Araatris: The rain is heavy as they ride through the repaired palisades on the edge of the split village called Telaar. Everyone huddles under their cloaks.
Rhoelyn: They stop at the inn and stable their animals, finally finding relief in the building. Nysse murmurs, “Should we get a room or start hunting?”
Araatris: Her father shakes his head. “It’s too late to start hunting for that man, tonight. We won’t get in any doors, and we certainly won’t be welcomed.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods and holds out her hand for something. “Then I’ll get our rooms.” She smiles with forced innocence, and he hands over the pouch.
Araatris: As Rhoelyn fusses over the woman draped over his shoulder, Rhese grumbles, “Leave her alone until we get to the room, Rhoe. She’s fine.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse returns with keys. “Let’s see. Relare and Wrune. Leo and Rhoe. An’da and Kaerryn. Then Rhese and I.” She waves for them to follow.
Araatris: Nysse is prepared for one glare warming her back, but not two. Rhese frowns almost as deeply as her father as they follow her.
Rhoelyn: The huntress grimaces. While the others enter their rooms, Nysse stands outside of hers. She turns and presses the key in Rhese’s hand.
Araatris: The druid glowers at Leothir’s back as they walk off, but takes the key and moves to unlock the door, pausing when she doesn’t move. “Nysse?”
Rhoelyn: “I’m sorry… I’ll change rooms. D-do you want me to get Rhoelyn? I can put Relare with Leo and Kaerryn with Wrune…” Nysse rambles anxiously.
Araatris: The druid sighs, but leans down and shuts her up with a kiss. “Shush. In the room,” he orders, reaching past her to unlock the door and push it open.
Rhoelyn: She backs up as he steps forward and trips over her feet, landing on her butt. After a soft yelp, she frowns in confusion as he shuts the door.
Araatris: Rhese offers her his hand. “Are you alright, Nysse?” She blushes as she takes it, letting him pull her up. “I’m fine… b-but I don’t understand.”
Rhoelyn: Wrapping his arms around her, he smiles. “Lovely, I wasn’t upset about sharing a room with you, but my sister…” Nysse ducks her head. “Oh.”
Araatris: “We… we’ve all had a lot to get used to, Rhese.” The huntress hugs him tight, resting her cheek on his chest. “She needs your support.”
Rhoelyn: The druid tucks her under his chin and sighs. “I’ll try. I’m surprised you were that bold.” Nysse blushes, “I w-wanted some time alone with you…”
Araatris: That earns a smile, and he hugs her tight. “I wanted some time, too. It feels like the days of going to hide in the tent were a lifetime ago.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pulls back to look at his face. “It really does. I almost wish you still needed a disguise so we’d have to hide.” She smiles sheepishly.
Araatris: The druid laughs softly and glances down at his wrist, devoid of the bone talisman in this time. “We’ll have to make a new excuse, dalah’surfal.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress grasps his hands, looking at his arms. “This is before… You don’t have the shadowed scars.” She rubs her thumbs over his wrists.
Araatris: “No.” He watches her tenderly, letting her do as she pleases. “The wolf was a couple of years later. It’s nice not to fight his rage all the time.”
Rhoelyn: She grins. “I’m sure. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to bring Korran out. I didn’t know how.” Nysse slides her hand towards his shoulder.
Araatris: Rhese chuckles and leans down to kiss her. “Is it odd that it feels like -for the first time- it’s just us? Nothing breathing down our necks.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes. “No, and I want to make use of it.” Her fingers caress the tattoo on his shoulder. “I don’t want to think about anything else…”
Araatris: “Oh, good,” he mutters, tugging her closer and nuzzling her neck. “I know just how to keep you distracted.” The druid smooths a hand down her arm.
Rhoelyn: The huntress giggles. “You always do, surfal. One of the many things I love.” She glances over her shoulder at the bed. “Perhaps we should-”
Araatris: “Anything my lady wishes.” Rhese chuckles and leans down to whisper in her ear as his nimble fingers begin to work on the ties of her armor.
Rhoelyn: The next morning, an impatient knock at the door awakens them. “Nysse. Rhese. Everyone else is awake and downstairs. Are you awake?”
