Men Misunderstood


Lorayit.jpg Max.jpg

Date: March 24, 2011
Location: Weyr Gardens, EW
Synopsis: Lo gets an unexpected visitor. They discuss gardening with more deeper meanings lying underneath the surface.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Lorayit

Much of the time has passed since Solak was beaten at his own game – much to the point that Lorayit had been spending the brunt of his time either in the fields, in his garden, or among the farmers playing cards. Since he sent Daye north to buy him some more time, he’s been at ease and patting his own back for a job well done. By his own hand (granted, he did have help from the likes of Bowen and Max), he had saved his, and possibly his brother’s, own asses. He staved off a bounty hunter. What man from a small mountain cothold could say that? So yes, the gardener had plenty of reasons to be in a good mood still.

Currently, on this darkening evening, he sits in his garden as usual – on his rock, reading the stars that he could see. Much of his thoughts turn to his brother still hostage up in Bitra, along with Daye who hasn’t returned, and various other little enterprises he has going on about the continent. He had a good bottle of Benden by his side – having procured it from a passing traders through a heady game of dice – and had a sexy little brunette woman from the kitchens expecting him later that evening. In short, life was good.

Having waited to see if perhaps the gardener would seek him out and realizing after a while that he wasn’t likely to, Max has taken the initiative instead. Hands set to pockets; he doesn’t try to disguise his arrival by the careful placing of steps but rather strolls into the quiet and perfumed garden with all the ease and sense of belonging of a man that reigns over all he sees. It doesn’t take him long to spot the blonde man and he alters his path toward the rock on which he is seated. Coming to a halt a pace or two back, he tilts his head back and sends his attention to the night sky pinpricked with stars, “Some say there are those that can tell the future simply by gazing at the stars.” No greeting, just those words of musing quietly delivered.

It was just as well that Max took the initiative, for after all that was revealed in the man's presence - something that Lo was keeping at the back of his mind and also keeping himself far out of the beast manager's way. He hears the steps but doesn't resonate with them - many come by the Weyr gardens at all times of the night so the gardener wouldn't be surprised if it was some lovestruck laundresswoman or a bronzerider looking to grab a few flowers to woo some flighty girl or other. It's only when the steps seem to come close to where he was on his rock that his focus shifts more on the visitor rather than the stars (or his plans he was forming in his mind, rather), and the words that break the silence has yet to cause his head to move in Max's direction. Instead, "The stars can only point the way," he says in his cunning voice, shifting on his rock to drape one leg over the other. "Sometimes, that way leads to the future. But then," he adds, his tone dropping to something more sardonic, "Some also say one can tell the future from the bottom of a runner's shoe." Perhaps his way of letting the man know he knew who he was - even without him having to turn his head.

Max is neither a lovestruck laundress nor a bronzerider, just your average, everyday crimelord seeking out the man who was indirectly responsible for his current position in the south. And so when Lo’s reply comes, its amusement that floods the dark haired young man’s tone, “Good answer.” The comment on runner shoes draws a low chuckle and he gives satirical return of his own, “Pity the fool of a man that would put his face close enough to the runner shoe so as to try divining his future.” Notation made of the last man (or men as the case was) that had tried such a thing in his stables. Inhaling, his voice clears of sarcasm and he wanders a step closer, attention dropping to the gardener himself, “So it’s a riddle I can’t seem to crack,” he starts out with levelling an intent look on the other man, “how does a humble gardener come to find himself on a bounty hunter’s list, hmm?”

"Some are crazy enough," Lorayit notes wryly on those that get close to a runnershoe, one corner of his mouth lifting at it. He calmly lifts his bottle to drink when Max comes closer, exuding all the demeanor of a man that was not in the least intimidated by the south's new crimelord, when the question comes, it gets an immediate answer: "Oh that's not much of a riddle, for a humble gardener wouldn't be dealing with bounty hunters." Finally glancing Max's way, regarding him in the brief silence, "There's a far more intriguing riddle out there than that one, however," he adds, slowly straightening up on his rock. "It involves how a mere beast manager from the Reaches end up becoming one of the leaders of the underground." Blue eyes take on a glint at this moment - though it could easily be a trick of the light. Still, it seems to be the challenging throw of his cards with his words.

Calculating the cast to dark eyes as Max continues to keep the gardener under intent study when he tries sidestepping the question put to him. “Runnershit,” he gives in low tone, calling the blonde man out on his reply. Slowly from an expressionless visage, one corner of his mouth lifts up in the idea of amusement as Lorayit counters with one of his own. “Touchè,” he speaks but gives no answer aside from a wryly spoken, “Credit for having tried to sniff around and find me out, gardener. Didn’t realize how news gets passed between the tenders of flowers.” Perhaps sounding a little sardonic there and believing his past in Tillek still to be free from the other man’s knowledge. And without invitation he’ll take up residence alongside Lo, drawing a leg up and hooking the heel of his boot on the rock while dangling an arm in apparently casual pose across the bent knee, “So what you do, hmm? Sell a man’s wife a packet of dandelion seeds instead of pansies?” Yeah, he’s going to keep pressing on the matter.

"Touche," Lorayit deliberately borrows Max's response to the initial one dryly, then adds to how he found out about him, "When the brandy flows and the cards are dealt, mouths part, honorable beast manager." It's delivered cockily, the gardener tipping back the bottle a little before offering it over in Max's direction. One couldn't fault the man in lack of manners, and after all - he was in a good mood. It must be the good mood that allowed him to stay his tongue when the crimelord of the south took up residence with him on his rock without so much a by-your-leave, and the question put to him gets a loud snort from the blonde as he leans back on elbows. Shaking his head, "No use trying to figure me out, man," he drawls smoothly, confidently, looking in all the world like a man that owned it. "For all intents and purposes, I am a gardener. I've done nothing wrong, nor is there any marks out against me. Send out your beast-tending cronies yourself if you don't believe me." In other words, the way he saw it? He was untouchable. Sweeping a hand to indicate is handiwork about them, "What I can offer you, however, is a pretty flower for your greenriding lady," he adds, studying the man now next to him with a cunning smile in place as he starts to experiment with pushing what buttons. "I'm sure you're the sort to not bother with the gentle finesse of romancing a lady - proper or no."

