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 The Lady and the Rogue

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Silas Reed
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Private#1PostSubject: The Lady and the Rogue   Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:28 pm

The Quayside of Freehaven wasn't exactly the place for anyone of nobility, especially when the city held much more pleasant sights in the High District. For Silas however it was home. Just across the harbour from where his ship, the Red Herring, was anchored sat a snug little tavern called The Mermaid's Tale. Inside were around a dozen tables and a long bar, illuminated by lanterns and small rays of light from circular coloured windows. At the far corner of the room was Silas' favourite table, which he now occupied with two of his crewmates. 

The three of them drank quietly, Silas himself having ordered a dark rum from the lands faraway to the west. There was little to talk about and little to do except drink these days, so that is all he did. His mind dwelt adventure and excitement, an urge for such things which had yet to be sated in his life. Freehaven offered much for the freelancer, but not enough for Silas. Especially in this part where pirates and traders often ended up ripping each other apart.

It was certainly no place for a lady...
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Aradith Blackthorn
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Private#2PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:55 pm

Aradith rarely had good days and this one had been no exception. She had followed her usual pattern of waking in the early afternoon, then reluctantly getting dressed and heading into town. She would wander the streets of the Trade District for hours, stopping for something to eat, then sitting inconspicuously in Daggen Square and watching the life of Freehaven pass by. When the sun began to set she would head for her favourite tavern, The Mermaid's Tale.

Aradith sat in her usual seat near the bar, one that she sat in so frequently the barman joked that he would name it after her. She cradled her tankard of ale and stared at nothing in particular across the dimly lit room, thoughts of a vision she had last night occupying her thoughts. All she could remember from her most recent vision was a single flag, one of a red bird raised high as if on a ship, blowing in the wind. Her visions were becoming increasingly limited as she took more to drinking. This, of course, was her intention. As she pondered what it meant she noticed a large man enter through the door, an expression on his stern face as though he was searching for trouble.
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Silas Reed
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Private#3PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:04 am

"Ey, Reed." The man beside Silas gave him a rather harsh nudge, obviously because he was barely sober. "Is that girl again." He gestured roughly towards the woman seated by the bar, the same one even Silas had noticed seemed to frequent the place. Ironically she seemed not to be the usual type, but yet she blended in rather well all things considered.
"If you had an ounce of willpower in you, you might not get hammered so easily you have to stalk ladies in bars." Silas retorted finally, taking a gulp of his own ale before he too noticed a large man enter with the look of a vagabond painted all over him.

"Whadd'ya reckon to that lass who hangs by the dock? Reckon I've got a chance." The drunken man rambled on now, largely being ignored by Silas due to his diverted attention. Of all the choices in the room, the newcomer seemed to be moving closer to the bar. Whether it was his need for adventure or some kind of instinct to protect innocent women, Silas seemed only to be concerned for this lady at the moment. As if in preparation he placed his mug down, ready to move should it be warranted.
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Private#4PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:14 am

Aradith was wary as the man approaching the bar seemed to have his gaze fixed directly on her. She had experienced her fair share of male intrigue at places such as this but never had she been approached so directly. "Sorry darlin but you're in my seat." he spoke in an aggravated tone, the room grew gradually more silent as people turned to look. 
"I'm sorry but I think you'll find I'm quite comfortable here, in my seat." Aradith replied with an agitated smirk, turning to ignore the man and return to her musings. She had fully expected that to be the end of the matter, most men of his...type...gave up and moved on. It soon became apparent that this brute had a fixation with the seat that quite enraged Aradith. "I said move." He spoke more loudly now, commanding the room into near silence. Aradith slammed her tankard onto the bar, and stood to her feet. The man was perhaps a good foot taller than her and smelled as though he'd consumed every alcohol in the city. "And I said no." She exclaimed in return, the room seeming to collectively gasp in anticipation of the brute's next move.
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Silas Reed
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Private#5PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:20 am

"Is kickin' off now." The drunken man commented, to which Silas shot him a cold glare, hushing him to be silent. He turned back to the affair, standing from his seat and approaching the two slowly. Everyone else had indeed gone silent, yet stayed in their seats as it was little concern to them who got glassed at this bar.
"Excuse me, but that is her seat." Silas spoke up, keeping a relaxed tone for now despite the man clearly not holding the same. "How about a drink?" He spread an arm out casually to the bar in offer.

