Toyokata Village, 2 days later
“Well, bless my Greenwich armor! Father Tiago, you buccaneering confessor!”
Tiago whirled, taking the Tokimune stance, placing himself in front of Katsuka. From the shadows of the dusking alley stepped a man about a head taller than the Jesuit. His mouth was curved upward in a flash of a grin and his ruddy-haired head tilted slightly to the side, but his form cried out far more than a simple fop. Beneath his azure plate armor were corded Saxon muscles, far superior to those of Norman influences. A fine side sword of Toledo make hung in his baldric.
“Good evening, Roger Haverland,” Joao replied in Portuguese. “I knew not that you had license to privateer this far east, that is if you do still pilot The Green Man’s Revenge.”
“Aye. I am both pilot and captain now, but privateer no more. My homeland can fight the Spanish on her own.”
“What of your homeland? Does Bess Plantagenet still rule England?”
“She does. The Huscarl Council still governs in her name. Robert Bruce V rules the Kingdom of Scotland, Rodrig X rules Wales and King Patrick O’Brien stills sits enthroned over the Emerald Isle.”
“The last time I saw you, you were about to sail to a parley with young Captain Drake off the coast of Hispaniola.”
“Tisk, tisk, well that did not end well. This is not something you would say, but the young brat can kiss my codpiece. I seriously doubt if he will ever amount to anything. However it did end better than the time I saw you almost flayed alive by that corsair Onibakka and his band of cutthroats.”
“They…tried. Unsuccessfully, obviously….No matter. When you first accosted us, I thought you were an attacker. But where are my manners…. This is my ward, Katsuka-san.”
He then translated an introduction for the captain to the girl.
“Truly she is far fairer than the White Lotus. I would suspect you were thinking of leaving your holy vows, priest?”
Tiago’s eyes flared, hand moved to hilt. And he did not translate Haverland’s latest witticism.
“Peace… Peace, friend Joao. It was but a jest. Where are the winds of your fury blowing you at the moment?”
“We are headed to Osaka to investigate the young Tokugawa. Hopefully Oda Nobunaga will not discover I am there.”
“Hopefully it won’t be like Kyoto last year, when the town guard nearly crucified us. That was my last time masquerading as a tuga. My ship is anchored near here. I’d be more than happy to carry you to the port nearest Osaka.”
“I have never cared for your profane manner, Anglais. But the Lord looks at the heart. Lead on.”
The Green Man’s Revenge was a refurbished war galleons: 52 guns, a lean and trim prow that was spiked and could also be used for ramming and a keel that could cut the water like a razor. She was capable of an incredible 500 kn. Mister Kiernan, a half-drunk Scotsman with a leg made of blackthorn, kept an armory of 5000 Spanish cutlasses, 3500 pistols and 1000 boarding axes and hooks. Though most of the crew were seventh sons of Europe, there were several who were from that region of the world. The cook was from Siam, Mongkut by name, a short man with quick reflexes, bald save for a tail of hair tied at the top of his head. Though most of his cutlery with used for making khrua and other such dishes, he wore two Siamese sabers, and he excelled in their use. He was the friendliest to the Jesuit upon introduction, for he had been baptized at the hands of Xavier himself. And also there was the quartermaster, Harsha Sandeep, whose family had been followers of Christ since the days when St. Thomas came from the holy land. His family had dwelt long in Tamul, and he retained the dark-hued skin of that region of India. Although he was a follower of the true faith, he had trained long in the Sikh martial arts and wore their turban, always black in color, but instead of putting the khanda broadsword sigil upon it, he had pinned to it a crucifix. He excelled in the use of buckler and Indian saber and always wore a cuirass made from overlapping strips of black boiled leather. The others were half breeds with little known lineage to their name, and sons of Portugal Spain and Italy, all of whom, though they had blackmailed, drank and gambled their way to this Eastern Tortuga, were fiercely loyal and worth every ounce of their salt in a sea battle.