Listen carefully, for I do not like to repeat myself.
My name is Faustus. I am your fence. If you have something of value, you come to me. Understood? Every other day we have some braindead upstart who thinks they can circumvent the system. They go gallivanting around proclaiming they've found a gilded wonder or somesuch. Either the Templar, or another, less charitable, organisation gets wind of it, and we never see them again. Well, sometimes we see parts of them... usually on a pike or smeared across the ground at the base of the towers.
I am here for a reason. I am your protector. I am what stands between you and a very short life as a fugitive. I am your plausible deniability. Follow the rules, and you will grow wealthy and stay healthy.
Completed your first contract? Well, nearly. A contract isn't technically complete until the goods are in the hands of the client. You give me the urn, and I'll give you the markers you've earned. I yearn for the urn, to give you what you've earned! What fun. Don't go spending your markers all in one place! That, my friend, is a little joke. You see, they're only good here, so to imply you could spend them elsewhere is very humorous indeed.
I like you, Exile. Don't do anything stupid and ruin that.
A fence like myself provides a thief like yourself the means to offload ill-gotten goods for something you'll find more useful; in this case, markers. I take those goods and sell them to the nobility for something I find more useful -- coin and prestige. As a captain in the Navy, it's not entirely unusual to confiscate illicit goods from pirates and smugglers, and the nobility happily reward me for retrieving their valuables from the hands of evil.
Sometimes I'll even return it pro-bono, if the owner's station may afford me certain privileges down the road. The job carries with it certain risks, but were a thief such as yourself to try to speak out against me, well, you'd only be incriminating yourself in the process. It'd be your word against mine. And who is a judge more likely to believe?
Awful business, what happened to Oriath. Terrible. Just terrible. I was lucky. Safely out at sea with my crew.
I hope those responsible are held accountable, barring those with whom I have ongoing business, of course. I suspect they were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Can't blame someone for having rotten luck!
I've been in the navy a long time. I've seen leaders come and go. Let me tell you; Darnaw is a fool. A bumpkin. A cretin! I've no doubt he is morally corrupt, but more offensive than that, he holds no regard for a man's heritage! Back in my day, the navy was where boys became men. Where well-bred Oriathans could earn their place among the elite, after a brief and relatively safe stint out at sea. Then Darnaw came along, and all of a sudden we have fellows from completely inconsequential families strutting around the cabins like they work there! Because they do! He lets them work there! Awful man, Darnaw. Just awful.
My contract! How delightful. A shrewd man knows when to be discreet, but I like you, Exile. I like your bravado. Your gumption. Your get-it-done attitude. You deserve a little background.
I was aboard my vessel, the Fair Marylene, when I saw the first plumes rising above my beloved Theopolis. And thank Innocence! What those savages did... It is indefensible. But, it strikes me that within such a tragedy lies an opportunity.
The Theocracy is all but dead, thanks to you, but the military structure, in large part, remains intact. That's a problem. Admiral Darnaw, Innocence save him, is a buffoon. He is such a buffoon, that I would be willing to bet he has documented his buffoonery. Prove me right, and I'll reward you handsomely. And richly! Ha! Do you get it? I was hinting at my natural good looks for humourous effect. Wordplay is so satisfying.
Let's see what you've fished up. Hmm. Love letters? Well, nearly everyone's had their hand in Piety's cookiejar, so-to-speak, so that won't do. But these... Yes, these might work. Exile, have you already perused these papers?
Perhaps of little consequence to a layperson like yourself, these papers are irrefutable proof that Darnaw has been personally funding the activities of the Brinerot Pirates!
What? Don't look at me like that. This is an entirely different situation. The Brinerot are awful, bootlegging buccaneers! You are a ragtag bunch of down-on-your-luck ne'er-do-wells just trying to make the best life you can in this crazy world. Plus, I do no business with the Brinerot. Completely different.
Exile! How ever have you been since however long we uh--... Listen. That little job you pulled for me went nowhere. I showed Darnaw the papers, and he had the gall, the GALL, to shrug! At me! He said 'What are you going to do, arrest me?'. I said 'I might!' And now I'm blackballed! No orders coming through from him, and no communications coming from any of the other surviving vessels.
So, bit of a setback. Not the end of the world... Well, pending all this divine stuff going on. Plan B is underway.
I've a bit of a rivalry with another captain. Fidium. Clean as a whistle, Captain Fidium. Barnacles wouldn't stick to his hull. He's long had it out for me. Suspects me of underhanded dealings, the clever sod. I want you to break into his home and plant Darnaw's incriminating papers there. Put them where he's likely to find them. Probably a desk, or the latrine. Ehhhh... Desk. Let's go with the desk idea. He'll find the papers, confront Darnaw, and, WHAM! Sink two ships with one larger, stronger, handsomer ship.
How did you do, Exile? Did you leave them by the latrine? Oh--wait, we settled on the desk, didn't we. Ah. Shame.
Hmm? What did you find there? Aaah... Ah HA! Fidium, you fool! These, my dear, useful friend, are Fleet Orders, direct from Darnaw himself. We now know the entire fleet's future movements, including Darnaw's.
Yes... Yes... A plan is forming. Leave it with me, Exile. There's work to be done.
Just the person I was looking for! And you even have my contract in hand. How fortuitous! I've spent a good long while thinking over our next move. There are many pieces in play, and we must act decisively if we are to enact the change I seek. We seek. The change WE seek.
Here it is. We kill Darnaw.
That's it. Brilliant, eh? We go to Darnaw's location, and we kill him. YOU kill him. You go to Darnaw's location and kill him. I'm going to stay here. Hands clean and all that. Couldn't be simpler!
Admiral Darnaw's dead? Then you should be addressing me more formally! For I, Faustus, am the new Admiral! Well, I will be very soon. I'll send a small crew to investigate Captain Fidium's residence. I suspect they may find some damning evidence of Darnaw's corruption that must have pushed fastidious Fidium into a fit of fury! A quick keelhauling, and presto! No loose ends. We'll have to use my ship for the keelhauling of course. Fidium's keel is notoriously clean.
Thanks to your hard work, I can now consolidate the Oriath navy under my banner. The largest military force, mine to control, sitting at the centre of all trade!
I do believe this deserves a toast. To me! Long live the Admiral!
Well they don't exactly know I'm here, per se, but I imagine, rapscallions that they are, they savour any time where the man-in-charge is absent. In my day, we'd tie up the first mate, break into the swill, and see who could down the most before passing out or dying.
Oh, no. No no no. Most of us came from good, Innocence-fearing families. The captain knew that raising a hand to us would put him in hot water back home. We got away with murder, really. No, really, a few of the boys beat a galley slave to death. Barely got a talking to. Nowadays, of course, Admiral Darnaw lets damn-near anyone join the ranks. Horrible policy. I do enjoy doling out the punishments, though.