Chapter 24: The End is the Beginning
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess blinks in confusion, staring up at the canopied bed. “I… wha? Where am I?” She winces at the burning sensation through her body.
**Araatris:** As she curls on her side, cringing, the moonlight catches her attention, and she looks up at the huge windows throwing silver light across her.
**Rhoelyn:** The full moon looms outside the window, calling to her. Despite her discomfort, she finds herself leaning towards it. “Elune… Elune, help me…”
**Araatris:** The moon is silent, and the healer groans as a wave of searing pain washes through her. Ghostly images flicker at the edges of her vision.
**Rhoelyn:** “Rhoelyn, you must listen.” The voice echoes as if it was everywhere at once. An image of a high elf fades in and out in the room’s corner.
**Araatris:** It’s a struggle to focus her thoughts, but she tries through the pain. The fleeting presence of a teen with violet hair catches her as he walks by.
**Rhoelyn:** “You must let go. It’s this power that’s still burning you in the future.” An image of a male blood elf flickers at the edge of her vision.
**Araatris:** Even disoriented, she yanks the covers higher over her nakedness, gasping, “R-Relare! You… you mustn’t be here. Ng. Your mother will be fu-”
**Rhoelyn:** A night elven woman stands by her bed, Fayrial. “More like Leo will be furious. You must listen to Cori. What you’re doing will destroy you.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn reaches out toward her. “I do… not understand.” Faye sighs and takes her hand, and in reality, Nysse does the same. “Focus, priestess.”
**Rhoelyn:** Relare speaks from behind her. “Find your way to Nyssera. You must leave this behind, Rhoelyn. You know where she is in your heart.”
**Araatris:** The healer looks between them, the trappings of a different time around her, and her brow furrows. “Ny… ssera?” The name summons an image.
**Rhoelyn:** A young woman with green hair opens her arms wide. “Sister, I’m here for you. Alensyr, Leothir, and Rhese and our children are waiting for you.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn gapes at her for a moment before a pang has her curling around herself. Tears shine in her eyes. “S… sister… Yes, but… I lost Rhese.”
**Rhoelyn:** “No. You haven’t. He’s waiting for you with the rest, Rhoelyn, but you have to come to me.” Tears shine in the huntress’ eyes. “Please.”
**Araatris:** After a wet sniffle, Rhoe tries to squirm free of the large, silk-draped bed from a time that wasn’t quite real. She whimpers pitifully, entangled.
**Rhoelyn:** Faye reaches down and starts tugging gently at the fabric. The paladin murmurs softly. “You’re still holding onto it. You have to let go.”
**Araatris:** The priestess pauses, tears dripping down her cheeks, and she looks at her bondbrother. “I am frightened. The door refuses to close.”
**Rhoelyn:** He tugs at his cloak and offers it to her. “Taking the first step is always scary, but you don’t need to close the door. Only cross the threshold.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn takes the cloth and clutches it to her, sniffling as she looks between him and Faye and Nysse. “We’re here, sister. Take the first step.”
**Rhoelyn:** The dragon watches silently from his corner, waiting. Faye takes the cloak and wraps it around her. Relare offers his hand to the priestess.
**Araatris:** She scoots to the edge of the bed and pauses there against another wave of burning pain, biting her lip before she clutches Relare’s hand.
**Rhoelyn:** Faye holds the cloak closed as she moves. Both of them support her as first one bare foot touches the floor then another. “I… I don’t know if-”
**Araatris:** “You are strong, priestess,” the sentinel interrupts, her small smile reassuring. “I remember your strength from this place.” Rhoe stares at her.
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess ducks her head with reddened cheeks. “Y-yes. Of course.” Nysse smiles gently. “You can do it, Rhoelyn. They all want to see you.”
**Araatris:** The healer pushes her way to her feet, unsteady and uncertain, but her attention snaps away at an echo from her left. “No! Hold the line!”
