The Respectable Life


Max.jpg Serevan (NPC'd by Jaya) and Waine

Date: May 29, 2011
Location: Vineyards, Nabol
Synopsis: Max heads on up and meets with the crimelord of Nabol. They talk business and family, and things end well between the two.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

It’s been a good day. After a successful business meeting with Lord Holders Nabol and Keogh, crimelord Serevan was in a good enough mood to sit at his vineyards and catch up on the going-ons of the Pernese underground. One of his better informants, Ralik, is sitting across from him, an untouched glass of wine before him as he talks about happenings down south. “…rumblings that Vaputero is visiting south,” he was saying, watching the tall, dark-skinned man before him taste the old vintage of wine that was offered him. Ralik didn’t drink even on his off-times, and so his own glass was remaining untouched save for that one, initial sip out of respect. “He claims he wants to see his son.” – “Take a lay of the land, is more like,” Serevan remarks with a touch of annoyed dryness, shaking his head. “Vaputero down south is not good. Has a few people of his down there, as I recall. I imagine that new crimelord that likes to drop dead bodies around would know of this.” Ralik gives a small shrug of little importance. “If he does, seems like he’s waiting for the Bitran to make his move,” is his response, to which the crimelord merely nods and takes a drink.

It was a cool early evening, the lights starting to wink in as the sun dips below the horizon. Being very close to Nabol Hold and its people, one could see the Hold starting to settle down for the night in its usual routine.

Having been put in knowledge by Ralik that he was to be granted audience with Serevan, Max had left word for Jaya of his movements and headed up north at the earliest opportunity. The last time he had had been over Nabolese airspace was a good while back when he’d dropped his grisly ‘hands off the South’ message. Then he’d been exhausted, sick to the stomach and looking like he’d spent the night pub crawling. This evening however finds the young southern crimelord neatly dressed in a blue long-sleeved shirt and black trousers with matching knee-high boots. And it must be snowing in the south for…he’s even remembered to shave.

Having had his ride drop him off out of plain view, boots crunching up toward the vineyard, where word has it Serevan can be found, signal his approach. The big second that usually shadows him, nowhere to be seen just yet.

The crunch of boots and approach has one of Serevan’s men moving out of the shadows towards him. He gets flanked by two others, the men having the same garb of guards, dour-faced and looking Max over before the middle one puts in, “These vineyards are private-owned. State your business.” The other two are looking about for any stragglers that would have come with Max, expecting trouble. Meanwhile, a little ways off but nonetheless in view, “Vaputero is becoming erratic,” Ralik is saying, shaking his head. “His people are becoming erratic. Last seven two of his men accosted a small caravan heading into Ralka territory,” that being Igen. “I think the caravan was expected by those boys, for what I hear, they’re furious.” – “Probably think it’s premeditated, too,” Serevan agrees, frowning at this news. “Thought the Bitran had better reins on his men than this. What’s next? Holds?” Eyes flick when he hears the familiar voice of his leading guard, eyes narrowing at the sudden form they are banning from entrance. Calling out then, “Who’s there?” in direct to the guards, though the question could be directed at Max as well since he’s looking more in his direction.

The moment his boss is flanked by the Nabolese men guarding the vineyards, Waine steps out of the shadows from where he’d been tailing the southerner, an easygoing smile in place, “Howdy boys.” As for Max, he slows and then stops, putting each of the men under long study as if committing their faces to memory. “Lomaxin of the south,” he states smoothly and then gives a nod of head to where Serevan and Ralik can be seen in conference, “Here at invitation of your boss.” Waine in the meantime has stepped right up behind his boss, thumbs hooked into his belt with a benign look in place.

Dark eyes flick in the direction of the Nabolese crimelord as snippets of conversation drift out onto the evening air and a faint smile and respectful nod of head is given when he finds himself under the man’s scrutiny, “Southern’s greetings, Sir.” Max doesn’t move from where he is however, deferential to being on another man’s turf.

When Waine steps out, the three guards immediately reach for their knives. “Let them through,” Serevan orders when Max speaks, and the men part with final looks going to both. Waine is given even heavier study as they let them pass, apparently not liking the look of him and letting him know that. “Invitation, huh?” the crimelord of Nabol notes to Ralik, to which he replies almost dryly, “I did tell you, didn’t I?” Still, once Serevan waves them on through, that was his cue to leave. He gets up from his seat, brushing whatever dust off that appears to be on him as he waits for both Max and Waine to approach their table. “Got more messages to deliver tonite, anyway,” he gives for a half-excuse to his departure, sending a brief smile down to his boss. “I trust you have no more need of me for the night?” – “I doubt it, no,” Serevan answers, getting to his feet, equally waiting for Max’s approach so that he could greeting him properly. “Don’t let me keep you, Ralik.”

Where the other men had reached for their knives, Waine and Max make no such move, though the big second’s hands twitch where they’re hooked into his belt loops. The guards eye him and Waine sends them a bored look in return. As they’re waved on through and the exchange between Serevan and Ralik isn’t missed and so as they approach, Max sends the messenger a narrow-eyed look and mutters, “Thanks for nothin’, mate.” Though there’s no real heat behind the words, only slight disgruntlement. As the Nabolese crimelord stands to his feet, so the southerner extends his hand in greeting, “It’s an honour, Sir.” Nothing but respect is in the younger man’s voice.

Ralik appears more amused than he should be to that muttered comment from Max, and it was something Serevan heard enough for him to answer for his informant, “He told me. He just….worded it differently.” Beat. “Less an invitation and more of an…urgent priority?” In either case, Serevan doesn’t seen upset by it. In fact, he as well appears amused, and he slaps Ralik on the back and sends the shadowy man on his way. The crimelord appears to like dealing with shadows. Reaching to grasp Max’s extended hand firmly, looking the man before him over expertly, “So this is the new leader of the south?” he puts forth, his hand grasp firm and solid. “I’m pleased to meet you,” and he’s clearly pleased by the respect afford him, too. He gestures for the younger man to sit, turning towards where the door is to call out, “Another glass, Benks. You drink, I imagine?” he asks Max, his dark gaze shifting towards Waine before adding, “And you must be Jaisynn. Good choice for a second-in-command. Have you eaten? The Hold girls drum up some rather filling appetizers.” Benks seem to hear all, for the short, old man emerges from the shadows with both an empty glass and an extra chair. Setting both Southern men up, “Welcome to Nabol,” the crimelord gives in that heavy, deep voice, his harper-like tone slightly accented.

