Might As Well

Xanadu Weyr - Wanderin' Wherry Tavern
It is often whispered, in the crowds that converge here, that a certain Weyrleader was asked what he wanted in the remodeling of the pub that was not so long ago given a refreshing. He muttered back over the rim of his ever-present mug, "I don't care what you do with the place, just so long as there is plenty of ale." With that in mind, cask after cask of ale lines the walls of the tavern, the remodeler's idea of a jest. As they age, the casks bring a real rustic atmosphere to the pub, along with the deeply wooden flavor that seems to be the theme throughout.

The lighting is dim, as it should be in all good pubs, and the tables and chairs are plentiful. A long mahogany bar, intricately carved with runner beasts, stands vigilant duty at the head of the bar, lined with stools for those patrons that seek the bartender's company. Behind it are drinks for those not inclined toward ale, as well as a door leading to the small kitchen where snacks are made and a back room that probably holds yet more ale.

Disclaimer: adult language.
This log follows Daunting the Dauntless.

This is probably not a good habit to get into. This whole emotional turmoil equals going to the bar thing that Shiloh is developing. But to his credit, he’s not getting shit-faced drunk. Just a little drunk. Just taking the edge off. And there are a lot of edges. So many edges. Perched on a stool (as much as anyone who is six feet tall can be said to ‘perch’) and hunched over the bar, dour-faced and near-drunk, he’s the quintessential picture of ‘drowning my sorrows’ complete with bottle and glass. At least, to his credit, most of the alcohol is still in the bottle, and it might be safe to assume that he is somewhat pacing himself, even if he doesn’t look in any sort of hurry to leave. His hat (because he always has his hat) is on a knee, precarious but safely stowed beneath the bar overhang so any unfortunate accidents should not affect it. But, well. Here’s hoping there aren’t any of those to go along with his cluster-fuck of an afternoon.

There are only so many ways to escape emotional turmoil. Or the hatching sands. They might, arguably, be one and the same, really, at least where Glorioth is concerned. But something has drawn the big bronzerider away from his duties there, and it seems to be a stop in for some kind of celebration for his arrival at the bar itself is to order around of drinks for a crew in the corner already having an uproariously good time, despite the early evening hour. They'll get the party started right. F'yr isn't looking to stay, however, since he's not ordering one for himself just now, but plunking down the marks for what he's sending their way. He might even have just been on his way, but he can't help but have noticed the familiar face a few stools down and the hunch and the dour face and the near-drunk is achingly a little familiar to him. It makes an empathetic smile ghost across his features, even if he doesn't have the first idea what exactly has prompted this particular bout of drown-your-sorrows doldrums, but thanks to all his extensive training in Xanadu, he seems to have an idea what to do about it. Going around the patrons at the nearest stool to the empty one beside it, he leans an arm on the bar so he can dip his head to seek to gain Shiloh's eye. "Got time? I want to show you something." There's a beat before he adds a wry, "No dragons involved."

Uproariously good times are definitely not on the menu for Shiloh, though he won’t begrudge those that have come to the bar to enjoy happier moments than he. They can have their party, he’ll have his grump. It evens out in the universe. But while he might be able to successfully ignore the fun being had in the corner, it’s far harder to ignore someone directly addressing him. He’s not quite drunk enough to pretend he didn’t hear (or see) F’yr, and he’s not the type to be rude intentionally (even if he seems to have developed a knack for it happening unintentionally. The words get a deep breath, the sort that says ‘I really don’t want too but I have no good excuse to say no’ before he decides, “Got nothing but time,” and tosses back the last of his (current) drink. Hat jammed on his head, there’s a snort for the safety of it not involving dragons because right now? Well. Right now maybe he wouldn’t mind becoming a meal. Drink(s) paid for, he stands up from the stool with the expectation of leaving the bar, looking no more excited about it than he had before.

