Family First


Jaya.jpg Max.jpg Shijan.jpg Olira.jpg Kelarad.jpg Keane.jpg

NPCs: Shijan (by Max), Kelarad, Olira, Keane, Crawl

Date: Nov. 2, 2010
Location: The Blood and Bucket bar, Telgar area
Synopsis: The meeting happens between Tillek crimelord Kelarad, Max and Jaya. Old debts get paid, alliances are formed, and the three walked away with pivotal results. Max walks away with a new title. Takes place the next morning after Paying It Forward.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

The next day in Telgar finds the morning crisp and clear at the Blood and Bucket bar. The meeting set-up went through as planned, with Crawl’s man following orders to a tee. Kelarad was reluctant, of course, but the Tillekian was atleast willing to hear these people out in regards to his cousin. Besides, he was in a better mood after the meeting with Lorien – though the Telgari crimelord was as paranoid as ever. Here he was – all the tables cleared away to the sides of the bar save for one, with chairs set up on either side. Kelarad takes up the center one on one side with Olira seated on his left and Crawl seated on his right. Max takes up the center on the opposite side with Jaya on his right and Keane settled on his left. Shijan takes up behind both Jaya and Max, preferring to stand, while Crawl’s men remaining standing behind Kelarad and his group. Pleasantries have yet to be given, seeing as how Rad swept into the bar without any warning that morning while Keane and Olira was setting up breakfast for the Eastern guests. He directed his men to clear all the tables away save for one, all done so with such efficient silence. But now, the two parties have taken to sizing each other up and staring each other down – especially in regards to the not so tall, dirty blonde Kelarad staring down both Jaya and Max – the ones looking to take away his relative.

Well now, he hadn't expected Kelarad to turn up quite so soon and so it was with an almost undetectable margin of annoyance that Max met the Tillekian's arrival for no other reason than…he'd interrupted breakfast! One of his three most favorite meals of the day. Now seated opposite the dirty blonde man, any unease firmly pressed down behind the mask of bland currently on display, dark eyes settle for a heartbeat on Crawl and then slide off and land back onto Kelarad, waiting. Shijan may as well be cast from stone for the amount of movement coming from him, just that dark watchful gaze shifting from man to man.

Jaya’s doing her own staring thing as well – eyes mostly taking in the dirty blonde Tillekian crimelord, noting the slight imprint of his wiry muscles underneathe a dark wherhide jacket to keep out the morning chill. Next to Max and Shijan, Kelarad was studying her as well. Keane was keeping his attention between Olira and Crawl, who were both working not to meet each other’s eyes from across the man in the middle. An intense silence hangs at the table, so strong that one could almost taste it. Once the uncomfortable silence has gone on long enough, “Are these the ones looking to take my cousin away?” Kelarad breaks the silence in his deep voice – a voice that’s scratchy after turns spent in fighting in the very rings he now operates. Crawl answers with a nod, his hard gaze on Max as he still smarts from their encounter the previous day. Crawl then gestures for the man to lean towards him, muttering something in Rad’s ear that has him narrowing his eyes considerably before he straighten up and looks to Max and Jaya again in particular. “Rogan,” he seems to greet, his tone more genial now – or perhaps forcefully so by the tight smile fitting on his face. “It’s been too long. I thought you had died.” The way that sounded, it seemed the Tillkian was hoping the man had as opposed to being alive and avoiding him as he apparently was. Blue eyes seek out Jaya then, adding, “And Bajaya Dicori,” in much a fashion as one suddenly finding a long lost trinket. “Two problems nestled together into one package. Just for me.” The smile grows, eyes flicking from one to the other and back again. Jaya lifts a brow at the dirty blonde renegade, making a show of looking him over before answering, “Kelarad of Tillek. It has indeed been too long. A shame it takes tragedies to bring old acquaintances back together again.” She includes Max – or ‘Rogan’ – in this statement as well, the smirk falling on the beast manager briefly before turning her attention back on the Tillekian group.

Throughout it all, Max's expression remains an impassive mask. He'd have folded his arms across his chest if not for wanting to avoid transmitting the wrong message just now. His attention pins to Crawl when he mutters into his boss's ear knowing just exactly what that was likely all about. Not moments later his suspicions are confirmed when Kelarad uses the name he'd fought under and the faint edge of a smirk peels out as he inclines his head, "Kelarad." He intones, entirely unapologetic for indeed still being alive adding in sardonic return, "Only the good die young." He leaves off making comment on his purpose for being in the north for the time being, simply sending a flicker of eyes over to where Olira is seated and catching Jaya's smirk sent his way. "A shame indeed," he states in agreement. Now he addresses the matter of the redhead being taken off of the continent, "Ain't here to do nothing but offer the lady somewhere to gather herself together and to give yourself…" attention settling back to the Tillekian, "peace of mind for knowing she's under safe guard while doing so." It might be that over the turns Kelarad had figured out what it was he as 'Rogan' had been up to with regards to people in trouble simply…disappearing out from under his nose.

