“Ha, Crew kept complaining that there was too much salt in the stew. Thing is we’d run out of salt a few weeks before. The sand added a nice bit of grit to it” Ned said joining in the conversation.
“Enough!” Holden and Karya chimed in at the same time. They shot each other the same dirty look.
“What’s the job then, Capt?” Holden said getting in before Karya.
Captain Bacchus stepped up to the map. It was a masterpiece. Hand Drawn by the Cartographers’ Guild, it had cost a fortune. A small wooden replica of The Glee lay upon it. He picked it up and placed it on the board.
“Our destination is, Crater.” He pointed to the location.
“The Devil’s Arsehole?” Said Gunny. Bacchus ignored the comment.
“Our client wants to remain nameless. Our job is also a mystery.” Bacchus said to the group. This drew their attention. Backs straightened. Fidgeting lessened.
“Please could you elaborate, our dear commander?” Mave said as she drew closer.
“Taskmaster.” Interrupted Gunny.
Captain Bacchus drew a piece of parchment from his jacket pocket. The one that the man who called himself Chandler had given him. Once unrolled he pinned it on the wall using a letter opener.
Everyone gathered around. Upon the scroll was a simplistic illustration of a bee. Below it, written in fine script, read.
“Yet another child from one so old,
Red of hair, sweet and bold,
On their shoulder ere their sold,
Sits a bee of lacquered gold.”
“So we’re looking for a kid then?” Ned said.
“Bloody nobles and their misting puzzles.” Gunny added.
“There’s not a lot to go on,” Said Holden with a glance at the poem.
“We, however, are in a bit of luck,” Said Captain Bacchus as he interrupted the chatter. “There’s a man in the depths of the city. A friend. He’ll know everything there is to know about it’s goings.” Bacchus said.
“That is marvellous and all,” Said Mave. “Crass as it is. Gunny is correct in regards to the particular moniker given to the City.” She continued.
“Devil’s Arsehole.” Gunny reminded everyone with a smile and a nod towards Mave.
A brief silence overtook the room as each of The Glee’s officers secluded themselves in thought. Apart from Gunny. He was not very good at silence or stillness. As the others racked their brains he sat on the map table, drew a dagger and began to pick his teeth. The auditorium had a sizable glass pane. He liked to sit here often and watch the clouds go by. He would spread his arms and pretend they were wings. Kick his feed out to feel the rush of air. It made him feel like he was one of the birds that soared through the sky.
It wasn’t long before the lull was broken.
“I think it’s time for a masquerade.” Karya said.
“Disguise? The city is run by merchants. They won’t buy that we’re traders.” Said Bacchus.
“Go in as a troupe and put on a show?” Said Ned.
“We’ll draw too much attention. We need to be subtle this time.“ Countered Karya.
“Ran by merchants right?” Holden Said. “What do they sell?” He asked.