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As Shadows Fall; Tag Elena & Jouko
Topic Started: Jul 28 2013, 03:04 PM (1,575 Views)
Micah Silva
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Assassin/ Tavern boy
Civilian
[align=center]Date: November 30th, 1719
Place: - Waters just off Havana, Cuba
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Evening was falling and making the water shine with its brilliant hues of orange and red. Micah loved the way it looked and could have stared wistfully at it until the stars came out. Unfortunately he didn't have that kind of time. The allotted three days had passed and he now had to report to the Alondra which was moored at one of the farther docks. It was eerie how little activity there was at the docks with the blockade in place. Normally even into the wee hours there was a heavy bustle about Havana's port. Now it was almost a ghost town. This had to end or he knew what would begin to happen. He would always be a Spaniard, and he did have a certain amount of compassion for his people. He was still completely doing this for the money, but it if helped his people too, that was more than alright with him.

He moved with his usual silent grace across the well-worn wood of the docks. His gear was all stowed in his pack, a large and oddly bulged rucksack over his shoulder. He was still dressed as Micah, the young tavern boy. Light, loose-fitting clothes and soft-soled sandals, with his seashell anklet tinkling softly with each step were his chosen attire for work during the day. It would be too suspicious for him too show up in full Songbird regalia. He figured he could change on the ship. A rolled up set of plans was clasped loosely in his other hand for the Captain. The Admiral had been very good on his word so far. The basic ship layout, as well as a good description of the Rear-Admiral had been delivered by his man first thing in the morning following their clandestine meeting.

He'd left instructions with the tavern mistress that should he not return a man would come for his trunk and if it was kept safe she'd be generously rewarded. He'd penned a few letters and tucked them inside the trunk as well, then turned over the key to her along with a few pieces of gold as incentive. She was an honest, motherly woman, so he felt he could trust her. She had seemed concerned and gave him a small bundle of food to take along. It had made him smile. He didn’t seem to do that often enough since he became stuck in Havana.

The ship finally came into view and he found himself recalling the Admiral’s words. She did seem quick and he took a moment to admire her. Small, light, quick. The irony was not lost on him and he chuckled softly as he approached. One of the deckhands looked up at him and was about to bark at him to go away. He cut the man off with what he liked to think of as his ‘I have ice-water in my veins’ tone. ”I am expected by your captain. Tell him The Songbird has arrived.” The man paused and stared hard at him for what seemed like an age. He stared back coolly and after what he felt was too long, he made a ‘run along’ gesture. The man said something uncouth under his breath and Micah rolled his eyes. Maybe he should have dressed, but he hadn’t wanted to draw too much attention.

After several long moments again, the man returned. ”The Captain will see you.” He seemed a bit subdued and didn’t really look at Micah as he escorted him to the Captain’s office/cabin. He wasn’t sure which, but he put his day self away and let his alter ego take over. He’d apparently need it to deal with the crew. He couldn’t really be upset; after all he cultivated his persona, and made others underestimate him on purpose. A swift knock on the door and the crewman opened it for him. He gave the man a nod and stepped past him into the room. The Songbird was fully in control now, and such would seem a bit out of place with his appearance. ”Here he is Captain.”

He couldn’t help arching a brow at the man’s tone, but that was the last of the attention he’d pay him. He settled his bag down next to the door and approached the Captain. ”I have the plans here. I assume you’ll wish to discuss them briefly before we set out? I will also require a cabin where I can change and prepare.” He was all business once more.
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Venceslas Romero, Spanish Captain[/align]

Captain Romero was sitting and observing sea charts in his cabin. The admiral had given him an interesting commission and it was also one which required quite much carefulness. He didn't know all the details of this venture yet. He was tired as he had spent the whole day in sunshine observing loading of powder and provisions. The hold was full enough and the cutter was ready to sail when needed. Now Captain Romero sat behind his desk trying to cool himself with a hand fan.

Then a deckhand, named Fierro, came to tell him that the songbird had arrived. Vencelas answered “Let him in”. Captain Romero was thinking “The Songbird? What a nickname? Is he an assassin or a musician?” he grinned. It wasn't important what the man’s nickname was but it still amused him.

