MoP Arc – Chapter 20

Araatris: Rhoelyn smiles at her reflection in the mirror, twisting to check the back of her gown. “Do you need any help with the lacings, sister?” she calls.
Rhoelyn: “Yes, please. I can’t pull them and hold the dress in place.” The huntress tugs up on the dress again with a sigh as she tugs on the cords.
Araatris: The priestess slips behind the dressing screen and gently takes the laces. “Here.” With deft motions, she adjusts the fit and ties it.
Rhoelyn: Nysse starts pulling at it immediately. “Is it supposed to be tight? And I think it’s too low.” She fidgets until Rhoelyn grasps her hands.
Araatris: “I assure you, my beautiful sister, that it is absolutely perfect. Don’t fret.” She grins and gives Nysse’s hands a squeeze. “Now. Your hair.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress twists to look at Rhoe fully, “But I thought we were going to leave it down-” Rhoelyn presses her into a seat. “Most of it will be.”
Araatris: The smaller woman applies the brush and a ribbon to her sister’s hair, using a few small twists to make a more ornate version of her usual style.
Rhoelyn: Nodding in satisfaction, Rhoelyn circles Nysse, “Are you sure you won’t let me put some color on your face? Just to accent your eyes and lips?”
Araatris: The huntress blushes. “I’m sure, sister. Really.” Rhoe giggles. “Just keep blushing. That will do it.” She grins. “And now for your present…”
Rhoelyn: The huntress grins with child-like delight. “You didn’t mention a gift! You really didn’t need to, Rhoe!” The small night elf smiles mysteriously.
Araatris: Padding on bare feet over to her trunk, Rhoelyn digs down in the bottom to pull out an intricately decorated bow harness, quiver and matching belt.
Rhoelyn: Nysse follows and stares in awe as Rhoelyn presses two of them into her hands. “They’re beautiful…how?” Rhoelyn slips the belt around Nysse.
Araatris: Smiling happily, the priestess buckles it just so, smoothing the extra length down Nysse’s thigh. “I did tell you I’d thought of everything, sister.”
Rhoelyn: She does the same with the harness and quiver before handing Nysse her bow. The huntress hooks it easily on the harness. “Very nice!”
Araatris: Looking extremely happy and pleased with herself as well as her sister, Rhoelyn steps back and looks Nysse up and down. “Yes, I agree.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse walks by the mirror and freezes, turning to look at herself. She raises a hand to her face, blushing. “N-no, I changed my mind.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn pauses in the process of digging her slippers out of the bottom of the trunk, looking over. “You don’t like it? I brought you another gown.”
Rhoelyn: “It’s beautiful, but I can’t go out there!” Nysse buries her face in her hands. “I haven’t worn a dress since my first failed date with Rhese…”
Araatris: The priestess sets the slippers on the bed as she comes to take Nysse’s wrists. “My darling sister. You are beautiful and fierce. Now you look it.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse frowns nervously, “But I’m not graceful or elegant at all, Rhoe. You’re sooo… sooo… lovely and refined and polite-” “Nysse, be yourself.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn smiles and kisses her cheek. “You are amazing as you are. Heart. Courage. Strength. Devotion. Rhese and I are blessed to see it every day.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress blushes brightly again and nods. “T-thank you. I’ll try.” She glances over her shoulder. “Oh! Where did Tsume go? She was just here.”
Araatris: Rolling her eyes, Rhoelyn glances around. “She’s probably hiding. I think she understood me when I said I’d braid her tail. It was a jest!”
Rhoelyn: Giggling, Nysse nods. “You’re right, but can you blame her. You did put the harness on her. But… it did look really adorable on her,” she admits.
Araatris: The priestess waves a hand. “I don’t know why she should mind. It’s excellent leather, and I only included the one little medallion.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn picks her shoes up and slides them onto her feet. Nysse shakes her head with a fond smile for her sister. “Are you ready to go?”
