araatris: The spirit wolf noses at the shackles and gives a long-suffering sigh. ~Yes. I can shatter the chains if it keeps your packmate calm.~
Rhoelyn: ~I don’t think we have a choice.~ Nysse directs Rhoelyn, “Hold your wrists out far apart. Korran will take care of it.” ~Thank you, my friend.~
Araatris: Watching the huge wolf with wide eyes, the little woman does so. Korran carefully catches the middle link between his molars and shatters it.
Rhoelyn: Nysse rummages through their belongings and pulls out a couple of leather strips. “Here. Let’s make them into bracelets.” The huntress grins.
Araatris: Rhoelyn lets her work her crafty magic on the cuffs, watching with grateful relief. “Thank you both so much. I cannot walk around in chains.”
Rhoelyn: The young night elf smiles, “Of course not. Did you want to change?” At an impatient knock from the door, Nysse calls out, “Just a moment!”
Araatris: With a surly glance at the door, Rhoe shakes her head. “I shall have to make do with brushing my hair.” She at least brushes at her travel gown.
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods. “I’ll do a quick braid.” She grabs the brush and straightens Rhoelyn’s hair. Then she does a neat, simple braid. “How’s that, sister?”
Araatris: “It’s so much better, Nysse.” The priestess squeezes her hand gratefully, taking the brush. “Now turn. You’ve set your hair all askew.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress blushes and protests even as Rhoe steps behind her. “Awww, Rhoe. It’s not that bad.” She sighs as the tie is tugged from her hair.
Araatris: “Just quickly.” Her sister brushes her hair out and pulls half of it back up, sneaking in a quick braid before she ties it off once more. “There.”
Rhoelyn: The young woman smiles and hugs Rhoe. “Thank you.” Nysse hurries to the door and opens it to Hansho’s raised paw. “Thank you for your patience.”
Araatris: The tawny monk regards her sternly but merely nods, half bowing, and steps aside. He sweeps his arm down the hallway. “This way. Please.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse grasps Rhoe’s hand and they step out. They walk after Hansho, followed by the four others and Korran. The other monks silently watch.
Araatris: As before, he leads them out of the building and along the path farther up the compound. The cold wind is biting. Rhoelyn frowns, shivering.
Rhoelyn: Korran jogs around, blocking some of the wind even as Nysse does the same and wraps her arm around Rhoelyn. “Is it always this chilly here?”
Araatris: Hansho nods curtly. “Yes. Kun-Lai Summit has no seasons.” The priestess spears him with a scowl. “You might have warned us to bring our cloaks.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress gently chides, “They are generous to host us. We don’t know that they have many unfurred visitors. It probably didn’t occur to him.”
Araatris: Raising a brow, the monk chimes in. “Probably, he simply did not care one way or the other. We will reach the elder’s retreat before you freeze.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse flinches and ducks her head. She says nothing as they continue their walk, but tugs Rhoe slightly closer. Her bare arms stinging in the chill.
Araatris: When her sister starts to draw breath, her glare sharpening against the monk, the huntress quickly points out a statue visible in a pavilion.
Rhoelyn: Her voice is much softer, obviously meant for Rhoe, but still excited, “Look at the statue of the tiger, Rhoe! I wonder if it’s of Xuen…”
Araatris: Though it takes a bit longer for her to tear her glare away from Hansho, the priestess follows her sister’s finger. “I would imagine it is.”
Rhoelyn: “He’s beautiful.” She brushes Korran’s fur with her free hand. They reach a building where two monks open the large door as they approach.
Araatris: Simpler than the other structures, but somehow more grandiose, the space is only one circular chamber with a raised walkway on its perimeter.
Rhoelyn: At the far end, a greying black panda rests cross-legged. His eyes are closed as Hansho leads them across the floor, stopping and bowing deeply.
Araatris: “Our night elven guests, elder.” The other Pandaren nods, eyes still closed. “Thank you, Hansho. You may go fetch the others, now.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bows and speaks softly. “Good day, elder.” She reaches up and strokes Korran’s muzzle. He rumbles appreciatively and noses her hand.
Araatris: The wizened panda opens his eyes and picks up a staff resting by his hip. He slips easily to his feet. “Welcome. I am Wu Lei, elder monk here.”
Rhoelyn: “T-thank you, elder. We are honored to meet with you. I’m Nyssera Whispersong and my sister is Rhoelyn Silverwing.” She bites her lip nervously.
Araatris: Stern and no-nonsense, he simply nods his head, walking around them in a circle with his staff clicking against the floor. His gaze is piercing.
