There is a girl on campus who is called Rings. Everyone thinks the name comes from the fact that she wears at least two on each finger. (She wears necklaces too, and bracelets, and many earrings, you wonder where she gets them all)
She can be found outside at a picnic table shuffling a deck of cards. (You don’t recognize any of the symbols on them)
If you walk up to her she will always ask, “Want to play a game?”
The answer no gets a shrug and usually a question as to why you are there. Many enjoy just speaking to her about their day. “She’s nice to talk to,” they say. (They don’t mention the way their eyes are drawn to the rings whenever she waves a hand. Or how hard it is to break their gaze away from how her necklaces shine in the light)
The answer yes gets a laugh and another question as to what they want to play. (Poker and blackjack are popular answers, but sometimes Go Fish is just as popular)
The next question she asks is what you will bet. If you just want a friendly game say you will bet nothing. She will smile and pull out a bag of treats and you will play with those as a reward. (Most decide to do this, she is easy to play with and the treats are safe. It is when you bet something that the game is dangerous)
Those who wish to bet something bring jewelry, songs, pictures, or anything they value. She will always match the value and the game will begin. Slowly as it goes on the bets get bigger, and sometimes people bet things they didn’t plan to. (People whisper that one person lost all of their clothing one time) The game usually ends with the bettor leaving to do something with items that they don’t think they need. (Eventually they need them though. One time someone bet their final History paper hoping to get the Bio final key. They got a ring of rose quartz instead. The next day they traded the rose quartz to a Gentry to get their friend back)
But there are those who truly wish for something more powerful. They are the foolish ones who attempt to find their friends with only the iron around their necks and salt in their pockets. They are the ones who want to get close to the Gentry to study them and want protection. (Magic is everywhere in Elsewhere but magical items are hard to obtain, and the Fae sometimes will be interested on how you got them)
They come with Virtues, favors from Fair Folk, pictures of true forms, anything worth one of Rings enchanted objects.
Sometimes she sees the fierce determination in the eyes of someone who wants their roommate back, or needs protection from a Gentry they got on the bad side of. To these she slips off a ring and without a game give it to them with a laugh and a comment that she’ll get it back later. (Those are the lucky ones, and they always end up seeing the ring she gave them back on her finger a week or so later)
Other times she looks at them and simply starts the game. Sometimes they win. Most of the time they lose. Losing is not something you want to do. (You always lose more than you think)
If you find her during a game with people who don’t look quite right, never interrupt. The stakes there are higher than you will ever know. (The cards seem to glow)
People speculate that she’s not human, but many of her accessories are made of iron. Others say she won her power from a game with the Fair Folk (They are not quite off the mark)
You find Rings at a picnic table off the near your dorm. She’s finishing up a game with one of the Chemistry majors you know. She looks at you and smiles. (You can now see why some don’t think her human) “Want to play a game?” she asks. You shake your head no. You sit down and stare at her hands shuffling the cards. You only ask one question.
“How do I become a card dealer?”