A roll of the dice


Photo via Visual Hunt

Onni laid down his cards. “Tescanto. I think I win again.”

His table mates groaned. “That’s the sixth game, Human,” the dark skinned Kishnari said with a growl. His wire like hair stood on end. “Are you sure you’re not cheating?”

“He’s not,” the psionic Aladon said. “I’ve been watching him for the past hour. He’s really this good.”

“His luck has to change. No Human can play Tescanto so well and keep winning,” the red skinned Valenian said with a grimace.

“My father won his fortune playing Tescanto and winning almost all of his games,” Onni said, grinning. “It seems I’ve inherited his luck and skill.”

The Kishnari said something in his own language that Onni took to be unflattering, though he didn’t yet know enough of the other race’s language to be sure. “I’m not going to sit here and be beaten by a lesser life form.” He uncoiled himself from the pillar he’d wrapped his serpent’s tail around and slithered away.

“It appears that, unless we can coax someone else away from their drinking, our match is over,” the Aladon said. She folded her six arms across her abdomen. “Perhaps you should allow yourself to lose once in a while, Human. It would make you a more popular guest at our tables.”

“Maybe,” Onni said. He stood and stretched. “Thank you for the match. I very much appreciate the honor of playing with all three of you, though he did not wait to hear my thanks.” He bowed to the two remaining beings and headed off.

Onni sighed. The Aladon was right. He needed to remember to lose once in a while. That was why his father became so popular. He didn’t always sweep the table. But it was so hard not to get caught up in the game.

As Onni made his way towards the door, a shadowy figure beckoned to him. Onni, ever curious, walked over to see what it was. He didn’t recognize the being in front of him. It was black, with eyes the color of jade and a mouth full of jagged teeth. It had four long arms that ended in three fingered hands and eight long legs. It reminded Onni a little of a spider. He shuddered.

“I hear you like games of chance,” it said, it’s voice neither masculine nor feminine.

“Sometimes,” Onni said warily.

The being pulled out four blood colored dice. “Care to make a wager?”

“What’s the bet?” Onni asked.

The being showed him an absolutely exquisite ring that would be the perfect size for Onni’s fiancee Xiang. “This ring for you, if I lose.”

“And if I lose?” Onni asked.

The being’s mouth stretched in what Onni could only guess was a smile. “Your left hand.”

That gave Onni a moment’s pause. “Let me see the dice.” The being willingly handed them over. Onni shook them, weighing them. He held them up to the light. They weren’t weighted and there was no sign of tampering. It would be a game of pure chance. He smiled. These kinds of games he never lost. “All right. I’ll take your bet. What are the winning conditions?”

The being hissed and expressed some pleasure. “You must get at least two sixes to win.” Onni nodded his acceptance of the rule. They went over to an alcove where private wagers were often made and dealt with. “Do you wish to roll the dice? Or shall I?”

“I’ll roll,” Onni said. He still held the dice. He ran them through his fingers a few times before casting them onto the table. They bounced several times before landing. He stared at the pips. One six. He turned white.

The being hissed again. “I win.” He drew out a long, curved knife. The edge was crusted in blood. Onni tried to run, but a quick motion from the being held him in place. “You lost in a fair toss. It’s time to pay your debt.” Onni whimpered as the knife descended towards his wrist.


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