Alice walks into the tavern and sits down, choosing a rather inconspicuous seat relatively near the door, and rather far from the foreboding yet beautiful Mahogany bar. When the waitress comes over asking if she's like anything to drink, Alice politely says no. She shivers just thinking about drinks in that bar, but smiles at the waitress and explains that she's been doing a lot of traveling and would like to rest her feet a few minutes before drowning her sorrows. The waitress looks back at her like she's crazy, but falls back on the old wait-staff policy of letting the clientele be a little crazy if they want and smiles back; it's usually better for tips that way.
Alice looks around, and sees many of the same blank stares inside the tavern as she did outside of it. In the corner four men, farm laborers by their strong upper body and tan necks, play poker with a aire of listlessness that is quite abnormal for a game so dependent on reading your opponent's mind.
After one particularly lucky hand, only winning thanks to a queen as the "river card," the winner tries to surreptitiously look around the bar like he's looking for one individual in particular. Satisfied, he quietly states in a near whisper, "I think I'm going to head home while my luck is still with me." Alice can barely hear him, but the rest of the table responds as though he had leaned back in his chair, stretched his arms over his head and loudly proclaimed in a Texas drawl that lady luck was on his side tonight, and he was going to take advantage of it by going home and trying to get lucky with the misses. Done whispering, the man nervously collects his winnings, stands up, and makes a direct path towards the door. He doesn't run, but he certainly moves in a hurry.
Along the way he runs into someone who stops him in a friendly manner and starts trying to chat with him. The winner politely returns the conversation, but his eyes are wild, darting around looking for how to get out of the door with his earnings intact. He succeeds in dodging the conversation within the span of a minute and resumes his procession towards the door.
Rynn walks in right as reaches the door. She looks directly at him and greets him while smiling. Alice swears Rynn was smiling at everyone. The raw feel from it permeated every corner of the bar, affecting everyone who could see it. Maintaining eye contact the entire time, Rynn offers to buy the man a drink. Without waiting for the answer, she puts an arm around his shoulder and takes off towards the Mahogany bar asking him about how his wife is doing and so forth. After a few minutes of drinking, she lets him take his leave. As he walks back towards the door, he no longer looks like a winner. Even though his pockets are full of earnings, his faces shows a man who feels that he just broke even today.
Rynn doesn't make an introduction that night, or the next night. Eventually, under the warm tones of a local minstrel's lute, she walks over to Alice in the tavern and makes an official introduction. Alice makes her own introduction as well and begins to make polite conversation. She tries to keep the conversation open and aloof, but it seems like the best luck she has in steering the conversation takes it right along a path Rynn has been preparing for.
A man walks up and tapps Rynn on the shoulder. It's the minstrel. When did the music stop playing? I didn't even notice! He begs an introduction to Alice, and upon receiving one, turns to Rynn and offers her one last song before he retires. Rynn smiles at the man now properly introduced to Alice as Del, saying it would be lovely. He goes back to the stage and tunes the lute once again before proceeding. Rynn turns back to Alice, and politely declares that she has much to do, thanks Alice for her time, and tells her that she can come by anytime if she wants to chat. Rynn takes her leave, and her smile with her.
Afterwards, Del comes off stage and talks to Alice. With surprisingly little small talk, he invites her to spend some time at his place. Thankful for a valid reason to get out of the bar, she accepts his invitation.
Back at his house he puts a tea kettle on the stove. The tea kettle is an immaculate treasure of inlay work and other fine craftsmanship. In fact, nearly everything in Del's house is exquisite. She comments on the tea kettle. Del explains that it was a gift from a governor in Teran. He never buys anything nice; everything nice in his possession has been a gift given freely by a patron.
As they talk, Del admits that he often gets really lucky. He doesn't know why, but when he goes where wind takes him, it just works out. Later in the evening he admits to Alice, over puffs of tobacco from a pipe given by a businessman in Elar, that he comes to this town often but muses that he never seems to arrive from the same direction. He explains that the music has a tendency to lead him in a clockwise circle around the swamp, playing in towns along the way, cycling from east to south to west to north as the seasons play out their tune. He comes to this swamp bound town in the center of his great cycle before it keeps things interesting. "There's never a dull moment for me in this town," he explains.
