Araatris: Rhoelyn shivers and opens her eyes to an empty world of dismal grey. Her teeth chatter as she sits up, looking around. “Hello? I-is no one there?”
Rhoelyn: A voice hisses around around her mockingly. “Hello? Is no one there? Of course, someone is here. You sleep while your sister lies dying.”
Araatris: “No!” the priestess exclaims, clambering to her feet. She turns a circle, trying in vain to find the voice’s source. “Nysse will live! I saw to it.”
Rhoelyn: The blackness shifts and pulsates around her. “So trusting. Do you really think he has your best interest at heart? He plans to sacrifice you.”
Araatris: Her eyes widen, and she wraps her arms around herself. “H-he owes me a life. He w-wouldn’t… he didn’t k-…” She can’t finish the word.
Rhoelyn: “But you don’t know, do you? You could have helped murder your own sister…” Glowing eyes form along with a wicked grin in the darkness.
Araatris: “Elune…” The idea has her curling around herself and trembling as she sinks to her knees. “Goddess… no. H-he couldn’t have! I-I w-would never…”
Rhoelyn: The form breaks free of the darkness. “But you have. Your brother might have lost both his mate and Yami’s mother… All because you trusted him.”
Araatris: “Light! Elune save me…” Tears drop onto her hands as she huddles in the cold. “W-what was I thinking? Rhese… he’ll never forgive me.”
Rhoelyn: The shadow figure walks around her. “Then again… none it would have been necessary if that blood elf had kept his hands and eyes to himself.”
Araatris: “… that awful man…” She clenches tear-wet fists in the colorless grass. The voice continues, “And the undead betrayed your trust.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn beats a fist into the ground. “How could he?! We had an agreement to save her…” The shadow settles as a mirror image of the priestess.
Araatris: Her shadow rests a hand on her back, whispering by her ear, “They don’t deserve the Light they were given. They don’t deserve to live.”
Rhoelyn: “They don’t deserve to live,” Rhoelyn repeats. She stands and starts pacing. “And how could Nataro stop me? Leothir deserved to pay for everything!”
Araatris: The shadow follows her, whispering and letting her echo. “They’ve cost you everything.” “… everything.” “All you can do now is get revenge.”
Rhoelyn: The priestess nods to herself. “I’ll get revenge for what they’ve done.” She clenches her fists and snarls. “Elune knows I’ll make them rot!”
Araatris: “But…” the shadow hisses, “how? You need power.” “I need to be stronger,” Rhoelyn gasps, looking around as if the answer is in this grey place.
Rhoelyn: She narrows her eyes and looks at the shadow. “I need this power.” It grins. “Yes… you need this power.” Rhoelyn grasps the shadow’s hands.
Araatris: Quaed jumps to his feet when, with a hiss, purple-black shadows erupt from the little priestess’s chest, spreading over her as her eyes snap open.
Rhoelyn: “What the-?!” Quaed growls. He flips a dagger at her, but she knocks it away easily. “Nataro, I hope you’re done.” The tauren opens his eyes.
Araatris: “You’ve ruined everything…” Rhoelyn’s voice echoes oddly though she speaks with an emotionless inflection. Tendrils of shadow dance around her.
Rhoelyn: Quaed frowns, “What are you talking about, woman? We’ve knocked Leothir out if you’re worried about him.” She sits up and looks at him.
Araatris: “Thank you,” she stands and brushes out her gown before raising her gaze to the rogue. Nataro stands warily. “Quaed…” He rumbles a warning.
Rhoelyn: The undead backs away. “Please tell me the spirits gave you some ideas.” Speaking to Rhoelyn, he continues, “You look… unwell, Rhoelyn.”
Araatris: “Is that so?” She raises her brows, not breaking eye contact with him. “In some ways, I feel quite better than I have since we met, again.”
Rhoelyn: Nataro seems to be concentrating, so Quaed delays, “That’s good. We’re stopping here for a break. Anything you would like to eat?”
Araatris: The priestess shakes her head, shadows coalescing into two thick, black tendrils beside her. “No.” She holds up her shackled wrists to a tentacle.
Rhoelyn: “Keep those on. We had an agreement…” Quaed rasps. The ground shudders as Nataro summons the earth to wrap around her. “Please stay still.”
Araatris: Her calm facade breaks when she sneers and the tentacle shatters one cuff. “We did have an agreement. “ Shadows streak across the ground to Nataro.
