MoP Arc – Chapter 16

Rhoelyn: It’s dark. Rhoelyn groans and slowly sits up. A moment later, something hits her leg. Leo shouts as he trips over her and falls on her.
Araatris: His weight knocks the wind out of her, and the priestess shoves at him, coughing. She manages to suck in enough breath to gasp, “Get… off of me!”
Rhoelyn: Leothir rolls off. He grumbles, “You’re… not as soft as I thought you’d be. Are your knees made out of daggers?” Light permeates the area.
Araatris: Rhoe growls, “If they were, I would be certain to stab you with them.” She yanks her skirts out from under his heels and scoots farther away.
Rhoelyn: He manages a grin that she can see in the increasing light, “If you gave me a chance, you wouldn’t want to, princess.” Leo sits up, looking around.
Araatris: “I g-gave you a chance in the monastery gardens. Never again.” Shivering, the priestess pushes to her feet. Around them resolves a small chamber.
Rhoelyn: Leothir frowns, “Was the kiss that bad? I was gentle.” He stands and dusts himself off. “So… there’s supposed to be a mirror in here.”
Araatris: Her cheeks dark with a blush, Rhoelyn latches on to his new topic. She points at a doorway that may or may not have been there before.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn mumbles, “Did you see that door before?” The mage shakes his head, then grins. “I guess we’re supposed to head that way. Ladies first.”
Araatris: Though she narrows her eyes at him, a wordless and nonspecific warning, the darker elf does lead the way through the doorway, wary and silent.
Rhoelyn: Leo’s gaze lingers too long on her backside, watching the sway of her hips. Rhoelyn’s guttural exclamation of surprise causes him to look up.
Araatris: Immediately through the doorway, the perfect, smooth stone bricks of the chamber give way to rough-hewn cavern walls. Plant roots dangle down.
Rhoelyn: “What the… why in the world is there a cave here?” Leothir frowns in confusion. “Maybe we should go back…” He turns to face a cave wall.
Araatris: In the dark once more, Rhoe raises a hand, whispering. Light fizzles around her hand for a moment, shot through with shadows, and then goes out.
Rhoelyn: Leothir brushes his hand against her shoulder and whispers, “I heard night elves prefered natural environments for their… activities. Is that true?”
Araatris: The priestess shudders and yanks away from him, stumbling over something. He catches her with a hand around her waist. “You haven’t answered.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn kicks at his shin as she pulls away, but he tightens his grip. Finally, she snaps, “Is that the only thing you think about, Leothir?!”
Rhoelyn: She twists, her face purple with rage, “I don’t know what other people prefer, but I want to be back in my clean, neat home in Nighthaven!”
Araatris: He grins, a savage showing of teeth at her reaction. His free hand brushes down the side of her neck. “That would suit you better, princess.”
Rhoelyn: The priestess looks disgusted. “Not for that, you… pervert!” She leans away from his touch. “Why in Elune’s name are you so fascinated with us?!”
Araatris: He shrugs, letting her silver hair drip through his fingers. “What does it matter? It’s enough that I am.” Rhoelyn slams an elbow in his ribs.
Rhoelyn: Leothir instinctively releases her as the breath is knocked from his lungs. He snarls, “I was playing nice, but maybe you like it rough.”
Araatris: “I do not like anything you do, Leothir!” The priestess darts away from him, risky in the dark. Light blossoms somewhere farther down the cavern.
Rhoelyn: The mage bolts after her. “Hey!” He growls under his breath, “Stupid woman. She’d rather get herself killed.” His look darkens at the thought.
Araatris: Rhoelyn stays out of arm’s reach until they near the bright mouth of the cave. She trips over a bone, sprawling across a large pile of skins.
Rhoelyn: The blood elf tackles her, pinning her down, but instead of leering at her his eyes are searching the room warily. “Stay still for a sec, will you?”
Araatris: She freezes, her chest heaving as she tries to catch her breath under his weight. Though her fists are still clenched, she doesn’t fight him.