Turning his chin over his shoulder and about to introduce his burly second, Serevan beats him to the punch leaving Max able to do little but utter a low chuckle, “Your sources are as good as they say they are.” To which the big man spoken of takes a half step forward and gives a polite nod of head, though he doesn’t extend his hand in greeting. It’s not his place to do so as far as he’s concerned. There is however a polite smile and then Waine, stepping back into the shadows pauses as a wide grin cracks across his face for talk of Hold girls and filling appetizers, he of course taken it up in entirely the wrong way. “Waine,” Max growls out warning, knowing exactly where his second’s mind had gone without having to turn his way and see that wolfish grin on his mug. “Ah no, we’re fine thank you, Sir,” this the young southerner sends to Serevan a nod of thanks going the way of Benks for the drinks delivered. “Thank you,” Max then lifts his glass as if in toast, “May the path between southern and Nabol be well worn.”

While they both study each other, stance and all, Serevan takes his seat and reclaims his fine glass. Both glasses looking like they were cut by a mastercrafter, it was clear the man was well off for a renegade. When Max answers crassly but checks himself, there’s a distinguished, but wry “I’ve heard everything under the wings of a queen, my man. Most usually don’t care to censor themselves in my presence in this line of work.” The fact that Max does, speaks volumes to his harper-trained mind. Benks then moves about them, pouring both Max and Waine a glass once another is brought out, not having an assuming presence enough that he could be easily overlooked. On the topic of sources in regards to Waine, there’s the barest flickers of a smile along with a slight musing, “There’s not much that gets by me these days.” He returns the nod to Waine then, the smile genuine and aged – timeless. Interest piques when Max growls warning to his second on the count of the Hold girls and appetizers, and he leans back into his comfy chair before stating, “The women would appreciate him. He’s welcome to prowl, if it’s both of your inclination.” He raises his glass to Max’s then, smiling at the toast, letting his clink against the other before taking a drink. “Well worn,” he repeats those words, seeming to taste them. “I like that. I do hope that is so. That you live long enough to make the south more of an….opportunity than some place to hide.” Setting his glass down then, “Nice touch on the body, by the way,” he addresses, it being the best place to start to unfold the man before him. “Yours?” That could be taken either on the body or the idea, but Serevan’s not making the distinction.

The quality of the glasses isn’t missed with Max flicking a glance from his to the Nabolese crimelord, a man he clearly finds intriguing. Nothing but a faintly lopsided smile greets comment for his verbal slip, his attention touching briefly to Benks as he fills the glasses. Waine steps forward again when another glass is produced and sends Serevan a toothy grin, “Much obliged, Sir.” And while his words might be hard to place as to whether he’s referencing the drink just poured or the offer to avail himself of the Nabolese lovelies, its soon cleared up when southern crimelord and second lock eyes, a meaningful look exchanged between the two. For this had fast become their ploy with Waine under the guises of bedding local women using the opportunity to scout the area and find out what he could from said local women in the process.

“Go on then, off with you, go play but I want you back at night’s end,” Max gives with amusement in his tone. “Evening’s end, boss,” Waine accepts the missive and then quickly throws the contents of his glass down his throat before setting it empty back to the table and lumbering off. Watching the broad back of his departing second for a moment, the young southerner then casts his attention back to the distinguished man before him and utters a low chuckle on the matter of the body drop. “Mine,” he replies without making the distinction either. “A man could get used to this,” he then states lifting his glass and waving it about a little to indicate their surroundings before finally taking a sampling taste of his drink.

Benks is as gone as he is there, melting back into the shadows like the guards. Even the shuffle of his booted feet is missed. Serevan has his attention more on Max, perhaps catching the looks between him and his second with veiled amusement. His face betraying nothing as he clears his throat, after Max gives Waine the go-ahead, “Be sure to seek out Amira,” he gives the man before he heads off, watching him with his eyes above the gilded rim of his glass. “She’ll fix you up real nice.” If Waine’s not careful, Serevan is crafty enough with those women to have the man far too occupied and even a little fellis-induced to do some exploring. Such nuances in this man is common. Once Waine is out of sight and Max answers on the body, “Yours,” he repeats that with a touch pert of lips. “Fascinating. It caused quite a stir, I must add. Nice touch in alerting your presence.” Setting the glass down without drinking more of it then, Max’s notice to the peaceful surroundings and the fine glasses gets a brief chuckle from him. “A man could,” he agrees, leaning back in the seat to look about the faintly-lit vineyards. “My family owned vineyards, so….it’s natural for me.” Gesturing delicately about, “Worked hard to get all this. Kept myself in line. Paid my dues. In time, I look forward to settling here, away from this business.” The wine was the purest Benden, and tasted so. It was a vintage for Lord Holders and Weyrleaders. Reaching for his glass, “I was pleased to hear you finally got your daughter back,” he notes conversationally, exuding the appearing of talking with a polite man of blooded means rather than the leader of the crimelord brotherhood. “Hope now, is it? Apt name. She’ll have a far more better time at Eastern than she did in Tillek, and,” and he lifts a finger, “I imagine, in time, her mother will be but a memory in her mind.”

