Circle Of Outlaws


Keane.jpg Kelarad.jpg NPCs: Vaputero, Ritalia, Ralik, Serevan, Jorro, Borrento, Delaus, Ralkas, Lorien, Crawl, Timekis, Harvis

Date: Jan. 5, 2011
Location: All over, Pern
Synopsis: Max delivers his gruesome message to the crimelord of Nabol, Serevan in Let The Body Hit The Floor. Serevan passes that message on to all the other crimelords in Pern with various reactions.
Rating: PG-15 for content.
Logger: Keane

Nabol. A dead body.

There’s no dead body falling in Serevan’s territory without Serevan knowing. It took two days to bring in his personal healer, who then thoroughly examined the heavily-charred body and gave him a report. Another day later, now the wise crimelord of Nabol stands out on his vineyard, his coal eyes looking over the rows and rows of ripe grapes with his hands clasped behind his stiff back. Ralik stands beside him, the man having just got in after running all his errands across Pern. There really was no place the informant hasn’t been.

“What do we know?” Serevan asks in his hoarse baritone, his eyes lingering but not seeing the vineyard before him. His mind was still on the gruesome discovery of the dead body in his territory. If this was the work of those rambunctious Ralkas… “Is it someone we know?” Translation: is it one of his own men?

With a heavy sigh, the well-traveled informant having seen the body himself, “No,” Ralik answers him, his pose more relaxed than his boss’s. “Could be one of the others’ man.” Translation: one of the other crimelords. “As to what we know … the dragonrider posted at the Hold mentioned seeing a brownrider drop down with the body. Two men on board. The one playing guest loosed the body before they Betweened.”

“As a message to me,” Serevan heavily concludes, eyes narrowing a fraction on his precious vineyard, trying to recall through decades of wealthy knowledge which sorts would dare to pull such a stunt. He’s paid his debts. The respect he demands go beyond such foolishness.

“Perhaps a message to all known,” Ralik actually corrects him, eyes falling on the tall dark-skinned man with careful interest. “You have heard the talk of there being a new crimelord over the southern continent. Word’s been coming out of Tillek, and now a body drops?” Hands lifting in a gesture, “To you, who have no current qualms with anyone?”

”I worked hard to smooth relations with all my fellows,” Serevan speaks with a note of pride on his having no issues with any of the crimelords. “It hasn’t been easy, especially with those such as Vaputero making things difficult for the lot of us in the rest of Pern’s eyes.” Unclasping one hand and creating a fist before himself, “But this will not do, Ralik.” Eyes falling on the younger man, “I, too, have heard these claims on the south, and have not acknowledged it. But,” and he looks away then, the faint glimmers of a smile not so easily detected, “were I to have my claim known, such a message would be effective, no?”

Ralik smirks. “You are the north, Serevan,” he notes to the crimelord with a respectful incline of his head. “There’s nothing that doesn’t get passed you.”

Serevan actually smiles now, not denying anything said as he looks out over the vines. “So he wants to be acknowledged,” he states to the cool air, chin lifting as he considers this new turn of events. “Much like Ampherol before him. A pity what happened to Ampherol. I rather liked him.”

“The south is not a friendly companion to those that try to claim it,” Ralik states, his gaze finally on the vineyards with a twitch of his shoulders. He knows what became of young Ampherol, too. “This Max is wasting his time …”

“Max.” Serevan seems to taste the name given, comparing it to the other names he’s come across from his informants down south. “This Max must have plenty of time to waste, then,” he notes with a touch of dryness, “if he’s flinging dead bodies into other people’s territories.” Turning abruptly, starting up the pacing that comes when he falls into a deeper contemplation, “Benks!” he calls for his scribe then, turning towards Ralik and adding to him briskly, “I can imagine he expects those of us to pull out our informants from his territory,” he notes, fingers idly brushing over his mustache. Yeah, fat chance.

A squat, balding man comes trotting out at this moment, bumping into the table there with his sheets of hides and writing stylus spilling from his arms. “Yes, yes, boss!” he cries, stumbling down on his knees to gather the sheets up together.

A corner of Ralik’s mouth lifts at the agitation of the old scribe, no mockery present there as he steps out of the man’s way and continues with the meeting. “I can tell you that at least Timekis will tell this new one where he could shove his dead body,” he states with some amusement, eyes regarding Benks as he sets up his writing station. “He doesn’t like being told what to do.”

