**Araatris:** Through the open door, a carved cavern extends. At its center sits a massive amber gem with spires of black rock framing it and a silhouette within.
**Rhoelyn:** He blurs once again into a young man, hurrying into the cavern. “Aleesa? Is that you?” The shadowed figure slowly stands and turns to him.
**Araatris:** High above, frosty white crystals throw light down into the rest of the chamber. The young man that steps into view is a draenei with black eyes.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami hesitates and then trills tentatively. “I… are you one of my siblings?” The draenei strides forward silently, examining him closely.
**Araatris:** The draenei is young enough that his chest and shoulders are still slim. He lifts a hand to feel along Yami’s arm. “You dress like min’da.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nervously, the young elf nods. “Y-yes, do you create your clothes from shifting? I… I was sent to help you.” He looks around the cave for Aleesa.
**Araatris:** “To help. You came to help free vakeri’eras?” The other boy considers him for a moment before he glances over his shoulder, trilling softly.
**Rhoelyn:** The night elf nods again. “Min’da and an’da are fighting Dorian, but we plan to go home. We want you to come.” More figures move across the cavern.
**Araatris:** As the other voidlings step into sight, all in the youthful forms of one familiar race or another, Yami’s brother says, “Your home isn’t ours.”
**Rhoelyn:** “You… you want to stay here? What about Aleesa?” Yami’s eyes fill with tears of frustration. “I don’t even know how we’re going to get home…”
**Araatris:** Another of them, a little human-looking child, rests a hand on his arm. “Don’t cry, eldest. We’ll just have to fix things for zolomi’eros and mama.”
**Rhoelyn:** The draenei picks up the child and places him in Yami’s arms. He quickly cradles the boy. The draenei turns to the rest. “Tell vakari’eras.”
**Araatris:** With a nod, the littlest of the voidlings – a wobbly draeneic girl who toddles forward – rests her hands and then her forehead on the amber stone.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami rests the boy on his hip. “Is she in the crystal?” The eldest draenei smiles. “You’ve been away a long time… There is much you don’t know.”
**Araatris:** “Will you tell me? Please?” The night elf sighs and watches as the amber glows softly under the child’s hands. At its heart, a figure resolves.
**Rhoelyn:** Aleesa’s form is present. Yami’s eyes widen. “I… why is she in the amber?” Tiny hands pull his face to look at the tiny boy. “Listen, eldest.”
**Araatris:** “You have to really listen…” The voidling in his arms presses his forehead against Yami’s, muttering, “Do you even know how? Poor brother…”
**Rhoelyn:** The night elf gives a tiniest shake of his head. “I only hear min’da and an’da. It’s… hard to hear others now.” Yami admits. “Is that bad?”
**Araatris:** “You always like to be difficult,” the young draenei man scolds the little boy lightly, resting a hand on Yami’s shoulder. “Show him gently.”
**Rhoelyn:** The small boy nods. “Yes, brother.” He leans his head back against Yami’s. “Listen.” Yami can feel a soft touch pulling at his mind.
**Araatris:** Memories unfold as gently as promised, wrapping around the night elven voidling’s senses and pulling him into the moments from a year ago.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami watches as Aleesa gathers the voidlings around her. Her voice soothingly reminding them that she was there to watch over them.
**Araatris:** The littlest girl holds her hands up, and the shaman smiles and leans down to pull her into her arms. “Lassa, my cherub, dry your tears. Please.”
**Rhoelyn:** Lassa trills mournfully. “But what’ll hap’n now, vakari?” She sniffles and rubs her eyes before wrapping her arms around Aleesa’s neck.
**Araatris:** The draenei kisses her cheek tenderly, her brown hair brushing the child’s skin. “I am not certain. We must help zolomi find himself, again.”
**Rhoelyn:** An older draenei boy scowls, “I don’t know how. He has to see what’s wrong first, and he thinks he’s right.” Aleesa closes her eyes. “Time is the key.”
**Araatris:** When she staggers, the boy supports her arm, gently taking Lassa from her. “You don’t have much of that left, vakari’eras. He didn’t find it.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I know, Mirrin. I just need to rest.” Aleesa sinks to her knees, stilling smiling gently. Mirrin presses a hand to her forehead. “You’re ill.”
