Araatris: It’s just after sunset when Rhoelyn finally stirs, curling on her side against Nysse. Her fingers tangle in the fabric of the younger elf’s tunic.
Rhoelyn: Nysse leans over and murmurs, “Rhoe, wake up.” She reluctantly continues as she rests a hand on her sister’s shoulder, “We’ve been captured.”
Araatris: The priestess’ grip tightens, and she gasps, opening her eyes. “D-davin! I must heal-” She stops, blinking at Nysse and then at her shackled wrists.
Rhoelyn: “I’m sorry. I don’t know how Davin’s doing. They kidnapped you through a portal, so I had to focus on that.” She gestures ahead of the cart.
Araatris: Following her sister’s hand, she watches the backs of the trio leading the bored oxen. Rhoelyn sits up, her brow furrowed. “Horde,” she whispers.
Rhoelyn: The huntress nods. “That undead has my blinker hearth.” She swallows uneasily. “It’s tucked in his cuirass. I don’t think we’re getting it back.”
Araatris: Rhoe looks quite sick and mumbles, “I… I put mine in the trunk.” She grabs Nysse’s hands. “I’m SO sorry, sister. I wasn’t careful enough.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse squeezes her hands. “And I didn’t check to make sure you kept it on you. At least we’re together and alive.” She smiles reassuringly.
Araatris: Though her smile is a little tearful, the little priestess smiles nonetheless. “Thank Elune.” She glances at their captors. “What do we do, now?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress gently straightens Rhoelyn’s hair with her fingers. “We wait for an opportunity. I’ll do whatever I can to protect you until then.”
Araatris: The smaller woman bites her lip and settles back against the wagon. Her outward calm is betrayed by her tight grip on the cuff of Nysse’s sleeve.
Rhoelyn: Shortly, Leothir checks on them. “Ah! Our prize is finally awake.” He grins broadly. Quaed looks over his shoulder. “So she is,” he rasps.
Araatris: Rhoelyn watches the sin’dorei approach with her serene mask firmly in place. “A prize? Are you certain you haven’t mistaken me for someone else?”
Rhoelyn: “Oh? You mean to say that you weren’t the ambassador they sent to the Jade Forest?” He leans closer to her and flicks a leaf off her shoulder.
Araatris: She flinches and her grip on Nysse’s sleeve tightens. “I did not say that. However, I have trouble imagining that makes me worth all this.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse tugs Rhoelyn closer to her with a glare. “The big-” Quaed cuts him off and joins them. “How many times do I have to tell you to shut up, Leo?”
Araatris: “That depends, my friend. How many times do I have to tell you not to call me Leo?” the mage asks with a sigh. Rhoe’s eyes widen at the rogue.
Rhoelyn: The priestess squeaks, “I-it’s you! What are you doing here?!” Quaed grimaces and growls, “You must be mistaking me for someone else.”
Araatris: She shies back, blinking and unsure of herself. “Are… are you certain? You look like the ma-” He snarls at her, and she gasps. “I… suppose not.”
Rhoelyn: “Hey! There’s no reason to snarl at her. Snarl at me all you like, but leave her out of it, Quaed.” Nysse snaps back, glaring at him. “Rhoe…”
Araatris: He sneers at Nysse. “What, need a hug, little girl?” Leothir sighs as the huntress cringes. “Now, now. Let’s not start. My ears are sensitive.”
Rhoelyn: Quaed growls, “Then shut her up.” The blood elf grins and chuckles, “That would be my pleasure.” He turns to Nysse and grabs her shoulder.
Araatris: Before either of the ladies can react, he yanks her forward and presses his lips against hers. Tsume leaps up and butts her head into his chin.
Rhoelyn: She cracks his chin audibly and he curses and leans back. “Stupid wolf!” Tsume snarls viciously. “I bit my tongue!” Nysse stares in shock.
Araatris: He spits blood on the grass, magic flaring around his hands, but Rhoelyn shoves herself between him and the wolf. “No! You deserved that.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse finally grabs Tsume and pulls her close, burying her face in the wolf’s fur. Leothir glares at her before turning to Quaed’s wheezing laugh.