Araatris: The transition from silence to telltale rustling in the room answers Sarren’s question, and he grits his teeth, trying hard not to think too much.
Rhoelyn: “Nysse?” “Yes, an’da. W-we’ll be down – ack! – in just a m-moment. Are they eating?” Her voice calls out. The hunter rubs his face. “Not yet…”
Araatris: When Nysse’s attempt to hiss “Surfal, stop that…” under her breath carries, her father groans and growls, “I’m coming back with my skinning knife.”
Rhoelyn: “N-no!” There’s a loud thump and a pained groan from Rhese as Nysse panics. We’ll be right down, an’da! Please… please just wait downstairs.”
Araatris: “Don’t be long.” The way Sarren says it makes it a lot more of a threat than a request. He walks off, hearing, “Ow! Was that really necessary?!”
Rhoelyn: A few minutes later, Nysse is pulling Rhese down the stairs by the hand. They settle in at the table with Nysse between her mate and father.
Araatris: Sarren pushes a pair of bowls at them. Rhese avoids more than a little smile and a polite nod by giving his attention to Rhoelyn and Leo.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn pats Rhese’s hand, “Good morning, brother. You and Nysse look well rested. Are you ready to start our search today?” She smiles gently.
Araatris: His grin is a mirror of her own as he leans over and kisses her cheek. “I think that’s for the best, sis.” He flicks a glance at Nysse’s father.
Rhoelyn: She nods. “Do we know where to start searching?” The human warrior crosses her arms. “He’ll come if he sees me around town with Nysse.”
Araatris: Rhese eyes the woman before glancing at his sister. “She is free of their influence, as far as I’m able to tell. Perhaps susceptible, though.”
Rhoelyn: “I’m not sure how I feel about leaving Nysse in her hands.” The druid grimaces. “You’d stay close though to keep me safe, right?” Nysse frowns.
Araatris: “Definitely,” Rhese pledges. Relare waves his spoon at himself and Wrune. “We can play Taken and stay right at their side.”
Rhoelyn: Leo nods. “The rest of us can spread out and keep an eye out. Though you might want to stay out of sight Rhese. He might know you.”
Araatris: “I agree.” The druid looks unhappy, but before he can say more, Sarren speaks up. “What is the goal? Are we capturing him? This dragon man?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse shakes her head. “I think it’s too dangerous to think and capture him. We only defeated him last time because of the wolf. Any disagreement?”
Araatris: They look at each other. Rhoelyn plucks nervously at the folds of her gown. Leo pats her arm and says, “I believe we all know what is necessary.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress gentles, looking at Rhoe. “He boasted about killing Rhese and I several times before. We’d better stay on our toes today.”
Araatris: The priestess nods. “He mustn’t be allowed to harm either of you. But I’m concerned. There is no wolf in this time.” She looks at Rhese.
Rhoelyn: Rhese grasps both Nysse’s and Rhoe’s hands. “This time we’re all together and can fight. We only needed the wolf because Nysse and I were alone.”
Araatris: Rhoe nods, but she still looks worried. “I will go with you, Rhese.” Leo starts to protest, but she shakes her head, silencing him without a word.
Rhoelyn: Rhese examines his sister, from the worried tilt of her mouth to her furrowed brow. “Of course.” He grins and releases their hands to eat.
Araatris: Kaerryn watches the exchange quietly, and when her gaze snags with Nysse’s, she smirks. “So the huntress is bait for a time traveling dragon…”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles evenly at the warrior. “Let’s not forget that this huntress has fangs.” She finishes her bowl and starts looking for a second.
Araatris: The priestess pushes her bowl toward Nysse, looking a bit green as she considers Kaerryn. Leo and Rhese both have the same idea, patting her.
Rhoelyn: “You’re not getting sick, are you, Rhoe? You really should eat and keep your strength up.” The huntress hesitates with her hand on the bowl.
Araatris: Summoning up a weak smile, her sister shakes her head. “I am fine, Nysse, just not hungry. Please eat so it won’t go to waste.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bites her lip and nods. “Alright.” She digs into the second bowl. Before long Nysse stands outside the inn with Wrune, Relare, and Kaerryn.
