Lesson 2 Bitran Style Dragonpoker


D'lan.jpg Maura.jpg

Date: 6/8/2011
Location: Jaya's Bar - EW
Synopsis: Embarassment galore for Maura - but hey, D'lan does finallyteach her how to cheat at cards.
Rating: PG18 - Mature themes, innuendo.
Logger: Maura

It seems that the renegade riders' youngest member has taken to spending free time at Jaya's bar. Alone, obviously… because it's Maura. But, at least fresh faced and casually dressed after washing up post-drills. There's a corner table she likes to claim for herself, and a glass of wine, and today she's being so typically Maura that there's a solitaire game spread out in front of her. Does she care that she looks like a loser? No, not really! She likes the quiet atmosphere, away from the crowded living caverns, and it shows in the serene sort of expression on her face. She'll see whomever walks in, as well, since she's facing the entrance. One can almost surely guess that it's the sly and conniving Rikath who taught her that habit, since it would /never/ do to have her back to the door and risk an unpleasant surprise.

Post-drills mean pre-dinner drinks which draws two brownriders into the bar. The tall Shijan standing guard at the door is giving a flash of a white-toothed smile from D'lan and a grin from M'las. It might be hard to tell if the two are hitting on him or if it's simply as a result of a joke shared just before they'd walked in. "In your dreams," M'las quips to which D'lan produces a wide grin, "Eeevery night, pal. Every night." Card tables or the bar first? A tough choice to be sure until of course blue eyes land on Maura at her table in the corner, not so tough a choice now for D'lan veers in that direction sending to M'las, "You order, I'll pay."

Stopping at the table his gaze drops to the cards laid, "Really, dollface? Solitaire?" And without asking he scrapes the cards together and sets to shuffling them expertly as he plonks into a seat, uninvited, "Lesson Two in the Friends rule book, learn how to win no matter what your hand," and summarily begins dealing cards three ways - Maura, himself and toward the empty seat that M'las will likely be taking up when he arrives with the drinks.

No glance up at first, since Maura's got that whole 'concentration' thing going on. But it's just two people laughing. The voice is hard to forget though, so the bluerider glances upward quickly to proffer a smile towards D'lan. All is well and good there for a moment, until he scrapes up the cards and she squeaks in protest. "B.. I.." pout. She'd been playing that set-up for ages and /almost had it!/. "Well now, what's wrong with solitaire, handsome." She shoots back, with a fair bit of amusement.

It's when he plonks himself into a seat that her eyes blank out for a few seconds, to be replaced in quick succession with confusion, aghast horror, consternation, annoyance, and finally exasperation. All of which seems to happen in the span of dealing those cards. But by the time he's done, her smile is firmly fixed back in place. Like her removal from reality neeeeeeeeever happened. "How many lessons are there?" she wonders, cheerful once she's picked up her cards and taken a drink from her glass. "Didn't know you and M'las were pals."

There are so many ways that D'lan could answer on what was wrong with solitaire, none of which would apply to the card game itself or that would be fit for public consumption as told by the wicked light that flashes in and out of his eyes. "Solitaire is for sad old people with nothing better to do," he chooses to go with instead, voice smooth as silk as if such gutter-ball thoughts had never even entered his mind.

Its M'las arriving at the table with three foaming mugs of ale that catches those expressions that streak across the bluerider's face, "Yeah, he did that to me too." Assuming he knows what it was about. The last of the cards dealt, D'lan sets the rest of the deck into a neat pile in the middle of the table. "As many as are needed," the renegade rider gives with a grin on the lessons of friendship. A nod of thanks goes to the other brownrider and then he's lifting his mug and taking a long drink coming away with a foam moustache attached to his clean-shaven top lip. "Are we?" he asks of the other man and then a chuckle follows, "So that's your name." Er what?

Yeah, don't think for a minute that Maura failed to see that eye-flash-light trick. She even flushes once her previously unfilthy mind has a chance to process what could possibly have caused the look. "I think we can both agree I'm not old, at least." If he can go with a silken tone, so can she dammit. It's just easier for her to pretend cause she already has some wine in her, and can use her glass as a shield when M'las returns to the table.

"He didn't. He did?" Horrified /clearly/ sums up the current situation for her. "Well then. Glad he didn't choose to remind /you/ at least." She's all smiles for the other brownrider once he sits down, even going so far as to smirk when D'lan answers the question of lesson numbers and then moves on to ribbing the man with the ale. "Funny guy." She drawls. "Alright, what're we playing?"