**Rhoelyn:** The violet hair has her pulling away from Relare, but he keeps a firm grip on her hand. “Rhoelyn, don’t let the shadows of here pull you away.”
**Araatris:** A sob escapes her, but she looks back at him. “He… m-may be in danger. What i-” The paladin stops her. “His family will protect him. All of us.”
**Rhoelyn:** The worried huntress calls softly to Rhoelyn. “Please come home to us. Please!” Tears stream down her cheeks and Nysse’s voice breaks.
**Araatris:** The image as well as the others that linger around the edges of the room like ghosts fades away as Rhoe looks at Nysse. She takes an unsteady step.
**Rhoelyn:** Relieved, Nysse holds her arms open. “That’s it, sister. Just focus on me. Focus on my voice. We’re waiting for you.” The young woman sniffles.
**Araatris:** With each step, Leothir’s room from a timeline that was changed becomes hazier and hazier, and the possibilities ghosting around them fade.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse takes her hands near the door and helps guide her across the threshold. On the other side, the younger woman hugs Rhoelyn with a sob.
**Araatris:** The healer lifts her arms to grip Nysse’s, blinking her eyes open. She smiles at the others before she buries her face against her sister’s shoulder.
**Rhoelyn:** Faye nods at Cori in the doorway behind him. He smiles and turns toward the door raising a hand. Sand spirals over his palm then rushes forward.
**Araatris:** The place they were seals behind them, a sin’dorei style double door becoming an ancient sandstone slab. The dragon grins. “Progress. Glorious!”
**Rhoelyn:** The paladin asks, “What next?” Cori gestures at the forest before them. “Why the journey home, of course!” Relare blinks, mouth gaping.
**Araatris:** “Is this…?” he gasps, stepping forward and craning his neck back. The bronze smiles, and Faye breathes, “Nordrassil. This is our ancestral home.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse suggests quietly, “Sister, are you ready to go home?” She gently guides Rhoelyn the few steps onto the dirt path. “This way.”
**Araatris:** The healer wipes her eyes and looks up at the World Tree. Its wide branches scrape the sky far above them, clear water at its roots. “Home?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, home. This path will take us north, and I’m sure we’ll make it.” Nysse smiles through her own tears and gently tugs the healer with her.
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn follows where her sister leads, only pausing when the burning pain flares once more. Cori watches, sympathetic, as she groans.
**Rhoelyn:** “I could carry you on my back if you prefer, sister.” The huntress offers as she rubs Rhoelyn’s back through another agonizing wave.
**Araatris:** “Only walk beside me, sister,” she gasps, breathing and clenching Nysse’s hand. “I want… to see our home. I want our family to be safe and together.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. “Of course. Every step we’ll be with you.” She wraps her arm around Rhoelyn’s shoulders. They start walking, flanked by Rel and Faye.
**Araatris:** Cori brings up the rear, watching the lot of them with quiet fascination. They make their way along the trail, climbing slowly into the mountains.
**Rhoelyn:** When the path splits, Rhoelyn raises a shaky hand and points, not toward Winterspring, but to a wooded area at their side. “This way, sister.”
**Araatris:** The priestess’s steps drag by the time the first of the cottages comes into view between the trees, the clear windows winking in the sunlight.
**Rhoelyn:** Built into the rock behind the cottages is a what seems to be a stable. Through an open window, a young man laughs amid the chatter of babies.
**Araatris:** Nysse and Rhoelyn share tearful glances before the priestess waves a hand. “Go. Go, sister, and see them. I will be just behind.” Rel steps up.
**Rhoelyn:** “No, we all go.” He takes Rhoelyn’s other arm to add support. “Let’s go. Faye, can you get the door?” The warrior nods and steps ahead of them.
**Araatris:** Cori hangs back, muttering, “You mortals have odd ideas of healing.” When Rhoe glances back at him, he grins and shoos her on. “Go. You need this.”