Amira…Waine pauses, filing that name away and then producing a two-fingered salute as he turns and heads off, a wolfish grin in place leaving Max to fit Serevan with a faint smile, well aware of the tricks that are likely to be plied on his second. A low laugh greets words on the body he’d dropped. “Figured it might,” he responds on it having caused a stir. Toying with his glass, giving the fine cut and gilding of it idle inspection, the southerner turns out a smile, “Family business then, eh?” Encompassing both the vineyards and the Nabolese crimelord’s nefarious title in that query and then setting another sweep of attention over the area, there comes a soft sound of wry amusement. “There are those that would say it speaks ill of a man for profitin’ from the loss of others,” the lack of accusation in his tone suggesting that perhaps he is not of such an opinion himself.

Max of course is unsurprised that Serevan knows of the business with his daughter what does have the younger man narrowing his eyes is the fact that the older also knows the toddler’s newly bestowed name and that puts him slightly on edge. And so he drops silent for a moment, forcing his jaw to relax tightened muscles. Rather than answer to any of what has just been said, he turns a query out to his Nabolese counterpart, “You got family of your own?”

On family business, Serevan actually pauses as if choosing his words carefully before nodding distinctly. “The vineyards,” he echoes, as if wanting to make the distinction before he looks around, “but these….are mine.” Pause. “Family is not around anymore,” he finishes with a bit of guardedness, though not quite – it’s like the man wants to talk about them, but at the same time, holds back. “As to those that profit from the lost of others,” he goes on to say, “I agree.” Beat. “To a point.” Beat. He takes a drink. “I believe in those that deserve, will earn. Those that don’t, will lose. Always a matter of time.” Tilting his glass in Max’s direction, “You profited from Ampherol,” he notes as if in example, the smile more in his eyes than on his lips. On the topic of Max’s own family, the crimelord of Nabol watches those eyes narrow and the lack of answer gets a rather dry, “You handle it better than some. Vaputero nearly slit my throat.” Compliment, maybe? Frowning slightly then, the question gets hesitation. It’s clear the man doesn’t talk about himself normally, despite the fact that he’s willing to talk about the privacies of others. However, the hesitation fades and he answers a bit gravelly, “Yes. I don’t see them often. Hardly ever. Can’t be helped. Keeping them away from this life is the only way I can protect them from it.”

“Your family were vintners?” interest peaks in Max’s tone as he takes a sip of the wine, appreciation for the fine vintage coming in the satisfied exhaled of breath. Understanding flashes briefly across his expression as the Nabolese man hesitates to touch on the subject of his family and so he sets the topic aside and follows the conversation to that of profit and loss. “In a canine eat canine world,” Max quips dryly on the heels of the older man’s words and then lips purse. “It ain’t like I was lookin’ to do so,” he notes on Ampherol’s demise, “The opportunity presented itself. I took it.” Simple as that, at least to his mind it is. There comes a soft snort on the matter of his daughter, “Wouldn’t get to puttin’ my glass down before your lot had me down and dusted,’ he remarks and then adds a sigh, “How many of the others know about her?” His daughter that is, worry creasing lines across his brow almost in mirror of those Serevan displays on the matter of his family. “And that’s worked so far?” Max asks, watching the man carefully.

Nodding once on the initial question, “Their vintage served on the tables of the Lord Holders and the Weyrleaders of Pern,” Serevan confirms it, the smile both wistful and fond. “It’s a good business. Passed down from generation to generation. When I pass, it will all pass down to my son.” Another sip and he sets the glass away, adding on the next more briskly, “Opportunity is what drives all the powers of the world, Max. That, and the winds of fortune. Never had the chance to meet Ampherol,” he notes with interest, putting Max in his deep regard. “Reckless man, from what I gathered. Didn’t realize that the south is rife with folks that belong to the brotherhood.” And so, there’s a grunt of respect there for Max with the dead body, for having known. He falls silent then, watching, always watching and calculating when Max asks about his daughter and how many of them knew. Eyes flickering towards the worry lines he sees there, “I and the Istan, I imagine,” he ticks off, indicating Harvis, “and then Kelarad for helping you. The others likely wouldn’t know, much less care. You haven’t made yourself a threat.” That ‘yet’ hangs there, unsaid. “Not even Rad knows that I know, but he could guess. It’s common knowledge that I have people in every Hold, Hall and Weyr.” The last question gets silence, the older man looking towards the darkening vineyards field before answering in that deep grave voice of his, “Worked? Of course, but not without its drawbacks. My son doesn’t know me as he should, and his mother resents me. Doesn’t understand my interest in those sort of business, but,” and he gives a little sigh, “I have enemies,” he claims, meeting Max’s gaze with no amusement. “If they know, and very few would, they would be dead by now. Perhaps it’s foolish of me to keep thinking that in time, they would understand what all I’ve done was for them. To keep them safe. I imagine, with your daughter now in hand, you understand a father’s grief.”

Max is impressed and he doesn’t bother to hide the fact, even letting out a low whistle of appreciation as he lifts his glass and puts the contents under closer scrutiny. “Your son, he’s apprenticed with the vintners?” the younger man then asks, interest for anything he can learn of the enigmatic Serevan high. And then he leans back in his chair, dark eyes studying the older dark skinned man opposite him, “Never had the pleasure myself,” he divulges on his predecessor. A mute nod of head is his response to hearing that it was likely just the three that knew of Hope’s existence. His silence continues as the Nabolese man speaks of the sacrifices made for the wellbeing and safety of his own children, expression shadowing with just the sort of parental fear and anxiety the man alludes to. Sipping at the wine a heavy sigh exhales, “Aye, it ain’t easy. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t, aye? I tell you this much,” a cold glint enters his eyes, “Anyone comes near my girl and they’ll find their balls sent home to their Ma in a pretty pink message pouch.” Suitors and any seeking to get at him through his daughter, beware!

