Rhoelyn: Nysse stirs sleepily and burrows closer into the soft fur. A heavy paw rests across her torso. She slowly opens her eyes to see the feline.
Araatris: The silver cat sleeps, albeit a little restlessly. He mewls in the back of his throat, wiggling his paw against her ribs as he dreams.
Rhoelyn: She strokes his head soothingly. Her eyes are half-lidded when he finally stirs. Nysse murmurs, “It’s dawn. We should get moving, Rhese.”
Araatris: More than half asleep, he nuzzles against her, mrowling a drowsy sound. Settling back in, neither of them moves until Nysse slurs, “Surfal, really.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese raises his head, staring in confusion. Nysse opens her eyes. “What-” Her mind finally catches up and she blushes. “Why did I say that…”
Araatris: The druid shifts back to his native form, his hand still resting lightly on her ribs. His puzzled gaze is on her face. “Why did you say that?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress swallows nervously. “I-i-i don’t know. It just slipped out like it was the right thing to say, but I’ve never… had anyone I’d call…”
Araatris: As he watches her, his look softens. His thumb strokes a circle on her skin. Rhese groans suddenly and pulls away to sit up, holding his head.
Rhoelyn: Nysse rises and bites her lip worriedly. “Are you alright?” The young woman leans close and keeps her voice soft. “Can I get you something?”
Araatris: He hesitates, but finally he moans, “Tell me we met before yesterday, and I’ve just forgotten. Because if not, I think I’m losing my mind.”
Rhoelyn: “Y-you’re not losing your mind, but we haven’t met. I swear. But…” Nysse nervously touches his jaw, “You seem so familiar that it scares me.”
Araatris: His eyes close at her touch and suddenly – ridiculously! – he’s swallowing against tears that thicken his throat. “Yes. Ce-… Light, what is this?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse drops her hand as sounds from outside invade the tent. “Game face, Rhese. We can talk more later.” The huntress adjusts her clothes.
Araatris: He nods and presses his hand over his eyes even as his features shift. The elf who looks her over once that hand drops is all cool detachment.
Rhoelyn: The huntress shudders and drops her gaze. “Do you want me to make breakfast?” At his jerky nod, she kneels and opens the tent flap, stepping out.
Araatris: Rhese slips out not long after, and they resume their roles through a quiet meal and tearing down the camp. By noon, they are far from the town.
Rhoelyn: Nysse sits quietly, trying to ignore the hand around her waist. Finally, she twists to look at him and murmurs, “Where are we heading next?”
Araatris: Idly distracted looking out over the land, the druid mutters in his slight, affected accent, “We’ll be in Talador, soon. We’re going by Shattrath.”
Rhoelyn: She tilts her head thoughtfully as she settles back in. “I don’t think we can make it there by nightfall at this pace. Maybe… tomorrow afternoon?”
Araatris: He frowns slightly. “I wanted to move faster.” Twisting to look down at the wolf’s laden packs, he sighs. “The tent and extra gear is costing us.”
Rhoelyn: “I know, but… I was grateful for it last night.” Nysse ducks her head. “Thank you.” She leans forward and rubs the wolf’s neck affectionately.
Araatris: Rhese blinks and looks at her green hair spilling over her shoulder. The nape of her neck peeks out, the collar marring it. “Grateful? For what?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse glances over her shoulder. “For privacy, of course. I was tired of the stares, but I was also worried how we’d make sure you were safe.”
Araatris: “Ah.” The sin’dorei druid pulls his hand away from her waist to reach up, stretching his back out with a yawn. “It’s useful in multiple ways.”
Rhoelyn: She frowns. “Do you want to stop to stretch and eat? To be honest, I’m not used to so much… inactivity. I wouldn’t mind running alongside.”
Araatris: He sighs. “Nor would I. Unfortunately,” for a moment he allows his drippy thalassian accent to thicken, “the first people do not stoop to druidry.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse snorts. “They apparently abhor sweating, too. Can you walk or jog as you are? It may help.” She tugs the rest of her hair over one shoulder.
Araatris: Rhese makes a face and squirms in the saddle, trying to stretch out other, harder-to-reach muscles. “Yes. Light! I have got to get off this wolf.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress leans forward, murmuring to the wolf, and he stops. “Then climb down. Vorok wants to run, too.” Rhese slides down, followed by her.
Araatris: Groaning happily, he closes his green eyes and stretches his arms once more toward the serene blue sky. “I’d think he’d be tired from carrying us.”
Rhoelyn: “Not really. He’s a sweet, strong wolf. He’s used to carrying heavier weights than us.” Nysse caresses the wolf’s muzzle. She stretches.
