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Private In The Cards

Vandor // Fort Ypso // Sabaac Table
Carter Glass Carter Glass

Strange is Better

It was darker inside than any outside would have liked. The regular patrons, however, revelled in the shadowy façade of the cantina. Many were unaccustomed to the light of day, or didn't wish to be seen clearly. The reality of the dim interior was to allow the people inside see newcomers before newcomers could see them. Tactical advantage for these sorts of things.

Especially for her.

An outrageous assemblage of humans mixed freely with alien counterparts. Tentacles, claws, and hands were wrapped around various drinking utensils that varied in size. Conversation was a steady babble of human and alien tongues, all of it indistinguishable. Additionally, another layer to the noise were a steady stream of rhythmic vibrations coming from speakers that were planted in the space's random corners.

Through the sea of bodies, there was a small knot of rough-looking creatures lounging, drinking and trading stories of dubious origin over hands of cards. A spine-quaking laugh erupted from the circle, and brawny arms stretched out to collect stacks of chips in the centre of the table. The large player drawing his winnings in towards his chest with a triumphant grin.

From her seat, Maijan kept her eyes low, but her smirk curled on high. Every so often she'd incline her head with feigned interest toward the goings-on in the game, and her golden flesh would glint in the light. Otherwise, she faded in amid the players and observers; flitting about as she pleased. Nobody seemed to mind, nor notice her. The cards in their hands were the only thing that was real to them.
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This was Carter's type of place.

The bouncer hadn't paid much mind to the flecks of dried crimson that stained his coat. He'd just taken a few credits and nodded along. No one gave much of a shit what anyone else was up to in the darker parts of town. That was sorely welcomed. It'd been a couple years since Carter had taken a job in a snowier region, and he was really feeling that biting cold. Balmoraa didn't breed winter souls.

The job was done for all intents and purposes. He just had to get back to Bastion to collect. The informant had little by way of love for the Sith Empire, but they had few qualms about shady deals and their credits were steady. Besides, this guy had been a special kind of scumbag. It was personal hit - two lovers that weren't quite lovers anymore decided that if they couldn't have one another, no one could. The father of the girl had called him in, some pomous asshat noble. He wasn't gonna have to worry about his little girl anymore, though she was still gonna be as batshit nuts as her dead beau. Something for dear old dad to deal with.

Carter flicked his deathstick into the nearest bin as he meandered his way through the din. His haunts were always different, but his habits were consistent. A few minutes of harassing the bartender got him a Balmoraan Bluesky. Now he just needed a game of chance to score a few credits, maybe buy himself a girl if he managed to pull in a good pot.

The answer to both of those problems presented itself at one of the tables in the corner of the crowded tavern. The first was Sabacc, a game he was more than a fan of, and the second presented itself with a golden gleam. Being little more than an ape granted sentience, Carter's gaze was quickly stolen by the shiny thing, which just so happened to be part of an equally attractive woman. Crazy how the galaxy worked.

Guess god has a plan after all.

A Nikto at the table broke out, and proceeded to curse for a minute or so as Carter waved him off his chair. The informant slipped down into the Nikto's seat, clapping his knuckles on the table for the dealer to deal him out a hand as he beamed at Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea from across the table. "I'm in." He announced, dropping a few credit chips into the pots.

"What's a golden girl like yourself doing in a shithole like this?" He asked the woman straight away as he examined his deck. Those next to him gave him annoyed looks that Carter didn't seem to care much about.

Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea
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The table barely stopped their idle sifting through cards when a new comer announced they were joining. Players merely glanced up, a flicker of salutations and exchanged sneers before they purposefully shuffled slightly to respect the space of and not touch the newcomer that replaced the failed Nikto.

The dealer obliged, and one of it's multitude of arms stretched out in Carter Glass Carter Glass ' direction, doling out a number of cards that matched the amount in everyone else's grip. They were solid, and real. Just like the seat he was on, and the table he'd knuckled against. Even some of the players were real, fleshy things that reacted of their own volition.

