Araatris: Rhese presses Nysse’s hand between his own, the pressure as heavy as the stormy scowl he wears. “What do -you- want to do?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse squeezes his hand gently. “I want to protect others from the orbs. Despite weakness, there’s been no threat to my life yet.”
Araatris: The druid frowns. “To your life, no. To your will? Far too much, already. Verune doesn’t have enough control to keep you safe,yet.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns, but nods in agreement. “But it needs to be done. What do you suggest? Having you nearby eases it somehow…”
Araatris: With a sigh, he frees one hand to press it over his eyes. “Every feather of my being wants me to get you away from all of this.”
Rhoelyn: “And should an orb fall in the wrong hands or I run across another? This is my only chance to find a way to protect myself.”
Araatris: Resting his head back against the mauled log, he grimaces, admitting, “I know, Nysse. But I don’t know how to protect you from it.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse leans forward and musters what energy she can. “Try holding my hand during one of the attempts. It could help…You and me.”
Araatris: Rhese nods, resting a hand on her shoulder. “Alright. But tomorrow. You’re already exhausted. Let me see you to the house to rest.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse opens her mouth to argue, but stops after seeing Rhese’s expression. She admits, “That sounds nice. I -am- tired and hungry.”
Araatris: Standing, he offers her his hand and a grin to wipe the scowl away. “Then allow me to escort you, my lady. We must see you fed.”
Rhoelyn: Her stomach rumbles. Nysse smiles as she weakly stands. A hand stays on his forearm to steady her. “Lead on, o feathered one.”
Araatris: His chuckle rumbles almost as deeply as her stomach. “Only sometimes.” Lending subtle support, he heads back at a leisurely pace.
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes. “True. Sometimes you’re just furry.” She walks at a slow comfortable pace. The tension in her muscles visibly eases.
Araatris: “‘Just’? I thought the huntress liked furry creatures. And here I believed I shifted my form to please…” The druid winks at her.
Rhoelyn: Nysse laughs. “I don’t mind fuzzy males at all. I’ve trained a few. They can be well-behaved and good company.” She grins wickedly.
Araatris: Rhese feigns a shocked face. “Trained? You’d better not aim such a foul world at THIS furry male. Silverwings grow wild and feral.”
Rhoelyn: “Oh really? Would ‘tame’ be better? Anyway, your sister sounds very unwild if you ask me.” Nysse tries to hold in her laughter.
Araatris: He hands her up the stairs to Verune’s house, showing the way to a lightly cushioned bench. “You might be surprised. Now, rest (c)
Araatris: (c) while I hunt up some food.”
Rhoelyn: “So the priestess has a wild side…” Nysse sits and leans back to relax. Smiling gently, she nods at Rhese. “I’ll… stay here.”
Araatris: Rhese lets his hand linger on her shoulder for a moment before turning to go. “I won’t be long, Nysse.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s expression softens fondly, but her voice stays teasing. “I look forward to whatever you hunt up. My stomach even more so.”
Araatris: Rhese returns after a half-hour, his tread light on the wooden floor as he approaches. He carries a steaming bowl and platter.
Rhoelyn: Nysse curls up sleepily on the bench with her arm cushioning her head. Surprisingly, the huntress doesn’t stir at his approach.
Araatris: The druid sets the food quietly on a nearby table, crouching beside the bench. His golden gaze warm, he simply stares, assessing.
Rhoelyn: As if sensing Rhese’s nearness, Nysse shifts groggily. A soft question-like mumble shows her lack of awareness, but she smiles.
Araatris: After a long moment spent deciding whether she needs the food or sleep more, he reaches out & nudges her. “Nysse. Food, lovely.”
Rhoelyn: “Mmm?” She raises up and blinks at Rhese for a moment. Smiling, she looks about, “Don’t tell me you actually had to hunt it up.”
Araatris: He fetches the dishes for her, handing them over. “They were out of venison, so I took care of the problem. My lady needed meat.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sniffs the food. “Thank you so much!” She begins eating ravenously. She pauses several times to force herself to slow.
Araatris: Grinning, Rhese slouches in the nearby seat, sticking out his booted feet & crossing his ankles. He seems content to watch her eat.
Rhoelyn: “What about you?” Nysse glances up between bites. “Aren’t you hungry?” She gives up trying to be neat and caves to the hunger.