“None of them do, really,” Serevan agrees, taking up his pacing again with his gaze on anything other than the two men in his vicinity. Once he turns and finds Benks set up and ready with his writing stylus held up in anticipation, “Benks, I’m going to need the same letter written to all the renegades listed,” he directs now with some authority, though he didn’t really need to. Benks has been loyal to him for as long as he’s been running Nabol. To Ralik, “I’m going to trust you and Suo to carry these out to them as quickly as you can, before the body spoils,” he says, nodding firmly in his direction. “Only deliver the last one down south when you’re done.” He turns to already find Benks in the process of spreading out numerous blank hides to copy on, and the Nabol renegade lord starts in on dictating his first letter to be copied out. Serevan’s not one to waste ink on flowery words, keeping his notes short and to the point. He gives the scribe time to copy that note onto the other sheets before starting on the letter for Southern. A sudden thought occurring to him as he turns back to his informant, “While you’re down there, Ralik, see if you can get a hold of Besa.” Besa was a bluerider transfer in Eastern who was an informant before Impressing. “Have her pay close attention to this Max and send me regular reports when she can. Same payrate, of course.”

Ralik nods to that. “Why not ask the Dicori barkeep?” he asks then, his association with Jaya well known by Serevan, along with her history with a certain renegade. “Haven’t had it confirmed yet, but she looks to be in Max’s line. Even the barkeep up at the Blood and Bucket had mentioned them being together up in Telgar sometime ago.”

Serevan’s shaking his head before the younger man could finish. “I want to distance any connection with the Dicori for now,” he answers, eyes watching Benks as he writes. “I’ll be going into talks with Vaput soon, and I must not look like I’m holding anything from him.” As good as those talks will do in the end. Benks is looking up expectantly at him then, and he briskly gets on with dictating the second letter to be carried out – this one being much shorter than the first one. “Add my seal and put those into Ralik’s here care before meeting me out in the gardens,” he directs to his scribe, signaling his departure from the meeting. A man rivaling the Masterharper of Pern when it came to world knowledge had a lot to do and people to meet this day. Max of Southern was not his priority just yet, though his stunt had effectively garnered his attention. One without knowledge of the renegades wouldn’t have brought such a message to him, so that told him that Max had help. Perhaps there was something to the talk of Bajaya Dicori working for him … and that means it’s at least time for him to increase activity in the south and find out all he can about Max and those associated with him. It might be useful to make him a priority.

But that was to be digested later. With those letters delivered, he was certain some of the crimelords would want a look at the body themselves to make sure that it wasn’t one of their own. If they could make it before it stank bad enough, then they’ll get the opportunity. Otherwise they’ll once again have to rely on his personal observations on the matter and act accordingly, and he knew he was going to get some grumblings there.

No matter. He got their respect. If it keeps him alive and not a target for another day, then Serevan has no complaints.

  • * * * —— * * *


Vaputero Ilste was in the middle of a card game when one of Serevan’s letters was placed into his lifted hand. “I’m sure we could work out a deal agreeable to all parties involved,” he was telling two men facing him at the table – both crafters by their shoulderknots, and looking rather uncomfortable being in his unpredictable presence – while he broke the seal binding the letter. He was far more into his ‘talks’ than whatever the old man from Nabol had to say, even though he was to meet with Serevan soon. His second-in-command, Faust – a burly, tanned skinned man from Ista with a chipped tooth in the front and eyes that looked close to yellow – was seated at his side watching him with the letter intently.

After reading the note through in the pause, “Another one claims the south,” Vaput summarizes lightly for all those present, sending Faust a brief look conveying his true feelings. Another upstart looking to claim the wild continent. Great. “Says here he's sent a body to Nabol,” and that got his attention. It even had Faust’s brow lifting for more information with the two crafters exchanging uneasy glances. “He’s thinking it could be one of ours since it’s not one of his.” Eyes darting towards his second significantly, “When’s the last time Solak has checked in?” he asks with deliberate non-chalance.

Shrugging and appearing unconcerned, “About a month ago,” Faust answers with his overly-gruff voice from having gotten a knife to his neck turns ago. “Reckon we should check it out?”