Araatris: Her companion peers at her with skeptical eyes. “Didn’t you just meet that ‘sweet, strong wolf’ yesterday? How would you know what he’s used to?”
Rhoelyn: Vorok swings his head and snarls. “Vorok! Stop that! It’s a fair question,” Nysse chides. “I suppose it’d be easier to show you than explain…”
Rhoelyn: A soft glow eases from the huntress’ chest and swirls down next to her, a wolf taking form. “Rhese, meet Korran, my spirit companion.”
Araatris: The druid blinks at her ghostly wolf before breaking into a grin. “So that’s what Grey meant about your weapon.” He bows. “Hello, Korran.”
Rhoelyn: The spectre bows his head and steps forward to examine Rhese, sniffing. “An’da raised wolves since before I was born, but Korran… found me.”
Araatris: “Found you?” The sin’dorei offers a hand to Korran, standing still for his examination. He raises his gaze to Nysse. “How?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse tucks her hair behind her ear while Korran sniffs his hand and circles him. “My father took me on a hunting trip when I was a toddler.”
Rhoelyn: “I wandered off in Darkshore and found an old portal to Hyjal. Korran rescued me and took me to a wolf den until he could bring my father.”
Araatris: Rhese’s eyes widen, and he looks once more at the bluish spectral wolf. “That… he isn’t so different from my…” He pauses, glancing around.
Rhoelyn: The huntress smiles as Korran looks back at her. “He says that there’s no one nearby. It’s okay for us to talk.” She moves to kneel by the wolf.
Araatris: The druid hesitates but nods. “My cat. He isn’t so different from my form spirits. In some ways, at least.” He winces and looks down at his wrist.
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks curiously, glancing back at Korran. “You smell faintly of wolf, but not Vorok.” She stands and gently takes his wrist in her hands.
Araatris: “Don’t…” He says it softly, without pulling his wrist away. Still, he looks away as she reveals the inky tattoo that spans his left wrist.
Araatris: She can’t be sure, but it almost seems like the stylized scythe drawn there strains to move as she watches. “I have a wolf form,” he admits.
Rhoelyn: Tears form and she rubs at them roughly with one hand. “Life is cruel. You seem to wish you couldn’t. Yet, I’d rather be a wolf than a night elf.”
Araatris: Rhese reaches out without thinking and brushes her hair behind her ear. His smile is bitter and sad. “You wouldn’t like being a wolf, lovely.”
Rhoelyn: She frowns slightly at his endearment, but ignores it. “I don’t exactly like being a night elf either. I deal better with wolves than people.”
Araatris: “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe you just haven’t met the right people, Nyssera.” He shrugs slightly, “Or the right wolves. They aren’t all worth knowing.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse suddenly glares at Korran. “And some are pushy.” She turns back to Rhese, “I’m sorry if I was insensitive.” Her thumb strokes his wrist.
Araatris: He shakes his head, flicking a glance at her wolf. “No need. We… we don’t need to understand each other to do our jobs.” Rhese looks away.
Rhoelyn: The huntress ducks her head and rubs at her eyes again, dropping his wrist. “Of c-course. Let’s get moving.” She turns and starts a light run.
Araatris: Rhese takes off after her, but after only a few miles, he drops back to a walk, huffing. His curses are as breathless as the rest of him.
Rhoelyn: Nysse silently slows and walks on the opposite side of the wolf. Vorok noses him with a whine. She rests her hand on Vorok as Korran fades.
Araatris: Rhese pats Vorok’s nose and shoves him away. “I’m fine… Just winded.” He grouses to himself, “Why am I not surprised that he was a layabout?”
Rhoelyn: The night elven woman peers over the wolf’s back at the man acting as her master. “That who was a layabout? Do you need to ride for a bit?”
Araatris: Though he rests a hand on Vorok as well, the druid shakes his head. “No. Let’s just walk. And…” He gestures to himself. “I meant the blood elf.”
Rhoelyn: “It’s based off someone and it restricts you? I didn’t realize. At least we made a little better time for a few miles.” Nysse stretches upwards.
Araatris: “You should probably know, since you’re protecting me…” Rhese slips off his right glove and twists the bone talisman around his wrist.
Rhoelyn: Ducking around their mount, she steps closer so she can see it. “Is that… one of his bones?” Nysse fiddles with her slave chain absent-mindedly.
Araatris: The sin’dorei nods. “It’s necessary for me to harness his spirit. If this is taken from me, my disguise is lost.” He looks at her meaningfully.
Rhoelyn: The huntress nods with a grim expression. “I’ll do whatever it takes to protect you, Rhese. Is there anything else you need to tell me?”
