Sort of a stage-setter for my GC4 entry.
The Docks of Durrough:
Andared followed the pair through the streets of Durrough and down to the eastern piers. Throughout the entire time, neither one of them had said nary a word. Although both had cast suspicious and fleeting glances at passersby.
Andared decided to remain silent until he was certain these men could accommodate him. He did not have to wait long, however, as the men wasted no time in their route. In a matter of minutes, Andared spotted a small clipper tied to one of the upper docks. Once he was certain the ship was theirs', Andared quickened his step and caught up with his quarry.
"Good day to you, sirs!" He called out as he approached them.
The surlier of the two snapped his head back and subtly rested his hand on his dagger.
"And a fine day to you as well," the other man replied, nudging his partner.
Comprehending the message, the surly man slowly took his hand off the dagger.
"What do you need?" he asked gruffly. Clearly uninterested in hearing the reply.
"I'm in a dire position I'm afraid." Andared began. "You see, I have urgent business up in Garheim, but I cannot find any ship to grant me passage. All of the regular trade ships have been commissioned, as you're well aware, I'm sure."
The taller (and more friendly of the two) looked over Andared appraisingly. "And I suppose you want us to take you there?"
The man said nothing for a moment, seemingly weighing the proposition over in his mind.
"Well," he finally spoke. "We are headed up north. As long as you can pay your fare, I see no problem taking you along with us. Though I warn you it will be uncomfortable."
Andared smiled. "Of course, that should be no trouble at all. Just let me get my things and inform the dockmaster of our leave."
As the last words crept out of Andared's mouth, the man's demeanor instantly changed.
"Ah, well...There will be, uh, no need for that you see." He stuttered. "He's already been informed. We did that on the way here."
Andared's eyes dilated at the blatant lie. In an effort to conceal his awareness of this, he faked coughing fit. Even as he did this, he saw the glint of a shield, bearing the emblem of a bear, lying inside the ship.
'That's the crest of Arrowford...' He thought to himself. 'And that means these men are Loreesi!'
"Oh," Andared moaned, pretending to recover from the fit. "I apologize, what were you saying? Oh yes, the manifest. Very well then, just let me get my things and I'll be ready to go!"
With that, Andared hurried off as the two men curiously looked on.
* * *
Garth frowned as the man walked away from them. You sure it's a good idea, taking that runt on our ship? The commander won't like any changes in plans."
Flashing a mischievous smile, Finik turned to his partner. "Don't worry, that pushover is never going to see any Garheim shore. As soon as we clear the docks we'll kill him and take whatever he has. The sea will dispose of the body for us and nobody's the wiser."
Garth nodded his head and gave a low chuckle as he walked back to the ship. Finik, who was quite pleased with himself, leaned against the side of the boat.
These Lenfel's haven't got the slightest clue about what's going to happen. We'll steal their gold from right underneath their noses, starting with this idiot. After all, what harm could this peasant possibly do?.....
* * *
When Andared returned to the ship, he was not alone. Immediately after he left the two Loreesi, he had gone to see the captain of the guard at Durrough. After a quick explanation, the captain had agreed to go down to the docks and investigate Andared's claims. As they walked up to the ship, one of them was busily barking orders at the other as he lowered the sail.
"Excuse me, fellows," the captain called out. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to search your boat."
The one barking orders drew a sharp breath. "On w-w-what pretense?"
"Your boat is not registered at these docks and therefore should not be here," the captain replied, stepping onto the boat. "Furthermore, it seems you bear the emblem of Arrowford, a Loreesi harbor, on your shield. Loreesi are currently forbidden from stepping foot in Lenfald..."
The man began to panic now, his eyes darted to and fro, searching for an explanation. "Oh, you mean that old thing? We found that floating in the sea and thought we might sell it for some coin."
"Is that a fact?" The captain said, picking up the shield. "Because this shield seems to be made of rather sturdy metal. Metal, as you surely know, does not float."
The Loreesi didn't bother to answer. Turning around, he jumped off the boat deck and began stumbling away. His flight was cut short when Andared grabbed the back of his collar and threw him to the ground.
"You're headed somewhere else, Loreesi."
The other one hadn't even had time to run before the captain drew his sword on him. While the other said nothing, Andared's captive struggled to break loose, swearing viciously the whole time.
"You don't know who you're dealing with! You don't stand a chance against us. When we take back Durrough, I'll see to you myself!"
Later that day, the captain spoke with Andared on what the prisoner had said before being locked up.
"So do you think he meant it? About Durrough being attacked?" The captain asked.
"Possibly," Andared replied. "It doesn't seem unlikely that they would target one of Lenfald's largest shipyards."
The captain only grunted, mulling over the possibility of a siege.
"At any rate," Andared continued. "I wouldn't take any chances on it. Best to prepare for the worst."
The captain only nodded. For a while, neither of them said anything. The captain seemed to be considering something and Andared had no qualms with letting him. Finally, the captain leaned forward and spoke.
"Listen, you said you were heading up towards Garheim. I don't know what business you have up there and I'm not sure I want to know. The point is, that Loreesi ship is too small to be used by the navy. As far as I'm concerned, it's not on the logbook so it shouldn't be here anyway. If you want it, it's yours."
Andared lept at the chance. "I can't think you enough, captain. I'm most grateful."
"Bah, it's the least I could do. You may have saved this entire port from falling into the hands of Loreos. Even so, I wouldn't waste any time getting out of here," the captain said with a wink.
"As you wish," Andared grinned. "Again, my thanks."
Giving a partial bow, Andared walked out the door and continued his journey.