Embracing Destiny

Chapter 2

“Flemeth?" Emily questioned with a bewildered expression. "But what could Flemeth possibly want with me?”

The Keeper crossed her arms. “Asha’ belannar does not explain herself to me or anyone else, human.”

The last time the mage saw or even heard anything about Flemeth was over seven years ago. What in the Maker’s name did the witch want? And why show up now? It wasn’t as if Emily could travel freely throughout Thedas anymore. She was a wanted apostate, a liability to anyone who associated with her.

Emily cocked a brow. “Does she need another amulet delivered? Perhaps a toe ring this time?”

Ghilya scowled at her, completely unamused by the other woman’s attempt at humor. The young mage knew Flemeth was a grave subject among the Dalish, but she just couldn’t help herself. The whole ordeal made her anxious, and when Emily was nervous, she had a tendency to rely on humor to ease the tension. She shifted her weight onto her right leg and fidgeted with her fingers while the Keeper continued to shoot daggers with her eyes.

The Champion smacked her lips. “Okay then. No amulets. Got it.” She was almost afraid to ask the next question and was even more afraid that when she heard the answer she wouldn’t understand it anyway. “So what’s this message you’re supposed to give me?”

“Asha’ belannar says that it is time for you to leap,” the older woman said in a flat voice. “I assume you understand the meaning of this.”

The Keeper’s words were familiar, but Emily couldn’t quite grasp their meaning or the context surrounding them. Closing her eyes, she traced her memory back to that day on Sundermount. She remembered Flemeth appearing before her and recalled something about a daughter. Then, a hidden message spoken in riddles. What did it mean? All at once, the words came to Emily as clear as the day the ancient woman spoke them.

We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment…and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.

Shivering against the cold chill running up her spine, the young mage waggled her head. Were Anders’ actions the “plummet into the abyss” the witch spoke of? Flying, falling. What did it all mean? The Keeper cleared her throat, forcing Emily from her introspection. ”

“Did she say anything else?” the mage inquired, hoping the witch may have said something to help her make more sense of the cryptic message.

The older woman gave a curt nod. “Yes, but nothing for you directly. She requested that my people take you to a ship docked to the south.”

“A ship?” Emily was not entirely sure that she wanted to play pawn in Flemeth’s game, especially with so little information to go on. “Where am I supposed to go in this ship?”

The Keeper maintained her stony countenance. “I do not know where it is bound. I only know that I am to make sure that you board it. I and four of my best hunters will escort you to ensure my part in this task is completed”

The younger mage sighed. It was obvious the Dalish woman was not going to answer anymore of her questions. “Okay then, we’ll head for the ship as soon as Fenris is feeling better.”

“We leave tomorrow at dawn,” the older woman countered. “Your companion will simply have to remain with my clan until he is well.”

Emily shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. “Not an option. I’m not leaving Fenris behind.”

Ghilya studied the younger woman for several minutes before her eyes narrowed with a threatening glare. “I would prefer that you follow my instructions, but if you refuse, I will do what I must. You will go, either by your own feet or by force. It is entirely up to you. And need I remind you that your staying among our clan poses great risk to everyone, including your friend?”

Emily hated being told she had to do things someone else’s way, but the Keeper was leaving her little choice in the matter. She could try to resist, fight back against anyone who attempted to take her against her will, but doing so would only put Fenris in more danger. It wasn’t a chance she was willing to take.

“Very well, Ghilya.” the younger mage conceded, her voice colored with indignation. “I’ll leave with you in the morning, but only if I have your guarantee that Fenris will be safe in your people’s care.”

The Keeper presented the other woman with a bow. “Of course, falon. My First will ensure he is healed, and he will remain under this clan’s protection until he is fully recovered.”

Even with Ghilya’s assurance, Emily still didn’t relish the idea of leaving her companion behind. Fenris would be absolutely livid when he discovered she left without him. Would he ever be able to forgive her for that kind of betrayal? Unfortunately, she was out of options. She only hoped her friend would eventually see reason and understand.

“If that will be all,” she said, not bothering to hide her disdain. “I’d like to check on my friend.”

Ghilya gestured toward the direction of her First’s aravel. “Ma nuvenin, Hawke.”

