All The Cards


Jaya.jpg Max.jpg Ralik (NPC'd by Jaya)

Date: Nov. 29, 2010
Location: The Bar, EW
Synopsis: Max takes Jaya up on that card game. Jaya comes clean about her sordid past and much gets revealed between the two. In the end the Bitran leaves the table both piss-drunk and with open respect for the beast manager.
Rating: PG-18 for heavy language
Logger: Jaya

It’s a late night at the bar, far after it has closed and its barmaids have retired for the night save for its barkeep and her bodyguard. Shijan takes up his usual residence at the entrance while Jaya is behind the counter finishing up tallying her profits for the day. It must be a good haul for the barkeep seems to be in a good mood – and a good mood such as this is usually brought on either by lots of whiskey or high profits. Or both. There’s a table set up where every one of them have been cleared: a deck of cards at the center along with one dark bottle alongside of it and two empty and clean glasses as if the Bitran was expecting someone to arrive any moment. Someone does arrive, however – Ralik, the non-descript man that shows up every now and then around this time bearing a small package walks right into the bar at this moment, barely giving Shijan a glance and raising up the package for Jaya to take. “Usual,” is his one word greeting, the man barely smiling as he reaches the counter and sets it down right beside her stacks of marks she’s counting.

A man walks into a bar…and for a change, is not the bearer of bad tidings. Hands set to pockets, Shijan is given a silent nod in greeting and then, just as his path veers toward the counter, his attention is drawn to the non-descript man standing there and he pauses a moment. Dark eyes narrow onto the package he's handing over to Jaya and without further hesitation Max is right there and up in the bar owner's business. "Evening darlin'," a pointed look going Ralik's way.

Shijan is more genial to Max when he enters, the man actually speaking and saying, “Evening,” then his eyes go toward Ralik right when the beast manager’s does. Ralik has yet to notice the new arrival, withdrawing his hand away from the package he sets on the counter as Jaya moves to pick it up – well, she manages to get her hand on it until she looks up finds Max approaching. “Usual, right,” she answers distractedly, Max’s greeting along with the pointed look getting a raised brow. And then, Ralik turns and faces Max himself. His own eyes narrowing as he looks the beast manager over, “This is Ralik,” she gives with the introductions, claiming the package and slipping it behind the counter. “Ralik, this is-“ – “I know who this is,” Ralik speaks, his eyes remaining on Max as he slides a hand, palm up, towards Jaya. “Lomaxin. High Reaches Weyr. Runs the stables. Used to work in Tillek. Used to run the circuits. Need I go on?” Pause. Once he’s certain he’s gotten both of their attentions, his grey eyes flick towards Jaya and adds, “Payment, and I’ll be on my way.” Jaya’s brow lifts more before she rolls her eyes toward the ceiling and then regards Max with a wry, “He’s my informant. Works for Serevan. Evening to you, Max.” Well, this is the night for being honest, right?

It's a night of brow lifting all round, for with Ralik putting him under such close study and then reciting a synopsis of his history, there goes the beast manager's, way up high, only to drop down into a frown as he keeps narrow eyed regard on the man, lips pursing into a thin line. That breaks into a faint smirk when Jaya drops Serevan's name into the mix, "Ralik…well met." Not really, but good to put face and name to at least one of the informants belonging to his competitors that are rattling about the Weyr. The bar owner, she however gets given a look. One that suggests she can be sure he'll be speaking of her association with the man just as soon as he's made his departure. That and the package she's just slipped under the counter. For now though, he remains silent, rocking back on his heels and affecting ignorance as it currently suits him to do.

“Well met,” Ralik’s own is in clipped tones, then he turns resolutely towards Jaya and looks pointedly towards his held-out hand. Passing over a small bag of marks and dropping it into his palm, “I need you to go check on Keane,” Jaya tells him then, nodding her thanks to him. “After you see Serevan, of course. Send him a warm greeting for me?” She gives him a three-second smile, then Ralik pockets the payment and nods huffily to her. Looking at Max, “Keane’s on my way,” is all he says to that, taking a step away from the counter. “You two have a good night.” Just like that, he’s gone with barely a second glance spared for anyone. Jaya has noted that look from Max though, and once Ralik is out of earshot, “I told you about him, didn’t I?” Does that sound innocent? She tries to recall, the barkeep now turning to finish up counting the marks before she starts to slide them off the counter and into a waiting bag.

Only giving a faint smile edged with politeness and a bare dip of head as Ralik leaves, Max says nothing, dark eyes fitting to the informant until he's gone from sight. Slowly he turns his attention back to Jaya a warning look in place, "Think I woulda remembered something like that if you had, darlin'." Innocent or not, he's caught her out. Next a jerk of chin goes the way of the now concealed package, "Doing runs on the side?" his tone too casual for the warning he'd delivered to her on their last meeting with regards to her running deals on the side that he's unaware of. Silent for a long time, regard set to Jaya with no anger evident. Prepared to give her the chance to explain herself. Breaking it only to comment, "Indira was just up there," at the Blood and Bucket, "establishing a corridor with Keane. Says he's…better than she expected." Shrugging in genuine ignorance of whatever else that quip from his mother might have meant.

Jaya fits a wry but bland smirk at Max on his answer, that warning look getting a blithe “Thought I had. Huh, well, now you know. He works for Keane and me,” she explains, snapping the bag of today’s profits shut. When he nods toward the concealed package, the woman hesitates. Then that question, along with the ensuing silence that follows, has her sighing inwardly as she bends to bring forth the package and drop it between them on the counter. She rips the top of the package open in silence, spilling out written sheets of hide folded and she pulls one of the sheets free to smooth it out on the counter before starting to read it out loud: The Dicori caravan made less than good profits on this day with selling its weaponstock. Your father got into another argument with the one of the suppliers and now there’s a chance the Dicoris will lose that corridor for goods, too. His drinking is getting worse. Your brother runs most of the wagon these days, but it’s obvious that something or someone is starting to occupy his time. Knowing the history of your family, I would say that either one of the nearby crimelords has gotten a hold of him or that he’s actually fallen in love with someone. One guess as to which option is more plausible. Your sister is missing, or, at least I haven’t seen her. Some are saying she’s left to go visit a friend up in Ruatha. Done reading, Jaya sets that letter aside and pulls out another one and begins to read that one: That family you want me to look after- That letter immediately goes face down, the barkeep shooting a challenging look his way. “If I don’t pay someone to keep eyes and ears open for me up north, I wouldn’t have never came down here,” she finally speaks, jaw tightening. “That is the truth. All of this,” and she waves a hand over the folded letters, “are news from up north. You got me. You know that. Isn’t that what tonite is all about?” Now, she gestures towards the set up table behind him, the man now getting a pointed look from the Bitran. When Keane and Indira are mentioned, there’s a slight frown at his wording before she nods to that and starts putting the letters back together. “Better than expected. That’s good. I worry about him being up there. Alone.” She’ll need to speak with Indira then, just to get the details on Keane’s health, and she makes mental note of that.

"For you and Keane," Max repeats in such a manner as to suggest he's about to tack on, 'And now for me too', he doesn't however. Not yet. Chances are good there'll come a time in the future when he's likely to make good use of that avenue. But for now he leaves it be. Palms set to the counter and the beast manager leans his weight on them, setting Jaya with a considering look as she withdraws the package and opens it. One brow goes up as nothing more than letters fall out, the other joining the first as she then starts reading them aloud. Impressed with her openness and surprised for it containing nothing more than what it does a wry smile appears and he leans his weight off of one of his hands and lays it flat on top of the rest of the letters, as if to still her reading any more of them to him. Given quietly and sincerely, "I'm sorry, Jaya." For having doubted her. With a slight turn of head, eyes slip over to the table she's set up and it's a warm expression that's in place when his attention goes back to her. Pushing away from his lean on the counter top, he tilts his head in the direction of the card table, "C'mon then, we can drink and talk over that game of cards I aim to win." Grinning turning crooked for his open arrogance there. "Who Keane?" this to whom she worries about, "Eh, he should be fine I reckon. Indira took Rordan up with her to help out with the bar," and be their eyes and ears up in Telgar, "Man's built like a rock outhouse." A dark smirk unfolds, "Believes in fight now, ask questions later."

