Who

Ryott, Rothan

What

Ryott meets a guardsman who knows his own brand of trickery.

When

It is noon of the fourth day of the twelfth month of the fifteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Central Bazaar, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 04 Jan 2019 07:00

 

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"You're not what you seem. No one who carries an excess of anything is."


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Central Bazaar

All roads in the weyr ultimately lead here, to this center of commerce. Canvas awnings jut out over time worn, sandy cobblestone, sheltering customers and wares alike from the majority of Igen's elements, and funnel scents both mouthwatering and vomit inducing through the thin streets. Almost all store fronts are open air, delineated by sandstone arches with intricately carved facades. The insides of these stone-shingled buildings act as an amplifier for the salesmens' bawled enticements, and are held up by the chipped swirls of marble pillars.


With winter weather arriving in earnest, the bazaar has a much more hurried feel about it. No one is lingering at stalls for browsing, they just get where they need to go, run their errand and then seeking the warmth of indoors again. Everyone seems to be bundled up warmly, even the teen who has set up a makeshift table between two stalls. Table might be too nice a word for what is basically a plank balancing on a wide log. Seated on another log, the dark haired Zingari girl is idly shuffling three face down cards as a couple men stand over her. clad in shades of dark grey, mostly covered with a long leather duster, a long knitted scarf wrapped around her neck several times, and fingerless gloves. When she stops, she looks up at the men with a rather inscrutable look, "Okay gents, find the lady and I'll double your marks." There's a moderate pile of small marks on the board near the cards and the two men scoff as if this kid couldn't get one over on them. One picks the card on the far left and without much fanfare, Ryott turns the card over and reveals it not to be the Lady. "Oh dear, rotten luck," the girl deadpans as she sweeps the marks off the board and disappears it onto her person. "Shard that! You cheated! That should have been the Lady!" the one man rages as he goes to pick up the other cards. But Ryott's hands are quicker and she flips the cards over for him, revealing the lady in the middle. "That's no possible! I know you cheated…I bet you have something up your sleeve…" and the man makes a grab for her wrist.

With the more hurried feel of the Bazaar comes a greater alertness among the guards…or some of them, anyway. Rothan, having been bred and raised in the mountains of Nabol, finds the colder weather invigorating, something betrayed in the solidity of his stride as he wends his way through the bustling thoroughfare. Hearing bickering is commonplace. Voices raised in anger, however, are cause for a shift in attention at the very least. Sharp brown eyes scan about for the source of the voices, and the brawny guardsman spies the two men looming over the girl with the cards at the makeshift table. The situation has a few different things wrong with it, compelling Rothan forward just in time for that grab to be made. His hand shoots out, grabbing the man firmly by the back of the collar as he pulls his sap free of his belt. "You weren't about to assault someone, were you?" he demands rather too smoothly, tapping the man firmly on the elbow of the arm stretched out for the girl and making certain it's hard enough to smart. "Assault on a merchant, assault in general… I could get you for either, though the first one comes with a heavier price, and I'd be justified in dragging you in claiming it."

With a gurgled cry, the man gets yanked back by the collar, dropping his hand with a yelp as soon as his elbow gets that tap. "That bitch cheated. I know she did something funny with the cards, I was just trying to prove it," the man retorts as he tries to shake himself free of Rothan's grasp, a cloud of alcoholic fumes wafting in the guard's direction, surely from an early lunch. His friend seems to look embarrassed and he's trying to get the angry man to just accept his loss and move on. Unfortunately, drunks aren't known for their rational thinking. For her part, Ryott merely sits back with her arms loosely crossed over her chest, wispy bangs falling over dark brows that are raised in speculation. "Ain't a merchant though, just wanna clear that up. I just occasionally set a game up here. I don't want no trouble Sir, just earning some honest coin," her voice seems to ring sincere as her eyes widen innocently and she looks back over the man, "He's just a bad loser, seem 'em often enough."

