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Day 21 [2145 hrs] Letters Home

[Main Gate | Klingon Intelligence | First City | Qo'noS]

The guards had been wary when the two Starfleeters had shown up at the gate. They'd been told to expect a package from the aliens. The guards were not high enough to have a need to know as to why the package was arriving, however they were trained to keep threats from damaging or destroying a key component of the Empire's security apparatus. They'd exchanged passwords, then taken the package and placed it in a magnetically sealed box that was then subjected to a barrage of tests. Despite the paranoia, the package contained not much more than some foam cushioning and half a dozen isolinear chips, and a paper note. "Theurgy crew personal letters. Really prefer you didn't watch them."  The tech doing the scanning scoffed at this and plugged a chip in. There's was only a low level personal encryption, which was easily bypassed. Selecting a random file, he hit play.

[Lt (JG) XamotZark zh’Ptrell (Lt. Zark) | Lieutenant Madsen's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy]

Sometime in the last 3 weeks...

The screen came to life an blue alien with long white hair, blue-green eyes, and bare shoulders stared into the screen. She ran a hand through her hair to straighten it a bit. "Okay. It's on." The blue woman turned around for a moment. "Hey Enyd. Thanks for letting me do this here. " The blue head paused for a bit at some unseen gesture outside the camera pickup, then turned back. "Hi Shrav, Ryn, Ryyyzit, Zark here." the blue face suddenly got closer and three kisses were blown at the camera before it pulled back to its original position, then looked a little sad. "It's a cliche, but I hope this message makes it to you. I don't know what you've heard since there hasn't been any news about the USS Cayuga, but well here I am, still alive and kicking despite the universe's best attempts to kill me. Shrav, wipe that frown off your face, I'm fine really. Zark stood up and stepped back then lifted her shirt as she twirled in place, then lifted each leg up before returning to the chair. "See? Nothing missing, so stop pouting."

Zark took a breath before continuing. "So where am I? Is the question running through your heads. Well, it's a bit complicated, buuuuuut, I'm on the Theurgy, yeah the ship that supposedly went rogue, except it didn't. I'm hoping the Guard got the word out about an explosion that occurred around home about three weeks to a month ago. That was us stopping a genocidal event by some extra dimensional aliens that are trying to wipe out all life in this universe. No, I did not walk off the mountain, Ryzit. Hopefully you can find some information on it with your Peacekeeper access." Zark held her breath for a moment before exhaling as if she felt like her sanity was being judged anyway. "Anyway, I'm already in the fight for this one and nearly paid the price for it too. Probably would have unless some... friends helped patch me up. Really, I'm fine. Medical says I haven't lost the ability to make little balls of terror yet." Zark waggle her eyebrows and smirked at the camera.

She was about to say something else when her head turned and a clear bright smile could be seen on her face. "Hey Faye! Riley too? Great! I'm just recording a message home. No no. Stay, we'll get started soon. ". Zark’s head turned back towards the pickup then a pair of tanned arms suddenly appeared on the camera as a face with short hair pressed itself against the blue head. The arms wrapped around the Andorian's front, and Zark yelped as her boobs were given a sudden squeeze. "Heyyyy! Faye happily greeted into the camera while Zark blushed and desperately tried to not moan out loud and punch Faye in the face. "Zark's already asked us to come visit. Look forward to seeing you soon. The betazoid winked and blew a kiss at the screen before ceasing her torture of Zark's chest. A rich laughter could be heard in the background and the Andorian turned to glare at its owner. "Oh! You think that's funny Enyd? Maybe I'll have to demonstrate to you what she just did to my poor girls." That only caused more laughter and the offended Andorian gave an obscene gesture before turning back around. "Yes Ryzit, I did ask her, and she's a Betazoid, so she's fine with our typical visit home activities."