The whistle gets a wizened smile and the query on his son – something currently peculiar to Serevan, being as how he rarely even speaks on him – gets a thoughtful “Apprenticeship comes easy to him, I hear, but it’s not his passion. I was hoping it would be, but….” And there’s a shrug, inevitable in its deliverance, “…but, he is too much like me. The civilized world is not enough for us,” and there’s almost a sad smile there given, the old man appearing wistful. It’s brief, however, the crimelord moving on to add, “I know he’ll do well, whatever he does. He’s too stubborn like me not to.” On to Ampherol, all he gives on the man not seeing him before is a wry, “You didn’t miss much.” He nods briefly on the talk of protecting those they loved, the fatherly silence evident in his agreement as he takes a lingering drink. “Your daughter will be well protected, if those you surround yourself with is any to go by,” he muses with that knowing smile of his. “I pity the suitors that will no doubt come by your stables wanting her hand.” His chuckle is deep, solid. After another drink, “So tell me about the kind of business you’re looking to introduce to the south,” he gives, changing the subject as smoothly as refilling a glass of wine.

For all that he’s aware that Serevan speaking on matters personal to him is likely a rare thing indeed, Max can’t help but give forth a wry smile. “Not sure I woulda been much good as an apprentice neither. Too much out there to see and do.” He’s far to ornery as well but of course, that gets left unsaid. “You would prefer he didn’t follow in your footsteps, aye?” By taking up the mantle of crimelord somewhere in the future. A quick smile tinged with the acknowledgement of Serervan’s reassuring words is next to meet the older and wiser crimelord’s over his daughter’s safety, “She’s got us,” dubious types like himself, “and a full Weyr at her back.” Which given his title might seem an odd thing to say.

The last however, that gives Max pause for thought, using savouring his drink to collect his thoughts in. Leaning forward his glass is deposited on the table and then his Nabolese counterpart is met with a long look before he starts to speak, “First and foremost, the south is intended to be a safe haven to those that seek it.” Making that point clear and then he settles back in his chair. “A little bit of everythin’ really,” he comments on the type of business starting to pull together on his home continent, “The docks are startin’ to open up nicely now, got some good deals in place there. The trade routes are fallin’ into line and of course there’s the fights,” open about that last for where would be the point in trying to fool one with the type of contacts Serevan has. “Lookin’ into playin’ with rocks too,” this his way of touching on the topic of the untapped mines under his jurisdiction.

“It’s not for everyone,” Serevan agrees on apprenticeship, seeming to find this subject of easier nature with him. “I apprenticed as a harper, long before all this. A refill?” He notes the drink getting set down, and it’s as if Benks has materialized before them. Back to his son, the question him following in Serevan’s footsteps get a quick, “Not if I can help it.” He was about to leave it at that, too, but he after a pause, “Last thing I would want is to foul my father’s name by trading his respectable wine vineyards with this. It took me too many turns to make this look ‘respectable’,” and both hands briefly lift to indicate their surroundings, the fine glasses and the fine wine, “but you and I both know that this is not a respectable life. We wouldn’t have to hide like we do otherwise, or be hunted like we are.” Hands dropping, “But just like Weyrleaders and Lord Holders are needed in this life,” he goes on to say, “so are we. We are a necessary evil.” He pauses on that, letting Benks refill his glass before turning to the topic of business.

Serevan falls silent as he listens to what Max has to say on it, clearly interested. Fingers steeple together before him as he stares the other man down, taking each statement given apart like a harper would do. “A safe haven,” he echoes that, seeming to savor the words like he does his fine wine. “Interesting. Not something I expected, but, I imagine many a holdless and non-holdless folk would appreciate it. The north has become a tad too dark for even my tastes.” Setting his glass down, “What do you have in place for the fights and the docks? I’ve gotten ideas, concept, but nothing concrete,” from his informers. At hearing of the mines, however, his interest piques. “Many a master crafter would come knocking on your stable door if you secure such a resource,” he notes, musing. “What do you have in mind for it? Is it in a secure location?”

“Thank you,” Max says for the offer of a refill and sets his glass closer before dropping silent as the Nabolese speaks. Silence which is maintained save for the flicker of a frown that matches to words of honouring a father’s name. Only towards the end does a rough sound of dark amusement lift up, “A necessary evil…” he mulls that over and then adds, “Aye, that we are. But there’s evil and then there’s the likes of Vaputero. The question is, how do we restore order to the way of things before it all goes to Between in a hand basket?” Words weighted by a sense of purpose to bring about change.

As to the young southern crimelord’s plans for the docks and fights those are set aside as he puts his focus on the mines he’d mentioned. “Deep in the wilds of the south,” Max answers to the location of the mines first and then a dark smirk edges in for those who may come knocking as his door, “They can’t claim what they don’t know about, aye?” A drink from his refilled glass is taken, dark eyes putting Serevan under watchful study and then, “Going to be needin’ some miners. Hard men…honest men,” ironic that, “that can be counted on to do their work with no questions asked.” He’s putting an offer out there for the Nabolese crimelord to insert informants. “Happen to know of any such men?” the query so casually put it might be mistaken for simply that, a query, though the sly glint to dark eyes will tell otherwise. Max has come to Nabol with a business offer.

Once Benks refills Max’s glass and returns to the growing shadows, Serevan clears his throat to something said and remarks, “There’s the likes of Vaputero no matter where you turn,” to Max, nodding and seeming to agree. “I figure you ought to have close interest in the man, since you’re harboring both his son and a former employee of his.” Inclining his head, his brows furrowed, “That’s the problem,” he continues to note. “’The way of things’. How do any of us really know if the way things is any better? How do we know those like Vaputero are the worst kind out here? Believe me, after the meetings with him,” he goes on to relates grimly, slowly leaning forward, “those thoughts have been the only in my mind.” After a fashion, “You have a mind to kill him, don’t you?” he takes a guess, staring hard at Max as if to see into his very soul. “Like Kelarad wants? Well, I’ll tell you what I told him. Before you start slitting throats, make sure that the one to take his place isn’t any worse. You both may find all the more sorry for it. Even Vaput is a necessary evil,” he hedges to add, lifting one finger, “but, atleast he’s one out in the open. He must be dealt in another way, Lomaxin, if you want this change to come about. The real question you should asking yourself, is how.”