Rhoelyn: “There. I knew I saw something. Something over there doesn’t look right, on the right of the cave. Can you see it, Rhoelyn?” Leo nods toward it.
Araatris: She follows his nod, her eyes widening as a section of the rock shifts. Some sort of large lizard disengages from the cavern wall, hissing at them.
Rhoelyn: Leothir pushes to his feet and yanks her up from the ground. He steps between her and the creature, already attempting to summon fire to his hands.
Araatris: “W-what are you doing?” The priestess plucks at his sleeve. “We have to get out of here. We don’t even know what that thing IS.”
Rhoelyn: He sighs in exasperation, “Where are we going to go, Princess? I’m going to bet this place has already cut off our avenue for retreat.”
Araatris: “No, the c-” As she gestures toward what used to be the sunny opening of the cave, she finds herself instead looking at a wall of luminous crystal.
Rhoelyn: The lizard approaches, hissing word-like sounds. “Stay behind me.” He grins cockily over his shoulder. “We can have fun after I take care of this.”
Araatris: Pressing her lips into a tight line, Rhoelyn manages to bite back a rejoinder and step back as his spell coalesces. He brings his hands together.
Rhoelyn: Fire coalesces in his hands, but he flinches at the hissing continues, “Pervert. Harasser. Molester.” Leo growls and flings the fireball.
Araatris: The creature darts with preternatural speed, and his fireball splashes harmlessly against the wall. It rushes closer. “Not wanted! Not WELCOME!”
Rhoelyn: “No! I’m not like that! It’s not my fault!” Leothir shouts as he frantically shoots a gust of fire in front of him. “I’m just… LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Araatris: Rhoelyn takes a couple of steps back, brow furrowing as the lizard freezes, turning to stone within his flames. “Like what? What do you mean?”
Rhoelyn: Leo spins to look at her with wide eyes, “Don’t you hear it? The things it’s saying? It’s not true. It… It can’t be true.” He grabs her wrist.
Araatris: The confusion in the little priestess’ eyes changes to worry as she reflexively tugs against his grip. “R-release me! I do not hear anything!”
Rhoelyn: Leo’s grip tightens painfully. “I’m not bad. Why do you hate me so much?” His gaze is wild and unfocused as the lizard skitters behind him.
Araatris: “Agh!” She claws at his hand as her wrist pops, her glance flicking over his shoulder at the creature. “You’re hurting me! You always hurt us!”
Rhoelyn: He snarls and pulls her closer, “But you’re always attacking me! From the start, she punched me! I was getting the hair out of her face for her.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn stumbles toward him, sneering. “Oh, so sorry! I must have missed that when I was unconscious from you and your friends kidnapping me.”
Rhoelyn: Pain lines Leothir’s features as he exclaims, “We didn’t have a choice! Garrosh has already murdered both the tauren and troll leaders.”
Araatris: With tears swimming in her eyes, she leans close, lowering her voice. “I. Don’t. Care. A-and you are going to break my wrist.” She grimaces.
Rhoelyn: He looks down in horror and releases her as if it burned. “I’m sorry.” He crouches down and holds his head as the lizard raises up behind him.
Araatris: “Look out!” Rhoelyn reaches out and yanks him toward her as the lizard snaps at where he was. Shadow tentacles grab at it, but it darts away.
Rhoelyn: Half-sprawled on the ground by her feet, he looks around then up at her in shock. “W-why? You hate me. You could’ve let it do the work for you.”
Araatris: “I-I… I don’t want your blood to stain my gown,” she lies badly, not looking at him while she concentrates on keeping the lizard creature at bay.
Rhoelyn: The mage searches her face before pulling himself to his feet. “I know it’s asking a lot, but I need to move close to whisper you. I have an idea.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn flicks a suspicious look at him, but after a short hesitation, she nods. “Speak. And keep your hands to yourself.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir clasps his hands behind his back as he leans next to her ear, whispering. “It’s too quick, but if you let it get close… I can freeze it.”
