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SkyCaptain Anders Magruder was very disappointed that he could not kill his man Marcus as he wiped the blood from the brass handle of his cane. It was proving a satisfactory weapon which was made necessary by the bullet hole in his foot-a bullet hole that, in his opinion, would not be there if Marcus had searched the woman Nymphae. It had not escaped Magruder’s consideration that in addition to the pistol in Nym’s satchel, she may have also carried the Apport Sextant. A thought that sent him into a rage. He smoothed his oily hair and took another swing at Marcus, landing a blow squarely on his temple which gushed forth a fountain of red.
The man on his knees had been branded a coward, having run away a from Ghostraven’s Steampunk and Pirates fearful of an ancient automaton. He had left his two companions behind and while there is no honor among thrives, the act was unforgivable. He had entered the room begging. Reprehensible. Magruder, and half of the underbelly of Meiville would have taken joy in his execution.
However, with his foot still in bandages, Magruder needed a hound to do his work and Marcus was perfectly expendable. He would use him now and kill him later.
Magruder’s men had been searching the city for Amos and his pretty companion for days. There was some suspicion that the two might be holed up in a hide away called the Mists. Magruder had men surveying the place constantly and all had orders to do what whatever was necessary to bring them back to Magruder alive.
The days of watching were long and Magruder was growing impatient and hostile.
Sending a man into the Mists hotel was tricky: it was owned by notorious merchant swindler Martin Eli Carton and managed by his favorite daughter Eudora. Carton was a man who held great power in the underworld. Power enough to have the head of anyone who dared bring suspicion upon his “reputable” business or danger to his family. While it was true that Magruder commanded his own ranks, taking on a man of Carton’s standing and connections was certain death.
Magruder had made a formal appeal to Carton for information about Amos Devile and his companion. He had requested that they be turned over to him if indeed they were staying at the Mists. Carton, however, took insult at being questioned in front of his daughter by a man he considered nothing more than common street pirate, even one who claimed himself ‘SkyCaptain’. Eudora Carton, who was wildly and notoriously beautiful, had enjoyed watching Magruder squirm as her father brought him low. The indignation and embarrassment of it added fuel to the fire of Magruder’s rage.
Marcus would do just fine as a footman and if he were killed for his efforts, so much the better. Marcus would take a room and sniff out Nym and Amos. Marcus was well beaten and thoroughly aware of the consequences of disappointing his boss again. He would return with the couple in hand and alive or he would return to his family in a box. Sated for a time, Magruder leaned on his cane and limped his way back to his room to await delivery of Amos and Nym.
“Is your friend feeling better then? Would it not be better to leave in the morning?” Eudora Carton asked as she collected the last of her room payment from Nym.
Amos was leaning on the counter slightly for support, and smiled at the caretaker brightly.
“I would be happier if he were steadier on his feet,” Nym admitted, “but we have business in town that cannot wait.”
“Well then, there is something I would like you to know, Ms. Nymphae.” Eudora smiled leaning in across her counter to address them both in confidence. Nym straightened, a sense of alert overwhelming her.
“A man with a cane was here looking for you both several days ago. My father handled it, of course. You might say he has an interest in Marcel Ghostraven and as he is aware that you have been searching for him. My father thought that perhaps one day -should you and Amos manage to locate the Captain – you could send us word? My father would appreciate it ever so much.”
Eudora motioned with her chin towards the backdoor, drawing Nym’s attention to a man standing with his face in the daily journal. He appeared to have been badly beaten, with many bruises and cuts upon his face. She recognized him instantly as Marcus, the man who had held and gagged her while Amos was beaten. She was instantly fearful knowing that their stay had been far less inconspicuous than she had hoped. Looking again at Eudora, she understood well what was being exchanged. If they agreed to share information about Marcel, the Cartons would offer their assistance with Magruder and his thugs. Should she refuse she and Amos would have both Magruder and the Cartons on their heels. Nym knew well enough not to question Eudora about her father’s interest in Marcel and, understanding the position they were in, she agreed.
“Of course, Ms. Carton, we would be happy to do so. Please give our regards to your father.” Without further discourse Nym and Amos exited the lobby of the Mists hotel, but not before hearing the ever pleasant Eudora detain Marcus.
They needed to be swift. They would take the last train to Steelton District, and a street car to the home of Mayor Perryn. It would be late when they arrived, but Nym trusted her vision and the words of Marcel that there was little time. Knowing that Marcus was close behind added urgency to their journey.
Amos was slow moving on his feet but braved every step by Nym’s side. On occasion they would become aware of person taking note of them, or following closely, and they had to adjust repeatedly, turning down side streets or ducking into shops. It was arduous and Amos was exhausted when at last they settled into their seats on the steam locomotive. They had arrived just in time for the departing whistle and, being careful to take note of anyone suspicious who might be following, considered it safe to depart together into the night.
Nym took Amos’ hand in hers and held it to her face as they watched the golden lights of Meiville dance to the steadily increasing cadence of the moving train. Nym was frightened and anxious but took strength in Amos’ reassuring smile.
Marcus took his seat two cars behind them and waited.