Brightness of Spirit

Disclaimer: Adult language and themes.


Xanadu Weyr - Docks
The main dock of Xanadu Weyr has a T shape, the central pier extending out and then splitting into two branches. That central dock extends slightly past the branching, making a square often used as a staging area for supplies or simply as a spot to sit and relax.

Pointed away from the main beach, there's the dock where ships moor. The fishing vessels who make their home here are joined by trading ships and the occasional personal craft, bobbing on the waves.

In the other direction, there's an area used by the dolphineers. There's a shack with supplies, extra fins and breathing gear hung against the outside, and a large raft moored to the dock near a ladder. It floats low in the water, easy to clamber on or off, and on it is a Dolphin Bell, the rope dangling into the water to let the dolphins summon their crafters.

Scene is backdated to Month 7 ish, 2724.

It's been a busy day on the docks, as every day seems to be in Xanadu; such is life on the Sea of Azov. The work day has nearly concluded though, as marked by the way Rukbat is sinking slowly toward the horizon. Sadly, this retreat is not over the water, but with the clouds streaking the sky, there promises to be a spectacular display of colors at sunset anyway. On any given day, there are faces both familiar and unfamiliar, today one of the latter happens to include a neat young man who's not dressed just like the other seamen. In brown canvas trousers and a sweater of undyed fibers but a wide cable knit pattern enough like the choices of those who wear something similar that he manages to blend and stand out all in one breath. It's a talent, to be sure, particularly given his unassuming slender stature and 5'8" height. He's sitting on one of the dock posts at this point, a precarious perch but his warm open expression is either unaware that one good push would send him over the edge and into the water below or that he's got trust that that's just not going to happen (warranted or un-). At one point, he was more involved, speaking with some of the men from one of the ships moored from Fort region, but his hands and tongue are idly taking in the last of the day's efforts now.

“Are you sure this is all of it?” A voice drifts over the lessening din around the docks, sounding equally tired and bemused. It wouldn’t be too far from that post-made-perch that Tiridyn has claimed for his own or the Fortian moored ship. Another answers in the affirmative, resulting in the original speaker to blow out his cheeks. “Y’mind checking this over for me then? Maybe it’s been too long a day and I’m missing it, because I could’ve sworn we asked more for this,” One finger jabs at some scrawled item name, as the inventory list is handed over. “Instead of that and on top of that I think it’s been shorted — what is this, anyways?” Should attention be drawn to the cluster of folk, most seem to be dockworkers, but the one that stands out by height alone, is Ru'ien. Leaner in build, he is dressed with just a touch of his eclectic tastes — it’s not hard to peg him for a rider, given his outfit is still practical but with a personal taste adjustment. Long dark auburn hair has grown out past his shoulders now, but he has gathered much of it into a high-sitting bun at the back of his head. Right now, his blue eyed gaze is heavily focused on an open crate in front of him and he’s reaching in to pull back the top protective layer. He whistles appreciatively, “Alright. Wasn’t what I was expecting?” But he can see some value clearly in whatever it was — and judging from the packaging, it’s either delicate, expensive or both.

One thing about being tiny compact as people go is that with enough dexterity and temerity, a person can basically insinuate themselves anywhere they have a whim to be as long as they don't obviously not belong. Thus, Tiri is shortly only one person to the left of the tall Xanadoan rider peering into the crate with curious eyes. The ghost of a giggle— a snicker? A sniggle— gives him away as not being native among these men who all have something to do with the task at hand. "Those are useful," his tenor chimes in after the Smith's assessment, despite not having been asked, but there are few who could take offense (although many who could simply ignore) the foreigner's not-quite-chirped two cents, and at least one who seems to know him already who gives the slender man a friendly buffet of the shoulder when Tiridyn leeeeans to try to take a peek at the inventory is holding, flashing him a 'can't-blame-a-guy-for-trying' bright smile that can be shared along to the man holding the list and making the assessment, even if the Fortian doesn't seem keen to really interfere here… he's just… incorrigible curious.

He certainly wasn’t noticed before, but Ru’ien starts when Tiri chimes in on the heels of his assessment. “Shhiii — I didn’t see you there! Where’d you come from?” he exclaims, with a startled laugh that betrays the lingering jolt of nerves. Don’t sneak up on a man! Or do, because he seems to find it amusing, at least! He’ll wave off the one man after he buffets Tiri’s shoulder, giving an equally ‘it’s fine’ look to the one with the lists (he’s probably just relieved to be off the hook so far). Did Tiridyn still want a look-see? Oh well, too bad. Ru’ien’s closing the crate for now, though maybe he can be convinced to let the young man have more than just a lean-in glimpse? “So what’d you say about this stuff? That they’re useful?” He’s smirking now, a little fox-like but intrigued but clearly not offended by the two-cents of opinion. There’s definitely a more appreciative scrutinizing look over of the newcomer and clearly not Xanadoan!

The smile flashed up at Ru'ien as the other man moves off and the Fortian settles into the spot he claimed as if he had a right to it is one of bright, guileless don't trust it! optimism. "Isn't everything useful to someone? Just have to find the right someone." He reaches out a foot in a little swing as his hands find his pockets and touches just the tip of his ankle-high boot to it. "You're probably luckier in these than most people in most shuffled orders. I don't think it would take you much asking around to figure out how." The sparkle in the eye is all cheek because clearly Tiridyn could just tell the rider who - or at least what kind of person - to ask about this particular gaff-cum-good-fortune, but the close-lipped smile paired with the warm brown eyes looking up at Ru'ien spells S E C R E T. Maybe Tiri can be convinced? Maybe Tiri only needed a glimpse? Maybe he was there even before the moment he became apparent and has all the information he wants (or maybe he wants none). It doesn't seem like anything is missed about that fox-like look and a touch of a blush starts in the foreigner's cheeks which seems to prompt, "Well, good luck, that comes with a pivot on his heel and a stroll away from the greenrider and down the dock in the direction of the beach, hands still in his pockets. Like to play games, Ru'ien? This one's called 'catch me if you can' even if Tiridyn's short legs can't possibly take him that far out of range that fast.

Ru’ien has to think on that for a hot second, tilting his head ever-so slightly while his eyes narrow under a light frown. “Huh. Not a bad point!” Don’t think he’s missed that look of cheekiness! Because his smirk is telling — he sees what’s up, or has enough of an assumption to go by! “No, it won’t.” Is that a little ego showing? Probably. He’s about to press Tiridyn as to just who he is and how he’s so knowledgeable (and probably not that direct, let’s be honest), but he’s distracted by that S E C R E T hinting look. WELL! Was the intention to hook him? Because he just took the bait, full line and sinker. Catch me if you can, indeed! Ru’ien’s about to start after Tiridyn almost the second the young man beat a retreat down those docks. The ‘fun’ is spoiled by a well timed cough, stopping the greenrider in his tracks to turn a sheepish (but not apologetic) grin back to the man holding the inventory list. “Don’t give me that look?” Ru’ien gestures with his hands in the same breath, as if to say ‘come on, can you blame him!?’ That just earns him a disapproving headshake and a rolled eyed, disinterested look from the other. “Right, okay! Business first…”

It doesn’t take nearly as long as expected for the issue to be sorted out and Ru’ien bails the second it’s even hinted that he’s no longer needed. The sun has only dipped a little lower on the horizon, but it doesn’t deter the greenrider from turning toward the beach — it’s the first guess on the list of where that intriguing smartly dressed Fortian went. And should Tiridyn no longer be on the beach, well, Ru’ien will at least concede with ‘worth a shot’ for his disappointment (and find somewhere to dull it).

Was it an intention hook? Perhaps, perhaps not. Tiridyn certainly doesn't do anything as he's moving off to draw additional attention to himself. He makes his way along the largely unpopulated beach until he's out of sight around some dune or another and seems to have completely vanished. Maybe the Fortian was a figment of the imagination, or the kind of snowflake that only stands out among the many for the briefest of moments before melting away. There's a slight coating of snow on the beach, but not enough, plainly, to have impacted the trade on the sea. Ru can follow through the air that bites and nips and can look for that one unique face, but… to no avail. At least, not until he's probably given up, not until he gets to where he can see the Rustic Treetop Cafe's entrance and lo', there's Tiri, just tapping off his boots to step, pink-cheeked into the hollowed center of the enormous tree that houses the spiral stair leading up to the Cafe.

Ru’ien does, in fact, follow through that wintry air, shoulders hunched against the worst of its bite. He ventures one direction for some distance and then, for whatever reason, he turns back. Too cold, maybe? He was likely dressed more for daytime-winter and not so much layered for nightfall. So what does one do when they’re chilled? Find somewhere to warm up! What better than a cafe? EVEN BETTER? ‘Lo, there is his target the one he’d been trying to find! Unfortunately, no luck today for poor Tiridyn, as Ru’ien’s quick to call out: “Hey! Wait up?” Because that doesn’t come off as alarming at all! Does his grinning help? No? It’s a friendly innocent grin, honest! So is the ruddy look to his cheeks and ears — it’s cold out! And if the Fortian doesn’t go running or brush him off, he’s going to hurry on up right to that spiral staircase. “You heading in?” He’s just going right into asking (the obvious) and that grin is already tempering to a less overbearing smile.