Emily gave the older woman a sharp nod of acknowledgement before heading off to locate Fenris. When she arrived at Anion’s wagon, she found her friend next to the fire sleeping peacefully. His breathing was completely normal, and the sweating and shaking that always accompanied his sleep of late was no longer present. Tears of relief began to well up in her eyes. For the first time in weeks, the dread that plagued every waking moment was replaced by tentative hope.

After swiping her eyes with the tips of her fingers, she turned away from the sight with a sniffle and spotted the healer watching her from the shadow of a nearby tree, arms crossed and leaning against its trunk. Like Merrill upon their first meeting, he appeared to be no more than seventeen or eighteen years old, leaving the mage to question his true age. The intensity of his haunting, azure eyes was almost too much to bear as he ran the length of his braid through his right fist and continued to scrutinize her. Finally, his full lips curved into an uneven smirk, reminding Emily once again of the love she lost. The smile she returned didn’t reach her eyes. Inside, she was dying. Leaving Fenris behind was just the final step in losing everything she once held dear.

“How is he?” she asked when the healer moved to stand at her side.

“He is better, falon. I expect him to make a full recovery, but it will take some time. He has a lot of fluid in his chest, but I was able to remove what caused it. It is fortunate the hunters found you when they did. I don’t think he would have made it otherwise.”

Emily closed her eyes to gain her composure. While Anion related Fenris’s condition to her, she couldn’t help but think of Anders. More than six months had passed since his death, since the day her world collapsed around her, but the crushing weight around her heart was still as heavy as the day he fell. Now she was losing her best friend too.

A warm hand gently gripped her shoulder. “He will be fine, Hawke.”

A thousand memories flooded her brain with the gesture. It was the same one she received from Anders as she stood and watched as the pyre was lit at her mother’s funeral. How much more did the Maker expect her to endure? She drew a deep breath, her body shuddering as she inhaled.

“Thank you,” she managed in a barely audible voice. She had to change the subject before she broke down completely. “I’ve met several Dalish in the past few years, but you seem...different than the others.”

His reply came with an easy laugh. “You picked up on that did you? It is probably because I spent over half my life in the city.”

“You’re from Kirkwall then?” Emily asked with genuine curiosity.

“No. Denerim, actually. I grew up in the alienage there.”

“So how did you end up with a Dalish clan in the Free Marches?”

He shifted his weight and began fiddling with his braid again. “That is a long story better left for another time. Perhaps I will relate my tale on our next meeting. For now, I understand you have quite the journey ahead of you tomorrow. You look exhausted and should rest while you can.”

The young man’s behavior piqued Emily’s curiosity. What was he trying to hide? After her conversation with the Keeper, she decided it was best not to push the issue and garner more pertinent information instead.

“I just realized…I don’t even know your name.”

“Fen’Harel emma ghilana,” he cursed quietly, placing his hand on the side of his reddening face and closing his eyes. “Ir abelas, Hawke. Please forgive me. I am called Anion.”

When he finally opened his eyes, Emily gave him empathetic smile. “No need to be embarrassed. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment.”

He presented her with a low bow. “Ma serannas. I appreciate your graciousness in light of my blunder.”

“No harm done,” she assured him.

Emily glanced at Fenris’s sleeping form. If she were lucky, he’d wake before morning, and she’d have the opportunity to explain their situation, but she would need to be nearby. Not only that, but she felt the need to be near him as long as possible before she had to leave him.

“Anion…I’d like to sleep out here near Fenris. If that’s alright with you.”

“That would be fine, falon, but I am unsure how much rest you will be getting the way he talks in his sleep.”

She was taken aback by the healer’s statement. “I’ve never known him to do that.”

The elf furrowed his brow in thought for a moment before his right shoulder lifted and fell with a casual shrug. “Perhaps it was simply caused by the breaking of his fever. Either way, I should let you get some sleep.” He tilted his head with a slight bow. “Goodnight, Hawke.”

“Goodnight, Anion,” she said, but as the young man turned to walk away, Emily’s curiosity got the better of her. “Anion. What did Fenris talk about in his sleep?”

He looked back over his shoulder and regarded her with a grin. “Mostly, he talked about you.”

A painful coughing fit woke Fenris from the best sleep he had in weeks. He sat upright and spit out the gunk his lungs expelled, grateful that it wasn’t tinged red for once. In fact, other than a sore throat and some heaviness in his chest, he felt much like his old self again.

