iii) The gang treks to the harbour

The gang treks to the harbour, where stained and leaking fishing boats bob in the gentle tide. Fishermen and townsfolk give them the side-eye as they pass — word has travelled fast of the morning’s events.

Further north at the docks they find fewer people. This end is shady and cool, with only the odd greybeard casting his line into the green water. The gang mimes a fun and friendly conversation, but the fill of their garments and overall gloom of their demeanour means the illusion is a difficult sell. Still, they get closer and closer to a four-seater rowboat, tied up near a young man snoozing in a folding chair.

“This is it,” Cang whispers.

“We’re gonna steal it?” Fassn asks.

“Quiet. Not steal, borrow,” Cang replies.

“I’d feel better about this if we paid for it,” Shyan says.

“Go ahead, then, if you can spare the coin.”

Shyan flushes gently. Her gear, like all of theirs, is somewhere behind them, in the castle. Meanwhile, Cang is already at the ropes, quickly untying them.

The snoozing man stirs.

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