Chapter 13: Pieces in Place
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese glances back at Kaerryn with a scowl. “Hurry up already, clanky. We’re supposed to be at Bashal’aran sometime today not next week.”
**Araatris:** The warrior glares back, freeing her boot from another tangle of weeds. “Don’t start with me, fuzzbutt. Your forest is mucking up my armor. Again!”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid sighs and rubs his face. “I told you to follow in my foot prints. Why are you over there anyway?” He glances up at the sky impatiently.
**Araatris:** “I saw a rotting bunny, okay? It was cute and fluffy and I wanted to eat it.” Rhese groans. “There’s food at the warcamp! If we ever get there…”
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn finally gets herself free and steps back behind Rhese. “Then hurry it up, fuzzball. I’m starving!” “That’s what I was trying to-”
**Araatris:** “Hold!” The druid starts at the sharp command, the female voice full of authority… and not there. The call comes from nearby.
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn frowns. “Who the fel was that?!” She twists and turns and looks around. “And where in heck is she?!” The brush rustles nearby.
**Araatris:** A figure in black bursts out at a sprint, an arrow singing by a pale, exposed ear and flying close to the human before it buries itself in a tree.
**Rhoelyn:** “What about hold didn’t you understand? Don’t make me repeat myself.” Another woman holds her bow ready as Kaerryn throws her hands up and stills.
**Araatris:** The stranger in black stops behind her, placing her armored self between its form and the sentinel who steps from the bushes, arrow readied.
**Rhoelyn:** “Whoa.” “Kaer, let me do the talking.” Kaerryn gives Rhese an annoyed look, but nods anyway. “Go right ahead, fuzzbutt. Do the talking thing.”
**Araatris:** He doesn’t get a chance to before the human’s taller shadow says in accented Darnassian, “I’m not here to hurt anyone.” Rhese’s eyes narrow.
**Rhoelyn:** “I know that voice…” The druid snarls. “I’m sure you do. However, we have a bigger issue.” The figure stays still. “Can we agree to a truce?”
**Araatris:** “How about instead I let her put an arrow in you and save me the trouble of killing you, Leothir?” he snaps, his gaze sliding to the cowled archer.
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir snaps, “Shoot me after we save our family from the Forsaken. They have Rhoelyn, Nysse, and Rel. Now can we have a truce or not, Rhese?”
**Araatris:** The druid blinks, taking half a step back. There isn’t much of a hesitation before he mutters to the sentinel, “I’ll handle this. And hello, Faye.”
**Rhoelyn:** Faye nods at the druid. “Nyssera and Rhoelyn? We haven’t heard from them in a few days. They were heading south last they reported.”
**Araatris:** She lowers her bow as Rhese grabs the mage’s arm, dragging him out from behind Kaerryn. “Truce. Talk fast, blood elf. I have a short temper.”
**Rhoelyn:** “They happened upon us last night. Nysse had us split up. We… We couldn’t lose them. Rhoelyn told me that I had to come find you… here.” Leo trails off.
**Araatris:** The taller night elf snarls and whips out a hand, snagging it the mage’s tunic and lifting him to his tiptoes. “Why were you even- You left-… FEL!”
**Araatris:** Growling, he releases him as suddenly as he grabbed him, shoving him toward Kaerryn. “We have to move. I assume you know where they are?”
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn steadies the blood elf with an arm as he nods. “Yes, I have a way of finding them.” Fayrial raises her eyebrows. “You’ll need help.”
**Araatris:** “If you give me an hour,” she continues, brushing her cowl back, “I can assemble a-” The sentinel cuts off when Leo shakes his head.
**Rhoelyn:** The mage gestures to Rhese. “Rhese is right. We have to move. Any time they’ve spent with the Forsaken is too long. We can’t wait any longer.”
**Araatris:** Faye keeps her brow raised as she looks the masked and hooded blood elf up and down. She frowns at Rhese. “I trust you will all explain as we go?”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese nods. “As much as I can.” Faye pulls a stone from her pocket. “Let me contact one person at least. He recently arrived in Darkshore.”
**Araatris:** The druid nods. “Quickly.” He looks at Leothir, his scowl deepening. “If this is an elaborate trap, rest assured that you’ll die before I do, Horde.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir snarls. “For the last time, I’d rather die than be Horde. There’s no trap. They have OUR family. Now get your head out of your-”
**Araatris:** “Aaaalllll right, now.” When the bigger night elf bares his teeth at the mage and raises his fist, Kaerryn steps between the two of them.
