Chapter 5: Intention
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn stares down into the inky Moonwell of Bashal’Aran, her expression unreadable. Its dark mirror reflects the glowing corona of the moon.
**Rhoelyn:** Off to the side, her sister talks with a woman at the huntress hall. She gestures down the hill and then nods. She returns to the Moonwell.
**Araatris:** The healer looks up from her thoughts when she hears Nysse’s bootfalls behind her, though how she knows it’s her in all the chaos is a mystery.
**Rhoelyn:** “Sister, there’s wisps down the hill in the woods, but the Horde has been very active recently. Do you wish to go?” She points down a path.
**Araatris:** Blinking dim eyes, Rhoe follows the direction of Nysse’s finger, quiet for a moment before she pulls her bare toes from the dark water and stands.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse frowns and peers at Rhoelyn with her own faded eyes, the glow faint like a star compared to the sun. “Rhoe, do you need more time?”
**Araatris:** “No,” the priestess shakes her head. “No, with Larina safe it is past time that we returned to our duty.” She reaches down to wrap her feet.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress crouches next to her. “Perhaps, but if you need to rest, then go ahead. I can always help the sentinels here with a little run.”
**Araatris:** Her sister gives her a smile, small but warm. “I have rested enough, Nysse. Truly. I itch to answer the calls I hear. But… but if you wish to help-”
**Rhoelyn:** “No-no. Of course not. If you’re ready, then I’ll be with you.” The huntress’ cheeks flush, and she ducks her head sheepishly as she stands.
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn stands as well and pats her arm. “In a few days, we’ll return here, and I will give you more time to stretch your bow arm. I promise.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse shakes her head. “No, it’s not necessary, sister. I only wanted to make myself useful if you needed more time.” She turns to the path.
**Araatris:** The priestess concedes with a nod and simply reaches down to retrieve her pack and her staff. “I know how difficult you find it to be idle, Nysse.”
**Rhoelyn:** The younger elf reaches out to grasp Rhoelyn’s hand. “I’m never idle if I’m helping you. Using my bow isn’t my only skill.” Nyssera teases.
**Araatris:** Her sister giggles and trails after her as she turns and tugs her along, Tsume at their heels. “You are also very good at setting up camp.”
**Rhoelyn:** “And cooking. I bring along Tsume who’s good with cuddles, too.” Nysse grins over her shoulder. “You’ve got quite the package deal with us.”
**Araatris:** “I do. You offer very nearly all the comforts of home,” Rhoe says with a grin as they follow the path, steps silent. “How fortunate I am!”
**Rhoelyn:** The path is a gentle slope, well-patrolled. “Almost. I miss…” She clears her throat. “I missed traveling. An’da and I spent so much time here.”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn settles in at her side as they walk, her hand still caught. “Tell me about your travels with your father, sister,” she requests softly.
**Rhoelyn:** “A couple of times a year, we’d come and hunt for furs and meat we could sell or take home.” She bites her lip. “I was three the first time…”
**Araatris:** The priestess pauses, her eyes widening. “Oh, my. How adorable you must have been so young…” She blinks. “But wasn’t that dangerous?”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse cheeks darken deeply. “Well, perhaps, but an’da didn’t let me hunt much at first, only rabbits. When we traveled, I rode Kamun.”
**Araatris:** As she closes the short gap growing between them, Rhoe smiles. “Kamun was your father’s wolf when you were a child?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes, I don’t remember him much, but they tell me stories. An’da trained him to sit on me if I tried to wander off from camp.” She chuckles.
**Araatris:** With a giggle, the smaller woman comments, “Goodness. I hope your children aren’t quite the handful you were, my sister, though Mirra at least…”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse grimaces. “Elune, I’d better add that to Tsume’s training.” The wolf looked up at her name and gave them a grin, tongue sticking out.
**Araatris:** “Oh.” Her sister giggles once more, patting the wolf’s head. “Do try not to look so pleased. Mirrase may be a toddler who bites for her freedom.”