Araatris: “If you think I would tru-” the lizard succeeds in darting past her tentacles while she’s distracted, and it rushes at her, hissing angrily.
Rhoelyn: The blood elf quickly pulls her against him with one arm and then shoves his hand out. The lizard catches in ice shooting up from the ground.
Araatris: Blinking, Rhoe recovers her wits and pushes against him wordlessly. Leo looks down at her. His grin is something more authentic and less mocking.
Rhoelyn: He chuckles, “Got him. Would you like the honor of hitting him first?” The blood elf releases her and gestures to the lizard with a sweeping bow.
Araatris: Puzzled, she steps back, clasping one elbow. Rhoelyn turns her head to regard the lizard and the restored cavern exit beyond. “N-no. We… should go.”
Rhoelyn: “Oh. Of course. Would you prefer if I led the way? You did earlier.” His cheeks color very slightly and he looks away, clearing his throat.
Araatris: “Yes.” She answers him simply, unsure about his new behavior and wary. Leo frowns a bit and strides out of the cave, leaving the lizard behind.
Rhoelyn: Leothir takes a deep, relaxed breath outside the cave. “So, you two really aren’t interested, huh?” He closes his eyes to avoid her gaze.
Araatris: She frowns. “Do you care what answer I give?” The priestess watches his expression carefully, her brow furrowed. “It hasn’t mattered, before.”
Rhoelyn: He grimaces. “I deserve that. I guess I know the answer.” The mage opens his eyes and changes the subject, “I wonder where that mirror is.”
Araatris: The pair of them look around, taking in a grove with iridescent-leafed trees and tall, colorful flowers. Animals unfamiliar to them graze nearby.
Rhoelyn: Leothir ruffles his hair in frustration. “I don’t see any mirror. Do you, beaut-,” he clears his throat, “Rhoelyn.” The blood elf turns away.
Araatris: Rhoelyn shakes her head, brow furrowed. “Not here, certainly. This is… where are we? Is this Pandaria?” She steps away from the cave, curious.
Rhoelyn: “I’m not sure. It doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen.” He peers around, but keeps her in sight. “We… we probably shouldn’t get separated.”
Araatris: The priestess turns back to give him a disdainful look. “Oh, of course. You wouldn’t like me to get killed before I can die for your cause.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir replies softly, “Is it easier for you to hate me? I know you don’t care, but we’re desperate to stop him. He’s already killed so many…”
Araatris: Rhoelyn looks more stricken by his gentleness than appreciative of it. “W-what are you playing at? Do you expect me to let my guard down?”
Rhoelyn: He shakes his head, still gazing away. “No, that would be stupid after all I’ve done to you and your sister. Oh. Did you heal your wrist?”
Araatris: With nothing but more wariness, she tugs her sleeve down over the livid bruises. “It’s not your concern, Leothir. Come, there’s no mirror here.”
Rhoelyn: The blood elf frowns. “If you’re injured, it’d be better to heal yourself… regardless of me. Do you see a path? I can’t tell where to go.”
Araatris: As Rhoe looks around, the ground suddenly kicks up under them, a sharp crack echoing through the air. Pain rips through them both with the moment.
Rhoelyn: A thorny cocoon wraps around Rhoelyn and knocks Leothir to the ground. Cursing, the mage rolls to his feet and pulls at the vines with bloody hands.
Araatris: Her pained, muffled scream has him cursing louder, and he steps back, grabbing for the empty sword hilt he keeps tied to his belt. “Rhoelyn!”
Rhoelyn: “Stay still if you can!” He draws the hilt and focuses, flames erupting in place of the missing blade. Leo steps back and slashes downward.
Araatris: Focused and keen, the summoned sword is doubly effective and slashes through the thick, meaty vines then burns the edges away.
Rhoelyn: The mage tugs and kicks at vines to make an opening wide enough for the night elf. “Rhoelyn! Can you get free?” He shoulders the opening wider.
Araatris: As he spies her, clawing at the tangle of thinner vines wrapped around her throat, the shadow tendrils burst up around them, flailing wildly.
