I was inspired by a lovely story by karebear to bring dear Ser Rylock back into the folds of this story. It's called 'Never Let You Go' and as usual, is incredible. You simply must go read it.
She paints a much storied picture of the templar, and it's a background that I can more than appreciate. I, on the other hand, have never had such a forgiving view of Rylock. I picture her as vile and oppressive – she reminds me of those female customs agents at the US/Canada border that I used to deal with all the time who felt as though they had something to prove to their male counterparts. And I get that…I do. But damn woman…calm yourself. Just do your job…don't enjoy inflicting so much…pain.
We might have some triggers for sexual abuse and just all around violence in this one. I apologize in advance. My lord…I've been really, really angry as of late apparently. I promise you…I'm really not vicious like this. I don't know where it's coming from. But seriously. I warn you. This is far darker than the Eli and Anders story has ever been before…
Anyhow…there you have it…
[insert standard disclaimer here]
You Can't Outrun Me
It had been several days since their night of drunken revelry at The Crown and Lion. They remained in Amaranthine longer than they had first planned, but Nathaniel's research into Kal'Hirol and the mysterious Blackmarsh was carrying on exceedingly well. Justice had even begun to take an interest in what he was learning. So they had remained.
Elirezara was pleased at the results of this trip to the city. They'd learned much about the dwarven fortress where Sigrun had been discovered. The same place where several broodmothers were stewing in a vat of their own disgusting filth. She retched at the thought of the hideous creatures and their tentacles…reaching. Always reaching…
After spending most of the day with Nathaniel and Justice in the city's archives, she decided to return to the inn to seek out Anders for the evening. A quiet night would be just what she needed before they packed up to return to Vigil's Keep.
The city was surprisingly still for the early hours of the evening. She supposed most folks had made their way home for dinner after a long day in the markets. But even the guards were not out in as full of force as usual. The air was cooler than it had been in the entire time they had been in the city. A chill bit at her skin as a breeze blew through the streets, bringing with it the promise of the cold season to come.
When she entered The Crown and Lion, she was greeted warmly by the bartender, and several of the patrons who had recognized her. Either she had stayed at the inn long enough, or frequented the bar a bit too often; and she wasn't sure which was worse. She quickly headed up the stairs to the room she shared with Anders. As she threw open the door, she expected to find him sitting with a book in hand. But he was not there.
Where could he be?
Her eyes were quickly drawn to a piece of parchment on the desk. When she picked it up, she recognized the script immediately. It was a note from Anders, penned in haste, by the looks of it. Though incredibly detailed…perhaps a little too detailed…
My dearest Eli,
I have received the most wonderful news today. I ran into an old acquaintance and we got to talking. She told me that a group of templars had been snooping around the market stall she works at. She overheard them talking about a mage they were hunting, and well, I think you already know where I'm going with this. They're looking for me again. And they have my phylactery with them. My phylactery is in Amaranthine!
Normally this would be a concern, but my acquaintance told me that she also overheard them mention where they would be holed up while they were in the city. Is that luck, or what? I'm going to go to the warehouse to check it out. See if I can't get my hands on that vial. If I do, they'll never be able to find me again. Perhaps Andraste smiles down upon me sometimes after all.
When I return, we will celebrate this development with much ale and debauchery. We can pretend that we are apostates on the run…templars breathing down our necks and at our door. And the only thing left for us to do is to make passionate love all night. I will ravish you until dawn, my lovely Warden Commander.
All my love,
Elirezara couldn't help but smile at his…enthusiasm, yet something inside of her twisted sharply. Nothing about this so-called acquaintance sat right with her. Awfully convenient for this woman to overhear so much invaluable information. She immediately felt worry overtake her and nervously began to pace about the room.
Warehouse. What warehouse did he mean? She didn't even know where all of them were located in the city. Damn it, Anders! Why did he have to be so detailed about his plans for celebration and so vague about the important things?
She quickly packed a small supply kit and reached for her staff and blade. She abruptly had a terrible feeling that nothing good would come of this night – and she wanted to be ready for whatever came her way. She considered retrieving Justice and Nathaniel, but wasn't sure how long it would take her to even track him down. It was best for her to just find him herself.
Hurrying down the steps, she made for the bar as she hit the main floor. She nearly knocked down one of the servers in her rush to speak to the bartender.
