Araatris: The huntress wakes to a familiar, gentle gait, and she raises her groggy head to find herself leaning against the scruff of Vorok’s neck.
Rhoelyn: “You’re awake.” Firm hands support her as she sits up. The world is blurry and she blinks, clearing her vision to look at the man behind her.
Araatris: Nithan Caldwell looks down at her, smirking slightly. “You should know, your wolf likes me. So don’t ask him to bite me. It’ll upset him.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse stiffens and blushes at his arm around her waist. “W-what’s going on?” Wrune rides up beside them as Nithan answers, “We’re riding.”
Araatris: The paladin chuckles. “She looks groggy, but I’m betting she already guessed that part, Nithan.” He leans over to Nysse. “You’ve been out all day.”
Rhoelyn: “All day, but I went to sleep last… oh. That long?” Her stomach rumbles. Nithan snorts, “Yes, that long. That’s what you get for abusing your body.”
Araatris: The huntress blushes as he reaches back and pulls free a satchel heavy with food. “I believe you have more orders to fulfill.” Nysse takes it.
Rhoelyn: As she’s pulling out a wrapped package of seasoned meat, Wrune continues, “After discussing it, Relare and Leo agreed to meet Aleesa.”
Araatris: The green-haired elf looks around at the party mounted around them. Rhoelyn sits, stiff-backed, before Leothir on his hawkstrider, Yami with her.
Rhoelyn: “Oh.” She eats quickly as they ride, but no one offers anything else. Nysse attempts conversation again after she’s satiated, “How much further?”
Araatris: Wrune speaks up, “Not much farther if she meets us in the same place as last time.” She nods, but twists in the saddle to look around. “And Rhese?”
Rhoelyn: Nithan grumbles as he tightens his grip about her, “Stop wiggling, girl.” Wrune presses his lips into a thin line, but it’s Relare that answers.
Araatris: “His temper got the better of him,” the commander grumbles, looking surly. Aron sighs. “He’s back there. Pouting, if I had to guess,” he explains.
Rhoelyn: Disappointment flickers across the huntress’ features. “Oh. I was hoping to see him…” She ducks her head. “I need to tell you all something.”
Rhoelyn: At their frowns, she continues, “Everyone was quick to ask me where the slaves went. I didn’t know, but I do know who they went to… Hadaal.”
Araatris: Wrune blinks at her. “The man who was with Aleesa?” When Nysse nods, he pinches the bridge of his nose and glances at Relare.
Rhoelyn: The commander’s face is dark. “I believed-” Nysse interrupts, not noticing the growing tension in the arm around her, “I didn’t think it’d help.”
Araatris: “You-!” Nithan pulls Vorok up short, and the wolf growls at the sudden stop. “You didn’t think it w-?! She- THEY’re out there on the wrong side!”
Rhoelyn: The green-haired woman cries out as his grip tightens, bringing tears to her eyes. “I know!” Nysse yanks away, trying to throw herself off Vorok.
Araatris: Taken by surprise, the healer fails to grab her, and she tumbles roughly to the ground, the satchel of food landing beside her with a dull thud.
Rhoelyn: “Just… d-dont touch me. I know what I did. I know n-none of you are happy.” Nysse picks up the bag and clutches it to her chest. “I’ll… I’ll walk.”
Araatris: Nithan scowls down at her as the others pull their mounts to a stop. “It’s t-” He’s hit by a dark silver streak, and they tumble to the ground.
Rhoelyn: Nysse turns red, then purple. She pinches the bridge of her nose with a dark look. Using a sharp tone, she snarls, “Rhese! Heel!” Yami winces.
Araatris: The cat snarls once more for good measure in Nithan’s face before he climbs off him and stalks over to Nysse’s side. He looks decidedly smug.
Rhoelyn: The huntress snaps. “Nithan, be glad I warned you that you might see Faye.” She sighs at Rhese. “Change back and stop attacking them.”
Araatris: He rubs along her leg before shifting back to rest a hand on her shoulder. “You ride. He walks,” Rhese growls, watching as Ry helps Nithan up.
Rhoelyn: “Rhese, I can-” The druid cuts her off. “No, lovely. You’re still recovering.” Wrune commands, “Ry, give your horse to Nithan and ride with me.”