A low laugh greets the flush that hits Maura's cheeks when she figures it out. "Not old, no," smirk. Back to the cards, D'lan takes his up and sprawls more into his chair, long legs stretching out before him under the table. Now its M'las' turn to look if not horrified, then at least confused as he flicks a glance between D'lan and Maura, "Er, remind me of what?" Clearly he hadn't been a party to whatever it was that has the bluerider so mortified as it had sounded he had.

"Dragonpoker," D'lan drawls on what it is they're going to be playing, "Bitran style," added with a sly tilt to lips. In other words, cheating and then he too is sending Maura an expectant look for words of reminders given. As to whether or not he'd really known the other brownrider's name beforehand or not, there is simply the trace of an enigmatic smile shot the other man's way.

"Just sad and with nothing better to do." Maura decides, as if that's an agreed upon conclusion, lips tilting upwards more when she says it. Though she also kicks his foot under the table for making her blush. Again. Good thing they're not keeping track. "Oh, nothing. Just a little game that Rikath plays. Didn't mean you." She assures M'las. And since it's not a lie, the glossing over slips past her tongue easily.

"Dragonpoker." She repeats the word with an inflection of dread that suggests if she's played, it hasn't been very well. To say the least. Doesn't everyone know what Bitran style means though? She flicks an enigmatic glance at the other renegade before shrugging. "Alright." Skeptical. Yes, she sounds skeptical. Now if only she can keep doing that once she catches on, she might be in good shape! Nothing fools people more easily then a girl that can play dumb.

There's not a trace of apology in the grin that gets sent Maura's way for the kick to his foot. Making her blush is his mission remember? Brows lift as D'lan lays down a card and reaches for another at the same time going for his mug of ale. Slight of hand has him secreting a card beneath his mug and then sliding the ale closer to himself. "Not him, eh?" a glance to his side where M'las sits and then back to the bluerider again with mouth twitching about a smirk as he assumes Rikath's game must somehow include him given the blue's antipathy toward him.

M'las buys the scepticism that Maura displays while D'lan merely narrows a look onto her for a brief moment before turning out an easygoing smile. "Let's talk ante," a glance to first one and then the other of his table companions. "Winner takes all, so let's hear it. Who's putting what up for grabs?" he goes on to add and then an entirely devilish grin appears that has the other brownrider quickly reaching for his ale and absolutely not choking into the frothy golden brew. Mmhm.

"Don't play dumb. It doesn't suit you." Maura points out, leaning back against her chair. Her attention is obviously divided for a moment, glancing down at the cards in her hand and deliberating for a few seconds before she sets one on the table. With her glass up next, she glances between the two of them a couple of times and then as usually happens when she clues in to something that pokes another hole in that veil of innocence.. . promptly near-chokes on her drink.

"I hear the food today is going to be great, maybe I'll leave the two of you to your game." She blurts out, meaning more than one game obviously. She is, however, getting herself another drink whether she downs it in one shot or not before leaving and her chair scrapes back so that she can bring her glass over to the bartender and gesture for more of the chilled white to be poured in. If she were upset, it's a sure bet that Rikath would be telling Wyncrath. Loudly. So, she's not that. Just embarrassed.

Don't play dumb…Of course that comment simply deepens D'lan's smirk further for he hadn't been privy to the exchange between Maura and her blue - Which may or may not be a good thing. Dropping his card holding hand for but a second, the extra card is slid in with the rest, doubled up in front of another so that it doesn't show from the back. M'las may not be blonde, but he is a little slow at catching the subtleties of things, thus it is that when the bluerider twigs, he's the one that looks like he could hide under the table right now. Big as he is.

And as to D'lan? Cool as a cucumber as throwing out a card, two in fact if anyone is watching closely enough, he takes up another. There's a brief flash of something in his eyes as Maura stands, legs pulling back under his chair and leaning forward as if he might go after her when she stands. Tracking her movements, both men end up standing with it being M'las that utters something hasty about needing to be somewhere else and leaves with a backward glance sent to the bluerider. Cards still in hand, D'lan saunters over to Maura and stops right behind her at the bar. "You didn't give me an answer," tone low and enticing for the matter of what the ante was going to be that they were playing for.