**Araatris:** “Yes.” The shaman sighs, but she grins softly at his touch. “With Dorian lost…” Her smile dies as her brow furrows. “If I die, he will break.”
**Rhoelyn:** Aleesa takes his hand. “I will use what I have left to rest with the crystal. I will be asleep for a long time. Can you watch over everyone?”
**Araatris:** The boy’s brow furrows, but he nods. His voice is soft when he says, “V… vakari, when will you wake up? How will we know when it’s time?”
**Rhoelyn:** She strokes his hair, smiling gently. “One day zolomi will return with help. I am sure of it. When they arrive, then it will be time.” Aleesa stands.
**Araatris:** The boy releases Yami and pulls away as the memory fades. It’s clear enough from the pang of sadness that he doesn’t want to share more.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami hugs him closer. “You’ve been alone for the last year. Is that what Lassa is doing? Waking Aleesa?” The draenei, Mirrin, nods. “Yes she is.”
**Araatris:** For a bit, they all watch the tiny girl and the glowing amber. Finally, Yami asks. “What happened to make her sick? And what happened to Dorian?”
**Rhoelyn:** Mirrin sighs. “The world is not… living. She has weakened without her connection to the elements. And zolomi did not know how not to listen.”
**Araatris:** The boy in Yami’s arms nods. “He got sick thoughts. She got a sick body. Everybody got sick. I don’t like it.” “They’re not like us, Niko.”
**Rhoelyn:** “It won’t affect me?” Yami asks. Niko shakes his head. “No, you’re like us.” The elder voidling ponders, “And Aleesa thinks Dorian can be helped?”
**Araatris:** Mirrin frowns and rubs a hand over his forehead ridges. “She… she thought so when she went to sleep, but… she never saw how bad he got.”
**Rhoelyn:** Yami tenses as a shriek reaches them from down the hallway. “Min’da!” He bites his lip hard. “He’s really bad. He almost killed an’da, Mirrin.”
**Araatris:** The young man nods, glancing back as well. “We… He was so scary and mad. After he found out she was sleeping, he wanted to take her away.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Take her away? Take her away to where? There’s no place to go-” A gentle chiming interrupts Yami and they all turn towards the crystal.
**Araatris:** One of the other children steps up to the toddler and lifts her away from the amber. She coos happily. “Vakari!” The others gather around.
**Rhoelyn:** A draenei woman steps from the remains of the amber. Yami sets Niko down as the boy squirms in his arms. He hangs back from the others.
**Araatris:** Aleesa smiles tenderly as Mirran steps up, wrapping her in a hug. The others crowd around, and she rests her hands on a couple of little heads.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami looks back down the hallway, when he feels a soft touch on his arm. “Yami… it’s so good to see you again.” Alessa hugs the young man.
**Araatris:** He freezes for a moment, as if he can’t quite believe it, and then he hugs her back, tears in his eyes. “Aleesa… min’nu, I missed you. We did.”
**Rhoelyn:** Aleesa smiles and brushes his unruly hair back. “Don’t cry, Yami. I’m here.” She brushes the tears on his cheek. “But… I missed you as well.”
**Araatris:** The night elf kisses her cheek gently. “How do you feel?” She smiles sadly. “Ill-equipped for what must come next. I am weak and growing weaker.”
**Rhoelyn:** He presses his forehead against hers. “I wish I could heal you like an’da.” Aleesa nudges him. “Come. Lead us to Dorian and your parents.”
**Araatris:** Yami nods. Mirran and one of the others, an older girl whose form is blood elven with a void purple tint to her skin, take her arms to support her.
**Rhoelyn:** The young man takes the lead, slowly guiding his adoptive aunt and siblings towards the exit. He grimaces as the shouting becomes louder.
**Araatris:** “Yer goin’ ta die here on this miser’ble rock, ye fools! An’ all ye hadta do was give me ‘Leesa!” Dorian’s voice is barely audible in the echoes.
**Rhoelyn:** “Nysse!” Rhese shouts worriedly as they round the bend into the open landscape of the floating island. Dorian’s tendril tightens around her.
**Araatris:** The druid scrambles back to his feet only to stagger. He shifts, but the cat is unsteady as he runs to slash black-stained claws at the appendage.
