Chapter 14: Discord
**Araatris:** By the time they all settle into shelter and make a hearty dinner, the sky has already lightened into day as much as it ever does under Elune’s eclipse.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese works on Nysse’s bow even as his eyes follow her checking the cave entrance for the fifth time since camp. Kaerryn raises an eyebrow.
**Araatris:** The warrior sets her armor and cloth down and wanders up behind Nysse as she stares out. “Hey!” she says, overloud, and her friend jumps and spins.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse’s sword is half out of her sheath before she stops and re-sheathes it. “Kaerryn. Did you get enough to eat? We lost most of our supplies.”
**Araatris:** The human’s little smirk shows just how purposeful that was. “Yeah, no problem. Did you? Verune offered to go hunting while you two sleep.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I’m not tired.” The night elf turns back toward the outside. “If he goes out to hunt, he should take Rhese. It’s best to travel in pairs.”
**Araatris:** “Yeah. Sure.” The warrior clamps a hand on her shoulder. “I’m not as rotting patient as the others. What are you doing? Faye’s on guard.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress frowns. “I know. I’m just…” At Kaerryn’s tightening on her shoulder, she sighs. “I can’t relax knowing that they’re out there.”
**Araatris:** Kaerryn snorts. “Just who do you think you’ve got with you? They’re not getting in fifty feet of either of you, now. I’m here!” She grins toothily.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse clenches her fists at her side. “It’s… it’s not that, Kaerryn. I… I want to hunt them. I want to hurt them like they’ve–nevermind.”
**Araatris:** The smaller woman gives her a shrewd look and a nod. “You don’t have to be afraid to say it, you know. You want revenge. It’s rotting justified.”
**Rhoelyn:** Closing her eyes, the woman hunches over. “It is really? It goes against everything I try to teach the children. Revenge consumes everything…”
**Araatris:** Kaerryn’s lip curls. “It doesn’t have to, Nysse. Sometimes revenge is just honest as fel. Sometimes you just have to trade a hurt for a hurt.”
**Rhoelyn:** “There’s just… so much to deal with.” Nysse looks over her shoulder at Rhese and then the blood elves. Her stomach interrupts the somber mood.
**Araatris:** Her friend rolls her eyes. “One thing at a time, goofball. I’ll send Verune and someone out hunting on behalf of your stomach.” Kaerryn smirks.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse stammers, “I’m not t-that hungry! I’m just… I’ll go check on Rhese and my bow.” She finishes sheepishly and slips past Kaerryn.
**Araatris:** The human goes to talk to Verune while Nysse approaches her mate, his handsome face screwed up in careful concentration as he repairs her weapon.
**Rhoelyn:** “Rhese?” Her voice is soft and tentative. She settles down across from him, willing her storm of emotions to calm. “How are the repairs going?”
**Araatris:** The druid glances up and offers her a tight grin. “It’s a challenge to get the wood to regrow straight, but give me a bit. I’ll get it, lovely.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress gives a little nod. “Of course you will.” Her cheeks darken and she ducks her head. “But… would you be able to take a break?”
**Araatris:** Rhese looks up, his hands stilling on the bow of living wood. He blinks at his mate and slowly sets down his work. “Anything my lady wishes.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I feel… wrong, surfal. Angry. Upset. Hurt. Worried. Terrified. I… don’t know what to do with it all.” She grips her pants leg in her fists.
**Araatris:** He shifts the bow and his tools to the side and settles onto his knees, leaning forward to take her knotted hands in his. “Why don’t we step out?”
**Rhoelyn:** She blinks dark, unreadable eyes at him. “Out? Outside?” The druid nods and gently tugs her unresisting hands as he stands, Nysse following.
**Araatris:** Once they’re out of the cave, hidden in a little thicket near its mouth, he pauses and turns, opening his arms in invitation. “I understand.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse bites her lip, then slowly steps into his arms. “I want to cry and scream. I’m so terrified that if I stop being strong that I’ll break.”
