Best Approaches


Jaya.jpg Max.jpg Shijan.jpg

Date: Jan. 13, 2011
Location: Max's Office, Eastern Weyr
Synopsis: Jaya finally drops on by Max and the two catch up. Max learns of new developments between barkeep and bodyguard, and Jaya learn new developments involving his family and his plans to seek out the northern crimelords in a one-on-one basis.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

It’s been a good while since Jaya has been back from the retreat, but between the bar and the drama unfolding with the Headwoman and her former harper, the barkeep barely had the time to seek out the new crimelord of the south. She finds it now – with Shijan present in his usual position, they reach the stables and find Waine there as always. Jaya nods a wordless, easy greeting to him, not pausing as her steps take on towards the door belonging to the beast manager’s office. At this time of night – long after her bar closing – she expects the man to be in, but if she’s not she will wait in his office like she usually does. She might go through his things, too, the nature of the Dicori thief.

Unfortunately for Jaya, Max is in, a map of the northern continent spread across his desk. Weight leaned on hands set flat to it, the beast manager turned crimelord is currently poring over what appears to be the Tillekian section of the map. Every so often he shifts his weight, takes up a stylus and makes a note of something on the sheet of paper attached to a clipboard, muttering under his breath as he does so. So it is that he is at first unaware of Jaya and her guard’s presence at his door until something has him looking up. Blink. “Was starting to think a giant shipfish had swallowed you whole or something,” the crooked appearance of a smile washing away the lines of deep concentration that had settled across his visage. A blatant tease for he’d been well aware of her return.

When Jaya reaches the door, Shijan slows up to give the barkeep her space with the man some as she pops her head through the door. Max is definitely in, and her gaze takes in the map and where on the map that has the southern crimelord’s interest before she opens the door enough for her and steps in. One can be sure Shijan is right there as well, though outside the door to keep guard. Announcing her arrival with a wry “I come back to maps? I come in before to you reading a book on bodies? You’re some strange crimelord, boss,” and she drops, without asking, into one of his chairs. She turns so that her legs go up and perch out on the chair’s armrest, putting herself in a relaxed position. His tease gets a snort and a roll of eyes before adding, “Yeah, I missed you too, shuga. You might have fared better if a shipfish had. Guess now you’re just stuck with me, huh?” Not that she minds it one bit. She lives to tease the beast manager, it seems.

Max is obviously unconcerned about Shijan taking up post outside of the door given that that’s his job and so as Jaya steps on into his quarters, he straightens out of his lean over the map, amusement coming into play for her words. “Ain’t we all supposed to be a little strange?” as if this were a pre-requisite for being a crimelord. A brow lifts slightly at the manner in which the barkeep flops into the chair and makes herself at home, the amusement still in place, “I take it the retreat had the desired effect then, eh?” referring to her relaxed posture. As to her last, a laugh is eventually allowed to break free, “If you missed the likes of me while taking a break from here, then…you’re doin’ it wrong, darlin’.” Folding the map back up and setting it atop the clipboard he’d been making notes on, the beast manager hauls out the ever present bottle of whiskey and takes two glasses down from the shelf behind him. Pouring a measure of amber liquid into each, he sets one down before Jaya before plonking into his own seating, “So what mischief has our Jaya been getting up to that she only now comes to show her face and greet, hmm?” Teasing, although there is a mild note of reproach in his tone.

“I dunno,” Jaya drawls that out, a boot foot wiggling from its position. “Serevan and Harvis seem pretty normal to me.” Yeah, she’s not moving. She’s not straightening up, either. That relaxed posture gets a tad more exaggerated when she notices him noting it, the smile one of a Cheshire cat. His question, bringing up the retreat, does the have the effect of staining some of that righteous smirk right off of her face though. It’s replaced by a slight blush, even, but the barkeep is quick to play it off like she always does. Shrugging carelessly, “Ohhh you know. Got me some sun, some fun, some sand and some swimming in, shuga. What more could a hot-blooded Dicori want?” Yeah indeed. Some things are missing off that list she just dropped in that case. Max’s words on her missing him gets a blithe, “Actually, I was certain you were missing me. Can’t blame you, really. I would miss me, too.” Yep, go for arrogant until that damn blush goes away! She watches him fold the map back up, her interest still there enough for her ask then, “So, looking to take over Tillek next, boss?” in a pointed manner as he goes to pour the drinks and sets one before her. It forces her to drop from her relaxed pose, setting booted feet to the ground audibly as she reaches for the glass and raises it briefly in his direction in thanks before taking a drink. To his last, once she’s tasted it, “You know how my bar gets, shuga,” she drawls to as an excuse to why she hasn’t been by his office sooner. “Got Suli in one ear and your mother in the other – not to mention those bounty hunters are still around. If not for Shijan keeping me sane, I dunno what I would do.” Besides drink, that is. “Sorry I haven’t been by sooner, shuga. Couldn’t be helped. But I’m back now so you can rest assured and sleep better at night.”

Yeah, he’s not buying it and so her blush followed by that flippant quip on what more could a hot-blooded Dicori want has the effect of Max lifting a brow up high, glancing toward the door where her bodyguard stands unseen and then settling a pointedly questioning look back onto the dark haired lounging in her seating. “Seriously?” That one word likely conveying that he’s just very adeptly put two and two together and come up with…well need we say more? Not letting her off the hook as he keeps that penetrating look on Jaya, the beast manager snorts at her attempt at an arrogant cover up, “You sound very much like a certain greenrider that likes to stalk men in their sleep.” Yeah, thanks Nara. Finally his gaze drops away and he takes up his glass of whiskey, taking his time about replying to her next as he savours the sharp taste of liquid. Exhaling, dark eyes stray to the map and clipboard, “Looking to have someone kidnapped.” Stated in flat honesty. Attention goes back to Jaya for her last, “Ma’s been on your case again? About what now?” Mind immediately going over what the Headwoman has found out about his activities now. Guilty much? Ahem. On the topic of bounty hunters a dark smirk appears, “They ain’t gonna be around for much longer, darlin’.” Southern’s crimelord clearly of a mind to do some heavy handed explaining to said bounty hunters about hunting on his turf without presenting themselves to him first. It’s what she says of her bodyguard keeping her sane that draws an openly sly smirk to fall into place, “You gonna ‘fess up, or am I gonna have to sit on you an’ tickle you until you tell me, hmm?”