**Rhoelyn:** Aleesa draws herself up straight and the voidlings at her sides release her, but still hover close. Her voice is commanding, “Dorian, release her.”
**Araatris:** The corrupted dwarf freezes, which gets him bitten solidly. He growls out a curse and swats Rhese away with a smack across his feline side.
**Rhoelyn:** The once-Dorian sets Nysse down next to him. The growling druid shifts as Aleesa takes very slow steps forward. Her hooves are the only sound.
**Araatris:** “Dorian…” she says softly as she approaches his misshapen form. “Ah, lass. Ah been tryin’ ta get t’ya ever since ya shut yerself away. Ta save ya!”
**Rhoelyn:** The draenei smiles sadly. “I’m not the only one that needs saving… How long have you been listening to their whispers?” She stops in front of him.
**Araatris:** He shrugs. “Too long ta remember, m’girl. They did’na steer me wrong, though. Ah’ve the power ta get ya outta this place that’s killin’ ya, now.”
**Rhoelyn:** Aleesa sighs. “At what cost, Dorian. Yami has the power to return us home, but… you cannot return as you are.” The young voidling man blinks.
**Araatris:** The dwarf’s form darkens. “Ah can. Ah’ve allies there, ‘Lees. Enough ta see ye’re never in danger like that agin.” He waves a taloned hand at her.
**Rhoelyn:** Her gaze turns pointedly to Rhese, cradling Nysse in his arms. “Friends don’t hurt friends.” She looks at Yami. “Friends don’t make children cry.”
**Araatris:** There’s a growl from him. “Ah did’na say ‘friends’. Ye’re th’only one ah need. Ye an’ th’children, an’ now that ye’re awake, ye can tell ‘em…”
**Rhoelyn:** “Tell them what, Dorian?” Aleesa motions for the void children to circle around the corrupted dwarf. “They’re here. You may speak as well as I.”
**Araatris:** He turns once to look at each of them from the shadows that hide his face before he faces Aleesa again. “Tell’em they dinna need ta fear me.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse’s rasping voice interrupts, “They shouldn’t need to be told. You haven’t proven it. They’re children.” She stands with Rhese’s help.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress rests her hands on her belly. “They’ve heard you threaten. They’ve seen you change physically. Why shouldn’t they fear you? I do.”
**Araatris:** Dorian takes a small step away from her before he shakes his head, snarling, “They shoulda listened. Ye shoulda listened. Ye shoulda served!”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese grips Nysse’s arm tightly when she goes to step forward, shaking his head. Nysse frowns briefly. “You never asked us. We have unbor-”
**Araatris:** The druid hisses at her, interrupting as he tugs her back toward him. “Ah dinnae ask!” Dorian shouts. “Only th’weak ask! Ye should ha’ served!”
**Rhoelyn:** Yami snaps, “No! Only the weak don’t ask! We’re not your servants. We were supposed to be family. Aunt Aleesa and my siblings are.”
**Araatris:** Mirran steps forward and the rest of the children mirror him, closing the ring around Dorian. “Zolomi’eros, stop listening to the wrong voices.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Wrong voices?! They gave me da pow’r to save Aleesa. Yer… yer vakari! Yer an ungrateful bunch…” He turns slowly, looking at them all.
**Araatris:** Lassa holds up her arms to him. “Lissen t’us. Zolomi, fam’wy.” On the edge of the children, silently watching, Aleesa wobbles. Yami grabs her arm.
**Rhoelyn:** Dorian steps forward, grasping her. “Ah am listenin’ t’ya, lassie. Ya were so scared when ‘Leesa went in th’crystal… ya donnae need to be scared now.”
**Araatris:** The little girl squeaks when it’s his shadow tendril that he grabs her with instead of his thick arms, and she bursts into tears, squirming away.
**Rhoelyn:** “Lassa… I rocked ya t’sleep so many times… why are ya cryin’ now?” Dorian tries again when Aleesa suggests, “Your arms, Dorian. Use your arms.”
**Araatris:** The corrupted dwarf hesitates, but after a couple of heartbeats of her tears, the tendril retracts. He kneels down to scoop her into his real arms.
**Rhoelyn:** Lassa sniffles. “Dun like black stuff. Wanna see face.” The dwarf hesitates again. “Lassie, this’s how ah kin protect ya now. It’s not bad.”