Rhoelyn: Two dragons streaks across the sky as the shadows hit Nataro. Quaed bolts toward Rhoelyn, daggers bared. “I kept my end of the agreement, Rhoelyn.”
Araatris: The Tauren bellows and stumbles back, his earthworks falling as he tries to defend himself. A tentacle slaps at Quaed. She growls, “Did you? Liar.”
Rhoelyn: “I didn’t kill her! I just-” “Rhoe!” Nysse voices calls out from the air above. “Rhoe!” The huntress slides off the dragon before it touches ground.
Araatris: A tear slips down the priestess’ cheek as a shadow snags Quaed’s arm. She doesn’t seem to hear Nysse. “I blame myself as well. Too gullible.”
Rhoelyn: The young night elf bolts towards Rhoelyn. “Sister!” Nysse barrels into Rhoelyn and engulfs the priestess in her arms. “Thank Elune you’re here!”
Araatris: Blinking, the other woman looks up at her sister. “See?” Quaed rasps, stabbing at the tentacle wrapped around his arm. “I kept my word.”
Rhoelyn: The tentacle retracts as Nysse turns Rhoelyn around and starts checking her over. “Are you okay?”
Araatris: Stunned, the priestess whispers in conversation with herself, jostled by Nysse’s prodding. “It’s a trick. It’s not a trick; I can feel her.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns, “Yes, I’m right here. It’s okay, Rhoe.” She brushes the priestess’ hair out of her face and hugs her again. “I’ll watch out for you.”
Araatris: The shadows around them flicker as Rhoelyn continues, her half-blank gaze fixed on Nysse. “He didn’t lie. But he’s still a threat. To you. To her.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress’ brow creases worriedly. “Who’s a threat? We’re safe now. Jay, Mu Lin, and Su Le are here.” She glances up at Quaed. “Is she drugged?”
Araatris: “Not by my hand,” he rasps. Nataro interjects, still recovering. “The spirits shriek… anger eats at them both. They repeat a word I do not know.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse tilts her head and focuses on Nataro as she hugs Rhoelyn. “I don’t understand. What word?” Nataro answers, “Sha.” The pandaren frown.
Araatris: “Sha?” The huntress repeats. “What d-” She’s distracted when Rhoe lifts her arms finally to return the hug. “Nysse,” she whispers tearfully.
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles gently and rubs her back. “I’m here, Rhoe. I was so worried. I’m glad that you’re okay,” the huntress murmurs soothingly.
Araatris: Rhoelyn hugs her tight and buries her head against her shoulder, crying. “It’s not okay. I’m not okay! I don’t know what to do with all this.”
Rhoelyn: “Sister…” The huntress cradles her. “I’m sorry. I misspoke. Can you tell me what’s wrong?” She sinks down to ground, pulling Rhoe with her.
Araatris: Her sister clings desperately, and Nysse is surprised when she raises her head, glaring through tears. Wisps of shadow still dance across her skin.
Rhoelyn: Nysse brushes at the tears with her thumb. “My sweet sister. You’ve been trying so hard to watch over me. It’s my turn.” She squeezes her.
Rhoelyn: Her gaze seeks Mu Lin. “Do you understand what’s affecting her? Do you know what this sha thing is they mentioned? Is she sick?” Mu Lin sighs.
Araatris: “Sha is a word we use to describe the… creatures that have recently risen in Pandaria,” he says, watching Rhoelyn lay her head back down.
Rhoelyn: The huntress frowns. “Creatures? This is more like a curse or disease-” Su Le interrupts grimly, “They’re expressions of negative emotions.”
Araatris: “Negative emotions?” She looks down at Rhoe as the priestess carries on with her whispered monologue between sobs and snarls. “Like anger?”
Rhoelyn: Su Le nods and crouches by them. “We don’t know much.” She tilts her head up to look at Mu Lin. “But there’s someone at Tian Monastery who does.”
Araatris: The serpent rider nods. “Agreed. We must take her-” “Them,” Quaed corrects at a growl, pointing at Leo’s prone form. “Our guy’s sick, too.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse resists the urge to cringe as the others look to her, questioningly. “Fine. We take Leothir, but keep him away from Rhoe and I.”
