Cata Arc – Chapter 13

Rhoelyn: Nysse stalks into the room with the void children in her wake. She looks at Kreston and asks sharply, “How long do we have until it arrives?”
Araatris: The sailor stands with his hand resting on the hilt of his sword. “He’s at the barrier. Tsunabren is ready to let him breach it at your signal.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese steps into the chamber with one cheek strangely redder than the other. The huntress nods. “Let’s get in place. Keep your guard up.”
Araatris: Shifting to a cat lets the druid ignore the questioning looks from Nithan and Aleesa. He takes his place before the throne chamber’s main entrance.
Rhoelyn: As everyone including the void children settle in place Nysse nods at Kreston. “Please tell Majordomo Tsunabren that we’re ready to begin.”
Araatris: He nods and rushes off down the back tunnel, leaving the chamber tense and quiet. Yami slips out of place for a moment to grab Nysse’s hand.
Rhoelyn: Nysse kneels and kisses his cheek. “It’s alright, my dearest little one. Your min’da and an’da will take care of you. Are you ready to start?”
Araatris: He trills happily and gives her a hug before stepping back to his place. A ripple of anticipation runs through all of the children.
Rhoelyn: The huntress steps into her place, trying to ignore the inhuman shriek echoing down the halls. “Let’s go.” She makes the gesture to begin.
Araatris: Yami and his siblings begin their motions along and around ritual symbols and lines drawn on the floor. Aleesa stands beside Nysse, chanting softly.
Rhoelyn: It’s not long before Kreston returns, naga on his heels. “Incoming!” Rhese leaps into the first one as the sailor slips to the side of the door.
Araatris: Faye and Dorian flank him as he quickly drops the first naga soldier and dodges away from the striking tentacles of a large void fiend.
Rhoelyn: Nithan sends balls of fire as the others dodge, leaving it shrieking and flailing. The fiend tangles a naga behind it in its flaming tentacles.
Araatris: The chamber’s entry is the perfect size for the five of them to cut down the naga forces as they surge forward. Another shriek shakes the hall.
Araatris: Slicing her bladed tonfas across yet another naga gut, Faye drops in time to duck a bolt of lightning. “The Old God arrives soon,” she announces.
Rhoelyn: The urgency increases in Aleesa’s chanting and Nysse responds with her silent commands. The floor shudders as eye of the portal opens.
Araatris: Rhese waits until Kreston is clear to leap in and finish the void lord in front of them. He presses down the hallway, swiping at another soldier.
Rhoelyn: Faye calls out, “Rhese! Don’t go that far. You’ll be in its path.” He growls his response before stepping back. Nysse risks a glance at him.
Araatris: Dorian cuts down a witch before ducking back through the doorway, the hall shaking around him as a huge tentacle slaps against the wall.
Rhoelyn: Nysse gasps, but continues the ritual as the portal grows wider. Another tentacle grabs the other wall. A shrill call pierces their ears.
Araatris: Growling, Rhese stands in the center of the doorway as a grinning Kalis comes into view behind the remaining troops. His tail twitches as he glares.
Rhoelyn: Rhese leaps forward again with a snarl and rakes his claws at Kalis. The naga priestess slips by them, hurrying towards Nysse and Aleesa.
Araatris: This time, Anari dodges the holy fire of Nithan’s spell, sweeping her tail at his legs as he rushes toward her. Her grin is malicious when he falls.
Rhoelyn: She slithers quickly past, throwing her shadows at Faye as she passes. “Dorian, help me! Kreston!” The sailor runs towards Rhese. “I’m on it!”
Araatris: Faye throws herself over Anari’s shadows, rolling up with her tonfas slicing across the priestess’s chest. The naga dodges back, hissing.
Rhoelyn: Anari fizzles out another spell as she has to dodge another attack. The portal opens wider behind Faye, causing the floor to shake again.
Araatris: Dorian joins Faye, and in the hallway Rhese claws at Kalis, but the priest is darker and even less distinct than ever. The druid struggles.