"Hey," F'yr will rein that reaction up short even as he straightens to match Shiloh's finding his feet. The look he gives the younger man is a pointed one. "Just because you have the time doesn't mean you have to come. Seems like you could do with some air, if you're still steady enough on your feet." This observation is probably meant to be generally reassuring that F'yr isn't hauling him off to some purpose the younger man might find objectionable. He will leave it to Shiloh to choose, follow, stay, whatever he wants, but the taller man is turning to head toward the door. He doesn't go so quickly once he's outside that Shiloh can't catch up. Once he does (because he will, won't he?), F'yr's hands find his pockets and he offers a simple opening, "Rough day?"

A shrug. “Might as well.” No, Shiloh does not have to. But what else will he do? Drinking is not as much of a distraction as one might think, and tends to result in the opposite of what was intended — thinking too much about the thing that brought him there to begin with. It is, more or less, simply that Shiloh does not want to do anything at the moment. But maybe walking is better than drinking, and maybe getting away from the crowd that is only going to grow (and be more obvious in it’s good-time-having) is a good idea. So he follows, proving that he’s steady enough on his feet to catch up and keep up and not have more than a moment of bobbling (and that, because maybe his foot fell asleep). He’s not drunk. Just buzzed. The question gets a laugh that lacks humor; a gruff sound that probably answers the question for him. “I don’t know,” is what he says though. Which might be odd; who doesn’t know if they’re having a rough day? A sigh and his hands find his pockets, unconsciously mimicking F’yr’s posture as they walk along. It’ll be a few more paces before he speaks again, probably just enough time to make it seem like he won’t speak at all, before he offers, “Heard something I wasn’t expecting,” he admits. “And my dumbass responded accordingly with stupid things in return.” Because it’s a pattern and he knows it. Another step or two and he provides a bit more clarity with, “Avi. He told me he loved me.” And how Shiloh feels about that is found nowhere in the words. Because maybe he doesn’t know how he feels about it.

Blue eyes slide to Shioh's face as he says he doesn't know, but the acknowledging sound that isn't quite a grunt is completely without judgment. Perhaps Shiloh has found a kindred spirit here. What he certainly has found is someone who'll listen. It's one of F'yr's better traits, his ability to stay quiet and more than that, give his real focus to the person he's speaking with. He doesn't look at Shiloh over-much, but he does bend his powers of observation to taking in what the Beastcrafter is offering up. Blond brows tick up and then down at the acknowledgment of the circumstances surrounding his time in the tavern, but there's not really that much surprise there. That could be because F'yr doesn't know them that well, or maybe it's because on the one instance he saw them together, that there were deep feeling shared between them was already obvious enough for the bronzerider to pick up on those currents. (Really, probably the former, but F'yr can have the benefit of the doubt.) "That's big," he acknowledges with sufficient gravity to suit the statement, and he lets it have a moment to breathe before he gently probes, "And that's why you were at the Wherry?" Alone. Drinking. With no Averil in sight. This question, it must be said, invites Shiloh to take it the direction he wants to talk about. What it does not do, in tone or inflection, is judge the other man, not in the least.

“Yup.” That it’s big? That it’s why he was at the Wherry? Both. Definitely both. Shiloh is definitely not looking at F’yr. But then again, that’s sort of his way. Squinting into the distance even if there’s nothing that needs squinting at. Or watching the ground as if to look beyond the next few steps might result in disaster. He may not be drunk, but he’s had enough to loosen his tongue enough to talk to an actual person (rather than just himself, in his head) even if said person is not terribly well known. What is the harm, really? Hasn’t the damage already been done? (By Shiloh himself, no less?). “Wasn’t expecting it.” He’s already said that, but perhaps it bears repeating. “I like ‘im. I knew he liked me. But…” Love? “He just said it like it was nothing. Like it was easy.” And maybe it shouldn’t be? “Like he was sayin’ anything else he might’ve said.” But it hit like a punch to the gut; like a bucket of cold water to the face. “I didn’t know what to say. So I fucked that up entirely.” Respectable language, apparently, goes out the window with Shiloh’s sobriety. “Don’t even remember what I said; just know it wasn’t right.” And maybe Shiloh isn’t sure what would have been right. A deeper breath; a heartier sigh; a moment in which he’s pulling his hand from his pocket to rub at his forehead, hand pushing at his hat briefly before he taps it back down again. “Thing is,” and apparently, since F’yr’s given him an ear, Shiloh is gonna take full advantage of it. “Not so sure he meant it. Not like… Well. Maybe he meant it, but dunno if he does. Love me.” If there is a wince when he says that? Well. Perhaps that’s why he was drinking his sorrows away.