Araatris: Shaking his head, Rhese simply says, “I ate on the hunt.” After a moment, he smirks. “Will you please slow down before you choke?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse forcibly takes her time. “Lucky. I think your hunting is better than mine in that case.” Another bite, “It’s delicious!”
Araatris: Rhese leans forward, offering her a proud, feral grin. “Well, of course it is.” He stands. “Eat up, then rest. I won’t be far.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pauses and looks uneasy for a brief moment, “Of course. You must have things you need to do. I’ll be fine here.” She grins.
Araatris: Rhese nods & brushes her arm. “You couldn’t be safer, Nysse. I promise I will not be far. Call me, and I’ll hear you. Just rest.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pulls him down into a quick one armed hug. “Thank you, Rhese.” She looks up gratefully. “I’ll rest up for tomorrow.”
Araatris: He mocks a stern look, straightening. “See to it that you do,” he growls before breaking into a sunny grin. “Sweet dreams, lovely.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse grins broadly and leans down to finish her food. “I’m sure I will, Fuzzy. Don’t forget to rest yourself & I’ll see you soon.”
Araatris: With a theatrical bow, he turns away. She can just barely hear his mutter over the footfalls as he takes his leave. “Fuzzy? Tsk.”
Araatris: Nysse is startled awake by the jarring sensation of someone shaking her shoulder. A warm hand presses lightly over her mouth.
Rhoelyn: Nysse tenses and looks about without moving her head much, trying to see what is going on. She stays silent for the moment.
Araatris: Rhese kneels before her, the golden glow of his eyes revealing the tension in his expression despite the darkness. He releases her.
Rhoelyn: The huntress hisses in quietly, “Rhese, what’s wrong?” She sits up and leans in. Her eyes dart to and fro for signs of danger.
Araatris: The druid shakes his head, placing a finger over his lips. His glance darts to a hulking shadow just visible through the doorway.
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods. Instead of speaking, she gestures to her weapon to ask if there’s danger. Her feet hit the floor in a silent crouch.
Araatris: He nods as he gives her room, his own mace visible in its sheath over his shoulder. His antlered helm makes him look dangerous.
Rhoelyn: Nysse sheathes her dagger from under her pillow. She reaches over the pillow for her quiver and bow with only a rustle of fabric.
Araatris: As she does, he crosses to the open window, scanning the shadows outside for more shapes. Satisfied, he holds out his hand to her.
Rhoelyn: Slinging her weapons over her shoulder, the huntress takes Rhese’s hand. She glances warily at the door and out the window.
Araatris: Slipping lithely out the window, he turns & steadies Nysse as she lands beside him on the grass. He tugs gently, leading the way.
Rhoelyn: Nysse follows, creeping along the way. Her gaze sharply eyes for anything out of place. She glances at Rhese curiously.
Araatris: At the back corner of Verune’s home, he pauses, pulling her against his side. A pair of shadowed figures patrol around the corner.
Rhoelyn: Nysse stills. Her hand clenches anxiously against her bow. Waiting until they have moved out of sight, she begins to move again.
Araatris: Rhese creeps beside her on cat-silent feet, making for Verune’s work bench. The locked & warded Orb chest is one shadow among many.
Rhoelyn: Nysse hesitates. She edges the area and holds herself at arms length from the chest. She whispers, “Rhese, what are we doing?”
Araatris: He pauses, staring down at the chest, his body language broadcasting his discomfort. His whisper is a low growl. “They’re Taken.”
Rhoelyn: “Taken? Are you sure?” Nysse’s concern shows plainly. “There’s so many people for them to be Taken.” She shudders.
Araatris: He nods, glancing around warily. “You saw how powerful it is. Even Verune… I heard them, planning to lock me away while u slept.”
Rhoelyn: “What do we do? Take it back to the Refuge?” Nysse edges up by and stares uneasily at it. Her hand holds onto his tightly.
Araatris: “Yes,” he hisses softly, giving her hand a squeeze. “Keep it away from popul-” He’s interrupted by a shout of alarm from the house.
Rhoelyn: Nysse jerks. “Rhese, I’ll open if you can grab it. I can handle it. I don’t think we have much time!” She reaches for the chest.
Araatris: Nysse encounters the stinging crackle of Verune’s wards, but Rhese leans in and, with a flare of odd magic, dissolves them.