Araatris: He looks thoughtful as they walk. “Well, apparently, I can’t run very well in this form.” A lock of black hair flops in his face and he growls.
Rhoelyn: She snickers. “I can’t help the running, but you can tie your hair back if it’s that annoying to you. I think silver is more your color though.”
Araatris: Rhese drawls, “Why, thank you, my dear.” His sobered gaze drops to where her hand plays with the chain. “Morthis has managed to collar us both.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes slightly. “Yeah, I suppose he has. Yours is a little less obvious to others, but no less of a collar. Are you okay with that?”
Araatris: Running a hand through his dark hair as they walk, the druid sighs. “No. But yes.” He looks up at the sky. “It’s not my choice to be here.”
Rhoelyn: “Then why are you here?” Nysse glances at him. “You obviously want to be elsewhere.” She tugs at her collar, grimacing and rubbing under it.
Araatris: “Here.” Rhese pauses. “Turn around, and I’ll try to adjust it for you.” When she does, nervously tugging her hair forward, he answers.
Araatris: “I’m here because Morthis threatened to pull access to the organization’s resources if I didn’t say yes.” There’s wounded anger in his voice.
Rhoelyn: She jumps slightly at his touch on her neck. “He said you’d been gone for a long time on a personal assignment. Why do you need their resources?”
Araatris: His nimble fingers still, and for a handful of heartbeats, he’s silent behind her. “A ‘personal assignment’? That rotting, two-faced whoreson b-”
Rhoelyn: Nysse flinches. “What did he do? You know he plays his cards close. I thought he just didn’t want to tell me because it wasn’t my business.”
Araatris: Rhese finishes tweaking her collar’s fit with jerkier motions, growling as he works. “He didn’t want to tell you because it’s his rotting fault!”
Rhoelyn: The huntress grunts in pain and grabs the front of the collar. “Well, it’s not my fault, so please don’t choke me! What in rot did he do?!”
Araatris: Releasing her, Rhese steps back and clenches his fists. There’s an abyss of mixed up emotions in his voice when he grates out, “He lost my sister.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse turns and stares, horrified. “W-was she an agent? No, no. You w-wouldn’t be this upset if so. That means he lost a civilian on a mission…”
Araatris: The druid blinks and presses his hand over his eyes, lifting his face to the sky. After clearing his throat, he simply turns and strides away.
Rhoelyn: The young woman follows sedately. She stays silent and following in his shadow. Her gaze occasionally scans the area before she looks down again.
Araatris: After a long, empty time, as the sun is starting to flirt with the horizon, the druid pauses and turns to look back. “We have to make camp.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods and leads the wolf off the side of the road. She quickly starts a fire and starts cooking, then returns to gather the tent from Vorok.
Araatris: When she starts to gather up the tent, Rhese pauses her with a subdued, moody voice. “You’re only my slave when others are watching, Nyssera.”
Rhoelyn: Not quite meeting his eyes, she murmurs, “It’s fine. I have to get used to it anyway. If I mess up, I could get us killed.” She bites her lip.
Araatris: He dares to place his hand over hers. “No. Please let me. I… I owe you an apology. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Rhese ducks his head to watch her.
Rhoelyn: “But what if someone rides by? I appreciate it, but I’m really not upset with you.” Nysse shifts uncomfortably and lets her hair fall in her face.
Araatris: The druid sighs, his sin’dorei lips pressing into a tight line. “Not upset with me? Or not upset? Or just lying from the start?” He folds his arms.
Rhoelyn: The young woman flinches, but clenches her hands. Her face scrunches angrily as she looks up, “Everything I do bothers you, doesn’t it?”
Rhoelyn: Tears streak her cheeks as she stalks forward. “I’m upset for you! I don’t want you to lose your sister like I lost my father! You! You… idiot!”
Araatris: Rhese rocks back almost as if she’d struck him, paling. When she stalks up to him, he takes a step back and the bloodelven form completely slips.
Rhoelyn: She hits him firmly with the side of her fists on the chest. “I told you I don’t know how to deal with people and you keep acting like I’m stupid!”
Araatris: “Ow. Hey!” The druid catches her hands against him, wincing. “I-I’m sorry. I don’t think you’re stupid, Nyssera. When have I ever said that?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sniffles. “You don’t say it. You just act like it. You look at me as if I should understand something, but I don’t and you won’t explain!”
Araatris: He winces, scratching at his silver hair. “Well… you… aren’t the most worldly person I’ve met. After we make camp and settle, you can ask.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse hesitates. “Really?” He nods. She rubs her eyes. “Alright.” She stares for a long moment before hoarsely murmuring, “Your disguise…”
Araatris: Blinking, Rhese glances down at his hands and shifts back to his bloodelven form. “T-thank you.” He grimaces. “I’m running short on time.”