For now, Max gets his attention more than Jaya does. “So we will live forever?” Kelarad puts to Max, his blue eyes narrowing only a fraction as he studies him from across the table. “A noble notion, fighter – one I wouldn’t mind seeing tested.” Fingers snap on one hand lazily and one of the men moves forward to pass him a folded sheet of hide. He takes a long look at the contents on the sheet, adding while doing so, “I realize, because I am not as heavy-fisted like some of our more…brutish renegade lords,” he says, his tone rather blithe about it, “that folks seem to think they can just vanish into smoke and I will forget a debt owed.” Eyes flick up from the sheet to Max then, and even Jaya’s passing him a look. Keane is remaining to look straight ahead like Shijan from behind. “My peace of mind is my business,” he notes briskly, his tone settling right to it as the sheet no longer gets his attention. Looking from Max to Jaya and back, “My business is my family, and Tillek – in that very order. Saying that, “ and a hand lifts to fall gently on Olira’s arm, “I am willing to discuss family first. Matters of Tillek,” and he looks pointedly towards Max, “will be discussed afterwards. If the two somehow coincide?” A light shrug is given, the matter easier to him either way. Crawl smiles, his grey eyes lighting on Max. “We appreciate you meeting with us, Kelarad,” Jaya puts in, a short look touching on the beast manager after all is said. “We realize how busy you are, and we don’t want to take up too much of your time.” – “I wouldn’t worry about that,” Rad directs in response to the Bitran woman, his eyes falling on the scar clearly visible on her face now. “I am not Vaputero, you will find, my dear. I can be quite…civilized.” Gaze shifts back to Max then. “So you want to whisk away Olira,” he states, back to business. “I want to know why.”

The quarter smile Max fits the Tillekian with, is wry in delivery to their living forever, "So they say." That smile falls away to fit behind lightly narrowed eyes and a tight jaw as evidence of his 'sins' against Kelarad is produced in the form of that sheet of paper releasing only in the faintly smug light that flickers briefly into his eyes for having successfully done just that - vanished into smoke. Up until now that is, and slowly a hand moves to the knife at his side, his other hand lifted away from himself in a stilling gesture to any that might leap forward with that movement. Deliberately the weapon is unsheathed and laid on the table before him, eyes never leaving the dirty blonde's as he does so, his voice evenly held, "I exposed myself and came here," stepping into a situation he knew full well would draw Kelarad's attention to him, "for her." A slight tip of head in Olira's direction, "Because it's what I do. Same reason why you got me on your debtors list to begin with." He goes quiet then when Jaya speaks, eyes sliding sideways to land briefly on her and then straight back to the man before them. He not adding any such niceties as stroking the man's ego, leaving that to the scar faced woman to do instead. A brow goes up, "Like I said. It's what I do. Help folk when they need it." Tone and expression only lightly challenging in daring the man to mock his line of work. "She needs help, I'm here to offer it to her in helping her disappear for a bit until she's ready to face the world again," pausing and then adding with the faint glimmer of a smile, "sanction, if you will."

When Max exposes that knife, Kelarad doesn’t even flinch into any action. The men behind him shift, and it’s through the renegade lord lifting up the folded sheet of hide in the air that stills them. “What a good man,” he gives in slight mockery, removing his hand from Olira’s as he slides the sheet over to Crawl’s care. It’s all done with fluid grace as well, as if the man wants Max to know that nothing can still his waters. “Offering to take in another man’s family. Admirable! Perhaps you are more suited to rubbing shoulders with one such as Lorien, hm?” Beat. “Since you appear to be in the guarding business now.” Crawl takes up the sheet and sneers at those across the table. “So, you expect me to just…look away,” he flutters a hand in indication, “and ignore what you owe me? All for the name of protection and helping those that need it? Rogan,” the Tillekian chuckles, the chide almost playful as he leans back in his seat more. “You know me better than that.” Well, mock his line of work, he dares. There’s silence, his blue eyes going to a now silent Jaya who is more interested in seeing how this particular situation unfolds. “What do you think, Olira, dear?” he asks then conversationally, not looking her way since his gaze is on Jaya’s scar again. “Do you think this is a good plan? Do you want to go down south for awhile?” Olira is silent, hesitation in her frame as she shoots a long look Kelarad’s way. One never knew whether the man was joking or not – whether he was truly being kind or not. Finally, “It has merit,” the redhead answers, inclining her head a fraction of the way. “I think I am done with the north for now, Rad. I want to go.” The last sounds determined, the woman fixing a stare onto the man even though he isn’t looking at her.

Max is silent through the mocking words, just a muscle ticking in his jaw to suggest they have in any way rankled him. Finally, with a faint smirk forced into play on what he does, "Amongst other things," he give on being in the guarding business. He'll address the matter of the fight circuits in Southern at a later point in the conversation when it comes up. Drawing himself up in his chair, arms do now come to fold across his chest as he stares Kelarad down on the matter of his debts, "Wouldn't be here if I didn't intend makin' good on 'em would I?" Giving subtle hint that anyone else might have run a mile upon realizing they were about to face the Tillekian. And then he gives in a tight tone, "Got business that requires your foot off my neck to conduct it." Truthful, although no details are about to be divulged right now on that matter. Silence folds about him once again, his attention settled to the redhead as she voices her wish to go with him but he'll not add anything at this point, simply sending first Jaya and then Keane a sidelong glance each.

