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    "I was born ready," The large hulk stammered out, slapping his knuckles down to the table, display his cards, "Beat that!” Came the challenge. A challenge Darius already knew the outcome of. Mustering up a look of pure shock at the tattered cards fanned out upon the table before him, Darius gingerly flipped his hand over.

    "Ah, you got me, Horian," the disappointing tone in his voice sounded genuine enough. Matching his words, his face contorted to defeat, equally as genuine.
    "HAH, SEE I KNEW YOU HAD NOTHING!" the hulk roared out, reaching forward with a protesting creak of his chair. Dropping his hands over the measly pile of coin that rested in the center of the table, he dragged them over to him. Sloppily dropping back into his chair, Horian grabbed up the half empty stein of ale at his right, sloshing the amber liquid about. A small portion flew free of the rim from the hurried action, joining the various other stains upon his linen shirt escaping the fate that waited down his throat. Darius swept his hand across the table, gathering up the yellowed cards, drawing them into a neat pile in his palm, casually shuffling them.

    The taverns door burst open, breaking the dull ambience of the dimly lit room with fresh night air rushing in, purging some of the staleness inside. With the squealing of the wrought hinges, the sounds of laughing and loud obnoxious voices added themselves to the cacophony. Two men stumbled through the entrance, hanging onto each other babbling loudly in conversation.  Darius' eyes flicked over to the pair at the doorway as did the various other patrons within, continuing his casual shuffle of the cards. Nothing more than two drunkards, considering their antics. Darius mused slightly to himself, fancying the thought of two more purses to get his fingers into. He wouldn't want to seem too friendly of course. That might give his little game away. He was quite good at his game. So good in fact that he coaxed the Baron of Wynfels own son out of quite a bit of gold, and a rather charming ring. Turned his attention away from the pair at the door, bringing his eyes down to his hands as they worked the cards in a random shuffle, the jewel encrusted ring glimmering in the low light of the taverns candles.

    "Aye, you two lads…welcome to… have a seat," Horian’s hand clumsily waved the newcomers towards his general direction, nearly toppling an empty bottle from the table. Darius shook his head slightly, a pinch to the bridge of his nose at the drunken rambling he was hearing.  Horian quickly brought both of his hands together to capture the bottle in its wobble. Staring it down, with the added slowed stupor of spirits, gave Horian the look of an owner scolding his dog, slowly removing his hands away from the steadied glass. “You boys fancy cards?”

The End

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