Bad Tidings


Jaya.jpg Max.jpg Shijan.jpg

Date: 2010.10.24
Location: EW - Jaya's Bar
Synopsis: Max drops by Jaya’s bar to apprise her of the situation with Jinnet and reveals to her what it is exactly that he and his mother do outside of their usual Weyr duties.
Rating: PG13 - Strong Language
Logger: Max

The bar had just closed not too long ago and the barmaids have retired, leaving only Jaya and Shijan in the barspace. The bodyguard is at one of the card tables shuffling through a deck of cards, his eyes on the scarred faced woman as she remains behind the counter finishing up her inventory lists. There seems to be an easy silence between them – she’s gotten used to having him around now that she could enjoy her privacy without much thought of him being there. It helps that he doesn’t intrude all that much – that with words and actions – though on occasion she does speak to the man and play cards with him should she find herself not wanting to retire right away. This particular late night she’s busy with the lists, but she seems fine having the tall man there and sharing in her privacy without any protest.

Late night, shortly after his arrival back at the Weyr, finds Eastern Weyr’s beast manager on a direct path with the bar despite his realizing it to be passed closing time, or perhaps because of it. Hands to pockets he pauses briefly in the doorway, dark eyes landing first on Shijan at a card table who is given a silent nod of greeting before they find Jaya working at the counter, his steps carrying him that way. While he’s not wearing quite the cantankerous expression of the last seven or so, there is however still a grim set to his features with it being his misfortune to once again, be the bearer of bad tidings. “We need to talk.” No words of greeting, simply those gravely given four words as he comes to a halt just a step behind the stools that run along the length of the bar counter.

Shijan notes Max’s arrival first. He straightens up stiff, returning the nod before he shoots a glance towards the seemingly oblivious barkeep. He doesn’t move from the table, however – the man knew the beast manager enough to remain relaxed around him. Jaya, however, is a different matter. “Your turnday present from me will be a large runner bell tied around your neck so that I can run before you enter my bar again,” she states without looking Max’s way, her tone deceptively amused rather than cool. She keeps her attention on her lists just a bit longer, as if to keep the man waiting, and when she flips passed a sheet she finally looks up from it to pin a long look towards the beast manager. “Let me guess, shuga,” she drawls out, putting the inventory lists down. “All the renegades of Pern are here and looking for me since they stole all your clothes.” At least she has a sense of humor
about it all, though closer study would note the apprehension showing in her intense gaze.

A brow goes up and one corner of Max’s mouth breaks free from the grim line, curling upward, “Maybe I came to tell you I’ve discovered a gold mine just outside the Weyr and was looking for a partner.” Sardonic return for her quip on the bell. A snort meets her next and he takes that step forward and folds himself onto a stool, dark eyes meeting hers and holding them, “Even better,” his smile a blank curve and empty of humor, “Jinnet’s gone.” Talk about dropping a clanger.

“Yeah right,” Jaya quips on his return, her lips quirked. “You’d run-tell Ahni first, but I’m still getting you that bell.” Some of that humor does vanish, though when Max continues, her dark eyes searching his almost uncomprehendingly. Finding it hard to look away from his announcement, “Jinnet’s gone where?” she’s quick to ask, not daring herself to guess the worst of what he means – not when Max has been keeping him tied up and occupied so strictly as to even have Jaya herself restricted to no weapons going in there.

For some or other reason that quip about running to Ahnika, or perhaps it’s simply the way it was put, draws a flash of irritation from Max but he gives no comment other than a grunt. Dark eyes meet those of like coloring and that grim expression is back in place again, “Gone. As in free as a fucking avian, and more than likely dead by now if his handler has caught up with him.” Hands palm over his face, before laying flat to the counter before him, “He got free while I was gone, because you didn’t deem it important enough to come to me and tell me that Ahnkia had gone to Jonavan trying to buy black market fellis off of him,” laying some of the blame at her door too. “What the fuck, Jaya!? How could you not have come to me? If I’d known, I could have done something to prevent this.”

Jaya, always observant, catches that expression to her quip with a raise of brows. She could say something, but then Max is telling her that Jinnet is as free as a bird and that has the color draining from her face. Standing quite still, that Dicori anger simmering right under the surface, Max pulls yet another fastball before she could utter a single word. What?? She blinks, mouth opening and closing a few times for hearing the words ‘Ahnika’ and ‘Jonavan’ and ‘fellis’ in the same sentence. In regards to her as well. After a moment of just pure shock, both hands raise as if to ward off anymore verbal blows as she gets hers in as well. “Hold the fuck on! What? He’s gone? How did-? What did-?” Lips work but no other words come forth, the woman looking clearly lost at what ‘s been put in front of her, Eyes going to a watching Shijan as if he could provide the very guide she needs, she shakes her head a few times when her gaze returns to the beast manager as she forces her own temper down long enough to put in, “He knows everything, Max! He was our way in and now he’s gone?” That’s still not registering, so it’s safe to say that his latter words on Ahni and Jonovan and fellis has just fell off her radar for now.

