Rhoelyn: Rhese presses his back against the cliff, hidden in the shadows. The voices at the campfire are too soft to make out, so he inches closer.
Araatris: “…oing to ensure the route is clear around that camp?” The man who speaks, one of the horned and blue-skinned draenei, frowns at his companion.
Rhoelyn: The female draenei smiles gently. “The winds will whisper when there is an opening.” The other grumbles, “And we’re supposed to wait until then?”
Araatris: When she nods, the scarred man scowls. “Aleesa, your unshakable faith in the nebulous voices in your head is infuriating. We need to hurry.”
Rhoelyn: “We will not rescue them by being rash, friend. The moment will come.” The woman leans over and pats his arm soothingly. “Then we will strike.”
Araatris: He doesn’t appear impressed, glancing down at her hand on his arm. “Well. I will hope for soon. I want to return to the defense of the temple.”
Rhoelyn: Aleesa sighs, “I know. I worry, too, but there will be no temple if they succeed.” She pulls her hand into her lap. “We must free the slaves.”
Araatris: Rhese blinks, thinking furiously as the larger man gets to his hooves. “Fine. I will be patient, but do not expect me to be idle. I will patrol.”
Rhoelyn: The woman nods. “Of course. I would not expect anything else.” She gestures in the opposite direction from Rhese. “I heard a rustle that way.”
Araatris: “Why did you not say something sooner?” The draenei hefts his sword and shield and stalks off, leaving her chuckling softly to herself.
Rhoelyn: The druid frowns, poised to leave, when the draenei woman speaks again. “You may come out now. Hadaal will be busy. Please join me, Rhese.”
Araatris: His frown deepens, and he mentally curses. Rather than give everything away, he lets his sin’dorei form slip before he steps out from the shadows.
Rhoelyn: Aleesa smiles serenely at him. “Come. I’ve been expecting you. The winds tell me that you need something.” She pats her log and scoots over.
Araatris: Rhese tilts his head, watching the draenei as he walks over to stand before her. For the moment, he doesn’t sit. “You… don’t see me, do you?”
Rhoelyn: She blinks with glassy eyes and giggles. “No, I suppose not, but I have my ways of knowing.” Aleesa tilts her head. “Does that cause you concern?”
Araatris: With a little sigh, he relents and smirks. “Yes and no. It’s complicated. Since you know my name and I know yours, introductions aren’t necessary.”
Rhoelyn: “I’m a shaman if it eases your mind, but you came here for a reason. What do you plan to accomplish?” She waves and encourages the dwindling fire.
Araatris: The druid sinks down onto the log beside her, scrubbing his face with his hands. “I need you two to make yourselves scarce. Go back to Karabor.”
Rhoelyn: Aleesa smiles sadly. “That will make Hadaal quite cross, but…” She places her hand on Rhese’s arm. “There is something greater at play here.”
Araatris: “Yes,” he mumbles, assuming he knows what she refers to. “I can’t tell you more, but this is bigger than rescuing a few dozen slaves. I’m sorry.”
Rhoelyn: The draenei pats his arm. “The winds speak of a man with claws upon his chest.” Suddenly, she tilts her head, “You travel with a woman, a night elf.”
Araatris: Rhese frowns at her. “The winds are awfully interested in things no one should know,” he grouches. “What are you getting at, Aleesa?”
Rhoelyn: Aleesa grasps his hand entreatingly. “She’s in pain and lost. No, not just her. Have you not felt something is wrong? It is not as it should be.”
Araatris: His luminous amber eyes widen at her vehemence. “Wh-… What isn’t as it should be? And what do you mean, Nysse’s in pain? And lost?”
Rhoelyn: The shaman’s eyes shimmer with unshed tears. “I do not know. The winds say she has gone silent.” She looks down. “We will leave tonight.”
Araatris: “G-gone silent?!” Rhese surges to his feet but leans down and grabs her shoulders. “What do you know? Why would you say that?”
Rhoelyn: Aleesa jerks in his grip. “The winds says she no longer speaks, but… they do not speak of death either. I… I don’t know what happened. I’m sorry.”
Araatris: Hadaal bellows, and Rhese doesn’t have time to turn before the bulky draenei barrels into him, driving him to the ground. “Get away from her!”
