Priscilla didn't flinch.
Thank the gods that she didn't. As the tigress realized her schemes, Priscilla had inwardly cursed, and prepared to be exposed as a phony. If Torie was clever enough to see through her ruse, she had to be too obvious.
However, she did not flinch, and kept her stony face even as Allric called her bluff, as well. She turned to him as she spoke, catching the way the cat looked at her as she did. She didn't want the tigress to dislike her. The whole point was for the party to be united under a common alliance.
Of course, he was right. Although he pointed out that she'd managed to maintain some of the habits of a callous, ruthless bandit or murderer, she'd failed to account for the fact that she'd started off strong. It's how she got them to the table, before she pulled the sudden 180 on them. She didn't concede the point, but she did shoot him a knowing smile.
Alright, ya caught me. It seemed to say.
Priscilla leaned back in her chair, arms slung casually over the back of it, as if bored. Really, she just needed a little space, to better keep up her visage. Priscilla had started all of this by pretending to be tougher than she was, and she'd keep it up, as long as it continued to help her image, rather than hurt it.
"Well, like I said--"
Gods damn it. She reached for her knife, but didn't pull it, and spun in her chair to face the target. Had they been so loud that the whole bar had heard them? She looked beyond the speaker first, looking for stares, but found none. He wasn't that loud, he didn't speak loud enough to draw attention to them. She looked back at the speaker, scrutinizing him. Her hand eventually left the knife, but clenched into a fist.
She'd lost her edge. If the cat, or the knight had seen it, she'd almost certainly lose whatever few points that persona had given her. Who was this guy, anyway? He was young, and kind of eager-looking. In that way, he kind of reminded her of herself, when her hair was purple, and she had her little cart. The cart alone could be recovered, and the hair too, but there was also a sort of optimism and faith in those eyes. Priscilla tensed up as she remembered, quite uncomfortably, that others had stolen her optimism and sense of safety, already. She'd never get those back.
Her cold, suddenly hostile gaze must have burned the newcomer, because he fidgeted, and spoke up again.
The gears in her brain turned, and eventually she relaxed. There was a minotaur-shaped hole in the party right now, and a youngish man with something to prove might fill it, temporarily.
Priscilla sat there, and eventually turned back to the rest of the party. She gestured at him, almost with confidence and offered a noncommittal addition to his introduction.
"Uh...yeah. This guy gets it."
Oh good, the cat still thought she was actually a murderer...or maybe she was poking fun at Priscilla? She had no idea, honestly.
"Well, what if the people have it coming?" She offered candidly. "Like...what if you kill bandits, defending your business?" She asked. "Or...what if you need to stab your..." She wanted to talk about Alentha, or whatever her kidnappers called it, and she wanted to talk about how she was treated there, but...she couldn't. To put words to what happened to her legitimized what they'd done to her, and those were scars she didn't want picked. She cast her glance downward, and tried to repress any ugly memories that threatened to rise up. She stayed silent, until she remembered that she still had more work to do. She looked back up, and failed to keep a tough visage up.
"Look, you all seem like the type that need money. Money for another night's rent, or another meal, or money to put distance between you and your past." She leaned into the table, training her eyes especially on the tigress. "I'm no murderer, I'm a merchant. But I have had to kill in order to keep myself safe, and that's why I tried to get your attention. I can make you money. I can make all of us a lot of money." She pointed at the other two. As an endnote, she grabbed the chair next to her and pulled it out, before pointing at it, indicating to Aaric to sit.
She leaned into the table further, and relaxed her stare. "And...you were right. I am desperate." She looked away. "I don't do this for a living, and I never want to do this for a living. But I have no choice."
She turned her palms upward, as if to plea, and...letters floated around. Not letters, but emblems, sharp and jagged shapes dug into the air before her, floating around like eye-floaters. She tried to look at one, suddenly distracted, and immediately recognized it for what it was. Runes, basic instructions and complex designs in conjunction, floated around everywhere she looked. She blinked, suddenly absorbed by what she was seeing.
She wasn't stupid as to what this was about. These were runes, projected into her vision back when she was a child. When her father had taken her outside one cloudless night, brought out the instrument and had her stare into the night sky, at the moon, through it for a while. This was just like when she started as a runesmith, but why?
The barmaid returned with food for the table, and Priscilla could disguise her discomfort by grabbing her tankard and taking a swift, and very excessive swig of the contents. Her eyes ached, and the runes were still there. She needed a minute to hide behind the cup.