“Seriously,” Jaya quips right back, trying on just a bit of innocence for size, and if that doesn’t take the focus off of her enough, “What certain greenrider? Thought I was your only friend.” She tries not to meet that penetrating gaze, the glass of drink getting the brunt of her attention as she makes a show of tasting it and adding in, “Mmm…have I had this blend before? I know I have, but I can’t seem to place its origin…” Max mentions kidnapping and she latches onto it. Leaning forward, looking at him with interest, “Tillek,” she says that one word, noting the reason he was looking over the map earlier. “So it’s about that time? You gonna spring her out?” Beat. “Oh, just…” this is to Indira, a hand flapping his way in dismissal of it – as if it was nothing trivial. “Something about, ahhh, replacing Shijan or something…” Well, she couldn’t finish that if she wanted to, immediately letting the drink claim her mouth for a moment. She looks pleased to hear about Solak, but it’s to his last that she looks his way in pause. She wasn’t sure whether Indira had told him anything, and that sly smirk being in place so… “Why don’t you tell me, since you’re threatening to tickle,” she drawls back in a challenge, petulant like a bratty little sister to the end.

Max sees exactly what she’s trying to do but he lets her hold onto the notion that he’s buying it for a little while longer as he sets to answering the questions put to him. A soft snort to which greenrider he’d been referring to, “Turns out she’s Ahnika’s mentor. Thought she’d come in here and…” here he falters looking a little awkward before continuing on, “try one on with me to see if I was loyal to Ahni or not.” A small amount of anger leaking into his tone that the woman who had been a virtual stranger at the time should question his loyalties in such a compromising manner. On the matter of Tillek his expression draws a dark smirk onto it, “Aye, it’s about that time. Workin’ on plans to set the bitch up.” Which apparently must include kidnapping. A swallow of liquid and then he states more quietly, “Told Ma ‘bout Little Bit” Silent a moment dark eyes lift back up to Jaya and when they do a sly line patterns across his features as he drops onto the subject the barkeep seems to be trying so hard to skirt about, his mother having tried to replace Shijan as Jaya’s guard, the final clue. Leaning forward, high taunt in his tone and mischief in his eyes, “You,” a finger points in her direction, “and him,” that finger moves to indicate where the bodyguard is situated, “put new meaning to the term ‘bodyguard’, aye?” His smug expression daring her to try and deny it now.

“Ahni has a mentor?” Well that’s not too far-fetched, considering that she was still a weyrling. Jaya frowns a bit as this, trying to recall any time she had seen someone hanging around the green weyrling – if she had seen Ahnika at all for that matter. When Max falters though, she regards him even longer until he speaks again. “Sooooo, she pulled a ‘Beddie’?” she drawls, not apologetic or guilty in using her sister’s name in such a manner. “I can only imagine how that went down.” As for Tillek, “Well you know you got me, if you need me,” she drawls, leaning back more comfortably with her glass. She was sure he had it all worked out – moreso than she would have. She does note the sly look through her act, keeping it up as long as she could until the beast manager guesses correctly her dilemma. She doesn’t respond right away – rather, she uses to silence to decide whether or not to keep him in the dark any longer. She chooses instead, to address the matter of his mother – and his mother now knowing about his child. A brow lifts at this in a delayed reaction, chin tilting up with interest. “You told her?” she echoes, blinking. Unexpectant. “Thought you weren’t going to for a good while. What happened? What did she say?” Or rather, did she bite his head off? But then, the subject of her bodyguard could not be ignored any longer in the face of such accuracy. When he leans forward and points a finger at her, her dark eyes fall on that finger. When he points toward the door, and she rolls her eyes up to the ceiling with an expressive sigh. “Did she tell you?” she guesses, it being a possibility when she looks at him. That faint blush hasn’t gone away, really, and she slowly leans forward towards his desk so that she could lower her voice some. Wry along with an awkward smile, “You got me, shuga,” she caves in, lips twitching. “I…I got my fun, but…not in the way I expected. Not in the way your mother had expected either, apparently.”

“Apparently,” Max drawls not quite sure exactly what it is that Nara’s supposedly mentoring Ahnika in. He can’t help the snicker that erupts for Jaya’s next, “That what we calling it now? Pulling a Beddie?” Yeah, he finds that turn of phrase rather amusing. On how the encounter with the greenrider turned out, he gives little more than a faintly derisive snort. An appreciative look is given over when she pledges her help and support in getting his daughter out of Tillek, “Might need to be calling on whatever contacts I can to be laying evidence down at her door. Now…if someone could invent something that would loosen her tongue and just, you know, have her ‘fess up when the evidence is brought forward…” Yeah, yeah, dream on, mate. The beast manager meets that surprised blink and ensuing questions with a quick drop of eyes before a sheepish look settles into place, “Ahni did most of the talking,” he having wisely chosen to let her do so rather than stick his boot in his mouth, “Ma was fit to bust a brick but I reckon she’s okay with it now.” Voice lilting upward as if he perhaps isn’t too sure of that. As to why he’d chosen to tell her now, shoulders shift in a light shrug and a wry expression fits into place, “She was snooping, using you to get at me and that I ain’t gonna stand for that. Figured if she found out on her own, chances were good she’d go tearing up there and complicate it all. This way,” a sly note entering his tone, “she knows I’m watching her.” Ah, method to his madness it seems. With that blush still lingering on Jaya’s cheeks and then her asking him if his mother had told him about her and her bodyguard, a deep smirk curls about Max’s mouth, “No, but you just did.” Entirely smug for having gotten the barkeep to confirm his suspicions, he leans back in his chair, fingers wrapping about the glass and raising it in toast her way for her last confession, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” Fond teasing delivered in much the same manner as a blood sibling might.

