**Rhoelyn:** The human crouches down under the overhang, breathing raggedly. She clutches her shoulder with one hand, the other hanging limply by her side.
**Araatris:** Footfalls crunch on the ground above her head, sending dirt skittering, and she holds her breath with great difficulty, starving already for air.
**Rhoelyn:** When they fade away, Kaerryn waits for a seeming eternity until she takes a long, shuddering breath. Off in the distance, a wolf howls.
**Araatris:** The warrior waits a few more heartbeats as she sucks in rasping breaths before she shoves away from the dirt and rock, leaving a smear of blood.
**Rhoelyn:** She circles back around towards the nearest town, hoping that the demons went the other way. Armor chimes softly, along with light footsteps.
**Araatris:** Kaerryn pauses, leaning against a tree with her good hand while she listens until suddenly her head lolls, her eyes drifting shut. “Rot…”
**Rhoelyn:** The warrior slumps to her knees and then the ground, hearing voices that are almost familiar. Someone lifts her up before darkness takes her.
**Araatris:** “Kaer? Kaerryn?” Nysse pats the warrior’s pale cheek, tugging her gently across her lap. “Come on…” She closes her eyes. Korran, get Relare.
**Rhoelyn:** The spirit wolf bounds into the trees. Nysse takes off her pack and retrieves some gauze to attempt to staunch the worst of the bleeding.
**Araatris:** Kaerryn moans as the huntress explores her side, where blood seeps from around a nasty gash through the thick plate of her armor. She unbuckles it.
**Rhoelyn:** She slips the armor off the woman and presses the gauze against the wound. “You’ll be fine, Kaer. Rel will be here any minute to heal you.”
**Araatris:** Patrols are between us, Nyssera. Korran’s voice rumbles through her. It will take time. The huntress grimaces, watching red soak through the cloth.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse stares at her med kit. I’ll do what I can until you get here. “It’ll be better for us both if you stay unconscious. This might get messy.”
**Araatris:** Moving with careful efficiency, the night elf sets out to keep her friend from bleeding to death, ignoring for the moment her dislocated arm.
**Rhoelyn:** It’s several minutes later when the others arrive. “Nysse!” The huntress looks up in relief, her arms bloody from her efforts. “Thank Elune!”
**Araatris:** Relare hurries to kneel at the warrior’s side, resting glowing hands beside Nysse’s. After a silent moment, he says grimly, “She’s in bad shape.”
**Rhoelyn:** “W-what should we do? Should we call Morthis? Oh!” She digs out her blinker hearth. “I can send her-” Sarren frowns. “What if you need it?”
**Araatris:** “But sh-” Leo rests a light hand on her arm. “Isn’t it the case that she’ll hearth back to Darnassus? To Rhoelyn?” He raises his brows.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse flinches and admits, “She can recognize my hearthstone…” She flips it over to show a painted wolf on the back. “Rel, can you heal her?”
**Araatris:** The look the paladin gives her is downright offended, and his brother chuckles. “Oh, goodness…” Relare grumbles, “A little silence will help.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress blushes. “Y-yes. Of course…” The young night elf cradles Kaerryn’s head as Relare works, slowly healing Kaerryn’s wounds.
**Araatris:** Sarren watches until Tsume lifts her head, suddenly, Nora growling softly beside her. Korran steps up beside the white wolf. They come.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse shifts out from the warrior and lays Kaer’s head down. “We have company. Relare, do your best, but it may be noisy.” She grabs her bow.
**Araatris:** “Leothir, guard them,” Sarren orders before looking at his daughter. “Let’s go do some hunting, little star.” He darts off into the trees.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress bolts after him, clicking for the wolves and weaving through the trees. Then, there’s blissful silence surrounding Leo and Rel.
**Araatris:** Leo yawns and leans back indolently against a tree while his brother works. He is brushing some dirt from his sleeve when the first roar rings out.
**Rhoelyn:** Sarren snaps, “Attack and hold! Attack and hold!” Nysse follows the order as surely as the wolves as she dances around them firing arrows.
**Araatris:** The wrathguard nearest Tsume swings at the wolf even as one of the night elf’s arrows pings off its chest guard, his axe trailing felfire.
**Rhoelyn:** He clips Tsume and she tumbles, only to roll back to her feet and leap back into the fray. Nysse is lining up a shot when he turns toward her.