**Rhoelyn:** The human puts her hands out. “Let’s just let the nice lady make her call so we can go. Alright, boys?” She glances at Faye who’s already in motion.
**Araatris:** “Fine,” Leo snaps, turning away with his expression hidden behind his hawkish dull-silver mask. “All I care about is getting them out of there.”
**Rhoelyn:** A gruff voice comes over the stone. “Faye, what is it now? I told you that I’d see you when you finished your patrol.” The sentinel snorts.
**Araatris:** “Don’t growl at me, old bear,” she scolds with a long-suffering look. “There has been a change of plans. You need to meet me east of the warcamp.”
**Rhoelyn:** The voice on the other end doesn’t question her. “I’m coming, I’m coming.” The stone goes dark. Kaerryn grins widely. “He’s our backup?”
**Araatris:** Faye’s nod is matter-of-fact and quietly pleased. “Verune was to help with the restoration of the forest, but I am certain he’ll wish to join us, first.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese grimaces, “Kaer, do you remember what papa bear is like? He’s going to give us an earful the entire way.” The druid rubs his face.
**Araatris:** Her grin is wide. “Nope. He’s going to give you an earful. I get to be amused.” Leothir groans, splaying out his hand to show his tracking display.
**Rhoelyn:** “They haven’t moved for the last bit. It’s likely that they’re held up in whatever camp they have.” Leo comments. Above them a bird screeches.
**Araatris:** They all look up as an ornamented storm crow dives into their midst, landing in a whisper of magic beside Faye. The night elf straightens.
**Rhoelyn:** Verune glances at Faye. “You didn’t tell me that the cub was here.” The sentinel puts a hand on her hip. “We need help with a rescue mission.”
**Araatris:** Leo makes an impatient noise and steps forward, “Can we discuss it while we move, please?” The elder druid peers at him, brow lifting. “Leothir?”
**Rhoelyn:** The mage gives him a sharp nod. “Yes. The girls and my brother are captive in a forsaken camp. We need to hurry.” He points. “This way.”
**Araatris:** He doesn’t wait, but he does breath a small sigh of relief as they all fall into motion behind him. “Once we’re clear, I can portal us partway.”
**Rhoelyn:** “What happened, boy? I knew they were on a mission, but something must have gone wrong.” Verune rumbles as they weave through the trees.
**Araatris:** Rhese leans in, glowering. “I’m interested in the answer, too.” The blood elf pulls his mask off just so that he can scowl back at his bondbrother.
**Rhoelyn:** “After what happened, the only one that was still willing to talk to us was Nysse. She told us they were coming here.” Leo keeps moving.
**Rhoelyn:** He continues, “We followed to watch their backs, taking out patrols. Finally, Nysse called us to meet them. The forsaken found us after that…”
**Araatris:** The young druid’s brow draws down, but Verune holds up a hand as he opens his mouth. “They are not known for… keeping their prisoners, you realize.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir spins in his tracks. “They’re alive. They… Rhoelyn swore that they would endure until I could get help.” His voice cracks weakly.
**Araatris:** “They’re alive,” the mage reiterates and suddenly reaches up to pull his mask down. “We just have to hurry.” He turns and breaks into a run.
**Rhoelyn:** The others run after him. Verune passes Kaerryn to settle into stride next to Rhese. “And you, cub, what do you think that you’re doing?”
**Araatris:** Rhese growls. “I’m going to get my sister and my mate back… or kill every last rotting Forsaken in that place and raze it to the ground. Maybe both.”
**Rhoelyn:** “And your bondbrothers? Will you leave them to the forsaken?” Verune asks bluntly. “It seems that they are willing to risk their lives for yours.”
**Araatris:** The druid takes on a stubborn, angry look that his old teacher is all too familiar with. “Ask me after my family is safe.” He shifts and runs ahead.
**Rhoelyn:** Verune stares expressionlessly after his once student. “Insufferable cub.” He glances at Leothir. “How much longer until we can portal?”
**Araatris:** The blood elf makes an unhappy face and pauses, winded, to lean against a tree. “A bit more. It’s tough this close to that corrupted moonwell.”
**Rhoelyn:** Faye raises one eyebrow. “It’s not corrupted, Leothir. It’s the… bridge to Elune’s vengeance and Tyrande’s ascension to the Night Warrior.”
**Araatris:** He waves a hand, pushing himself back upright, his mask on his head like a crown. “I don’t mean anything by it. It just makes porting difficult.”