“We’re calling it that if my aspiring twin keeps pouncing men all naked,” Jaya drawls in response, still not sounding apologetic. If Beddie had no shame, then Jaya had none either. On the matter of Tillek and Max’s response, “I’m assuming that you’re doing this clean.” Translation: forcing the Lady Holder by force being not an option. “You might have difficulty there. Been my experience that Holders like to feel like they’re entitled to whatever they think they have. How are you going to trick her?” And speaking of Tillek – or the child within it – the barkeep furrows her brow a bit at hearing that Ahnika was the one doing most of the speaking and nods to that. “Good move,” she actually admits to that, well aware of how imposing Indira is. She wasn’t going to bring up the fact that the Headwoman was far too distracted with her own personal life to have invaded, however. The main matter at hand though was that damn blush and Max’s rather irritating smirk. She drains her glass then when she realizes she had walked right into that – confirming it, that is. “The mighty has not fallen,” she pierces him with a look (which looks rather odd with that blush burning even more now) for his last, her Dicori pride making its appearance. “I don’t….this was not something I was looking for. You know I was perfectly happy with my brandy and totaling up the notches on my bedpost.” Yeah, was. Frowning some now as some of that pride ebbs, “Was this what it felt like for you?” she asks quietly, setting her glass out for a refill. “When you…and Ahni?”

And Max? He doesn’t appear to be looking for any kind of apology in return, simply uttering an amused snort and letting the matter be. His mouth does however curl around smirk, eyes taking on a cunning light, “As clean as the Lady herself will be playing the game, darlin’.” A swallow from his tumbler followed by a smack of lips in appreciation and then tilting the glass Jaya’s way he better explains himself, “Word has it,” coming from his informants nesting in Tillek Hold, “that the woman’s about to give herself away with her next little bundle of joy,” tone sardonic for those last few words, “Ma and Ahni…they’re thinking she might look to uh…try doing away with that particular problem before it comes to the Lord’s attention.” Infanticide in other words. “Ahni’s working on getting a midwife onto our payroll to make sure that don’t happen.” One of the fingers wrapped about his glass lifts, “That’s step one. Step two,” another finger breaks away, “is to have word carefully placed in the woman’s ear by Auren suggesting kidnapping as an option to making her little problems…disappear.” The glass now tips toward the map, “That’s where we come in. Orchestrating the kidnapping ourselves,” to ensure the safety of his daughter and the as yet unborn baby. “Need to put ‘em somewhere safe,” hence the study of the map earlier. Here southern’s crimelord pauses a moment, a frown collecting brows together, “The trick is gonna be getting the bitch to confess. If she insists on trying to get the midwife to smother the babe, we’ll have to move it before Little Bit.” And he’s clearly not happy with that idea. “We need a watertight case, Jaya,” tone dropping earnest now. “The Lord ain’t gonna go for our word against his Lady’s without solid proof. She’s gonna use every trick in the book to try and wiggle outta it.” Hence his earlier wistful comment about being able to dope Lady Tillek into telling the truth. And that’s as far as he gets for Jaya’s coming back at him on his comment for the mighty having fallen and he’s looking anything but apologetic for having made it. Then again, that deepening blush she’s wearing might have something to do with that. A low chuckle greets her quietly asked question as he refills her glass, “You mean like you had the rug pulled out from under you and you got no fucking clue what happened, or how? Or that every time they walk into a room your heart feels fit to burst outta your chest and with just one smile, they got you forgetting your own name?” Soft almost self-deprecating laughter spills out and then dark eyes lift and fit to the barkeep’s face, a fond expression warming his features, “Scary ain’t it?” That one person could have such a hold over another without blackmail or threat of life involved.

This news Jaya is hearing on Lady Tillek doesn’t seem surprising to her – being that her expression hardly changes. The Bitran renegade-turned-barkeep never thought highly of holders and all their ‘uppity’ traditions, just like they didn’t think so highly of the ilk that was the holdless and renegade folk. “Will Lord Tillek be a problem?” she asks then, brows lifting once the plan is laid out. “As to putting them somewhere safe…” and here she pauses, frowning a bit as she thinks on this. “Perhaps getting an audience with Kelarad?” she mentions the Tillekian crimelord. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind,” for a price, of course, but she doesn’t need to say that right? “Rad knows all the ins and outs of Tillek, and how to keep the guards from finding them. Maybe get his contact, Flack involved.” She hasn’t seen the former glowtender since the time he had revealed himself to her and Max, but she knew he was still lurking about as always. Max’s unapologetic look to her comment then gets a pointed look, but his more even words have her saying in agreement, “Rug pulled out, heart flutterin’, name missing and everything, shuga.” She snorts to his question of it being scary, and she admits wryly, “Every single moment of it.” Beat. “This ain’t me, Max. You saw me before, but this … well, I thought…” But she thought a lot of things – things that were coming out to be not so true the longer she stays at the Weyr. She shakes her head then, “I’ve been thrown knives at, got my face cut up, and have been chased from one end of Pern to the other, but all of that pales in comparison. Your mother has let me keep him around,” she adds then, it being obvious with Shijan standing just outside the door, but she doesn’t add why as she takes a drink from her refilled glass.