Vaputero is long in answering that, mentally filing through all the informants and operators he currently has down in Southern. Max. He knew a bit about Max from his sparse reports from Lorayit, but the Southern farmer made it always sound like the man was of little concern to the north. Now there’s bodies dropping out of sky. He was curious about which man, if the body belonged to him, it was that got the boot, but he wasn’t that interested. Sending a wide grin to the silent crafters as he finally makes his move on the card game before them, “As you can see, it’s never easy being in a position such as mine,” he explains conversationally to them, laying his cards out and winning the hand. “Too many fucks wanting to make a bold statement. Quick way to end up a dead flying body themselves. I trust that’s not the sort of relationship we, as friends, will have. Will we?” He makes it sound extra-special, eyes flicking between the two of them as they reluctantly try to reassure him in their sudden agreement with his terms. Looking more pleased now, “Good,” he drawls, leaning back in his seat before turning to Faust and handing him the note. “Run a thorough check for every person we’ve got down there,” he directs, moving to claim the marks at the center of the table. “I want reports from every single one of them in my hands or there’ll be worse than the mines to pay.” Beat. “More wine?” the Bitran crimelord directs this last towards the crafters, setting up the next game as Faust goes to execute his orders.

  • * * * —— * * *


Ritalia Aleut finally finds her voice after having been brought to total ecstasy by her latest conquest before she rolls her damp slender body off of him and lays down in her sheets. Her dark hair is a tangle as it spreads about her pillow, the former trader stretching her body with a satisfied yawn, “That was exactly what I needed, darlin’,” she states breathlessly, hands relaxing over her head against the bedpost as she looks to the ceiling.

Still panting and looking quite satisfied himself, the tall, barrel-chest hunter from Igen smiles at the ceiling and grunts out, “You always know how to take care of me, Talia …”

Light chuckles falling like waterdrops, “So does that mean you’re about to take care of me?” the crimelord of Nerat asks in that sultry alto, always keeping business in all her activities. For her, business always mixed with pleasure. She turns over towards him playfully, lifting a finger to idly draw it over his hairy chest with that suggestive look in place for him.

The hunter smiles back at her, knowing exactly what she means. “I’ll see what I can do on that,” is the best he can offer her there, moving to try and gather her up in a kiss.

It’s a kiss that gets aborted at that sort of answer. As fingers press to his lips to block him while leaning forward, “That’s not what I want to hear,” Ritalia injects a little bit of chastisement in her tone, “You can do better than that, Zenri-“

“Urgent from Serevan.”

Ritalia wasn’t sure when her stealthy second-in-command had entered the room. She was hardly sure when and how the large man was able to move about in such silence. It takes much to keep her from jumping out of her skin, which was a feat. Fingers drop away from her current plaything to roll her eyes toward her silent second with a rather irritable, “Don’t you see that I’m in the middle of negotiations?” That’s what they were, if anyone really knew the woman. “It can wait-“

“It really can’t,” her second cuts her off without apology, their relationship having become easy enough where he can dare to do so. He steps forward stiffly to press the letter into her hand, its seal already been broken. It matters little to him that he’s the only clothed one in the room. Before the crimelord could even open it up to read, “I’ve taken the liberty of dispatching someone to Nabol to see if he’s one of ours.”

“What-?” That has Ritalia sitting up, immediately unfolding the letter as she does so and scanning over the short note quickly. Her tone immediately changes. “Out,” she orders the hunter, ‘negotiations’ effectively over. Not waiting to see if he complies, the Neratian crimelord is out of the bed and reaching for her robe with a dark look being sent towards her second. “You did right, as always,” she notes to him, pleased as he trails her out of her chambers. “Claiming the south? Are you kidding me?” This was the last thing she needed right now. “So what, I’ve got to cease my endeavors down there? What does he want?”

“Apparently that body was to be his message,” her second answers her promptly, his guard training keeping his gaze from her swinging ass as she moves. “I imagine he would want things more… regulated, down there.”

“Get word to pull Yunis and Kertin out of Southern,” Ritalia decides, not knowing what this new crimelord is capable of. Not yet, anyway. “The rest of them stay. Let me know as soon as possible over whether or not that body is one of ours.” She’ll wait and see. No point in stirring up a bees nest over a man that wasn’t going to last like the last crimelord of Southern.

  • * * * —— * * *


Haruvek and Anve Ralka – the Ralka boys – were enjoying a nice welcoming day at their favorite desert tavern when their letter arrived. Rather, ‘nice and welcoming’ was just another way of saying they were happy to be in the middle of another senseless brawl.

Haruvek smashes his drinking mug into a large man barreling towards him and knocks him out cold before he finds his younger brother, Anve, falling in roughly beside him. The tavern’s barkeep left awhile back right after the first punch was thrown. Laughing raucously together, “Ahhh, I saw that nice throw you aimed at that shiny-headed man back there, brother!” Haruvek cries, clapping him on the back before ducking a flying mug. Recovering himself, “I think he likes you!”