Araatris: Suddenly nervous, Rhoe brushes at her gown and retreats to the mirror for a final review. She bites her lip. “Are the pauldrons too much?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress teases, “Didn’t you tell me not to worry? You look lovely and radiant, sister. I think they’re perfect.” Nysse steps up and hugs her.
Araatris: Her sister takes a deep breath, borrowing some strength from the hug. “Thank you, Nysse. Let us go enjoy ourselves. I believe we’ve earned it.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse smiles nervously. “You first? I’ll be right behind you.” She clicks and Tsume slips out from behind the screen. They leave the room.
Araatris: The three make their way through the winding hillside grounds of the monastery to a set of wide, stone stairs. Colored lanterns shine everywhere.
Rhoelyn: Trying to position herself behind Rhoelyn, Nysse bites her lip as they step into the busy feast area. She stops and stares with wide eyes.
Rhoelyn: Pandaren fill the area with dozens of long tables around an open square for what seemed to be dancing. Each table is laden with food and drink.
Araatris: Rhoelyn smiles warmly as the conversations nearest them go noticeably quieter. Nysse tries not to take a step back as quite a few eyes turn to them.
Rhoelyn: The young night elf focuses on the ground and Rhoe’s feet and takes a trembling breath. “Rhoelyn! Nysse! Our guests of honor have arrived!”
Araatris: The priestess smiles at Spirit-Sage Gaoquan, stepping up and bowing deeply. “I think it’s we who are honored, elder. This is heart-warming.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse bows, but stays quiet with her head lowered meekly. Gaoquan smiles serenely. “I am glad. There are many looking forward to meeting you.”
Araatris: Nodding, Rhoelyn steps off with him. Tsume wuffs right before a familiar voice sounds by her ear. “Did I miss the grand entrance?” Nysse gasps.
Rhoelyn: She spins and stares up into Rhese’s face, both confusion and joy warring on her face. “R-rhese! But you were… I thought…” Her eyes shimmer.
Araatris: The druid grins. “Surprise, lovely.” When she looks like she might burst into tears, he chuckles and tugs her into a hug. “I missed you, too.”
Rhoelyn: The young night elf hugs him tightly, then rises on her toes and steals a kiss. “I thought it would be a month before I’d see you, surfal!”
Araatris: “I did, too, actually,” her mate rumbles, running a hand down the soft sleeve of her gown. “Morthis asked me to deliver a report to Rhoelyn.”
Araatris: “He seemed to think it was a really good idea that -I- be the one to do it.” Rhese smiles. “I wasn’t going to argue with seeing you sooner.”
Rhoelyn: A brief frown flickers across her face. Then she smiles shyly and murmurs, “Have you been here very long? Rhoe and I took a while to get ready.”
Araatris: The druid shakes his head, brushing her cheek. “Just long enough to give her the papers. Rhoe wanted me to surprise you here. She’s sneaky.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse laughs, “That’s why she wanted to paint my face!” She glances around, then blushes brightly when she notices a few looks. “Oh! I’m sup-”
Araatris: “She’s right over there, talking to some furry person.” Rhese flicks a negligent hand without even looking, aiming unerringly at his sister.
Rhoelyn: The huntress huffs, “Pandaren. His name’s Mu Lin and he’s been wonderful.” Rhese chuckles. “I know, lovely. He introduced himself earlier.”
Araatris: He leans close, gaze warm. “You look amazing. I’d like to see you in formal dress more often, my love.” He whispers a few more thoughts by her ear.
Rhoelyn: His mate blushes and ducks her head. “Rhese!” Nysse quickly redirects the conversation, “How’s Yami? Is he still training with Verune?”
Araatris: The druid chuckles and nods. “I had a letter from Verune at the Vale, last week. I think he’s running out of things to teach our little voidling.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse giggles. “Poor Verune. Yami’s too quick for him.” She kisses him again and sighs. “You know we can’t stay like this all night, right?”
Araatris: Rhese sighs and nods. Stealing one last quick kiss, he offers her his arm. “Let’s go be diplomatic. Are you stir crazy after weeks of this?”
Rhoelyn: Slipping her arm through his, Nysse manages to summon an answer. “Our sister has been gracious and let me out on my leash occasionally.”
