• Solo • [The Red Hand] All Debts Paid II.

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[The Red Hand] All Debts Paid II.


3 Cylus 720

Continued from here!

"I must admit that this is rather unorthodox," The Coffer grumbled irritably from the seat in front of Maxine's desk. His arms were folded over his chest and a tobacco cigar smoked lazily between his teeth.
"Maybe," Max conceded with a shrug from her chair, leaning back and regarding him with a cool gaze. She didn't necessarily blame the loan shark for being so thorny. Just moments ago she'd embarrassed him while he was trying to collect a debt, and his squad of men had been beaten to a pulp and tossed out the back door of her lounge. His reputation was in shambles. That was dangerous for a man like him. Such a slight couldn't be allowed to pass. If he hadn't been harassing one of her paying patrons, she wouldn't have batted an eye at the girl's hardship. Now the two business owners were upstairs in this little room. What now?

"You understand what position you've just put me in," The Coffer raised a brow at her. "You bested my men, but you know I have other answers you can't fend off with your fists."
"You brought your business into my bar," Maxine countered. "You knew I was going to have to have an answer to you right then and there. You stepped on my toes. You understand that if you make another move against me, I'll have an answer that no one on this island will like."
"True. Very true." No doubt The Coffer knew of Maxine's reputation. Few made it out of Slags Deep. Almost no one made it out of Level Seven, and not before their time. "You want to talk up here. Go on then. What's your proposal now that we're at an impasse."
"You didn't hire that skinny idiot from the rubbish pile," the lounge owner pointed out. "He wasn't all that good, but he wasn't as useless."
"Does it matter?"
"Eh, I saw Stump fight a couple times in some matches. Kid had a sick mother. I liked what he could do for his size."
"He's your muscle and your ring boy."
"More or less." The Coffer sat up and puffed on his cigar. "I'm sorry, is there a point you're about to make here?"
"You need to settle your debt with that broke bitch downstairs and I'd rather you not set my business on fire. Set up a match."

The Coffer eyed Maxine incredulously. He plucked the cigar from his lips and gingerly tapped it in the ash tray on the desk. His other hand drummed on his knees while he thought. She could practically see the war of thoughts in his eyes. He had to weigh the pros and cons of what she was suggesting. He had to decide if it outweighed the trouble she'd just caused him, and whether there was any opportunity to restore his name. The Rusalka remained silent.

"I can't set up a match between you and Stump," The Coffer said finally. "Too many people saw what you did. Even if they didn't, you're not exactly an unknown face on this island. No one will believe it if you throw the match to Stump. I'll have any asshole with a bat looking to break my knee caps."
"Not me and Stump," Max clarified with a dismissive wave of her hand. "You're not the only shark in these waters. Find the bigger fish and I'll stand in, one time, for you. A good match should double whatever she owed and put you ahead of your competitor."
"I thought so."
"So you'll fight for me, but how much of the purse do I keep?"
"All of it." Maxine lit the end of an Ambrosia joint and gave it a drag.
"I didn't ask for quips," The Coffer snapped, puffing his cigar and shaking his head. "I'm being serious."
"So am I. Whatever I win, when I win, is all yours."
"No offense, lady, but this ain't no palace. You're not made of coins, and no one looks to potentially get their ass kicked for free."
"And I've never heard of someone throwing such a damn fit over one-hundred profit. Fuck, man, what do you care?"
"Guess I don't. Just looking for the punchline where you get off."
"I don't. That is your punchline. Now do we have a deal or what?"
"Aye." The Coffer stood and extended a hand across the desk. "We have a deal."

Maxine eyed him suspiciously but conceded to shake his hand. The Coffer gave his cigar a final tap on the ash tray and made his way toward the door. He turned the hand and glanced over his shoulder back at the Red Hand entrepreneur.

