Sticky Situations


Lorayit.jpg Max.jpg

Date: May 29, 2011
Location: Max's Office, EW
Synopsis: Lo stops by and uncharacteristically pulls through for Max. The two end up touching on some very heady subjects that might prove both lucrative and defining for them both in the end. That's if, the gardener's willing to take the risk.
Rating: PG-18 for language.
Logger: Lorayit

Lo's been gone for a few sevens, not surprisingly, but now he was back. The suntanned blonde gardener always had business beyond Weyr walls, so when he got back, he made a mental note to throw some cards with the farmers in Jaya's bar for the latest - and the speak with the new crimelord of southern.

It was late night by the time Lorayit makes it to the stables, the familiar setting bringing back early memories of when he first came to Eastern with Jinnet and Passan in tow. Seems like yesterday he was directing them to stake out one of Max's runners, and now today, Passan's out of action and Jinnet's dead. Might not be long before the erstwhile gardener might be joining either fate with them. He ignores any still left in the stables as he walks in with self-assuredness, looking about the place as if he owned it. He doesn't expect to be stopped either if sure footing is any indication as he walks on towards the back where he knows Max's office to be unless stopped.

Given the suspicions surrounding the gardener, the moment Lorayit had stepped foot in the beast caverns, Waine came to full alert, blue eyes fitting heavily to the gardener and while he doesn’t stop or challenge him, the big stablehand does shadow him. Its only as the man draws closer to Max’s office that Waine gives out his position and growls out low, “Lost something?”

His steps not exactly faltering, nor if he turning to address the man tailing him, "I have a few words for your boss," Lorayit answers, his tone cavalier and unconcerned. It's only once he reaches the door that he sudden turns to face Waine, looking the bigger man up and down - and making a show of it. Wry, "Is Max even in?" he asks, seeming to size the man up for no apparent reason other than not to look intimidated by the other's size. "I do believe I have some interesting news for the man, or are mere gardeners not allowed in this-" and he makes a show of spreading hands free from body in indicating the stables, "-fanciful establishment?" with a slight mocking smirk in place.

“I’ll bet you do,” Waine gives with a dangerously easygoing smile in place, not bothering to give Lorayit the once over, or perhaps he’d already done so when the blonde’s back was turned. “Yeah, he’s in,” the crimelord’s second gives with a bit of a curl of lip, as if Lorayit amused him. Suddenly the door to Max’s quarters jerks open and the man under discussion fills its woodwork frame. Blink. “Lo…” a brow goes up as he spots Waine standing right up next to the man, arms crossed over his broad chest, “Waine?” – “Escort service, boss,” the big man gives with an innocent grin and ambles off. “I was just on my way somewhere, but I’ve got a few to spare yet, come on in,” that to the gardener as Max steps aside to allow him entrance.

Brows lifting at that initial statement, "Would you prefer I'd say that I've come to kiss him?" comes dryly to Lorayit's lips, snorting as he returns the second's curl of lip. Yeah, he was going to have to keep careful aim of Waine. He opens his mouth to add something else until the door swings open, Max appearing before them both and getting his attention. "Max," he swings a slight bow, slightly amused, not saying anything else until he is ushered into the office. The gardener doesn't even give Waine a second glance, walking to the chairs placed before the desk with a sweeping look about the place - one would call it 'casing' - before he drops into one of the seats with gusto. Continuing to look around, "You know, I would have expected you as crimelord to choose more suitable accommodations," he notes over his shoulder, the smile easy as his eyes roams over what he sees on the desk. He fishes for something shiny out of his shirt pocket and starts to toss and catch it in the air idly, the glint of it flickering in the light. "Still masquerading as a grumbling beast manager, I see! I'm sure you have all these people in this Weyr fooled."

Lorayit’s comment has a wide grin form that devolves into an all out belly laugh from the big second that really seems to amuse him no end! He’s still laughing as he moves off and the door closes behind his boss and the gardener. “Ain’t nothin’ worth stealin’ in here,” Max gives with a smirk noting how the other man ‘cases his joint’, “Not unless you’re wantin’ a half empty bottle of booze.” The very bottle he takes down from a shelf along with a couple of glasses and sets on his desk. That smirk only deepens as he pours a measure of whisky into each, “If you didn’t know where I operate from…would you have thought to come lookin’ for me here?” a brow lifted in pointed manner. Pushing a glass toward the gardener, Max settles into his chair and casts an amused look up to the blonde the shiny object being flipped giving a glimmer of attention. “Not all of ‘em,” he notes, almost bored on who he may or may not have fooled about the Weyr. “You gonna sit or is this a spill and dash affair?”

