Run this town Tonight

((OOC 3rd Dakonis 9.35 with ))

He had a headache a bad headache. Andrew had been in this piss pot of a city for a day and he had already been barged, pushed, sworn at and told to get out the way. In his hand, his fist closed tightly around it sat his now broken Ironbark bow. He had a purse in his pocket that he had swiped from a fisherman ogling some whore on the boardwalk. Didn't have much in it, couple of gold, some silver and some copper. Still it would get him something to eat and something to drink. But, to be on the safe side he didn't take anymore purses, besides he had just escaped a nasty encounter with an Orlesian Imperial Naval vessel. The last thing he needed was to be too cocky and clever and end up on the end of a hangman's noose. 

He made his way along the street and stopped outside a pub that looked like it had seen better days. The words above the door looked like they had been written by a mage or something but the picture was enough to make him chuckle. a pig belching. Going in he went to the bar and ordered his first pint since those fishermen rescued him and he was pretty certain, although he couldn't prove it. that they had stolen what goods he had on him, aside from his bow but  he figured if it wasn't broken then they would have had that too Or they could have just ended up at the bottom of the Waking Sea along with his ship, crewmates and the captain. 

Andrew took his pint and went and sat at a table. Cursing to himself, she didn't listen, she never listened. The Orleasian Navy had stepped up thier patrols with the attacks on thier merchant vessels. Still she attacked and still she wanted to grab that galleon and call it hers. Andrew ran a hand through his hair and looked around. The table next to him had a card game going. He joined it and more through luck than judgement he won a couple of hands and bowed out.

"hey mate, you're good but you won't beat him. Hey Micah, this guys a bit of a card shark. Beat me and Joey here."

Andrew turned to where the man he had just fleeced was talking to another man, or rather shouting to another man. Sighing he went and sat back at his table, Took a deck of cards and began to lay them out. He wasn't interested in whose the best "No thanks mate, just want a quiet pint is all."

"Yeah well if your in this part of the city then you need work." The man looked at the bow "and i doubt your a legitimate fella so he's the one to see." 

Andrew shrugged and returned to his seat not having a clue about who or what the other man had been going on about. He was about to find out. 

It was a night like any other in Micah’s corner of Amaranthine. His pile of winnings was growing and the ale was flowing. He’d done a business deal here, an under-the-table thing or two there, and he was eyeing the new barmaid. A pretty thing with dark brown hair. He really did enjoy brunettes.

There wasn’t much that happened in the Belching Pig that escaped his notice. He saw the stranger come in, order his beer, looking preoccupied. Micah didn’t pay him much mind until he joined up with Rooney’s card game, and then it was only the most cursory of glances. At least until the man started winning. Rooney was no slouch at cards, even in a fair game, and Rooney seldom played fair.

"Hey mate, you're good but you won't beat him.” Rooney waved to get Micah’s attention even though the commotion had already caught it. “Hey Micah, this guys a bit of a card shark. Beat me and Joey here."

Micah tapped the cards on the table then started shuffling absently. It was a nice thing to do with his hands while he nodded with limited interest.

"No thanks mate,” the man who beat Joey and Rooney said, “just want a quiet pint is all."

"Yeah well if your in this part of the city then you need work," Rooney told him. Good on Rooney, letting the newcomer know how things worked around here. "And I doubt your a legitimate fella so he's the one to see."

For as good as Rooney was at cards, he was shite at keeping his mouth shut. Not that Micah’s many investments and enterprises were a secret, but Rooney didn’t need to announce it to the whole of the docks.

If you wanted a quiet pint, you picked the wrong table,” he said with an amiable smile. He waved a hand at Squints across from him. “Make room.” Squints, a scrawny man who matched his name, hopped up from his seat. “Come join me for a friendly game.
If you wanted a quiet pint, you picked the wrong table,” Andrew watched the man called Micah make room for him at his table, but wasn't fooled by the smile. He knew the measure of those who held some sort of authority over the underworld.  “Make room.” Squints, moved from his seat. “Come join me for a friendly game.” 

Andrew picked his pint up and took the vacant seat. He took a swallow of his ale and arched an eyebrow. It was pretty good stuff, not as good as the ale in the Hanged Man or, the Blooming Rose on the odd occasion he had sauntered that way, still it was good. 