A smirk forms for the borrowing of words and then amusement rather than offence starts to play about his features for the cocky return, there being something about the gardener that he’s coming to like despite their rather rude and rocky start. A dip of head in thanks is sent Lo’s way and the beast manager-turned-crimelord’s fingers wrap about the bottle’s neck but before it sets to his lips he tilts it the other man’s way. “I don’t drink and tell, mate,” a wry grin forming as he references the earlier comment on booze and cards parting the lips of men. Chances are good, that had Lorayit had something to say about sharing his rock, Max would likely still have parked his butt on it if for no other reason than to make the point that he held full rights to point his ass in the direction of any seating of his choosing. Swallowing down a healthy mouthful of the booze, he hands it back to the other and turns out a sly grin, “And to all intents and purposes, I am a beast manger, hmm? So unless you’re planning on trying to liberate one of my runners, we ain’t got no problem, aye?” Small warning slipped in under the veil of easy companionship and then his gaze follows the sweep of hand sent out, touching with idle interest over the blooms thriving in the garden. A soft snort is uttered and dark eyes fit back onto the man next to him, not rising to the bait laid out, “Romance, gardener, takes many forms.” That his somewhat elusive comeback.

As much as Lorayit doesn't want to like the new crimelord - they as a whole, he was coming to learn, were trouble enough - he was starting to like the man, too. He couldn't fault the man his help with Solak, either - something that has apparently kept his hide intact. As Lo regards the other beside him, he was coming to realize with a sigh that he did owe the man for the ruse played out on the fields. To Max not drinking and telling, the gardener gives an amused snort at that. "All drink and tell," he counters with a gesture of his head towards the bottle. "If the drink is right, mate." Yeah, he was trying to figure the other out just as badly, which is likely why he's letting his curiosity get the better of him in his asking, "Just a beast manager, huh? My, my. Makes me wonder if the Weyr's cook is really just a cook. Or a farmer is just a farmer." Small warning is returned with ease there (for everyone by now knew he hung with the resident farmers of the Weyr at nights), and he straightens up to add wryly, "You can keep your runners, Lomaxin," he drawls, alluding to how much he knows of the man after all as he reaches for his bottle. "Winnings at the bar can get me a whole stable of them if I wanted. I'm that good." He's that cocky, too. The blonde then leans back in his exude of calmness on one elbow to watch Max study his garden - the man studying him in turn, the last getting a twitch of lips into a wry grin as he states with dramatic flare, "Oh do tell! Perhaps there's something to be learned from you after all, beyond tending beasts and claiming wild territories."

Lo might be surprised to know that the young crimelord’s motivation behind helping out with the situation of the bounty hunter was not to have the gardener in his debt but rather an attempt to win the man’s trust. A bout of low laughter greets the others amused return on drinking, “So you’re saying that if I got you drunk enough you’d tell of what all that was about with Solak?” Quiet a short moment as he glances sideways at the gardener, curiosity flickering in his gaze and then a crooked grin appears, “Naw, the Weyr cook runs a brothel from Messon’s tavern down Landing way and pimps the farmers out in her spare time.” Mr Wisecrack. He being well aware due to information passed back by his sources that Lorayit keeps company with the farming community. There comes only the faint lift of brow, amused when his full name gets used and his return to the man’s skills at the card is sardonic, “A whole stable, eh? Next you’ll be calling yourself Lord, but if you’re looking for a stable manager…?” The very faintest trace of hint to his past deliberately dropped, perhaps interested to see if the man picks up on it and how far he’d be able to trace it, for someone good enough to do so, shows promise of becoming very valuable to a crimelord looking to widen his information base. He knows he’s under study but doesn’t seem discomforted; instead he turns out a wry chuckle for the last spoken, “Never turn your back on a wounded feline.”

With short bark of laughter, his pointer finger slapping his own chest in indication, "Me?" Lorayit drops incredulously to the first before snorting and adding loftily, "No, my tender of beasts. Can't exactly outwit the one that does the outwitting himself!" He doesn't appear surprised that the matter with Solak is brought up however, pausing a moment as he regards the other before asking, "What do you know about Solak?" turning the tables back on Max. It was going to give him to time to formulate a proper answer, that is, for the gardener had no clue how connected Max was to the going-ons of his territory. The way he was seeing it, if the man had to ask then he knew less than expected. Max's wisecrack gets an even louder snort, but this time the blonde couldn't help to be amused. "Should've known," he'll play along. When the counter mentions a Lord along with a stable, of course Lo knew a bit about Max's past in Tillek. He had researched Max much earlier when Suli came to him with her grief with him. Leaning back, "Lucky I have no one Lady for some stable manager to woo from my bed, then," is his answer, confirming what he knew with a bare cunning smile. Lorayit was a valuable asset, but Lorayit was wily himself - which was why even Vaputero, his current boss, found him difficult to control without holding his brother hostage. It's why the last is taken in stride, the gardener lifting a brow at him before dropping, "Didn't think you were the sort to hurt your felines. Unless you're the kinky sort behind stall doors." Yes, he went there.

