Cata Arc – Chapter 2

Rhoelyn: Awakening was slow. First, the awareness of abused muscles, then hunger and thirst. There was darkness, rushing water, and sand beneath her.
Araatris: Nysse bites back a groan as she forces her hands under her, pushing herself to her knees. Her head swims dizzyingly as she coughs, hunching.
Rhoelyn: She heaves expelling some water, but manages to look around. The cave is dim, but the air is fresh. A glance behind confirms the exit is underwater.
Araatris: Clenching her fist, the huntress coughs. When she closes her eyes, all she can see is Rhese tangled in the rigging and sinking into the darkness.
Rhoelyn: She starts to turn back towards the water when she hears another groan. Her blurry eyes seek the source and she notices a sentinel lying nearby.
Araatris: Nysse stumbles over by the other woman, and the first thing she notices in the dim light is the dark blood dripping on the sand at her side.
Rhoelyn: The huntress assesses woman’s bloody, broken arm. Nysse tears her shirt. After cleaning and setting it, she wraps it with cloth and a stick.
Araatris: Carefully dragging the sentinel, Nysse moves her farther into the cave and gathers some of the scant pieces of driftwood laying around.
Rhoelyn: She checks her pouches and by some luck, the flint and steel wasn’t lost. She stands and checks the airflow in the cave with a damp finger.
Araatris: Though certainly odd, Nysse doesn’t question her luck when she finds that there are crevices near the back of the cave that leak air in and out.
Rhoelyn: Satisfied, she starts a small fire. Resting for a moment, her eyes start to water. She quickly distracts herself looking for usable debris.
Araatris: The cave’s waterline yields some good lengths of rope, a small amount of sodden wood, one small, sealed crate, and a near-intact mainsail cloth.
Rhoelyn: Nysse lays what needs to dry near the fire, then fights with the damp knot that kept her dagger in place. She mumbles to herself as she works.
Araatris: “We’ll need fresh water. If I’m lucky, the crate will have something useful for making a still.” With her blade finally freed, she pries it open.
Rhoelyn: It’s a box of kitchen supplies: a small skillet, a couple of bowls, a few knives, and a couple of now broken glass items wrapped in cloth.
Araatris: Though she’s too anxious for a real smile, Nysse whispers a prayer of thanks and sets about crafting a small tent of sailcloth for the still.
Rhoelyn: Over the next few hours, she manages to make enough water for herself and the sentinel. She walks back to the pool that’s the cave exit.
Araatris: Nysse sighs as her stomach growls angrily. Fish don’t seem to swim into the cave mouth, however, and the pool is calm. She kicks off her boots.
Rhoelyn: She bites her lip before taking a deep breath and diving into the water. The coolness gives her pause as she makes her way to open water.
Araatris: The ocean around the cave is well-lit with clear water, and Nysse finds that she can see for quite a distance. The area is teeming with sea life.
Rhoelyn: It takes several attempts and breaths for Nysse to spear a couple of fish on her dagger. The last time, she stares out into the ocean hopefully.
Araatris: But finally she’s forced to turn back toward the cave, disappointed and worried, her lungs burning. She breaks the pocket of air with a gasp.
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s chest and head ache as she attempts to catch her breath. She drags herself to the fire and sets the fish on a skewer to cook.
Araatris: Settling back with nothing left to do, she pulls her knees up and rests her head on them, feeling worn. She presses her fists to her eyes.
Rhoelyn: Her mind replays Rhese falling away from her into the depths again. She ignores the wetness on her fists, but a tiny sob escapes her lips.
Araatris: Rather than let herself dissolve into tears, Nysse shoves to her feet, swiping at her eyes. As she casts about for a distraction, the sentinel stirs.
Rhoelyn: She quickly steps over and kneels at the night elven woman’s side. The woman blinks blearily at her. Nysse carefully asks, “How are you?”
Araatris: The sentinel coughs and hoarsely whispers. “I… think I will live, sister.” As Nysse turns to get her a drink, she looks down at her splinted arm.
Rhoelyn: Nysse notices the look, and talks as she supports the woman for drinking, “Your arm was broken. I set the bone, so I expect it’ll heal fine.”
Araatris: Once she finishes the water, she lays her head back with a grateful sigh. Her voice sounds better. “Thank you. I am Faye. Fayrial Dawncrier.”
