The banter between Carraciolo and Abdul caught Elsa's attention. It occurred to her that she had never asked how an Arabyan had come to work for Captain Sforza. This would be an interesting topic for a later conversation.

She stood stiffly by the Captain's side during the introductions, putting on her best expression of grim competence.


"Though I think we may have met before."

"We have," said Elsa in a curt tone that betrayed nothing. "In Putbad, in the company of Lady Groz."

She thought it best not to say too much. She had a checkered history when it came to negotiations.