Rhoelyn: Kalis laughs, “Bal’riemon’s blessing will protect me thisss time, Rhessse Sssilverwing.” As he chants, an amorphous form presses in behind him.
Araatris: As his name has the cat staggering, a tendril appears beside him, whipping through the air. Rhese yowls as it slaps him into the wall.
Rhoelyn: Nysse trembles from the effort it takes to not cry out. She bites her lip tightly as she makes another wave of her hand at the void children.
Araatris: Kreston slips towards Kalis while his attention is on Rhese, gritting his teeth as the druid drops, shifting, to his feet. The night elf coughs.
Rhoelyn: The sailor’s saber whistles as it bites into Kalis’ side. The naga swings a backhand at him with a hiss, but Kreston ducks under it, grinning.
Araatris: He slices at the priest again, scoring another cut before a shadowy tendril snags his wrist. Rhese charges in as a bear, slamming into Kalis.
Rhoelyn: Kalis is knocked back into Bal’riemon with a shocked yell. Rhese backs away as tentacles reach out and instead claws at the one holding Kreston.
Araatris: The wound closes as soon as his claws score across the tendril, but still it spasms at the strike. The sailor yanks free and staggers.
Rhoelyn: Rhese changes to a night elf and steadies Kreston, “Make sure they don’t get to Nysse. Anari’s too close.” He turns back to Kalis. “I’ve got Kalis.”
Araatris: Dorian slams his shoulder into Anari, knocking askew her strike at Faye’s head as the sentinel struggles to rise through her shadows.
Rhoelyn: Anari hisses and grabs her stomach. Nithan shoots a dark bolt over Dorian’s head and shouts, “Back off, witch!” Faye stumbles free of the shadows.
Araatris: “Never! You think you can defy usss? Sssteal our children away?” The priestess glances back at Kalis and Bal’reimon, tendrils emerging around her.
Rhoelyn: Nithan snaps, “It seems they didn’t think much of you as parents.” The tendrils reach out to grab them as Anari inches toward Nysse again.
Araatris: The priestess sneers, her skin darkening as she pulls on the void power around them. “You took advantage of their fear. You sssstill do!”
Rhoelyn: “They had a choice with us!” Nithan ducks to the side of a tentacle, even as Faye tries to block her off. Dorian smashes the tendril near him.
Araatris: Kreston rushes in behind the priestess, leaping silently with his sword ready. Anari’s tendril snatches him out of the air, wrapping him tight.
Rhoelyn: He curses like the sailor he is and struggles in its grip. Faye slices into the tendril’s base. Anari makes a dive towards Nysse and Aleesa.
Araatris: Vines burst up around her tail, yanking her at the last instant. She shouts in frustration and reaches for Nysse as the ground shakes.
Rhoelyn: That moment was all they needed. Aleesa shouts the last word and the portal solidifies. Nysse finally turns around and faces Anari.
Araatris: The old god screeches mind-numbingly, its tendrils flailing at the room. The door and hallway begin to crumble under the assault. Nysse grins.
Rhoelyn: “Get into place, everyone!” Nysse draws a short, carved sword and looks down at Anari. “Aleesa, take care of the children! Keep them safe!”
Araatris: “You…!” Anari snarls and swings her staff at Nysse to buy time to snap the vines around her tail. “This is not what was foretold. We will rule!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse kicks then steps on the staff. “Enough!” She reaches down to grab it and attempts to pull it from the priestess’ grasp. Anari hisses.
Araatris: The naga releases the staff and raises her arms, more tendrils materializing around her as the old god squeezes into the chamber fully, screeching.
Rhoelyn: The tendrils start to wrap around Nysse causing her to drop the staff and hack at them. The old god hovers over them. “Nysse! What are you doing?”
Araatris: “Having… unf… trouble!” She answers, struggling to get free. Anari cries out, “My children! Return to me, now. Return to your real family.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress struggles more urgently now, “No! Aleesa! Please keep them away!” Bal’riemon casts a shadow over them and Anari cackles.
Araatris: Aleesa kneels down, gathering the children closer and whispering, “Not yet, voidlings. Be brave just a few minutes longer.” She looks at the others.
