You finally locate the infiltrator. Using Guiomar’s authority, you send the man into a basement to check out the possibility of a hidden passage. There is no such passage. And the only way out will be through you.
You and two of your colleagues slip into the building’s basement a few paces behind your quarry and lock the door. The man, Lucas, turns around and sets his lantern down on a nearby dusty table. He is rail-thin with a mustache and a purple birthmark on one cheek like a splash of paint.
Lucas asks, “What’s happening here?” He draws his blade and lunges at you, but you are ready and swiftly parry the blow. You ask him to calm down, but he continues trying to fight past you. After a short time of defending yourself, you slash at his hand and he drops his sword. You smile and explain the situation. You’ve had time to think about how to handle this, and you make your proposal. You also hand him a strip of cloth and offer to bind his wound.
Lucas narrows his eyes, but allows you to draw near. He says, “You want in on the operation? Huh. I mean, I don’t really know what you’re talking about. But if I did, I wouldn’t be the one to make that call.”
You ask him who he’d like to get rid of from the Vice Admiral’s staff. He names someone. You tell him the man’s as good as dead. And in return for you implicating him instead of Lucas, you expect he will pass on your request and see what your safeguarding of their little secret is worth. The Ivory Order is now in your debt. And that’s a position with many sweet possibilities…
• • •
You report your findings to Guimar Cabral, and he seizes the man you named as traitor and hauls him off to be questioned and disposed of. He thanks you handsomely and pays you well. He says his next task for you will be training some new sailors on their way. A week later, Lucas arranges a meeting with you. You rendezvous down at The Toothless Grin Pub. You find Lucas seated at a corner table and you join him.
Lucas looks up, his purple splotch gleaming in the light of the room’s candles. “Your offer’s been accepted. And you have an assignment. Slag managed to intercept reinforcements from Europe, and replaced them with his own men. But they’re fairly green. He needs you to train ‘em. Once they’re competent enough, they will prove his key to removing Cabral and sending a message to the Johns that they won’t soon forget.”
You ask who these Johns are that you’ve heard about.
Lucas looks surprised. He says, “Ain’t you never heard of the Honorable East India Company? John Company, they call ‘em. Frankly, they’re less honorable than you or me. Would be nice if they’d keep their hands on India, but they’ve been meddlin’ in other parts. They claim to only want Slag and his men because of the crimes they’ve committed, but that’s a lie. The Johns have appointed Cabral the head of their operation, and his fleet is here to recover some precious items taken from them. They hope to crush the Ivory Order, and take back their treasure at the same time. They’ve already gotten their filthy hands on the Amber Bottle Stoppers and the Covenant Armbands.”
Lucas shakes his head and smiles. “But they’ll never take the greatest treasure of all…the sword that enabled the Ivory Order to build itself from the rubble into a power to be feared! The Masamune! An ancient katana able to sense treasure! Truly a pirate’s dream!”
You tell Lucas to speak more quietly, and his grin just broadens.
He says, “Have no fear! Your new recruits are here!” A few nearby guests look at you and nod. They appear young and inexperienced. “I had them gather here long before our meeting to occupy tables and elbow out the outsiders. The bartenders and owners are also with us. So don’t worry! Just get these fledglings ready to fly, and we can eliminate the threat to the Ivory Order. After that, we walk away with a bigger payday than you’ve ever dreamed of! Oh yes. And after you demonstrate your worth in training, your reward will be the Viveriterum, companion sword to the Masamune! They say it can raise the dead.”
You aren’t sure how you ended up here, but your opportunism is paying off! Cabral is paying you to train the very force that will depose him! Ah, the irony! Well, it’s time to train a whole new generation of cutthroats. So get out there and show them how it’s done!