Chapter 11: Support
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse blinks blearily, slowly stirring and waking. Voices murmur around her. “How long is she going to sleep? She’s been out for hours.”
**Araatris:** “Well, yes,” comes the dry response. Leothir’s voice. “She’s exhausted. That is what exhausted night elves do during the day. They rest.” Rel snorts.
**Rhoelyn:** The paladin shifts, his armor clinking softly. “That’s not what I mean. It’s been nearly half a day. She went to sleep long before dawn, Leo.”
**Araatris:** His brother sighs. Nysse can hear a pebble shift under his boot. “I know you’re anxious about pursuit, brother, but we’re well hidden, here.
**Araatris:** “Just let her rest as much as she needs. We’ll move again when Rhoelyn has finished her work and Nysse wakes.” The huntress rubs her face tiredly.
**Rhoelyn:** Sitting up, Nysse glances at the brother’s startled faces. “I’m awake.” Relare grimaces. “I hope we didn’t wake you…” She waves him off. “Food?”
**Araatris:** Leo is already getting deer stew from over the low fire. “We saved you plenty. Tsume and Rhoelyn are just outside.” He shoves a bowl at her.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse takes it and eats single-mindedly. After sharing a look with his brother, the mage prepares another bowl, ready as soon as she finishes.
**Araatris:** While she starts on the second portion, Relare crouches beside her and Leo leaves their latest cave shelter. “We should move as soon as possible.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman nods, but hands him the other empty bowl. “I agree. One more, then we can pack up camp.” Nysse drinks the last of the broth.
**Araatris:** Bobbing his head, the blood elf refills her first bowl and hands it back. “Nysse, slow down before you choke. I’m not that impatient.”
**Rhoelyn:** She comments in a hushed voice, “Relare, I’ve had Korran out night and day before you showed up and we’ve been rationing food. I’m starving…”
**Araatris:** He sets a hand on her shoulder. “I know. We’ll take the time for you to eat all you need, and we’ll make the time for less rationing.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse ducks her head and takes the bowl. “It’s difficult to make time for hunting. And dangerous. But thank you.” She eats more slowly.
**Araatris:** Relare gives her a grin. “It’ll be easier, now. We’re here for you both.” He pats her shoulder before straightening. “I’ll go check on Leo and Rhoe.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress waits until he steps out to sniffle quietly as she eats. When she finishes, she wipes her tears and stands to join the others.
**Araatris:** “No,” she hears from the thicket beside their shelter. Leo’s voice is stern. “It’s time, princess. You promised you wouldn’t overdo it.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman suppresses her smile. “Rhoe? Leo? Rel?” A startled voice calls out from the greenery to the right. “S-sister, we are over here.”
**Araatris:** At her first glimpse of her charge, Nysse is struck by how worn Rhoelyn looks, the tension around her eyes stark still, two days after her “fit”.
**Rhoelyn:** Hurrying up to Rhoelyn, she whispers into her ear as she hugs her. “You should have slept more… Did you eat at least? Maybe we should sta-”
**Araatris:** Rhoe frees a hand and presses a finger over her sister’s lips to cut her off with a little tender smile. “I ate, Nysse. And we mustn’t stay.”
**Rhoelyn:** Blushing, Nysse mumbles assent. “Will you at least ride with Leo on Korran? You still haven’t fully recovered.” She brushes Rhoe’s hair back.
**Araatris:** The brothers look on as the little healer mutters, “But that tires you. Today, I am better. Let me walk at least a while. I like to feel the grass.”
**Rhoelyn:** Her sister smiles ruefully. “I understand. Please let me know if you get tired.” She shoots Leo a meaningful look. “Let’s go pack our camp.”
**Araatris:** The golden mage nods and follows her dutifully, his brother stepping up to occupy the priestess. Leo waits until they’re back in the cave to speak.
**Rhoelyn:** “I swear I won’t let her do too much, Nysse.” The huntress nods. “I know, but caring for the wisps takes so much of her. Don’t leave her side.”
**Araatris:** He smirks as he puts out the fire. “Oh, no worries there. I only just got back to it. I’m quite motivated to stay.” Leo gives her a relieved look.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse raises an eyebrow. “I’m not going to threaten you, Leo. You’re family. I’m just worried about her.” She cleans the dishes and packs them.
**Araatris:** His long ponytail flops against his shoulder as the mage sighs and nods. “I know, Nysse. So am I. I still think she’s leaving something out.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I don’t disagree, but she’s terrified to worry us I think.” She rolls up the bedrolls, tucking them away. “Can you carry her pack, too?”
