Rhoelyn: Nysse wipes a cold sweat from her forehead as she straightens from clearing their tracks. “Let’s take a rest now that we’re off the trail.”
Araatris: Rhese nods, watching her with warm regard as she tosses the leafy branch away. “Sure, lovely. We’ve made good time over the past couple of days.”
Rhoelyn: She smiles, “I think we might even be able to chance a fire tonight.” Nysse crouches and falls back on her butt with a groan. Tsume nuzzles her.
Araatris: Rhese rummages in his pack and then settles in on her other side, handing her a ration. “I think you’re right about that. Real food sounds nice.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse takes the ration and unwraps it. She takes a hungry bite. “One can’t live on rations alone. I wonder if I could hunt up some rabbits…”
Araatris: “I don’t doubt it. There are plenty around,” he says with authority, pulling his cowl back. His breath frosts in the cold air as he munches.
Rhoelyn: She giggles, “My first hunt with ann’da was rabbits. It was cold then as well.” She takes another bite. “He wouldn’t let the wolves help me.”
Araatris: Rhese smiles, claiming her hand with his. “I suppose they’d make it too easy. How old were you when you started to learn to hunt?”
Rhoelyn: Tilting her head, Nysse purses her lips. “I was always with papa, but I think ten or eleven. I learned to respectfully prep the kills first.”
Araatris: “He must have been a good teacher, your father. You learned his lessons well.” He looks at her thoughtfully. “I owe him some thanks.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress blushes, “Ann’da is the best.” She mumbles, “To me anyway.” More loudly she continues, “I really hope you can meet him soon.”
Araatris: Rhese finishes his food, dusting crumbs from his gloves. He laughs softly. “He’s almost as hard to pin down as you are, my lovely.”
Rhoelyn: She ducks her head, “He had to train wolves to watch me when I was little. I kept wandering off.” Nysse finishes her ration while petting Tsume.
Araatris: “So, you were born wild. Here, I thought maybe it was something you’d grown into.” He slips to his feet, stretching his arms up over his head.
Rhoelyn: Nysse shrugs, “It just feels right.” Tsume bounds a short distance away and barks. Nysse pushes to her feet with a grin, “Let’s follow Tsume.”
Araatris: He shrugs. “Alright. Why not let the wolf lead?” Rhese grabs his pack, slipping it on and muttering, “At least she knows where she wants to go.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress flashes him a wild grin, “Think you can run like that? I’d like to let Tsume stretch her legs.” She laughs as Tsume barks eagerly.
Araatris: He gives her a mischievous grin. “Are you baiting me, Nysse? I may be out of practice, but I can still run circles around you, even on two legs.”
Rhoelyn: “Hah! That I doubt.” She stretches and looks at him from the corner of her eyes, “But let’s find out.” She spins and barks ferally at Tsume.
Araatris: Rhese gasps in outrage as Tsume and Nysse take off without him before bursting into a sprint. To be fair, he’s almost as fleet as his cat form.
Rhoelyn: Nysse and Rhese weave through branches and roots easily as Tsume leads. They burst into a clearing with a large cave, Rhese slightly ahead.
Araatris: The druid skids to a stop in the leaves, his gaze drawn to the cave. He drags it away to slant Nysse a smug grin, though he has to catch his breath.
Rhoelyn: She lets out a breathless laugh as she tumbles to the ground. Tsume pads to her and rubs against the huntress and licking her face. “Tsume!”
Araatris: Rhese plops down beside them both, loosening a few of the fasteners on his jacket. “Well, not quite circles, but I still win.” He winks.
Rhoelyn: “This time. I’ll win next time.” She pushes Tsume away and lays back, her chest still heaving. “This will be a good place to camp tonight.”
Araatris: “We’re not going to travel farther?” He rolls to his side, draping his arm across her waist. “It’s still a couple of hours before sunset.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse clears her throat, “Well, I thought I’d hunt for some rabbits while you and Tsume set up camp here. If you’d still like a real dinner.”
Araatris: “It’s very difficult to say no to a real dinner.” He smiles, releasing her and pushing to his feet to offer her a hand up. “It’s my weakness.”
Rhoelyn: She takes his hand and stands. “I shouldn’t be long.” She looks up into Rhese’s eyes, then suddenly breaks the gaze and steps back, blushing.
