(121-03-14) Never Get Plucked
Never Get Plucked
Summary: Two smart business associates make a mutually beneficial arrangement in the shadows of the Thieves Market.
Date: Date of play (03/14/2014)
Related: Dockside Dagger Discussions

Thieves' Market Oldtown

Fri Mar 14, 121 ((Fri Mar 14 21:15:53 2014))

It is a summer night. The weather is hot and raining.

A dingy, dirty little market square, packed nearly from wall to wall with people. The din of shouting and screaming and chatter is nearly deafening, along with the scramble and rush of people. Here one can get the sorts of things the well-to-do, law-abiding shops would not ordinarily stock.

Poisons, potions, philtres, smuggling items such as extra long boots, cloaks, rings with hidden compartments, and the things that were smuggled inside them. Exotic drugs, spices, wines from Across The Narrow Sea, jewelry, and stranger things besides. Whores of all kinds patrol the tight litle market, scantily dressed or not at all, the better to sell what they have to offer the good people of the Undercity.

The archway to the West allows one to escape the dingy little market.

Contents: Lexander Eva

Exits: [CT] Court of Thieves [DW] Deepwater Warehouse

[W] Undercity

A bit of rain never deterred the dark. This sliver of the city's underbelly continues thriving as the rain pours upon capes, hats and hair alike. The merchants erecting protections from the weather over all manner of wares, while others are sound within walls. Some wares, however, are less palpable; they're sold in whispers, gained behind closed doors. A merchant of such sins lingers in a narrow doorway of a cracking, old building. The way behind Eva is unlit, and she stands in half-shadow, hooded by a tasselled scrap of night-coloured fabric. She could easily be another whore waiting to lure in a customer; she could just as easily be a snake waiting to strike out of the dark.

"Mistress." Lexander is suddenly there, all red and gold silks under his well oiled cape, and with a wide-brimmed hat to keep the rain off his face. His soft leather boots muffle the sound of his footsteps, though one as familiar with her surroundings as Eva might have noticed his approach. "It has been some time, has it not?" His dark eyes don't linger on her — they scan the crowd as he speaks, watching the folk who were similarly undeterred by the weather. "I trust you have been well?"

Under half-lowered, darkly smudged lids, Eva's eyes settle immediately upon the man, her pose unstartled, unmoved. "If it isn't Lex-an-der," she pronounces slowly, ambiguously neutral even in the amusement laced through her words. "I have been … strange." A fact; she's unbothered. She blinks slowly, heavily, idly splays a hand in front of her and polishes a silver ring. "The times, they are are strange, but business— business only grows."

"I suspect you have," Lexander says slowly, the grin audible in his voice. His accent too marks him as Essosi — Tyroshi, to a keen ear. It fades at times, but for now it is firmly in place. "Now there is good news, hm? I shudder to think what a clever woman like you might do to amuse herself, should business ever wane. Or do I shiver? I confess, at times this language still gives me difficulty."

Eva's sharp-edged, indulgent smile is dark enough to provoke many a soul to shiver or shudder, were one to look upon it. "It depends," she surmises, "on what I might to do amuse myself. But The Black Eel," she sets on a tone that starts reassuring, yet slinks into mischief and therefore is not so reassuring at all, "keeps me well enough amused with business." A bare arm snakes from the shadowed doorstep to ever-so-briefly skim the brim of Lexander's hat. "And what fine work— have you been up to."

"Oh, gods," Lexander says, finally turning to face Eva as her fingers find his hat, "You know me well enough. As little as I can get by with. Buying this here, selling it there… Introducing Lord Sheepsucker to the smuggler of his dreams. That sort of thing." His tone is lazy, but amused. For his part, Lex doesn't seem a dangerous man. Not the sort to set anyone shivering or shuddering, at least in his more candid moments. Of which he has few, though this seems to be one.

A trace of Eva's luxuriant, dangerous smile remains when he turns his head; it flickers in further amusement at 'Lord Sheepsucker' and her gaze deepen knowingly. "As busy as business keeps me— " she says, turning, barely, to shove a shoulder more heavily against the door-frame to lean back, "The Black Eel is looking to— ex…pand. Always, always more. Perhaps you can … whisper in some ears finer than those of Lord Sheepsucker."

