Sneaky Stable Spy

Xanadu Weyr - Stables
The stables of Xanadu Weyr are composed of one long building, lined with box and standing stalls that are kept thoroughly clean by the resident grooms and stablehands. Runners nicker and neigh at everyone who enters, save for the obstinate ones that just flicker their ears in indignant curiosity that they dare not make visible. The foremost stalls near the door to the barnyard are the grand box stalls which are home to the prized runners of Xanadu, as well as the most pregnant, those which are so far along that they require constant observation by the Herders, so as to ensure easy foaling.

A broad pathway covered in straw and sawdust leads to the rest of the weyr's stalls, primarily comprised of standing stalls. Many runners are in the standing stalls, with ropes strung across the front so as to keep the runners from leaving their designated containers. A few hay bales sit here and there along the avenue, some of which act as seats for the stablehands and grooms on their breaks, others as snacks for those runners who can reach out their necks far enough. Buckets and baskets of grooming supplies - brushes, combs, and the like - also sit here and there, occasionally knocked over by a wayward hoof or inquiring muzzle.

It is never easy to get used to new timezones, a fact that has Avi up with the sun and wandering around Xanadu looking for something to capture his attention. Sure, eventually, he'll have to report in for duty, but right now? Right now the time is all his own. So it is that he had wandered into the stables with a steaming mug of tea in one hand and his heavy leather satchel slung over his shoulder. In short order, the runners had proven to be interesting, and quick as a wink, he's climbing up into the loft to settle tailor style on the edge and go about the business of sketching. It's a quiet sort of affair, the tea remaining close to hand as he alternates between sipping and doing a series of 'character sketches' for the runner's in their stalls. As yet, no one has appeared to distract or discourage and he's had the time to sink into the sort of hyper focus that tends to put people off.

Dawn is a "busy" sort of quiet-time in the barn. While the visitors are few, the runners are restless, pacing their stalls or pawing at the doors, impatiently awaiting their breakfast. It doesn't matter if it's a hold in Telgar, the Beastcraft Hall in Igen, or the Stables in Xanadu; somethings never change. And while Shiloh probably could have taken a day or two off (to "acclimate") he's instead volunteered himself for breakfast duty, something which exactly no one challenged him on. His entrance is announced by throaty nickers and increased pawing, the resident runners recognizing that human-equals-breakfast at this time of the day, and eager to sweet-talk their way into being fed first. And while Shiloh doesn't respond verbally, there's a quiet smile that pulls at his lips as he makes his way stall to stall with a wheelbarrow, tossing flakes of hay over the doors to the waiting runners. Spies in the loft? Well. Currently Averil has gone unnoticed; Shiloh apparently thinking he is alone with the animals.

The entrance of another has Avi lowering his sketch pad, a smear of charcoal streaking one cheek as he tucks the stick behind his ear. Rather then make his presence known, he remains silent, carefully drawing booted feet in closer to tuck his knees against his chest in an attempt to make himself smaller and therefor less visible. Fortunately, the movement stirs only a few stalks of hay to floating downward and in short order, he's tucked himself against a support beam, set his sketchbook aside, and wrapped his arms around his calves to watch the runner's being fed. It's the smile on the beastherder's face that has him unconciously reaching for the pad and his charcoal, the imagine of lips quirked in a smile quickly taking shape.

The illusion of anonymity — the false sense of security that comes from think he is alone — is not to be underestimated. And, while it would not be apparent given Averil has not seen Shiloh before (at least, one assumes that he has not), there is an ease with which he approaches the task; a relaxation that leads to such things as tickling runner noses and soft laughter when it elicits funny runner faces in return, and murmuring quiet words and gentle scritches, and generally just being affectionate with these four-legged creatures that might not know him at all, but are perfectly happy to take his breakfast and deal with his shenanigans. So long as the breakfast bit happens.

Averil can't help grinning as he watches. It is the sort of light-hearted smile that comes hand in hand with the security of being an unseen witness to such things. With only the whispering hiss of charcoal on paper to give him away, the pair of lips are quickly joined with brooding eyes, one cheekbone feathered in with a light touch as an after thought. Without a hint of concious thought, the page is turned, the head of a runner quickly blocked out before the form of the man feeding it is rendered in surprisingly realistic detail for the speed with which he works. And, while he cannot possibly make out the words being murmured to the runners, it does not stop him from cranning his head and making the attempt to do so.