"Evening," she said curtly. "I am looking for the Warden Anders. Would he have been here?"
"Funny fellow?" the bartender prompted. "Blond hair pulled up?"
"He was here not long ago. Had a couple of ales before he left. I'd say it was no more than an hour or so when I last saw him."
Great. Would he be drunk as he carried this out?
"Did he happen to mention where he was headed?" she asked, her voice pleading for help.
"Said something about the market, I think."
"Thank you for your help," she replied, tipping him a couple of silvers. "If you should happen to see the other Wardens I travel with, could you please pass them a message? Let them know I've gone to the warehouse at the market. I should hope that helps them find where I am."
"The abandoned warehouse?" the bartender asked. "What do you want with that place?"
"You know of it?" she asked.
"Sure do," he replied. "Behind that weaponsmith's stall. You can't miss the large door. It looks as though it'll fall off of its hinges at anytime."
"Again, thank you for your help."
She hurried off, her nerves causing her legs to nearly falter beneath her.
What kind of trouble might he be in? Would he find the phylactery as he thought he would? Perhaps there would be no trouble at all. But this was Anders…trouble found him…too often…
As she rushed towards the direction of the warehouse, a creeping fear appeared in the back of her mind.
What if I'm too late?
The room he was in was dark and cold. And damp.
He had been chained to the ground with his hands secured behind him.
It startled him just how much he was reminded of the Circle Tower's cells in the lower levels.
The chill that was sent hurtling down Anders' spine at that thought was intense. His whole body was racked with shivers. He wasn't sure who he wasn't angriest with: the woman he knew for entrapping him; the templars for their determination to return him to the Circle; or himself for believing this was anything other than a set up. He decided upon himself, and would be sure to come up with some sort of punishment befitting his idiocy – but that would only be if the others didn't punish him first…or worse, kill him outright.
They hadn't done anything yet – the templars – they hadn't. When he arrived at the warehouse, it still appeared empty. He heard no sound, save for the scratching of some hidden rodent running amongst the crates and barrels scattered throughout. He had used his staff to cast a dim light over the room, creating ominous shadows upon the dusty walls. As he searched the debris for a possible location for his phylactery, he took notice of the complete lack of evidence that someone had taken refuge in this location. Aside from a few footprints that disrupted the subtle layer of dust – and even those, he couldn't be sure hadn't been put there by him.
The voice in his head – the one that was supposed to let him know when something was obviously not a good idea – had long since abandoned him. His inner monologue was never swayed in the direction of common sense. But when the twinge in his gut told him he was walking into a trap, he listened. He spun around to claim a hasty exit from the warehouse, but his head connected sharply with the pommel of a sword, aimed directly at him.
When he awoke later, he remembered the last thing he saw: the fiery sword emblazoned upon templar armour.
It was likely all over for him. As he sat alone, he cursed himself for falling into such an obvious trap. He began to wonder if Eli could ever forgive him for being so stupid. Or if he would even ever see her face again. If they took him back to the Tower, he would escape again. He knew he could. That is, if they gave him the opportunity. His hands began to shake. What if they didn't?
What if they killed him?
What if they made him tranquil?
He shuddered at the thought. Be logical, Anders! he scolded himself. If they were going to kill you, they'd have done it by now. They want something else…
But what? He couldn't figure out why they'd keep him alive like this.
Before his thoughts took him hurtling towards uncertainty, a door squeaked as it opened in the darkness. His eyes focused on a torch that was being carried into the room…towards him. He heard ominous steps approaching; metal echoing on hollow wooden floor boards.
When the torch was placed into a holder along the wall, he could see the outline of the one who carried it. It was her. Of course it was her. Rylock was always assigned to retrieve him. The shadows played upon her face, like a demon preying upon her from the beyond. He sighed, gritting his teeth.
"Anders," she hissed. "So pleased to see you again…after all this time."
"You'll excuse me if I don't admit to feeling the same way," he replied.
She raised an eyebrow at him. He seemed…braver than he had in the past. The first time she brought him back to the Circle, he joked with her the whole journey back. But after the beatings he'd received as punishment upon his return, his demeanor was changed each time she encountered him again. She recalled the time he had groveled …begging her to not return him to the Tower. He had desperately clawed his fingers into the dirt, attempting to prevent her and those with her from dragging him off. He was terrified of the treatment he knew he would be subject to in those basement cells. She saw it in his eyes. She never once felt pity for him. He was a mage – an evil just waiting to be let out of his mortal shell. While it was true that some mages went their whole lives without losing control, Anders would never be one of them. His repeated escapes from the Tower only bolstered that belief.