Yeah…Lo is a little worried by that laugh. He's watching after Max's second as he roars off, looking momentarily dubious. "Your man got issues with kissing?" he sends Max's way, gesturing towards Waine's back as he enters. Max's remark on casing his place gets a blithe, "Well damn. I'll take the bottle of booze, then." Flip, catch. Flip, catch. The question as to the choice of establishments gets a look about the place, meeting Max's gaze before answering with a cocky smirk, "There isn't any renegade I cannot find, Max. Whether you lived in a stable or between a goldrider's legs." He reaches to claim the glass given to him then, raising it briefly in a toast before taking a drink. It's silence to that amusment, even when Max gets right to business, before he clears his throat and says smoothly, "You wanted that meeting with Lord Southern. You got it."

Waine’s laughter coupled with the gardener’s comment has a strange ‘ahem’ type expression drop briefly onto Max’s face and then he’s dismissing it with a blithe, “He thinks his own jokes are funny.” Even although Waine hadn’t actually made a joke. Crooked the grin that appears next and he nudges the bottle closer to Lorayit, “With my compliments, though I’d imagine that’s not as much fun as sneakin’ in here and you know, stealin’ it.” Low laughter greets comment of Lorayit being able to find a renegade no matter where he might be hiding out, “Could have use for you yet.” Glasses lifted and silent toasts made, the crimelord leans back in his chair and puts the blonde man opposite him under study when he announces he’d arranged the requested meeting with Lord Southern, he shows no approval however, his face an unreadable mask for a moment or two longer. “You came through,” he notes and then lifts his glass to his lips with a faint smile at play, “Good. When do I get to meet with Himself?”

The first gets dismissed once Waine is out of sight despite his laughter still being heard, Lorayit clearly not sure what to make of it. His smile is a bit enigmatic at the stealing comment, but it's the next on his use that gets comment: "Have you forgotten that I work for someone else?" and there's a slight genuine smile there as he tosses the shiny bit into the air and catches it deftly. Leaning back then, Max getting the same scrutiny that is given him, his head tilts slightly as he studies the crimelord with guarded interest before the man reacts to his news. He takes a long drink from the glass before answering with, "I was curious." Beat. "You're new at this," he notes with a touch of wryness. Blue eyes narrowing slightly in his study, "You lead this continent. You show up whenever you please. He's on your time." Is it advice, maybe? "So he gave me no time," he adds, fingers lacing together before himself. "He assumed you would come whenever you got the time. If you were expecting more courtesy, however, I suppose I can leave my precious garden alone a little longer and march myself back."

“Have you forgotten that I don’t give a fuck?” Max quips in return, his smile a touch cocky and then he’s watching the gardener watching him. And he lets the silence spread out after Lorayit has finished talking, nursing his drink in the pause. Eventually, leaning forward and setting his glass to the desk, “Runnin’ the continent don’t mean there ain’t no call for courtesy, aye? The man’s just as busy as I am. Got himself all kinds of responsibilities and all. Least I can do is offer him a heads up.” Yeah, he doesn’t operate like any of his northern brethren. His drink is taken up again, the flip-catch of the shiny object catching his attention briefly and then it settles back onto Lorayit, “Naw, I’ll send word to him.” His head tilts to one side, “Now we got that sorted. There anythin’ you’d like in return?” Nothing comes without a cost. He knows this.

"You might not," Lo counters easily, flipping the shiny bit into the air without pause, "but he might." With slight curiosity, "He doesn't take kindly to defectors," he adds, regarding him before making a show of draining his glass and setting it down. Max definitely was not like the northern lords, it was clear. The gardener lifts a brow to the words given, seeming amused by it before responding, "Does that 'courtesy' filter down to traitors and turncoats, too?" In other words, the way he saw it, Max was going to have to get dirty eventually. "Look at you, caring about a Lord Holder's time and responsibilities." Flip, catch. "It's new. I think Lord Holder Southern would appreciate such courtesies. He's also wondering what a crimelord wants with him, too." Apparently Lo was wondering was well with the slightly pointed look. That look lingers on for the end - the deal. There's a slight shrug and an easy smile given in return. "In return? Naw, just being a good neighbor is all. Perhaps owe me a game of cards. Or information. Or contacts. I'm easy."

One brow goes up and Lorayit is set with one of those ‘And your point would be?’ type looks for given all the marks Vaputero already has against his name, Max doesn’t really give a stuff if he upsets the Bitran or not. It’s what the gardener says next that draws a dark smirk into place and the southern crimelord lifts a leg to settle the ankle of a boot onto the knee of the other leg, “Some might say that…I’m a collector of defectors.” And then he pauses on the comment about courtesy extended to traitors and turncoats, “Depends on what or…who, they’re turnin’ from,” carefully worded with a dangerous edge to dark eyes that would suggest he’ll get as dirty as he needs to. A short laugh echoes into the upturned glass at his mouth, and swallowing Max tips that glass in Lorayit’s direction, “Nice try, gardener. My business with the Lord is…my business,” smirk. Yeah, he’s well aware of what the other man is up to. Lending a sceptical look to the gardener on his response to what he wants in return, the crimelord then drops his gaze, contemplating the contents of the glass in his hand. “So you don’t want a hand with any…uhhh…sticky situations then?” eyes lift, expression bland.