He lingers in silence for a moment, and then moves on to the business at hand. The mines certainly has his interest, and it shows – returning that watchful study. “I imagine there’s a lot of untapped wealth to be had down south,” he muses, finding it quite amusing. “Wealth men like Delaus may want to kill you for.” Beat. “How many know of these mines? Were I you,” and he points to Max over the rim of his glass, “I would keep such a location private and well-guarded. The others have their informants down there still, I’m sure, but they’re nearly not as good as mine.” Chin lifting then, “How many men estimated you think you need?” he asks then, seeming well enough to agree. “I know a few holdless families looking to leave the north. Awfully crowded up here, and the south has enough space where such folks can vanish. For that, you’ll need guards, too – and hunters. Don’t want any of them to end up dead due to those felines.” Lips twitch at that. “The men will be loyal enough, as long as you give them the means to provide for their families. Such security is the shortest way to devotion, Max.” Looks like he’s putting an offer on the table as well, the man at ease on his side of the table.

Cold the smirk that peels out for harbouring the Bitran's son along with a former employee of his, "He drove 'em to me." Is all Max gives on that topic and then dark eyes narrow slightly, "If I wanted him dead…" he starts out, displaying a flicker of the ruthlessness he's capable of when pushed to the limits, "he would be so. No, death is too kind a punishment for that bastard. He needs to suffer looong and slow." Taking another drink of the delicate Benden white, one corner of his mouth curls upward as the glass comes away from his lips. "Exactly my point, Serevan. He needs to be made an example of to warn the others that such actions will not be tolerated. The question is, as you so rightly pointed out, how? How to ensure that the next that takes his position doesn't do the same, if not worse?" Oh yes, he's acutely aware of 'better the evil you know'.

Settling back in his chair, the wineglass resting on the knee of the leg that balances its booted ankle on the other, Max lifts a brow, "Delaus will have one of two choices, throw his lot in with me," with regards to the mines, "or back the fuck away from my territory," the alpha male coming to the fore there. "One other," he replies with regards to who else might know of the mines. "That is, one other that's still alive," the southerner amends. "Guarding it ain't a problem, there'll be 'riders in place." He's not yet spoken with Randi about his idea to help further fatten the Weyr's coffers but it doesn't hurt to do his homework before doing so. A light smirk peels out in response to Serevan's comment to losing folk to the wilds and Max names an estimated amount of people that would be needed, adding, "Start out small and take it from there." And then he nods, setting the older man with an intent look, "I ain't one to stiff my people, Sir. They give me their loyalty and don't try to bullshit me or pull the wool over my eyes, I got their backs." Another sip of his drink, "Of course, there'll be…courtesy fees paid to the provider of said minin' resources." Carefully phrased with an easygoing smile attached as he puts Serevan in the know of what sort of rewards he might be likely to see. "That and open access to eyes and ears." Well aware that each person moved down South to work the mines would likely be an informant of the Nabolese crimelord's.

“Luck with one, cleverness with the other,” Serevan remarks on Vaputero having driven Olira and Dicori to Max. “But good. I agree on Vaputero. I wasn’t of the mind before meeting him, but now….” Now. Things clearly had changed. “I have some ideas,” goes on to say, for response to what must be done with the Bitran. “Devious ideas on a replacement. I’m thinking of getting together with Kelarad as a means to still from any sudden movements his way, and I think you should come, too.” Now it’s his turn to settle back in his chair, sipping at the rich wine idly while he listens to Max answer on the mines. There’s a smirk on the matter of Delaus, seeming to approve of the alpha male possessiveness that comes forth. “Delaus will only do so to make sure he comes out on top,” he notes there, mildly amused. “He covers the black markets up here, so I can well imagine, such rewards from those mines would prove lucrative to his business.” He then nods on the numbers given, two fingers lifting up quietly to the air and having Benks suddenly appear by his side. He relays the number without any reason or explanation given, and the old man writes it out on a sheet of hide neatly along with a few other notes. Clearly, the man’s listening and paying attention. “Smart,” he adds, wryly with a lift of a brow. “Having a full Weyr at your disposal. A feat not even I can claim.” To the rest, there’s initial silence before the crimelord nods decisively, seeming to seal the deal with a flick of one finger in a gesture towards Benks. Benks continues to write as he says, “They’ll appreciate it,” on the holdlless families, pleased. “I will, as well. If you need tools and the like, I can pull in a favor from Crom. I think this will work out productive, between us,” he speaks on the business, agreeing to the terms. “How soon can I get the families down to you?”

There comes little but a twitch of lips for Max cannot deny the truth in the older man's opening words. Quietly sipping at his wine he listens as Serevan speaks about Vaputero and then it's a flicker of surprise that crosses his expression when he's invited to be a part of the meeting between the Nabolese and Tillekian crimelords. Clearing his throat, "It would be my honour, Sir." Curious to know what fate the wily dark skinned man might have up his sleeve for the Bitran. As to Delaus and his hand in the black markets, a faint smirk touches his lips, "That'll be Jaya's department," another he has to speak to about his idea.

Amusement plays out when Benks sudden re-appears, "Maybe Waine should spend some time with your man." Referencing his big second's lumbering ways. "He could learn a thing or two." And then a low chuckle spills on the matter of having the Weyr at his back, "Truth be told, we have a weyrwoman second to none. She…is aware of my…status." That about all he's prepared to say on the arrangement he has with the Weyr a sincere smile falling into place with regards to the holdless families, "As will we appreciate their help." Max then pauses as if pondering something and then a sly smirk appears, "Perhaps Delaus might like to…invest by supplying the tools of the trade, hmm?" Not so much turning down Serevan's offer so much as seeking a way to lock the Crom crimelord into the whole affair. As to when the families can start moving down to the southern continent a cocky grin appears, "As soon as I've squared things away with our illustrious weyrwoman."

