Chapter 16: Trust
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir tries to be patient, but stands after a while. He glances at Faye, long finished eating, and the huddled sisters, then strides outside.
**Araatris:** The blood elf finds his unhappy brother a short distance from the cave, keeping watch from a tree limb that stretches beyond him out over the river.
**Rhoelyn:** He makes sure to step loudly as he makes his way to the tree and leans his back against it, also looking out. Leothir waits silently, not pushing.
**Araatris:** Not surprisingly, Rhese’s stubborn nature makes sure that it takes a while before he finally growls out, “You’re not going to leave, are you?”
**Rhoelyn:** “I wasn’t planning on it, no. I figure you’ve a need to vent and the girls are indisposed. I’ve got a thick skin, so…” He shrugs, but doesn’t look up.
**Araatris:** “Vent,” the druid scoffs. “The only vent I need is the one I want to be cutting in some enemy soldier’s heart.” Leo quirks a brow. “Improvement. (c)
**Araatris:** (c) We’re no longer talking about skewering me in particular?” Rhese gives him a flat stare. “It’s still on the table, pasty lordling. Don’t tempt me.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir snorts. “I don’t intend to, but I’m also not going to walk on glass around you. You won’t find your answers at the end of a blade, Rhese.”
**Araatris:** “It’s the only thing that starts to feel like it makes a difference,” the night elf says, glancing down. The mage gives him a discerning look.
**Rhoelyn:** “You make a difference to your family every day. Those two women depend on your support as do your three children.” Leo watches his expression.
**Araatris:** Rhese sneers at him. “Why do you think I do it? Before those two left, I went to kill Horde while they slept. To try to keep them all safe.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo sighs. “You think I’m upset about that? It is what’s needed. I appreciate everything you do, Rhese. We did the same before you arrived.”
**Rhoelyn:** “But… it’s not all they need. It wasn’t right to keep the secret from us, but Rhoelyn is beside herself in there. She needs you. We all do.”
**Araatris:** He jumps back as Rhese’s polearm buries itself in the ground near his black boots. The druid leaps down after it. “We?” He scoffs. “We?!”
**Rhoelyn:** The mage regards him with a frown and nods. “Yes, even me. Is that a surprise? Without you, I’d be dead and Relare would still be dead.”
**Araatris:** Something in his bondbrother’s expression makes Leo narrow his eyes. “Why are you so determined not to acknowledge all that we’ve shared, Rhese?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Have I done something other than being born a sin’dorei? What can I do to prove that I’m sincere?” He gestures widely, but never raises his voice.
**Araatris:** The druid sighs and snags his weapon, shoving it in the holster on his back. “Try going back and not being a loyal Horde lackey all your life.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir blinks. “I haven’t been a Horde lackey my entire life. We only joined them about a decade ago to keep the Scourge from overrunning us.”
**Rhoelyn:** “They were to help us get to the promised land to reunite with our brethren, but… it was all lies…” He smiles, but it never reaches his eyes.
**Araatris:** Rhese snorts and turns away. “Semantics.” The mage shakes his head. “It’s not. You base half of what you think you know about me on assumptions.”
**Araatris:** Leo leans his back against the tree and folds his arms. “I’m not some Horde loyalist, Rhese. I only met any of you when-…” he cuts off, wincing.
**Rhoelyn:** “When?” The druid snaps bitterly, “Keep your rotting secret with the girls. It wouldn’t change my mind anyway.” He punches the tree next to him.
**Araatris:** His bondbrother considers the druid’s angry, tense back. “It might not. But it might.” He grimaces. “Or it might make you want to punch me.”
**Rhoelyn:** Pausing, Rhese turns to look at him. “Is that why the girls won’t tell me? Because I’ll want to punch you or worse?” He steps toward the mage.
**Araatris:** Leo faces the night elf squarely. “It’s part of it, certainly. I’m not proud of how we began, Rhoe and I, but I thank the Light that we did.”
**Rhoelyn:** He grasps the front of Leo’s shirt and shoves him back against the nearest tree. “This isn’t helping your case. You may want to start talking.”
**Araatris:** The blood elf moves slowly, as if facing a real bear, and sets his hands over Rhese’s wrists. “I think it’s time for the whole story. Can we sit?”
**Rhoelyn:** The night elf stares at him for a long moment before huffing. “Fine.” He drops Leothir’s shirt and steps back, waiting for the mage to sit first.
