Yasha really loves Vokodo. She just needs to get closer to him. Sure, he bit her, that was punishment for destroying those ships, for poking around where he did not want them. But he still needs her to be close, that is why she is going to him. She finds herself wondering why the others are not going to him. She’s perfectly content as the orange glow of Vokodo’s mouth bathes her in his warmth.
She loves Vokodo.
She needs Vokodo.
She wants to be one with Vokodo.
“YASHA!” That agonized scream can only be Jester and it pierces her thoughts as a sense of release crashes against her, her senses returning. Vok-Guacamole is gone and the others are shouting, Beauregard and Caduceus magically reappear (She needs to ask about that one) and there’s a frantic urgency coursing through the Mighty Nein. She shakes herself and she is enraged, her head nodding along to the group’s plan to ambush the creature at Jester’s word. She positions herself and stands at the ready, Magician’s Judge aching to sink into the creature that controlled her.
“Now!” Jester’s shouting but Guacamole appears before she finishes the short word and everything happens at once. Her blade cleaves a chunk out of Guacamole and then Caleb gets the last shot in, “Disintegrate” blasting clean through the creature and it meets its demise. The water boiling around them encourages the group to heal and loot, allowing no time to celebrate outside of Yasha shooting a small, congratulatory grin in Caleb’s direction. The Zemnian gives her a wan smile before he swims off to investigate the chamber.
“Quickly, now! Chop, chop,” Fjord demands, his voice joking but his face, frazzled and bewildered.
“Yasha, can you go take care of the tunnel?” Jester asks, gesturing over her shoulder toward the tunnel the party started this fight in. Yasha opens her mouth to reply but shakes her head because she needs to get to work and they are running out of time. She can feel her skin starting to prickle with the intense heat of the water around them. She stops her looting and swims over to complete the task with a simple nod at the blue tiefling and a gentle hand on her shoulder, casting “Healing Hands” on the artist as she passes. The woman’s tail snakes around her wrist briefly and squeezes in response, before Yasha fully leaves her space.
Yasha sets to cleaving through the torchblooms as quickly as she can, careful to not singe herself, when Caleb touches her shoulder. She moves out of the way and Veth stays back with her to quickly make one last grab for loot. The halfling woman seems pleased with her last finds and Yasha follows her to catch up with the group. The aasimar is confident in the Zemnian leading them through the tunnels, until she finds the tailend of a shark sticking out one of the tunnels. It would appear that Caleb is stuck.
“Let me tr-,” she starts.
“No, I’ve got this,” Caduceus interrupts, the furbolg tugging at the fins of the shark. He makes two attempts and then the shark shrinks into Caleb, a cloud of blood swirling at the end of the tunnel he was in. He’s rattled but the Zemnian backs everyone out and leads the group to the cavern holding the ships.
There’s smoke everywhere when they surface and Yasha holds in a cough before ducking back under the water. She sees Caleb move up to extinguish the fire and Jester controls water to put out another part of the fire. She resurfaces and swims toward the waterfall-covered entrance, Viliya wants to get back to the village, and the Nein agree, realizing that there is work to be done there to help the people of Vo. The concern shifts to how to get out safely without being shot feet into the air by the waterfall. Beau shrugs and heads off, backing up into the powerful flow of water. The group hears a joyful exclamation and lets out a collective sigh of relief.
“Well, I was going to paint a hole in the rock here. So Beau has to wait on us then,” Jester laughs a little and turns to Yasha. “Can you hold me up so I can work on this, Yasha?” She’s grinning up at Yasha, a blush forms on her pale skin and she nods, arms wrapping around the tiefling to hoist her up and keep her afloat as she paints upon the rock wall.
Fjord is elbowing Veth and pointing at them, their faces pulling into smug grins. They’re making kissy faces and obscene gestures and Yasha isn’t sure which is worse: looking at those two or burying her face into Jester’s clothes. Both equally as unappealing to the embarrassed aasimar who is trying to keep a stern face that portrays danger for the two jokers. Yasha belatedly realizes that burying her face in Jester’s back wouldn’t be so much her back but lower, as her mismatched eyes catch the end of a blue tail winding around her shoulders. Burying her face in Jester at all is giving her too many ideas, no thanks to Fjord and Veth, and her face burns further. She wonders briefly if the water around her would just boil her alive.
“Er, Yasha? I’m finished! Isn’t it just beautiful!” Jester announces with a flourish, her body shifting in Yasha’s grip and she releases the artist. Jester turns around and bows to the applause from the rest of the Nein, her little giggles bringing a grin to Yasha’s face. Jester’s tail has stayed around Yasha, slipping down to hold onto her waist. Two-toned eyes look over the work Jester’s completed and she blinks once, then there’s a hole in the rock. The artist swims towards the opening, the group moving to follow the tiefling through the tunnel she’s made and Yasha longs for the woman’s tail to be wrapped so easily around her again.