When Max agrees to the meeting, something Serevan clearly expects, he turns slightly to his man and states, “Strike Lomaxin of the south down for the meeting. You’ll be getting a missive soon, then,” he adds the last to Max, nodding stiffly. “I want to schedule it before the Peace meeting, but I have business that won’t warrant it. Suppose it’s for the best. It gives me a chance to looks Vaputero in the eyes once more.” While Benks scribbles away, the rustle of hides in the soft background, when Max brings up Jaya there’s a touch of a smile. “You would trust business to a Dicori?” he muses on that one, finding it interesting. “Even Vaputero kept her kind on a tight leash.” The remark on Benks, while the man in question looks as if he hadn’t heard, the Nabol crimelord’s chuckling at the comment and putting forth with a gesture of his glass towards the old man, “Benks’ is an old friend. Knows me better than I do myself, perhaps.” Beat. “The weyrwoman knows, and yet she lets you remain at the Weyr?” This, he finds really interesting, a hand brushing over the stubble on his chin. “Randi, correct? I hear she’s taking care of some trouble in the Weyr herself.” Talk on the mines gets a pleased smirk from him, and he opens up on the comment about trading with Delaus with a wry, “He’s the one that owes the favor, in fact.” Beat. “Good,” and he gives Benks a little gesture of something to add to the lists he’s writing. “My man, Ralik, will be down southern way for a good while, so send word with him when you and the weyrwoman have talked. I’ll make sure to meet with the group’s leader and get them ready.”

A brow goes up when the Peace talks are mentioned, Max having no clue when they're scheduled to occur and still having a fair amount of ducks he wanted to try and get in a row beforehand. So while he hates to admit to his 'rookie' status, he has to ask. "And when exactly are those planned for?" Dark eyes drift across to Benk as he scribbles notes down and then slip back onto Serevan with an odd smile in place, "I'd trust business to Bajaya of the Dicori, yes." Making a distinction there and then his face darkens when the woman's former employer is brought up again, "He wouldn't know how to handle quality if it upped and bit him on the arse." Luckily there's the topic of seconds to help smooth the anger that had risen away, and the southerner responds wryly, "Waine sure as shit knows more'n I'd like him to. Wouldn't trade him though." Fondness for his big second evident. "The Weyr benefits from my activities," Max replies smoothly not about to explain that what he does, he does for the Weyr and those under its and by default, his protection. "They don't call us the Weyr of Misfits for nothin'," sardonically spoken.

Hands then lift and spread away from himself on the topic of Delaus, "You want to call in that favour, the call is yours, Sir. Personally, I'd prefer he had vested interest enough in the mines not to try screwin' me over." Which the man will likely try anyway but it's always worth a shot. A nod is given and his drink taken back up, the last of the white wine swallowed, "I'll be sure to send word with him. I was wonderin'…" a pause allowed and then, "What do you know about a man callin' himself Lorayit what says he works for Vaputero, hmm?" Interested to hear what if anything Serevan can provide with regards to further information on the cunning Weyr gardener.

“When a bronze firelizard comes bearing a white collar,” is Serevan’s answer as to when, appearing amused at the question for some reason not given. “This time it’s Jorro’s choice. If he manages to sober up and declare one, you’ll know of it.” On the talk of the Dicori, there’s that briefly wry look when Max makes note of the distinction in his answer. Laughter in his wise eyes, “She’s been softened, I wager,” he notes then in a quip. “A Dicori is made for the likes of Vaputero. I was there when she worked for him. Have seen her at a peace meeting once. The two of them, before she left, were practically inseparable.” Taking a drink, his eyes lighting on Max, “But, you could be right,” he adds, curious. “Bajaya Dicori is her father, but she’s also her mother. You know of the barkeep in Telgar that took her in?” There’s open interest in words dealing with the crimelord business helping out the Weyr, the crimelord musing, “I’ve never been to the south. I should like to visit one day before I retire.”

The topic of the favor from Delaus gets an easy, “As for him, he won’t know what the mining tools are for. He’s knows better than to ask me for anything other than what’s owed me. You want him vested in interest? You’ll have to seek him out yourself.” In other words, the information wasn’t going to come from him, being that he holds his cards very close to his chest. The last word scribbled, Benks takes up the sheets and melts back into the background with nary a word as Serevan regards Max a moment for the question. He seems to be choosing his words – or filtering through his memory of the name, before he gives, “There is a known Lorayit of the Reaches working for Vaputero, yes. Eastern Weyr gardener. A good candidate for the Harper Hall, I hear.” Mouth twitches at that. “What I know, I cannot much tell. Not my place to, but….” And he gives a slight shrug, “….keep an eye on him,” is what he says. “He’s wily, but his loyalty to Vaputero was bought by his brother being held. That means he can be sold, as well. Sent down south for a reason, and….well, I don’t need to give much clue as to why he and your Dicori are in the same location, do I?” and he gives Max a pointed look before lifting his glass and becoming unassuming once more. “If you want my advice,” he adds, “keep him around. Try and buy him, if you can. If he goes down, he will be replaced. I don’t think this Lorayit was cut out to be a renegade. If he was, a certain someone wouldn’t still be at Eastern right now.”

Max finds himself hard pressed not to quite literally palm a hand over his face over who's choice it was this time round for he'd heard rumours of the Fortian crimelord. "Great," he ends up quipping wryly. Talk of Jaya and her previous association with Vaputero and their apparent working relationship draws a flash of something across the southerner's expression that might be hard to determine. Jealousy? Anger for the woman's maltreatment? Or something else entirely? Hard to tell really. Low laughter tosses whatever that had been aside when the Telgari barkeep is brought up, "Aye, good man that. Wise too." Suggesting that he and Keane have not only met but also have a close working relationship at play and then he touches on something said earlier, "You knew Jaya's mother?" Perhaps showing his hand a little with that question. Another sincere smile appears along with an incline of head, "I think Weyrwoman Randi would be intrigued to meet one such as yourself, Sir." Serevan being the more distinguished of the northerners for Max sure as heck would be doing his utmost to keep the goldrider as far away from Harvis as possible.