**Araatris:** “Of course,” Leo says as he tucks Rhoelyn’s things back into it. “I’ll keep working on her. Her attempts not to worry us… worry me quite a bit.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress pauses and rubs her face. “I agree. I think we’re going to need to stop this mission soon. She can’t keep going at this rate.”
**Araatris:** Leo looks over at her. “You both need to learn to pace yourselves, I think. I hope you’re at least feeling better after some rest and food, Nysse.”
**Rhoelyn:** Blushing, Nysse nods. “I am, but… it feels like there’s no choice but to push ourselves out here. I’m scared to let my guard down.”
**Araatris:** The mage sits back on his heels, looking around for what else needs done. “I know it’s hard, but it’s for the best that you don’t. That we don’t.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I won’t.” She glances around and sighs. “That’s everything. Let’s go. We need to make some ground today.” Nysse stands and puts her bag on.
**Araatris:** Leo does the same with Rhoelyn’s, and soon the four of them are trudging through the remnants of the forest, a river rushing along to their right.
**Rhoelyn:** Tsume ranges ahead of them, sniffing the ground and looking for threats. Nysse leads them, her gaze sharp and tense as they continue.
**Araatris:** None of them talk as they travel, the brothers nearly as wary as Tsume and Nysse. Only Rhoe seems relaxed, her dark gaze sliding here and there.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress glances up, trying to judge the time of night. She calls for a halt. “It’s getting late. We should look for a place to rest.”
**Araatris:** When Nysse turns toward the east and the river, Rhoe starts and quickly steps forward, holding her staff out to bar the way. “Not that way, sister.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress blinks her dark eyes owlishly. “Then where? The best cliffs and caves are that way.” Tsume brushes against Nysse’s leg.
**Araatris:** Her sister’s brow furrows, and she looks around for a moment, gold glimmering at the edges of her eyes. She points southwest. “The ruins are there.”
**Rhoelyn:** The younger woman frowns, but reluctantly nods. “I’ll see if we can find someplace to rest on the way.” She rubs Tsume’s ears and neck.
**Araatris:** Rhoe grins and presses an overwarm kiss to her sister’s cheek. “You will know it when you see it, Nysse. The right place…” She turns away.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse gives Rhoelyn a fond smile. “You always have faith that I will even when I don’t know what I’m looking for. Alright. Let’s go then.”
**Araatris:** Leo and Relare share a look before they head after the pair of ladies and Tsume. Rhoelyn hums softly as she walks, and the mage takes her arm.
**Rhoelyn:** “What was that about, my princess? Are we being guided by Elune?” He tucks her hand into the crook of his arm, gallantly escorting his love.
**Araatris:** The silver priestess smiles at him. “We are, my dawn. We will be safe, today.” When she rests her head against his shoulder, he pats her hand.
**Rhoelyn:** Leo smiles tenderly. “Would you like to ride for a little while and rest? You look like you’re getting tired.” He kisses her temple.
**Araatris:** “Mm,” she responds as he frowns and frees a hand to rest it against her forehead. He looks at Relare over her shoulder, beckoning him over.
**Rhoelyn:** The mage anxiously asks. “Is she getting worse? Check her fever..” His brother rests a hand on her brow as well, confirming Leo’s findings.
**Araatris:** Nysse pauses and looks back at them in time to watch her sister reach up and pull the paladin’s hand away. “You mustn’t fuss. We will rest soon.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress seems to decide to ignore the scene, but there’s a slight worried tilt of her mouth and eyes. “Let’s go. I’d rather not linger.”
**Araatris:** Relare nods and gives Leo a reassuring pat on the back before he goes over to Nysse. Rhoelyn grins softly and tugs her love along. “Come, my dawn.”
**Rhoelyn:** They pause a few times to check for patrols, but only find local wildlife. Hours later, the huntress finally finds a large hollow under a tree.
**Araatris:** While Nysse and the brothers start to work on setting up their camp, Rhoelyn stands outside and looks around. Tsume trails her as she wanders.
**Rhoelyn:** Once the bed rolls are set out and dinner cooking, the huntress heads to the exit. Her stomach rumbles softly as she joins Rhoelyn outside.
**Araatris:** She finds her sister kneeling by a bunch of brush, pulling vines and leaves away from an ancient carved column. She’s greeted by a tired smile.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse kneels next to the priestess. “Why don’t you come and take a nap before dinner, sister?” She quietly helps her free the structure.
**Araatris:** Running her fingers over the carvings they expose, Rhoelyn says, “In a moment, sister. Look where we are. It was once so beautiful and full.”