Having gone silent, taking the time to nurse his drink before replying, Max eventually sets a long look onto Jaya, “I dunno, Jaya. Lord Elisser…he’s a good man. Just…blind to Garnalla’s ways. Or he don’t wanna see it.” Giving a slight shrug for that. Not that he can fault the man, some margin of understanding for how love might blind a man’s perception of a woman. A faint frown flickers when she mentions getting his Tillekian counterpart involved, wariness springing into his eyes, “Get Rad involved?” the frown deepens a little as he lends that thought. “You reckon I can trust him enough to do so without him ending up hiding Little Bit from me and putting me over a barrel to do his bidding?” Which is something a few of the other crimelords would likely do without a moment’s hesitation. The troubled look he’d been wearing as his mind worried with whether or not to trust Kelarad with his daughter, slips into one of wry amusement, “You got bit on the ass.” That deepening into a grin and then softening as he puts out sincerely, “You deserve it, darlin’. He’s,” glancing toward the door of his quarters, “a good man from what I can tell.” Because in all honesty, the tall bodyguard with the mysterious past, plays his cards really close to his chest and Indira refused to offer up any information no matter how hard Max had pressed in the past. “And I ain’t the same person I was when stepped foot on Southern soil, aye?” pointed his look. “People change us, darlin’. Good and bad. Time you got some good out of it.” On the heels of the Headwoman having changed her mind about pulling Shijan from his detail, the beast manager narrows a look onto the barkeep, “Ain’t surprised Ma tried to cut him free of you. She’s real strict about our people getting involved with those they’re protecting or helping.” Which draws a speculative look into play, “What you do to get her to agree to that?”

“Love does tend to blind one if you let it,” Jaya seems to agree, she herself trying hard to make sure that isn’t so with her. A besotted Dicori is one thing, but a blind one… “Perhaps finding a way to, ah, open his eyes? Somehow have someone get the Lady in bed and have the Lord walk in on her?” She wasn’t going to suggest he do it, of course. On the matter of the Tillekian crimelord though, “Dunno what the man’s capable of,” she will admit that, shrugging matter-of-factly, but he always seemed on the straight whenever Vaputero dealt business with him. He’s just not the ‘generous’ sort. Not out of the ‘kindness of his heart’ sort of thing. But,” and she nods to him, “might not hurt to ask at least. Keep things vague. Feel him out. Maybe just keep it to having him provide the shelter for some folks, see. Don’t need to tell him who they are or whether or not they’re important to you. You plan on disguising Little Bit, right?” It was the first time she directly refers to the child, always used to keeping things vague when talking about potential ‘cargo’. It’s a smuggler’s habit. Max’s smile along with the words for her and Shijan draw one lopsided of her own as she looks away and takes a lingering drink of the amber liquid. “You’re finding this far too amusing, beast manager,” she drawls, looking at him again. “I see the way you are with Ahnika, remember. You better not be getting all mushy on me.” Not when she becomes a mush whenever she’s in Shijan’s presence most times. That was blush-worthy enough. She wasn’t going to argue about how people can change each other for good or for bad, the barkeep having seen and been evidence of that in the last 6 turns or more. When Max narrows his eyes though and mentions about Indira’s practices, that question seems to catch him off-guard. Blinking once, “Well, you know,” she drawls, easy in her demeanor as she lounges back as if she was in control of everything. “We just talked. Woman to woman. Made her understand. Made her see where I was coming from. Made a deal that he still worked for her, and things will remain as such. I wasn’t going to push my luck for anything more.” Lips twitching, “But don’t get it mistaken, shuga,” the Dicori thief adds now, straightening up a bit. “I can still knock you down, or at least break that nose of yours again. My eyes aren’t that cloudy.” Yeah, she’s still tough and can throw a punch if need to – or she tries to appear as such.

For some reason Jaya’s suggestion draws a sharp bark of laughter from the beast manager. “The only way that would work would be to draw the Lord away on false pretences, like a fire down the docks or something so that he returns home unexpected like.” Come to think of it… Max ends up just staring at the barkeep for a moment or two and slowly but surely a sly grin forms, “That might just work once the woman’s whelped.” And you can bet your last mark it won’t be him in that bed. He then slips silent, nursing the last of his drink as she speaks on Kelarad and his possible involvement. That silence broken as he quietly notes, “Might be good to remind him of his cousin that we took in with no strings attached.” Although that might well now be a hidden string that he could pull on. A short chuckle rises up for disguising his daughter, “She’s only just over a turn old, darlin’. Ain’t sure one can do much ‘bout disguising one so young.” Hence why he’d been looking for signs of hidden caves on that map. Draining the last of the tumbler’s contents, he puts out a grin as he leans forward to refill his glass, bottle moving towards Jaya’s to offer her the same, “Who me? Amused by Bajaya Dicori declaring that she has a heart and it still works? Never!” The tease ended with a wink. Her ‘secret’ being safe with him. Leaning back in his chair once again with his refill, a speculative brow goes up as she touches on how she’d gotten the Headwoman to agree to let her keep her current bodyguard and then a low but approving chuckle spills out, “You got the gift of the gab, no mistakin’ that.” Mouth disappearing behind the now raised glass a soft snort echoes behind it. Swallowing Max sets a smirk onto the dark haired woman, “You only catch me once like that, darlin’. Next time, it’s you finding yourself butt down in the dirt, aye?”

Raising a brow at that bark of laughter, “You can be amazed how easily one could be led by the taste of another,” Jaya drawls that sultry like, though in hindsight she would know. Waving fingers at him then, “Give the idea room to grow,” she adds smiling more when Max starts to think the suggestion through. “If she’s as wanton as you say she is, then all you really need is a man that she will find very hard to resist.” As for Kelarad though, “You’re the crimelord.” Yeah, she’s actually staying out of that one – for now. Truth be told she respected them both, so she wasn’t one to take sides. Once her glass is refilled from her draining it again, Max’s words on her having a heart has her trying on a scowl for size in response. “You’re not about to let me live this down, are you?” she asks then, tapping her glass against the desk. She couldn’t exactly deny his words, either, and it shows. More soberly, “He is a good man though,” she agrees with something he had said earlier, lips twitching with her warm words. “Not what I expected. Not who I would have gone for back in my smuggling days, either.” Unless to rob him, that is, and the result of that would have been a different story. Taking a lingering sip then, “How goes with that dead body?” she asks as she always does, brow lifting at Max for his answer to come. “Make do with it by now?”