Araatris: “Probably when you started gnawing on her arm out of desperation.” The druid chuckles and winks at his lady. He presses his hand over hers.
Rhoelyn: Shaking her head, she smiles tenderly. “I was very glad to have her with me, Rhese. I think I got to know your sister much better over the trip.”
Araatris: The handsome nightelf smiles. “I’m really pleased to hear that, my lovely. I’d hoped you would. Plenty of quiet time together was what you needed.”
Rhoelyn: “Yes.” Nysse’s lips twitch, but she quickly tugs him towards a pandaren. “Oh, Su Le! I’d like to introduce you to my mate, Rhese Silverwing.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn glances out of the corner of her eye as Rhese bows, letting an amused grin twist her lips before she returns her attention to her company.
Rhoelyn: Gaoquan continues, “Thank you for you time.” Rhoelyn bows. “It was a pleasure.” After they leave, he smiles at her. “Why don’t you join them?”
Araatris: The priestess leans a bit closer to him, lowering her voice. “In truth, I had something else in mind. Would you permit me to borrow Mu Lin?”
Rhoelyn: The elder nods. “Of course. He’s over there checking on the food. He wanted to ensure he had enough dumplings.” He gestures to the side.
Araatris: Rhoelyn smiles and dares to kiss his cheek. “Thank you. I’ll be back soon. If they worry-” He pats her hand. “I will assure them you are safe.”
Rhoelyn: “Thank you.” The priestess slips around the crowd and makes her way to Mu Lin. He glances up when she approaches, but she puts a finger to her lips.
Araatris: “I have a quick errand to run, Mu Lin. I… If you think the fete can spare you for a few minutes, would you accompany me?” Rhoelyn asks quietly.
Rhoelyn: Mu Lin smiles and nods, replying just as softly. “I think we can spare a few. Lead the way, Rhoelyn.” He follows the priestess out of the area.
Araatris: The two soon pause before the barred door to the monastery’s holding cells, the two guards there peering at them suspiciously. Rhoelyn smiles.
Rhoelyn: “May I please see the prisoner Leothir?” Rhoelyn bows. The guards note of Mu Lin’s nod and open the door. “Fourth room on the left, Miss.”
Araatris: “My thanks,” she mutters, walking sedately into the building and down the hall of barred cells. Nataro and Quaed both look up as she passes.
Rhoelyn: Leothir lies on the cot, an arm tossed over his eyes. He raises his arm, then surges up to sit. “Princess, you’re not supposed to be here!”
Araatris: Mu Lin waits by Nataro’s cell and leans against the wall as she steps up to the bars. “I’m aware, Leothir.” She pauses to look around at the cells.
Rhoelyn: The sin’dorei pushes to his feet and strides to the bars. Much more softly, Leothir questions, “Then why would you come? I… knew the price.”
Araatris: The priestess stands, calm as snow and resplendent in her regalia, beyond the bars. “I’m… aware of that as well. I’ve brought something for you.”
Rhoelyn: He smiles. “Seeing you is enough, princess. You are breathtaking.” His expression falters, “I… They’ll search me again before we leave.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn ignores the blush that creeps across her cheeks at the awe in his gaze. She smiles softly. “I assure you, it’s no lock pick or iron file.”
Rhoelyn: Leo chuckles, “I’m sure they’ll appreciate that.” His gaze examines her as if trying to write it to memory. “What did you bring, kind princess?”
Araatris: She slips a hand behind her belt, pulling out a flattened scroll. Looking over to Mu Lin, she waves it between two fingers with a questioning look.
Rhoelyn: The Pandaren nods. “Go ahead.” Rhoelyn slips the paper through the bars. Leothir takes it and raises both eyebrows questioningly. “What is it?”
Araatris: She gestures with one graceful hand. “You should read it, Leothir. It is an intelligence report from my brother’s… associates.”
Rhoelyn: The mage opens and scans it. Shocked, he slides to his knees against the bars. “You swear this is true, princess?” His hands shake on the letter.