Araatris: “We cannot all ride.” Nataro points out. “There are too few dragons.” Mu Lin scratches his chin. “I can call more from the Jade Temple, but… ”
Rhoelyn: The huntress grimaces. “Take Rhoe and Leothir and send others back for the rest of us.” Rhoelyn shifts suddenly in her arms, looking up.
Araatris: “I’m not leaving you,” the night elf growls, looking over Nysse’s shoulder to scowl at Quaed. “You can’t trust them. You still need this strength.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse soothes, “Forgive me, sister. I won’t leave you.” The huntress kisses Rhoe’s forehead. She looks at Mu Lin. “Can Rhoe and I ride together?”
Araatris: He considers for just a moment before nodding. “Hushao will likely be willing. He can follow Xiame.” Su Le nods. “I can carry the pale elf.”
Rhoelyn: “Thank you.” She bows her head. She glances at Nataro and Quaed. “I don’t think it’d be a good idea if he woke up until you join him. Can you…?”
Araatris: The undead glances at his companion, who nods. Quaed slips the small dagger from who-knows-where and offers it to Su Le. “Just a scratch.”
Rhoelyn: Su Le nods. “I will only to do it if I must.” Mu Lin puts a paw on Nysse’s free shoulder. “Let us get all of you to Tian Monastery. We’ll follow soon.”
Araatris: Nysse nods and gets to her feet, pulling Rhoelyn up after her. “Come on, sister. You’re finally going to get to see Tian Monastery.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn glares at the unconscious Leo. “I don’t understand why you’re letting that thing come with us.” Nysse sighs and steers her to Hushao.
Araatris: The dragon shies away, objecting until Mu Lin soothes him, but soon the sisters are settled. Jay stands beside Xiame, eyeing the Horde warily.
Rhoelyn: Su Le settles Leothir in front of her with the help of Nataro. Nysse nods at Mu Lin. “My thanks. You’ll have Hushao back at your side soon.”
Araatris: The Pandaren nods. “Safe travels. We will catch up to you soon.” Her arms wrapped around Rhoe, Nysse holds tight as Hushao takes to the sky.
Rhoelyn: Nysse continues to murmur to Rhoelyn as they travel, talking about different missions and plans for the future in-between soothing her.
Araatris: After a couple of hours, her effort is rewarded when the priestess finally rests back against her and droops into a deep, exhausted sleep.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn doesn’t stir when Hushao softly lands and crouches for them to dismount. Nysse manages to lift Rhoe with a grimace and slide to the ground.
Araatris: Su Le hops down and exchanges a few words with the Pandaren that meet them, a trio of students in robes that fold across their furred bodies.
Rhoelyn: Nysse strains, but refuses to set down Rhoelyn. She mumbles, “How do you do it, Rhese…?” Su Le walks over with one of the students following her.
Araatris: The mousey young Pandaren pauses beside Nysse and bows as Su Le introduces him. “Initiate Zhou will help you, Nysse. You can trust him.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress smiles sheepishly. “Thank you. Could you please carry her?” Zhou steps forward and Nysse transitions the priestess to his arms.
Araatris: Su Le directs another initiate who is gathering Leothir down from the dragon. She says over her shoulder. “To the guest chambers, please, Zhou.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bows then follows Zhou to a larger building. They head down a long hallway and into a room. The huntress hovers as he lays Rhoe in the bed.
Araatris: Her sister stirs as she tucks the covers around her, muttering, “Nysse…?” “I’m here, Rhoe. Just rest,” she whispers, brushing her hair back.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn nods and curls into the covers. Nysse steps back and motions Zhou toward the door. “Thank you, Zhou. I’ll be here if anyone needs me.”
Araatris: He presses his fist into his hand, his voice soft. “Su Le has already sent word to the Spirit-Sage. I am sure he will give you his attention, soon.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress returns his bow. “Of course.” Zhou slips out the door, and Nysse returns to Rhoe. She sags to the floor and lays her head on the bed.
Araatris: Some time later, Rhoelyn shifts and rolls over, her eyes fluttering open to find Nysse sleeping with her head cradled on her arms.
Rhoelyn: “Sister…” Rhoelyn watches the younger night elf. She reaches out and grasps Nysse’s hand, causing the huntress to stir. “Rhoe? How do you feel?”
Araatris: She speaks softly, “Calmer, I think. Less… I don’t know. The shadows are quiet.” But still tears gather in her eyes. “I feared you were dead.”