Zark gave a soft smile. "It's still the same story Ryn, I go somewhere, I make friends, we have sex, and they come over. Zhavey told me that Kaleema stopped by home from Risa to more than say Hi. So I guess it's still our normal, and besides we always need a reason to hold the Osenoslan festival. " Zark sighed as she stared passed the pickup for a moment, then turned around again. "Sorry Riley, what was the question? The Osenoslan festival? Well, it's a time where my county asks all those who have a grievance against our free loving ways to come and air their disagreement with us. It's usually for the county's entertainment since we tell the ingrates to nicely fuck off anyway." Zark shrugged at a question. "We set up stalls for food, picnic areas, a platform for the offended ones to make their argument, and ushaan if necessary." Another pause. "Of course we duel over these things. I usually get to the knife fighting pretty quick since I don't have the patience for their asinign nattering." The blue head shifted slightly then let out a snort. "Enyd, you're drooling. Hah! Made you look! Anyway Riley, I leave the witty and scathing remarks to Sh'za, and even then it doesn't matter what the complainers say since we ignore them anyway."

Zark's smiling face turned back to the camera. "I think we have some more spectators for the festival. Though I think Enyd may take part in the ushaan just for the laughs. Don't worry Sh'za, she'd be pretty good at it, and the battle of wits now that I think about it since she's a trained diplomat. Aside from a penchant for attracting chaotic events" Zark shuddered in not so feigned horror. "She's a lot like the others in the crew. Not too many jerks, which is always a blessing, well one Caitan can generally make up for the rest." A loud snort, and a coughing fit sounded behind her. "Poor woman just doesn't seem to get people that well, which is very odd given her field. Maybe she should have taken up admin or something. Anyway, it's not something I want added to this video, I could vent non stop about that one, but that's for another day. Positive thoughts. Right. Everyone ELSE is great. It seems like changes are the main constant on this ship, and I don't think that many other crews have been called on to make that sort of rapid adjustment. The blue shoulders shrugged at the wind and twists of fate. "We have a first class medical team on board since we were able to bring some additional people out of cryo and heal them. I had to track one down since she got bored and dragged another person to run off away from sickbay." Zark proceeded to explain the shenanigans she'd inflicted on the engineer and scientist that had made the breakout. "Gave the medical staff a fright, but they've seemed to recover well. Though Mia seems to be a bit of a chaos magnet, on the other hand, I hope Azrin doesn't burn herself out. Last I heard, she's working like she's trying to make up time."

There was a tinkle of a bottle being opened and Zark turned around for a moment before turning back. "Faye just opened a bottle of wine. Send my love to the parents, especially Shreva now that the Romulans have initiated hostilities. I do wonder if she was on any of the ships that investigated the explosion near home. No way, they'd have missed that especially with the Thalaron signature. I'd also say for Zhavey to be careful, but I know she's on a long range exploration mission. Sh'za, keep an eye on things at home. The reach and influence of these things is very insidious. " Zark paused for a moment as her brows worked to contemplate the enormity of what was going on, then her antennae suddenly shot up.

"Okay. Someone is planning something and hey!" Zark exclaimed as a pale arm and a tanned set suddenly looped under her arm pits and pulled her off the chair. "Enyd!! " Zark's voice could be heard squealing off camera between fits of laughter. "No! Get your wahahahaha! fingers out of! Weeeehahaaha!" "I'm not doing anything" came a happy innocent reply. " Hehehe! Whaaa? Faye!!" "Riley too." came the husky seductive reply. "Hey!" came the partner's laughing indignant reply. "Hahaha! Okay! That's it! You two are getting it!" There was a crash and a pair of screams as a thump of a body hitting the ground could be heard followed by even louder rich laughter. "Hahahaha! Oh god! Zark no! Not there! Riley screamed. "Computer pause recording!"

The recording stopped, then Zark's face suddenly appeared as she used her thumb to wipe her lips and her hair was a mess. Heavy breathing could be heard in the back. "I think I need new panties" came one sniggering tired reply. The Zhen smiled. "Anyway, we need to get to drinks and the rest of the night.". The blue face softened and looked wistful. "I can't wait to come home and see all of you. I love and  miss you all. Stay safe my loves." Zark kissed her hand and touched the screen. When the fingers pulled back, Zark gave one more warm smile, and the recording froze as it ended.

@Ellen Fitz, @Brutus, @rae, and @Eirual for character mentions

OOC: For the sickbay breakout see here.

Re: Day 21 [2145 hrs] Letters Home

Reply #1
[ Ens. Mia Dunne | Personal Quarters | Deck 08 | Vector 01| USS Theurgy ]

Sometime in the past two and a half  weeks...