Perhaps Jaya could detect what’s not said in the way that Max repeats those words. In either case, “He works for a fee and he won’t budge on it,” she lets him know, her tone a little dry. “I’ve been trying to for turns, but Serevan runs a tight business. Guess I don’t blame him. If you’re still looking to send a message to the renegade lords through Serevan,” by the way, “Ralik would be your man.” Once the letters are placed back into the ripped package his apology gets a shake of her head and the glimmers of a crooked smile. “We learn to trust, shuga,” she drawls with a slow incline of her head. “Doesn’t come easy, and it won’t. For the both of us.” Once Max brings attention to the table, the barkeep gives him a genuine smile as she bends to place the package back in its cubby for later perusal and moves to follow him towards the set up table. “Aim to win?” she picks up that tease, tossing her dark hair over one shoulder loftily as she drops into one of the seats. “Hope you brought a lot of marks worth losing, shuga. I’ve got to make back those marks I’ve just lost to Ralik.” There’s a wink and the woman leans forward to drag the deck of cards towards herself before she releases them and goes for the glasses. “Brandy?” she offers then, listening to his answer on the old barkeep up north, her brow lifting when hearing about Rordan. “The patrons will get an interesting surprise then,” she drawls, uncorking one of the bottles and starting to pour its contents into one of the glasses. “Not everyday the Blood and Bucket had some muscle.” If she suspects that the man is also their eyes and ears, she’s not appearing to be. “I was thinking Tackas would supply him with one, seeing as how he has his hands in such knowledge.” Beat. “He’s the guard charged with looking out for me up there,” she explains the man quickly, passing the filled glass over towards him before she reaches to fill her own.

A low chuckle greets her words on Ralik's services, for the fact that she's starting to get to know how his mind works, "Wouldn't expect otherwi.." Up goes that brow again as words cut off, "Was planning on dropping it from the air," his 'message'. "Not trussing it up like a porcine and having a man carry it on his back all the way back up North." For he has no idea how the informant gets between continents. That smile coming off of Jaya, that earns her a similar one in return, "Aye." He gives simply on the matter of trust. Sprawling into a chair, Max tips a crooked grin over to the barkeep and makes a show of sticking his hands in his pockets and turning them out - nothing but lint in there. "Just a lowly beast manager, remember?" Yeeah right. One can believe however, that he carries his marks elsewhere on his person rather than the obvious place where they can easily be lifted by a nimble fingered pickpocket such as…one blue weyrling -back in the day. "Does a dragon shit Between?" amused response give to the offer of brandy. A low snicker spills out for Blood and Bucket patrons being presented with muscle rather than curves, "I'll pay good marks to see someone trying to feel Rordan up." Curling his fingers about the filled glass sent his way, interest colours his expression a nod going towards the scar she wears, "I'm going to assume that was after Vaputero gave you that lovebite," sardonic. A mouthful of the brandy is swallowed down with an appreciative hiss for the slight bite it as she shuffles the deck of cards delivers before he's asking, "Tell me about you and Kelarad." Yes, he'd noticed the silent interplay between the two up in Telgar.

“Ralik has his ways,” Jaya notes with amusement, laughter evident in her tone for how to get the dead body up north. “For a fee, anyway.” When Max overturns his pockets, she leans forward to see for herself before leaning back and shaking her head. “Lowly my ass,” she drawls on that, not believing it for one second. “And I’ve heard dragons do shit Between. You can imagine the weird stuff dragonriders talk about that I get to hear in here. Stuff like dragons shitting Between.” She could be joking, right? She seems to be in one of those moods, in any case. Once she sends a filled glass Max’s way and fills up her own, she takes up the glass and settles back into her chair for a moment to taste it. “I’ll pay good marks to see his reaction,” she tacks on for Rordan getting feeled-up, the smile reaching her eyes. “Got some men there that wouldn’t care the least. When Max nods toward her scar on the account of Tackas, the barkeep takes another sip of her brandy before setting it down and reaching for the deck of cards again. “I’d fuck him for payment,” she explains on Tackas, eyes touching Max before she sets to shuffling the cards. “Arrangements like that are always easier, unless I’m not in the mood. He kept his men on the perimeter, keeping Vaput’s men out or at least directing them on a good wher chase. Apparently he sent Suli, too.” Another look. Once the cards are shuffled up to her satisfaction, she starts dealing when he asks about her relationship with Kelarad. That gets some moment of silence, the Bitran seeming more interested in getting the hands out before she sets the remaining deck down and she picks up her share of the cards into one hand. “Before things got bad between them,” she begins, noting Kelarad and Vaputero, “they had quite the alliance. It was no secret that Rad had an interest for me even then, shuga. Even to work for him.” Smirking a little, “And well, I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying his, ah, company either. Vaput knew and wouldn’t let that happen. I think he was jealous or something.” A small shrug was given. “Rad and my relationship is quite…different from mine and Vaputero’s,” she explains then slowly with a slight smile. “Vaput and I…we have an understanding. We get each other, but with Rad…there’s not the darkness in him that’s in Vaput. Perhaps I was drawn to that. I don’t fuck my bosses,” she makes a quick note of that, “and I made it a rule not to fuck the other crimelords, either. Doesn’t stop Kelarad from trying, though. Plus,” she adds, eyes on her cards now, “I’ve done runs for him in the past whenever Vaput found it beneficial. So, I know a bit about how Rad runs things in Tillek. I think Vaput always thought I would just up and turncoat on him one day for Tillek. As if I don’t believe in loyalty.” Jaya snorts softly to that.

With a low chuckle, "Think I'll stick to delivering that particular message myself. I'm sure the boys up north would appreciate the…personal touch," sardonic. Nothing more than an enigmatic smirk greets her response to his status in life making reply instead to what it is dragons do Between, "M'sure Waine and the lads are quite pleased they do." Picturing someone having to shovel enormous piles of steaming dragon poop everyday, his further comment on the matter is this, "Put the misbehaved on dragonshit detail for a few sevens and they'll be begging for the mines." At least he thinks creatively, right? That amusement stays in place, deepening at thought of Rordan's reaction to being felt up by another male. However it soon drops away when from behind the glass at his lips a frown fits his brows together for Jaya's telling of her means of payment to the guard. "That ain't right," given in quiet disgust not for the woman in fear of her life and needing protection but rather for the calibre of man that would take her up on it. A pointed look goes her way for Tackas apparently having been the one to send Suli to her. He doesn't need to say it again does he? Setting his glass down and taking up the hand dealt him, Max shuffles a few of them around into an order more pleasing to him as he listens to what she has to say on the triangle of herself, Vaputero and Kelarad. A comment made by her somewhere in the telling of it flickers dark eyes over to the scar faced woman, a knowing smirk playing faintly about his lips but he gives it no verbalisation. Cards in one hand, he reaches for his drink again with the other, setting a long look onto her, "Gonna need whatever you know of his operation in Tillek sooner than I thought I might," the beast manager gives, latent anger in his eyes, "And that run done for him at your earliest convenience too." Just to cover his bases. Swallowing down a healthier than usual mouthful of brandy, his voice a little husky for having done so, "Little Bit and her minder could be in trouble. I need to send people in to keep an eye on the situation." Hoping she'll understand the code name he's using there. Well…less code name and more for the fact that…he has no idea what his daughter's given name is.

“That’s what we’re in business for, right? Personal touch?” Jaya notes, eyes lifting up from her cards with that wry slant to her lips on his remark for delivering the body. She’s nearly laughing on the dragonshit bit though, both brows lifting up as she regards Max over her hand of cards. Her amusement is lingering somewhat when he voices his displeasure at her method of paying Tackas up in Telgar, the Bitran not looking a bit apologetic. Well, she looks a littleguilty now, but “Those days I didn’t have enough to pay for such services,” she says to that, perhaps as an explanation along with a ‘what else was I suppose to do?’ look going his way. She probably could have played that situation smarter, but, it was all in hindsight now. Catching that look on Suli, however, her cards go down and she notes, “Do I need to sit you both down?” Returning that look, “Suli isn’t going to do anything without my knowledge, Max. Trust me on that. She knows about Vaput and the whole situation though.” Leaning back and reaching for her glass, “She could be a help to you there,” she adds speculatively, watching for Max’s reaction to that. After she takes a moment to drink and sets the glass back down in favor for her cards, “Looking to fuck Rad over so soon?” she asks carefully, watching his face. “What’s happening to the little one?” Concern shows on that one, and the woman does not argue the point on getting that run done. Which, speaking of, “Flack’s been by to see me,” she tacks on as if the thought suddenly occurred to her. “Strange guy. He gave me the details on the run, so unless you’re arranging me a transport…” cuz as far as she’s seeing it, she’s doing this alone and efficiently. Rearranging her cards now, “You think Kelarad’s involved with your kid somehow?” she asks, now addressing his need to know the inside of the Tillekian’s operation with hard-to-hide interest. She’ll even keep her eyes on her cards, too.