**Rhoelyn:** The night elven woman nods. “No offense taken. Powerful magic can disrupt things. It’s not surprising.” She gestures for him to lead again.
**Araatris:** Leo stumbles as he steps forward, catching himself against the tree. He grimaces. “Dare I hope any of you have food? I haven’t eaten in… a while.”
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn pulls a pouch from her side. “These are my trail snacks, rations and jerky and stuff. You can have it. It’s easy to eat on the run.”
**Araatris:** The pale elf takes the pouch with a relieved sigh. “Thank the Light. I knew I liked you for good reason, Kaerryn.” His smile is a tentative one.
**Rhoelyn:** “It ain’t nothing.” She pats his shoulder. “Let’s walk, but not so fast that you can’t eat.” Leothir shoves a piece of jerky into his mouth.
**Araatris:** Faye shakes her head a bit, her look perplexed as they resume a fast walk through the half-denuded woods. Verune says, “You have questions.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I do, old bear. What is Leothir’s relation to their family? What is causing Rhese to anger so?” Faye shakes her head. “Too many questions.”
**Araatris:** “Mmm…” the elder druid agrees with a nod. “I have quite a few, myself. But I can answer some of yours. The sin’dorei is Rhoelyn’s mate.”
**Rhoelyn:** The sentinel blinks, taking that in. “That suddenly answers several questions. So, Rhese is being overprotective.” She nods to herself.
**Araatris:** Verune shakes his head slightly. “I suspect not in the way you’re thinking. Leothir has been like a true brother to Rhese for years, now.”
**Rhoelyn:** Faye frowns. “Years? You’re right. That doesn’t make as much sense. Do you think Leothir has been involved in the war? That might be cause it.”
**Araatris:** For a while, the elder’s only answer is to watch the elf’s back as he walks ahead of them. Finally, he says, “I have trouble believing that of him.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I didn’t get the feeling he would either. He seems to really care about them, but I also know how it is to be a soldier.” Faye follows his gaze.
**Araatris:** Verune shakes his head with a little sigh. “War is always ugly business. It is certainly possible. Rhese seems thoroughly incensed at him.”
**Rhoelyn:** The sentinel snorts. “It could also be unfounded. Fear can drive us to do many things when we think it is best for ourselves and those we love.”
**Araatris:** “Also possible.” The druid frowns. “The cub definitely has his hackles up about something.” Before they can say more, Leo pauses and looks around.
**Rhoelyn:** The mage gestures for them to join him. “This is far enough.” He checks his hand again. “I’ll try and port us far enough away that we don’t alert them.”
**Araatris:** Rhese slinks out of the brush behind him, form unfolding until he stands like a thundercloud beside the mage. “Do better than ‘try’,” he growls.
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir turns to him, his expression hard with anger and exhaustion. “Oh. I didn’t realize that you were the expert on portals with no (c)
**Rhoelyn:** (c) food or sleep for the past several days. Now get over yourself.” He turns away from the druid and starts drawing magic into his hands.
**Araatris:** The elder druid stands beside Faye and Kaerryn, watching the pair of them as Leothir’s portal forms, the hole opening in the ash-dusted air.
**Rhoelyn:** Portal complete, Leothir glances at Rhese. “It’s your choice who goes first. That way you can’t say I’m setting you up. Just pick someone.”
**Araatris:** As Rhese considers, Kaerryn sighs and steps forward. She slugs his shoulder as she marches up to the portal. “You rotting stubborn jackass.”
**Rhoelyn:** The warrior grins as she steps through, Faye following closely. Verune regards his thero’shan carefully. “Why don’t you go next, cub.”
**Araatris:** Rhese glances between his purple-haired mentor and the mage before he nods and shifts, leaping through as a silver saber. Verune follows.
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir steps through the portal last, joining the others on the other side. He raises his hand immediately to check their position.
**Araatris:** Some distance away, the undead apothecary watches with dispassion as Rhoelyn squirms in her chains, twisting her wrists in the shackles.
**Rhoelyn:** “Why do you fight it? It would be so much easier to give in, Rhoelyn.” Kimmel’s soft voice advises. She reviews the cylinder in her hand.
**Araatris:** The priestess gasps out a sob, shaking her head as Light gilds her skin. Beside the undead woman, Executor Carling watches with more impatience.
**Rhoelyn:** He growls, “Can we move any faster? I have the other one to get back to if you want any information from her.” Carling crosses his arms.