Araatris: The rogue claps a hand on his shoulder. “You shut her up, all right.” The mage finally relents, smirking at Nysse. “It was mostly worth it.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn frowns at them. Leothir chuckles, “Seems our little priestess might have some bite, too.” The undead shakes his head. “She’s off limits.”
Araatris: As the smaller nightelf turns her attention to her sister, the two Horde make their way back toward the front, Leo blinking at him. “What? Why?”
Rhoelyn: “Because I said so, you half-baked elf.” Quaed grumbles. Said mage raises an eyebrow and changes topics, “Strange that she thought she knew you…”
Araatris: He shrugs too quickly. “Bet all undead look alike to her.” He picks up his pace and hails Nataro. “We will need to camp soon,” the Tauren rumbles.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn tugs gently at Nysse’s arm. “Sister, please look at me.” The huntress shakes her head in Tsume’s fur. Her shoulders shake slightly.
Araatris: Biting her lip, she rubs the huntress’ back soothingly. “It’ll be all right,” she eases, sniffling. “Tsume and I won’t let him touch you again.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse finally raises her tear-streaked face and mumbles, “Either of them? The undead really scares me.” She sniffles again and rubs her eyes.
Araatris: The priestess nods resolutely. “By Elune, sister, I swear I won’t let them.” She leans close and wipes tears from Nysse’s cheek. “Don’t fear.”
Rhoelyn: “He’s going to be so mad. I promised to protect you and we’ve been captured, touched by undead, and… and I let that elf k-kiss me!” Nysse cringes.
Araatris: Rhoe wraps her arms around her. “You didn’t -let- him do anything. And you know as well as I that Rhese’s anger will be reserved for those three.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress hugs Rhoelyn, resting her head on her sister’s shoulder. She mumbles, ”I know.” Her fingers tighten on the back of Rhoe’s gown.
Araatris: They stay like that for a long while as the cart turns toward an outcropping of rock looming ominously over the plain in the growing dark.
Rhoelyn: Nataro announces, “We will camp here.” The cart rolls up near the rocky wall. He points to night elves and a spot on the ground. “Sit there.”
Araatris: Tsume is the first to hop down, protectively placing herself between them and the others while Nysse climbs down and offers Rhoelyn a hand.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn takes her sister’s hand while she steps onto the ground. They sit in the grass in their assigned spot with Tsume in front of them.
Araatris: It doesn’t take the three Horde long to settle the oxen and set up a basic camp. The fire is low and sheltered from view between some boulders.
Rhoelyn: Nysse watches them intently and pets Tsume. Leothir puts a pot over the fire and starts digging through a large bag, pulling out items for a stew.
Araatris: The blood elf occasionally slants her smug grins that make her skin crawl, and he hums a dancing tune as he works. Nataro pauses by the pot.
Rhoelyn: He sniffs, then pulls out a couple of herbs. Leothir sighs, “Why don’t you go get meat for the wolf instead of messing with my stew seasoning.”
Araatris: “I believe I will do both,” the Tauren rumbles with a smirk, adding them in before he leaves. The mage grouches, “How productive you are…”
Rhoelyn: Nysse snorts, but frowns when Leo notices and grins wickedly. Nataro lays a large steak in front of Tsume, who looks to Nysse for permission.
Araatris: The huntress starts to reach for her muzzle when the shaman grabs her wrist. “If she attacks us, I will not stop them from destroying her.”
Rhoelyn: She grimaces and nods. “I understand.” He releases her wrist. “Tsume, yield.” Nysse removes the muzzle. Tsume whines and butts her hand.
Rhoelyn: More forcibly, Nysse repeats, “Yield.” The wolf’s ears and tail droop. Nysse rubs her head and adds more softly, “It’s alright, Tsume. Eat.”
Araatris: As the wolf digs in, Nataro heads back to the camp fire and settles down on a rock to watch Leo cook. “It smells better, now. Where did Quaed go?”