Tiridyn's head comes up, brown hair in a little bit of a disheveled flop thanks to the help of the wind without, at the sound of the call. It's so routine that it's easy to get the idea that this man is used to the 'Hey you' greeting meaning something. There's already a pleasant, muted smile on his lips as he does. Brown eyes widen just slightly as it registers just who it is who's called out, but he waits, tapping his boots a couple more times on the stair and adjusting the strap of his bag across his chest just a little.

"Hi," he offers the smile pressing just a little wider, though perhaps a little uncertain if not actually misgiving, more like the Fortian isn't quite sure what he's wanted for, but he's willing to engage enough to find out at any rate. The grinning? All that does is serve to make him sway a little on his feet, up onto the balls of his toes and back down. His whole slender frame really is constant barely contained kinetic energy eager to release, so this may not even be a particular response to Ru'ien so much as to waiting for the man.

He looks down at the taller man who's practically eye-level with the pair of stairs between them, a circumstance that has his lips twitching a little wider still, silent amusement warming his eyes even a little more. He glances back over his shoulder up the stairs before looking back to the greenrider. "Yeah, I heard the sunsets are good from up here." That's pretty easy to find out for any old foreigner, and the way he says it hints that this might not be his first trip here, if his first sunset.

He's turning then to start up the stairs again, as if that was the only thing Ru wanted or needed from him, just that little bit of information and now he's on his way again… Catch? Chase? Maybe it's just that Tiri's cheeks seem to be touching with a blush that might be more than just the adjustment to the slightly warmer temperature inside the trunk. Maybe it's just that they're both, presumably, going up?

It’s a wonder that the use of ‘hey you’ doesn’t draw the focus of more people, honestly! Thankfully it’s just them on that staircase and there’s not that awkward moment of drawing the wrong person. Ru’ien’s emboldened by the ‘positive’ reaction thus far, tracking his movement in a passive manner but as nothing in Tiridyn’s posture or behaviour is unfavourable, the greenrider presses his luck. It’s not even like he is coming on heavy on purpose — there’s just an underlying excitement about him. Like he’s chasing something more than just someone who has piqued his interest (because THEY are interesting, not just physical drive here folks!). He meets Tiri’s gaze, that smile still firmly in place, but it’s his eyes that brighten at the mention of the sunsets. “Yeah, that’s right! Great view, all Turn ‘round… well I guess not in storms but —“ He shrugs dismissively. Can’t always have nice things! Oh, is the chase on again?

Poor Tiridyn. Ru’ien will follow behind him, not creeper close, but obvious enough that he intends to go inside too. “You meeting anyone inside?” he pries, tentatively and his tone suggests no tease lurking. No, really! Friends? Comrades? Associates? Not that it doesn’t stop him from just hurrying on. “If not, I wanna ask you some stuff.” Over warm drinks and maybe some food. Nothing threatening in that, right? “Only if you want!” Now there’s a hint of a chuckle, as if he’s implying — or just waiting, really, to be told to screw off.

No, there's nothing in Tiridyn's body language that is uninviting to the greenrider's presence, though there's not anything (yet!) particularly the opposite, either. It's warm neutrality but neutrality all the same. Sure, sure, Ru can't be blamed for the fact that Tiri's kind of like his own personal sun: bright, warming, energetic, all wrapped up in the kind of package that makes it easily taken for granted except when it's gone, but just because the sun shines on you doesn't mean it's not doing the same thing for the next person down the line. Tiri is not immune to physical attraction and the enticements thereof, but it's not at the top of his list; a sun's first function is to warm and enliven and destroy equally, though perhaps most toward those actively seeking it out.

He casts a glance back over his shoulder and there's a bounce of a small smile onto his lips - there and gone again as he turns away to keep working his way up at the kind of pace that's reasonable for a man who keeps in shape, even if he's not a dragonrider. With that much energy, one must find outlets where one can, right? "I have some messages out to my friends here, but I didn't know we were putting into port here until we were already underway, so I'm not sure if I'll see any familiar faces up there or not." There's a pause before he looks over his shoulder, smile broadening a little, "I'm always up for making new friends, though, if you'd like to join us. Or me." Whichever it turns out to be. "But." Did the Smith see this one coming? "You can't ask me about what I saw on the docks." When Tiri looks back this time it's with the warmth still there but something markedly impish in the close-lipped smile: S E C R E T.

Warm neutrality can be worked with and around! Ru’ien’s certainly acting the moth to that sunny warmth that Tiridyn exudes, drawn forwards and towards without care for the warnings that may be hidden there. You’d think he’d learn by now, the dangers of too much focus in the here and now — but old habits die hard and this was much preferred over addressing recent heartsick wounds. He doesn’t so much care that that warmth isn’t for him; it’s directed at him for now and that is enough.

“That’s fair,” Ru’ien admits with a smile more lopsided now, when he interjects slightly while Tiridyn mentions messages and friends. Right! How presumptive of him, to assume the young man was without some connection here in Xanadu. He blinks on the next breath, however, both for the invitation and the broadening smile. “Yeah! Yeah, I’d like that! If it’s not too much trouble.” Or more like he’s feeling a touch apprehensive on meeting too many new people at once. Not everyone warms up so well to Ru’ien’s exuberance — even more when he really gets going. So far he’s been on the ‘better’ side of his behaviour but that could change at the drop of a hat once he’s settled in and relaxed.

No, he did not see what was coming next! His head tilts, gaze narrowing slightly in bemused thought, but there’s a slow forming hint of a grin. Is this another game? Thankfully they’re on the stairs or Ru’ien would be pushing the personal space boundaries, wanting to get a closer look at just who or WHAT Tiridyn is. Who has S E C R E T S this young!? “Damn. That’s not fair.” It totally is, but this is Ru’ien — so he adopts a feigned pout, which is replaced soon by a more sobered expression despite his low rolling chuckle. “Alright, alright.” Are they drawing lines in the invisible sand? He can get behind that. “Does that mean asking anything about you is off limits?” All through their ascent up into the cafe, Ru’ien has kept his gaze on the young man. Even when the entranceway looms ahead, he doesn’t seem at all concerned that the ‘destination’ approaches.

In the very least, Tiridyn's, "It's no trouble," and flashed smile of muted encouragement should help to reassure, though he doesn't expand upon his friends as he works his way up the stairs. Up they go, and the next look back is one that has his lower lip caught between teeth to tame a smile of good humor at the swear and complaint and then pout. This physical impediment to the sunshine around his lips does nothing to stop his eyes from crinkling with the smile more and then still more at the pout. It's obvious how he's schooling his expression as he looks away, not missing a step, but checking his stride up for a moment before he looks back. The next smile is shier, quieter, but pleased, there and gone. "No, you can ask me what you like about me." Notice, though, that he doesn't promise to answer the questions. He's clever, this one that Ru'ien hasn't had a chance to examine up close and personal yet.


Xanadu Weyr - Rustic Treetop Cafe
Perched on the cliff overlooking Xanadu's beach is a gnarled and massive skybroom tree. The bark and outer layers are sturdy enough to support the thriving, brushy top, but the interior, which is hollow, contains a spiral staircase that leads to a cafe built on a high platform amongst the branches. With a panoramic view of lake, sky, Weyr and the mountains beyond, the treetop eatery offers both sheltered seating just inside the trunk and tables on the wide deck that encircles the old tree.

The cafe's decor is comfortable and rustic, but closer inspection shows the smallest embellishments to be artfully combined into one detailed masterpiece. The wood of the doors, floor and walls of the trunk have been stained a dark mahogany that lends the space a sense of intimacy. Tables in various sizes have been carved to mimic driftwood, the chairs and benches padded with oiled sailcloth cushions to provide weather-proof comfort. Each table has an aged brass lantern filled with shells and agates gathered from Xanadu's shores, the sparkling natural mosaics holding tapered candles upright in their embrace. Lamps hang from the ceiling on silver poles, the thick frosted glass carved into intricate pastel shells or swirling white-capped waves. At night the colored glass softens the glowlight to enhance the ambiance.

During the day, the retractable doors allow leaf-spattered sunlight to fill both the outer deck and the smaller interior with green and gold light, as well as allowing pleasant breezes to cool the interior. On clear nights, farviewers perch on the elaborately carved railing are free for use to enhance the gorgeous view of the stars over the Caspian Lake, the Sea of Azov beyond and the rock formations of the Weyr.

Tiridyn steps through the entryway and considerately to the side by habit so there's room for the next person coming up, though he pauses to scan the faces in the "inside" of the cafe perched in the bar in a way that's genuinely credible of seeking a familiar face - but this might be habit or it might be that those mentioned friends and notes are quite real. "Just us," Tiri concludes, his hands tucking into his back pockets as he turns his face up toward the much taller rider. "Do you have a favorite spot for sunsets?" Then there's one of his little smiles, "And a name?"