Broad shoulders lift and fall in an easygoing shrug, "I'll leave the acquisition of tools in your hands then. I'm sure Crom and I will come to some sort of an arrangement," cunning the smirk that attaches. What Serevan has to say on the matter of Lorayit pretty much confirms what Max already knows, save for the last bit and its that which brings a wry smile to his lips, "He ain't a bad sort when he's not tryin' to steal my runner." Amusement playing out now that the sting of the insult has passed.

If Serevan wasn’t such the man he is, he would have laughed at the look on Max’s face. He also catches that brief flash of something – something telling to a man that likes to read the people before him. He nods then, watching the southern crimelord, “I hear he is. Kelarad has spoken of him to me.” Beat. “Jaya’s mother? No,” and he shakes his head once, brisk as he indeed finds the question curious. “I had informants that did, though. Kind woman. Had a heart of gold.” He actually smiles a little more on the comment regarding Randi, lifting his fine glass and regarding it idly before saying, “I’d be interested in meeting the weyrwoman of Eastern, too. I’m sure she and I could learn much from each other. That and, dragons have always been a sort of interest for me,” and he’s not afraid to admit it. He regards the cunning smirk with short laughter, adding on the account of Crom, “Oh, I’m sure you will. You seem crafty enough to deal with all of the brotherhood in certain ways. You haven’t met all of them yet.” It’s a statement, not a question. On the topic of Lorayit, a peculiar one to him, he replies, “That was him that stole your runner? It would make sense.” It amuses him, too. “My informants had a few guesses, which tells me that this gardener knows how to hide well. Such skills could be of good use. What will you do when Vaputero arrives on your doorstep?” The topic shifts, as it’s wont to do, the crimelord as ease in being in control of the meeting.

Max gives a nod for the response on both Keane and Jaya along with a benign smile that gives little away. The topic of Randi he’s quicker to latch onto verbally, amusement at play, “I thought your kind,” well established crimelords, “had this allergy to all things draconic. Nice to know I may have been wrong.” Brows lift and then a crooked grin appears on methods of dealing with the rest of the brotherhood, “My Pa used to always say that if you want to catch a tunnelsnake, you gotta think like one.” The shake of head that follows confirms that indeed he has not yet managed to work his way through meeting all of the northerners.

As to Lorayit a chuckle spills. “Tried to steal, by proxy,” Max replies a smirk attaching there for the bid to take his runner having been unsuccessful, “Come to think of it…I should maybe thank him for had he not hired bumbling fools to do his dirty work for him,” working on assumption there, “I might not be where I am today.” Which is both a good thing and a bad thing depending on who you ask. When conversation turns back to Vaputero’s expected arrival in the south, lips purse and then spread into a cold smile, “Greet him and make him feel at home like any good host would, of course.” Should Serevan be worried? Probably not.

“Renegadekind does,” Serevan seems to correct with a touch of laughter in his heavy voice. One would have to make the distinction. “My family has connections to a Weyr or two, due to the wine, so I’ve always had an affinity for them. I rarely have occasion to speak with them either – I usually leave such liaisons to Harvis. I hear you’ve met Ista already,” he adds with interest, watching him. The remark on tunnelsnakes gets a smile, the old man seeming to agree with the saying. “Does that include striking like one, too?” he muses, regarding his glass. On the topic of the gardener, “If not for that, you and I would not be sitting across from each other,” he agrees easily enough. “How a single theft attempt could change the course of one life, for sure. I imagine, Lorayit is saying the same thing, only the attempt had succeeded. Dicori would have been taken with nary of trace, the Weyr would be missing both its barkeep and gardener, not to mention that barmaid of hers,” he adds with almost a touch of wryness, “and you, as beast manager, would be none the wiser. Question is, would trouble have been the same in either case, and I’d like to say, ‘yes.’” Leaning forward, “Vaputero would have still raped Kelarad’s cousin and held Lorayit’s brother for ransom,” he notes evenly. “No one would have known of it, least of all, you down in Eastern.” Beat. “Knowing what you know of him, you would let that man alone in your territory?” he gives on the big Bitran, knowing full well what the reason is for Vaput to be down there in Eastern with sardonic tilt to voice.

A grin greets the distinction Serevan makes between himself and other renegades. “Bring some of this,” lifting his wine glass up, “and I have feeling you’ll win Weyrwoman Randi right over.” Max has a mouthful of wine when Harvis is brought up and manages; somehow, not to choke on it but instead swallows it down with a bland expression in place and takes his time before answering. “Aye, that I did,” still trying for nonchalant but appearing more guarded than anything else, “Decent sort he is. We seem to get along well.” Understatement of the turn, much? As to tunnelsnakes a tight smirk appear and he sets his glass down, “I look to get bit and I’m bitin’ right back.” So that would be a yes, though not indiscriminately so.

The older man’s musing on how things had worked out from the night thieves had attempted to steal Renegade to where he is now, draws a wry expression into place and Max tips his head to one side, “Almost enough to have a man believin’ in fate, aye?” He being one that believes his destiny lies in his own hands. Low laughter greets the last comment made on Vaputero. “I never said he’d be left alone,” Max counters an exceedingly cunning cast to both expression and pitch of voice.

“I haven’t met a dragonrider I haven’t been able to charm,” Serevan muses, raising his own fine glass as if in a toast before taking a drink. “I think I will have to meet this Randi. Sometimes it’s good to see for myself rather than having to trust in the mouths of my informants.” On the matter of his Istan counterpart, “Harvis hopes to be the next Serevan,” he words it with little amusement, perhaps keeping it under wraps. “I think it’s good you two get along. He tends to be more approachable, more accessible than I am. If not for the fact that he’s my rival in this business, I would say he and I would have made good friends.” He looks down into his glass for a moment, contemplating some thought or other before he looks up again the matter is passed with no fanfare. Talk of fate gets a wry, “Now that is harper talk. Had a Master once talk in nothing but that. Believed that everything that happened, happened for a reason, which I went on to try and disprove – more because I could rather than that I didn’t believe. According to him, women like Olira was meant to be victims to the canines while cutthroats like the Dicori family was meant to both begin and end, in chaos.” A hand flicks to that. “As to the Bitran, I would hope you wouldn’t leave the man alone, though expect him to show up unannounced. He’s not one to make an announcement, especially not to you. I hear your fights are garnering popularity,” he notes, changing the subject again. “How many fighters are you getting to now?”