The man came into the cabin. Vencelas was somewhat surprised to the man’s appearance. The young man looked like a mere tavern servant. He was also younger than Vencelas had expected. Captain Romero himself was already wearing his silk night shirt as it was evening. He felt that the man didn't greet him properly. Instead, the Songbird went straight to the point. In a way it was convenient as there were no unnecessary courtesy. So Vencelas was fine with that. He replied “Yes, señor, we shall discuss our plans. The admiral’s orders hadn't many details since he decided that you should bring the actual plans with you. As you did. Well let’s study them soon…”

The man wanted an own cabin just like Vencelas had anticipated. He answered “Yes I have cleared the doctor's quarters for you. So the cabin is now completely yours. It isn't very wide but… I hope it isn't a problem. This is not a large ship… Oh, and señor I hope the mild smell of dried blood won’t disturb you too much… The room was a sickbay before...”. The captain thought that a person like this "Songbird" was used to the smell of blood. Also, in his small cutter the doctor’s cabin was the second largest room. Vencelas had no intentions to give his own larger cabin to the man.

Vencelas was usually rather hospitable. He had no intentions to be any less hospitable with this young man. He asked politely “But before we study the plans let’s have glasses of my fine Canary wine. Or do you prefer rum instead?” Vencelas didn't know what young assassins used to drink.

[align=center] This post has been written by JOUKO[/align]
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Micah Silva
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Assassin/ Tavern boy
Civilian
Seeing the Captain he felt his brow arch up again, but he covered it quickly as he approached the man. This wasn't quite what he was expecting, but hopefully the Admiral knew what he was doing in hiring this man. Had he known the other man was thinking along similar lines he would have been amused. As The Songbird he didn't give the little courtesies, and that was part of why he didn't meet clients until the job was done. This had him very far out of his comfort zone. He'd settle once he was back into his routine, that he was sure of. Instinct would take over and he'd be fine.

He nodded as Vencelas mentioned the plans. The Admiral was wise to take that course, as he would not have had the information to give. He did wonder however just how much the man had explained to the Captain. Was he aware of what the plan was? That he was delivering death to the French ship? Perhaps he did and perhaps he did not. Either way it was to be done. He set the plans down and gently rolled them out as the man continued to speak.

Wait! What?! Dried blood? Oh dear God. He kept himself from reacting and prayed that he truly meant a mild smell. Otherwise he'd be dressing very quickly indeed. He'd make it work, even if he dressed and then moved to the galley to prepare his bow and eat his small meal provided by the tavern mistress. Yes he could do that. HIs stomach still churned unpleasantly at the thought, but this entire mission was doing that to him anyways.

"That would be acceptable, Captain. I came in my day clothing so as not to attract undue attention to our mission." At the offer of a drink, he paused again. A small glass of wine might actually calm his nerves, but he'd best not do anything stronger so as to keep a clear head. "Wine would be fine, thank you, but just one glass, as I should keep a clear head." He offered the explanation so he would not be thought of as lacking manners. Alessandro would not have been pleased had he completely thrown etiquette out the window.

He went ahead and rolled out the small bundle of plans, mainly the small sketch of the ship’s flag, ship schematics, and map of Cuba. ”I’m not sure what you were told by the Admiral, so perhaps we should start there and I can fill in the rest for you.”
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Venceslas Romero, Spanish Captain[/align]

Vencelas observed The Songbird. He noticed some clear cleverness in the young man. He was sure that the young man had more experience than one might expect. Vencelas couldn't help but ask about one thing he had been wondering this whole time “May I ask how old are you, señor? Seventeen?” The boy seemed somehow dark and mysterious and The Songbird’s person intrigued Captain Romero.

Now, Vencelas remembered a thing that was missing. They hadn’t had any introductions. He introduced to the young man “Oh, señor Songbird, I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Vencelas Romero and I am the captain of vessel and I will help you with your… enterprise as you know…” Vencelas was sure that the man wouldn't introduce with his real name. Still, Vencelas expected introductions in return, even with the pseudonym.