When she returned her eyes to him, she watched as he sat on the cold floor. He looked decidedly uncomfortable there, his eyes doing everything they could to avoid hers.
"I suspect you are wondering what we plan for you," she said.
She did not wear the gauntlets that templars normally wore; only a thin layer of leather gloves, which she peeled off of her hands torturously slow. He could hear the leather cracking over itself as she did so and he cringed at the sound. It reminded him of nothing but the whips he knew he would face. When she had removed the gloves and tossed them to the side, she approached him hastily, crouching in front of him. She grabbed him by the chin roughly, gripping his facial hair in her calloused fingers.
"I hope you told your guard dog where you were headed," she spat at him. "We have plans for that one." She whipped his head to the side and he gasped loudly. As she stood up and turned away from him, she heard the chains that bound him rattle, suggesting that he struggled to free himself. "Come now, Anders. You know that if it were up to me, you'd never have escaped that Tower beyond your first attempt. I'd have locked you up in more chains than you could ever imagine existing." She looked back towards him. "Do you really think you can escape those that hold you now?"
His face displayed anger. His stupidity was going to get Eli killed. He fought back hot tears forming in the back of his eyes, trying desperately not to betray his thoughts.
"Oh, of course," she said. "Now I remember. You and the dear Warden Commander were friends back at the Tower, weren't you? You used to follow her around like a lost fucking dog. Panting and drooling after her. You should know better than to let us see that, Anders. You're pathetic."
His eyes narrowed at her, yet he still refused to speak.
"You don't have to say anything, Anders. I can see it in your eyes. You still follow her around like the dog that you are. Only…" She leaned towards him, drawing in an exaggerated sniff of him. "Only, now I think she's given in to you, hasn't she? I can smell her on you. Is she your little elven whore now? Just how easy is it for you to put out of your mind what you went through at the Tower when you fuck her, I wonder? Can you even enjoy it anymore, Anders?"
He cringed at her words. At the memories she was forcing him to recall. Memories that he'd blocked in the unused recesses of his mind for so many years.
"You wouldn't dare bring dishonor to your precious Order by harming the Commander of the Grey," he finally said. "You'd be banished."
"No one even knows I am here, Anders."
Rylock placed the sole of her boot upon his chest and kicked him backwards. He barely made a move to fight back. He was no longer terrified for himself, but for Eli. His thoughts raced back to the letter he left her. Could she have possibly found him with it? He didn't want to be taken back to the Tower, but he feared now for Eli's very life. They were going to kill her.
"And now I wonder…just what would it take to finally break you, mage?" she hissed. "Would it hurt you to watch her in front of you as she begged for us to end her life, just to be rid of the pain? Or perhaps something else might break you." She paced back and forth in front of him, carefully eyeing his reactions. And she was eliciting exactly the kind of response she had hoped for. "I used to see you all in the Tower…your sexual misdeeds when you thought no one was watching from the shadows. But it was my job. It is my job. I'll always be watching. Mage sex is…disgusting. You play with your Fade-induced powers…releasing energies into your partners. It's not…natural. I admit, when I was younger, I was aroused by watching a pair of you mages fucking in the corners of the Tower. But as I matured, I realized that you were all only a breath away from an abomination, and who wants to watch those hideous creatures in some sick passionate embrace?"
He squeezed his eyes shut, praying for her to stop talking. For this to be a horrible nightmare that he would wake up from and Eli would be there to comfort him. She'd hold him, caressing his cheek tenderly.
But he didn't wake up. When his eyes opened, the hateful woman in front of him still stood. And now, she was joined by two others; hulking beasts of men that stood at her side. One of them picked him off the ground where he lay and sat him up again.
"You deserve a little fun, don't you boys?" she growled. "Would it kill you, Anders? Would it kill you to watch my men rip your precious mage into two? She was never passed around from templar to templar back in the Tower. I'd say it's about time, don't you?"
"No!" Anders screamed in anguish. "You will not touch her!"