**Rhoelyn:** Tsume huffs indignantly and noses and licks both their hands. The huntress snorts, “Tsume thinks she’s up to the job. Ah, over there! Look!”
**Araatris:** Rhoelyn follows her pointing finger to an area where a few wisps bob above a vague, blue-white mist. “There are more to be evoked, here.”
**Rhoelyn:** The younger woman looks at the mist. “I suppose so. Do you want our help again?” She thumps her chest armor lightly to gesture to Korran.
**Araatris:** Already looking distracted as she wanders toward the little clearing beside a few tree stumps, the priestess nods. “They… they need the song…”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress lags behind her sister. Mid-step, her chest is bathed in a soft light that drifts down to solidify into a pale wolf at her side.
**Araatris:** Partway there, her sister begins to sing her soothing song, magic rising with the sound. The mists stir around their feet and legs, gathering in.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse, Korran, and Tsume spread out around her and kneel in their small circle. With Korran’s guidance, they encourage the mists inward.
**Araatris:** Before long, the gilded healer stands at the heart of the small open area, the stumps of stolen trees to her right and wisps swirling around her.
**Rhoelyn:** At the border of the ring, her three companions look nearly ethereal themselves. Her song reaches a crescendo and other elves pause to watch.
**Araatris:** As Rhoelyn raises her hands and face to the eclipsed moon, the handful of spirits inspired to release their mortal burdens float up and fade away.
**Rhoelyn:** A couple seem to cling to Korran and one to Nysse. She tries to encourage it to the priestess, but it stays. Korran pads over to his mistress.
**Araatris:** The healer glances over, her golden eyes meeting Korran’s. She simply nods slightly before she turns her attention back to the wisps around her.
**Rhoelyn:** The crowd watches as the wolf puts his large paws on Nysse’s knees and gently takes the wisp from her shoulder. He carries it to the center.
**Araatris:** “Thank you, Korran,” Rhoe says softly, reaching out to brush each of his hangers-on. She’s oblivious to their audience, focused on the spirits.
**Rhoelyn:** The spirit beast returns to his spot as the remaining wisps are spoken to individually. The huntress’ gaze stays on her sister as she works.
**Araatris:** A voice by her ear distracts Nysse from her vigil. “She truly does look just like Rhese, but so much softer and more serene, especially like this.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nyssera’s head snaps toward the voice with a silent gasp, her concentration broken. She blinks her dim orbs as she focuses on the speaker.
**Araatris:** Fayrial Dawncrier smiles at Nysse, her three-bladed warglaive visible over her shoulder and her teal hair cut short. “Ishnu-alah, Nyssera.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Faye… Elune-adore. It is good to see you.” She smiles brightly. “Why am I not surprised to see that you’ve answered the call? Are you well?”
**Araatris:** The black-eyed warrior bows before reaching out and wrapping Nysse in a brief hug. “I fare far better than my enemies, certainly. And you?”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse’s gaze flickers to Rhoe, then back to Faye. “I’m holding up. I thought it would do me good to get out and help Rhoe. I needed to see…”
**Araatris:** Faye is quiet for a moment before she attempts to finish her thought. “… the aftermath of the war? Or our determination to retake our lands?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Both. The more I see, the stronger I feel. It’s difficult, but I’m glad that you’re here.” The young woman rests a hand on Faye’s shoulder.
**Araatris:** Her friend presses her lips together, a tiny smile. “I could be nowhere else, little sister. Nithan stayed with the unit in Zul’dazar.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress nods. “Of course. I’m surprised he didn’t come with you, but many have been split thanks to the war.” Korran slides up beside them.
**Araatris:** Faye sighs softly. “Far too many. Split from their family and displaced from their homes. Nithan wished to come, but we each have our duties.”
**Rhoelyn:** Running her fingers through fur, Nysse repeats her sigh. “Rhese as well, but I wanted him to stay near the children. I hope you see Nithan soon.”
**Araatris:** The crowd waxes and wanes as people stop to watch the healer holding court with the wisps. “I have faith he won’t forget me,” Faye teases.