The image came up with a blonde female shifting in her seat in what was obviously her personal quarters as she looked to the screen. Her uniform identifying her as a science officer. She cleared her throat and took a breath then looked up at the screen, her green eyes slightly sad looking.

“Hey Mom, Dad, and yes even you Elizabeth. I want you to know I miss you all so much. I hope you are okay. I am pretty sure you’ve heard a number of rumors about the ship I was on by now. But let me say that none of it is true!  We are alive. Well, most of us anyway. Our ship has come under attack several times and we’ve had to defend ourselves. This has led to some losses. Remember that Andorian Chief of Science I told you about? He is one of those we lost almost at the start of this whole fiasco.”  Mia paused a moment with a deep breath, “I was lucky, or so they keep telling me. We were fired on and the lab where I was exploded. No one else made it out alive. I almost didn’t.  Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you all that, but, for six months I was in stasis and had no clue what was going on. “ Mia stood from her seat revealing an ample breast and thin waist, “I know I don’t really look different, but they had to replace some parts of my shoulder. It’s odd but even I hardly notice it anymore.”

Mia walked to a replicator and got herself a cup of English Breakfast Tea and returned to her seat. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to talk to you. Things are fairly restricted for us, as I am sure you can imagine given what Starfleet Command has tried to blame us for. And Again, Let me say that none of that is true. Someone is... how do I put this? “

Mia sighed and tugged on a lose tendril of her hair twisting it around her finger. “The people in charge are not themselves. We have proof of this and they, the ones who are infested, don’t want us telling anyone. I learned of the invader just before I was put into stasis. By the way, we have some really excellent people here that took care of me. Hard to believe I was frozen for six months.”

She shook her head slightly then looked at the screen intensely, “If you get this, Know that we are doing everything we can to protect not only Earth and the Federation, but the future of all sentient life. If we succeed, you might find out just how deep this goes before I do. Just ... please... be very careful. I don’t want anything to happen to any of you!” Mia pressed her finger to her lips and blew them all a kiss, “Love you.”

The message ended with Mia frozen that position.

Ensign Mia Dunne   [Show/Hide]

  Kelistina (Kel) Kavot Droga   [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 21 [2145 hrs] Letters Home

Reply #2
[ Lieutenant Reika Sh'laan | Personal Quarters | Deck 12 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ]

Reika sat on the couch in her immaculate quarters.  Well, they were spotless because she hadn’t yet unpacked everything - or anything - actually.  To this point, she’d been replicating anything she needed.  For some reason, she wasn’t sure she wanted to dig back through all of those memories hidden away in those two sizeable trunks.  When she was placed in stasis, the contents of her quarters had been boxed up for the eventuality that they had been able heal what was wrong with her.  And they had, so there the trunks sat while she read up on what had happened since being put on ice.  And it seemed to be a fair lot.

But as the Andorian sat there in her uniform with her long, blue legs crossed, one arm on the edge of the couch and the other sitting in her lap holding the PADD, a message blinked up on her screen.  Given that she only knew a handful of people on the ship, that was enough to pique her interest. 

Clicking on the message, Her eyes scanned the “To:” line.  She almost swiped it away when it said, “To All Crew.”  There was a time for those types of messages.  This wasn’t it; but before she could toss it aside, the subject line caught her eye.  “Letters home.”  As her eyes ran across the few lines of text, she extended her head back against the top of the couch.  She could tell her parents…..and Barak, that she was alright.  Turning over the hand in which she held the PADD and seeing the ever-present scar tissue, the words, “Well mostly alright,” tumbled from her lips
If she were going to record a message to the five of them, she had no intention of doing so in her uniform, but the outfit she had in mind was buried in the recesses of one of the trunks.  Reika set the PADD down, and for a moment tried to decide if she wanted to brave the memories.  “For this?” her voice reverberated in the mostly empty room.  Then a smile crossed her face, and raising her head and with a great deal of conviction, she said, “Hell, yeah.” Standing to her full height, she turned to her right and strode the meter to the trunks in just two steps.  The OPS officer hefted the top trunk from where it sat against the wall in her living area and carried it into her bedroom where she dropped it atop her comforter.   The lid was fastened tightly.  But as her muscles had began to regain their density, undoing the lid was easy, and she leaned it against the side of the bed.  After surveying the container, Reika realized that this one mostly contained clothes, which happened to be what she was looking for.  One by one, she removed the articles and either hung them or placed them in the drawers at the bottom of her closet.  But eventually, she found what she wanted - a black leather skirt and a flowing, shimmery-red off-the-shoulder top. Not being one to do things in halves, the Lieutenant finished emptying the contents of this crate and returned it to the living area where she once again placed it on top of the second one.  While all of the open shelves throughout her entire quarters remained empty, at least she had her workout clothes, casual clothes, sleeping t-shirts, shoes, and other things put away in their assigned places. 