Rhoelyn: The shaman grabs Hadaal’s arm even as his fist slams into Rhese’s cheek with a sharp crack. “Hadaal! Stop! I invited him to sit with me.”
Araatris: Aleesa gasps as Rhese snarls viciously, tugging her companion away from him. “No,” she says urgently. “Calmly, Rhese… you are in control.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese shakes his head and snarls again, taking a half step forward. Aleesa coaxes, “Control yourself for Nysse. She needs you, Rhese.”
Araatris: He shudders, glaring at them, but he clenches his fists and forces himself still. Blood drips from his nose and split lip. He growls more quietly.
Rhoelyn: Hadaal frowns. “Aleesa, why did you invite him to camp? You know it’s not safe. He could have been a spy! I’m still not sure he isn’t…”
Araatris: She pats his arm, her sightless attention on Rhese. “You must go. Find us when the time is right. You can feel that we have important work to do.”
Rhoelyn: The druid slowly backs away into the shadows. “Wait! Get back here! I’m not done!” Aleesa hushes Hadaal. “Go! Quickly! We will do our part.”
Araatris: Rhese sprints away, shifting to the fleet cat as he rushes off into the deepening night. Elsewhere, Nysse stirs as a cloth is pressed to her head.
Rhoelyn: She reaches up out of reflex, groaning. The huntress blinks, but it’s dark and her eyes can only make out a vague shape. “Ah. You’re awake.”
Araatris: A warm, calloused hand presses over hers and a round Thalassian-accented voice says, “Rest easy. You’re safe. I certainly won’t harm you.”
Rhoelyn: Despite the reassurance, Nysse pulls her hand away and scoots back. ”W-what happened?” She grabs her pounding head. “Where’s Rhe-my master?”
Araatris: “So you do have a master.” The sin’dorei lights another candle with the low one, and she gets a look at his short, auburn hair and kind smile.
Rhoelyn: Nysse bites her lip and nods. “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. Where am I? W-who are you?” She grimaces as pain shoots through her mind.
Araatris: He nods, leaning back to give her some space. “This is the command building, and my name is Relare. I found you passed out on the shore.”
Rhoelyn: Her brow furrows as she struggles to remember. “I was helping while my master was gone. I… I went to get water, but s-something attacked me.”
Araatris: The blood elf regards her with sympathy. “If you…” He winces. “If you were assaulted, there will be punishments. I don’t condone slave abuse.”
Rhoelyn: She gives a nervous little shake of her head. “In the w-water. I didn’t see anyone.” She shifts to the far side of the bed and tries to stand.
Araatris: “Wait.” He stands quickly, managing to move around fast enough that he’s prepared when her knees give out under a blinding stab from her head.
Rhoelyn: Nysse blushes furiously as he swings her back onto the bed. “W-why does my head hurt?” Relare settles her gently, retrieving the damp cloth.
Araatris: The paladin shakes his head, pressing the cloth back to her head. “Truthfully, I have no idea. Your physical wounds were trivial to heal.”
Rhoelyn: She flinches at his touch. She murmurs, “I should get back to my master, Re-sir. Rhese will worry if I’m not in the tent when he returns.”
Araatris: Perceptive, he pulls his hand away, his gaze sharpening. “Rhese…. ah, Riverwind, Leo’s acquaintance. That explains why I didn’t recognize you.”
Rhoelyn: Nodding mutely, she traps her chain in her hands. Nyssera grimaces as another wave of pain washes over her. Relare asks, “What’s your name?”
Araatris: “N-Nyssera,” she answers on a mutter, dropping her eyes. The sin’dorei sighs and tries another grin. “I’ll have you back to him momentarily.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress nods, but ever so slightly squirms away from him. Her stomach rumbles loudly and she looks away, flushing. “Sorry, s-sir.”
Araatris: The blood elf smirks, an expression like his brother’s, and turns away to retrieve a platter still half full of meat and cheese and bread.
Rhoelyn: When he tries to hand it to her, she shakes her head in a panic. “N-no. I can just have some s-stew if there’s any leftover when I leave.”
Araatris: Relare winces and sets it back down. “I’ve become too used to my reputation preceding me. The kal’dorei here know I don’t enslave your kind.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse blinks in confusion and blurts out. “Y-you don’t? I thought all sin’dorei…” She clamps her hand over her mouth and grimaces in pain.
