Bowen leads you through the dark alley, winding around corners and past dozens of doorways that all look alike. But you're not paying attention to any of it; you need to figure out what exactly to tell Bowen and what exactly not to tell him; and fast.
You decide right away that telling Bowen the whole story is not a good idea. It was too risky to divulge everything you knew up front; it would serve only to take away any vantage points you might have. But you had to tell him something. For some reason, you didn't think Black Bowen would believe the lie that you were following him to get an autograph.
Bowen stopps abruptly in front of a ramshackle door; the wood was chipped and the doorknob was beyond rusting. He pulls an ornate keychain from his pocket, a number of long, ancient-looking keys dangling from it. God knows what kind of treasures those keys give access to, you think, admiring a particularly beautifully hand-crafted key. As quick as they had emerged, they were shoved just as quickly back into an inside pocket in Bowen's cloak. He wrenches open the door the way you imagine a pirate would, and walks inside, neither signalling nor waiting for you to follow.
Inside was a small living space, equipped with a pitiful bed and a small hearth for a fire. Miraculously, there was also one chair in the small, dingy room as well. Bowen begins to get a fire going while you take a seat.
"Now, what's this I be hearing about you being crew on the Venture?" He asks, his back still turned to you.
"Like I said, my position was Gunner's assistant."
"Cap'n," You decide to take a chance and start asking the questions. "I thought we were heading over to the Venture?"
"Aye, m'boy, but b'fore we make our way to the Venture, I figure we better be gettin' the formalities ou' o' th'way, first...like why you were following me in the dead o' night, fer example?"
Oh. You reluctantly start to answer. "The truth is, Cap'n, I'm trying to find Rackham. When I saw you in the Sleepin' Pearl, I had a feeling you could help me."
"Aye, I'm sure I could be helpin' ye, m'boy, but tha' doesn't mean I will be."
He had successfully started a fire, the glow lighting up the entire space with orange and yellow light. He sits on the bed across from you. You each stare at one another for a moment, trying to persuade the other to reveal his tactic.
"The reason I'm looking for Rackham is because I would like a position on his ship." You state bluntly. You had no choice but to reveal more information in exchange for even a morsel of Bowen's trust.
"And why would ye be wantin' a position on ol' Rackham's ship when you' already got one aboard th' Venture?"
"That's the thing, Cap'n. I was captured not too long ago; imprisoned by the State. I received news shortly after that my ship, the Venture, had been attacked and sunk; all the men lost."
"They said tha', did they?" Bowen was curious by this. "Well, I don' know why they would be tellin' ye that, m'boy, or what they be cookin' behind yer back, but I can assure ye tha' the Venture is afloat and well." He smirked. "I'll take ye there in the mornin' and ye can be back sailin' with yer shipmates by 'morrow evenin'."
"Actually, Cap'n, I was hoping I might find Rackham instead."
Bowen raises his eyebrows. "Ye don' want to be back on the Venture? And why is tha'?"
"My shipmates, Cap'n; they're not my friends, to say the least. If I were to go back now, they would think of me as a traitor; they would assume that I'm a tool being used by the governor to gain information. I could never convince them otherwise."
You practically hold your breath while Bowen mulls the information over in his head. There's no way he bought that, you think but Bowen seems satisfied.
"Hmm, p'raps Captain Rackham will have a word or two with ye yet." Bowen stretches out on the bed and rolls over so his back is to you once more. "We best be gettin' some sleep, then."
"Cap'n," You step out on another limb. "You say the Venture is what brought you to port here. Are you doing business with the Captain?"
"And why would I be tellin' ye tha', m'boy?" He stays on his side, leaving you peering at his back. Soon you can hear the heavy breathing of sleep.