Jaya’s response has his jaw setting into a tight line, he having been just such a one led by the woman under discussion. Then again, he’d never seen the Lady’s boudoir given that he was deemed far beneath her and little more than an exciting toy surrounded by all kinds of ‘taboo’ to take out and play with as the mood struck her. And so it is that the look Max sends her is somewhat dark at the edges with him giving merely a grunt in response to giving her idea further consideration. Which in all honesty he’s likely to do…on the other end of a whiskey bottle. He’s apparently temporarily lost his verbal abilities for her comment on speaking with Kelarad to see where and how the Tillekian might be prepared to help, earns her a soft snort and nod of head. On the topic of matters of the heart and not letting her live it down however, there a faint smirk pulls into position and the beast manager finally puts words out, “Nope.” Okay, so it’s one word. Finally in one solid swallow he throws back the rest of his glass and sets it back down to the desktop with a sharp exhale of appreciation. Lowering his tone a little, “He’s a good man, but…he’s a little strange too. You watch yourself with him, Jaya.” Yeah, he’d be one of those set on edge by the former harper. Her last however, that has him halting his lean back into his seating, a faint grimace flicking across his expression before his visage settles into bland, “The message was received loud and clear.” Which could be viewed as both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. He is apparently, steadfast in his determination to let the northerners know the south is his and he’ll not take any dismissal thereof, lightly.

Jaya is watching Max, noticing the non-verbal reactions to her words with interest. Leaning back against her seat, “She messed you up pretty bad, hm?” she asks soberly, returning a bit of that dark look he sends back to him. Shaking her head then, “And they call us renegades and holdless folks scum.” Yeah, it’s pretty apparent how she feels about holders – especially Lord Holders – in general. His faint smirk and one-word answer gets a mere snort in return, her amusement present however. That amusement lingers through his cautious words on her bodyguard, the barkeep draining some of the contents in her glass before saying, “Define ‘strange’.” On the matter of the dead body, she takes a long look onto the man before her before she asks, “You dropped him in Nabol?” almost as if that was hard to believe. “And you got nothing back in return, or…?” She was curious, the woman’s eyes narrowing a fraction onto the man for his statement of it being received loud and clear.

Max’s chin goes up and he sends the barkeep a closed look when she hits on the correct nerve and then he looks away again. That in itself speaking volumes more on the matter than he is right now. There is however the faintest twitch to the one corner of his mouth when she brands the Lady Holder as scum, a small show of appreciation for her loyalty in that bare gesture. And then he gratefully turns to the topic of her bodyguard. Define strange? With his mouth twisting into a wry pattern of amusement he likely shoves his boot in his mouth with his next, “Ya know, like…he can see into your head or something. And he don’t drink. What man don’t drink?” Snorting at such a preposterous idea but the beast manager has no other way of explaining himself. The teak skinned bodyguard is just…strange to him. That drops away as he forces a smug smirk into place over the matter of the dead body in a bid to dispel the memories of having had to literally deface it. “Aye, slap bang in the middle of Nabol. Got a message back stating the message had been received and…” tone a little sardonic for his next, “welcoming me to the ‘brotherhood’ so to speak. No name. Just that.”

With an incline of her head, that is all Jaya conveys further on the subject of the Lady Tillek. She was aware the woman had did a number on Max, the barkeep quietly sipping at her drink as she continues to regard him. His wry response to defining ‘strange’ though, has the silence lengthening. Brow lifts when he mentions Shijan being able to see into someone’s head, and the fact that he doesn’t drink bears no reaction from her – alluding to the Bitran knowing already. In fact, she knew the whys of what he speaks of but instead of putting that out there, she runs a hand over her nose and drawls, “Well there have been some that like to say that my family likes to eat children on a daily basis,” just wryly, raising her glass to him in a way to neither confirm nor deny if they really do. After taking a drink then, she nods and adds, “I don’t know how he does it, really. Not drinking. I managed to go the whole sevenday without a taste, but even then a girl has her cravings. He’s made different from us, shuga,” she notes with a brief incline of her head in slight defense. “What he’s been through, I can see where it comes from. We all don’t end up completely drunk fuck-ups,” and yes, she’s placing herself firmly in that category, winking. On the matter of the dead body message, she lifts her chin a bit in understanding as he explains, her amusement rising as she answers back with, “The ‘brotherhood’, hmm? Sounds like Serevan, alright. Better him than the lot of them, I’d say.” Shaking her head and snorting, “So what’s your next move, then, boss?” she asks, knowing that Max always has a plan.

Well he doesn’t know if the bodyguard really can see into someone’s head or not but the disconcerting manner he has in seeming to look straight through people is enough to put him on edge about him. High amusement shoots into place for Jaya’s comment over her family and he offers concession in the form of a like-minded tease, “Same way dragonriders apparently corrupt all the innocent hold girls.” Well okay, there’s some truth to that one. Brows go up and his amusement lingers, “You went a whole sevenday without a drink? For shame. And you a barkeep and all.” He doesn’t dispute that Shijan is put together differently to how they are. What Jaya says next of him, that draws a look of keen interest into place as he realizes that at this stage, she clearly knows more about the man than he does. “All that he’s been through?” allowing only mild interest to leak into his tone with a short snort greeting words on drunk fuck-ups. Well, he’d put his own lean on the message received from up north and so Max simply puts out a sliver of wry amusement, his attention narrowing onto the woman when she suggests it might have been the hand of Serevan that had sent it. “I’d like to meet him, in fact…that’s what I’m going to do next,” a cunning light entering dark eyes, “Head up north here and there and meet with my uh, colleagues on a one on one basis. See what I’m dealing with.”

