Admiral Gryll buttoned his waistcoat and donned his doublet. A wide leather belt secured his clothing to hold the weight of his weapons.
Corbae, his pet raven, squawked incessantly until a command was given. The bird landed lightly on his left shoulder, pecking Admiral Gryll on the head. Experienced with birds, he knew that it was affection and the bird was trying to preen him.
He smiled at his friend. “Angry little blighter, have a ships biscuit.”
Stepping out of the cabin, the lighthearted chanting of his men stopped.
Not a soul looked up from their labour. It was best to be invisible when the Admiral was about.
Having an air of menace and appearing larger than life reduced his need to lay hands on his men.
Today would be an exception. He beckoned his quartermaster and first mate. “Bring me James, who calls himself Bastard.”
Arms secured behind his back with strong cordage, the large somber James looked at the admiral with disdain. Admiral Grylls raised an eyebrow. “You are a spirited one, James, but I wonder, do you have a mind for business?”
James saw a potential way out of his forced service aboard the Grasshopper.
“Potentially. I oversaw finances for Lord Rainport a large portion of my life.”
“Splendid. Do tell, what is the price of a supply ship?”
James did some minor calculations in his head and was interrupted by Admiral Gryll.
“Take that price and double it James. You and a partner organized the total destruction of two of my supply ships. Tell me, James, who was your partner?”
James did not speak.
“Ah, a silent one. I am a man of business. Imports and exports. I deal in death for the highest paying customer.
“I will cut you a deal. Tell me who your partner was and you will only owe me for one ship.”
James stared hard at Admiral Gryll. “You attacked La Longi. Get a grave Gryll.”
The hard sole of a leather boot struck James hard in his midsection. James struggled to stand aright. The quartermaster and first mate held him securely. The Admiral took a step forward and with a quiet, deadly voice said “That’s Admiral Gryll to you.”
“Tie him to the mast, we will teach James manners today.”