To say that Ru’ien is enjoying the expressive mannerisms Tiridyn displays is an understatement — he’s so hopelessly hooked (and not in that way), it’s almost comical. Whereas most could take the focus erroneously as flirting, Ru’ien doesn’t help matters while being mostly unaware of it. It’s further compounded when he practically beams with that smirking-grin of his at Tiri’s second invitation. A N Y T H I N G? It’s probably not the verbal answers he’s seeking anyhow! Who knows? He chuckles heartily, adding his own piece to their ‘agreement’. “Likewise,” he muses. “You can ask all you want about me. Fair’s fair?” Maybe he’ll answer and maybe he won’t (ahahaha, who’re we kidding here!?)!

Ru’ien will follow Tiridyn inside, drifting to the other side of the doorway from similar habits. He’s scanning the room as well, but doesn’t seem wholly expressive one way or the other beyond that more tempered smirk of his now. Is he relieved? Excited? It may be more the latter, when Tiri concludes that his friends aren’t there. What a pity! “Mhm,” Ru’ien pauses thoughtfully (mostly for effect) before turning his gaze sidelong and down to him. “The tables just by the doors leading out might get us a view? Not as best as right outside but it’s too cold for that.” Hence the retractable doors, but there ARE windows! Second best? As for his name? Ru’ien smirks, already leaning away as if preparing to move towards the tables. “Name’s Ru’ien! It’s… exactly as it sounds.” Hey, he’s got the right to poke fun at his own unfortunate name, right? At the rate they’re going, their questions may lead to sounding like some lyrics to a catchy tune do you like pina coladas? . After barely a pause for breath, Ru'ien goes as far as rolling one hand in a 'and yours?' gesture, while his expression morphs to something heavily amused and anticipatory.

"Well, sometimes," Tiri's not paying attention when the words leave his lips to reply to the greenrider's assertion that fair's fair. It's an offhand remark that sounds more like a simple expression of some philosophy that might just not sync up with the just as idle choice of words from Ru'ien. Then there's the table to to be focusing on, following the description the taller man gives, apparently, for this moment, unaware of the sidelong look down at him.

The Fortian seems prepared to follow Ru'ien, but if Tiridyn's sudden laughter that's even warmer in its open delight than anything that's come so far brings him up short, the smaller man might be testing his agility to keep from running into the Xanadoan. "Then I guess we're a pair already," he observes, perhaps blushing if there was that near-miss that required a rock back in his steps to look up, up, up at Ru'ien. "I'm Tiri." TIER-ee… or teary. Ruin and Teary. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. "Or Tiridyn." TIER-eh-din. The grin directed up at the greenrider is six shades of all good things running the gambit from humor to real relish for the coincidence. "That table?" He indicates one that fit Ru'ien's description, not one to lose pacing in the back and forth dance of discovery that's only just beginning.

Ru’ien won’t argue on that simple expression with philosophic notes (intended or not) and merely chuckles low in his throat. There is a secretively amused smirk that follows, but it soon tempers back to something less suggestive of anything at play. He was in the process of walking ahead with that confident stride of his but is, in fact, brought up short by that laugh. They might have to do a little side-step dance to keep from colliding, but that only seems to delight Ru’ien all the more.

“Do we?” He interjects again, too eager with his intrigue to let Tiridyn finish entirely. When he shares his name, Ru’ien blinks once to absorb the uncanny chance of their names and then he is laughing too. It’s not a loud laugh (very little of his voice IS loud, he is ‘loud’ in other ways), but it is deep and hearty — and probably the most genuine one he’s had in awhile. It feels good, but he doesn’t allow himself to think much farther than that. Not when Tiridyn is providing such interesting vibes (that grin, too!) and they haven’t even got to really talking yet! “Well met, Tiri!”

Ru’ien’s attention is brought back to the room, when Tiridyn points out the table. There’s a lazy half-grin and a nod. “That’s the one! Works?” And whether or not the young man fully agrees, the tall greenrider is off again. In a move that is fitting of classic Ru’ien, he’ll pull out a chair and gesture to it, if Tiri didn’t beat him to the table. There’s an amused smirk, eyes narrowed and mischievous but the effect lasts only for a few breaths. He’ll ease up and fold himself into the chair across, sitting at an angle, so that his legs are more to the side of the table than under it. His posture is relaxed, a touch arrogant but not in a haughty, dismissive way. “Should we order first?” he muses, letting his gaze slide to one of the servers who’re likely eyeing them for their cue.

Ru'ien's laughter only feeds Tiridyn's grin, and a flick of his gaze away and back to the greenrider might betray a little personal pride for having provoked the sound even if he can't take credit for serendipity. Now that the older man is on the move again, the younger is following again, stuttering to a halt mid-motion for a different chair, clearly not anticipating the greenrider's gallantry. It earns him a silently laughing smile then and an easy acquiescence as Tiri moves to take the proffered seat and settle in. He has a comfortable slouch for all his professional attire. "Yeah, let's." The sooner they order, the sooner there's distractions, and he's reaching for the menu to let his eyes glide across it once, twice, then set it back, his fingers interlacing over his abdomen, ready, apparently for when that server takes the cue… which he leaves to Ru'ien to deliver. "So, who's your lifemate? What do you do here?" Tiri doesn't have a problem getting the conversational ball so casually rolling into Ru'ien's court.

Ru’ien doesn’t reach for the menu, meaning he either is regular enough to know the standard (and not seasonal) fare or he found what he wanted on the first page. Still, he’ll wait for Tiridyn to make his choice, before lifting a hand up to flag one of the servers down. As the questions are asked before they’re greeted, the greenrider keeps his answers on hold until they’re left alone again. “Her name is Kihatsuth,” he supplies, skipping the color reference as his knot would’ve given that away and there’s only one he could Impress. There’s no lack of affection in his voice in naming his lifemate, even if the green is… well — let’s not get too far into that. “I’m a rider?” Sorry, Tiridyn, he couldn’t resist and his broad smirk says as much. There’s another low chuckle, his gaze more on the younger man than the view afforded them. “Journeyman Smithcrafter, though. Was, before I Impressed. Still am just…” A hand lifts to gestures vaguely. “Differently.” That’s enough about HIM though and Ru’ien’s eyes narrow, his smirk tilting. Ready, Tiri? “What’re you?” he asks, giving a breathless laugh as he clarifies. “I mean, you’re…” His eyes squint, playful, despite knowing full well what he sees on the younger man. “Fortian? Did I get that right? What’s it that you do?”

Games are more fun when two people are playing them. Tiridyn proves the point by blinking at Ru'ien when his lips shape those words he cannot resist, but he holds it, the incoming play of his own until the greenrider is identifying his knot with that playful squint and he makes a convincing small lurch as his eyes go to his own shoulder, like he's surprised to find a knot there. "Am I?" Fortian. He frowns down at the knot and reaches up a hand, pretending to dust off the strands. "Ohhhh." He breathes out, pursing his lips and nodding solemnly. "That's right. Fortian. I remember now. It's a good thing they label us." He can't keep the semblance of a smile from trying to sneak past pursed lips.

Then he grins. "I work in the stores at the Weyr." This sounds outwardly simple, and yet, there's suddenly so many more questions about just why a young man who works in the stores of a foreign Weyr is hanging out on the Xanadu docks. "Journeyman Smith is very impressive," he observes, although there's something ever so slightly hollow about it, the weight of that still warm gaze measuring to see if this man is worth the respect of the knot, perhaps. "You're pretty young for that. Was the knot pretty new to you when you impressed or did you impress and then walk tables since?" This is also: how long have you been with your lifemate - two questions in one!

Oh ho! So the game takes a new twist and Ru’ien finds himself slightly thrown off his own track by Tiridyn’s level of play. He gives an openly stunned look back, lips slightly parted in a grin of disbelief, eyes narrowing in amused playfulness — and maybe that’s part of HIS hand in this ‘game’. Feigning that disbelief for such behaviours! “Isn’t it a good thing?” he quips back, features now settling back into that classic smirk of his. “However else would we know! It would lead to some guessing wouldn’t it? Ooh, can’t have that!” Just think of the imagined chaos!

“The stores at the Weyr!” Ru’ien echoes back, as if rolling that outwardly simple ‘marker’ over his tongue. From the way his blue eyes focus more keenly in their once-over of poor Tiri — it’s evident he’s starting to assume there is more. What he can’t quite pin down is if it’s REAL or GAME (and boy, that is making him ALL the more curious). “They let you out and to travel so far?” he asks, voice lowering suggestively, hinting that he knows not to broach the S E C R E T but he’ll be damned if he can’t resist toeing the line! Does he puff up a bit, at the ‘impressive’ comment? Yes. Yes he does! And they’re both saved from a moment of ego-stroking when the server returns with their orders. Again, he quiets down save to thank them and then, once they’re alone, springs right back to it. “New to it — the knot, I mean. Hadn’t been a Journeyman long before I was Searched. Figured, eh… why not? Was gonna age out soon enough.” So not that long at it! “Only just got back into the swing of it — as much as I can, anyways.”