She approached him again, clucking her tongue against her teeth. "Just what is it that you plan to do to stop us, Anders?" She continued to goad him. Oh Maker, her words stung. He could no longer fight back the tears. The pressure in his head built up, ready to explode. He prayed again and again that she would not come. She couldn't know where he was. She just couldn't.
Unfortunately, the Maker had a habit of ignoring him.
When the door of the warehouse creaked open, she winced, hoping that no one would hear her should anyone be inside. The element of surprise might be her only opportunity to take control of whatever situation she might find once she entered.
Thankfully, no one appeared to be inside of the large room, cluttered with debris from its life as an active storage area. She crept carefully in between the crates, tiptoeing her way through the space towards the back wall. Along it appeared to be two doors, judging by the darker shapes that appeared before her. She listened carefully for anything to suggest that someone might be within one of the rooms beyond the door.
When she reached the two doors, she could hear noises from the one at her right. Muffled voices perhaps. She approached the door, placing her ear to it. A woman's voice…and perhaps another – more masculine, yet not that of Anders. As she strained to try to make out what the voices said, she heard a strange noise that continued to get louder. Were they…footsteps?
She spun around and dashed behind a barrel to the side of the door, ducking down and cowering beside it. The door opened as she held her breath, her hand clasped over her mouth. She dare not look beyond the barrel she hid behind, silently praying for whoever was exiting the room would do so quickly without looking back. Her back to them, she could see shadows play upon the wall in front of her as a light source was carried from the room in the hands of one of the individuals.
"Go and keep an eye on the door," a woman's voice demanded. From the location behind her, Elirezara could tell she was the keeper of the light. Two pairs of heavy footsteps moved away from her, heading towards the front of the warehouse. She heard the woman expel a heavy breath; then she took several steps away from the door towards the other room. She heard the door open…several footsteps…and then it closed again.
Releasing the hand from her mouth, she carefully breathed and peered behind her towards the direction the two took. She could see a vague outline of where they stood near a covered window. Templars… With the light of the torch gone, she could attempt to enter the room they emerged from in the hopes that she would find what she sought. Who she sought…
Crouching low, she crept around the barrel, all the while keeping her eyes upon the two men. They had their backs to her, obviously more concerned with what was outside of the warehouse than what might have gotten in while they weren't paying attention. She grabbed the handle and turned it slowly, careful to prevent any noise from catching anyone's attention. The door swung open easily, and she slipped inside quickly.
The room was dark. Quiet. She made out the shapes of more crates, piled in front of her. As she continued to creep forward, she could hear something…sobbing? Sniffling? She stood up straighter to peer over the crates to see a darker shape on the ground beyond them. She stepped forward to approach the figure warily.
"Who's there?" a voice whispered.
"Anders?" she replied quietly. "Is that you?"
She could see the figure jerk its head up, the rattling of a chain accompanying the action.
"Eli? Oh Maker, Eli. You're here," he cried out as silently as he could.
She rushed forward to him, throwing her arms around him and kissing the side of his face. She held him, feeling him shake in her arms.
"Anders, what's happened to you?" she whispered into his ear.
"It's Rylock," he spat. "You have to get out of here. You can't stay."
"I'm not leaving here without you," she told him on no uncertain terms. She felt along the length of his arms behind him, noticing they were restrained. She felt the knots in the rope that bound him. "I can get you out of this."
She let go of him and moved behind where he sat. In the darkness of the room, she could barely see the knots in front of her, but as she ran her fingers across the thick rope, she began to understand the way they were knotted. She found the ends of the rope and worked at them, pulling them apart little by little. She stopped several times, to listen carefully for any approaching noises. But none came. When the tense moments finally passed, she had loosened the knots enough that he could slip his hands out of the bindings.
Without a second thought, he clasped his arms behind her, hugging her tightly. She felt him shaking again as he held on to her, daring not to let her go. "Eli…I…I can't believe you found me."
"You left enough clues for me to track you," she replied. "Why did you come here alone?"
"Chastise me later," he advised. "I'm still chained to the floor."
"Let me see what I can do about that," she said. She found the chain, realizing that it was around his waist. She found the locking mechanism and placed her hands over it. "Let's hope the templars do not sense this." From her hands, a warm energy flowed to the steel of the lock. She strained as she attempted to maintain the heat in her attempt to melt it. After several moments, she frowned. "This isn't working."
"Perhaps it will shatter?" he suggested.