Keane was, effectively, staying out of this, and apparently so was Jaya for now. Olira makes her wishes known, and so Kelarad finally looks over at her before slowly and reluctantly acknowledging it with a nod. “Crawl?” he asks for his opinion, to which the leader of the guards and Rad’s right-hand man immediately answers, “No go. Don’t trust him.” Kelarad pauses long as if considering his decision, then he turns back to regard Max. “I’m hoping your little business is not extending into my territory,” he seems to warn lightly, having not made his decision on the matter of Olira and so therefore chooses to play for time. “That wouldn’t exactly put you on my good side. How do you intend to make good on your debts?” He doesn’t exactly address the bit about Max having business that requires him to back off either, though the former fighter does show a slow smile in amusement of it. And then, “So, Bajaya,” he now chooses to include the Bitran in the proceedings. “You finally decide to show your face rather than skitter about Pern like a mouse.” Blue eyes light on her scar, “You didn’t really say the goodbye the last time we saw each other.” – “You’ll have to excuse my rudeness in abruptly leaving,” Jaya answers on the heels of that comment, her tone tight as she starts to get uncomfortable from him staring at her scar as intently as he does. “Getting carved like a slab of spiced herdbeast has a tendency to make you forget your manners.” Evidently, the man was present when the event went down. “Vaput was in rare form that night, wasn’t he?” Kelarad notes lightly on the matter, as if the event were a mere picnic. “Though I admit, so were you. I was certain he was going to slice you from the neck with those rather colorful comments of yours. Planning on returning to him?” Keane bristles at this.

Crawl's response might have earned a rolling of eyes with Max muttering something under his breath like, 'Fucking woman's skirt!' if it weren't that it would simply then be likely to turn into an all out showdown of fighting skills and totally detract from the point of this sit down. Instead he holds his tongue and merely glimmers an innocent smile in the thugs direction giving no words in defense of his not being deemed trustworthy by Crawl. "Got no interest in Tillek," which isn't exactly true considering his offspring currently hidden down there but Kelarad doesn't need to know that right now. "Might be in need of your help with the shipping ports, in return for which…" and here he touches on his plans for Southern's fight circuits, "I'll open Southern's circuits for inter-continental matches to be held twice a turn. One to be held in Tillek, the other down my way." Openly confirming where it is he's operating from. As to the matter of debts owed and to be paid, the beast manager sets the dirty blonde with a steady look, "I'd offer you my resources and alliance to take Vaput down, but I have a feeling you'd likely not believe I have any." Just a faint smile tracing on his lips to suggest the Tillekian would be very wrong in assuming so. A brow goes as Jaya is then addressed, interest coloring his expression when the occasion of her having received the scar she sports is touched on.

Max’s revealed plans get a whole wealth of reactions from all around: brows lift for both renegade lord and his right-hand man, Olira furrows her brows, and Jaya and Keane both shoot speculative glances the beast manager’s way. All eyes are on him. “You’ve got an interest in the south,” Kelarad’s the first to make the connection, speculative himself as fingers lift to idly brush against his bottom lip as he ponders this new dilemma set before him. Those fingers briefly pointing at Max, “You want to open up fighting circuits down there. Interesting.” He and Crawl exchange significant glances at that, then the Tillekian leans a little forward and sets his hands together on the table. “That’s pretty ambitious, Rogan,” he notes, even though he himself has his own running in Tillek. “Ambitious men interest me, if only for the reason that they might get too far ahead of themselves one day and think to try and take me over. You want to be acknowledged for running the south?” He sniffs at that, one shoulder twitching up and down. “I’ll acknowledge you, like I acknowledged the last one. Whatever did happen to Ampherol, anyway?” He casts a glance about his crew as if expecting any one of them to have the answer. Crawl, his gaze still not leaving Max’s, “Vanished and gone without a trace,” he answers his boss, the cold smirk only brimming to the surface. “It’s funny, really. The south has a tendency to hide all kinds of tracks. Dead ones, especially.” – “They do indeed,” Kelarad readily agrees on that, turning to regard Max and the party with him again. “Nasty business, the south, and you want to open up the circuits and invite more trouble down there.” Laughter is in his eyes even though it doesn’t come to the fore from his lips. “Like you give a shit either way,” Keane puts in, the first time he’s broken his silence since the meeting started. “So long’s he doesn’t encroach upon your territory or kick out your spies, what difference does it make? You’re going to do what you will, anyway.” Kelarad smiles a cold smile to the old bar owner, then turns it on Jaya when she answers his earlier question shortly: “I’ll return to him when he’s dead.” – “We all want him dead,” the renegade lord agree easily, turning back to Max. “And you want an alliance.” Beat. “I’ll take a chance on you,” he decides, the smirk secretive in nature. “Pay your debt to me and I’ll treat you almost like an equal. You can do whatever the fuck you want with the south as long as you know I’ll be watching.”

Simply given honesty, "Its home and where my family's at," this to his interest in the South and then a soft snort spills out, "You know as well as I the fight circuits are always at play, the difference is in how they're organized." And then a slow smile makes its appearance, "You might not like how I plan to set them up down there, but that's talk for another time." Brows go up and Kelarad is set with a look that holds amusement to it, "Told you, I ain't go no interest in Tillek, my only interest is keeping the South intact as a safe haven for those that need it." Likely opening himself up to yet more mockery in giving that out. However, once Ampherol's name is brought up a smirk attaches itself into place, "Took a long walk off a short pier if I recall correctly." He has no idea what happened to the man but he'll grab his balls in his hand and lead Kelarad to believe he'd had a hand in the man's demise if the end justifies the means. That smirk lingering for talk of the South being good for the disappearing act. "No," this inviting more trouble with opening the fight circuits, "I intend regulating 'em. There's no profit in dead fighters." Whatever that's supposed to mean. He's quiet as Keane has his say, eyes slipping sideways to set the old barkeep with an approving look. And then back to Kelarad he's almost cocky in his next save for the grave tone used, "You need me in this," taking Vaput down, "You'll also need somewhere to 'disappear' people when the heat starts to get too much." Shoulders shift in a shrug to having the Tillekian keeping an eye on him and then he's putting forth quietly, "You tell me how you want it paid," his debt, "and I'll pay it." A determined set to his expression. "But remember that I offer her sanction," Olira, "At my own expense and risk."

