Customs officers board a galley in a harbor and overpower its guards. In the hold they find oil and silver, and a naked boy chained to the bulkhead. The officers break the boy's chains to rescue him, but he escapes. Duke Alonzo commands the seas, taxes his colonies, and, like every duke before him, fears assassins better than his own. In a side chapel, Alonzo's thirteen-year old cousin prays for deliverance from her forced marriage. When Moorish pirates break in to steal a chalice, they kidnap her and demand ransom from the Duke. As day dawns, Marco, the Duke's chief assassin, prepares to kill the man who let in the pirates. Having cut the traitor's throat, he turns back, and finds a stranger crouched over the man, drinking blood from the wound. The speed with which the boy dodges a dagger and scales a pillar stuns Marco, and the assassin knows he has to find the boy - he's finally found what he thought he would never find. Someone fit to be his apprentice.
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