Rhoelyn: Leothir leans in and grabs at the vines, pulling them far enough away that he can carefully cut them. “Come on! They’re trying to regrow!”
Araatris: He takes her arm and pulls her after him as she coughs and hacks, and soon she’s stumbling along as Leo rushes them deeper into the grove.
Rhoelyn: The mage pauses after they’re a good distance away and quickly examines her, cursing at her injuries. “Rhoelyn. Please heal yourself.”
Araatris: Pressing a hand over the gash in her side, she drags her sleeve across her eyes. “I’ve tried. I cannot pull the Light through all these shadows.”
Rhoelyn: Leo frowns and sheathes his hilt before yanking his shirt over his head. Rhoelyn takes a step back with wide eyes, “W-what are you doing?!”
Araatris: “You’re bleeding. If you can’t heal yourself, you need bandaged,” he explains, ripping the sleeves off and into long strips. She shies away.
Rhoelyn: The priestess shakes her head and stutters, “I’m f-fine. I-it’s nothing. Let’s go.” She backs away further, avoiding looking at him at all.
Araatris: Expression darkening, Leo sighs and lunges, grabbing her arm and pulling her toward him. “Look, I w-” “Do not touch me!” She bats at his hand.
Rhoelyn: He shoves the bandages into her hand. “Woman, will you stop fussing and screaming for a moment and take care of yourself!” Leo releases her.
Araatris: Rhoelyn stumbles back a few steps, eyes wide. She clutches the bandages, forgotten, against her chest. “Why… are you acting like this?”
Rhoelyn: Leothir runs a hand through his hair. “Do you really want an answer this time? I’ll try if you want, but I’d rather you bandage yourself first.”
Araatris: The priestess looks down at the scraps of his tunic, her brow furrowed. When she looks back up at him, she nods. “I will work as you talk.”
Rhoelyn: The mage nods and turns away. “I’ll turn this way so you can do what you need.” He sighs, “I’ve been feeling different since we came in here.”
Rhoelyn: Leo wipes his bloody hands on his pants. “That lizard forced me to look at you. I mean as another sentient being not like the jerk I’ve been.”
Araatris: Through a moment or two, the only sound is the rustle of fabric, and then Rhoe softly says, “So, now you’ve had a miraculous change of heart?”
Rhoelyn: “You act like I was always a horrible sexist jerk, but I wasn’t. I was angry and bitter because of Garrosh, then…” Leo sighs and rubs his face.
Araatris: She frowns, though he cannot see it. “Even if I believed that… You make your excuses to the wrong person, Leothir. You made Nysse miserable.”
Rhoelyn: He laughs bitterly. “There is no excuse for that. No matter how bitter I was, I had no right to treat you lovely ladies as vindictively as I did.”
Araatris: Her hiss of pain trails the end of his words, followed by more rustling. After a short, total silence, she says softly, “It is easier to hate you.”
Rhoelyn: Leo’s quiet for a long moment. “If… I let you kill me. Would it make it better? Would you consider helping us figure out how to stop Garrosh?”
Araatris: “W-what?!” Rhoelyn puts her hand on his shoulder, tugging him around. “Y-you cannot… I don’t… Argh!” She clenches her fists and pounds his chest.
Rhoelyn: He raises both eyebrows and throws his hands up. “Ow! I thought you wanted to get rid of me! For all we know I’ll be a monster again out there!”
Araatris: “Be a monster!” Tears start rolling down her cheeks while she hits him. “I don’t know what to do with all this rage if I cannot lay it on you!”
Rhoelyn: He cautiously lowers his hands to his sides. “Then rage and hate me, Rhoelyn, but please let it die with me. You shouldn’t have to live with it.”
Araatris: She sobs, only beating at him harder. “You think I could kill you and just… be fine?! I cannot even -let- you die when all I need do is nothing!”
Rhoelyn: “Ah. You’re right, princess. That wasn’t fair of me. I shouldn’t make you do the dirty work.” Leothir winces as she continues to hit him.