“You’re amazing, Jester.” Yasha wonders aloud, but it’s missed by all but Caleb, Caduceus having followed Jester through the hole in the rock and back out into the sun. The Zemnian pats her shoulder and goes up to the wall, a soft smile on his face before it disappears just as quickly as Yasha noticed it. She crawls after him into the hole, the light from the outside world pouring in and a sigh of relief leaves her when she stands on solid ground again. Wincing at the sun in her eyes, the tall woman stretches and glances around, finding Beau reuniting with the rest of the group.
“Aww, none of you wanted a ride?! LAME.” Beau laments, her hands shoving at Fjord’s shoulder at whatever he said. Jester rolls her eyes and turns to Viliya, talking quietly with her about the next course of action, Yasha guesses. From the cuts and scrapes across Beau’s arms, she must have had some encounter with the rock before she found herself back on the beach.
The aasimar’s thoughts turn to the dream she had last night that the Storm Lord had visited her in, her arm reaching behind her to grab her shoulder blade, fingers sinking into the back of her armor. She turns and faces the stone wall she just crawled out of and tilts her head to the sky, mismatched eyes staring into the sky. The hand on her shoulder grips tightly and she imagines the feeling of flying, the feeling of those wings taking to the sky.
“-sha? Yasha?” She jumps and Jester’s beside her, having called her name to get her attention. “What’s wrong? Is your shoulder okay? Do you need healing? I can probably do a ‘Healing Word’ if you need it.” Another hand touches her shoulder, grazing her fingertips, and the furious blush from before returns and Yasha shakes her head, her hand falling back down to her side. Jester’s palm lays flat on the armor and she swears Jester’s touching her skin not her armor, burning an imprint into the tough exterior.
“Oh, I’m fine.” Yasha reassures, turning to give the artist a soft smile. “I actually wanted to apologize fo- Well during the fight, I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t very helpful, I’m sorry if that changed the plan.” Yasha’s been thinking about the dream, but the most recent case of brainwashing too. She cannot believe she turned against her party, sort of, again and she doesn’t want it to keep happening. She doesn’t want to keep dwelling on these, seemingly, constant incidents.
“We’re just glad you’re okay, Yasha,” Jester reassures, her hand shifting to wrap around her waist, giving her a side hug. “I’M just glad you’re okay. That’s you’re here with us, with me.”
Yasha is touched at the words and she lets her hand come up to pat Jester’s on her hip. She realizes, though that they’re alone and if anyone else has noticed, they’re probably whispering about it right now. She really hopes it’s not Fjord or Veth, but it probably is, and they’re probably making kissy faces at them again, though she can’t see it. She tries to tune that image out of her head and she leans down towards Jester. She’s smiling up at her and she can’t help but change the topic to what she really wants to talk to Jester about.
“You want to come with me for a second? I might be able to show you something cool,” Yasha’s barely finished her sentence before Jester’s eyes are sparkling with excitement and curiosity, her hand latching onto the aasimar’s forearm.
“Oooh! Yes, let’s go! The others can TOTALLY wait a bit.” Jester’s response is enthusiastic and she starts to pull on Yasha before realizing Yasha has to take her somewhere. “Sooooo, where’re we going? What’s the secret?”
“Let’s climb this quickly and then I’ll show you.” Yasha’s one idea was to get up on top of the cliff she’d landed on a day or so ago when the waterfall had thrown her up there. It was flat and wide enough that the others wouldn’t be able to see anything if this turned out pathetic...Just Jester would see it.
“ And that’s somehow better? ” Yasha thinks to herself, letting Jester climb up ahead of her a ways before she follows, keeping an eye on the tiefling. “ She hasn’t always had the best luck with climbing. ” Yasha doesn’t take her eyes off Jester until she reaches the top safely and climbs up, Yasha scrambling up beside her a moment later.
“Sooo,” Jester starts, rocking back and forth on her heels. Yasha doesn’t like her doing that so close to the edge and takes her wrist, pulling her away from the ledge.
“OY!” That’s Beau, Yasha realizes, and peeks back over the edge. The group’s gesturing for them to come down. Wonder when they noticed, probably while they were climbing.
“We’ll be right down! Just a second!” Yasha shouts to them, hoping that buys her a few more seconds with Jester. Walking back over to the tiefling, she lets out a sigh and fidgets with her hands before taking another breath.