"No card game is friendly." Andrew quietly replied, his Kirkwall accent still as strong as ever. "It might start off friendly enough but, eventually someone cheats. or someone doesnt have the coin to pay the winner." He lifted a shoulder in a shrug "I know which one i am, i am just wondering if you the one who's gonna cheat.

Andrew had learnt to play most games of cards as a kid and with the group he ran with in Kirkwall, he had learnt to cheat at cards with his mates on the Pirate vessel. "So what we playing? Diamondback? Wicked Grace? Antiva five card stud?" Andrew picked his pint up. 

He didn't know if he was going to win or loose, if he lost then he lost, he just wasn't sure if it would be money that Micah would want. Still it would be interesting to find out. "Nice place you have here." 

He glanced at the blonde wench who shot him a smile, he returned it. never know he might have a nice cosy bed to lay in tonight instead of that broken one he had been sleeping on. 
The newcomer picked up his drink and took the seat Squints had vacated. "No card game is friendly." The man had a Marcher accent, and some of the cheek. "It might start off friendly enough but, eventually someone cheats. or someone doesnt have the coin to pay the winner." He shrugged. "I know which one i am, i am just wondering if you the one who's gonna cheat."

Micah turned a silver piece between his knuckles as he regarded the man who had just insulted him. He sniffed a laugh and decided to keep it friendly for now.

The man asked, "So what we playing? Diamondback? Wicked Grace? Antiva five card stud?"

Micah shrugged and waved a hand to the other players before turning the cards over to the stranger. “Dealer’s choice.

Micah sized the man up. Most people didn’t wander into The Belching Pig on accident. It was out of the way of the more refined places. Micah had to wonder what brought him in. The cards would tell soon enough.

"Nice place you have here,” he said.

It’s what you make of it,” Micah said, probably the most honest answer he could have come up with. He happened to like the Pig, found it the closest thing to a home he would ever truly have, but that’s where his sentimentality ran dry. It was good business to rule it, and he gave the man a twitch of a smile that he recognized the pecking order. The people who wandered in were either beholden to Micah somehow, or about to be. Which was this man? It would take a few rounds to drag the details out. The trick was not to push. Too much.

Name’s Micah,” he said, even though he’d already been announced by the others. It seemed polite, and Micah liked to play polite when the opportunity arose. “And you are?

Having noticed the man’s eye follow the blonde bar wench, Micah lifted up his voice to get her attention. “Zelse,” he called. “Why don’t you be a sweet lass and bring our new friend another pint.

She tittered under the attention and did as she was asked, hovering over the table. “What are we playing tonight, boys?”
“Dealer’s choice.” Was all that Micah offered when Andrew asked. He knew he had insulted him, but Andrew wasn't about making nice for the sake for the sake of it. The man, he had gathered didn't own the Belching Pig, but he did occupy a position of some authority, that was not hard to work out considering how he had his favourite table, people clambering for his attention, or making him their focus when he called them. As for what else he did, time would tell and the cards would indeed tell him that.

Name’s Micah, And you are?

Andrew noted the polite tone and taking the deck he flicked them through his fingers checking the cards were all there, looking for the not so obvious signs of card marking, of course the guy could be a card counter, why not? Andrew had been taught to do it by the Captain herself on the odd occasion she joined in the card games on ship. Now there was an enigma, one moment she was busting balls and tits, another time she was drinking and carding. No one could tell how the wind blew with her. Not even those who had been on her crew for years. All that was gone now and he had to find his own way in life. Be it on a vessel or on land.

"Andrew" Andrew replied offering no more than that. His friends called him Drew, but most of his friends were now at the bottom of the ocean, or in the belly of some large sea predator.

“Zelse,” Andrew raised his gaze as Micah called the woman he had given a once over across. “Why don’t you be a sweet lass and bring our new friend another pint.”

“What are we playing tonight, boys?” she offered him a smile and almost a girly giggle to Micah as she set the pint down on the table.