**Araatris:** Rotting fingers brush over a syringe of yellow liquid. “Another dose, then?” He nods, and she picks it up, approaching the restrained healer.
**Rhoelyn:** Apothecary Kimmel firmly grasps the priestess’ arm and injects the newest dose. She releases Rhoelyn and steps back. “Now we can only wait.”
**Araatris:** The healer sobs as the drug burns through her veins. “Please. Please, stop.” She arches her back, dark eyes bursting into a golden glow.
**Rhoelyn:** “It’ll stop once you let it go. Why do you hold it back?” Kimmel talks soothingly. The Executor snorts. “You’re never firm enough with them.”
**Araatris:** Rhoe stills, as tense as a bow string, her gaze glazing over as she stares up at nothing. “Nimble little fronds,” she whispers, “set them free.”
**Rhoelyn:** The forsakens’ heads turn at once, abruptly silent as she speaks. The apothecary shifts closer and leans down to listen to the night elf.
**Araatris:** “Claws and f-fire, raging among the dead.” She rambles, breath short and words fast. “The last piece falls into place with three vicious points”
**Rhoelyn:** The apothecary pulls a board from the edge of her table, quickly scribbling what she hears. “These episodes are future visions, Executor.”
**Araatris:** The Forsaken leans forward eagerly, his smile twisted by rot as the little healer continues to ramble. “A seer? This one’s value has tripled.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Perhaps we can guide the visions somehow. I must do more testing.” Her fingers move more nimbly, chalk scratching. “But they are… cryptic.”
**Araatris:** He nods as the elf continues. “Inferno,” she whimpers. “Red fire and gold fire and blue and black. Everything burns. They burn! It’s only one path!”
**Rhoelyn:** Kimmel leans closer, murmuring low and excitedly. “What are the other paths, Rhoelyn? What else do you see? Who do you see?” Carling watches them.
**Araatris:** “Rhese!” Rhoe screams, suddenly, straining against her shackles as she writhes, pained. “The eclipse cannot last forever. Her heart can destroy her.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Rhese…? That is not the name of one of the ones we have here. Perhaps the one that escaped.” Kimmel taps a finger against her chin thoughtfully.
**Araatris:** The Executor narrows his eyes. “Perhaps I should prioritize his recapture, then.” The woman nods and leans down, stroking her prisoner’s hair back.
**Rhoelyn:** Carling shouts as he walks away, “Welles!” The apothecary places a gentle finger under Rhoelyn’s chin, looking at her eyes. “Is it not over?”
**Araatris:** No less tense but more quiet, the night elf sobs and repeats her sister’s and brother’s names over and over until Light bursts blindingly from her.
**Rhoelyn:** Elizabeth Kimmel falls back with a hoarse cry as the Light sets her skin on fire. Sensation, deadened by years of undeath, bursts into awareness.
**Araatris:** Her scream, though sharper and louder than any other, is buried by another hundred around them as the wave of Light wracks the camp with pain.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse looks up, her eyes dark with renewed energy as she strains against her chains. When they hold, she sags and curses, terrified for her sister.
**Araatris:** An odd wriggling comes from the emptied pouch at her waist, and she gasps, looking down. Over the tumult of the camp squeaks a high-pitched voice.
**Rhoelyn:** The creature shakes its fronds as it climbs out then grins toothily. “F-Ferathal! What are you doing here?!” She hisses. He clambers up her clothes.
**Araatris:** “Medimedi!” is her answer in his apparently limited dialogue as he scrambles along her sleeve and over her gauntlet. He’s a very happy little guy.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress watches him in confusion. “Ferathal, what are you doing?” He climbs onto the shackle and starts poking at it. “Medi! Medimedi!”
**Araatris:** The thin, nimble fronds that serve as his hands plunge into the lock with a spark of some sort of odd, verdant magic, and soon it clicks open.
**Rhoelyn:** Stunned into silence, Nysse takes her free hand and carries Fera to her other wrist. He repeats the process on that side as well.
**Araatris:** That job done, he chatters an excited “Medmedi!” and leaps down before she can stop him, capering off through the camp as the Forsaken recover.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse pushes to her feet and chases after him while summoning Korran. “Korran, find Relare. I’m following Fera. He’s probably heading to Rhoe.”
**Araatris:** The wolf dashes off, but soon it becomes clear that the little plant is on the same trajectory. A trio of iron cells comes into view, two filled.