Lex' eyes widen slightly, genuinely surprised at the request. Or so it seems, at the least. "Of course," he says, shrugging with one shoulder as he turns to lean against the wall next to her, staring out into the market again. "For you, Mistress, I'll waive my fee. Call it a professional courtesy?" The turn of phrase seems to tickle him somewhat, and it draws out a chuckle. "It's not my usual area, but I speak with the finest people. I'll be sure that they know I can connect them to you."

Eva grins like a pleased cat. "I thank you," she says lowly before ducking her head and craning her neck toward Lexander, able to eye him more closely with her particular manner of simmering, invasive stare. "Are you sure— " she queries, amused, always, " — you don't just fear what my returned favour might be? I'm sure the Black Eel would give out such a favour with fee waived, for your trouble. Our last client wanted to be chained to a dungeon wall. Mundane, but…"

"Being chained to a dungeon wall is mong my deepest fears," Lex says. The confession is delivered slow and dry, sarcastic, but gamely so. "I try to avoid it at all costs." His lips continue to play in a lazy smile as he reaches up to sweep the wide-brimmed hat off his head, then shakes his head slightly so that his hair falls free. "No, Mistress, if you must compensate me…" His eyes dance with mischief in that pause, and there might be a wink — it's hard to say in the dim light. "A kiss on the cheek should suffice."

"Such innocence," Eva says with a chuckle to her words — and a raise of her dark eyebrows that would contest that innocence with skepticism. She tips her chin up and down in acceptance, however, and gives Lexander solemn nod. She lifts a ringed finger. "Upon delivery."

"Pure as the driven snow," Lexander insists, hat in hand. "You drive a hard bargain, Mistress," he says with a soft laugh, still looking at her now as he leans to rest against the wall again. "Normally I would insist on half of my fee up front," he says, his eyebrows raising playfully, "But you I know I can trust."

If there ever was a trustworthy face … it would not be that of the woman Lexander regards. But Evallash is, indeed, a serious businesswoman— even as her eyes glimmer in devious play, sparked by his expression. "I trust in your skills," she counters, "and discretion. It's those with fair blood— you know the Eel has many dipping into his waters," her Lorathi accent thickens all the more with word after word, taking a careful or accustomed ear — like an Essosi's, "but there are those who are nervous to seek me out, nervous to believe from their courts and towers that they can have what they want and have no one be wise to their desires."

"And you are connected to them," Lexander finishes, his perfect teeth flashing in the dark, "Through me. And the Black Eel connected to them," he adds, "Through us. My reputation — indeed, my livelihood, depends on my discretion." Still his tone holds that soft, lazy amusement to matches hers so well. "Without it I would wither on the vine," he says with a shake of his head, "Or worse, be plucked."

A cloud of seriousness firms Eva's features, though it does not mar her almost-smile; discretion is high on their list of common languages. "Nev-er," now her smile vanishes, "get plucked." A rule she's lived by, it seems; or lived through. Her matching mood eases back in like it never left; she folds her arms, only to indolently stretch one into the rain.

"I would drink to that," Lexander agrees with a very genuine laugh, "Had I thought to bring wine, hm? My apologies." His eyes drift back from the crowd to watch her hand stretch into the rain, but doesn't comment on the gesture. Instead he says, after a pause, "Does it rain much in Lorath?"

"It is not the same rain," Eva reflects, gliding her gaze along her arm out into the rain falling through the muggy air onto the Undercity, her gaze going vaguely distant, but not so far into memory as to be nostalgic. "It swirls and rages above the Shivering Sea."

"This place is very different," Lex says flatly, an agreement of sorts. "And much the same as well, hm?" The contraditcion seems to amuse him. It calls that lopsided grin back to his face, his dark eyes sparkling once again with mirth as he watches the heavy raindrops splash off Eva's arm. "I find that Oldtown agrees with me."

"Mmmm," Eva seems to agree. She winds her arm back in, droplets sliding from tan skin; she examines the rain on her palm as she speaks. "It has treated me best of all the places I have travelled. In many ways… I prefer it here— the people, they… are…" Her dark-haired head lolls back into the stone doorway as her eyes roll up in calm thought. "… amenable."