Watching that anger rising up, Max’s expression sets, saying nothing until Jaya’s done getting over the initial shock of his words. Sardonically, “No, he’s not gone. I just thought I’d make that shit up to purposefully ruin your day.” A derisive snort, and then some of his own frustration for his prisoner being gone rises up in a tone that turns out sharper than he’d meant it to, “You think I’m any fucking happier about this than you are? Shit Jaya, that idiot knows my face, Waine’s, Shijan’s, Bo’s, Che’s and…” jaw clenching against what gets said next, “Ahnika’s too. It’s a fucking disaster but there’s bugger all we can do about it now, is there?” A sharp exhale of breath in a bid to rein his own temper in, and then he mutters darkly, “Got another lead though before he was shown the exit. Might lead us to his handler here if we’re clever about it.” She might have forgotten about the fellis but the beast manager sure as heck hasn’t, “Why didn’t you tell me, Jaya?” pressing on the matter, needing an answer for his own peace of mind more than likely.

“I wasn’t the one that let him go!” Jaya’s calm can last for only so long. She is a Dicori, after all, with the reason for her temper slashed down the side of her face. It even sounds accusatory – as if Jinnet’s escape was part of Max’s fault as far as she was concerned. “Not me, Max, so how about you just chill?” Yeah, Jaya telling Max to chill. Something wrong with that statement. She turns from him then, a hand going to her forehead as her eyes close shut and she mentally works through this new turn of events. Starting to pace behind the counter, “Why do you keep talking about Ahni?” she tosses back at him, a sharp glance also being thrown his way. “What the fuck are you talking about?” Facing him, arms spread wide in indication of herself, “What does Ahni have to do with this since apparently you know something that I don’t? And Jonavan?” Apparently she was listening, after all? “You’re making no sense right now, so why don’t you just tell me!” The woman’s clueless, and it’s frustrating her. It was bad enough Jinnet was gone, but now somehow Ahnika was involved? She doesn’t see the significance of Jonavan yet, but the fact that his name was brought up at all has her even more lost.

“Excuse me?” his own temper fuelled by the frustration of the man being gone in the first place, rising back up again, “I didn’t fucking let him go either! Jays, catch a breath already, woman!” When Jaya turns from him, Max takes a moment to try and school his temper back into place again. Which lasts for as long as it takes her to start flinging questions at him again. “What am I talking about? What am I talking about!? How about the great big bloody cut she’s got down her arm, or the slash across her chest and belly, huh?” Yeah no, that’s likely to confuse the bar owner even further, but dangitall if he isn’t still steamed about the redhead having gotten hurt by the end of it all! Both hands lift and scrub through his hair. Taking a slow inhale of breath, jaw tightening he starts to explain and then before anything gets out of his mouth he sends a confounded look onto Jaya, “Wait, what? Jonavan didn’t tell what she had planned? Shit! He fucking lied to her. The prick!” Making even less sense there now, boyo. Both hands slam to the counter, a sound of high frustration strangling out, “She,” and then clarifying, “Ahnika and I got into a fight before I left for the Reaches and so she got this wherry brained idea that if she let Jinnet go…it would stop me from going to Bitra and…getting myself killed,” her words, not his, “She went to Jonavan to try and get some fellis out of him to knock Waine out with. All but told him the whole story. She ended up selling her Gather dress to be able to pay for it. But when she went back the next day to pay for it, he told her he’d told you about her plan and refused to sell the fellis to her.” Stopping and taking a breath which lets out in an exasperated sound, and then continuing on, “She panicked, sure you’d come to me and tell me so, she went with what I can only assume was her plan B.” And the rest, as they say, is history. She got cut and Jinnet is gone.