A voice from behind drew his attention. “She left a few hours ago.”

He concentrated on the ground next to him, his eyes darting back and forth as he tried to make sense of the words that lingered in the air like a heavy fog. Hawke was gone. A surge of panic washed over the elven warrior. Surely, she planned to return at some point. She just went back to the cave where the Dalish hunters found them to retrieve the gear they left behind. Didn’t she?

He turned to ask when Hawke planned to return and recoiled at the sight of a blonde man leaning against the side of an aravel.

It can’t be.

Fenris assumed he was out of his head the previous evening, delirious from fever and infection. Through his hazy vision the few times he opened his eyes, he swore Anders was hovering over him, but when he woke, he dismissed it as a bad dream. His lids constricted, narrowing his focus on the mage. Blue eyes, a bit shorter, quite a bit younger. No, it wasn’t the abomination, but the resemblance between the two men was uncanny. The likeness between the man dressed in Dalish attire and Hawke’s former lover were enough to evoke instant dislike for the young healer.

His brow creased in perturbed annoyance. “When will she be back?”

The blonde man waggled his head. “She is not coming back, falon. She went to board a ship to the south.”

Fear and rage washed over Fenris like a tidal wave. How could she just leave him after everything they endured through together? No matter what happened, he always stood by her. Why would she abandon him now? Did he really mean so little to her? No, there had to be more to it than that. He knew Hawke. She wouldn’t just desert him like that, especially not without an explanation or saying goodbye. Not without a good reason.

The lyrium lines etched in the warrior’s skin ignited, radiating silver-blue. Within seconds, he was on his feet with his fingers wrapped around Anion’s throat. He lifted the healer into the air and seethed through gritted teeth.

“What did you do with her? If anyone has harmed one hair on her head, I will slaughter each and every one of you dirt grubbers down to the last child.”

The other man’s eyes grew wide with panic. He clawed at Fenris’s hand trying his best to free himself from the warrior’s grip as he struggled to breathe. His voice was hoarse and strangled when he choked, “L...let me down, and I...I will tell you what happened.”

Fenris tossed the healer to the ground several feet to his left, stomped over to the young man, and took a knee before grabbing a fistful of dark blonde hair. “Start talking. And if I do not like what I hear, you are a dead man.”

“The hunters and the Keeper came for her just before dawn,” Anion sputtered. “She packed her things and followed them.”

The elven warrior released his grip on the other man’s hair and stood at his full height, his face mired in confusion. “She went voluntarily?” The healer nodded his head but remained silent. “Why didn’t she wake me? Why did she go without me?”

“Hawke wanted to wait until you were well enough to travel, but the Keeper insisted she go at first light. Ghilya was instructed by Asha’ belannar to ensure Hawke boarded a ship in Greenvale before tomorrow morning.”

Fenris began to pace. “Fasta vass!”

There was no way in Thedas he was going to allow Hawke to board that ship without him, especially not if that bloody witch was involved. Of all the dangerous people the elf had met in his life, there was none more so than Flemeth. He rounded on the healer again.

“You said they left a few hours ago?”

“Yes,” Anion nodded. “About two and a half now. It was right after daybreak.”

Fenris strapped his sword to his back and donned the heavy leather boots Hawke purchased for him a few days before the battle in Kirkwall. He could picture the smirk on her face when she emerged from the shop with them in her hands. It was the first genuine smile she’d worn in weeks. She told him she was sick of seeing him with bare feet, and, after seven years, it was time he had a decent pair of boots. He protested her generosity at first.

Like most slaves, Fenris never owned a pair of shoes, not that he remembered, anyway. He wasn’t sure he wanted to make that change. Footwear always seemed so restrictive, so unnecessary in warmer climates, and his soles were calloused enough that rocks and hot stone were no real bother. He finally gave in when her bright grin faded into a wounded pout. After everything she endured upon the abomination abandoning her, Fenris refused to cause her more pain. He accepted her offering, and was surprised the boots not only fit, but were actually comfortable. Best of all, though, was Hawke’s expression. Her whole face lit up when he gave his nod of approval after pacing in front of the shop several times. Anything was worth seeing her happy again, even swallowing his pride.