Araatris: “You’re sure about the bow?” Kaerryn shrugs. “As sure I can be from out here. You’re supposed to be Taken, right? So why would I disarm you?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress nods nervously. “And you three will call me Mother.” She shudders. “That sounds so very strange. Are we all ready to go?”
Araatris: With their nods, the warrior leads the way, Relare and Wrune falling in at Nysse’s flank like proper little guardian minions, wary and dour.
Rhoelyn: Nysse takes a deep breath before schooling her face into a very familiar smile. From the shadows of a building Rhese grimaces. “It looks… wrong.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn watches from the depths of her hood, hands clasped in front of her. “Yes, it does. Let us hope this dragon does not take long to show.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese grumbles, “Agreed.” The group walks down the street as the others follow out of sight. Sarren and Leo shadow the “Taken’s” other flank.
Araatris: It’s late in the morning when they pause at an inn for drinks. Nysse and Kaerryn sit on a bench outside while Wrune and Relare stand.
Rhoelyn: “Your drink, Mother.” Kaerryn offers a mug. Nysse inclines her head. “Well done.” She takes a sip and her eyes widen slightly, then narrow.
Araatris: “Ah,” a black-haired man says as he strolls across the street toward them. “This is my favorite way to meet you, Nyssera. You’re best, this way.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles gently. “You must be the one my guardian told me about. Thank you for guiding her to me. I can finally go home to my children.”
Araatris: He pauses in front of her, a respectful distance enforced by Wrune and Relare frowning and putting their hands on their weapons. “Hm.”
Rhoelyn: “What can I do for you?” She tilts her head curiously. “I suppose a reward is in order, don’t you think, Kaerryn?” She sets her drink aside.
Araatris: “I think that’s a wonderful idea, Mother.” When the warrior stands, Tadanir’s eyes narrow. His demeanor changes. “Ah. Oh, clever little specks.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress’ hand rests on bow at her side. “Oh? Are you not interested in getting your dues? I really must insist.” Nysse raises her weapon.
Araatris: His expression becomes a sneer as he takes a step back, his black eyes fixing on Kaerryn. “You failed. That means-” Rhese steps out of an alley.
Rhoelyn: “We’re here for you. It’s time to get you out of our lives.” Rhese grins menacingly. “Permanently.” The dragon shakes his head. “You can’t poss-”
Araatris: He turns, suddenly, watching Sarren and the wolves step out of a doorway. Kaerryn grins and brandishes her axe. “You’d be surprised what we can.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir steps from around the corner of a building. Tadanir snarls, “I will not have you get in my way. You’ll die. Just like you do every time.”
Araatris: “No,” Rhoelyn says, speaking uncharacteristically boldly from Rhese’s side. “This is not like the other times. Your interference is at an end.”
Rhoelyn: “Really? You seem so sure of yourselves. Are you forgetting who and what I am?” Tadanir holds up his hand towards Nysse, dark magic gathering.
Araatris: The huntress gasps as a handprint around her wrist bursts into writhing life, something foul about it and the grey lines that spread under her skin.
Rhoelyn: Nysse struggles to hold up her bow, clenching her teeth. She releases a shaky arrow that buries itself in the building behind him. “Stop him!”
Araatris: Rhese shifts into a cat and darts forward as Wrune swings his hammer at the man. Rhoe raises a hand toward Nysse, Light flaring at her whispers.
Rhoelyn: The dragon steps back into Rhese’s claws as he avoids the hammer. He raises his hand as if to cast something when someone chuckles. “Not so fast.”
Araatris: Relare doesn’t so much step forward as start to move and end up in Tadanir’s face. He grabs the man’s wrist, his hand ringed by golden sand.
Rhoelyn: “This binding seals you in this time.” The sand creeps to Tadanir as he attempts to pull away. Behind them Nysse clutches her still healing hand.
Araatris: “Cori!” the man sneers, watching Relare’s face split into a smug grin. The bronze spell settles into rings of symbols around his forearm, flaring.
