Triss was very excited for their first night in Kovir. She took her time to take a bath and slip into something sexy. Something that would drive him wild with lust and make him throw her on their new bed like a hungry wolf.
At least, that was the plan. In reality, he didn't even look up from the dining table when she entered.
"What are you doing?" Triss asked. She was barely able to hide the annoyance in her voice.
In Novigrad, she had to cover up all the time because she was undercover. Now that she was finally free, she had put on a beautiful green dress with gold accents and high boots. It was held together by a belt around her waist, giving her an extremely deep neckline. But Geralt didn't respond at all.
"Huh?" He finally looked up. "Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about something."
She waited for him to comment on her dress.
"Do you think I should add an extra Biting Frost to my deck?" he asked. "In case I'm up against a monsters deck?"
"They are very effective in combination with a Scorch. But what if I play against Scoia'tael? They'll just shift to the Long Range lane. And Northerns realms has powerful Siege cards. Hmm."
"Geralt, please. I don't want to talk about Gwent right now."
"This is important," he argued. "I don't know what kind of tactics are used here in Kovir. What kind of decks do they use? Hey, maybe you could ask the King?"
"You want me to ask him about Gwent?" she asked, incredulous.
"Yes, of course. I heard he's a decently good player."
"Don't you think you're a little… obsessed with this game?" she asked. "You've spent hundreds of hours collecting these stupid cards."
He gasped. "Stupid?"
"Put the cards away," she demanded.
"Oh is that how it's gonna be? I knew I made a mistake coming with you."
"It's me or that game."
"Well then I pick the game," he thundered.
"Because it doesn't give me these ridiculous ultimatums. If you can't respect my hobbies then I don't want to be with you."
"Fine. Then take your stupid cards and get out of here."
She grabbed a handful of cards and threw them in his face.
Geralt stomped off to his room.
Triss went to take a walk in the city. Her absurdly sexy dress made every male stare at her with lust and fear in their eyes. And a couple females as well. But she didn't care about any of them. She just wanted Geralt to stare at her.
No one bothered her. They knew who she was. They knew she could burn them to ash with a flick of their fingers. And they knew she was an adviser to the King himself.
When she reached the edge of the city, it started to rain.
She would have portaled home, but right now, Triss didn't trust her mental state. Portals could go horribly wrong. Best case, you ended up somewhere else. Worst case, parts of you ended up somewhere else.
So she ran back through the rainstorm.
When she came home, she was soaking wet. Triss used fire magic to heat up her body. The water evaporated rapidly.
"Triss?" Geralt stood in the living room.
"What?" she asked.
"Are you giving off steam?"
"It's nothing," she said.
"Look," he said. "Can't you just give it a try?"
"I hate Gwent."
"But you've never even played it."
"Of course not. Look at this."
She searched through his cards until she found what she was looking for.
"Look." She held the card right in front of his face.
"That's your card," he said slowly. "Triss Merigold. In the alternate version."
"Look at what it says."
"I can take care of myself, trust me."
"No, not the horrible quote. At the top."
"Yes. Exactly." She threw the card back on the pile. "I'm the worst hero card. Why am I seven? I'm below Cerys and Ermion and Hjalmar and John Natalis and-"
"I get it."
"You are fifteen."
"Well… uh… you know." He didn't really have an answer to that.
"And this over here." She grabbed another card.
"What's wrong with that?" he asked. "Yen is also a seven. You're the same as her."
"What's this symbol?" Triss asked.
"Uh… she's a medic card?"
"Oh she has a special ability. Where is my special ability? Huh?"
"Look, I don't make those decisions."
"I want a strength thirty with a Scorch and a Morale Boost and a Tight Bond with your card," she demanded.
"But you can't have a Tight Bond with a card with a different name," he argued. "And hero cards don't have Tight Bonds, they are unique. And they can't be affected by a-"
"I don't give a fuck."
Triss stormed off.
She ignored him. The door of the bedroom slammed close behind her.
For a while, it was silent as she sobbed. Then, after a long time, there was a tentative knock on her door.
She didn't reply.
Her door opened.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"You know, you seem to know a lot about the rules of Gwent. Given you've never played."
She remained quiet. Her face was buried in the cushions.
"I have something for you." He placed the object on her bed, careful to keep a safe distance from her.
Triss turned her head around. "A card? Really?"
"Just take a look please."
She picked up the card.
It showed her, wearing her extremely sexy green-gold dress and winking at the viewer. She was conjuring a heart-shaped fireball.
"Triss Merigold," she read. "Strength 300, scorch, morale boost, medic, agility and tight bond. I…"
"I sure hope the other guests don't get drunk as quickly as I did!"
Despite her tears, she found herself smiling. "Geralt."
"Look," he said. "I know it's not a real card, but to me, you are the strongest card ever. I could win any game with you."
"Thanks," she said. "I'm sorry I…"
"It's okay. I wasn't paying attention to you. You had every right to get angry."
"Shall we play a game?" she asked. "I'll only use this card."
"Are you sure?"
"Alright then. One second."
Geralt left the room.
After a few minutes, he returned carrying all his cards along with the gems, the playing mat and the coins.
He put them down on the bed.
"Are you sure-"
"Let's play," she cut him off.
Geralt drew ten cards from his deck. They flipped a coin.
Triss was going first.
She put down her only card. The magical playing mat automatically added up their strengths. 300-0.
"Pass," he said.
One of his gems burst.
"Looks like someone is getting their ass kicked," Triss said.
"Pass," Geralt said. Her jewel burst. "And pass again."
The second jewel also burst.
"What the hell was that?"
"Nilfgaard decks always win a tie," he said. "And you automatically passed because you have no cards left."
"But I won," she argued.
"You need to win two rounds."
"Ugh, I hate this game," she said.
"Triss, you can't win with just one card."
"You just said you could win every game with me."
"Yeah, but that was just speaking metaphorically."
She sighed. "Well I guess you won."
She handed him her only card.
"No, no," she said. "This is how it works. If you lose, you hand over a card. I know that much."
"Look, why don't you borrow a deck from me and we'll practise? I'll teach you."
"Okay," Triss said.
"Which deck do you want?" he asked.
"Oh my," he said. "You have a lot to learn."
"Just give me the deck," she told him.
He handed over a deck of cards.
"You know," she said. "I still feel like there should be some kind of stakes."
"What do you suggest?" he asked.
"Well," she said. "We could play Strip Gwent. The loser takes off a piece of clothing."
"But I'll definitely win every game with this card," Geralt argued. He held up the special Triss card.
"Oh yes," she said. "That's what I'm hoping for."
"Oh. And what if you're out of clothes?"
"I'm sure you'll figure out something else I can do."
"Hm." He flashed her a wolfish grin. "I think I do."
"Great. Let's play."