• Closed • The Tavern Gambit

4th of Cylus 721

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Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Sabine Devereaux
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Re: The Tavern Gambit

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It may not have been the right answer, but he sure did take a long time thinking about the name she gave him. Picking a common name increased her ridiculously small chance of being right by an infinitesimal amount, but Sabine had never stood a chance with his game. They both knew it, so there was no point in pretending otherwise.

He answered her riddle easily enough, so she knew him to be intelligent. A good thing to know, filing that nugget away in the back of her mind. There was more than one way to get information on someone that didn’t want to give it.

Smiling, she pushed nels onto the counter, indicating for her companion to be given another ale. “You win. The next drink is on me…”

His question wasn’t a bit surprising but was one she didn’t feel like answering. He was probing for useful information on her and using far more direct methods. “Not generally but mixing things up is always a good idea.” Nothing for him to gain with that remark, by design.

Of course, what was good for him, was good for her. “And you? Offering up a game that one had no chance of winning? Was that simply to amuse yourself or was there a point to it?” A knowing smile slipped free, eyes to him, curious to how he would react as she ordered herself a drink.

Her companion was…interesting. The attitude a little off-putting but Sabine had dealt with worse in her time. There was something of a pervasive air of smugness about him that had always managed to repel her in others, but again, she had to learn to deal with all types if she was going to ever become any good at her chosen craft. Smugness was irritating but she could work with it.

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Revan Blackhand
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Re: The Tavern Gambit


4 Cylus 721
The next drink was a good way to keep someone in their seat. It certainly kept Revan in his seat for a little longer to talk to the red head from Melrath. She must have done well in Rharne. The people here seemed to like red heads. Revan had nothing for or against them, but he'd never made a face with red hair because he thought it would draw too many eyes. He hadn't considered that it might be useful to draw eyes in some situations. Sabine answered his question and he didn't think much of it. Was she being playful or hiding something? Was he being suspicious or curious? It didn't matter. At least not that night. He cast a glance around the tavern again for a more interesting face and ended up settled on Sabine once more.

She'd asked him if his game had been for amusement or something more and he gave an answer which was both not the real reason and not what he figured she would expect. "I do it to trick people into telling me riddles so I can drink more." He said with a small grin as the next ale was brought to him. He raised the cup slightly to Sabine, seeing she had her own now, and then took a drink from it. She didn't need to know about the parts of his mind turning over the name William. He'd find some form of law enforcement that could be corrupted but he did not suspect it would be the Lightning Knights. William would be a boon to the Blackhands.

He set his cup back down on the counter and considered having a bit of fun with the girl. What was a drinking contest to someone like him? No. Where was the benefit? Where was the profit? "It works well." He added with a gesture towards the cup.
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Sabine Devereaux
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Re: The Tavern Gambit

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A mystery wrapped in an enigma. That’s what her mysterious companion was, and it was new and exciting. Something a bit different from the standard tavern fare, which usually comprised drunks and dullards. Well, depending on what tavern one went to. Rharne was a bit rowdier than most towns, so the taverns tended to be livelier, in her experience.

A mystery. Sabine liked mysteries. Mysteries could also get one into a wee bit of trouble. Then again, there had been a tad bit of that in her past as well. Mischief was nothing new to her.

His comment prompted a laugh from her, having caught her off-guard with his apparent honesty. “Your plan worked well then, although I still argue that there was zero chance I would accurately guess your name. But, I like rewarding creativity.” The young woman lifted her cup to him and drank deeply, considering their conversation thus far, which hadn’t amounted to much. The man was providing her something of a challenge, and Sabine loved a challenge.

“So, not-William, are you going to give me another chance to figure out your name, or are you to forever be an enigma?” Unconsciously, her hand gently raised to the rose quartz pendant dangling from a chain around her neck, toying with it some as they spoke. It wasn’t anything outlandish or flashy, just a large quartz point wrapped and simply attached to the chain with a silver wrap.

Her demeanor hadn’t changed much during their conversation. Sabine was chatty, but she wasn’t driving at anything in particular other than keeping the conversation going. That much was apparent.

Oddly enough, he said less than her, yet there was much to be said for relative silence. That was something she had learned after observing others in her travels. You could tell a lot about someone just by watching them, but her companion seemed very intent on not giving her much to go on. Perhaps she needed to change the rules a bit. The benefit to her was in the challenge itself.