Araatris: “It’s all dirty work…” The tempo of her ineffective fists slows, and Rhoelyn pauses to catch her breath, tense with rage. “I am sick with it!”
Rhoelyn: The blood elf’s brow furrows. “There’s no reparations that will make this right, but I’m also not allowed to die. What do you want me to do?”
Araatris: She looks up with a snarl, her fists still pressed against him. “I want you to hurt! I want you three to watch from a cell as the Horde collapses!”
Rhoelyn: Leothir snaps, “Leave Quaed and Nataro out of this. Garrosh isn’t going to stop with us.” He grabs her wrists firmly. “We’re all in danger.”
Araatris: Though she winces at his grip on her bruised wrist, her glare doesn’t waver. The little priestess hisses, “I was in no danger until I met you.”
Rhoelyn: “You can plead ignorance, but that doesn’t make it true.” He leans and growls into her ear, “You weren’t the only one planning to die that day.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn shudders, her cheeks flushing. Her wide eyes belie the threat as a pair of void tendrils materialize over her shoulders and grab at Leo.
Rhoelyn: Leo snorts and yanks her and the void closer. “Is that it? You want me to go back to playing the villain so you can kill me without guilt?”
Araatris: “Y-yes!” She shouts it, squirming in his grip. But despite the tendrils, she doesn’t attack him. Her glare is threaded through with something sad.
Rhoelyn: The mage quickly wraps his arm tightly around her, pinning her arms against his chest. He presses up on her chin, leaning down. “Are you sure?”
Araatris: Trembling, she clenches her fists. “I want to kill you, Leothir! I w-will!” But her expression is less sure than her words as she looks up at him.
Rhoelyn: Leothir murmurs as his breath tickles her face, “And yet I’m still alive. What are you waiting for? Do you want me to kiss you that badly?”
Araatris: The priestess flushes crimson, her eyes going wide. Leo grips her tighter as she shoves against him in earnest. “No, princess…”
Rhoelyn: “You can’t run away. If you want me dead, then you’re going to have to do something.” Leo’s voice is soft and his eyes don’t quite meet hers.
Araatris: “Argh!” Rhoe screams wordlessly, her face crumpling as she struggles. Her void tendrils slap at his shoulders and arms. “What can I do?!”
Rhoelyn: The blood elf frowns in confusion. “Back when we first arrived at the temple, you attacked to kill me with your shadows. It hurt like hell.”
Araatris: “Because I hated you!” She yanks against him, but he has no mercy. “I could hate you enough, then. And now I cannot. So let go of me! Let go!”
Rhoelyn: He shakes her slightly, “Then hate me again! Please!” Leo presses his lips against hers. “Please, princess…” He murmurs, husky and cracking.
Araatris: When she only freezes in his arms, lips parted on a gasp, the mage tries again, a longer kiss and a breathless, “You taste like sunshine and blue skies.”
Rhoelyn: Finally, he withdraws, searching her wide-eyed gaze. Leothir cups her cheek with one hand and tries to blink back unshed tears. “Princess…?”
Araatris: After a moment, when she imagines he moves, Rhoelyn jumps and blurts out, “Don’t! Don’t… d-don’t kiss me again. It isn’t working.” She looks away.
Rhoelyn: Leo sighs and tucks her under his chin gently. “So, what do we do now? I have nothing else I’m willing to do, princess. Yet, you won’t kill me.”
Araatris: “I cannot,” the priestess says softly. For a few heartbeats, she rests her cheek against his skin and closes her eyes, but then she straightens.
Rhoelyn: The mage lets his arms drop to his sides, releasing her. He turns away. “Seems I hate myself more than you. Would you like to continue alone?”
Araatris: “No.” Rhoelyn speaks calmly, but she clasps her elbow with a shaking hand. “If you want to make reparations, then help me find the mirror.”
Rhoelyn: His response is painfully slow, but Leothir nods and turns to face her. “As you wish. Do you wish to move forward then?” He gestures to the grove.