**Araatris:** Her love wraps his arms around her loosely and snorts. “Yes. That sounds familiar, too. Nysse, love… I…” Rhese winces and sighs, tugging her closer.
**Rhoelyn:** “And we’re lost in it all…” The young woman lays her head on his shoulder. “Why don’t you go with Verune to hunt… and talk? I’ll… talk to Rhoe.”
**Araatris:** “Ugh,” Rhese moans, kissing her temple. “Do I have to talk to him? Poppa bear is saving up an earful for me. I can feel it in my feline instincts.”
**Rhoelyn:** His mate chuckles and gives him her first tiny, but true smile. She reaches up to cup his cheek. “Verune cares and is here to guide you, beloved.”
**Araatris:** He smirks. “I know, lovely. I know.” The druid nuzzles into her hand. “He has always steered me right, even when I wanted to go wrong.”
**Rhoelyn:** “And do you want to go wrong now?” Nysse asks softly. She stares up into his bright eyes and tightens her other arm around the druid.
**Araatris:** Rhese hesitates, but he nods. “I want to hunt those two who hurt you and Rhoe, Nysse. I don’t just want to kill them. I want to make them suffer.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse grimaces. “You’ll have to wait… I want to as well, but that will take time.” She redirects the conversation. “Do my eyes bother you?”
**Araatris:** Her mate searches her face, brushing her hair back from her temple. He doesn’t answer right away. “They take some getting used to, surfal.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I don’t know how long they’ll stay like this…” She looks down at their feet. “I’m sorry. I… I suppose it’ll make Yami more comfortable…”
**Araatris:** Rhese chuckles and leans down to put a finger under her chin and lift her face. “The family resemblance couldn’t get any stronger. That’s for sure.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress blushes. “Do you think that’d make him happy? He wants to fit in so badly sometimes.” Her hands move to rest on his chest.
**Araatris:** He answers with a soft smile. “Actually, I think he’ll be over Elune to see your eyes matching his. He adores you above all others, my lovely.”
**Rhoelyn:** “He adores you as well. This war has been so hard on him. If some good can come from it…” She raises up to kiss his cheek. “Shall we head back?”
**Araatris:** The druid shakes his head, caressing his love’s shoulder. “I have a request, first.” Nysse blinks up at him. “A request? What do you mean?”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid nods. “Yes, a request.” She tilts her head in a combination of confusion and curiosity. “R-rhese? What can I do for you, beloved?”
**Araatris:** He smiles tenderly at the huntress. “A kiss. A proper kiss. Nysse, I’ve missed you. I know you don’t want me here, but I’m glad to see you.”
**Rhoelyn:** She blushes more darkly. “I… I’ve missed you and the children so much, Rhese.” She raises up again, this time to give him a sweet kiss on the lips.
**Araatris:** Rhese happily wraps his arms around her and lifts her just slightly off her feet. When their kiss pauses, he mutters, “I’m so relieved you’re safe.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. “I’m here and safe. I swore that Rhoelyn and I would return home safely.” Their foreheads rest together. “I’m… glad to see you.”
**Araatris:** “Are you?” he asks tentatively, pulling away to look at her. “I understand if you’re not. I broke my promise to let you two do this together.”
**Rhoelyn:** She sighs. “I wish you hadn’t felt it was necessary, but… you all came when we needed you most. I’m honestly more upset with how (c)
**Rhoelyn:** (c) you treat our bondbrothers after everything they’ve risked to keep Rhoe and I safe out here. They no longer have a home to return to.”
**Araatris:** The druid frowns and looks away, a muscle in his jaw tightening. He says nothing for a while, then mutters, “We didn’t ask them to do that.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress scowls at her mate, stepping back. “And I didn’t ask for you to come here, leaving our children without either parent nearby.”
**Araatris:** “I had to come!” He clenches his fists. “I saw you being hurt! I can’t just ignore my family being in danger. Yami and the twins have your father.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nyssera makes a sweeping gesture back to the cave, raising her voice. “Relare and Leothir are family, you rotting idiot! They felt the same way!”
