Paying It Forward


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

NPCs: Shijan, Keane, Olira, Crawl

Date: Oct. 29, 2010
Location: The Blood and Bucket bar, Telgar area
Synopsis: Jaya and Max visits Telgar to check up on an old, beaten-down friend of hers. They also meet the new barmaid and a possible near-future resident of Eastern Weyr.
Rating: PG-13 - language and some fighting.
Logger: Jaya

It’s a cold afternoon in Telgar – a stark contrast to the constant warm climates down south. Jaya made sure she had dressed the part – that being, she sealed herself up in her heavy brown overcoat and turned up the collar some in order to seal out the cold from reaching her neck. For some reason, she had done up her long dark hair in braids and had them all tied back into an up-do ponytail, putting an air of youthful servility to her scarred features. Dark eyes scan the familiar landscapes of trees and carved-out dirt paths from up in the sky the moment T’nor brought her, Max and Shijan out from Between – and the shock of Between itself jarring her senses initially. She could make out the run-down shack-of-a-bar easily enough – it was the only one for miles surrounded by trees and small hills. From above, as T’nor led his brown to circle for a landing, much of the bar looks the same from when she had left.

Once landing further into the trees from the Blood and Bucket’s entrance, T’nor hops down nimbly to the ground as his dragon positions a leg for the rest of them to follow suit. Eyes looking up ahead, “This used to be home, sweet home,” the barkeep comments as she prepares to copy the agile brownrider’s style of dismount unless either of the men has the notion to stop her. Casting a look back at both Max and Shijan, “Awfully quiet around here,” she adds in a lower husky voice to them. Indeed, it was. There wasn’t even any stirring in the trees – no raucous shouting or the crash of mugs and chairs that characterized the Blood and Bucket no matter what time of day one entered. The bar’s owner, Keane, wasn’t one to close down even when Thread fell from the sky, so this immediately puts Jaya’s nerves on edge as she takes a look around them.

While the area might not have been home as such to Max, he is at least somewhat familiar with the immediate vicinity, having passed through on a supply run for Indira's band when they were out on the road still, "Met a certain barmaid here if I recall correctly." The edge of a wry grin sent Jaya's way. Having foregone the thick overcoat he would normally have worn for colder climes, he has taken to wearing a battered old black leather jacket which provides for better ease of movement (such as fighting if it become necessary). Hunching down into it once he's got boots on the ground, his gaze goes the way of the tavern itself. A guarded look sent Shijan's way and then Jaya's, "Too quiet," he agrees, dark eyes doing a sweep of their immediate area. Turning to T'nor, "Have him keep himself well hidden," the brown, "Don't need him announcing our arrival to all and sundry."

“Met a certain asshole, too,” Jaya quips back, but there’s no malice in her tone. An improvement? There seems to be with the wink going over her shoulder at the beast manager before she’s hopping down to the ground. Once all the men are dismounted, Max’s words to T’nor have the brownrider nodding sharply and moving off with the dragon in tow. It’s clear he’s not joining them into the bar, choosing instead to keep out of sight with his dragon. Shijan’s hand goes to some hidden weapon as he, too, notes the quiet – a look goes Max’s way, ominous in nature. Once T’nor is out of earshot, “So we’re busting in or what?” the barkeep’s putting to the men with her, starting to put action to words as she steps ahead and towards the Blood and Bucket entrance. She notes that no one is loitering outside the place like usual, and while the door to the bar was ajar, it was hard to see beyond it in the daylight. Maybe just busting in wasn’t such a good idea? Jaya has her own knife out in an instant, her dark gaze going towards Max first, then Shijan as she tenses and prepares to go in herself.

Jaya's wink is met with a slight widening of that wide grin, so clearly he's none too concerned about being called an asshole. A brow goes, "Busting in? Remind me next time to bring a harper marching band to precede our arrival in a trumpeting fanfare," snort, "No, we're not busting in." A tip of head to Shijan and the teak skinned man alters his path, heading around the back of the building as they approach, Max's frame loose, as are his hands at his sides. Whatever tension he carries is being kept under tight control. Lifting a hand he signals Jaya to wait, steps up to the door, keeping to the wall side of its frame and listens before nodding for her to go in, mouthing the word 'Breathe' to the tense woman.

“Oh I will,” Jaya seems readily to agree on that, the smile wide despite the fact that, you know, they could possibly be in danger. Jaya doesn’t seem the least bit concerned, though. She had Max and Shijan with her, and as far as she saw it, that was two more better than the usual one. That’s two more targets, anyway. No busting in though – she concedes to that but keeps her knife out and held at the ready. Once Shijan vanishes, the barkeep takes one long look at Max as she edges towards the ajar door. Nothing could be seen inside other than a few tables and chairs, but now she could make out muffled voices within. She pauses at Max’s signal watching him intently for a moment before she’s looking back at the door and meets his next signal to go in. She’ll even breathe – exaggerated-like for his sake – before she’s in.

Entering, one would find four large, broad-shouldered men dressed in dark clothes and looking menacing enough as they occupy a large portion of the shabby bar. One of these men is talking up a tall redheaded woman at the table closest to the counter, their heads bowed and the woman being silent for the most part save for a few words here and there. In this scene, a quick look would yield the fact that Keane was nowhere to be seen. Jaya’s arrival through the door immediately catches everyone’s attention, and the three men not engaged in talk with the redhead instantly pull out their knives and starts to approach before the Bitran barkeep could even open her mouth.

Dark eyes roll at the exaggerated breath Jaya takes and then Max is close on Jaya's heels, giving her but a pace or two into the bar before he too enters. To be more correct, saunters in, hands set to pockets and looking for all the world to simply be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Taking in the scene laid out before them, his expression gives nothing away. Until that is, the three men close in on Jaya, then he's quickly stepping forward and just to the front of her to intercept them. Not blocking her from sight, but making the reason for his presence known. "Afternoon lads," tone sounding congenial except for the warning note set to it and his eyes, "the lady here would like to see her friend." Leaving it uncertain as to whom exactly that might be.

“Bar’s closed.” This comes from the man at the back with the redhead, both now on their feet. The three men advance on Max all the more once he saunters in and places himself infront of Jaya, but the man in the back halts them with words. All eyes on the knife Jaya still has out, “Friend,” the man who’s clearly the leader of this group finally leaves the redhead’s side and takes a step forward. Tall and broad-shouldered himself, he’s built to be a fighter and doesn’t seem to hide it despite the coat he has on. He’s as non-descript as the other men, too. “What ‘friend’ are we talking about here?” he puts to Max since he’s the one speaking first, though his eyes do go to Jaya and her knife on occasion. Jaya’s not looking to put it away either, and the pointed look she sends his way confirms that. “Bar’s never closed,” she breaks her silence, taking a step forward and placing herself alongside Max now. “Who the fuck are you and where’s Keane?” Dark eyes shoot towards the other woman, who’s remaining quiet and pale in the face throughout this all.

"Mmm," Max gives in undefined reply at first, "So it would seem," putting a pointed glance about the place. His attention splits quickly between the three still advancing as well as the one who'd been with the redhead, assessing his fighting advantage and disadvantages. Of course, there's Shijan hovering at the back somewhere that they're currently unaware of, and that's just how he likes it. The leader of the pack gets sets with an expressionless look, the Easterner not looking to be in the least bit intimidated, "I'll let the lady explain." With a nod to Jaya and then a more direct point of eyes to her knife he intones quietly, "Put it away, darlin'." Not wishing to send a threatening message being as how they're currently on someone else's turf. Yet. When she addresses the question put out on whom it is they're looking for, Max turns his peripheral attention to the redhead sitting quietly at the table, just the faintest trace of a frown in his expression.

