The Ebony Cardinal, also called his Holiness, was a humanoid individual of the Mechanical Age who posed as the spiritual leader of the Black Ships. He is an obese figure and rules from his throne room inside the mothership, scantily clad, on his divan-shaped throne surrounded by a harem, slaves and servants such as the Speaker. He calls himself the incarnation of the Nameless One.

His nemesis was Atrus who helped the people of Mechanical against the Black Ships and he had forbidden the mention of his name.

When their ship captured the sons of Atrus, Sirrus and Achenar, they said that they were coming with a proposal. Sirrus claimed that he would give him the means to extend his dominance, in exchange for safe passage. Seeing two warriors in the brothers, the Cardinal not only agreed but offered them to join the Black Ships. He showed them around the ship (the foundries, the gardens and the workshops) and then had them dine with him fish from a captured Camderite trawler.

The brothers provided them with technology that was unknown to the Age, such as steam-driven harpoons, forging of steel and the creation of new weapons. With these, the Dark Cardinal consecrated the bond of initiation and gave them to drink a blood-like liquid, speaking of 3 covenants before accepting them as his sons. After several days he allowed them to leave.

Sirrus returned to him with a Linking Book to another Age.[1]