Araatris: He shakes his head, not affronted in the least. “It embarrasses me how many do, but it’s not all of us. As the commander, I help where I can.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress gasps, sitting up, “Commander?” She stares at Relare, wide-eyed. “I’m so confused. Doesn’t the rest of your family keep slaves?”
Araatris: That embarrassment he mentioned shows as he scratches the back of his head with a wince. “Yes, well… Our mother has always been a traditionalist.”
Rhoelyn: “O-oh.” Her gaze drops demurely. Her stomach growls again, and she chews on her lip. “Would you… would you be upset if I ate? I missed dinner…”
Araatris: Relare laughs and retrieves the platter once more. “If you’ll settle for this. You’ve been out for a long time. It’s the middle of the night.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse takes the plate and rests it in her lap. “It’s fine. T-thank you.” She nibbles at first before hunger overrides her initial caution.
Araatris: “Think nothing of it.” The paladin settles back and watches her eat for a moment before dragging some papers from the desk nearby to look through.
Rhoelyn: Finishing the small meal, Nysse finally looks around. Her gaze sweeps over the armor stand, desk, and Relare. “I’m… this is your room, isn’t it?”
Araatris: He idly mumbles, “Yes,” his attention on the page. After another moment, he glances up. “I didn’t know where else to take you. Is your head better?”
Rhoelyn: She nods. “A little, but I feel like I forgot something.” Nysse shifts uneasily, rubbing her head. “I’m sorry for being so much trouble, sir.”
Araatris: Relare shakes his head. “I’m just glad you weren’t harmed. You have no memory of who or what attacked you?” At her frowning no, he folds his arms.
Rhoelyn: The blood elf’s brow furrows. “I’m not sure I like the idea of sending you back to a tent by yourself. If it was an attack, they might come back.”
Araatris: Nysse glances back to the door. “Rhese… really will worry if I’m not there when he returns.” Relare frowns. “I can forbid him from punishing you.”
Rhoelyn: “I-i don’t think he’d…,” the huntress hesitates. “Maybe a messenger to let him know that I’m safe and he can come for me in the morning?”
Araatris: “I can have someone check to see if he’s b-” A murmur of voices from outside has the commander looking over at the door. “Hm. Excuse me.”
Rhoelyn: Nyssera nods as Relare stands and heads to the door. He cracks the door to see the guard. “Is something wrong?” Leo pops into view. “Brother!”
Araatris: The mage steps up as Relare opens the door. “I’ve had a frantic late-night visitor. Rhese is mi–” His glance goes to Nysse, and his eyes widen.
Rhoelyn: The huntress squeaks, blushing furiously, and scrambles out of Relare’s bed. She wobbles for a step before falling to her knees. “R-rhese?”
Araatris: His expression somewhere between thunderous and wounded, the black-haired sin’dorei shoves past the brothers and crouches, grabbing her shoulders.
Rhoelyn: Rhese shakes her. “You were supposed to go back to the tent!” Nysse grabs his shirt for support and gasps, “S-something attacked me on the beach..”
Araatris: “A-attacked?!” His grip on her arms tightens, and he snarls, “Who? Relare?! Is that how you ended up in his bed?” He turns with a glare.
Rhoelyn: She shakes her head panickedly. “N-no! Something else. Relare found me unconscious. H-he didn’t know who my m-master was…” Tears well in her eyes.
Araatris: The disguised druid turns back to her and blinks, trying to process her words through his worried anger. For his part, Relare looks amused.
Rhoelyn: Nysse sniffles as tears streak her cheeks. “He healed me and made sure I ate. That’s all!” She hiccups. “I didn’t mean to worry you, Rhese…”
Araatris: He quiets, brushing his thumb along her cheek to sweep away some tears. Rhese opens his mouth to say something, but stops and pulls her up.
Rhoelyn: The huntress clings to him and mumbles, “My legs are weak.” He pins her to his side before bowing his head to Relare. “My apologies, commander.”
Araatris: Relare’s keen gaze sweeps over the two of them. “Your behavior concerns me, Riverwind. I’ll remind you that I don’t appreciate abuse of the slaves.”
Rhoelyn: The young woman shakes her head. “R-Rhese doesn’t abuse me. He’s very kind.” She pales and puts her hand to her temple. “Is the room spinning?”