He addressed her - which was fair, given he was new. For the most part, everyone else ignored her; mostly from her own manipulations. Plump lips drew into a thin line at the acknowledgement, and she reached up to touch an equally golden earring that dangled from her pierced lobe. He of course wasn't referring to her accessories, but rather the chunks of gold that were marbled against her otherwise dark skin.

Nobody seemed to take offence to the insulting reference of their current location.

"Same as you, stranger. Just looking to deepen my pockets."

On cue, the brawnier alien that had won the last hand let out a thunderous chuckle, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. The fabric of her clothing moved as if it were affected by the weight of the arm -- as you'd suspect would happen with any other sort of physical interaction. "Jek's doing all the work, though."

She shrugged, her partnership with the massive alien creature now amply communicated while he withdrew his arm and hunched back to look at his suite of cards. His expression was intentionally vacant - though, his face wasn't composed in the same way a humanoid's was. His eyes were stretched on opposite sides of his head, and his mouth was vertical down the middle of his face.

"I'd keep your eyes on your cards."
Carter didn't really get aliens.

That wasn't to say he didn't understand what aliens were. He understood the biology, the diversity of species and all the science that went with it, but he didn't get them. Some like the Wookies he could kind of understand, but most seemed to have agendas and means of understanding the world that were wholly different to near-humans.

It wasn't accurate to say he had a distaste for them, but he certainly had suspicions, and he definitely didn't know what the hell this thing with the gold girl was. He opted to play it straight, staring down through his blackened sunglasses at the woman's companion. "Man of skill can keep his eyes on two things at once," he fired back, though he did indeed keep his eyes to his cards. "Just gotta practice keeping your eyes crossed. It's why I've got these glasses. Price of observational superiority," he said coolly.

This hand was shite.

"So uh, no offense," he glanced up from his cards at the woman's companion. "Never seen your kind before. What do you call yourselves?"

Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea
Maijan offered a contented 'hm' with his dismissive comment that kept the dialogue going. His freshness to the table was obvious given how invested he was in keeping conversation alive. "Impressive." Maybe she could leverage it as a distraction until she got a better read on his ability to perceive. She leaned an elbow on the table, resting her golden chin in a soft palm. "So you're cross eyed under there?"

The creature sneered, a quivering ripple pulled at the angle of his mouth that stretched horizontal, instead of a human that made their mouth pull upward when being snide. A giant mitt pushed forward a single stack of credits, looking around the table to goad a challenger. Three off to his left set their cards face down on the table with a shake of their heads. A few murmured how unbelievable this fellow's luck was under their breath. Jek chortled merrily at the defeat.

Two other players pushed their stacks into the centre of the ring, and Maijan looked down listlessly. She already knew they were bluffing.

She also knew how wretched Carter Glass Carter Glass ' hand was.

But nobody else did, so they all turned to look at him and see what he'd do this round.
"I can be whatever kinda eyed you want goldie." Came the reply. Most of the crowd had taken to ignoring the exchange, aside from the woman's companion's general boisterousness. That suited Carter just fine. An artist could never paint a masterpiece with an audience watching after all. He cocked his mouth in a half smile, stared at his cards, then at the stack of credits that was the pot.

"I'm not sure I believe you. I've met a couple winners before and you definitely aren't one of 'em." He fired back at the woman's companion, that half cocked grin morphing into a smirk as he weighed his options.

There was no way he could win this hand though. He'd need to stay in the game if he was to win over the golden goddess, and that required credits. "Although right now, neither am I." He admitted, placing his cards face down. He'd get them on the next go.

Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea
"I like wide eyed." She commented, disregarding the nickname with an eyeroll. "Means you can appreciate wonder." The end of her words curled with an accent, drawing out the sentiment of wonder even further. Maijan was inherently drawn to awe - given she was a maestro of the moment and painting the pictures and interactions.

Jek pushed forward three more stacks, and the remaining two in the game waved their hands over their cards in defeat. He collected their piles and drew them nearer to him, his gratuitous gut quivering with delight. "Today's my lucky day."

"Every day is your lucky day." Someone from the corner scowled, before stomping off in the direction of the bar to give themselves some liquid relief.

