A Peg Leg and the North Star
Ventini had never been particularly fond of the ocean, even before the incident with that damnable shark. He had always lived in ports, his parents being shipping merchants. But it had never engendered love, only familiarity and respect, and maybe just a smidge of unease. It all just reinforced his views when it happened.
Ventini had always sat a little sideways of the law, at least as far as tariffs and legal goods were concerned. So when he inherited the last ship his parents had owned, it only made sense to him to start operating in the grayer markets. He setup his new business in Port Peril, knowing of its neutrality. He couldn't start the business completely on his own though, he couldn't afford it. A friend of his from his younger days, Malcog, had been doing fairly well for himself, but had no ships, so Ventini took him on as a partner.
A few years passed, and the Grand Duchess was making a run at night towards Port Peril yet again,