“Because it is,” the leader of the pack intones to Max, advancing another step before stopping altogether. He’s close enough where he no longer needs to project his voice, so his voice drops a bit to normal level and he stares down Jaya as Max tells her to put the knife away. He won’t speak again until she complies, so reluctantly, with a hard glance going to the beast manager, Jaya slowly sheathes her knife and backs her hands away from herself in a slight mocking gesture. Well? “They call me Crawl,” he introduces himself in his deep voice once the knife is gone, though the tension doesn’t exactly leaves his big frame. Eyes falling on Jaya then, “Who the fuck are you?” Crawl puts to her then, not answering her other question on the bar’s owner. Without missing a beat, “Bajaya Dicori, of course,” she puts in coldly, then nods sharply towards the beast manager and adds, “This is Max. Now you got names. Where’s Keane?” The redhead blinks and starts a bit as if she recognizes the first name given, but other than that she’s taking to staring Jaya and Max down without any input from her. Not yet anyway. Crawl barely bats an eye. “Never heard of any of you,” he answers, a finger now lifting as he’s halfway to signaling his men to ‘escort’ the strangers out. “Bar is closed like I said, so if you don’t –“ – “Let them in, Crawl,” comes a gruff voice from the counter, and those that turn and look towards there will find that another has entered the bar. Large in body with graying hair, the owner of the Blood and Bucket leans heavily on a large wooden stick as he slowly and painfully limps his way around the counter so that he could see the strangers for himself. Able to catch a good glimpse of Jaya at least while the men kept them at bay, he nods over at the redhead and adds with a grimace, “Get them something to drink, Olira.” His eyes falling on Max and Jaya then with a small amount of displeasure at seeing them here in his bar, “Something tells me they’re going to be here for awhile.”

"Ah," Max gives as if he's a little dimwitted and only just now understands the bar is closed, thanks to the leader's further comment on the matter. Dark eyes flick between the man and Jaya, greeting the glare she sends him with a faint lift of brow. Hands still pocketed, though can be sure they'd come free in an instant if the situation warranted it, the beast manager puts out a short nod for the name given but doesn't add a well met, choosing rather to go with, "Good to know." As if he were committing what is more than likely a pseudonym, to memory. Catching Olira's reaction to Jaya giving her name from the corner of his eye, he sends a vague dip of head in response to the open stare they're now getting from the redhead. And then back to Crawl in such a manner as if to suggest he were bored with all the posturing going on and not looking to be moving one step in any direction, either to leave or move further forward when the man starts out on telling them to leave. The gruff voice sending a counter order to Crawl draws Max's attention that way and a heavy frown fits openly into place for the older man's state. A sidelong glance to Jaya and in direct opposition to the leader of the pack's presence, or perhaps because of it, states quietly, "Go to him." He'll stay where he is in the meantime, watching her back should any of the four decide she's not getting anywhere near Keane. Rocking back on his heels in as if this were merely a misunderstanding of sorts. "So…looks like you got yourselves a spot of trouble here then," stating the obvious as he takes a step toward a table looking for all intents and purposes to be about ready to make himself at home, "How about you tell me where you fit into this, while the lady checks in on her friend over there, hmm?"

Seeing the state of Keane nearly breaks Jaya’s heart. Her face falls, the demeanor of the hard, cold woman back down in Eastern is being replaced by someone that’s uncharacteristically sympathetic and worried. Max didn’t have to tell her twice to go to him, and she ignores the men and the woman present as she nearly runs forward to help guide the Telgari bar owner into one of the chairs at a nearby table. He was wincing as he moves, the action of having to sit down proving to be slow and difficult for him without Jaya’s help. Olira’s face falls too at the sight of him, but she no longer lingers now that she’s given something to do. She’s off towards the counter to pour drinks, and Crawl’s looking after the scene unfolding before him with little expression on his face. And then, there was still Max. He reverses the signal then, telling his men to stand down as he himself approaches the very table Max heads for and drops himself into a seat there. “What do you know about this trouble, Max?” he’s stating calmly now, leaning back in his chair as he regards the beast manager closely. The other three men are nearby, studying him as well. “Got something about our, ah, ‘trouble’ you want to tell us?” The way that sounds, it seems like he’s leading the other into some sort of confession – as if he was the one that beaten down the bar owner. As to the latter question, Crawl casts a look behind him towards Olira, briefly watching as the woman pours an amber-colored drink into mugs in silence before he turns back around and twitches an arrogant smile towards Max. “We have permission to be here under the orders of Kelarad,” he states as formally as if he were announcing himself to be a part of a Lord Holder’s family. Eyes turn over towards Jaya and Keane then, in which with Keane seated now, she’s pulling out a medical-looking kit from under her coat and fussing over the man like he was her ailing father. Keane is irritatingly batting her away. “Damn it, Jaya, I’m bruised! Not on my deathbed!” he tosses toward her in the following silence.

Whatever he might be thinking about the battered state of Keane, he's keeping it to himself right now. Max waits only long enough for Crawl to seat himself first (call it deference for being on the other's 'turf') before he too drops into a chair, appearing to ignore the other men although one can be sure he knows exactly where they are in relation to himself and Jaya. Leaned back in his seating in an apparent pose of ease, his eyes track Olira's movements in assessing manner and then settle back onto his table companion, "Depends on who I'm talking to, don't it?" as to what he knows of their trouble. One corner of his mouth curls up into a faint smirk, "Aye, you obviously suck at your job to have allowed this to happen." Either having assumed them to be hired thugs to keep the bar safe or simply goading the man to find the measure of him while making it clear he had nothing to do with it personally. In more sincere tone, "Came to see how we can help." Thank Faranth he'd not had a mouthful of drink in his mouth or Max might quite likely have choked on it at Crawl's revelation to them being Kelarad's men. As it is he probably turns a shade paler. However, he's here with the purpose of not only watching Jaya's back, but to help the violated barmaid in whatever manner possible and so he schools his expression into hard neutrality. Tone and gaze steady, "'Rad, huh?" use of the nickname making it clear he knows of the man and tipping his head backwards to place an open look over the other three men. Silent for a moment and then as if a decision has been reached on their trustworthiness, he nods slowly, "Good." With a jut of jaw in Olira's direction, "Tell me about her. How's she holding up?"

“I’ll kill him,” Jaya’s voice might be heard over Crawl’s voice, the Bitran woman not stopping her fussing over the Blood and Bucket owner. “I’ll fucking kill him for this!” – “Should’ve known you’d find out,” Keane answers her, gesturing for her to get away from him and sit down instead. “Shouldn’t be up here anyway, Jay. Vaput might not come by with Kelarad in the area, but still…” It was dangerous for her to be there, and he relays that with a look. Meanwhile – “You’re talking to the right-hand man of one of Tillek’s most powerful men, that’s what,” Crawl’s putting towards Max now, turning his full attention to the beast manager before him as he laces his fingers together over his middle. He bristles only slightly to being told that he sucks at his job, but he was a man that didn’t have a short temper. Max’s latter has that arrogant smirk waning somewhat, the man’s grey eyes narrowing onto the beast manager as something said gets his attention. Looking over at his men, “You want to ‘help’ us,” Crawl echoes this, disbelief evident in his voice. “You assume ‘Rad needs your help?” But then Olira’s being brought into this, and for some reason, that gets his temper up. Straightening from his lean, “Who do you work for?” he counters that inquiry after Olira, and the redhead’s coming by with full mugs for both men. She misses the fact that they’re talking about her, so she’s only passing looks first at Crawl, then at Max before she moves on to serve Jaya and Keane. Once she’s gone from their table, “You seem awfully interested in the cousin of a renegade crimelord, son,” he notes in open warning now, and the men shift ominously from where they stand.