“Mighty sure of yourself,” Max is quick to give in response, though by the amusement in his eyes it’s evident that insult is not intended. As to the matter of Solak and what he might know of the bounty hunter, he shifts in his position on the rock, moving back enough to draw his other leg up then loosely draping his arms about both, hands dangling between his knees in a seemingly relaxed posture. “Man needs a lesson in manners,” that to the bounty hunter not having presented himself upon entering his territory. A lesson Solak can be sure will be delivered should he ever try such a thing again. “Knows his job though.” That derived from having briefly dealt with the man. And there he leaves it, not prepared to show his hand with just how little he actually knows about the man under discussion for with a territory as vast as his, it was taking more time to get networks into place than he’d like to admit. Dry amusement greets Lorayit’s quip on not having a Lady for the beast manager to steal from his bed, “Ain’t stealin’ if she comes willingly,” he passes back without apology but then its approval that laces through his next words, “You’ve done your homework.” Southern’s young crimelord isn’t one to bend someone to his will, they either want to work for him, or they don’t. Which doesn’t mean to say he’s a pushover, those that prove themselves are highly rewarded and those that show themselves to be untrustworthy, are quite literally cut off making it hard for them to ever find work in his territory again. For a moment Max is able to do little but stare at the gardener for his last quip. “Kinky?” And then he throws back his head and lets out laughter enough to suggest the man had just told him the most amusing joke on all of Pern. Finding control of himself again, he shakes his head still laughing quietly, “You’re one funny man.” No true answer given.

"Always am," to his being sure of himself, Lo flashes that three-second smile as he takes a long drink once he gets the bottle back. Max's answers on Solak must have been expected for no reaction to come to the fore, the man studying the other before acknowledging and agreeing with a nod. "Solak's a little on the crazy side, but he's on of the best," he tells him - it's all he tells him for now at least. He finds the talk of the beast manager's past far more interesting, though, stirring the conversation to that topic when Max answers with a confirmation. Smiling a bit at what he knows, he ticks his head in a nod and repeats the words, "I've done my homework. Proud of me, crimelord?" Amusement laces his tone, offering the bottle over again his way. "So I suppose," he adds, leaning back into his position, "you think I owe you." For saving his ass with the bounty hunter. It was bound to come up, in which he tacks on wryly, "Either you're here to collect, or you're here to sniff red roses." The last - Max's bark of laughter - gets a lower one of his own, though the man appears for all intents and purposes, serious. A dangerous glint enter his eyes during the laughter, hinting to the gardener being far more than a funny man, but it doesn't linger and he merely shrugs to the pronouncement. "Guess it's good the new crimelord in these parts have a sense of humor."

That amusement deepens and Max puts a crooked grin out to the gardener for his supreme confidence in his abilities. A rough snort meets words on Solak being somewhat crazy, “Reckon you’d have to be in that line of work. No one’s gonna go easily once he catches up with ‘em.” No one in their right mind that is. Proud of him? That draws a low chuckle from the young crimelord as he takes the bottle offered back to him. “So what else they tell you about me up in Tillek, hmm? They tell you about the time me an’ Waine spirited a set of twins away for the night and that by the time we woke up the next afternoon half the docks were in a search party looking for ‘em?” The wide grin suggesting he wasn’t in the least bit sorry for having worried parents half to death. Taking a drink from the bottle, he shakes his head, “Naw, you don’t owe me. Heard you was in trouble and wanted to help is all.” Speaking the truth there and then Max gives a shrug of broad shoulders as to what his purpose in the Weyr garden is this night, “Figured I’d swing passed and see how you’re doing.” The dangerous glint in the eyes of the other is apparently missed and then again maybe not. Taking another drink before handing the bottle back the beast manager turns out a dark smirk that might seem in contrast to his dry response on having a sense of humour, “Cowboys don’t cry.”

"Have you ever been on one of those lists?" Lo is curious enough to ask, regarding Max steadily now. "I'm sure the whole…" hands gesturing about the man, "…beast manager business is nothing but a sham. I mean sure, you can fawn over those beasts enough like them, but no mere tender would be so bold to take over a whole continent, all of a sudden." Getting more bold with his words, trying to figure the man out more, he adds with a gesture of his bottle, "I'm sure you've heard of the last one that laid claim to the south," he notes, fixing Max with a look. "Don't recall his name all that much….Andepol?" Eyes roll to the skies with a frown, looking as if he was indeed trying to fish out the name from his memory for a moment before giving up with a shrug and saying, "Ahh, it doesn't matter! He's dead. The man was on enough lists to make this place his home." As for else was told about him up in Tillek? Lo shrugs at that, his blue gaze finding the skies once more. "Naw, they always leave all the juicy stories out," he tells him, shaking his head. "But, twins, huh? Had a set up in the Reaches myself. Perky little blondes with mouths on them…." Straightening up suddenly, "Know you used to fight," he drops now with a snap of fingers, the switch of tactics near-seamless - which was a quirk of his. "I know the circuits up there. Been to a few. Gets the girls wet if you manage to get them in to see one," and a pointed look is given with that. "Why did you give it up, though? The fighting. Seems more exciting than tending beasts in a Weyr down south. Pays better, too." Not to mention Kelarad was a better boss than Vaputero, the way he saw it. With Max saying that he didn't owe him, there's suspicion narrowing his eyes a fraction instead of gratitude. One never got in his position with his ass intact through generosity. "Bowen," he breathes the name, nodding - Bowen was the only one that knew, after all. "Yeah, figured. Still. Surely you wanted something….you never swung passed here and gave a shit before," he notes now with a faint trace of humor. "Besides, crimelords looking to build their base never do something for nothing." Yeah, he's been watching. He has his people. He had suspicions on Jaya working for the man, too, but he wasn't going to bring that up anytime soon.