“Good to know,” you can believe that Kelarad’s filing away that piece of information on the grounds that Max has family and connections in the south. It was certainly news to him. “You don’t have any interest in any place now,” he seems to correct, that annoying secretive smirk not having left his face, “but in time, that will change. And in time, someone’s going to have an interest in what you got.” Perhaps he’s noting Max’s response on Ampherol’s fate, or, the fact that he himself and the others can always turn on him should the advantage suits them. But since business is still at hand, “Regulating? Folks I know would pay higher to see a fighter dead than alive,” he seems to disagree, though, not forcibly so. If anything, he’s curious. “Not all the masses are as forgiving as you, so how do you plan to sate their taste for more blood?” Pause. Max expresses the fact that Rad needed him, and the Tillekian doesn’t exactly deny it. He’ll address the debt, though. “Bajaya,” he answers that simply enough, his eyes darting towards the Bitran woman. “She works for me. Then I’ll wipe the slate clean and Olira can leave for the south anytime she wants.” – “No,” Keane is the first to counter, his eyes hard. “I think Jaya’s worked for enough madmen, don’t you?” – “Work for you how?” Jaya lifts a hand to stall off Keane, her eyes pointedly on the renegade lord. Rad lifts and drops his brows, seemingly suggestive until he answers, “You know how. Got a shipment that needs your perfect touch coming out of Crom. I’ll pay enough that you’ll never need to work a bar again.”

Setting Kelarad with a pointed look, "They already got an interest in what I got. Vaput's bottom feeders fucking tried one on in having a go at stealing my runner," adding with a note of dark amusement attached, "Figured it might have been your hand in it at the time, payback for Lord's Ransom." The runner he'd had Yaron dose at the races. "That is until I beat the truth out of the scum I managed to collar." Again, there comes a shift of shoulders to comment made over keeping fighters alive rather than winding up dead, "Way I figure it, the purse gets bigger for the one handling the continental champion…aye?" smirking as he lays that tidbit out for Kelarad to think about. Max's expression turns almost thunderous as Jaya gets brought into the debt he owes the man, "You fucking leave her out of this. It's between you and me. You want a shipment moved, I'll move it!" showing not only a taste of his temper for the first time in this meeting but also making it clear that Jaya's under his protection. Whether or not he makes use of her smuggling skills to get the job done or not, will be a matter discussed between the two of them.

“I don’t steal runners from the south,” Kelarad looks almost offended to be connected with such a crime. His crimes are far closer to home and sophisticated. “As for Vaputero…” – “Not his M.O., either,” Crawl speaks up, saying something that actually seems helpful for the beast manager. He’s frowning at Rad though, the men exchanging glances at this bit of news. “Heard something about that, but I dismissed it,” Rad admits, his spies in Eastern doing their work in telling him. “Doesn’t seem like the Vaputero I know. You sure it was him and not some trick by the Ralka brothers, perhaps?” Cuz that would be more up their alley, and he was no friend to the Ralkas. “I was thinking the same thing,” Jaya puts in evenly, leaning forward now, “but I talked to the thief caught myself and he named Vaput. Could be a plant, though, to discredit for the sake of it.” – “Wouldn’t be the first time,” Keane adds in with a sharp nod. As to regulating fights, a business Kelarad’s always interested in, “True,” he allows, conceding to Max’s point. “But some fighters will let that go too far into their heads. You might in the long run have a problem of a different kind on your hands, and you would wish he or she was dead in the ring.” He sounds like he’s had that happen before, the words countering the years on him since he’s doesn’t look all that much older than both Max and Jaya. In fact, he was musing on this when Max’s expression nearly catches him off-guard. He doesn’t even blink or flinch at that temper, but Jaya’s seeing a side of him that’s only emerge once before with Jinnet. “I was under the impression she was a free agent,” he notes with a display of curiosity, looking to Jaya for confirmation. “This sort of thing happens all the time, Rogan. ‘Sides, I hear she’s the best at it. Are you?” he levels pointedly at the beast manager. “For that is my offer, it seems. I’ve been trying to lure Dicori from Vaput for the turns I’ve known her, and now you’ve brought her here. I can’t resist.” – “You assume I want to live in Tillek,” Jaya puts in, inserting herself into the conversation with a pointed look going to Max. “I’ll move that one shipment in exchange of wiping his debt clean. And,” she adds, a finger lifting, “Olira comes with us down south, along with your full support on bringing Vaputero down.” Looks like Max’s not the only one dealing out deals here, and Keane’s fitting a hard look onto the Bitran woman in which she’s ignoring.