Dark eyes flick over toward Jaya at her heated pronouncement of killing the one that had beaten Keane, a faint smirk arriving once again though it's undefined as to quite why it arrives. Back to Crawl, silent for a moment before answering, "Aye, help you." A nod goes toward Olira, as he states, "'Rad might not think he needs my help, but she does." Head turning and gaze settling back to the other man, "I can give her safe sanctuary and peace of mind until she feels ready to go home again," no arrogance there, simple statement of fact, "Can you say the same?" a brow lifting slightly. Crawl's temper flares and he remains calm in the face of it, the corner of his mouth edging up into a quarter smile as to who he works for, although it bears no true humor, "Let's just say…I owe 'Rad a favor, hmm?" Answering the last there before sending a nod and a strangely warm smile Olira's way when she delivers their drinks, "Thanks, darlin'." A brow lifted look touches onto the three bristling men, "You can tell your goons to stand down, I ain't here to put them in their place." Cheeky. And then adding with a hard edge to his voice, "Look, Vaput's starting to tread into my territory," his territory? "And I ain't liking it. If helping out 'Rad's family is the way to pay back what is owed and form an alliance? Then that's what I'll do. Time the prick got his dues." Vaputero that is. Luckily his accent speaks to Northern climes, not having been in Southern for long enough to have picked up the local one.

Jaya sends a look towards Olira when she arrives with their drinks, nodding briefly to the woman as she doesn’t linger. Her temper still laid bare, “Is that who I think it is?” she’s asking Keane in a low voice, indicating the redhead. “Aye,” Keane answers it gruffly enough with a look going towards the same woman. “Olira. She’s Kelarad’s cousin. I reckon,” and his gaze returns back to Jaya in the seriousness he’s about to impart, “you already know what happened there…?” Jaya’s eyes follow Olira as she makes her rounds, the frown growing. “I heard,” she gives in a delayed answer, her voice cold. “That is unforgivable. Kelarad won’t let this insult stand.” – “Why else do you think he’s here?” the Telgari notes dryly, turning an eye on Crawl and his men in indication as he starts listening in on their conversation. Meanwhile – “We take care of our own just fine,” Crawl’s saying with some open authority now, not liking the tone Max is taking with him one bit. He is Kelarad’s right-hand man, damn it! It was obvious to him that the other knew about what went down, so as much as he wanted to lie, it was quickly becoming moot. The old bar owner seems to be chummy with the woman that came with Max as well, so Crawl had to assume that they were somehow in the know. Olira, when she’s by, gives Max a tentative smile that has no warmth to it when he speaks to her. There’s a hollowness in her eyes – the redhead not really paying much attention to what’s being said around her as she moves off back to the counter. Crawl watches after her before adding, “What do you owe for a favor, hm? I’ve never seen you in my life!” And if Crawl hasn’t seen him, then he didn’t exist, right? Grey eyes back on Max as he finally lifts the mug to take a long drink as he calmly listens to the last. Eyes flick towards the men, and they as one visibly relax. “I’ve been to the peace gather,” he notes the meeting of all the major renegade crimelords with forced calm, setting the mug back down lightly. “I can honestly say that I have never seen you there, so I fail to see which territory you’re owning, son. Perhaps you should jog my memory first, and then I’ll decide whether or not to send you on your way for your insolence.” For now, he says nothing on the matter of Vaputero. After all, the Bitran had many enemies these days, so what was one more to him?

Keeping an ear on the conversation between Jaya and Keane, lips purse into a frown when it's confirmed that he was correct in assuming that Olira was the woman he was here for. The tentative smile sent him, setting a regretful cast to his expression for what she'd been through but for now he leaves her be, focusing his attention on Crawl instead. "Right," Max gives flatly on his statement to them taking care of their own, a pointed look sent after the redhead, "I can see that." As to what it is he owes Kelarad, his expression closes, "That's between me and him." And then with the trace of a smile that hovers on being a smirk fitting into place for Crawl not ever having seen him before, "Because that's the way I like to keep it." Out of sight, out of mind. The beast manager is slower in taking his own drink up but when he does, low laughter filters out from behind it, swallowing down a long draught and exhaling afterwards he puts a long look onto Kelarad's right hand man, "I don't attend your Northern peace gathers, mate." Thus offering hint as to where the territory lies that he's apparently staking claim to. Leaning back in his chair, fingers lace hands together across his stomach as once again he lapses into silence and then scratching a finger to his ear he states quietly, "You can tell 'Rad, Rogan's back in play and he's looking to repay a few debts." Completely ignoring the comment about being sent on his way and now staring the man down should he actually know of, or remember the name just given.

Apparently Crawl’s kindness can only go so far. “I’ll have you know-“ – “I’m going to need a meeting with your boss, Crawl,” Jaya smoothly cuts in, picking his name up from the eavesdropping she was doing. Keane looks on, frowning at Jaya first before he says, “Whatever you’re planning, Dicori, I wouldn’t,” he warns, shaking his head a fraction. “You want a meeting and you want to take Olira away,” Crawl puts forth a little forcefully, looking from Jaya to Max incredulously. “Out of the question.” – “I’ll be careful,” Jaya sends this to Keane, looking at him intently. “You need to heal up so I don’t feel so guilty. I’ll make you come down to Eastern otherwise.” – “Eastern?” That seems to get Crawl’s attention, his grey eyes landing on Max now. “You both are from the south?” Beat. “No one owns the south,” he quickly makes the connection now and states with finality. “Many a men tried, and many a men failed. Rogan.” Oh yes. He remembers that name fairly well, and his eyes have narrowed considerably. Even Jaya’s sending Max a look, regarding him for the name given with a frown. Getting to his feet, “I think the visit’s over,” the leader of the pack announces, turning cold looks onto both strangers. “Best get back south before someone Bitran notices you out here,” he sends this to Jaya – apparently he knew the name and its connections after all – and then turning to Max, “As for you, Rogan,” he levels at the beast manager, a hand calmly laying on his knife at his side, “I suggest you as well get on back down south to your ‘territory’.” He sneers at that. “I’m sure you, too, wouldn’t want any Tillekians looking real hard at you, the things you’ve done, son.” Silence would meet this and then a pale, slender hand lands on Crawls shoulder as Olira joins the small group. Eyes on both Jaya and Max, “He’s right,” she speaks for the first time in their presence, her voice a low and hollow one as she regards them. “I need to leave here, Crawl,” and she turns to face the leader. “If they have a way… give me a chance to…” – “She’s right,” Keane is on her side, his own sad gaze on the redhead. “Telgar ain’t a good place for her right now, and Tillek won’t be any better.” Nodding towards Max, and in turn Jaya, “Might be best to let them talk to Rad,” he notes with some authority – beaten he may be, but this was his bar. As far as he was concerned, he still had authority.

Lips curve into a faint smile of approval as Jaya states her wish to meet with Kelarad, Crawl's incredulous response earning him little more than a lifted brow, "Reckon you should let 'Rad decide that for himself, don't you?" Given calmly. With the scar faced woman dropping the shoe of their origins, Max's mouth pulls around a cold smile responding to no one owning the South and those that had tried and failed, "You might want to rethink that assumption, Tillek." Using the man's place of allegiance rather than his name. He does however studiously avoid the look coming from Jaya for the name used and recognized with regards to himself. It's about when Crawl's hand moves to his knife that Shijan, who'd been keeping a watchful eye on things from the dark shadows where he'd taken up residence, strolls into view from behind Kelarad's thugs, one of his own hands dropping to casually lift the edge of his tunic, revealing the wickedly curved blade on display at his side. Turning his head fractionally in the new arrival's direction, the beast manager turns his dark gaze and calculating smile over to the Tillekian, "You didn't really think I'd come without backup, did you?" that sounding like he had a lot more men waiting just outside. As to the things he's done to piss Kelarad off, there comes but a brief twitch of shoulders, "Like I said, here to pay off a debt owed." Having had the balls to stroll into a nest of tunnelsnakes to do so, while taking the chance of encountering the man himself, his expression is bland in the face of the sneer and veiled threat delivered, adding only in a tone of deadly calm, this reminder, "Be careful which bridges you burn, mate. They might just end up being the ones you need to cross over to save your hide one day." With Olira professing her wish to go with them, and Keane backing it up, the beast manager, looking right past Crawl, speaks to the redhead in gentle tone, "Go get your things then, darlin', and go with him," a nod toward the tall bodyguard adding as encouragement, "You can trust him," Shijan to whom he gives the following, "Tell B'set we'll be out shortly, I'm done here." Deliberately using a false name for the brownrider while at the same time letting it be known that he has dragonriders at his disposal. To Keane with a sincere expression in place, "You want somewhere to lay low or just take a load off for a bit, you know where to find us." Now that Jaya's let the proverbial feline out of the bag. As he stands to his feet and drains the last of his drink, the mug goes down on the table and he makes a show of smacking his lips together in appreciation thereof, "Well now, this has been fun," as if they'd just shared a game or cards, "We should do it again, sometime." Giving a slow smile that holds no humor despite his seemingly jovial words a few seconds ago, "Next time…drinks are on me." Turning to go, Max pauses putting out on the redhead they're taking with them, "She'll be writing to 'Rad to let him know how she's doing." Although one can bet he'll be vetting exactly what information gets put in those communications. "Tell him to keep watch for a green firelizard bearing Eastern's colors."