Selecting a card, laying it down on the table and taking up another, Max quirks a grin out to her, "That we are, darlin'." This to the reason they're in business. Laughter held in his eyes for his quip over dragonshit fades into an expression of rueful understanding, "Ain't questioning your reasons, Jaya. Might go bang on Tackas' head though." Making it clear as he hadn't before which part of that had sat ill with him. Taking up his glass for another swallow of brandy, he sets Jaya with an obstinate look on the topic of her Telgari barmaid, "If I wanted to do a Gather dance with a watchwher, I would have done so by now." Snort. Dark eyes narrow in open scepticism, "Her, a help with Vaput? More like feed me, and you, straight to him." Considering what little love is lost between the two. Another swallow of the brandy and brow goes up, "Why the shards would I be looking to fuck Rad over?" seemingly affronted by her having taken that train of thought, "Know your enemies, Jaya," repeating and age old adage. Not that the Tillekian has done anything to hit the beast manager's shit list of enemies. Yet. As to his daughter his expression closes into a tight line, "Her mother's looking to be going off the deep end. Again." A card laid down and another taken up in its favour, his hand stilling in its path as the dry edge of a smile slips into place, "Aye, came my way too." On the matter of transport to carry out the smuggling run he gives with ease, "Got a brownrider willing to take you and Shijan up there," deliberately including her bodyguard in there. "He knows to be discreet, keep his distance and ask no questions," this of the dragonrider proposed. It's the dark haired woman's last however that draws a long and unreadable look onto her before he quietly puts forth with obvious discomfort, "I sure as shit hope not. Don't need that kind of attention put to Little Bit's whereabouts and roots right now." Not unless Kelarad has some kind of information in hand that could potentially ruin the Lady Holder's reputation and thus play into Max's scheme of getting his daughter back.

“Not everyone’s willing to have a kind heart like you, shuga,” Jaya notes to Max on Tackas, the woman sending a fleeting awkward smile at the notion of anyone defending her honor. Not really a thing she hears everyday. “He’s one of many. It’s the game we have to play to get what we want.” His response on Suli seems expected though, for the Bitran fits a wry look onto the man and says nothing else on the matter. Well, almost. “You’re so certain she has something to do with Vaputero,” she doesn’t make that a question, the barkeep watching him as she finishes arranging her cards. “I… disagree,” she finally admits her opinion on the matter, having been hedging about on the topic of Suli for months now. “She’s into something, that much I can figure, but it can’t be with Vaputero. Maybe it’s with another crimelord, perhaps. I dunno. But, something about her…” and the glass gets taken up again. His response on her question of screwing Kelarad over gets a brow raise, “It’s a perfectly legitimate question,” she says in her defense, almost innocent sounding. “ Alliances in this type of game doesn’t last forever, shuga. One would only hope they do.” She silences on hearing about his kid though, eyes falling on her cards then before she nods to that. “You’re going to need help getting her out of there,” she says, switching a card out deftly from her hand before looking Max’s way. “Shout if you need me.” She’s even resigned to Shijan coming along the run too, though she’s throwing a look the beast manager’s way. No, she’s not going to argue. “Good,” she says on the transportation, sounding pleased. “Then Shijan and I can go shortly.” Beat. “Olira seems to be getting on fine here,” she notes since they’re still on the topic of the Tillekian renegade, shifting to eye the back of Max’s hand of cards from where she sits. “Looks like it was a good idea to bring her down.”

His turn to look awkward and that, for the praise given. Mouth twisting around a wry line, "Aye, well…we aim to change that." The game some people need to play and the current set of 'rules' they're playing by. Whether or not that's even feasible, doesn't seem to bother the man much. Leaning back in his seating, cards laid face down against his chest, Max sets her with a considering look not disagreeing to the Telgar woman being up to something. "Can put a tail on her. Do some digging up Telgar way, see if we can find out her story after she left the Weyr?" the decision to do so being put in Jaya's court. "Or speak to Keane, see if he has any contacts that might have a good nose to the ground." Offering out suggestions to getting to the root of the barmaid rather than poking pointed barbs at her personage for a change. He's trying, right? Interesting how a newly acquired title such as his will have a man looking at things from a different perspective. A smirk unfolds as he lifts his glass again and drains the contents. At this rate he'll be crawling out the bar instead of walking. "Don't plan to be the one to break 'em," the alliances spoken of, "Find it's always best to be the one with the upper hand in such things if possible." Dark eyes meet those of a similar hue and he nods grimly, "Aye, I know." Appreciation for the offer made of her help showing briefly in his expression before it closes again. "If my people are already in place it makes it easier. This…isn't just a simple grab and dash, darlin'. We need something hard and fast on the bitch that'll stick. I'll even take Ahni's idea of putting enough evidence together to lay false accusation against her, if need be." So he's not averse to playing dirty when the situation warrants it, it seems. Rather than lighten his current mood, Jaya's words on Olira seems to simply deepen it. His mouth pressing into a hard line, he's silent a moment before answering, "Ahni…" yeah he's clearly keeping the weyrling abreast of everything and vice versa, "pointed out that there's a good chance that Vaputero's message might be…" pausing, refilling his glass and then swallowing down the bile risen in his throat with a wash of brandy, "…a little longer lasting than any of us gave thought to."

Curiously amused by his response, “You can’t get rid of crime, either,” Jaya’s just full of renegade wisdom tonite, isn’t she? Straightening up, “Those of us need it. Dirty dealing, I get that, but the acts themselves, well… there’s always going to be a Kelarad. A Vaputero. A Borrento. A Serevan. And then, those of us like my family that’s had a long history of crime. Except my mother.” That gets an odd frown, but she moves on with her eyes falling on her cards. She finally shows her hand though, and it’s considerably high, but not high enough. Sighing at it, “Had a tail,” she admits on Suli, “but it’s been going nowhere. Something tells me it’s on purpose. I can talk to Keane about it, see if he can send word to Tackas when he finds him.” Pause. “Or Ralik,” she drops the name of her informant thoughtfully on that before nodding towards Max. “Have a feeling she’s too smart for a tracker though, Max. I’ve picked Suli’s brain many times, and she’s pretty crafty.” As such, she appreciates Max’s words, knowing that he hated the old Telgari. Talk of alliances seem to amuse the barkeep too, “What if they’re set on doing something that’s against your, ah…code?” she puts the moral question to him then, taking up her half-filled glass now that the cards are out on the table for him to see. “I imagine Vaputero’s little jaunt with Olira didn’t sit well with Ritalia, for example, but she still seems to be sticking around him, from what I hear. Could you do that?” Since they’re sharing their stories tonite. On the account of his child, she nods to that on it being more than a simple grab, his willingness to play dirty getting an interested look from the barkeep. “You’re going to need that kind of attitude if you want to be legitimate with our friends up north,” she agrees with such ruthlessness, showing that cold Dicori streak in her tone. She gauges Max’s mood falling when she brings up Olira, and when he points out what Ahnika has, “Olira pregnant?” she guesses, her own mood dropping down a few octaves. No, she hasn’t thought about that either, apparently, and it shows on her face. “You think her going Between when he brought her here didn’t work?” she asks then, her voice lowering a bit as if Olira was somewhere in the room with them.

"I weren't shelled yesterday, darlin'," Max gives in dry response to there always being crime and shady dealings and then adds with an odd smile, "But there's a way to working everything toward less…damage." So he's not a complete idealist. Far from it in fact. Picking up on the way her expression changes when she touches on her mother, he leans forward splaying his hand of cards out on the table with a show of panache, a faint smirk fitting into place for it being higher than Jaya's. "Read 'em and weep, darlin'," following in tease as he follows to ask in apparent idle interest, "Your mother…?" The prompt left there in the air between them should she choose to pick it up. A light frown forms over Suli as he takes up his glass and leans back again, "If she's slipping tails and covering her tracks that good…" Lips purse and then he gives her a nod, "Get word to Tackas and Ralik onto her." Only having met the latter recently and never the former, he's prepared to trust her judgment on their ability to uncover something. Drinking again, a dark smile is revealed once his glass comes away from his mouth, "Explain them into understanding…my code." One can only guess at what that means. Perhaps revealed in his next as a cold light taints his features, "One of my 'brothers' pulled a move like that he'd be strung from his balls up on the Star Stones for Thread before he could say 'begging your leave'. The rest of his crew…" a deadly smile flickers in, "they've got one choice. Join their boss, or join me." Yes, he does have his limits and clearly wouldn't hesitate to mete out such 'justice' either. Which works as response to her comment on the ruthlessness needed to keep his standing amongst the other renegade crime lords. Leaving off that topic a sigh escapes his lips and he gives a faint nod, "Aye." A hand palms over his face, "Didn't give it a thought until Ahni brought the possibility up." Shaking his head regretfully, "A short hop Between don't always do it they say. Gotta be longer to be sure." And with his not having given the potential situation a thought…well the rest could now be history. "Asked Ahni to find out if we might be looking at dealing with a….a fuck up beyond all fuck ups." Considering how Kelarad was likely going to take the news.