Jaya moves close to the counter, slapping both hands on it as she stares the beast manager down. She blanches when he mentions Ahnika was hurt, the woman shaking her head slowly in her confusion as things go further from making sense. But one thing that does make sense? “I thought we were keeping things a secret around here,” she shoots this at Max, eyes narrowing dangerously. “I mean, after all that fucking hoopla on me talking to Suli, and now you’re blabbing about this to your woman? What’s the deal with that, beast manager?” Temper rising to the fore, “And no! Jonavan didn’t tell me it was Ahnika that needed the fuckin’ fellis!” she nearly shouts it at him. “He didn’t even know her name, from what he told me! He didn’t tell me about some – some plan! Just about some person wanting fellis over some Bitran spies! Spies, Max! How the fuck was I to know that that was Ahni he was talking about – going off to go free the sharding thief, huh?” She turns from him again, feeling herself losing control and trying to stop it. After a moment of silence, her back to the men in the room, “So all of this spawned from you and Ahni getting into a fight,” she levels over her shoulder, her voice a little calmer. “Great, Max. Do I now need to worry that Vaput’s going to come asking for a drink with me should you and her have another row? And keep Jonavan out of this,” she turns to look Max hard in the face again. “He probably thought he was looking out for me – something I thought you were doing for me, too.” You can believe she’ll be speaking to the healer about this later on, though she was probably going to choose the ‘when’ carefully.

He doesn’t even so much as jump when Jaya’s hands go slamming to the counter. Instead he stands from the stool he’d been occupying and laying his own hands on the counter leans forward to glare back at her, that muscle in his jaw taking up to ticking again. In a tight tone, “You know how this fucking works, Jaya. She either has to know everything, or nothing at all” Guess which route he chose. “Unless you’re fucking Suli, she doesn’t need to know anything. Ahni’s a sharding dragonrider now, Jaya. Randi wanted her in on the ground of eyes and ears around here. She’s also no fool and I’m done fucking lying to her!” Swiping a palm across the counter top in angry gesture he turns, dark eyes settling just past where Shijan sits for a moment and then he turns his head over his shoulder back to Jaya, with a snort for what it was that Jonavan had told her, “You’re fine one to talk about keeping secrets,” because she’d obviously told the Healer enough that he knew to go to her, “You fucking him?” rhetorical. Brows hike right back up again and he turns fully to face the dark haired woman, “Fuck off, Jaya!” that to her sarcastic comment about what any further fights with Ahnika might result in. Especially considering the last one had been rather a sore point. The demand to leave the Healer out of it, a moot point now seeing as how he’d already brought him up, Max goes into a brooding silence, done with the shouting and hurling of accusations.

Jaya is one for shouting insults, so when Max is hurling them right back the woman for the moment is taken aback. “Your dragonrider? Just lost us our bargaining chip,” she notes coldly, not appearing daunted in the least, but at least she’s not shouting. An improvement? Her eyes do narrow on him when Max delivers that question on her fucking the healer, her face going somewhat red in a clear answer. “Go fuck yourself, baby,” she delivers that to him then, but the wind has left her sails and she’s folding her stubborn arms across her chest as she glares him down. She lets the broody silence lingers – him on one side of the counter, and she on the other. Once the silence is loud enough, “So now what?” she levels in a low voice, done with the accusations and shouting as well despite the hard look she’s pinning on the beast manager. “What’s this other lead of yours?” Cuz right now, she’s doing everything she can to quell that rising itch to grab her backpack and flee just like Jinnet did – the unknown gnawing at the back of her mind and causing tight fingers to twitch.

"My dragonrider," Max echoes with a narrowing of eyes, "got us a lead we might not other wise have had, thanks to her having won Jinnet's trust and her quick thinking!" Jaya's blush has him sending her a tight smirk in response, "Bites don't it?" That to having one's personal life dragged into the whole mess. Her statement as to what he should do with himself has him silently flipping her the middle fingered salute. She glares and he scowls through that deafening silence. Breaking his only after she does with a long exhale of breath, "Now we go farming." In as casual a tone as if he were asking about the weather he draws on what Bowen had revealed, "Know any farmers around these parts with ties to Bitra? Maybe even say, ones that know the Dicori clan themselves?" Tone and expression turning pointed toward the end.

“And apparently got injured in the process?” Jaya levels back at Max on Ahnika, shooting him a look before she looking away. Bites it does. She turns in time to see that tight smirk of his, her face as cold as stone as she merely continues to glare. Even at that middle finger salute, it’s a testament that the barkeep doesn’t snap all over again, but her jaw does work visibly and she jams her arms into a fold across her chest as if to keep from swinging. Maybe she had learned her lesson from Vaputero cutting her face after all? But her look in her eyes is borderline murderous. “Farming,” she echoes that in near disbelief now, willing to speak again as she moves on. “Not sure I like the way you’re leading these questions, Lomaxin,” she notes his leading questions and addresses them openly – mainly because she does that herself. Or maybe she’s getting defensive all of a sudden? The stiff posture seems to suggest so. Shrugging rather mechanically, “What, you mean the gardener?” she levels now, especially at that pointed tilt at the end. There’s only one person she knew that had ties to both farming and her family, and since he was being pointed about it she was certain he did as well. “What about him?”