Shijan’s calm arrival has the men turning with knives drawn, and Crawl shoulders off Olira’s hand from him in his shock. “Call your canine off, Eastern,” he directs this in an open warning to Max, his own knife appearing in his hand. “And you’re not going anywhere with them, Olira,” he turns this to the redhead standing by. Not on his watch, anyway. Kelarad would have his hide, and he would rather not have the redhead going to parts unknown – because the south was pretty much unknown to him. With Max talking to Olira to get her things, and Jaya silent throughout the exchange as she and Keane are trading significant looks, “No one’s going anywhere,” the Blood and Bucket bar owner counters Max’s order from where he sits, looking the beast manager over critically with his ‘man of authority’ tone. Addressing Max specifically, even Shijan that arrived, “I said it’s a good idea to get her out of here, but she won’t be going anywhere until you talk to Kelarad. Not doing so would put you on a hitlist faster than this bar going down in flames, good intentions or not.” Eyes moving to a bristling Crawl who’s authority is clearly being overridden now, “I suggest you send someone to set up a meeting for the next day,” he adds chin lifting at him. “I doubt Rad will see them today since he’s meeting with Lorien. As for you two,” and he shifts in his seat, adding Jaya to his gaze on Max again, and even Olira, “hunker down, all of you. I’ve got a few rooms in the back, and I do need to speak privately with these folks since they came all this way to risk their asses over me.” Silence meets these words, the older man putting a long look to Crawl that eventually causes him to turn away and nod sharply to one of his men to do what Keane says. One man breaks from the group, his knife still drawn, and leaves the bar for his runner to go find Kelarad immediately, and Keane waits until he is gone before he addresses Kelarad’s men again. “I reckon I’ve got nothing to worry about with these two,” and he uses his wooden crane to point at both Jaya and Max, “so why don’t you and your thugs go out and check on the perimeter again? Unless you were on your way out,” and this last gets sent to Max, his eyes critical on him. Jaya doesn’t seem to be moving, and when Olira comes stand by the Telgari bar owner, he has the cane blocking her progress from moving any further to make a pointed statement that Max was welcome to go – but without Kelarad’s cousin.

Shijan, who hadn't moved an inch, simply stares Crawl's cohorts down, his hand does however drop from his knife with the briefest shake of head coming from the beast manager. Max, has yet to set his hand anywhere near to where his knife is carried at his side. Slowly but surely a smile peels out, oddly approving in its nature for the leader of the pack refusing to let him leave with Olira, "Was just starting to think a wherry had flown in through your ear and shat in your head." In other words, alluding to the man having been brainless if he'd let them leave as easily as that. When Keane speaks up, noting that he should speak to Kelarad first, thus making reference to him being in the vicinity, it's all the Easterner can do to keep that 'Oh fuck!' moment out of his expression. As such, it's a moment or three, or four, before he gives any indication he'd heard the old tavern owner, and then putting on a show of his giving the man's words some thought where in all truth, his mind was racing ten to the dozen. Eventually he gives a slow nod meeting Keane's gaze dead on, "We'll stay. Thank you kindly." This to the hospitality offered. There is but the smallest flicker of eyes to follow the one leaving to go and find the Tillekian boss and then they settle back onto Crawl, the edge of a smirk in place when the tavern owner's sending him out to check perimeters, "Bye bye now, watch the door don't hit you on the ass on your way out." Is he crazy!? Probably. In for a penny, in for a pound and if this is the day he dies then so be it, at least he'll have gotten his shots in first. Verbal or otherwise.

“Interesting company you keep, Dicori,” Keane directs this to Jaya once Max speaks to him and pretty much calls him going senile. The Bitran barkeep herself is showing a wry smirk herself on Max’s account, eyes slightly narrowed as she answers, “I prefer a little spice in my life.” She’s watching Max’s expression when it’s mentioned that Kelarad was in the vicinity as well, the woman not saying anything else with Rad’s own men in the room. Well, since Max agrees that they’re staying, she inclines her head to Max and then turns to settle back down into her abandoned seat. Olira takes up another chair at the same table, her eyes falling on Shijan, then Max, then Crawl since the tension in the room appears to be there. Keane, for his part, seems to be studying Jaya. “You don’t own us, old man,” Crawl’s saying in the silence, taking a step forward towards Keane for his so-called authority on the matter. “Best get that through your head.” But he’ll check the perimeters, alright – any reason to get out of there and keep himself from starting a fighting match with the Easterners. He was in fact halfway to the door until Max speaks, and that collected calm he’s so known for snaps. So much for orders of not bringing unnecessary harm to anyone! Crawl’s launching himself and his fist towards Max in an instant, his men all spanning out with stances at the ready. The move is so quick – and possibly expected by Max anyway – that it doesn’t give anyone else at the table a chance to react.

Brows twitch in amusement for Keane's comment to Jaya, her smirk mirrored back on itself by the beast manager. And he's still showing no outward clue to whatever is going on internally, merely watching where and how the women situate themselves in relation to himself and Shijan. The tavern owner not a physical concern of his right now. That is until Crawl steps toward the older man. Then Max straightens from the slight portrayal of a standing slouch he'd taken to but does little else, other than keep an eye on the pack leader. As Kelarad's right-hand man turns and leaves, Max starts to count under his breath but probably loud enough that whoever is standing nearest him will hear, "One…two…" and Crawl launches at him, with the Easterner, cursing cheerfully, "Fuck! You didn't even let me get to three." This as he turns sweeping a leg out intended to catch the man coming at his knees, turning in with the momentum the movement lends him and then feints twice with his right and leads with left in the true nature of a southpaw, putting his full bodyweight behind the blow aimed at the centre of the man's face while turning his body slightly to protect his centerline.

“Hey!” Keane would have shot up from his seat if he wasn’t in so much pain, and such he’s shouting at the men as they start in on each other. Luckily Jaya and Olira don’t have that problem. Both women are on their feet, the former pulling free her knife as she cries out, “Max! Chill!” – “Crawl, please, stop!” Olira’s cries come on the heels of Jaya’s the Tillekian moving forward as if to physically stop the fight from happening herself. Crawl’s not listening. “I’m going to teach you some manners, boy!” he snaps at the beast manager, crouching to put weight on his legs as he spies Max’s sweeping move. While this move loses him the first punch, it also causes him to duck from the blow Max aims that would have knocked him in the face. Crouched as he is, he tries to launch his whole body from that lower angle in the hopes of catching the man full in the chest. He could care less whether Max’s body is turned or not, intending to knock the man down to the ground so that he could gain the upper advantage. “Crawl!” Keane shouts through the scuffle, the bar owner sending Crawl’s men hard looks since they are not about to break the fight up anytime soon. One of them, in fact, seems to be rather enjoying it. Her patience – which was short to begin with – on breaking point, Jaya suddenly jumps Crawl from behind and aims both arms around his neck before he launches himself at Max. “Both of you, stop it!” she shouts, determined to at least knock down one of them – if not Crawl, then Max.