A dark chuckle speaks to Max having viewed such a thing as being only fair trade for having put Lord's Ransom out of the game for the rest of the racing season, should it have turned out to be Kelarad's doing. He doesn't make any comment to who might really have been behind the attempted theft, dark eyes merely flicking between the different parties as they put voice to it, he himself filing the information away for later inspection. Comment is finally made on the topic of regulating fights, a smirk carrying a deadly edge to it, "That's where you and I come in. They get too big for their britches, we… explain them back into their places again." Leaving no doubt as to what he's meaning by 'explaining'. There's a whole slew of ideas the Easterner would like to see put into play such as matching men according weight and size in order to see them more evenly matched and with a better fighting chance of survival, thus hoping to lend a more respectable light to the fight circuits in bringing about changes such as one might see on present day Earth. Not to mention setting up properly run training houses. But that can all wait until the two of them have ironed out the current teething problems of setting up some sort of alliance. Expression hardening, "Don't give a fuck what she's best at or not. You want shit moved, and are in need of her services, you come to me. Sorry mate, but you lucked out this time," this in response to Kelarad having been after hiring Jaya for a long time now, "She's mine and answers only to me." Once again staking his claim and hoping to Faranth she understands what his intentions are in doing so. That being to not only protect her from the other renegades now thinking they had free claim on her and thus drawing her back into that life again, but also in a bid to further secure himself as being capable of running Southern for having procured such a talent as herself. If not her, then maybe Keane will get it as he delivers hard and grating words to the scar faced woman, "You speak out of turn, Dicori!"

“You’re serious about this,” Kelarad is noting on the fights and Max’s policies, the statement musing at best as he studies the other. He’s long in responding again, noting the stiffness of Crawl’s posture and the relaxed state of Olira’s on either side of him. Breaking his silence after a long moment, “Might be something I can consider.” Something he will consider later, no doubt, that might involve him taking a trip down south himself. But he’s not going to reveal all that. Not yet. However, at hearing Jaya’s been claimed, both he and the woman in question’s shooting long looks Max’s way. “You can’t be serious,” he expresses the first thought to enter his mind, his eyes going between the two before settling firmly on Jaya. “Is this true, Dicori?” he asks her. Keane’s looking too after his admonishment, his expressing revealing nothing as Jaya continues to stare (or perhaps glare) Max down. Dark eyes narrow on him, searching for answers that aren’t likely there before she firms up her resolve and turns back to Kelarad. “He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, shuga,” she answers rather regretfully, her voice only masking a bit of that anger that wants to boil to the surface. “One good racing runner and payment enough to keep me satisfied. It was rather…abrupt, the terms,” she adds wryly, knowing good and well this would get Max fuming but she was also hoping he wouldn’t explode before one such as the Tillekian crimelord. Her eyes on the beast manager again with that cold smile for his claiming her without her knowledge, “He and I are still working out the kinks,” she adds with a touch of wry, “but I’m sure we will reach a satisfying conclusion for the both of us. I am rather sold on the runner.” Looking back on Kelarad, “An Enver-crafted knife, too. Black hilted. Curved blade. Make a woman like me fall to her knees.” Oh yes. Max is probably going to kill her. “That right, Rogan?” she puts to him then with forced innocence, putting a slight emphasis on the name Rad’s been using for him.

"Aye," Max states with no uncertainty about being serious about the policies he wants seen put in place, probably already expecting that Kelarad will head down to Southern to see how it all works. Hopefully only once, you know, the beast manager has had a chance to actually get it all set up and running. The temper that had flared so quickly over Kelarad trying to drag Jaya into working for him is now being kept under tight control once again as he studiously ignores the looks coming from Keane and the woman herself, his gaze set steady to the Tillekian instead. Instead of the anger she might have expected as she starts listing her demands in the fashion of having been the cream that caught the feline, a smirk appears and deepens ever further as she goes along, interjecting only to add smoothly with a sidelong glance to her, "You forgot the case of Benden white, darlin'." Oh yes, he can play this game too. What comes of it once they're back in Eastern and free to take swings at each other, is another matter entirely. And then his gaze goes back to Kelarad, as calm as you will, "We'll move your shipment for you." At least he's adding in a 'we' there, right?

The Tillek party is silent as they watch the exchange between Max and Jaya, Kelarad looking almost dubious at best. Crawl’s shaking his head slowly and says nothing since Jaya responds first to Max’s addition to her list of demands. Blinking, “Benden white? Hmm, yes, that must have slipped my mind,” and she sends Max one of her bratty smiles, full of trouble and ease that will likely vanish once they got back to Eastern. Back to Kelarad, “I’m deeply sorry, Rad,” she adds, declining his offer to join him officially. She even appears like she is. “If only you had found me sooner, shuga.” – “A shame, Dicori,” Kelarad finally responds, letting regret color his voice. “I was looking forward to having you join us in any capacity, but I surely can’t afford you.” Blue eyes taking in Max then with slight amusement, “You just might actually be too rich for my blood, for once.” Beat. “Get the shipment,” he returns back to business, including them all as one of the men from behind leans forward to pass him a smaller sheet of hide. He looks at it only briefly before sliding it across the table towards Max. “Details are here. Get it to me without getting caught and I’ll consider the debt partially paid. Expect further instructions from me on how to pay the other half later.” Smile is secretive again, but passes a look over towards Olira and adds, wryly, “I assume after we’ve settled that you’ll be taking her immediately to Eastern?” He seems to have made his decision – to let Olira go with them south, and Crawl doesn’t seem all that pleased to hear it.

