Ionas had made it outside of the bar in time. He had seen a glimpse of the two of them disappear down a side alley, presumably where they were going to talk or where a boat was waiting for them along the many water ways.
Even if he did manage to see where the boat went, there was no chance that he would be able to follow it among the labyrinthine canals of Sesus and the plenty of other gondolas out there. His fears were well founded as there was a covered gondola. The owner had set up the covering due to the storm that had followed them up from Kledy and was threatening to drop a whole lot of water on them.
Just as the two of them were about to get on the boat, the one who had been waiting for the man in black grabbed him. The man turned to face him, preventing the man in black getting to the water until he dealt with whatever he had to say. Fortunately this meant that while Ionas could not hear, he could lip-read. The mask on the merchant was only a half-mask, unlike the man in black. Unfortunately, he was only going to be able to read half the conversation.
“I don’t care, I’m not going to be the one holding the goods when they find me. ”
“He knows. He’ll be lookin’ for them. They probably have gotten whomever they’ve caught to spill the beans already.
“Take the cards back, find someone else to fence these … these things. I’m not going to the keep for you nor even for Ashcat. I’m out.”
The fence started to fumble around in his pockets before the man in black made a sudden jerk of movement. His face yelped in surprise but any noise was stifled by the knife visible in his neck as he collapsed to the ground, colour quickly fading from his face.
The man in black, who must had got quite a substantial amount of blood on him, bent down and riffled in the fence’s pockets. He grabbed a package. It was large enough to contain, what, twenty or so cards, but he became startled — a cat caused a disturbance. He didn’t want to hang around just in case the cat attracted attention. So he left, got in the boat, started away. Ionas was unsure whether he should go after the man or wait but decided it would be better if he waited. He didn’t want to unnecessarily reveal himself.
After the allotted time of a few seconds, Ionas entered the alley. He looked and saw the boat approach to make a turn. Ionas squatted down and looked at a small package that slowly slid out of the man’s pocket. The package was the right size to hold some cards, and while he couldn’t tell exactly how many, there was only enough for a couple. Apparently the fence had kept some back, perhaps as an insurance scheme or perhaps as a way to help escape if he was discovered.
For a moment as he saw the man in black turning his boat around a corner, Ionas felt like he could end this now. All he had to do was take one of the cards and this all could be over. But no, this was the only lead and there were still plenty of cards left to track down with this man in black.
No he wouldn’t, he couldn’t. Then the boat disappeared from sight, and the temptation soon faded. No, he had to find Starhand and the Captain, and perhaps Jeneyeru as well. He started back towards the canal and the Grand Navigators embassy.
Hopefully they would be there or at least someone would know where to find them. Ionas wanted to get rid of these cards as soon as possible, get them to somewhere safe where someone would actually know how to deal with them.