**Rhoelyn:** Once they reach the door, Faye reaches over and opens it. Nysse and Relare both urge the priestess through the door first. “You first, sister.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn rests a hand on the doorframe as she steps unsteadily into the house. Yami looks up from playing with the babies and Alen, his smile bright.
**Rhoelyn:** “Welcome home, min’nu! Alen’s missed you so much.” Yami gestures to the toddler looking at her with large, luminous eyes. “They’re back, Alen!”
**Araatris:** The priestess sobs through a smile and takes a couple of steps forward before she stumbles to her knees. Alen squeals and shoves to his feet.
**Rhoelyn:** Faye hangs back at the doorway while the others crowd around Rhoelyn and Alen. She murmurs to Cori, “So, she stays here until she’s… healed?”
**Araatris:** The dragon shrugs a bit and nods. “It seems so. She chose her own method of healing, whether she knows it or not. After all, I wouldn’t know.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Is the bridge closed at least?” Faye rubs her face. Cori snorts. “That’s been closed since we started traveling. Now we settle in and wait.”
**Araatris:** The sentinel frowns. “Wait for what, exactly?” Her companion watches the joyful kin as he mutters, “To see if she can shutter her rampant power.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse rubs Rhoelyn’s back as she grimaces again. Alensyr whimpers at the look on her face. “Hurhur bad!” Tears well up in his eyes.
**Araatris:** As soon as she’s able, the healer brushes his violet curls. “Do not fret, my prince.” Yami leans closer, resting a hand beside his mother’s.
**Rhoelyn:** The young man whispers, “He can sense the magic as well. You need to relax, min’nu. No one is going to hurt us here. We’re all safe and home.”
**Araatris:** “All of us…?” Rhoe lifts her head, too-golden gaze flitting from face to face. As if in answer to her worry, Rhese and Leo step out of the back room.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse looks up. “Rhese, could you get Rhoe a robe?” The druid raises both eyebrows and looks at Leo, smirking. “Behave yourself, lordling.”
**Araatris:** The blood elf chuckles as he steps toward his mate and their reclaimed adoptive son. “No promises. You’d best hurry with that robe.” Rhese laughs.
**Rhoelyn:** “I’m hurrying.” The druid disappears back into the room. The mage crouches in front of them, resting a hand on Alensyr’s head. “Hello, princess.”
**Araatris:** Unconcerned by how the cape around her gaps, the priestess throws her arm around her love and pulls him into a hug with Alen. “Ilais’surfal!”
**Rhoelyn:** The mage hugs them both, laughing. He teases, “I missed you, too, but are you trying to get me in trouble with Rhese? I rather like living.”
**Araatris:** “Your mother took my clothes,” she mutters in distraction, resting her forehead against his. “It does not matter. We can be safe, here. Together.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, we’re safe and together. How do you feel?” He cups her cheek with one hand, his thumb running across her ear. “Are you well, darling?”
**Araatris:** A tear drips down her cheek. “I am better with you all here.” Rhese brings in the robe, kneeling down beside her. “Let’s get you dressed, sis.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leothir takes Alen so that Rhese can hand her the robe. The priestess sniffles and tugs the robe around her with Nysse’s view obscuring help.
**Araatris:** Her sister is there when she stills, cringing once more, and the huntress sighs and glances at Yami. “Why don’t we all settle and make some tea?”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse’s son clambers to his feet. “Yes, min’da. That’s a good idea!” The young woman adjusts Rhoe’s robe as the voidling hurries toward the kitchen.
**Araatris:** Leo and Alen make way as Rhese scoops up the twins and hands Rhylian to Rel. Nysse settles the priestess on the couch before the fire.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhoelyn notes the longing glance her sister throws at Rhese and the babies. “Sister, you should go see your children.” Nysse shakes her head.
**Araatris:** When the healer holds out her arms, her sister slips into her hug gladly. She mutters against her ear. “Please. I love watching your joy together.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Dalah’falore…” Nysse bites her lip. “I don’t like leav-” “You’re only going to be across the room, Nysse.” She gently pushes the huntress.