The dealer was unbothered by the table talk - nobody was giving anything away - so he reached out and collected the disposed cards and shuffled them. The cards flipped over one another, aligning and realigning in a magnificent sweep before he doled them out again. There were three good hands in there this time. Maijan knew not to overstep her bounds. Carter Glass Carter Glass ' was so-so, Jek's was alright, and a little Jawa in the corner had a fantastic flush.
Carter opened his eyes wide, which was kind of difficult to see with his shades, but you could kind of tell. "Good thing I got two wide eyes then. Double the wonder." The information broker rumbled with low laughter as he scanned the new set of cards dealt to him. Lady luck was looking a little kinder this time around, though she was still being a bit of a bitch. Still, it was enough that he might be able to bluff his way through.

"What's your kinda wonder anyway? Seeing the galaxy? Big credits? Big cities?" He fired off, his gaze flickering between those remaining at the table. "Swindling credits off of lonely di'kuts like myself?" There was that grin again. The Jawa seemed particularly unamused, its glowing eyes narrowed into slits that glared at Carter.

"Thinking it's best y'all quit while you're behind," he added, "The card goddess has blessed me with fortune."

Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea
The structure around the sunglasses moved, tightening near his forehead and pulling out toward his ears which probably meant he was doing something with his eyes. Her smirk was replaced with a genuine grin. Such a chatterbox.

Maijan loved that luck was feminine. It made it so much more appropriate when they referenced her.

Next to her, Jek made a pensive growling sound and scratched the area where his nose should have been. It was actually him scratching his chin.

"What a question." She congratulated, leaning back on her backless stool. Her movement caused a few of her accessories to jingle as they interacted with each other. The fallanassi practitioner did her best not to react to his suggestion that she was swindling him. So far, Carter Glass Carter Glass hadn't put anything on the table other than his blind -- it was just everyone else that was playing into her and Jek's shared pot. "Haven't seen anything worth mentioning yet."

False. The cosmic sea and it's rolling tides were unparalleled in their beauty; but she couldn't explain that here. Now.

Four players lay down their cards, grumbling. The Jawa pushed forward two stacks. Jek did as well, for the buy in.

"Maybe that'll change soon.

Any wonder in your world?"
As a man of the world, Carter had grown immune to many things. Experience dictated what was and was not acceptable, what was safe and what was not. That experience had saved his life countless time: his decision to live on the fringes of civilization as little more than an outlaw put it to the test often enough. Yet for all his experience, Carter could not defeat his greatest weakness.

It was just as true now as when his mother had first spoken the words, women are dangerous creatures.

Carter made a motion like he was scratching at his chest. In reality he was feeling for the medallion that hung from his neck hidden beneath his shirt. The undulations were small, but enough for him to notice. He did well to keep that newfound knowledge from touching his expression, instead opting to stare at the pot with all the obviousness of a child catching his mother's friend in her nickers.

"Nothing? Now I don't believe that." He mused as he set his cards down for a moment. He reached into his coat pockets and produced a deathstick along with a small silver lighter. "Woman like yourself's seen some things. Oozes off of you." He nodded toward Jek as the deathstick was lit. "Your friend here though? I dunno."

The infobroker inhaled, furrowed his brow as he glanced at his cards, and exhaled. "Maybe it will goldie. Wonder tends to follow me whether I like it or not. Speaking of which," they'd all gone in on the pot, which meant his bluff wasn't working out all that well. Better to hold for now.

"Can't say I'm finding these hands very wonderful."

Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea
Her eyes traced his movements beneath golden lids. There was a shift in the current, nigh untraceable, but she was more adept than she'd been in the past. Illusions of grandeur painted by her mind. "Fine. Seldom viewings." She admitted, gesturing loosely over the table with a click-clack of her bracelets.

To the side, Jek twitched and mumbled something under his breath. His eyes narrowed at the gravel-voiced chatterbox across the table. He'd been taking jabs at him all evening, and he was showing signs of being irritated by it. Uknown to the stranger, the heavy-set alien would never be able to do anything about it.

There were a few frustrated gestures, and the Jawa made a clean break with the collection in the middle of the table. His high pitched triumph came out in a discord of alien tongue, but it sounded celebratory. Maijan cooled, and ran her fingers through her hair.