"Mm," is F'yr's first soft noise, but it's consideration. He's a man who thinks through his words before they're spoken and so the silence grows, but not uneasy or at any absurd extension. "I'm not an authority," it's important to note, "and I tend to see the world a little differently than most," also important, "but it's been increasingly my experience that 'should' and 'shouldn't' have a lot less to do with how a person feels and behaves and speaks than 'is' and 'isn't.'" He's staring off at the distance, because it's a pretty distance with the sun still setting and all that stuff. The Main Clearing outside the Wherry is busy enough to provide plenty to distract the eye, but none at a close enough proximity to disturb the relatively private nature of their discussion. "Sounds to me, really, like you're talking with the wrong person, Shiloh." There's a little touch of a smile on F'yr's lips for that, a sidelong look thrown to the Beastcrafter. "Because he's the one with most of the answers you're looking for. You've got the rest." That being said, however, "But maybe give yourself a minute." To sober up a little more. Or he might not remember what he will say any better. "You grew up on a farm? With the kinds of rules that come with… well, not a Weyr, anyway." That's actually a question and he's looking to Shiloh to answer it. This is fact-finding before F'yr says whatever he might be thinking about saying… or maybe just to get to know the man sharing some pretty serious troubles with him a little better.

“He ran away.” And Shiloh didn’t chase him. And maybe all that should and shouldn’t has a point, because Shiloh knows he probably should have. But he didn’t. Whether this is ominous or not, the beastcrafter does not elaborate. Just walks. At least the crack at his current sobriety (or lack of it) has him offering another huff of almost-laughter. Even if it is somewhat self-deprecating. “Not sure he has the answers I’m looking for,” he admits. Cause maybe the answers he needs are in his own damn head, elusive though they might be. “An’ to be fair, I wasn’t talkin’ to anyone at the bar.” But it’s not a criticism really. It might actually be the attempt at a very poor, very misplaced joke, because he has a sense of humor under there somewhere. It’s the question rules, of which ones Shiloh grew up with, that gets a grunt. It is, at least, an affirmative grunt. “Yeah. Maybe not as strict as some but… strict enough.”

He ran away. If there's any lack of surprise in F'yr's slowly drawn, "Well," and, "yeah," like perhaps this was obvious, it's because, "When you fuck up, people tend to react." Shiloh did say he had, after all. "Running isn't—" He struggles a moment to find the words, lips pressing together as he filters through options. "Well, it's not the worst that could've happened." Not the best, either, but clearly Shiloh is aware. "At least he lives here, so he probably didn't run far." The only slightly older man falls silent a moment, letting his eyes continue to rove. Perhaps one of the nice things about F'yr's company is that there's might be a familiar way about it. The steady calm and easy cadences are a rhythm that might be more appropriate to long days of hard work, a ebb and flow to words that doesn't let the conversation grow too heavy even when it's fraught. In the life of the farm, the work must go on whether one is out of sorts or not. Might as well be not, when it can be helped, and this ponderous pattern aids in allowing silences for thought and speech for what needs to be said. Joke gets a slight twitch at the edge of F'yr's lips while the origins are simply filed away for later. "Harder when the answers you need are only things you can give," at least in F'yr's experience. "But with words like those ones," those ones he won't even say now, "he might be willing to wait while you sort it out, if you asked. If you wanted him to." A hand rises to scrub the back of his thumbnail across his brow. Looping back in the way his herdbeast brain has of processing something a little slow and circling 'round to it again, he adds, "It's easy to assume those words mean the same thing to everyone that speaks them, the same thing as they'd mean if you said them, but I don't think that's true. He might know just what he meant. It just might not be what they'd have meant coming from you. Doesn't really make anything less true for the person doing the speaking." The only real advice he seems willing to give, comes with a touch of his elbow lightly to Shiloh's arm and a serious blue-eyed look that doesn't lack in empathy, "Careful there, Shy." Feelings that big are big stuff. Delicate sometimes. Then silence, silence and listening, if the other man has more he wants to sound out aloud.