Araatris: Relare frowns at Rhese. “Do I need to chain you, again?” The druid glowers up at him. “You won’t get a sec-” “Brother. Enough.” Rhoe’s soft words stop him.
Rhoelyn: The druid sullenly quiets. Rhoelyn suggests, “Please ride with Nysse. She needs you.” Nysse blushes and stares at the satchel in her arms.
Araatris: “Let’s get moving.” Wrune’s words spur everyone to action, and soon Ry is settled on his charger and Rhese and Nysse on Vorok. The wolf grumbles.
Rhoelyn: Nysse nibbles on fruit, much more content at his hand splaying across her ribs. She speaks softly to her mate, “What happened after I slept?”
Araatris: He sighs, leaning down by her ear. “They stopped me from taking you three out of the war camp. Things were said. Leothir got in the way of my fist.”
Rhoelyn: She twists and stares at him incredulously. “You punched him?!” Nysse hisses, risking a glance at Rhoelyn and Leothir. “Why did you punch him?”
Araatris: “Why wouldn’t I? He kept Rhoelyn prisoner,” he growls, clenching his fists. “I was doing better until he announced that they were mates.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse turns a bright crimson. “W-What? M-mates?” She hides her face against his chest, food forgotten. “D-Does Rhoelyn feel the same way?”
Araatris: The druid sighs, slanting a glance over toward his sister. When he cuddles Nysse closer, it’s clearly for his own comfort. “I can’t tell.”
Rhoelyn: “Is it bad if she does?” Nysse notices Relare’s gaze on her, but he looks away when their eyes meet. “Who’s that ahead?” The paladin points.
Araatris: “I don’t know h-,” Wrune starts, but Rhese interrupts, incredulous. “The sour squidf-” Nysse elbows him hard in the ribs. “Valerio!” She grins.
Rhoelyn: The huntress swings her leg over Vorok and drops to the ground running. “Nysse! Wait!” The druid makes a futile grab as she dives ahead.
Araatris: Hands on his hips, the big draenei hunter smiles at her approach. Vulf waits by his side. “Hello, green leaf,” he says when she gets close.
Rhoelyn: Vulf wuffs at her and she ruffles his fur affectionately. “What are you doing here? You should be miles away.” Rhese joins them on Vorok.
Araatris: He pats her shoulder with a meaty hand. “You can thank the new dangerous pair: Morthis and Aleesa. I’m here to guide you all.”
Rhoelyn: The druid frowns. “Morthis is here?” He glances over his shoulder. “I’m not sure that is a good idea.” Val shrugs. “I’d recommend following.”
Araatris: “Alright, but be careful around these ones.” Rhese waves the others forward, leaning down to offer a hand to Nysse. “You’re resting, remember?”
Rhoelyn: “I know.” Nysse takes his hand and he pulls her up. “Good to see you two playing nice.” Valerio smirks and turns. “Come on. She’s waiting.”
Araatris: The party follows him off the road and through a thin copse of trees to an overgrown trail that leads around the edge of a teal, cloudy lake.
Rhoelyn: They travel for a bit before heading into a large camp. Aleesa awaits at the edge, smiling as always. “I’m so glad you’re here! Dinner is ready.”
Araatris: Rhese swings down from the wolf’s back, helping Nysse as the others dismount around them. His amber gaze takes in all the camp details.
Rhoelyn: Kaldorei and draenei mill about the area, tending fires and cooking. Many are recognizable from the camp, especially Faye at the cooking pots.
Araatris: Nysse grins to see her and glances over at Nithan, who stands frozen by Rylana’s mount, staring at the teal-haired cook. His expression darkens.
Rhoelyn: Nithan stalks toward Faye and when Nysse starts after him, Rhese firmly tucks her into his arms. “They need to figure it out on their own.”
Araatris: The medic pauses beside the cook fire, waiting with folded arms and thunderous scowl for her to notice him. When she finally glances up, she gasps.
Rhoelyn: “Nithan!” Her smile is fleeting as she takes in his expression. “You’re upset.” She sighs and steps away from the pot. “Let’s go sit and talk.”