Rhoelyn: “But I’m not. You worked out something with Quaed and it let me come rescue you.” Nysse strokes Rhoe’s hair out with her other hand.
Rhoelyn: “Even though I would have rathered stay with you, it worked out better in the end.” Nysse straightens and pulls herself up to sit on the bed.
Araatris: The priestess sits up. “I… I’m sorry for doing it without your knowledge, sister. I just… I couldn’t stand the thought of them without you.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles gently and pulls Rhoe to rest against her shoulder. “I would have done the same thing, sister. I was a little worried about it myself.”
Araatris: Wrapping her arms around her, Rhoe nods. “We didn’t both need to die for their cause, so I could ask Quaed to repay his debt with your life.”
Rhoelyn: “Die for their cause?” Nysse leans back and searches Rhoelyn’s face in confusion. “What do you mean, sister? Were they planning to kill us?”
Araatris: The priestess shakes her head. “Not precisely. They sought to give us to Garrosh in order t-” She’s interrupted by a sharp rap on the door.
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks over to the door and notices a older pandaren waiting patiently. He speaks in a low rumble, “I hope I’m not interrupting.”
Araatris: When she notices Rhoelyn’s lips press together in annoyance, the huntress is quick to say, “It’s fine. Please come in.” He nods and does so.
Rhoelyn: “I’m Nysse Whispersong and this is my sister, Rhoelyn Silverwing. It is a pleasure to meet you.” She squeezes Rhoelyn and rubs her back.
Araatris: The wisened old man bows, his long black mustache nearly touching the floor. “Welcome, honored guests. I am Gaoquan, Spirit-Sage of this monastery.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bows her head in reverence. “I’m very sorry for not getting up to greet you, Sprit-Sage. My sister isn’t feeling well.” Rhoelyn grumbles.
Araatris: The Sage nods, approaching the bed with his hands clasped behind him. “Su Le told me that she fears the touch of the Sha afflicts her. May I?”
Rhoelyn: “Please let him check you, Rhoe,” Nysse pleads. Rhoelyn reluctantly nods. “Only if you stay with me.” “Of course. I’ll be right here.”
Araatris: Gaoquan smiles, a grandfatherly expression full of tenderness. He kneels easily by the bedside and speaks as he examines Rhoelyn.
Rhoelyn: He rumbles softly, “You two are sisters due to Nysse’s mate, is that right?” The pandaren holds out a paw. “May I please see your hand?”
Araatris: The priestess nods and offers him her hand. He wraps his furry paws around it as she quietly answers, “Yes. He is my brother, Rhese.”
Rhoelyn: The pandaren nods. “I am sure he is a very special man. He must miss you both. I miss my family when they travel, but they have duties to fulfill.”
Araatris: Nysse watches him subtly placate her sister as he works, drawing her out. Rhoe asks, “What does your family do, Spirit-Sage?” He smiles.
Rhoelyn: “They’re cloud serpent riders. You’ve already met my grandson, Mu Lin. I trust that he’s been treating you well.” He rests a paw on Rhoe’s head.
Araatris: “Mu Lin has been a gracious host in every way,” Rhoelyn grins at him. Nysse nods and adds, “He even lent us Hushao to get here faster.”
Rhoelyn: “Then I don’t have to worry. I heard that you also brought a wolf. I’d love to meet her later.” Gaoquan’s hands glow faintly before he withdraws.
Araatris: “I’m sure Nysse would be happy to introduce you.” The priestess sounds like a diplomat once more, glancing at her sister. “Isn’t that so?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles broadly. “Absolutely. She’s sweet and just a tiny bit spoiled,” the huntress teases Rhoelyn. “Not that I mind. Her name is Tsume.”
Araatris: “In that case, may I borrow your sister for a short while?” He levels that warm smile on Rhoe, and though she glances nervously at Nysse, she nods.
Rhoelyn: Nysse slowly untangles herself and stands. She squeezes Rhoe’s hand. “Why don’t you try to rest a bit? I’ll be back soon.” She steps away.
Araatris: After she surreptitiously checks that Rhoelyn is settling back into bed, the huntress slips the door closed and follows Goaquan down the hall.
Araatris: Rhoelyn shivers and opens her eyes to an empty world of dismal grey. Her teeth chatter as she sits up, looking around. “Hello? I-is no one there?”