He pretty much ignores Jaya's shout, other than to grind out on the drawn knife, "Put it away, Jaya!" This is between him and Crawl. "Shall I call you, Pappy too?" Max taunts in return to the other man's snap on teaching him manners. The counter measure taken by the other foils his opening attack, his fist missing its intended target. Instead of trying to avoid the full body tackle, he uses it to his advantage, throwing himself backwards, hands going to the front of Crawl's shirt and feet tucking up toward the man's abdomen with the aim of using the other's momentum to throw him backwards and away from him, thus giving him time to roll and get to his feet if they've both hit the floor and his bid has been successful. Shijan, appears to be of a similar mind to the other men standing about, and while he's keeping a careful eye on the situation, he's not making any moves to get involved just yet. If he's gotten it right, Max is back on his feet, breathing a little heavier than before but with a slight grin to his features, "Aw, untwist ya knickers, Jaya. We're just gettin' acquainted," his accent coming heavier as he holds a hand out to his opponent, "Ain't that right, Crawl?" And funnily enough? There's no malice in his tone, just a keen light to dark eyes waiting on the other man to decide if he's still of a mind to throw down or not.

“They’re going to ruin my bar!” Keane is saying through the fight, his eyes hard on his redheaded barmaid. Olira herself, there’s a light to come into her eyes that hasn’t been there before when Max and Jaya arrived. She was still barmaid after all – and this was her domain. “Be right back,” she tells him, turning on a heel and heading towards and around the counter to reach the backrooms while Crawl shoots up at the sudden weight behind throw from behind. “Bitch!” he cries, wrenching free from her tightening hold and knocking her back into one of the tables and out of the way. Max was his. “Call me that and your dead!” he tosses at the beast manager on the account of calling him anything but his name, knocking himself into Max and allowing them both to crash to the ground. He rolls to the side as Max gets to his feet, shooting out an arm to try and trip the other up by grabbing and tugging at a leg. Breathing heavily herself as she’s half-on top of the table she was pushed against, “You fuck up this bar, beast manager and I’ll have to knock some sense into you myself!” Jaya’s shouting, her knife still left at the ready as she watches the men scramble about. And this is on the heels of Crawl’s response to them getting acquainted no less: “I’ll acquaint you to my f-“ Whoosh! Freezing cold water would hit both men as sudden as a blow to the stomach, Crawl gasping and throwing himself away from the shock. It’s Olira, a large, wide bucket in both hands dripping with the ice water with heavy eyes full of anger on them both before her. It seems a fight is what it takes to put some light back into her otherwise empty eyes, though even as she stands there it’s starting to flicker and fade. “There’s a clearing outside if you want to thrown down,” she notes coolly into the silence that’s sure to ensue from having water thrown over you. “Best not do it in here, or you’re going to have to deal with me.” She doesn’t sound like she’s playing either, a brow lifting to both men as she lifts the bucket a bit in indication. Keane from behind her is actually smiling - this was Kelarad’s cousin, the woman that dared to go up against men twice her size with such defiance.

Max braces as Crawl grabs a hold of his leg, but rather than try to break free just yet sends a faintly amused look down onto the man, "I usually only let someone feel me up after the second date and dinner, so unless ya offerin' ta buy…" here he shakes free and away an exaggerated roll of eyes given for the further threat of what it is the pack leader is going to acquaint him with and a smirk fits into place as he goes to finish the other's sentence for him, "…with ya fish?" Amused as a hand flaps in Jaya's direction, "Aye, break my nose. Been there done that, got the…" Sploosh! Olira's bucket of water hits the two of them and he's left standing there blinking in shock. Recovering quickly, plucking at his drenched jacket and shirt front, "Heeeey! This was my favorite jacket!" Hair plastered flat against his head and water dripping off his chin there is however a crooked grin, pleased for the fire that had suddenly lit through the redhead for a moment. "Thanks for the shower, darlin'. Think I'll pass on the clearing though. Mud pie ain't my look." Er…what? Shouldn't he be…pissed off or trying to assert his authority or something? Only those that know him well enough (such as perhaps Jaya) will see the calculating light in dark eyes, suggesting that perhaps…he'd deliberately engineered the situation.

Drenched, “We will settle this in the ring,” Crawl is dropping each word carefully through heavy panting, a finger lifting and pointing in Max’s direction as he gets to his feet. Apparently, he’s blaming his being drenched in cold water on Max and not Olira. “I will get Rad to clear it, and then I will bring you to your knees properly, like a maiden on her first night.” Jaya pushes off from the table and steps forward, looking both wet men over with a slow shake of her head. Sheathing the knife, “And then you wonder why us women will be taking over things one day,” she drawls, a hard look going to Max for his bringing up their encounter in the stables so long ago. The fight seems to have stopped though, so she nods thanks to Olira along with a smile. “I think you and I will be getting along just fine, shuga,” she tells her, amusement laced in her husky tone after Max tosses his bantering words the redhead’s way. Olira lowers the bucket now that no punch will be thrown, “Sorry about the jacket,” she answers him, and… is that a smile in her eyes? It’s hard to tell, for the woman turns to send a look Jaya’s way and then she and her bucket head back towards the counter without further words. As for Keane, the bar owner’s studying Max closely now but his words are meant for Crawl. “Get a towel from the back and haul your men outta here,” he tells him, jerking his chin towards the back rooms without breaking his gaze on Max. He seems to not mind that his floor and a table is not drenched in water, but water is much better than having things broken. “Got some things to talk about with our esteemed guests, here,” he notes his previous request now gruffly. Silence meets that request from Crawl, the man looking downright mutinous. He turns a cold glare in Max’s direction, fists tightening at the fact that he’s not looking good right now and his ego’s not feeling too good either. Slowly, “Check the perimeter,” he orders his watching men, jerking his head towards the entrance. “I’ll be out shortly.”

Max sets Crawl with such a bored expression, one can almost hear him mentally sighing and going, 'Do we reeeaally have to?' If said out loud, there might even have been a petulance to it, like a child sat at a table with a plate full of cold vegetables and being told they're not getting up until their plate is clean. That all remains unsaid however, giving a disinterested shrug of shoulders and a muttered, "Whatever." Dismissing the notion out of hand. Jaya's approach and words draws that crooked grin from the beast manager who palms his hands down the front of his soaked jacket, "In ya dreams, darlin'." This to women taking over one day and in contrast to his usual show of support for women's rights. But then that might be for the benefit of Kelarad's men standing about. Olira's apology earns her a more genuine smile and small shake of head, his repartee still firmly in place, "Ain't no matter darlin', it'll dry." In a few days or so which likely means he'll get to Between back to Eastern in a damp jacket. Yay! Keane's study of him doesn't go unnoticed, and he quirks the tiniest edge of a knowing smirk the older man's way, probably having decided the man was on to him and what his game had been in that little show of 'tomfoolery'. "Whenever ya ready, barkeep," tone holding a note of respect in a show of compliance to engaging in talks with him. Crawl is still glaring mutinously with fists clenched, Max is…apparently still bored with him, barely sparing the man a second glance now, though he does keep him within his sights when he sends his men out ahead of him while he still lingers.

“Yeah,” Crawl is still glaring at Max despite his boredom with him, “We’ll see if it’s ‘whatever’.” It’s likely the man’s planning on having a word with Kelarad when that meeting goes down – possibly before it. Then he casts a look over those present – particularly Olira – before he stalks towards the back room and out of sight for that towel. Jaya watches the man stalk out before snorting to Max’s return response. “With the way you all are killing off yourselves,” she drawls, turning her gaze back to Max as she moves to drop back down into a seat at Keane’s table, “that dream will soon be a reality. We already got a woman running Nerat.” What was next? Her look seems to convey to him then, amusement still lingering in her frame. “Come on over, Olira,” Keane thumps his cane against the ground to get her attention now that Crawl was gone. “This concerns you as well.” Olira follows suit, moving to sit down right next to her boss and fit her gaze from Jaya to Max with some surface level curiosity. Keane will wait until Max joins them as well, his aged eyes keeping his expressions to himself in regards to the beast manager. He was curious about this man, that much was clear, but he was making a mental note to speak to Jaya about him much later and in private once everyone had retired for the night.