“Less damage,” Jaya repeats that wryly, her eyes falling on his revealed cards with a frown at his taunt. “Beginner’s luck,” is what she’s calling it, the woman reaching forward to retrieve all their cards. “I’m just getting warmed up, buddy.” She refills her glass then, raising the bottle towards Max in the case that he needs a refill too. “My mother wasn’t like us,” she explains on his prompt, that odd frown returning again though it’s fleeting. “She didn’t believe in the Dicori code, but she still loved my father up till the day she died. Thought we could break the cycle, see.” Jaya shrugs at that, a finger idly tracing the top of her glass as she recalls her mother. “The trading thing was a ruse from the start,” she tells him, her tone distracted. “Dicoris were never really traders, but it had worked for us for so long that it sorta stuck. My mother knew about it, knew about my father, but she loved him anyway. Saw the good in him.” Eyes on Max now, “My twin’s like my mother,” she notes, nodding once. “She doesn’t seem to carry that…darkness, I guess you can call it. She sees the good in people. She’s the only one I know. I and Nacor, on the other hand…” another shrug and she moves to reshuffle the cards for the next game. She nods on getting Tackas and Ralik on Suli’s tail, agreeing with him. “I’ll let Ralik know the next time he blows in.” And then there’s Max’s code. His answer to her moral questions get her to pause in the shuffling abruptly, the woman fitting a long look onto the beast manager before answering, “I’m impressed. Didn’t think you could go there, beast manager.” A hand runs over her face at the talk of Olira then, “He can’t blame us for Olira getting knocked up,” she speaks on Kelarad, frowning as she starts up shuffling again. “Either case, good thinking. Olira seems to be taking to Ahni, which I was hoping for. She’ll find out, and if she’s really knocked up…” she looks at Max then, her gaze serious and sober in light of the topic. “We’ll have to talk to Rad then. He’ll likely retaliate for sure.” What kind of retaliation the crimelord will mete out is the question – a question Jaya’s leaving hanging unspoken in the air between them.

Beginner's luck…That simply deepens his smirk as he nudges his glass closer for a refill, "Next you'll be telling me, you let me win, Dicori." Dark eyes fall to Jaya, respect growing in them as she speaks for a woman never met and long since dead and gone, "Sounds like she was a special kind of woman." Given sincerely. Eyes meet and hold those seeking them out and then he quietly gives, "You…" pausing in order to ensure he has her complete attention, "are not the lost cause you seem to think you are, Jaya." Seeming quite sure of that given the determined tone and firm set to his features. That having been said Max drops his attention idly down to the cards she shuffles taking a swallow of his refreshed drinks as he does so and then lifts it back up when her hands still. Her long look is met with an unwavering one of his own. "Change don't come without a cost, darlin'." A fact he's all too painfully aware of. He let's that look hold a moment longer and then drops it away down into the contents of his glass giving a short nod to neither one of them being held liable for Vaput's doing. "Aye. Well…he ain't gonna be happy about it." And really, who can blame the man. A quick shake of head to push such currently unfounded thoughts aside, "Probably ain't nothing any ways." A short smile edges to the one corner of his mouth, "Aye, reckon it might do 'em both good." This to the association between weyrling and 'refugee'. The bar keep's serious gaze is met with a brow lifted one from the beast manager, "You wanna be the one to tell him?" Because he sure as shards doesn't. Another healthy mouthful of brandy down his throat before he tips his glass her way, "If that turns out to be the case," Olira being pregnant, "Best we get him down here," on their turf, "and break it to him…carefully." Yeah, real carefully. Lips then press into a thin line and unspoken anger darkens his visage, "He'll have my full backing and support." This to whatever retaliation Kelarad might wish to mete out on Vaputero.

“Well I didn’t want to hurt your feelings and have you not stopping by here anymore,” Jaya counters on his quip, leaning over to fill up his glass. Once she fills his, she sets the bottle back down and starts to deal out the cards again when Max speaks about her mother. She pauses at his words on her, a small smile given before she inclines her head and says, “She was. I didn’t get to know her as long as I should, but, we all haven’t been the same since.” That smile fades a bit on his next, meeting his eyes as she sets the remaining deck back to the side of the table as she indeed gives him her attention. She regards Max’s firm words, his features and the way he says that before she looks away towards the cards in her hand with an unreadable expression in place. Stealing a quick look up at him, “You believe in fate?” she asks then, quietly. “You know…that no matter what we do, the outcome’s always going to be the same? That there’s no such thing as happenstance?” Heavy questions, but his words on her not being a lost cause did cause such thoughts to enter her head at that moment. On the topic of change, “A cost we’re willing to pay, no doubt,” she notes, the wry glint entering her eyes then as she regards Max over her cards. “As for Kelarad, well, we’ll deal with that river when we reach it, shuga.” She snorts though at his question of her having to break the news to the Tillekian renegade, adding, “As long as I have barely anything on,” in wry tones. “Maybe he won’t get explosive if he has ample distraction?” Yeah, looks like Jaya’s up for playing dirty, too. “But I agree. We get him down here. Lull him into our southern hospitality.” She seems pleased when he mentions Rad will have their backing on retaliation, the Bitran nodding her firm agreement on that before she shakes her head. “He wasn’t always like this,” she feels compelled to say, fingers moving to rearrange her cards before she sets the hand down and looks Max in the eye. Her curiosity getting the best of her now, she lets the silence linger for a moment before saying, “Tell me about your father.”

Leaning forward to take up the cards dealt him, a warm smile of understanding greets Jaya's words over her mother and how her loss has affected her family as a whole. Once again he sets to shuffling the cards about in his hand, a brow going up and the motion stilling as he sets yet another determined look over onto the bar owner. "Runnershit," Max counters her philosophy of fate without hesitation. "We are the carvers of our own destiny. We make the choices that take us down the paths we end up on. Good or bad. So it's up to us to decide to alter our course, even if that means a path less travelled." Expression set into a tight line, "I chose to fuck Garnalla, and then I chose to leave Little Bit behind because of the consequences of other choices I made." Openly owning his past errors. Leaving his own philosophy of life hanging in the air, the beast manager reaches for his drink, a low chuckle spilling out. "So long as he turns you on," he gives in smirked response to her suggestion of how to have Kelarad in the best possible mood when he's delivered such news as they're hoping not to have to deliver. Dark eyes regard her from over the rim of the glass set to his mouth. Swallowing he sets it down once again and meeting her eyes and gives in sober tone on the Tillekian not having always been the way he now is, "None of us were, Jaya. Life has a habit of changing people. We choose, we fuck up, we move on and make better choices the next time. Or maybe even worse ones." Attention goes back to the cards in his hand and a light frown threatens. "Why?" given quietly to her curiosity on his father. Not looking to be baulking at replying but perhaps trying to figure how to do so, or what it is she's wanting to know.

Jaya couldn’t for the moment find a response for Max’s reply to her query, the scarred faced woman regarding him now instead of the cards in her hand. Letting the silence linger, “Do you regret fucking her?” she asks then, a slight frown on her face before she looks back on her cards and tacks on, “My mother didn’t believe in fate, either. But if…we make the choice that take us down the paths they do,” she says slowly, carefully, “then what does that say about my family?” Not her mother or Beddie, clearly, but the rest of them seem to make the same choices through each generation. She was a young woman trying to riddle out her family’s lot in this life, and her own, perhaps finding the beast manager trusting enough to so much as utter such personal thoughts to him aloud. His response on Kelarad would have her poking him hard in the arm if she was sitting close enough, so as such she just shoots him a dirty look that’s far too amused to be anything serious. One card gets taken out of her hand then for another, “Vaput used to be different;” she reiterates, eyes on her cards again. “Something’s changed. He wouldn’t turncoat on a friend…” She lays off then, meeting Max’s gaze long enough when he asks why on her asking about his father. Blinking once before saying, “The way you and your mother operate. I just wonder about the man himself. Was he like you? Was he like mine? He still around?” Quite frankly she hasn’t heard anything about his father, and perhaps the fact that neither son nor mother talked about him interested her more than anything else.

Max does almost a double take for that question put to him. So it's a long time before he makes reply, the cards in his hand finding vacant interest. Eventually, he nods and then responds quietly through a short sigh, "Aye…I do." Shrugging a little, somewhat discomforted before giving wryly, "Young, dumb and full of…" that gets broken off with a short cough and a quick drink of his glass. Yeah no, not finishing that one. Aheh. Dark eyes lift and take Jaya in through solemn silence and then he slowly puts out, as if giving voice to thought as it forms, "People are creatures of habit, Jaya. It's easier to just do what's always been done and not rock the boat," pausing for a moment he adds, "Sometimes…doing what's right, isn't what's easy, or…popular." Eastern Weyr as a whole being prime example thereof, especially given the troubles at the last Hatching. The beast manager lifts out of that sombre mood enough to flash an unapologetic grin her way for his quip on Kelarad. Dubious the expression his face next settles into on comment of Vaput having been different before and once again he lapses into thoughtful silence, breaking it with, "We all need someone to keep us honest, darlin'. Without that…" words trail, one shoulder rolling in a shrug. Back to his cards, studying them with deep intent apparently and absolutely not stalling on answering queries over his sire. One card laid down, another taken up, attention lifting back up to the dark haired woman at the same time, jaw tightening, "He died five turns ago. Threadfall." Given in a somewhat flat and emotionless tone. A barely audible sigh spills from his lips as he relents a little and adds, "Brownrider. Weyrsecond back at the Reaches." Stilted relay of information before a dark look clouds his expression, "I ain't nothing like him!" given almost too heatedly from a young man that in contrast still idealizes his sire in some ways.