Araatris: Rhese sweeps her into his arms, frowning at the commander. “I thought you healed her.” The other elf sighs. “I did. She’s not physically injured.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse tugs on Rhese’s sleeve weakly. “I think it hurt my head, too. I don’t know how else to explain it, but I feel like something’s missing…”
Araatris: “Let her rest for now, Riverwind,” the commander orders, gesturing back to the bed. As Rhese reluctantly obeys, Relare addresses Nysse.
Araatris: “You said something similar, earlier. Can you elucidate? What might be … missing? Or forgotten?” Rhese and Leo watch her as well.
Rhoelyn: She reluctantly admits, “I don’t think what attacked me was humanoid. It had tentacles and it… it was in my mind.” Nysse looks away. “It called me min’da.”
Araatris: Rhese crouches beside her. “I don’t understand. It spoke? Why would it call you ma–… min’da?” Leo frowns. “It means mother, right?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods. “It seemed so hungry, hurt, and alone… I can’t help thinking it was looking for me. It said ‘no, mama’ when I begged it to leave.”
Araatris: Relare glances at his brother, who gives him an unreadable look. “Did… did you lose a child? Was it a spirit, perhaps? It could explain your head.”
Rhoelyn: Her eyes widen and she blushes. “N-no. I’ve never…” She clears her throat. “I’ve never been with child. But it seemed solid for a spirit.”
Araatris: “Hm.” The commander looks away, thoughtful. “Then we have quite a mystery. I will have the unit commanders warn the camp of the threat.”
Rhoelyn: The huntress dares to ask. “M-may I go back to the tent with Rhese please? I’d be more comfortable resting with my master nearby.”
Araatris: Relare looks at Rhese, who nods. “Of course. Be sure to visit the infirmary tent if you believe your head is getting worse, however.”
Rhoelyn: “I will. I think I just need rest.” Nysse moves to sit up again, but Rhese reaches down and lifts her as he stands. “I’ll make sure of it.”
Araatris: The disguised druid pauses just long enough to thank the brothers before he carries Nysse through camp. She is grateful for the late hour.
Rhoelyn: Rhese shoulders through the tent flap and settles Nyssera onto a large cot on one side of the tent. He sits on the edge and rubs his face.
Araatris: The druid hunches his shoulders and leans his elbows on his knees before he finally speaks. “Are you … really okay? You’re still looking pale.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse’s voice is soft. “It feels like a someone rattled me from the inside out. I’m as okay as I can be, but… I hope I’ll be better with rest.”
Araatris: “So do I.” He clenches his hands together, looking over at her with a furrowed brow. “I’m sorry about how I behaved. It’s… been a troubling night.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse pushes up and grips his arm. “I can tell, and I’m sorry. Do you want to talk about it?” She leans toward him with a long, relieved sigh.
Araatris: When she cuddles against his side as if it’s the most natural thing, Rhese stiffens. But he can’t bring himself to move. “N-Not just now.”
Rhoelyn: She closes her eyes. “Alright. My headache is easing, but it’s making me very tired and I’m afraid. I don’t want to be alone. It’s so silly…”
Araatris: He sighs and succumbs to the urge to wrap his arm around her shoulders. “I won’t leave you alone, Nysse. But you should lay down and rest.”
Rhoelyn: She nods against his shoulder, pulling away to lay down. Rhese tugs the light cover over her. When he moves to stand, she grasps his shirt hem.
Araatris: The druid sinks back down, resting on his knees beside the cot. “What? I told you I wouldn’t leave you alone, Nysse.” He brushes her hair back.
Rhoelyn: “N-no. I don’t want to be alone.” She ducks her face in embarrassment. “I know I’m being childish, but please I need someone next to me.”
Araatris: “Next to…” Rhese blinks at her. “I… yes, okay. Scoot over.” If his cheeks darken, it’s only slightly. He kicks off his boots and unlaces his armor.
Rhoelyn: Nysse scoots over, her back nearly against the tent. Rhese stares at her for a moment before lying down with his back to her. “How’s this?”
Araatris: He stiffens again when she slips an arm around his ribs, settling against his back. “Thank you,” she mutters. All he says is, “Mmhm…”
Rhoelyn: It’s not long before her breathing evens behind him. It takes him much longer to fall asleep. It’s much too soon when light peeks in under the tent.
Araatris: The druid awakens with a start, shifting to his sin’dorei form before he’s even fully awake. He pushes to his elbow and looks around in confusion.