"Three trials," he bid her with a nod. "Three trials, be ready. I'll have it set up. I'll send one of the boys to bring you to the venue."
"Fine," Max shrugged, indifferent. The door popped open, but then The Coffer slowly closed it again. He turned around and regarded her with questioning eyes.
"What if you lose?"
"I wasn't really planning on it."
"I'm a shark, as you said. I plan for these things. So tell me, what if you lose?"
"Make sure the fight is enough that your debt is at least settled with the overhead."
"Fair enough. I'll be seein' you soon, Miss Maxine." He paused again. "What should I have them call you? You got a name when you do this kind of thing?"
"Alright then. What'll they call you, Max?"
"Just Max." She let out a long stream of smoke into the air. The Coffer merely shook his head and made his leave.
Trials blurred together, but three did finally come to pass. Stump wandered into The Red Hand, nursing his broken arm with a deep scowl upon his face. It was still early. Only a couple chronic drunks had already slumped into their seats at the bar, but the place was otherwise quiet. His gaze shifted about the staff while he waited just inside the door. After a few bits he sighed and leaned his good arm down upon the bar counter.

"'Scuse me, Miss?" he mustered, lifting his chin at the bartender. The dark-haired woman sauntered down his way with a questioning brow raised. Stump cleared his throat. "Your boss? The Coffer is expecting her at the venue. She here or what?"
"Oh, sweetie," the woman scoffed with an amused, dry grin. She shook her head. "She's here alright."

Right on cue, the door to the kitchen slammed open with such violence that Stump jumped where he stood. Maxine appeared in the doorway, braced between the frames. She blinked at the subtle change in light before stumbling onward. Her hair was unkempt, cloak slouched off one shoulder, and her eyes were half-glassed over. Stump watched her with his jaw practically hanging to the floor.

"Hey!" he barked to get her attention. It worked, because the way she turned his way had him concerned he might get his good arm snapped. "Whoa, whoa!" He lowered his voice. "Stump? The Coffer sent me?" Max looked at him and shrugged, plucking a flask from her pocket. Stump ran a hand down his face. "Immortals, I'm fucked. The fight? Remember? You agreed to fight for The Coffer? That's to-trial."
"I know what trial it is," Max slurred her lie smoothly. She went to tip the flask back, but her expression turned unpleasant when she found nothing fell from the container. She brushed him off and wandered behind the bar. Stump followed from the other side of the counter, exasperated. Max snatched an opened bottle of rum from the shelf and went to refilling her flask.
"You're drunk," the errand boy accused her critically. The pouring stopped suddenly.
"I don't need you to tell me when I'm drunk and when I'm sober," Maxine growled her drunken retort. She took a long swig from the bottle before returning it to the shelf.
"He's gonna be pissed!"
"My boss!"
"Oh, fuck him. What's he gonna do? Send his lackeys after me? How's that arm anyways?"
"Fuck off."
"Thought so."

Maxine pushed past Stump on her way out from around the bar counter. The goon stepped back with a fuming huff. Watching her move along, all heavy-footed, had steam about coming out his ears. It should've been him in the ring. He was The Coffer's ring boy. He was the number one. Now he was reduced to something more akin to a babysitter to the women who rendered him practically useless. She was about to blow something that should've been his to earn.

"Well are you going to lead the way or stand there with your dick in your one good hand?" Max asked finally, moving in the direction of the door. Stump stared at her back incredulously before hustling to walk beside her.
"We don't have time to sober you up," the injured man groaned. "We're going to have to find a way to call a rematch."
"Nope," Max set him straight without missing a beat. "I fight tonight."
"If you fight tonight you'll lose tonight!"
"No! Not maybe! You smell like pure rum! The least you could do is stop drinking!"
"And ruin this buzz? Don't think so."
"The promoters are going to kill us."
"Fuck sake! Are you going to bitch the entire walk there?"
"We're here."

Max blinked at that, and sure enough, Stump brought them to a halt. A crooked, heavy red wooden door laid before them against a dull brown building. Stump made a fist and pounded three times on the door. After a bit she heard a few latches inside come loose. A simple, shoddy peep-hole was slid aside, displaying a pair of curious brown eyes.

