TITLE: A Gamble
Only three Blots landed purple side up. Famiem huddled closer to the back of the Drawn's wagon, her shackles clinking.
Raylen took a deep breath, and slid the Blots toward her competitor.
Bad toss, that was. Pity. The trader smirked as he shook the flat disks. Purple and green flashed between his fingers, whirling and clashing but never escaping his grip.
He's experienced. Raylen gritted her teeth. But only luck matters here.
So said the Drawn, who watched impassively at the side of the board, gauging and measuring and weighing, as always. The youngest fidgeted.
With a flourish, the trader spun the Blots onto the board. Half spun straight into the dust, yet more than three greens remained. Raylen's mind stalled.
What does that mean?
Her heartbeat quickened, the trader swore, and the oldest of the Drawn shook his head.
"Poor luck. Very poor luck," he said slowly. A pause as he regarded Raylen, then Famiem. "The girl has freed herself. But she must bet that freedom back again to win her sister."
Hardly a daring wager; she'd already staked her life on the Blots to catch the Drawn's interest.
Raylen scratched her wrists. She shook the Blots. Then her eyes closed - dropped them onto the board and jammed her fists into her armpits, waiting.
"Lucky girl," the old Drawn said. Respect laced his voice. "A perfect win."
Raylen opened her eyes. Purple stared up from every Blot.
And the youngest Drawn stared hard at her from across the board. Here came the real gamble.
The boy slowly cleared the board as the other Drawn ran off the "luckless" trader and removed Famiem's shackles.
He didn't say a word about the pouches strapped inside Raylen's sleeves, or the purple paint coating both sides of the disks.
Raylen had been lucky.