“Not a bounty hunter’s,” not as far as he knows anyhow, “But personal shit lists?” cue the cocky grin, “More’n a few I’d imagine,” such as fathers out for his blood, those that lost hard earned marks when he threw a fight, the list goes on. “I do try to pay my debts as and when possible,” Max points out in closing. More in particular, the one he’d owed the Tillekian crimelord. And then he slips to silence, eyes narrowing faintly in Lo’s direction for the gardener’s next. “Ampherol,” the name supplied with a cold twist of a smirk that might set someone to mind that he’d had a hand in his predecessor winding up on the wrong side of life. Then just as quickly a short smile quirks out, “Been working in the stables since I was 10 turns old, gardener. As to the other,” laying claim to the southern continent, “call it…the next logical step in the family business, aye?” Leaving Lo to take from that whatever he wishes to. “My Ma always said never to bite the hand that feeds, and so far, she ain’t been wrong.” That his conclusion on how not to wind up on a bounty hunter’s list. When the blonde man starts to launch into an account of his own encounter with twins, the young crimelord’s mouth twists into a deep smirk, though its not for the debauchery about to be recounted but the location given out, “So, the Reaches, eh?” The swift change of topic does little to rattle Max, a low chuckle filtering out for just how worked up watching men pounding each other into a bloody mess could get some women, “And here I thought you were all about moonlight and roses.” Sardonic, though he doesn’t dispute the type of purses that might have been won during his time in the circuits. As to why he gave it all up, “Let’s just say that…the north started to become a little…frosty for me.” The suspicion and narrowed eyes are noted, with the beast manager setting a level look onto his drinking companion, “I ain’t like the others, Lo. I don’t trap men into working for me. You want work? I got it for you. I pay good marks for sound information and do right by my people but…fuck me over,” for the first time deadly intent ices both his tone and expression, “and you’ll have more luck finding work and women on a deserted island.”

"I can well imagine," Lorayit states to him personal shitlists, perhaps in sympathy. "Got my name on a few of those, too. We're just misunderstood, I'm maintaining." Once the name of the last southern crimelord is put forth, he snaps his fingers to that and points right at Max before saying, "Ah-ha! Ampherol. I actually met him at one point, before he left," which would allude to Lo having been down south for quite some time now. Waving a dramatic hand in dismissal of it, "Nice fellow, but a bit misguided. Didn't really have a true eye for the wildness of the south, but, what can one expect from a northerner, eh?" A slight perhaps? Maybe. Maybe not. One never knows the true double meanings behind the gardener's words. He doesn't look surprised to hear about this next step in the family business like he should, a brow lifting before he states, "Don't tell me Indira's involved too? Hmm….knew there was something drawing me to that woman." Watch it, Lo. Of course, he he knows what he's doing. Since he deliberately dropped his origins with the Reaches, he smirks at Max picking that up and he nods. Strengthening his Reachian accent for the moment, "While you're tending beasts, I'm tending the farms. Ain't no better place than the Reaches, but I don't need to tell you that, hm?" He knew they were from the same place - though not the same origins. He snorts to him being all moonlight and roses, adding wryly, "I adapt to the lands, Max. Harsher women require harsher gifts." He wasn't surprised to hear about Max's reasons for leaving the north, the man nodding once and stating, "Feeling's mutual. It's why I left too," Sorta. He silences on the last, however, studying the new crimelord intently as he speaks, weighing his options. He was Vaput's man still, so of course some of this discussion was being mentally recorded to be sent up north, but some of the words was resonating to the desperate man in him. Lo can be bought by anyone, but he was tunnelsnake enough to switch sides should the other offer better digs. That was how he played the game. "They all say that," he plays the game now, testing the other out. "You need men, but they won't come easily. Not until they know you ain't going to disappear like the last one." He's not confirming whether he's buying what Max is selling either. To the last, an obvious threat, there's a cold smirk and lofty "I'll find work and women out a fucking rock. Men like me survive, Max. Long after crimelords like you don't."

“Misunderstood…” Max echoes and lets out a bark of laughter, “I like that one.” Expression bland save for the smirk that flickers, “You met him, eh?” and he tucks that information away, not pressing on it right now. There’s no warning glare or narrowing eyes for the slight given merely a faint smile that toys about the young crimelord’s lips, he finding something amusing about it. Dark eyes do narrow a touch when Lo speaks of having been drawn to his mother and then he utters a rough snort, “Sorry mate, someone else has beaten you to the punch.” And yes, he’s looking oddly smug about that. With Lorayit adding more to the conversation on life in the Reaches, Max puts out a crooked grin, “Weren’t you that blonde kid I planted face down in the porcine shit on old man Darow’s land around nine turns ago?” Probably not, but then it was meant as a dig to gauge the man’s temper more than anything else. Low laughter greets comment on adapting once playbook according to the woman involved. The dark haired young man meets the study of him dead on, relaxed under the gardener’s blue-eyed gaze and he lifts a hand in nonchalant gesture, “What you got to lose? Someone offs me and you cut your losses and move on.” Making it clear that he well understands how the lands and those in them operate. “But stay and prove yourself as wily as I know you to be and you’ll see you and yours,” deliberately referencing the man’s brother without appearing to do so, “well rewarded.” A glance goes about the Weyr’s gardens, “I’ll even help you smuggle…seeds.” Cunning the smile that attaches at the end even remaining into what appears to be agreement for the man's survival instincts except that his words speak otherwise, “The mines, dear gardener, are full of rocks.” Smirk. Leaning in a little closer, dark eyes pin a hard look onto the man next to him and his voice drops, “Never forget, I was you, fucking over the crimelord of the territory I ran in to suit my own ends, aye?” And with that last warning delivered, Max shifts his elbows behind him and leans back on them, “So having a garden full of flowers to choose from, that gets you laid a lot?” Back to friendly banter now.