Jaya does have her moments, and it looks like this was one of them. She was perfectly serious when asking it, however, so a smile doesn’t crack onto her face. More like, a brow is raised along with some amusement in her eyes. “Aren’t we all?” she asks of him being young and dumb, amused that Max doesn’t finish his sentence. He likely doesn’t need by the bare smirk that appears now. His sober comment to her next has all that amusement vanishing into something more even and sober, the Bitran’s eyes back on her cards while he speaks. Taking in what he says in some silence, “It’s not like I’ve had much examples in my young life,” she drawls then, passing Max a wry look. “Besides my mother, and she was dead when I was still a child. But I suppose…you’re right. Habits and all that.” She could have said more, but this was a heavy subject down a moral path she hasn’t been down yet. It was foreign, uncomfortable, and it shows – but, if anyone could get her to think about the ‘good’ end of the spectrum, apparently it would be Max. Maybe Shijan, too, but she’s yet to come to terms with that intervention he pulled on her one night. So she’s silent for a long moment, pondering over things told now in comparison to the things told to her back then – or the things she would tell herself all these turns on the run. It would seem she has missed his comment on needing someone to keep them honest, but the woman does look up from her cards then to nod distractedly. Meeting his eyes as she listens to him talk about his father then, “Some would say he was a hero,” she seems to note, herself not laying claim to him on that title at that last outburst. She’s watching him closely then, seeming to have forgotten her cards. Perhaps she’s looking for further reaction with her comment, the way she stares him down from her end of the table. Then, as if it needed clarification, “A dragonrider, dying in Threadfall. Admirable, some would say. You and your mother never talk about him. Tells me that he wasn’t quite as admirable.” She pauses significantly, letting that sink in as her barkeep instincts kick in in assumptions. “The business you and Indira got going. How did he fit in it?” she asks then, watching his face for his reaction closely now.

A wry smile appears and then slips away again, his attention drawing back to his own hand of cards. Re-arranging one or two, one gets tossed out and another taken up, a distracted frown in place for what it turns out to be. Reaching for his glass, Max nods in understanding to her not having had much of an example to go by and then sets an intent look over to Jaya, "Habits don't just change overnight, Jaya. They take time and effort." Going quiet again before putting forth, "The point is, do you want to fight to break them? Or are you just going to sit back and let your cards fall where they may?" Leaving that there, the beast manager stretches his legs under the table and goes back to his cards. Another down, another taken up before laying out his hand before which considering its level of average, is clear indication of his distraction with the conversation being held. A careful look goes over to the scar faced woman and lips purse faintly before he gives a sardonic, "He was a dragonrider. Dragonriders die. They're all heroes in the eyes of non-riders." Likely including himself there with regards to holding riders in such a light, but he's not saying it. Wary the expression his face patterns to next, "My pa was…a difficult man." Borrowing words he'd heard his mother use. "Made life hard for her." Indira. Yeah, children see and understand more than their parents give them credit for. Thus perhaps giving hint of where his own internal struggle lies with regards to the man, who sired him. Taking up his drink and draining the contents of the glass, his reply to her last is easily given, "He stepped in when he realized that Indira was going to do it whether he liked it or not. Put the methods in place. Built up the networks." Or so he was told at age ten.

Max’s question gets a long look from the barkeep, the woman considering those words of wisdom before nodding once. Her eyes falling on her cards, Jaya’s lips part to answer but the words die on her lips. He made a good point, and Jaya had a feeling it wasn’t something to be answered in haste, either. “You sound like Keane sometimes,” she chooses to say instead, sending a wry look over his way at his words hitting home. “He talks like that too. Not to sway me from the life of crime, no,” she shakes her head to that, now revealing her hand of cards to show she had won, “but, to not let their shit get on me, you know? Be my own person, and all that. Looks like I won.” She leans back with her glass now, looking momentarily pleased by that notion as she fits a smirk Max’s way. “You’re lucky I’m not wagering anything, shuga, or you’d be about to be up the river.” Straightening once she takes a sip, “They’re not heroes to us,” she goes on to say on dragonriders, no apology in her tone. “It’s their job, is it not? Must I call you a hero for taming a wild runner and potentially saving it from knocking someone senseless?” Lips press together briefly, “Maybe it’s the holdless in me or something but I never did see what the deal was with idolizing them,” she admits. But they were talking about his dad here, so the Bitran cuts her rant short and listens. She frowns a bit, eyes on his glass when she reaches for the bottle to offer wordlessly to refill it. “So he helped start this business?” she asks, interested. “Didn’t think the average dragonrider cared about us holdless types. Sorry to hear he made life difficult for you and Indira, shuga. Things like that stay with you, hm?” She drains her own glass then, not refilling it just yet before she sets it down audibly and nods a few times. “You never, you know, wondered if you would be a dragonrider too?” she asks then, regarding Max steadily. “Isn’t that sort of thing inherited sometimes? Or so I’ve heard.”

Brows go up a mite, "I sound like Keane?" a faint chuckle falls from his lips, "Don't know the man well enough to know whether to be insulted or complimented there." Giving easy tease despite the topic at hand. Drawing more serious, "He's right. Be your own person, make your own decisions but then…accept responsibility for your own fuck ups. Fix 'em where you can, and move on." Sounding a little like a mantra drummed into his head over the turns. Which isn't to say he doesn't believe in the philosophy. A faint smirk appears for her having won that hand, "Figured I'd go easy on you." A faint frown flickers and then is studiously pushed away in response to her comment about dragonriders merely doing their jobs. He pays no lip service to whatever that thought had been. Or maybe he does in part as he states quietly, "Dragonriders know they could die every time they go up there. Can you say the same for stepping behind your bar?" Leaving out the obvious dangers of the smuggling runs she's made in the past and looks set to be taking up again as needed. Nudging his empty glass toward Jaya for a refill there comes another frown, "No, not at first," this to whether or not his father as a dragonrider had cared about the holdless, "but Indira made it so he had no choice." One can only imagine how that must have played out. Unreadable the look that gets sent her way over what life was like while L'min was alive. Low spoken, "He wasn't all bad, Jaya. Just…had a different way of living his life." The son trying to give his father quarter and explain away his sins? Too quickly given on his own aspirations to becoming a rider himself, "No." As to whether its inherited or not, that touches too close to home for what his father had been grooming him for and so Max's eyes drop away, finding the liquid in his glass to study instead as he gives quietly, "It ain't for me." The life of a dragonrider.

“You sound like Keane,” Jaya reiterates, reaching forward to collect up the cards for another game, “and it’s not a bad thing, shuga. A compliment. Easy on me?” she tacks that on in regards her winning this round, passing Max an incredulous look before snorting. “I’ll have you know that I used to ace the card tournaments in Bitra.” Well, maybe not, but the barkeep’s happy if he believes it. Which he likely won’t. Shuffling again, his mantra getting a slight brow raise but she nods all the same. “Of course, boss,” she drawls, drawing a bit away from the seriousness of his words with two of her own. “I always take responsibility.” Which, speaking of…sort of, “My scar,” she puts out there soberly then, moving to set the shuffled deck aside in favor of refilling his glass, and then her own. “You wanted to know about it. What went down. All the details.” It was the reason for the card game anyway, eyes meeting Max’s own as she slides his filled glass back and takes up her own. His quiet words on dragonriders, however, draw up a slight frown, his question on the dangers of her own job getting initial silence. After taking a long drink, “No, I can’t say the same,” she admits, answering him blithely, “but death lurks everywhere for anyone, shuga. Don’t need to be behind a counter to get my neck slit.” But she gets the point. She’s not going to say/ it, but she gets it. Still, “You believe in them and what they do,” she observes of him, the glass lingering around her lips. “I never have. Saw them like the guards on my tail for the last few turns. Always seemed to have more than the rest of us. Perhaps my opinions have slightly changed,” she’s reluctant to admit, “being here and being around them everyday. Have friends among them – your girl, for one. It’s a struggle.” She pauses then, listening about his parents and nodding slowly to that. “Wasn’t all bad,” she echoes that one, regarding Max steadily, “but not wanting to follow in his footsteps.” Yes, she calls him on dragonriding not being for him, no teasing in her tone. “What if a dragon is in the cards, Max?” she asks then, shrugging a little as she sets the glass down and picks up the deck of cards again. “I do believe that some things in our lives are…in the cards?” and she holds up the deck of cards in indication. “Dragons seems to be one of those things. Not that I myself would want to be saddled with them either, just… things happen, shuga.” Things that could get in his way of securing the south, she leaves out saying, but she doesn’t really need to say that.