**Araatris:** Her mate’s expression is thunderous as he growls, “You aren’t that naive, Nysse. It doesn’t matter how they feel. They can’t be family!
**Araatris:** Who will accept that? No one, and if they and we try to make that claim, we only put ourselves in danger. We put the twins and Yami in danger!”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman snarls. “Is that how you feel about Yami, too? People thought that a voidling could never be our family either! I accept them!”
**Araatris:** Rhese growls back, “This is not about Yami. He’s ours. Leothir isn’t. Did you forget that the first time I met him, we tried to kill each other?”
**Rhoelyn:** She slams the back of her fist against a nearby tree. “Are you really so blind that you’d make her miserable for your own selfish pride?!”
**Araatris:** “It’s not about pride!” The druid steps toward Nysse. “Can’t you see I’m protecting her? I’m protecting all of us! This war makes them dangerous!”
**Rhoelyn:** She steps back, shaking her head. “You’re the one that’s dangerous! You’re willing to attack first! You’ve never even asked her what she thought!”
**Araatris:** Rhese scowls and goes quieter, suddenly. “I don’t have to ask her. My sister understands, Nysse. Why do you think she sent him away?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Good. Then you’ll understand when I send you away. Go home, Rhese. We don’t need you here.” The huntress snaps coldly, then turns to leave.
**Araatris:** Her mate’s response is a sound that is somewhere between a feral snarl and a scoff, and he turns away, his form folding before he dashes off.
**Rhoelyn:** No one except the priestess looks up when Nysse enters the cave. The huntress finds a corner and draws up her knees, laying down her head.
**Araatris:** After a few heartbeats, Rhoelyn squirms out of her bedroll and makes her way over, settling beside her sister. Silent, she wraps her arm around her.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse sniffles and buries her face against Rhoelyn shoulder. She mumbles, “I’m sorry, sister. Nothing I do seems to work. I just get.. angry.”
**Araatris:** The healer nods slightly and rubs her shoulder, holding her close. “You are both angry. It is so hard to see clearly through that haze, Nysse.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I… I’ll need to apologize… If he’ll listen after that. I wouldn’t blame him if he did just leave.” Nysse ignores the soft rumbling of her belly.
**Araatris:** Rhoe kisses her temple, speaking softly. “Rhese will not leave, sister. He could never bring himself to abandon you, no matter his hurt and anger.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nodding, she sniffles again, not quite crying. “I know… I-I’m so tired, but I’m terrified to sleep. I need something to do… anything.”
**Araatris:** “Oh, Nysse…” The priestess sighs softly and glances up as Leo brings over a ration. She offers it to the younger elf. “Why do you fear to sleep?”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman takes it and nibbles on it as if she can trick her stomach. She replies in a tiny whisper, “Because I’ll have nightmares.”
**Araatris:** “Ah…” Her sister lowers her eyes, cuddling her. “Rest with Tsume and me, my sister. We will do our best to smother the nightmares with love.”
**Rhoelyn:** “T-tsume’s enough. You… you should spend some time with Leothir, sister. I’ll be fine.” Nysse attempts a weak smile as she finishes the ration.
**Araatris:** Rhoe smiles softly and brushes her hair back from her temple. “I will spend time with my… with Leothir after I rest with my sister.”
**Araatris:** Leo chimes in with a chuckle from by the fire, “You`re quite welcome to her nap time, Nysse. She’s particularly dull while she sleeps, if adorable.”
**Rhoelyn:** Blushing, Nysse slowly nods. Then she asks meekly, “Are there any other rations?” The mage laughs and leans back to hand her another one.
**Araatris:** “That older one went out hunting,” Galandrie offers, a bit subdued. “I’m sure we can look forward to some… dead forest creature, soon.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress tilts her head. “Do you not like meat?” She opens the ration and nibbles at it, resolving to wait for Verune before eating more.
**Araatris:** She sighs and looks from Relare to Leothir. “I suppose I just prefer my food a few more steps removed from grazing. Like on a nice, clean platter.”