"If it were your intention to step down, I figure Harvis would be a good one to name as successor," Max comments carefully not wishing to disrespect the Nabolese crimelord in any way as he offers opinion. "Seems to have a level head on his shoulders, pretty good at readin' people too," smirk. On the matter of destiny, there comes a set expression, "Our fate is in our own hands. The Oliras and Dicoris of this world need only come to terms with that to make the change that's needed." Slowly the young southern crimelord unfolds from his seat, a chuckle spilling as he does so in response to his fighters, "Enough to hold our own up Tillek way for those fights." Cards close to the chest on that one.

“Harvis, here?” Serevan gives a snort that sounds twenty turns younger than he is on that one. “Oh I agree, the man does have a good enough head on his shoulders, but I think he’s far from ready to take over something as big as my business.” Draining his glass slowly, “And besides, it will be a good while yet before I step down,” he adds, the twinkle there in his dark eyes. “I’m not that old yet. Ista can wait.” Then, wryly, “I see you’re making your allies already,” he notes, figuring that the southern crimelord was in with Tillek and Ista. “Wise move. Doesn’t hurt to know where you stand early in the game.” Benks appears with the bottle to refill, but this time the Nabol crimelord minutely shakes his head. “No more, Benks, but thank you.” The topic of destiny and fate gets an incline of his head before saying, “Agreed, but there are some that find it hard to fight against the currents, Lomaxin. The Dicoris, for one. I think Bajaya would be interested in knowing that I’m quite familiar with a relative of hers. Her father’s sister, I believe. I’ll give the Ralik the details before he leaves.” Once Max gets to his feet, so does Serevan. The last topic is easy, the older man chuckling along with him before remarking, “You don’t say? I always wanted to have a fight of my own, but, alas. I am fit to just betting my marks like the rest. I look forward to seeing what you and yours can do, Max. It’s high time Kelarad lands on his behind and loses a fight or two.” Hand reaching across the divide then, “And I appreciate you coming here to meet face-to-face,” he adds, his good impression for the man there. “It speaks highly of you. Perhaps I’ll drop by southern sometime, see this Eastern for myself after all.”

Amusement for Serevan's response shows in the lopsided grin that appears, "Age is relative to the woman you feel, Sir," cocky quip returned. On allies made Max merely sends a short twitch of lips along with a nod, "Still got a long ways to go." Easily accepting of how much work still lies ahead of him as well as how much he still needs to learn. Max pauses in his stand to his feet setting Serevan with a browlifted look, "Her aunt…works for you?" assuming as much by the man's words. Amusement once again shows up, "Bet Southern, you might be surprised by the results," he puts forth with an enigmatic wink, openly garnering support for his camp in the upcoming fights. Laughter meets comment of Kelarad landing on his ass, "An entry for the history books, aye?" And then his hand meets the one extended toward him, "The pleasure was all mine, Sir. I'll be sure to let Randi know to expect a visit from yourself." As if magically summoned, Waine steps out of the shadows making it hard to determine if he'd ever really left or been there all along.

“Been too long since I’ve even had one, man,” Serevan quips, amusement there on age. “And you’re doing well – better than I was expecting. Maybe survive the turn yet.” Smirk. When Max asks after Jaya’s aunt, there’s a blink before the Nabol man laughs and shakes his head. “No, no,” he answers wryly. “I don’t employ Dicoris. I rather like my head screwed on sane, thanks.” Beat. “The aunt never worked for a crimelord,” he goes on say thoughtfully, looking back at Max,” but she was trouble all the same. You’ll find her in the mines.” There’s more amusement on the fights, too, the man claiming Max’s own in a firm grip before saying, “I’ll be there to see them for myself, then. A good fight should put the blood to racing.” Releasing his hold then, “I’d appreciate that,’ he gives on the weyrwoman, nodding. “Ralik will let you know about that meeting I mentioned earlier. In the meantime….” And he pauses significantly, a brow going up. “….stay alive, hm? You too, Jaisynn.” Eyes cut to Waine when he emerges, the smile a touch more prominent.

Words on his lasting out the turn have Max turning a tight look onto Serevan and then nodding as a soft sigh escapes, "Aye, here's to hopin'." He knowing full well the risks involved in his chosen line of work and lifestyle. The young southerner can't help but to drop a laugh at the risks involved with employing a Dicori, "Sometimes a little insanity is just what the healer ordered and well worth the gamble," an odd grin slipping into place.. That quickly melts away when its revealed where it is that Jaya's aunt had ended up, a frown flickering briefly into place, "Aye, she said somethin' 'bout the Dicori Curse as she calls it, and the mines." Turning as Waine steps into view, sly mischief lights dark eyes on the matter of the fights, "I'll try not to disappoint then." An almost personal slant given to the words. When the big second is directly addressed a wide grin appears and Waine dips his head, "He's too ornery to bite the big one," a glance sent to Max, and then more sincerely, "I got his back, Sir." With that the southerners step away from the table, with the crimelord tipping a two-fingered salute to his temple in farewell and then they're melting back into the darkness.

Serevan regards Max for a long moment, contemplative – almost calculative – but it’s something he doesn’t openly address. He nods to the first, accepting it since it naturally came with the territory and speaks up on the Dicori with “Better you than me, in that case.” Beat. “Dicori curse appears to be so,” he adds, borrowing the words given with a grave nod. He doesn’t linger on it, however, the man turning once he finds Waine there and he gives the responses sent a smile. “Until we meet again, then,” he gives to them both, a hand lifted in a farewell as the two men melt back into the shadows in which they came – and once so, the old crimelord of Nabol only chooses to retire in contemplation for the night.

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