The smile Max delivers to the reiteration isn't very telling neither is he adding any further comment, simply a rough snort of disbelief to her having cleaned up at the tables in Bitra. "And yet despite what must have been impressive winnings, you chose the more humble lifestyle out of a sense of modesty, aye?" winking for the tease. That slips away with his eyes dropping openly to the scar she wears and then lifting to find her eyes as he nods on wanting to know what exactly had earned her that marking, "Aye?" Tone lilting upward in prompt for her share as much with him, should she still so wish to. Swirling his drink in his glass, he goes quiet for a while, then knocking back a mouthful, sets the glass down and nods once again, "Gotta believe in what they do, darlin'. Or there'd be nothing else out there for the rest of us to squabble over, aye?" That's him, skirting the truth with a semi witty reply. That dry humour drops away into something a little more genuine with the crooked smile put out, "Weyrs ain't what folk paint 'em up to be." This his approving response to her admission of starting to see dragonriders and Weyrs in a different light these days. Dark eyes narrow slightly as Jaya continues to push the subject of him as a rider, his jaw tightening fractionally until it releases with a snort, "Only way you going to get me on a dragon, darlin', is for the sharding thing to jump me in the stands or in my sleep." Careful what you say, beast manager. Once again, of a mind to make light of the situation, he takes up his glass, leans forward and tips it her way as if making toast, "Here's to keeping our feet on the ground and our heads out of the clouds, aye?" That meant in terms of neither one finding themselves landed with a hunk of hulking dragonhide to bathe and oil. Yeeeah, he's had turns to practice playing this game real well.

Leaning back like she has all the time in the world, “Well, modesty does become a Bitran, shuga,” Jaya drawls that out, raising her glass to him in a sort of toast to that fact. Yeah right. Bitrans have about as much modesty as a randy greenrider. His skirting the truth with his response does earn him a crooked sort of grin, “Words from a weyrbrat. I think I would have been amused in knowing you back in those days.” But she does agree with his words, and so she adds more evenly, “It’s going to be…interesting, working with you. I think.” Max shows his difference in his words and deeds, and the Bitran couldn’t help but to compare him to Vaputero the entire time that he speaks. Perhaps that’s the reason for all the questions? In any case, she picks up the deck of cards and starts to shuffle once more before she deals out the next game deftly while he speaks on his chances of getting a dragon – or wanting one, for that matter. Loud laughter meets those words, “How much you wanna bet?” comes the typical Bitran response to that. But then she raises her glass and meets his own with that laughter still there in her eyes for that toast. “Hear, hear! Can you imagine me on a dragon? I think the thing would go running back into its own shell. If I don’t beat him there first.” But she clams up then, returning to her silence as she prepares to launch into the story of her scar. Draining down most of her drink as she studies his gaze on her scar, “Something changed in Vaputero,” she begins carefully, her frown starting to form as she recalls old memories. “I dunno if it was because of the Ralkas or the shit that went down with Kelarad or whatever it is. He changed. Started getting messy. He tolerated my, um, temper before, but those days…” lips press together at the memory and her eyes narrow a bit. “So there was this run we had to do, “ she continues, shaking those thoughts away from her head. “Standard theft, you know. He had me and a few others casing the place for a sevenday already. Told him I like to work alone, and I usually do, but this time for some reason he was insisting I take people with me. I remember the argument well. Snapped at me something fierce.” She pauses then, taking up the dealt cards but not looking at them as she pauses in her story.

Max lifts his glass in silent greeting of her toast on Bitran modesty, high amusement in his eyes. Liquor starting to loosen his tongue and smoothe the frayed edges of a hard seven, pull a wide grin into place for expressing a wish to have known him back in his weyrbrat days, "Blew up a piece of the Weyr's beast caverns trying to make moonshine once," no he doesn't look in the least bit apologetic about that, if anything, there's boyish pride cloaking about the admission. "Another time…this right prissy bitch of a busybody, caught me with my pants down," no need to go into explanation on what he'd been doing at the time, or should we say, who he'd been doing at the time, "told my Ma," one can just imagine how that turned out for him. Here his grin turns positively wicked, "Found which cot was hers in the dorms and left a bucket of runnershit in the bottom of her sheets." Yeeeah, he was a holy horror growing up. Perhaps reason enough that he ended up being an only child? The chances are good he has no idea about the comparisons being made between himself and Vaputero, simply seeing the card game and conversation as a means to better get to know the woman sitting across from him and perhaps earn her trust. Grin turning to smirk he puts forth without hesitation, "Ten marks says I walk away free and clear this next cycle and you get stuck with a green." Woah, he must be very sure of himself to be placing such a high bet. All jesting fades in the face of Jaya starting to tell of how she'd gotten that scar. Listening quietly, nursing his drink a frown slowly but surely pulls into place, interjecting only to ask, "What went down between Kelarad and Vaput?" For the moment, he leaves the cards dealt him where they life face down on the table, leaving the air open and giving a short nod for her to continue on with her telling.

While Max’s tongue is loosen, Jaya’s only beginning to be so – which makes one wonder how much worse can she get, considering. She leans on the table a bit as she listens to his stories from back in the High Reaches, the last story getting her laughter. “Who hasn’t been caught with their pants down,” she’s lofty on that, suggesting she’s been down that road too. “Try turning the tradecamp into a knife range, shuga. Nearly clipped old Bhadri Dicori in the ear!” Propping up on one elbow, “You know,” she lets him know, her own tone slight from the brandy, “there’s a boy back home I was suppose to marry.” When he mentions what he did to that prissy bitch, though, there’s continued laughter in her eyes as she claims her glass and drawls, “You’re not like him at all.” She doesn’t explain where that statement comes from, and it’s given slightly sober before she straightens up and returns to her new hand of cards. His wager has her eyes on the cards still, and a smirk peels out at them as she answers dryly, “You really want this Weyr of yours to suffer by locking me up with a green dragon? If you curse me so, Lomaxin, the day my green turns proddy I will cavort about your stables like the sun had burned my ass and left me naked.” In other words, one better not hope Jaya Dicori ever Impresses green, or Impresses at all for that matter. Back to the serious tale at hand, however. Her cards going down in favor of her brandy, “Many ‘what’s went down between those two,” she answers on Kelarad and Vaput, leaning back more comfortably in her chair. “The last peace meeting was the final straw, though. Everyone knows Rad likes to race his runners down in Bitra. Vaput had two of them killed before a big race that he wanted to go his way. No one can prove Vaput was behind the killings, of course, but… “ a shrug is given, “…but renegades talk. Everyone knew Vaputero wanted a hand in Rad’s fighting circuits, but you know what Rad would say to that,” and she gives Max a meaningful look. “Vaputero was starting to take liberties, and Kelarad wasn’t too happy about that. Didn’t help that that Neratian bitch Ritalia was helping him out, too.” She pauses on that, taking a long drink before she continues the other story. “Anyway. Long story short. We go into this cothold we’ve been casing and one of the guys with me trips up. Alerted the man of the house. He saw me in his study, and…well…” here she hesitates, the memory still raw despite Shijan’s help on the matter. But then, brandy does wonders in loosening tongues. Frowning, “I was left there, with the body,” she says quietly, sobering up. “He was a guard. Don’t know how, but the guards got there and I barely managed to escape without getting caught. I remember feeling…set up,” and some anger shows in her tone at that, finally meeting Max’s eyes.

Surprise for that small tidbit, "Did you want to? Marry him that is." Her comment on his not being anything like someone of course has the beast manager correlating that to mean her intended from back in the day and so it's a look of open bemusement that gets sent her way. Open laughter greets Jaya's comment to the consequences of possibly impressing green one day, "Waine'll throw a party." Only now does he take up the cards dealt him, attention held to them as he goes through them, dark eyes lifting up to the bar owner for words of Vaputero having killed off two of Kelarad's runners, "Son of a bitch!" He growls out low, his sympathies obviously thrown in with the Tillekian there for such perpetrated against him. He draws silent thereafter, continuing to nurse his drink as he listens to her laying out the rest of the tale. Again Max's attention flickers upward at the change in her tone when she speaks of being left with the body of the man of the house. "So now you steer clear of anything to do with the guarding business." Making an assumption there though it's said without a shred of judgment attached. Meeting her gaze, a frown fits into place and his lips purse, "So wait. You got that," her scar, "From this guard before he went down, or…?"