Something told him though that the man was not going to accept, and so Silas kept his wits about him. Although he was not exactly in a fighting stance he was ready in anticipation for the man to make a hostile move. Part of him actually wanted the man to try something, it'd been a while since he'd had a good fight...
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Private#6PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:34 am

Aradith anticipated that this was about to get ugly. She felt for the dagger that rested under her jacket by her hip, her hand lingering over the grip. Another man approached from the far corner of the room. Great, she thought, another one. Yet his man was not approaching to further the brute's cause, in fact he seemed to assume that Aradith needed defence. A nice sentiment, and yet he could not have been more mistaken. As he offered the man a drink in a calm and suave tone, Aradith could not help but smile in disbelief. 
"Much appreciated," she began with a hint of sarcasm, "but I'm sure I can take it from here." The man from across the bar looked at her in almost disbelief. However, in between this exchange the brute had become impatient with his mission to conquer the seat. He reached to swat Aradith out of the way like a fly, as she pulled her dagger out at the same time. As his fist struck her across the face with a sharp pang, her balance faltered and the dagger fell to the floor. Well, she thought, I'm going to have to do this the old fashioned way.
Spitting blood to the floor she turned to strike the man in return, hitting him square across the face. As he stumbled backwards she took the chair and swung it with all her might, hitting the man precisely across the head. He fell to the floor with an almighty crash, the chair shattering across the room.
"Here," she said, "The chair's all yours."
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Silas Reed
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Private#7PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:09 am

Silas was rather taken aback by her comment, lowering his arm and stepping back slightly. 
"Oh," He said, processing the reply. "Alright then." Soon enough the brutish man lashed out at her, yet even after what she had said Silas still felt a need to jump in. It would turn out however that he really was unneeded, since within moments the man was laying on his back with pieces of broken chair atop of him. Whilst the woman would have reason to feel achievement, Silas gave her a look that she ought not to.

"Ey! A piece o' that hit me!" One man called out from beside the bar.
"That ruined my fuckin' drink!" Another shouted from elsewhere. Before long the whole tavern was piping up, people laying claim to their own chairs and arguing with each other over the rules of such things. Silly arguments of course, but in a place like this people would take any reason to fight.

"Come on." Silas gestured to the woman for them to leave, making way for the door. They made it half way there before two more men turned to block them, obviously wanting a piece of action before they went home. Without further ado Silas took the man on the left, sending a sharp jab of his fist right for his stomach. Keeling over in pain, the man then received a kick to the back of the knee sending him down to the floor. To finish him off Silas grabbed the nearest pint-glass, throwing it down to smash over the mans head, leaving the tavern without watching him fall unconscious. 

Once outside, hopefully with the woman, he made haste towards his ship.
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Private#8PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:25 am

As the bar erupted into chaos Aradith thought that leaving with the rogue was a good idea. Amidst the mayhem she reached for her tankard and finished the remnants of her drink. She made haste to the door, carefully avoiding shards of broken chair. Two men stepped forward to block the door and as the rogue set to defeating the man on the left, Aradith sized up her opponent. This man was considerably smaller than the brute from the bar, scrawny and looking like he needed a good clean. As Aradith went to strike the man in the jaw his arm grabbed her wrist in a sharp grip. As he attempted to contort her arm, she lunged forwards with a kick right between the man's legs and he fell to the floor in agony. His grip around her wrist released, leaving a red mark where his hand had been, and as the rogue stepped forward to leave the bar she gave her writhing opponent one last kick in the stomach. He began to mutter insults and curse words at her, but she wasn't interested, she was leaving...
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Private#9PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:03 pm

"You made it, now be careful. The guard's coming." Silas warned the woman, pulling her in towards him gently so that they looked as if they were walking normally together. With his spare hand he managed to lift a hat from one of the passing stalls, placing it upon his head and tipping the brim down so that his face was difficult to see. Sure enough within seconds a troop of the city's guards came around the corner, passing by the two of them towards the Mermaid's Tale. 