**Araatris:** A nearby boulder proves a good seat, and Leo brushes a spot passably clean before he sits. Under his expectant stare, Rhese sits beside him.
**Rhoelyn:** The mage takes a deep breath and nods as if giving himself permission. “Alright. Let’s start with the background. Back then, we were…”
**Araatris:** “… barely more than kids.” He looks down. “The assignment you judge me by, the one where you and I fought all those skirmishes, was my first.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo plucks a stray leaf blade. “Mother thought it’d teach me responsibility. Rel, being younger, stayed home. I was… enthusiastic to prove myself.”
**Araatris:** He wrinkles his nose. “In those days, I suppose I was that loyal soldier. But not for so very long. I was never very good at following orders.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I wasn’t good at giving them either. Relare could lead with heart and not just words.” He smiles ruefully. “But I was the heir, so they sent (c)
**Rhoelyn:** (c) me home to stay safe.” The mage sighs deeply. “I tried to explain that to mother, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Hence, the pasty lordling.”
**Araatris:** Rhese chimes in, “It’s more natural for him than you.” Leo glances over. “Yes. A poor situation for a titled lord. And Rel became the soldier.”
**Rhoelyn:** “It worked for us though. We supported each other and worked as a unit. What I lacked, Rel had, and I… did the same for him. Mother was happy.”
**Rhoelyn:** He leans back on his hands, looking up at the eclipse. “We continued that way until… until Garrosh took power. That’s when things went wrong.”
**Araatris:** Beside him, the druid grouches, “Does this story lead back to why I should punch you any time tonight?” Leo gives him a flat stare. “Patience.”
**Rhoelyn:** The mage gazes at the cave. “We didn’t agree with Garrosh’s brutish methods. Relare tried to quietly rescue the people he used as pawns.”
**Araatris:** The look the druid gives him is unconvinced, but he listens in silence as Leo continues, “For a year or so, he told me proudly about who he helped.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I told him that it was dangerous and he should leave off. Then, I received a letter calling me to Orgrimmar.” He rests his face in his hands.
**Araatris:** Rhese’s brow furrows as he waits, expecting tears. But when Leothir looks up, even years and a returned brother later, his face is harsh with rage.
**Rhoelyn:** His voice is a rough whisper, “He called me to witness a farce of a trial… just so he could murder my brother in front of me as an example.”
**Araatris:** The blood elf looks at his bondbrother. “I knew Garrosh was a monster before he had Relare killed, and I disdained the Horde he built. But…”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir shakes his head. “Maybe if I’d helped, then I could have been there. I could have helped him. Portaled both us to home and safety…”
**Araatris:** The druid’s amber gaze is on him as he stands, suddenly restless. “I left that city with nothing but hatred and guilt. And I found others like me.”
**Rhoelyn:** “It didn’t matter the cost, I’d pay it if we could end Garrosh. We… we came up with a plan. We heard of an ambassador in Pandaria.” He paces.
**Araatris:** Leo dares to look over at Rhese as he says, “Someone we could use to get close enough to the Horde warchief to kill him. Bait for an assassination.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese gaze hardens, but he doesn’t interrupt. The sin’dorei continues, “We didn’t expect to make it out alive, let alone the ambassador.”
**Araatris:** “You intended to get Rhoelyn killed,” the druid growls, fists clenching. His bondbrother nods, honest despite the pain in his eyes. “I did.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese snaps, “So, you went to Pandaria and kidnapped my sister. I’m surprised you didn’t end up full of arrows. Nysse wouldn’t have let you go.”
**Araatris:** The blood elf winces. “And I assure you, she didn’t. But I had Nataro and Quaed, the Forsaken who took Rhoelyn from Darnassus for me.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir keeps talking in a rush. “We ambushed them and grabbed Rhoelyn, but Nysse followed through the escape portal we used.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I… wasn’t kind. I meant to mess with them, but Pandaria has a way of… twisting you. It turned into obsessive harassment.“ He cringes.
**Araatris:** Rhese surges up and grabs Leo by the shirt, growling, “I think you had better explain that term, Leothir.” The mage grimaces, grabbing his hands.
**Rhoelyn:** His bondbrother holds his gaze as he admits, “I made unwanted advances toward them, Rhese… I wasn’t thinking clearly, but that’s no excuse.”