**Rhoelyn:** Standing, the huntress rests her hand on the white marble. Her expression darkens, the longer she gazes around the area. “Yes. It was.”
**Araatris:** “It might be again,” the healer says, her fingers playing over a carving of an Ancient. Her hand drops. “After we rest, I will help those here.”
**Rhoelyn:** Grimacing, Nysse nods. “Of course, sister. Shall we head inside?” She offers Rhoelyn her hand. “I could use some rest and a hot meal myself.”
**Araatris:** “Yes, Nysse.” The healer takes her calloused hand and stands, leaning down to brush debris from her ivory and green gown. “Let us feed you.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress frowns. “Feed me? Aren’t you going to eat, too, Rhoelyn? You need to keep up your strength.” The younger woman tugs her along.
**Araatris:** The healer giggles and allows herself to be led. She trots close enough to wrap her arm around Nysse’s shoulder. “I shall eat, too, fussy sister.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse ducks her head and blushes. “G-good. Someone has to make sure that you take care of yourself when Rhese isn’t here-” She stops abruptly.
**Araatris:** Rhoe stops with her, watching her closely. After a moment, she softly says, “I miss him as well. All of them.” She smiles a bit.
**Araatris:** “I would trade anything for one of Yami’s sweet hugs, just now. Our little light is the best hugger, all giving and warmth and love.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young mother bites her lip. “I’m not sure that I realized just how much that I’d miss them. Maybe Rhese will be home when we call next.”
**Araatris:** The healer gives her sister a hug before guiding her back into a walk toward the hollow. “I think… your longing will be answered soon, my sister.”
**Rhoelyn:** “What do you mean, Rhoe? Do you think he did head home then after our last talk?” They duck under a tree root as they enter under the tree.
**Araatris:** “Time will tell,” Rhoelyn says mysteriously, going over to see Leothir by their cooking dinner. He glances up with a smile and looks between them.
**Rhoelyn:** Shaking her head, Nysse gives a rueful, little smile and gestures for her sister to join Leo. The huntress turns to Tsume, kneeling down.
**Araatris:** Relare crouches beside her after a bit, watching as his brother cajoles the priestess toward her bedroll. “Her fever still comes and goes.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Another night’s rest should help, shouldn’t it?” Nysse checks her wolf’s paws and skin for injuries, then works out some burrs in her fur.
**Araatris:** He nods. “Rest always helps. I don’t know the cause, however. That concerns me. How are you feeling, Rhoe?” The elf presses a hand against her head.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhoelyn gives him an amused smile. “I am well enough, Relare. Just worn. What about my sister? I’m not sure she’s recovered from having Korran out.”
**Araatris:** Nysse blushes brightly as he leans down and stares into her face, taking her wrist in his hand. “No fever, at least. How is your stomach?”
**Rhoelyn:** “R-rhoelyn! D-don’t deflec-” Relare clears his throat. “She’s not the only avoiding telling us how she’s feeling. How is your stomach, Nyssera?”
**Araatris:** She avoids looking at him, grumbling a stuttery, “E-empty. Dinner’s not ready, yet.” Rel snorts. “You’re well enough to be difficult, I see.”
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess gently cajoles. “Sister, please answer. I wish to know as well.” Nysse sighs. “I’ve been starving since I started keeping Korran out.”
**Araatris:** Leothir stubbornly refuses to let the healer get up, so she looks at Relare entreatingly. He chuckles and smirks, turning his attention to Nysse.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress looks at them with wide eyes. “W-what? I answered the question. I’m fine, really. I’m just hungry.” She ducks her head, sheepishly.
**Araatris:** Relare sighs at her. “You’re getting thin. You need to eat more often, especially if you’re going to keep summoning your spirit wolf.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I’m trying, but it’s difficult. I think if I’d trained with him out more… it wouldn’t be as bad.” She bites her lip. “I’ll try to eat more.”
**Araatris:** The brothers look at each other, and Leo says, “We have rations left. You should keep them for meals while we move and snacks.” Relare nods.
**Rhoelyn:** She raises her head, her dark eyes wide. “N-no. What if you need-” The paladin smiles and rests a hand on her head. “My big sister needs them.”
**Araatris:** Leothir grins and nods, tucking Rhoe more comfortably against his side. “You’ve been feeding us real food, so we’re happy to be rid of rations.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nyssera gives them a shy, but grateful smile. “Thank you.” She gives Relare a hug. “I think I’d like some of that real food if it’s ready.”