Araatris: He blinks at her reaction, refusing to release her hand when she tries to pull away. “What’s wrong? Is it that bad? I… can keep my cowl up.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse head snaps up with wide eyes. “No!” Her voice lowers to a tiny, embarrassed mumble, “…not you…wanted to do something I shouldn’t.”
Araatris: “Oooh,” he grins, transparently pleased by the admission. He lifts her gloved knuckles to his lips for a kiss. “This will have to tide you over.”
Rhoelyn: Still blushing, she ducks her head, but he catches a glimpse of a smile. “Ummm. I should go get those rabbits. Will you be okay with Tsume?”
Araatris: Rhese nods, finally releasing her. “We’ll be just fine, lovely. She can take care of my helpless self.” He smirks, shooing her off to hunt.
Rhoelyn: “I’m not worried about you. She’s still riled up from the run.” Nysse shakes her head and heads back into the forest. “I’ll be back soon.”
Araatris: “Be careful, Nysse.” He speaks to her retreating back. “Don’t forget that there are more dangerous things than wildlife in these woods.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks over her shoulder, “I will. I’ll be back in an hour with or without rabbits.” She readies an arrow in her bow and steps out of sight.
Araatris: With the huntress gone, Rhese sets to work building them a basic camp and starting the fire, only pausing to give Tsume attention now and then.
Rhoelyn: He paces anxiously after the hour. Nysse steps out of the woods. She holds up a bundle of rabbits, “Sorry, it took me longer to circle back.”
Araatris: Rushing over, he takes the rabbits in one hand and her wrist in the other. “You’re okay? What happened? Was there trouble? I was worried.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles weakly, “I’m sorry I worried you. I was just excited to get dinner.” She looks pale and clutches her cloak tightly on her left.
Araatris: Setting the rabbits on a nearby boulder, Rhese frowns at her, reaching out to take hold of her left wrist as well. “Nysse… I smell blood.”
Rhoelyn: She bites her lip and hangs her head as she loses her grip on the edge of the cloak. Her left leg is bleeding from several punctures and gashes.
Araatris: The druid sucks in a breath, guiding her over to a log to sit down. As he kneels, he grates out, “What happened? And why did you try to hide it?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse whimpers as she sits, tears welling in her eyes. “There was a wolf nearby. I didn’t think anything of it, but when I killed the rabbits…”
Araatris: “… it thought you looked like a free lunch, one way or the other.” Rhese sighs, biting back many scoldings. He just takes out his knife.
Rhoelyn: “I’ve never been bitten by a wolf before even wild ones.” Nysse looks away, “I’m sorry, Rhese. I shouldn’t have made such a silly mistake.”
Araatris: “No,” he says gently, carefully slitting the stitching on her pants leg, “but you’re alright. And you won’t make that mistake again.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse silently lets him work, but her knuckles are white where she clasps them together. Her shoulders slump as she gazes at the ground.
Araatris: Rhese glances up as he sheathes his knife. Though he turns back to his work, tugging the torn leather from the wounds, he says, “What is it, love?”
Rhoelyn: “I’ve never had to kill a wolf. I don’t understand what happened.” Nysse frowns, “We were doing so well, then I ruined the pants you bought…”
Araatris: “The clothes don’t matter, Nysse.” He pauses to brush her hair back tenderly. “You’re safe. I’m sorry, but you did what was necessary.”
Rhoelyn: Her hands grasp his and she holds it against her cheek, “I didn’t want to worry you. I wanted to be strong, but… I should have told you first.”
Araatris: Rhese nods and offers her a little smile. “Yes, you should have. We’re in this together, lovely.” He goes to grab his pack and rummages in it.
Rhoelyn: Nysse mutters to herself while he’s away, “Is he upset? I don’t know. Why can I never tell?” She sighs and presses her hand over her eyes.
Araatris: When he returns with some bandages and little leather parcel, he frowns to see her posture. “Does it hurt that badly? I’ll heal it soon.”
Rhoelyn: She jumps a little at his voice, “Oh! It’s fine. Really.” She pauses, “It’s just throbbing a little.” Nysse keeps her eyes covered, “Rhese?”