**Rhoelyn:** Peering into the first, Nysse slumps with overwhelming relief at the sight of familiar red hair. She leans down to give Fera a lift to the lock.
**Araatris:** Relare surges forward, gripping the bars. “Nyssera! Thank the Light you’re safe. And free. …Did you feel that surge? I think Rhoelyn is nearby.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman gives him a pained grimace. “Yes. She’s likely in the apothecary’s workshop. She… offered herself up in place of me.”
**Araatris:** The paladin quiets, digesting that for a moment before he closes his eyes and clenches his jaw. He opens them again to say, “I’m sorry, Nysse.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nodding jerkily, she holds Fera up to the cell lock and after a moment, the cell clicks open. “Let’s go before they figure out what’s going on.”
**Araatris:** “Wait!” The figure curled in the cell next to Relare’s shifts onto her knees, speaking in Thallasian. “Free me, too. I can help you fight!”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress frowns and peers into the next one, “Why are you in their jail?” Next to her, Relare slides out of the cell and heads to a chest.
**Araatris:** The redhead makes a sour face and switches to common. “A squad of the Eyes grabbed me when I was making my way south. Yrienne left me here.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yrienne?” She raises her eyebrow and debates for a second before holding Fera to her lock. “Keep talking while he works. How’d you get caught?”
**Araatris:** Recognizing Nysse’s wariness, the vaguely familiar blood elf leans away. “You remember my ‘friend’ that you helped me escape from? The woman?”
**Rhoelyn:** “She found you that quickly? Not that you would have been any better with us.” Nysse glances back as the paladin returns with their weapons.
**Araatris:** Galandrie snorts as her cage swings open. “Apparently not. It seems your sister was right all along. I thought we were quits. But thank you.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse sets Ferathal on her shoulder and takes her bow and quiver from Rel. “Well, you’re welcome to join us. We could use the help right now.”
**Araatris:** He watches the stranger silently as she nods. “I don’t have a weapon, but I bet I can get one with you two nearby. Let’s get out of here!”
**Rhoelyn:** “We have one more to rescue at the apothecary. We’re not leaving without her.” Nysse comments evenly as she looks at Rel. “Let’s go.”
**Araatris:** The paladin nods shortly and rests his hand on his sword hilt. “Lead the way.” Atop Nysse’s shoulder, Ferathal points like a tiny general. “Medi!”
**Rhoelyn:** They hurry out, leaving the red-headed woman to decide to follow for herself. Nysse follows the small creature’s directions across the camp.
**Araatris:** The Forsaken around them slowly recover, the sense of urgency growing. They finally round a corner and find a pair of confused guards barring their way.
**Rhoelyn:** Relare slides past Nysse and slashes at them, one stumbling backwards and then slumping to the ground. The huntress draws an arrow and fires.
**Araatris:** As the second undead staggers, her barb burying itself in the woman’s chest, Korran leaps, extra large and vicious. His bite snaps her neck.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles viciously. “Good job. Which way, Ferathal?” She follows as he points again. “We won’t have much more time. Stay close.”
**Araatris:** Landrie snags an axe from one of the corpses, though she looks at it with distaste before she follows. “We’re rescuing your jumpy healer?”
**Rhoelyn:** “We’re rescuing my sister,” the huntress corrects. They hurry as forsaken start stumbling to their feet. Nysse fires at the soldiers as they pass.
**Araatris:** The blood elf nods, watching Forsaken fall beneath her arrows and Relare’s sword with no love lost. The large apothecary’s tent comes into view.
**Rhoelyn:** The night elf skids to a stop as the Executor straightens and turns to look at them. “How did you–no matter. Welles, deal with them.”
**Araatris:** “Gladly, Executor,” the other man says with a grin, drawing the greatsword at his back. “This won’t take long.” Unphased by the odds, he charges.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse shoots an arrow before ducking to the side to allow Relare to step in front. Despite the arrow in Welles’ side, his blade comes crashing down.
**Araatris:** The paladin, strong as he is, grunts in shock when he attempts to catch the stringy looking undead’s blade on his own. He throws himself to the side.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress’ eyes narrow and Korran leaps in, locking his teeth around the forsaken’s leg. Relare rolls back to his feet and resets his stance.
**Araatris:** Welles spins his blade down and slices awkwardly at Korran, forcing the wolf to release him and duck back or lose a few inches off his nose.
**Rhoelyn:** Relare surges forward before Welles can recover and Landrie slips around to his side. The paladin’s blade stabs at the forsaken’s gut.