Rhoelyn: “Rot! I’m going to get her before she ends up in the middle.” Rhese hands Yami to Kreston and shifts into a cat. He darts toward Nysse.
**Araatris** The druid sprints as fast as the cat’s paws can carry him, leaving Anari little time to react before he leaps at her, shifting mid-air to a bear.
Rhoelyn: Anari goes sprawling at his hit, releasing Nysse. Rhese returns to his night elven form and grabs his huntress’ arm. “We have to go, lovely!”
Araatris: As they scramble out from under Bal’reimon’s path, Anari screams in unison with the god. “Now, children. The last part,” Aleesa whispers.
Rhoelyn: The voidlings run past them, grabbing, biting, and pulling the naga and Bal’riemon to the portal. Nysse twists, “That’s not part of the plan!”
Araatris: Rhese holds her tight, grunting as she struggles, “Trust them.” Anari cries in dismay, “No! What are you doing, children?” She is pulled over.
Rhoelyn: She beats at Rhese’s arms as they pull Anari to the edge of the portal. “They’re too close, Rhese!” He finally heaves her over his shoulder.
Araatris: “RHESE!” Nysse’s scream coincides with Anari’s as a little bear cub slams into the naga, sending the both of them tumbling into the void.
Rhoelyn: The druid cringes, “I’m sorry, lovely, but I can’t let you go.” Two more of the voidlings tug and pull at Kalis. Nysse claws at his back.
Araatris: “No!” The high priest sneers and yanks away from the voidlings, turning and reaching for Bal’reimon with his tattooed arms wreathed in shadows.
Rhoelyn: The shadows twist around Kalis covering him from head to toe like a cocoon. One of the void god’s tentacles act as a shield against the children.
Araatris: Aleesa curses under her breath as the priest turns, his voice one with the god’s. “This ends.” He swings an arm, and a tendril slams down.
Rhoelyn: The voidlings go tumbling back towards the others. Aleesa starts chanting and steps to the brink of the portal as the floor shakes perilously.
Araatris: Rhese reaches the others with a furious, frantic Nysse in tow. Yami grabs Aleesa’s hand, trilling at his siblings as he helps her hold the portal.
Rhoelyn: Backing towards the portal, the children return his trills. Yami looks up at Aleesa worried, “We no pull. Too big.” He looks back at Nysse.
Araatris: The huntress is exhausting herself and managing not to listen to a word Rhese says, struggling against his grip in a rage. “If you think I’m g-”
Rhoelyn: “Nysse, look at me.” Rhese sighs as she continues to ignore him. He speaks sharply like she does to the pups, “Nysse, silence!” She freezes.
Araatris: Into her moment of stillness, he sets her down and holds her in front of him, making her look at him. “We have to help them. He’s too strong.”
Rhoelyn: She asks in a soft, tremulous voice, “What do you think I’ve been trying to do, Rhese?” She looks at the old god, “We need something for bait…”
Araatris: It’s Kreston who speaks up. “We know exactly what he wants. Let’s give it to him.” He looks at Yami who stares back for a moment before nodding.
Rhoelyn: Yami trills at his siblings while Nysse frowns in confusion. “What are they-?” Her question is answered as the siblings surge together.
Araatris: The dark little voidlings flow into clear water, rising up in the chamber with the vague face of a humanoid and the raiments of a ruler.
Rhoelyn: Nysse gasps in horror as the old god descends on them with a shriek. Everyone flinches and covers their ears as tentacles reach forward.
Araatris: The false form of Neptulon roars in response, a sound like the crash of a waterfall, and latches on to Bal’reimon with icy fists. They grapple.
Rhoelyn: The group watches as the combined power of the void children slowly pulls Bal’riemon closer to the portal. Rubble falls as the room shakes.
Araatris: Nysse clenches her fists as the void god’s tendrils grip the children’s new form, squeezing. “No. I promised to protect them.”
Rhoelyn: She bolts away and draws her bow. “Let them go! Come after me!” Her feet carry her toward the edge of the portal as her mind frantically works.
