The pirate laid the map out on the table, smirk flashing at least two gold teeth across at his dealer. “Got it just as you like it, oh Thyadras, oh pal. Look here!” He tapped the map. “This page details the old man’s security system, and this one…” He turned the page over, beady black eyes almost disappearing into his voluminous cheeks as he grinned. “This one details the floorplan of Hasami’s coffers.”
Thyadras waved the pirate away, like he could wave the man’s stench away with the same gesture. He leaned over the map, weight on his palms and head bent to hide the turmoil on his face.
“I went through a lot of trouble to get that, Sea Kayote.” The pirate rubbed his fingers together as close as he dared to Thyadras’ red mohawk. “I’m expecting a large haul from the goods you manage to pull out of there.”
“You can have all of it,” Thyadras growled, and the pirate backed away hurriedly. On his left side, Nidalave materialized from the shadow and looked over her husband’s shoulder. Only the fact Thyadras was leaning on the table gave the slight woman enough height to put her lips by his heavily pierced ear.
“Patience, love. We’re almost there,” she whispered. Loudly she added, with a glance at the pirate, “You can have all of it, after we take our pickings of the best, of course. This is a Sea Kayote job, and don’t you forget. You Dry Eels are there to smooth the way, nothing more.”
The pirate made an irritated sound but wisely kept his mouth shut. Thyadras straightened, face back into a poker mask as he considered the man dourly. He looped an arm around Nidalave’s shoulders, tugging her close with a suave and practiced movement, and only she could feel his trembling.
“You’ll get your haul, once I get the kid,” said Thyadras sternly.
The pirate rolled his eyes. “Slave trade paying you Dres dogs well back in the homeland, I take it?”
“Something like that,” said Thyadras. He grabbed a small sack of coin from under the table and threw it at the pirate. “There’s your first pickings. So pick it up and get out of my den, Eel.”
Looking like he wanted to add some choice words to the conversation, the Dry Eel pirate reluctantly picked the bag of coins and slunk out of the back room of the Draggin Tail Inn. When he was gone, Nidalave turned to her husband, rubbing her hands across his chest soothingly.
“Just think, love. More than ten years of foiling Hasami’s tricks and those bounty hunters. Now we’re this close, and we’ll soon have our son back in our arms.”
“I knew I should have killed that bastard a long time ago.” Thyadras’ hands slid down to his cutlass hilts, where they tightened. Two other pirates in the room looked at each other in unease, and when Thyadras pulled out of Nidalave’s arms to sweep darkly over to the window, they hastily gathered their dice and took their leave.
Wine-red eyes glinting, Nidalave sauntered across the room after him. She reached up and ran her finger along Thyadras’ jaw coyly. “Buck up there, beautiful. If we go through the gardens, we can disguise ourselves as servants. I sweet-talk the guards, and you bundle the boy up and get his tail down to the ship.”
Thyadras looked down, frowning. “Nidalave…sweetness…I don’t want you to come.”
Niadalave huffed, setting a hand on her hip. “Hey! News flash for you, mate! He’s my son, too! I had to pop the little fetcher out, and I tell you, he wasn’t an easy one.”
“I remember…” said Thyadras.
“Huh!” exclaimed Nidalave and snapped her fingers under his ringed nose. Thyadras couldn’t help a smile. “And what did you do? Enjoyed your evenings with me, I’m sure, but when push came to shove–“
“Daedra, woman!” Thyadras cut in, backing abruptly away from her hand. “It’ll be dangerous, and you with another on the way!”
“I’m not even beginning to show,” said Nidalave impatiently. “I don’t turn to glass just because I’m pregnant, Thyadras. We’ve done a million heists like this before. We’ll be fine.”
“No,” said Thyadras flatly, and all signs of a smile evaporated.
Nidalave paused, her puckish scowl fading away into concern. Her voice softened. “You know something, don’t you?”
Thyadras didn’t answer immediately, glancing out the window in the direction of Hasami’s compound. “No. But I don’t like it. Years of harassing us and now this? Hasami’s being too bloody easy.”
“Not every rumble with your ‘friends’ has to be a challenging game of life or death, love,” said Nidalave, teasing grin sneaking back onto her face.
Thyadras smirked back at her. “Oh, I’ll be winning the game this time.”
“You make sure of it!”
Thyadras began to turn away, but with the swiftness of a cobra, Niadalave reached out and grabbed his nose ring, pulling him back around.
“Ow, ow! By Boethiah, woman! You’re going to tear it out!”
Nidalave pulled him closer, eyes narrow. She used the closeness as an excuse to slip her pouch of flash pellets into Thyadras’ hand. “At least take these. Then I’ll know you’re not going in blind.” As Thyadras’ fingers closed around it, she tugged at his nose ring again sharply. “Or blinder, if I’m not going to be with you! You come back in one piece, you hear me, Thyadras Asurani?”
Thyadras grinned around his watering eyes. “Do I ever not, sweetness?”
Nidalave smiled. “Sometimes.” Pouch secured, she let go of the ring to tweak Thyadras’s nose. “I love you, you know.”
Thyadras tucked the flash pellets away in his belt, and leaned forward to nuzzle her cheek. “I know. We’ll win this bastard’s game, and this time tomorrow, you and I are carousing on the first tide out.”
“With Shizzal,” impressed Nidalave, raising her eyebrows at him seriously.
“With Shizzal. The little fetcher only gets water, though.” Thyadras smirked, and Nidalave smacked him across the rear.