"That," and this time the warmth in Tiridyn's voice comes with real and genuine compliment, "is a really great question." It's not one they need to address just now, though, because he immediately turns the conversation onward. "I mean, normally my leash keeps me from straying too far or jumping up on strangers or eating things that would make me sick, but… I must've forgotten it today." The clerk's all in for the joke of it, although there's something underlying the words that threads the jape with something elusive but real. "I'm sure I'll find my way home eventually." If no one snaps up the adorable, possibly misplaced Weyr pet.

He's all friendly smiles for the server as they get the food settled and then his eyes drift to Ru'ien's knot, expression turning pensive a moment before he looks down to his food. "So, new to the rank, new to the dragon, and still settling in before you've found out the shape of your new life. Do I have that right?" It never hurts to check. "What's your specialty, sir?" The sir might be habit, it might be a test, it might just be another game, judging by the enigmatic set of lips and trace of smile before he starts plucking up his fried tubers one at a time in a way that implies no hurry - especially since he has to blow on it to get it to cool enough that it won't scald his mouth. Does that put his lips at a provocative angle and suggest a lot of ideas? Well, if so, it won't be through anything but the happenstance of the motions. He can't know how that makes him look, can he?

With that warmth and real genuine compliment comes an equally more genuine grin from Ru’ien. Onward they go with the conversation and he’s too happy to roll along with it. “Haven’t got you fully trained, have they? Must be frustrating, that leash. Wouldn’t blame some acting out! I would.” he muses, his voice naturally low even when he isn’t dipping into those rougher notes of amusement. He leans back a little in his chair, gaze sweeping over Tiridyn in ever growing intrigue and interest. Who are you? is what that look says, plainly. “And if you don’t, do they come looking for you? Or should I be a dutiful rider and help a poor wayward…” He almost says ‘pup’ right then and there, but he catches it just as his mouth forms the first letter. With a pause and a mischievous-sheepish chuckle, he amends on the exhale of the next breath: “… soul, return home?”

“Well, more or less?” Ru’ien’s mood has sobered a touch, though it’s difficult to say if he’s being serious or trying to pull Tiridyn’s leg a bit. He doesn’t elaborate though, leaving that for the young man to take or leave it. His nose wrinkles at the use of ‘sir’, “Don’t have to use that sort’ve formality with me,” he muses, teasing grimace now over. His specialty? “Mostly blacksmithing. Dabble a little in jewelry too, for the complexity of it. Different metals…” Does he drift off on purpose? Or is it a natural response to the way Tiridyn is oh-so innocently dealing with that too hot fried tuber. Ru’ien’s definitely probably staring, too obvious with that LOOK, but once he catches himself. with a crooked smirk he’ll promptly turn to his own plate. Which looks to have some sort of small piece of delicious looking fruit-tart, which he cuts into with the edge of his fork. His drink, a black, spicy-scented tea, thus far untouched because hot.

Tiridyn's dark brown eyes blink again at the greenrider. "On the bright side, I'm Weyrbroken. The leash isn't so bad, really. Keeps me accountable. And I like Fort." That comes with a flicker of a genuine smile. There may be some unpopular opinions for the age-old systems hidden in that head of his, but the words ring true. The look of intrigue is either missed or is something poor Tiri doesn't recognize when directed at himself. "What's the more and the less?" He'll bite the hook with reciprocal interest, but even more pressing after that is the way his curiosity is piqued by the Crafter's specialty. "Will you show me some of your work after we eat?" On the one hand, it would be easy to assume that this is the clerk's bid for spending more time with his fascinating new companion, but on the other… he seems to have as much — more? — interest in the idea that he has a jewelry maker near at hand and wants to exploit the opportunity, if not the man who offers it.

“No need to be bothered if it doesn’t chafe, I guess? The leash, I mean.” Whatever else could Ru’ien have been hinting at? Probably nothing. The greenrider is more focused on letting Tiridyn swallow that hook or at least chew on it for the few seconds it takes him to really enjoy nibbling at a red berry off of his tart. There’s a smug smile, but nothing overtly threatening behind his expressions and behaviour. He’s playing, truly! And probably not even aware of how easily the glove has slipped back on after some abstinence absence. “I wasn’t that new to the Craft? The rest was a bit of an upheaval but… I don’t regret it!” He seems genuinely surprised by the piqued interest and more when asked to see his work. THANKFULLY, Ru’ien doesn’t actually preen but he is definitely pleased and eager enough to agree. “Yeah, we can swing by the workshops. Won’t be as hectic and noisy at this hour!” Maybe part of him suspects that it’s his ‘skills’ that Tiridyn is after and less him, but in the heat of the moment Ru’ien doesn’t care overly much! It’s something to do, someone to share his Craft with (and he’s pretty passionate about it, to the right audience and when in the right mood). For now though, they have their ‘game’ here at the table and after indulging in a few more bites of his dessert, he’ll quip: “How long have you been at it? What it is you do.” he pauses just long enough for effect, a quick wink. “In the stores.”

Though the wink draws a silent laugh and a little renewal of his blush, he doesn't immediately answer Ru'ien's question. "It's a pretty long leash," Tiridyn replies instead, chuckling, eyes smiling over at the greenrider. It would have to be, to let him get all the way here — if, indeed, he's still currently wearing it. It might've seemed he'd passed over the man's remark about returning him home, but now the younger man adds, "If you wanted to take me home, I'm sure you could, but I'm not to where I'm going yet and if I come back without what I've been sent for…" He trails off, making a look that just implies nothing good with a slight shake of his head (but nothing dramatically bad). It's after another fried tuber that takes less blowing to be palatable that he answers, "Since I passed all the Harper exams. About five and a half turns now." His lips hold a smile even as they close. "I did sort of imagine," he starts, letting his nose wrinkle up adorably in a sorrynotsorry look of good humor, "that you weren't new to the craft. They don't tend to hand out journeyman's knots without your having put in some time." There's a little tease to those words. "So what will you show me when we go to the workshops? I don't think I've ever been in there before on my previous visits. I don't get to the Weyr very often."

“Not worth the lecture, huh?” Ru’ien will slip in his own ending to the thought that Tiridyn trails off on. He smiles broad, crookedly, but there is a note both in his tone and in his eyes that say he will not pry further on that. He’s not even jumping at the chance to crack a joke on the ‘take me home’ context — such a waste! Instead, his head tilts a bit on the next tidbit of information and he’ll polish off the last bit of his tart while still keeping much of his focus on the younger man. “Harper? What’s a Harper doing in stores, in a Weyr?” He’s not as naive as he sounds and definitely not that dense, but Ru’ien isn’t passing up the chance to play a false hand at it!
There’s a snickered breath for the adorable wrinkled nose and an equal ‘sorrynotsorry’ shrug on his end. “Dunno. Some of the work I’ve come across has me wondering?” OOOH BURN! “Not saying I’m the greatest their is either, but I got Turns ahead of me to work at it.” Quirking a brow, he’ll exhale thoughtfully as he slouches more comfortably in his seat. Reaching for his drink, he’ll lift it and blow carefully on the surface — and his gaze turns down and away. “Mhm, good question?” he muses, dragging that line of thought on as he sip contemplatively. At last he looks up, a mischievous smile firmly in place. “Can’t give you a full tour, I’m afraid — but I can show you some of the place. As for my work? Welllll…” Some of his fingers tap-tap idly against the side of his drink. “I’m gonna take a wild guess and figure you’re after the jewelry, hmm?”

The glance that answers the first is a smile that says, 'I'll never tell,' without actually saying so. Tiridyn's back to the consumption of his chosen snack, but at the play for witlessness, his dark eyes come up to Ru'ien's face and the look is one that assures he hasn't fallen for the dupe. That's probably why one of the younger man's boots finds Ru'ien's to push gently, in the way that— were they sitting closer— might otherwise be a playful push to the shoulder. His foot, however, doesn't retreat very far. "Well, you know, there's lots of reasons people end up with bigger knots. It's not even usually because it's warranted, primarily. In my experience." He tacks that last on with a self-conscious flicker of his glance away from the journeyman's face and back.

"You know…" he then responds, reaching for his own drink - a cup of fruit juice that's spiked, but not strongly - sipping before replacing it, and looking up at the greenrider for confession time, soft smile on his lips. "I never really know what I'm looking for until I've found it. It might be the jewelry…" It might not. "Show me what you like, I guess. Maybe that will be it." There is, however, the smallest hint in the way his eyes are lingering on Ru'ien's face, shyly that he might have already found the thing he's looking for? That might just mean an interesting conversation and a way to spend an evening, since the flirtation is subtle, if it exists at all. Maybe it's all just another game.

What was that!? Ru’ien can’t help but laugh under his breath when Tiridyn’s boot pushes gently against his; it’s hardly enough to really affect him, but he shifts that leg and draws the other up and over his knee. Maybe to evade? Probably to keep him from escalating it to a real game of footsie! “Oh? In your experience?” DO TELL! Yet his town isn’t truly pushing for the younger man to spill — just ignore the suggestive tilt of a smirking grin. Did he even catch that self-conscious flicker of a glance? No, it’s very likely he missed it.