“Surely you jest,” Jaya drawls in a wry tease on the comment of dragonriders corrupting holdgirls, the corner of her mouth lifting in her amusement. “And yes, a whole sevenday. Don’t act so shocked. I was ….distracted.” Yeah, she was distracted, alright. “But don’t fret. I intend to make up for all that lack of drinking, and have been doing so just a little each night.” Not that much with a certain bodyguard about that has been proving to be ample distraction beyond the retreat. When Max reiterates what she dropped on Shijan though, that has that smile ebbing just a tad before she shrugs non-chalantly and states, “Well, I can see he’s with you and your mother. Trouble seems to follow your people as much as it does me, shuga.” Nodding behind her then, “What kind of trouble did Waine get into, if that’s even his real name?” she asks rhetorically to make a point. “Or Yaron? Face it, you’re surrounded by those that have a need of your and Indira’s protection.” Even she’s included in that list, being as close as she is to them. On the matter of business, a brow goes up when Max lets her know that he plans on meeting the other crimelords, the Bitran leaning forward suddenly with interest. “Serious?” she asks, frowning lightly. “Serevan? How are you going to swing that? He’s one of the toughest ones to get an audience with,” she lets him know, though knowing the Dicori…. “Although…perhaps I can send a word his way the next time Ralik comes by?” she adds then, head tilting slightly as she considers it. Ralik did work for the Nabol crimelord, after all. Then, raising her glass briefly before draining it, “I’m coming along, of course,” she adds, winking. “Can’t let you have all the fun. If you’re serious about meeting all of them? Then I have a few words for my former boss,” and she doesn’t mean the barkeep of the Blood and Bucket by that hard-edged look that comes into her eyes. Before Max could broker any argument though, she’ll raise up a hand to stall him as she tacks on, “Just words, boss. Words. And I’ve got something of his I want to return to him.” Uh-huh. Jaya returning to Bitra is a bad idea, but the barkeep seems crazy enough to ignore those warning signs. Perhaps it’s a good thing Shijan is not in the room, although one can be sure that he’s listening right outside.

“Distracted, huh?” Max grins, furthering the tease a little and then sobering a little when she draws attention to what he and his mother do, dark eyes narrowing for her pointed questions and then flicking a glance toward the door where Shijan holds post. Putting two and two together, “He gave you his name.” flatly spoken. How else would she know to ask after Waine’s, or Yaron’s? Expression now challenging as she questions his decision to meet with the northern crimelords, “You don’t offer a new pressing of wine to your patrons without first tasting it yourself, aye?” A brow breaks free and arches upward and then the beast manager is giving a short nod, “Was thinking of starting with Nabol. See what Ralik can organize.” As to Jaya accompanying him in his little meet-and-greet there comes a quick shake of head, “This is something I need to do alone, darlin’. ‘Sides, you got yourself a bar and a bodyguard to take care of, aye?” a marginally sly note entering his tone for the latter. That drops quickly behind a set expression at her comment of having a few words for her former boss and Southern’s crimelord straightens in his chair at around the same time Shijan shifts outside the door, his frame filling the doorway, hawk-eyed gaze narrowing intently onto the dark-haired woman. “You,” Max starts out in deep and deliberate manner, “ain’t going nowhere near that bastard until I…” – “We,” the bodyguard interjects to correct, eyes sliding over to the beast manager. Max arches a brow and meets that disconcerting gaze coming from the teak skinned man and then with a press of lips, nods, “Until we, say so. Anything you have for him, you’ll give to me and I’ll see that he gets it.” Tone and expression soften a mite, “You’ll get your face time with him, darlin’, have no fear of that.” For he fully intended to let the woman at the Bitran crimelord as soon as he’d figured out how to set the man up to bring him down.

Jaya throws a look at him before a lopsided grin starts to win over such a scowl. Snorting then, “The point is, is that you and Indira take in people that trouble has been sniffing around,” she states then, neither confirming nor denying whether Shijan gave her his real name or not. It likely is obvious anyway. “That’s what you do. He’s no different.” Simple as that, and she reaches her glass forward for another refill. Yeah, she’s really working on making up for not drinking up that crate of brandy during her break. She inclines her head on getting Ralik’s help in arranging a meet with Nabol’s crimelord, her amusement bare as she says, “Going straight to the top, hm? And you really should let me come along,” and she passes over a flat look Max’s way, but this time she doesn’t press it. Perhaps she does know that this was something the new crimelord of the south needed to do alone, but she does add, “However, are you intending to just walk right into each and every one of their strongholds, press a greeting, and then walk right now without any trouble?” She didn’t want him to go completely alone, in other words, and his quip about her having the bar and her bodyguard to take care of draws a light snort. When she mentions that she wanted to see Vaputero, she somewhat expected the reaction in the room. She didn’t expect Shijan to be at the door glaring at her, however, and so she looks back at him, blinks, and then looks between the two men. Shijan offers his hand in going and the barkeep’s waving her own as she cries, “Now wait a-! How are you supposed to protect me while up in Bitra?” she directs this in protest towards Shijan before darting a glance towards Max. “You might as well let me come! Besides, I want to see him alive before I cut his fucking face up, not dead!” Of course the Bitran was going to protest, it’s her nature to assert her alpha female personality into the room, seeming to have gained her bearings after being on the run from him for turns.

Refilling her glass in silence, Max tops his own up and leans back in his seating, a brow arching upward and a pointed look settling onto her for her statement over what it is he and his mother do. Finally, “And you bring this up because….?” A sip of the whiskey, his eyes never leaving her and then a faint smirk appears in response to her amusement, “Figured I’d start at the top and work my way down.” A hand lifts and he grazes his thumb across his lower lip, slipping into a brief contemplation for her request to go with him to meet the northerners. With a decisive inhale of breath, “I’ll make you a deal. You tell me everything you know about each of ‘em and you can go with me next time, aye?” adding through a sly grin not intended to mock at her but rather those up north, “You, Bajaya Dicori, are my secret weapon.” In other words, the fewer that know about her working for him right now, the better. That was one hand he intended keeping close to his chest for as long as possible. Dark eyes roll for her next question, “I ain’t a complete wherry, darlin’. I’ll be taking Yaron with me.” With Jaya’s protest of it looking like Shijan will be accompanying him up north, Max sends a hard look first to the bodyguard and then to Jaya, “Unwad your panties and take a breath, Jaya. He ain’t coming with me.” Which has the bodyguard’s jaw setting and his hawk-eyed gaze narrowing. Southern’s crimelord however, doesn’t back down, in fact he stands slowly from his chair and puts himself right into Shijan’s personal space, tone dropped low, “Until I know what heat you got on your tail, you ain’t leaving this Weyr, got it?” Having taken his tumbler of whiskey with him, he now tips it in Jaya’s direction, “She’s your only concern right now. And as for that Bitran bastard…” stepping back out of Shijan’s space he spares the two, bodyguard and barkeep a darkly amused look as he returns to his seating, “he’ll be all yours to do with as you see fit.” Once he’s managed to set it up so that the Bitran is isolated from thugs and allies alike in a bid to end the man’s reign of terror, he could care less how Vaputero meets that end, so long as the appointment with death is met.