Rhoelyn: “He said something about our tracks earlier. I’m not sure why he’s bothering since we have a wagon.” The mage tastes the stew. “It’s not bad.”
Araatris: “He is being cautious,” the Tauren says. “Don’t you mean -over-cautious?” The shaman shakes his head. “Don’t underestimate the serpent riders.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s stomach growls loudly at the smell of the stew and she quickly looks away. Rhoelyn pats Nysse’s hand, frowning as Leo’s grin widens.
Araatris: Though she won’t look at him, the sin’dorei stares at Nysse as he starts filling bowls. “I do so love a lady with healthy… appetites.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress flushes brightly. She attempts to ignore him and rambles to Rhoelyn, “I wonder how all the pups are doing out in the field…”
Araatris: Frowning, her companion pats her hand and gets to her feet. She smooths her dress as best she can and walks calmly over to the blood elf.
Araatris: “You are being despicable.” She announces firmly, her hands clutched tightly in front of her. “Leave off with your inappropriate attentions.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress hurries after Rhoelyn. She grasps the priestess’ arm. “Rhoe, this isn’t necessary.” She glances nervously at the blood elf.
Araatris: Nataro stands, frowning, as the sin’dorei turns his wicked grin on Rhoelyn. The priestess addresses Nysse, “I’m afraid it is very necessary.”
Rhoelyn: “So, you think you’re going to protect her, little priestess? What makes you think that I’m going to listen to you?” He purposely leers at Nysse.
Araatris: When the meek little night elf whips her shackled hands up and slaps him across the cheek with a crack, he’s caught by surprise. He stumbles.
Rhoelyn: Nysse quickly shoves Rhoelyn behind her, but at the same time she can’t quite suppress a grin. Nataro rumbles, “Get back to your spot. Now.”
Araatris: The priestess hides the tremor in her hands by gripping the back of Nysse’s armor as she lifts her chin, facing the mage’s glare. She doesn’t move.
Rhoelyn: The huntress glances over her shoulder. “Come on, Rhoe. Let’s sit back down. Tsume’s worried.” Rhoe’s eyes widen and Nysse follows her gaze.
Araatris: The mage shoves a small explosive spell into his hand as he grabs Nysse and throws her aside. “If you were jealous, priestess, you only had to say.”
Rhoelyn: The young elf cries out as she falls on her arm, pinned under her body. Quaed steps over her and walks calmly over to Leo, grabbing his wrist.
Araatris: The mage growls and pulls against his grip, rage in his toothy sneer as he clamps his other hand around Rhoe’s arm. “Let go. She earned it.”
Rhoelyn: “No, I told you she’s off limits. I’ll take care of her. You’d better make sure your toy isn’t broken.” The rogue meets Leo’s gaze impassively.
Araatris: “Nysse is n-not his toy!” Rhoelyn earns a glare from both of them for her outburst, but she looks at Quaed. “He must leave her alone.”
Rhoelyn: The rogue considers her. Leothir snarls, “You aren’t seriously listening to her, are you? They didn’t say she had to be uninjured either.”
Araatris: After a hesitation, Quaed turns to him and grates out, “Leave them both alone.” The mage gasps, rage filling his features. “You must be joking!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse finally manages to roll over, gasping. Leo shoves Rhoelyn towards Quaed. “You’re going soft, Quaed.” He sneers, “I’m keeping the other.”
Araatris: The rogue sighs and glances at Nataro before he moves with lightning speed. He darts into Leothir’s path and stabs a metal spine in his arm.
Rhoelyn: Leothir grabs his arm and curses. “Why are you protecting them?!” Quaed watches him carefully. “Leave them alone.” The mage snarls, “Fine.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn rushes over to Nysse throwing herself to her knees beside her. “Sister, don’t move. Is it your arm?” She brushes trembling fingers over her.
Rhoelyn: Nysse hisses when the priestess touches her forearm and nods. “I landed on it. I couldn’t move it fast enough with the shackles. Is it broken?”