Spitting blood on the ground as he lands hard on his ass, “I would have honestly preferred the kiss to that fist of his,” Anve remarks in response, wiping the bloody spittle from his swollen mouth. He reaches out then to pull his brother to safety, the two of them crawling under a still-upright table while the drunken daytime battle rages on over their heads. He scoops out a filled mug he was hiding with his coat, sweat pouring down his face from the heat of the desert as he offers it to his brother. “Here! We should at least have a drink together before the guards come,” he calls out showing a bloody smile.

“Hear, hear!” Haruvek looks duly pleased at finding some ale left from the brawl, taking and raising the mug briefly. “I knew that coat was good for something! To long life!” He downs half of it in one gulp before passing it back over, choking on it a bit before laughter sets in. “How much sweeter shit tastes when all the rest of it’s spilt, right?”

“Maybe you would know all about how shit tastes, brother of mine,” Anve notes as he knocks back the rest of the ale and nudges the other roughly in the shoulder. “Dunno why we keep sticking ourselves in these shitty bars! Let’s open one up on our own, eh??” Anve was the Idea Man. He was always coming up with stuff, whether creative or downright stupid.

In that instant, Haruvek feels a hand on his leg, and another body has dropped down from the battle. The skinny man with dark features runs an eye over them, effectively silencing the two before he slowly reaches into his pocket and pulls out a letter. “Ralkas, right?” he grunts then, just to make sure.

The two exchange a glance. “It is if you’ve got more ale,” Haruvek Ralka answers, staring the stranger over with some semblance of authority.

The informant merely smiles. “Urgent from Serevan,” Suo states, moving to press the letter into Haruvek’s hands before he straightens up and stumbles back out into the brawl. In the silence under the table, Haruvek breaks the seal and reads it, eyes narrowing at its contents before he passes the note over to his brother. “Fun’s over,” he states more seriously then, peering out from the table to spy an opening of escape out of the bar. “Got to get back to the fort.”

Anve looks even more disturbed by the note than his brother does, and he slides that into his coat with a nod in agreement. Peering from the table with him, he answer back grimly, “Always is.”

  • * * * —— * * *


When Serevan’s letter arrived for Kelarad, he was not surprised.

“Man’s got more balls than I pegged,” he notes to Crawl, his second, while they finished overseeing the counting of marks to be delivered off to a Lord Holder. The letter is in his hand, having read it the moment it arrived through Ralik. “I wonder who ‘Rogan’ knocked over to send this sort of message.” Rogan. Max. They were now one and the same to him.

Crawl snorts in displeasure, still smarting from the last time he had encountered the new southern crimelord. “He’s got something, alright,” he grunts his comment, eyes staring ahead of him. “You’re not worried that it’s one of yours?”

Kelarad laughs, easy. “Why should I be?” he tosses back, continuing on his leisurely stroll. “We’re on good terms, he and I. I imagine he’s trying to get the others’ attentions now. It’s a good move. Risky, but good.”

“He’ll piss someone off with that stunt,” Crawl notes, still not impressed like his boss. “They’ll come after him and then what? I think we should pull Olira from Eastern and take care of her ourselves.” Or rather, he would take care of Kelarad’s cousin himself like he was doing before Max had showed up.

His smile still easy, “Olira stays, Crawl,” the crimelord returns with light finality, eyes sliding knowingly towards his second. “Let’s give the lord of the south a chance, hmm? As long as Dicori’s down there, we have nothing to lose.”

Crawl couldn’t argue with that.

  • * * * —— * * *

High Reaches.

Borrento got the letter, and it sparks just a glimmer of interest.

Max. Didn’t he know a Max? The one he knew wasn’t gutsy enough to lay claim to the south. He read the letter again – one among many he had to go through – frowning heavily at this news of a dead body charred beyond recognition. That was something he would’ve done. That was something he has done, at one point in his life. It was something not everyone would have done, and so it interested him.

He knew the body had gone bad by now, checking the date on the letter, but he promptly sends someone to Nabol anyway. If it was one of his own men, not that such a thing could be proved by this point, then he would have usually demanded some sort of compensation. An eye for an eye, right? He was a man that employed cold-hearted killers, lengthening that long sheet of victims under his belt.

But it took much to get a rise out of him.

The letter finally gets set aside for another, but Borrento makes a note to talk to his close circle of men about this. A new crimelord means new business. Crimelords always needed someone to ‘disappear’ discreetly, sooner or later.