Rhoelyn: “Don’t look like that. You know you’ve caused a lot of trouble. And no dragon. This is a fair fight.” Cori-Relare steps back, releasing his wrist.
Araatris: Tadanir stumbles back, shaking his arm as if to dislodge the spell. Rhese growls at him, tail twitching. The blood elf looks down with golden eyes.
Rhoelyn: The druid lunges forward raking his claws toward Tadanir as Wrune swings his hammer. Leo starts gathering arcane magic in his hands.
Araatris: “Argh!” In dodging Rhese’s claws, the man is battered by Wrune’s hammer, his shoulder crunching unpleasantly as he staggers to the side.
Rhoelyn: Nysse, finally healed, raises her bow again. Kaerryn looks sharply around, grabbing her arm. “Do you fee-” She stares into Nysse’s glazed eyes.
Araatris: Rhoelyn’s startled yelp is cut off as a hand clamps over her mouth, and the huntress yanks away from Kaerryn as the warrior staggers.
Rhoelyn: Leothir shouts, “Rhoelyn!” He uses his gathered energy to blink towards his mate. Nysse stands frozen, attempting to fight the orb’s will.
Araatris: Rhese shoves a chuckling Tadanir aside to reach Nysse. Leo yanks the empty sword hilt from his belt, facing the hulking Tauren holding Rhoe.
Rhoelyn: The druid shifts and wraps his arms her, pulling her away from the dragon. “Lovely, you can fight it.” Wrune takes another swing at Tadanir.
Araatris: Nysse’s response is a whimper as Rhese’s presence somehow dims the Orbs’ chattering buzz in her head. The dragon dodges Wrune, growling.
Rhoelyn: The mage snaps with a cold grin, “You might want to release her.” He lunges forward and around, sword flaring as he slashes at the Tauren’s back.
Araatris: The large bovine attempts to dodge, turning a crippling slash into a scorched line through mostly armor and little flesh. “Get them!” he roars.
Rhoelyn: Several Taken round the corner, but Rhoelyn takes advantage of the distraction to break free of the Tauren’s grip. Relare blocks their path.
Araatris: The inhabited blood elf grins and talks to himself. “I believe I’ll let you handle the combat.” His expression changes to a little grimace as he(c)
Araatris: (c) draws his sword, muttering further, “Light, but this is strange, Cori. Fun, though? … maybe a bit fun.” He chuckles as he engages the strangers.
Rhoelyn: Nysse finally draws a shaky breath and with clear eyes draws her bow, Rhese’s supportive hand on her shoulder. An arrow flies at Tadanir.
Araatris: “Augh!” The infinite dragon cries out, arching back as Nysse’s barb sinks deep in his back. In desperation, he reaches out and grabs Wrune’s arm.
Rhoelyn: Wrune hisses as the glowing hand wraps around and he drops his hammer. “By the Light!” He tries to yank his arm back, but the dragon holds it tight.
Araatris: Tadanir pulls the man toward him, and though Nysse shoots twice more, the arrows disintegrate into rust and old wood before they hit.
Rhoelyn: Wrune screams and Nysse darts away from Rhese to Leo. “Leo, help Wrune! I’ll take over here!” She trades to her blades on her way to the bovine.
Araatris: With Rhese shifted at her side, the huntress engages the Tauren as Leo steps around them. “Magic is made of sterner stuff,” he taunts, gesturing.
Rhoelyn: “Less gloating and more magic!” The Tauren releases Rhoelyn and reaches for Nysse. “The Mother comes to me. This will make things much easier.”
Araatris: Rhese yowls and leaps at him, sinking his teeth into the Tauren’s wrist and using his own weight to yank him. Rhoelyn scrambles behind Nysse.
Rhoelyn: As Nysse slices toward their enemy, behind her Leothir flings arcane bolts arcing at Tadanir. Their energy only fades slightly as they near.
Araatris: Once, twice, three times – the bolts of magic slam into the ward-locked dragon’s side, finally breaking his grip on Wrune and shoving him back.
Rhoelyn: The paladin staggers against a nearby building and clasps his arm close to his chest with a hand glowing with holy light. “Don’t let him touch you!”