Before Alice can retire for the night, the room goes cold. Del looks up, and you swear you could see a grin on his face but the lighting is too poor to be certain. He reaches over and grasps Alice's arm in a civil but strong grip and looks her dead in the eye.
"Never stand still in this place; never walk in a straight line. Always be polite. Never make a trade for anything; instead always give a gift freely and if they want, they will honor it with a gift given freely back in return. Smile."
He reaches for the nearest immaculate treasure given freely, the tea kettle sitting next to him, without breaking eye contact with Alice. Through some trick of the light, it seems like the kettle is the only thing in the room with brilliant colors; the rest are all drab and grey. He pours two more cups of tea and offers one of them to her. As the warmth of the tea fills her body, her mind seems to warm and, by the time she is done with the cup, the color has entered the world once more.
Del moves forward with their conversation as though the event never happened. Eventually Alice politely thanks him for the tea, and takes her leave to go back to where she left her travel gear. She'll go pitch a tent tonight rather than go find an inn room. After all, she doesn't think an innkeeper will give her the gift of a night's stay freely.
Rynn turns her back on the small hovel Del rented a few weeks ago and begins walking back towards the tavern. Her smile is now a thin drawn line like an earth worm stretched across her face instead of its usual joyful fullness. Either of these fate-lines were manageable, but their interactions are proving frustratingly hard to shape, twisting and pressing in so many frustrating ways. She will need to sleep to recover energy and face Del tomorrow.
But will her dreams be safe if she does? No, she thinks, better to deal with Del tomorrow unrested than risk facing Alice on the dream fields of battle that Alice has so much more experience dealing with. Rynn's dreams frighten her. She has no intention of letting Alice get an opportunity to see that. A dreamless sleep, the endless void, scares her even more. She'll just have to wait this one out.
In this, I have chosen to set a new hero, Del. Del's style of "combat" is along the lines of my interpretation of baugua, a martial art where you always circle just out of range of the opponent, until you find a weakness and strike. He also leverages one of my favorite rules, "a gift given freely." Rynn can't use any trades to weasel him into giving up any more luck/fate than he wants to, because everything she gets from him is given freely, not as a trade. (Although he can't stay very long, because he will also give up luck/fate freely, and eventually he'd run out. However, the sort of luck he builds up on his grand circles seems to be particularly hard for Rynn to straighten out before he gives it freely. Rynn is still more powerful of the two by far, if you put them in a cage match where he can't run away when it suits him).
Somewhere along the way, I'd like to make it clear through repeated occurrences that Del couldn't just tell Alice all of that advice on a whim without Rynn intercepting it and twisting it to her own purposes. He had to wait for Rynn to try to influence them at his home, where he had several gifts freely given to use, before she gave him the opportunity to warn Alice properly. Whenever you attack, its harder to observe the actions of others. Rynn's own attacks should be her undoing.
Del and Alice come from very different paths, and that seems to be the key to making it harder for Rynn to deal with them. Techniques that are strong against one are weak against the other. She has to split them before taking one of them on. However, it turns out to be remarkably hard to split two individuals when one of them moves with the wind.
Over time, Rynn is going to have a harder time dealing with Del if she doesn't sleep. However, every time she sleeps, she has to fear Alice taking over her dreams. That fear is the final prison I would use to capture her. Fear is one of the strongest prisons of all, and in the world of fear, Alice has Rynn's number.
I think its reasonably fair to bring in another "hero" in this situation. Rynn is on her home turf, it'd be rude to let Alice just walk right over her. However, if one is trying to harness luck/fate for one's own use without giving back to the world, eventually the world will strike back. However, because it's so big, it won't strike with a sharp blow like another hero might... it will strike with slow steady advancing tides of luck/fate, both smooth and subtle. One of the easiest ways to contain Rynn (and possibly turn her from a bad guy in this scenario into a hero) is to use theses slow streams of fate to drag together multiple individuals of strong fortune from different lines of fate. That way, when Rynn finally does lose, it's not because Alice is stronger or Del is stronger, but rather because the world was behind Alice and Del and worked hard to put them in the right place at the right time.