As he tightened the brushed silver buckles of those boots, Fenris made up his mind. Even if he was on death’s doorstep, there was no way he was letting Hawke leave without him. She was the one thing he couldn’t live without. She was his best friend and there was no one in the world he respected or cared about more. He thumbed the red piece of cloth he kept tied around his wrist. His breath quickened at the recollection of pulling it loose and watching her long dark hair tumble down to her bare shoulders, eliciting wistful remembrances of that fateful night. The night he made the biggest mistake of his life.

After finally exacting his revenge on Hadriana, Fenris allowed his anger get the best of him and began raving about mages and the evils of magic. Hawke tried to calm him down, to comfort him, but he yelled at her for her trouble. Later that evening, he showed up at her house to apologize, only to bellow her again before storming out her door. For two days, he shut himself up in his room and ignored anyone who came to call.

On the evening of the third day, he found his way to Hawke’s door again, sat down on the small white bench in the entryway of her estate, and awaited her return. Although it had only been a couple of days, and it was his choice to stay away, he was utterly lost and in misery without her. When she finally arrived home, physically and emotionally exhausted, his heart swelled with emotion the moment he laid eyes on her.

“Look, Fenris,” she sighed. “If you came here to fight...It’s been a long day and I’m just not up for arguing with you tonight.”

“I did not come here to fight with you, Hawke,” he said before standing and marching toward her, determined to relay his feelings once and for all. “I have been thinking of you. In fact, I have been able to think of little else. Command me to go and I shall.”

He stood before her on trembling legs, awaiting her answer. He wouldn’t have blamed her if she ordered him out, but she just stood there, her glistening emerald eyes staring into the very depths of his soul. After what seemed a lifetime, she lifted her right hand. Fenris expected her to slap him across the face with that hand. It was no more than he deserved for the way he had treated her. Instead, she placed a gentle palm on his cheek.

“I don’t want you to go anywhere, Fenris.”

He lost all control in that moment. Taking her face in his hands, he pulled her closer for a passionate kiss. The taste of her lips. The softness of her skin. The fragrance of her hair, the way it retained the faint scent of lavender at the end of a taxing day. The combination was a heady brew, too tantalizing for Fenris to resist. He wanted more, needed more. No matter how deeply he kissed her, he couldn’t get close enough. He had to feel her, to know her most intimate places. His mind was completely consumed with his desire for her.

When he lifted her from the floor, she wrapped her legs around his waist and he carried to her bedroom. Their lips remained locked together until they reached the foot of her bed, where he began tearing at her armor. When he removed her breast band and it landed at her feet, she backed away. His breath heaved in short bursts as he attempted to regain some semblance of control.

“Is there something wrong?”

She searched his eyes, trepidation reflecting in her own. “It’s just that, I’ve never done this before. I...I thought I should tell you before we go any further. I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about being with a virgin, or if that would even make any difference.”

In that one moment, her words transformed his primitive desire into something else entirely, something completely foreign to him. Staring into her eyes, he caressed her cheek. There was something behind those pools of emerald he had failed to notice before. He swallowed past a knot in his throat and ran his fingers over one end of the cloth tied around her hair. His heart threatened to pound out of his chest when he pulled at the binding and her dark brown locks spilled down around her face and onto her shoulders.

Up until that evening, Fenris’s previous sexual experiences were always forced and ugly, leaving him with a sense of shame over any pleasure they derived. He had never known tenderness or caring, but he wanted to be tender with Hawke, to make love to her, whatever that meant. He closed his eyes and gave into emotions he never thought himself capable of experiencing. After everything he suffered in his life, he never imagined that anything could be so perfect. Holding her, making love to her felt so natural and right. In her embrace he finally found the tranquility he always longed for.

When it was over, with her head nestled against his chest, she whispered, “I love you.”

Everything inside Fenris wanted to return that sentiment, but his voice and the words failed him. Instead, he lay there for a long while, gently stroking her hair, before he drifted off into an uneasy sleep. He dreamed of strange but familiar people and places. Old lullabies sang by a woman with kind eyes sitting on the side of his bed. A young girl covering her face next to a garden fence, counting to ten, and giggling as she searched for her prey who hid in the bushes a few feet away. It was his past. The one he spent years trying to recall. The one Danarius stole from him.