Silence has never been uncomfortable for Shiloh. A lot of times, silence is preferable to words that might sound fancy but carry little weight. And while his own might often slip out without thorough consideration (at least in the heat of the moment, or when a little drunk), he does try to temper what he says with a measure of thought before speaking it. And yes. With words like those ones there really ought to be some silence before speaking, even if Shiloh has already failed that test. It is truly the idea that those words might not mean what Shiloh thought they meant — or rather, the weight of them may not be the same as the weight he is attributing to them — that has him frowning; alcohol-hazy brain searching for any other way it could have been meant. The silence stretches as Shiloh ruminates on this idea; furrowed brow and frowny-face, he walks without really considering where he is going (no doubt trusting F’yr not to run them into a wall or something). The reverie is broken with the touch of an elbow; dark eyes darting the way of the bronzerider briefly before Shy sighs and scrubs his hands over his face. “I’m trying to be careful,” he admits. “It was never my intention to hurt him.” But intentions are funny things that tend to bite people in the butts if they’re not careful. Another bit of silence before he asks, “You ever been in love?” But perhaps more importantly, “have you ever had your heart broken?” because isn’t that what’s at stake here?

Silence and attention to one's words can have a downside. It means that F'yr's quiet, "Yes," to confirm both being in love and having his heart broken might not really be quite enough to encourage talk along those lines. At least he does look over at Shiloh for long enough to catch his eyes and give him a look of understanding, a look that indicates, too, that the pain of it or the complications of it aren't so fresh, or at least so complicated that the topic is a bad one. But this isn't about F'yr. It's about Shiloh, so it can be little wonder that the once-farmer asks softly, "What are you most afraid of?" Being? Breaking? It's all fair in the realm of reasonable fears. Where are they going? It's hard to say, right now they've about made it across the clearing to the wide doors to the Caverns. His pace still isn't hurried, and there's time yet before they duck through into the busy evening and skirt one of the life centers of Xanadu to get to the Administrative Hallways, somewhere the Quasar rider is intimately familiar with.

There is curiosity there. Or, at least, there would be, if Shiloh were not a bit in his own head at the moment. But the revelations are filed away nonetheless, even if he isn’t the type to pry, sober or not. But at least he knows that F’yr might know what he has gone through, even if no experience is the same for everyone. But the question. Oh, the question. That has him grimacing, like even to contemplate it is not something Shiloh wishes to do. Because that wound, while not bleeding, is fresh enough to sting. To hurt when poked. And he’s been poking at it a lot lately. “All of it,” he decides. “I don’t know that I’m whole yet.” Does that make sense? It does to Shiloh’s not-sober brain. “And I don’t want that to hurt him.” A wince and he adds, “Anymore than it already has.” Because he’s pretty damn sure he’s already hurt him, inadvertent as it might have been. Wherever they are going, Shiloh does not really care. Just don’t run him into wall and don’t toss him into a lake and don’t let Glorioth eat him, and he’ll work out the rest.