The dealer went about his duty, collecting and distributing again. This time, the cards were in Carter's favour. The faces of ancient royals from Naboo painted on the cards. They were worn - areas where lines should have traced their cheekbones were faded from all the different thumbs that had stroked them over the years.

"You're playing pretty safe, new guy." A worm-like creature to his left commented, pushing forward two stacks of chips. They were varying in colour, probably worth a few thousand credits. A grin curled at his thin lips while a woman with a visor to the right followed suite. And finally, Jek pushed forward a sum as well.

"Seems only your words are daring." Maijan nodded, joining in the tableside coercion of Carter Glass Carter Glass .
Carter recognized the goading for what it was. Admittedly he'd never actually gotten very good at card games, but he had an intermediate understanding. Furthermore the rather stacked cards he now held in his hand told him now would be a lovely time to bet, his companions of fate's opinions notwithstanding.

"The wise strategist knows to wait for an opening before he strikes, lest his enemies grab him by his exposed throat when he's caught unaware." Carter intoned to the worm-alien, blowing a curling puff of smoke in the creature's direction for good measure. His gaze met that of the golden girl. "And daring without thought isn't daring at all sweetheart," there went that smirk again as he placed his cards down on the table, and slid several credit chips into the pot. "It's just stupidity."

The deathstick rolled around in his mouth as he cast his gaze toward each of the participants. He had a pretty good hand, probably better than these shmucks. He'd bet more credits than he normally would have liked on it - only the gods could help him now.

Maijan Paisea Maijan Paisea

Ardinia Crofte

Cantinas weren't Ardine's thing. Or rather, they hadn't been her thing, not until one night, a week night, probably, that there was no one stopping her from going to one. It was that night where she, having spent the last few days previous surviving on caffeine and cheap snacks, where she opted to embrace the chaos that was recognizing there would be no one to stop her from doing anything, provided credits and time were in her favor.

That revelation didn't stop the nervous glances the Epicanthix cast every so often, or long pause when ordering a drink as she forgot the name of every drink in existence. You know, the usual awkwardness of one who hadn't much experience in such a place. The Hummingphant, hovering at her shoulder didn't ease that aura of uncertainty, its trunk swinging from side to side as it too took in the scenes playing out around the pair.

"I really don't see what appeal is in places like this. Just look - what are they doing? Or them? Or--"

"Leiland, relax. They're just having, uh, fun." Ardine didn't even try to keep up with each group the Hummingphant pointed out, only hoped the other patrons would pay her the same courtesy of being ignored. "It's fine, just act natural."

And then she blinked.

One moment, standing next to Leiland, drink in hand. The next, not next to Leiland, standing in front of game tables with a drink still in her hand. It wasn't the first time random teleportation happened, still an unwelcome surprise nonetheless as wide eyes did a quick once over of the table. "Sorry, I uh...Got room for another player?"

Maijan's lips twitched when Carter Glass Carter Glass placed his bets. She didn't need to make a gesture, her alien companion complied without any further direction. Scrutiny was written all over Jek's face, and he leaned back in his chair. It creaked under the strain.

"Your first time putting some creds in." He observed aloud.

The dealer fanned three hands at him, shushing the alien. No table talk!

Suddenly! A woman with emerald tresses appeared, and Maijan blinked. How was that possible? Her brows furrowed, attempting to discern whether or not the new arrival was a construct or not. She quickly assessed that no she was not, and there must have been something else up with her. It was enough to put the mystical maestro on edge though, and she ran a quick count of the cards in her head, closing her eyes. Golden eyelids flashed to the table. The diagnostic counted out that they were indeed nearing their threshold and luck wasn't to be pushed today.

A wicked grin spread from the top to bottom of the creatures mouth while the table revealed their hands. Two of a kind, Full house -- the lady of luck had been generous. Jek eyed the fellow with shades on. "You think you can beat what's in front of you?"

Meanwhile, the worm-alien muttered something frustrated, folded, collected what he'd earned so far, and pushed out of his chair.

The dealer gestured to Ardinia Crofte Ardinia Crofte , showing her the vacant seat. "Small blind in."