Skeptical the look sent to Crawl in response and then waiting until he's left and out of earshot hands set to hips as he puts a long hard look toward the back room, a muscle ticking in his clenched jaw only indication of the anger held under tight control before flicking a meaningful glance in Shijan's direction. "Wherry brained git." He finally pronounces of the man and then turning, fits a smirk to Jaya for her comment as he makes his way over to the table shrugging out of his wet jacket and slinging it over the back of a chair. Slumping into it, seemingly quite at ease in the unfamiliar surroundings despite the scuffle and the threat leveled against him, his legs stretch out before him as he wathces Keane bid Olira join them. "Heard about her," he gives easily on the woman running Nerat, "Indira was to pay her a visit and set something in place for more permanent living arrangements for some of those with us before Randi came along." And then he goes quiet, rolling up shirt sleeves then folding arms across his chest, an expectant and somewhat interested look fitting onto the older man as he waits to hear he has to say.

“Ritalia’s as much of a git as that one you pronounced,” Keane’s fitting his comment to Max, listening sharply to the banter between his former barmaid and the beast manager before putting his mark bit in. When Jaya gives the old man a look, something that’s rather surprised for him to be making such a comment, he waves a hand at her and adds, “Don’t give me that look, Dicori. I may not take any sides with renegade business, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a fucking opinion on each and every one of them. Anyway,” and straightens up, now seeing that Max is seated and he fits a hard look onto Jaya first. “Now. I’m going to need a better explanation than what was given if you’re planning to take my barmaid away from me,” he says, eyes flicking to include Max in this request. Olira’s gaze lights on them as well. “You own the south?” this gets directed at Max in particular, the old bar owner shooting a glance at Jaya as if in confirmation. Yeah, Jaya caught that little bit, too, and she’s merely giving her old boss her gambler’s face as she allows Max to answer that himself.

A brow lifts and a corner of his mouth curls upward for Keane's comment, and then he states dryly, "Sometimes you got to make a deal with the watchwher," Pernese substitution for making a deal with the devil, "to get to where you're going, aye?" Such as he's hoping to make with Kelarad. Not knowing the older man like Jaya does, Max of course finds nothing strange about his comment and then draws quiet, dark eyes flicking between the two as the tavern owner demands a better explanation. However, he'll answer to the query put to himself in particular first, answering carefully, "I keep an eye on things down there." Leaning forward out of his slouch, forearms rest to the tabletop, his attention going between both Olira and her employer, "We're here because Jaya wanted to check in with you and I wanted to help out, any debt I might be able to square away with Kelerad, is a bonus," making it clear his primary purpose was the barmaid and her needs. "Look, I can keep her safe, give her the time she needs to…recover and get herself together again," still angry for what the woman has been put through, "that I can guarantee you. No one would dare touch her down there under my watch." No insult intended for her having been violated under Keane's.

“She’s in league with Vaputero,” Jaya says aloud on the Neration lady crimeboss, perhaps as an aside to Max. “I wouldn’t deal with her even when I was under Vaput’s thumb. She always seemed ‘off’ to me,” and she makes a face before shaking her head. “Only reason why I deal with her at all if because S’las is related to her.” – “Keep an eye,” Keane addresses Max’s answer, leaning forward a little so that he could prop his steepled hands together on the table. “Huh.” Eyes briefly take in Jaya, “I ask because I’m not looking to drop my girl into oncoming trouble down there. You get me?” he levels this gruffly, regarding Max steadily now. “I trust Jaya here,” he admits with a nod to her, “but you I’m not so sure.” – “He’s not on any of the renegades’ tab,” Jaya seems to vouch for him, leaning forward as well. “I would have left if he was,” and she shoots a wry look Max’s way at it. Nodding to both Olira and Keane, “He’s good people.” Keane is silent to the latter once Olira is brought up, the old barkeep seeming to go on the defensive until he lets it fade. “So you owe Kelarad,” he notes, choosing to respond to this first. “Not a good thing to be owing one of them. I’ve taken in plenty of fugitives in my day,” and he looks pointedly to Jaya as he says this, “and they were always owing something or other to some renegade with his ass in the sky. Not the biggest concern, though. Vaputero, is.” He pauses, turning his head to include the redhead in his line of vision before he adds the next bit in a serious tone of voice. “Vaput’s still after Jaya,” he puts his cards on the table. “Jaya’s down in Eastern.” He looks at Jaya and she nods to that. Eyes on Max now, “What makes you think Olira’s safe down there should Vaput is of the mind to make a visit? I’m not sure the man knows about Jaya being there, but anything’s possible. I didn’t tell him shit when he came at me, but I can sure as bet this here bar that he’s got people down there working for him. Jaya here can take care of herself, but I’m more worried about Olira.”

Ah, now that he hadn't known about the Neratian woman as evidenced by the quietly muttered, "Shit!" and then he's focusing back onto what Keane is saying with a nod and small smile sent Olira's way, "Aye, I can certainly understand your concerns, sir." Producing a rarely used address of respect for the older man and then shrugging in understanding of the other's misgivings about him, "Understandable, you don't know me from the last drunk that passed out in here." Jaya's comment has him sending her a crooked smile and a slight dip of head in appreciation for her words on him being good people it's what Keane goes on to say about having taken in fugitives that earns him a closer look from the Easterner, his growing respect for the man evident in his eyes as he states quietly, "Then I think you might understand what it is I'm trying to do here with regards to the lady," Olira that is. Direct his response to owing Kelarad, "Aye. Did him in a few times to help give a few folk second chances." Thus making it clear he wasn't simply out to make trouble for the hell of it. As to Vaputero, his brows crease into a frown and Max nods, "Aye, I know. Caught one of his bottom feeders trying to steal my runner and managed to get that much out of him," after beating the shit out of the man and keeping him locked up for several sevens but he's not going into that right now. With a glance over to Shijan, "That's when Indira had Shijan over there sent down to the bar to watch Jaya's back." Leaning back in his seating, silence forms for a time and then with an exhale of breath as if having reached a decision he asks of the redhead herself now, a crooked smile fitting into place, "How's your organizational skills, darlin'?" clearly he has something in mind for her already.

“I can take care of myself,” Olira breaks her silence since all this talk around her is focused on her. Grey eyes landing on her boss, “It’s you I’m worried about. Vaput will come back.” – “Don’t give a fuck about that Bitran shitbag,” Keane says to that piece, folding his arms across his chest. “I’m a man of my word. Been here over 30 turns and not a single man has moved me. He’s going to have to burn this place to the ground with me in it to get me to talk!”- “Please don’t say that,” Jaya’s interrupting to a near-whisper, her face growing cold as her concern for the man shows clearly on her face. “Vaputero does that and I’ll…” she pauses, lips pressing together as she chooses not to look at anyone in particular. It’s probably best she doesn’t finish that sentence, but Keane has a look of understanding on his face. “Get your shit together first, Jaya,” he says in the pause, nodding gravely. That’s all he’ll say for now since he plans on catching the woman later in private. Turning to Max, he notes the respect being afforded him and that goes a long way with putting the Telgari more at ease. “I understand,” he says this gravely on what Max was trying to do, and he even looks a bit grateful about it. “Ain’t that many folks like you and I out there, Max. Most folks wouldn’t take in those like Jaya and Olira here, simply because they’re either renegades themselves or holdless.” Beat. “I doubt Kelarad will give you too much trouble,” he adds then, nodding towards Olira in indication of him taking her down south. “He sees reason for the most part. He’s not like Vaput or some other bosses, there.” At hearing about the runner heist, he frowns and shoots a glance towards Jaya, in which she nods. “Fuck,” he curses, wiping a hand over the stubble around his mouth. “That man knows no bounds. Killed him?” He’s practical about these things, after all, so the question doesn’t sound misplaced considering the type of bar he runs. When Shijan is pointed to, he and Olira look over towards him and the old Telgari inclines his head. “Good thinking,” he says on the account of having Shijan watching Jaya’s back, his gaze back on Max with new scrutiny. “That takes a load off of my mind, at least. Might keep Dicori here from doing something stupid, too.” – “Fairly good,” Olira answers the last asked of her then after sending a look towards Keane and nodding. With Keane nodding for her to go on, “I used to keep books for Lorien,” she adds, mentioning the man that runs the lands in Telgar. The look she sends Max now is one of curiosity, her eyes narrowing slightly as she regards everyone then at the table.