Lorayit gives no further words on misunderstandings or Ampherol, finding more interest in learning that Indira was taken. Sighing dramatically at that, "Women like her never stayed alone for long," is his answer to that one, shaking his head. "I'm glad she can love again. From the way she was the last we met…" he deliberately leaves that off, eyes going to the stars as if he had fallen into thought. He laughs at the fake memory from the Reaches, brows lifting along with him pinning a look on the crimelord before saying, "Yeah, I doubt that was me. I'm usually the one kid offering to pay you a mark to toss someone poor sod into a pile of shit." Talk of business mingling in with lightness. Yeah, Lo was well versed in such a game, too. "But I'm merely a gardener," he states to all of it, hands drawing wide from his body to indicate his handiwork. "Me and mine are the flowers and herbs about you. Surely we are hardly any asset. I may know more than a gardener should," he admits that, smiling, "but I see it more for my safety. Too many dark elements out and about in Pern these days. Don't want someone to take advantage of me." Riiight. Beat. "Offer the type of seeds and I might bend an ear," he adds, but he knew the words there. Bowen. How much did his old friend Bowen tell Max? "However," he adds now, frowning slightly in thought, "some find it valuable to ally themselves to such dark sorts to survive. The sorts that like to keep a man well-supplied. Protected. Not unheard of." As to the mines, there's proud snorting to that, his arrogance prompting him to say, "They may well be, but it won't be something I'll ever see." When Max leans closer, Lo stays where he is, regarding those low words with stilled amusement and saying nothing in return for the moment. Then, slowly and carefully, "Who ever said anything about me working for some crimelord?" Innocence given, the gardener frowning at him. He pauses on that, letting it sink in, before moving onto to lighter topics. Question gets a jaunty, "Harvested fruits work, too. Girls will drop their skirts if you send them over a basket of sweet redfruits."

Lorayit isn’t going to get away with it that easily and the beast manager’s eyes narrow as he presses further, “From the way she was the last you met…?” Easy laughter greets the blonde’s comeback, “So that was you?” that had paid him in the make-believe scenario, “Shards, I thought it was that ginger-haired kid. Hung him upside down with a baling hook off a wagon until his marks fell out his pockets when he refused to pay up.” Yeah, he was a terror as a child. And some might say that not much has changed. “Ah,” Max starts, “but that’s where you’re wrong, gardener. No one is ever just a gardener or a beast manager, aye?” that having already been established between them. “However,” pausing as if collecting his thoughts, “one can never have too many flowers about. Helps lift the spirits and soften the hard lines of life. Some would call such a thing an asset, aye?” Yes, he sees the man’s talent for smooth and easygoing whilst wriggling his way in and out of things. “In order for flowerbeds to flourish, they need to be well tended. Protected from the negative elements, if you will.” The Man should have been a harper. And then his expression turns sly, “Only the gardener will know which seeds are best planted for which season, hmm?” Playing to Lo’s ego and then chuckling and giving a low spoken, “Good man,” for the other’s words on keeping his hide out of the mines. With the gardener pretending innocence for associations with crimelords a slow and cunning smirk patterns into place, “Aye, and I never fucked the Lord’s wife.” Just saying. Laughter catches up at the cocky return given, “Fruit, flowers, fighting and…” he doesn’t say the last word, waving his hand in the air to dismiss it, deeming it obvious given the raunchy turn of conversation, “You really need to give the other letters a turn and see how they fair.”

"Your mother was in a terrible mood the last we talked," Lorayit apparently recalls smoothly on Indira, shrugging a bit and making it seem as if it wasn't a big deal. "Seemed like her heart was broken. You know how women get when their hearts are broken. Well, I think I said as much and she practically tore into me! Slapped me for some reason, but I can't remember," and he shakes his head, blithe to the last. "Liked her spirit, but I suppose it's just as well things ended up the way they did. I'm not the sort a man any woman should want." Matter-of-fact. Easy banter on made-up memories have him laughing without trying not to, tossing back, "Yeah, it was. Never caught, apparently. Too bad for the one that did." When Max counters on him being a mere gardener, "Ah," he returns, the smooth words delivered getting a look of approval. So, the beast manager can dish what he takes. "And assets can belong to more than one tender," he lets him know musingly, regarding Max anew. "Though, the right tender flourishes the asset properly. But, you're right. The right gardener would know." Low chuckle to that and he ponders on it, amused at the wordplay and knowing full well what's being said. But Lo is too sly. What could he drop? Admittedly he was growing tired of Vaput, but the man had him in a chokehold by hostaging his brother. Playing the game between two crimelords will not be easy. It was obvious that Max knew he worked for someone. "So I'm not a mere gardener," he lets the gig up, lifting up a knee so he could lounge back more comfortably. "Surprise, surprise. Still, the one I work for isn't the easy sort, and he doesn't let go of his men easily." The last gets a wry, "Was thinking of trying another letter next sevenday. There's a hot bluerider I've been eyeing lately. But from what I hear," he adds brows lifting, "you were quite the cad yourself until you let yourself get caught. Have broken hearts all across the north continent and everything." Smirk.

