"You should send that girl back out into the streets before she brings the hounds down on us."
Daud looked up and calmly regarded the other Whaler. "You have an objection, Rulfio?" he asked drily.
"There's a reason she's not already running with one of the other gangs, and it's because none of them will take her. The Grand Guard – "
"I'm aware of the situation," Daud said, cutting him off. "The girl's face is plastered on every wall in the city. You think I didn't recognize her?"
"She has talent, and I want to know if it's talent I can use." Daud stood from his desk and walked to the far side of the room. Maps and notes and portraits were pinned to the wall here, as well as a few wanted posters offering rewards for the capture or death of his own men. He'd lost people to the Watch and the Overseers before, highly trained people with much lower bounties on their heads than the girl was being hunted for. "That she's avoided the Guard and the City Watch for so long is impressive, but you know how crimes against nobility are exaggerated. I need to know if she really did what they claim, if she truly has the killing spirit."
"And how will you find that out?"
"I'll start by asking her."
Rulfio's expression was hidden behind his mask, but the silent skepticism pouring off of him was impossible to miss.
Daud smiled to himself, moving over to the window and looking out onto the abandoned streets and buildings below. "I assume, since you're so convinced this girl will bring about the bloody ruin of the Whalers, that you haven't left her wandering our base unsupervised?"
Rulfio made a displeased noise low in his throat, but he managed to keep the rest of his argument to himself. "Fergus is keeping an eye on her," he said instead, clipped and brisk. "They're in the training yard."
"Thank you," Daud said with a curt nod. He left the room without sparing another glance in Rulfio's direction.
Fergus had a different way of watching the girl than Rulfio probably had in mind. He was chatting amiably with her in the training yard when Daud found them, holding out his arm so she could freely examine and fiddle with the mechanism of his wristbow as he spoke. It did appear to be unloaded, at least.
He straightened up as Daud approached, taking a step back and nodding respectfully. The girl whipped around, relaxing only slightly when she saw who it was. After a moment of nervous fidgeting, she settled into a stance mimicking the one Fergus had taken, with her feet apart and her hands clasped loosely behind her back. She met Daud's eye steadily, but her muscles were tensed, ready to run.
"You truly killed the Duke's son?" he asked without preamble.
The girl flinched and her expression darkened, but she gave a short nod. "Didn't know who he was at the time, but it wouldn't have stopped me."
"A bold claim from someone who's been on the run for that crime for months," Daud said, crossing his arms.
"He killed my Deirdre, left her bleeding in the mud because she dared to step in front of him," she snapped, practically baring her teeth in a snarl. "I didn't care if he was a duke or a prince or just some jumped-up merchant, he wasn't leaving my sight alive."
"How did you kill him?"
Her mouth shut with a click of teeth, and her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Why do you want to know?"
Daud shook his head and took a step closer, watching as she shrank back in response. "I offered you a place here fighting for me; I need to know if you'll be able to do what I ask of you," he explained. "You're safe here and now only on my command, so I suggest you answer my questions."
She swallowed and dropped her gaze quickly. "Right," she mumbled, then cleared her throat and started again. "That bastard and his brother had come out of a fancy coach, polished wood with some kind of carved animals on top – long neck and sharp horns?" She made a vague gesture above her own head to indicate the unusual features.
"Gazelles," Daud supplied. They were common in Serkonos, and the Duke's family line had taken to using them as a symbol of nobility a few generations back.
"Yeah, gazelles," she said with a shrug. "I didn't have any kind of weapon, but the wood at the bottom of those gazelles was carved real thin. They were gloating over what they'd done to Deirdre, so they weren't watching me. I climbed on the front of that coach and broke one of the gazelles off, and then I jumped on the one who'd done it and shoved the horns into his eye as deep as they would go." A grim smile flickered across her face. "Then it was him lying twitching in the mud. Wish I could've got the brother, too, but he was already hollering for the guards, and I knew I had to run."
"Hm." Daud looked her up and down as she finished her tale, watching as wariness settled back over her and her stance became guarded once more under his scrutiny. "What's your name, girl?"
She blinked, looking surprised by the question. "Billie," she said. "Billie Lurk."
He raised an eyebrow. "Really."
A flash of irritation crossed her face, but she quickly pulled it under control. "Other kids used to call me that, and I never managed to shake it," she explained with a shrug. "I've always been good at getting in places where I shouldn't be."
"Yes, I noticed that."
Her smug smile in response was smothered just as quickly as the irritation, though somewhat less successfully.
Daud scratched his chin in thought. "It was a messy killing that got half the city on your tail, but it's something I can work with," he said eventually. "Fergus will show you where you can sleep. We'll start your training tomorrow."
Billie's eyes lit up with anticipation, and she obediently left the yard at Fergus's heels.
Alone, Daud closed his eyes and considered the work that lay before him. Anger like that was easy enough to harness and sharpen and aim at a target. Regret or guilt would have been troublesome, but she showed no signs of either. The only real problem was her remaining pursuers.
He had dealt with the Grand Guard before. From what he remembered, they were no more impressive on the whole than Dunwall's City Watch, but of course, the Duke would have sent only his best men for this job. They would need to make a few targeted hits on the elite officers, violent, public attacks that made it clear who was hunting them. They would abandon the chase soon enough once it was clear their target had gained deadly allies.
It would take some effort, but the end result was sure to be worth it.