“You mean the Dicori woman,” Lo counters on Max being the collector of defectors, another chink being dropped as to how much he knows of the shady business. Flip, catch. “Aye, I know of her, and of that big man out there,” and he nods his chin sharply behind him, indicating Waine. “Seems you like to collect all kinds. I wonder if those of the brotherhood know about that yet.” Flip, catch. “Depends,” he echoes Max’s words then, the smile light. “We’re all turncoats in one form or another, aren’t we? You, for example,” and he catches the shiny bit, pointed it in his direction in a flash of light, “turned on your own boss. Kelarad’s man, weren’t you? Yeah, I did some digging on my own,” he adds with a bit of arrogance, the smile turning a tad bit sly. “So I suppose it would make sense – you taking in tuncoats and fugitives.” Flip, catch. When his ploy for information dealing with the Lord Southern is derailed by Max, there’s quiet laughter. The man’s not daunted by it. “Business is fluid,” is his easy return to that. “It’s a thin line between the private,” flip, catch, “and, the public.” It’s the last that puts a little stall to his wordplay, the gardener regarding the other with some of his easy demeanor diminishing somewhat at that question. Flip, catch. “You seem so determined to help out the helpless,” he puts forth dryly, mockingly, his blue eyes slightly narrowing at him. “More like, help me to my well-manicured grave, because that will happen if you….take care of any sticky situations.” A brow lifting, “Though I see the Dicori’s own is not dealt with,” he notes musingly, almost thoughtfully. “There’s also a thin line between safety and trouble. My boss doesn’t play courteous, Lomaxin,” he adds briskly, “so I’m not about to risk my ass and jump unless I know there’s a nice patch of trees to break my fall rather than hard ground.”

With Lorayit touching on both Jaya and Waine, the crimelord merely lifts a shoulder in a nonchalant shrug as he leans forward to offer the man a refill of his drink. “Not if I’m doin’ my job properly,” Max gives on whether or not there were those in the brotherhood outside of Kelarad and Harvis that knew of the true nature of his business. “Can you name me any others?” tone slightly challenging as a brow lifts and then he sets the gardener with a faint smirk, “Weren’t never Kelarad’s man. Fought in his rings, aye. But on my own terms.” Giving that information out freely without expanding on why or how he’d managed to get on the Tillekian’s bad side.

Leaning back in his chair after having topped up his glass, Max utters a low chuckle on the matter of things both private and public, “Didn’t figure you for bein’ one to air the dirty laundry of another. Figured you had more class than that.” Insult and compliment delivered in one. Taking a sip of his drink a finger releases from about his glass and points in Loriyat’s direction, “And you seem determined not to take help when it’s offered. Pride,” he notes, “comes before a fall.” Oh so he’s a harper now? “Courtesy is given where courtesy is due.” In other words he doesn’t feel Vaputero is owed any type of courtesy. “Tell you what, how about you have a word with your boss when he gets here, hmm?” dropping that tidbit about the Bitran being on his way to the southern continent and more especially, the Weyr. Adding as if bored with the topic and turning a smirk out, “Do I make you nervous?” A nod goes to the shiny object being flipped about by the gardener.

“Are you?” Lo is quick to counter that on Max doing his job properly, the smile cunning. “Who knows what of you? Well, now. That’s my business.” Touche, in other words, that smile seems to say. Flip, catch. “However, the denizens of the underground do love to talk. Some are willing to share, while others….?” And there’s a shrug, seeming to enjoy this play. This is why Vaputero hired him, after all. There’s a faint snort to Max’s response on being Kelarad’s man, countering smoothly, “You were. You just didn’t realize it at the time.” Once his glass is refilled, he took up his glass with a nod of thanks and takes a drink from it. He nearly coughs up his drink in his laughter at Max talking on class, stating incredulously, “Who said we were even talking about me? Tsk, tsk! You don’t give free information away, hasn’t anyone told you that? How would I make a living otherwise?” Blue eyes drop to Max’s glass when it and the finger is directed his way, appearing amused at the words on him being difficult to help. Drawling out in response, “It’s called covering my ass when no one else will, crimelord. I’m sure you would do the same, so call it what it is. As I may have mentioned before, I have a lot more to lose than you.” Flip, catch. That catch almost fails in light of what Max drops next, though it’s so slight to be missed. “My boss doesn’t like the south,” he answers that blithely, calling Max’s bluff. “You’re more than welcome to visit him, however.” Clearly, for whatever reason, Vaputero did not tell his associate he was coming, for Lo did not know. The last question gets brief laughter then, his eyes flicking to the shiny bit in his hand before flipping activity ceases and he holds it up between two fingers to reveal it as a small, gem – almost blue but not quite. “Why should I be?” he returns on that with a flick of his brows. “I just love my baubles. Perks of the business.” Maybe it’s his way of flaunting his wealth. Maybe it’s something else. Lo is known for the subtle and underlying meaning.

