Araatris: Su Le crouches in the grass, her short, furred fingers tracing the deeper rut where a wagon wheel stopped and sat. She leans close, sniffing.
Rhoelyn: Sitting back, she looks at Mu Lin, “They were here. It’s fresh, so fairly recently.” She stands and circles the area. “There are footprints here.”
Araatris: The senior rider nods gravely, looking at the boulder formation around them. “This looks like an excellent place for them to camp for the night.”
Rhoelyn: The pandaren crouches again looking at the dirt in relief. “It looks like they took both and the wolf. We should hurry if we wish to catch up.”
Araatris: “Excellent!” Jay smiles from his place behind Mu Lin as Su Le climbs up on her serpent, relief in his voice. “It’s the first clear trail we’ve had.”
Rhoelyn: Mu Lin rumbles, “They must have been either sure of themselves or in a hurry to leave a trail.” He gestures to Su Le. “Lead us, Su Le.”
Araatris: The serpent dragons lift into the air with soft growls, magic flaring through their scales. The female rider takes the lead with a nod, intent.
Rhoelyn: They pause every so often to check the tracks. Jay’s eyes scan the ground. After a couple of hours, he notices a blur of grey in the grassland.
Araatris: Tapping Mu Lin on the shoulder, he points out the sight. Soon, Hushao is banking until they’re close enough to recognize something in the grass.
Rhoelyn: Tsume howls at them, obviously distressed. She circles under the trees out of sight until Hushao lands, butting her head against her mistress.
Araatris: Jay leaps from the dragon and rushes after her, skidding to a stop beside a prone Nysse. “‘Mona, bring the vials! Fast!” He shoves aside her bow.
Rhoelyn: Ramona slides down from behind Su Le, fumbling with her pouches as she runs to him. Jay feels for the faint pulse before taking the vial from her.
Araatris: The guard lifts Nysse, searching until he finds the small cut on her arm. “Maiden’s Anguish,” he announces as the Pandaren step up. “False death.”
Rhoelyn: He presses the vial against Nysse’s lips and trickles it into her mouth, a little dribbling down her cheek. Mu Lin leans down. “She will live, then?”
Araatris: “Yes,” the soldier answers, wiping the drip with his finger. “Whoever poisoned her wasn’t trying to kill her. It’s a sedative that can mimic death.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s color improves and she takes a deep, shuddering breath. Su Le and Mu Lin look relieved. Su Le asks, “How long before she wakes?”
Araatris: Jay shakes his head, brushing her hair back from her forehead to check her temperature. “At her size, with a little scratch like that…?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress is cool to the touch, but warmer than she was a couple of minutes ago. “It should be soon, but she’ll be groggy and disoriented.”
Araatris: Su Le looks up at the setting sun. “We should camp here. It will soon be too dark to follow the trail, and Nysse must rest.” Tsume crowds in.
Rhoelyn: Ramona rubs Tsume’s ears. “Good idea. I’ll get a sleeping mat for Nysse.” Mu Lin nods. “I will fix dinner.” The wolf lays her head on Nysse’s lap.
Araatris: With their friends bustling around her, the huntress rests in unwilling silence while half-a-day’s ride away, her sister rests alone in the wagon.
Rhoelyn: Nataro rumbles, “We can stop for the night in the grove ahead.” The priestess buries her face against her knees again. The wagon creaks to a stop.
Araatris: Rhoelyn doesn’t bother to move, listening to the others as they set up camp. It’s not until she feels a presence beside her that she lifts her head.
Rhoelyn: The tauren softly orders her, “Go sit under the trees there while we set up and fix dinner.” He pauses, “It should be more comfortable than the wagon.”
Araatris: She nods without a word and watches him walk away. Still, she does not move. “Rhoelyn…” Quaed growls as he pulls the bedrolls from the wagon.
Rhoelyn: The priestess looks at him blankly. “Go sit.” She nods again, but when she doesn’t move he shoves the bedrolls under one arm and grabs her wrist.