Araatris: “Nysse!” Rhese isn’t the only one calling after her. At the god’s “feet”, shadow-wrapped Kalis looks at her and grins. A tendril arcs toward her.
Rhoelyn: The huntress mumbles a prayer to Elune as she swings her bow off her back. She shoots a barbed arrow at the ceiling with a rope trailing.
Rhoelyn: She flings herself out over the portal towards the children, clinging to the rope. Half way, she releases, jumps, and readies another arrow.
Araatris: Laughter that grates on the mind echoes through the chamber as the void god lunges forward, grabbing at Nysse and inching closer to the portal.
Rhoelyn: The explosive arrow flies at Kalis just as the tendril grabs her mid-air. She gasps as the air is driven from her lungs from the crushing grip.
Araatris: Nysse’s bow tumbles away into the void as the explosion rocks the room and the old god. The void children yank and topple him over the edge.
Rhoelyn: The night elf is knocked free, tumbling recklessly toward the stone floor. Nysse glimpses two forms just before they hit, slowing her descent.
Araatris: Yami lets his feathers melt away, clinging tightly to Nysse as Rhese reverts not far away. She doesn’t notice his expression as she tries to get up.
Rhoelyn: She crumbles with a cry, her leg twisted oddly. Still, Nysse attempts to drag herself to her good leg, but Yami’s weight makes it impossible.
Araatris: The huntress lifts her head, looking around for the children. “Where are they?!” Though she struggles painfully, Yami clings to her. “Min’da, eya.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse sobs, “But I promised I’d protect them, Yami. I-” Yami puts his little hands on her face. “They take home, min’da. Brave for you.”
Araatris: “I didn’t want this! They’re alone,” she cries. “Who will care for them?” She tries to pull away, but he keeps his hands on her face stubbornly.
Rhoelyn: “Aleesa go, min’da. Safe.” Nysse stares at him in wide-eyed shock, then looks around at a room one person less. The portal is slowly closing.
Araatris: Rhese steps up and leans down to pick her up as Yami releases her. She follows his gaze to where Dorian sits, sadly watching the void.
Rhoelyn: The room is eerily quiet. The huntress risks a glance at Rhese’s face and winces at his frown and furrowed brow. Nysse bites her lip and looks down.
Araatris: The druid says nothing, carrying her to the others as Yami clings to his belt. Kreston rests a hand on Dorian’s shoulder as he stares after her.
Rhoelyn: Rhese sets her down, sitting against a wall. As he checks over her leg and sets it, Nysse bites down on a piece of leather. She pales at the pain.
Araatris: “Argh!” All eyes raise as Dorian surges to his feet. “I kinna do it.” He turns to Kreston. “Lissen, lad. When our people come askin’, ye fill’em in.”
Rhoelyn: He grins at Nysse, “We’ll take care of’em for ye, lassie. Don’t ye worry. Til next we meet!” Dorian runs towards the closing portal and dives in.
Araatris: Rhese leaves Nysse to go join the others at the edge of the portal as it slips closed with a little pop of air. They exchange unsurprised looks.
Rhoelyn: Yami curls up against Nysse’s side. She wraps her arm around him and strokes his hair. Faye speaks first, “May Elune watch over them.”
Araatris: After a moment, Kreston snorts and turns away. “Y’ask me, you should save your prayers for anything that gets in their way over there.”
Rhoelyn: Nithan shakes his head, “No, we’d just cheer them on.” The priest turns to Rhese with a frown. “Do you need any help healing her leg?”
Araatris: “No,” the druid rumbles quietly, looking over at her. “Someone go report to the Majordomo. It’s time.” He leaves them to head back to Nysse.
Rhoelyn: Kreston sighs, “I’ll do it.” Nysse closes her eyes to avoid meeting Rhese’s gaze as he kneels at her side. He rests his hand over her leg.
Araatris: They linger in wounded silence as Rhese knits the clean break, Yami glancing between them. The boy trills softly and cuddles against Nysse.