Rhoelyn: The huntress groans, protesting his movement. “Rhese, please go back to sleep.” A voice clears its throat at the tent flap. “May I come in?”
Araatris: “Co-” When his voice doesn’t have the right roll, he coughs and clears his throat. “Come in.” Rhese swings up and tucks the covers around Nysse.
Rhoelyn: Faye ducks in with several bowls of steaming food. “I’ve been told that Nyssera has a healthy appetite. I’ve brought several bowls for you and her.”
Araatris: Rhese scrubs his hands over his face and then brushes them through his dark hair. “Excellent. I’ll see that she eats.” He scrabbles for his armor.
Rhoelyn: The cook sets them on the small table. “Is she alright? She didn’t come back from fetching water, then I heard about something attacking people.”
Araatris: Glancing back at Nysse, the druid nods and works on lacing up his dark cuirass. “She was attacked, b-” “Surfal, c’back to bed,” she slurs.
Rhoelyn: The false sin’dorei flushes darkly and avoids Faye’s gaping jaw. “Nyssera, Faye brought us some food. Would you like to eat something or rest?”
Araatris: Her answer is to burrow deeper into the covers and mumble something unintelligible. Rhese coughs and blushes more. “Just… leave them.”
Rhoelyn: Gathering her wits, Faye nods. “Come find me if either of you need food or anything.” The cook grins slightly, but quickly leaves them alone.
Araatris: The druid flicks Nysse some sort of look that’s between amused and irritated before shoving himself up from the cot. He grabs a bowl of breakfast.
Rhoelyn: Once he’s finished the first bowl, Nysse groans and stretches, allowing the covers to fall as the arches her back. She yawns, “Good morning.”
Araatris: He’s left gaping for a few seconds too long, and she finishes her stretch, glancing over. Rhese starts to say something and then chokes, coughing.
Rhoelyn: Nysse quickly sits up, frowning worriedly. “Are you okay? Did your food go down wrong?” She pushes to her feet and strides to his side.
Araatris: “I’m fine,” Rhese grits out, clenching his fists against the urge to reach for her. “I need to make my report. Eat. S-… straighten yourself. Rest.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse tilts her head as she leans past him and picks up a bowl. “Straighten myself? What do you mean? I don’t think there’s baths here.”
Araatris: The druid retreats to the tent flap before hastily mumbling, “Your b-bodice,” and rushing outside, flopping the opening closed behind him.
Rhoelyn: The huntress looks down, then quickly yanks the slipped shoulder up and untwists the top with her free hand, blushing fiercely. “Straighten myself…”
Araatris: As the disguised druid makes his way through camp, a voice intrudes on his whirling thoughts. “You’re not looking so good, my friend.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese turns to Leothir. “It was a long night, but I think Nyssera’s doing better this morning.” He gestures for the other elf to join him.
Araatris: The sin’dorei grins and flops an arm across his shoulders. “I’m glad to hear. That certainly gave me a shock, seeing her in uptight Relare’s bed.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese growls and gives Leo a dark look. “You’re not the only one. I’m appreciative of his help, but it’s a shock I could have done without.”
Araatris: The mage releases him to walk beside. “Careful, Rhese. One might think you were fond of your cute little slave.” His grin says it’s not a bad thing.
Rhoelyn: The blood elf druid clears his throat. “I’m heading to report to your brother. You’re welcome to keep me company unless you have other tasks.”
Araatris: “I’ll come. I need to bring some reports to him.” He pats the satchel on his hip. “Oh! That serves to remind me: the stablemaster wants to see you.”
Rhoelyn: The druid raises a skeptical eyebrow. “Is something wrong with Vorok or do I owe him coin?” Leothir laughs. “You’re so perceptive, my friend.”
Araatris: “Anyway, see him after Relare.” The other man yawns and stretches as they make their way toward command. “I’m getting antsy to start the operation.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese snorts. “There’s a difference catching them off guard and going in unprepared.” They wave to the guard and head into the command center.
Araatris: At Relare’s office, the sergeant on guard bars the way and asks them to wait. Muffled voices are clear through the wooden portal.
Rhoelyn: “…is done. We need to complete this item next. Have they already gone out?” “Yes, sir.” “Good, good.” Rhese leans against the wall to wait.
