A Castillian, a Vodacce, and an Avalonian Walk Into a Bar, Part 3
Enzo manages to calm Francis down, and asks if anyone else has come asking about the wine. Francis is able to confirm that Enzo was the only one who specifically asked about it; so far all other sales of the bottles were impromptu add-ons to other transactions. Enzo reasons that it’s unlikely that the crew of the Erebus knew about the contraband weapons, and asks Francis to give him an hour to investigate.
Enzo makes a beeline for the ships, and finds Signe overseeing the loading of the last of the cargo. He explains the situation that has landed in his lap, and they discuss what to do next; Enzo advocates taking the weapons off Francis’ hands and taking them far away from Avalon. Signe agrees, but makes it clear that they should do so at no additional cost or inconvenience.
Signe prepares a rune and knocks on Vicente’s door. He thanks her for her assistance in his recent endeavors, and mentions that Lord Coulthurst has made arrangements to pick him up in the morning. She questions him about the Fae, mentioning that she happened upon the House of Seabright earlier, and she was curious. He tells her what he knows of them, which is very little beyond basic folklore. It becomes clear that he doesn’t know anything about cold iron, its effectiveness against the Fae, its illegal status in Avalon, or that someone on his ship was smuggling it. She thanks him for his time and goes to bed.
Enzo sends a courier to Morgan’s Roost, asking Roland Moore to meet him at the A&M warehouse to discuss a business matter. He wheels a barrel of pickled fish over to the warehouse, and leaves it in the corner. He informs Francis that he’s invited Roland to the warehouse, and advises that if Roland comes alone, it’s likely that the crew of the Erebus are clean (relatively speaking). However, if Roland arrives with backup, then they’ll know something’s amiss (and they’ll likely have a fight on their hands).
As it turns out, their fears are unfounded, as Roland does indeed turn up alone. He is a bit perplexed as to why Enzo would ask him to this particular warehouse, and he is surprised to discover that Enzo knows Francis. Francis sends all the other workers out of the warehouse and closes up. He then confides in Roland about what he found in the case of wine, showing him the iron dagger. Roland reacts with the typical alarm of a loyal Avalonian. Enzo offers to take the weapons off Francis’ hands. Francis is grateful for someone to solve this problem for him. They stow the weapons in the bottom of Enzo’s barrel and cover them with the fish. Enzo also advises Francis to keep an eye out for anyone else looking for the wine, as they will likely be the ones that the crew of the Carnation were originally going to contact once they reached port. Roland suspects the Realists, as it’s no secret that they have been against the Fae for some time.
On his way out, Roland stops Enzo to speak privately. He mentions that Captain Blackwood received a letter from one of the ministers about a secret mission in Vaticine City from the Queen, and that the Magpie was mentioned. He says that the Captain will be meeting secretly with Lord Coulthurst in the morning, but he’s hoping to get some advance details about the mission beforehand. Enzo says that a VIP is involved, without mentioning any names. Roland puts two and two together, and thanks Enzo for his help.
At dawn, the last few sailors file onto the ships, and a carriage pulls up at the docks. Lord Coulthurst’s secretary Bernard emerges and approaches Patrick, who is on guard duty. Patrick sends Hector to inform Signe that Count Vicente’s ride has arrived. Vicente emerges, wearing the disguise that Enzo had prepared for him the other day. He quietly says goodbye to Signe and the rest of the crew, and leaves in the carriage, bound for Lord Coulthurst’s estate up near the town of Balig, northwest of Carleon. Shortly afterward, Elias’ apprentice Josiah arrives, a cart laden with equipment and merchandise in tow. Signe assigns him to the Jackdaw, so Enzo can teach him Vodacce.
The Magpie and the Jackdaw weigh anchor, unfurl sails, and set out. The weather is light and breezy when they leave, and manages to hold for the entire voyage. They make their way west, hugging the coast of Montaigne, turning south at Arisent (Enzo spots the island where they marooned the Handmaid’s crew), then turning east at La Motte. They bypass Frothing Bay and Castille, and head east-southeast toward San Felipe, and enter the Vaticine Gulf, making for Mondavi, on the western coast of Vodacce. They pass within sight of Puerto del Sur and Vaticine City, and it occurs to Signe that the Erebus may only be a day or two behind them, on their daring mission to free King Ferdinand from his opulent prison in the Basilica. During the trip they learn that Germund is quite the singer. Signe asks him about hunting monsters in Eisen. While reluctant to speak at length about it, he tells her about the dead rising after the War. Signe’s attempts to determine what other supernatural creatures might be susceptible to cold iron meet with limited success.
Two weeks after departing Carleon, the ships pull into port in Elemosina, the primary city in the Mondavi region, in early morning. Enzo is heartened by the sight of his homeland, and begins singing, and he is not the only one. Verenzio joins in, despite having an absolutely atrocious singing voice.
As they drop anchor, Enzo and Signe disembark. Upon reaching the wharf, are greeted by a familiar sight to anyone who has sailed in Vodacce: The harbormaster, accompanied by a representative of Il Banca di Bernoulli (and his clipboard). The harbormaster addresses Enzo, and barely notices Signe. He quotes an amount for the docking fee, and asks to see their shipping manifests, mentioning that for a somewhat higher fee he will forget about the paperwork. He is almost disappointed when Enzo hands over their papers, but dutifully records the transaction and gives them a receipt. Signe hands Enzo enough coin to make up the difference and tells him in Vesten to ask the harbormaster for some recommendations for food and lodging. Enzo relays the request, and the harbormaster, grateful for the opportunity to save face and still make a profit, gives them some recommendations to which Enzo can personally attest; the restaurants are all normally above his pay grade, but he recognizes the prestigious names.
The Harbormaster’s recommendations are cut short when he sees a group of four Inquisitors walking by, accompanied by four armed guards. The Harbormaster makes the sign of the cross and genuflects, but if the Inquisitors notice it (or the fact that Enzo and Signe didn’t) they don’t make anything of it. Enzo notes that they don’t have quite the swagger that they would in Castille, and the guards are on the lookout for trouble.# NotPirates