Nysse hurriedly shoved a cloth-wrapped package of rations into her backpack. Her eyes wandered to the druid assessing a piece of leather at the table, then to his sister, the priestess, cutting vegetables at the counter. She ducked her head and shoved the rest of her supplies in the bag. She latched the full backpack and swung it over her shoulder, “I’m heading out to train the pups. I’ll be back later!”
She didn’t quite make it to the door before a soft voice spoke, “I was hoping we could spend today together, sister.” There was a soft thump as Rhoelyn set down the knife and turned to Nysse.
“I-I really couldn’t. This is a crucial time for the cubs–.” Nysse stammered.
Rhoelyn smiled, “That’s right. It’s time for them to learn hunting. I’m sure my brother could assist. Isn’t that right, brother?”
Suddenly, Rhese looked between them as what Rhoelyn said sank in. “Yes, of course.” He stood and walked to Nysse. He gently relieved her of the pack and kissed her forehead. “Have a day off, lovely. I’ll see you tonight.” Rhese smiled and strode from the small home.
Nysse stared at Rhoelyn mutely. It was a slow realization that Rhoelyn had neatly removed all her excuses at once. Now, she had no other choice but do as Rhoelyn wished. “W-what did you have in mind?”
Rhoelyn smiled, a gentle, endearing smile that was meant to be reassuring. “May we sit and talk? I’ve missed that.”
Nysse couldn’t meet her eyes. Though it was posed as a question, Rhoelyn’s voice had been firm. It wasn’t a request. She mumbled, “Of course.”
They moved to the table, Nysse taking Rhese’s recently vacated seat. She fidgeted with the leather he’d left. Without the bustle of activity, only the soft sounds from outside were present. The deafening silence was broken with a sigh and scraping across the floor, causing Nysse to jump in her chair.
“Nysse, you’re avoiding me.” The priestess deftly slid the leather from Nysse’s fingers and covered them in hers. “Whatever is bothering you, sister, you can tell me.”
Nysse dared a glance up into earnest blue eyes. Her cheeks started to burn as other thoughts enter her mind. The huntress looked away quickly, “Nothing is wrong, Rhoelyn.”
Another scrape against the wooden floor echoed in the quiet room as Rhoelyn moved closer. “Please look at me, sister.” Her hands squeezed Nysse’s fingers. “I’m not going to judge you. I wish to hear your honest thoughts.”
A mumble was all she could evoke as Nysse bowed her head further, “I can’t. It’s too embarrassing.”
Rhoelyn frowned, “You were alone for far too long before Rhese found you. How long had you been hunting?”
Nysse tilted her head, “I don’t understand. Tsume and I always went out by ourselves.”
She gently insisted, “How long, sister?”
There was a marked delay in her answer, “As soon as I was old enough to go out on my own. I liked it better in the woods.”
Both of Rhoelyn’s eyebrows raised in surprise, “I didn’t realize it had been quite that long. That answers a great many things.” She placed her fingers under Nysse’s chin, “Look at me, Nysse.”
Nysse let Rhoelyn lift her face and looked into the priestess’ gentle and understanding expression. Her cheeks still burned, but something in her eyes kept her from looking away.
“Sister. My dear sister. My brother thinks the world of you and I think he is right to do so. You are a gentle soul full of the wilderness that he so enjoys.” Rhoelyn released Nysse and leaned forward to touch her forehead to Nysse’s, “Do not be ashamed or embarrassed that you express your joy in one another. I am happy for you both.”
“R-Rhoelyn!” Nysse squeaked.
Rhoelyn squeezed her hands and continued, “It’s only natural to express your feelings for one another. You’ve made my brother very happy.”
Nysse squirmed a little in the seat, but doesn’t pull away, “Natural or not doesn’t make this conversation less embarrassing.”
Sighing, Rhoelyn tried another angle, “Did you feel embarrassed talking about Tsume and Vulf?”
“No, but that’s n–.” Nysse’s response died on her lips.
Rhoelyn smiled, “Exactly!” She leaned back to look at Nysse’s frustrated expression, “Nysse, I’m not going to pry. I just want you to know that if you both need space, that’s fine. I want you to be comfortable with me.”
Though still pink, Nysse’s shoulders slumped in submission, “I am comfortable with you, Rhoe. I’ve never felt more at home than with the two of you. It just felt strange, like everyone could tell.”
Rhoelyn laughed causing Nysse to look up, “I couldn’t tell because of you. My brother was strutting that day. By Elune, I swear he was positively glowing.”
Nysse groaned, “You’re not helping, Rhoelyn.” Her hair fell forward; hiding her face.
“That’s more the Nysse I know.” Rhoelyn brushed the hair from Nysse’s cheek. “Enjoy what you have and don’t let your fears overwhelm you. I really do approve of your relationship with my brother regardless of how far it goes.”
The huntress sighed, “Really? You’re okay with it?”
“Yes, but please don’t tell me any details. There are certain details that I don’t need to know about my brother.” Rhoelyn blushed.
Nysse giggled upon seeing Rhoelyn’s reaction, “I don’t think you have any fear there.” She hesitated, “I do have one question. I hope it’s not too personal.”
Rhoelyn smiled broadly, “Ask and we’ll see, sister.”
“Umm… has he always be a little,” Nysse paused to search for the right word, “wild?”
Rhoelyn’s cheeks blossomed to a bright crimson causing Nysse to wave her hands frantically, “No no no no! Don’t think like that! He’s just a little overprotective when I let him.”
Rhoelyn sighed in relief, “Oh! Yes, he’s always been a bit protective.” She patted Nysse’s hands, “Do you feel better, sister?”
Nysse nodded, “I do. Sorry for the trouble.”
“Then you’ll have no problem helping me prepare lunch to make up for it. Though I suspect that Rhese will eat with the cubs.” Rhoelyn chuckled, standing and pulling Nysse with her.
Later, Rhese found them quietly conversing. Nysse laughed softly. He set down the bag by the door and leaned against the frame. He commented with a broad grin, “It seems you ladies are doing well.”
Nysse smiled wickedly, “Oh yes, Rhoelyn was telling me all about your adventures in Winterspring.”
His eyes opened in horror as he saw his sister’s mischievous look, “Rhoe! Please tell me you didn’t tell her that one!”