Max is silent throughout the exchange between the women and the old barkeep, interjecting only once to state, "We can afford you muscle if you're of a mind to use it." Thus offering Keane some type of protection free of the allegiances of the North. However, there does come a caveat along with that, "I ain't interested in turf wars," given firmly, "Southern is a sanctuary and I aim to keep it that way." And you can bet he'd fight to his last breath to keep that holding true. His expression turns wry, "Randi took us in," himself, his mother, their band of holdless and not more than a few such as Jaya needing a fresh start, "We're just paying it forward." Leaving it rather at that than launching into an explanation that his parents had been doing as much for turns already. A brow goes up when 'seeing reason' and Kelarad are put into the same sentence, looking to Olira for confirmation thereof, and then a hand lifts to rub a thumb across his lower lip, "Aye, less of course that shit for brains he got working for him screws it all up." By running wailing to his boss about how 'the mean beast manager from Eastern just keeps taunting him'. A shrug and that gets set aside with a snort before moving onto the matter of the runner thief captured and lips compress into a frown as he shakes his head in the negative for having killed him. "Let him go to face his handler instead," letting it sound like Ahnika's hand in it had been a purposeful thing of his engineering, "He's small fry. It's his handler down there I'm after. Got intel he might be in with the farmers our way." A wry grin goes Jaya's way his expression dubiously amused as it sets back onto Keane, "She'd find trouble even if it were dressed up like a virgin on her way to harper lessons." When Olira answers the question put to her, Max nods, his expression one of approval, "Good, then I know just where to hide you in the Weyr." Not putting out where that might be just yet considering there's a certain brownrider in charge of weyrlings that he needs to talk to first.

“Take the muscle,” Jaya is the first to comment when Max offers it to Keane, her gaze on the bar owner flat. “If Olira’s coming with us, you’ve got nobody.” – “I’ve had nobody long before you showed up one night to steal from me,” Keane notes dryly, sending a warning the Bitran’s way for her over-concern for him. “I’ve got Tackas coming around, anyway. Man’s been asking after you.” That causes Jaya to frown some, the scarred woman sitting back in her seat. “Why doesn’t he ask Suli after me?” she asks aloud, which has Keane frowning and asking right back, “Who’s Suli?” That should be warning, right? When Max mentions he’s not into the turf wars, there’s low laughter from the Blood and Bucket owner. “You may not be,” he counters, “but that won’t stop them, son. The south’s been renegade playing ground for decades now.” – “Vaput used to talk about setting up a network down in Landing,” Jaya adds for Max’s benefit, her tone even. “I wouldn’t worry about Crawl,” Keane puts in then when the talk turns to Kelarad, the man settling more relaxed in his seat. “Lose a few marks at the tables and he’ll get over it. He has a thing for Olira, is all.” Olira’s face colors a little at that, but she keeps her face forward and avoid eye contact. “Still. Paying it forward’s pretty good morals. Try to do the same myself, whenever I can. Know I run a shady bar,” he adds with barely a shrug and no apology in his voice, “but it’s not like I can see myself in some damn hold or Weyr, anyway.” He pauses, listening more on the account of the handler down in Eastern and he smiles a bit at hearing about the farmers. “You might wanna look Southern’s way, then,” he notes at hearing about the farmers, he eyes going to Jaya. “Jaya’s informant keeps up with who’s watching the south, and he’s mentioned once about some farmers cutting suspect deals. Might not be anything at all. Might be something, indeed. Might not be Vaputero, either,” he adds this to them both pointedly. “Rad’s got people down there and so does every other renegade across the north. Don’t go stirring a hornet’s nest and piss off the wrong renegade. I hear Borrento has his men scouring the south these days.” It’s a warning, and one that has Jaya’s features going pale. But he’ll let that off for now, choosing to laugh modestly at the crack made at Jaya’s benefit, and the Bitran woman tries to knock Max in the shoulder. “Trouble dressed up like a virgin’s the closest she’ll get to being one,” he notes, and the woman’s crying, “Hey! Keep it up and I’ll take you both on!” There’s laughter again, and even Olira is showing glimmers of a smile without actually doing it. She nods when Max speaks to her again, her curiosity evident even moreso. “South will do you some good, Olira,” Keane tells her, moving to pat her hand with his own. “Might find you’ll even prefer it to the North and stay.” Which he’s hoping is the case for her sake.

When Keane queries who Suli is, dark brows shoot upward and Jaya is set with an intent look, "Told you that bitch was no good!" As to turf wars and Southern being a playground for renegades, a cold smile comes into play, "Not no more it ain't." There's a new face in town and he seems to be staking his claim, officially or not. Jaya's added comment on Vaput's attempts to set up a network down at Landing draws that smile into a smirk, "I'll be sure to let Yaron know." Shijan sending a derisive snort on the tail end of that, though whether it's to Vaput's attempts or Yaron, it's hard to tell. Next Olira is given a somewhat amused look for the slight blush she displays and then Max is giving in sardonic tone, "Nice choice, darlin'." Not. He takes what the older man says on Crawl with a nod, filing that information away for potential use in the future. "Southern?" dark eyes flicking over toward Jaya for where further information might be found amongst the farmers, "Good to know. Thanks." As to whatever other renegades might currently have their toes in the South a slight smile shows up, carrying calculating edges to it but he says nothing just yet other than to send the scar faced woman a grin for the knock to his shoulder, "Don't try and deny it, darlin'. Trouble's your middle name." Absolutely not a name they share. Nu uh. Riiight. Back to Keane on something said earlier, a note of sobriety in his tone, "Would appreciate having eyes and ears up here that can be trusted," a meaningful look set to the tavern owner, "in return for which, you know where to send anyone looking for do over, aye?' Leaning forward a little he adds his two marks worth in to the other man's latter, "There's good folk down there, darlin'. People you can trust."

“Tackas sent Suli down there to me,” Jaya explains, looking from Telgari to beast manager and back. Right? “He didn’t tell you?” With Max’s announcement on the Telgari barmaid, “He didn’t say anything about a Suli,” Keane is slow to respond, trying to recall their conversations from after Jaya left. Fixing Jaya with a look, “Why is she no good?” – “She’s been protecting me from Vaput,” Jaya explains now, throwing a look Max’s way. Even Olira’s leaning forward now, finding this piece of news interesting. “She’s not terribly fond of Max and Shijan,” the Bitran adds, dark eyes falling on her bodyguard then, “but she’s not fond of most people. Admittedly she’s been a little…questionable,” she seems to allow this, coming to the defense of the Telgari woman, “but if she’s working for Vaput like Max seems to think then what the fuck is she waiting for?” Keane is silent through that, his eyes on Max before he answers with a twitchy shrug. “You might want to send Ralik out to do some digging on her,” he says slowly, naming Jaya’s informant with his mind turning, but Jaya is quick to answer back, “I did when she first turned up. She’s got family history in Telgar Weyr, but other than that…” there’s a shrug, and silence. Keane is silent as well, seeming to drop the matter since he turns a look of approval onto the beast manager on his staking claim to the south. With Max’s sardonic words causing Olira’s face to color even more, “You’ve been using my informant behind my back, I see,” Jaya notes when Max looks her way and Keane speaks about the farmers’ connection to Southern. Keane doesn’t look apologetic, answering gruffly, “Ralik gets around. I’d be an idiot not to.” His eyes falling on the beast manager then, “You’ll have your eyes and ears, Max,” he makes the decision to ally with him without even batting an eye, his approval of Max evident in his tone. It takes much for Jaya to hide the pleased smile threatening to come forth, but oddly enough, the Bitran barkeep approves as well. “You’ve been taking care of Jaya and keeping her ass alive, so I won’t be able to thank you enough. I’ve got sources, connections. If you need them, they’re yours.” It’s said simply enough, the old bar owner looking between Jaya and Max. “Hope Eastern’s become your home, Dicori,” he says then, nodding firmly. “Don’t want to hear about you running again. You’re too young to spend your life running. Maybe stop all that stealing and smuggling, eh?” Jaya merely smiles to that, her tone dry as she says, “I’ve stopped running at least. Haven’t stolen anything in months. You should be proud.” Beat. “They’re right,” she tacks on for Olira to Max’s last, speaking about Eastern. “Different type of life down there. We’ll set you up real nice and you’ll not have to want for anything anymore.”