Amused at Lorayit’s reply he utters a short chuckle and then a snort for the matter of his past with Kelarad, neither topic afforded a verbal response. As the blonde man then goes on to all but choke on his drink, Max extends a grin his way on the matter of what he may or may not know about handling information, drawl and speech patterns deliberately exaggerated, “Naw, I’m just the hick from the south what don’t know his arse from his elbow sittin’ in his beast caverns chewin’ on a stick o’ straw,” smiiirk. The tease falls off and the crimelord considers the contents of his glass for a moment and then dark eyes lift and fix the man opposite him with a level look. “Do you now?” Max replies with a slightly pointed lift of brow, “In this business, we all got somethin’ to lose, Lo. Some more’n others,” he concedes, “But loss is loss any which way you turn it about.” And there he leaves the topic, offer still on the table.

“I plan to,” Max states calmly on visiting the Bitran, “Shall I send him your regards?” watching Lorayit closely without appearing to do so as he downs another mouthful of the whiskey and exhales lusty approval for the afterburn. The gem when it’s held up is given an interested look and then the crimelord states dryly, “The smaller the dick, the bigger it gets talked up.” This response to Lo’s on perks of the trade, rounded off with another smirk that disappears behind his glass.

Lorayit continues to flip and catch, flip and catch, affording the southern crimelord his easy grace as if he really didn’t have a care in Pern. Of course, that was farther from the truth. “You chew on sticks of straw?” he echoes that one dryly, though the smile still lingers on Max’s face. “How interesting – a renegade lord with a sense of humor.” As for business itself, he counters briskly as he takes up his glass, “As I said, I don’t jump blindly. Do you?” The talk on Vaputero is turning a shade he doesn’t necessarily like, and it shows minutely on his face. Swirling the contents in his glass idly, “Good, visit him. I think the man could use some….excitement.” Uh-huh. “As to regards, don’t bother. I haven’t heard from the man in several months. I imagine, all the folks he’s got scattered throughout Pern, he’s not really worried or concerned about little ole’ me,” and he even tries to sound bored while saying it as he examines the surface of his glass. “Long as folks do their jobs, right? I imagine you’re not breathing down the necks of those working for you - the gentleman that you are.” Compliment, yet, insult is given, giving it back as much as he can take it. As to the last, there’s lusty laughter to it, the small gem suddenly getting pocketed as he remarks, “Even small dicks can make bring a woman to her knees if used right,” in crass form, tasting the drink appreciatively. Wry now, “Still with that rider of yours?” he seems to add in after-thought, probing the man’s life with a deft twist.

“Only when I’m hungry,” Max counters to chewing on straw, Lorayit earning himself a lopside grin of genuine proportions for his comment about a sense of humour, “Life’s too short not to look it in the eye and laugh.” Yeeeeah, says he, the one who until juuust recently had been giving life the finger. A low laugh is uttered for jumping blindly, “Sometimes not knowin’ what’s the other side is half the fun, aye?” touching on the somewhat reckless streak he’s been known to display at times. Recognition for the gardener’s discomfort on the topic of the Bitran is there though the crimelord keeps it under wraps except to note idly, “I prefer my people to know that I know, where they are and how they’re doin’. Makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside.” Sarcasm outlining his tone for the complimentary insult dealt. And then laughter spills at the quip on the topic that disappearing gem had brought to light, “You can keep tellin’ youself that, gardener.” As to his last, Max sets him with a bland look that gives nothing away, “You tell me. You’re the one in the know with all the information aren’t you?”

Lorayit can’t help the grin that surfaces on the first comment, and his response on having a sense of humor is, “You seemed to have changed your tune. I remember meeting a beast manager that wouldn’t even let a mere gardener borrow a runner to ride. Didn’t seem to have this newfound sense of humor back then.” Yeah, he’s knowingly riding Max on his coat-tails – and he’s enjoying it. He’s even snickering a bit to the talk of taking the plunge, and the gardener raises both hands up as if the glass was suddenly too hot to touch as he states, “Whoa! I don’t even take such recklessness on a good day! Kinda like my hide in one piece, being able to enjoy all the pleasures that Pern has to offer. Can’t do that dead and in the ground.” Max’s words on his people get him to claim his glass again, lifting it before drawling, “Uhhh-huh. You got a lot of folks under you already? The Dicori, for one?” Pointed, brow lifting, and then after a brief pause the last is answered with a blithe “I do, I do. Figured I like confirmation straight from the source. There’s gossip after all. I suppose I’ll believe the gossip then. You don’t look heartbroken, though.” A touch sardonic then, “Heard one even say you’ve taken to wearing green dresses around the stables in your grief. Please, oh please, tell me that one is the truth.”

