The unloading of the Scyrian trade vessels was underway as routinely as ever, the dockhands and workers moving quickly but carefully under the morning sun to see the cargo exchanged while the Harbourmaster and his attendant frantically ran amongst them waving parchment and quil. Another shipment successfully received, yet not without loss; the compliment was minus two Citadels that were expected. The Phocians and their Lothian allies were meddling in business, and that could not last.
"Sir!", came the call from behind him.
Sighing softly to himself and flicking the finished remainder of his cigar into the water, he turned and squinted at approaching Page. Another fair skinned boy enlisted into service, suckling at the teat of some wealthy aristocrat to secure future position. For now though, he was yet a Plebeian, and time would tell if he proved to be of any use.
Lower his head respectfully as he approached, the boy haphazardly saluted and held out a bundle of parchments.
"The shipment list from this delivery , Admiral," he said softly.
Taking the papers in one hand and scanning through them, his brow furrowed as he took account of what survived the trip and what did not. Glancing down the harbour past the dock crews and docked vessels, he warily eyes to stationary Citadels serving as protective escort, Scyrian warriors manning various positions around each one. He couldn't tell from this far away, but they looked weary, battered even. How many more trade runs would be successful in getting to the harbour at all with the Scyrian Senate pulling every battle-equiped vessel for the neverending feud with the Phocians?
Growling softly to himself, he thrust the papers back into the hands of the boy.
"See those into the hands of the Harbourmaster for the inventory to be account for and properly dispersed throughout the city, then go about your regular rounds", he instructed the lad as he turned away to light a fresh cigar.
Hearing only the shuffling of papers behind him, he turned with quirked eyebrow to fix piercing eyes on the boy still behind him, fidgeting nervously.
"Now!", he barked, restraining a smile as the lad started and nodded furiously, turning wide-eyed to sprint down the harbour to deliver the reports. A short lived snort of laughter issued from the Admiral as he watched the Page bump into a dockworker, sending a crate of fresh fruit crashing to the dock and spilling into the water. The lad was all right, and was proving to be reliable in his duties.
Glancing back out over the bay to watch the mavouvering of ships coming and going, he flicked ash into the wind and pondered how best to tackle pressing problems.
"Troubling times, when even the formidable Scyrian Legions cannot traverse the seas uncontested, no?", came the soft and familar voice from beside him.
Cursing softly to himself, his hand shot instinctively to his sword hilt, preparing to draw the blade when a firm hand took hold of his elbow to still the motion.
"Come now, Mr. De'Verres, you'll have no more use for those then the first time we met", answered the strangly familiar voice.
Head turning to fix eyes upon the newcomer, he found himself looking upon a figure fully enshrouded in a dark cloak, the shadowy depths of the hood revealing no distinctive features of who resided within. Though he had a hunch....
"Osanos....I was wondering when we'd run into each other again", he replied as he studied the figure next to him. "I'm surprised to see you here admist such...mundane matters as a merchant delivery."
The hood cocked slightly to one side, and he felt himself under intent yet thoughtful gaze for a few moments before Osanos gave reply, "Yes well, I appear when and where needed, and it has been determined that my need is to be stationed here, as envoy for the arranged trade agreements."
"Right, so not replying to the countless letters I've had dispatched with hopes of reaching you; got it", grunted the Admiral, pulling from his cigar and sending a thick cloud of smoke to drift down the harbour.
"Your inquiries were received, and noted to be a of a more militaristic matter, which I am currently far removed from. However, this report of recent movements may be of interest to sate your inquisitive nature", replied Osanos in a low voice.
Feeling a brief and subtle hand under his cloak, he turned with questioning glance to find the cloaked figure mysteriously nowhere to be seen. Frowning deeply, his hand moved to the pouch at his belt, fingers moving around it to finally extract a small, folded piece of parchment. Carefully unfolding it and reading the short message scribbled onto it, he drew on his cigar and set the tip to the small scrap of paper, setting it aflame before loosing the last smouldering corner to drift out over the bay where the ashes eventually settled onto the waters. Withdrawing a blank piece of parchment, he quickly scrawled out a message with a charcol pencil before folding it and sealing it with his ring.
Giving a short series of whistles, the Admiral held out his arm as a steely war falcon appeared over the ships, coming to settle on gauntlet-clad forearm. Withdrawing a small piece of jerky from a pouch at his belt and tossing it to his feathered companion, he waited until the treat had been devoured before holding out the letter. As the falcon took the letter within beak, the Admiral leaned in to whisper a name before sending the bird winging away. Watching the carrier sweep away on warm morning winds, he gestured over an aide and signaled them to walk with him as he prepared to return to the city.
"Have the Wake readied and the crew prepared, we leave as soon as I return to the harbour", he instructed as he set off.
"Yes, sir. What is our destination, Admiral?", asked the Mariner.
"Lothos", the Admiral growled before pressing into the market throng, feathered hat bobbing head and shoulders over the rest of the crowd.