**Araatris:** Relenting with a little grin, her sister steps over to Rhese with Mirrase in his arms. Her daughter squirms and burbles and reaches for her.
**Rhoelyn:** She takes her daughter from her husband and cradles her. Nysse tries to stop her tears and fails, but smiles brightly. “It’s been too long…”
**Araatris:** Rel hands Rhylian to Rhese without a word, and the druid wraps them all in his arms. “We’ve missed you both, my lovely. They’ve grown so much.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, they have… I hope they don’t begrudge our time away. I missed my parents so much when they were.” She closes her eyes with another sniffle.
**Araatris:** “Your babies are happy,” he says gently, nuzzling her cheek. “Just never quite as happy as when you’re here. Don’t fret, love.” Rhoe grins at them.
**Rhoelyn:** She kisses Rhese’s cheek and then each of the twin’s cheeks. “I’ll try. Do you want to spend some time with Rhoe? I’d love to watch them both.”
**Araatris:** The druid smiles and tucks Rhy into her free arm. He immediately reaches for her hair, giggling. Leo and Alen cuddle Rhoe when she sniffles.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese strides over to the small family as Nysse coos at the children behind them. “You’d better not be making my sister cry, Leo.” The mage snorts.
**Araatris:** “I am only happy, brother,” Rhoe corrects while Alen snuggles his head into the crook of her neck. Rhese leans down and wipes at a tear. “Crybaby.”
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess giggles. “Between myself and Nysse, how will you handle it, brother?” Yami ducks back into the room with a tray of tea cups.
**Araatris:** Her brother smirks and kisses her cheek. “I’ve had a lifetime of training, sis. I’ll be just fine. It’s your poor mate I’d worry about. Look at him.”
**Rhoelyn:** The worried expression Leo’s face sours. “It’s natural for me to be worried about her.” The druid smirks. “Humans say worry turns the hair grey.”
**Araatris:** The sin’dorei grimaces. “Thank the Light I’m not human, then. I’d look so very drab with grey hair.” The grown twins both laugh. “It’s not so bad.”
**Rhoelyn:** “They don’t mean your lovely hair, darling. It’s like the-” Leo’s interrupted by Rhese’s gagging as he nudges his bondbrother’s shoulder.
**Araatris:** The mage chuckles and shoves at him. “Very well. I’ll have pity, even though you started it.” Yami crowds in to offer a cup of tea to his aunt.
**Rhoelyn:** Rhoelyn takes the teacup, wrapping her fingers around it. “Thank you, Yami. You want to help your mother though or she’ll never get to have hers.”
**Araatris:** He grins and nods, dark eyes twinkling as he offers cups to the men. “Don’t worry, min’nu. I’ll take care of her.” His aunt smiles. “You always do.”
**Rhoelyn:** The voidling offers drinks to the others, including the silent dragon watching them. When he gets to his mother, he deftly gathers Rhylian from her.
**Araatris:** Though a bit disappointed to relinquish her boy, the huntress is also glad for the tea. Faye and Relare approach as she blows on it, juggling Mirra.
**Rhoelyn:** Faye’s voice is soft. “Nysse, you remember this isn’t real, right? We need to get Rhoelyn willing to release her power and wake up.”
**Araatris:** Setting a hand on her shoulder, Rel nods. “The sooner we can heal her, the sooner we can go make this real, right?” Nysse cuddles Mirra tight.
**Rhoelyn:** “I know, but she’s… she’s not read-” The other two share a knowing look. Relare smiles and squeezes her shoulder. “You’re not ready, you mean.”
**Araatris:** The huntress blushes and ducks her head. Her bondbrother beckons Cori over and sips his tea while the dragon makes his way through the family.
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes? Did you need something?” Cori asks as he stops by them. Relare nods. “What do we need to do in order to make the final step out of here?”