“Do you play any card games? I learned a new drinking game on my way to Rharne. If you are interested?” Sabine produced a worn deck of cards from her pocket, waggling them enticingly. “What better offer are you going to get tonight? Good company, alcohol, and a little fun. I’ll even let you choose a game if you’d like to play something else.”

Maybe he’d bite, maybe not, but what was it that they said about it not being the destination, but the journey?

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Re: The Tavern Gambit


4 Cylus 721
This woman didn't stop talking. Either she didn't enjoy the silence the way Revan did or she was still prying for information. It was a shame she met this face and not Morton, though Morton wouldn't have been caught dead in the Dust Quarter. Morton would have loved to talk about himself all night. Revan, on the other hand, was the face of a thief. He had to be a little more careful with what he did and how he did it or he would have to replace Revan with another face. Not William, but some name that he'd had on his list. Maybe... Grayson? Sabine said she had virtually no chance of guessing his name correctly and Revan gave her a small shrug. It wasn't a fair game. He never meant for it to be fair. He wanted to create odds that ensured he would win.

She asked if she'd get another chance to figure out his name and her hand, probably unconsciously, moved to a rose quartz pendant she had on around her neck. It wasn't much but it seemed to have silver and Revan was sure Willow or Zoro would have been able to turn it over for a profit. Willow might even had just kept it and paid Revan for it which he had no problem with. He still made profit. But how would he remove it from around her neck without her noticing? Pressure on the back of her neck could disguise the effort to unclasp it. A hand that got too friendly perhaps? A distraction would be important. He needed to take all her focus off the necklace and hold on something so that when the necklace was gone she did not notice.

He would need more time... so why not give her another chance at getting his name? She produced a worn deck of cards and proposed a drinking game that she had learned on her way to Rharne. A drinking game? Perfect. He smiled slyly and nodded his head, "Alright, Sabine from Melrath. I'll play your game and if you win I'll tell you my name. But if I win, what do I get?"

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Sabine Devereaux
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Re: The Tavern Gambit

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'Sabine from Melrath' held no preconceived notions about why the man was playing along with her game. In fact, she had no idea whatsoever, but that was part of the fun. He lied to her; she lied to him. They could play the game all night long if he wanted. The redhead had no particular place to go or be, and her companion was interesting enough to keep her attention as she sorted through the various ways and means of trying to figure him out.

Getting the barkeep's attention, she ordered another round of drinks for them – the game required it.

As for what the reward was for winning the game…" I suppose that depends on your perspective. I'd say you've already won this evening, considering you've had to drop relatively few coins on drinks, my dear." A knowing smirk accompanied the words. He'd see through the ploy to divert his attention, but Sabine realized that it didn't much matter how aware he was of her minor deceptions.

"Very well, not-William… let's begin. The game is simple. I dare say you might even have come across it before." Reaching into her pocket, Sabine drew out a deck of worn cards and shuffled them on the tabletop a few times before turning them over, face up, spreading them gently out in front of them so he could see that there was nothing odd about the cards. "So, plain deck. All suits, numbers, and royalty accounted for."

Collecting the cards again, she shuffled them a few more times before dealing the first card, laying it face up in front of him. "Six of spades. You need to determine if the next card will be higher or lower than this one. If you call 'higher' and are wrong, you must take a drink. If you are right, I take a drink. For this game, aces are considered low."

Waiting for a beat, Sabine studied him curiously, trying to decide how she felt about the encounter. The thoughts, however, were interrupted as her body was shoved against the bar harshly from behind. Pushed there by a slovenly young drunkard who badly misjudged how close to her he was, the surprised young woman grabbed the bar to keep from being crushed entirely.

Upon running into her, the man tried to right himself by holding on to her. "Whoa! What da' we 'ave 'ere?" The man looked rather delighted at his stroke of luck, but when turning his attention to the girl, Revan could detect the quick shift in her expression from his vantage point despite Sabine's earlier charming demeanor.

Turning, Sabine gave the party-crasher a quick smile and slammed her foot down on top of his, punctuated with even swifter direction. "Go. Now. And if you ever touch me again, I'll break your fingers."

Drunk as he was, the young man sensed pursuing the redhead would bring him more trouble than it was worth, so he wisely held up his hands in a placating manner and backed away.

Sighing quietly as she rubbed her ribs gently, she returned her attention to her companion. "Apologies. So, higher or lower?"