"What's the password?" the stranger lurking inside asked with a grainy, muffled voice. Max stared at the expectant eyes staring right back blankly.
"I know what it is,” the drunk woman said before Stump could voice his frustration. "It’s, uh, it’s tw—uh.”
Max,” her chaperone scolded.
"Shhhh! It’s twee...tweed? No. Twee...”
”Tweezers.” Stump sounded defeated
"That’s what I was saying if you didn’t interrupt me.”
”You might be the worst.”
"Feeling’s mutual, buddy.”

The crooked door groaned open for them and the pair were ushered down a long, dark hallway. A series of chipped stairs led them into the very bowels of the odd building. The further down they ventured, the louder the buzz of voices. Max only got a glance of the large room at the bottom of the stairs before she was whisked into a side room. The Coffer and some familiar, battered faces met her with expectant expressions.

"Damn the two of you!" the loan shark hissed, closing the door behind Max and Stump. "You're bloody late!"
"Not for lack of trying," Stump mumbled under his breath.
"We hardly have time to get you ready before it's supposed to start." The Coffer snapped at one of the men in the room and a chair was promptly brought over. "We still have time to wrap your hands, but not much beyond that."
"I don't need any of that shit," Max slurred, shrugging off her cloak and tossing it toward the chair. It miserably missed and collapsed in a sad, limp pile on the floor next to its target. "I'm ready now."
"For fuck sake, woman!" The Coffer's voice boomed before it dropped to a tense, controlled whisper. "You're piss drunk! You smell like you've bathed in rum, for the love of the Immortals!"
"Nope. I'm right in the sweet spot."
"The only spot you're in is a touch above a drunken coma!"
"That would be comfortably to slip into."
"This isn't a fucking joke! This was not a part of the deal!"
"Well, it wasn't not a part of the deal."
"This is unbelievable. Dammit, Stump! One job!"
"Oh, you are not blaming me for this one!" Stump straightened up and shook his fist at that. "I found her like this. She was fucked up long before I walked in there. This is not on me."
"Will you girls stop yelling?" Max asked with a wrinkled expression. "All this fucking bitching is making me thirsty. Hey, you." She snapped at the guy who had brought over the chair she refused to sit in. "Yeah, you. You got any booze?"
"Don't give her anything!" Stump and The Coffer admonished the man at the same time long before he could so much as reply.
"You guys are fun suckers."

The Coffer sighed and ran both hands down his tired, stressed face. Stump stared at him from where he posted up against a nearby wall. Max, still reeking of alcohol, began tilting her head from side-to-side and rolling her shoulders. Defeated, the loan shark shook his head.

"I have no choice," he admitted finally. "She has to go out there. I didn't fix this fight."
"You can't be fucking serious," Stump groaned, good hand tightening into a fist at his side. Had he two good arms he'd be out in that ring himself.
"If I back out now, my reputation will be irreparable. I'll have nothing."
"We won't have shit when she loses. We show force to get your money back, but that girl's debt isn't all that much. If we win, we have so much more to earn."
"Something is better than nothing."
"We should find an excuse to post-pone!"
"Let me make it easy on you," Max said grimly, moving toward the door. "I'm fighting. That's it. Get in my way and my first match will be you. Anyone want to take a walk back to where we were three trials ago?" She looked around at the familiar, damaged lot. "No? Good." Max ripped open the door and took a step into the hallway. Her brow furrowed and her head snapped back and forth several times. Then she looked over her shoulder back into the room, irritated. "Where the fuck am I going?"
"We are so fucked!" The Coffer whined lowly before he and Stump accompanied their drunk champion out into the hallway. The least they could do to save their hide was put on a respectable presentation.

word count: 2472
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Wealth Tier: Tier 10

Re: [The Red Hand] All Debts Paid II.


Business Management: Protecting Your Business By Placating Threats
Business Management: Making Deals with Other Businessmen
Resistance: Communicating Despite Slurring
Resistance: Going About Day Drunk
Resistance: Navigating Surroundings with Beer Goggles
Resistance: Keeping a Buzz Going

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: This was a very well-written thread. You did a great job in regard to describing the NPC, and the dialogue was interesting to read and felt natural. Max is great PC, and her posts are always entertaining to read! Enjoy your rewards!

word count: 94





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