Unhappy and flatly given for Ahnika having gotten hurt, “Aye.” If he finds any pleasure in his smirk and words having hit the target, Max gives no indication thereof, simply setting a heavy look onto Jaya in return as he remains silent throughout her ensuing words. “Farmer, gardener, whatever. Word is you seem to know him pretty well.” Leaning back again, his hands slide off of the counter top and in mirror of her stance, fold across his chest, “That idiot that came down the stables that day you were there looking for a runner? Lo, he said his name was,” just in case she was in need of a memory jog. A brow goes up, “What about him?” snorting in small derision, “Don’t you find it the least bit strange that I refuse him a runner and a few nights later, someone’s in there after Renegade? Or how about that one of those someone’s just so happens to have your name on his list of ‘Must Haves’, hmm?” Not adding anything more until she’s had time to digest that.

Silence meets his answer on Ahni, the barkeep choosing to watch Max’s face closely instead of answering right away. Eyes remain narrow through his words on the gardener, and snorts a bit before unfolding her arms and turning to reach for an empty glass. Clearly, this is now the time to drink. “Don’t you have enemies of your own?” she levels this at the man for his last, setting a glass, and then another in the pause. “Could be a coincidence. Are you now going to suspect him too?” Turning a hard look on the beast manager, “Who’s next? The drudge that likes to come in here all hours of the night to stare at my tits? Or how about the one always looking for get a free drink off of me?” A decanter goes on the counter now heavily, and with her hand still on it, “I know Lo,” she admits pointedly – or rather, stubbornly. “He’s the reason my ass is still here, in fact. Made it to the fields before I ran into him.” Head tilting slightly as she regards Max now, “If he wanted me dead, shuga, he had the perfect opportunity to off me then and there,” she adds soberly. “He wouldn’t have worked so hard to convince me to come back here – protected by dragonriders, no less. Sorry, shuga,” and she gets to pouring the deep amber colored liquid into both glasses. “But Lo isn’t the one. Ask anyone around here and they’d tell you he’s the most friendly guy they know. Could it have been one of the farmers he plays cards with though?” Now that gets a shrug, matter-of-fact in its nature. “Maybe. They keep to themselves in here, but that’s not uncommon.”

Max’s expression goes tight on having enemies of his own, but he lets the matter drop in favor of pressing on the matter of the farmer turned gardener, “Everyone’s a suspect until they’re proven otherwise, Jaya. You know how this goes!” A margin of irritation slipping into his tone and then he’s goes quiet up until a point where a cold smirk shows itself, “Aye, because if it’s him, he wasn’t about to let his payday slip away from him. You’re worth more alive than dead, darlin’.” Pointing out the obvious there in a flat tone. A harsh bark of laughter greets her words on Lo being friendly and thus innocent of the claims being leveled against him, “Aye, if you got tits and a nice ass.” Bowen has those? Shaking his head a little in wonder at her refusal to see the man the way he did on their first encounter, “Next you’re going to tell me Suli’s a virgin.” Snort! “Either way, darlin’. It might be time for you,” casting a glance behind him at where Shijan is situated, “or him, to start paying a little more attention to the farmer types that come in here.”

“Oh-kay,” and Jaya sets down the glass of brandy she was going to drink, leaning heavily on the counter as she regards Max. “He could have taken me then, alive, too. He didn’t. Why play the games if your target is right there, Max? A hunter of Vaput’s wouldn’t even hesitate. I wouldn’t have!” Max’s bark of laughter gets a press of her lips, along with a flippant, “I’m flattered.” Even though she appears far from it. Shaking her head, “Look. Vaput doesn’t hire nice people, Lomaxin,” she levels at him. “Not his style. A nice person wouldn’t be down here trying to kill me.” She seems too adamant that it isn’t the gardener, and she passes him a filled glass of brandy anyway. His words on Suli earn him a long look before snorting. “Have you for a moment thought that just maybe Jinnet was lying to her?” she puts out there, brows lifted. “It wouldn’t be far-fetched. The man probably said anything to get to her to untie him.” But, to his last, “Fine,” she concedes on the farmers, lips pressed together. “I’ll watch them. What are you going to do?”