“The point,” Jaya says, taking up her glass with a nod of thanks and taking a lingering drink from it, “is that you really don’t know the trouble of a person, clearly,” and she nods discretely behind her to indicate her bodyguard. She was willing to let the point go though, there being far more immediate topics needing her attention while she was coherent – which, wasn’t much considering how much of the drink she was downing. Yeah. It’s amazing she still knows what topic they’re talking about. When Max offers her a deal, the woman stares at him over the rim of her glass as she thinks it over in silence – or rather, her mind’s working over that and how really good the drink tasted. Holding up then glass then, “Did you tell me what this is?” she asks randomly, peering at the glass. It’s only after this that she responds on the deal to her going with him next time up north – “Fine,” she answers that easily, but she still wants an answer on a drink. Smirking a bit as she meets his gaze, “I’ll be your secret weapon, for now. Let me know who you want to know about first, boss.” She seems mollified when he tells her he’s taking Yaron with him, and she remains silent when he announces that Shijan wouldn’t be going as well as her. Eyes go towards Shijan when Max actually challenges him, a brow lifting at him when he’s prompted to reveal the heat he’s under. She wasn’t going to reveal, that was for sure, so she’ll regarding the former harper and the beast manager with interest to see what the man was going to say to that. It atleast officially reveals to her how little Max knows about Shijan in comparison to his mother. When Max steps back and looks at them both that way, speaking on Vaputero, there’s an openly cold smile lighting on her face, dark ideas flowing through her head as she sends Shijan a look. Pleased, “Exactly the words I want to hear, shuga.”

With him nursing his drink rather than downing it in the same fashion Jaya has been, the beast manager is still well in control of his faculties and so when she clarifies her point it’s met with open amusement. Max then proceeds to explain, “In our line of work, it’s safer that neither of us have all the knowledge. Ma handles her people, and I handle mine. We each know enough to know what use to put them and their skills to and there it ends. Very few become shared responsibility.” Such as Jaya is. His dark eyed gaze drops off her onto a finger that has set to idling tracing about the lip of his glass, “Serevan. Tell me about him. What gets his goat, what buttons are safe to push and which should rather be left alone.” Eyes lift and a faint, calculating smile appears, “The best approach basically.” To her being his secret weapon for the time being, he lifts his glass in silent toast thereof.

Shijan, when challenged by the younger man, forces down the frustration and anger that rise up, his baritone breaching his lips in careful neutrality as obsidian eyes slide over to Jaya and then back onto Max as takes up his chair again. “Get me transferred under you and we’ll talk.” Clearly wanting out from under Indira’s thumb and in on the hunt for Vaputero, and then without another word he turns and slips back into the shadows of the aisle.

Max hadn’t promised that the Bitran crimelord was likely to be in one piece when he turns him over to Jaya and Shijan, simply that…he’d be alive and so the smile he renders is a hollow thing edged with ice. Only now does he answer the question on what it is that they’re currently drinking. Tilting his glass a little as if inspecting its contents, flat black eyes lift and then settle onto Jaya, his smile turned deadly, “Bitra’s finest whiskey, darlin’.” Meaning…what? That he’d had the gall to enter Bitran territory to secure himself a bottle or…that he has someone up there able to smuggle it out to him? Who knows because the beast manager sure as shards isn’t telling.

Max’s words on their people gets just an acknowledging nods from Jaya as she studies him, amused for some reason that she’s not revealing. She doesn’t look surprised to hear him add about Serevan, though. The oldest crimelord was usually a popular yet mysterious topic. She leans back more comfortably in her seat, this time taking her time on her drink as she contemplates on how best to answer. “Serevan…” she starts, legs crossing as her eyes roll up to the ceiling, “…is a man that demands a lot of respect.” Yeah, that was how best to describe the crimelord of Nabol. “He’s the oldest of them, the most clever, the easier one to get along with… and the one that loves to keep his cards real close to his chest.” Eyes landing on Max then, “Don’t try to get information out of him,” she warns, amusement bare. “He hardly gives up any even though he’s the most connected crimelord on Pern. Not unless you have something – or someone – he wants, and that hardly happens.” Of course, the very possibility of having someone Serevan would want was standing right in the room. She pauses once Shijan speaks then leaves, eyes following him out then darting significantly to the beast manager. As an after-thought then, “You should consider his offer,” she notes seriously, idly swirling the contents in her glass now. “Shijan’s a good asset to have.” Pause. “There’s not much to rattle Serevan,” she continues on to say conversationally, smiling more. “Vaput tried to get his ire up, to little extent, though that’s not to say you couldn’t do it. He likes to read…you,” she adds then, a small smirk lifting with a significant look going towards the door where Shijan had vanished. “Not as strong. No one knows his history before he became crimelord, but something tells me he used to be involved with harpers – unless he was one himself.” She pauses, takes a long drink then before continuing. “You want to know how to approach him best?” A smirk forms, raising her glass as if in toast before she says, “Be yourself.” Beat. “Don’t behave as if you’re looking to take Nabol from him, and most importantly, give him respect – even if you don’t think he deserves it. Even Vaputero knew his place, of a sort, in Serevan’s presence.” When Max mentions that the whiskey they were drinking was Bitra’s finest, the Bitran sitting there purses her lips and sends the man a look. “I’m sure you have more than this,” she says, almost dry. Now look who’s holding out on her!