Araatris: The Tauren howls when Nysse slices her daggers down his side, slamming one beefy fist into Rhese’s ribs to force him to let go. The druid skids.
Rhoelyn: “Rhese!” The huntress’ gaze follows him worriedly, and she staggers as the orb hum presses in on her distraction. “N-no… Get out of my head!”
Araatris: “Come, Mother,” the shaman growls, throwing a bolt of lightning after the cat as he staggers. “Take your place of honor!” Rhoe begins casting.
Rhoelyn: Nysse feels a soothing connection pushing away the hum and glances back at Rhoe, noting a tendril of magic. She turns back to the Tauren, snarling.
Araatris: Leothir stalks toward Tadanir as the dragon staggers back to his feet, but a cry from Relare makes him glance away. The man charges at him.
Rhoelyn: The mage throws himself to the side, narrowly avoiding Tadanir’s grasp. Relare wipes the blood from his lip before raising his sword again.
Araatris: “That’s not a g-… no talking, Cori. We’re fighting, now.” The paladin coughs and grimaces as he swings his blade at another of the Taken.
Rhoelyn: Sarren’s arrows shriek through the air taking down more of Taken. “We can’t keep this up!” Wrune stands and ducks forward to grab his weapon.
Araatris: The huntress darts forward against the hulking Tauren, stabbing at him as he plants a hoof in the middle of Rhese’s back, holding the cat down.
Rhoelyn: Her blades sink into his side and he roars, stumbling back, but Nysse doesn’t see his arm as it hits the back of her head and sends her sprawling.
Araatris: “Nysse!” The Tauren rips a pouch from his belt. He tosses it by Nysse as her sister drops to her knees beside her, a shield of Light bubbling them.
Rhoelyn: The priestess frowns as it bounces off the shield and an orb rolls out. “Sister, stay with me.” Rhoe hugs Nysse and holds up her hand at the orb.
Araatris: The huntress’ eyes glaze over as the orb fills her head with its voice. It screams at her as Rhoelyn’s prayers pour burning Light through it.
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s shriek mirrors the orb’s as fine cracks appear in it. The Tauren spins toward them. “No! You can’t-!” Rhese leaps at the bovine’s back.
Araatris: Buried in the pain, Nysse twists and throws herself at Rhoelyn, shoving the smaller woman over and pinning her. She doesn’t defend, concentrating.
Rhoelyn: The huntress clings to Rhoelyn, her nails digging painfully into the woman’s skin. Nysse’s voice is desperate. “N-no, please… it b-burns!”
Araatris: As Rhese distracts the Tauren, his sister wraps her free arm around Nysse, the only sign that she hears. The orb jumps, the cracks widening.
Rhoelyn: Trembling, Nysse screams hoarsely, her eyes wide and blank. Blood drips from her nose onto the priestess’ gown. Tadanir laughs wildly.
Araatris: Leothir staggers and falls to his knees as the dragon steps past him. “Now, now, big sister,” he says, stretching out a hand. “That’s enough.”
Rhoelyn: Wrune slams his hammer down at the man’s arm. “Hey! You’ve still got me to deal with.” The paladin lets the momentum spin him into another blow.
Araatris: Tadanir’s arm cracks loudly at the strike, and he screams only to crumple, breath driven from him, when Wrune’s hammer slams into his belly.
Rhoelyn: It’s hard to tell which is louder, Wrune’s hammer hitting the dragon’s head or the shattering of the orb. There’s a brief moment of perfect silence.
Araatris: The thud as the dragon’s body hits the ground opens the floodgates, and the Tauren bellows in rage, the crack of lightning exploding around him.
Rhoelyn: Rhese claws at the Tauren, his fur singed by the electricity. Leo straightens and calls on his magic once again. Rhoe cradles Nysse in their bubble.
Araatris: The silence is suddenly back when Leo spits a silencing cantrip at the shaman. As soon as his lightning fades, Rhese charges, shifting to a bear.
Rhoelyn: The Tauren crumples as the ursine druid crushes him against a wall with a loud crack. He steps back as the bovine slumps to the ground.
Araatris: “Rhese!” His sister’s tearful call grabs his attention with its urgency, and he rushes over, shifting along the way. Her bubble falls as he kneels.