Once they were well out of sight and Silas' ship came closer, he tossed the hat aside into the hands of a beggar. 
"The Red Herring," He announced, gesturing at the ship just to their left. It was a modest size craft with already a few men visible working on it's deck. A light-coloured wood made it stand out slightly from the dirtier boats around, along with a flag raised above it's mast.

The flag of a red bird.
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Private#10PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:26 pm

Aradith was slightly taken aback when the rogue, who seemed confident to say the least, pulled her towards him. Aradith did not share his concern at the guards, she was a noble lady and for that reason she was never regarded with suspicion by the town guards, not even if it was warranted. She simply straightened her posture and made an effort to cover her mouth where her lip was still throbbing from the strike she had taken earlier. She knew that the rogue would meet no further trouble from the guard's tonight, walking with a noble had given him all the disguise he needed. As they reached the Quayside an array of ships came into view. 

The rogue gestured to his boat proudly, "The Red Herring" Aradith repeated. Her attention was drawn to the flag hoisted above the mast, the flag that seemed so familiar. She had this feeling regularly, the deja vu of seeing one of her visions come to realisation. She tried to hide her surprise not wanting to rouse suspicion. Something had wanted her to find this ship, perhaps to find this rogue, so she resolved to stay. 

The thought dawned on her that she did not even know this rogue's name, "And you are?" she asked.
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Private#11PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:42 pm

"Silas Reed," He answered with a courteous nod. "Usually just 'Reed'." Sitting down on a crate behind him, Silas squinted his eyes to properly examine this lady as he looked up at her. "And who are you, might I ask? Not every day you see a lady in a barfight, much less for her to win." A hand raised quickly. "No offense to all the ladies out there of course."

"So what's your game? You a spy? Dodgy merchant? Gotta be something about you right?" Silas shot a smirk at her, eager to hear who and what exactly she was.
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Private#12PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:50 pm

"Aradith" she confessed, "Aradith Blackthorn. And, although it's hard to believe, I have no dodgy business. I'm just a woman who likes to drink." She exclaimed, the alcohol that she had consumed in the tavern earlier making her more willing to divulge information that she would normally be. "In fact the goods I sell are sought after all across Vallos." She paused for effect, "I possess a crate of the last Thornberries on the continent." Although normally she might be sad to consider the last of her families produce dying out, on this evening she was simply proud to possess it. She couldn't tell from Silas' face whether he recognised the Blackthorn name, but yet you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Vallos who hadn't heard of the tragedy of the Thorn Isle. 

"And what about you?" She asked, "A smuggler? A swindler?"
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Private#13PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:26 pm

"Right..." Silas at first took the fact she called herself 'Blackthorn' with some skepticism. There was little chance she was actually the lady of House Blackthorn that all the stories were about. Not only was it unlikely, but she had seemed to have drunk quite abit. Despite all this though he couldn't help but perk up at hearing the mention of Thornberries.

"I'm a... trader," He started, lifting himself up from the crate he sat on. "If what you're saying is true and you have a crate of Thornberries, then I have a feeling we can work together." His eyes lit up at the prospect of a job, as if it were an adventure.