Speculations aside, no one ever did find the last crimelord of the south, did they?

  • * * * —— * * *


Delaus was strolling the small black market den he keeps out of the way of wary eyes when Serevan’s letter came for him. The statuesque holdbred woman on his arm tried to get a peek at it when the crimelord of Crom swatted her off.

Drawing free a handkerchief, “Great Faranth, not another one!” he cries upon reading, dramatics in place for a man styling himself to be as grande as a Lord Holder. “I really don’t know why we can’t just split up the south like I’ve been suggesting in every peace meeting! It would nip all this ‘southern crimelord’ business in the buttocks by next turn!”

“You shouldn’t work yourself up so,” his lady tries to soothe nerves, coming to his side as she reaches for the letter. “Everything’s been going so well …”

“Alas,” and Delaus slips the letter into a hidden pocket before the woman could reach it, drawing her hand into his arm in one motion as they resume their walk through the tables of deals taking place this busy night. “Another crimelord means complications, Perstiny,” he tries to explain with patience, bringing the handkerchief briefly to his nose as he walks pass a table seating smelly-looking traders. “Complications means more marks out of my pocket. Who’s to say this ‘Max’ fellow will be as enamored with us like the rest of them?” Right. The rest of the crimelords simply adore him. Fluttering the handkerchief about, “And he’s killed someone! A dead body on Nabol’s doorstep …No, no, this is not the kind of conversation for sweet little ears like yours, Persie,” he waves his hand at her firmly, deeming such gruesome talk beneath him. “I suppose I’ll have to pull out some of my activities down there. At least for now. Anyone can be charmed.”

Anyone, indeed. Delaus is just hoping that dead body isn’t one of his own people…

  • * * * —— * * *

Southern Boll.

This is not his day.

The crimelord of Boll meant to spend the whole day dumping his new ‘acquisitions’ off the Bollian coast in order to get a certain crafter framed for a theft crime he clearly didn’t commit when guards suddenly decided to show up and accost him. Accost him, the renegadelord of Boll!

Timekis had to pull strings fast, the new guard leader over this particular unit having gotten tipped off to his whereabouts as soon as the items were stolen. Can’t a man pull a crime in decent time anymore?? It was enough to have him pulling out his long hair in frustration!

His pulled ‘strings’ came in the form of one of the higher-up guards, managing to distract this new upstart while he barely got away.

And then the letter came.

Who the fuck was this new crimelord of the south, and how dare he pull off a rather elegant move that should have been his?? Timekis could care less that there was a new crimelord at all. What did it have to do with him? He was still going to go on with his endeavors – and on this Max’s continent if he so pleases! If Max didn’t like it, then he better be prepared to burn up another body.

Whether the body was one of his own men or not meant shit to him. He lost men on a daily basis. Such a thing was nothing new in this business.

Still …Instead of doing the normal thing and dispatching someone to Nabol, or even pulling out his informants down south, Timekis moves to send three more of his men down there to see what they could learn about this new crimelord. Can he be bought? Where does he live? Who are his friends? What color does he like? He wanted any and all questions asked, down to the most mundane. He wanted to know how often the man sneezed during his day if it meant he could possibly gain an upper hand on him.

It’s the least he could do.

  • * * * —— * * *


“You mentioned a ‘Max’ before, didn’t you?” Lorien seems to accuse the barkeep of the Blood and Bucket as they met around a table in his chambers, Serevan’s letter opened and unfolded before him. Gesturing imperiously towards it, “Read it. Tell me what you think.”

Keane bends to pick the letter up, and it doesn’t take him long to look it over. “Sounds like him,” he grunts easily as he tosses the letter back for his drink, not giving anything else away of what he knew. “What do I think? I think you better warn your people down south.”

Lorien snorts on that advice, leaning back and staring at nothing as he swirls the contents in his glass. After a moment, “Will he be a problem?” he asks then, determined to draw Keane out and give his opinion on the matter. Oh yes, he knows all about the meeting involving Max and Kelarad. It happened in his territory, after all. “The body couldn’t possibly be one of mine’s,” he goes on to say. “My men aren’t that sloppy to be caught.”

“All the same,” Keane remarks blithely, leaning back now with an air of disinterest. “Really only met him that one time, and Dicori swears by him. You know how Dicoris are, though, so if you want to place store by her opinions …” He’ll make Jaya out to have no credibility, more concerned now about what’s going on in that constantly-calculating mind of Telgar’s crimelord. If he could delay any trouble going down that way …

Lorien frowns at him. “So you suggest I pull them out?” he drops to him, not looking pleased by where this is going one bit. “There’s no guarantee that this man will even survive! No one knows what happened to the last one.”

