WoD Arc – Chapter 20

Rhoelyn: Nysse is woken by a nose nudging her. She can hear Rhese’s voice calling for her. “Nysse!” She bites her lip within the tight tree hollow.
Araatris: Vorok snorts and rolls over as Yami shifts against her side, yawning. When she doesn’t move, he tugs on her kilt. “Min’da, an’da’s calling.”
Rhoelyn: “I know, alei.” The huntress hesitates, but Vorok kicks her. Nysse yelps and glares over her shoulder at the wolf. Yami merely grins happily.
Araatris: A few dozen yards away, Rhese growls and shouts, “Nysse, if I have to sniff you out-… Oh, the things I will do to you!” Vorok snorts once more.
Rhoelyn: Nysse glances at Yami and clears her throat, calling out, “I’m in the tree hollow over here!” Her chain chimes as she wiggles to face the exit.
Araatris: The druid waits, leaning against the tree as she manages to pull herself free of the tangle of wolves and boy. His arms are crossed, brow furrowed.
Rhoelyn: The huntress winces and looks down. “I f-fell asleep…” She bites her lip nervously. “I meant to come b-back earlier.” Nysse listens as he moves.
Araatris: “I stayed up waiting for you.” He kneels down in front of her, wrapping his arms around her. “I very nearly had a heartattack when I woke alone.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks up, startled. “You stayed up? W-why would you do that?” Her fingers grip the sides of her tunic as he hugs her tighter. “R-rhese?”
Araatris: “We’re sitting between two sides of a war, here, Nysse. I was worried!” The druid rests his cheek on her stomach, sighing. “And I missed you.”
Rhoelyn: She rests a hand on his head. “I’m sorry. I’m not used to people worrying.” Nysse whispers, “I was overwhelmed, and there were too many people.”
Araatris: Rhese takes a deep breath before releasing her. “I understand, lovely.” He stands, brushing leaves from his knees. “I’ll try not to worry so much.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse shifts uneasily from foot to foot, unsure what to do. “Are you angry with me? She timidly reaches out for him when he straightens.
Araatris: The druid considers that as she takes his hands. “I’m … not angry. I’m glad that you’re safe. I’m not used to having someone else to worry about.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress blushes. “We both have a lot to learn. W-would you like to spend some time here? Before we go back? I missed your… missed you.”
Araatris: He glances into the tree hollow, smirking. “I really don’t think I’ll fit in your little wolf pile, Nysse. But maybe somewhere less crowded?”
Rhoelyn: She nods nervously, but turns to the hollow. “Yami, I’m going with Rhese. Please head back to camp.” “I will, min’da.” The boy smirks knowingly.
Araatris: The druid sticks his tongue out at Yami and then winks, earning a giggle from the boy. “Stay with aunty Aleesa, Yami. We won’t be too long.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse laughs, then she squeaks as Rhese wraps an arm around her waist, tickling her waist slightly, and leads her away. “Where are we going?”
Araatris: He settles beside her, threading his fingers through hers. “I hear falling water. I’m hoping it’ll be a good place for a wash. Among other things.”
Rhoelyn: “A bath?” Nysse’s eyes sparkle happily. “That would be so wonderful. I could wash these clothes, too.” She leans against him. “Thank you, surfal.”
Araatris: Rhese laughs and gives her a squeeze, “Nysse, you are easy to please.” They step free of the trees to see a brook flowing between tall boulders.
Rhoelyn: She ducks her head, smiling. “The only thing that would be better is having my armor.” Nysse hesitates, “Are we sure no one else will come here?”
Araatris: “Of course not,” he chuckles and pulls her close. “But I promise you can hide behind me if they do.” He starts tugging at the ties on her kilt.
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes. “Rhese!” Her desire to bathe overwhelms her nervousness as they disrobe. By the end, she’s impatiently looking at the water.
Araatris: “Your bath, my lady.” The druid looks amused as he wades into the water, giving her some space for what is clearly at the top if her mind.
Rhoelyn: The huntress grins and hurries in, ducking under briefly. She spends a few minutes removing days of dirt before speaking, “This is peaceful.”
Araatris: Rhese yawns and looks up at the sky, reclining in the water against one of the boulders. “Yes, it is. We should enjoy it while it lasts.”
Rhoelyn: Tugging her green hair over one shoulder, she wades over, trying to ignore her burning cheeks. “I’d like that. Did I get the dirt out of my hair?
Araatris: “Hm,” he says with a smile, straightening from his indolent posture to run his fingers through the wet mass and smooth it along her collar bone.
Rhoelyn: Nysse stammers, “R-rhese, you’re staring. Did I miss something?” She glances down at her hair. Rhese chuckles and the huntress bites her lip.