**Araatris:** His honest answer seems to surprise the night elf, and Rhese blinks. Leo takes advantage to add, “The sha of anger found me easy to infect.”
**Rhoelyn:** Frowning in confusion, Rhese is distracted by the last statement. He shakes Leo. “Sha of Anger? Infect? What the fel are you talking about?”
**Araatris:** Leothir stutters, buffeted about. “Rh-Rhese, I’ll be happy to explain. Especially if you’d be so kind as to put me down. This is quite awkward!”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid pushes him back onto the rock to sit and settles back down beside them. He grouches, “Then hurry up. What is the sha of anger?”
**Araatris:** Tugging his tunic straight again, the blood elf mumbles, “Am I to believe you spent time in Pandaria and never heard about the sha?”
**Rhoelyn:** “I didn’t spend that long there. I was there to see Nysse and she showed me around, but no one ever mentioned sha.” Rhese glowers at him.
**Araatris:** “And before that, you were a pampered pet with a bell collar.” At the druid’s surprised look, Leo dares to grin. “Nysse told me with great glee.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese snorts and punches the mage’s shoulder. “I don’t want to hear about pampering from the pansy lordling. Now, get back to it: the sha.”
**Araatris:** Nodding, Leo does as ordered. “The sha. They were… entities that infected emotions, drove annoyance to anger to fury until you were lost in it.”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid nudges, “You were angry about Relare and the sha took advantage.” The mage nods again. “All the while, we were heading to a boat.”
**Araatris:** Leo tucks a hair back behind his ear that’s fallen free in the jostling. “Rhoelyn was defensive and Nysse was… overwhelmed by my… behavior.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese gives him a smug smirk. “She punched you, didn’t she? My lovely tends to lash out when she gets pushed a bit too far. Did it hurt?”
**Araatris:** The mage smirks back, and for a moment, the brothers share a common look from before the war. “Certainly! Nysse has a mean right hook.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Then she gave you what you deserved at the time.” Rhese chuckles. “That’s my lovely. She must not have hit too hard. It didn’t mess up your face.”
**Araatris:** Leo hides his relief at the druid’s laugh by rubbing his jaw. “It is tough even for her to mar a face as handsome as mine. But Rhoelyn… got angry.”
**Rhoelyn:** It doesn’t take long for the night elf to make the connection. “She didn’t just get angry, she was infected just like you, but not Nysse?”
**Araatris:** “No.” The mage shrugs. “I’ve often wondered why. I think maybe Nysse was so focused on her sister, back then, that she barely touched her (c)
**Araatris:** (c) own feelings. Especially once she realized Rhoe was infected.” He looks over at his bondbrother. “You’d have been proud of your wife, Rhese.”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid draws himself up. “I am always proud of her and my sister. Even if they tend to forget to take care of themselves at times…”
**Araatris:** Leo smiles. “Yes. I know how you feel. They’ve done so well, here, too, despite how you found them.” Rhese frowns at the reminder. “The story?”
**Rhoelyn:** Sensing the change in his bondbrother’s mood, Leo winces, “Yes, of course. Well, as we traveled, we both got worse. This next part is… confusing.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Quaed poisoned Nysse with something that faked death and left her and the wolf while we took Rhoelyn on. Then they knocked me out.”
**Araatris:** The druid’s brow furrows. “You’re right. That’s confusing. Explain properly,” he orders. Leo’s answer is a shrug. “I remember… antagonizing Rhoelyn.”
**Rhoelyn:** “But the details aren’t there. I’m not sure if it’s due to the poison Quaed used on me.” The mage sighs deeply. “They kept me out for a while.”
**Araatris:** For a long moment, Rhese considers his paler brother, then his eyes narrow. “That’s not entirely true, is it? What are you leaving out, Leo?”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir groans and slumps. “I had moments of lucidity, yes. And I’m… I’m horrified at how I acted, Rhese. I… I remember kissing Rhoelyn and…”
**Rhoelyn:** “… and I remember attacking Nysse and demanding that she choose me instead of you.” He grabs his knuckles with a white-knuckled grip.
**Araatris:** “Attacking-?!” The druid is on his feet in a flash, his sin’dorei companion pulled once more to his toes as he fists his hands in Leo’s abused tunic.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese stares at the pained expression of the man hanging limply in his grip. He growls viciously and then drops Leo back to the stone. “Sha.”