Araatris: He balks when she takes his hand. “Upset doesn’t cover it, Fayrial.” The former sentinel soothes him, tugging gently. “I know. Come with me.”
Rhoelyn: Reluctantly, he allows himself to be drawn to a quiet spot by the lake to sit. Faye squeezes his hand. “Say what you need first. I’ll listen.”
Araatris: “You left!” Nithan throws the words out there, and the hurt in them has him trying to tug his hand from hers. “Why did yo-… Why pretend with me?”
Rhoelyn: Faye searches his eyes. “I did leave. We’d planned to get everyone out and I couldn’t risk them because of my feelings. I wanted to bring you.”
Araatris: “Of course you did.” He drawls it, sarcastic. “Why would I believe I was anything more than a joke? I wasn’t born yesterday. Fate and all that rot.”
Rhoelyn: The woman’s brow furrows. “You were not a joke. What did you think would happen if I’d stayed? Emeria would have never allowed us to continue.”
Araatris: He blinks at that. “I would have…” “Would have what?” she prompts. “Asked very nicely? Perhaps tried to buy me like a vase?” Nithan winces.
Rhoelyn: “Nithan, now you meet me as a free woman able to choose for myself.” Fayrial squeezes his hands. “Wouldn’t you like to find out what’s possible?”
Araatris: The healer studies her face for a long while, his brow furrowed. Finally, he nods. “I must be the biggest idiot on Draenor. But I do. I want you.”
Rhoelyn: Faye frees a hand to cup his cheek. “I want you as well. I don’t understand what’s going on between us yet, but I don’t want to lose it again.”
Araatris: “Then don’t run away, again.” The human presses his pale hand over her darker one. “It’s hard on my pride if you make me chase you, you know.”
Rhoelyn: The woman laughs, a throaty, relieved sound. “I’ll keep that in mind, but I can’t go back to the camp with you. Will you stay with me, Nithan?”
Araatris: He sighs and glances back over toward the camp, where the others can be seen seated around a campfire, eating. “I have a duty to fulfill, Faye.”
Rhoelyn: She sighs and drops her hand to her lap. “What do we do? By the time this war is over, neither one of us may be alive. Is that to be our fate?”
Araatris: Nithan leans forward and rests his hands on her arms. “I don’t know anything about fate, Faye. But we have time here, now. Let’s not waste it.”
Rhoelyn: Faye searches his face, a slow mischievous grin spreading across her lips. She leans in and presses her lips against his, murmuring, “I agree.”
Araatris: Rhese smirks and pinches Nysse’s arm without looking over at her. “Give them privacy, my nosy love.” She grins despite her blush. “They kissed!”
Rhoelyn: “I was worried that they’d fight, but they kissed!” Nysse finally turns her gaze back to Rhese. The druid chuckles, “Now will you stop worrying?”
Araatris: “Yes,” the huntress says happily, digging back in to her dinner bowl. They turn their attention back to where Aleesa is talking with Relare.
Rhoelyn: Relare sighs and gestures with his spoon. “I understand they’re the point of change for the people, but the war would have happened anyway?”
Araatris: Aleesa shakes her head. “What is wrong goes beyond these people, but other threads across the worlds are also being pulled. There are many agents.”
Rhoelyn: The commander grumbles, “You’re not helping me understand this. So, what is this other timeline like? Who are Leo and I supposed to be?”
Araatris: The shaman sets her blind eyes upon him for a moment, eerily accurate, before she looks away, her smile sad. “What do you feel, Relare Duskfall?”
Rhoelyn: Relare puts his spoon down and rubs his face. “I feel nothing.” Leothir stops eating, staring worriedly. Relare continues, “I’m dead, aren’t I?”
Araatris: Aleesa closes her milky eyes and lowers her head. Her nod is barely perceptible. His brother exclaims, “What?!” He shoves up from his seat.
Rhoelyn: Nysse bites her lip. Relare holds up his hand. “It means I’ll die, but there’s no guarantee that I’ll live past this war now. What about Leo?”
Araatris: The mage speaks up before Aleesa can. “I’m not choosing a world in which you are dead over a world in which you might die, Relare! Are you mad?”