Is it? Isn’t it? It could be all of the above or none of it. Arguably, flirting is a kind of game! Ru’ien may not even know what he is after here, only thus far focused on the immediate interest he’s taken in Tiridyn. Those smallest hints and subtleness may not go entirely over his head, but the greenrider has not taken that bait — normally he would. Is it an exercise in caution? Or is his heart just truly not wholly in it (and yet is or he wouldn’t BE there)? “Ooh, you drive a bit of a hard bargain,” he teases openly and that there alone might muddle things! the hint of color to his cheeks is nothing; it's the tea! Ru’ien’s grin is genuine at least, though he’s giving the young man a lingering, appraising look over — plotting something, no doubt! “Alright. I think I got something in mind… but there’s no rush.” Said just as he enjoys a little more of his drink, followed by a subtle nod to the other’s plate. They’ve got all the time in the world, right? not really

S E C R E T . Thus, the invitation to tell is met with an enigmatic smile, a small laugh and a glance away. Maybe they don't know each other well enough for that kind of story. Tiridyn's attention returns to his food and his drink, both of which seem to be enjoyed. "If you think the dress down for returning empty handed is bad, the one for not driving a good bargain is a lot worse." That's said with good humor, but there's elements of truth there, to be sure. He's no trader, to be sure, and yet, perhaps he's something close to the nearest version that can claim a single home? After all, someone is responsible for sourcing and supply chain and working the details of standing tithes and so on. It's probably not young Tiridyn who has that oversight, but he may be down those long branches of command to some of the vast root system that keeps the organism that is the Weyr flourishing.

That being said, since they have time, while they're still eating and drinking and not rushing things, Tiri's eyes move up to the greenrider's face. "Were you from here before you impressed or somewhere else?" Obviously, Ru'ien belongs now to Xanadu much as Tiri's knot assures he belongs to Fort; it's the way of the world.

As much as that desire is there to ‘chase’, Ru’ien keeps to his word again and doesn’t push Tiridyn further once the S E C R E T line has been tested again. Who doesn’t have their secrets? He can respect that (but still be dying to know, sigh)! “Sounds rather rough,” he remarks idly, keeping his gaze on the younger man almost sidelong while pretending to be more focused elsewhere. He sets his drink down, but as he can never quite be still, his fingers will idly trace along the contours and edge. “Is it worth it, at least?” That’s a safe enough question, isn’t it?

Tiridyn’s is an easy one and Ru’ien is all too happy to answer it. “Yup! Born ’n raised here, right in the Weyr. Parents are riders.” Most of the extensions of his family are riders too, but it gets complicated. Especially given certain connections, which could be why he doesn’t elaborate any more on that. No names, no ranks, no current locations! He does grin, however and give an expectant look even before the words leave his mouth. Your turn! “And you? Always Fortian?”

The safe question makes Tiridyn's face light up as he laughs and he shifts a little more upright in his seat as he grins that fierce brightness of spirit right over at the greenrider across from him. "I love it." That is entirely genuine which must cast all the leash and puppy jokes firmly into the line of real humor, even if there are a few threads of something that run through them - it's obviously not the obvious, whatever it is. "It's really the perfect fit for me." What does that say about the young man?

"Fortian through and through." In case anyone's keeping track, that means Th'ero has been Weyrleader for all of his life, so certain relations are probably best kept under wraps. "My mom's a bluerider. I grew up in the caverns." It's not an out of the ordinary story for weyrfolk, really, and he seems to carry none of the grudges or chips on the shoulder that others with similar stories do. Since no father is immediately mentioned, that part is pretty easy to make some (more or less correct) assumptions about. "So did you end up at the Hall for your apprenticeship or do everything here?"

Oh, how contagious is that? Ru’ien can’t help but grin in return to that fierce brightness (definitely a moth to flame!). There have been a few threads underlying much of what they’ve been discussing between themselves, but for now the greenrider isn’t entirely focused on it. What does it say about Tiridyn, indeed? “Well, I’m happy for you, then! Not everyone can admit that, y’know?” he muses and with a grain of truth to that — whether it be that many never achieve something they truly love or that he’s genuinely happy for him.

“Huh! Figured but would you look at that… my mother’s a bluerider too!” Ru’ien chuckles at this, amused but not divulging anything more. In fact, he seems rather eager to skip away from that part of the conversation as quickly as possible. He doesn’t seem to find anything out of norms with the rest of Tiridyn’s tale and as the young man shows no disgruntlement towards his younger Turns, the greenrider is all too happy to pounce on the next. “Hmm, no, I did most of my Apprenticeship under a posted Journeyman. Only went to the Hall when it was necessary, really, in the beginning?” There’s a dismissive shrug with that revelation. “With it all the way in Telgar and most of what can be learned on location?” He gestures almost flippantly with a hand. Why bother? “Hardest part was convincing ‘em I was worth the trouble.” Now there’s almost a devilish look from Ru’ien then, one that curves in a way to suggest he was anything but a ‘normal’ Apprentice. Rebellious? Not quite to that vein — but a pain in the ass, nonetheless.

"Not everyone can find what they like and work to make it theirs." That probable means that it's equal parts luck and hard work on Tiridyn's part to be able to claim such an early and emphatic love of the course his life appears to be on. There's even an easy shrug that allows for all of that. "I guess we're shaping up into more of a pair," he observes as he finishes his next drink, then with a laughing grin that has no actual laugh to it he poses, "But a pair of what?" Oh, the answers there could be to that. But then he's finishing his drink and shifting his chair back. "I think I'm finished. Are you ready to take me to the workshops?" There are a few fried tubers left in his plate, but not many; he is a slight things, so maybe he's really full. "I'd offer to race you there, but I'm at a disadvantage… mm, three times over?" He squints a little at Ru'ien as he stands, as though assessing his chances anyway. There's markedly something playful about this look, as if daring the greenrider to ask, to opt in to the next game.

“That’s a rather clever way of putting it!” Ru’ien muses, though his next laugh is reserved more for their apparent ‘shaping up’. He’ll go as far as to shift in his chair, planting elbows (manners!) by the edge of the table and tucking his hands folded beneath his chin. “A pair of what, indeed.” The last word is drawled, almost, lowered in a way to suggest much playfulness and teasing, not-subtle hints touching on something else but he doesn’t broach that line too far — yet. Oh, the answers! Let’s allow some imagination to play here, hmm? Ru’ien draws back the moment Tiridyn is readying to stand and he sobers to a more casual smirk. “Three times over? You flatter me!” he teases, pushing to his feet and making a slight ‘show’ of straightening his clothes and looking interested in the idea of a ‘race’ but not wholly convinced.

“Now, what would make you think I’ve the advantage? My knowledge of the whereabouts? Do you think a workshop with forges is easy to hide?” He laughs a little then too, taking a few strides at a slow, hesitant pace — is Tiridyn following? It has all the appearance of going the route of a leisurely stroll. They could get to the door, even half way down the steps… and that’s when Ru’ien’s “trap” snaps shut and, wicked grin, pretty much salutes the poor man. “…let’s put it to the test…!” Annnnnd… Ru’ien’s GONE, taking the last steps at a reckless pace and then taking off from there. Provided the young man follows, of course! Just ignore the rolling, joyous laughter, too!

"Well," Tiridyn will follow after putting his payment on the table from the bag that had been slung across his back and is now re-collected from the floor by his seat. It's secured over his head as he moves away, but with Ru'ien a little ahead, the smaller man following and watching, "Not so much whereabouts as familiarity of the terrain. There's always an advantage on home ground." Xanadu feet will know the path much better than the foreign Fortian ones, if only by dint of having walked over all the ground over and over again in the course of the number of turn Ru'ien has been here. "So that's one." And down the steps they go.

"Two is that your legs are longer than mine." It's undeniably true with the seven inches that separate the tops of their heads. "And…" THERE HE GOES, a satisfied smile flickering into life on the Fortian's lips and a laugh chasing the older man even as the stores clerk takes the rest of the steps at a safer if not wholly safe pace before breaking into a run. The first point is less of an issue, since, as he's behind Ru'ien by some distance for every step of the way, he can follow the local's path, more or less and benefit from that local knowledge.

It's a little awkward to be running with his bag, but he doesn't let that stop him. Still, Ru'ien will reach the destination before Tiri by quite enough that he'll have plenty of time to brace for the way the smaller man angles right into him, expression impish, which will either leave them both on the ground, or at least with the greenrider wrangling him into arm or pushing him away. All are probably as good options as any. The only word the slender man wants to say afterward is, "Three," breathlessly.

Ru’ien might even hoot with laughter at one point while the chase is on and sure, he has the advantage alright (HE KNEW THAT)! It’s true he never gets ahead quite so far as to lose Tiridyn — there’d be no fun in that, after all! As the workshops loom ahead, he’ll come to a stop, figuring he has enough time to waltz rather than run right to the entranceway. Why pass up a time to playfully boast? Only he wasn’t factoring in that the young man would angle for him. It’s enough to catch him off guard, to bring on a stumble of several steps, while Ru’ien’s arm does wrangle him in; likely to keep them both from tumbling to the ground. He’s laughing under his breath, grinning like a beaming fool and only moderately winded from the run. Before he pushes Tiridyn away, he may make the habitual attempt to rough up his hair a little before giving him a good shove to the shoulder with his withdrawing hand — that is, if he isn’t shoved at first! “You didn’t do half bad?” he teases, likely still chuckling as he straightens and breathes in steadily. “You need a moment?”