Araatris: The priestess nods and then glances away, her cheeks coloring slightly. “And put on whatever remains of your shirt…” She walks off quickly.
Rhoelyn: Leothir quietly reaches down and picks his now sleeveless shirt from the ground. Tugging it over his head, he asks, “May I ask why you couldn’t?”
Araatris: Threading her way smoothly through the trees, Rhoelyn frowns. “I told you. I don’t hate you enough. Do please keep up. Time is short.”
Rhoelyn: Jogging to catch up, he sighs, “No, wrong question. Why don’t you hate me enough? I was sure you did after nearly killing me at the Temple.”
Araatris: The little night elf sighs and pauses, turning back to him. “I wi-” A loud crack interrupts her answer, and the ground kicks up under them.
Rhoelyn: “Watch out!” He tackles her and they tumble across the ground. Hovering over Rhoelyn, he peers into the dust cloud at a vague shadow.
Araatris: “Leothir, wh-” The sin’dorei shushes her as a leonine form stalks into view, its silver fur gleaming in the sun of what is suddenly a hilly field.
Rhoelyn: A familiar tattoo shows on the shoulder as the cat turns and the priestess shouts joyfully, “Rhese!” The mage’s eyes widen as he looks at Rhoe.
Araatris: “Brother! You came!” She shoves at Leothir. “Let me up.” The mage’s eyes narrow at the cat’s stance. When he tugs her up, he keeps ahold of her arm.
Rhoelyn: He whispers to her, “Rhoelyn! How would he have gotten in here? Last you heard he was still on his mission, right?” She pulls at her arm.
Araatris: “Rhese always comes when I need him. Leothir, release me!” The cat growls, his tail twitching as he circles around the two of them.
Rhoelyn: The blood elf shakes his head, “This… this doesn’t feel right. Why is he growling? Why isn’t he shifting to talk to you?” The cat leaps forward.
Araatris: Leothir lifts his hand, frost dancing around it, but Rhoelyn shouts and pulls his arm. The ice that bursts up misses the cat, and he rakes him.
Rhoelyn: “I wasn’t going to hurt him!” He clutches the bleeding arm closer. Free, the priestess runs toward the cat as Leo shouts after her. “Rhoelyn!”
Araatris: “Rhese, it’s al-” The cat swings around and swipes at her as well, but a void tendril catches the blow and diverts it. She falls back, gasping.
Rhoelyn: Leothir pulls her from the ground and pushes her behind him as he backs away. “That’s not your brother. It’s… something with this place.”
Araatris: The priestess winces and presses a hand against the bandage over her side. She allows Leothir to pull her, though her troubled gaze follows the cat.
Rhoelyn: He sighs at her expression, “Do you want me to freeze him so you can try and talk to him?” Leo takes his eyes off the cat for a brief moment.
Araatris: Offering no mercy, the silver cat lunges at him the moment he turns his attention. Leo manages to throw an arm up as he slams to the ground.
Rhoelyn: Leo yelps and barely manages to hold the cat’s jaws from his throat with two bloody hands. “Rhoelyn! Run! Get out of here!” The mage gasps.
Araatris: “No. Rhese! You needn’t hurt him!” Daring, she grabs the vicious cat by the shoulder, tugging at him ineffectively. “Brother, hear me…”
Rhoelyn: When the cat turns and snaps at Rhoelyn, Leo punches his jaw. “Leave her alone! You have me to worry about!” Claws rake across his chest.
Araatris: A void tendril pops up and slaps the cat away, knocking it against a wall of the half-fallen ruin that wasn’t around them a moment ago.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn runs toward Leo when she stumbles at a familiar voice. “Are you choosing him over me? Are you going to leave me alone, little sister?”
Araatris: Leothir is all but forgotten as she freezes and turns back, her brow furrowing. “R… Rhese? You know I would never. B-but… Why did you snap at me?”
Araatris: The druid crouches against the far wall, his arm wrapped around his ribs. Even as she steps toward him, he coughs and blood trickles from his lips.