Araatris: “You definitely missed something. Should I help you?” His grin as he leans toward her is playful. Until he pauses, blinking, and looks away.
Rhoelyn: The young woman frowns in confusion at his change in demeanor. “Surfal? Is s-something wrong?” She clutches her hands in front of her chest.
Araatris: “Something is off. Do you feel that?” Rhese frowns and goes still, sifting the air with his senses. After a moment, he turns away from her.
Rhoelyn: Nyssera shakes her head. “Should I call Korran? I feel better now than I did before.” She looks about, alert and nervous. “We could get out.”
Araatris: The druid finally glances back at her. “I don’t…-” Behind him, the water over the waterfall begins to dribble through with something dark and thick.
Rhoelyn: The huntress grabs his wrist and tugs him to the shore. “Out now! Questions later!” She glances over her shoulder with wide eyes at the substance.
Araatris: Rhese follows her lead, sloshing through the shallows as the substance swirls through the pool. He wrinkles his nose. “Get dressed. Fast.”
Rhoelyn: Quickly tugs on her top and kilt, quickly tying off the skirt. Nysse grabs the collar and chain. She turns to him. “Do you know what it is?”
Araatris: As he laces up his breeches and reaches for his tunic, the druid shakes his head. An eerie glow starts at the center of the substance.
Rhoelyn: Tucking the collar and chain in her skirts, she draws her hidden daggers. “Put on your shirt later, Rhese. I’m thinking we make a run for-”
Araatris: The inky water surges toward them with what can only be called a wail, a vague face forming as it reaches for the two of them with clawed hands.
Rhoelyn: Nysse shoves Rhese away and slashes at the hand with a dagger as she backs toward the druid. “Go! Get out of here! I’ll be right behind you.”
Araatris: He nods and turns, darting up the bank on this side of the brook, but at the top, he stops cold, cursing. “Not this way. Look out!”
Rhoelyn: Rhese grabs Nysse’s wrist pulling her out of the way of something she doesn’t quite see. He hurries her down the shore, looking for something.
Araatris: Whatever the creature is, it surges along the brook after them, enraged and persistent. Rhese curses again, dodging away from watery claws.
Rhoelyn: Nysse ducks into the woods, but finds the foliage too dense. Air rushes behind her from a narrow miss of it’s claws. “We have to get in the woods!”
Araatris: “No, don’t-!” When the huntress starts to dart through a thinner spot in the foliage, a shock of energy drags through her. Rhese tugs her back.
Rhoelyn: The huntress stumbles into him and he quickly yanks her down the shore. “W-what was that? Are we being herded?!” They dodge another swipe.
Araatris: Nodding, Rhese grits his teeth. “Definitely. The spirit fields are a ways away, but … this area is charging, as if it’s turning into anoth-”
Rhoelyn: The inky brook creature grabs Nysse’s leg and yanks her toward it. “Rhese!” The druid stumbles in an effort to keep a grip on her wrist.
Araatris: Shifting to the cat, he darts past her and slashes his claws at the creature’s arm. The water wraps around his paw instead of being disrupted.
Rhoelyn: They struggle as it creeps up their bodies and pulls them closer. Nysse slashes at it with her dagger, but the weapon is yanked from her grasp.
Araatris: Rhese yowls and lifts his feline head, magic surging as arcane moonfire slices into the heart of the inky water, sending liquid flying.
Rhoelyn: Freed, Rhese shifts back to his natural form and helps Nysse to her feet. “We have to find a way out.” A shadow in the trees speaks, “No need.”
Araatris: A man that appears human with black hair and eyes in armor stylized like scales steps out, his grin dark. “You did not escape. You fell here.”
Rhoelyn: The water elemental pauses mid-strike. Nysse stammers, “W-what do you mean we fell here? Why are you talking about us in the past tense?”
Araatris: He fails to answer her, pacing around the trunk of a tree and catching it with one hand. He leans out, hanging at an angle as he considers them.
Rhoelyn: “Why are you surprised? You know about the timeline.” He chuckles, “It is fun to talk with you. I didn’t the first few times I killed you.”
Araatris: Rhese grimaces. “The first few?” The stranger smiles. “We’re at 17, now. I believe this one may be critical mass to force the timeline to resolve.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pales. “Who are you?” He ignores her, “I am surprised. In the last timeline Nysse was Relare’s slave, an unwelcome gift from his mother.”
Araatris: “What is this all about?” Nysse grabs his arm when Rhese starts to step forward, fists clenched. “Why us? Are you the one who changed Nysse’s life?”
Rhoelyn: The man tilts his head. “Did I not introduce myself? It’s hard to remember. I’m Tadanir and I need you to die so I can take over the Alliance.”