Rhoelyn: Nysse hoarsely admits, “I’m sorry, dalah’surfal. I shouldn’t have done that. It was too risky.” She reaches out to lightly touch Rhese’s arm.
Araatris: He doesn’t pull back, but he looks down at her hand on his arm, jaw tight. “Yes. It was,” he growls softly. He glances up before looking away.
Rhoelyn: The huntress droops and lets her hand fall to her side. “You have every right to be angry.” Nysse stares at her lap. “I would be, too.”
Araatris: “Why do y-!” He bites his tongue over the harsh words, closing his eyes. “We can talk about it when we have time. Let’s go to the others.”
Rhoelyn: She nods silently and gingerly stands. When Yami trills worriedly, she smiles weakly and pats him on the head, then takes his hand into hers.
Araatris: Rhese leads the way to where Nithan and Faye wait by the entrance to the chamber, idly examining the fallen enemies there while they chat.
Rhoelyn: Faye glances at Nysse then at Rhese. “Looks like the elementals have take care of clean-up. There shouldn’t be any risk when we leave.”
Araatris: “Good,” Rhese gives a perfunctory nod. “We should split up. Someone needs to go back to Stormwind and arrange for a rescue vessel.”
Rhoelyn: Nithan nods. “Faye and I can do that. I can also reach out to the priests at the Cathedral to make sure there’s enough room for everyone to stay.”
Araatris: The druid nods. “It’s fine with me. I don’t think the naga will bother the camp any more, but I hope Kreston will stay, just in case. Nysse?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse speaks very softly, “I’ll go wherever you go, dalah’surfal.” Her gaze finds the naga corpses very interesting. Yami tugs at Nysse’s hand.
Araatris: The huntress kneels, happy for another distraction. “What is it, sweetie?” The voidling watches her, worried. He asks softly, “Min’da hurt?”
Rhoelyn: Grimacing, Nysse forces a tiny smile and pushes his hair back. “No, little one. I’m not hurt. An’da healed me. I’m feeling much better now.”
Araatris: The child presses his forehead to hers. “Still hurts, min’da.” Rhese wanders away, not really looking at the corpses as he waits impatiently.
Rhoelyn: “Sweetie, can we talk about this later? I’ll be fine. I promise, but now isn’t a good time.” She kisses Yami’s forehead and picks him up.
Araatris: Kreston returns with a trio of elemental attendants at his heels. He’s smiling until he takes in the glum atmosphere. “What’d I miss?”
Rhoelyn: “N-nothing.” Nysse stutters. “We were talking about who should go where. I think Faye and Nithan want head to Stormwind to arrange a boat.”
Araatris: Before anyone can say more, Tsunabren enters the room, her gait smooth like a brook. The attendants defer to her, and she peers at the group.
Rhoelyn: Majordomo Tsunabren inclines her head respectfully. “You have assisted us this day and we owe you a debt. What would you have of us?”
Araatris: Rhese glances at the others before he addresses the elemental commander. “We request safe passage to Stormwind for Faye and Nithan.”
Rhoelyn: “Done.” She gestures for them to follow an attendant. “What else would you have of us?” Faye and Nithan leave with the smaller elemental.
Araatris: The druid glances at the others questioningly, shrugging slightly. “We four need to go back to the island. We’re not certain where it is.”
Rhoelyn: Tsunabren nods. “Very well. Please follow my attendant.” One elemental steps forward. Nysse inclines her head, “Thank you, Majordomo Tsunabren.”
Araatris: “No, Nyssera. The Abyssal Maw thanks you. All of you.” The majordomo gestures toward where the portal was. “Neptulon honors your… voidlost.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress ducks her head so her head hides her features and her voice cracks, “Thank you.” Yami buries his face against her shoulder.
Araatris: Rhese steps up beside them and softly says, “We should go. The others back at camp will be waiting for word.” He claims Nysse’s free hand.
Rhoelyn: She nods. The four of them step in line behind the attendant following it. The path follows the corridors into another chamber with a watery portal.