"I know somewhere that'll buy your crate for double whatever you've been getting for it. My ship will manage the trip, I can have her ready by morning. Only catch is I get a share, for the trouble." He shot a smile at her, waiting and hoping that she would agree (and that she was telling the truth).
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Private#14PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:50 pm

Aradith sensed that Silas, like many others, did not believe that she was a true Blackthorn but rather a pretender or some drunken woman. She didn't fret this point as she knew the second Silas saw Ivy, her beloved Great-Sword, there would be no way to deny who she was. She carefully considered his offer, more money is what she needed, her funds were running out swiftly. Normally she would have told him to leave her alone, she didn't take kindly to a disruption in her routine. And yet the vision she had seen of the flag had persuaded her that perhaps Silas could be trusted. 
"Well I have nothing better to do. And of course, you will get a share of the profit for your troubles." She extended her hand for him to shake, 
"I think we have ourselves a deal."
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Private#15PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:40 pm

"Prepare for sail, we should have a job today lads." Silas announced to the Red Herring's crew, which scattered about to begin preparations. "If she was telling the truth." He muttered to himself in addition, turning to look out across the Quayside. Leaning forward and resting both hands on the wooden rail of the ship, he scanned the view for any sign of the lady. Slowly his head shook, already doubting himself.

"Lady Blackthorn with a crate of rare berries..." Silas sighed, turning back around to look out to sea. Was he really so desperate for adventure he believed the words of a drunken lady? Hopefully soon he would find out whether his naivety had paid off...
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Private#16PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:58 pm

Aradith took a deep breath of the sea air as she wandered down to the Quayside. Her great-sword was proudly strapped to her back for all to see. She hadn't worn this sword in a long time, she smiled to herself as she imagined her father's relief to see Ivy in use once again. She had given a guard a couple of gold pieces to assist her to the dock with the crate of Thornberries. She felt a little worse for wear after her escapades the night before, a swollen lip didn't exactly add to her aesthetic of refinement. As she reached the Quayside she noticed Silas aboard the Red Herring, he was looking dubiously across the dock, probably doubting that she was actually going to show. As the guard placed the crate down next to the ship, the Blackthorn crest stamped on the side, Aradith looked up at a stunned Silas. 

"Well then Captain Reed, when do we set sail?" She beamed.
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Private#17PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:22 pm

Snapping his head around, Silas looked between Aradith and her stamped crate. After a few moments of disbelief, a heavy smile set upon his face.
"Straight away, my lady." He shot up from the rail, kicking the ladder gently down to the dock for her to board. "Lads, get that crate aboard, ready the anchor." As he spoke his men hurried around, some heading for the anchor while several others hopped off the ship to secure the crate on a winch to be lifted.

Meanwhile Silas himself waited at the top of the ladder, a hand held out to assist her last steps.
"How are you at sea? It's a few days sail to Ironhelm." Once Aradith was aboard his men would raise the ladder, returning to their stations for sail. "I have a Dwarven friend who'll pay the price you're looking for. We'll stop off on the East side of Ironhelm, travel by land to the city, then my boys will bring the ship round to Asant for us to leave from the west." He tapped the wood of his ship, before climbing the stairs up to the wheel.

"Say the word, Lady Blackthorn, and we set sail." Silas spoke as if mocking her title, a sly smirk on his face looking down at her.
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Private#18PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:45 pm

Aradith couldn't help but feel like a young girl again as she boarded the ship, it reminded her of the one her father had commanded. This is the closest she had felt to her old self in a long time. She assured Reed that the days of sailing would be no problem, she was no first time sailor.  
"Let's waste no time then, onwards we go Captain Reed." She spoke, mocking his title as he had mocked hers. She watched the Quayside grow slowly more distant as the ship moved out of dock, this being the first time she had left Freehaven in years. 
"I hope we have the wind on our side." She said to Reed as he steered the ship, the weather certainly seemed pleasant enough. Aradith, for once, did not have her usual feeling of foreboding about this excursion. She looked up at the flag blowing in the wind above the sails and gave a slight nod, assured she was making the right choice. 