Silent throughout the exchange between Jaya and the dirty blonde, there is but the faintest of smirks coming from the Easterner, though it may not be obvious as to what it exactly. On the matter of the task required of him, dark eyes fix to blue with steely resolve and then he states quietly and firmly, "No." To there being more the Tillekian would want from him in payment of his debt. Glancing down at the small sheet of paper, "I'll get this to you and give your cousin safe haven for as long as she wishes. For which my debt shall be considered, paid. You want my help with anything else…you ask." Knowing full well how Kelarad was likely to otherwise continue stringing him along. As to the unhappiness being exhibited by Crawl there comes, despite their differences, a strangely sympathetic look from Max. Silent a moment as he recalls what Keane had said the night before about the two of them, he sends a glance over to Olira and then states quietly, "Arrangements can be made for you to visit her at an undisclosed location, should the lady so wish."

Max seemed to be holding strong, and Kelarad’s straight face wasn’t giving away anything on the accounts of his reaction to it. It’s not everyday that the Tillekian gets denied more than one thing in one day, and have them live to tell the tale. Man’s got a reputation to uphold. However…the man slowly, deliberately leans as much forward in his seat as he can, trying to close the distance between him and Max despite there being a table in between them. That doesn’t seem to matter to the renegade lord at all. His blue eyes intent on the man just as well, “You are trying my patience and gratitude, Southern,” he warns the beast manager slowly and carefully to make sure the man realized that he can only be denied so far. Not getting the Dicori woman was considered a blow to his ego enough for one day. The smile still lingers, but there’s little warmth to it now as he lengthens the pause again to heighten the tension in the bar. When he finally leans back in his seat, “The shipment and Olira’s safety will consider your debt paid in full,” he agrees to the change, but before Max could get another word out in edgewise a finger is lifted before he adds, “But. Conditions, my new friend.” Beat. “All of my contacts will remain down south, whether you know of them or not, and I will be visiting Eastern sometime soon,” and there’s a cold smile spreading across his face as he says it. “Just to make sure my investments are secured. One of my contacts there will be joining you…as a token of my gratitude,” he adds with an incline of his head. “And I suggest you do not make anymore amendments to my gracious offer,” he’s quick to warn on the matter, this time his tone brokering no arguments. “He will not cause you any trouble, of that I can assure you. In fact, he’ll be quite useful if you wish to fulfill your aims on running circuits. Are we of one accord?” He’ll look at Max expectantly, waiting for the agreement to seal the deal. Silence would probably meet those words, although Max’s last that is meant for both Crawl and Olira suddenly has both parties tensing with eyes going wide. Keane frowns, saying nothing and Jaya is darting a glance towards Max in a slight warning. Warning too late, that is. “Why would there need to be arrangements made?” Kelarad picks up on the question and the looks, his eyes going to his cousin first who immediately shakes her head just a fraction. The renegade lord shoots a suspicious look towards his right-hand man then, in which Crawl is quick to blurt out, “He speaks crazy, boss.” Uh-oh.

Kelarad leans forward, and Max remains exactly where he is, expression bland, unimpressed even, letting the man get the dents to ego out of his system with his posturing while remains neutral neither cowering nor rising up in challenge. He knew the Tillekians contacts were probably likely to remain in the South whether he’d acquiesced to further smuggling runs or not as such the smile that fits into position could be taken as his gratitude for the man’s uncommon generosity whereas in truth, he is simply coldly amused, although there is little to give that away. Eventually after silence has been allowed to stretch out for a moment, the Easterner dips his head in a nod, the smile still in place, and agrees, “We are of an accord.” As to the jumpy looks getting passed around the table and silent warnings sent him, brows go up in a lazy manner of disbelief, as if all of them, including Kelarad and Crawl had taken leave of their senses, “To bring her news from home and in return ensure she hasn’t become a victim of a Southern disappearing act?” There even comes a rough snort, “That kind of paranoia will kill you one day.” To whomever feels it fits them best. “I’d already told her last night contact with her family would be afforded.” And if Crawl’s clever enough, he’ll let it go at that while ensuring he’s the one sent to meet up with Olira each seven, or month, or however it gets worked out between Max and Kelarad.

“Good,” Kelarad tacks on without any hesitation, his hands coming together as he forcibly allows his expression to clear towards something more genial. Looking more favorably on Max (as favorably as one could be in his position), “I believe this might be the start of something beneficial for the both of us,” he says then, looking towards Jaya and mirroring her tight grin. “I look forward to what becomes of the south, and seeing what you can do! I really was rather disappointed in Ampherol’s fate,” he adds that with a touch of regret, a hand stealing over his chest with a shake of his head. “I hope, for my cousin and Bajaya’s sake, that the same does not befall you. As to the matter of Vaputero…” he pauses, letting a cold chuckle bubble forth as he waves a finger in the air in the pause. “I have something planned for the nasty Bitran,” he adds with an incline of his head towards Jaya for the offense of her origins. Olira shows the glimmers of a sneer at the name. “His grand downfall will come in due time. Hopefully before this turn’s peace gather – you will be attending, I expect? Of course you will,” he answers for Max, the possibility of not attending foreign to him in this line of work. “Expect the invitation. No violence and weapons present there, I’m afraid. It’s the only way to get us all together without killing each other outright.” – “Been awhile since I’ve been to one,” Jaya speaks up, glancing over at Max with a little smirk for Kelarad. “If Vaput makes it to the gather, I will look forward to meeting him face to face again under controlled settings.” – “Not that controlled,” Keane grunts in protest, his mouth forming a grim line as he clears his throat. “Don’t recall poison ever being on that list of things not to bring.” How does he know? To the last, with tensions on the rise between Crawl and Olira, Max’s words seem to diffuse it off. Kelarad’s still frowning however, “Family,” he echoes the word, though his hard gaze turns on his right-hand man. “Yeah. Right.” Crawl remains silent, meeting his boss’s eyes before he regards Max with a guarded frown. Straightening up, “Work it out once Olira’s down there,” Rad states, though before Crawl could finish up that firm nod of assent, the crimelord’s turning to pin a warning look on the man and adding in as calm a tone, “And make sure that’s all that’s being worked out.” Crawl reads what’s not said in that look before his jaw tightens briefly and he nods stiffly again. The crimelord says, “Good.”