Rhoelyn: Her fingers brush wood as a howl echoes behind her. Nysse snaps to look in confusion as a hard furry body knocks her to the ground.
Araatris: Tsume stumbles free of the tangle of limbs he created and takes up a protective position over his mistress, growling at the dark.
Rhoelyn: “Tsume! Stop growling at..” Nysse blinks in confusion as she tries to sit up, but finds her wolf unmoving. “What’s going on..?”
Araatris: Before her eyes, Rhese’s shadowed form collapses in on itself, dissolving into that of a human woman. She smiles darkly at Nysse.
Rhoelyn: Snarling in an echo of Tsume’s, Nysse pushes him to the side. “Who are you?” She draws her dagger and pulls back, ready to throw.
Araatris: Ignoring her, the stranger gestures back toward the house. Ash steps around the corner, her magic-wreathed finger leveled at Tsume.
Rhoelyn: Nysse throws herself protectively into front of him. She flings her dagger towards Tsume’s attacker. She yells, “What do you want?”
Araatris: Ashanderei does not move, barely blinking as the dagger sinks deep into her thigh. Her spell releases and Tsume collapses, asleep.
Rhoelyn: “You…!” Nysse glances at Tsume. Swinging her bow off her shoulder, she moves to draw. “You messed with the wrong huntress.”
Araatris: The human smiles wider, unperturbed by Nysse’s drawn bow. “Actually, I messed with just the right one.” She flips open the chest.
Rhoelyn: Nysse fires an arrow. “Get away from that!” She runs forward to knock the woman away from the chest. “Get! Away! From! It!”
Araatris: The stranger draws the massive axe on her back in a whip-quick move, deflecting the arrow at the last breath. She braces, laughing.
Rhoelyn: Nysse ducks around the axe to hit her. She growls savagely, intent on pummeling her within inch of her life as soon as possible.
Araatris: The human dances a half-step to the side, not avoiding the hit, but shifting to use her momentum to shove Nysse at the open chest.
Rhoelyn: Not expecting the simple push, Nysse finds herself teetering towards the chest. Her eyes beginning to glass over mid-fall.
Araatris: The orb hums, deafening and deadening in her mind, so that she does not hear the hiss of a pale-furred blur that hits the stranger.
Rhoelyn: The hum becomes the orb’s whispering. Nysse’s hands fumble for the orb. Lifting it up, she smiles and cradles it against her.
Araatris: Rhese pounces on the human as a furious cat, his claws digging screaming furrows in her plate armor before he leaps clear. “Nysse!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pauses and shakes her head. Her expression is pained and conflicted, but the orb was pulling her strings, step by step.
Araatris: Rhese crouches to attack again as the human rolls lithely back to her feet, her dark smile growing. “Always so slow, Silverwing.”
Rhoelyn: The orb seems to understand the risk to its vessel and slowly turns Nysse to avoid the fight. Nysse keeps her gaze towards Rhese.
Araatris: Rhese pauses, gaping, as he gets his first good look at his opponent. He shifts in a burst of magic. “By Cenarius! Kaerryn? No.”
Rhoelyn: “It’s been a while since I last saw you.” Kaerryn looks over her shoulder at Nysse. “Thank you for finding her. She’ll be useful.”
Araatris: He takes a rushed step toward the warrior before pulling himself up short, his expression hardening. “No. NO. It’s gone too far.”
Rhoelyn: “Too far?” Kaerryn grins broadly. “Don’t tell me you’re Taken with her?” She pats her axe and laughs.”Perhaps you should join her.”
Araatris: Despite his anger, Rhese smirks as he crouches, reaching for his mace. “I see losing your MIND hasn’t improved ur jokes, partner.”
Rhoelyn: “But gained so much, Silverwing. Join us. I’m sure She would love it.” She raises her axe as Nysse continues her slow progress.
Araatris: His gaze shifts to Nysse for a brief moment, brow furrowing. Behind him, more of the Taken approach the clearing. “… yes. Fine.”
Rhoelyn: “That’s just what I wanted to hear. Welcome to the… Group.” She lowers her weapon. “They like you. You’ll make a great addition.”
Araatris: He grins, affecting a carefree swagger as he approaches Kaerryn & Nysse not far beyond. “I’m almost as hard to resist as They are.”
Rhoelyn: Kaerryn grasps Nysse’s arm. “Your guardian has decided to join us.” Pain shimmers in Nysse’s eyes through her muffled awareness.