Rhoelyn: “Even if it means we’re not dying out? Where you and Rhoelyn could live freely? I will not sacrifice others for my own selfishness, brother.”
Araatris: Leo throws his hands up. “Well, I will!” He points at Aleesa. “You don’t know if any of that is true in this what-if, made-up world of hers.”
Rhoelyn: Relare sighs, “You believe eno-” Nysse interjects timidly, “I… I don’t want you to die either. Y-you’re a good man.” Rhese stares incredulously.
Araatris: The druid sighs and faces them. “I know where I stand. If Relare is the price to pay for fixing this, then we say thank you and goodbye.”
Rhoelyn: “Rhese!” Nysse exclaims. He narrows his eyes, “Did you forget that they’re our enemies, Nysse?” The huntress grimaces, “That’s not the point.”
Araatris: “And what is the point?” Rhese frowns. “How many ‘good men’ will die in this war? H-” Leo snaps, “You wouldn’t say the same if it were your sister.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse rests a hand on Rhese’s arm. “Leothir, Rhese, no one wants to see their family die. Aleesa, can’t we do anything?” The huntress pleads.
Araatris: “I wish I could give you an answer you would like,” the seeress says. “If the possibility exists, the winds do not tell me. We must ask the bronze.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese tugs Nysse up with him as he stands. “Nysse, I need to talk to you for a moment.” He pulls her away from the others, out of hearing.
Araatris: “Lovely…” He sighs when she stares up at him, innocent and expectant. “Please don’t forget who these people are to us. I know he is admirable, but-”
Rhoelyn: Nysse chews on her lip. “Dalah’surfal, just because he needs to be this man here, doesn’t mean he was in the other timeline before he died.”
Araatris: “I don’t think it matters, Nysse. Whatever he was or wasn’t, we still have to fix everything. No matter what becomes of him.” He glances back.
Rhoelyn: She shakes her head. “I don’t want to sacrifice someone else. We already lost Aleesa and Dorian.” Nysse frowns in confusion. “Why did I say that?”
Araatris: Rhese blinks, then groans and rests his head on his hand. “I’m getting a headache. Everything is so mixed up. What are you saying? We leave it?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress leans her forehead against his chest and sniffles. “I don’t know. Anything I say upsets someone. Maybe we just talk to the Bronze.”
Araatris: “He or she might know more about our options, yes.” The druid wraps his arms around her. “Let’s see what else we can learn before we decide.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods and rubs at her eyes. “I… I need to go for a run. You should spend some time with Rhoe, alone if they’ll let you.” She pulls away.
Araatris: Rhese follows her enough to grab her arm and tug her back in for a kiss. “I understand, lovely. Take Yami and Vorok with you. Don’t go too far.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress freezes, startled, then nods and backs away. She whistles and all the wolves, even Vulf, make their way after her running form.
Araatris: Her mate scratches at his silver hair, watching the wildling and her little pack run off into the growing dark and feeling like he missed something.
Rhoelyn: “Vulf! Where are you going?” Valerio pauses at Rhese and looks between his expression and the darkness. “Oh. She’s hiding again.” Val sighs.
Araatris: The druid sighs as well and settles before the fire. “I don’t think she liked our conversation.” He snaps a twig, looking over at Rhoelyn.
Rhoelyn: Valerio grips a hand on his shoulder. “She’s likely overwhelmed and needs to cry. Without Tsume…” He shrugs. “Check on her in a few hours.”
Araatris: Rhese nods and looks over at Valerio thoughtfully. Eventually, he says, “Where is Morthis? We haven’t seen him, yet.” The hunter shrugs.
Rhoelyn: “I’m not sure. He’s been busy preparing for the bronze. He might be at the stables or the table he set up to work.” Rhoe stands and looks their way.
Araatris: The priestess steps over to them, settling gracefully beside Rhese, who finishes his conversation with Val. “I see. Maybe I’ll look for him, soon.”
Rhoelyn: “If I see him, I’ll let him know you’re looking.” The draenei steps away. Rhoelyn rests her hand on her brother’s arm, but waits for him to speak.
Araatris: Rhese places his hand over hers and gives her a little smile. “Now that we’re away from the Alliance camp, you won’t have to wear the collar.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn raises her hand to her neck self-consciously. “It’s strange how accustomed you get to wearing something. I’ll have to remove it later.”