Grinning; “Still ain’t lendin’ you a runner. Next thing I know you got it traded for another one of them pretty baubles you like to play with and I’m findin’ myself with some ‘splainin’ to do to the weyrwoman.” Speaking of which…cue the ‘ping’ moment as an idea comes to mind, “You not lookin’ to make a mark off that are you?” The gem that is. While he awaits an answer a soft tsking sound comes from Max’s throat, “You gotta learn to live a little, mate. Life ain’t all about plannin’ it right down to the time of day to take a piss, aye?” crass but to the point. His own glass is lifted when Lorayit lifts his, a healthy mouthful taken and then Max is all but choking on it when the gardener goes on to comment about who he may have under. Clearing his throat of the burn, “You still askin’ me questions you supposedly already have the answers for?” Taunting the man a little in a bid to distract from having tried to inhale and swallow at the same time. And then its amusement that rises high and the crimelord lays a hand to his chest, affecting a sheepish look, “Ah, your sources are better than I thought they were. You got me. Except that it’s a blue dress, not a green one.” As to whether or not he looks heartbroken, there comes simply a faint smirk to touch on lips.

“Me, trade your runners?” and Lo affects a hand to his chest. “Why Max, I’m hurt! I wouldn’t dare put you up against a weyrwoman.” Max then asks after the now-hidden bauble, in which a brow lifts to the question and he asks, “What, this? It’s worth but a little fortune. What you need?” Laughter greets him learning to live a little in which the gardener takes a fist and idly brushes something off of his collar before saying, “That’s the point, mate. I live. I live good. Gotta cover my ass in order to keep on living good. Ever had a woman out in the farming fields, in the rich soil, the stars being the only witness to bliss?” A bit of a harper himself, apparently. He catches that little choking cough the crimelord makes to one of his queries, a little odd smirk present briefly before it wipes away in favor of that cocky question put to him. After taking a healthy drink, “No more than you offering to help out a man that may not need it.” Equally cocky. After a beat, “So let’s say I take you up on your offer,” he gives, wiping his mouth and leaning back more comfortably in the seat. “What then?” The last gets easy laughter, the jest taken in stride as he waggles a finger in Max’s direction before dropping, “Because blue brings out the color of your eyes? No wonder the woman can’t keep their hands off you, beast manager. Must be that sense of humor of yours, too.”

"Somethin' tell me you would, just to see me squirm," Max returns on trading the Weyr's runners, though there's amusement at play. That amusement morphs into an enigmatic smile, "Need a distraction," he puts to what he might want with the gem. "Heh, you start livin' too good, folk start askin' too many questions and next thing you know, that boss of yours is of a mind that you're takin' from his profits, hmm?" slightly pointed the look he sends Lorayit. A long look is sent the gardener on the topic of whether he may or may not need the crimelord's help and then broad shoulders shift in a light shrug as he drains his glass and sets it down on the desk before him. "What then nothin'. You want help, you got it," which be might a concept totally foreign to the other man - help with no strings attached - and then he adds as he leans forward a little, "But…I find out you're yankin' my tail? Or you only tell me half of what I need to know to help? That Bitran bastard will be the least of your worries." As to the last there is given a snort of amusement for women that may or may not be able to keep their hands off of him.

“True,” Lorayit admits to doing so as Max suggests, the smile easy. “I would. I could use the entertainment.” On the topic of distraction, “What kind of distraction, and how much of it?” and then, the next gets full throaty laughter and a wave of his hand. “Do you see anyone here asking any questions about me?” he puts forth to Max then, bearing his teeth. “And, what my boss don’t know won’t hurt him. As long as I’m doing my job, he has no reason to come down here and see about me. As long as he stays up north, I and my good living can rest easy.” Uh-huh. Clearly he doesn’t know that his ‘good living’ is about to be challenged. Some of that amusement drains off in light of the hypothetical help, and it’s to this that he gives the other a curious glance. “So. How much has Bowen told you about me and my situation?” he puts forth instead, back to scrutinizing the man before him – and to the rest, there’s another wave of hand in dismissal of it. “Threats don’t work on me, crimelord, or rather, threaten to saddle me up with that craggy-faced barmaid up at the bar. I’d take death faster.” Draining his glass, “Give me reason of your sincerity, and you’ll have mine. See? I can be a reasonable man.”

The bit about distractions is for the time being set aside with Max fitting Lorayit with a level look, "You'll be laughin' on the other side of your face when he pitches up here." Warning laced with light concern for the gardener's safety set into his tone and then he goes back to the first topic, "Just enough of a distraction to keep someone from doin' somethin' stupid. It's personal." The tilt of his lips lending a sly cast to his expression. Hands lace together across his abdomen and the crimelord puts Lorayit under quiet study on what Bowen might have told him of the situation. And then in a low tone, "Enough to know you got family involved in alla this. Family that ain't gonna make it if you fuck up." Max can't however help the twitch of lips when Suli is thrown into the mix giving a dry, "I'd sooner fuck a watchwher than be saddled with that one." The last, the part where his motivation is questioned that draws a faint smile into place, "I just wanna help, Lo. Ain't no other reason than that." Something the other might find hard to fathom and so he adds quietly, "Those on southern soil fall under my protection. You want it? Got it." Simple as that, at least to his mind.