**Rhoelyn:** “We tend to do stews and bowls. We’re not going to eat raw venison.” Nysse slips an arm around her sister. “Rhoe wouldn’t like that.”
**Araatris:** The healer smiles tiredly and cuddles in to Nysse. “I am neither wolf wildling nor saber. I prefer my meat cooked. Or better, with many vegetables.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse yawns as Landrie sighs in relief. “That’s better than I’d heard rumors of. I really wasn’t looking forward to raw meat. That’s much better.”
**Araatris:** Kaerryn stomps over and plants herself in front of the the night elves, hands on hips. “Not tired, huh? Fel.” She scoffs and glares down at Nysse.
**Rhoelyn:** Grimacing, Nysse ducks her head. “I became more tired after I ate? Don’t look like that. I’ll be sleeping soon enough. I swear it.”
**Araatris:** The warrior smiles instantly. “Good. I’ll hold you to that.” Relare smirks as she turns away. “That was done with your typical grace, Kaerryn.”
**Rhoelyn:** The human woman snorts. “It gets the job done. You don’t want to know what’ll happen if she doesn’t sleep.” She gives him a mischievous grin.
**Araatris:** Rhoe grins and pulls away from Nysse as she finishes her ration. “Dear me. You are under dire threat, now, sister. Will you come and rest?”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress flushes, but nods. “Y-yes, sister. I will.” She lets Rhoelyn guide her over to the bedrolls, clicking for Tsume to follow them.
**Araatris:** It takes very little time for the tired healer to cuddle into her bedroll, dragging Nysse along with her. Tsume plops down beside her mistress.
**Rhoelyn:** Leo and Rel watch as they fall asleep, the mage sighing mournfully. “I’m not sure that our dear huntress realizes that she’s fighting our battle.”
**Araatris:** His brother nods. “If that stubborn bear isn’t willing to listen to her, I doubt we have much hope of getting him to listen to us.” Leo disagrees.
**Rhoelyn:** “I think that we’re the only ones that can get him to listen because we’re the only ones that can prove our loyalty, Rel.” The mage leans back.
**Araatris:** The other blood elf winces. “I suppose you’re right. If we can keep him from mauling long enough to listen.” Landrie frowns at them.
**Rhoelyn:** “Listen. I understand not wanting to fight, but… where the fel are you going to find that accepts you together?” Her eyebrows draw together.
**Araatris:** The brothers exchange a look before Leo shrugs. “It’s hard to say, just now. But we’re not willing to give up on our family. We’ll find somewhere.”
**Rhoelyn:** Galandrie shakes her head. “You’re all fools, but… you’re fools with heart. I’m not convinced that she and her mate won’t kill each other first.”
**Araatris:** Relare snorts. “That’s only because you don’t know them. You wouldn’t guess it right now, but this family is close. Leo was at their twins’ birth.”
**Rhoelyn:** She raises both eyebrows. “They let him that close to the babies?” Leo smirks. “Better than that. I got to hold both of the little babes.”
**Araatris:** He smiles tenderly and looks over at where his mate and his sister are fast asleep, Nysse cuddling Tsume. “Rhese is usually like a brother to us.”
**Rhoelyn:** “What a strange family you’ve gathered. Does she take in everyone? She even mentioned a voidling, I believe?” Landrie shakes her head.
**Araatris:** Leothir chuckles. “No, I wouldn’t say that. Nysse probably wouldn’t have welcomed me if not for my princess. I… didn’t meet them… at my best.”
**Rhoelyn:** The blood elven woman snorts. “And yet, your ‘princess’ seems to have seen past your… less than best and created a champion of the other.”
**Araatris:** Relare offers in, “Rhoelyn has a way of doing that… seeing past the surface of people. And once Nysse got to know Leo properly, she saw it, too.”
**Rhoelyn:** A flicker of jealousy crosses her features, then she shifts uncomfortably and changes the topic. “Well, good luck. I plan to go to Gadgetzan.”