**Araatris:** The Bronze blinks at him, bewildered. “Why would you think I’d know?” Rel blinks back. “It’s your spell. You don’t?” Cori chuckles. “Not a bit.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Then who’s-” Relare’s head turns toward Rhoelyn. “Awww fel.” Nysse growls grumpily. “Language. I won’t have that in front of any Mirra.”
**Araatris:** “Sorry, sister,” he mutters with a wince. Faye looks over at the priestess lounging on the couch. “So she chose one of the futures she saw?”
**Rhoelyn:** The paladin nods. “One of us will need to tell her what’s going on outside of here. Otherwise, I’m not sure she’s going to want to leave.”
**Araatris:** Nysse sighs. “I guess I should-” Faye shakes her head. “No. Let me speak to her. Maybe it’s time she heard it in a different voice.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress bites her lip as the sentinel leaves them. She steps up to the group around the priestess. “May have I have moment alone with Rhoelyn?”
**Araatris:** Leothir and Rhese exchange a look before the mage claims Alen back from his adoptive mother’s lap. Yami grins and hops up, too. “Of course!”
**Rhoelyn:** “Thank you.” Faye smiles at them as they slip away, then settles down next to Rhoelyn. The priestess’ concerned expression follows her.
**Araatris:** After a silent moment, the sentinel tilts her head and looks at Rhoelyn from the corner of her dark eyes. “How long do you intend to play pretend?”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhoelyn looks at her hands clasped in her lap. “P-pretend…” Faye nods. “They’re waiting for you in the middle of Darkshore unable to go home yet.“
**Araatris:** The healer closes her eyes, shutting out the warm and inviting cabin and the loving family. Her brow furrows. “Fayrial, I…” The woman leans forward.
**Rhoelyn:** The sentinel frowns slightly. “Rhoelyn, are you alright? You’re looking a little pale.” She leans down to look at Rhoe’s contorted features.
**Araatris:** “I…” Rhoelyn winces, but she opens her eyes and asks softly, “I cannot leave my family unpro-” Faye interrupts, stern. “Stop that. You are a healer.”
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess flinches. “But Fayrial, I have been able to-” The sentinel shakes her head. “Which was good, but now we’re all here to protect you.”
**Araatris:** At Rhoelyn’s uncertain look, Faye reaches out and clasps her wrist. “I once thought that a few weeks ago was our first meeting. But now I remember.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I remember our time at Leothir’s family house. I remember watching you try to protect everyone, but you’re not alone here.” Faye holds her gaze.
**Araatris:** “Priestess of Elune, I know you are well aware of what it means to have faith.” She squeezes Rhoe’s wrist. “Have faith in your family and friends.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhoelyn gives Faye a small smile. “I have faith in them.” Her gaze sweeps the room. “But they are terrible at watching out for themselves.”
**Araatris:** The sentinel leans back, staring at her impassively. “If you truly believe that, then you must be blind.” Rhoe starts, shocked at her hard tone.
**Rhoelyn:** “F-Fayrial…” The priestess begins. “No, look at them, Rhoelyn. They’re no longer just living for themselves. They want to go home, too.”
**Araatris:** Faye’s black gaze is unyielding. “How much have all of them come through? Relare, as I understand it, has even cheated death.” She snorts. “Terrible?
**Araatris:** No, they are very good at taking care of themselves and others. I would be dead if not for your sister. Many others can say the same.”
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess blushes. “Yes… yes, you are right. Without them, our family would not exist. Is it wrong to want to protect that… protect them?”
**Araatris:** Faye squeezes her wrist once more. “It is far from wrong, priestess, but you have your own way to do so. Even without this power that burns you.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhoelyn glances up to find Nysse’s anxious eyes on her. “And I am worrying my family.” She closes her eyes. “That was never my intention.”
**Araatris:** “Nevertheless…” The woman leaves the sentiment to dangle, more effective than anything else she might say. The little healer ducks her head.
**Rhoelyn:** “Very well.” At the simple confirmation, the world shimmers around them. Nysse grimaces and looks at Relare as the child in her arms starts to fade.