Jaya pauses, actually considering that question on the boy she was suppose to marry as she lifts her half-filled glass and peers into it idly in the pause. “I dunno,” she admits after awhile, her eyes lingering on the liquid within the glass before they lift to meet Max’s. “It was right before I hooked up with Vaput and his men. He wanted to, but I…do you honestly see me as the marrying kind?” she asks then, her tone turning flat as her chin drops. “I considered it because of my mother’s memory. It was what she would have wanted.” At his bemusement though to her comment, eyes lift off him again as she sets the glass back down and picks back up her hand of cards. “Vaputero,” she says quietly, rearranging the cards to her liking now. “You’re not like him at all.” Evidently so if he’s taking Kelarad’s side when he hears about the killed runners. But she does address the greenrider comment with a smirk and a blithe, “When he wouldn’t have to wait till then?” Yeah, it’s no shock by now that Jaya’s sort of a slut. Snorting, “I’ll be a dragonrider when you are, boss,” she’ll just say to that then, fitting a wink his way over her cards. That amusement drains away on serious subjects though, the Bitran frowning. “Guards fucking got my name anyway,” she agrees with his assumption, moving a card out of her hand and replacing it with a new one. “But, no. The scar comes after.” Pause. “I got back to the base and Vaput was livid,” she continues on grimacing at her cards. “He had these associates he was hosting card games with there, see. I went in, pretty livid myself and we went at in infront of them. I said some things, practically humiliated him,” she admits, meeting Max’s eyes then. “Said some things involving Kelarad. Final straw, I guess. So,” and the cards goes down with a sigh, “he was wanting me to take the fall for what happened, and I wasn’t going to go down like that, Max. Even if I…no, I wasn’t going to. The way he came at me…” she shakes her head, “…well, tempers were hot on both sides that night. I snapped, and the next thing I knew, he had me on the card table with a knife at my throat.”

Max gives a light shrug on whether or not she's marriage material, "Maybe not now, but back then before you hooked up with Vaputero and…got into all of that…?" leaving the question open to her interpreted answer rather than giving one of his own. A short and low held chuckle arrives when she clarifies to whom she'd been comparing him to, muttering, "Thank Faranth for that." An amused snort and a lift of his drink in agreement to the preposterous idea of either one of them becoming dragonriders. And then back to the more serious conversation at hand. A faint, though dark smirk arrives when Jaya admits to having crashed Vaput's card game and humiliating him in front of his associates, possibly not surprised by her having done so given what he's come to learn of the nature of the woman. Brows twitch toward each other but never quite make it into a frown as gives in sombre concurrence, "No one should take the fall for someone else." Lips press thin for the Bitran boss having held a knife to her throat, and that in front of others as a means to proving himself 'worthy' of his title. Or so the beast manager views such actions. Muttered darkly, "Hope by the first egg that you gave him something in return?" To the scar given her that night. During this entire time, he's done little with his cards aside from holding them in one hand while his other as lifted his glass to lips at intervals.

“Maybe,” Jaya allows with a short chuckle on whether she was marriage material back then, draining her glass. “You should see the twaddle I was writing back then.” She reaches for the bottle and lifts it to her own glass to refill…only to realize that it was empty. Dropping that one to the floor and reaching for the other bottle to uncork and pour, “No one,” she agrees readily on taking the fall as she pours, “but Vaput was already on thin ice as it was. I questioned him about that heist and how it all looked set up for me to take the fall, which of course, sparked most of the argument. I mean, I maybe young, but I’m not fucking stupid.” She lifts the bottle for Max then, eyes falling on his own glass. Her own cards are now near-forgotten. At his question there’s a bland smirk and a dry, “Well I do have a good left hook, as you experienced first-hand.” Leaning back once her glass is filled, “Knocked him in the nose and threatened to call every Dicori on the continent if he didn’t let off of me,” she continues the story, her gaze hard on the beast manager. “You know, all the cutthroat ones not in the mines yet. The ones used to killing and ask no questions. He looked fucking spooked for a second. Then he got the men to hold me down and started carving at my face like I was the spiced herdbeast of the occasion.” A hand presses to her scar, eyes narrowing at the memory. “He said he wanted to rip my face off, to see me suffer,” she recalls darkly, this being no laughing matter. “Said all kinds of things. Knife managed to get down to my chin before one of the men holding me down let my arm go and I punched him again. That shocked him for only a moment,” she tells him, “but that was all I needed. I got free, blood all over me, grabbed the first precious thing of his that my eyes fell upon – which was this white-hilt knife he treasured – and ran out of there like my ass was on fire. I kept running, and he’s been running after me ever since.” Shrugging a bit then, “Guess he’s afraid of what I’ll do with his knife, or the knowledge of his business and dealings. Maybe he wants to finish carving up my face. I don’t know. I just keep running so I won’t have to find out.” Pausing some eyes falling on her glass as she lifts it to her lips, “No one runs from Vaputero,” she says then, taking a long drink at the end of her story.

Rather than chuckling along with her, Max tips an intrigued look out instead, "You write?" Not wrote, write, present tense. Dark eyes follow the empty bottle being dropped to the floor and then to the other one being re-opened. With a short chuckle he notes with a nod of head toward it, "You planning on letting me bunk down behind the bar tonight?" given tease of him ending up too soused to be able to crawl back to the beast caverns if they continue on drinking in this manner. Shifting his glass over to her for yet another refill, a smirk peels out, "Age ain't got nothing to do with stupid, darlin'. I've met stupid of almost eighty turns old." That amusement stays in place, a crooked grin pushing the smirk away, "Aye, didn't expect a southpaw from a woman," he gives in wry honesty. That drops off sharply with Jaya giving detail of how she earned her scar, open anger starting to twist its way out onto the beast manager's face. "And then what he did to Olira," this ground out as if he were weighing reasons for him to fully put his support behind whatever it is Kelarad might have in mind for Vaputero's end. That smirk returns once again, though with dark edges to it as he too takes up his drink. Swallowing a healthy mouthful, his glass tips Jaya's way, "Except for you." This to no one running from Vaputero.

Looking a little oddly at the beast manager for his not laughing along with her, “I, uh…” Jaya starts, eyes lifting immediately to meet his own as she appears taken aback by the unexpected question. She considers lying, at least briefly, before she tosses that out of the window and acknowledges his question with an awkward nod. “Yeah, I write,” she verbalizes, regarding Max with slight curiosity to see figure out where he was going with this. “What, don’t think us renegade-types can write?” Granted, a lot of them can’t, so she tacks on quickly and wryly, “We used to have this harper traveling with us back in those days. Medanis. He would teach me and my sister how to read and write. Bhadri thought it was a pure waste of time save for book-keeping, but…” a shrug is given. “It stuck with us. He was into poetry, so I write poetry.” Pause. “Used to write poetry. Stuff I grew out of, I guess.” Or has she? Max’s remark on her refilling his glass once more with the new bottle has her laughing and answering, “Oh come on, boss. I’m sure you drink a whole lot more than this. Besides, I rather like you when you’re not tetchy.” Well, most can say the same about her, but she’s not saying it. Back to the story though, she nods gravelly to his responses on age and her southpaw prowess, her amusement showing in her dark eyes. “And then what he did to Olira,” she echoes in slow agreement, nodding a few times and lifting her glass in a brief-like toast. “Like I said, he’s changed, shuga. He was always troubled, but now…well. Maybe it’s time he calls in an early retirement from the business, hm?” She’ll let Max take ‘early retirement’ however he likes, too. She matches his smirk though, that glass tip of his letting a mischievous glint enter her eyes at that moment as she inclines her head to him and says, “And now you know, shuga. Now you know he won’t stop.” Leaning back now, her story done, “Most would have the guards called on me in an instant after what I’ve told you,” she notes, watching him with slight guardedness for his reaction now. “You still want me in your crew, knowing what I’ve done? Knowing what I could do, and be capable of? Knowing the type of folks I associate with?”

Nothing more than an oddly warm and approving smile plays around his mouth when she confirms that she writes. "Good to have something to do. Something separate to all," Max waves his card bearing hand about, heedless of what is might show her of what he holds, "this." The rest of Jaya's word catch up to him with regards to the Harper she'd learned under and the poetry she used to write. Given with an oddly encouraging inflection his tone, words echoing into the glass lifted up to his lips, "You should take it up again. Maybe use it to work stuff out." Dark eyes sending a pointed look to her. Swallowing, a crooked grin turns out, not denying his drinking limits of all-fall-down being far beyond what he's already had to consume, "Likewise, darlin'." He'll say it for her on the topic of tetchiness. A rough snort greets comment of Vaputero calling in an early retirement, "Aye, six feet deep and pushing up flowers." If he has anything to do with it. Another toss of brandy down his throat, and then setting his glass down, the beast manager leans back in his chair and puts a long and intent look onto the barkeep. Given in sober query, "You planning on pulling that kind of shit again?" Her falling back into her old ways. And he'll not give her reply to the question of his wanting her in his fold until she's answered that.