Araatris: Satisfied, he slips off his gloves and sets to work using the bandages to clear the blood away and evaluate the wounds, muttering a distracted “Hm?”
Rhoelyn: “Are you…” Nysse hesitates before blurting her question out, “Are you upset with me? I mean I can’t tell and I don’t know what to do…”
Araatris: Rhese pauses, looking up at her as he sets the bloodied bandage aside. He slips a glove back on before pulling her hand away from her eyes.
Rhoelyn: Nysse yips in surprise as her wide teary eyes are revealed. She quickly looks at the ground, letting her hair fall forward. “What are you-”
Araatris: “Nysse,” he says softly, “look at me.” When she finally forces her gaze up, he gives her a little smile. “I’m upset that you’re hurt. But…”
Rhoelyn: She sniffles, “But what?” Nysse fidgets nervously. He gaze darts down noticing his other hand with a gasp, “Why aren’t you wearing your glove?”
Araatris: He tucks the bare hand behind his back, refusing to be derailed. “BUT… that doesn’t mean I’m upset at you. Just don’t keep things from me.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks into his expectant, but patient expression. She slowly nods, “I’ll try to be more open.” Her gaze slides back to the hidden arm.
Araatris: “Thank you.” He nods, and then following her gaze, pulls his blackened hand out from behind his back. “Don’t worry. I wouldn’t touch you.”
Rhoelyn: She shakes her head and gives him a tiny smile, “I know you wouldn’t do it on purpose, but accidents happen. Why did you take it off anyway?”
Araatris: He flushes, embarrassed. “I wasn’t trying to risk you. I just…” He shows her his fingers, muttering, “didn’t want to get my gloves bloody.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blinks at him and then laughs, “You know I can take care of my own wounds, right? I think I’ve ruined enough clothing for both of us.”
Araatris: “It was a silly risk. I’m sorry. Didn’t I just tell you clothes don’t matter?” He leans over and grabs snow to rinse the blood from his fingers.
Rhoelyn: She speaks softly, “It matters to me because you picked them out.” She stretches her leg and reviews the wounds. “May I have the bandages?”
Araatris: “No.” He slips his glove back on. “You may have healing, instead.” Rhese touches her leg with his left hand, pulling forth his black-tinged magic.
Rhoelyn: The huntress pulls her leg back and holds up her hand, “Please wait.” She sighs, “Is this a good idea? I don’t know if magic can spread it.”
Araatris: He yanks his hand behind his back, paling as he looks away. After a short contemplation, he hands her the bandages and walks over to the pack.
Rhoelyn: Nysse clutches the bandages with a worried look. She winces as she stands. “I have some disinfectant and ointment in my bag. I can get it.”
Araatris: “Sit!” Rhese orders sharply before softening his tone. “I’ll get it for you. Please let me do that much, at least.” He pulls a tin out of his pack.
Rhoelyn: Both Nysse and Tsume sit simultaneously. The huntress blinks owlishly at Rhese, “I was going to ask you to prepare dinner.” Her stomach growls.
Araatris: “I’ll take care of it.” The druid blushes and hands her the tin of salve. “I… I didn’t think about a disinfectant. What does it look like?”
Rhoelyn: She takes the tin and sets it in her lap as she gestures, “It’s a corked bottle about this big on the side. It smells strongly of alcohol.”
Araatris: He produces the bottle from somewhere in the depths of her pack and brings it over to her, quietly asking, “Anything else?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks thoughtfully at the items in her lap and grins mischievously, “Mm hmmm. You forgot the most important thing, dalah’surfal.”
Araatris: Rhese tilts his head at her, his brow wrinkling as he tries to determine what else she might need. “What? I don’t think you need any stitches.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse giggles, her cheeks pink, “Well, it’s not as much as we’d like, but I’d like to have a hug. You’re all bundled, so it should be safe.”
Araatris: “Anything my lady wishes,” he says, unhappily pulling his cowl up around his face. When he leans down, he rests his cheek on her shoulder.
Rhoelyn: “I love you, Rhese. I know that this is a struggle, but we’ll make it through this.” Nysse whispers, “I almost wish we were wolves again…”
Araatris: He shakes his head against her shoulder, shifting to wrap his arms around her waist as well. “Please don’t say that. I’m a-… worried about it.”