Dark eyes narrow and then amusement shows through in a snicker, “She slapped you? What did you do, tell her she reminds you of your mother?” Though words on his mother potentially having had her heart broken troubles the young beast manager, filing that information away to dwell on later. A soft snort greets comment on the type of man a woman should or shouldn’t want but he lends his thoughts no voice on the matter. In his lean back on his elbows, Max turns a low chuckle the gardener’s way, “A period of dual tending is to be expected should the asset seek a change, aye?” Teeth bare in a grin, the young crimelord enjoying the wordplay and giving a nod of agreement on the gardener knowing best, “Same way the beast manager knows which feed will best serve the runners under his care to get top performance out of them.” Shock is feigned when Lorayit finally drops the act, “Say it isn’t so!” even going so far as to shift his weight and lay a hand over his chest dramatically. All jokes aside, a light frown twitches between brows and a grave expression settles into place, “Sounds like the kind that uses leverage and blackmail to force service from his men.” Leaving the door open for the other man to tell of the situation with his brother should he decide to do so. Musing on the matter, the cad comment draws a wry expression into place, “Some would call her the fool for taking the likes of me on.”

"I wouldn't fuck my mother," Lorayit returns brazenly on the reasons for the slap, not lingering on it. Words with double meaning continues between them both, talking of assets and dual tending - which gets Lo's attention for sure. Brushing a finger across his bottom lip idly, "And should such a valuable asset suddenly were to come under fire by one deadly tender from the other?" he asks slyly then, eyes narrowing a fraction. He was crafty, but so was Vaputero. He knew he managed to scare off Solak, but the Bitran crimelord will come knocking again when he gets impatient for Jaya's capture. Max's feigned shock gets a snort from him, and when his words hit home on the kind of man his boss is, "The very kind," he returns in a sort of toast, taking the bottle and lifting it briefly before he takes a drink. "Makes it hard to trust anyone in these lands. Everyone has an agenda, after all," he adds, a pointed look given Max's way. To the last, there's a snickers and a wry, "If you lived a life like mine, you wouldn't have let yourself get caught in the first place. But, as they say," he puts in cockily, "you can't keep a good cad down." Gesturing towards his patches of flowers then, "Perhaps you want to take one for your lady love?" he offers, his sly amusement evident. "I hear that a flower speaks the words that a man cannot say."

Eyes narrow to slits, a dangerous look briefly allowed to fall into place for the brazen comment and then, Max wipes his expression clear of it and turns instead to the topic of ‘tending gardens’. “That my friend would depend on whether or not the new tender was to be given motivation enough to offer protection. Loyalty and all cards on the table is always a good place to start. No tender wants to see a patch of weeds spring up where flowers should be growing, aye?” a light smirk appearing for boundaries being set. There comes a wry quirk to his mouth when Lorayit confirms the type of man he’s been working for, “Trust and respect are earned, Lo, not forced upon someone.” Giving hint as to the type of man he is. Laughter spills for having gotten caught, “Even the wild feline has to pause to take a drink, leaving himself open for capture, hmm?” Dark gazing sweeping over the blooms that perfume the air, “I ain’t got no problem with words, mate.” Right, so the foot-in-mouth syndrome he has been known to suffer from…that would be a fallacy then?

Meeting that dangerous look head on with interest, Lorayit finally finding something that could push the beast manager's buttons, he files that away for later. It was always good to have something on the other one may deal with - he has discovered many a button on Vaputero the same way. "Motivation?" he states more than asks, a brow lifting imperceptibly at those words. "You have no reason not to trust an asset," he notes smoothly, continuing to feel the man out. Of course that's a lie, but then, Lo had no reason to trust Max, either. Something he was sure Max was well aware of. "Loyalty and full disclosure….you ask for a steep price to pay," he adds then leaning forward with the bottle. "Many know that crimelords are turncoats," just like he is, "and they wouldn't be above using one asset dry and leaving him to rot. Such steep costs should be reciprocal, don't you think?" Yeah, the talk is not so much about gardening anymore, but then, it never was. He acknowledges that trust and respect should be earned in a perfect world, but his world has never been perfect. "Show me one who has not forced their way into power in one form or another," he states then in a challenge, his eyes boring into him. "You're new at this. Maybe not now, but one day you'll fall into the same patterns as my boss. I'll stake marks on it." Lo can't help the snicker at Max getting caught, and his gaze falls on his garden when Max answers on it with a lofty, "A rose doesn't hurt one's chances. My garden has brought many a smile to a face. Such good deeds….it warms the heart." Right. Perhaps Max will detect the slight sardonic tilt to tone as he says it.

A button he might have found, but given that Keane is now on the scene, it’s not likely to have the same reaction to being pushed as there would have been before. Then again, some people just seem to have a knack for getting under someone else’s skin if they put their minds to it. Snorting, “I have as yet, no reason to trust an asset,” Max amends the gardener’s comment as he pushes up from his lean into a sitting position once again. And then he drops all acts and comes straight at Lorayit, “Look, I know you’re in some kind of shit up north, I’m simply asking that you come clean with me and I’ll do what I can to help,” like he had with Solak, “No bullshit, no trying to play me off of him,” assuming the man not to be working for the only female crimelord of the bunch, “there are no expectations of payment from you thereafter, simply the offer of work should you wish it and I would consider it a real favour not to find your knife in my back, aye?” Yes, likely a very foreign concept for one whose not only as cunning as a tunnelsnake himself but that is currently in the employ of a man ten times worse. Shaking his head, “Ain’t gonna jump ship, Lo. I got too much invested in this to do that now. You don’t trust me and that I get, just…think about it.” A smirk followed by a wry chuckle greets comment of his one day becoming like the gardener’s current boss, “Then I hope you’ve saved a little somethin’ up for a rainy day, ‘cause you’re gonna lose that bet, mate.” Slipping off the rock, he gives the roses a closer look and then turns a grin over to Lorayit, “I ain’t gonna take one now, but one day, when I open my mouth to change boots, I’ll take you up on that offer, aye?” Erm, wasn’t he the one that just stated he has no problem with words?