Rothan doesn't take kindly to belligerent drunkards, especially ones that are trying to wriggle out of his grasp. He hears the girl but only gives a grunt in response as he considers what to do with the man. Spying a nearby horse trough, he gives the girl a quick look of "just a moment" before dragging the man to the trough and shoving him into the icy water, leaving him to flail himself out. Dusting off gloved hands with finality, Rothan comes back over to the girl, the stern expression he regards her with seemingly heightened by the jagged scar running down the right side of his face to the corner of his mouth. "I know you're not a merchant," he states firmly, "because there's no such thing as a 'game merchant.' Not out in the open, anyway. Usually." He folds his arms upon his chest, a dark brow lifting subtly. "'Honest' isn't usually the word given to making marks by gambling."

Stifling a chuckle, Ryott watches as the man gets unceremoniously dumped into the runner trough and watches him for only a moment longer before her attention is back on the guard now advancing on her once more. Leaning back, she matches his stance and crosses her arms over her chest, maintaining unblinking eye contact with the guard man, but otherwise showing no emotion on her mostly indifferent features. When he remarks his last, she scoffs dryly under her breath before reaching a hand out to play with the cards resting on the table in front of her, fiddling, flipping, and shuffling them idly, fingers deft and fluid in their manipulations. "Honest enough, and the way I see it, I'm doing a good service by taking those marks off his hands before he can get himself even more intoxicated," she adds with a shrug in her usually impassively acerbic tone.

It's that unflinching stare the girl meets him with that has Rothan suspecting he is dealing with more than a simple card-flipper at the moment. "How altruistic of you," he counters almost drolly, slipping his sap back into his belt ring before resuming his folded-armed stance and shuffling a bit closer. "May I see your deck?" A strange request, perhaps, but he's not without his reasons.

"Just looking out for my friends and neighbors," Ryott replies with cold sincerity, and her emotionless mask firmly in place. When the guard asks for her deck, she leaves the three cards on the table and then reaches inside her jacket to pull out the rest of the cards. Putting the three back on the top of the deck, she hands the man a very well loved deck of dragon poker cards, soft and supple with due to plenty of shuffling. She leans back again after handing it over, hands lifting into a long stretch before she lets her hands rest on top of her head, but always keeping an eye on the man, curious as to why he wants the deck, although she could take a few guesses.

"Oh, I'm sure," Rothan counters flatly as he takes up the deck. Practiced fingers riffle the cards, sift them in one hand, shuffle twice and knock them back into line, cut them, riffle them again. Then he starts thumbing through them, studying the design, looking for duplicates and apparently satisfied to not find any. "I'm assuming you know sleights," he intones, shuffling the deck once more. "Any good dealer does." He taps the cards back into line again and then tugs off a glove. He shove it in his belt, then fans the cards in his bare fingers, a fluid motion arranging them evenly. "Which of your neighbors would be willing to attest to your good will, eh?" He holds the spread cards face down before the girl, nodding for her to choose one.

Watching with what amounts to little more than bored interest, Ryott begrudgingly raises one eyebrow when his technique seems to be quite good, although no more than that. Can't be giving guards big heads, can we? His assumption is met by a derisive scoff that neither confirms or denies her knowledge of sleights in any concrete manner. With her hands still resting on top of her head, she tilts it just a little bit to one side, and looks at him suspiciously when he asks her to pull a card, letting her dark eyes linger as if she could pluck his intentions from the depths of his own gaze. With a soft sigh, maybe of annoyance, it's hard to tell, she drops her arms to her side and carefully runs her fingers over the fanned cards as if trying to see if one calls to her. In the meantime, she answers his last, "If you ask a certain brownrider by the name of Divale, I'm sure she'd have nothing but good things to say about me." It's a pretty bold statement to anyone who knows the Parhelion Wingsecond, but the girl's confidence is unwavering. Finally her finger settles on a card, about a third of the way in and she pinches it between thumb and forefinger, drawing it out of the deck and peeking at it before looking back at the guard expectantly.

Rothan gives a little hum at the mention of said brownrider, uncertain whether or not he's met the woman before but giving nothing away in that regard. "And what name would I give this brownrider to recognize you by?" he questions as gathers the deck together once more, minus the girl's card, and shuffles it a few more times. He fans it again, nodding to indicate she should put the card back.