Araatris: The spy feigns boredom, half listening as Leothir chats at him about some city in Tirisfal. His real attention is on the other conversation.
Rhoelyn: “One last thing. Send a message to Bahr. Tell him the ghosts of the past still whisper. He’ll know what it means.” Relare orders as he closes up.
Araatris: The door pops open and Dethedrus steps out. He blinks at Leo and Rhese and gives them both a grin and a jaunty wave. “G’mornin’, lads!”
Rhoelyn: Leothir smirks. “Good morning, Deth! I see Relare has you working early today, try not to let him work you to the bone.” Rhese nods to him.
Araatris: The dwarf laughs heartily, even as he walks off. “Ye ‘aven’t the slightest idea, ye spoilt boy. He’s goin’ ta be th’death o’ me, yet.”
Rhoelyn: The guard ushers them in. Relare spreads papers out on a large table. “Oh good, Leo. You have the reports I need.” He holds out his hand.
Araatris: The mage slips the satchel off and hands the whole thing to his brother. “As promised. But I can’t promise they’ll say what you wanted to see.”
Rhoelyn: “Problems?” Relare queries, but Leo waves him off. “You’ll see.” The paladin turns to Rhese. “Good morning, Rhese. Is Nyssera feeling better?”
Araatris: “Good morning, Commander.” He nods. “She is. I owe you thanks for caring for her. And an apology for my behavior. I was… out of sorts.”
Rhoelyn: The younger brother nods. “Apology accepted, but I need to ask. Have you ever laid a hand on her? She seemed… cowed for lack of a better term.”
Araatris: Rhese’s eyes widen as he rocks back, thinking of their night. “I…” He clears his throat. “I… use more pleasant methods to ensure her devotion.”
Rhoelyn: Leo offers, “She was feral when he got her, Rel. I don’t think she was abused.” Leothir turns to Rhese. “Have you had her around many people?”
Araatris: “No, not many. She spent years alone in the forest.” Rhese shrugs. “Civilizing her has been a process, certainly, that is still progressing.”
Rhoelyn: The commander nods. “Apologies for my assumptions, but I needed to be sure.” Leothir grins cockily. “I told you he wasn’t that type of master.”
Araatris: Rhese shrugs, unable to resist poking at it. “I don’t often find anyone cares. Why do you two? Leothir, you said you have a collection, no less.”
Rhoelyn: Leothir laughs. “Relare’s the black sheep of the family. He doesn’t keep slaves. I just happen to find the traditional punishments draconian.”
Araatris: The commander’s brow quirks up at his brother. “Oh, is that the story you’re telling yourself this week, Leo?” The mage frowns and blushes.
Rhoelyn: Relare sighs and glances at Rhese. “My brother, despite my best efforts, tends to follow our mother’s beliefs. He is better than he used to be.”
Araatris: “Relare…” Leothir complains nonspecifically. The other elf shrugs at him. “Well, your motivations are purer… even if your methods are still misguided.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese raises a single, black eyebrow. “Motivations are purer?” Relare ignores his elder brother. “He wants to protect them from the war.”
Araatris: Leothir blushes more and clears his throat. “Well. Some individuals are just not made for fighting.” Relare teases, “Especially one in particular?”
Rhoelyn: “He was mentioning some sort of delicate flower or something in contrast to my wildling. Is it the same one?” Rhese lips curl in amusement.
Araatris: “Yes,” the mage admits. “I can’t imagine letting her be subjected to the war.” Though his brother frowns, this time he holds his tongue.
Rhoelyn: The fake blood elf snorts. “You sound rather taken with this one slave out of how many? You never have told me why she’s so special to you.”
Araatris: Relare scoffs before Leothir can say anything. “Oh, that’s easy.” The mage quickly interrupts. “No one’s interested in your theories, brother.”
Rhoelyn: Rhese grins broadly. “Actually, I’m quite interested. You mentioned her often on the trip here.” He gestures for Relare to continue. “Go on.”
Araatris: The commander grins smugly at his brother, who sighs and folds his arms across his chest. “Leothir loves her. He’s awful at it, but it’s true.”
Rhoelyn: The druid can’t help laughing. “You love her?” Leo glowers and snaps, “You may not want to admit it, but you’re in the same boat, friend.”
Araatris: That has Rhese blinking. “Love… Nyssera? Of course I don’t.” Both brothers smirk at him, matching expressions. “Certainly not,” Relare deadpans.