Araatris: She scrambles to the edge of the wagon so as not to be pulled over by his tug and slips down, landing lightly. “Go sit,” he repeats, shoving her.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn stumbles toward the trees and sits. She pulls her knees to her chest and lays her head back down. Leo grumbles to Nataro, “This is worse…”
Araatris: The Tauren grunts and turns back to starting the fire. “You liked it better when she was trying to punch you?” The mage sighs, “I think I did.”
Rhoelyn: Nataro glances at him. “Your anger spoke otherwise. She will likely not try to escape on her own.” Leothir sighs again, “But now it’s boring.”
Araatris: With nothing more than another grunt, the shaman turns back to his work, leaving Leothir idle. The mage finds his feet carry him to the trees.
Rhoelyn: He crouches down in front of Rhoelyn and snorts, “You’ll fight for her, but you’re just going to roll over without her. What a piece of rot.”
Araatris: The priestess lifts her head just enough to glare at him from behind the curve of her knees. When she says nothing, he growls and reaches out.
Rhoelyn: The priestess smacks his arm away and snaps. “This all your fault! It wouldn’t have happened if you’d left her alone.” She tucks her arm back in.
Araatris: Hiding her face back against her knees, the anger momentarily evaporates and her muffled voice continues. “I wasn’t ready. It was too soon.”
Rhoelyn: “Too soon for her to die?” Rhoelyn makes a non-committal sound in response to Leo’s question. He grumbles, “The kid still has his father.”
Araatris: The priestess gasps, whipping her head up. “You awful, horrible… thing! Don’t even speak of them!” Her shackles glow as she tries to gather magic.
Rhoelyn: “What are you going to do? Rhese and what was his name… Yami, was it?” He sneers even as he shifts out of arm’s range. “We could still kill Rhese…”
Araatris: “You won’t touch my family!” Rhoe shrieks the words, launching at him. Nataro snags her by the arm before she can do more than scratch his cheek.
Rhoelyn: Leothir grins menacingly as Nataro narrows his eyes. “What is the reason behind your actions, Leothir? You are putting our mission at risk.”
Araatris: The mage just laughs and waves a hand as the little priestess struggles and spits, pulling at Nataro’s grip. “She can still be bait just fine.”
Rhoelyn: The tauren growls, “This is not like you. You are being malicious.” He tightens his grip and looks at Rhoelyn, rumbling, “Calm yourself.”
Araatris: “I won’t!” she gasps, tugging at his arm, her shackles glowing once more. “I can’t! He needs to learn-” “Calm yourself.” He repeats emphatically.
Rhoelyn: Leo looks over at Quaed and calls out, “Hey, you still got that hearth stone? Mind if I take a look at it?” He wanders over to the rogue.
Araatris: Even though the undead just glares at him, Rhoelyn screams wordlessly and doubles her struggles, managing to smack Nataro in the muzzle.
Rhoelyn: Nataro growls and pins the priestess against his chest, “We are not using the hearth stone.” He looks down at Rhoe, “You will calm yourself.”
Araatris: As Leo chuckles, she strains, curling around his huge arms and gasping for breath. “I can’t,” the priestess repeats. “I can’t!” She sobs helplessly.
Rhoelyn: The tauren frowns as wisps of black smoke seem to curl around her. “What is this?” He looks at Leothir. “Check her. There is something not right.”
Araatris: The mage scoffs. “If you think I’m getting anywhere near that harpy-” The word earns him another rage-filled shriek, and he grins viciously.
Rhoelyn: He reaches a hand into a pouch, pulling out a white powder. He blows it at Rhoelyn. She blinks in confusion before sagging against his arm.
Araatris: The Tauren shifts her in his arms, watching her tear-streaked face as her breathing slowly evens. Leothir steps up beside him, his expression smug.
Rhoelyn: “What is wrong?” The tauren sighs and lays her carefully on the ground and circles her with a series of small stones. “I must consult the spirits.”
Araatris: Quaed frowns thoughtfully and looks from Leo to Rhoe. “Hey. Leo.” When the elf turns, he sucker-punches him across the jaw, staggering him.