Brows go up and Max snorts, “Simple darlin’. The longer you stay out of his reach, the higher the bounty.” And he would know this…how? Ahem. Moving on. Her flippant response to his comment earns her little more than a knowing look with the beast manager not putting verbalization to it. Her next however, that pulls a round of low laughter from him, darkly amused, “So, lemme get this straight. The ‘nice’ ones are…safe?” more laughter carrying the edges of mockery as he takes up that glass of brandy she passes him. Swallowing down a good healthy mouthful of it, he tilts the glass in her direction, “You’re funny.” Sardonic. Another mouthful goes down his throat and then he sets the glass down with a light thunk, “Jinnet…thought she was about ready to go down on him then and there,” embellishing a little through a tight tone, “an idiot like that wouldn’t have the wherewithal to think about lying when he’s got a pretty redhead tending his wounds and then going about setting him free, at risk to her own life while leading him to believe she wanted to join his band of merry men.” Unable to hide the small hint of pride that slips in for how Ahnika had handled herself for her first time out in the field, so to speak. Once she agrees to keep an eye on patrons to her bar from the farming community, he sends her a nod and takes up his glass again, “Setting eyes and ears out on the circuits.” No need to elaborate which circuits exactly he’s talking about, “Blood and booze tends to have men lending their mouths to bragging.” Leaving off the bit about Bowen playing cards with Lorayit.

Studying Max with a dark expression on her face, “The higher the bounty?” Jaya echoes incredulously. “I must be one expensive broad for just getting my face cut!” Sarcasm becomes her, and of course she wouldn’t be Jaya if she doesn’t tack on, “What do you know about bounties, anyway? Thought fights were only your thing.” As to the mockery of the next, her answer to that is to sip at her brandy with her dark gaze still on him. Once the glass is down, “I know the type of people he employs,” is her cold defense to that – well, she did used to know, anyway. The big Bitran was getting paranoid around the time she left. Still, Max’s further protests were only causing her to get more stubborn with him. She broodingly regards that note of pride in his tone in silence before she drains her glass and reaches for the decanter again. “Man like Jinnet had nothing to lose,” she merely says, refilling her glass. “You can be amazed what stories you can come up with while being captive. He had the advantage, not her.” Beat. “Tell me about the circuits,” she’s predictably asking next, her eyes meeting his pointedly.

“Don’t fuck with me, Jaya,” Max sends a pointed expression in response to her dark one, “No one goes to this much trouble simply a ‘broad that got her face cut’, hmm?” a brow going up as he leaves off that line of talk. Dark eyes lift from their study of his glass and an oddly toned smirk forms, “Runner races and fights, actually. But you’d be surprised what you pick up hanging around the ‘right’ people.” Or entirely wrong people, depending on how you view it. Silence is his to own once again, knocking back the last of the brandy and setting the glass to the counter. Shoulders lift and fall in a shrug to her comment on what men like Jinnet are liable to do when in a pinch, and then dark amusement peels out, “He had the advantage? How’s that then? Considering you know, he was the one locked up and not her. Either way, a lead’s a lead and not worth turning our noses up right now.” Jaya’s last draws a narrowed look onto her, a few moments of silence and then guardedly, “Why?”

At that first seemingly warning, Jaya just can’t help the cold smile that shows up. “You sure about that, shuga? Last time I checked, he wasn’t exactly stable,” ‘he’ being the big Bitran, of course. Silence gets his next, though it’s not so broody this time. She’s regarding him slightly different now, eyes narrowing as she takes up her own glass. “Runner races an fights. I’m assuming Tillek?” she puts forth, openly probing. Another pause comes and then it’s rather non-chalant that she asks, “Kelarad. Name ring a bell?” Once Max knocks back the last of his brandy, she sets her own down and wordlessly refills his glass. Hey, it’s free, right? While doing so, her gaze on the glass rather than him, “Why go through all the trouble of getting in there in the first place unless you were going to break someone out?” she remarks dryly on Jinnet. “He could have said the sky was falling and it would have made no difference. Check it before making assumptions, is all I’m saying.” She wasn’t going to argue the point, the woman appearing rather exhausted from all the blustering of earlier. At least the two were talking, even if that talking was pointed with sarcasm. Once his glass is filled, she sets the decanter down and meets Max’s eyes for his very last. It’s silence that greets it, the barkeep carefully planting both hands flat on the counter between them as she leans a bit forward and lowers her tone to only that he could hear. Not that Shijan was anywhere close to them, but still, the next words were meant for his ears only. “I get you got connections,” she chooses her words carefully, her gaze studying him intently. “So do I. You know more about me than I’d like, quite frankly,” which wasn’t much, in the face of it all, “and you’re involved in my business more than I’m comfortable with. I need to know something about you, because right now? You’re starting to sound like one of Kelarad’s men.” Nevermind she had just asked him about the name in the first place. “I’m a fuck-up as much as you, so why so secretive with me?” It’s given plainly, no inflections of mockery or sarcasm this time as she puts all her cards on the table – man-to-man. Or woman.

