A booted foot kept the swivel gun from turning on the Vizier, and Grimey gave a disapproving grunt until she saw it was Markus that stood over her. She let go of the gun and gave a guilty smile. He couldn't rightly blame her for being overcautious. The Mumluk guards that escorted the darkly robed man made way in a way that could be considered 'violent.'
Any would-be sailor that stood in their way they shoved or knocked off the side of the dock into the water, uncaring if they could swim. Those that weren't sent into the depths were muscled away or into one another. The Vizier didn't seem to mind or even notice. He simply stepped off his camel with the help of two bare breasted servants who served as footstools.
Markus stepped off the railing and motioned for his crew to sheath and holster their weapons, and to step back. They did so somewhat reluctantly. Halvar lowered his axe, muttering in Norgardian. Markus hadn't been blessed with learning the northern tongue but he guessed it wasn't flattering or welcoming. Sron growled audibly, though when Sketti tossed the rib he had been chewing on down the stairs to the lower decks, Sron headed after it. Sketti winked at Markus.
When Rashem stepped onto the deck, he looked less than impressed on the decor of the ship, or perhaps it was simply the less than reputable crewmen that were present. Markus was luckily still in his silks, though he had his frock coat over it. He wasn't someone who flaunted decadence. He would have taken it off completely, he just hadn't had the time to change yet to be honest. He gave a small bow to Rashem, gesturing for the Vizier to follow him. With a subtle look from Calliope that told her she was to follow, he led him to the Captain's Cabin.
The Mumluk's remained on deck, as still as statues save for their sneers and their very alive looks that spoke of violence to anyone who dared threaten their overlord.
"A quaint vessel." the Vizier said as he entered, gazing around the Cabin. To most it would be an impressive room, but to he it probably looked more rundown than any foyer in the Palace. Markus preferred it that way, truth be told, and he sat down and offered Rashem as a seat as well. Calliope took her position, at Markus' right hand, standing tall and at attention. The Vizier glanced at Calliope's sarong for a brief instance, seemingly amused.
"It's not as grand as the flagship of your sultan's powerful navy," The Captain explained, unable to help himself but reminding the Vizier that the Sultan was the true power here. "But it's kept us alive through many ordeals. Fast, and she hits hard, as does her crew. No doubt you appreciate our skill in that regard?" Letting the question hang, though it was a question that answered itself, and Markus smiled as though everything was in his favor in this small meeting.
"Ware arrogance Captain. It leads to downfall, so the legends say." The Vizer replied back, showing his teeth. "But yes, we have a mission for you. If you would honor us with your service again. You will be reward handsomely once again, of course. All servants of the Sultan are treated generously."
Markus and Calli shared a brief look, before Markus replied. "We are delighted. What is asked of us?"
Rashem flourished his hand to allow his robe sleeve to slide down his meaty arm, and he produced a scroll with an unbroken seal, slicing through it immediately and unrolling the edict. To the pirate's surprise, when he laid it upon the desk, it was a map, not a message. A very accurate likeness of the Arad Luin's coastline, with much of the rock landmarks and islands that dotted the inner sea near the coast. "We believe we have found the place where the vile Bloodaxes make berth, Hayashim curse them. After your fight with them, and our navy having harrased them continuously, they are far weaker than they have been in a decade."
He placed his finger upon one of the inlets of a group of islands not eighty leagues to the northwest, the trail between here and there among the ubiquitously placed islands made more than a little sense to Markus on why they believed the Bloodaxes resided there. It seemed a perfect spot to both hide and defend, with two small islands at their flanks and rocks surrounding all ways but one to enter. "You are tasked with sailing there and bringing back the head of their leader, Abis'Lakar. A ferocious corsair, known for his taste in slaves."
"It is good you have no pretty women aboard, else he would perform terrible acts upon them." He continued, and then added as a theatrical afterthought. "Other than the lady Calliope, of course." Grinning widely, one could see some of his teeth were made of ivory, and others of gold. "Forgive me, her mannerisms are so unlike those of a woman in our lands. Most are much more demure and obedient."
Calliope smiled. "Perhaps you are simply used to women who are enforced to your company." she said. "You will find that most are unlike how you experience them. It's only natural for you. A man of your station would no doubt be popular with people of my gender even if he is lacking in all things a formidable man could offer." Her words were dipped in sugar despite the actual topic of her statements, and Markus placed a hand over his mouth to hide his chuckle.
The Vizier simmered, but as he opened his mouth, Markus cut him off. "We accept this gracious offer from you and your sultan, and thank you for your no doubt faithful recommendation, your excellence. Would you care for any refreshments before your journey to the Palace?" Calli's feigned smile would had enough poison to fill any goblet. The Vizier declined. "Thank you, but I have many tasks to finish. A Sultanate requires a keen mind. I will leave lesser, more singular matters to you and your witch. Good day."
As he stepped out of the room, Markus had a closed mouth smile. Without the prince or the sultan, he supposed things could get rather heated with an upjumped cutthroat of a man who suddenly had immense power. But no matter. Their ship was all but repairs, and they had a healer and a woman who was no doubt being given a crash course in handling Sketti's brash personality at this very moment. "I constantly find myself wondering if the Gold is worth dealing with the Sultanate." he said to Calli, and he leaned back in his chair to consider. "Any thoughts?"@Penny