Rhoelyn: Leothir grabs his jaw and spits out some blood. “What the hell!” Quaed snaps, “Stop playing games. We’re going to miss our chance.”
Araatris: The mage snarls, fire dancing around his hands as he gathers together the pieces of a spell. “You rotting jac-!” “Leothir!” Nataro thunders.
Rhoelyn: “What!” Before the blood elf can turn, rock and dirt wrap around him and pin his arms to his side. “No more disruptions. Quaed, knock him out.”
Araatris: “What?!” Leo struggles, baring his teeth. “You’re both insane!” The rogue stalks forward, watching as the same black something wafts around him.
Rhoelyn: Quaed flips a small glistening dagger out. “Take a nap and cool off, Leo.” He lightly slices the mage’s arm. “You’re going to regr…” Leo wavers.
Araatris: “You saw it?” Quaed steps over to Nataro, flipping the dagger and catching it. The shaman scowls. “Yes. Something afflicts him as well.”
Rhoelyn: Nataro shakes his head. “We cannot complete our mission in his current condition. I hope the spirits can help us.” Quaed rasps, “Hopefully quickly.”
Araatris: The Tauren catches Leothir as he falls from the earthen restraints, laying him beside Rhoelyn. “Watch them. Keep them unconscious, if you must.”
Rhoelyn: “Will do.” Quaed settles down by their heads as Nataro begins his ritual. Back cloud serpent riders, Nysse stirs in the blossoming darkness.
Araatris: Tsume whines and nudges at her hand in encouragement, gaining Ramona’s attention. The guard leans over. “Nysse? Can you hear me? You’re safe…”
Rhoelyn: The huntress groans and blinks in confusion. “W-where am I?” Suddenly, her eyes widen in panic. “Where’s Rhoe?!” She lunges to her feet, staggering.
Araatris: “Hey, now!” The guard grabs her before she can fall again, trying to ease her back down. “Hold on, Nysse. Take it slow.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse shakes her head frantically. “T-they’re getting on a boat tomorrow!” Ramona presses the weakened night elf down easily. “I can’t let them-”
Araatris: “Calmly, friend.” Mu Lin kneels beside her, resting a paw on her shoulder. “Take a breath. We have their trail and will pursue them at dawn.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress closes her eyes and wills the tears away. “I don’t understand what happened. The blood elf was talking to me, I got upset…”
Rhoelyn: “Then Rhoe got scary angry because she thought he was… harassing me again. She begged me to leave f-for Yami… Then… I don’t know…”
Araatris: Jay takes Ramona’s place, reaching out to place a hand on her forehead. “You were poisoned,” he says, nodding to himself at her temperature.
Rhoelyn: She blinks blearily, “Oh. Quaed must have done it… Rhoe must have…” Nysse grimaces. “He owed her. She must have convinced him to drop me.”
Araatris: The others look at each other, and Mu Lin nods. “It seems to line up. Your weapon was with you, as well as Tsume, some supplies, and a scroll.
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns, “A scroll? Why in the world would they bother with a scroll?” She attempts to sit up. Jay slips his arm behind her for support.
Araatris: The huntress’ head swims, and she finds she needs the help to stay up. Jay volunteers, “You’re going to be weak and groggy for a few hours.”
Rhoelyn: “You’re going to tell me to sleep, aren’t you?” Without waiting for his nod, she continues, “Please bring me the scroll. I want to read it.”
Araatris: “Of course.” Su Le steps off for a minute to fetch it and Mu Lin rubs his paws together. “And I have made us dinner. Eat before you rest.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods. “That would be nice. Thank you.” She takes the scroll from Su Le when she returns and scans it, her face blushing darkly.
Araatris: “What does it say?” Jay asks, frowning at her complexion. She closes the scroll and crumples it in her hands. “N-nothing useful.”
Rhoelyn: Jay raises an eyebrow. “They left a useless scroll?” Nysse nods and watches as Mu Lin returns. She takes a bowl from him, her hands shaking.