**Araatris:** “Zolomi’eros, you can show us.” Mirran says it while Lassa pouts and rests her little hands on Dorian’s arms. “You need to face every truth.”
**Rhoelyn:** Reluctantly, the shadows around his face shift, but neither Yami nor Aleesa nor the night elves can see it. Tiny hands reach up to dwarf’s face.
**Araatris:** What scars him, what marks his face is only in the mind. His mind, and those who look upon him. The children understand that in a way others can’t.
**Rhoelyn:** Mirran steps forward even has the small girl smoothes the shadows away from Dorian’s face. “You no need these, zolomi. I safe with just you…”
**Araatris:** “Ah’m not enough, lil’ lass. Ah cannae save ya alone, g-” She giggles and shoves her hands over his mouth. Niko says, “You’re never alone, uncle.”
**Rhoelyn:** Niko tugs at his side, tugging. Dorian shifts Lassa in his arms and reaches down to rest a hand on Niko’s head. “Ah, but yer so inn’cent…”
**Araatris:** “You always forget, zolomi…” The little boy’s form ripples until a full-grown human man stands beside him, smirking. “We’re not what we look like.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse walks over to Yami and Aleesa, Rhese’s hand resting on her back. “It is easy to forget. Especially when I want you to stay my little boy…”
**Araatris:** The young man reaches out a hand to his mother. “It doesn’t matter what I look like, min’da. I’m always me.” Dorian frowns. “Ah’ve seen s’much.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse takes his hand and hugs him tight. The huntress murmurs, “I’m grateful to have such a wonderful young man as my son.” She kisses his cheek.
**Rhoelyn:** “Do as you need, sweetie. We can watch with Aleesa here.” She smiles gently and slips a supportive arm around the draenei. “Go on.”
**Araatris:** Sharing a glance with his father, the two matching men nod at each other. Rhese smiles tenderly and says nothing as the voidling turns.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami walks to the dwarf. “An’nu, we’re getting old enough to help protect others. You don’t have to do it by yourself anymore. Let us help.”
**Araatris:** The dwarf looks at him, his unshrouded face familiar and different for the hard edge to his expression. “Time’s a worthless thin’,” he repeats.
**Rhoelyn:** The young night elf nods. “What makes it special is what you do with it.” He rests a hand on Dorian’s shoulder and the shadows recoil from him.
**Araatris:** Jerking, the dwarf growls and tries to pull away from Yami. Mirran grabs his other shoulder. “Ye cannae jes’ undo aeons! Th’pacts’re for ye all!”
**Rhoelyn:** Mirran shares a look with Yami. “We’re not undoing all your efforts, zolomi. They’ve served their purpose.” More shadows peel away from him.
**Araatris:** “But… ah dinnae…” He tries to look over at Aleesa, but Niko stops him from turning, more shadows wafting away. “Lees needs ta leave ‘ere.”
**Rhoelyn:** Lassa puts her arms around his neck. “We know, uncle, but we need to help you first. Then you can take vakari…” Another voidling steps close.
**Araatris:** One by one, they step close, and with each touch more of the shadows shrouding his form flee. Rhese grabs Aleesa from Nysse when she falters.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse frowns worriedly even as the last shadows dissipate from Dorian. She murmurs softly, “Hold on, Aleesa. We’ll get you home soon…”
**Araatris:** The druid supports her slow slump to the ground, and he rests a dimly glowing hand over her heart. He whispers to Nysse, “I can’t do much.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress glances at the voidlings. “They’re still busy, but…” She raises her voice. “Yami, sweetie… is everything going well over there?”
**Araatris:** The children and Dorian all look over at them, and he gasps, “‘Lees!” He lifts a hand toward her as if he might do something, but it’s just a hand.
**Rhoelyn:** “How am ah suppos’ta open a port–” Mirran interrupts the dwarf. “Yami will guide us. He knows where his home is. Open your mind to us, Yami.”
**Araatris:** The night elf blinks as one of his siblings takes his hand. They all approach Aleesa and Rhese and Nysse. “I-It’s been a long time. Years for me.”
**Rhoelyn:** Niko grasps his shoulder. “Then I’ll act as the bridge. All you have to do is let go and think about home, brother.” Yami looks at Nysse and Rhese.