Walking up to the quarterdeck and gazing at the abyss of sea ahead, "It feels good to be back on the open water", she said.
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Private#19PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:34 pm

The sun set on the water and rose again in the morning, at which point the Pine Isle came into view. It was bigger than it seemed on a map, painting silhouettes of trees against the morning sky. Silas stepped down from the wheel, passing control over to another of his crew, moving towards the front of the ship to watch their docking. As soon as Aradith awoke and came up on deck he would turn to her, flashing a warm smile.

"Good morning, we're stopping at the Pine Isle for a short while. You've got some time to go shopping if you like." He moved to the starboard side of the ship now as the pier pulled up beside them slowly. "That's what ladies do, right?" A chuckle ended his joking, before he turned to an approaching crewman.

"Keep an eye on the town, report back with anything." Silas said, then looking back to Aradith. "Would you like to accompany me, Lady Blackthorn? I'll buy you a bottle of wine for the rest of the travel." Assuming she would follow, since there was nothing else to do on the ship while it was docked, he lowered a ramp to the pier and offered his hand to assist her down it.

"Do you travel much?" He asked out of curiosity as they continued towards the village, thinking this kind of idle time would be best spent getting to know the Lady of House Blackthorn.
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Private#20PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:51 pm

"I used to travel often," She began, "my father was eager to have me and my brothers accompany him on trade voyages. My older brother Casimir was far more interested in reading than sailing, and Gideon was a little too young, so it was mainly me and my father." She said looking to Reed, who seemed intent to learn more about her.
"This isn't my first time on the Pine Isle, I visited the Greypine's as a child with my father and the old Lord, Brendon, had brought his son Kristopher to the Thorn Isle one summer."

Aradith had heard that Lord Brendon had passed away quite suddenly and Kristopher was now the lord of the Isle. How times had changed.

"Have you ever tried Thornberries Reed? There's nothing quite like them. We should keep a bottle to share when this is all over." She said. Aradith admired their surroundings as they walked up from the dock and towards the town of Woodpier. The island was beautiful, in Freehaven it was easy to forget the simplistic beauty of trees, but on the Pine Isle a canvas of greenery was all that could be seen.

"Woodpier is a lovely town, or so I remember. It has been a while." She chuckled.
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Private#21PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:03 pm

"Interesting, I never gave much thought to whether nobility traveled. I guess I always had the idea they just sat around and counted their gold." Silas smiled, although he was telling the truth. As a child he'd merely glimpsed nobility in the form of passing Merchant Lords, or speeches from the council at Freehaven. Never had he really spoken to a Lord or Lady, atleast not without trying to cheat them of something.

"I myself travel alot, mainly within the bay. Not much reason to go south with all the Orcs running around these days. Evantis is a bit of a dump, and..." His voice trailed off, almost mentioning Shadowholme until he remembered who he was talking to. "But yeah, I know there's a good wine vendor right about... here." They turned the corner to a wooden hut, the front of which opened out into a stall holding various bottles and glasses. 

"Ah, Reed! Nice to see you again! I see you've brought a companion this time." The man at the stall seemed cheery and welcoming, examining Aradith as she was a new sight to him.
"Yeah, laugh it up. The lady needs a bottle for the journey ahead." Silas smirked as he scanned the bottles available, before looking to Aradith to see what she wanted.
"Might I suggest my Jungle Wine? It's grown from a berry found only in the thick jungles in a continent far south from Vallos. Or maybe the lady prefers something stronger? Arcadian Wine brings more of a kick some would say."
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Private#22PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:24 pm

Aradith had been told by her parents not to speak to men of opportunity such as Reed, never mind travel with their sort, and yet she found him to be surprisingly decent. The mention of wine also peaked her interest. She looked across the array of differing bottles reading each label with care, most sounding like they had come from the south or the west.
"Yes, the Jungle Wine sounds perfect, thank you." She decided showing some decorum might be in order after her drunkenness the other night, perhaps Arcadian wine and a ship were not a good mix. It was as the man at the stall handed over the wine, engaged in jovial conversation with Reed, that Aradith began to feel uneasy. For a second Reed and the merchant didn't seem to notice, she took a few steps back from the stall. She knew what was happening. Reed looked concerned,
"I'm fine," she stuttered through the pain that was beginning to surge through her head, "It's nothing, I'm just going to sit down." She found her way to a tree stump nearby and sat down, pressing her hands to her temples in an attempt to subdue the pain. Visions always occurred at the most inconvenient times.

