“I can’t help thinking about what would have happened to my daughter if she had found her way here and fallen into your people’s hands.” — Opilio Chapelwood
Opilio consoles his wife — who seems to be blaming herself in part for Ambira’s actions — and sets out immediately for Cinquedea. As he rides there, Vesper contacts Ettorio and Carenza about the missing young men, and prepares them for the possibility of going on the hunt. Once Opilio gets to Cinquedea, his first stop is Eveningstones.
Ambira nearly gets into deep trouble as she explores the Veins. She doesn’t recognize when she wanders into Salt Knaves territory, but guardian angels with excellent street skills are looking out for her. Carenza and a pair of younger Ladies-in-Waiting are first to engage the Salt Knaves that have surrounded Ambira. Vesper is next to arrive, pulling her friend to safety and then beginning to cast the Sespech evil eye. Ettorio brings Opilio in, and the protective father smashes into the gang. Very swiftly, those gang members who can limp or crawl away are doing so.
Though Ambira wants very badly to be part of the search, it surprisingly isn’t Opilio who talks her into remaining behind. Vesper tells her in no uncertain terms that a few months of blade-training are not enough, and that she’d just slow the group down. The unflinching Sespech convinces Ambira to stay with the Tyliels in the meantime, in case Alesci returns while they’re away, and to learn what they have to teach. She then dispatches Ettorio to purchase passage on the Sapphire of the Saan for fifteen: the four, plus Carpa and ten of the Ladies-in-Waiting. Vesper has been paying careful attention to the shipping schedules, and each day has memorized the next ship departing to Redoris.
The Sapphire of the Saan is a cramped, dingy caravel, and its captain Jurio Levatis is quite paranoid about corsairs, but sailing is good. They reach the City of Sins the night before Highsun, and celebrations are already beginning. The four take to the streets as if they were born there, and come away with a great many rumors and intrigues — but most interestingly, some people at the docks do remember Kosvach’s elaborate weaponry. One person points them to the Wayward Wench tavern, where a fellow wearing that bracer holds court. Vesper says darkly that if the boys have gone missing because they’re participating in debauchery she will be very upset.
At the Wayward Wench, instead they find Scorpis Rovino laughing at a table full of hard-looking men, one hand on a woman’s rump — and the other arm adorned with Kosvach’s wolfshead bracer. The sight infuriates several of the party. Vesper is the one to approach Scorpis first.
“Where is that bracer’s owner?”
“You’re looking at him.”
The Rovino’s response kindles Vesper’s fury, and she informs him that she’ll have the information from him either as a living man, or when she calls back his ghost. The young Sespech’s presence is nearly palpable, and Scorpis falters. He says the two young men were alive last he saw: they were too profitable to kill. At that point, one of his scarred drinking partners butts into the conversation. “What are you doing? Don’t fucking talk about business with them!” This draws further attention from Vesper’s party, and shortly thereafter the tavern owner is shouting nervously at them to take it outside.
The two factions meet on the docks to have it out: the four seekers and Carenza’s ten Ladies, against Scorpis, three very dangerous-looking men, and six bullyboys. Scorpis is the first to draw, catching Vesper with the same lightning-quick draw and strike he tried to kill Kosvach with, but Carenza is nearly as fast, and knocks away Scorpis’ follow-up strike. Vesper unleashes the fury of her banshee vestige, and Opilio, also caught up in battle fervor, transforms. Though he fights viciously, Scorpis is the brunt of too many people’s anger, and is first to fall. Ettorio sends one of Scorpis’ companions off the pier with a skillful strike, a second drops to the evil eye, and the third flees. Some of the Ladies-in-Waiting have gotten the worst of their first fight, Dua in particular, but Carenza and Opilio are able to stanch her wound and bring her around to some vigor.
They pull Scorpis down near the Seeps, where they find an abandoned sailmaker’s shack, perfect for their purposes. Scorpis is bound to a chair, and they interrogate him further. He reveals that Bravadi has made alliances with the Six Rings, particularly one Captain Mordescue of the King’s Ransom. It was the Six Rings assistance that allowed for the capture of Alesci and Kosvach. While the two Rovinos wanted to kill the young men, Mordescue saw them as potentially more profitable alive. As far as Scorpis knows, Kosvach was sold as a “pit dog” in Redfathom Cove, and if he’s as good as he claims to be, perhaps he’s still alive; he isn’t sure what they had in mind for Alesci.
Vesper and Ettorio leave Carenza and Opilio alone in the shack with Scorpis; Vesper immediately begins searching for a possible captain that could carry them to Redfathom Cove tomorrow. Opilio unlimbers his maul, tells Scorpis that he can’t stop thinking about what could have happened to Ambira if she’d crossed the slavers, and then staves the Rovino’s head in as though slaughtering a ram. Carenza’s Ladies help sew the corpse into a sail with a few weights, and shortly thereafter Scorpis Rovino sinks to the bottom of the Redoris harbor.