Thicker Than Water

Xanadu Weyr - Main Clearing
// A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.//

The cliff looms imposingly on two sides. Toward the southwest, a spire stretches up to high above where the everpresent watchdragon sits on a lonely peak with Xanadu's Starstones. A massive rocky spur extends to the north, curved slightly to hold the clearing and pocked with doors and windows.

The hatching arena and Dragonhealers' Annex sit to the southeast, built together into a single complex that takes up a large portion of the perimeter beneath its domed roof. To the southwest, wide steps lead up to the caverns, and almost directly south is the entrance to the Infirmary. Nestled between the infirmary and the main caverns there's a human-sized archway with frequent traffic - it leads to the Wanderin' Wherry Tavern.

Tucked near the arch, just off to one side is a tiny wood-frame shop bearing the name 'Wildflower Boutique'. Windows have been cut along the cliff in various places along the cliff. Those of the administrative offices are placed to have the best view of Xanadu's airspace - to the southwest, over the entrance to the caverns and the infirmary. Others mark the dormitories and those of lucky residents, while toward the northern edge of that spur cluster the windows and entrances to the crafters' complex.

The rest of the Weyr lies to the north and east - a broad road that leads through the meadow and the trees of the forest beyond. At the far northern edge of the clearing, just inside the perimeter kept clear of trees, a clocktower sits and proudly displays the hour.

SO. NIGHT. Late, late, late night; Ila'den has just made a fool of himself (and really, the bronzerider doesn't care) congratulating his daughter, spotting somebody with eerily similar eyes (and Ila'den is no fool: he's been in flights where the people were gone the morning after, never contacting him again; he's bound to have unknown children somewhere), and he's stalking his way through the bowl to get back to R'hyn and his drink. He's stalled by Teimyrth, who rumbles a low greeting and comes forward to lower his head for a touch from his lifemate's hand. Ila'den obliges, taking the icy dragon's comfort with a lingering touch and an exhale. "A goldrider, Teimyrth. Iris is going to be thrilled." And there's humor in his voice, but something else, something that's muted thanks to the alcohol he can't quite say he's had enough of yet.

It is dark, Valerian casting his gaze upwards for a moment as he rushes to catch up to a man who was enormous in comparison to his relatively shorter height and looked like he'd been through a war or three. Was he insane? The starcrafter didn't know Ila'den from a hole in the wall, only that apparently their looks were so simular that it was nearly impossible that they weren't related in some way. Perhaps the Half Moon bronzerider had a brother? A sister perhaps? As the one-eyed man is slowed in his progression of weyrmate recovery, Vale's own footsteps slow and when he starts speaking aloud to that dragon who undoubtedly is his lifemate he stops completely some distance away. Ila'den is observed, quietly, and after a time he too exhales. This was stupid. What did he expect? "Ugh," he finally comes up with, "You..uh…" Floundering for once, he scrubs a hand through the darkness of his blonde hair and laughs. "Well, this is awkward. Sorry." He dips his head to rider and mount even if he's ignored again, and turns to head back the way he'd come.

Valerian is definitely not being ignored; on the contrary, Teimyrth is being very observant of the teenage voyeur - which probably means that Ila'den is just as aware of the blonde observing the exchange as Teimyrth is. There's a low rumble in the dragon's throat when Vale speaks, a growl that fills the emptied bowl and stretches into the night with the type of ominous foreboding that only Teimyrth can so readily inspire. It's a promise, almost, a threat made to encourage distance maintained as Ila'den runs another hand along Tei's maw and then turns to face Valerian. He's too drunk for this. Teimyrth remains, a solid support for Ila'den's weight, eyes whirling a myriad of colors that give away nothing and still somehow too much of the dragon's temperament all at once. "Teimyrth says that you're mine," comes that low, husky burr, words hindered by the absolution of his accent, thickened by the heavy influence of alcohol. The bronzerider might be saying it to the back of a retreating form, but while it's said, acknowledged, Ila'den makes no move to give chase; the Half Moonian bronzer simply lingers beside his hulking bronze as that lone grey eye trails the path his newly-found child takes in retreat. This is who Ila'den is: noninvasive, patient, and someone dark and private enough to remain where he is despite the evident confusion of a child. Valerian may have been born from Ila'den's failures during a flight, but that doesn't mean that he is going to force a relationship - or even a conversation - with somebody who'd grown up his entire life as equally in the dark as Ila'den had. Being a donor doesn't necessarily make you a father, nor does it grant you privileges and rights similar to those who had stepped up to the task of raising an infant into a man. Ila'den is all too aware of this, and so he stays. Valerian can make the decision, Ila'den will respect his choice; it's really that simple.