Araatris: When she turns away, he grabs her arm just briefly. “Nyssera? Thank you for… caring. I can’t lose my sister. And I’m sorry… about your father.”
Rhoelyn: “Thank you. I… I miss him. It’s been five years, but… it hurts. I’m sorry I yelled and hit you. You didn’t deserve it.” Nysse gathers the tent.
Araatris: The sin’dorei steps back, giving her room to work reluctantly. “I can’t imagine how you must feel. Not really. Rhoelyn is all I have. If she…”
Rhoelyn: Nysse hands him two pegs as she works on half the tent. “Don’t do that to yourself. Anyway, I may not get along with min’da, but she’s still alive.”
Araatris: Rhese sets to work, glad for the distraction as he helps to set up the other side of their shelter. “Why don’t you get along? Family is family.”
Rhoelyn: The night elf sighs, “We don’t agree. She thinks after everything I should come home and become a sentinel. And… she’s angry at me for hiding.”
Araatris: He regards her thoughtfully with those odd, green eyes before saying, “You both suffered your grief alone instead of together. Wasn’t that harder?”
Rhoelyn: She’s silent for a long moment as she works. “I didn’t know what to say. I’m sorry for murdering An’da? She wouldn’t have even cared about Tsume.”
Araatris: “By now, I hope you’ve recognized that you didn’t murder your father.” Rhese stills, his brow furrowing. “There was no you within the Taken.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress stops and stares with a strangely blank expression. “No, there’s still you. It’s possible to fight it, but I wasn’t strong enough.”
Araatris: “No… that’s… that’s exactly what I mean.” The druid frowns, trying to explain. “When you were under, there was none of your will in its actions.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse peers up, her lips pressed into a thin line. “Yes and no. I should have had the will to fight back. Doing nothing is just as bad.”
Araatris: “I have trouble believing ‘nothing’ is a fair word.” Rhese just barely manages to suppress the urge to reach for her. “I know what it felt (c)
Araatris: (c) like to have the orb’s will wrapping itself around you. Thousands of others were incapable of resisting, Nysse. It was that powerful.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress seems to waver. “Were you able to resist? They said… They said I took a long time to come out of it.” She sets the last peg.
Araatris: Realizing he’s been mostly useless in preparing the tent, the disguised druid at least helps raise the braces. “I was, but the orbs didn’t want me.”
Rhoelyn: “Oh,” she replies simply. Nysse checks the tent, then the food. After a quick taste, she dolls it out into two bowls and hands one to Rhese.
Araatris: Nodding his thanks, he stares at his bowl for a minute. “I know we’re not… we’ve only just met. But I think you’re hard on yourself. Too hard.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sits down next to him. “Am I? I think I was harder on you. I didn’t even want you to call me Nysse because it was An’da’s nickname for me.”
Araatris: Rhese shrugs slightly. “I can understand that. It’s a familiar thing to use a pet name, and despite how I sometimes feel, we haven’t earned ‘familiar’.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress tilts her head to look at him. “You don’t realize, do you? You keep using it.” She looks down at her food and eats a few spoonfuls.
Araatris: Pausing in the process of bringing food to his mouth, her companion blinks. “What? I do?” At her nod, he frowns. “No, I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.”
Rhoelyn: The young woman looks away, but not before he notices a slight blush to her cheeks. “You can keep using it. It works better for the mission.”
Araatris: His frown blossoms into a sweet, quiet smile. “Anything the lady wishes.” He ducks his head briefly before tucking into his food.
Rhoelyn: She eats a couple of bowls before leaning back sleepily, her hands propping her up. “I’m full and sleepy. Do you want to take care of clean up?”
Araatris: Done long before her, Rhese nods and straightens with a yawn. “I can.” He stands but then staggers, catching himself lightly on her shoulder.
Rhoelyn: Nysse stands, trying to support him. “I think that you should rest and let me handle the clean up. I can sleep with the wolf if you need space.”
Araatris: He sighs and fishes the timepiece out of his pocket. “Eleven hours and eight minutes. I’m on the last of my mana. Fine, but I do breakfast.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress offers a small smile. “Deal.” She gently suggests, “Go on. I’ll be fine.” Rhese nods and carefully enters the tent. “Goodnight.”
Araatris: “Goodnight,” Nysse echoes. After straightening up and fetching her cloak, she curls up against Vorok. When he looks back, she mutters, “Shush.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse stirs sleepily and burrows closer into the soft fur. A heavy paw rests across her torso. She slowly opens her eyes to see the feline.