The young man accepted the offered cabin. Vencelas was pleased. He had never liked too picky people. The assassin had an explanation for the shabby appearance. Captain Romero replied with some admiration in his voice “I see, that was clever… Indeed we need to remain as unnoticed as possible” Vencelas wasn't sure whether the man was troubled because of the smelly cabin or not. Just in case he assured “And the cabin is rather fresh so don’t worry… it had been well ventilated and cleaned by my men. All in all the smell there is hardly noticeable.” Now Vencelas felt that the cabin question was settled.

The young man had manners as he accepted the offer of wine. Vencelas handed a glass to the young man as he took a sip from his own glass. He couldn't help but boast a little “This wine is excellent don’t you think?… It is sweet and nice… I think this particular bottle is from my brother-in-law’s vineyard. He produces quality wines in the Canaries…”

Finally Captain Romero headed to the point. Now he had to as the Songbird was asking about the plans. “Yes, yes the plans… The Admiral didn't give me much information. He told me... and I quote him “The mission includes an assassination of an enemy leader and it will bring us fame and fortune”. Those are the only things I know. So let’s see the plans shall we?” Captain Romero sat and began to examine the plans. He was curiously waiting what the Songbird had to say about their mission.

[align=center] This post has been written by JOUKO[/align]
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Micah Silva
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Assassin/ Tavern boy
Civilian
Micah would have shifted uncomfortably under Captain Romero's scrutiny; the Songbird however bore it with a slightly uncomfortable twisting feeling in his stomach. Yet again he was reminded why he didn't meet with people beforehand. Although he did understand why there was little choice in this situation. So he bore the assessing stare with silence. It wouldn't do for him to get terse with this man, or have a fit about the look. Things had to be done, and he would keep telling himself that until this whole mess was over. When he was questioned on his age, he gave his usual non-committal answer. "Somewhere about there, I don't mark my birthdays anymore." That wasn't entirely untrue, he didn't celebrate, and really hadn't since he left the conservatorio.

He inclined his head at the introduction. A moment passed as he considered his next words carefully. "Well met, Captain Romero. The Songbird is all you need know me as in this situation. Should these ensuing events see me returned, we may meet on better terms and another introduction will be warranted." That should suffice, since Micah Silva was not technically who he was at that moment anyhow. His sanity often required him to keep his two personas separate, as Micah would not be able to handle what the Songbird did without a heavy burden of guilt.

He nodded a bit at the reassurance about the cabin. He'd make do, but the only way he'd know for sure if he could handle it, would be to make himself do it. It wasn't as though it was fresh blood, or copious amounts of dried. He'd still go eat in the galley. There was no way he'd try to eat food even with a light lingering smell of blood around him. There were just certain lines he couldn’t cross and tough it out. He accepted the glass of wine and took a small sip. He couldn't help a slight pleased look as he noted it was in fact quite sweet. "It is indeed. It reminds me of something I once tried back in Madrid." That admission had slipped out in a moment of nostalgia, and he could have kicked himself for it.

Focus on the plans! He gave a stiff nod. "Of course, as that would be the only information, save the identity of the mark, that the Admiral had. The rest I have been working on for the past three days. Our intended mark is the French flagship Le Phenix, and my personal mark is the Rear-Admiral, but that part need not concern you.” He pushed the flag sketch towards the Captain and indicated the map of Cuba. He had two areas marked on it. ”This is the ship’s flag, she’s a Third Rate so fairly large, and was seen in this area here, and more recently this one. What the proposed plan is on your part is to get in as close as safely possible, and make an attempt to run the blockade line. It’s only a ruse, but has to seem genuine to keep the attention of the French while I scale up her side here.” At that he indicated the rear area of the ship nearest the possible cabin location the Admiral would have. ”Give the French a good show, but in the end retreat as though defeated. Don’t put yourself in undue danger, Captain. Just make it look good and realistic, then fall back just out of sight and wait. I will signal once I have fulfilled my end of the task, then slip back in and retrieve me. If I do not give signal in three days, return to port.” He didn’t feel he had to clarify why they should return to port at that point.
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Venceslas Romero, Spanish Captain[/align]

By now Vencelas had noticed that the Songbird wasn't used to this kind of conversation. He understood it. While in a way he admired the young man he also considered the man as a low-born rascal, as he didn't know the man’s real history. Captain Romero nodded when the assassin replied about the age. The answer was enough to satisfy his curiosity. He didn't say anything about the introductions. He gave only another nod to the assassin.