Araatris: Kreston leads the way across the threshold. Nysse follows with Yami drowsing on her shoulder. Rhese glances back before stepping through.
Rhoelyn: The portal takes them to a very familiar exit onto a beach, Aleesa’s tunnel. Kreston glances at them, “Why don’t I run ahead and deliver the news?”
Araatris: Rhese nods. “Go ahead. I’ll be there soon enough.” He watches as Nysse pats Yami’s back. “You’ll probably want to let him nap in the shelter.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse swallows nervously, “Are you sure you don’t want company?” The druid shakes his head. “Go and set him down for a nap.” She sighs.
Araatris: As they walk off behind Kreston, the sailor pauses to let her catch up. He watches over her shoulder as Rhese heads towards the trees, shifting.
Rhoelyn: The huntress gives Kreston a forced smile and pats his arm, “He’ll catch up.” She steps ahead, “Sometimes I wish I could disappear like that…”
Araatris: The human sighs and holds out his arms. “I’m going to guess that you two need to talk. I’ll get Yami settled until you get back. News can wait.”
Rhoelyn: She turns and hesitates, “But-” Kreston shakes his head. “I know what he said.” He gently takes Yami from her arms. “Go disappear for a bit.”
Araatris: Nysse glances at the drowsing boy and then over at where Rhese disappeared into the forest. Biting her lip, she nods. “Thanks, Kreston.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress kisses Yami’s head before spinning and bolting into the forest after Rhese. His tracks are bold and obvious along the path.
Araatris: When she finally catches up to him, he is pacing at the river bank, his tail twitching. He pauses and looks up, watching her approach.
Rhoelyn: Nysse sinks to her knees in the grass, her chest heaving. “Kreston’s… watching Yami.” Silence. She sighs, “There’s no one to hear you yell…”
Araatris: He stalks around in brooding silence, the cat’s gaze intense when it’s on her. But his eyes are often elsewhere, darting and wild with agitation.
Rhoelyn: “Rhese, we need to talk… or you talk and I’ll listen, but we can’t leave it like this.” She draws her knees to her chest and rests her chin.
Araatris: He finally shifts and stills, running his hand through his hair. He doesn’t look at her, jaw tight. “What am I supposed to think, Nysse?”
Rhoelyn: She grimaces, “I wanted to protect them, but I couldn’t get a clear shot from the far side and… I thought I could make it to the other side…”
Araatris: The druid turns his head to glare at her. “That’s rot, and you know it. You knew it wouldn’t reach before you shot. You just wouldn’t let them go.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse drops her knees and snaps, “Seriously?! You think I miscalculated on purpose because I’d rather drop into the void than be without them?”
Araatris: “Yes,” he snaps back, stepping toward her. “Did you think I didn’t hear what you said? You ignored everything I told you. You ignored me and just-”
Rhoelyn: She speaks venomously, her voice rising, “Fine. It’s gone. The monsters are gone just like you wanted. I can’t hear them! I can’t feel them!”
Araatris: Rhese scowls and bites out one simple word: “Good.” He regrets it the moment he sees Nysse’s wounded look, hears her gasp in shock.
Rhoelyn: Nysse stands and turns away. She trembles and speaks hoarsely, “Coming from the man that lectured me to let go of my anger that was a low blow.”
Araatris: “I… I didn’t mean that, Nysse,” he speaks gently for the first time, sighing. “No more than I meant it when I called them monsters.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress wraps her arms around herself. “What do you mean, Rhese? Do you have any idea how empty I feel without them? How much it hurts?”
Araatris: Rhese steps closer. “No. I really don’t know. How can I? Yami is one thing, but all I know of his siblings is the pain of being mauled by one.”
Rhoelyn: She shudders at the memory. “Imagine being in a room with the team and then they’re suddenly gone, but at more of an emotional level.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse digs her fingers in her arms. “Yami could feel it, but I had to numb it because it was worrying him. Then… you left. I needed you, Rhese.”
Araatris: The druid brushes his hands over hers on her arms, his voice soft. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry, love. …So that’s why you chose them over me?”