Max merely sends her a narrow eyed look for her reply to the big ‘V’ being unstable but says nothing more on the matter. For now. At her mentioning Tillek, his expression suddenly turns guarded, and he’s quiet for more than a little while, shooting a glance behind him to Shijan and then back to Jaya with a small frown and fractional shake of head. Trying to relay that he’d prefer her bodyguard not be privy to this particular line of conversation. That expression cracks a touch when she brings up Kelarad’s name giving simply a tight but quietly given, “Aye.” Answering both question in one. His glass is refilled and he’s putting glass to his mouth in short order because in all honesty, the conversation has turned to a topic that has him somewhat, on edge. With a light smack of lips for the aftertaste of the brandy, a disparaging look is sent over to the bar owner for words on checking the information pried out of Jinnet, “I intend to, darlin’.” The beast manager meets her gaze steadily and then he drops it away, finding the wood grain of the counter top of keen interest as she drops her voice and continues speaking. There’s just the vaguest hint of a twitch of brows when she accuses him of working with the very man he’s successfully managed to avoid thus far. Ever so slowly dark eyes lift and pin a hard look onto Jaya, “Look, Tillek’s a whole lot more than my having fought the circuits and deliberately thrown fights, or fixed runner races, aye?” frowning as he looks away again, brooding as he stares down into his glass struggling with whether or not to tell her what thus far, only one other knows about. When his gaze lifts once again, it’s deeply shadowed, “Got a kid down there, Jaya. Mother’s fucking Lady Garnalla, no less,” the name coming from his lips as if he’d just tasted something vile, “Can’t afford for ‘Rad to find out about her. Indira neither.” His mouth presses into a grim line and then he puts out in a tone of self-mockery, “How’s that for fucked up?”

Jaya looks to Shijan, the bodyguard seeming to have his attention on the cards, but she keeps her voice lowered anyway. “He’s one of Vaputero’s known rivals,” she explains on the Tillekian crimeboss, not wanting anyone else to know this particular piece of information as she watches the beast manager. “Met him once or twice whenever all the major renegades got together for the peace meeting. Tillek’s no different from Bitra, shuga.” If he was expecting a reaction from the barkeep on the account of his doings down in Tillek, he’ll be disappointed to find only a straight face. Eyes flick over to Shijan again and would have remained there if not for what Max tells her on the account that he has a kid. Eyes fall to him then, brows going up in not expecting this turn of news. “You fucked the Lady Holder?” she voices it, brows furrowing then. “What would ‘Rad want with your kid? You did something to him?” She’s trying to remember all she could in the few encounters she’s had with the Tillekian renegade, her eyes narrowed and unfocused. To the last, there’s a snort. “Fucked up,” she agrees grimly, her gaze still unfocused, “but you seem to have it under control. So much for me and mine, shuga.” Dark eyes focusing on him then as she grabs her glass and takes a healthy drink, “I haven’t kicked the habit,” she admits, setting the glass down with a little force. “Trying to, but it’s hard. Hard to not want that life again. To not crave it.”

Dark eyes narrow at the information provided, confirming what he’d been told by Ahnika, who in turn, had been told by Jinnet, his mouth moving around a silent expletive. Grim, “Aye, don’t I know it” That his comment to Tillek being no different to Bitra. Disappointed? Hardly. In fact more than likely relieved he finds no condemnation coming from Jaya. Palming a hand down over his face, a heavy sigh exhales as he answers to his liason with the lady holder, “Aye.” Her brows go up, his draw together in a deep frown, “What do you think, Jaya? Right now, he’s got no leverage against me. Don’t even know where I am,” that is if word hasn’t gotten out thanks to Jinnet having been gone. “But if he finds out about her then…” his daughter could become a pawn in the Tillekian’s quest to seek his revenge for having been put so heavily out of pocket, not to mention a few other perceived insults with him having managed to get a few out from under the man’s thumb. He doesn’t however go into the fact that he plans on bringing his child to the Weyr. Somehow. A wry twist of mouth is all that greets Jaya’s response on the state of his affairs. Eyes hold to the glass as she downs a healthy swallow, his refill barely touched in contrast, “Aye, been trying to keep off the stuff myself,” fingers toy with turning the glass round and round on the counter before him. Stated quietly, “It’s what we know, Jaya. How to drive the ghosts away, aye?” The smile that makes a brief appearance edged with understanding. And then shaking his head slowly, “I don’t miss it,” his old life and then a smirk tips out, “Maybe the fighting.” The actual physicality of it all, not everything else that had gone with it.