**Araatris :** The healer sniffles and drags her sleeve across her eyes before nodding. “YOU POISONED ME?!” rings out from behind her before a telling thud.
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles and manages to chuckle, “That’s worth a broken arm. The shackles won’t let you heal, but can you set it?” The huntress is pale.
Araatris: “And hurt you again?” Her brow furrowed, the little woman shakes her head. “Just wait here a moment.” She scrubs the tears off her cheeks.
Rhoelyn: Groaning, Nysse grumbles, “It’ll hurt less af-” She sighs, “Rhoe, what are you doing?” The priestess walks over to Nataro and bows deeply.
Araatris: She offers him her wrists and humbly asks, “Will you please remove them for a moment? I will heal them both. That is, if you want him healed.”
Rhoelyn: The tauren nods. “She will die if you do anything else.” She returns his nod. “Of course.” He reaches forward and removes the shackles.
Araatris: The two men watch her closely as she returns to Nysse’s side, her hands glowing against the huntress’ bracers while she mends the broken bone.
Rhoelyn: The huntress closes her eyes in relief. “Thank you…” Rhoelyn brushes Nysse’s hair out of her face. “Do you need help moving to Tsume, sister?”
Araatris: Testing her arm against the ground, the younger elf presses to her feet. “I’m fine, Rhoe.” She shifts her gaze to where Leothir is sprawled.
Rhoelyn: “You’re actually going to heal him?” Nysse sighs when Rhoelyn nods. “Then I’ll stay with you.” The small night elf frowns, but she shakes her head.
Araatris: Quaed moves over by Nataro, leaning back against the boulder with his arms crossed as he watches them. Rhoelyn shudders to reach for the mage.
Rhoelyn: Placing her hand on Rhoelyn’s arm, Nysse sighs and looks at the other two. “May I pin him down in case he wakes up angry?” Rhoe frowns. “Sister…”
Araatris: The rogue growls. “You stupid, girl? Stay away from him. He won’t hurt her.” He pulls another spine out of nowhere and flips it around his fingers.
Rhoelyn: “I’m not-” Rhoelyn lays her hand over Nysse’s. “Sister, please go to Tsume. She’s worried.” They both ignore the trembling of Nysse’s hand.
Araatris: Reluctantly, after a searching look, Nysse goes over to Tsume, pulling her close to soothe her. Her sister reaches for Leothir, hands aglow.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn’s magic seeks out the poison, slowly cleansing it from the mage’s body. After several long moments, Leothir’s eyes pop open, glaring.
Araatris: The priestess glances away, but before she can stand, he snags her hair and says something quiet and venomous by her ear before releasing her.
Rhoelyn: She shudders and quickly stands. She starts to walk to Nysse, but stops and heads to Nataro instead. She holds out her hands. “As promised.”
Araatris: The Tauren simply nods and snaps the manacles around her wrists once more. “Get food,” he orders gruffly, tilting his head at the pot.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn makes two bowls, chains clattering loudly in the silence. She takes them and settles down next to Nysse. She hands a bowl to her sister.
Araatris: Halfway through her meal, Nysse looks over to notice that the priestess stares blankly at her untouched food. She reaches over. “Rhoe?”
Rhoelyn: She waves her hand, then lays her hand on her shoulder. “Rhoe, what’s wrong?” Nysse lowers her voice, “Did he say something that upset you?”
Araatris: “N-no. No, it’ll be f-fine.” With a convulsive hiccup, Rhoe looks over and wipes tears from her cheek before they can fall far. “I-I tried to help.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress wipes a missed tear away with her thumb. “I think I’ve missed something. You’re not talking about the poison, are you?”
Araatris: Rhoelyn gives a brief shake of her head. “He mustn’t treat you like that. I… I thought I could…” She wipes at her eyes again. “What was I thinking?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sighs, “I’m sorry.” She sets both bowls to the side, then tugs her into a hug. “You shouldn’t need to do that. Please tell me what happened.”