Rhoelyn: She slips her arms around his neck, “I know I shouldn’t, but I don’t want to care about being infected.” Nysse sighs, “This isn’t helping.”
Araatris: “No. It’s not helping,” he mutters, gripping her tightly. “But don’t move. Not yet.”
Rhoelyn: Her voice is husky when she speaks again, “I wasn’t planning on it.” Her own hands pull him closer and she buries her face against his shoulder.
Araatris: After a while, the two are recalled to the moment by a loud gurgle from Nysse’s stomach. Rhese chuckles against her shoulder, stirring.
Rhoelyn: Nysse squeaks, “Shush stomach. Why do you always have bad timing?” Rhese squeezes her lightly before releasing her. She protests, “I can wait.”
Araatris: He grins, cupping her cheek. “Your leg needs treated, and your stomach needs filled. Preferably before Tsume decides to eat our rabbits for us.”
Rhoelyn: She kisses his gloved hand, “You should probably rescue them.” She leans down to start working on her leg. “You didn’t get extra pants, did you?”
Araatris: “No,” he intones, grabbing the rabbits and pulling out his knife. After tossing one to a very patient Tsume, he continues. “I can repair them.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse focuses intently on dabbing antiseptic, hissing with each one. “I’ll take them off after dinner so you can work. It should be warm enough.”
Araatris: Rhese nods, adding a few more pieces of kindling to the fire and setting about preparing the rabbits. “I’ll try not to think about that too much.”
Rhoelyn: “One of the blankets should help.” She corks the bottle and grabs the tin, smearing each spot sparingly. Then, she sets to wrapping her leg.
Araatris: The druid works quietly on dinner for a while before asking, “Are you going to be able to walk, Nysse? It’s going to be very sore, tomorrow…”
Rhoelyn: The huntress ties off the end of the bandage. She carefully stands and tests it, “If we can find a walking stick, I think I can manage.”
Araatris: Rhese nods. “I’m sure that can be arranged, lovely. Tonight, I want you to stay off it as much as possible.” He spits the rabbits over the fire.
Rhoelyn: She sits back down with a huff, “I’ll be good, but it’s hard to stay still.” Nysse leans back with her hands on the log and stretches out her legs.
Araatris: As he leans back to watch the food cook, Rhese’s eyes are drawn back to the cave opening out of the hillside on the other side of the clearing.
Rhoelyn: Nysse notices his gaze, “You and Tsume can go check it out if you want. I’d go, but you’d just tell me to sit again.” She sticks out her tongue.
Araatris: He smirks at her. “You are right, my lovely. As usual.” After adjusting the food a bit, the druid nods, pensive. “Maybe after we eat, then.”
Rhoelyn: “If you’ll let me move that far, I can watch the food.” Nysse teases. She clicks and Tsume pads over to her. The wolf sniffs her leg and sneezes.
Araatris: Rhese grins and points a finger at Nysse. “You stay. It’s nothing that can’t wait until after we eat the first real food we’ve had in days.”
Rhoelyn: She snorts, “I’m staying. I’m staying.” Nysse holds up her hands defensively. She leans down and ruffles Tsume. “How much longer on the food?”
Araatris: “Just a few more minutes,” he answers. After a slight pause, Rhese changes the topic. “I… I’ve been thinking about what the cat really said.”
Rhoelyn: The fire pops loudly as Nysse looks up. “What the cat really said?” She raises one eyebrow and straightens, “So, what have you been thinking?”
Araatris: The druid grimaces, fidgeting with moving the food around as it roasts. “She said to remember my “first journey”. If she means that literally…”
Rhoelyn: “You think she means for you to follow similar steps?” Nysse tilts her head and hums thoughtfully, “What did you do to find her the first time?”
Araatris: Rhese hesitates before admitting. “That’s… a story. Verune doesn’t… actually know the truth about the first time I found the cat spirit.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blinks, “You lied to Verune?” She shakes her head, “And he hasn’t found out and killed you yet? I think he’d be worse than Wrune!”
Araatris: He smirks, tugging the food free from the fire and pulling the plates from their pack. “It’s more that I didn’t… correct his assumptions.”
Rhoelyn: “You live a dangerous life, Rhese Silverwing.” She chuckles. “I’m not much better since I didn’t tell him what I really felt about being a wolf.”