**Araatris:** “I shall-” When Rhoe starts to move, Leo tightens his arm around her. “Oh!” She scowls. “You are insufferable. Let m-” “Sit?” he chuckles. “Gladly.”
**Rhoelyn:** Giggling, the huntress walks over to the pot. “It might be best if I get my own.” Tsume wiggles on her belly to Rel and wuffs, tail wagging.
**Araatris:** The ruddy-haired elf grins and rubs his fingers through her soft fur while Rhoelyn yawns and grumbles, “I fear someone is in danger of being bitten.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Now now, my princess, surely you wouldn’t bite the arm that hugs you.” Leothir chuckles and hugs her tighter. Nysse spoons herself a bowl.
**Araatris:** The priestess gives him a fanged grin but relents, settling in against him. “Perhaps I was warning Relare, my dawn.” Tsume lolls her tongue out.
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir gestures to the wolf as she rolls onto her back. “He only needs to worry if he stops. She loves it.” Relare dutifully rubs her stomach.
**Araatris:** Rhoe smiles over at the pair of them. “You seem to have a point, my dawn.” The healer turns to Nysse, “Well, my sister? Is dinner ready?”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse pauses, spoon in her mouth, with an embarrassed grin. “Yes, it is, sister. Let me make bowls for everyone before I get carried away.”
**Araatris:** Giggling, the healer snuggles against her love’s side and yawns once more. “Take your time, Nysse.” Rel chuckles. “Speak for yourself. I’m hungry!”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress laughs and gives Relare his bowl first. “Here you go. I can’t let you starve after your speech for me. That’d be bad luck!”
**Araatris:** His smile is grateful as he settles down, cross-legged, by the fire. “Light knows, we don’t need any bad luck on this mission. Thank you.”
**Rhoelyn:** “No, definitely not. May Elune watch over us all.” Nysse prays as she hands bowls to Leothir and Rhoelyn. “So, you’ll work tomorrow, sister?”
**Araatris:** Her sister nods, prodding her food with her spoon. “Yes. It must be done, Nysse. Tonight, we must all conserve our strength for tomorrow.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. “We could use the rest. Perhaps we’ll head out tomorrow if your work goes smoothly. We’ve stayed too still the last few days.”
**Araatris:** “Perhaps…” Rhoelyn says softly, but her face doesn’t say ‘perhaps’ at all. She watches a bit of meat roll in her bowl, nibbling her lip.
**Rhoelyn:** The younger woman nods, leaning over with a little frown. “What’s wrong? You’ve spoken mysteriously these last few days and it worries me.”
**Araatris:** Her brow furrows as the healer glances up between the three of them, and she looks uncertain. “I… I do not know how to explain, sister.”
**Araatris:** “Try, darling,” Leothir says softly, rubbing her arm. She nods and takes a deep breath. “I… Elune gives me… awareness, of late. W-with the fits.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress shares a look with the other two and asks tentatively, “Are you saying that you have caught glimpses of our future, Rhoe?”
**Araatris:** After a brief, embarrassed hesitation, her sister nods. “I am. A-all futures.” She goes quieter under their stares. “There are so many… paths.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Possibilities not sureties.” Relare runs a hand through his short hair and takes a bite from his bowl. “That’s a difficult burden, Rhoelyn.”
**Araatris:** The healer takes a deep breath before lifting her head and giving him a little empty smile. “It is a gift. If I can see enough, I can keep us safe.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo frowns and leans to look down at Rhoelyn on his shoulder. “Is that why you’ve been so worn, my princess? If so, I’m not sure it’s worth it.”
**Araatris:** She glances up at him but lowers her eyes quickly when tears threaten. Instead, she smiles bravely. “You have not seen the bad paths, Leothir.”
**Rhoelyn:** He hugs her more tightly to him. “No, I haven’t, but this gift is taking its toll on you. Perhaps you two should use your hearths tomorrow.”
**Araatris:** Nysse watches quietly, worried, as her sister shakes her head once more. “I would never. Elune’s gift is to better let us do our work. To sa-”
**Rhoelyn:** “To stay safe so we can return to our family. Our children. We won’t return yet, but… that’s our priority, sister.” The huntress interrupts grimly.
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn nods and rubs her face. “I am trying, Nysse. It is like flashes in a dark room; sometimes I cannot see how one moment connects to another.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse sighs and pokes at the food in her own bowl. “Perhaps, but that means that you also cannot be any more sure than we are that we’ll be safe.”
**Araatris:** Her sister wipes at her eye, going quiet, but Relare leans in. “Plural,” he says, eyes narrowing suspiciously on her. Leo blinks at him. “Rel?”