Where is he taking Shiloh, indeed. The conversation dies away with a look of 'moment' from F'yr as they go into the caverns and make that skirt. Then it's down the quiet halls largely vacant at this hour, although the big blond glances down in the direction of the Weyrleaders' office, which likely still has an occupant working too late, too hard without any conscious intention. He always looks there, when he comes here, now. But he leads them into the archives. And still, that's not the destination. On. And up. And out.


Xanadu Weyr - Star Stones
Here, atop the exposed dome of the geologic monolith that houses the caverns, infirmary, crafters and administration complexes, the view offers a splendid panorama of Xanadu Weyr. To the immediate east is a narrow metallic walkway leading to a column of stone - the natural spire that forms the starstones.

Just beyond, parts of the meadow and ridge can be seen. Directly in front and below is the clearing, flanked by the forest, hatching arena, tavern, clock tower and garden shop. Beyond the trees, glimmers the waters of Caspian Lake and the Sea of Azov, while almost lost to the distance is the coastline of the opposite shore and Black Rock Hold.

Just a few steps to the west looms the tower that is responsible for Xanadu Weyr's shortwave radio communications. Reaching for the skies and lit by blinking red warning lights at night, this area is off limits to dragons landing due to the danger of fouling a wing on the guy wires that support it.

The starstones are vast. Vast enough for dragons to land anyway and although there's enough lights to mark the edge, there's plenty enough space that one can settle nowhere near an edge and feel the pull of the air at this altitude and see the stars on a clear night like tonight. F'yr's making sure the tipsy Shiloh isn't losing his footing as they move on up to where they can do just this… or not. "We can sit," he offers. But they don't have to. "I found my way up here after I came to the Weyr. Liked it because it's not usually full of people. Reminds me of sitting in the fields back home late at night." Different, of course, but a sanctuary nonetheless.

The crowd of the caverns is not what Shiloh wants. That they move through it, and past it, and leave it behind is for the best. If his gaze strays briefly through the group, well… it cannot really be helped. Even if he does not expect Averil to be among them. And on they go, with F’yr glancing at weyrleader offices and Shiloh glancing at nothing at all, until they’re going up and, for a moment, the struggle is real. Not that he is so unsteady as to not navigate the stairs, but there is a certain amount of aerobic exercise required for it that Shiloh isn’t sure he has in him. But he trudges on up, until the kiss of cool evening air has him sobering just a little. At least he has no fear of heights, even if there’s a healthy appreciation for how far off the ground they are. Sit? He does not need to be offered twice, finding a seat with his back against a wall so he can stretch out his legs, hat finding a spot on his knee so he doesn’t have to worry about damaging or losing it. “I always went to the barn,” he admits. And is it any surprise, given what his profession has become? “It’s quiet. Just the runners.” At least back home. Here? Shiloh’s pretty sure half the Weyr is nocturnal. A rake of fingers through his hair, before they scrub over his face, but if there’s more to be said, he’s not yet ready to say it.

F'yr settles alongside the Beastcrafter, close enough that his steady presence is nearly a tangible thing, but not so close as to convey any intimacy beyond the budding broship. "Barns are good, too. Busier usually, in a Weyr. I had to get creative to avoid people." Even if half the Weyr's denizens may be nocturnal or if simply not as many have use for runners with dragons ready to hand. Still, it's not none that make use of the creatures Shiloh works with. He lets the silence sit a moment, two, three. It might just stretch until the man with the particular predicament under discussion is ready, but before it hits that point, F'yr has sieved through enough words and processed enough that he speaks again. His tone is probably all too familiar to Shiloh as one that would do well with animals having a moment. It doesn't, of course, work any less well on the human animal. "Hearts have a way of getting hurt." That might be it, and obvious, but it might need to be said, as perhaps does the beat later addition, "And healing." Then, there's at least some small piece of F'yr's story. "Coming here healed my first broken heart. Not all at once. Spent months just working myself to numbness. Took time. Took people." He looks over to Shiloh, "Maybe Averil's one of the people you need. Maybe not." This bronzerider is going to be one of the last to tell anyone else what they do or don't need.