**Araatris:** The paladin smirks and says, “You must appreciate the goblin way of life more than I do. Good luck to you, as well. Do you plan to leave us, soon?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Once we’re out of Darkshore. And… I don’t have any contacts in the Alliance, so it’s one of the few places I can live.” She covers up a yawn.
**Araatris:** He shrugs a bit. “Well, now you have at least a couple. And a couple of contacts somewhere… in between. What do you do, Galandrie?”
**Rhoelyn:** The sin’dorei woman regards him with a small smile. “Nothing special, another soldier in the line. I just disagreed with the wrong people.”
**Araatris:** His grin is self-depreciating. “You’re in good company, soldier. We seem to have a history of doing that, too.” Leo snorts. “Too true, brother.”
**Rhoelyn:** Landrie snorts. “No, I’d say that you chose the people that mattered. I don’t like how they’re treating our cousins. We may not agree, but… this…”
**Araatris:** Leothir frowns and glances at Relare. “Anyone with half a heart feels how wrong it was to burn the tree. The Horde is lead by someone with none.”
**Rhoelyn:** “If my commanding officer was any indication, there’s more that lack hearts than her.” Galandrie grimaces and looks away, lost in thought.
**Araatris:** Relare wears a matching grimace as he looks out the cave mouth. “Case in point, that camp full of Forsaken. And most of Leo’s former comrades.”
**Rhoelyn:** The woman chuckles and grins, almost to herself. “I never thought that I’d have more heart than them. Guess my heart isn’t ice after all.”
**Araatris:** “It seems not,” Leo says, folding his arms behind his head. They pause in an amicable silence for a while before he squirms and hops up.
**Rhoelyn:** Landrie raises an eyebrow. “You have an awful lot of energy after a day like today.” She yawns again and lays her head back against the wall.
**Araatris:** Relare, watching him, says, “You’re anxious, aren’t you?” His brother nods, pacing to the entrance. “I want to leave. I want none of us to be here.”
**Rhoelyn:** “We all feel that way, but we couldn’t push any further.” She jerks her head at the sleeping sisters. “They wouldn’t have made it as they were.”
**Araatris:** The mage sighs and follows her gesture, his luminous green eyes playing over them. “I know. I’ve been trying to figure out what they’ll decide.”
**Rhoelyn:** The blood elven woman tilts her head. “Decide?” She frowns slightly, tucking her red hair behind her ear. “I thought we were getting out of here.”
**Araatris:** Leo’s gaze falls on his love’s sleeping face, and he gives a resigned, sad grin. “You would think that, wouldn’t you? But I’m afraid she’ll stay.”
**Rhoelyn:** Galandrie covers her face with a soft groan. “If that’s the case, then I guess we’re here doing their work a bit longer. Maybe it’ll go faster.”
**Araatris:** Relare chuckles and leans forward, draping his hands on his knees. “How is your singing voice, Galandrie?” She peeks out between her fingers.
**Rhoelyn:** She blinks, momentarily confused as she lowers her hand. “My singing voice? I suppose I can hold a tune alright, but how would that help?”
**Araatris:** Leothir grins and shares a look with his brother. Kaerryn yawns and opens one eye to chime in, “I sing great when I’m drunk. What’s the occasion?”
**Rhoelyn:** “They sing to the spirits as part of their rituals. It could be that they’d respond to more people.” Relare smiles broadly. “It is possible help.”
**Araatris:** His golden-haired brother smiles dreamily. “I love it when my princess sings. It’s been quite the best part of this entire escapade.” Kaerryn gags.
**Rhoelyn:** “Go to sleep, Leo. I’m going to throw up on your shoes if you keep talking like that.” Kaerryn smirks, obviously remembering the story.
**Araatris:** The mage grimaces and wanders back over to where more bedrolls wait, all piled together. “Well, when you incentivize it like that…” he grumbles.
**Rhoelyn:** He settles down, rolling out a bedroll. “Dirty blow… should have never told her.” The small group dozes on and off, joining the sisters, resting.