**Rhoelyn:** Behind them, the Apothecary and Executor release a weak Rhoelyn from her post. Carling tosses the woman over his shoulder. “Don’t fight, elf.”
**Araatris:** Though she doesn’t obey, the priestess’ struggles are weak and listless. Kimmel snags her wrists, her face mottled with pink, healthy skin.
**Rhoelyn:** “We cannot have you becoming damaged. Rest easy, Rhoelyn. We’ll take you someplace safer.” Kimmel snaps shackles on the priestess’ wrists.
**Araatris:** “N-no…” Nysse is lining up her next shot around Relare and Landrie’s strikes when her sister shakes her head and manages to cry a hoarse, “Nysse!”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress’ head snaps to the side to look at her sister and snarls at the sight. She darts toward them only to be blocked by a greatsword.
**Araatris:** “The Executor politely requires that you not interfere, elf,” he growls with an eerie grin, even as he swings his blade back around to block Landrie.
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman growls ferally, spinning around to circle around the workshop and cut them off. Her spirit wolf follows, passing her up.
**Araatris:** The warrior’s grin turns to a frown, and when Relare charges in again, he drops his sword and grabs the paladin, sending him tumbling into her path.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse attempts to leap over the blood elf, but her foot catches on him and she hits the ground with an audible crack. She shrieks in pain.
**Araatris:** Galandrie distracts Welles as Relare clambors back to his feet. Nysse is slower, coughing wetly and gripping her side. Korran races at Carling.
**Rhoelyn:** She doesn’t wait on the paladin before staggering after the wolf, ignoring the shattered bow on the ground. Nysse tugs her sword free.
**Araatris:** Rel intercepts Welles when he kicks Landrie away and tries to go after her, snapping, “Focus, undead. Your opponent is here.” His sword glows.
**Rhoelyn:** The blood elf’s next strike collides with a loud ringing. Welles staggers backwards a step. The servant watches as Kimmel strides toward Nysse.
**Rhoelyn:** The Apothecary smiles at the huntress as Carling steps further away. “Nyssera, it is good that you summoned that wolf. I had more questions…”
**Araatris:** Nysse snarls, “Why don’t we let you study his teeth up close?” Korran lunges at the woman as his mistress does the same, fangs and blade ready.
**Rhoelyn:** “Oh dear. That just won’t do.” She steps to the side, holding up something that sprays gas in their faces. “This should calm you both down.”
**Araatris:** The night elf gasps and coughs blood as her wolf staggers back, shaking his head. An odd, sluggish numbness starts to spread through her body.
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman’s knees collapse under her as she gasps for air. She stares at Rhoelyn and crawls forward. A roar punctuates the background.
**Araatris:** Carling leaps backward, a blue ring of portal popping open and closed where his leg was. It gashes his shin as a silver streak leaps at Kimmel.
**Rhoelyn:** The apothecary tumbles to the ground, hurriedly raising the nozzle. The feline’s teeth rip it from her fingers and toss it to the ground.
**Araatris:** Ferathal leaps down from Nysse’s shoulder as Rhese bites her arm. Her other hand grabs the sparking rod at her belt and shoves it against his fur.
**Rhoelyn:** Yowling, he leaps back. Kimmel holds the rod ahead of her as she stands. “You shouldn’t interfere.” The sporeling circles the ground around them.
**Araatris:** Nysse struggles to clear her head and make her limbs obey as behind Rhese, Leo orders, “Put her down and step away, and you’ll get a clean death.”
**Rhoelyn:** The Executor scoffs. “Not a chance. While I’m holding her, you have to be careful not to harm her, traitor. I have no reason to listen to you.”
**Araatris:** “Then let us see to it that you are no longer holding her,” comes a voice at his back, and Faye darts in close, bare-handed as she strikes his spine.
**Rhoelyn:** Carling curses as it tosses him off balance, Rhoe slipping. He grips at her arms for a moment before dropping her and reaching for his weapon.
**Araatris:** The priestess flops to the ground, her shackles clanking. The Executor tries to place himself between her and her rescuers, pulling his pistols.
**Rhoelyn:** The mage summons a shield as he fires at them. Faye makes herself small as she dives at the forsaken, attempting to knock him away from Rhoelyn.
**Araatris;** His second pistol fires as she barrels into him, bowling him over onto his back. Welles glances away from Landrie and Rel, gasping, “Executor!”
**Rhoelyn:** He knocks the others back and turns, rushing to help his commander. Relare and Landrie recover quickly and rush pass Rhese as he snaps at Kimmel.