With the first portions of an alliance set in place and payment of debts agreed upon, Max puts out an edge of a grin, though it only fits to one corner of his mouth and states in a lightly sardonic tone, "We shall try not to disappoint." That to what it is he hopes to achieve in the South. A soft tsking sound spills forth in feigned regret over Ampherol's fate, "Nasty things those piers," he quips easily, a smirk greeting the idea of the same fate befalling him, "Difference is, I know how to swim." On the matter of Vaputero, the Easterner's expression subsides into a grim line, "We are at your disposal." This with regards to lending assistance in taking the Bitran crime lord down. Talk of the upcoming peace gather has him setting Kelarad with a long and silent look before eventually dipping his head, "We'll be there," not outlining the details of who the 'we' might be made up of, sending a sidelong flicker of eyes Jaya's way before turning a wry grin out on what is and isn't allowed at the gathering. Reaching forward to reclaim his knife, the show of laying his cards on the table now no longer a necessity, Max sheathes it once again and settles back in his seating in what might be termed as a lazy sprawl. Amusement is allowed to play about his features for the debacle surrounding Crawl and his boss' cousin. To the Tillekian crime lord, "Any meetings to exchange pleasantries and news would be under strict chaperone provided by ourselves. Of that I can assure you, brother." Using the form of address with a sense of ease expected from one having been involved in such underworld dealings for a good two decades rather than…two days.

With Max putting away the knife and relaxing out, Kelarad appears more at ease himself. Even Olira, taking the cue from both men, seems to relax her shoulders a bit more as she leans forward a little and asks, “You gentlemen want something to drink?” – “No thank you, cousin,” Kelarad answers, his tone one of satisfied ease with the going-ons of the meeting. His gaze lingers on Max across from him, amusement playing on his features at the response given on Ampherol and piers. “Think we’ll get along fine,” he announces, he and Crawl getting to their feet lazily. “Weren’t a bad fighter, either, brother,” he borrows the term, showing his teeth in the smile. His men behind him step back as they anticipate their boss leaving the table, Jaya preparing to get up herself until the Tillekian waves for her to remain seated. “Guess our presence is no longer needed here, then,” he says a loud, putting a hand to Olira’s shoulder and sending the redhead a gentle smile. Turning to Keane, “My men are on loan to you for as long as you need them, but as for me, it’s best I get back to where I belong.” Blue eyes falling on Max and Jaya then, “Lorien will have a fit if I linger any moment longer, the paranoid bastard,” he adds to them, the amusement still present as he takes a step away from the table to signal an end to the intense meeting. “Been a pleasure to see that you’ve survived, dear Bajaya,” he adds to the Bitran woman, in which she sends him a smirk and answers, “It’s been really good seeing you, Rad,” in a somewhat suggestive tone, amusement evident on her face as well.

With an edge of a warm smile for the offer made by Olira, Max shakes his head, "No thanks, darlin'. We need to be getting you packed up and heading back ourselves soon too." Clearly he doesn't much like being away from his home base for too long either. Standing as Kelarad does, he takes a step around the table and offers out his hand, the final act of closing the deal - to shake on it. His grip firm but without challenge should the offer be taken up. A crooked grin arrives for the words given on his fighting skills, "Wouldn't have minded going up against yourself," that now being a moot point given their positions unless of course they did so as a matter of a friendly match at some point in the future. That grin lingers a moment longer for Lorien being a paranoid bastard and then his hands pocket in a gesture of ease, dark eyes only now flickering over Jaya, Keane and Shijan, an odd expression on in place before he turns back to Kelarad as he makes ready to leave. "Good hunting, Tillek."

Kelarad’s hand closes with Max, and the Tillekian crimelord is smiling wide as he matches the firm grip with ease. Seeing that act between the men – Tillek and Southern – has all in the room easing the tensions from their frames in unison, and even the ones that didn’t appear to be tense. “Done with the circuits, brother,” Kelarad amswers after taking up low laughter at the other’s comment as he releases his hand from his. “The fight will always be in my blood, though. Still, going up against you in the ring would have been worth the marks.” Beat. “Take care of my cousin, and that woman there,” and he’ll openly point towards Jaya, his gaze lingering on her for a moment before he steps away and a couple of the men waiting will move to flank him. “I’ll be seeing you around, Southern.” He turns then, moving to sweep up Olira in a tight hug that was uncharacteristic of him as he mutters a few words to her that causes the redhead to flicker a hollow smile to her face. She nods once, gripping his strong arms before he releases her and swings a final look over those in the bar. “See that she gets there safely, Crawl,” he orders, signaling for the man to stay there with a few of his men before he tips his head to Max, to Jaya, and to the owner of the Blood and Bucket, and then the renegade lord of Tillek is sweeping out of the bar in much the same fashion he had arrived.