“Jester, I wanted to show you something. I- Well, yo-,” She’s stumbling over her words and she hates it. She lets out a huff and restarts, voice quiet enough that Jester has to lean into her personal space and the blush burns once again on her cheeks. “You mean a lot to me and I...I wanted to show this to you first.” Jester’s wide-eyed at the admission. Yasha takes that brief moment of confusion on Jester’s face to take a small step back from her and WHOOSH !
Her eyes are closed when she hears the sound and Jester gasps. Her eyes shoot open in warning and land on a teary Jester, hand covering her mouth. Yasha turns her head and a gossamer-feathered wing slides into her view and she grins, truly smiles.
“Yes!” It’s a soft exclamation of victory for Yasha and she turns to Jester, stepping towards her once more, and hugs her as laughs bubble out of her. “ It REALLY worked! ” Jester’s laughter is muffled into her chestplate and her arms wind around Yasha’s neck and, with her eyes closed, Yasha doesn’t realize what’s happening. She hasn’t noticed that she’s lifted them off the rock in a low hover, though her wings tingle with the want to let loose and fly high, high into the air with the woman in her arms.
“You’re FLYING! YASHA!” Jester’s shout is full of excitement, looking up into Yasha’s face with awestruck wonder. Jester’s eyes flick over her face and Yasha’s haven’t fully left their back-and-forth journey from Jester’s eyes to her lips. Yasha knows she only has a minute or so that these wings will be displayed for Jester in their full glory and she hopes she’s not misread anything.
“Jester, I really care for you. I-,” Yasha starts, but she’s never been much for words. She swallows her nerves and leans down towards Jester’s face, telegraphing her movements to allow time for the tiefling to pull away.
“Oh thank the Traveller!” Jester’s exclamation confuses Yasha briefly before the tiefling’s fingers weave into the hair at the back of her head and pull her down, their lips meeting with a slightly awkward clash of teeth. Jester pulls away, apology written on her face and Yasha shakes her head, leaning in to another kiss with less momentum. Fingers curl into her small hairs at the back of her neck and a blue tail ensnares her waist, the soft movements of her wings working to keep them in the air. Her own fingers sink into the layers of fabric at Jester’s waist and hold her tighter to her form before they break apart from their kiss once more.
“Wow, I really have to tell the Traveller about this! I’ve been waiting for you SO long, Yasha!” The words feel like teasing but Yasha’s pretty sure it’s both a tease and the truth. She can’t always be quite sure with the artist. Their feet touch the rock once more and Jester looks up at her, toothy grin and a dusting of purple on her cheeks.
“I’m sorry I took so long then,” Yasha chuckles, though the hands at Jester’s waist pull her closer still, her forehead leaning in to rest on top of Jester’s own. “I hope it was worth the wait.” Yasha says it with what she hopes is a smug tone, but she knows it probably doesn’t come out that way, with the determined look Jester gets on her face.
“You are worth the wait, Yasha. It was perfect! But I might need another kiss...Just to be abSOlutely suuuure, of course!” The sincerity and mischievous nature of the words aren’t lost on Yasha and she happily leans in for another kiss.
“LOVEBIRDS! ARE YOU QUITE FINISHED?!” Veth’s shouting, breaking them free from their moment. They both blush at the words and step away from each other, Yasha clearing her throat and Jester interlocking her fingers with Yasha’s before responding.
“YEAH, YEAH! HEADING BACK DOWN NOW, VETH!” Jester screams down at them, the tone a smidge annoyed and Yasha can’t help but let out a soft laugh. Jester turns and smiles at her before stepping back into her space, leaning up on her tiptoes to press a kiss to Yasha’s jaw. “We will continue this later. But I do really care for you too, Yasha.” Another kiss to her chin after the sentence and she stays pressed into Yasha’s side.
“Let’s get back to them before they get too much more anxious,” Yasha sighs, leaning down to press a kiss to Jester’s hair.
Jester nods into her chest and reaches a hand out, casting “Dimension Door” and pulls her through it. The sensation is odd for Yasha and when they pop out in front of the Nein a moment later, she finds that Jester’s still holding tightly to her hand. All six pairs of eyes drop down to their intertwined hands and smiles, some grinning widely, some happy but disappointed. Yasha tenses, preparing for some hurt feelings to be thrown her way before she hears the reason.
“Well, Fjord, it looks like I owe you some gold.” Beau grumbles, digging into her pockets for the coin. Veth is equally dismayed to hand over the coin to Fjord and Jester lets out a gasp.
“You BET on us?! Seriously, you guys?!” Jester exclaims, her hands coming to rest on her hips, Yasha’s one hand doing so as well. Yasha blinks, before letting out a real laugh. She clutches her belly as she listens to Jester yell at the three betting members of the Nein, Caduceus joining her, Caleb’s eyes twinkling with mirth.