The boy’s gaze narrowed at the assertion that all of Anaxas grovelled after this man. Old Rose, perhaps, but in any other city, he wouldn’t be spared a second glance. Galdori for sure, the way he and his right-hand man batted their jibs back and forth with the rest of the table, remarks bounding between them like a child’s rubber ball. It was crude, and they insulted each other often, but that was the way with them. No insults meant you really weren’t part of the crew. Leo was not. The spoke of Leander, speaking over him rather than to him. Leander was young and self-centred, still very much a child, psychologically, and the world revolved around him. Being condescended to was a personal affront and he bristled, “If you’re quite finished,” he spoke up, glaring down at the pot of coins on the table, reminding himself of his aim.
But he learnt enough: Corwynn was definitely a galdor… if that hadn’t been obvious from his self-aggrandisation. Looks aside, that alone would have turned the young passive off of him instantly. Here they bandied about insults and lewd remarks, seemingly teasing each other about who was going home with whom, and Leo was even counted in that number. But if they discovered what he was, he would be marked in their minds. But it wasn’t a question of entrenched racism, nor Leo’s desire to change their opinions, one galdor at a time. He had little empathy for his own race. He wasn’t going to kneel and prostrate himself like the pathetic wretches who cowered in the halls of Brunnhold.
He was more than his relationship with mona.
“In that case, you might as well name me heir,” Leo returned. The passive’s voice did not waver like the Crime Lord’s did, but he had tells of his own, fingers tapping lightly on the table, a rhythm of four as he worked to settle his growing nerves. The boy watched with a barely concealed flinch as Hawke mutilated his own skin for what he must have thought was an impressive show of pain tolerance. “But then again, I never did learn any of that pesky reticence everyone keeps telling me about.”
That’s what the boy always heard form his teacher, at least. The mind of a young adult was impenetrable; nothing can get in that the damn fool teenager doesn’t permit. He said Leo was so sure of everything - cast iron convictions and a dearth of contemplation. It was the belief that he could drink a bottle of whiskey and not get drunk. And Reshas was okay with that, because Leo would learn from each hangover. But dangerous times breed dangerous mistakes. At his age, everything seemed so crystal clear, but sometimes the crystals are dew. They evaporate and what he was left with was terrifying.
Leander’s skin temperature dropped a few degrees as he stared at the contemptible men across for him. Hawke, he could excuse, at a push… but the pet beside him, the blond who seemed to be siphoning energy off of the more powerful man, was what confused the passive. Was Silas the flame, and everyone else unwitting moths? As a child, Leo had always wanted power. Power to protect himself, not others. He’d always been powerless, so when he learned that he was one of the pitiful few who were not gifted with the stage, yet wonderful, ability to converse with that which lay beyond the physical realm, it had truly changed his life. With mona, he could have done anything he wanted to those who sought to beat him down. But he couldn’t. He could understand Corwynn, in a way, seeking refuge in the shadow of someone like Hawke.
At the dealer’s behest, cards were laid out before him. Of the players, two laid down before Leander did. He had beaten both, which was an immediate relief. He wasn’t playing against them, though. They weren’t the ones who were toying with him. It seemed to have transcended a simple game of Rooks for coin.
Leander placed his cards down on the table. As he did, his expression still didn’t change, such had his mood deteriorated since he first sat down. He wanted to play his cards, take the winnings, and walk out. The silence was palpable, a physical presence that crawls down Leander’s throat and clenches its fists around his heart. His hand, laid out for all to see, there arranged as a Full House: three Soldiers of the Star suit, and two 7s of the Sparrow suit. This particular hand was luck, and he hoped it was enough.