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Emma's story is revealed.
She tried not to respond to the attention, I could tell, but would still blush and have to hide a smile every time. I gave Anders a proud smile when she wasn't looking; he flushed and grinned before hurrying over to carry one of her bags.
We encountered only a couple of scattered bands of darkspawn as we travelled, to everyone's relief. My new armour worked fantastically, and the amulet Sereda had given me made me feel invincible, at least a little bit. Aedan and Zevran picking apart my performance afterwards kept that from going to my head.
I began to feel nervous as we approached Redcliffe. When I woke on the morning of the day we would arrive, I felt nauseous, entirely not looking forward to seeing Eamon and Isolde again, nor to receiving their judgement on our betrothal. Alistair, too, seemed nervous, and we washed up together with the shower before dressing silently. I wanted to be presentable as a young noblewoman when we arrived, so despite my misgivings, at Leli and Aedan's urging, I wore my velvet dress instead of armour. I strapped one dagger to my thigh, and one hung from a sheath at my waist, but I felt ridiculously vulnerable travelling through the countryside in a dress. Leli did my hair in a braid, and even talked me into a few cosmetics for effect.
Fortunately, the road near Redcliffe was clear of both darkspawn and bandits, and we made it to the castle without event. I got more and more nervous, the closer we got, and my subdued attitude wore off on the rest of the group. We were all tired after weeks of walking, but once my nerves became more apparent, no one spoke for the last couple of hours.
The patrols on the road, on horseback - interesting, as we'd not seen many horses in Ferelden - sent word ahead so the castle knew to expect us. Alistair stopped me just in front of the castle and kissed me once, hard and desperate. We pressed our foreheads together briefly, then without a word, turned and went inside.
We were met by Theron - whose hair had grown, the brown dye almost entirely washed out now - Eamon, Isolde, and Teagan, as well as Wynne and Dariel. Dariel stood with an elf that I recognised from the game, the Dalish emissary, Caron, as well as Mithra, one of the hunters we'd met in the Brecilian Forest. Dariel and Mithra stood suspiciously close together, and I smiled. There was also a mage I didn't recognise standing with Connor, and a Templar without a helm. The mage was a middle-aged, plump woman with a pleasant face, and the Templar an older, grizzled, grey-haired veteran with a dramatic facial scar who, for all that, had a kind look.
Theron gave us all a smile and winked at me, making me grin; my grin brought out the scowl on Isolde's face, but she mercifully stayed silent. Alistair held my hand tightly, and I saw Eamon's forehead wrinkle when he noticed. He welcomed us back to Redcliffe, and invited us all to have a rest before meeting for a planning session in the morning.
"But Alistair, if you would, might I have a word before you settle in?"
Alistair and I exchanged meaningful looks, and then reluctantly parted hands so he could follow Eamon into his study. I noticed Teagan shooting Eamon a dirty look, and Isolde shooting a similar one at me, and wondered what in the hell that was all about.
Theron rolled his eyes, then came over and offered his arm to me. "Walk you to your room, my Lady?"
I giggled and took his arm; everyone else had already scattered, back to their usual rooms I assumed. As we walked along, Theron surreptitiously looked around, and when we were alone, he quickly turned, pulling me through a random door in the hallway. It was some sort of storage closet, and there was barely room for the two of us, once he closed the door. At least there was a lantern lit, so it wasn't fully dark.
I was briefly worried he'd resumed his previous, lecherous attitude towards me. "Theron, what th-"