There’s the faintest flicker of a frown on Lorayit’s face on Max’s initial words. Something’s not right. “He wouldn’t,” he repeats, this time a touch tersely as if he was believing the man to be mocking him. “I would have heard of it long before now. No one comes down south without my knowledge.” So is he that connected, or is he that arrogant? As for the personal bit, “I know of some mines, deep down south. Wild, untapped. Bring men down there and you’ll find the path unbarred.” In other words, there won’t be any bandits and the like to stop them. Now the study is returned in kind when Max lets the whole cat out of the bag. So he knows. He remains silent as the other speaks, frowning just a tad, trying to determine his next move. He seems to have figured that Bowen would tell by this point, but it didn’t diminish his disappointment in the tanner. Looking away to regard the glass before him, “Family that could be dead by now,” he now admits, his blue eyes quietly lingering on the cuts in the glass. “It’s been turns, and when I was sent here, he was in a bad state. Who knows if he had gotten treatment or not. Not that it’s anything you or I can do about it,” he adds more briskly, eyes lighting on Max. “I’ve got a mission to fulfill. Can’t get back to him until I do.” Talk of Suli gets an amused snort, eyes back on the glass as he drawls, “For that, I just may tell her the next time I’m over there that you’ve got a crush on her. Faranth knows the woman could use some ill-fated romance.” Beat. “Can’t be that simple,” he remarks on the help, on the protection, shaking his head. Hard given after a long pause, “Your help….perhaps I shall give it some thought.”

Lorayit's reaction and following words on the Bitran's imminent arrival is more telling than he realizes, with Max simply fitting him with a closed look before exhaling a short breath in a soft sigh. "Believe what you will, gardener, I ain't got no reason to yank your tail. You have been warned." The warning delivered his way of showing his sincerity in having no ulterior motives in place when it comes to wanting to help the blonde man. On the matter of the mines and gems there's a short chuckle and a shake of head, "Naw, don't need me a sack full of 'em. Its more a…" rubbing his chin as he tries to come up with a way of explaining himself without giving anything away, "…game. A favour for someone if you will," grin. That slips away in light of more serious conversation and catching that glint of disappointment, Max puts the gardener under another quiet study, "He was only doin' what I asked him to." Hint lent that he'd been watching the man for a while. Lips purse into a frown of disquiet and the crimelord nods when Lorayit finally concedes and admits to having family in trouble. "You can't get back to him," he states low, "But I can. Least enough to find out if he's still alive and see about puttin' a plan together, aye?" There's understanding in tone and expression both as he adds, "Your call, Lo." On Suli a deep smirk appears, "Maybe I should give her a kiss, somethin' for her to dream about on them long, lonely nights, aye?" And reason enough to have Jaya flying at the woman and tearing her hair out because…revenge is oh so sweet!

The gardener seems, for a moment, to be at a loss. Someone was not telling him something, and then, he really couldn’t see why the beast manager would lie to him. He recovers quickly, briefly just stating to it, “I’ll look into it.” Beat. He nods briefly on the matter of the gems, the easy shrug coming forth before he states, “Whatever you want to do. Just let me know.” In light of the serious discussion, of finding out that Max had Bowen investigate him, “Is there any reason why you would?” he puts forth with some dryness, pinning the man with a look. “And how would you get back to him? You already have one of his former employees here,” and he nods towards the door. “He’ll ask for an exchange. That’s the only way he’ll agree.” Chin lifting, “He might even throw in additional payment,” he notes, a brow slightly raised while his expression remains level. “You don’t know the limits he’ll go to get someone valuable back.” There’s a smirk on the account of Suli, the man shaking his head to that before drawling, “I forget how you love to take risks, for in that case, you might as well ask my boss to dance at the gather. That woman would crush you.”

Max gives a short incline of head when the gardener states he’ll look into the matter of the Bitran crimelord’s rumoured upcoming visit to the south. “Don’t s’pose you’d lend it to me, eh?” the beast manager puts forward with a crooked grin in place with regards to the gem Lorayit had been toying with, adding, “It comes to any harm, I’ll pay its value to you.” On what his reasons might have been in having had the gardener watched, Max says nothing merely sending a slightly enigmatic smile in his direction. It’s the topic of defectors out from under Vaputero’s employ that has him leaning back in his chair and setting Lo with an unreadable look. After a long silence, he inhales and drops the hand from his chin that had been idly rubbing at stubble, “Said I’d check up on your brother, see what condition he’s in, or even alive at all.” In other words, there is no way on Pern, he was about to even consider trading Jaya for some unknown stranger, not now, not ever. Not about to touch on just how valuable the woman under discussion had become to him, the crimelord continues on in a bland tone, “Was gettin’ her back to that bastard all that your mission was about or…?” Deliberately using the past tense as a means of informing the other that if that was the case, he’d already failed. Smirk is traded for smirk, though Max’s holds a dark edge, “Oh, I’m hopin’ your boss is gonna ask me to dance.” And not in the Gather sense of the word either.