Araatris: The druid blinks, shying back, and exchanges a glance with Nysse. “We don’t have anything to do with the Alliance leadership. What are y-“
Rhoelyn: Tadanir snorts in amusement. “Did you think Morthis and your fellow workers were just for show?” He steps forward, eye on Nysse. “S-stay back!”
Araatris: The apparent human grins, ignoring her order. “There’s a foolproof formula to this, you know. I’ve had enough practice to find the best way.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse brandishes her dagger and the man catches her wrist smoothly. Rhese growls, “Get your hand off her.” There’s shouting in the distance.
Araatris: Tadanir grins and pulls back his arm, something shadowed and foul writhing in his palm. “You see, the pull of your relationship always does this.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese pushes Nysse behind him. The huntress looks at her wrist and him in horror. “What is that? What do you mean?” “Always so many questions.”
Araatris: “And you manage to ask new ones every time.” The black-eyed human chuckles even as he whips his hand forward against Rhese’s bare chest.
Rhoelyn: The druid grabs his wrist and snarls, but the human’s fingers brush against his skin anyway. Rhese cries out as something is drawn from him.
Araatris: “Rhese!” Nysse screams his name as the druid drops to his knees, releasing the man, who steps away, shaking away power that looks Lightborn.
Rhoelyn: Nysse wraps her arms around her mate, glaring up at Tadanir. “We won’t go down without fighting.” Korran forms protectively in front of them.
Araatris: The human sighs and shakes his head. “Now, that’s the one you always say. You’re looking tired, Nysse. Is it the extra drain of our ‘spirit field’?”
Rhoelyn: The huntress snaps, “I’m fine.” She can’t hide the lines of strain on her face. Nysse grips her dagger tightly. “Careful now. I’m having fun.”
Rhoelyn: The man cautions, “If Korran falls, then so do you, but you didn’t know that yet.” Nysse stands. “Oh, he’s just to keep you away from Rhese.”
Araatris: Tadanir laughs. “He is out of th-” The druid’s feral growl interrupts him, and Rhese raises his head, eyes black and scars dancing across his skin.
Rhoelyn: Nysse spins around just in time to watch the druid shift into a large black wolf and leap past her. “Rhese! Stop!” He collides with Tadanir.
Araatris: The man actually looks surprised as he falls under the wolf’s claws and teeth, and he throws his arms up to protect his face. Korran growls.
Rhoelyn: “Go.” Korran leaps forward biting at the man’s legs while Rhese claws and snaps at his face. Nysse grimaces and leans against a nearby tree.
Araatris: “A-ah!” The huntress cries out as pain wracks her body. Confused, she looks down at her shaking hands to find lighter versions of Rhese’s scars.
Rhoelyn: She shrieks as the magic tears at her, shifting her, leaving a green and brown wolf. The wolven Nysse staggers to her paws, snarling at Tadanir.
Araatris: “No!” The strange human screams in pain as Rhese’s vicious fangs pierce his armor, sinking into his side. Nysse rushes forward as Korran fades.
Rhoelyn: “You’re the true mirrors of the timeline!” The black eyed man tries to kick Rhese away, but Nysse bites and shakes his leg with a loud crack.
Araatris: The black wolf withdraws just long enough to snarl viciously before he lunges in and ends the man with a quick motion. Blood drips from his muzzle.
Rhoelyn: Nysse yelps as the body dissolves into a pile of goo. Rhese huffs and turns back to the huntress, nosing her. Her ears droop meekly and she whines.
Araatris: His affection smears her fur with blood as he rubs his head against her, trying to be reassuring. Alarmed voices approach them, and Rhese snarls.
Rhoelyn: “This way! I heard Nyssera yell.” Wrune breaks out of the forest, Rylana right behind him. Aleesa cautions, “Careful. They aren’t themselves.”
Araatris: The young human gapes, gasping under her breath. “Th’Alpha…” Wrune’s eyes go wide when she kneels before the bloody wolves, bowing her head.
Rhoelyn: Rhese growls, but doesn’t stop his mate from licking him then padding to Ry. Nysse sniffs the sergeant curiously. Wrune frowns, “Rylana…”
Araatris: Leo clamors as he shoves through the foliage after them, but Rhoe is silent until she gasps, pressing her fingers to her lips. “Elune’s Grace… no!”
Rhoelyn: Leo grumbles, “What’s wrong? Why are there wolves?” Rhoelyn grabs his arm. “They’re Rhese and Nysse. Wolves are a forbidden form, Leothir.”
Araatris: She turns away from him, stretching out a hand toward Rhese. When she steps forward, Leo stops her. “He doesn’t look right.” “I know,” she says.