Araatris: Rhoelyn crouches before the bars and gently says, “I would never lie about something so important to you, Leothir. It is true. Every word.”
Rhoelyn: “T-thank yo-” He chokes and rubs at his eyes, but not before a tear sneaks by. “I-i-i can never,” he hiccups, “repay you.” Leo hides his face.
Araatris: With a gentle hand, the priestess reaches through the bars and touches the back of his. “There is no debt. You deserve to know; all of you.”
Rhoelyn: He breathes deeply. “It’s finally done.” Rubbing at his face, he grins weakly, “I thought nothing could beat seeing you… “ Leo grasps her hand.
Araatris: “I do love to be the bearer of good news,” she practically whispers it, watching his hand on hers with a smile that fails to be anything but sad.
Rhoelyn: Leothir speaks in a hushed voice, “Rhoelyn… will I ever see or hear from you again?” His presses his lips into a thin line, bracing himself.
Araatris: The little night elf exhales and closes her eyes, resting her forehead lightly on the bars. “I cannot say, Leothir. Your life is far from mine.”
Rhoelyn: “If they allow me, dear princess, may I write you?” He puts his forehead mirroring hers, almost touching, and holds her hand to his chest.
Araatris: “This is madness,” she whispers, barely audible, but still she reaches through the bars with her free hand. As tears threaten, she simply nods.
Rhoelyn: Leo lifts and kisses the back of her hand. He rumbles, “I know.” He frees a hand and caresses her cheek. “Dear, sweet, kind, lovely princess.”
Rhoelyn: “Nighthaven, Nysse, and Rhese are lucky to have you.” He sobers and his hands tremble, “I… I don’t know if I’ll end up in a cell or dea-”
Araatris: “No,” Rhoelyn interrupts, squeezing his hand. She sighs. “Has no one told you anything at all?” Leo manages not to protest when she pulls away.
Rhoelyn: The mage frowns and shakes his head. “No one has said anything. To be honest, I’m surprised they remember to feed us with the party outside.”
Araatris: Mu Lin nods when Rhoelyn shoots him a frown. “We will have a word with them on the way out, priestess.” She inclines her head. “Thank you.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir grips the bars. “I don’t understand.” Mu Lin rumbles from just out of his sight, “She will be missed soon, Leothir. We will explain later.”
Araatris: The little night elf nods and straightens, brushing her gown and wiping her eyes. She looks at Leo, serene mask firmly in place. “Goodbye, Leothir.”
Rhoelyn: The blood elf smiles sadly as he pushes to his feet. “Always so regal, but I like it best when you call me Leo. Please be safe, princess.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn gives him a small smile and a nod before turning to hurry back down the hall. Mu Lin quietly falls into step beside her, watching her.
Rhoelyn: He rumbles softly after they pass the guards, “You could have told him yourself. It would ease his worries.” Rhoelyn shakes her head. “No.”
Araatris: She sighs and rubs her forehead. “He … -We- keep looking for hope where this is little to none. It is better that I stay out of giving him more.”
Rhoelyn: Mu Lin rests a paw on her shoulder. “Do you really think so little of the report you sent in? You were granted the information you requested.”
Araatris: “And it must end there, Mu Lin.” She looks over, and for one moment her confused pain is clear. “I live in a city that abhors everything he is.”
Rhoelyn: The pandaren frowns. “But you do not, priestess. Could you not move or at least meet elsewhere? Do not add stairs where none need to be built.”
Araatris: As they walk through the dark and quiet pathways back toward the fete, she tries to change the subject, saying softly, “I do love your expressions.”
Rhoelyn: He sighs. “Because they bear relevance I hope. Please think on them. You have a long journey and plenty of time to explore your feelings.”
Araatris: Rhoelyn pats Mu Lin’s arm, giving him a smile that is only a little brighter than it wants to be. “I will, my friend. Thank you for your council.”
Rhoelyn: Mu Lin nods and halts at the edge of the grounds. “Do you feel up to rejoining them now or would you like to walk more and clear your mind?”