After dressing in her stiletto heels, black leather mini skirt, and red blouse, Reika spent some time on one of her intricate braids.  When it was done to her satisfaction, the Andorian went back to the couch where she had left her PADD.  Activating it’s video recording function, and setting it on an empty shelf, she stepped back to record her message.

“Thavan, Charan, Shreva, Zhavey, and Barak.  First thing’s first.  I’m here.”  She said extending her arms to the side before dropping them.  “I’m safe.  I miss you all.  Yes, Zhavey, I’m still on the Theurgy.  But what I’m sure you’ve all been hearing about us in the news is not at all true.  I can’t go into all of the details, but suffice it to say that we’re the good guys in the mess that is going on.  And we’ve made some gains, but we’ve had our losses too.  Along the way was injured in the process and had to be put into stasis for a little more than six months - which is why you haven’t heard from me until now.  They had to figure out how to deal with the,” here Reika paused and glanced to the side as she tried to remember the term that V-Nine had used.  Then looking back at the PADD she continued, “The genetic unspooling my DNA was undergoing when I was injured.  I had come in contact with deuterium - which besides being used as fuel is, as I’m sure you know, Shreva, also used in cryogenics, but when I came in contact with the raw deuterium,” and here she lifted her shirt several centimeters, “It left its mark - quite literally.  I have that on my abdomen, my forearm, and my thigh on my right side.”  Reika pressed the spot with her left hand.  “It’s kinda hard and feels slightly crusty, but they were able to stabilize the unspooling.  I’ll just have that ‘burn’ for lack of a better word, likely for good."

“I was only unthawed several days ago, so I’m still getting to know the crew - as most of them are new since I was put on ice.  But those I’ve met seem decent, some are absolutely crazy, some are hilariously fun.  And yeah, there are quite a few Andorians around, so I won’t lack for people to talk about home with.  I don’t know how often we’re going to be able to send messages or when or if I’m going to get to come to see you - especially you, Barak, but I miss you all immensely.  I hope to see you sooner rather than later  I love you all!”  And here Reika blew them a kiss and cast them a wink before walking back over and turning off the recording function.
Lieutenant Reika Sh’laan, Assistant Chief of Operations (V3) [Show/Hide]
Ensign Sashenka Kreshkova, Unassigned Wolf Trainee [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 21 [2145 hrs] Letters Home

Reply #3
[Ens. Talia "Shadow" Al-Ibrahim | Personal Quarters | Deck 13 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy]

Playback begins.

The video showed a young woman sitting by the large viewport in dimly lit quarters, elbows rested on her knees, head bowed, face hidden by a curtain of long black hair. A lush world dominated the view behind her; green and red aurora danced at the polar region like ghosts taunting the void beyond. The table before her held an empty glass and half empty bottle within easy reach. A duty jacket lay on the edge of the bed within view; the light of the planet beyond reflecting off the insignia combadge of Starfleet. Beside it lay a stack of PADDs and a bomber jacket, bare but for two patches; the woman herself was motionless, clad in a white form-fitting undershirt and slacks. A pair of boxing gloves hung on the wall over her left shoulder, dangling next to a photo of a group of very young looking uniformed people; all smiles and hopeful eyes, except one.

Several seconds passed in absolute silence.

“Its me,” she whispered at last, raking the hair out of her face with both hands as she straitened; the face she showed held no emotion whatsoever, save for the contempt in her eyes. Those hard orbs of darkness stared at the camera without blinking as she inhaled, jaw clenched. “If by some miracle this gets to you, and you have the balls to play it – know that I’m alive. For now.”