**Araatris:** In the middle of his charge, she looses, and the arrow slips through the seam of his armor. He stumbles with a pained roar as it sinks deep.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress shifts around to his backside, but stops when nearby felhounds bay and snarl. Her father’s arrow pierces the wrathguard’s neck.
**Araatris:** The demon gurgles something incomprehensible as it falls, grabbing something off its belt and tossing it at Nysse as a trio of hounds rush in.
**Rhoelyn:** A felfire bomb sears her skin and she stumbles, holding arms in front of her. The flames surround her as the wolves lunge at the felhounds.
**Araatris:** A circle of red flame bursts up around the huntress, unpleasantly hot and close, but infinitely better than the one that wanted to turn her to ash.
**Rhoelyn:** The flames die down after a moment and Leothir snorts, “Can’t you stay out of trouble?” Nysse shoots him a grin. “Blame Rhese. He started it.”
**Araatris:** “I’ll be happy to add it to his tab,” the mage sighs, his expression dripping with melodrama. “Really. The number of things I blame your mate for…”
**Rhoelyn:** They easily finish off the hounds and return to Relare and Kaerryn. Nysse jogs to them, kneeling at the warrior’s side. “How is she doing, Relare?”
**Araatris:** The paladin glances up, looking weary. “Her injuries are healed, but she’s weak from blood loss. The human wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles at him. “Her name is Kaerryn. Thank you.” She rubs her cheek and grimaces at the light burn. “We should get her to Lorlathil.”
**Araatris:** “Agreed.” Relare rests a glowing hand on Nysse’s shoulder before he straightens. “I can probably carry her; it’s not too far.” He lifts the warrior.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress retrieves her bag and the armor she removed from her friend. “Let’s go. They’ll come back this way soon.” Sarren leads the way.
**Araatris:** It only takes a couple of hours before they make their way to the druid city of Lorlathil. A quiet man shows them to a room in the Lodge to rest.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse lays her head back against a wall. “Would anyone mind if I took a nap?” Leothir yawns, “How can I complain when I’m tired as well? Go ahead.”
**Araatris:** Sarren puts a hand on Nysse’s shoulder and points her toward the spare bed under the window. “Lay down for a while. We’ll wake you.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Thank you, an’da.” The huntress settles down on the bed, quickly asleep. Sarren murmurs to Relare, “How are they are doing with the stress?”
**Araatris:** Relare runs a hand through his hair, smirking. “You worry too much, Sarren. Nysse is worried, yes, but she and the babies can handle this.”
**Rhoelyn:** He grins at the paladin. “Consider it a comfort to me then so I don’t worry. Why don’t you and Leothir get some rest, too? We can all use it.”
**Araatris:** After a thoughtful perusal of Kaerryn’s sleeping form, Relare scrubs his hands over his face and nods. “It’s a good time. Come on, Leo.”
**Rhoelyn:** The next morning, Nysse nibbles on her herbs while Kaerryn frowns at her. The night elven woman sighs, “Well, I thought it was a good idea.”
**Araatris:** “Nysse.” The warrior pauses and rubs at her aching shoulder. “I’m the last person to go on about planning and rot, but… you need a better one.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Felsoul Hold and the area around is huge. We have no idea where he might be. I don’t have a better plan.” The huntress risks a bite of food.
**Araatris:** Her human friend sighs and brushes her long chestnut hair over her shoulder. “You forgot teeming with demons. Rhese won’t want you in there.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse bites her lip. “I know, but I need to do this. I don’t know how long I have before Rhoe starts worrying about me. It’ll complicate things…”
**Araatris:** The curses the warrior bites out make her blush, and the human grabs for her friend’s sleeve, rough. “Dying will complicate things, dummy!”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress stares at her with wide eyes. Paling as the other woman shakes her, Nysse stammers, “I’m going to be carefu-p-please don’t sha-”
**Araatris:** With her twilight skin turning a very distinctive shade of green, the night elf yanks away from her friend’s grasp and just barely grabs a pot.
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn scowls, “And I’m sure if you say pretty please the demons will give you time to barf. He’s going to be furious if you go like… this.”
**Araatris:** Once the retching has stopped and Nysse has a chance to wipe her mouth, she raises tearful eyes to the human’s. “I can’t just leave him, Kaer!”
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn looks at the ceiling, exasperated. “When did I say anything about leaving him? I’ll go. Everyone’s happy, and you’re-” “I’m going.”