Araatris: Handing her a generous plate of roasted rabbit and veggies, Rhese grins. “Sometimes what poppabear doesn’t know saves you an earful.”
Rhoelyn: She sniffs and takes the plate with a smile, “Wrune, too. Are you going to tell me what really happened then?” Nysse stabs a piece of meat.
Araatris: Laughing, he sits cross-legged on the ground in front of her. “For all that he’s a short little human, Aron can manage to be very intimidating.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes, “I kind of noticed. He felt much taller.” She goes silent as she eats. Tsume lays near her good leg watching for dropped food.
Araatris: Rhese pokes at his food before picking up the conversation. “When I began training to be a druid, I had already known my cat for… oh, decades.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pauses, “That seems different from normal. I thought the point was to find the cat.” She tosses a small piece of meat to her wolf.
Araatris: “Now you know why I didn’t tell Verune, lovely. That’s… not how it’s done.” He grins. “My official ‘journey to find my cat’, involved a lot of naps in the woods.”
Rhoelyn: She laughs, “Then I don’t know why she wanted me along.” She chews on a veggie, “I did get lost as a little girl once for days. I was 3 or 4.”
Araatris: “Let me guess. One of your father’s wolves kept you safe until he could find you?” He grins as he works on a mental image of toddler Nysse.
Rhoelyn: She ducks her head, “No, I activated an old portal from Darkshore into Hyjal.” Nysse frowns, “He was terrified when they couldn’t find me.”
Araatris: Rhese’s brows go up as he finishes a bite. “Hyjal? That’s a long way for a toddler. No wonder he was terrified. How did he find you?”
Rhoelyn: Lines crease Nysse’s forehead, “I’m not sure. He said he was led, but didn’t mention who it was.” She shrugs, “And I couldn’t really talk yet.”
Araatris: “If we ever manage to catch him between hunts, maybe we can ask him about it,” he says, looking up at her and placing a hand on her knee.
Rhoelyn: She smiles, “Definitely. He found me in a den of wild wolves. You were half right.” She finishes her plate. “They must have taken care of me.”
Araatris: Rhese considers that, offering the rest of his meal to Tsume. “Your own affinity is clear enough. It seems like it’s more than just your upbringing.”
Rhoelyn: “What else could it be? They probably just thought of me as another pup. I barked and yipped more than I spoke.” Nysse gives him a rueful grin.
Araatris: Grinning, the druid gets to his feet and gathers her plate. “You, lovely, must have been a handful. I feel a new sympathy for your father.”
Rhoelyn: “He didn’t mind, but he did train the wolves to keep me in a certain spot after that. My mother…” Nysse rolls her eyes, “She thought I was ill.”
Araatris: “It’s hard for those without an affinity to understand its effects.” As he cleans the dishes with snow, Rhese shrugs. “She still cared.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bites her lip, “Of course she does. I guess I take it for granted…” She stops a little awkwardly and leans forward and hugs Tsume.
Araatris: Not noticing her discomfort, he putters around, laying out the bedroll to make her a spot to rest by the fire. “You can tell her when we get back.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse mumbles a sound of agreement. She nuzzles against Tsume who licks her face soothingly. Rhese glances at her and pauses his activity.
Araatris: “Wait. What did I miss?” He furrows his brow and approaches the huntress and her wolf. “You’re upset.”
Rhoelyn: The druid kneels next to them. Nysse raises her gaze, “I feel like a terrible daughter. To complain about my mother especially to you…”
Araatris: Rhese blinks. “That was complaining about your mother?” He shrugs, claiming her hand. “You don’t have to tread carefully with me, Nysse.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s face scrunches in confusion, “It doesn’t bother you? I guess it’s not complaining. I just don’t understand her. I know I’m different, but…”
Araatris: “But what?” He leans down and picks her up without warning. “Why shouldn’t you be different from your mother? You’re her child; not her copy.”
Rhoelyn: She squeaks in surprise, but doesn’t fuss when he carries her to the bedroll. She slumps tiredly against him. “Are you still going to the cave?”
Araatris: Rhese nods, settling her in, careful of her bandaged leg. “Are you going to nap? Don’t forget that I need you out of your pants.” He winks.