Ryott narrows her eyes just the tiniest bit in Rothan's direction, taking a moment to consider what answer she might give to that question, there are so many possibilities. She watches as he shuffles the cards back up, still silent until he fans them out again and she starts to carefully consider which spot she will return it to. "Name's Ryott," she drawls simply as she finally decides on a spot and slides her card back in carefully before leaning back slightly. "And since we're sharing names, mind returning the favor?" She asks with a bold flash of her dark eyes.

With the girl's card now back in the deck, Rothan once more folds them back into one hand, shuffles them three times, and sifts them before knocking them back into a block. "Rothan," he answers simply as he bows the cards in his palm. The bottom card pops free into his other hand and he takes it up into his fingers, showing it to Ryott questioningly. It isn't her card. Whether he realizes it or not, he doesn't indicate. "You have ties to any of the families here, or are you working on your own?"

Once her card is back in the deck, Ryott keeps her eyes glued to the man's hands, watching for even the smallest hidden move. His name is processed with little fanfare, a soft grunt in acknowledgment as she leans forward, resting her elbows on her knees. Rolling her eyes a little bit at the way he pops the card free, a flashy move meant to wow the crowds, she knows. She's done similar tricks while wondering the crowds on entertainment nights. When he shows her the card, she shakes her head, but doesn't for a minute think he's actually got it wrong. "I do." she replies with cryptic simplicity, fully answering his question, yet giving him no specifics to work with.

No stranger to evasion, Rothan doesn't show any immediate frustration with Ryott's lack of elaboration. "By blood, by friendship, by contract, by favor…?" he asks further. The deck is set down on the table, the single card he'd popped free now held almost gingerly between thumb and forefinger, facing Ryott so that she can see the front clearly. He turns it slowly, brushing the edge with his other thumb to show that it isn't layered with another card before facing it to her once more.

"Are you interrogating me?" Ryott asks rather suddenly in her usual deadpan, unimpressed voice. "I have my people I look to for shelter and food. But I have my reasons for not broadcasting so," her words ring with something akin to mild paranoia, as she now focuses her attention wholly on that one card he's manipulating. Yeah yeah, he can show her all he wants that there's no trick, the Zingari girl knows this is as much misdirection as anything else. But she does admire another's skill with sleight of hand when she can, and so she doesn't make it obvious that she knows what he's doing.

"If you've done nothing wrong, why are you concerned that I might be?" Rothan counters with the lift of a brow. "In terms of shady figures in this place, you're nothing special. There's cause to be suspicious about most everyone, after all." As with any trick, there certainly is misdirection involved. But there's very little to it to be guessed at. Rothan simply flicks the card with his free hand…and suddenly the face is just different. Changed to the card she'd picked. "You're not what you seem. No one who carries an excess of anything is. But it's true for most of the world, I think." He sets the card on table in front of Ryott and straightens. "I expect I'll see you around, Ryott."

"Oh, not concerned, just curious," Ryott replies flippantly with a vague gesture of her hand. Her eyes do narrow considerably when she's dismissed as nothing special, making her thoughts on that clear for a brief moment before she schools her expression back to neutrality. There's definitely an implied connection between the card changing face and his words about her not being what she seems. She certainly won't argue with him. She slides her hand over the card he leaves on the table, covering it briefly, and it's gone when she lifts her hand a moment later. "Maybe…" she replies with a touch of dark amusement and maybe a hint of challenge. Picking up the rest of her deck, she slides it back into an inner pocket as she gets to her feet and stretches cramped legs. "You have a good day, Rothan," she intones simply before she moves to slip past him if allowed, to join the bustling crowd and hide among the throngs once more.

Rothan does nothing to stop Ryott; he has no cause to, of course. He inclines his head to her as she goes, walking on a few paces before watching her slip out of sight. He looks about for the doused drunkard and his friends for a moment before walking on as well, continuing his afternoon patrol until twilight sets in.

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