Sometime in the night, he awoke in a cold sweat, but. He concentrated, attempting to recall even one moment of the visions, but, try as he might, they remained out of reach. He peered down at the woman sleeping in his arms, and the icy fingers of terror gripped the core of his being. Far too much about his past and future remained uncertain. The memories he couldn’t quite hold onto, Hawke’s words, it was all more than his tortured soul could bear. He had to get out, get away from Hawke, so he could think. So he could breathe.

He slipped from her embrace and threw on his clothes, hoping to escape back to his mansion before she woke. As he turned to leave, he spotted the small red strip of cloth Hawke always used to tie back her hair. On impulse, he grabbed it and secured it to his wrist. Unfortunately, that small delay was long enough for Hawke to wake.

When she questioned what he was doing, Fenris told her it was too soon, that it was a mistake. The anguish in her glistening green eyes turned his stomach. His heart longed to hold her, beg her forgiveness, but the curse Danarius inflicted upon him wouldn’t allow it. He turned his back on her and walked out of the door, leaving her to pick up the broken pieces of both their hearts.

After several sleepless nights wallowing in a drunken stupor, he completely regretted his decision, but his stubborn pride wouldn’t allow him to apologize. Rather than facing Hawke, he chose to ignore her for a few weeks then pretended it never happened. When Anders moved into her estate, any chance of making amends was lost. He allowed the greatest treasure of his life to slip through his fingers because of his own stupidity.

The elven warrior shook away the old memories. He may have lost her heart, but he wouldn’t allow her to walk out of his life completely. He was determined to find her, and he didn’t care whether or not she would approve.

“Come on,” he growled. “We have a lot of ground to cover quickly if we are to catch up to Hawke.

Trudging through the Planasene Forest, Emily couldn’t keep her thoughts from dwelling on the friend she left behind. Although she had no other option, the weight of guilt was like a mountain sitting atop her shoulders. Anion said it might take weeks before Fenris fully recovered. The risk to his life wasn’t a gamble she was willing to take.

She wanted to tell him, but he was sleeping so peacefully, she didn’t have the heart to wake him. She would have left a note but reading was still a challenge for Fenris and asking someone else to read her words to him would have mortified the elf.

So, Emily did the only thing she could. She told Anion to inform Fenris of her whereabouts and to express her deepest regrets, but she had to leave him behind for his own good. They would see each other soon, if the Maker willed it, and she would miss him more than he would ever realize. She only hoped it was enough. It didn’t feel like enough. It felt wrong.

Every few moments, Emily glanced over her shoulder, the selfish part of her hoping to see Fenris approaching from behind, but the path remained empty. How was she going to make it on her own? She had lost the two most important people in her life in a matter of a few months. She cared about all her friends, of course, but Anders and Fenris were the two people in the world who meant the most to her. Before the events in Kirkwall, she never imagined going the rest of her life without either of them at her side. Now they were both gone, and she faced an unknown future alone.

Lost in thought, as if by instinct, the mage slowed her gait to a near snail’s pace. The hunter directly in front of her noticed and barked for her to hurry. She picked up her feet, but her gait remained slower than normal. A crisp blanket of brown crunching beneath her black leather boots reminded her of her last home in Ferelden.

After years of moving from place to place, her father finally decided to settle down in a small cottage on the outskirts of Lothering. Upon Malcolm’s death, seventeen year old Emily took her father’s place as head of household. Her mother peddled herbs and vegetables from her garden when they were in season to help bring in coin while Bethany concocted potions to sell and Carver made deliveries for old man Barlin. Emily earned most of the household income from selling the pelts and meat from animals she hunted during the day and waiting tables at the local tavern at night. It was difficult at times, but they managed. Until the Blight came.

Fortunately, the Hawke family lived far enough outside the village to make it out, but Emily lost her sister to an ogre on the road. Growing up, she and Bethany did nearly everything together, and, typically, were the only friends each other had. Eight years later, pain still stabbed at Emily’s gut every time she thought about it.

Ghilya’s voice rang in her ear. “Is something wrong, Hawke?”

“No,” Emily lied.

“He will be fine falon. Your friend, he is a strong warrior. He will pull through. You need not worry so much about leaving him behind. I am certain he will see the wisdom of your actions and he will not hold them against you.”

Emily harrumphed and muttered, “You don’t know Fenris.”

“What was that?” the older woman asked.