**Rhoelyn:** “As if you’d ever allow that.” Nysse chuckles. “So, what do you do here? Why are almost everyone’s eyes so dark?” She motions to the crowd.
**Araatris:** The other woman laughs softly. “Which question would you like me to answer first?” At Nysse’s blush, she has mercy. “I am fighting on the front.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse sheepishly says, “I’m sure that your companions are glad to have you by their side. And… the eyes?” She studies Faye’s dark orbs.
**Araatris:** Her friend gestures back up toward Bashal’Aran. “The power of the Night Warrior, the vengeance of Elune. It bleeds from the eclipsed moonwell.”
**Rhoelyn:** “The Night Warrior… The longer you’re here, the darker your eyes get?” Nysse stares at Bashal’Aran in the distance. “Are there any… effects?”
**Araatris:** Faye raises a brow at her. “Besides black eyes, you mean?” Her lips quirk up; she knows she is teasing once more. “I know of none, Nysse.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rubbing dark cheeks, the young woman nods. “G-good to know.” Faye leans forward and looks at Nysse’s eyes. “Your eyes will be black soon.”
**Araatris:** Something in the huntress’ expression prompts her to ask, “Does that concern you?” She glances over. “The same is likely true for your sister.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Do you have to want vengeance to have black eyes?” The huntress shifts from foot to foot. “I mean… I’m here to protect Rhoelyn, not fight Horde.”
**Araatris:** Faye shakes her head, short hair swinging. “I do not know. I fear there are few answers for you, Nysse, but… perhaps you are here to do both.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress ducks her head. “We’ll see.” She turns to see if Rhoelyn is done with the spirits and flinches to see her walking towards them.
**Araatris:** “Faye!” The priestess smiles brightly at the sight of the woman beside her sister, but Faye blinks. “You know me? Nysse has told you stories?”
**Rhoelyn:** Scuffing her foot, Nysse admits, “Just a few. I hope you don’t mind, Faye. She wanted to know all about our shipwreck.” She smiles meekly.
**Araatris:** Rhoe blinks, her smile faltering for a moment before it recovers. “Ah… y-yes, apologies. I’ve heard so much that I feel… as if we are fast friends.”
**Rhoelyn:** Faye chuckles. “I can understand. Nyssera has told me much of you as well. It is a pleasure to meet you officially, Priestess Rhoelyn.” She bows.
**Araatris:** The silver-haired elf bows in return. “Elune adore, Fayrial. The pleasure is mine.” Her dim eyes peruse her form. “Your hair is fierce so short.”
**Rhoelyn:** Smiling broadly, Faye teases, “The better to frighten our enemies. I find short hair suits me best. Will you all be staying the evening?”
**Araatris:** As Nysse nods, Rhoelyn shakes her head ‘no’. The two pause and blink at each other. “We’re not?” the huntress asks, brow furrowing. “Rhoe…”
**Rhoelyn:** “I have rested long enough, sister. There are still many more wisps awaiting our attention.” The priestess gently reminds her with a smile.
**Araatris:** Her sister gives her a worried look, but she nods. Faye interjects, “The work you are both doing gives great comfort to the rest of us.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles shyly. “Rhoelyn is doing most of the work, but she’s right. Maybe when we’re done, we’ll stop back through and catch you then.”
**Araatris:** A few more from the crowd approach, offering echoing sentiments that have Nysse ducking her head and Rhoe blushing while Faye looks amused.
**Rhoelyn:** It takes a few more minutes to gracefully extract themselves. Nysse murmurs aside to Rhoelyn. “This never becomes easier, does it, sister?”
**Araatris:** The priestess smirks and waves one last time to Faye off in the distance before she turns to Nysse, rubbing her warm cheek. “It wouldn’t seem so.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Let’s go before someone else decides to offer their thanks.” Nysse waves as well, then grasps Rhoe’s hand as she heads deeper into the forest.
**Araatris:** Her sister grins quietly as she follows along, obedient. Soon, the eclipse-dark trees wrap around them all, dappled shadows dim on the ground.