**Araatris:** “It’s not an excuse-” The night elf cuts his bondbrother off with a growl. “It rotting isn’t. So your fate hangs on your answer to my next question.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Nysse wouldn’t have allowed you near Rhoe if you’d succeeded.” He snarls, “Do you regret it, Leo, or do you harbor feelings for my mate?”
**Araatris:** “Feelings?” The mage is quick to shake his head. “Not the type you’re imagining, Rhese. I do love Nyssera, in all truth. As a sister and a friend.
**Araatris:** Even impaired as I was, I could see that she is a special woman.” He meets Rhese’s gaze. “If I weren’t every bit as lucky, I could be jealous.”
**Rhoelyn:** There’s a certain amount of tension that eases from the druid’s shoulders, but he growls at the mage anyway. “I still want to punch you, Leo…”
**Araatris:** “I don’t blame you.” His brother looks down at his clenched hands. “Nysse horse-kicked me halfway across the room and nearly cut my heart out.”
**Araatris:** He glances up, his green eyes over a wary little smirk. “If that makes you feel any better, I do remember that part quite clearly. It hurt.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese snorts, then chuckles. “You know… it actually does.” He slaps Leothir on his back, a little harder than necessary. “I assume there’s more?”
**Araatris:** The mage smirks. “Well, your meek little sister tried to kill me soon thereafter. She quite nearly succeeded, too.” His aquiline nose wrinkles.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese raises his eyebrows, but laughs. “Well, I have to admit that I’m curious to know how they went from hating you to calling you family.”
**Araatris:** Leo groans. “Are you quite sure you need to know? The story gets extremely weird by that point.” The druid just stares at him, expectant.
**Rhoelyn:** “Fine.” Leo sighs. “While Rhoelyn and I were infected, the others were searching for a cure with the Pandaren’s help. Items, legends, and such.”
**Araatris:** He picks a stray leaf off his cloak. “You may not believe it, but Nysse worked closely with Nataro and Quaed until the trail led us all to Xuen.”
**Rhoelyn:** The blood elf frowns, “Xuen required that we complete a task, to find the mirror to his prison and face our true selves. Then we could be cured.”
**Araatris:** “Nysse was eager until the Pandaren monks there told her that Rhoelyn and I were going in together. And alone.” Leo shakes his head, grimacing.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese settles back down on the rock. “I can imagine, but she didn’t have any other choice, did she?” The blood elf shakes his head again.
**Araatris:** “Even if there’d been another way, I think the Pandaren were annoyed enough with our bickering that they gave her no choice. They dumped us in.”
**Rhoelyn:** Grimacing, Rhese mutters, “Nysse must have been beside herself. So… you both went in… what happened?” He glances at the cave, then back to Leo.
**Araatris:** “A little more harassment,” the mage admits with a wince. “And quite a lot of saving each other. I was sick with guilt when my head cleared.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese scratches his jaw. “I… can understand. But… was that enough to change her mind? Did that experience change her hate for you to love?”
**Araatris:** Leothir considers his answer for a moment. “I honestly don’t know what changed her mind. I’m not even sure she does. I only know… well…”
**Rhoelyn:** “That something did. That she loves you.” Rhese considers him and nods to himself, asking, “Did we ever tell you how Nysse and I met?”
**Araatris:** The mage blinks at him, quietly pleased to be chatting without all the anger in the way. He grins. “You only said that you met in Outland, at Cenarion Refuge.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese looks a little sheepish. “We actually met slightly before that. There were these titan orbs that could control people and she had one.”
**Rhoelyn:** “When I went to retrieve it, she shot an arrow into my leg. When I finally got her away and she came to herself… she asked to meet with me again.”
**Araatris:** The mage’s golden brows go up. “So… When you met, she wasn’t herself?” His bondbrother shakes his head. “Not really. But she was still magnificent.”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid chuckles, “And then our first date was interrupted by Valerio. When he later went to Cenarion Refuge, injured, I’m surprised she came.”
**Araatris:** Leothir smirks. “So first she shot you, then she wooed you, then she rescued you?” The blood elf chuckles. “Where was our timid Nysse?”
**Rhoelyn:** “There were plenty of those. I’m not sure it’s possible for her to not be easily embarrassed.” Rhese hesitates. “Thank you, Leo… for telling me.”
**Araatris:** The blood elf leans back on his arms, nodding. “To some extent, they were protecting me by keeping it from you. But I’m sorry it hurt.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I wish they would have told me at some point. Yes, I would have been upset, but… it would have been better.” The druid lies back on the rock.