Araatris: The Pandaren helps her shift to lean against the tree. “Eat. You must heal. Tomorrow, we will set a brutal pace to find your sister.”
Rhoelyn: “Thank you.” Nysse digs in, but half way through the bowl she’s fighting to keep her eyes open. Jay tugs the bowl from her limp grasp.
Araatris: The guard sets it aside and pulls her arm over his shoulder. “Come on, Nysse. We’ve got a mat for you by the fire.” He helps her stand.
Rhoelyn: The huntress stumbles along with him, tired and dazed. Tsume presses against her other side. Jay carefully settles her on the mat and covers her.
Araatris: She curls up on her side and wraps her arm over Tsume. Though she intends to, the night elf is asleep before she can manage to thank anyone.
Rhoelyn: Jay stands and joins the others to the side. He runs a hand across his short hair, “Ramona, do we have the hearth stone from the trunk?”
Araatris: The woman nods and pats a pouch on her belt. “Yes, sir. I’ve got it right here. What’s the plan?” Tapping his chin thoughtfully, he looks back.
Rhoelyn: “Her husband has been attempting to reach them.” He holds her gaze, “We should let him know that she’s fine.” Ramona pauses, “And Miss Rhoelyn?”
Araatris: Grimacing, he says, “Give their handler the full report. Last I heard, Rhese was on assignment in the Vale. Morthis can decide what to tell him.”
Rhoelyn: Ramona inclines her head, then looks at the forgotten crumpled scroll. “Should we check what that says before-” Jay frowns, following her gaze.
Araatris: Su Le leans down and picks it up with a gleeful grin. At the others’ stares, she blinks and shrugs. “What? I am very curious!” She smooths it.
Rhoelyn: Reading it, she tilts her head in confusion. “…Perhaps you shouldn’t report this. I don’t think her mate needs to know.” She hands it to Ramona.
Araatris: The warrior frowns and reads aloud, “My lady. Alas, we must part ways here. I mourn every day without your company and wait until we can pick (c)
Araatris: (c) up where we left off. Kisses, Leothir.” She glances up at the others, re-crumpling the note. “I… really don’t think her mate needs to know.”
Rhoelyn: Jay grimaces and nods, looking at Nysse. “She… she did mention harassment. I can’t see her… No, it’s not possible.” He looks up for confirmation.
Araatris: Mu Lin shakes his head emphatically. “Not possible. Consider what it takes for her tushui sister to defend her so far as to get angry. Harassment.”
Rhoelyn: The guard nods again, resolute. “Then we burn it. She doesn’t need to be reminded of it any more than necessary.” Ramona tosses it in the fire.
Araatris: She turns back to Jay. “Are you sure you want me to take the hearth, sir?” He nods. “The dragons can’t carry three, and we need to report this.”
Rhoelyn: “You’ll contact me about Miss Rhoelyn, won’t you?” The young woman frowns worriedly. Jay pats her arm, “I will. This will help the most right now.”
Araatris: “Understood,” she looks at Su Le and Mu Lin. “Is there anything I can take back about where you think you might be headed, next?”
Rhoelyn: Mu Lin gestures toward the huntress. “Once we have rescued her sister, we will head to Tian Monastery. If there are changes, we will advise you.”
Araatris: Ramona nods. “Then I won’t waste any more time.” The others watch as she grabs her pack from the fireside and returns. She offers Jay a salute.
Rhoelyn: Jay returns the salute. She fishes out the hearth stone and charges it up. “Safe battles. Be safe.” Then the glow consumes her and she fades away.
Araatris: In the ensuing silence, Mu Lin glances over where Nysse rests against Tsume. “We should all get to sleep. Tomorrow promises to be a long day.”
Rhoelyn: “We should. Rest well and… thank you for your help.” Jay smiles. Mu Lin lays his paw on his shoulder. “Of course. May you have calm dreams.”
Araatris: Su Le crouches in the grass, her short, furred fingers tracing the deeper rut where a wagon wheel stopped and sat. She leans close, sniffing.