Like Ru'ien, Tiridyn was a weyrbrat. It seems that regardless the Weyr, certain types of 'brats pick up the same habits because the catch-wrangle-release-and-rough-up seems to be entirely what the Fortian anticipated, laughing breathlessly as he steadies himself on his feet and then places hand briefly on knees as he recovers, casting a look up and up to Ru'ien. "Three: you cheat." CALLED IT. But he doesn't need many more deeply pulled breaths to get himself straightened back up and pushing his hands through his hair. "I'm good." He claims, even if his chest is still heaving. Still, the degree indicates that this is a young man who does keep himself in shape, probably even runs for fun. Don't judge! He'll move to buffet Ru'ien with a shoulder as he joins him in going inside, a companionable gesture. "Why do you cheat? Everyone who does has a reason." This, by far, has piqued Tiridyn's curiosity on the personal level more than anything else: now the eager puppy has a bone.

It’s like some unspoken code or rite among weyrbrats! Ru’ien’s still grinning long after their exchange has them back to respectful space and behaviour. Never too old, right? When he’s called out by Tiridyn, he merely shrugs his shoulders, hands spreading outwards in a helpless gesture. Guilty as charged? He’s not even going to TRY countering it! because it’s true “Alright, if you say so!” he muses, just a little jab at the obviously in-shape state of the young man. Ru’ien’s definitely feeling his good mood now, becoming more and more relaxed in his more quirky mannerisms. He’ll take the buffet to the shoulder, smirking now as he leads them both inside. The workshops are definitely at low activity now; most of the rooms or areas look ‘empty’ as they pass along further in. Ru’ien scoffs at the question pressed, sidelong glancing down at Tiridyn. DUDE, what kind of question is that!? not fair, he wasn’t ready! “I only cheat if it means it’ll be fun for everyone! Gotta slip in something in unexpected sometimes, right?” That’s reasonable, isn’t it? The truth of it, is he’s a sucker for ‘random and unexpected’; sometimes that means bending “rules”. No wonder he and Kihatsuth are peas in a pod (in that regard, kind of)!

"Ohh, oohh," Tiri's voice lifts in disbelieving challenge. "That was making it fun for everyone, huh?" This earns another shoulder-to-bicep bump and a sidelong grin, before he schools his features enough to give a (not at all) credible low whistle. "Maybe next time you'll make it miserable for me, since 'fun' means cheating to win." This ribbing is, of course, entirely necessary. It's probably part of that long unspoken code or rite, and it all has Tiridyn grinning more brightly, eyes softening and his body language easing from distant-friendly to something markedly more familiar and casual. Something comfortable.

His eyes move in a way that marks everything he's seeing; it's probably not a surprise to Ru'ien that the Fortian is genuinely interested in what all goes on here, but he does skate glances with fleetingly shy smiles and little waves of a blush as he walks along, taking in what there is to be seen. "So this is where you work most of your day? When you're not with Kihatsuth?" Look at that, he was paying attention!

“What? You didn’t have fun? You’re the one who suggested the race— hey!” Ru’ien scoffs, falsely disgruntled but clearly playing it up a little for the next bump. He returns it, though it’s more of a shoulder-push this time. “You got something against tweaking the rules a bit?” he asks, even keeping his voice light and casual amidst all the ribbing. If Tiridyn is comfortable, then so is he and he is all too pleased to point out a few important details on their leisurely not-rushed “stroll” of the workshops.

Does he catch those skating glances and the shy smiles? Who knows. Ru’ien could be caught up in himself a little in this moment; how often does he get someone interested in what he does? Maybe it’s a ‘safe’ distraction for quiet (dreaded) nights. “That’s right~” he muses, almost sing song-like. Good job, gold star, Tiridyn for memory recall! Look how proud pleased Ru’ien is! Or really… he’s just grinning like he always does. “If I’m not tied up by something else, this is where I am.” No details necessary, right? Good. Because they’ve (almost) arrived and he semi-turns to spread his arms and unnecessarily points out that they’re… “Here!” It’s very hard to miss the forges, really! And even not being worked at their full capacity, the heat is unmistakable. Probably a certain smell too, but Ru’ien’s likely nose-blind to it. How glamorous! “Larger forges are for all sorts of stuff. Apprentices usually work ‘em or around them. Kind of a catch-all for whatever projects are underway.” he explains, coming to a gradual stop and beaming down at the younger man — it lasts all a handful of seconds, before that mischievous look returns. “… wanna see the sort’ve modest but kind of nice perk of being a Journeyman?”

There's more laughter from Tiridyn because, "Not in the least," is his reply to tweaking rules. "Whatever works, right? Within reason." Tiri probably has some principles judging by the last words, but he's still smiling so maybe they're reasonable ones. His eyes go around the particular workspace that belongs to the Smiths and this Smith in particular, nodding, until he's not, and instead he's looking up at Ru'ien letting his eyes get wider and more innocent (TRAP!) "Is it really?" The larger forge for all sorts of stuff. Apprentices working them. Look at him, Ru. IS THIS THE ADORABLE FACE OF A MAN WHO'S NEVER SEEN A SMITH SET UP BEFORE?

The look breaks once Ru'ien's really looked at him and he smiles wide up at him. "Yeah, show me." Just because Tiridyn is no virgin to a Smith workshop doesn't mean he doesn't absolutely want to hear the secret perks of being a Journeyman here at Xanadu.

Ru’ien snorts, feigning disappointment. “Within reason!” he quips back, lightly mocking. He might have even blew a slight raspberry, if someone hadn’t walked by them just then and remind him he’s not a child. “Well that just limited the FUN that could be had!” Really, he’s just teasing! Kind of. He was never the true bad-boy type who flaunted authority… at least more than once. SERIOUSLY THOUGH! THAT FACE. DOES TIRIDYN NOT KNOW HIS POWER!? // T H A N K F U L L Y// Ru’ien isn’t of the frame of mind (now) to lean on that, too keyed up in “showing off”. Some of that has him narrowing his eyes slightly though. MAYBE IT WAS TOO MUCH?

Ooh, but look, he wants to see! And like one distracted dog, Ru’ien’s moving along with the conversation. “This way!” He’s going to treat the young man like he IS a ‘first timer’ to a forge because how would he know otherwise? Bless him and his denseness sometimes. “It’s nothing much,” No, really, it isn’t? From where his hand gestures, there’s more — wait for it — forges but they’re smaller and look close to as ‘personal use’ as one can get. What is the piece de resistance are the recessed personal work stations. “You kind of, sort of, get your own little nook! Which is great, especially if you’re in a specialty like mine and can’t always move delicate pieces back and forth.” Beaming (SO PROUD, its kind of sad), Ru’ien will start to drift towards one of the benches, his gaze focused on Tiri. “… still wanna take a peek?” Dangle, dangle, goes the bait!

Uh. If Ru'ien was not inviting Tiridyn to poke around in his private nook, he is going to have to move fast. Guess what? Tiri cheats too. He sees where they're going and he's there in a few quick steps. While he (subtly, interestingly) doesn't actually handle anything that he really, actually could break, he does begin irreverently begin handling the tools that are there and really whatever else (non-delicate) that he can touch or otherwise tactilely explore. He puts himself in such a way that if Ru wants to stop him, stall him or otherwise interfere, he's going to have to come up behind him - or to one side, but still close. Call this using his small frame to the best of his limited advantage.

Ru didn't have an order to these things, did he? Because there goes Tiri, subtly, rearranging everything, with his lips pressed together with the tension of a laugh held. He knows exactly what he might be doing here, even if he's unfamiliar with the exact kinds of things he's touching. If there are drawers, he'll even open them to see what's inside. He is nosy and invasive because… Oh, didn't Ru'ien invite him? This, Ru'ien, would be when the fish swallows the hook and perhaps drags the fisherman into the lake.

Well, THIS IS UNEXPECTED! Should Ru’ien have been expecting this!? From the sudden blank look of utter surprise, it’s taken him completely for a loop! There’s nothing immediate at risk that Tiridyn could break and at first, he actually laughs a bit. “Eager, are we?” he quips. But then — oh no. OH NO! Not his preciously organized TOOLS! Poor Ru’ien, he really tries not to have a fit about it, but there’s only so much a Crafter can handle! For all his chaotic nature, his workspace is meticulously organized; he’s gone to some lengths to keep things in order and in place. It has rhyme and reason! Which is being subtly undone — nothing major, but enough to make Ru’ien’s skin crawl and by reflex, he’s crowding into the young man’s space to undo the “damage” behind him.