Rhoelyn: She hugs Nysse’s limp form. “Rhoe, what’s wrong- Why isn’t Nysse moving? Is she unconsci-” Rhese’s stomach flips as his sister shakes her head.
Araatris: “No! She wouldn’t give up.” He lifts her gently and his voice cracks. “Come on, Nysse. Come back to us.” Rhoelyn grips them both, glowing.
Rhoelyn: Tears streak the priestess cheeks as she watches them both helplessly. “Brother, I…” Her magic lifts from her, swirling around them like fireflies.
Araatris: Rhese pulls Nysse closer and whispers his own kind of magic against her ear and into the damaged places within her. “Elune…” Rhoe gasps.
Rhoelyn: Color slowly returns to Nysse’s cheeks. She takes a shaky breath and opens her eyes. “R-rhese?” She reaches up, weakly. “Why are you crying?”
Araatris: Rhese chokes out a laugh before hiding his face against her neck and holding her close. “Don’t do that to me!” His voice is a ragged whisper.
Rhoelyn: Nysse grips his shirt, resting her cheek against him. She murmurs anxiously, “W-what did I do? I just passed out, didn’t I?” She bites her lip.
Araatris: Rhoelyn sits behind them, sniffling through a smile and wiping at her eyes as he conveniently dodges the question. “You scared me, surfal…”
Rhoelyn: “The pain must have made me blackout.” She frowns. “I didn’t hurt Rhoe, did I? I was holding on really tight.” She attempts to twist and look.
Araatris: The priestess just laughs and throws herself at the both of them, wrapping her arms around Nysse and Rhese with a watery, “I’m just fine, sister.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles weakly. “I’m glad. I wish I could have done more.” She chuckles. “I’m really sick of those orbs. I’d be happy if I never saw another.”
Araatris: Rhese raises his head as Relare crouches beside them all, his tone that of Cori. “Mm. Well, you’ll be happy either way, now.” He smiles.
Rhoelyn: The druid sighs, “Does that mean we’re done? We can go back to whatever this other timeline is with everyone?” Leo adds, “Relare as well.”
Araatris: “Funny thing…” The dragon-blood elf winces, scratching at his short hair as he stands to face his brother. “I know what messed up his flow.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir scowls at his dragon-possessed brother. “You might want to explain. You’d better not be telling me that we can’t bring him with us…”
Araatris: The paladin reaches out and pats his shoulder. “As it turns out, you can thank me for the fact that you can. I do love a good paradox!” He laughs.
Rhoelyn: The mage blinks in confusion as Wrune walks up. “That’s good and well, but how do we proceed? The way we got here?” Cori grins. “Close enough.”
Araatris: Rhese straightens, helping Nysse up, and Rhoelyn goes over to Leo, taking his hand as he frowns at Relare. “The Dark Portal? It’s a long trip.”
Rhoelyn: Relare-Cori chuckles. “And here I thought we had a blood elf that boasted about being able to portal anywhere.” He gestures at Leothir.
Araatris: Leo sighs and grimaces. “Sure, sure. Can you… go back to being Relare, now? This is quite disturbing, I’ll have you know.” Rhoe pats his arm.
Rhoelyn: The younger brother blinks and shakes his head. “It’s odd for me as well, but we’re almost there. Do you have enough strength for a portal?”
Araatris: The mage nods, scowling. “Listen, I won’t pretend that I understood the answer you gave, but swear to me: Relare comes with us. He lives.”
Rhoelyn: Relare grips his brother’s shoulder. “He says I will live, Leothir. You will see me on the other side.” Leothir searches the paladin’s face. “Good.”
Araatris: Sarren has Kaerryn’s arm over his shoulders as he and the wolves approach. The warrior reels, looking grouchy. “Do your thing, Leo,” she orders.
Rhoelyn: Leo summons the portal. “Go on.” They trickle through; tired, injured, and aching. Finally, the blood elf steps through, and it closes behind him.
Araatris: The rain is heavy as they ride through the repaired palisades on the edge of the split village called Telaar. Everyone huddles under their cloaks.