Max wants the gem, and that puts Lo with musing silence in place. He fishes the little gem out from where it hid, holding it up between two fingers as if about to examine it himself. “Secret meetings with Lord Holders and now looking for gems,” he muses, eyes flicking over the one he holds before he abruptly tosses it Max’s way. “More where it came from. If it gets lost, it gets lost.” In other words, he doesn’t really seem all that worried about the little gem’s fate. On the deal with his boss, well, he expected that. He expected Max to answer as he does, so the gardener gives a little shrug and an easygoing smile. “Just sayin’,” is all he gives on the matter, but it’s the next – his mission – that invisibly sets him on edge. Outwardly, there’s the regard of his glass, as if the question is of little consequence to him. To lie, or not to lie? “I find it noble that you would take up for those lost in these lands,” he chooses to say carefully, meeting Max’s gaze with nothing to give away in them. “Too few really do these days. Far too much risk to be had there. However,” and he moves to drain his glass in the pause, adding briskly, “I’ve heard a man say once, right before he lost his fortune in a single card game that, the cards were already dealt long before he stepped up to the table.” He looks into his glass as if something within it would give him the answers he seeks, frowning. “I find life a lot like those cards,” he muses absently, the frown thoughtful, not looking Max’s way. “I knew a fortune teller once that could even read a deck of dragon poker cards and tell a person their fate. It more or less came true, though, I couldn’t help but to return to that poor man’s words. That perhaps, there is no such thing as prediction. There’s only just, going through the motions and stepping up to the table.” One may be able to glean from all that, that if it was not him, it would be someone else. Lo was the master of subtly. The glass gets set down then, and the philosophical gardener meets Max’s gaze once more. To the last, “Then wear that blue dress of yours. I think he would appreciate the small nuances of seduction that way.” Smirk.

“Tryin’ to show your worth to me or remindin’ me of what I owe you, hmm?” Max asks with a faint touch of amusement in his tone, hand snapping out to catch the gem as it’s tossed his way. Turning it over in his hands, watching the light glint off of it, dark eyes flick up to Lorayit at mention of there being more where it had come from, “These mines…they’re not yet spoken for by Hold or Craft?” As the gardener drops his gaze to his glass while speaking, so the crimelord studies the man himself. There is only the barest narrowing of eyes in response to those opening words, unsure of whether Lorayit mocks or not and then he utters a soft snort of wry amusement. “Maybe I just like livin’ on the edge,” he gives in return to the risks in involved in what he does. Max then drops silent attention going to the gem he’s idly toying with before agreeing quietly, “One man’s loss is another’s gain. The question is,” eyes lift and fit to Lorayit, “not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.” And then he straightens in his chair and adds, “Life is all about checks and balances, Lo. We all fuck up,” flatly acknowledged as he pins the other man with an intent look, “The difference comes between those that know they’ve fucked up and wanna chance to fix it and those that couldn’t be arsed to try to begin with. Nothin’ ventured, nothin’ gained.” Quips over bosses, dancing and dresses earns a deep and dark smirk, “I was thinkin’ black would be dressier. Also, it hides the stain of…wine better.”

“It’s good to be able to keep your name in the minds of those calling the shots in an area,” Lorayit seems to agree on the second option, the smile showing genuine teeth. On the mines, there’s a shrug – he doesn’t seem to find it much of a secret, apparently. “I doubt any know of them, no,” he answers in that almost-bored tone of his. “It’s too far deep into this continent. I have people that scour the areas periodically. Those that come back usually return with goodies of some sort.” Translation: those that come back alive that is, being that the south is hazardous with wild animals and the like. The gardener also knows he’s being studied, but it doesn’t seem to faze him. On something said, “How you play’s the fun part. But, sometimes, a game is such where it doesn’t matter how you play it. Doesn’t matter who the player is, either. The outcome’s still the same.” He meets Max’s gaze then. The next matter gets initial silence, staring the crimelord down, seeming to take consideration for the words given on checks and balances. Then, “Is that what you think, hm?” he drawls, leaning back. “You think I know that I’ve fucked up? That I’m looking to ‘make things right’, as you say?” There’s a low chuckle, and a shake of his head before adding, “There’s a reason why I’m here and my dung-for-brains brother isn’t. I’m not the one that fucked up. I’m the one on clean-up duty.” A snerk is earned on the quip of dresses, in which the man drawls out, “Interesting. I didn’t peg you to be the ‘little black dress’ sort.” Yeah, he can go all night with such banter.

Max can’t help but to chuckle at the gardener’s chosen reply, “Wise man.” Listening as he then goes on to respond on the matter of the mines, the crimelord fits him with a contemplative look and then gives a nod, “You and me, we’re gonna talk more about that.” His tone suggesting that now is not that time. “Thanks for this though, I’ll get either it or payment to you as soon as I can,” and then it’s being pocketed with a briefly enigmatic smile at play. A brief frown follows for games and their outcomes and Max give wry comment, “It all comes down to the one dealin’ the deck, don’t it?” As Lorayit leans back and questions the intent of his words, so the crimelord lifts a brow, “I ain’t pointin’ fingers or mentionin’ names. Don’t rightly care if it’s you or him,” his brother, “what’s needin’ a hand. Point is, its there for the takin’ if you’re of a mind to do so.” The last, the bantering back and forth draws a smirk onto Max’s mouth, “I’m bettin’ there’s a lot you don’t know about me.”

