The Long Con
Rivain was working out quite well. More lucrative and less restrictive Chantry minds governed these shores. Technically Antiva did, but things were.. Iffy. Colt paid it no real mind as he leaned against the support. Arms folded over his chest while eyes carefully watched those mulling around the market for a potential customer. They’d leave his company lighter and none-the-wiser that a simple con had lifted their coin purse, he just had to find the right one.

To his side stood a vendor friend, one who’d paid for his services of not lifting anything but a snack or too. A nice little set up. Colt could see all the avenues leading in and out, tracking potentials from stall to stall and gaining more understanding of their habits, jobs, possible professions and even making up personal quests. Ah the unknown, inner workings of folks minds were always queer. That’s why locks were easier. Patterns, mechanisms, they were puzzle pieces when disassembled, but to him, they were pieces of a greater sculpture. Some he had even had to whisper to, quietly talk to it for the goods beyond to be given up. 

The stall held a few relics and knickknacks, Colt had added a few flashy looking items to try and lure in some unassuming but curious patron, but no-one had given in to the bait so far. If they were interested in something, it was to do with the vendor’s own stock. Shifting against his resting place he’d readjust, taking a final glance of the market before picking up a bag of candied dates. A rare treat for him, but Colt had only managed to toss back a few before he spotted something curious.

A mane of pale hair, moving, weaving its way through the crowd.
It wasn't often that Avorra made her way through the market, but sometimes the perpetual sense of boredom in the near-empty slums overwhelmed her. The five years that she had spent on-and-off in the slums left most of the inhabitants dead or dying, a side-effect of her slowly but constantly leeching their life forces. For the longest time it was about sustaining her increasingly chaotic magical reservoirs. Now, since the finding the shard, it was more about satiating an indescribable hunger that never quite left despite her momentary 'cure'. That, and she derived a sense of sadistic pleasure from it. The fog that she had created years ago still remained, lending truth to the myth of the Shadow in the Mist that haunted Dairsmuid. She found it ironic that nobody had been sent to investigate her thus far; whether Antivan, Rivaini, or part of the Chantry. She was beginning to wonder how long the fragile peace would last.

Slowly stalking the market stalls, a light fog had begun to settle in the district, clinging around Avorra. As much as her ego would like to attribute it to herself, these low-hanging clouds were entirely natural. Early morning weather, it would seem. Her Death Sense allowed her to feel the blood flowing within every living being around her - she'd dare say it was more akin to a smell. Every thump of a heart beat, every pump of blood coursing through each vein. It used to be overwhelming to her, but she eventually learned to tune it out - or tune it in, if need be. A second nature of sorts, one that was both a blessing and a curse for the Shadow.

A brief glint of light caught Avorra's eye - her weakness had always been the shiny things. Like a scent-hound drawn to a fresh bone, she prowled to the vendor's stall. She peered into the glass boxes holding mundane jewelries. That brief glint was more appealing than what she saw now - knockoffs, tarnished metals, and fake gems that were far more interesting to the unknowing eye. She scoffed at the borderline 'replicas', if they could even be called that. If the vendor's owner had said anything, she wasn't listening. A scowl formed on her face as she found herself immersed and distracted by determining whether each and every individual item was a scam waiting to be sold. Surely there had to be something real here.

Of course, what little coin she carried wasn't frequently used. She had other methods for getting what she wanted.
Out of the corner of his eye, Colt watched her approach, remaining in his shadowed corner. He’d suppress the grin itching to spill out across his face from the swift change in her expression. Hands busied themselves, moving stock about the table to better display it. He’d pay her no mind unless she spoke, only glancing over occasionally to see if her hands reached for anything. His companion did attempt to draw her into conversation, but was left ignored. Colt smirked, teeth peeking briefly before he slowly rounded the bench.

Eyes flickered over her, calculating, judging the curves and dips of her robes to understand where she might keep her coin. Passing behind her to lean on the table's edge, Colt would flash a wide grin. “Nothin’ grabbin’ your fancy today, Miss?” No. Nothing but shite, brick-a-brack, though he did have a real fancy piece, though laying it out on the table would be a dumb move. “I’ll admit the selection isn’t fairing great, but I got nicer ones, if you’re interested? Can’t leave the good ones out with all the fuckin’ thieves,” he’d chuckle. It was true, his kind caused everyone to clutch their valuables, but really folks should know better.

