Peino Starhand smirked at Lafitte’s mention of “rescuing” the Daughter. It was true that he was grateful for the timely intervention of the airship La Danse Calinda when the Daughter was under attack. Otherwise, he would not have tolerated her captain’s boorish invasion of his dinner table and disruption of his meeting with his officers. Still, what could possibly possess the man to throw it out among them now, as if some debt had been incurred? Peino could not help reflecting that he had met trolls under bridges who had better manners, and he marveled that Lafitte sat alive before him with ears, nose, and fingers all still attached.
He wondered also how much longer the eorman would stay intact, as he felt the heat of his officers’ rising indignation, particularly from Tahain o’th’Farwind, who took everything to do with the Daughter quite personally.
“You mistake me, Captain Lafitte,” said Peino, sliding into a courtly, formal tone of restraint as a signal to his people. “‘Tis not that I doubt your interest in the matter, but that I cannot promise that said interest will gain you an audience with Lord Nightwise. Nevertheless, to honor the service you have lately done me,” Peino inclined his head on the word “service” in gentle emphasis of the state and balance of affairs between them, “I cannot do less than inform you that you should apply to him if you wish to investigate this matter. He is the expert, after all.”
Under the atmosphere of song and drinking and rich odors that filled the darkened air of the Alderman’s Inn, tension simmered at the Prince’s table. The man whose entrance had called blades to his throat was still winning little affection from the selkies, despite whatever he might have done for them against the pirate ship Reputation. Though his officers had taken his signal and kept their silence respectfully, Peino could see as plain as day that they had about had their fill of Captain Lafitte for one night. He could hardly blame them, as he felt his own tolerance being quite definitely tested.
“The Daughter sails for Sesus on the dawn tide,” he said in a tone of finality. “When my business there is concluded, we make for the Navigators. I anticipate a voyage of about two weeks, all told. If you wish me to apply to my brother on your behalf, you may wait upon that time, with my welcome.” Peino leaned back, crossing one leg over the other. “Of course, there is nothing to stop you contacting him yourself, if you are impatient. You might send a psychegraph to the Lord Magus of the Navigators, though I couldn’t advise you how long to wait for an answer.”
The captain of the Daughter gazed steadily at the captain of the Calinda. Having concluded all he had to say on the matter, he waited to see if this tactless fellow would yield the table that was not his at last.