**Araatris:** His father concentrates on Aleesa, but Nysse gives him a tender, encouraging smile. “Min’nu is waiting, little light. And an’nui and our friends.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young man nods as he bites his lip and closes his eyes. Mirrin and the other voidlings gather energy. “That’s it. Niko, keep helping him.”
**Araatris:** His senses expand oddly, drawing a gasp from Yami as he feels, first, Niko and then Mirran and soon seven caring minds aligning with his.
**Rhoelyn:** They slide through his mind, absorbing and experiencing the last several years through him. The shadows coalesce in the beginnings of a portal.
**Araatris:** Lassa’s little thought is a giggling tickle, Oh, I want to be a wolf pup, next time! Mirran is tender with fond exasperation. Focus, sister.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami can’t help the wide grin spreading across his face at the warm chatter of voices. Another voidling, Amaala, suggests, “Focus on your home.”
**Araatris:** For a brief moment, he ponders the word, reflecting on home. The places, like the house on the edge of Nighthaven or the cottage in Winterspring.
**Rhoelyn:** His thoughts focus on his family, lingering on his last birthday in Winterspring. The warm inviting home had held all his closest family.
**Araatris:** Niko’s thoughts are warm and amused. Maybe not in the very middle of the house. Yami grins and pictures the snowy hillside beyond the door.
**Rhoelyn:** Lassa squeals excitedly in their minds. Can I play in the snow, Mirran? The draenei snorts audibly as the portal pops. Maybe. If you’re good.
**Araatris:** Like a time that has become more or less distant for different people, the yawning rift to snow and trees opens itself on the rocky ground.
**Rhoelyn:** Yami gestures to Rhese and Nysse. “Take Aleesa and we’ll follow.” The druid nods, lifting the light draenei in his arms. Nysse is on his heels.
**Araatris:** Dorian watches them carefully, his dark eyes on Aleesa as Rhese steps up to the edge of the portal. “Ye take care ‘o her. Get ‘er well, again.”
**Rhoelyn:** Rhese nods grimly. “We’ll take care of her, Dorian.” Nysse hesitates, “You sound like you might not be coming with us.” She frowns worriedly.
**Araatris:** “Ah, lass. Tha’ hasn’t been m’home fer aeons.” The dwarf, only scars left from the shadow that consumed him, shakes his head. “Ah cannae return.”
**Rhoelyn:** Her eyes water and she ducks her head. “I don’t want to leave you all again.” Yami frowns and takes her hands, “Min’da, you can’t stay here.”
**Araatris:** Nysse squeezes her son’s hands tight, sniffing. “None of them can, either. No one should stay on this lifeless piece of rock, Yami.”
**Rhoelyn:** Lassa toddles over and tugs on Nysse’s leg, giggling. “No, silly. We can… we can…” Mirran chuckles. “We can visit now, but this is… home.”
**Araatris:** “Dorian,” Aleesa whispers his name, lifting a hand weakly toward her friend. Rhese mutters softly to her, “We really can’t delay. You’re f-”
**Rhoelyn:** The dwarf sighs. “‘Lees, ya got ta go, lass. Ah’ll be right ‘ere when ya r’turn.” Dorian gestures urgently at the portal. “Git on wit’ ya now.”
**Araatris:** Nysse leans down and picks Lassa up, cuddling her close as the shaman stubbornly shakes her head. “Go on, zolomi’eros.” Niko nudges Dorian.
**Rhoelyn:** “But–” The dwarf grumbles, “Stubborn, lass.” He stalks toward the portal. Mirran kisses Lassa’s forehead. “Why don’t you go, too, Lassa?”
**Araatris:** The little girl giggles and nods, wrapping her arms around Nysse’s neck. Rhese blinks and catches his mate’s eyes. Yami grins. “You’ll love it.”
**Rhoelyn:** Dorian taps his foot impatiently. “Are ya comin’?” Nysse ducks her head and gives a little nod. “P-please visit. I want to meet all of you…”
**Araatris:** Mirran smiles. “We know where to find you, now, min’da. We’ll come in time, I think. Our time or yours…?” He shrugs enigmatically. “Don’t worry.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles tenderly. “I look forward to it.” She turns to Rhese and they all make their way through the portal. The huntress stumbles in the snow.