Sober Shiloh is not one to talk overmuch. Not-sober Shiloh might talk a bit more, but it comes and goes. He’s just as likely to let them sit there in silence, staring out over Xanadu, than he is to spill his guts to an almost-but-not-just-yet friend. But while he might stare into the distance, he is at least listening. Hard not to, when F’yr’s voice is the only one up at the top of the star stones. He chews through the words in that same silence, rolling them around and fitting them in to how they might apply to his own situation. And while there might be a sympathy there — because Shiloh’s heart is still tender enough to well-remember the breaking — he can’t find any fitting words to offer in return. Just an explanation. “I don’t want to heal mine by hurting his.” That, more than anything else, seems to sum up the beastcrafter’s dilemma. “Maybe he is.” One of the people he needs. “But he’s…” Soft? Fragile? Precious? “Inexperienced.” That too. “With relationships.” Whatever that may mean. “An’ I don’t want to lose him… but I don’t wanna hurt him, either. I don’t wanna use him. Accidentally.” He means inadvertently. As if Shiloh would ever intentionally use someone (he wouldn’t). And these are probably the things he ought to say to Averil, but maybe saying them here first is better. Work out all the kinks. “If it healed your first broken heart,” he wonders, circling back. “Does that mean there was a second?”

"Then you won't." There's the smallest note of approval in the certainty of F'yr's voice; not to put one's own heart ahead of another's, when there are other, better ways. For F'yr, it's that simple. "If you don't want to, and you're mindful," that word carries such importance that it is touched with a very subtle emphasis, "you'll find a different," better, "way." The silence holds a moment and then a low sound of not quite confirmation - more… complication. "Bruised." He finally says, slowly, "I learned later that real heartbreak feels… different." Worse. So much worse. His lips press together and his eyes focus out on the dark. If one were to look, there is a look of profound grief there, given its space to be and then with a few steady but purposeful breaths and one hard swallow, settled back into the deep place such pain dwells even after it's passed. "Then, I don't end up fitting into any of the rules from home, as it turns out, so my experiences are a little different than most." That disclaimer again. It doesn't seem to bother F'yr, this inherent difference in being, but it's still notable. Repeatedly. "Shiloh, I know you'll think of this later," giving credit to what might be, "But the only way Averil gets any experience is by people letting him have it. You just have to hope you end up a good experience. A lasting one, if that's what you want. But you can't always keep the people you love safe, even from yourself. It just doesn't work that way." It may be kind of a weird thing to say, but it's a very F'yr thing to say to add, softly, "Be gentle with yourself, too. Even if you can take it." Whatever 'it' is. And maybe, just maybe F'yr is talking to himself as much as the other young man, both still finding their ways in this world.

Maybe it is something in the weight of that silence, or the weight of those words, that has Shiloh glancing over in time to catch that grief. It is not something he will comment on. Not now, at least. But it is something he can contemplate even if he cannot necessarily understand. That is not a pain that Shiloh has known (yet?) and is not about to pretend he does. Besides. Being not-so-sober in the moment? It is probably best he not try. So he’ll settle for watching the sunset (is it still setting, or has it gone down on them?) and then listening to the advice that is offered. If he scowls? Well… that’s probably because he recognizes it as truth, even if he doesn’t like it. Keeping people safe — keeping Averil safe — has become a part of who he is. That he cannot protect from everything (that he cannot protect him from himself) is not a pleasant thought. So F’yr gets a grunt for all his wisdom, which is at least better than ignoring it altogether, and a slant of his eyes that lingers a moment before returning to places unknown. Whatever ‘it’ is. It makes sense to Shy, at least. There’s a beat. Or two. Or three. And then he sighs out with the sort of finality of one having Come To A Decision. “Alright then.” That’s probably for himself, and not the bronzerider. But the, “should probably sober up first,” is definitely meant for F’yr, if just to acknowledge (and agree) with earlier words.