All the cards on the table. Lorayit doesn't react to Max stating he doesn't trust him - this is expected from him - and when he mentions the trouble he's in, some of his smile fades upon the realization of his words. Bowen wouldn't have told him about….? "You know about my brother," he states more than ask, taking a gamble as to how much the new crimelord knows about his situation. If that doesn't rat him out…. "Who do you think I work for?" he fires in quick succession, adding smoothly, "Since we are dispensing with the double-talk. All the cards on the table, right?" He was going to curse himself for having told Bowen all this in the first place, but he couldn't lay the fault at the tanner's door. It was his own fault for revealing his troubles in the first place. He wouldn't be surprised if the tanner was secretly working for the new southern crimelord as well. Choosing to not yet reveal anymore hands on what they can do for the other, "As I said, keep me interested and no knife will appear," he notes on backstabbing, not hiding how his operates now. "I have to survive, Max. Too many rely on me. If I go down…." the rest of the sentence was obvious. Blue eyes narrow when Max gets off the rock to examine the roses, his response getting a rather wry, "One day, if I am still around. But then," and a corner of his mouth lifts, "that's the irony of the world, is it not? The garden doesn't notice a new gardener. I can be gone tomorrow, and you will still get your rose. Nothing is certain in this life." Especially his own position.

“Your brother?” Max lifts a brow appearing to be ignorant on specifics. As to whom he thinks Lorayit might be working for a cold smirk drops into place, dark eyes watching carefully for reaction as puts words to the suspicions he’d long held regarding the gardener, “My nefarious Bitran brother.” Not about to give up the extent of the ties between himself and Bowen just yet for it suited him that others should continue to believe there was still enmity between the two of them. The crimelord gives no comment as to how to avoid the gardener’s knife in his back for his focus has landed on the man’s statement of there being those that rely on him and so a long and silent look holds to the man. Nodding slowly, “If you go down, you go down with me fighting at your side, Lo. I don’t leave my people high and dry, unlike some.” Amused the look Max then sends back to the Lo on the matter of gardens and gardeners, “I’m mighty picky about who tends the gardens under my eye,” as if he were the Weyrleader himself. “So best you give sticking around some thought, if only to keep me in supply of flowered apologies, eh? I got a feeling I’m gonna be needing ‘em,” the last wryly given.

Max's confusion on the statement of his brother doesn't change Lo's opinion. It definitely didn't change when Max drops that he knew who his boss was. It wasn't going to be far-fetched for him make the connection. "He wasn't always your nefarious Bitran brother," the gardener counters, regarding him steadily now with some of that calmness evaporating. This conversation was starting to turn into dangerous waters, and Lorayit had to be careful of what he said next now. Neither confirming nor denying - or perhaps there was no need to anyway - "I'm curious," he puts forth in the pause, exuding more forceful calm. "What do you know of the Bitran crimelord?" He refuses to say the name, as if doing so would suddenly implicate him of everything that's gone wrong in Eastern. "What do you know about all of them?" Still, Max seems intent on selling to him. His words cause just a flicker of interest, starting to waver in his cool resolve without meaning to. It continues on when Max alludes to not wanting him to be replaced for the Weyr gardens, stating calmly, "There may come a time when I will have no choice but to go. This," and he draws out a hand in indication of the Weyr itself, "is not my home. I merely go where I am asked." Pause. "As I said, my boss won't let go of me easily," he notes then, leaning forward to lower his voice. "Surely you've heard the rumors of the man and those unfortunate enough to leave him." Those like Jaya who was still ironically his mission to capture. "You'll be soiling matters of an alliance before you've even crawled out of your little southern craddle." The last gets interest as well, amusement coloring his tone now as he drops in, "Troubles in paradise?"

Wryly returned on Lo’s first, “Not until recently, no.” As to what he knows of the Bitran crimelord? Max is in no doubt that a man such as the gardener would eagerly jump on the chance to hang him out to dry if it served his own purposes and so his answer is carefully worded. “From what I’m seeing and hearing, the man has more enemies than friends.” Himself being a part of the former due to Olira and Jaya’s plights. On the matter of the other crimelords there comes a vaguely amused look set onto Lo, “Enough to know that amongst them I’m likely to find both friend and foe.” And then he turns the question around on the man, “What do you know about them?” Still standing, hands set to pockets and the young crimelord’s head tips to one side, the gardener put under close scrutiny as he presses on his suspicions of the man’s presence at the Weyr, “And what was asked of you that brought you to the Weyr, hmm?” In that pause that is provided his expression closes into a hard line but then the edge of a cunning smile appears for those still eluding Vaputero’s grasp, “The south offers safe haven to those that seek it. The others will come to learn this in time and see it to their advantage where needed.” A short laugh rises up at the last and he gives a shake of head, “Naw, things are good,” as far as he knows, “but I ain’t about to count my firelizards before they hatch neither.” Call him a realistic when it comes to navigating the tricky path of a relationship.

“Recently?” Lorayit pretends he doesn’t know much about recent events, affecting a look of concern mixed with interest. He knew about Olira, having seen the pregnant woman himself and has sent reports on the fact. What Max gives on Vaputero gives a wry bit of a smirk to that, “And you don’t?” he drops on having more enemies than friends, amusement still lingering on him turning questions back on him. When Max does it to him on what he knows on all the other crimelords, a shrug is given along with the words, “Know enough to steer clear of most of them,” he returns easily and smoothly, the smile growing. That smile vanishes somewhat when the southern crimelord brings up what he hopes he wouldn’t – his reason for being at Eastern. Blue eyes lift to the stars in the silence, leaning back on his elbows as he deliberates his answer. Deciding easily enough, “Weyr needs a gardener,” is given carefully, warily. “Was working the farms in Southern Hold before.” If Max chooses to check out his story, he’ll find it sound. Lo was careful in that. He’s silent through the words on having a haven, watching the crimelord steadily as he guards his own thoughts. Wry, “So you want to help me,” he surmises with interest, nodding on that before tacking on, “You’ll understand if I don’t immediately jump on the chance, beast manager. My position is far more precarious than yours.” Pause. “However,” he chooses to add, sitting up and offering the bottle over, “I could perhaps be of assistance if you need it. Information, and getting things done, tends to be my specialty.” To the last, there’s laughter, the blonde shaking his head and merely stating, “I’ll keep all that relationship babble to you studious men. Prefer the chase the skirts and the fields myself.”