Rhoelyn: “I thought it was one of his tricks. Not that it,” Rhese wheezes, “…matters. Why did you attack me?” His legs tremble as he attempts to stand.
Araatris: Rushing to him, Rhoelyn eases her twin back down. “I-I thought it was a trick as well. Rhese, I am so sorry. Please… there’s no need to fight.”
Rhoelyn: A painful coughing fit wracks Rhese’s body and blood splatters her gown. He clutches at Rhoe. Behind her, Leothir weakly tries to sit up again.
Araatris: The mage watches, his wounds aching and bloody, as Rhoelyn’s graceful hands brush her brother’s hair back. “You must heal yourself. Rhese?”
Rhoelyn: The druid shakes his head. “Something is blocking my magic in here.” He takes a long shuddering breath, fresh blood trickling from his mouth.
Araatris: “What?” Rhoelyn’s calm shatters nearly instantly, and she clutches at her brother’s shoulders. “No! It should work. Mine does. And Leothir’s.”
Rhoelyn: “I can’t…” Rhese grimaces and presses a hand to his ribs, paling considerably. He turns away from her, retching blood across the ground.
Araatris: “Elune…” The priestess supports him with shaking hands, glancing over her shoulder at Leo, himself pale and bleeding. “P-please! I cannot, Rhese.”
Rhoelyn: The druid tries to laugh, but it’s more of a wet cough. “I always said you had a good punch. I just never expected to be on the receiving end…”
Araatris: Rhoe’s laugh is half sob. “You know that to be a lie. Only these shadows have any strength.” She hunches over him, straining to call the Light.
Rhoelyn: Rhese grasps her hand weakly. “Rhoe, that’s the real lie. You’ve always been strong in spirit. I think that’s why Elune liked you so much.”
Araatris: When the heal fizzles, she gasps for breath, tears dripping on their hands. “Then why won’t she answer? I-I’ve hurt you, but I cannot heal you.”
Rhoelyn: “Elune doesn’t answer to hatred. Remember how hard she tried to tame Goldrinn…” Rhese gasps between words. “Why? What’s… holding you back?”
Araatris: Leothir’s head swims as she glances back at him. “I… I wanted to hurt him. As he hurt Nysse with his attentions. I needed to be able to attack.”
Rhoelyn: The druid attempts to laugh again. “Sister! Nysse was supposed to protect you. I needed you to support her. You always try to do too much.”
Araatris: She rests her tear-wet cheek against his. “It is, I suppose, a family trait.” With the last breath he can choke in, he whispers, “Let…go.”
Rhoelyn: “But what if he hurts her again,” Rhoe sobs. There’s no answer. The priestess looks down at the still form and shakes him gently. “Rhese?”
Araatris: Despite every fibre of her thrumming with panic, she doesn’t scream his name. She knows this moment well, and she clenches his hand, concentrating.
Rhoelyn: Her hands suffuse with light then fades. Leo softly calls out, “Let it die with me, princess.” He lays his head back. “He did your justice for you.”
Araatris: Hunched over her brother as his life fades, Rhoelyn shakes her head and addresses Leothir. “No… No. I am a healer. I want you both to live.”
Rhoelyn: “It’s my time! I have to pay for what I’ve done, Rhoelyn. Do you deny me that?” Leo rasps. He rolls on his side with a groan. “It’s enough.”
Araatris: The priestess closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, releasing it slowly. Her voice is gentle, like the light that blooms around her.
Rhoelyn: “No, Leothir. You should spend your life making yourself a better man and learn from this experience. What purpose does your death serve?”
Araatris: He raises his eyes to her. “It makes up for what I’ve done.” Rhoelyn smiles softly at him, shaking her head. “Only life gives you that opportunity.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir mumbles, “I… don’t understand.” He blinks at her through blurry vision. “You’re beautiful…” His eyes close before seeing her reaction.
Araatris: The little priestess blushes, but she ignores his words as she pulls the Light through the shadows and lets it blow them away like so much smoke.