Is there more to be said? About Averil, perhaps not. That's going to have to play its course. Shiloh does need to sober up (probably) for that conversation and more than that, apparently, in F'yr's estimation, the younger man needs to get out of his own head for at least a little while so he's not twisting the mental straw into bits before he has a chance to spread it. That might be why he only nods. "Yep," for sobering up. Then, in an 'I've been thinking' tone, he goes straight on. "I want you to meet Glorioth again." Is there another topic that could more quickly and effectively completely shift Shiloh's attention?

Say what now? While the only true method to sobriety is time, Shiloh would swear just that suggestion alone did the job. Thoughts of Averil aren’t exactly absent but they’ve assuredly been pushed to the back burner. Mission very much accomplished in that regard. The gut response (which is akin to ‘HELL NO’) is likely obvious in the very real side-eye of the bronzerider. Shiloh will go so far as to lean away from him for maximum effect, his expression leaving no doubt about his thoughts. But to his credit, he does at least bite back the words that might otherwise come spilling out of him, weighing how best to convey his immediate rejection of the idea with this budding bromance they have going. A squint of his eyes, a pursing of his lips. But what eventually comes from the lad is “Why?” Because maybe that’s important before he flat out refuses.

F'yr isn't laughing at Shiloh. He should get credit for the way his lips are pressed together not smiling even if there's a smile in his eyes and hinting around the edges of his lips. He keeps it immensely simple in this moment, "What do you do if you fall off a runner?" Provided that one does not end up injured, of course. Even then…

WHAT VILLAINY IS THIS! WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE FRIENDS NOW, F’YR! Bro-trayal. Shiloh sees those laughing eyes, and he will absolutely squint all the harder over them. “I don’t think that applies,” is what he finally says, sounding about as amused as he looks over the whole situation. “I didn’t fall off anything. He tried to eat me.” Which… no. Not exactly correct. And Shiloh knows it. But still. There was definite threat in that bronze beastie and he’s not terribly keen on reliving it. On inviting it back into his life. “I’m sure he’s very nice…” no. No Shiloh is not sure of that at all. In fact, Shiloh is absolutely certain that Glorioth is anything but nice. “…but I don’t know what purpose meeting him — again — would serve. Except to put me into an early grave.”

"Ride runners, ride dragons. What would've become of you if you spooked and never went back when you first met a runner?" Maybe Shiloh doesn't remember that time; F'yr doesn't, surely, but he isn't spooked of runners now, nor dragons. "You'll be posted here a while, I'd guess, unless you ask for a transfer, and I can almost guarantee you that Glorioth is just about the biggest test you'll face." If you don't count Leirith and Xermiltoth and Inasyth and— okay, listen, this list is just going to get longer. Let F'yr have his fantasy. "But he didn't try to eat you. He just pricked your honor and was himself." He's guessing about at least half of that. "Unless you're trying to harm me or those eggs in a real way, he's not going to hurt you. He probably won't even take that much notice of you, except that I am." A pause, "And how are we going to be friends if you go all pale and sweaty every time the other half of me comes around?" Has Shiloh thought about it quite like that? This new friend he's been making…? The other half is Glorioth. F'yr says more because he doesn't need to give Shiloh the chance to simply decide he shouldn't be friends at all with the big bronzerider that does seem to have some not insignificant set of experiences in common with the Beastcrafter. "Glorioth is not a nice dragon. He's not even everything he thinks he is." But for Faranth's sake, never tell him that. "I'm going to come get you the next time I'm giving him a bath." And apparently commandeer Shiloh's time? That's fine, right?