“Well,” Max starts with a show of amusement to the feigned surprise, “first had to have Ampherol outta the way didn’t I?” One shoulder lifts and falls in a shrug on enemies and friends, “Even a drudge has those,” he remarks dryly. Another flash of amusement in response to Lorayit steering clear of the other crimelords and then his visage smoothes while the gardener considers his answers, a soft snort greeting what he eventually settles on serving up. Slightly sardonic, “A place in which to stop and smell the roses…just what the Weyr needed,” in other words, he’s not buying it though he doesn’t press the matter at this time. Taking the bottle handed over its path stills midway to his lips as one corner of his mouth hitches upward, “The help is there if you want it. Take it, don’t take it. It’s all the same to me.” Swallowing a mouthful of the bottle’s contents a rasping chuckle can be heard, “And you think my position is less precarious than yours?” Given the kind of people he now moves amongst and calls brother. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and then handing the bottle back over, he gives a nod, “Show me what you got and we’ll take it from there.” Thereby offering the blonde a sort of probation period if you will. Amusement shows itself in a crooked grin on the matter of relationships and skirt chasing, “The day’s gonna come where a woman’s gonna bat her eyelashes and before you know it, you’ll find yourself under her spell. Mark my words, gardener.”

Brows lift on the answer about Ampherol, but Lorayit doesn’t put words to it. Instead, he smiles winsomely to his own answers given, knowing full well that Max wasn’t buying it. For now, it was meant to buy him time. “What are you looking for?” he tosses on showing what he’s got, getting down to business. “I’m a man of many talents, so…you’re painting with a wide brush, here.” He shouldn’t be asking, but the gardener couldn’t help but to be curious. He wasn’t expecting to be talking this long to the southern crimelord, either. The more he did, the more intrigued he got. He concedes to Max’s position being as precarious but adds wryly, “You have the dragonriders, I presume, to watch your back. I don’t have such luxury.” To the last, there’s open laughter, the man’s tone filling with arrogance as he returns with “Never, beast manager. I know the wily ways of women, and I can steer of them. The only way I will fall is if I choose to. Not a moment sooner.”

Max spreads a hand out from himself as he takes a step backward, “How about you surprise me with these…many talents of yours, hmm?” smirk. “Perhaps bring me some information from Southern Hold. Something…” pausing for dramatic effect, “I can really get my teeth into like say…a meeting with Lord Southern?” dropped with sly intent. Waving a hand as if it were really a small matter he adds, “Tell him I have runners to show him for his stables or whatever it is that will gain me audience with the man. Use your contacts amongst the farming community down there.” Quite why he feels the need to make contact with the Lord himself remains to be seen. As to having dragonriders at his back, the soft laugh the young crimelord produces is sardonic at best, “Aye, and that has its own set of problems that goes with it.” For selecting men and women to work with him whose dragons understand the value of withholding information from the draconic gossip vine, can prove to be tricky at best. That laughter becomes more true for Lorayit’s arrogance, “Women are a mystery that us lowly men have yet to unravel,” wryly noted. Taking another step back now he tips two fingers to his temple in mock salute, “And now I shall leave you to your garden and the stars. Until next we meet, gardener.”

Ah. Lo knew it was going to come to this - to actual proof of his value and loyalty. The gardener slowly rocks back on his backside, regarding Max in silence. Of course, getting him into a meeting with the Lord Holder of Southern Hold wouldn't be hard. Lorayit could get a meeting with a Weyrleader if it suited him well enough. Still, outwardly he shows no signs of biting, just nodding and appearing to be considering the offer put to him. Speaking on dragonriders then, "You're going to have to tell me about that over cards sometime," he offers, giving the offer to speak further another time - something he really wasn't expecting to do. He was too curious, however, and he was always drawn to things and people that could cause him trouble down the line. He straighten up when Max announces his departure, ticking off a nod in his direction. "Perhaps I will see you again," he considers wryly, staying firmly on his rock. "With news." News being on the Lord Holder he wants to meet, but he's keeping things as vague as possible while he considers his options.

Max of course could easily arrange a meeting with Lord Southern himself, so this must then be some sort of test he’s laid out for the gardener, right? Maybe. Either way he’s not letting on. The offer given to join Lorayit in a game of cards and further talks oddly enough, draws a genuine smile into place and he gives an incline of head in acceptance thereof, “Name the time and place and I’ll show up and while I fleece you of every mark you own, you can relay whatever…news you might have.” Cocky the grin that appears for that last and then he’s turning and heading off back the way he came.

“I like when the defeated has a sense of humour,” Lo tosses back on that remark, his laughter bubbling up along with that glint in his eye. Whether he liked it or not, the wheels were in motion. Perhaps Max knew the gardener was going to arrange for that meeting regardless of his non-commitment, but whatever the case, the departure of southern continent’s new crimelord left him thoughtful, his blue gaze following the man out of his garden before he’s swallowed up by darkness and leaving him back to his fate with the stars.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License