emily knew the sea could be as treacherous as it was beautiful, knew that she'd die sailing the ocean ever since she was young. as a child, these dreams were viewed as flights of fancy to other people, mostly adults who took her words with a grain of salt rather than the truth that they were at face value. it was when she started to grow up and come into her own that her aspirations were under fire, made to seem like they were nothing more than empty promises made by a girl who clearly didn't know any better. some blamed it on the lack of a mother, on a man who refused to find another partner and chose to raise a child on his own and encouraged too many far fetched ideas from that child. a woman couldn't do this, a woman couldn't do that, a woman had no place in the role of a man. being the daughter of a sailor had poisoned her mind, they said, but she wasn't inclined to believe in any of it. she was surrounded by people putting limitations on her and saying she couldn't, saying she was better off with the other women who may as well have been broodmares and scullery maids in her eyes. having grown up too adventurous and too curious about the world around her, emily had long since held no intentions to be the mother of a man's children left to sit back and do nothing whilst there was and entire world out there for her to see and sail. no, emily wasn't going to do any of that.
it had taken her years to get her own boat and crew together. naturally, none of the people in her small, ocean side town - other than her father - wanted anything to do with emily's plans, which was fine. she didn't want a crew full of people who doubted her every move, who would rather watch her fail and finally learn better than succeed in her dreams. she'd been on boats for as long as she could remember so there wasn't much for her to learn by the time she was ready to be a captain. her father had even used money he'd been secretly stowing away for years just to help her get the boat of her dreams, designed by her own had just so she'd know the ins and outs of it long before building was finished. that first time out on the water with her own boat and the freedom to explore as she pleased was the most exhilarating thing imaginable, an experience that was surely once in a lifetime because who had ever heard of a woman being captain of a ship. she wanted people to know that she was capable of doing things that everyone said she couldn't. she wanted to wipe off the disappointed looks from the people in her village and replace them with awe. but even after she had proven herself somewhat back home, the outside world was a bit of a different story. sure, she was able to muscle together a crew eventually, but there were as many hardships she had to endure that were similar to how she started out anyway. not every sailor was willing to listen to a woman, and her crew was very ragtag at best, but she wouldn't replace any of them for anything. the fact that she was able to gain people's trust and respect was more than she could have asked for. and it was most likely for that reason that she was doomed to fail from the very start. hell, not even then. more like she was doomed to fail from birth.
no sailor could fully survive a storm without some casualties, whether it be the crew or the ship itself. emily had seen her fair share of deaths just on her father's boat alone, good people who had been lost to the sea they so loved. it never got any easier the more she saw it, and she didn't think it ever would. she was familiar with storms on the sea, of being drenched in rain and seawater just to weather it out as best as possible. it didn't matter how well prepared, how well stocked they were; the sea would take whatever she wanted to take. the sky had looked dreadful the morning before, but it was only a forewarning of the night to come. the waves crashed and rocked her ship around as if it were nothing more than a toy, something to play with until it was tired and moved on to something else. her crew had done their very best; emily knew that without having to ask. not that she could now even if she wanted to. sometime in the night, the storm had cracked the side of her ship open, and it had sank without hope of being saved. there was nothing anyone could have done, not even her, the woman who had - up until this point - defied all odds and owned her own ship and crew. where her crew was now she had no idea. as much as emily wanted to give space to those who were most likely lost, she couldn't, not when she was lost as well, stranded on a piece of her own ship in unfamiliar and cold waters. the sea did little to calm her in this moment like it had in the past. she had to find land or at least another boat if she was going to survive. however, her strength was sapped still from the night before, and all emily could do for the moment was let herself lay and float along the water to wherever it decided to take her. she'd always known she was going to die on the sea, but she wasn't quite ready to face that end just yet. her body didn't seem to want to listen to her will, though. regardless, emily was stubborn and lifted her head up despite her body's protests, looking out to see if she could find land. however, her scan of the sea came to a stop when she show something strange on the rocks ahead, still too far for her to clearly see, yet too odd and out of place for her to not notice. was it one of her crew? was it a dream she was having? emily had no idea, but she was about to find out as her piece of driftwood carried her closer and closer.