She switched her focus, lowering the temperature of the metal so much that she heard it begin to crack. She touched the lock lightly, and it stung her fingertips. A quick tap of the mechanism on the ground, and it shattered into her hands.
"Ah ha!" she whispered triumphantly.
"We need to get out of here. You can't imagine what they—"
"Not now," she said. "We need to figure out how we're going to get past the three. The woman is in the room next to us. The two others are near the main door. I don't know how we can get out without fighting our way out."
"My staff," he said. "I have no idea where it is. Rylock must have it."
She bit her lip. "Anders, I don't know what to do here."
"I knew you shouldn't have come," he said. "I've just put us both into danger."
She placed her hands at the side of his face softly, focusing his attention back on her. "Anders, I will always come for you. Where the templars will only take one step to find you, I'll take two. You may outrun them, but you can't outrun me."
Her words sent a shiver through him, and as she stood up in front of him, she put her hand out to help him up. He took it, got to his feet, and they both stepped lightly towards the door. He was about to reach for the handle to open the door, when a commotion in the other room caught their attention. The clanging of metal…muffled shouts…a fight?
As they opened the door and peered out, they could see the two templars engaged in a battle with two other figures. The door to the warehouse had been forced open. They looked at each other, more than a little confused over what was happening. He was about to step forward, but she grabbed him.
"Anders!" she cried out – too late, as she saw the third templar…Rylock…come at him with her blade. She didn't slice at him, but swung wildly with the flat of the blade. It landed flush against his forehead, dropping him immediately to the ground in a heap.
"You…Warden!" Rylock called, pointing her finger directly at Elirezara. Her eyes bored holes into her soul. "You stole Anders from my grip once before. You do not get to do that again. You think that your Wardens will protect you. That your king will protect you. I'll drag you back to the Circle myself. Both of you. You'll regret ever crossing me, knife ear!"
The woman pointed the tip of her sword to Elirezara's throat.
"You wish for your Order to be pulled into the political maelstrom that your actions will create? Then by all means, templar…bring it!" she seethed. Elirezara was fed up of the templars and their constant harassment…their constant challenging of the authority of the Grey Wardens – of their right to conscript anyone…even mages into their ranks.
The templar responded by pushing the blade up against her neck, and Elirezara felt it on the verge of breaking her skin. Despite standing her ground, she feared that the woman actually did not care if the templars went to war with the Wardens over an incident – be that her abduction and subsequent imprisonment in the Circle, or her death. She gulped as the blade's pressure on her throat increased. The standoff between the two women was excruciating, neither woman backing down, nor advancing upon the other. If Elirezara moved to take any action against her, the templar would have smote her instantly. And there was only really one direction the templar's blade could go.
As they stared each other down, the templar suddenly doubled over. Elirezara looked down to see Anders on the ground, holding himself up; a string of electrical current flowing between his fingertips and the templar in front of them. She seized the moment to push away the blade from her throat and grasp for her own weapon. With her free hand, she sent ice from her fingers at the woman, slowing her movement. With all her effort, Rylock called upon her templar training to smite them, draining their mana reserves to nothing. The elf swung her blade at the woman, catching her in the sword arm and causing her to drop her weapon. The templar, still on her feet, threw herself at Elirezara, tackling her into the barrel behind her. They crashed to the ground in a heap, Rylock upon her and her head cracking into the hard floor behind her. Without her weapon, she began to beat on the Warden with her fists, punching her face repeatedly. Anders, still weakened from the loss of his connection to the Fade, was dazed, but attempted to pull Rylock off of Elirezara. She continued to slam the elf's head into the ground until she started to lose consciousness.
A blur of motion came at them from the front of the warehouse. Anders looked up to see Justice reach out to pull Rylock off of the Commander. So it was Justice and Nathaniel who had been fighting with the templars! Anders had never been so happy to see the spirit in the entire time they were acquainted.
He whipped the woman backwards, sending her flying into the wall. When she landed on the ground, Justice reached down, grabbing the woman by the collar of her armour and pulling her up with one hand.
"You…templar," he growled low. "Your treatment of these mages is inexcusable. You will not take Anders or Elirezara. You will never take another mage again." His anger manifested itself as he slammed her into the wall again. "How dare you claim to do the Maker's work. You know nothing of what is right. What is just."