Apparently the man had some experience about wines. Vencelas added with a smile “Yes, the wine one of the few things that are actually good in Madrid… Though I have only visited there twice. So perhaps you know better”. Vencelas was born in Cuba and he had visited Spain only two times. He continued “If you like smoking I would be happy to offer you some tobacco which was grown in my family’s plantation… but I guess you are not interested…” He knew that not everyone liked tobacco. Vencelas himself smoked only because his doctor had told that it was good for him.

Now the Songbird told their plan. The mission was rather bold in Vencelas' opinion. To him the plan was a little unexpected, even when he had known that such missions were never easy or safe. However, Captain Romero had no intentions to be a yellow-belly. He replied with a confident voice “No problem, señor, we will find the ship. I know the local waters well… While the French flagship is large compared to my cutter I think we can get her close enough. Also, the ruse seems good and I sincerely think it will work. I know the real admiral, not personally of course, but I know what he is like… what a disgusting rake… He has been a thorn in King Filip’s side for long enough. I will be more than happy to help you remove this thorn”.

He continued after a sip of the sweet wine “You can count on me, señor. I will not risk myself, my ship or my crew… The French bastardos will have a good show.” He laughed. He continued with a question “How do you signal me when you are done?” Vencelas had still another question in mind “By the way, while I know that it doesn't concern me, I would like to know one thing… How are you planning to kill Admiral Duval?” Vencelas looked at the young assassin with a curious look.

[align=center] This post has been written by JOUKO[/align]
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Micah Silva
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Assassin/ Tavern boy
Civilian
When it seemed the Captain was finally satisfied and would not question his further on things he really didn't want to get into with the man, a relief coursed through him and he relaxed again. Micah actually often gave off the impression he was the low-born rascal the Captain was thinking of, so that would have been an acceptable thing were it voiced to him. The Songbird however didn't have time to think on that, there were more important manners to tend to. He just needed to keep the man from landing on something that was the truth as opposed to what he worked to put forward as truth instead. Which meant he had to keep things as business as possible.

He did shake his head a bit at the smoking; he'd never much cared for the habit, although he didn't mind the smell of certain aromatic tobaccos. It wasn't something he'd tried, and right before one of his more difficult marks, he knew better than to compromise himself. He shifted from foot to foot to make sure his muscles still felt loose and gave a nod as Captain Romero spoke.

"The Admiral told me as much when he hired me for this. He has hopes it will break the backbone of the blockade." He took a few small sips from his wine, making sure to remind himself to eat as soon as he was done changing, while he prepared his bow. That would take any effect still left form the alcohol out of his system. It was making him calmer, thankfully, something he had hoped it would. He sighed when asked about a signal. He was still working that part out. He decided to answer the last question first. Going over to the rucksack he'd left by the door, he pulled out a small pistol crossbow and a vial of poison. Setting them on the desk for the Captain to look over, he paced a bit.

"I plan to use that; it'll be an unpleasant death. I've been going over how to signal since this mission was given to me by Admiral Moncada. My hope is to be able to use one of the flare cannons, but I may have to improvise. If I cannot signal, I will take to the water and meet you myself."He really hoped it didn’t come to that, but he was a strong swimmer so he had to leave it on the table as something he may very well have to do.
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Vencelas nodded when he was listening to the man’s responses. He took another glass of wine as he replied “Yes, I hope too that it will work and that this blockade will end soon. While it is rather loose, the blockade prevents our trade… And trade señor Songbird … Trade is something that dictates the course of all Empires.” Captain Romero said this even while he thought that this uneducated boy couldn't understand much about such things. He finished his wine and stared at the assassin. He was still trying to find out more about the mysterious young man.