Rhoelyn: “I’m Nyssera Whispersong, but you can call me Nysse.” The huntress moves to the fire, “We’ll have fish to eat soon. Were you on the Stormdancer?”
Araatris: Faye shakes her head, carefully levering herself onto her good arm to watch Nysse. “The Windsong. I was injured fighting the naga.”
Rhoelyn: She frowns, “We didn’t see any naga. Our ship turned over when a large wave hit it…” Nysse shakes her head to clear it. “The fish is ready.”
Araatris: As the huntress hands her the steaming food, the other woman nods. “We capsized during the tidal wave as well. The naga attacked after.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse takes a bite of her food and winces as it burns her mouth, “I didn’t see any naga when I swam out to get food, but I didn’t go far.”
Araatris: “That is a good thing.” Faye frowns, looking out at the water. “They were capturing the fallen and taking them… somewhere. I was fortunate.”
Rhoelyn: Tensing, Nysse leans forward, “Capturing?! I’ve never heard of them capturing people.” She pales at the possibility of Rhese being in naga hands.
Araatris: “Nor have I,” the sentinel says. “They saved the drowning, though. I might think that they were trying to help if not for my fight with them.”
Rhoelyn: She bites into her fish, “Do you have any idea of where they might have went?” Nysse sighs, “Not that it’d help since I’m not sure where we are.”
Araatris: Faye looks at her, noticing the tension in her face. “If we can find the wreckage of the Windsong, I’ll know. You want to find someone as well.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress nods and her cheeks pinken, “I was separated from my mate, Rhese Silverwing. He’s an excellent druid, but the naga worry me.”
Araatris: The sentinel nods understandingly. “I must find my friend, Nithan Caldwell. He’s a priest. A… human.” She looks embarrassed at that detail.
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods, “Like Calinea, then. She’s one of our teammates.” Nysse sets her finished meal to the side. “We also work with a human paladin.”
Araatris: Faye nibbles on her fish, finally, before asking, “Were they on your vessel as well, then? Your team?” The huntress shakes her head. “Just Rhese.”
Rhoelyn: “We were going to check in at Stormwind. I was hoping to see them while we were there.” Nysse sets the pan of water on the fire for the still.
Araatris: Shifting around, the sentinel tries to get to her feet. She winces and holds her arm as she stumbles. “We have to get back out there.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress jumps to her feet and quickly moves to steady the woman, “We’re going to be useless without rest and we’ll need a plan, Faye.”
Araatris: She sighs, looking at the water. “Yes. Of course you’re right. We need weapons and a way to breathe… at least for longer.” She paces away.
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods and settles in by the fire, “After we sleep, I’ll swim out to check for more supplies. This is just what I could find in the cavern.”
Araatris: “Very well.” The sentinel settles across from Nysse and finishes her fish. She sighs at her broken arm. “I’ll be of little help in the water.”
Rhoelyn: Yawning, Nysse nods, “Focus on resting and healing. I’ll do the scouting.” She checks on the still. “Can you watch the water while I sleep?”
Araatris: “Yes, of course. Rest, Nysse. I will keep watch.” Faye smiles gently and settles back. “I failed to thank you for your care. I am grateful.”
Rhoelyn: It’s difficult, but Nysse manages a weak smile. “It’s my pleasure to be of assistance. Thank you.” She folds a bit of sailcloth into a pillow.
Araatris: The huntress closes her eyes, fighting away thoughts of Rhese. Though it takes a while, she finally drifts off with drying tears on her cheeks.
Rhoelyn: It’s hours later when Nysse stirs with a start, barely catching herself from calling his name aloud. She blushes when she catches Faye’s look.
Araatris: The other woman smiles sadly. “I understand all too well, sister.” She gestures to the side. “We have gained a companion while you slept.”
Rhoelyn: Grateful for the distraction, Nysse follows Faye’s hand to see a sleeping human male. She frowns, “Did he wake yet?” Faye nods, “For a bit.”
Araatris: “He said he’s from a third vessel. They weren’t sunk by the tidal wave, but were attacked and sunk by the naga. Three weeks ago.” She frowns.
Rhoelyn: “Three weeks? Does that mean he was captured by the naga?” Nysse sets up the still to make more water and stretches her stiff muscles.