"Just so," Lex says, in agreement with the last bit. Or perhaps with all of it. "A clever man, or a clever woman, can make their own way here." Now it's his turn to reach out into the rain, though he does it quick and catlike, slapping an open hand through the raindrops. He chuckles as it splashes water to his side, away from Eva, then wipes his wet palm on the inside of his oiled cloak.

"And an un-clever one," Eva starts to add with that grin of hers as she wriggles her rain-dropped hand into one of the numerous layers of her flowy, piecemeal attire, "is a gift to the clever." In lines of work such as hers … and so many of the inhabitants of the Thieves Market.

Lex' grin is broad and agreeable now, as he says, "And the Reach has no shortage of those, hm?" His eyes narrow above that grin, though it fades a bit as he thinks. After that short pause he adds, "Sometimes I think they must flock to Oldtown from all of Westeros." He considers for another short moment, then adds as if he were sharing a secret, "I met a noble lady today, couldn't have bled yet, I should think. Wandering alone, no guards, no chaperone. Happy as you like."

"It's math, averages," the woman states surely, "there are many fools in Westeros. In such a city, they are fools, shoved close together in bunches." To pluck? Dwelling on the rest of Lex's words, however, brings a rarer heaviness to Eva's brow; it's subtle, but aggravated. "That is true fucking stupidity." The aggression only barely makes it into her voice; it's just straight, sharp, like the shake of her head. "A slaver and raper's dream."

"My thoughts precisely," Lex agrees with a nod of his head, though he doesn't quite match her seething. He's had time to burn it off, perhaps. "I hardly even knew what to say to her. You could tell she was a noble lass just looking at her." His teeth click together audibly, bared as he chomps, and then he adds, "By the teeth. Their teeth are always so perfect. Have you noticed that?" Lost on him, perhaps, is his own pristine smile.

Eva's seething aggravation is fast-burning; it's already vanished from sight. "Their teeth," she agrees with a short laugh that flashes her own — also white. "And their… voices, the way they say their words," she pulls a fluid gesture from her chin to the damp air in front of her, seeming to signify speech, "Anything in their mouth. Although I have encountered those from some small Houses who sound like common street whores, to my ear. Still— there is always a way to tell."

"Fer one wot knows what t'listen fer, m'lady," Lex agrees in a surprisingly good impression of Westerosi gutter trash. Even his pronounced Tyroshi accent fades, though it doesn't disappear. He finishes with a glance Eva's way, so that she can see his lopsided grin in her periphery, and adds, "I think I'm going to enjoy this venture together, Mistress."

Eva's brows rise not only in surprise but appreciation. She brings her hands together in a singular clap, resonating over her laughter. As her hands fall, her eyes narrow into their usual black-rimmed mischief, and she steps from her door frame and slightly off the narrow step of the building to near Lex, the rain catching her hood. Even the small step down diminishes her already diminished height significantly, but she has mastered the art of seeming to look a person level in the eye while in fact looking far up. "Eva," she corrects him, dismissing the polite address. "Trust is held in real names."

"Eva," Lex agrees then, nodding his head as he turns to face her. Her mischief seems to pull at him, and he halves the distance between them with a short step, grinning still. "Lexander. Known by so many titles, but always Lexander. To most, Lexander Charos," he says softly, for her ears alone. "To fewer as Lexander of Tyrosh," he says, softer and softer still, so that his voice is the barest whisper when he says, "And to very few indeed as Lexander Judio. Though all the finest people simply call me Lex."

Each name finds a spot in the locked box of the woman's mind, each noted with the faintest nod of her head. Her stare on the man of many names glides into the Thieves Market. Wind has begins to disrupt the illicit economy more than the rain. "A storm is coming. The sky heard me talking about the storm seas. The night still calls; the Black Eel never sleeps." She takes a step away, to the side, and nods firmly to the man, now, as though a deal has been sealed. "Lex."

"I shall be on my way then, Eva," Lex says, taking a step back himself before he bends at the waist into a bow, well practiced and rarely seen in this part of Oldtown. "No doubt I shall see you again soon." And with that he turns on his heel and strides into the market, a spring in his step, confident as if he were walking through the Hightower Square at noon. In the gloom and the gathering storm, even his bright colors fade away quickly into the night.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License