**Rhoelyn:** The darkness swallows them like an old friend, wrapping about them comfortably. Nysse releases Rhoelyn’s hand to stretch as they walk.
**Araatris:** There is a long while where they travel in silence, the smaller elf distant and distracted. She pulls her staff from its harness and holds it close.
**Rhoelyn:** Nyssera glances at her, but says nothing. She reaches down to caress Tsume’s ears as her boots crunch against the leaves in the silent forest.
**Araatris:** “Here…” the priestess finally says, whispering. She pauses and turns a slow circle, her gaze on the tops of the trees. “This is… yes… here.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress tilts her head and looks up at the treetops as well. “Here? Do you sense more wisps here, Rhoelyn?” The wolf duo scouts the area.
**Araatris:** “I saw this…” Her sister’s brow furrows, her dim eyes rimmed with gold almost like the eclipsed moon above them. She wrings her staff nervously.
**Rhoelyn:** Resting a hand on Rhoelyn’s arm, Nysse frowns. “Sister, what do you mean? What did you see?” Korran and Tsume sniff and scratch the ground.
**Araatris:** The priestess looks at her companion, biting her lip. “I… I cannot explain, Nysse. Only… help me call to the spirits, here. We must hurry.”
**Rhoelyn:** The younger elf nods. “Of course. Anything you need.” She whistles and the wolves return to her side. Kneeling by Korran, Nysse prepares.
**Araatris:** After a moment of hesitation, Rhoe leans down and gives Nysse a quick kiss on the forehead before she turns and walks hurriedly to a specific spot.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse blushes at the unexpected affection from her sister and a smile plays across her lips. The air becomes heavier around them, drawing inward.
**Araatris:** The silver-haired healer plants her staff between her feet and raises her voice in song once more, closing her eyes. This song is new and mournful.
**Rhoelyn:** That draws the huntress to stare at Rhoelyn. The song brings tears to her eyes and she bites her lip, glancing down at Korran worriedly.
**Araatris:** Despite the change, the mists gather around their feet and knees and paws as usual, seeping from the trees and swirling around them restlessly.
**Rhoelyn:** Korran tugs Nysse into their midst, circling and cajoling them into wisps. It’s a slower process, almost as if the song is making them sluggish.
**Araatris:** Rhoe rests her forehead against her staff, a tear dripping down her cheek. When the dozen or so wisps have finally resolved, she falls quiet.
**Rhoelyn:** Unwilling to break the silence, Nyssera strides over to Rhoelyn and wraps an arm around her shoulder. Korran peers up at them with bright eyes.
**Araatris:** The smaller woman sniffles and leans in to Nysse’s embrace, the wisps crowding around them. These roil with unrest and anger, barely banked.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse asks in a whisper, “What are they saying, sister?” Over her sister’s head, she scowls, but Korran shakes his head. “Patience, little one.”
**Araatris:** “… Vengeance,” Rhoe whispers. “They do not know the peril they face.” She opens eyes gone completely black save a Light-magic corona of gold.
**Rhoelyn:** The wisps dive at them, pulsing. It felt as though they were shouting and Nysse’s hands tightened on Rhoe. “She’s trying to help you!”
**Araatris:** Straightening amidst their assault, the healer swipes a sleeve across her eyes and looks up at the wisps. “I need to see where,” she chokes out.
**Rhoelyn:** Continuing her support, Nysse watches a wisp alight on Rhoelyn’s staff. The others circle. The spirit wolf howls in response to… something.
**Araatris:** The riot eases a bit at Korran’s admonishment, and the healer nods, her dark gaze darting from wisp to wisp. “We will hurry,” she shudders.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse looks between them in confusion. “Where? Is someone in danger?” She straightens and grasps her bow. Korran nods along with Rhoelyn.
**Araatris:** The priestess reaches up to cup the wisp on her staff, murmuring, “But I canno-” Black magic engulfs him, and she yanks her fingers back with a cry.
**Rhoelyn:** Like wildfire, it starts spreading to the other wisps. Nysse gasps. “What in Elune is going on here?!” There’s a wail as the spirits dart away.