Rhoelyn: “What?!” She twists, her face contorted in horror. Nysse immediately ducks her head to hide her tears. “Elune… I never-. What is wrong with me?”
Araatris: He says nothing to that, glancing away into the forest. After a moment, he steps away, walking slowly back to the river bank.
Rhoelyn: “I never meant to wound you, but I have.” She smiles sadly, “You shouldn’t be the one to leave. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry, Rhese.” She bows.
Araatris: “Nysse…” He looks over at her, grief in his expression. “I should never have listened to Dorian. I didn’t know what they were doing to you.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress’ gaze is fixed on the grass. “It’s fine. Yami is a sweet child.” She turns away. “I really should go. May Elune watch over you.”
Araatris: Rhese puts his head back, growling in frustration at the sky. “Argh! I don’t understand you! Is it that easy for you to just walk away from me?”
Rhoelyn: Her eyes flash as she spins around. “No, it’s not. I’d rather have every bone in my body broken, but I’d rather do that than keep hurting you.”
Araatris: “Then you have a problem,” he says, gazing at her. “Because I love you. If you go, you’ll hurt me. A great, gaping hole where you should be.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns in confusion, “I don’t understand. I’m doing everything wrong. What do you want me to do?” She rubs at her eyes with her fists.
Araatris: He surges forward, suddenly, grabbing her arms. “I want you to make me understand, Nysse! Why did you take that risk? What do you want?”
Rhoelyn: She gasps, “You!” Then a whisper, “I want you, but they were children. I couldn’t betray their trust. What kind of person would that make me?”
Araatris: Rhese leans forward, resting his forehead on her shoulder. “I tried to tell you about their decision, about the new plan. But I messed up.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress shifts to wrap her arms around him, “It’s been a long day full of misunderstandings and pain, but there’s still you me and Yami.”
Araatris: Rhese releases her arms to hug her tight. “You don’t have to hurt for those voidlings. They wanted to go home. Aleesa wouldn’t agree, otherwise.”
Rhoelyn: She sniffles, “Really?” When Rhese nods, she sobs in relief. “Nothing I did would have changed anything? They didn’t want to be saved? Oh Elune…”
Araatris: “It’s what I was trying to tell you.” He frowns. “Badly. I’m sorry, Nysse. I had to drag you out of the way, but I know it only made things worse.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse kisses his cheek. “I don’t blame you, beloved. You were trying to keep me safe. Not that I helped that. I’m sorry I slapped you earlier.”
Araatris: “Mmmm. I may have earned it.” The druid straightens and brushes her hair back. “Nysse, you scared me. So badly.” He searches her face.
Rhoelyn: She swallows nervously. “I know. I’m really sorry. Can you ever forgive me for being so reckless?” Her fingers pluck at his armor and tunic.
Araatris: “I’ll work on it if you promise not to do it again.” His grip on her tightens. “Choose me, Nysse,” Rhese says quietly. “I don’t want to lose you.”
Rhoelyn: Her voice is soft and husky, “I promise, Rhese.” Her cheeks color slightly. “I choose you. No one else. By Elune, I want no one else, beloved.”
Araatris: The druid breathes a sigh of relief, leaning down to give her a tender kiss. When he pulls away, he rests his forehead against hers. “Thank you.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse whispers, “I’ll say it as many times as you need, beloved. With all my heart.” She kisses him again. “I love you, Rhese. More than anything.”
Araatris: “You can say it a few more times,” he says, pulling away far enough to look down at her with a hint of a grin, his arms tightening around her.
Rhoelyn: The huntress blushes, “I choose you, Rhese Silverwing. You are my beloved mate.” She raises her arms to loop them around his neck. “Only you.”
Araatris: “That’s better, my love.” Rhese lifts her off her feet, whispering against her lips, “You are my light, Nysse. Don’t forget that.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse clings to him as he captures her lips again. “I won’t.” She breathlessly confirms. “We don’t have to head back to camp yet, do we?”
Araatris: “No,” he mutters, splaying his hands across her back. “We definitely don’t need to head back just yet.”

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