“I have something to do,” Jaya returns, letting her amusement linger in her tone as she runs a finger around the rim of her glass. “I sling drinks and annoy the shit out of my customers.” Pretty much a full-time job as far as she was concerned. “But maybe. Take it up again,” she considers the suggestion, eyes falling on the glass as she thinks about it. Don’t got much to work out, though.” Yeah, she’s being stubborn here, especially at that pointed look. She grins more on his response to their tetchiness, then adds, “Shijan can guide you home if you find yourself having a hard time getting back. Unless you’re expecting me to do it. Then you’ll be in trouble.” Cuz she was pretty much heading towards dead-drunk herself. She looks approving of his answer on Vaputero, the man guessing correctly her meaning and stating too casually, “I wonder who would take his place should he fall?” Because Bitra wouldn’t stand on its own with the other renegadelords eyeing the territory – Kelarad among them. However, as she reaches for her glass, fingers still around the glass at Max’s sober question. Eyes flick towards his own, trying to gauge his expression in the lingering pause as she carefully thinks on his words. Then, lifting the glass carefully, “Not planning on it,” she answers him shortly, taking a drink with a short shake of his head. “Not if you don’t turncoat on me.” Glass going down and Jaya looks him in the face. “It’s in me, Max, and I’m not going to lie about it,” she notes on her family’s notorious lineage. “But you said I don’t have to fall down that path if I don’t want to. I don’t want to.” Probably a pivotal step in such a statement, and the barkeep knows it. “Won’t be easy, boss,” she adds with a touch of amusement, “but I know my limits now. Didn’t then. Perhaps it’s time I find a new path.”

"That keep you company at night and drive the nightmares away?" Max asks quietly on her almost flippant response, all too familiar with such nocturnal settings himself. He doesn't give response on her having nothing to work out, merely sends a dry look her way and then leaning back in his chair to twist a look onto where Shijan is posted gives with a grin, "Won't be the first time." Oh the tales she would hear of their time on the road if she could get her bodyguard to talk. Deeply sly the look that falls into place and oh-so smooth the words that are delivered next as he lends his glass idle inspection, "Perhaps…" dark eyes lift to Jaya, a cunning smirk wrapping about the cast already set to his features, "Kelarad and I could have a good long sit down…You know…see how we could help the Bitrans out with a new leader and all that." Because he's nice like that. Yeah right! More like looking to put someone in Vaputero's place that he can easily keep an eye on and keep in line. That crafty air holds about him a moment longer and then dissipates as he returns on turning on her, "Ain't gonna happen, darlin'." Dark eyes meet those of a similar hue and slowly but surely, a genuinely approving smile quirks onto his mouth with her admission of not wanting to continue on the path she'd found herself on, "Then you won't." Not if he has anything to do with it. Lifting his glass with what remains of the refill in it, he gives yet another toast, "Here's to new paths and shaping our own destinies, aye?"

Talk of her nighttime activities draws much of the ease from her features, and Jaya lifts and drops a shoulder to Max’s query as if she weren’t going to answer it. “Can’t run forever, Max,” she says on nightmares, her mind falling on Shijan along with her eyes looking beyond the beast manager towards the entrance. Eyes back on Max when he mentions that Shijan has hauled him about a time or two, her easiness shifting slowly back along with a crooked smirk, “Gonna have to tell me about those days sometime,” she notes aloud, finally pushing her cards away. She was far too sloshed to be worth any playing anyway, at this point. “As for Vaputero and his territory,” she goes on to say, eyes rolling up to the ceiling, “That would be choice. The Ralkas would be the closest problem – they’ve been eyeing Bitra since they came on the map. You’d hate them.” His last on her pivotal decision however gets a more genuine smile from the barkeep (even if it’s an intoxicated one) than her usual, and she lifts her glass and goes to meet that toast, only to drop the whole thing and have the remaining brandy within spilling all over her and her side of the table. She curses, slowed hands wiping away at her top before she abruptly bursts into laughter. A hand slamming down on the table, “New paths telling me it was high time I collapse in the bed,” she drawls, looking up at him through the raucous laughter. Yeah, she’s giving up cleaning her soiled top for the night, the barkeep watching the brandy soak through some of her cards with something akin to fascination. Then, as she swings her head upwards to look at him, “I can’t believe we’ve gotten through the night without a single punch,” she says, the thought seeming to occur to her. “You’re alright, beast manager. Not bad at all. Save for losing brandy all over myself,” and she snickers with an eye looking over her herself briefly, her hands falling away from the table, “I’ve had a good time tonite. I needed this.”

"Aye," Max gives unable to argue that point. First a grin and then an inebriated snicker spills out as he tilts his glass sloppily her way, his northern accent thickening, "Ain't nearly drunk enough ta be tellin' ya 'bout those, darlin'." Jays, just how drunk is he going to have to be then? A brow goes up and then a smirk positions itself at talk of his hating the Ralkas brothers, "Are ya sure 'bout that? Mebbe I should get ma tail down that way an' visit with 'em, eh?" Let's hope that's the booze talking. A wide goofy, brandy buzzed grin greets her intoxicated smile on her decision taken and then dark alcohol glazed eyes fly wide when Jaya promptly drops her glass, throwing its contents all over her. The beast manager quickly throws the remains of his own drink to the safety of his throat and leaning forward to waggle a finger in her direction as he continues to snicker, "Ya can't hold ya liquor." Deliberate play on words there. As the barkeep makes to stand, (or so he thinks with her slamming her hand to the table top) he tries to do the gentlemanly thing and stand first, only to have the chair refuse to scoot backwards but rather digging its back legs hard into the floor. A frown as nothing happens and he gives a harder shove of feet in a second attempt which…has the unfortunate result of the legs still refusing to budge and the momentum of his action…flipping both chair and occupant over backwards. THWUMP!! Silence follows for a second or two and then deep inebriated belly laughter as Max tries to right himself. Finally he's able to roll over onto his hands and knees and still laughing, he twists a look back over to Jaya as he pushes up to a slightly swaying standing position and delivers a sloppy salute for being deemed alright in her books. "Ya not bad ya'self, Dicori. Didn' even try ta…" cue the brain fart where he's left blinking owlishly for a moment as the rest of that thought just escapes him entirely. A warm smile shifts into place instead, "Aye, me too, darlin'." This to having had a good time of just…being, for a change. Testing his balance, he takes a step or two closer, bends and lays a brandy scented kiss to the side of her cheek, in almost brotherly fashion of farewell, "An' now there's a pillow with ma name on it." If he can make it back down to the beast caverns without taking a wrong turn and ending up in the lake.

“Now how drunk do ya need to be…?” Jaya starts, almost slumping over the table despite her shirt being soaked through. Yeah, no point trying to clean it in this state. Max’s talk on meeting the Ralkas gets a loud snort and a wry, “Visit them and do what, Lomaxin? Those boys are crazier than you! They’re kinda cute though,” she adds, eyes falling elsewhere as she tries to recall their faces, “if you go for that whole ‘I’m crazy and think I’m a bad-ass too’ look.” His laughter to her spilling her drink, along with that play of words, gets a look from the drunk barkeep and a dry, “Ha, ha. Wanna mark for your joke, shuga?” But then he’s scooting, scooting, and flipping himself over, causing the woman to shoot up from her chair and lean heavily over the table with arms propping her up as she spies him on the floor laughing. Yeah, it was funny, and Jaya bursts out laughing herself as she watches him try to right himself. “Can’t even hold your own chair…” she quips back then with a drink-induced smirk, rolling her eyes in amusement at his salute for her. The laughter dies and the warmth of it remains, the barkeep nodding on her swaying feet as he plants that kiss to her cheek. At his last, she clasps and hand to his shoulder and grips him there for only a moment, nodding towards the entrance and drawling out, “Take Shijan with you, boss. I’ll be alright. Last thing I need to hear on the gossip-mill is about some barkeep liquoring up the poor beast manager and sending him tottering into a bathing pool singing bawdy fisher songs.” As to the mess – as always, she doesn’t bother to clean it up until morning. “We’ll talk soon after the run,” she mentions the run for Kelarad, it being amazing that she could remember in such an intoxicated state. But there seems to be easiness about her now with him – now being that all the cards have been laid out on the table between the two both literally and figuratively this night.

How drunk would he have to be…Passed out drunk? Though Max doesn't lend words to it, landing on the matter of the Ralkas brothers as he pauses his departure to make reply a highly amused smirk in place, "Jus' admit it darlin', you got a thing fa the bad boys, aye?" A flash of teeth presenting in a knowing grin. He doesn't pull away from the hand set to his shoulder but rather lifts one of his own to tip his hat at her and then…realizes he's not wearing one. Aheh. Doofus! The beast manager sways on his feet a little as his upper body twists about, dark eyes slanting over toward Shijan holds post before uttering a rough snort, "Ain't that drunk yet." Really? Stepping backward, he nods slowly to catching up after the smuggling run she's due to make. Some of the merriment slipping off into a grave expression, "Be safe, Jaya. Don't take no unnecessary chances, aye?" Or she can bet she'll have him to deal with (as self appointed protector) along with whatever other problems said chances might result in. That being the last spoken by him he gives a final smile of crooked proportions and then the beast manager is weaving his way toward the door, stopping only briefly to pass low comment to Shijan with a quick flicker of eyes in Jaya's direction before he's out into the hallway and true as eggs shell dragons, singing a horribly bawdy song that would have most people's toes curling. At least he's somewhat on key.

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