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes, “I’ll do it before I fall asleep.” She yawns, “As long as you don’t mind that I’ll have to put some weight on that leg to do so.”
Araatris: “Do you need me to help?” His expression says he’s fully torn on what answer he hopes for, but he holds up a pair of gloved hands.
Rhoelyn: Her cheeks brighten to crimson, “I think it’s best for us if I manage on my own while you’re in the cave, but thank you.” She smiles brightly.
Araatris: Rhese grins ruefully. “That’s probably for the best. Tsume will stay with you. I’m not having you sleeping unguarded.” He brushes her hair back.
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks like she wants to protest, but sighs and finally nods. “Please be careful. I’d rest easier if Tsume was with you, but I understand.”
Araatris: “Good. I’ll be careful.” As the huntress settles down and gets comfortable, he makes a simple torch and wanders into the small cave entrance.
Rhoelyn: The walls are illuminated by the glow of the torch, but it looks as though the cave leads further back. Rhese follows the rough hallway.
Araatris: The druid tilts his head thoughtfully as he walks, trying to figure out the odd feel of the place that was obvious even from outside.
Rhoelyn: The cave opens up into a larger chamber that seems to have its own illumination on the far side. Rhese pauses, trying to make it out.
Araatris: Wedging his torch into a crack, the druid slowly approaches a little pool with a burbling spring flowing into it. The water flows over something.
Rhoelyn: A large, glowing claw lies at the bottom of the pool. He reaches down and retrieves it and a sharp tingle runs up his arm. He frowns.
Araatris: Taking a couple of controlled steps back, Rhese puts his back against the cavern wall as his head begins to swim dizzyingly. The bear claw wavers.
Rhoelyn: “No,” He growls, attempting to hold onto the claw. He slides down the wall as his knees buckle. The claw presses painfully into in his palm.
Araatris: The cavern shifts in his vision, and the sounds of a feral battle reach his ears. He lets his eyes drift closed, feeling the Dream pull him.
Rhoelyn: An ursine roar reverberates through the cavern. When Rhese opens his eyes again, it’s entirely within the dream. A bear blocks his view.
Araatris: The druid scrambles to his dreamform’s feet, dodging sideways just as the bear gets shoved against the cavern wall, roaring in pain.
Rhoelyn: The large wolf bites at the bear’s shoulder, but is knocked away with a smack of the bear’s paw. The bear swings his gaze towards Rhese.
Araatris: Reaching out to his old friend, he pauses before touching the bear’s fur, noticing the scythe is a writhing shadow even on his dreamform.
Rhoelyn: The bear’s voice echoes within his mind, “We will hold him off a long as we can, young one, but he drives us further away. Did she lead you?”
Araatris: Rhese sighs. “I… don’t know?” He faces the wolf, brandishing the claw still held in his hand. “Let me help you fight. I can do that much, surely.”
Rhoelyn: “His fangs will hasten your fall should he wound you.” The bear snarls as the wolf approaches again, snapping its jaw. “But I will not stop you.”
Araatris: The druid nods gravely. “I understand. We have always been partners. I can’t let you fight my battles alone.” He darts at the wolf, slashing.
Rhoelyn: The claw digs into the wolf’s shoulder. Rhese spins away from the claws and runs for its rear flank. “Keep him busy! I’ll circle around.”
Araatris: The wolf starts to turn after him, but his attention snaps back to the front as the bear swipes at its face and neck, scoring a shallow slice.
Rhoelyn: Rhese steps in while he’s distracted and stabs the claw at the hindquarters. The wolf dances out of reach, backing towards the wall of the cave.
Araatris: With space from the bear, the black wolf turns its gaze on Rhese, its voice an inarticulate shout thundering through the druid’s head.
Rhoelyn: He growls back at the wolf, “I don’t want you. Get that through your thick skin.” The bear charges forward with a roar, disrupting the stand-off.
Araatris: Moving quickly, the wolf meets his charge, the two slamming into each other loudly. The druid steps back from the chaos as they bite and claw.
Rhoelyn: The wolf manages to dig his teeth the bear’s forepaw, but the bear smashes down with his other paw, pinning the ebony wolf to the ground.