Rhoelyn: The huntress instinctively pulls Rhoelyn into her arms. Her gaze follows him around the room, using Korran’s eyes when he passes out of sight.
Araatris: “Sage Gaoquan tells me you outsiders have come here seeking a … “cure” for the sha.” He pokes his staff at Rhoe, earning himself a frown. “Why?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns as well. “Why wouldn’t I? Would you leave your own to suffer? I love my sister. This sha is not her.” She hugs the priestess tighter.
Araatris: The elder smirks. “Ah, but you are wrong. The sha does not invent the emotions, nor their expression. It can only use what it finds within.”
Rhoelyn: “She was only angry because the blood elf was… was…” Nysse looks away, unable to finish her sentence. In her arms, the priestess snarls.
Araatris: “Leothir will not be allowed to harass my sister further,” Rhoelyn growls. The elder shoves his staff between her and Nysse, unsubtle in his command.
Rhoelyn: The young night elf reluctantly releases Rhoelyn and steps back. “It’s alright, Rhoe. I can stand up for myself. He won’t do anything this time.”
Araatris: Her sister looks at her uncertainly, standing still and tense as the elder continues his careful examination. Shadowy smoke wafts over her skin.
Rhoelyn: Nysse offers a smile. “And I have Korran. All he can do is talk.” Rhoelyn frowns, “Sister, you shouldn’t allow him to speak like that to you.”
Araatris: The elder interrupts. “This monastery teaches strength in balance. Power for what it can do to improve lives, not for the sake of violence.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn turns with a frown. The priestess snaps, “I assure you that I’m protecting my sister.” She draws a deep breath when the door opens again.
Araatris: The three of them glance back to see Hansho leading Quaed, Nataro and Leothir into the dojo. Rhoe clenches her fists tighter, her skin darkening.
Rhoelyn: Nysse starts to step forward, but she finds the elder’s staff in her way. He holds her gaze. “You will not interfere. Go sit with your wolf.”
Araatris: With a worried look at her sister, the huntress does as ordered, watching carefully as the Horde members approach with Hansho at the lead.
Rhoelyn: Hansho once again bows, “I have brought the… Horde, elder.” Wu Lei nods and orders, “Ensure no one disturbs us.” He turns to the new arrivals.
Araatris: As the tawny monk makes his way back to the door, the elder offers a bow and introduces himself to the newcomers. Nataro bows politely.
Rhoelyn: “You wish to have him ‘cured’ of the sha as well. Why?” The elderly monk’s gaze spears them. Leothir grins broadly and opens his mouth.
Araatris: Quaed yanks his hair before he can speak, grumbling, “Shut it. Nataro’s talking.” The Tauren speaks up, “Our friend is not himself.”
Rhoelyn: Wu Lei begins to circle Leothir. “The sha does not create something from nothing. He may not have expressed it, but these emotions still existed.”
Araatris: “However, he lacks control he once had.” Nataro clarifies, earning himself a frown from the sin’dorei. “He cannot complete his work like this.”
Rhoelyn: The elder pauses, his gaze settling on the Tauren, “And what is his work?” The end of his staff hits the ground with an audible thump as he waits.
Araatris: Frowning, the shaman regards the old pandaren for a moment before answering hesitantly. “Leothir… works for the good of the Horde, as we all do.”
Rhoelyn: The pandaren stares impassively. “Explain to me your purpose in our lands.” He gestures to the women. “They are ambassadors from their people.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn speaks before Nataro can. “Come,” she sneers. “Are you hesitant to tell him you’re only here to use me to betray your own leader?”
Rhoelyn: The tauren frowns. “We are here to right our wrongs. Garrosh is out of control for all of us. We cannot allow things to continue as they are.”
Araatris: “And I cannot allow you to sacrifice me to your cause. So more than just Leothir’s rotten personality stands in your way.” Leo growls at her insult.
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s eyes widen in distress. “R-rhoe, you knew about they were going to k-kill you? Why didn’t you tell me?” She staggers to her feet.
Araatris: The priestess starts to take a step toward her sister, but Wu Lei snaps his staff on the floor by her feet to stop her. She flicks him a glare (c)
Araatris: (c) before turning her attention back to Nysse. “Because, sister. You would die to protect me. But you must live. Moreso than me, you must live.”
Rhoelyn: The younger elf shakes her head frantically. “Just because I have a family doesn’t mean that you can sacrifice yourself! Rhese wouldn’t wa-”
Araatris: Leothir scoffs before Quaed can think to stop him. “Your little sister was more than ready to give up without you. It was infuriating to watch.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse clutches her hands in front of her stomach, but fights to urge to step forward. “Is… Is that true, Rhoe? Please tell me it’s not.”