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Re: The Tavern Gambit


4 Cylus 721
"You assume that is different than any other night." Revan said with a somewhat smug look on his face. A good thief never had to pay for their own drinks. Everyone around them paid. He watched Sabine as she produced a deck of cards and showed them to him so he could verify they were not tampered with. It felt somewhat like a magician preparing to pull a trick on someone in a bar. Revan didn't like that, but he didn't show it. He kept his same smug, amused look. She shuffled the cards again and Revan watched her as she worked. She didn't have the artistry with the cards that a street magician might have. It was somewhat comforting to see that but it could have been part of a ploy to make him lower his guard.

She explained the game to Revan but he had to admit she was correct. He did know the game and he didn't need the explanation. He didn't stop her from explaining, but that was all part of his personal ruse. Sabine presented a six of spades and Revan eyed the card. Six was a relatively low number given what could have been shown. Then again there were five cards lower than it. His name was the only thing at stake and yet, he felt it mattered that he not reveal it. Personal pride at this point, really. No one liked to lose. When the man bumped into Sabine, distracting her, Revan thought to reach for the cards and peer at the one on top- but he didn't. He'd assessed the possibility and recognized that he was more likely to be caught than he was to get away with it.

"Certainly one way to handle drunks." Revan commented after Sabine made her threat and scared the man away. She was lucky he was small. A larger man might have wanted a fight for that sort of treatment. "Higher."
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Re: The Tavern Gambit

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Boom. There was her first hint about the man in front of her. He could have dropped it on purpose, but really, it was of minor concern. His tease about perhaps not having to pay for drinks often told her that he frequented taverns and had a way to make others pay for his drinks. It wasn't a lot to go on, but better than nothing.

Smiling, she immediately retorted. "I never assume. Bad business that. Assumptions lead to nothing but trouble, and while I'm not opposed to an appropriate amount of trouble, it must be on my terms."

She looked to be moving on but stopped, tapping the cards on the bar top for effect before speaking, grinning. "And, oh...a tip - never tell a girl she's not unique. We hate that. Mysterious is good but allow us to feel special in our own way. If you don't, you risk an end to those free drinks, which would just be sad. Friendly advice, nothing more, nothing less."

Sabine shuffled the cards and showed him the first one. It didn't matter if she won or lost the first round, although the odds were on not-William's side. Five cards lower; eight cards higher. As he called out his choice of 'higher,' she smiled again – a smart one he was. He realized the odds too.

Before she had the chance to see if he was right or not, the drunk intervened, but a quick bark from Sabine sent him back on his way. Not-William commented on her technique, eliciting a shrug in response. "Looking and talking doesn't bother me. Hands that I don't want on me…that bothers me. I gave him two options, and he chose wisely. Good for him."

Not-William wasn't bad company. In fact, he was quite enjoyable, trying to keep secrets from her. Even if she couldn't discern what the secrets were, she knew that he had them, and that was the first step to discovering what the man didn't want her to know.

As fate would have it, 'higher' won the round as she produced a nine. A quick drink and another deck shuffle brought them back to where they had started, flipping up the next card. "Ohhhh...tough one...a seven. Even split either way. Higher or lower?"

As Sabine waited for the answer, she realized that despite having walked into the tavern with a clear agenda, it had long been abandoned to play games with her companion. Not an awful use for an evening, in her opinion.

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Re: The Tavern Gambit


4 Cylus 721
She sure liked to talk, this one, but she seemed to do it to contradict him. She never assumed? Well, that couldn't have been true. In Revan's experience you only approached someone in a bar once you'd assumed something about them. Maybe it was that they would be an easy mark, maybe it was that they would buy you a drink, but there was always some thought that guided talking to strangers. Some purpose for it. After the talk of never making assumptions, Sabine made another one. The Yludih who could very well take Sabine's appearance and walk around looking like her felt within it's rights to declare people unique and other people not unique. He liked the faces that weren't unique sometimes. They were useful when you didn't want to stand out. He didn't say that to her though. It would serve no purpose.

In fact, he didn't say anything at all about either of the things Sabine said before the drunk arrived and caused his little ruckus. Sabine shrugged it off and said that she didn't mind the comments and looks but she did not like being touched. It was that notion which made Revan a little curious. He perked up just a little in his chair as he thought about the logistics of the move. He'd done the 'drunk bumping into you' act before and it worked pretty well. Sabine would have just proven herself a good target. He knew how she'd react when touched and it gave a thief a good exit. He'd won the game without knowing and Sabine was onto the next card. He wasn't even thinking about the odds anymore. The longer he said nothing, the further a thief could go.

