It was a cold morning with a very light inshore breeze as Mr Tupplesworth, the Monday morning Port Master, leaned against the shuttered window of Cuffs holding his black coffee with both hands to keep them warm. The snow might not be as deep this year, but it was definetly one of the coldest years he could remember.
He walked over to the port docks to chat with some of the dock workers, all short stocky men with muscles that could crack open a brazil nut…but the dockers all too was huddled around a makeshift fire, trying to stave off the pangs of cold blowing in from the Vernian.
“Mista Tupplesworth sur, i dint think we need’s ta be here, its Monday mornin at 7am, nae ship comes in till Tuesday”.
Old Tupplesworth looked at his watch and nodded in agreement…
“Yeah, aff to your homes lads, get some warmth in ya….”
Just as the lads was packin up, one of them shouted out from the upper docks…
“Tradewind Merchant! Incoming!”
The lads all turned and looked at old Tupplesworth who checked his log for inbounds today, and he looked at the incoming ship…
“Shes not on the official logs old Tenk and Underby sent me yesterday…there should be nae ship in ‘ere today!”
As the vessel approached, the wind seems to die down ever so slightly, making a eery quiet descend on the port as the red Tradewind merchant vessel slowly edged its way towards the docks.
Old Tupplesworth asked the lookout to spot the flag the Tradewind was flying…
…It was a Ravillian coat of arms…
Old Tupplesworth had the look of dread about him as the lookout shouted down to the dock workers. The rest of the dock workers all looked towards the old dock master with the same glint of fear in their eyes. A Ravillan merchant ship was very rare in the port of New Babbage, and on the rare occaisions they did appear the city milita always stood guard over the docks. Ravilla merchant workers are notoriously drunk, even when sailing, and they are even more notorious for starting a fight for no apparent reason. For this ship, who’s name plate had come into binocular view, a one SS McAndrews which also had a royal coat of arms emblazoned under the name, to come into Port, unnannounced, off the books and off all records…was unheard of.
Tupplesworth looked at the dock workers…
“I’m gonna run up to city hall lads…i dinna like the looks of th….”
Old Tupplesworth looked around along with the rest of the dock workers who all jumped when a booming happy voice broke the silence.
“Morningtun you idiot! Ya should know better than to sneak up on folks like that! I was just headin’ to city ha…”
Just as old Tupplesworth was finishing his sentence Mornigton produced a bottle of OVD Demerrara Export Rum…the casked variety, aged 25 years. He then produced from his pockets small shot glasses and proceeded to fill up all the glasses and hand them out to the dock workers. Mornington took a swig straight from the bottle and cringed slightly as the dark rum burned its way down into his stomach.
Just as the dock workers was taking their glasses…the Ravillan merchant ship docked.
Mornington strolled over to the Ravillian ship and beckoned to the port workers to come over, he jumped onboard the sparsley manned vessel and opened its cargo hold…the dock workers looked inside and all their jaws dropped.
It was packed to the gunnels with food, a lot of food. Ontop of the food was crate upon crate of casked wine, bottled beer and other alcoholic drinks. Mornington looked up at the dock workers…
“Lads…i need a hand shifting this lot into Sovereign House…its the Christmas stock for Brunel Hall…theres a bottle of OVD Rum and a full soverign gold coin in it for each of ya if you manage to shift this lot before the city officials wake up.”
With that…all the dock workers and Mr Tupplesworth grinned, forgot about the cold, rolled up their sleeves and got to work hauling Morningtons off the record shipment to Sovereign House.