Araatris: Rhese watches Nysse intently, running a hand across the stone workbench. His body blocks the glow of magic seeping into the stone.
Rhoelyn: Nysse struggles to speak, “Rhese…” Kaerryn pats Nysse roughly one the shoulder. “What a single track mind. How do you stand it?”
Araatris: He grins, stepping up beside them both. “It’s part of her charm. Fond as they are of her, ur masters must agree. Don’t you think?”
Rhoelyn: “Perhaps they are just as Taken. They certainly have gone to efforts to keep her..Unwounded.” She snorts. “What changed your mind?”
Araatris: The druid shrugs, placing a hand on Nysse’s arm. “You know how I hate to lose. I like to make sure that I’m on the winning team.”
Rhoelyn: Kaerryn nods. “Good to see you’ve gained some sense. It’ll make things easier.” She glances about. “The plan is in motion now.”
Araatris: Nodding, Rhese places himself beside Nysse, a gentle hand on her elbow. “We should go before the other druids awaken and stop us.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks up at Rhese with a hint of a smile. Kaerryn nods, “Then let us go.” She sets off at a brisk walk with Nysse beside her.
Araatris: Rhese follows, quiet until they are well clear of Nighthaven. He then addresses Kaerryn, “So, partner… share the plan with me.”
Rhoelyn: Kaerryn raises an eyebrow, shooting back, “How much do you already know of the orbs? And their chosen ones like your lady friend?”
Araatris: He shakes his head. “Not enough. The orb told me of its service to the Old One; it told me that it wished to restore balance. How?”
Rhoelyn: “Start over. They sense the best to start the new world. Mothers, fathers, guards…” She looks at Nysse. “She’ll be a mother.”
Araatris: “I see.” He clenches his fist to keep from reaching for Nysse, once more. “And how’s the world to be cleansed? A machine, it said?”
Rhoelyn: “That’s what we understand.” Kaerryn looks as though she’s waiting on something. “Will anyone hunting for either of you from here?”
Araatris: “The druids won’t notice we’re missing until the morning. We don’t need to worry from that quarter.” He looks at her warily. “Why?”
Rhoelyn: “Some are not as… Likely to listen. I’d prefer to avoid any more complications.” Kaerryn raises a hand. “Ah! There’s our ride.”
Araatris: Rhese follows her gesture, his brow furrowing as he steps up to Nysse, taking her arm in a tense grip that is mirrored in his form.
Rhoelyn: A mechanical flier clatters as it nears causing the Taken Nysse to step back into Rhese. Kaerryn grins. “A gift from the machine.”
Araatris: Rhese takes advantage of the moment of distraction & Nysse’s proximity. Clamping an arm around her quietly, he snatches at the orb.
Rhoelyn: A soundless gasp escapes Nysse’s lips as she reaches out for the orb halfheartedly. It’s with visible effort that she pulls back.
Araatris: He presses close against her ear, whispering through teeth clenched against its hum. “Run. Trust me. Hearthstone… in my pack.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse makes to protest as awareness enters her gaze. She makes a quick shake of her head and tugs his arm to come with her.
Araatris: Rhese squeezes her arm, his hiss barely audible under the mechanical click of the transport. “Together, we’re caught. Go. Please.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse reaches into his pack and grasps it. Her cheek brushes his, “We will come… -I- will come for you.” With that, she bolts.
Araatris: Rhese tucks the orb in his pack and watches her go, silent until the first of the Taken raises the alarm at her retreating shadow.
Rhoelyn: Its a struggle not to look back, but Nysse runs for a place to duck in. Even as she goes, she prods the Hearthstone for a reaction.
Araatris: The Hearthstone glows, overly bright in the darkness, it draws in mana. Behind, she hears a shout answered by a roar and clamor.
Rhoelyn: She does glance over her shoulder now to see if she can step behind a nearby gathering of trees. “Hurry hurry. A little more…”
Araatris: With a last, explosive ruckus, the night falls silent except for the click of the distant transport and her own quiet footfalls.
Rhoelyn: Nysse steps around a tree and presses her back to it. The moments lasting an eternity as the Hearthstone reaches it’s peak.
Araatris: Rhese presses Nysse’s hand between his own, the pressure as heavy as the stormy scowl he wears. “What do -you- want to do?”