"Antivan five card." Andrew gave her a bright smile and began to shuffle the cards. He couldn't read, he signed his name with an X but he knew his cards. The Bosun had tried to teach him to read but Andrew had given up and told the old man thanks but no thanks. He knew what he knew and that was enough for him. Andrew put the cards on the table and flicked them then pushed the pack together, gave it one last shuffle and looked up and held the cards out "Cut the deck?" after which he dealt the cards out and set the deck down. "You my good luck charm tonight Miss?" He asked amicably enough but kept his cards face down for the moment. For all he knew she might be looking at his draw for the man across. It had been known. "May the best man win
Andrew introduced himself, and paid Zelse her due attention when she brought the beers over.

"Antivan five card,” the man answered her. Micah had been hoping that was the case. He’d already bored of the other games.

He gave the cards a good inspection before dealing them. Micah knew the man didn’t trust him, and maybe in some ways he was right not to. It didn’t matter if he was trusted or not. If anyone wanted anything in Amaranthine, they had to go through him to get it. That transcended trust.

"Cut the deck?" he said before he dealt. Micah obliged. Andrew turned to Zelse and asked, "You my good luck charm tonight Miss?" She smiled and hovered behind him with an interested smile. Good girl, Zelse. She didn’t know she helped, but her face was better than any tell any man playing cards could be. "May the best man win"

Oh, I’m sure that will be the case,” Micah said as he picked up his hand, looking at what he’d been dealt. He needed to take this slow, see what kind of a player this Andrew was.

He considered his opening bet and tapped his cards. “What brings you into my bar tonight?” he asked, amiably. “Hardly anyone winds up here on accident.” The exterior of the place usually put them off, and if not, the filthy floors and watered ale worked wonders to weed out the unworthy. He slid two silvers into the pot and sat back.
Andrew gave the cards another shuffle then dealt but left his cards face down for now. He glanced over his shoulder at Zelse "Thanks Luv. but i am sure you got others to see to, if i win come back later if you like." 

Andrew could play cards, he had been taught since he was knee high to a watchman how to play cards. When the old leader wasn't watching and had been counting out the coins and the jewels her workforce had got without her lifting a finger. One of the older boys taught him to play Wicked Grace. not one of his favourite games. but as he got older and his companions changed, he learnt new games and whilst he knew that he held a poker face, the woman behind him would give his hand away in a heartbeat. 

What brings you into my bar tonight?” Micah asked amicably enough although Andrew got the impression that he never asked anything friendly. “Hardly anyone winds up here on accident.

Well that was probably true. and he had seen better dives in Antiva and Rivain, still he wasn't looking for comfort, he was looking for food and ale so Andrew really wasn't that picky about where he ate or drank. 

"Well it wasn't an accident." He set the deck down and only when the barmaid was gone did he push the cards together and lifted them by the corners before setting them down again. He picked his drink up. swallowed some and set it down again. Andrew never cheated at cards. He would cheat someone out of thier pay. rob thier purse maybe even slit thier throat if they pissed him off enough, but he never. ever cheated at cards. They were the one thing that had been good to him over the years.  "I needed something to eat and drink and this place was the first place i saw." He moved two cards into the discard and drew another two leaving them face down for now. Something Micah said finally dinged in his brain. 

"Your bar? As in you own it or you hold court in it?

"Well it wasn't an accident." Their new friend was forthcoming in that. He waited until Zelse was gone to look at the cards again, then picked up his drink. "I needed something to eat and drink and this place was the first place i saw."

Hard to do unless you came in from the docks,” Micah rejoined. The Belching Pig was hardly the apple of Amaranthine’s eye, tucked away at the edge of stable land right up against the water. Interesting. That indicated he might be new in town, and not just to the tavern.

The man’s next question brought a laugh to Micah. "Your bar? As in you own it or you hold court in it?"

It’s both. And neither.” Maybe Micah didn’t hold the deed to the property, but his influence in Amaranthine kept the coin crossing the bar. “Let’s say it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.” Not unlike fish who rode along with sharks, looking to benefit from their hauls. In return, he offered the Pig protection from some of the lower echelons of society. He gestured with his chin around the room. “I’m well-liked,” he said. “Been making this my shoreside home for a long time.” Micah tilted his head, the touch of a grin turning the corner of his mouth, a gleam in his eye. “You know how it is when you’re in dock.