**Araatris:** The apothecary fends him off with her torture device yet again, backing toward the others. “Where are the guards? The Alliance are multiplying.”
**Rhoelyn:** Carling snarls, “I’m not sure! They should be here by now!” The huntress manages to choke out, “We killed several guards on our way here.”
**Araatris:** A deep growl precedes a bear lumbering out of the treeline by the tent. A snowy wolf and a dozen more follow as he shifts. “We finished the rest.”
**Rhoelyn:** “T-tsume!” The huntress breaks into a coughing fit, blood splatters covering the her hand. Pain and frustration war across her features.
**Araatris:** Kimmel gapes, stepping back with more fear than irritation on her face. Welles manages to snag Faye by the cuirass and toss her away from Carling.
**Rhoelyn:** Tsume bounds over to Nysse and Korran, nosing and licking them. The huntress forces herself to straighten as she rubs the wolf’s ears, then stands.
**Araatris:** As their opponents back away, suddenly outnumbered and cut off from Rhoelyn, Ferathal scampers to his mistress and pats her hand.
**Araatris:** She lifts her head, dark eyes finding him as he shakes his body with a spark of magic. His petals turn suddenly blue, and he plucks one for her.
**Rhoelyn:** “Medimedi!” The priestess takes the petal and eats it, gathering up the little plantling. “Thank you, Ferathal.” She gathers her strength to stand.
**Araatris:** Leothir blinks to her side and helps as she tries to get her unsteady legs under her. “Surrender,” Verune orders the trio of undead, stern.
**Rhoelyn:** Welles hoarsely orders the other two, “Go! I’ll hold them off, Executor… Apothecary.” He readies his guard, standing off with the others.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse snarls. “Like rot you will.” She grips her side with on hand and sword in the other. She lunges forward. “You’ll burn, you rotting corpses!”
**Araatris:** Kimmel gives Rhoelyn one more speculative look before she and Carling turn and run. Welles catches Nysse’s sword on his own and kicks at her.
**Rhoelyn:** She stumbles back, the kick having clipped her hip. As she recovers, the wolves creep forward and they dart in and out, snapping at him.
**Araatris:** Blood flecks her lips as the huntress ignores the stabbing pain in her side, stabbing at the lackey while the wolves harass him. He swings wildly.
**Rhoelyn:** Her sword catches his arm, but she quickly ducks another swing. She gasps sharply, paling. Rhoelyn grips Leo as she watches Nysse worriedly.
**Araatris:** The others watch, and Rhese shifts beside Verune. The elder puts his hand on his friend’s shoulder when he goes to step forward. “She needs this.”
**Rhoelyn:** It’s when he twists to knock a wolf away that Nysse takes advantage of the opening. Crouching low, she surges up, stabbing upward into his chest.
**Araatris:** “Hck-!” The undead freezes in shock and Nysse freezes in victory. His face twists as his sword drops from numb fingers, but he swings a fist at her.
**Rhoelyn:** The fist clips her arm before pushing through to rattle her head, knocking her to the side and ripping the sword she’s holding from his chest.
**Araatris:** Nysse lands on the grass with a pained cry and curls around her ribs, coughing wetly. Blood spatters the ground, and the undead crashes to his knees.
**Rhoelyn:** Tsume leaps up onto the undead’s back, driving him to the ground allowing allowing Korran to break his neck. The wolves nose at Nysse gently.
**Araatris:** Rhese wades among them until he shoulders one away to kneel at her side. He reaches out with gentle hands to help her sit up. “He’s dead.“
**Rhoelyn:** His mate uncurls at his touch. “The… the other two esca-” She jerks, coughing blood over his arm. She wraps her arm back around herself.
**Araatris:** The druid rests a verdantly glowing hand against her side, gathering her gently into his arms heedless of the blood. “They don’t matter.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse buries her face against his shoulder, biting her lip. “They’ll just come back for me and Rhoelyn. We need to hunt them down, Rhese.”
**Araatris:** “Don’t worry, dalah’surfal,” he says, voice hard-edged, “I’m already planning on it. Now shush while I take care of these ribs.” He brushes her hair.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress nods silently. Rhoelyn looks at them and murmurs to Leo. “I should help. Healing is not Rhese’s specialty.” She tugs on his arm.
**Araatris:** The mage frowns and shakes his head. “Let Rel handle it, princess. You’re pale. And we haven’t found your shackle keys.” He gives his brother a look.