The Songbird placed the weapon on the table. Vencelas stared at it, his eyes round in amazement. He was still looking like he had seen a miracle when he commented “¡Dios mío! I have only once heard of this kind of weapons before. Well, Admiral Duval deserves nothing better. I hope and pray that you will succeed in this noble endeavour. At least an ordinary man cannot survive this”. Vencelas took the poison vial in his hand and observed it. He continued “That arrow could be lethal even without poison… But it is better to make sure…” Now Captain Romero gestured with his hand that he had seen enough of the weapon.

Vencelas wasn't quite satisfied with the young man’s reply about the signal. Fortunately, he had an idea “I think I have a solution. Earlier today I purchased some fireworks since I anticipated that we needed a way of signalling… The fireworks were originally for the governor’s garden party, but he let me have them as he understood the gravity of our mission. Anyway... So I give you a red rocket and you can fire it as a signal when you are ready… It will make an easily noticeable red explosion in the sky… Also, I have a water-resistant Oilskin bag for it so you can swim with it without wetting the powder… I think you can ignite the fuse with your gun’s lock. So no problem with that either.” Vencelas was proud as he thought that his suggestion was clever.

Then Captain Romero took a comfortable position on his chair. He asked from the Songbird “I think that after we have briefly revisited our plan we shall set sail… Do you agree?” Vencelas continued while he was smiling friendly “But, amigo, while we are working partners you are still my guest. So, do you need anything more? Food? More drink?” Vencelas was still hospitable to the young assassin.

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Micah Silva
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Assassin/ Tavern boy
Civilian
The Captain's words echoed in his head and he felt there was more that should be said than that. Blockades affected so much more than just trade. He was a product of the hit trade took during troubled times. He didn't despise it, but maybe he was one of the lucky ones. HE knew his family had suffered still even after he'd left, but with less mouths to feed, it hadn't been as heavy a burden. Shaking off the past, he gave a slight smirk at the Captain's reaction to his weapon. That was his baby right there. Easy to conceal, easy to draw and fire. HIs regular crossbow was in his bag as well and a small knife. He was going in there prepared.

When the man motioned he'd seen enough, he gingerly collected the weapon and vial, and giving it a loving caress, returned them to his bag. He was one of those assassins who held a strange affinity for his weapons. "That is quite the point, Captain Romero. I am not going to take any chances, and the poison is most unpleasant, it's hemlock. If the shot is not fatal, he'll spend some hours in a horrible pained state as his body convulses and then shuts down." Hemlock was a terrible way to die; he was surprised he'd actually been able to acquire some from a leaf doctor in Havana. He'd been considering monkshood, but at the opportunity to use hemlock, he'd paid the extra for the more virulent poison.

A rocket? Now there was a thought. It wasn't something he had even expected to be able to get his hands on and would work far better than his plan to get to one of the flare cannons. Less chance of getting caught. He might actually survive this after all. He nodded and even gave the man a small smile in appreciation. "That is a perfect idea. I had thought getting one would be impossible so had discounted it as an option. Your forethought in this matter is greatly appreciated." He should have little trouble getting a spark from his crossbow's lock, so that was true enough.

"Yes, let's go back over it and make sure we have it set." He finished his wine and set the empty glass aside as he approached the map again. "Once we find Le Phenix you and your crew will engage her as though attempting to break through the blockade, making a good show of it to occupy the French while I steal aboard. I will take care of my business and you'll withdraw just out of line of sight until I signal with the rocket, and then collect me. Quite the basic version, but we must be ready for complications should they arise." He gave a short nod. "I have food from the tavern mistress I worked for in Havana during the day, but some water would be accepted gratefully when I go to the galley to eat. I will dress first however."
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The man was a careful one, clearly more careful than Captain Romero. Vencelas replied about the weapon “Yes the poison is a good idea… So it is hemlock… I would have guessed Belladonna, but I don’t know much about poisons anyway“. That was true. He knew how to kill people with swords, guns and cannons, but he was not an assassin and he knew no stealthy methods of Murder.