Rhoelyn: Relare changes the topic, “So, how did your mission go? We’ve been trying to get rid of those two, but they’ve stayed one step ahead of us.”
Araatris: “Well, the only steps they’re taking now are back to Karabor.” The disguised druid grins with false smugness. “I injured the shaman badly.”
Rhoelyn: The commander nods. “We’ll send the scouts out to make sure they’re heading back. She might try and heal herself, but I hope you’re right.”
Araatris: “I usually am.” Leo chuckles with Rhese while Relare’s amusement is quieter. “Well, hopefully the first of many successful missions. I’m impressed.”
Rhoelyn: Relare picks up Leo’s reports. “If you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do.” Leo guides Rhese to the door. “We’ll head to the stable then.”
Araatris: “Mmhm,” the commander says, already half distracted. “I’ll send for you when I have more for either of you.” The two make their way outside.
Rhoelyn: They make their way outside and head to the stable. Leo comments, “I told Faye to help care and watch out for Nyssera. I hope you don’t mind.”
Araatris: Rhese smiles, rubbing at his tired eyes. “So that’s why she brought breakfast to the tent. I don’t mind. On the contrary, I appreciate it.”
Rhoelyn: Leo chuckles. “I thought you might.” They thread their way through the camp. “After yesterday, I was afraid you might not let her out of sight.”
Araatris: Scoffing, the druid says, “I’m not the one who was clingy. The girl barely let me sleep, draping all over me all n-” At Leo’s look, he pauses.
Rhoelyn: Leothir’s grin only broadens. Rhese grumbles and quickly scans the stables. “Where is that stable master that’s so eager to see me…?”
Araatris: A human steps out of one of the stalls and approaches them. “Ah. Hey, Leothir. And Rhese, wasn’t it? Yours’d be the big frost wolf, yah?”
Rhoelyn: “Yeah, I’m Rhese. Is something wrong with Vorok?” Rhese frowns and peers past him at the stables. “He seemed settled well enough with Nyssera.”
Araatris: The man hmphs, leading the way and beckoning them after. “He was doing fine ‘til he started getting protective. Won’t let anyone near all morning.”
Rhoelyn: The false sin’dorei raises both eyebrows and follows him. “Protective? The only one I’ve ever seen him get protective over is my wildling.”
Araatris: “Hah. Well,” Vorok growls low even as the man steps up to the stall, and the stablemaster points. “You’re gonna want to add the pup to that list.”
Rhoelyn: “P-pup? Vorok is a he, isn’t he?” He stares wide-eyed at the stable master before moving to look over the stable door himself. “What the-”
Araatris: Sure enough, there is a young white pup curled up against the wolf’s fur, sleeping. Rhese blinks and slides open the stall door. “Vorok…”
Rhoelyn: Vorok growls again. “Let’s see what you have there. What a fine looking pup. May I see?” The wolf stares, then huffs and lays down his head.
Araatris: Leothir and the human watch with concern as Rhese brushes a hand down Vorok’s side to the pup. He looks to be a few months old.
Rhoelyn: The large wolf leans in causing the others to hold their breath as he bears his teeth. Rhese pauses as Vorok licks the pup, waking it with a yip.
Araatris: As the little wolf blinks and lifts his drowsy head, Rhese looks him over. “Hello, child,” he mutters in his false accent. “Where’d you come from?”
Rhoelyn: It fixes dark eyes on him as he lowers his hand for it to sniff. The pup grabs and starts gnawing on his hand. Leo comments, “He seems hungry.”
Araatris: The druid nods, and then winces, chuckling. “Ravenous, more like.” He looks at the stablemaster. “Do you have something nearby for him to eat?”
Rhoelyn: “Yeah, I’ve got some scraps to spare.” He ducks out of sight and returns with a platter. Rhese takes the plate and sets it in front of the pup.
Araatris: Oddly, he sniffs curiously at the food as if uncertain what to do with it. When he looks up at Vorok with his dark eyes, the other wolf wuffs.
Rhoelyn: The smaller pup noses into the food finally. Rhese pets him gently. “Maybe I should take him to Nyssera. She was found in a wolves’ den.”
Araatris: Leothir gapes at that. “Truly? My, when you say wildling, you mean it!” Rhese chuckles. “I did tell you that taming her was no easy feat.”