**Araatris:** “You’re not going.” Nysse frowns. “I’m going, Kaerryn.” “You’re not going.” A droll voice from behind them says, “What, are you both two?!”
**Rhoelyn:** Both women turn to Leothir and snap at the same time. “Shut it, pasty!” “Leo!” The mage blinks as Relare whispers, “I told you to stay quiet.”
**Araatris:** “Tsk,” the sin’dorei stage-whispers back at his brother, “If they keep on like this, Rel, I’ll strongly consider leaving them out of what (c)
**Araatris:** (c) we’ve learned. Children don’t go to demon strongholds! It’s a rule everyone respects, I’ll have you know. Well. The born kind.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse frowns, setting down the pot. “What are you talking about? Did you find something out?” Kaerryn crosses her arms. “Dontcha dare tell her.”
**Araatris:** Leo wrinkles his nose at the human, brushing his long golden ponytail back over his shoulder. “Are you quite sure you know Nyssera, my dear?”
**Rhoelyn:** “Well enough.” She looks at Nysse’s eyes, brimming with tears, and grimaces. “Fine! But I’m going along to make sure you stay alive, dummy.”
**Araatris:** Relare frowns at her, folding his arms. “You still have recovering to d-” “FEH!” Kaerryn interrupts, her glare daring him to say anything more.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles tearfully at Kaerryn and grasps her hand. “Thank you.” She wipes her eyes. “Now what did you find out? Please?” The warrior huffs.
**Araatris:** Leothir grins and leans a hip on the corner of the table. “The innkeeper knows a contact who’s been nosing around in there. She’s willing to help.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress jumps to her feet and hugs Leo. “Really?!” The mage yanks his arms back. “H-hey! Give an elf some warning before you hug!”
**Araatris:** Nysse doesn’t even look contrite. “When? Where do we find this person? Can we go now?!” Relare chuckles and puts a hand on her shoulder.
**Rhoelyn:** “You need to take your herbs and eat. Then we’ll go.” Relare guides her back to the table. Kaerryn laughs at Leo’s relieved look as Nysse sits.
**Araatris:** “What’s the matter, pasty? Don’t tell me you’re hung up on the bloodlines rot,” she smirks. Leothir blinks and looks at Nysse. “She doesn’t know?”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress shakes her head. “No, it hadn’t come up. Do you want to tell her? You can.” Nysse finishes her herbs and focuses on her meal.
**Araatris:** The mage looks away, surly. “Well. Far be it from me to spill the family secrets. Dark and dismal as they may be.” Relare sighs and Kaerryn blinks.
**Rhoelyn:** “Leo, we’d never tell your business any more than you would tell someone that I’m pregnant… Kaer hasn’t seen Rhoe recently.” Nysse bites her lip.
**Araatris:** The human picks up her pillow and throws it at Leo. “Stop pouting, sparkles. Tell me what? What’s Rhoe got to do with anything? I swear…”
**Rhoelyn:** Leo glares and snaps as he dodges. “Rhoelyn and I are seeing one another. I would never look down upon my princess like that.” “P-princess?!”
**Araatris:** “W-Well… yes.” At her amused look, the mage blushes a bit and glances away. “Needless to say, no. I don’t get ‘hung up on bloodlines rot’.”
**Rhoelyn:** Kaerryn laughs, “I suppose not, pasty. You almost done, Nysse?” The huntress nods and finishes the last few bites. “Now can we go, Rel?”
**Araatris:** “I’ll fetch Sarren,” Leo announces, taking the chance to escape. From the mischievous look that follows him, Kaerryn may not be done.
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse sighs, leaning back and resting her hands on her stomach. “Kaer, go easy on him. He’s not used to it.” She pokes at her tummy gently.
**Araatris:** The human gapes. “You hand me a poncy blood elf mage who just happens to be Rhoelyn’s secret love muffin, and you think I’m going easy on him?”
**Rhoelyn:** Relare chuckles. “It’s fine. He can handle a little teasing.” He pats Nysse’s shoulder. “Kaerryn, would you mind helping me with our gear?”
**Araatris:** The warrior stretches sinuously, working the kinks out of her healed side. “Sure, fine. I need to see what passes for good drink around here.”
**Rhoelyn:** They gather and step out, leaving Nysse alone for the first time in days. She murmurs, “Don’t worry, little ones. An’da will be safe and home soon.”