“H-hey, easy there!” Ru’ien at least has some sense of humor? Or was that a nervous laugh? NOT THE DRAWERS — actually, he doesn’t seem as anxious over the contents in them. Nosy and invasive Tiridyn will discover that the green riding Smithcrafter has junk drawers a particular organization system of materials. The first the young man may try will be filled with various metal pieces of size, length and thickness; nothing overly special. Another has finer looking tools, too small (and delicate) to be hung out in the open. Other drawers will contain a myriad of natural materials too: leather strips, lacquered material, shell, horn and more. The last drawer Tiridyn might try has semi-precious stuff within and maybe that’s where Ru’ien draws the line.

In a move that probably crowds them together all the more, Ru’ien’s aiming to put an arm across and bar much of Tiridyn’s access — it’s not quite an arm over his chest but it’s close. Leaning in (and down), he will grin broadly but there’s a hint of ‘okay, enough’ in the way his eyes narrow. “Wanna slow down a bit there?” he teases and he’ll move in an attempt to shove the drawer shut, giving Tiridyn a LOOK as if to test him. “Didn’t think you’d be so handsy! You have your fill so far or you want more?” LISTEN, Ru’ien isn’t upset (okay, he’s a little twitchy but CAN HE BE BLAMED?) but he’s wondering again just WHO he invited in here!

"No, why would I?" Tiri replies, tone preoccupied as his hands continue to work over Ru'ien's work space. It's subtle things, really. The tool that was tilted to the left now leans to the right. This one and that one that are similar but not the same get swapped spots. There is no backing off, sorrynotsorry, in fact when Ru moves to close the drawer, Tiridyn's hand intercepts. Only after that does he execute a quick twist to face the Smith, cheeky smile directed up, leaning back a little against the work surface to do so, brows lifted in innocent inquiry. "Tell me again about how you only cheat if it'd be fun for everyone?" WAS THAT FUN, RU'IEN? Was it fun for Tiridyn to cheat his way into a head start looking through your work space? A taste of his own medicine there, if in a different mode. There's lightness and levity in the question, but also a playful challenge. The best lessons are taught immediately, right? While things are fresh. At least Tiridyn's hands are perched on the edge of the table now where he leans back to look up at the greenrider. The pose is as good as a surrender, really, to the end of the game; he's not touching anything now, not even Ru'ien, even if he's awfully close.

Listen. Tiridyn’s lucky that Ru’ien’s on the more “patient” spectrum even if those subtle changes are chafing his nerves! And when he doesn’t back off? Oooh, the look on the greenrider’s face is something of a mixture of playful annoyance (luckily STILL VERY PLAYFUL), complete with a curving, tight smirk. Eyes narrow for the cheeky display and without fully being conscious of it, he’ll start to close in on the younger man’s personal space. Seriously, he forgets how tall he is most days and worse yet when there’s a lot going on. So while he isn’t touching Tiridyn, the way he goes to start planting one hand down on the workbench beside him — surely he can’t be aiming to cage him, right? OH HE SEES WHAT YOU’VE DONE! As it dawns on him, he begins to laugh, low and quiet. DID HE LEARN? Yes and no. Ru’ien’s not gonna take the lesson so quick to heart! “Cute! So you decided on enacting a little revenge because of my stunt earlier?” he muses, tilting his head slightly with a lingering look. “Who said I wasn’t having fun, watching you go through all my stuff?” He can sense that playful challenge, rising to it but not so quick to take the bait this time.

The slight man leans back a little further. The thing about having stopped growing at 5'8" is that one gets fairly used to it, with time and experience. Ru'ien's hardly the first person to inadvertently loom over him. Despite his additional lean, they're still quite close as he smiles up at the Smith to turn the question back, "I don't know, Ru'ien. Did you?" A beat. "Because that was amature compared to what I can really do given a few minutes." Could it be that Ru'ien might even find that over the course of the coming days that a couple of these were genuine recommendations for a better organizational scheme, even if it's foreign at first. Whether he'll make the discovery will depend, of course, entirely Ru'ien, since it doesn't look like Tiri's going to be cluing him in.

That little lean could very well draw Ru’ien in all the more forwards, just a subconscious shift and reaction. His expression yields another fox-like smirk for the quip back, but he leaves the returned question unanswered. It’s written all over his features anyhow — yes, he’s enjoying this, even if he’s the brunt of the joke here and, he assumes, being toyed with by the young man. Not that he minds in the least! Can’t win all rounds of a game, after all? “Oh, now you’ve done it,” he muses, going as far as to click his tongue in disappointment. Tsk-tsk, Tiridyn! There’s no further rebuttal, only a low, hearty laugh and a bemused sigh. “I’m almost tempted to let you show me.” He admits, tilting forwards just a little further until he might be encroaching too much on personal space. His smirk, the way his eyes narrow? It all says ‘convince me’ but it could very well be a ‘not impressed yet’ too. Oh, he’ll pick up on some of it eventually down the road, those subtle-foreign suggestions left behind. Will he think to thank him then? Hmm… probably not. “Or is this another secret?” The last word is purposely hushed, near whispered, behind a barely contained note of humor and grin.

Tiridyn's brows lift at the tongue clicking, at the accusation. He's done it? Done what? Probably, the clerk doesn't even know. He doesn't shrink from the invasion of his personal bubble, but neither does he lean into it, although dark eyes are searching Ru'ien's face a little more deeply, expression perhaps conveying that the greenrider is just as much something of a puzzle to the Fortian as the younger man is to Ru'ien. "I'm not sure there's something in it for me to show you," he returns, amusement pulling his lips into a slight purse, a laugh kept back. Bargaining is not one sided after all; Tiri must not feel he has something to prove here. "What do you think stores clerks spend turns learning to do?" When they're not galavanting around foreign Weyrs, teasing unsuspecting crafters with their organizational prowess, he must mean.

Puzzles are something of a lure for Ru’ien too and (un?)fortunately for Tiridyn, he keeps on providing more — along with those baited hooks and the games. Now his brows lift up as they’re suddenly turning to bargaining and he laughs again; longer, more genuine and deeper this time. Easing up a little from his gradual invasion of personal bubbles, he will lift a hand in an attempt in casually and playfully flicking his fingers along the edge of the younger man’s jacket collar. “Mhm. That’d depend,” he admits, smirk broadening and tone suggesting so much and nothing; yes, even hints of favors but oh, what kind? There is plenty that could be referenced. Ru’ien doesn’t elaborate, however, leaving it to Tiri to either make his own assumptions or dismiss it. His eyes narrow again, focused on him even as he drifts a little further back. “I wouldn’t know!” he counters to that last question, feigning being naive and unsure. “I’ve never met a stores clerk before.” Well, at least there’s a grain of truth in that? “And definitely no one quite like you.” Is this flirting? It’s definitely blurring the lines now, though Ru’ien may be aware this time around, but does not correct it.

Dark eyes drop toward those flicking fingers and come back up to Ru'ien's face, a new kind of puzzle piece sliding into the mix of things. He's not oblivious to that tone, not now, not exactly, but he's also not leaping into that particular flavor of bargaining just yet. "Depends on what?" He'll bite that far, but not share any of the thoughts that pass through that intelligent brain of his. Then he becomes distracted, well and truly distracted giving Ru'ien such a look of dubiousness. "You've lived in a Weyr how long-" HIS WHOLE LIFE, he already said, "-and you've never met a stores clerk?" His brows lift high then higher. "I wonder what that says about you, Ru'ien." He's back to studying him, this time at very close proximity. Tiridyn might be forming an opinion on what that means about the greenrider. One he may be testing when he murmurs, "Do you know you're very handsome?" THIS~ IS~ A~ TRAP~ Even if it's also true.

“What’re your terms? There’s gotta be something I can give you, hmm?” Ru’ien suggests again, but there’s more of a humored tilt to his voice this time and less of the lower notes that imply things. Perhaps it’s all for the jest and fun of it and he means little of what he says. But that raises some problems too, doesn’t it? The look of dubiousness from Tiri has him blinking — what? The greenrider only laughs under his breath and relents as he lifts his hands up. Palms out, a sign of surrender! “Okay, okay, so maybe,” Oops, not fully surrendered yet! “You caught me there! But who’s to say I’ve ever dealt with one yet?” There’s a chuckled breath and a sheepish look that follows. What does that say about him? His head tilts, his gaze taking on a near wary edge to it as he keeps it focused on Tiri — maybe it’s the close proximity? Or the comment to follow. He does grin for it and his one hand even comes to press against his cheek as if he were blushing. “Flatterer,” he quips with an amused smirk, but that hand soon slips around to the back of his neck. Is he feeling awkward? CAN IT BE? He’s ready to toss some quick-reply back, probably about how unfairly adorable and attractive Tiridyn is himself. Instead, there’s only a hesitant exhale and then a corrected: “Y’sure you don’t want more of a look?” At the metalwork and jewelry he does, that is! NOT HIM.