The vision came to her in flashing images, the first thing she could make out was a pier. Perhaps it was the one here in the Pine Isle, she couldn't be sure. She could only make out the structure of worn wood and the water bellow. The sound of rushing water began to fill her ears. Seconds before the vision came to an end she thought she saw a figure cloaked in black, but the pace of the flash made it seem more like a ghost or a shadow than a person. Then the sound of a drawing sword. Then nothing.

She returned from her vision to see several concerned villagers and Reed, looking down at her.
"Sorry about that folks, just a bit sea sick." She exclaimed with nervous laughter. Her temples still throbbing, the sound of the sword still ringing in her ears.

"Maybe I'm not as seaworthy as I remember."
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Silas Reed
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Private#23PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:41 pm

"Right..." Silas watched as Aradith moved to sit down, obviously affected by something suddenly washing over her. "She drank a lot last night." He looked back the the wine vendor, handing him a small pouch of coins before leaving to see if Aradith was okay. By then she seemed to have recovered, attempting to laugh it off. "If you say so." He offered a hand out to help her stand. "Maybe buying you more alcohol was a bad idea." 

The walk back to the ship consisted of Silas keeping a wary eye on Aradith, in case she decided to feint or become sick again in the middle of town. Luckily enough though they managed to make it back, at which point one of the crewmen pulled Silas aside and whispered something to him. Looking concerned at Aradith he then gave the order for the ship to move.
"There's been whispers in the town, someone's following us." He explained quietly to her whilst unfastening a rope, his eyes darting around the pier. It was then he noticed the cloaked figure at the other end watching them closely.

"You got any enemies I should know about?" He asked, keeping his eyes trained on the cloak man as their ship slowly turned to leave the dock.
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Aradith Blackthorn
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Private#24PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:48 pm

"Following...us?" Aradith couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. Why would anyone be interested with her? She had no real status anymore, no lands and certainly no enemies. Most people didn't even believe that a Blackthorn had truly survived. So why on Vallos would anyone be following her? This led her to conclude it was Reed that was the real cause of their new stalker.

She noticed that Reed had become fixated on something on the dock as the ship began to move away. Then she saw it too. Like a ghost, like a shadow, the cloaked figure from her vision stood by the shore, his face could not be seen. She always thought the inconvenient timings of her visions were quite amusing, what good were they if some happened weeks before an event and some seconds? She turned to answer Reed's question.

"I think a rogue certainly has more enemies than a Lady."
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Private#25PostSubject: Re: The Lady and the Rogue   Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:20 pm

"Well that's very..." Silas gave her a look out of the corner of his eye, still not quite ready to take his eyes of the distancing cloaked man. "Assuming of you." He finally smirked as he turned away, giving some orders for their next course to be set. "Someone as shady as that doesn't follow you from Freehaven to the Pine Isle over a grudge on a rogue." His hand moved up to feel his stubble, thinking for a moment.

"It must be the Thornberries. What else is worth chasing so much on here?" He moved his hand to gesture to the ship, showing that there was nothing else on board. "We've got speed on our side anyway, it's only a day or two to the coast, then we take the caravan to Ironhelm."

"You should get some sleep, my lady." Silas patted her on the shoulder, before moving past her and up to the wheel. There he took over, staring out to sea carefully steering their course.
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The Lady and the Rogue
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