The young bounty killer liked the signalling idea. Vencelas answered to him “Good, very good. Ask from master Perez and he will give the rocket to you with the bag.” Vencelas coughed and continued “You know how to use it of course… Just place it to lean against something… Like ship’s railing. Then, just put the right side up and ignite the fuse and let it fly…” Vencelas knew that these instructions were likely needless. He was sure that he had underestimated the assassin’s cleverness. But now he decided to make sure.

They revisited the plan and Vencelas paid attention. He commented “Yes, The plan isn't hard, señor. I think I will remember it well now. If you agree we shall set sail immediately.” Then, Captain Romero took the chart of Cuba and observed it. He had a clear idea where the ship would be. The suspected spot was close to the areas where the vessel had been seen earlier. A ship which was a part of a blockade couldn't move much. Also it was a perfect place for a larger ship as the water was deep enough. For a mariner like Vencelas finding a large man-of-war wasn't too difficult. He grinned to the Songbird and assured “I am pretty sure that within few hours we will have one dead French pig called Admiral Raoul Duval. I have a good idea where we will find the ship... Trust me Amigo.”

At the moment the young man needed nothing more than water. Vencelas wasn't disappointed and he answered “Yes, you can get water from the hold. There are plenty of water barrels... And if you think that your food is not enough you can ask more food from our cook Franco...”

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Micah Silva
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He shook his head a bit at that. "Belladonna wasn't available with the blockade in place. Hemlock was so I obtained it and among my choices it is most likely to cause a painful death. What the Admiral is paying me for I shall do my best to deliver." He shouldered his bag and gave Captain Romero a nod. "Setting sail would be the best course of action since we are agreed on the plans. The sailing I leave all in your capable hands, Captain. I'll go now to prepare myself and then collect my water and take my meal in the galley. Please alert me the moment Le Phenix is within our sights." At that he gave a slight formal bow to the Captain and left the man to attend to his own set of tasks.

It wasn't hard for him to find his assigned quarters. Luckily the Captain had not exaggerated and the smell of old, dried blood was there, but mild enough that it only made his stomach twinge a couple times before he was able to get it under control. He dropped his pack and set about changing into his clothing for the night. Micah resurfaced for a moment as he settled into one of the hard wooden chairs in the room. That meeting had gone better than expected, but it was by far the easiest of the night's tasks. Spending a few moments recollecting his thoughts, he stood up and began to dress, slipping further back into The Songbird with each piece of clothing.

It was all as black as his hair and tailored for a perfect fit. He needed all the mobility he could get and Juan had personally commissioned the clothing in Maracaibo where there were skilled tailors familiar to the mercenary trade. He folded up his day clothes and set them on the desk in a neat pile. He'd not be taking those with him as he couldn't afford the extra weight on him if he had to swim any serious distance. Changing out his sandals for supple leather boots, he also added those to the small pile of clothing. Finally he tied his hair back with a piece of leather cord, securing it at the nape of his neck. The Songbird now looked far more the part of deadly assassin.

Before he went to strap on his weaponry he pulled out another item from his rucksack, something that might shock many to see there. It was a small simple set of rosary beads. He caressed them for a moment, a wistful smile on his face before he wrapped them around his hand and knelt down. Juan had told him to never forget God; even if he was ever angry for the hand he had been dealt. That wasn't why he prayed tonight, however. Tonight he was afraid for the first time in a long time. He asked for calm, and for those he loved to understand and find comfort should something unfortunate happen to him. He never asked to be absolved of his kills; it had never seemed right to ask for absolution and then turn around and do it again. He hoped God understood.

Rising to his feet once more he put the rosary around his neck and tucked it under his shirt. Once that was done he collected his weaponry and small bundle of food and set off to the galley. Master Perez was easy enough to find and even though the man looked at him a bit longer than he liked before giving him the oilskin wrapped rocket, it was less than it would have been in his regular clothes. He was the Songbird now, not Micah. He thanked the man and headed down to the galley. He set up at an empty table with his small meal and two cups of water, one to drink, the other to work with. Franco checked on him a couple of times and he admired the man’s personality and innate caretaker. It reminded him of the tavern matron, and he would not have been surprised if they were related somehow. He ate quickly and then set about the rest of his preparations. He’d be ready when the call came that Le Phenix was in sight.

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