Araatris: When the priestess just clenches her jaw and looks away from Nysse, Leothir snorts and steps forward, grabbing Rhoe’s arm. “Tell her, princess.”
Rhoelyn: “Let go of me, you piece of rot!” Rhoelyn yanks at her arm, but he only grips it tighter. “Not until you say it.” He leans close to her ear.
Araatris: “No!” When she rounds at him, swinging one of those dainty little fists at his cheek, he catches her wrist easily. “Let go!” Korran growls.
Rhoelyn: Nysse staggers forward when Wu Lei’s gaze stops her. “Rhoe, even if you did, it’s okay. I won’t give up on you. We can talk about this.”
Araatris: Straining against Leo’s grip, Rhoelyn shouts, “They were going to either kill me or us! If I didn’t fight, they had no reason to bother you at all!”
Araatris: “Except this piece of… ‘mage rot’ who ruins everything wouldn’t leave me be!” Leothir growls, holding her helpless. “And he wouldn’t leave you be.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir glares at her. “This ‘mage rot’ is trying to convince your sister that she’d be better off with me than that son of a-.” Rhoe gasps.
Araatris: “There is NOTHING about you that is better than Rhese!” The priestess yanks against his grip, her cuffs glowing. Darkness wafts around them.
Rhoelyn: The mage grins at the cuffs. “Really? Perhaps you should ask your sister about her lying on me in my room. In fact, I rather think she liked it…”
Araatris: Nysse’s squeak of “What?!” is entirely obscured by Rhoelyn’s screech of rage. Quaed sighs and leans over to Nataro. “This is getting pathetic.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress flushes purple. “Enough! Both of you!” The wolf leaps and knocks them apart with a swipe of his paw. He hovers over them.
Rhoelyn: “Leothir, I’m not interested. Stop goading my sister. Rhoelyn, I’ll defend myself. Now can we get off the topic of my interest or lack thereof?”
Araatris: “I have seen enough.” A new voice rumbles through the room. Korran steps back and lowers his head as a ghostly white tiger appears beside them.
Rhoelyn: Nysse bows her head and steps back as well, paling. The wolf backs to his mistress’ side. Wu Lei bows. “Honored Xuen, what are your thoughts?”
Araatris: When Leo shoves to his elbows, the Celestial pushes him back to the floor with a forceful paw. “They are beyond the teachings of the order.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress’ head snaps up. “No.” Xuen turns to Nysse. “You know nothing of balance, child. It is only luck that has kept the sha from you.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn watches him with wide eyes as he sniffs at her. “And these ones, flailing badly off-center. They are too far gone to bring themselves back.”
Rhoelyn: “Please honored spirit. I’ll do anything if you will help.” Nysse takes a trembling step forward and kneels, prostrating herself. “I can’t give up.”
Araatris: The tiger turns from Rhoe to stalk around Nysse and Korran once, thoughtful. Without answering her, he looks at Nataro and Quaed. “And you?”
Rhoelyn: Nataro and Quaed share a look before nodding. The tauren bows his head, “We would also be willing to do what is needed to bring him back.”
Araatris: Xuen pads over to them, ponderous and silent for a moment. He sniffs at Nataro. “They cannot bring themselves back, but the mirror can.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse raises her head, “The mirror?” The great cat strides back to her. “Yes, the mirror. It forces one to see their true self and face it.”
Araatris: “When I was imprisoned, I spent centuries gazing into it, finding balance with myself. Within myself.” He tilts his head. “They must, as well.”
Rhoelyn: “W-where do we find it?” Nysse raises to her knees, but still bows her head respectfully. Korran lays next to her and nudges under her arm.
Araatris: The resplendent tiger growls. “Therein lies the challenge. The prison for a Celestial spirit is no mere room with bars upon the door…”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bites her lip. “Then how do we get to it? Or know how to open it? It sounds like we’d need to bring them with us if it can’t be moved…”
Araatris: Xuen stalks, never still, as he nods. “You must take them to the mirror. This one-” He tilts his head at Nataro. “-may have the skills to find it.”
Rhoelyn: She hugs Korran. “Of course. Is there anything else, honored spirit?” Her lashes flutter up as she dares another glimpse at the magnificent cat.
Araatris: The beast god turns his head to Wu Lei, brushing his tail across Nysse’s shoulder as he walks away. “Assist them however they need, elder.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse flushes and buries her face against the wolf’s fur. Wu Lei bows, “As you wish, honored Xuen.” The cat nods, walking even as he fades.
Araatris: Korran lifts his head, careful not to jostle the elf sleeping against his belly. He growls softly. ~Nyssera, your sister weakens herself further.~