"Well, you're looking cheerful," said Mosca leaning against the wall.
"If you are alluding to what you think you are," said Gregory as he approached the Shrikes, "I will remind you the lady is a crack shot who has killed men."
"And you?" asked Mosca.
"Am still me," answered Gregroy, hand on his swordhilt. He glanced at the nearby siege engine they'd pulled off the biggest of the ships now blocking the harbor. "So, how's the catapult working?"
"Catapult?" said Ancient Evereux, offense heavy in his voice. "This is a ballista!"
Gregory took a deep breath. "Does it hurl rocks at things?"
The old man stared at him a moment with baleful eyes, and then managed a nod. "It does, Lieutenant. Rocks, and other things. But it does so..."
"And it does... does so, right?" asked Gregory wearily.
Evereux gave a laugh. "Oh, it does! We just launched some pitch at those Leonais ships that were circling close. Lit them right up!"
"Very good," said Gregory with a nod. "You did very well, Ancient. Good to see that your knowhow in these matters is just as sharp as ever."
The old man gave the siege engine a fond pat. "A fine piece of machinery like this does half the work for you," he said. "Honestly, it's almost a shame, a work of art like this being shuffled out to a backwater like this. Like I said, this is a true ballista!"
Gregory gave what he hoped came across as a nod of agreement. Mosca glanced at him, clearly amused. "You should have seen him firing the thing."
"I can imagine," said Gregory.
"No, you can't," replied Mosca.