A knowing smile of acknowledgment plays out for Kelarad confessing to being done with the circuits himself, drawing into a grin for the marks having been worth it and he quips in jesting return, "That's assuming you'd won." Casting his gaze briefly over the two women, it lingering curiously on Jaya for the exchanges that had gone on between her and the dirty blonde, Max nods, expression sincere, "As if they were my own, brother." The gesture of witnessing the Tillekian showing open affection for his cousin raises him up a notch in the Easterner's estimation, his expression openly approving and then he looks away, affording them their goodbyes without the stare of eyes on them. Moving over to where his jacket had been drying over a chair from the night before, his movements still, watching in silence through an unreadable expression as the party sweep back out on back to whatever next requires there attention. Crawl, left behind to escort Olira is given only a brief span of attention, none of the previous taunting or animosity evident from the beast manager.

“Family among criminals,” Jaya drawls this, leaving the table once Kelarad leaves to stand beside Max. Her eyes linger on the entrance from which Kelarad has left, the memories of the past flooding her right then. A pat to her back has her looking behind to find that Keane had hoisted himself up from his seat and limped after her, his own eyes on the entrance as the remaining men take up guarding posts outside the Blood and Bucket. “Ain’t nothing better,” he says gruffly to her comment, passing a look over towards her and Max’s way. Perhaps now she will understand why Keane chooses the dangerous life he does, preferring his precious Blood and Bucket bar in the middle of renegade territory rather than the safety of Hold and Weyr. “You all better get ready,” he says to them then, which prompts Olira to turn and head towards the back rooms with Crawl in tow to get her things together. “I’m sure Eastern’s missing you lot, and I’m getting tired of having open criminals in my bar!” – “You’ve had criminals in your bar long before we ever showed up, old man,” Jaya teases, clasping the man’s shoulder in good nature as they wait for Olira and Crawl to return. She was going to let Max deal with the preparations for departure along with Shijan, the Bitra looking over her old friend and knowing that it would probably be a long while before she ever sees him again. “Get some rest, hear?” she puts forth to him then, the concern she has for him never vanishing. “Use that kit I brought, and don’t go opening up the bar again until you’ve healed.” – “Yeah, yeah,” Keane waves her off with his free hand, but it’s said half-heartedly. “Don’t be worrying about the Blood and Bucket. Got your own bar to worry about. You just keep your nose clean, or don’t get caught. Guards are still about, looking to put you away, shuga.” This last was said for all present’s benefit, his tone serious despite him gripping her shoulder in kind earnestly.

A brow goes up and Jaya is fit with a long look for her comment but Max gives nothing in return simply setting about getting his own few things together. He does however flicker out a look of amusement for the banter going back and forth between Keane and his former employee. Upon the return of his new charge and her temporary bodyguard in the form of Crawl, Shijan is given a nod with words that send him out ahead of them, "Get T'nor to bring A'lin up here to help get everyone back." Which considering the handiness of Betweening means that by the time everyone is ready to go, there'll be two large browns waiting to transport them all back. Damp jacket back on and carrysack slung over his shoulder, the beast manager holds out a hand to Keane, a warm smile in place, "It has been an honor, sir." The hospitality and the friendships formed. "Eastern's door are open," so to speak, "Any time you're of a mind to drop in," A crooked grin forms and his attention fits briefly to Jaya, "Don't worry about her, I'll keep her busy trying to learn to ride that 'runner' of hers," the he was likely now going to have to fork out for. And then in quiet and pointed tone, "You'll let me know about that friend of yours, aye?" Not wishing to put further words on the matter of the one needing help. Not in front of Crawl, that is. With that, once everyone is ready to go the interlopers on Telgari territory will be ushered out the door of the Blood and Bucket and within the span of five heartbeats, be back on Southern soil, new alliances, duties and burdens in place.

Clasping his hand to Max’s once Jaya moves away from him, “Honor was mine, Max,” Keane delivers with a note of respect in his voice. “I appreciate what you all are doing for Olira, even if it means I’m losing yet another barmaid to the damn Weyr.” Jaya snorts and rolls her eyes, but the Blood and Bucket bar owner is not showing any hard feelings. “Ain’t no Weyr for me, Max, and besides… don’t rightly trust those winged beasts to drop me Between if they so much as twitch wrong. I’ll leave all the flyin’ and civilized shit to you folks.” He squeezes Max’s hand briefly before letting go, and the comment on Jaya has him turning a brief eye over towards the glaring Bitran woman. Chuckling, “She’ll fleece you if you let her,” he notes, keeping that smile on his face even though his voice lowers a bit. “An Enver knife, my ass. Enver’s as blind as a drunk whore on fellis these days!” Patting his shoulder, “Keep her busy till she vomits,” is what he says on that, his amusement on the matter evident. “She might turn out decent yet.” When Max adds the last in a quiet tone, the bar owner nods briefly and adds in like fashion, “Don’t you worry. You’ll be hearing from me soon.” Then Olira and Crawl appear and Keane turns away from the beast manager to give her a few last words between bar owner and barmaid before he bides them farewell and then they leave him to his peace at the Blood and Bucket bar.

Ending Music: Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers - This Life

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