The first question only earns a tilt of Tiridyn's head, and his eyes flick down to the palms and back up to the greenrider's face. But the rest has him watching, weighing and then having his natural brightness return to his expression, his smile. " I do." This is much more serious, more sweetly genuine. "Please," he'll even add, demeanor becoming much more docile - perhaps just more real on the whole as he twists back around to look at the workbench again, apparently having accepted some silent assessment of all that's been presented to him. It's a pair of breaths before he takes a very slight step, maybe something that's more a shift of his weight than a real step even, but something that carefully and deliberately bring him a little into Ru'ien's personal space, but not so much that the greenrider doesn't have a choice about it. He can maintain the distance, he can easily get himself more by shifting himself— or he can sway his own weight and bring himself into subtle contact with the clerk whose eyes are trained on the bench once more, his hands starting to slowly stray across the top toward those places he hasn't yet explored, but with much more reticence and an obvious willingness to let Ru'ien take the lead if he so wishes.

Ru’ien visibly relaxes, shoulders dropping along with his hand back to his side. There may have been something learned today after all! Even if he’s not one hundred percent on the exact nature of it yet (don’t worry, he’ll get it later… maybe). He returns that smile with a broad one of his own, hovering on becoming a grin but not quite there yet. “Great!” he chimes back, allowing Tiridyn to move first even if just the slight step. When it’s clear he’s about to enter his personal space, there’s a moment where Ru’ien almost acts on old habits — it wasn’t long ago that he’d sway is weight in without even thinking twice. It nearly happens here, but it’s caught and he shifts away just enough that they can maneuver around each other. The dodge isn’t obvious, he’s merely conscious of it and careful… regardless of what temptation might whisper. If they do still brush up against one another, it’s far more of a completely normal, ‘innocent’ event. Close quarters, right?

The lead given to him will be more to guide a few things into Tiridyn’s reach; a suggestion, perhaps, to start with this or that but with no pressure to pursue in order. Some are clearly finished pieces, others in various stages of progression. “I do a fair bit of my own designs when I got the time.” he explains. Might explain the number of unfinished! “Otherwise they’re commissioned work. I try not to take too much on, since blacksmithing tends to yield more demand.” Steadier demand. Metal based jewelry, even the smaller or simpler pieces he crafts, are likely not inexpensive! Nor as ‘important’. Ru’ien’s voice holds a note of pride to it, but he doesn’t ramble on as before, allowing Tiri the freedom of his own assessments. The greenrider is watching him though, curiously — and perhaps a touch expectantly. Is it good? is he any good?

They won't touch. The away is natural, is subtle, and yet, is caught by that observant young man and in the next breath, the next natural move, the unspoken invitation is withdrawn, evaporating as if it were never there. If there's a touch more of an embarrassed flush on his cheeks for a few controlled breaths, it's nothing more than that and there's plenty to distract from it. So even if it would be natural to innocently touch in the close quarters, they won't now do so as each exerts that care in turn to ensure it doesn't happen.

Dark eyes settle on the things guided into his hands, or near them, though he's careful, still, not to touch anything that seems too delicate that he might break it in its current state. He has questions, even. They're questions that flow naturally from the stores clerk as one knowledgeable enough about the kinds of things he's being shown, to ask about metals and alloys, about compounds and stones and so on. He's no expert, but when he doesn't know or doesn't understand, he asks, simply and without shame.

When they seem to have exhausted what Ru'ien wants to show him, Tiri simply nods. "Nice," seems to be the extent of his praise, but it is meant, so there's that? And if Ru'ien will find himself sought out from time to time in the future by a Fortain looking for that perfect turnday gift or other fine jewelry item, no one will point back to Tiridyn himself for getting the Smith's name put in the Fortian book. "Thanks for showing me." The clerk adds, sincerely, even as he's shifting to step back (to twist away) from that close position, if not leave just yet.

There is some trust extended as Ru’ien displays his work, showing no immediate concern for Tiridyn’s handling of some of them. Each question is readily answered, adding to that natural flow from the greenrider’s knowledge and, yes, passion in his work. He will be just as happy to delve into the topic of those metals and alloys, all the rest and what may be uncommonly asked — maybe it’s refreshing in a way? There is no judgement, no hint of teasing, for the questions asked but he does smile often, even grin at times.

Ru’ien wasn’t searching for much in the way of praise; his confidence feeds enough of his ego, as it were. So the single word is plenty and has him beaming for a fleeting moment before his features sober and he focuses on carefully returning the items to their proper spots and safely covered. If sometime in the near future he does end up sought out for his work, perhaps the connection won’t be made. Work is work, after all! He’ll be merely thankful to have it. “Anytime, really.” Which is his way of saying ‘you’re welcome’.

Shifting back a step as well, Ru’ien’s brows furrow a moment and he will track the young man as he moves (twists) away as well. He’s not even aware his hand has moved until it’s already outstretched, fingers looking to clasp against the side of his shoulder. It’s not to hold, not entirely — he certainly means it to stall, to convey some form of gesture. Their business here is wrapping up, after all! Ru’ien isn’t quite finished though and his hand will not linger long; if it ever makes contact, it may drift a bit down before drawing away entirely. Does he have Tiridyn’s attention now? “Appreciate that you took the time to come look,” he says, a broad but more genuine smile curving his lips; more is reflected there in his eyes and unspoken. An apology, perhaps? Or more along the veins of ‘thanks for putting up with me’.

This time, Tiri's eyes don't drop down toward the contact of Ru'ien's hand, but the shoulder does move under the greenrider's grip. It's not to remove the contact, but rather just an easy shrug as if to brush away any semblance for any kind of apology or real consideration. "I asked, you know." He points out that if anyone needs to be giving the appreciations, it's him, which he's already done. "I'm not disappointed." That's … for the greenrider's work? The way this remained largely professional? "It was a good way to spend the evening. Starting a new friendship." Is that what they did? Tiridyn doesn't seem to have any misgivings about it.

Ru’ien only grins in return to Tiridyn pointing out that he had asked, but he doesn’t push to counter or even address it further. What’s more important to note — aside from the subtle tilt of his head to the lack of disappointment — is his reaction to mention of friendship. He looks surprised, brows lifting for a half-beat pause before he swiftly schools that down to one of his nonchalant crooked smiles. Is that what they did? Ru’ien doesn’t show much else beyond the initial look, but who knows what’s going on in his head? Whatever it is, he looks… relieved. “It was good, wasn’t it?” Spending the evening, killing time. Wasn’t how he expected his day to end! “And here’s to a new friendship!” Less anyone misunderstand that he isn’t a tiny bit thrilled (because he is) or pleased over that. At least he refrains from slinging an arm around Tiri’s shoulders (that might be for future shenanigans)! “You looking to head back to the docks? I can get you pointed in the right direction!” Ru’ien offers, allowing another broad smile to replace the earlier smirk. “Or point you in whatever direction you need, if you got other places to be before it gets much later.” Regardless, he’s going to begin to take a few steps away from the workbenches, while he lays out his offer amidst what is clearly the beginning of a ‘farewell’.

Tiri flips a smile toward Ru'ien's 'wasn't it,' a reassuring look that doesn't need words. The next prompts a small laugh from the Fortian, but friendships born in bright warmth ought to beget laughter so that's not so strange. "I'll probably go poke around the caverns for a while, maybe get a drink after, if it's not too late by the time I'm done." He replies, "I'm sure I can sort my way around unless you're looking to give me the rest of your night, too." He might not turn that down, really, but who can say whether or not Tiridyn would truly prefer to go poking around Xanadu on his lonesome — maybe meet up with another stores clerk or two, talk shop. Maybe find someone eager to take him home? Probably not. Surely, despite the one actual, active bid for something potentially warmer than just this pervasive glow of spirit that transfers right into even the professional dealings he has, it's probably obvious from the lack of overt flirtations that he's not really the go-home-with-just-anyone sort… or, at least not over a drink? Probably? Maybe? In any case, there doesn't seem to be any pressure one way or the other, for the Smith to join him, or carry on with his night, but his company wouldn't be scorned, or he wouldn't have made the offer.

“Well,” Ru’ien starts by dragging that out a little on the last syllables, as if seriously contemplating something (spoilers: there’s nothing going on). “I’ve got the time, really, if you’re wanting some company!” he muses, his smile returning and broadening (really, that warmth is contagious, no fair Tiri!). There’s nothing else suggested with that use of ‘company’; truthfully, he’s likely relieved to have someone ‘to spend the evening’ with. Not in the ways most would ASSUME but just that: casual companionship and, perhaps, a budding friendship-of-sorts. True, sometimes his mannerisms land him in different scenarios but when boundaries are set, he is respectful. “We could hit up the caverns first? They’re not that far. For drinks, I know a few places — the tavern is probably closest if time is an issue. But,” He shrugs a little then, gesturing for Tiridyn to take the “lead”, though Ru’ien is all likely to just fall into step beside him. “That depends on your tastes too.”

That… was not really the answer Tiridyn was expecting, but the offer doesn't suddenly evaporate just because he's got himself company. "Okay," is game, still bright but not over-the-top, in this moment. "Sounds good then. I have to make sure I'm back at the ship before dawn." That sounds doable though, right? His stroll lengthens a little as they get nearer the exit, bracing for the cold. "Let's go," comes with a smile that warms and sustains, a promise a of laughter in the rest of the night to come.

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