Rylock reached towards her waist, sliding a dagger from her belt into her hand. In a fluid motion, she brought it up to drive it into the chest of Justice, but he caught her wrist in his hand. He squeezed her wrist until she cried out in pain, dropping the weapon. He deftly caught the blade in his other hand; despite his body's status as a corpse, the spirit moved like lightning.
"You will no longer threaten this mage," he said to her as he drove the dagger under her armour…into her stomach. She gasped, falling forward towards him. He caught the templar in his arms and watched as she slowly slid down to the ground. He stood guard over her until she took her last breath.
The other two templars had already been taken care of – Nathaniel had seen to that. The archer approached the mages and the spirit and looked at the body of the crumpled woman on the ground.
"Is everyone alright?" he asked before noticing an unconscious Elirezara on the ground, with Anders hovering above her. "Commander!"
"We have to get her back to the inn," Anders demanded. "I can't heal her…Rylock…she drained me. I need—"
"Anders, you need to heal just as much as she does," Nathaniel interrupted. "I will bring her back. Gather yourselves and let's get ourselves away from this place."
Anders started to leave, but remembered his missing staff. He ran into the room that Rylock had come from and saw it leaning in the corner. As he crossed the room to retrieve it, he looked around, hoping to find something else…his phylactery. There was nothing…
I suppose it was too much to hope for…
A full night of rest always did wonders.
Elirezara's eyes opened to see Anders sleeping next to her. Her head throbbed as she came to fully. She touched her face gently, but the pain was incredible. She groaned and rolled on to her back. Everything ached. She'd almost forgotten why she hurt, but the memories of the night prior flooded back.
"Eli. You're awake."
She turned her head to look at him. He was lying on his stomach, arms at his sides with his face partially mashed into the bed. He reached up to push the hair out of his eyes to see her. The swelling on her face had come down some with help from his healing, but the bruises were dark upon her skin.
"I am," she replied. "And I'd much rather be asleep. I'm not certain how I even fell asleep with all this pain."
"Ah, that would be my fault," he said with a smile.
"You and your sleeping spells," she grumbled.
"I'll do it again if you don't watch it," he threatened.
"You wouldn't dare," she said. "Although, I wouldn't mind terribly if you decided to make this pain go away."
He brought his hand up to her face, lightly resting his fingertips upon her temple. An ethereal blue light enveloped his hand, as tendrils of healing energy flowed from him into her. She sighed and smiled weakly.
"Anytime, love," he said.
"Are you okay, Anders?" she asked. "I don't know what happened to you. What did they do?" She hoped she was not opening up fresh wounds by asking.
He rolled on to his side, moving closer to her and running his hand up and down her arm. "Emotional warfare only," he replied. He eyed her response. "Trust me; I'm as shocked as you."
"You seem to be taking it all in stride," she said. "Bottling things up again, I see."
He shook his head. "Eli, I'd rather not reflect on the things that woman said to me. They don't bear discussing. But…she's dead. Rylock is dead. She can't get to me any longer."
"She's dead? Did you…?"
"No," he replied. "Justice. You should have seen him Eli. It was amazing. She was on you…I tried to pull her off, but…I couldn't. And then Justice was just…there. He—" He sighed. "Actually, I don't think I want to remember it."
"Will the templars…send others?" she asked.
"I don't know," he replied. "But I don't think so. I think she was acting alone. She's always chased me. Always been the one to bring me back. Strange though…entrapment has never been her style."
"Perhaps they'll leave you alone then? This might be the freedom you've been waiting for," she said, smiling.
"What you said back there…about coming after me. Did you mean that?"
"Of course I meant it, Anders," she said. "You're my life. How could I possibly go on without you in it?"
He pulled her close to him, resting his arm on her lower back. His fingers upon her sent a shiver up her spine. He placed a soft kiss upon her forehead, carefully avoiding the bruised skin.
"I love you, Eli. You are so beautiful right now," he said.
She gave him a strange look. "If my face looks like my face feels, I find that hard to believe."
"You are bruised because you chose to come after me. There's nothing more beautiful than a woman who is willing to risk her life for the man she loves."
"My…you are terribly romantic," she said. His fingers laced into hers.
"What can I say? You make me do crazy things," he said.
"I could say the same. Don't ever run off on me like that again," she ordered.
"But if I do, promise you'll chase me?"
"I'll always chase you, Anders. You can't outrun me."