**Araatris:** “It’ll be alright,” he reassures her softly. “Your real baby is waiting for you at home, safe and sound.” The paladin sets a hand on her shoulder.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. “It just feels real, so it’s hard to watch.” When Mirra disappears, she lowers her arms. Cori smiles and claps his hands. “Good work!”
**Araatris:** Their surroundings and then their very selves fade to darkness as he mutters, indistinct, “And interesting. Mortals are so complex…”
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess stirs first, blinking blearily at the heavy warmth on her back. Green strands of hair are visible on her shoulder. She raises her head.
**Araatris:** “They’re waking!” The presence against her back stirs slightly as she turns her groggy attention toward the voice. Rhoelyn squints, trying to focus.
**Rhoelyn:** A figure moves in front of her. Yellow. Blonde. Points of green. The woman smiles at him, reaching out. “Leothir.” She says his name tenderly.
**Araatris:** Her mate kneels and helps her squirm into his arms despite Nysse’s possessive and sleepy grip. “My princess, you simply delight in aging me.”
**Rhoelyn:** She buries her face against his shoulder. “I am sorry. I thought I was doing what was best.” Rhese grumbles behind her. “Nysse, you can let go.”
**Araatris:** Leo chuckles and tugs Rhoelyn closer, tickling the back of the huntress’ hands. “At one time, but now you’ve done enough.” He looks around for Cori.
**Rhoelyn:** The dragon is nowhere to be seen, but Verune holds a paper in his hands. He huffs and folds it closed. The mage raises an eyebrow. “What’s that?”
**Araatris:** Shaking his head, the druid says, “I suppose it would be a Bronze dragon’s idea of a proper goodbye. He’s written that he’s going back to his nap.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse groggily mumbles, “I wasn’t napping.” She then turns and grabs onto Rhese, nuzzling his chest. Rhese chuckles. “Of course not, lovely.”
**Araatris:** Relare mutters, “He’s talking about his own… nevermind.” He yawns and scratches at his hair, shoving up to sit. Faye blinks her eyes open.
**Rhoelyn:** The younger druid smiles at Relare. “She’ll be fine once she wakes up. You all did good work.” He shoots a meaningful glance at his sister.
**Araatris:** His bondbrother smiles and glances over at Leo. “She’s almost as stubborn as Rhese, brother. You’re really in for it, you know.” The mage chuckles.
**Rhoelyn:** “I’ll take my chances for this one, Rel. She’s worth it.” Faye clears her throat, interjecting. “How long were we out? I feel stiff and hungry.”
**Araatris:** Nysse lifts her head at the mention of food, her stomach agreeing loudly. Rhese grins. “Well, we m-” Leo interrupts, “But is it over? The fits?”
**Rhoelyn:** Resting her hand over his, Rhoelyn nods. “It is over, Leothir. I have let go of the gift.” The mage searches her face. “And you’re not hurt?”
**Araatris:** Her eyes, back to their usual luminous silver-blue, crinkle as she smiles and leans forward to kiss him softly. “I am not hurt. Not any longer.”
**Rhoelyn:** Her mate hugs her and steals another kiss. “Let’s all get something to eat and head out tomorrow after resting. Though, we haven’t decided where…”
**Araatris:** Nysse looks at Rhoe, who bites her lip uncertainly but nods. The huntress smiles and says, “We know just the place, don’t we?” Rel and Faye grin.
**Rhoelyn:** “You all can head there, but we’ll need to go to Boralus first. We’ll stay in touch.” Nysse reassures. Kaer snorts, “Not going to say where?”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn says softly, “Mount Hyjal. We will be safe and happy in the shadow of the World Tree.” She smiles. “Elune’s final gift was that awareness.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse perks up. “I haven’t been to Hyjal since I was a toddler and met Korran.” Her expression is thoughtful as her stomach rumbles urgently.