The corner of her lips curled then, as her eyes grew even harder; a tanned hand reached out to grip the bottle and poured two fingers of dark amber liquid into the glass. “If there is any doubt that I’m not who I appear to be,” she continued coldly, taking up the glass in one hand, taking a sip before settling back into the couch to cross her legs. “This should suffice: I remember exactly what you said to Omul the day you left. ‘Keep her then. Let her weakness corrupt you and everything you cherish.’ It was only the three of us,” another sip, the slightest twitch of one meaty shoulder shrugged. “And Uncle Omul is dead – I buried him, alone.”

Her lips pursed, head tilted as she finally looked away to the void. “I don’t know why I’m bothering with this. The past is the past. Yet I carried you around, all these years. For what? Know that I’m not doing this for you. This is for me; for Omul, for the friends I’ve lost and the people on this ship I’ve come to know. All we have is each other out here. You…you are nothing to me, Papa,” her jaw clenched again with a slow blink. “Just another bad memory,” her voice dropped to a whisper over the lip of the glass. After another sip, she faced the camera fully once again.

“You will never see me again. Tell my sisters I wish them well, if you have the decency. I hope they see you for what you are,” the glass raised in a mocking salute, the smile on her lips utterly at odds with her frigid tone. Talia downed the remaining liquid in a smooth motion before she stood and walked out of view without another word.

Playback ends.

Re: Day 21 [2145 hrs] Letters Home

Reply #4
[Lt. Enyd Isolde Madsen | Personal Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy]

Only after Zark and company left did Enyd seriously consider following suit and recording a letter home. She’d been in brief contact with Saul, the foreman of the ranch, just prior to her transfer, and she’d also contacted her Aunt Susanna on the same day, asking that she act as a messenger to the rest of the family and informing them of Enyd’s vague whereabouts. Of course, she hadn’t received any word from her family since then, and likely she wouldn’t receive word until all this was over and they were cleared to return home. Enyd had accepted that fact and not dwelled on it, choosing instead to remain in the moment as much as possible, living each day to its fullest as she knew, as well as most onboard, that the next moment was not guaranteed.

Yet, after listening to Zark’s letter—as much as she’d tried to keep busy elsewhere in her quarters and not eavesdrop, Enyd gave in to the urge and plopped herself in front of her console. Her thick hair was combed loose about her shoulders, the undulating waves catching the light of her quarters and giving off a healthy sheen. Enyd knew she looked much better now than when she’d last seen her grandmother via cam, just days before the Directorate had kidnapped her. She’d lost weight due to stress, her coloring pale, eyes haunted. And then, when she’d tried to contact her grandmother after her rescue, only to have Saul answer her call and tell her of her grandmother’s passing, Enyd had looked even worse then. Both Saul and Susanna had commented on her looking better when she’d contacted them from the starbase, the concern lacing through their voice not subtle in any fashion, though they’d never pried on details.

Brushing her hair back off one shoulder as she sat up straight, the green loose-fitted knit sweater soft against her skin, Enyd reached out and activated the button. A silent moment passed, during which she blinked an owl-like gaze at the console, her brain momentarily washed clean of whatever it was she’d intended to say. But then a slow smile pulled her full lips back, and Enyd sighed.

“Next I hear from you, Saul, I better be hearing that young Barnabas married Honour Perez. And I better also be hearing that you took Susanna’s advice and upgraded the chuckwagon’s to finally fit the needs of this century’s version of ranching. The fact that you were still using an honest-to-goodness wagon for those long hauls…Saul, I love you, and I’m all for the classics, but that was ridiculous.” Enyd chuckled at the mental image of a covered wagon rolling over the hills while shuttlecraft zoomed overhead. Bringing her gaze back to the console, she smiled again. “I also hope to hear that Jesse followed her uncle’s footsteps and became the ranahan we all knew she could be. I know she struggled with insecurities when asked about being top cowhand, but I truly hope she experienced enough of life since we last spoke that she took on that position without balking at it. With that said, I best be hearing that Billy responded positively to your mentoring, and instead of following his brothers into prison, he instead agreed with your assessment and apprenticed as rosin jaw. He was always so good with anything mechanical. It was almost as if the things sang to him.” Enyd paused as she mentally walked through some of the things she and Saul had spoken about before her transfer. Snapping her fingers at a recall, she leaned closer to the console. “And I know Frank wanted you to use those new drones to take the place of the night hawks, but I hope you didn’t do it because I think we both can agree that as mundane as keeping watch over cattle at night can be, some people are in a position to need that mundane to work through the things broiling in their souls. Only gunsels look at ranching and think to modernize everything about it instead of being strategic. We both know there’s an art to it, just like grandmother knew it.”

