The sky was a brilliant blue and a warm sea breeze kissed his cheek as Detlev stepped from the coach. The long trip to Spilt had been quite enjoyable, a pleasant escape from his responsibilities planning the Prinz’s trip to Twinj. As he breathed in the salty air, an officer in the dress of Regiment Jung, a dark green coat and olive lapels, approached and spoke, “Signori Eberhardt, my Colonel has requested an audience with you prior to your inspection of the merchant fleet.” Detlev could detect a slight Venetian accent.
Detlev was scheduled to meet with Colonel Jung for dinner that evening, the expediency of this request was somewhat unsettling, “I accept your colonel’s invitation, if you would lead the way Sir.” What could not wait until dinner?
Colonel Jung was quite well known in Cavenderia. The Colonel, sometimes still referred to as Captain, began his military career as a smuggler and privateer making his fortune on the high seas and eventually being bought into Imperial service. Colonel Jung was known more for his charismatic leadership and luck rather than his tactical abilities, however, Jung could get his men to follow him into the abyss and mostly brought them back.
After his naval career had brought him wealth and notoriety, Jung had charmed the Prinz with his tales of daring and battle managing to convince the Prinz that he should be allowed to raise a company of marines to protect Cavenderia’s merchant fleet. Forming his leadership Cadre from foreign sailors, Jung put his press gangs to work and quickly built his company of marines into a regiment of foot, which was now responsible not only for the protection of the merchant fleet but of the coastline about Spilt as well. It had been Jung who had received the Dey’s ultimatum and whose men were now on constant patrol, responding to raids by the Dey’s Bashi Bazouks.
Spilt was a magnificent fortified port which Cavenderia inherited upon Imperial conquest. As with most of the Cavenderian coast Spilt was a melting pot of cultures and religions as her lands had been the possession of many a country. Detlev never tired of visiting this ancient port. The two men approached an old stone tower dominating the skyline, entered and began to ascend the stairs.
Perhaps, Colonel Jung has received another message from the Bizerrcans!
Detlev reached the top of the stairs as the officer moved to his left and opened a small wooden door. Detlev lowered his head and entered. Detlev never tired of the breathtaking view which now assailed his eyes. Hundreds of sailing ships of all sizes and color filled the large window at the rear of the office and beyond that the brilliant green sea.
Colonel Jung, a tall gray-haired gentleman with a handsome scar on his left cheek spoke, “Wilkommen Herr Eberhardt, wunderschone Tag jah!” the voice was percussive and clipped in the Germanic style.
Beautiful day indeed, Detlev thought but for some reason he detected a bit of melancholy in the Colonel’s words. “We were scheduled to dine this evening, am I in err to assume that you posses some urgent news?” Detlev knew by the sobering expression on the Colonel’s face that this was not going to be a regular business meeting.
“I have been in the employ of Cavenderia for some time now and can truthfully say am loyal to her and the Prinz, in my youth I was reckless holding allegiance only to coin, always looking to prove myself and acquire more wealth, as an older man I have become comfortable and fat and do not wish to see that upset.” Detlev began to wonder where the conversation was heading.
“It is a necessary evil that I remain in contact with some ignoble characters in order to buy Cavenderian commerce protection; it is this ability which has helped to keep Cavenderian ships from plunder and that same ability which has elicited a request from his majesty.” Colonel Jung offered Detlev a glass and produced a jug of rum.
Detlev politely refused, “my apologies I must still inspect our fleets.”
Colonel Jung continued, “The Prinz’s courier arrived two nights ago, I have been instructed to contact certain fellows and offer them a Letter of Marque in exchange for performing a service for Cavenderia.” Detlev began to grind his teeth,
The Colonel leaned forward and let out a conspiratorial whisper, “The Prinz wishes to see the Morean, Spyridon Dukas, rescued.” Detlev could not believe his ears,
“I suppose a sufficient fleet could be underway in as little as a week.” The Colonel took a draught.
This is madness, unadulterated madness. “Why do you tell me this Herr Colonel, am I to be privy to this message?”
“I am telling you because I am loyal to the Prinz and will carry out any act he requires, without question, even if the orders are folly. That being said, fighting the enemy is how I have made my living, not having to fight two would not offend my sense of pride at all.”
Detlev mulled over the Colonel’s words and pushed his glass toward the bottle of rum, “One for the road Herr Colonel?”