Rhoelyn: After a few minutes, the pup is grabbing Rhese’s hand. He grins. “Come on. Let’s take you to Nysse.” Rhese scoops up the pup and stands.
Araatris: The disguised druid manages to rifle in a pocket and pull out a few coins despite the pup monopolizing his arms. “Thank you for calling me, Nolin.”
Rhoelyn: Nolin grins as the coins are handed over. “‘Course, sir. Little guy is welcome anytime.” Rhese and Leo walk through the camp to his tent.
Araatris: The druid quietly fishes out his timepiece and grimaces, turning to his companion. “It… was a long night, and Nysse is likely resting…” He stares.
Rhoelyn: Rhese blinks and follows Leothir’s gaze to the tent. “What? Something wrong?” The mage shakes his head. “What? Oh no, not at all.” He grins.
Araatris: The black-haired sin’dorei hesitates. “Did… you want to come in?” Leo chuckles and shakes his head. “Not on your life.” He grimaces and hurries off.
Rhoelyn: Rhese watches in confusion before heading to the tent and pushing inside. “Nysser-” He cuts off at the sight of washed clothing on a chair.
Araatris: His glance slips over to the bed before he can stop it. Sucking in a breath, the druid nearly backs out of the tent before he considers their guise.
Rhoelyn: Nysse turns slightly and freezes in the large barrel, then ducks quickly into the water. She blushes. “I-i didn’t think you’d be b-back yet…”
Araatris: “Y-” The druid coughs, realizing he’s still staring. He quickly turns away, blushing to the tips of his ears. “You’re naked,” he blurts out.
Rhoelyn: “Y-yes, that’s how most people bathe.” There’s splashing behind him. “I’ll be quick. Do you want to take one afterwards? It’s been a few days.”
Araatris: Rhese groans. “No. I’m going ou-” He stops, wincing and mumbling, “You can’t go out, remember? You’ll run out of time. Just handle her- IT!”
Rhoelyn: Nysse dunks into the water to rinse. “Please stay there.” She hops out and quickly dries off and yanks on a slender green cotton dress. “It’s safe.”
Araatris: When he has braced himself enough to turn, the druid avoids looking at her. “I need to sit. Have a puppy.” He shoves the pup at her as he passes.
Rhoelyn: “A wolf pup!” Nysse smiles brightly and cradles the young wolf in her arms, cooing at him. “Oh! He’s lovely! Where did you find him, Rhese?”
Araatris: Staggering the last step to the cot, he plops down heavily and leans forward, scrubbing his face. “He was with Vorok. Nobody knows how or why.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse looks up at Rhese. “Why don’t you take the cot and rest.” She yawns. “I’ll sleep on the ground.” The wolf pup yawns and snuggles in her hands.
Araatris: He begins to unlace his dark cuirass, barely acknowledging what she said. “It’s about an hour until midday meal. Is your head still hurting you?”
Rhoelyn: Nysse moves and settles on the ground next to the cot, rubbing her bare neck. “A dull ache, but it’s manageable. I think more sleep will help.”
Araatris: Rhese nods and yawns. “Just give me an hour, then you can rest. I’ll be better, then.” The pup wakes enough to squirm around and lick her face.
Rhoelyn: The huntress giggles and tickles his belly. “Sleep as long as you need. I’ll think of a name for this little one.” Rhese pulls off his boots.
Araatris: “Mm. While you’re at it…” he pauses to yank his armor over his head and dump it beside the bed. “… see if you can get him back to his owner.”
Rhoelyn: She clears her throat. “I… can’t go out until my clothes dry. I don’t have my collar or chain…” Her cheeks are pink as she plays with the pup.
Araatris: The druid blinks. “Oh. Right.” He lets his disguise slip as he rubs a hand through his silver hair. “Well. Later, then. We need to talk later, too.”
Rhoelyn: Nysse nods, distracted by cuddling the sweet pup. “Get some rest.” She waits until she thinks he’s asleep to mumble, “You remind me of Tsume…”
Araatris: The huntress brushes the pup’s fur and snuggles him when he starts to get drowsy again. Behind her, Rhese sleeps, his breathing the only sound.
Rhoelyn: Rhese presses his back against the cliff, hidden in the shadows. The voices at the campfire are too soft to make out, so he inches closer.