Araatris: Seeing his opening, Rhese rushes in to stab the claw into the wolf’s side, burying it as deep as possible to try to pierce a lung.
Rhoelyn: The wolf howls and thrashes, knocking night elf and bear away. He bites at the embedded claw futilely before turning glowing eyes to Rhese.
Araatris: As he shoves back to his feet, the druid has a moment to relish a smug, feral grin before the wolf’s deafening voice has him stumbling back.
Rhoelyn: The wolf stalks forward, “Mine.” The word presses into the druid’s mind violently. The bear struggles to his feet, but stumbles on his injured paw.
Araatris: “Agh!” Rhese claps his hands to his head at the pain, backing away until the cavern wall presses at his back. “No! You’re not part of what I am!”
Rhoelyn: He can feel the hot breath of the wolf, but it fades with claws scrabbling against the rock floor. The bear drags the snarling wolf by his tail.
Araatris: The druid’s dreamform weakens, sliding down the wall as his knees give out. “Go, young one. You’ve done your part,” the bear’s voice echoes.
Rhoelyn: He closes his eyes and when he opens them the shadowed cave once again surrounds him. The torch sputters as Rhese leans forward with a groan.
Araatris: Pressing a hand against his aching head, he levers himself to his feet, leaning heavily against the wall. He feels drained and unsteady.
Rhoelyn: He takes slow steps along the wall to the torch. He retrieves it and glances behind him. There’s no sign of the battle in the Emerald Dream.
Araatris: Taking another moment to rest against the wall, the druid slips off his right glove, wet from retrieving the claw, and flexes his cold hand.
Rhoelyn: Where the claw touched, his hand is pale and pink. On a whim, he summons magic into his hand, for the first time in a while it’s green and pure.
Araatris: Rhese fists the hand and presses it to his heart with a happy smile before shoving himself toward the cave entrance as quickly as he can manage.
Rhoelyn: He stumbles out of the cave and his eyes lock on the sleeping form by the fire. A folded pair of pants lies by her side. Rhese hurries to her.
Araatris: He lands rather roughly on his knees beside Nysse. He quickly tests the magic again, and when it draws pure, he presses it against her leg.
Rhoelyn: Nysse stirs at the pressure on her leg with a soft mumble. Her eyes flutter open and she blinks in confusion at the young druid, “Rhese?”
Araatris: He grins lovingly at her and uses his still-gloved hand to brush her hair back, whispering, “It’s nothing, love. You can go back to sleep.”
Rhoelyn: She smiles sleepily and leans into his touch, “Did everything go alright with the cave?” Her eyes are closing before she finishes her question.
Araatris: He mumbles a soft “mmhm”, waiting for her to drift back off. He doesn’t bother to move for a while, just drowsily watching her sleep.
Rhoelyn: Finally, his gaze settles on the nearly folded pants. With a sigh, he grabs his nearby pack and pulls out a package with needle and thread.
Araatris: Rhese drags Nysse’s damaged clothes and his supplies into a pocket of afternoon sunshine and settles down to work. Tsume plops beside him.
Rhoelyn: “Your mistress must be more tired than she was admitting.” He scratches behind her ears before settling down to repair Nysse’s breeches.
Araatris: By the time he’s got the rips repaired and the seam restitched, Rhese’s head is nodding over the garment. Tsume nudges his elbow, rousing him.
Rhoelyn: He looks up at the slowly darkening sky and checks the pants over one more time. “Yeah, I guess I’m done. Thanks, Tsume. I should rest, too.”
Araatris: Yawning and scratching his head, the druid folds Nysse’s pants by her bedroll, tosses more wood on the fire, and lays his wet glove out to dry.
Rhoelyn: He lays his bedroll a little ways from Nysse. He kneels by Nysse and brushes her hair back and tucks the blanket back around her legs. “Vixen…”
Araatris: Chuckling, he clicks for Tsume and pats her on the head when she pads over. “Keep a sharp eye out, little sister.” She tilts her head at him.
Rhoelyn: “Guard, Tsume.” He says gently. Tsume straightens and looks out from the camp. Rhese nods and lies down on his own bedroll. Sleep comes easily.
Rhoelyn: Nysse wipes a cold sweat from her forehead as she straightens from clearing their tracks. “Let’s take a rest now that we’re off the trail.”