**Araatris:** The night elf smiles and brushes her hand over her still-flat belly, indulging in a moment of fanciful daydreaming. It ends all too soon. “Nysse?”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress blushes to the tips of her ears as she turns in her seat. “Y-yes, an’da?” “You didn’t answer when I called you the first time.”
**Araatris:** “Um… s-sorry. I was just thinking.” She shoves up from the table, ignoring the heat in her cheeks as she turns to him. “Are we ready to leave?”
**Rhoelyn:** Sarren brushes a long hair behind her ear. “Yes, it’s time to go meet this person they recommended.” Nysse nods and they go to join the others.
**Araatris:** A few hours later, they wait in the crumbled ruins of an ancient building that looks like it was once the plaza at the center of a garden.
**Rhoelyn:** Leo peers at the sky. “I hope she gets here soon. It looks like it may rain.” “Afraid of getting your poncy clothes wet?” Kaerryn nudges him.
**Araatris:** “Oh, no.” The mage answers her dryly, well aware that she’s trying to goad him. “My clothes are quite enchanted. I was worried you might rust.”
**Rhoelyn:** “As if-.” Relare interrupts the warrior’s comeback. “I think that might be her. She matches.” The wolves raise their heads from Nysse’s lap.
**Araatris:** Sure enough, someone rushes along the path toward where they wait, supernaturally fast and dressed in clothes that are hard to make out(c)
**Araatris:** (c) beyond brown and flashes of red. “Bear with me, please.” She calls cheerfully as she darts past, yanking glaives from their sheathes on her back.
**Rhoelyn:** They hear the roar of a demon around the edge of the ruins, but sooner than they can react the sound stops suddenly. Nysse blinks. “That’s her?”
**Araatris:** Relare grins. “If I had to venture a guess… yes.” His brother, though a bit wide-eyed, chuckles. “He did say she was… a little bit different.”
**Rhoelyn:** The woman strides around the ruins into their sight, hooking her glaives on her back. “Sorry. That’s not my usual way of introducing myself.”
**Araatris:** Despite the fact that her brown leather hood covers her eyes, the night elf clearly looks over their group, a little smile twisting her full lips.
**Rhoelyn:** Relare chuckles as Nysse introduces them. The woman nods. “My contact said you’re trying to find someone being held in fel soul. Is that right?”
**Araatris:** The huntress steps forward hopefully, nodding. “Yes. We believe they’re holding my mate somewhere in there, miss…?” “Temirra. Temirra Heartsguard.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse smiles. “That’s a pretty name.” The demon hunter nods. “Thank you. We have something in common. My mate is also being held there.”
**Araatris:** The stranger wanders amongst the group, looking each of them over in detailed assessment as she continues, “I’ve been probing their defenses.”
**Rhoelyn:** The wolves brush up against Nysse’s legs protectively. The huntress reaches down to scratch their ears. “And what have you found so far?”
**Araatris:** When Temirra pauses before her, it becomes clear that, for all her powerful presence, she’s almost the same height as Nysse. She tilts her head.
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress blinks as she feels the stare even without seeing her eyes. “Is something wrong?” Temirra continues studying her silently.
**Araatris:** Finally the other woman just grins quietly and turns away with a brief, “No, I think you’ll do just fine. We can get to the catacombs together.”
**Rhoelyn:** Frowning in confusion, Nysse nods. “That’s good. When do we leave?” Temirra glances over her shoulder. “Now, of course. We can’t keep them waiting.”
**Araatris:** The others grab their gear, but Sarren frowns as he watches their new acquaintance. “Just like that? Now we’re supposed to follow you into danger?”
**Rhoelyn:** Temirra regards him and shrugs. “That’s your choice. I will be going regardless.” Nysse puts a hand on her father’s arm. “An’da, we have to try.”
**Araatris:** He lowers his voice. “Nysse, she could be one of them. Don’t you see what this woman is? We can’t tell if she’s more night elf or demon.”
**Rhoelyn:** The young woman hisses at him. “But that doesn’t automatically make her a bad person. We saw a demon hunter save a lot of refugees in Darnassus.”
**Araatris:** “Which doesn’t automatically make this one as good as the other.” Sarren grumbles. When he looks over, Temirra is looking in their direction.
**Rhoelyn:** “Do you have a better choice? He’s been kidnapped for weeks.” Nysse clenches her hands. “We can be careful, but I can’t just sit here waiting.”