Of course, the fact that M'las is the one to leave makes Maura just sputter a protest when she spies the big guy backing out of the bar. Her embarrassment at the situation growing exponentially with every passing second. "You d.. wait!" Sigh. Rubbing the back of her hand against her forehead, she literally mimics what she saw L'han do the other evening… and down the whole glass of wine in one shot. Then, she signals for one more. "What? Just pour!" she protests, when the bartender raises an eyebrow.

Then there's D'lan right behind her, using that -voice- that literally makes her knees go weak. He knows it, too. She knows that he knows, and that obviously makes it worse. "You let him leave? Why'd you let him leave? Shouldn't you go, I dunno, find him or something? Poor bastard. I didn't mean to…" Ah, screw it. She lets her voice trail off and adds in a pinching of the bridge of her nose. "An answer? To what? You mean you still want to play cards? Shells, I don't know. I'm embarrassingly poor now that I got all those bottles. You won't fit into any of my clothes…" Yes, yes she /is/ babbling. Terribly.

Too late. M'las is outta there! D'lan's amusement deepens as he watches the bluerider toss back first one glass of wine and then order another. Seemingly unaffected by the other brownrider's rapid departure, the grin is heard in his voice and he puts tease to potential all-fall-down-drunk-Maura though makes it sound otherwise, "If you want me to carry you out of here, all you had to do was say so." Oh he's terrible! And then he's laughing. A deep rumbling sound that rolls rich and free. "Fit into your clothes? You're assuming I'm going to lose." Er what? "Although we already know you fit into at least some of mine so…perhaps I should lose on purpose?" Because Maura wearing his shirt is rather an alluring memory.

And then he's setting a hand to the bluerider's elbow in order to steer hear out of hearing distance of the barmaid and back toward their table. If he's at all concerned about M'las, he's not letting on.

"Hey, I'm building a tolerance." Yeah, sure. From one glass to two maybe? Maura's never going to be as strong a drinker as most of the other renegades, especially with such a deficit of alcohol consuming years there. "I'll be able to walk. Now if you /wanted/ to carry me out, all /you/ had to do was say so." Is the retort, with just the right haughty note to it that if one didn't know her better they might think she was serious. Alas, he does know her better. "Wh… that wasn't what I meant and you know it." The back of her free hand slaps against his midsection lightly when he starts laughing. "I'm pretty sure you're gonna win actually." Just ask whether she's ever played Dragonpoker before, and one will know why she thinks that.

It's easy enough to steer her back to the table and out of hearing distance, yes. But she keeps glancing back at the doorway. "D'lan, really, aren't you going to…?" and she gestures in the direction she was looking. "I wasn't trying to ruin your night, I promise. I'm sorry." Anxiety flares briefly in those eyes of hers, and it's not until she figures out for herself that the other renegade is going nowhere that she'll address the subject of the ante again. "Maybe it's the wine, but I'm having a problem understanding how you losing the game would lead to me wearing any of your clothing." So, her lips purse in thought. "… /Oh/." Aw, there she goes again. Blushing.

Laughter is interrupted by a slight 'oof' as the bluerider's hand connects with his midriff but does little to stem it with D'lan simply uttering a dubious, "Mmhm," in return. Had that comment of Maura's about being carried come before they'd arrived back at the table, you can be sure that D'lan would likely have picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder and…carried her to it. But as it stands, she's safe save for that mischievous glint in blue eyes.

A glance follows Maura's toward the door through which M'las had beat his hasty exit, "Nah, he knows where to find me." A smile sets creases down the sides of D'lan's mouth when she makes apology, "You didn't." Ruin his night that is. "I'll catch up with him tomorrow," said in such a way as to suggest that perhaps he'd simply been teasing both the other brownrider and Maura after all and that 'plans' such as they may have been, where actually quite innocuous. Or maybe not. Hard to tell with him sometimes.

Of course, D'lan's grin merely deepens as the mark drops and Maura catches up to what he'd left unsaid with regards to the ante, the blush reward enough in itself. Folding back into his seating a casual glance is given his cards as he goes back to the game of dragonpoker they're playing, one thrown out, one (or maybe two) picked up and then waiting for Maura to decide her next move. Casually, asked after taking a drink of his ale, "Heard anything from any of the others yet?" By the others, he's meaning their remaining wingmates from the renegade wing.