**Araatris:** As the elder druid moves to the pot suspended over the fire, he asks, “What does your spirit wolf feel about the prospect of returning?”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress ducks her head, smiling. “Happy. I wonder if the wolf pack that protected me is still there. The original wolves would be gone, but…”
**Araatris:** “But the pack has probably endured.” Rhese hugs Nysse close before releasing her to take the bowl of stew Verune offers. “You’ll be right at home.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, it will be nice.” She takes a second bowl from elder druid. “Thank you, Verune.” Landrie shifts uneasily. “Hyjal will… allow sin’dorei?”
**Araatris:** “Are you rethinking the desert, stray?” Kaerryn teases, nudging her. Landrie gives her a dirty look. “I told you not to call me that, tin can.”
**Rhoelyn:** The warrior smirks and crosses her arms. “If you’re wanting to join them, then spit it out. The worst case is that you go play in the sand.”
**Araatris:** The blood elf looks away, brushing a hand through her red curls. “It was hotter than I expected in Tanaris. And brighter. Not to mention the bugs.”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo grimaces. “The unending swarm of giant bugs. Be glad that you didn’t have to see that, Princess. I’ll never look at a bug quite the same.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn looks between him and Galandrie with wide eyes. “That sounds horrifying…” Landrie shudders, muttering, “Hyjal’s forests seem nicer.”
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn shoulders into the blood elf. “Will you ask already for fel’s sake?!” Galandrie glowers at her. “I’m-” “Being a wuss? Yes, you are.”
**Araatris:** “You’re awfully uppity for a runt-eared, glorified tin can who barely knows which way to put the pointy bit of her sword!” the soldier snaps.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse hands her partially eaten bowl to Rhese and stands silently as the two women throw insults back and forth with varying levels of vulgarity.
**Rhoelyn:** They both look at her when she places a hand on each of their shoulders and smiles at them. “Yes, you may settle in Hyjal with us as well.”
**Araatris:** Landrie stops, eyes widening as a blush pinkens her cheeks. She glances away and mumbles, “Thank you. In… in the village or something.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. “Of course. Now, if you’ll excuse me… “ Nysse hurries back to Rhese and reclaims her bowl. Landrie blinks causing Kaerryn to laugh.
**Araatris:** “Stray,” she taunts, sticking her tongue out. Galandrie just glares and steps over to Verune. “Shove some stew in the annoying human’s big mouth.”
**Rhoelyn:** The druid hands her two bowls without comment. Landrie sighs and passes one bowl over to Kaerryn with a muttered, “Now shut it already.”
**Araatris:** Rhese chuckles mostly to himself, eyeing his long-time partner. He leans over to whisper in Nysse’s ear, and she pauses, spoon halfway to mouth.
**Rhoelyn:** Her dark eyes widen as she looks at him, food forgotten. “Surely you’re joking, beloved. I… I just can’t see it. It doesn’t work that way, does it?”
**Araatris:** Her mate smirks. “It’s the way it works with some people.” He gestures at the warrior as she wanders closer to the fire, mouth full of food.
**Rhoelyn:** She shakes her head. “But she’s like that to everyone… I’m not sure I understand.” She leans back down to finish her bowl. “I can’t wait to go home.”
**Araatris:** “I’m ready to leave, too,” Rhese says softly, accepting a bowl from Verune. His gaze swings to his sister. “Are we all? Is the mission complete?”
**Rhoelyn:** The priestess nods. “I should help one last set of wisps and send a message to Lannia.” Faye smiles. “Verune and I will be your messengers.”
**Araatris:** Leothir passes Rhoelyn’s bowl to her and cradles his own. “Then we leave by midnight tomorrow?” He looks relieved when she nods. “Tonight we rest.”
**Rhoelyn:** Tsume looks at Verune and back at Nysse who is setting down her bowl. The druid nods and, released, the wolf bolts toward Nysse and Rhese.
**Araatris:** As the white canine shoves her way into their cuddle, the others smile and settle in around the cozy fire and the serene ruins, hidden from the war.