**Araatris:** “Keeping secrets is never actually the answer in a family.” Leo glances back toward the cave. “My princess and yours both need to learn that.”
**Araatris:** Then he looks back over at Rhese and narrows his emerald eyes, smirking. “And you, stubborn brother, could stand to learn faith in your family.”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid snorts and turns his head to regard Leothir. “Certain elves need to become family first. I’ve never heard any official declaration.”
**Araatris:** That thought brings an instant blush to the mage’s cheeks as his eyes widen. “A-ah. Well, yes. Th-that is… we are family. It’s only th-”
**Rhoelyn:** “It’s only what? Are you nervous? Shy? If you truly care about my sister, Leothir, then what’s holding you back?” Rhese rolls onto his side.
**Araatris:** Leo rubs his face, groaning. “Maybe let’s just go back to you wanting to murder me, hm?” The druid quirks a brow, but just then a shout rings out.
**Rhoelyn:** Sharing a quick look with Leo, he lunges to his feet and starts running toward the sound. “Let’s go. We can’t let them find us.” Leo nods.
**Araatris:** As they go, the mage pulls his black hood up and his mask down over his face. Across the riverbank, they see a trio of shadows moving in the brush.
**Rhoelyn:** The druid points left, then his form folds into a silvery cat as he creeps to the right. They circle, Rhese shifting back once he’s in position.
**Araatris:** Leo mutters and swirls of magic form around his splayed hands as they close in on where they can hear the rustling of footsteps in the brush.
**Rhoelyn:** Gathering the stars into himself, Rhese’s form fades to something more ethereal. As the first enemy screams, he brings his own magic upon them.
**Araatris:** His bolt of starfire hits a nightfallen swordsman, dragging a pained cry from her as she stumbles out of the shade of a tree. She charges at him.
**Rhoelyn:** The druid raises his polearm and steps aside at the last minute, slashing at her unprotected back as she passes. She stumbles under the blow.
**Araatris:** As she turns, a ring of blue-tinged magic flits into place around her neck. With a sudden pop, her expression freezes in a surprised look.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese gives Leo a sour look and turns to the third one, staring blankly at his fallen team. The druid raises his hand, sending another bolt flying.
**Araatris:** His target gasps and throws himself to the side as the sword wielder’s head falls, her body thudding down beside it. The ground is singed by sunfire.
**Rhoelyn:** A whistling through the air catches both Leo’s and Rhese’s attention. An arrow pierces the troll’s shoulder, a stray movement saving his heart.
**Araatris:** The druid grins to see the familiar fletching that matches the talisman he wears around his neck. The enemy soldier whistles and turns to run.
**Rhoelyn:** Both men’s magic bolts hit the Horde soldier in the back and he falls to his knees. The green-haired huntress steps out from the trees, bow ready.
**Araatris:** The moment he starts to cast something, her eyes narrow and her arrow flies. The barb sinks deep in his damaged back, and he pitches forward.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress then turns and pins both men with a hard look. “Did it ever occur to either of you to let us know where you were running off to?”
**Araatris:** “Ah, um…” Leo scratches his head under his hood. “Well, frankly, no. That wasn’t obvious?” Her scowl tells him that was the wrong answer.
**Rhoelyn:** She puts one hand on her hip and gestures at the dead trio. “Check them and let’s go. The others are waiting to find out what happened.”
**Araatris:** Rhese ignores her for a moment, looking out along the river bank, brow furrowed. Finally, he shakes his head and turns back. “Why did he whistle?”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress’ dark eyes widen. “A signal. We need to get out of here. I’ll have Korran scout.” She hops to checking that the three really are dead.
**Araatris:** The mage helps as Rhese shifts and leaps into the tree boughs with a flutter of black wings. “If there a-” he starts, but a gunshot interrupts.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress curses under her breath, and the ghostly wolf bursts from her body and dives into the woods. She steps in front of Leo with her bow.
**Araatris:** Her blood elven brother steps back and doubles over, groaning, “Bloody fel.” He stops when his back hits the tree trunk and gasps, “Find cover!”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse ducks behind a tree as another gunshot fires. The air by her ear whistles, and she grimaces then watches to make sure Leo is covered.