The younger mage shook her head. “Nothing. Never mind.”

“So this elf?” the Keeper prodded. “He is your mate?”

The painful memory of Fenris walking out on her after she gave him her virginity flashed through her mind. “No. He’s not my mate. He is a friend. My best friend, as a matter of fact.”

Ghilya considered the younger woman’s words for a long moment. “That is a shame. I have always found that the greatest love comes from the greatest friendships.”

“It’s...complicated,” Emily confessed. She didn’t want to talk about Fenris anymore. Her heart was heavy enough. “So, where’s this ship docked anyway?”

“It is located in the small fishing village of Greenvale,” the Dalish woman replied.

The younger mage’s brows crinkled together. “Greenvale? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Most people living outside the forest do not know of it. It is a place of little significance, inhabited by only a few families. Raiders from the north are normally the only other humans who find interest in it, due to its proximity to the City of Kirkwall and the fact that its port is in deep enough waters to moor a mid-sized ship.”

Emily was a little surprised that she had never heard the name from Isabela. “So how far are we from this Greenvale?”

“We are nearly halfway now,” the older woman replied.

Great. This is going to take all night.

It was well past midday and they had already walked for hours. It was obvious Fenris wasn’t going to join her. There was a good chance he would never speak to her again after she so unceremoniously abandoned him. She picked up her pace, her footsteps hastening to a normal stride in the hope they would reach Greenvale before suppertime.

It was near midnight when they finally reached the small hamlet. Situated on the shore, the village was made up of a dozen or so small cottages and buildings surrounded by thick trees on three sides. Large lyrium torches illuminated the long pier beyond the village, their glow revealing several fishing vessels in the water on both sides and a sizable brig floating at the end. The ship seemed out of place among the other boats, a lone titan amidst a sea of small and insignificant supplicants.

With the exception of a two-story building in the center, the town was completely dark. Music and raucous laughter drifted from the structure’s confines, announcing its function. It was the same in most villages throughout Thedas, the local tavern retained its life long after the world around it fell silent for the evening.

Ghilya’s face was unreadable as wrapped her fingers around the handle of the inn’s door. “I believe you will find the ship’s captain and crew inside.”

Emily recoiled when the Keeper cracked the door open. After spending so much of the day within the serenity of the tranquil forest, the light and noise emanating from inside was an assault to the senses. When she entered, the whole place fell silent, as the denizens turned in unison to gawk at the newly arrived intruder.

“I should have known it was going to be you,” observed a familiar voice from a table near the bar.

Emily’s face broke into a broad grin. “Isabela!”

In her elation over seeing a friendly face, the mage did something completely out of the ordinary by wrapping her arms around the pirate in a warm hug.

“Okay, okay,” the other woman fussed. “You know better than that Hawke. Unless it’s going to lead to the bedroom, I don’t do physical affection.” A sly smirk curved her lips. “Or is this your way of coming onto me?”

Emily rolled her eyes and waggled her head then took a step back. “It’s good to see you again Izzy, but how did you get mixed up in all this?”

“We’ll have story time later. Right now, we need to get underway. I was expecting to leave here hours ago.”

The hint of pink marked the mage’s cheeks. “Sorry about that. I was dragging my feet a bit I guess.”

Isabela waved away her friend’s concern. “No harm done. My men can sail a ship drunk or sober. Which is a damn good thing because besotted is a normal condition for most of them.” She put two fingers into her mouth and emitted a loud whistle to get the attention of all in the room. “Okay you scurvy bilge rats! Unless you want to be left in this hole-in-the-wall dump, you have exactly fifteen minutes to be aboard the ship and ready for duty.”

The echo of chairs scraping wood and mugs and bottles being slamming onto tabletops filled the air. Dozens of drunken, derelict castoffs shuffled toward the exit and into the once quiet night. When the door shut behind the last member of her crew, Isabela returned her attention to Emily.

“So what do you say my friend? One more drink before we don our sea legs?”

“As long as you’re buying,” Emily replied with a shrug. “Why the void not?”

The pirate scowled. “And why should I pay for your drinks?”

“Tome of Koslun,” the mage retorted in a singsong voice.

The captain sighed with exasperation. “Never gonna let me live that down are you?”

A mischievous smirk curled Emily’s lips as she lifted her mug to take a drink. “Nope.”

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