**Araatris:** Her father stares sullenly for a long while before he deflates. “No. I don’t have a better idea, little star. I’m as worried as you are.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods. Temirra asks dryly, “Are you done with your talk so we can leave?” “Yes, we’re ready.” She steps forward, clicking for the wolves.
**Araatris:** The demon hunter starts walking, idly commenting, “I don’t blame you for your suspicions, Sarren. I’d suggest the same wariness to my own.”
**Rhoelyn:** The hunter grimaces. “That wasn’t meant for you to hear, but we have to be cautious after the invasions. Do you have children as well?”
**Araatris:** Running a hand along the tip of one ear where it peeks out from slits in her hood, Temirra grins. “Good hearing. And yes. Somewhere, I do.”
**Rhoelyn:** The brothers chat in the back with Kaerryn as the hunters stray forward. Nysse bites her lip self-consciously. “You don’t know where they are?”
**Araatris:** The other woman shakes her head, and the motion makes the end of her pale, teal braid flop out from under her hood. “I left them. I had to.”
**Rhoelyn:** “I don’t think Rhese and I could do that. I don’t know what I’ll do when my children are ready to leave home…” Nysse pales at the thought.
**Araatris:** Temirra pauses thoughtfully, blinking at Nysse, but she finally just smiles and says, “I sincerely hope you get to find out. Both you and… Rhese.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse blushes and ducks her head. “Why did you have to leave them? If it’s not too personal to ask…” Sarren watches them with interest.
**Araatris:** Shadowy wings unfurl from Temirra’s back. “The short version of that story is that the life of a demon hunter doesn’t allow for children.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress shies away to avoid being hit by them. “Wait? Did you have the children after you were already a demon hunter then?”
**Araatris:** “No.” The woman laughs, her wings disappearing as mysteriously as they appeared. “No, we learned I was expecting shortly before I was to be bound.”
**Rhoelyn:** “Oh.” Nysse tries to process that. “I… nevermind. I’m sorry for asking so many questions.” The huntress clutches her hands in front of her belly.
**Araatris:** Temirra considers her out of the corner of her eye, her little smile never fading. “Are you still worried? My children were not fel-infested, dear.”
**Rhoelyn:** The huntress looks stricken. “N-no! That…” Her voice softens, “That wasn’t it, Temirra. I was just thinking how much they must have missed you.”
**Rhoelyn:** “He and Rhoe… their mother left. They never knew their father. I want our twins to know their family.” She grimaces. “That doesn’t sound right.”
**Araatris:** The other woman’s stride hitches just a bit. “I understand. But we all must make our choices. Sometimes life simply… doesn’t go as planned.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods slowly. “Do you miss them? It must have been a difficult choice.” Sarren rests his hand on his daughter’s shoulder comfortingly.
**Araatris:** “I missed them terribly, actually.” Temirra sighs and looks up at the sky. “Rhian never begged me not to go back, but I knew he feared I would.”
**Rhoelyn:** “He couldn’t be with them either?” She offers a small smile. “Maybe you both should see if you can find them. Just to see how they’re doing…”
**Araatris:** The other woman pauses and looks back. “To what end? There is still no room for children on the path we chose together, dear. Even grown ones.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse frowns. “But they’re not children anymore. They’re old enough to make their own choices, including working with you. Is that bad?”
**Araatris:** Temirra shakes her head. “It is bad, Nysse. We fight demons. We make enemies that will use any dirty trick or discovered weakness against us.”
**Rhoelyn:** When Nysse opens her mouth again, Relare interrupts, “Nysse, it’s the only way she can protect them now. It’s like when you leave Yami home.”
**Araatris:** “But Yami knows we…” the huntress winces, blushing as she finishes the rash thought, “… love him. S-sorry… forget I said that.”
**Rhoelyn:** Temirra smiles, “I came to terms with how they might feel ages ago. By now I’m sure that they’ve found other things in their lives to love.”
**Araatris:** “Besides,” she says, “They may not have felt their parents’ love, but they still had it. I like to think that counts for something. Somehow.”
**Rhoelyn:** Nysse nods, still flushed, and mumbles, “Of course it counts.” She drops back and falls into silence next to Leothir’s and Kaerryn’s bickering.
**Araatris:** “Wait, so that’s why the house in Winterspring! She moved to shack u-” Leo cuts the warrior off. “You’re really having far too much fun with this.”