**Araatris:** From the trees comes a sudden yowl and a wolf’s feral snarl. Rhese tumbles into view, grappling with an overgrown borer with blue, slime-wet fur.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress snaps, “Clear!” She steps out with bow drawn as Rhese rolls away. Nyssera looses an arrow, sinking it deep into the slimy fur.
**Araatris:** Before the worm’s pained screech can echo, another gunshot rings out, sending Nysse staggering back, her arm going numb.
**Rhoelyn:** The woman stares at her arm in shock. Leo yanks her back behind the tree with a pained grunt. “Rot! We need Rel here. This is getting messy.”
**Araatris:** Not far away, the wounded worm gives another screech before it finally collapses, and Rhese darts away as another shot hits the dirt by his paws.
**Rhoelyn:** He slips over by Nysse and Leo, shifting back to a night elf. The huntress glances at Rhese, still a little stunned. “My arm is… numb…”
**Araatris:** Her mate reaches for her with a little nod. “Where’s Korran? Did he find the sniper?” Leo slides down the tree trunk to sit, grimacing. “I hope?”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse closes her eyes, seeing through his eyes. “Yes, he’s sneaking up on him still.” A scream rings out from the tree limbs above.
**Araatris:** Rhese throws himself between the figure that comes leaping down at them and Nysse and Leo, and he snarls as the two of them tumble away.
**Rhoelyn:** A blade slices the air above Rhese as he ducks. Leo and Nysse struggle back to their feet, the huntress drawing her blade with her off hand.
**Araatris:** Somewhere not too far away, another shot rings out, but this time to the backdrop of a lupine snarl. The bullet hits the trunk wide of any target.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese stabs at the shadowy enemy, his polearm going into the air at their side. Behind him, Leo grabs Nysse’s shoulder. “Stay still!”
**Araatris:** “Rhese needs me!” she protests, grimacing. “… to stay out of his way and not get shot, again? Agreed.” The mage’s face is stern despite its pallor.
**Rhoelyn:** She reluctantly stays with him. “Korran almost has the shooter. Then we can help.” Leo snorts, holding his own wound. “Rhese’ll be done by then.”
**Araatris:** Korran snarls and snaps once more at the Tauren, but she rolls backs over her shoulder, forcing him to back off or take a hoof to the jaw.
**Rhoelyn:** She smiles when he backs down. Then she whistles twice sharply. “Sorry, but we’re not staying to play, pup. Now go fetch this azerite bomb.”
**Araatris:** The huntress yanks a blue sphere from her gauntlet and gives it a mighty throw, arcing up and over the river toward the cavern of their camp.
**Rhoelyn:** The wolf glances between her and the sphere then leaps after it. Below, Nysse bolts away from Leo and shouts, “They tossed a bomb at the camp!”
**Araatris:** The mage gasps, and behind him, Rhese and the shadowed swordsman still grapple, the orc grunting as he catches the druid’s fist in his ribs.
**Rhoelyn:** The orc returns the blow with a knee to Rhese’s gut, forcing him back away. Their foe backs away as Nysse calls again, “Rhese! We need to go!”
**Araatris:** The druid doesn’t even get a chance to nod before the riverbed is rocked by an explosion that shakes the ground enough to stagger all of them.
**Rhoelyn:** A blue streak of energy flies through the air and into Nysse’s chest. Her grip is knocked from the tree she’s holding. “Korran… didn’t make it.”
**Araatris:** Rhese gasps, the orc forgotten as he escapes. He grabs Nysse. “Th-the cave?! We have t-” She staggers as Leo groans and blinks away with a snap.
**Rhoelyn:** “G-go! I’ll… I’ll catch up!” The huntress grabs a limb. “Hurry!” The druid hesitates and looks around. “There could still be Horde nearby.”
**Araatris:** “You’re our only o-other healer, beloved.” Her grip on the wood is white-knuckled. “Go!” Her mate brushes her wounded arm with a little heal.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress waits for the sleek, silver-furred form to disappear from her sight before she starts dragging herself from tree to tree.
**Araatris:** While her wounded arm is no longer numb, every step becomes heavier as agony blooms through her body, and her breath rasps. She groans.
**Rhoelyn:** Up ahead someone shouts something, but Nysse can’t make it out past the throbbing of her head. Her legs give out, and she sinks to the ground.
**Araatris:** Suddenly frightened, she tries to draw breath to call out, but the air rasps in her chest. She reaches out a shaky hand before darkness takes her.