Araatris: The priestess is stiff, but she grips her sister tightly. Her attempt at a laugh is pathetic and watery. “I don’t believe I am very intimidating.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress rubs her back and teases softly, “You’ve never been on the receiving end when Rhese and I track dirt into the house. I’d disagree.”
Araatris: After a look over at where the blood elf sits, eating his food in brooding silence, Rhoe whispers, “Perhaps he is crueler than I thought.”
Rhoelyn: Following her gaze, Nysse swallows nervously and murmurs, “He certainly isn’t kind. I think he’s worse than the undead. He makes my skin crawl.”
Araatris: Rhoe sniffles and curls to rest her head on Nysse’s shoulder. “I will protect you, sister. Quaed will help until we can find our way free of them.”
Rhoelyn: “I know you will. What I don’t understand is why he agreed or why they let you take off the manacles.” Nysse mumbles, “I pissed off Quaed…”
Araatris: Sighing, the little healer straightens and picks up Nysse’s food, handing the bowl to her. “Quaed owes me. He doesn’t seem to want anyone to know.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse raises an eyebrow as she takes her bowl. “That has to be a story. Will you tell me later?” She eats her cool stew. Rhoe picks up her bowl.
Araatris: “Yes. Later.” The priestess glances up from poking at her stew to find all three of their captors looking over at them, and she tenses. “Nysse…”
Rhoelyn: The huntress flinches. “Finish eating. Let them stare.” Nysse glances again as she hears them murmur amongst themselves. “It feels like trouble.”
Araatris: “I feel quite worn out from the trouble we’ve already had,” Rhoe laments, trying to get a spoonful of food with an unsteady hand. “No more, please.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks surprised, “I can tell. Here. I know it’s a little silly, but you look exhausted.” The huntress takes the bowl and spoon from Rhoelyn.
Araatris: She blinks and flushes crimson when Nysse offers her a spoonful. “S-sister, I am not a fledgling bird to be fed,” she mutters, looking away.
Rhoelyn: The huntress bites her lip and gazes down at the bowl. “I wanted to help because you seemed exhausted. I’m worried. You’ve barely eaten.”
Araatris: “I… I’m not hungry, Nysse.” Rhoe turns and grabs her hand, nearly causing her to spill the stew. “Pl-” A rasping voice interrupts, “Eat, dammit.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse flinches before taking a deep breath and nodding. “He’s right. You have to eat, Rhoe. You don’t take food for granted on the road.”
Araatris: After glancing between the two of them, Rhoelyn sighs and nods. Still, she holds her hands out. “I cannot have you feed me,” she whispers it.
Rhoelyn: Nysse whispers, pressing the bowl into Rhoe’s hands, “I won’t have to if you’ll eat.” After Rhoe takes a bite, the huntress bows her head to Quaed.
Araatris: The rogue holds her gaze for just a moment without rancor before turning back to his companions. Everyone ignores Leothir’s suspicious look.
Rhoelyn: When Rhoelyn finishes, Nysse returns the bowls back to the fireside. Kneeling to the priestess, she murmurs, “Why don’t you curl up with Tsume.”
Araatris: As the other woman nods, Nataro rumbles a warning to the mage, “It’s too late for more games.” Leo pulls a couple more shackles from the wagon.
Rhoelyn: “If you consider letting them walk free a game, fine. I’d prefer them hobbled at night, and someone needs to re-muzzle that mutt,” Leo growls.
Araatris: The sin’dorei makes his way over to the women, who watch him warily. He watches them equally warily. “The first one who tries to bite me gets hurt.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse shifts protectively, “I’ll put them on Rhoe and I’ll muzzle Tsume.” She slips the rope over Tsume’s head, then she holds out her hand.
Araatris: “Your lack of trust wounds me, my lady,” he says, tossing her the shackles. “Can’t you tell I have my best angel face on? Guaranteed good behavior.”
Rhoelyn: She catches them. “I’m reducing the chance you’ll be bit. Also, I’m Rhese’s lady, not yours.” She carefully snaps each manacle around Rhoe’s ankles.