Enyd leaned back in her chair, eyes taking on a far-off look, growing misty at the edges as she remembered her grandmother and felt the loss of that pillar of strength in her life anew.

“I know you’ll think it silly of me to say this, but I’m sorry. Grandmother told me once I was searching for an elephant, joining Starfleet as I did. And maybe she was right. I’m no closer to knowing what happened to my parents now than when I was a kid, and in being like the rootless drovers, always looking over the next hill for ‘something,’ I wasn’t there for grandmother in her last hours.” Heaving a sigh, Enyd shook her head, blinking away the unshed tears. “Thank you for being there, Saul. And I won’t waste any more time with self-pity or regrets. We both know life is a one-way cattle drive, and there’s no use settling in the pogonip-filled valleys, as only death lingers there. In any case, as you can see, I am well. We are shaded up presently, waiting for all our riders to form up before we press on with our next drive. Not much I can or should say without risking things; I’m sure you realize that, but suffice it to say I am alive, so far, well, so far, and if everything goes according to plan, I will continue to be alive and well for quite a bit longer. Perhaps even long enough to bring my beau home to see the place.” Enyd blushed, tucking some hair behind her pointed ear. “You can tell Dinah that my heart isn’t completely frozen after all. And I do have womanly urges,” her blush increased, namely because she did not usually talk to her foreman about this sort of thing, “but don’t worry your hide; I’ll save details for Dinah when we come home. Keep on riding, Saul, and don’t let uncertainty or fear get in the way of living well. You never have, and I trust you never will.” Enyd giggled as she added, “Otherwise, grandmother is likely to come back from her grave and box your ears.”

Enyd gave a little wave before pressing the button, signaling to end the first letter and pressing it again to start a new one. She had no idea if only one would make it through, or any at all, but figured she might as well try recording a second just in case. For this one, Enyd was already smiling, more at ease with letter-making after the first.

“Aunt Susanna, I am alive, ta-da.” Enyd struck a silly pose, knowing her aunt would roll her eyes at it and finding joy in the mental image. “I have reconciled with Victor, which I know was something you were worried about even if you never said anything.” Susanna had been the most openly torn up about losing Victor as a potential family member when Enyd had told them she’d called off the wedding. To this day, she’d never told her family the whole story of why she’d done all those things, and she felt that perhaps it was best not to. “He is doing well and sends his love also. From that, I’m sure you’ve deduced that he is with me, wherever it is we happen to be.” She crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue, her habit of acting juvenile with her aunt shining through as if not a day had passed. “I also have a beau I look forward to introducing you to when things align and we can come home. Like Uncle Gregor, he’s super cute when he’s talking about things he’s passionate about, and I now know what you were referring to when you said you fell in love with Uncle Gregor whenever he talked nonsense.” Enyd blushed, glancing away for a moment to regain her thoughts, then brought her gaze back to the screen with an easy smile. “There are so many things I’d like to speak more about, and explain, but we both know that is not possible. Know that my love is with you all, and my hope is always that you remain in good health and good spirits. May you all live long and prosperous lives, keeping on through whatever uncertainties lie ahead. And I look forward to eating your rhubarb pie again.” Enyd blew a kiss at the console, mimed a hug, then pressed the button to close it down.

Leaning back in her chair, Enyd closed her eyes and let the few tears she’d been holding back trickle out the edges. As they traveled back into her hairline, Enyd processed through the things she’d not said to her family. The deaths of colleagues, her new status as a department head, the atrocities the Infested intended to commit against them all…these realities did not need to be conveyed to those back home. Not when they could do nothing about it. If anything, the best thing they could do, as far as Enyd could see, was live their lives fully and truly with what time they had left.

Enyd sat up, took a deep breath, then stood. She needed a hug and a cup of tea. Perhaps some techno-babble nonsense to listen to as well. Smile once more on her face, Enyd left her quarters in search of Alistair.

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