Maura meets mischievous glint with challenging smirk, but is otherwise silent for a few moments as she picks up her hand of cards and simply stares at it. A glance over the top edge of them just looks skeptically at D'lan for his comments on M'las, but… she realizes at this point there's nothing more she can say about it. There's still a lining of guilt there, but it remains left unspoken of. It's when she watches the man make another card play that her eyes narrow a little. "…"

Huh? Oh, right. The other renegades. She takes a card of her own, setting it down and then keeps eyeballing whatever it is the brownrider is going to do next. And tries not to feel smug that she hasn't had to name her price yet. "I'm to head to Igen on my rest days, to see if I can track down Ch'rii and find out how he's doing… make sure he finds his way here." The concern lacing her tone is genuine, since anyone they haven't heard from yet is someone that could be hurt, or still sick, and being who she is that just eats away at her insides like nothing else.

Two cards tossed down, one taken up and yet somehow, D'lan still has the same amount of cards as when they'd started out. Odd that. Brows lift and Maura is set with a contemplative look and then a fond smile appears, "Ever the mother hen, our Maura." Words and tone are set to approval rather than being disparaging. "No word on M'pret and H'tek yet?" unease casting a shadow across the usually ebullient brownrider's visage but then his gaze lifts from his cards and he's fitting the bluerider with a cunning look, "Clever evasion tactics by the way," he starts out and then adds in a sly sotto tone as he leans forward, "So what's it be, dollface? What are you going to put on the table?" in terms of an ante. So no, he's not forgotten that she hadn't yet given an answer on that.

"Alright, spill it. What're you doing." Reading between the lines of words may not be Maura's strong suit, but nobody has yet to complain about her observational skills. She gestures meaningfully at the cards in his hand and then looks over at hers. "Last I heard, when P'sec and I were talking to Randi, is that H'tek's waiting for M'pret to "settle" before they came over here. They both looked concerned about that. Wonder if H'tek and M'pret are having second thoughts." A discouraging thought, and one that mars her look of concentration. "What can I say. I think it'd near kill me to lose more of us." She admits, trying to shake off the morbid thought with a quick shake of her head.

"Hey, if you don't mention it I'm sure not going to bring it up." Give the girl credit for having picked up on that lesson near soon as she joined the merry band of anti-heroes. Still, there's an edgy silence from her side of the table. At least another sip of wine is taken. Maybe two. And only then does she sort through her options to give an answer. "A veil dance." Pause. "Anyone else finds out I know how to do that and I'd never hear the end of it, so not a word out of you." Not that she says how she knows, but one HAS to think there's a good story behind that one, all things considered.

"Playing dragonpoker Bitran style," a wide grin follows with nothing else added by way of explanation. D'lan then goes quiet, neither taking up another card nor throwing one out, brows touched toward each other in an uncharacteristic frown. "Losing Sasha was hard on him," the brownrider gives quietly on the matter of M'pret having lost his blueriding sibling. And then his gaze lifts and visage free of expression he comments, "It takes time to get over something like that. A fresh start is what he needs."

Maura finally anteing up pulls a chuckle from him though he does set her with a browlifted look for what it is she offers forward. D'lan then slowly leans back in his chair cards still in hand and fits her with a calculating expression, "Care to share how you might have come by such a skill?" It is to be noted that he has yet to remark on what it is he might be prepared to put forward in terms of an ante.

"Bitran style. Yeah. Show me how." Maura replies promptly, though there's not really much humor in her expression considering the topic of Sasha. If anything, the girl just takes a bit of a breath and nods. Watering eyes at the mention of the other bluerider force her to put her cards facedown on the table a moment, though she also watches the way D'lan's expression changes. Doesn't prompt him to say more on the topic. But instead nods slowly. "That makes sense." She agrees. "I hope he finds some peace. I just wish it could be with the help of his friends."

The somewhat depressing topic, even being replaced by a more intriguing one, has her going through the motion of drinking more out of her glass and only then picking up her cards in order to re-group. "You ante up first, and then I'll tell you." She decides, not about to give up such valuable information easily.

Laughter catches in the back of D'lan's throat for the near demand she makes, "Secrets of the trade, don't just get tossed out there, sweetheart. You have to offer something in return. Give and take, you wash my back, I wash yours," spoken in the dulcet tones of a true con artist. Humour, however contrived, falls off and has the brownrider leaning forward to try capture Maura's chin if she allows. Tone turned gentle, "Hey, look at me. We're still here," him, her and the other ten renegades, "we've got each other. Life is for the living and we honour them by living it for them." Such would be the mantra he's repeated to himself over and over again during the past decade and a half.