“Then he has reason to come after you, if you and ‘Rad didn’t end on the sweetest of terms,” Jaya makes her own conclusions by his statement of leverage, regarding him steadily. “Got some rather…..disturbing news recently, in regards to him.” She’s silent then, moving to drain off the rest of the brandy in her glass before speaking again. She never stops watching Max, though, trying to figure him out in more than words. “What we know, right,” she seems to darkly agree there, finally looking away from him. “The fighting. It’s easier, yes? I can tell,” and her eyes go towards Shijan again as she adds, “I can tell by the company you keep. Waine. Yaron. Even your mother has some ties to keep someone like him around,” and she nods her chin passed him towards the bodyguard. “It’s unusual for weyrbred folk. Sorry about your kid.” It gets tacked on without a beat, her eyes seeking his once more with a grave expression. As to her missing her old life, there’s low self-deprecating laughter there as she reaches for the decanter again. “Us Dicoris are traders of opportunity,” she drawls that out, hand wrapping around the decanter handle but not picking it up yet. “Why else would half of them be in the mines today?”

“No shit,” Max gives bluntly to Kelarad having a reason to come after him. Brows go up in query for her having news on the Tillekian, expression edging toward wary for it being disturbing, “Aye?” short prompt given for her to speak up on the matter. While his attention has for the most part, remained on the glass he’s toying with, examining the dark liquid as it sloshes back and forth with idle indifference, the beast manager puts a glance here and there up to Jaya as she speaks, aware that she’s watching him. Finally breaking his silence when she brings up the men (and woman) they move with, “We…help people…out of…situations,” choosing his words carefully as he speaks for the first time on what exactly it is that he and his mother do that has earned them the loyalty and trust they have from those about them, “Indira’s been doing it for turns.” He only in the past three. Which might account for some of why he seems so dogged in his determination to help her. Her sympathy over the matter of his daughter earns her a flicker of an appreciative smile, “Thanks.” A wry chuckle spills out and he straightens, “Traders of opportunity, eh? They got caught.” He points out dryly with regards to why some of the Dicori clan find themselves currently banished to the mines.

At that prompt, Jaya hesitates for a brief moment. “Got word from Telgar. Looks like Vaput’s been visiting my old haunts,” she tells him, pulling the decanter close to her. Found out he violated a family member of ‘Rad’s. She’s been working at the Blood and Bucket after I left.” There’s anger here, certain information left out in regards to the state of the barkeep there. Eyes hard, “Cut my face up, fine, but to force yourself on a woman?” That was unforgivable, even if she belonged to the enemy. “I need to get up there,” she hesitates to say, a determined glint in her voice. “If Keane’s …” She doesn’t continue, choosing instead to say, “Kelarad’s not going to let this one slide. This is going to start something, Max, and those in the middle are about to get hurt.” Max’s words on what he and Indira do gets her attention, of course. Eyes are on him again, intense in gaze and expression as she listens. “Why?” she puts forth, and perhaps this question is an odd one. “Why do you wanna help so badly? What’s in it for you and your mother?” Because she just couldn’t believe there were truly good people in this world that would help out of pure kindness. Not in her world. She does return that smile on account of his kid, her silence speaking more than perhaps what she could have said. Then there’s laughter on her side this time, though it’s tight in deliverance. Finally moving the decanter to refill her glass, “They got caught,” she repeats that, as if it amused her. “We all get caught eventually, shuga. Even I, one day. Slip-ups happen. But I wasn’t going to go the mines on the account of Vaputero,” she finally admits some of the reason why she was on the run, cold amusement apparent now that the brandy was taking effect. “No one throws me under the wagon. Not even him.” And that gets punctuated with a lift of her filled glass.

Max listens in silence as she recounts her information, his expression giving nothing away until she reveals the fate of the Blood and Bucket’s barmaid. His hand that had been wrapped about his glass of brandy tightens until knuckles whiten and the beast manager looks like he might actually throw up. Swallowing against the bile that rises up, the glass soon finds his lips again and a mouthful of brandy used to wash it away. Setting the glass down again with careful precision, dark eyes lift to Jaya his mouth set into a grim line. “You ain’t going up there on your own,” he states in a tone that brooks no argument, “It could be a trap to get you to do exactly that.” Words on it starting trouble draw a dark expression from the beast manager who states simply, “Aye.” Brows lift slightly at her question of ‘Why?’, and the grim line his features had set to break into the smallest idea of a smile as he answers what he and his mother get out of it, “Nothing.” Aside from the satisfaction of knowing they’ve done their bit. “Someone needs help, we help them,” shrugging at what seems like a rather simple philosophy to him. Never mind that their methods in doing so are often more than questionable. But then given the circumstances they’re often forced to work with, they could be forgiven for doing so. With a wry smirk sent her way, he stands to his feet, pushing the unfinished glass of brandy toward the middle of the counter, preparing to make his departure, “I pity the wagon sent in your direction, darlin’.”