Rhoelyn: “Brother, come back to us. Do not let the curse control you.” Rhoelyn cajoles softly. The large wolf looks over his shoulder at Nysse and Rylana.
Araatris: The priestess pulls free of Leo’s restraining hand, stepping slowly toward her transformed brother. “You are not the mad wolf, Rhese.”
Rhoelyn: The wolf growls, barking at Nysse. She raises her head and darts quickly behind him. Rhoelyn sinks to her knees and holds out her hand.
Araatris: As he pads warily toward her, Nysse following, his sister speaks soothing words in Darnassian. He finally presses his black nose to her palm.
Rhoelyn: Nysse whines and nuzzles against Rhoelyn’s legs. It’s a tense moment as Rhese bares his teeth, but he shifts, clutching his sister’s hand.
Araatris: Rhoe wraps her other arm around Nysse as the huntress’ own slow, clumsy transformation trails Rhese’s and fills her with pain. Nysse sobs.
Rhoelyn: The druid wraps an arm around Nysse as well. She leans against them, pale and shaking. Wrune hurries to the trio. “Are you both injured?”
Araatris: “Nyssera is quite hurt, Aron. Please help heal her injuries,” Rhoelyn says. “I must help Rhese rebuild the curse’s shackles. We require privacy.”
Rhoelyn: The paladin nods. “Is here good enough? We can take her back to the camp.” The priestess transfers the huntress to him. “Yes, it is fine.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese growls causing Rhoelyn to murmur in Darnassian again until he releases Nysse. Aron lifts her and turns to the other. “Let’s go! Now!”
Araatris: As the rest depart, Ry shoots one last glance back to watch Rhoelyn press her forehead gently against her brother’s, whispering foreign words.
Rhoelyn: Wrune walks into camp to the bed rolls, laying Nysse down. Despite his gentleness, she cries out. Ry and Leo both grimace. “What’s wrong wit’ her?”
Araatris: Aleesa speaks as Wrune kneels by her side, his hands glowing against her skin. “Her body was changed without proper control. To damaged ends.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir gestures in frustration. “Her face is covered in blood! What savage ritual were they doing out there?!” Wrune snaps, “Shut up, Leo!”
Araatris: The mage frowns and folds his arms, looking nervously back out. Rylana crouches by Wrune. “I’m gonna get Relare, da. He can help ya wit’her.”
Rhoelyn: Aron nods distractedly as she runs off. It’s only a few minutes before she returns with the other paladin in tow. Relare kneels on her other side.
Araatris: The blood elf assesses her with a quick glance, and lays one hand on Wrune’s arm. “I’ll follow your lead.” He rests the other on Nysse’s waist.
Rhoelyn: Nysse finally opens dark-circled eyes and the men withdraw their hands. She sits up abruptly, wide-eyed and searching. “R-rhese. Where is-”
Araatris: Wrune steadies her when she reels. “Relax. He’s fine. Rhoelyn is taking care of h-” A pained shout rings out in the distance, cutting off abruptly.
Rhoelyn: The huntress strains weakly, desperately trying to get up. “He needs me. I need to go.” The commander frowns and orders, “No. Rest, Nyssera.”
Araatris: “But h-!” Wrune presses against her shoulder. “They asked for privacy, Nyssera. He’s not alone, and you know that Rhoelyn will take care of him.”
Rhoelyn: A small worried boy peers out from behind Wrune. “Are you okay, min’da?” Almost immediately Nysse smiles and opens her arms for him. “Yes, alei.”
Araatris: Yami rushes around the paladin and tosses himself into her arms, sniffling. When he buries his face against her chest, he mumbles “…hurts.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse cradles him. “I know, Yami. Everything will be okay.” Her fingers run through his silver hair soothingly. Wrune leans back with a long sigh.
Araatris: The boy cuddles her. “I told’em there was a bad dragon, but they were too slow. And min’nu Rhoe wouldn’t let me come. She was afraid to.”
Rhoelyn: “Min’nu was right. Do you know how much I would have worried about you?” She kisses his forehead. “Thank you for staying safe and sending help.”
Araatris: At her thanks, he manages a smile, nodding against her chest. “Family protects each other. I ‘member that from the other now.”
Rhoelyn: She squeezes him and lays down tiredly with him. “You’re such a darling son…” The huntress yawns. “Would you wake min’da when they return?”
Araatris: “Yep.” Yami squirms until he can give her a kiss. “Rest and feel better, an’ an’da will be happier when he gets back. Ninight, mama.”
Rhoelyn: “Goodnight, sweetie.” Nysse smiles. “You’re right. I’m sure he will be, too.” As they settle in to rest, Wrune covers them with a light blanket.

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