That having been said, D'lan leans back and takes up his half-empty mug of ale a contemplative look put onto Maura for what his side of the ante will be. With gravity: "I'll pay for the setting." Huh?

Maura makes a face back at D'lan, obviously. For laughing and for demanding something in return. "Alright. What do you want, then? Name your price, sweetness." She tosses back one of the favorite names that he tends to call the women he talks to. But her playful demeanor fades then too, and even being forced to look up and hear words meant to comfort doesn't quite stop her from having to swipe her hand across her cheek to draw away a tear that falls. "I know that. I do." She replies then, fimly.

And then, a puzzled frown. "You'll do what?" Not getting iiiiit! "Fair's fair I guess." She said she'd tell and so after a pause, and likely in part to draw away from the depressing side of the conversation, makes the more interesting confession. "I've an older sister who ran away to go join a one of the travelling dancing groups. That's why I wound up being the one "trained" to be a Holder's wife. And well, when she made enough money she came back for awhile to take a break. And she thought it'd be great fun to teach her little sister what she did for a living." Pause. "Good thing my parents never knew."

The more sobering topic is dealt with first, a crack of an encouraging smile edging out as Maura wipes that tear away, “There you go then.” Only then, with brows quirking upward and amusement returning does he turn back to the matter of what he wants in exchange for teaching the bluerider to cheat at cards. “You know what makes you deaf, yes?” mischief showing in those blue eyes of his once again, his words designed to both tease and confuse as he harkens back to what he’d made note of just earlier.

With his cards still not laid down, D’lan drinks while Maura explains how it is she’s come to know such a dance usually performed in shady establishments most women wouldn’t frequent unless they worked there. And there’s that sly look again, “And you just happen to have brought veils with you from Igen, hmm? I think P’sec’s been holding out on me.” On the sort of entertainment offered by the desert Weyr. “I’ll pay for the setting of that necklace you want to have made,” his earlier statement qualified as downing the last of his ale the brownrider finally lays his cards down on the table. A hand that shows itself to somehow be that which even a child could win against. How very strange.

“I imagine there’s a few things that would make you deaf. Loud noise? Maybe flying too high – air pressure makes the eardrum burst? I know –that- can’t be it.” Poor Maura. She knows he can’t be referring to anything innocent, that’s for certain. An exaggerated look of impatience is imparted in the brownrider’s direction. “I know you don’t /always/ talk in euphemism and riddle. I wanna know!” she protests.

The sly look just makes her redden. “My sister gave them to me, so I couldn’t just throw it away. She’d be mad. Even if they’re just collecting dust.” The protest simply dies off, and there’s no way she’s making any comment about P’sec in this situation. NO SIR. “You….” And there’s the hand a child could beat. She scoffs, of course, since even she knows that her hand beats what’s on the table hands down. When she has to show it, the bluerider just lets the cards fall to the table so that she can stand and then lean over to give D’lan a kiss on the temple. “Thank you.” Beat. “But I still want to learn how you did that.”

“Loud…” lips twitch at that, D’lan keeping his gaze downcast as he works on controlling the ribald mirth that rises to that option of how one might go deaf. But then Maura’s showing signs of irritation and so with a grin he leans across the table sets his mouth close up against her ear and explains his comment in low husky tones. That done he plonks himself back down in his chair, watching the bluerider’s reaction to those highly descriptive words he’d just delivered, with great relish. Yeah, he’s bad.

Maura’s response on how she comes to have veils simply serves to further deepen that smirk the brownrider is now wearing. But then he’s revealing his losing hand and she’s showing her winning one and planting that soft kiss to the side of his head and in a very rare display, D’lan actually seems to look a little self-conscious. “You won it fair and square, sweetheart,” he then lies smoothly drawing that mantle of debonair charmer about him as he leans forward and scoops up the cards. The next hour spent in showing her the fine art of cheating at cards.

Maura sits there for a moment; first it’s to listen, and then to look skeptical, and then turn another few shades of unnatural red. “I don’t believe you. That just isn’t possible.” She decides, because obviously if it were then D’lan would already be deaf. “But if that’s your price, then we can sure give it a shot.” And being that she really does want to find out how to perform this miracle feat of cheating at cards, she ignores the self-conscious expression, doesn’t call him on his obvious lie… and spends that hour actually paying attention to the tricks of the trade.

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