Max listens with interest on how best to handle Serevan and then after sipping from his glass, nods at the end, “’bout what I was expecting.” It’s her comment on having something or someone that Serevan might want combined with the way her eyes dart back to him after Shijan leaves the room and her ensuing words that has him narrowing his eyes onto Jaya. “There something I should know?” Uncertain the expression that forms for her telling of the Nabolian crimelord trying to read people, that growing deeper as she alludes to the man having perhaps being associated with the harpers at some point. Finally a smirk greets her words, “I ain’t looking to take Nabol. Got my hands full enough down here,” he admits, “Serevan…sounds at least to be on the side of reasonable and a good ally to have if need be.” Always one to like to know who might have his back and who’s likely to try sticking a knife in it. Amused by her dry response on the whiskey they’re drinking a brow goes up, “I could say the same about you, darlin’.” A pointed look going to the door where Shijan stands guard beyond with Max quite clearly referring back to her earlier words on him being a good asset to have.

Straightening up on that question on something Max should know, "Take Shijan up on his offer," is all Jaya is willing to give, only choosing to tack on afterwards with a raised finger, "Or, at least consider it, if you're that curious." Back to Serevan. "Didn't say you didn't want to take Nabol, shuga," she notes a lopsided grin appearing. "Just don't appear as though you would. Perception, boss." Pause. "Serevan is the more decent of the lot of them," the Bitran agrees with an incline of her head. "But don't be surprised if he…knows things, about you. Things a man like him shouldn't know." It disturbs her, really, alluding to her having had a run-in with the Nabol crimelord long before. "I'm not joking when I say that he's the most connected. I don't know how he gets what he does on people…" and she shakes her head to that, looking uncomfortable by the notion. Thank Faranth there were few men like Serevan and Shijan out in the lands. Max's last gets a snort, and she takes the time to drain her glass slowly. Once the glass goes down onto his desk, "I'm a barkeep, shuga," she notes to his last, wry in her tone. "It's my job to know things. You know I don't kiss and tell." Well, not unless there was a fee attached to it, but in Shijan's case she's actually not being shady. For once.

Leaning back in his chair, Max fits her with an intent look and then nods slowly, “Alright.” That to at least considering taking Shijan up on his offer. A low chuckle then breaks free as conversation goes back to Nabol’s crimelord and perceptions, “I ain’t a complete wherry, Jaya. I promise not to go riding in there swinging a lasso over my head and shouting ‘Yeeha l’il doggies!’” a hand lifting as if swearing solemn oath despite the tease. That drops off at comment of Serevan potentially knowing things about him that he shouldn’t be able to know and the beast manager tenses, his tone heavily wary, “Little Bit?” Asking if there’s any possible the man could know about his daughter. Jaya’s uncomfortable and he’s troubled at the thought. A snort greets Jaya’s last on kissing and telling, tone dry, “Aye, a barkeep.” Yeah, he’s not buying that but he leaves her protecting her sources and information for the time being.

Getting to her feet and not asking for a refill this time, Max’s dramatic words have Jaya remarking back, “Now that, I’m sure, Serevan would find rather amusing from southern’s new crimelord. Toss in a hat and I might even pay to see that.” His wariness on finding out that the older crimelord knows things about people then has her nodding soberly, his question involving his daughter getting a long look before shrugging some. “He might,” she says, uncertainty coloring her tone. “Not sure whether he knew of you before you dropped that dead body on his doorstep. I imagine he would trace your steps to Tillek, and from there…” Anything was possible. Who knew how many informants Serevan had in every place on Pern. To Max’s snort she drains her glass, and she sends over a sweet smile to his return words and turns for the door. Over her shoulder, “Just heed my suggestions, hm?” is all she gives to that, the smirk evident in her tone. “All of them. I better run back to my bar, boss. You should come by sometime so I can take some marks off of you.” It’s a Bitran’s way, after all.

Amusement peaks and Max can’t help but utter a short laugh at Jaya’s return, the hat a given considering that he never goes anywhere without one. “Then best you pay up, darlin’.” He wouldn’t! Would he? A sober expression slips into place and he offers wryly, “I ain’t got no doubt that nothing I do from here forward is going to be much of a secret.” Especially not now that he’s all but demanded the attention of the northerners. “Take a dump today and tomorrow Lorien is figuring out how best to blow the privy up the moment my ass is over it.” Crude, but exhibiting that he’s under no illusions of how his every move is likely being watched now. Lips compress into a thin line as Jaya points to how Serevan could easily come by the existence of his daughter and the beast manager says nothing, simply giving a curt nod. Distracted now by such troublesome thoughts, he lifts a pale idea of a smile onto the barkeep, “Aye, I’ll be sure to.” Leaving it unclear as to quite what he’ll be sure to do.

Snorting, “Not unless I’m coming along,” Jaya seems to trill lightly, knowing full well that she won’t be going along for Max’s trip to meet Serevan. Still, she can’t help the laughter, robust in nature until his next statement robs the rest of that away. Words about the other crimelords is a sobering thought, the barkeep lifting her chin and asking, “Are you ready for that? Having your very life known by then?” Because it was going to happen. It was probably already happening from the moment the body was dropped and analyzed. But the crimelord was going to learn that either way. She opens the door then, perhaps finding Shijan’s shadow there, waiting to walk with her back to her bar. His last gets a firm nod from as she starts to head off then, adding fondly over her shoulder, “Thanks for the drink.”

Max lifts a hand and waves it at her in a sort of ‘Yeah, yeah’ gesture to her trilled tease of only paying up if she accompanies him on his trip up north. A rough snort greets her sober query, “Darlin’, the day I set foot in this Weyr, Kelarad knew I was here,” thanks to Flack, “And the day Passan got free and Jinnet got stuffed in the tack room, Vaputero, knew I was here. Word gets out fast, body or no,” a faintly hard edge creeping into his tone as his mouth fits around a calculating smirk, “All I did was stand up and take a bow in sending that message.” That having been said, some of the edge sands off and he inclines his head to Jaya’s thanks, “Any time, darlin’.” Dark eyes holding to the darkened doorway long after she’s gone before with a sigh he unfolds the map and is soon poring over it.

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