Characters:Dun Barethsol:Elgar Basil
He is polite, extremely cautious, and thoroughly unscrupulous. He is a swindler, murderer, and thief, but he appears to be none of those things. His business dealings show no outward signs of being criminal. His buying and selling prices are always a few coins above or below the norm, but not so far as to invite interest. His business practices are evidence of his careful, methodical approach to both heinous crimes and totally honest river-shipping.
He is consummately a Man of the Knife. They, as a group, are typified by hidden danger. They are malicious in the extreme and given to vendettas. However, their vendettas, because they are pursued so carefully, often look like fast friendship and deep loyalty. The Dockmaster gained his position among local Men of the Knife by waiting ten years to stage a coup against the former leaders who operated along the Elenstroem.
The Dockmaster trusts no one, having learned well the lesson that among his own kind, trust is not well rewarded. He has a handfull of lessons that he passes along to new members of the Society:
"Trust kills. Loyalty lives."
"The swift dagger kills quickly and the poisoned dagger kills noticeably, but the slow dagger kills totally."
"Smile. Trust breeds complacency."
The Dockmaster is loyal to himself. His only other real loyalty is to the "person" who helped him in his take-over of the Elenstroem Society of the Blade. This "person" is a fairly obscure married couple consisting of a Blackwidow Sister and a Brother of the Venomed Blade (i.e., an 'known' member of the Society of the Blade and a secret member of the Brotherhood of the Fang). They live in hiding, disguised as a dockhand and a rowboat peddler woman. He is the Dockmaster's foreman and primary enforcer. She helps the Dockmaster smuggle things during night hours and during daylight hours sells items that are dangerous or of dubious origin. Her more dangerous wares are not available to the "skins", a Blade-society word for non-Humans, or "spoons", by which the Society means Humans who do not "use knives".