Shiloh would be *mortified* to know he had a spy bearing witness; let alone a spy that saw fit to sketch him. But alas, he is unaware of Averil rendering his likeness onto paper, while he goes about the rather mundane but still exceptionally important routine of feeding hungry beasts. While it might take longer than it should, what with Shiloh's frequent pauses to offer love and affection to his four-footed charges, eventually the hay is portioned out and he's wheeling the empty 'barrow back to the feed room. But now comes the time of concern; now comes the time in which decisions must be made. Because while the runners eat and Shiloh must wait for them to finish, the studious Journeyman has decided to check on the hay and is heading for the loft to take a peek at what Xanadu might have on hand. Dun dun duuun.

With Shiloh's back to his view, Avi takes the opportunity to block out a body to go with the face. In short order, shoulders, back, hips all take shape, arms indicated with a few quick sweeps of the stick. It is in the midst of filling out the details— some of which need to be imagined given… well… clothes— on the beastherder's form that he realizes that his haven is under assault. Flipping the book closed, he tucks the charcoal back behind his ear, shoving the book into the satchel as he twists around in the hay. It is the unconcious desire to protect his work that has him slipping the satchel over his shoulder without a second thought. After all, the sketch isn't finished and he's not about to show it to anyone until it is. Mind you, many might actually think to question /why/ Shiloh was feeding runners nude (He wasn't! It is totally artisic license) but.. It /could/ happen. >.> Of course, with Shiloh head /up/, Avi realizes the avenue down is no longer available and his attempts (valiant as they may have been) to flee find themselves unexpected stymied.

Shiloh is definitely wearing clothes >.> Including his hat, even if there's no sun to beat down on him just yet. There's even a pair of work gloves shoved into a back pocket, just in case. Hauling himself up the ladder like he did it every day (which… he probably did. Just not *this* particular ladder), he's in the loft quickly enough and taking stock of the situation. At least, right now, taking stock does not involve catching spies, as those brown eyes are definitely turned on the haybales and not looking for sneaky artists. But he's definitely making his way through the loft. As in, heading your direction, Averil! BETTER RUN!

For a few long moments, Averil is frozen like the proverbial deer. It is only when it is clear that the beastcrafter is going to continue moving forward that he clutches his satchel (NOT A PURSE!) closer and abruptly turns on his heel and runs. Fortunately, he's small enough that he has ample clearance overhead. Unfortunately, it is not a quiet flight, particularly when a haybale is tripped over with a loud *THUMP* and accompanying "Ow…" Flight mode, however, has been activated and he's back on his feet in a flash to make for the opposite ladder. Now, in theory, sliding down a ladder sounds very simple. In practice, however, it is not so simple and tends to result in at least a few splinters if one is not wearing gloves. Avi, it should be noted is not wearing gloves. Needless to say, by the time he makes his not particularly graceful landing, he is sucking at the heel of his hand— cause blood and spikey wood stingers! It does nothing, however, to hamper his escape, only a flash of long blond hair and light clothing afforded before he is around the stable doors and running back toward weyr proper.

There's no way that Shiloh can miss that exit; the thumpity-thump of feet is a dead giveaway, even before the unfortunate tripping incident. And as he is not one to believe in ghosts, the beastcrafter jumps to the immediate correct (if shocking) conclusion that he is not alone in the loft. "Hey!" comes as his attention turns, immediately giving chase (because why not?) even if he is at a distinct disadvantage. Height? Definitely something he has in spades, and running while hunched is not exactly… efficient. "Stop!" Why? Because that's what people yell when chasing someone. He really has no idea what he'd do if Averil listened. But alas, his quarry has fled, and Shiloh is left at the top of the final ladder, watching blond hair and pale clothes vanish out the door. With a sigh and a rake of his fingers through his own (short) hair, he heads back to finish the task he'd started. This time with a scowl.

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