Araatris: Faye nods. “Exactly. He told me he escaped, but he was too exhausted to say more. I gave him water and had him warm up. He was asleep soon after.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods, “We’ll let him rest. I’ll go fishing… though I’m not sure it counts.” She gives Faye a dry smile. “I’ll be back and forth for air.”
Araatris: “Ah! I have something that I hope will be useful.” Faye fumbles around beside her, pulling out a nearly-complete net woven from untwisted rope.
Rhoelyn: Surprised, the huntress nods, “That would be much easier than a dagger. Did you make it from the rope?” Nysse walks over and looks at the net.
Araatris: “Yes. My father was a fisherman in Auberdine. Some things stay with one,” the sentinel admits shyly. “I will have it complete very soon.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles gently, “My father is a hunter, but my mother hoped I’d be a sentinel. There’s nothing wrong with taking after those you love.”
Araatris: Faye’s hands are nimble, though she occasionally grimaces as she works around her broken arm. “My mother was a sentinel as well. She got her wish.”
Rhoelyn: “What about your wish?” Nysse kneels in front of the sentinel as she works. “I respect my mother, but I wouldn’t have been suited for it.”
Araatris: “There is no issue. This path suits me much better than fishing, certainly.” She quickly ties off the last knot. “Here. I hope this works well.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress takes it with a grateful nod, “Thank you.” Standing, she heads to the edge of the water and dives in. She freezes at the entrance.
Araatris: Nysse presses herself into the shadows of the coral as a naga patrol swims by a few dozen yards away, hauling prisoners in air bubbles behind them.
Rhoelyn: Once they pass, she swims back into the cave, gasping for air as she breaks the surface. “Naga! Patrol with prisoners!” She treads water.
Araatris: As Faye frowns at her, the sleeping human wakes with a start, looking around in a panic. “No! I wasn’t sl-…” He blinks blearily, confused.
Rhoelyn: “Oh! It’s okay. They didn’t see me, but they passed very close. I’ll wait here to give them time to pass.” Nysse steps over to the man, “Hello.”
Araatris: He peers at her, clearly a little disoriented. After a look around the cave, he seems to recall himself. “Oh. Oh, hello. You were sleeping.”
Rhoelyn: She nods, “Yes, I’m Nysse. Do you feel better after a bit of rest?” Her gaze seeks any obvious injuries, but beyond a few bruises he seems fine.
Araatris: He pushes to his feet, nodding. “Better, thanks. I didn’t expect to find this place, let alone you two already here.” He scratches at his chin.
Rhoelyn: He holds out his hand, “I’m Kreston. Suppose it’s a pleasure meeting you despite the circumstances.” Nysse tentatively grasps his hand.
Araatris: Faye speaks up, “We’d like more information about the naga, Kreston, if you’re up for it. Nysse is going need to know how to avoid them.”
Rhoelyn: He releases Nysse’s hand with a nod, “Of course. I ducked in here to avoid them myself. They patrol every few hours searching for survivors.”
Araatris: Nysse frowns. “Faye said your ship was attacked and sunk by them? Weeks ago?” The man nods, “I’ve been slaving for them for a while.”
Rhoelyn: Her brow furrows, “I don’t understand that. It’s outside of their normal habits. What were they having you do?” She tilts her head at Kreston.
Araatris: He sighs. “I was in the mine. They never told us what we were digging for, but I’ll tell you what – it sure wasn’t the ghost iron or even the pyrite.”
Rhoelyn: Faye raises both eyebrows, “You were digging, but they didn’t keep any of it.” Kreston shakes his head, “It was like they were searching.”
Araatris: Nysse bites her lip, but she can’t help but ask, “Did you… see a druid, there? A night elf with silver hair?” He frowns. “Hmm. There was a guy…”
Rhoelyn: Her eyes widen as he continues, “I don’t know if he was a druid, but he was brought in several days ago. Did your druid friend have pale skin?”
Araatris: Her heart pounding in her throat, she only trusts herself to nod at first. She thinks furiously. Could she have been unconscious for that long?
Rhoelyn: Noticing her worried look, Kreston presses her further, “Is there any other way to recognize him? A scar? Hair length? Birthmark? Tattoo?”
Araatris: Nysse nods shakily. “He has a tattoo on his shoulder.” She kind of sketches on her own shoulder to show him. “It’s the primary forms in a circle.”