“Offering to join the trip or you’re just dictating rules again?” Jaya puts forth wryly on going to Telgar, regarding Max’s expression after the information she had given him. The fact that he looked sick to his stomach about it seems to somehow be approved by her, not giving him it in words – only in the small and brief incline of her head. “Could be,” she says on traps, “but it’s not stopping me. For a long time, Keane was all I got, Max. That bar is all he got.” She’s determined on that point of going – at least to make sure the old Telgari barkeep was okay. As to his answer on the whys of him and his mother helping out those in trouble, the Bitran woman regards that smile on his face in silence to it for a moment. “Not used to that,” she openly admits to that answer, her expression almost skeptical as she pushes her glass to the center of the counter. “Doing something for nothing. Admirable, weyrman.” Once Max pushes his glass towards hers, the last gets a more genuine smile – something that doesn’t happen too often, and probably hardly ever in present company – “I pity it, too, shuga. But folks just don’t know how to leave a Dicori alone, eh?” She reaches and raises her glass as if in a toast, then sets it back down once it looks like the man’s about to depart. “Thanks for letting me know,” she says then. “About Jinnet. It’s fucked up, but it’s not the end. I’m still getting you that bell for around your neck. I’ll make Ahni put it on you.” There’s crookedness in that smile now, the barkeep then reaching for both glasses to clean out and put away.

“If need be,” Max states evenly, putting a level look onto her that would suggest that not to be empty talk. Understanding is sent out for her feeling the need to check up on the Telgari tavern owner, “Then it’s settled. Make what arrangements you need to for this place while you’re away and I’ll speak to Indira about organizing us a ride up there.” Us? Yup, he’s going with her it seems, including Shijan in that too. Another small smile put out, “Most aren’t.” used to having someone around willing to help. A frown follows her statement on his actions and those of the Headwoman’s being deemed admirable, “No more so than riders defending the skies.” Obviously not used to being commended for his line of work on the side. A more genuine smile, though crooked in its presentation meets words over wagons and the Dicori clan, “Maybe that has to do with you Dicori being so damned pigheaded.” Says he, medal winner for pigheadedness. It was however, delivered with humor attached and not as a means to riling the woman up. Dark eyes roll at mention of the bell, and then he smirks, “She’ll have to get me drunk first.” On the matter of Jinnet, he produces a sober nod, “Aye, it’s not the end.” Stepping back from the counter, “You let me know when you’re ready.” To head up to Telgar. And then before leaving he’s making a turn passed where Shijan is situated, dropping his voice to a low tone for the guard’s ears alone, “I need your contacts at Landing.” Which he could just get from Yaron (who is currently down there) via the intel provided to Indira, but he’d rather keep her out of this for now.

"I'll speak to Su- my barmaids," Jaya amends quick on who could take over the bar while she's away. No need to say the touchy Telgari's name in particular, though with her having only Suli and Hayli to rely on, the beast manager probably already knows. Since Max is taking it upon himself to make arrangements, Jaya is simply leaning there against the counter and pinning a wry look onto the man. No, she won't protest this time. Maybe not tonite. Maybe it's the brandy that's staying her alpha-female tendencies. To his response on his and Indira's efforts in comparison to dragonriders, "They defend the skies, but no one defends the lands," she notes that simply with a shrug. "It's still admirable. Might be the line of work for me." That's if she could kick the habit of wanting to swindle and steal and cheat when she can. "It's what my father's been doing since he kicked it," she admits soberly, a slight frown on her face. "I may hate the man, but I can't deny him his efforts. Took in a few fugitives when he could." And speaking of the Dicoris, there's actual laughter for that statement. "Well we are," she agrees, not taking any offense. "Take us for who we are though." Despite being kicked out of the clan, the woman still had pride in them and it shows in her words. Then the man's leaving, the barkeep merely inclining her head in farewell as he makes a stop by her bodyguard. She doesn't hear what he says to him, but the curious glint does come unbidden to her eyes before she turns and continues to clean up the bar for the night.

Nodding as Jaya says she'll get her barmaids to take care of things a brow goes up and Max sets her with a long considering look. "Aye? You'd want to join us?" Color him surprised for that and yet, approving at the same time. "There's more to it than just taking in fugitives, darlin'. Got to get 'em cleaned up and set straight again. New names, new places to be." So wait, this is some kind of Pernese 'witness protection program' he and his mother run? Only time will tell. Which also has likely given her clue that the names those around them go by, are probably not the ones they were given at birth. "Your father sounds like a good man," given sincerely. Shijan flickers a look up to the beast manager for his words and merely nods his agreement. With a last glance to the dark haired woman, Max lifts a hand in farewell and then is gone, out into the night and whatever other duties await him.

Closing Credits Music: My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade

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