Araatris: The elf shakes her head and clears her expression. “It is past time to be seen, again. I’m sure by now my si-” She cuts off as Nysse rushes over.
Rhoelyn: “Sister! I worry when you disappear like that. Is everything okay?” Nysse captures Rhoe’s hands. Rhese chuckles as he and Tsume join them.
Araatris: “Of course, Nysse.” When Rhoe smiles, Rhese’s eyes narrow suspiciously. “I’m very sorry that I worried you. We were just briefly escaping the din.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress kisses Rhoe’s forehead and laughs softly. “I understand. I get a bit overwhelmed as well.” Tsume noses and sniffs Rhoelyn.
Araatris: She pats the intrusive wolf absently, looking at Nysse’s tall shadow. “Hello, brother. Was she suitably surprised?” Her grin at Nysse is teasing.
Rhoelyn: The huntress blushes. “Rhoe!” Tsume looks up at Nysse and wuffs and causing the young night elf to look down with a frown. Tsume wuffs again.
Araatris: Rhoelyn chuckles and gives Nysse a kiss on the cheek before sidling over to give Rhese one as well. She ignores Tsume. “It’s time to get back.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse narrows her eyes at Rhoelyn, then smiles. “So, how was your walk, sister? Did you get a chance to explore or see anything interesting?”
Araatris: The priestess waves a breezy hand, only pausing a moment. “It was refreshing enough. Mu Lin, will you introduce me to the party from Zouchin?”
Rhoelyn: “I’m glad.” Nysse catches Rhese’s questioning look and suddenly grins broadly. “Tsume! Find the dumplings! Rhese, you have to try them…”
Araatris: The druid nods and follows as they both trail the wolf. He leans aside to her. “What just happened? That was one of her not-a-smile smiles.”
Rhoelyn: Flustered, Nysse stutters, “O-oh, it’s nothing. There was someone that we didn’t get along with when we first got here. We worked things out.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress continues, “She didn’t want to worry you. I think she went to see them off. You know how Rhoe is, she can find the good in anyone.”
Araatris: He nods and gives her a crooked grin. “That, my lovely, is extremely true. Hozen, I take it? I’ve-” Her druid stops mid-thought, sniffing the air.
Rhoelyn: Nysse throws her arms around his neck and kisses him passionately. Rhese stumbles and wraps an arm around her. Blushing fiercely, she pulls away.
Araatris: Her mate blinks at her for a bit before he can recover his wits and his breath. “W-well I’m suddenly much less interested in that delicious smell…”
Rhoelyn: Ducking until he can just see her red ears, she shakes her head. “N-no. You should really t-try the food. I just missed you so very much, Rhese…”
Araatris: Rhese laughs and leans down to nuzzle her cheek, mumbling, “I missed you, too, Nysse. How about we take some of the food back to my room?”
Rhoelyn: She swallows nervously, “But… I’m supposed to guard Rhoe. And they went to all this trouble for us.” Nysse peers up demurely, her heart pounding.
Araatris: The druid smirks. “It’s a party at the end of a long, boring diplomatic mission, my lovely. She doesn’t need a guard.” His kiss is demanding.
Rhoelyn: Nysse mumbles, “If you’re sure…” Noticing curious stares, she tries to step away with wobbly legs. “Let’s get some food.” Her stomach growls.
Araatris: A few minutes later, Mu Lin chuckles as he leans over to Rhoelyn. “I believe your siblings are making their escape. With many of my dumplings.”
Rhoelyn: “I am glad. They haven’t been away from each other for this long for years.” She laughs softly. “But did they leave any dumplings for us?”
Araatris: The Pandaren heaves a world-weary sigh. “We may have to make do with the bao. I think the Jinru delegation is eyeing the last of them.”
Rhoelyn: Rhoelyn pats his furry arm. “Then we will have to make do.” Mu Lin stands, “I’ll retrieve what I can. We will need it for the dancing later.”
Araatris: As he steps away, the little priestess summons a smile for the latest group Sage Gaoquan herds in her direction and settles in for a long evening.

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