Rhoelyn: Kreston shakes his head, “He didn’t have a shirt. I would’ve noticed a tattoo. He had a scar on his chest. I don’t think it was your friend.”
Araatris: Clasping her hands together tightly, Nysse whispers, “I guess not.” Faye watches her for a moment before asking a new question of him.
Rhoelyn: “Did you happen to see another human male? Tall. Blond, short hair. Tan. He was wearing the robes of a priest last I saw him.” Faye waits.
Araatris: The man winces, scratching the back of his head. “Sorry, Faye, but I can think of at least four guys I saw there who’d match that description.”
Rhoelyn: Faye purses her lips as she thinks, “He was wearing a single earring, but it’s not very noticeable.” She sighs, “I’d have to see them.”
Araatris: “Nithan?” Faye’s jaw drops as Kreston nods. “Oh, I know him. He just came in maybe a day ago. He’s the main reason I was able to escape.”
Rhoelyn: The man scratches his cheek, “He purposely made a distraction. I don’t know why he chose me, but he said that I had to get out and tell someone.”
Araatris: The sentinel looks shaken at that, paling. “You… did you see if he was… safe afterwards?” He looks a bit ashamed. “No. I’m sorry. I couldn’t.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse redirects the conversation, “Kreston, how did you breathe? Were you in one of those bubbles? We’ll need that if we’re to rescue Nithan.”
Araatris: “There was something the naga made … some sort of pearl infused with magic,” he says. “It lets us breathe underwater. I know where they’re kept.”
Rhoelyn: “Do you still have yours? Maybe you can explain where to go and I’ll get some. I can look out for Nithan too.” Nysse looks at the net, “And food.”
Araatris: He grimaces. “You have to ingest it, so … I don’t think I’ll be handing mine over. But I can get us more if I’m careful and lucky.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress blinks, “Oh.” She shakes her head, “I can’t ask you to go back there. You just got free. We’ll figure something else out.”
Araatris: “Look, Nysse,” Kreston says. “I didn’t escape to run away and hide by myself. I w–” He’s interrupted by a loud growl from his stomach.
Rhoelyn: She blushes, “I’ll get food. Be back in a few minutes.” Nysse dives into the water. Several tries later, she has a fair selection of netted fish.
Araatris: Settled down over a warm fire and spitted fish, the three spend a little while just relaxing in silence, knowing that soon enough they’ll be busy.
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s fingers trace the same circular symbol in the sand over and over. She only stops when the fish are ready, then she eats quietly.
Araatris: Once the fish are ingested, Kreston speaks up once more. “I’ll get you both a way to breathe. Do we have any weapons I can use at all?”
Rhoelyn: Handing her dagger out to Kreston, Nysse nods, “I have a dagger. It’s not much.” He takes it, “Thanks. I’ll head out and try to return in two hours.”
Araatris: Faye says, “Be careful out there.” She and Nysse watch as the man ties the dagger to his belt and then dives into the pool, disappearing.
Rhoelyn: Nysse sighs, “All we can do is wait. We might as well rest until he gets back.” Contrary to her statement, she rummages through fresh debris.
Araatris: Faye watches her, concerned. “Nysse, come and rest. You will need your energy when he returns. …what is that you were drawing?” She points.
Rhoelyn: The huntress reluctantly leaves water’s edge and sits back next to the drawing. “It’s Rhese’s tattoo. Rhoelyn, his twin sister, designed it.”
Araatris: The sentinel nods with a little smile. “That is unique. You should be sure Kreston sees it. We may yet find your mate among the captured.”
Rhoelyn: “It’s not knowing that makes it hard.” The huntress lays back, “We’d just vacationed in Feralas for a month. Then checked on the wolf pups.”
Araatris: Faye gets to her feet and comes over to sit by Nysse, taking her hand with her good arm. “I understand how you feel. We must have faith.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods, “I know Rhese can take care of himself, but…” She squeezes Faye’s hand, “We’ll find them. Rhese and Nithan. I know we will.”
Araatris: The other woman nods, summoning a strained smile. “Yes. We will not accept anything less, sister. May Elune guide us to them both.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse echoes her before patting the ground. “Let’s sleep to give us strength for later.” The woman nods and lays down as well, careful of her arm.
Araatris: With Faye a comforting presence beside her, Nysse is able to drift off much more easily than last time. She dreams of Feralas and lazy, sweet days.

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