Shiloh has spent his life around runners. He can probably read them better than he can read people. Dragons, though? Dragons are utterly foreign to the beastcrafter; an entity he has heard tales of and read about, but until Xanadu has only seen from afar. And given his first taste of them up close and personal was not just Xanadu dragons, but Glorioth, is it any wonder that he is seriously weighing his options here? But no. While Shiloh sucks on his teeth and looks like he bit into a lemon, squinty-eyes still slanted the way of the bronzerider, eventually he must concede that there is some wisdom in what F’yr is saying. Even if he still has some serious doubts about accepting that offer. In the end, there’s a sigh that sounds far more longsuffering than it needs to be, and a grunted, “Fine,” that is about as good as it’s gonna get. And Shiloh will just hope the bronze says very clean for a very long time. “But I’m not going anywhere near his teeth.”

"Yes, you are." F'yr says this with perfect replication of the tone used on farms the world over when some small child workman says they'll do half the job, but not the icky bits. It's very matter of fact, and slightly bemused that Shiloh thought, somehow that he'd be able to skate by without facing the worst of his personal fears. Still, the look in F'yr's eyes is understanding, supportive even. The 'yes, you are' isn't even actually a demand of Shiloh, but rather a prediction of Shiloh's own ability to overcome. But he'll allow, "But you don't have to like it." A beat, and then, "I'm the only person Glorioth has ever injured. You're not about to break that record, Shiloh."

Is that supposed to make him feel better? Because it clearly does not. “You sound awfully confident.” But Shiloh still recalls a shirtless and still dripping F’yr rushing in to put a halt to whatever heroics threat Glorioth was posing on those hatching sands. “If he’s injured you, what hope is there for me?” Frown. And see, here is where the true ignorance of dragons comes in. Shiloh knows they can talk to their riders. And he has now had first-hand experience of a dragon talking to him. But the true extent of that bond is something akin to myth and legend for him; a fabled thing that he can’t quite wrap his head around because nothing in his life can really compare. Runners? Some might say he can read their minds, but in reality, it is simply knowing them very well. Knowing how they behave. It is about reading body language, even those subtle signs others might miss. There’s nothing telepathic about it. And how could someone, who would say he has a bond with his runner, Red, really be able to comprehend the altogether life-altering bond that comes with a dragon? So there is, perhaps, a reasonable skepticism in the beastcrafter, who nonetheless agrees that he might get near the beast, but perhaps not all parts of him.

"Are you going to wrestle with him?" This … may not be the most expected inquiry to answer all of Shiloh's concern in one single sentence. F'yr might not even have to articulate aloud that of the Beastcrafter doesn't have any intention to do that, then he'll be fine. He'll also give it a minute to let it sink in that tiny human F'yr (by comparison) wrestles with tiny enormous bronze Glorioth. That's love, folks. How? These questions need not be asked. They make it work. Arguably, Glorioth enjoys wrestling with Inasyth and Leirith and Xermiltoth and — well, the list goes on — much more than his F'yrsomely underpowered and too fragile lifemate. "The worst time was when I impressed. Cracked my ribs. That sucked." He does not recommend the experience (0/10, avoid sands injury). "Babies don't have much control. It gets better after that." He doesn't stop to explain that Glorioth did have pretty good control for a newly hatched dragon and that maybe it was ENCOURAGEMENT for his new lifemate, but, Shiloh doesn't need new nightmares. "It's going to be fine, Shiloh." F'yr promises in all but actual words. He wouldn't want to end up forsworn.

“Wasn’t planning on it.” Wrestling with a dragon? No thanks. That F’yr is apparently serious on this — or at least, serious about having wrestled the bronze himself — might be worthy of another squint if Shiloh wasn’t still squinting. No wonder he’s got those early signs of aging despite being under twenty. For babies and broken ribs, the beastcrafter can only grunt. But at least, “makes sense,” for that lack of coordination. Faranth knows baby runners aren’t much better (but they don’t tend to tackle the beastcrafters, either). It’s that last that has him squinting back at the (arguably already set) sun, head back against the stone and gaze toward the view. “If you say so.” It’s about the best F’yr’s gonna get, but at least it’s something.

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