"Lower. Check your pockets, Sabine from Melrath." Revan said with a furrowed brow as he looked around the tavern for the drunk who'd just bumped into Sabine. "People here tend to have sticky fingers."
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Re: The Tavern Gambit

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Whatever his thoughts were about her, Sabine paid no attention. The man seemed lost in his thoughts, which was never a good thing, especially when trying to keep someone’s attention on you.

Her companion fell silent until the drunk came barging in. Telling her to check her pockets, Sabine nodded her understanding, but first, she flipped the card. “King. It looks like I won this time.”

Hands quickly found their way to her pockets. One touch and she knew everything was where it was supposed to be – a fact that she promptly relayed to him, quietly.

“His hands never made it that far. Far too drunk for a proper lift."
The words were punctuated with a soft grin, followed by a small shrug. "But what would I know of things like that?”

Smiling, she laid money on the bar top – enough for a few more drinks, should he desire them. If not, she didn’t care what he did with the money. “But, not-William, I should leave you be now. I’ve taken up far too much of your time already. It was a delight meeting you. Perhaps we will run into each other again sometime. Next time though, you are paying for drinks.”

There was no need for the devastating smile she typically employed – he wouldn’t fall for it anyway. Not this one.

Instead, she offered sincerity. There was far too little of it in the world. “Stay safe, not-William.”

And with that, she moved to depart the tavern, utterly ignoring the stares as she did so. Sabine wasn’t working right then, so what did she care who looked? Men always stared, so she was used to it – probably the hair - some weird fetish with Ilaren or something. Rharne was rather odd, now that she thought about it.

It wasn’t until she found her way outside that trouble caught up to her.

A hand slipped onto her shoulder, and the reaction was immediate. Had Mr.Grabby Hands not been so wasted, he might have gotten the upper hand on her, but that wasn’t the case. His small stature ensured that whatever he was looking for, he didn’t get.

Grabbing the hand, she twisted around and rotated his arm sharply. It was a simple move someone had shown her on the road but effective in managing drunks. “Enough. Go. Understand? Or my next move is to scream very loudly in a way that, I promise you, will not end well for you.” The edge to her voice ensured that her meaning came through loud and clear.

Gritting his teeth, the drunk nodded. Only then did she release him, watching as he scampered off, shaking her head in disbelief. “Morons.”

The night wasn’t a total loss. Not-William had been pleasant enough; some nights, that’s all a girl could ask for.

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Re: The Tavern Gambit


4 Cylus 721
You couldn't always win when you gambled. That was kinda the point of it. You could win a lot more as the dealer than you could as a player but that was cause the cards were in your hands and if you were good enough, no one would be able to tell when you shuffled the order to favor you. He didn't mind. The game had been played and now it seemed it was coming to an end. He won some knowledge of his own with the conclusion of the game. Now he knew exactly where Sabine kept the things she considered valuable. He knew which pockets she'd checked first when he suggested she might have lost something. He always started his searches of himself with pats where he knew nothing would be found. A small effort to mislead whoever was watching him. Sabine made no such attempt as far as he could tell.

She gave away other things with the word choice she used. She called the maneuver a 'lift' which was a term Revan typically only heard from other criminals or pickpockets. Most wouldn't have known the technical term for it. Even more wouldn't use the term in place of 'pickpocket.' Sabine set coins on the counter for Not-William and made her exit quick. Revan said nothing to her departure, instead offering a small nod when she suggested that he stay safe. He waited until she was gone then he slipped the nels off the counter and into his coin purse. He had no need to drink in general and had already had enough fun for one Cylus trial.

Revan poured the rest of his drink down his mouth and left a few extra nels for the server before heading out the door, only a few bits after Sabine had gone. He wobbled on his feet while playing the sort of drunk he always had to pretend to be at the end of the stay. As always it was strange to walk with both a fake limp and a fake sway but Revan managed it well because it was one of the few deceptions he had to pull off at all times when wearing the face he was wearing. He came outside to find Sabine shouting at the same drunk man from the tavern. The thief leaned against the wall like a vulture waiting for prey to be struck down so it could pick clean the corpse.

No intense fighting came. No challenge for a duel. No brawl. Sabine got lucky. Revan had been on the wrong side of a drunk before. Several times. Maybe a woman's face made it easier? No. Not in Rharne. Not with red hair like that. Some of the men probably got a little to excited to fight women with traits Ilaren was said to have.

"Wear a cloak to hide the hair." Not-William suggested after the drunk was shoved away and Sabine was left to consider their mental abilities. "It gets some people a little too hopeful in this city."
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