**Rhoelyn:** “Leothir,” she begins, but Relare steps in. “You two look around for some keys. I doubt they had just one copy. I’ll help after I check Nyssera.”
**Araatris:** Rhese has a narrow-eyed and stubborn look for the paladin, some sort of warning, but he lets him step closer and settle on Nysse’s other side.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse raises her head. “Relare… are you alright?” The paladin reaches down with a glowing hand. “Better than you. They… did a number on you.”
**Araatris:** The druid grits his teeth. His mate manages a little, empty smile. “When we find the other two, I’ll return the favor. Nngh.” She winces, coughing.
**Rhoelyn:** “We’ll help, Nyssera. I swear it.” He ignores Rhese’s glare. “Why don’t you try and move? See how you feel.” The paladin offers her a hand.
**Araatris:** Rhese nudges his hand away before she can accept it, grumbling, “She’s better, now. I can see to her from here.” At her look, he adds, “Thanks.”
**Rhoelyn:** The blood elf nods. “I’ll go help them find the keys to Rhoelyn’s shackles.” He pushes to his feet and steps away. The huntress closes her eyes.
**Araatris:** Her mate pulls her close, kissing her hair. His attention goes only briefly over to his sister, but he focuses back. “Is the pain gone?” he asks.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse gives him the same blank smile. “Yes, I’m fine, surfal. You should go check on Rhoelyn.” Her dark eyes betray very little of her emotion.
**Araatris:** He shakes his head. “Verune and Faye are watching over her. I’m more worried about you, Nysse. What did they do to your eyes? We can get Wrune t-”
**Rhoelyn:** “My eyes aren’t their work. They’re fine.” She raises her hand and points to the Eclipse. “Tyrande is the Night Warrior, but Elune touches us all.”
**Araatris:** Rhese follows her finger to the dark moon. He focuses back on her. “What’s wrong? If you’re upset that we’re here, I can explain, lovely.”
**Rhoelyn:** His mate clenches her jaw. “I’m sure you can, but I’ve dealt with a lot the last few days. I was tortured for… hours. I don’t know what I feel.”
**Araatris:** He hugs her tight, hiding his expression from her. “Let’s get ourselves somewhere safe. Then we can see. Can you travel, do you think?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, I’ll be fine. I’ll have to scout for a large enough cave. We should head to the river.” Nysse shudders as a sudden urge to cry hits her.
**Araatris:** Rhese doesn’t release her, keeping her held against him as she shudders. “Thank you, beloved,” he says in Darnassian, pressing his cheek to hers.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse’s voice is hoarse when she speaks, “Thank you? For what?” She frowns at him in confusion, but doesn’t fight his grip to move.
**Araatris:** Her mate mutters by her ear, “For being stronger than I gave you credit for. I s-… I can imagine what you’ve gone through to protect you both.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Rhese…” She takes a deep breath. “I appreciate what you’re saying, but… we need to go. It isn’t safe to linger here.” Nysse pats his arm.
**Araatris:** He nods and releases her with just a little kiss on the cheek. When he straightens, he offers her a hand up. “You’re right of course, my lovely.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman takes his hand and stands. Her gaze flickers to her shattered bow, and she retrieves the pieces before heading to Rhoelyn. “Rhoe…?”
**Araatris:** The priestess looks up from Faye’s work unlocking her cuffs. As they fall away, she smiles and wraps Nysse in a trembling hug. “Thank Elune.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress cradles her sister for a moment. “Are you alright? Did Ferathal make it to you?” She kisses the crown of Rhoelyn’s head.
**Araatris:** Rhoe’s answer is a nod and a little pat on her pouch. “Fera is safe. He did well.” Their mates both look on as their relieved hug stretches long.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse reluctantly releases her sister. “We’re heading to the river. We’ll be harder to find in all the caves. Do you need to ride, Rhoelyn?”
**Araatris:** The priestess smiles sheepishly and glances over at her brother. He silently steps up and hugs her as well as she mutters, “Riding might be best.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Of course.” Korran grows larger and steps up to the priestess. The huntress turns away before the twins can see her pained grimace. “Let’s go.”
**Araatris:** Rhese blinks at the wolf and starts, “Ah, lovely? You know I c-” Rhoe cuts him off with a hand on his arm. “Thank you, sister.” He helps her up.
**Rhoelyn:** Taking one more look at the broken bow, Nysse sighs and gestures for them to follow. She strides out of the forsaken camp and further inland.