Keane had an inkling another crimelord would. “All I said was to warn them, is all,” he notes, not backing down from the intimidating renegade. Been through one, been through them all. “Ain’t nothing wrong with that, Lorien. Perhaps even visit Serevan and see what he knows about this business. You’ve been meaning to about those missing letters that never made it to Crom,” he points out, now choosing to drain his glass. “Nothing gets by without him knowing. If you want me to accompany you …” He trails that off, eyes intent upon the man in the hopes of really getting that rare chance to meet with the notorious renegade of Nabol. The rest of Pern had the Masterharper. The people of the shady lands had Serevan.

Lorien knew what Keane wanted. “Perhaps in easier times, old friend,” he declines it smoothly, always calculating. “Soon. For now,” and he raises his glass to the barkeep, a smile barely seen in place as he leans forward, “I will heed your wise counsel. I’ll send out letters before the end of the day.”

  • * * * —— * * *


Jorro doesn’t know up from down.

Laying on top of a table in his favorite bar, far too sloshed to care about the dirty looks being sent his way from some of his men, the crimelord of Fort smacks the man that has Serevan’s letter for him hard in the chest.

“Washhee wan’ wimmee?” his words mingle together as he drags himself upright, thinking it at least ‘courteous’ of him to do so when being presented with a letter from a respected man. He grabs at the letter and breaks the seal, his head swimming from the drinking binge he had gone on all during the day. He had lost much to a chance game of cards, and after promptly kicking every one of their asses, he set himself to drink. Red eyes moving slowly over the contents of the letter, the drunk crimelord trying his best to decipher the swimming words. No luck.

“Hey!” Jorro calls then as the man tries inching away, grabbing him by the collar and pulling him forward. He shoves the letter into his hands and demands, “Readdish!”

His hands trembling a bit with Jorro being known for is raging temper while drunk, the man reads. All the men in the bar – all belonging to him – stop their conversations to listen. Once he was done, “Whachhu meannah dead baaady?” Jorro frown blearily at him, swaying a bit on the table.

“That’s what it says,” the man has the nerve to answer him, immediately regretting his words at that look.

Dead body. New southern crimelord. What’s the significance?

A sober Jorro might give a damn. A drunk Jorro just wants to snooze.

The crimelord of Fort waves his hand in dismissal of the letter, turning to slump back over on the table with some unintelligible words. With the man creeping forward, “ …whadda … give a …”

Two days later, a more coherent Jorro pulls back some of his men down south in a show of open acknowledgment, and a man was dispatched to Nabol to see what he could learn of the new crimelord in their midst.

  • * * * —— * * *


As always, Harvis is the last to get any letters from any of the crimelords, but that doesn’t bother him none.

He got wind of the dead body in Nabol around the same time Serevan did, thanks to his own network of informants. He didn’t bother sending anyone over to confirm or to ask Serevan about information he could easily find himself. Harvis knew the body wasn’t any of his men.

But glimmers of a new crimelord emerging south has been on the winds for months now, and that was more of his interest than any dead body. He wasn’t sure who this Max was yet, but that was only a matter of time. Already he had dispatched notes to certain Journeyman harpers posted south to be on the lookout for him. He’ll never beat Serevan when it came to the network he has in place, but at least he had something else that the old renegade didn’t possess – diplomacy.

Since he was certain none of the others would extend a hand in welcome, Harvis would. He did for Ampherol, and he will do so for Max. As soon as he’s located, he can look into enticing one of the Istan dragonriders to fly him south for an hour or two to speak with him. He wasn’t sure what kind of moral compass this man would have, but all the same he was still the courteous sort.

Besides, anyone dashing enough to toss a body onto his rival, Serevan’s, doorstep is worth a handshake.


  • * * * —— * * *

Eastern Weyr.

Ralik arrives at the Weyr once all the letters were out, passing by Jaya’s bar as usual before heading towards the beast cavern. There he puts a sealed note into Waine’s hand, mentioning to him that it was from the crimelord in Nabol. No names. It’s simply from a crimelord to another crimelord. He doesn’t stick around, either – heading back out of the Weyr to continue his rounds and work for a man as connected as the Masterharper himself.

The note simply says upon opening:

Message received.

Welcome to our Circle of Outlaws.

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