**Araatris:** Rhoe reaches out with shaking hands and weaves a Shield around the souls, holding them as they warp and writhe. “Korran! Take Nysse and find them!”
**Rhoelyn:** “Tsume, guard Rhoelyn!” Nysse spins and darts after Korran. They weave and dance between the trees, leaping over and under branches.
**Araatris:** He doesn’t pause until they reach the edge of a denuded clearing, where he ducks behind a pile of discarded brush. A trio stands not far away.
**Rhoelyn:** Smoothly sliding behind a tree, Nysse peers around it at the trio. “Korran, catch me up. Who are they?” She slides her bow off her shoulder.
**Araatris:** Forsaken necromancers, little one. The spirit wolf’s disapproval is in his thoughts as his ears flatten. Look at their feet: your fallen warriors.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse takes in a sharp breath. “They’re–NO! Korran! Lend me your strength!” The huntress lines up her shot and releases, then starts running.
**Araatris:** The silent shot makes its first sound when the undead caster screams as it pierces her back, sinking deep into rotting flesh. The others turn.
**Rhoelyn:** Without waiting to see where their attention is drawn, the huntress lets off another quick shot as she runs, leaping up into the branches.
**Araatris:** When Nysse turns, it’s just in time to watch the caster with the arrow in her back tumble forward, her head rolling from her body as it lands.
**Rhoelyn:** Korran bursts from the brush and leaps up at the one next to the fallen, snarling. The last man raises a rotting finger toward her. “Murisk.”
**Araatris:** The air around her is just starting to crackle, pain blasting through her, when someone slams into her, tackling her off the bough to the ground.
**Rhoelyn:** The air is driven from her lungs and she’s still and stunned. The shadowed figure raises up, and she catches a glimpse of glowing eyes.
**Araatris:** Dressed in black fabric and a concealing hood, her rescuer rushes away toward the Forsaken. Glowing azure discs form around gloved fingers.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse rolls over and staggers to her knees, then feet as they toss their magic toward the forsaken. When it misses, a flash of steel cuts off his head.
**Araatris:** The final figure screams beneath Korran as he rips at her, but not before one of the night elven bodies beside her jerks and rolls to its feet.
**Rhoelyn:** “No!” Nysse chokes out, tears filling her midnight eyes. She raises her bow at the corpse and shoots for the head. The young woman shudders.
**Araatris:** There’s a similar anguished cry from somewhere deeper in the woods. The pale night elf whips an arm up and catches the arrow, red eyes glowing.
**Rhoelyn:** “I-I’ll free you!” The huntress drops the bow and draws the short sword hanging at her hip. She darts forward and slashes at the dead kaldorei man.
**Araatris:** He gives a dark, echoing laugh as he glares at her, dodging. From another corpse, he snags a blade as he moves. “There is no release from death.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse shakes her head and ducks under his swing. “You’re wrong! What they did to you is wrong! You deserved to rest!” She stabs at his abdomen.
**Araatris:** The man sneers, barely phased as her blade cuts a deep line through his leather armor and some of the skin beneath. “Where? In Elune’s embrace?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Yes! You’ll join her and be with your family!” He brings his blade straight down, forcing Nysse to roll to the side and back to her feet.
**Araatris:** Relentless, he barely gives her a chance to recover, swinging his stolen blade after her. She catches it on her own. “She has forsaken me. Us.”
**Rhoelyn:** Holding his gaze, she shakes her head. “N-no! She hasn’t! You just have to let her in.” He forces her blade aside, knocking her off balance.
**Araatris:** Nysse stumbles, watching his blade swing for her with little she can do about it until Korran leaps on the undead kal’dorei, bowling him over.
**Rhoelyn:** “Quickly, little one! You must make it clean.” Nysse nods, twists, and brings her blade down toward the neck of the pinned undead kaldorei.
**Araatris:** As the undead man’s short, new lease on a cursed and twisted life ends, the one shadowed watcher at the edge of the woods steps back out of sight.