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( With a long keel, shallow draft, and aggressive wedge shape, this river cutter slides through the water silently and swiftly. Sixty feet long, it has two mainmasts, fitted with broad fore-and-aft, triangular sails. More canvas is suspended between the bowsprit and forward mast. The cutter sits low in the water, minimizing its profile. The sails can be taken down for further stealth, and the ship can instead be propelled with oars or poles from the two sunken aisles on either side of the masts. Narrow catwalks run the length of the ship between the masts and the polemens' pits, allowing access to the rigging drawn taut about the sails. Fore and aft of the pits, the ship's hull curves upward as it wraps around two cabins: the captain's cabin just behind the bow, and the crew's quarters in the rear. Between the pits and the crew's quarters sits the wheel, a worn circle of oak with brass-capped knobs which controls the rudder. The sturdy hull is hard oak reinforced with bronze. A violet banner flaps in the wind, trailing from the forward mast; it bears the sigil of Darkwater Keep, a raven perched on one of two crossed sabers. The ship's upper hull is painted with a strip of violet and one of midnight black; emblazoned on the stern is the ship's name, Pride of Darkwater.)

Wilesly emerges from below decks and sets forth at a quick stride towards the front of the boat. The boat moves along slowly, and a good deal of the boat crew is idle as they are finally underway. Small speckles of light poke out through the cloudless night. The man takes a moment to breathe in the cold air.


Hanging over the rail, the ship's carpenter studies the movement of the water with a bored expression. A few days on the ship have left her less than fresh, and her burlap clothing is rumpled and sweat-stained. "So, ee comes t' bless up topsides." She murmurs with a wry smile, glancing back over her shoulder at Wilesly. "Yer th' intrepid leader, aincha?"


Wilesly matches Loeden's wry smile with one of his own. "And does this lowly carpenter and blacksmith question my authority?", Wesley jests. He smirks lightly and gives a faint chuckle as he watches the water go past. "Yes. I'm the intrepid leader once we come ashore but I fear this is perhaps one of the bigger assignments in my life." He looks back to Loeden, "I'll do my best not to botch it all up." "I work fer who I want t' work fer, an' th' nice thing about being good at what I do means I don't hafta put up with much. Still, I signed on t' this, so I'll back y'down the line. That just doesn't mean I hafta like it." She murmurs, adjusting her faded skullcap. "I dun mind repairing boats in th' slips, but this is th' first time I've gone along with one. I'm discoverin' I get sick if the river gets too choppy."


Wilesly nods lightly, his attention back on the stars and the water again. "I love it personally. Relaxing and well...I rarely ever have time to stop thinking.", Wilesly murmurs. He turns back toward Loeden. "Tell me Mistress Whicker. Do you take me for a phony or some kind of pretty boy pretender?"


"I dunno yer well enough t' say." Loeden responds, with a rolling shrug. She gazes down into the water again, blandly. "Whaddya do with yer time when ya ain't doin' this? "


Wilesly is standing near Loeden at the bow of the boat. The pair appear to be talking quietly about something and staring out at the water. "That's the trouble of the thing. I don't know how to rightfully explain it is what I do. I am sometimes a courier, sometimes a negotiator, sometimes a diplomat, sometimes an informant, sometimes a fighter and sometimes a leader." He sighs slightly, "I do what I need to do."


"Well, that's yehr prollem." Loeden replies, brusquely. "I don't take to merchants an' th' like. A mun needs t'work the land or it's products, feel th' progress through his hands like shapin' a peice of wood t' what it wants to be. If y' don't do that, of course you'll never know whatcha are. You'll never have anythin' permenant to stay around after yer gone. It doesn't make yeh a phony, but it does make m' feel sorry for yeh."


Wilesly sighs and nods. "That's part of the reason I volunteered for this. I wanted to do something more than just throw words about. I wanted to do something important and perhaps if not leave something permament behind...leave at least some idea or legacy." He shrugs and gives a rather weak smile. "That is of course if I don't get the woman and the small bit of land I've been looking at. My father was an Innkeeper, his father was a farmer. I might have a bit left in the bloody to give it an honest go."


"Ho! A woman involved, hm? Yeh, that's prolly why yeh're unsure of things, sudden-like. Things have a way of workin' out like that." Loeden answers, pulling out a carved birch longpipe. "Lookin fer yerself is a good idea now, y'know. Cos if y'don't find it before tryin' to be that serious-like in summun else's life, yeh'll be miserable fer sure."


"You see my whole life had been about knowing more than everyone else. One day I found out that there was something more than Wildlings beyond the Aegis, cracks in the walls, Gargoyles being launched over walls and planting themselves in noble gardens.", Wesley explains. "If I didn't see what else there was, what else there was to see, what other individuals would not have me see...You are right. I would be miserable, acting out some role while I knew there is the possibility of something better lying beyond." He looks to the woman’s pipe. "I love Dianna more than anything in this world or even beyond it, but I had to know. Not just what there was but ... what sort of man I would be when words meant little and action was all that mattered. One cannot recite a line in a play if they have not read a script and if there is no script yet written...Then all that is left is the man."


"S'not something I woulda believed before." Loeden confirms, with a nod of her head. "S'crazy stuff. Yer really nuts for this gel, that's fer shure. People like that ain't logical none at all. Don't letcher drive to find yerself get any of th' rest of us killed, allright?"


"When I'm out here the expedition is my only priority.", Wesley confirms with a nod of his head. "Besides it would be very anti-climatic to get us all killed. I've a farm to get back to!" He gives an almost victorious laugh that resounds over the river. A few Deeper send a curious glance up towards the bow where Loeden and Rowena are positioned.


"A farm! I don't think yeh'll ever like farming." Another rolling-shoulder shrug, and the carpenter makes her way across the deck towards the hatch.

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