Araatris: Leothir smirks as the huntress clicks the second pair around her own ankles. Rhoelyn shifts forward, frowning. “We’re secured. You may go.”
Rhoelyn: He chuckles and shakes his head, “I may, huh? Sorry to disappoint, but I need to confirm they’re secured. My lady might have missed one.”
Araatris: The priestess clenches her fist as he reaches for Nysse’s ankles and reminds him in a too-calm voice, “I don’t bite. Someone else bites for me.”
Rhoelyn: His gaze flickers to Quaed. “I haven’t done anything.” Nysse shudders as his hands brush down her calf to the shackle. He lingers on the cuff.
Araatris: “I-in exactly one second, I am going to kick you if you do not remove your hands from my sister.” Rhoelyn says it through clenched teeth, trembling.
Rhoelyn: The undead rasps, “Leo…” The mage smiles. “I’ll hurry.” He pulls on each, making sure it holds. Then, with two rough tugs, he checks Rhoe’s.
Araatris: Nysse looks from the mage to the priestess as he gets to his feet with one last leering smile and heads away, amazed at the way Rhoelyn glares.
Rhoelyn: The huntress scoots closer and lays a shaking hand on the elder night elf’s arm. “I’m alright, Rhoe. Let’s just get some rest.” She smiles weakly.
Araatris: Rhoelyn presses her hand over Nysse’s, nodding with a jerky motion. “Y-yes. We should rest.” She turns to the huntress. “Keep Tsume beside you.”
Rhoelyn: “She stays near both of us.” Nysse clicks and Tsume settles down by their heads. She moves closer to Rhoelyn. “I’d rather we all stay close tonight.”
Araatris: Nataro watches the two settle in before turning his dark gaze on Leothir. “I know you have a fondness for the chase, but this is unlike you.”
Rhoelyn: The blood elf crosses his arms. “I’m just playing with her. No harm with that. I can’t believe Quaed poisoned me,” he grumbles. “Seriously.”
Araatris: The shaman snorts. “You were out of control. You broke her arm, you know.” Leo frowns and ruffles his hair. “It’s not my fault she landed badly.”
Rhoelyn: Holding his gaze, the tauren rumbles, “Perhaps, but it is your fault that she fell. It’s unacceptable to harm either for a slap. We’re not savages.”
Araatris: “No,” he says, his lip curling as he looks at Quaed. “Apparently, we’re pushovers, instead. The darling little ambassador doesn’t know her place.”
Rhoelyn: Quaed gives him a wicked grin. “Apparently, neither does our mage. You don’t harm the goods. If the worst she can do is slap, we’ll be fine.”
Araatris: Leo growls sourly. “Look, the chit’s hubris just… just pisses me off.” The rogue snorts. “You a child? Get it under control, Leothir.”
Rhoelyn: The tauren nods, “We must make our goal without incident.” The blood elf glares, “Then make sure that they act like the chattel they are.”
Araatris: Nataro blinks at him in surprise as he continues, “And make sure our partner remembers whose side he’s on.” He frowns at Quaed.
Rhoelyn: The undead rogue returns his gaze with a frown of his own. He rasps, “Since when does our goal conflict with treating them like sentient beings?”
Rhoelyn: He continues, “You’re usually the first to bring it up. What bug crawled up your legs?” Leo snarls, “It conflicts when I’m the one getting hit.”
Araatris: Nataro has been silently watching Leothir through their conversation. His eyes narrow as he stands. “It is time to sleep. I will take first watch.”
Rhoelyn: Leo begins, “I’ll tak-” Quaed interrupts, “I’ll take the rest. It’s not like I need much.” The mage glares, but silently stalks to his bedroll.
Araatris: The rogue and shaman exchange concerned looks as their companion plops down and kicks off his boots, his back to them. Something is off.
Araatris: It’s just after sunset when Rhoelyn finally stirs, curling on her side against Nysse. Her fingers tangle in the fabric of the younger elf’s tunic.