Rhoelyn: Elune’s light seeks first Rhese then Leothir, blanketing them in a soft, golden hue. Their wounds slowly close and Rhese takes a deep breath.
Araatris: It’s long, warm minutes before Rhoelyn lets the power fade, lowering her hands and blinking open her eyes. She reels a bit, at first.
Rhoelyn: Quickly, a warm hand presses on her back. “Careful now. Are you alright?” Leothir slips a supportive arm around her. “You look a little pale.”
Araatris: She borrows his strength for a minute, resting her head tiredly against the mage with a little smile. “It feels so much better in the light. Warmer.”
Rhoelyn: He teases quietly, looking at Rhese in front of her. “Are you sure you don’t have a fever?” Leo squeezes her arm and adds, “You saved him.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn nods and reaches down to brush his silver hair back. “Yes. But he saved me, first. He always saves me, even when it’s not really him.”
Rhoelyn: “Treasure your time with him. It has a way of ending when you least expect it.” Leothir sighs and drops his arm. “Shall we leave, princess?”
Araatris: Nodding, she straightens and turns toward him as the location around them shifts. She searches his expression for a moment before glancing away.
Rhoelyn: They sit in front of a fire on a rug to the side of a large inn room. Leothir pushes to his knees, frowning as his hand hits something metal.
Araatris: “Leothir?” Rhoelyn peers around, confused, and then looks at him. She follows his frowning gaze down to his hand. “Where is this?”
Rhoelyn: The blood elf picks up the key and scratches his pink cheek with his other hand. “It’s my favorite inn. I pretty much have a permanent room…”
Araatris: Pushing to her feet, the priestess looks around, her brow furrowed. “Why are we here? Is this where the mirror is? What does that key open?”
Rhoelyn: Leothir clears his throat nervously. “In question order… I don’t know, there is a floor length mirror in the room, and… presumably my room?”
Araatris: Rhoelyn nods and brushes at her gown before staring at him expectantly. When he hesitates, she prompts, “Will you lead? I don’t know where it is.”
Rhoelyn: “Are you sure, princess?” Leo stands, then shifts uncomfortably. “It’s my room. I’m pretty sure that’s the last place that you want to be.”
Araatris: Her cheeks darken and the small gesture of touching her fingers to her lips is not lost on Leothir. She manages to look calm. “Should I worry?”
Rhoelyn: Leo exclaims, “No! Of course not. I just…” The mage looks away, blushing and holding out the key to Rhoelyn. “Upstairs. Third door on the right.”
Araatris: She takes the key, her fingers warm where they brush his palm, and gives him a reassuring smile. “Come, then. We’re surely short on time.”
Rhoelyn: He nods quietly and follows her up the stairs and to the door. Rhoelyn smiles at him again as she pushes the key into the lock and turns it.
Araatris: The priestess is surprised by the… normalcy of the room. She steps in ahead of her companion, making way for him as she looks around.
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn picks up a picture from the bedside table as she notes the neat desk and made bed. He offers, “The mirror is inside the closet door.”
Araatris: Though she nods at his words, she examines the tinnish photo until he plucks it from her hands. His expression as he sets it down tells her much.
Rhoelyn: Leo gently guides her to the closet, pausing at the door. His voice is very subdued, “Are you ready, Rhoelyn?” He looks down for her answer.
Araatris: The priestess nods and looks up at him, muttering, “I… am truly sorry.” Her glance flicks back to the picture. He looks away from her sympathy.
Rhoelyn: Rather gruffly he answers, “It’s not your fault, princess. My little brother was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He sighs and looks up.
Rhoelyn: “I wish we’d never hatched up our plan now. I would cause your brother the same pain…” Leothir rubs his face. “Sorry for everything, princess.”
Araatris: She considers him for a moment, thoughtful. “I understand, now, Leothir. That is… more than we had, before.” Her grin is soft. “We should go.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir grasps her hand as he opens the door. They catch a glimpse of themselves in the mirror as the world fades, but their hands are still warm.

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