Reaching an arm over, he’d feel out for one of his prepared boxes, “Got somethin’, think it might match your pretty eyes.” A necklace. Simple in design, but unlike the others, its stones were very real. “How bout, I put it on you, check yourself in that mirror there and I bet you’ll fall in love.” In another life, he might have done well for himself as a trader, but his hands enjoyed the wander, his body the adrenaline of a successful lift or a good old chase through alleys.
For a seemingly prestigious selection, 'tis certainly lacking. Avorra replied uninterested to the new voice, not bothering to look away from the items in the stall. One would have better luck pickpocketting than keeping up with this sorry excuse for a racket. While the comment was certainly a jab, her disgusted facial expression lacked any humour.

The mention of better quality caught her interest, and the comment of matching her eyes perked her hidden pointed ears. However, she was visible repulsed at the suggestion of being touched. If you so much as lay a finger on me, beggar prince, I will grant you a bleak existence in those decrepit slums. Her slums, but she had to maintain secrecy regarding that fact. It was best if Dairmuid's denizens didn't know exactly who she was.

I will certainly adorn it myself, however, and admire the beauty in the mirror. She said with the flash of a fake smile, along with the intentional jingle of the coin pouch nestled within a pocket beneath her robe. What is it you have for me, exactly? Her amethyst eyes were now seemingly peering into the merchant's soul. If nothing else, the stench of his rhythmically driven blood was enough to keep her attention momentarily undivided.
Colt had to grin. She was feisty, and her jab did not offend him either, seeming to laugh it off instead. “Well, I can only do my best with what I have and find, Miss.”  His body pitched forward, his free hand finding a pocket to place a toothpick between his lips. A habit, something to toy with and keep his wandering digits free and his mind sharp.

Acquiring the box, he let it fall against his chest as she spoke, lips pursing in thought. “You talked about pickpockets earlier, so.. I can’t really let you put it on without some collateral. How about… you hand me something to keep, while you see if it’s to your fancy, eh?”

That smile wasn’t true though, Colt could tell, but the jingle of her coin purse had him quickly grinning. It was so polite of her to narrow down his prize without much pressure.The stick caught between his teeth before finding the corner of his lips once again, as he teased opening the box for her. “I promise, it’s a fine thing. If you have the coin and, of course, if you like how it sits around that swan neckline of yours.” A bit of flirting didn’t go amiss. He was going to lighten her pockets shortly. It was only gentlemanly to leave her with some pretty words.
Avorra kept the false grin to keep up appearances. The man's poor excuse for his even poorer collection had her mentally rolling her eyes. To top it off, he was now putting a toothpick in his mouth. Since when had Dairsmuid become so... stereotypical? She fully expected this sort of informal etiquette from Ferelden, certainly not here. Then again, this was Rivain.

How quaint. Avorra purred, eyeing the toothpick. Do you win all the damsels with that little piece of wood? She quietly snickered at the double entendre. Her false smile disappeared when the merchant mentioned 'collateral' in exchange for wearing her prize. 'Tis a bit rude to make such a request of a harmless woman. The remark was followed by an audible click of her tongue. You are certainly brave. For a man.

Avorra gave it some false thought, but her decision was made the moment the man made such a ridiculous suggestion. No. I will not be giving any 'collateral', as you so delightfully put it. True, the promise of a worthwhile piece of jewelry was alluring. Enough for her to stand her ground with a subtle threat. For something so fine, I'm sure your wandering eyes are well aware of the coin I carry.  Let me try whatever this is on, and perhaps I will like it enough to give you this pouch in exchange. She pulled out the coin pouch and dangled it in front of the merchant, like treats for a hound. Or, if you would like, I could come back much later and relieve you of such a heavy burden. Her somewhat distracted eyes were now solely on the box and what lay within, pouch still in front of the man's face. Consider that your 'collateral'.