Max sets Jaya with an expression that grows more skeptical by the second as she puts words to Suli’s presence in Eastern, turning grim toward the end as he notes, “And for all you know she’s a plant put in place by someone with ties to Vaput looking to earn favor with him. Especially if her trail runs cold outside of her history with the Weyr here.” And that’s his two marks worth on the surly barmaid, his dislike and mistrust of the woman no secret. In sardonic aside to Keane on the woman under discussion, “She likes to buy invisible runners,” snort. He drops quiet until the older man is addressing him directly, a slow nod of appreciation given, “Our loyalties, Keane.” That to the alliance put into place. “And you’ll have your safe haven for anyone needing it.” If he catches on to Jaya’s approval for the agreement come to between them he doesn’t exhibit as much simply adding, “Indira will likely be up here to introduce herself and lay the groundwork out. She handles the whys and wherefores of getting information and people in and out.” He seemingly the one that sets up the alliances needed to keep Southern safe under their protection from those in the north that would set their attentions southward. Or so it would appear by the manner in which he’s been presenting himself thus far. Never mind that before this day he’d not given staking a claim to anything outside of the beast caverns and a certain redhead, the first shred of a thought. But oft times, a man simply does what a man must do to protect his own and this would be one of those times. The beast manager although apparently in complete agreement with what Keane says to Jaya on putting an end to her stealing and smuggling and making Eastern her home, adds in, “’Less of course you’re any good at moving people around.” Then of course, he may well make good use of her smuggling skills in the future. To Olira he sends the flicker of a smile before adding a stipulation to her stay at the Weyr after Jaya’s words to her, his tone holding for no arguments, “One condition darlin’, you keep your nose clean and your head down, or I’ll personally drop you in Vaput’s lap, aye?” And while that might sound extremely harsh given her recent encounter with the Bitran, he can’t take the risk of putting the Weyr and those under his protection in any further danger. It being clear he doesn’t like having to be the ‘bad guy’ there and delivering such threats. That having been said he notes in kinder tone, “You’ll need a new name, a background and a reason for being there. I’ll have Ahnika get onto it when we get back.” He could just as easily use his mother’s expertise in the area but the chances are good he’s interested to see what further strengths and weaknesses the weyrling might possess with regards to what it is his line of work outside of the beast caverns requires.

“He could be right,” Keane falls on Max’s side in regards to Suli, nodding grimly to Jaya’s defense of the older woman. “Someone buying invisible runners is worth closer study, Jaya. Put some pressure on her and see if she runs.” Jaya had to concede to that, though it’s obvious by the tightness around her eyes that she doesn’t like it. Keane turns to Max then, “I will look forward to meeting Indira, then,” he says the name as much to put it away in memory. “I appreciate the safe haven, as well. Might have someone looking for just the thing, in fact.” His gaze goes to Jaya then when Max makes his comment on her smuggling skills, and the scarred faced woman is quick to answer, “I can move anything, alive or dead.” Such confidence in one so young, but perhaps that alludes to her reasons for gaining high favor with Vaputero at one point? And since Max makes his conditions known to Olira after Jaya says her peace, the redheaded Tillekian squares her jaw and looks solely at him – choosing to speak only after he’s done. “I don’t invite trouble,” she notes, and there’s a slight emphasis on the pronoun as if stressing a comparison between herself and Jaya there. “All I want is to see Vaputero’s downfall.” It the was first time she’s said the renegade Bitran’s name, the coldness in her tone showing her helpless frustration for what had happened to her. Jaya’s jaw tightens up on that as well, the woman nodding to Olira and saying, “He will fall.” – “Then I will give no cause for talk,” Olira responds to that, turning back to Max and giving him her word. “I’ll agree to anything asked.” Provided Kelarad lets her go, that is. “Now, I need to tend to Keane’s wounds and make him his drink,” she states, slowly getting to her feet and signaling her end of the meeting. “He needs to rest,” and a stern enough look goes Keane’s way as if expecting argument, but the old Telgari waves her off and concedes to her demands. “There’s food and drink in case you both get hungry,” Keane adds this to Jaya and Max, nodding as he ends the meeting. “I appreciate the talk, and smoothing over my concerns,” this directed at Max. “Please treat my bar as if it’s your own.” It was something he’s never done, but a friend of Jaya’s was a friend of his as far as he was concerned.

As much as Keane falls on his side on the matter of Suli, so does the Easterner provide a united front by falling on his with regards to putting pressure on the Telgari barmaid, "You should do as he says." Uh oh, poor Jaya, now she's got two men badgering her on the matter. As to Indira, there comes simply a brief nod and then a brow lifts upward at talk of there being someone else in need of their help, "It would be our honor." Perhaps a strange choice of words, but there you have it. Jaya's return on her smuggling abilities draws an amused snort from Max, "Rather you kept 'em alive, darlin'. That's sorta the purpose to all this." Olira is then given a faint nod, "Good, then we are of an accord." That as a cold light enters dark eyes to match the woman's tone, "Vaputero will get what's coming to him." The warning having been delivered and accepted by the redhead, his expression softens and a smile fits into place, "Reckon you'll do just fine down there, Olira." Using her name for the first time, amusement in his eyes for the way Keane is fussed over and offers him in an aside with a smirk at play, "It's usually best to let 'em have their way I find." As if having had Ahnika fuss over him had been such a chore when in fact, it had been her he'd been calling for in fevered delirium a few months back when on the hunt for Phineus. The hospitality afforded them coupled with the statement to make themselves at home puts a long look onto the barkeep, "My gratitude." Tone deeply respectful for the gesture made.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Jaya gives a surface answer on the account of Suli, her exasperation brimming to the surface with both her former boss and beast manager. “See that you do,” Keane returns shortly, willing to drop the matter in favor of a pleased nod to Max on both his words on Suli and his honor for helping him out. It was indeed a good meeting. Smuggling abilities aside, Jaya leans back in her seat and folds her arms across her chest as she regards Max’s statement on wanting them alive. “Whatever’s asked,” is all she says on that, alluding to if the person’s meant to be alive, they will be. Olira, for her part, nods and appears faintly pleased by Max’s answer on Vaputero, and then she turns and heads towards the counter to prepare Keane’s drink. Watching her leave, “She’ll pour ice cold water on me if I don’t,” he notes, nodding towards the drenched jacket Max is sitting behind with open amusement. “So tell me about Eastern.” That’s how Crawl will find them when he finally emerges from the back rooms looking much drier than when he left, the three engaged in the light talk of Weyr events, hatchings and bar happenings that a simple bar owner of the Blood and Bucket would be interested in. Jaya would obliged in filling him in on all the details – even about how she met Max first, to Keane’s amusement – and she’ll pause to let Max fill in the rest in such as casual manner as if this was the sole purpose of the meeting from the start. At least to Crawl’s benefit.

Ending Music: The Rasmus - In The Shadows

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