Araatris: “Turn around. I’ll get it off you now, and you can throw it into the fire.” The druid is unable to resist shooting a quick glare at Leothir.
Rhoelyn: The priestess twists around, drawing her hair away from her neck. Rhese unbuckles the artisan leather collar and presses it into her hands.
Araatris: She stares down at the symbol of her imprisonment, once given with the misguided intent of a gift. Thoughtful, she runs the delicate and unenchanted (c)
Araatris: (c) chain through her fingers before she looks up to find the blood elven mage watching her. Calmly and without rancor, she tosses it all in the fire.
Rhoelyn: Leothir watches her thoughtfully for a moment before turning to his brother. Rhoelyn tilts her head at Rhese. “Has Nysse removed her collar?”
Araatris: The druid makes a sound that is half sigh and half laugh. “We’ll find out when she comes back. She’s run off to be wild and free. I’m jealous.”
Rhoelyn: “I’m surprised that you didn’t go with her. No one will begrudge you some time to yourselves after all this.” Rhoelyn smiles gently. “Even me.”
Araatris: “You two. You’re both shoving me at each other.” Rhese smirks. “Come on, sis. Let’s take a walk.” He stands and holds his hand out to her.
Rhoelyn: The priestess smiles, taking his hand and standing. She falls into step with him. “It is still hard for me to believe that you have found a mate.”
Araatris: Brushing his hand through his hair, the druid chuckles. “I suppose it would be. To me, it feels less like something new and more like status quo.”
Rhoelyn: “What Aleesa told us makes sense. We’re pulled to each other for reasons we didn’t know at the time.” She giggles and fixes his stray hairs.
Araatris: “Certainly, there are pulls here that seem… contrary to the way our world should work,” Rhoe says. Rhese tucks her hand in his elbow as they walk.
Rhoelyn: Rhese looks down at her, opens his mouth, then thinks better of it. Rhoelyn squeezes his arm. “Brother, you may ask whatever you wish.”
Araatris: “… should I kill him? Leothir. He says you are mates, and I know that… that seldom requires your wi-” He stops when she shakes her head.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn is slow to answer, “Leothir and I have an… understanding. He is misguided, but well-intentioned.” She tilts her head to look at him.
Araatris: Rhese frowns and pauses, turning toward her. “‘An understanding’? Rhoe, I hate it when you try to play the diplomat with me.”
Rhoelyn: His sister blushes and clutches his arm nervously. “I didn’t want to like him, but I found myself drawn to him. I have feelings for him, brother.”
Araatris: The druid takes a moment to digest that, watching her. “That sounds vaguely familiar, sis. Do you consider him your mate? Or merely your lover?”
Rhoelyn: She breathes deeply, closing her eyes as she thinks. Finally, Rhoelyn opens her blue eyes. “We couldn’t be mates before. Now it’s possible.”
Araatris: Her brother sighs and pulls her into his arms. “I don’t know what we’ll create when we change things, but I hope we are all together and happy.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn rests her head on his chest. “I hope so, too.” She wraps her arms around him. They stay like that for a while, taking comfort in each other.
Araatris: Back at the campfire, Rylana yawns, drooping where she leans against the log. Wrune, Leothir and Relare speak with Aleesa softly, Hadaal hovering.
Rhoelyn: Wrune glances over and excuses myself, “Pardon me. I think it’s time we get some rest.” The human paladin stands and pats Ry’s shoulder.
Araatris: Hadaal, who seems to sound grumpy whenever he speaks, growls, “I’ll show you the bedrolls.” Rylana staggers after him, rubbing her eye.
Rhoelyn: “Thank you.” Wrune offers when it’s obvious that Rylana is too tired to speak. The draenei nods. We set up extra for you. You can choose which two.”
Araatris: “We appreciate your help, Hadaal.” Aron chuckles as he tucks his adoptive daughter in. “You’re such a child, Ry.” She mumbles, “M’not.”
Araatris: The huntress wakes to a familiar, gentle gait, and she raises her groggy head to find herself leaning against the scruff of Vorok’s neck.