“Clever more than wise,” Lo counters without a beat, the gardener seeming to be more skilled with his tongue than in maintaining the Weyr’s garden, apparently. He also doesn’t seem surprised on the matter of the mines – what crimelord wouldn’t want to claim stake in something both untapped and potentially lucrative? To which he replies to further and later talk of business, “I imagine we will.” The mines clearly being his bargaining chip should it prove true that Vaputero was on his way – and his ass ends on the line due to the failure of delivering the Dicori girl. Philosophical talk gets a brief enigmatic smile from him while he inwardly weighs his options still. “Help’s at hand so long as the Dicori girl isn’t touched, you mean,” he drawls almost dryly, well aware that Max was protecting her. “You must know her story, then. A noble man as you, harboring a thief and a murderer. You do know she’s marked, right?” Brow lifting at that. “I’m sure you do,” he answers it himself, “and yet you still harbor her. Interesting.” He still won’t confirm nor deny the details of his mission though, even though he knows Max has an inkling. To the last, the banter putting him slightly at more ease with the man, “I can say the same for you on me, beast manager, other than what Bowen told you, and trouble hardly makes a man.”

A half-smile appears for the correction the silver-tongued gardener makes and with the matter of the mines set aside for further conversation at a later day, Max puts his focus on what Lorayit says next. Dark eyes narrow, he having been unaware of Jaya being responsible for taking another's life, though given the man she'd worked for before running, he's not surprised to hear as much. None of this shows on the hard expression that falls into place, "I don't bargain one life for another, gardener." Glossing over what he may or may not know about the woman in question a cold smile appears, hint perhaps lent of just what he himself is capable of if pushed to his limits, "Its got fuckall to do with bein' noble and everythin' to do with offerin' someone a second chance. The same chance you, your brother and anyone else of a mind is bein' offered." Standing to his feet with a scrape of chair, faint amusement breaks through the hard exterior, "I'd be disappointed to find you were nothin' more than a smooth talkin', skirt chasin', grower of flowers and purveyor of information and bullshit both."

Hands lifting up and away as if not touching the issue on Jaya, “My boss may see it differently,” Lo notes with a touch of wryness on not bargaining one life for another. “After all, I’m not the crimelord, nor do I care to be. Far too much backstabbing for my liking.” Getting to his feet then, his mind still rolling over many of the thoughts given him by this meeting, touching on the noble bit blithely with, “It has everything to do with being noble, beast manager. If it didn’t, then all of your northern brotherhood would have been doing the same rather than just offing someone. Dicori was clever, coming down here after the near-miss in Nabol.” It’s dropped to show how much he did know of his target, the wink tossed Max’s way not the least bit cowering. “But, like I’ve said, I love to cover my ass. Your offer is being considered, even as we speak.” The last gets laughter, musing at best as he steps from the chair as if to make his exit. “Bullshit? Max, you wound me,” he drawls, a hand moving to cover his chest in mocking fashion. “I’ve not even bullshitted you yet this whole little meeting! I am nothing if not an honest man.” Yeah, that cunning look says otherwise.

"Don't give a fuck how your boss sees it," Max states with a tight clip to his tone. Re-corking the bottle and turning to set it back up on the shelf behind his desk, he turns a long look onto Lorayit for his added comment about what does and doesn't constitute a noble act, just the barest of frowns at play before his expression smoothes out and he moves toward the door of his office. Lips twitch about a movement that might have become a smile when the other man speaks of his offer being under consideration, but it never quite makes it there, "My door is always open but if its not…knock or risk finding a sight that might blind you," smiiirk. That morphs into a short show of amusement and back into a smirk again as sends a pointed look Lorayit's way on the topic of bullshitting, "You just did." By having made the very denial he just had and then the crimelord is opening the door and gesturing for the gardener to precede him. Meeting over.

Undaunted, “Then I imagine you and he will be the best of friends,” Lorayit returns easily, the smile flashing over his shoulder as he turns toward the door. He follows Max to the door then, the remark on the door getting his open regard before meeting Max’s eyes. “That confident about your prowess with women, hmm?” he puts forth with some sardonic tilt in his voice, amused by the words. Nodding then, “Fine, fine, though I imagine that second of yours won’t let me walk too freely in these here stables. I swear the man thinks I really would steal a runner or something,” and he makes a dramatic show of shaking his head at the injustice of it all. “A shame, really. Perhaps I should give him some of my best flowers from the garden to smooth things over.” Max calling him out on his bullshit gets open, if not genuine laughter as he walks through the open door and heads out without another word.

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