**Rhoelyn:** The paladin asks quietly, “Just how many of these flashes have you had, Rhoelyn, and how long have they been occurring? Have you told anyone?”
**Araatris:** When the priestess winces, his brow draws down. “How long, Rhoelyn?” he demands again when she hesitates. “I didn’t wish to worry th-them.”
**Rhoelyn:** The younger woman reaches out and rests a hand on Rhoelyn’s arm. “Sister… I’m worried more now. Please tell us how long this has been happening.”
**Araatris:** Rhoe looks up, setting her food aside. “The first was shortly after we moved to Boralus.” At Nysse’s expression, she winces once more.
**Rhoelyn:** Slowly removing her hand, Nysse rubs her face, trying and failing to hide her hurt. “We… we would have tried to help you, sister…”
**Araatris:** The priestess shifts, and Leo takes her bowl. She kneels in front of Nysse and takes her hands. “I thought… it would go away in time. Forgive me.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I’ll always forgive you, but it hurts that you’d hide this from us. We love you. Once or fifty, we want to be there for you.” Nysse sniffles.
**Araatris:** Her sister squeezes her hands, her dark eyes shimmering with tears. “I know, sister. At first, they were rare, and… we were all burdened enough.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress looks away. “Was I-” She stops suddenly and looks sharply at her sister. “Wait. Ferathal, he offered medicine like he was used to it.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn pales, and her hands spasm around Nysse’s while she looks away. Leothir leans forward as she practically whispers, “He s-sometimes helps.”
**Araatris:** Her unacknowledged mate scowls, his luminous green eyes narrowing. “Who, pray tell, is Ferathal? And what’s this about medicine?”
**Rhoelyn:** “He’s a little plant form that she rescued in Boralus. His petals are medicinal, maybe a kind of sedative.” Nysse holds firmly onto Rhoe’s hands.
**Araatris:** The healer closes her eyes and mumbles, “H-his medicine is a rare narcotic that mildly sedates and relaxes the mind, con… constricting mana flow.”
**Rhoelyn:** Relare blinks, taken aback. “You were drugging yourself to prevent the episodes? It’d become less effective over time. How much do you take?”
**Araatris:** Rhoe shakes her head and opens her eyes, sniffing. “It isn’t important. I will not take it, again. Now, I must see. And… A-and we all must eat.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Sister, we aren’t mad at you. We’re trying to understand.” Nysse moves her bowl of food from her lap and pulls Rhoelyn into her arms.
**Rhoelyn:** “You may not take it again, but what about withdrawal symptoms?” She kisses the priestess’ forehead and looks between the brothers.
**Araatris:** The little healer sniffs and curls up against Nysse, groaning, “Oh, no… you mustn’t get the wrong idea. I am hardly a slavering addict.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo attempts a little humor, “Not of that anyway, my princess. Now your work habits… we may need to have a private discussion about those.”
**Araatris:** Rhoe manages a little smile for him. “I understand, sister,” Nysse insists, “But are there withdrawal symptoms? I don’t want you to be ill.”
**Rhoelyn:** The paladin reaches a glowing hand and rests it on the woman’s shoulder. “I should be able to tell. Since it’s recent, it should be a low risk.”
**Araatris:** Blushing darkly, the priestess submits to his examination and rests her cheek against Nysse’s shoulder. “Mmm…” Relare narrows his golden eyes.
**Rhoelyn:** “Rhoelyn. You’re feeling more than exhaustion, aren’t you?” He glances at her barely touched food pointedly. “I could have eased the symptoms.”
**Araatris:** The night elf straightens from Nysse’s embrace with a little sigh and says, “You mustn’t fuss. I am not harmed by feeling a bit… off.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles gently. “Oh? You mean like you fuss over all of us? I think it’s only fair, sister, that sometimes you are the one fussed over.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn blushes but smiles quietly before she gestures to their bowls. “Well. Perhaps fuss after you have eaten, at least. The food will be cold.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress teases, “Well, if you don’t eat yourself, I shall personally suggest that Leo feeds you.” She winks at Leothir, letting Rhoelyn move.
**Araatris:** Her love picks up her bowl and readies a spoonful as she shifts back to his side. She smiles and blushes. “I will feed myself, you ridiculous man.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo smirks, “Are you sure? This could be quite entertaining.” Rhoelyn tugs the bowl from him as Nysse giggles and retrieves her own food.
**Araatris:** As the three of them settle back in to dinner, Relare watches them thoughtfully, his careful attention lingering on his brother’s mate.