Apparently, being growled at in warning was encouragement to stay! Valerian doesn't jump out of his skin or anything, no. That would never happen, ever. His escape falters with raising shoulders and a very sheepish lopsided grin drawing up one half of his lips as he very slowly turns back around to face Ila'den and Teimyrth, giving him the opportunity to get a good look at them both without creeping creepily in the background. The bronzerider's husky purr sends brows launching upwards, mouth opening and closing and then there's the full glory of his face-splitting smile. He just needed a moment, but now it was all good. "That so?" he asks, wisely keeping his distance but he wasn't so far away that they couldn't talk without yelling at one another at least. He just had no interest in pressing his luck at the moment, so perhaps he did have some sense of self-preservation. Instead the teenager laughs, rubbing the back of his neck. "Is he positive about that? Because if I go over there and like we end up hugging and sharing tearful regrets…it'll be really awkward for the both of us later on." A heartbeat passes and Vale drops an open palm towards the general direction of Teimyrth, grey eyes darting his unreadable facets. "To be honest," he chuckles, "You look like you're about to eat me and that's not very reassuring."

One, two, three, and Ila'den's smile comes: slow, amused, muted, but there. "He always looks like that," Ila'den replies, and there's a gentle push of a too-big maw, gaping lower teeth pronounced and ugly as the less-than-beautiful beast lifts his head and retreats not nearly far enough away. This leaves Ila'den in quasi-solidarity; he's unhurried confidence in the way muscled arms cross over a broad chest, almost mocking in the way that one brow raises in unspoken amusement, exuding a primal kind of calm in the set of his body as he shifts his weight to one leg and graces Valerian with brief, rumbling laughter. "He is positive, and I'm not one for hugging - or regrets." Which is true; setting aside what was freely given to Risali, Ila'den is like his daughter: the antithesis of affection, the easy acceptance of people without the touchy-feely, outpouring of affection save for a very lucky few. "What is it that you're doing here?" Because apparently this is a much more acceptable topic than emotion-filled reunions, especially when there's alcohol inhibiting his demeanor and making it impossible to decipher how he feels anyway. "Craft? Home?" He's patient. He'll wait.

"Yeah?" Valerian asks looking from rider to dragon, but lingering on the dragon. There was absolutely nothing about Teimyrth that said warm and cuddly, this was very true from his perspective so he probably goes ahead and takes the old man's word for it. Even as the bronze moves somewhat away but probably not enough to give the starcrafter any ideas about getting a closer look at his sire. Nope, Vale was staying right where he is. He doesn't appear to be at all intimidated or put off, but rather curious as he takes in all of the contrast and contradiction that makes up the whole of the man who sired him. Snapped out of his reverie by that brief stint of rumbled laughter, the teenager's grin stretches impossibly wide. "Thank Faranth, I mean…PHEW," he breathes in apparent relief but with a genuine laugh of his own, "Cause I was in there…" Valerian jerks a thumb back over his shoulder towards the cavern, "…and I was thinking. Man. Never been much of a hugger, always been more of a roughhouser and I don't really cry unless I stub something…like…really, really hard." Does he take anything seriously, at all? "So, that definitely works for me." Shifting his own weight, he slides his hands into the pockets of his trousers for now, "I'm a starcraft apprentice, but a bit of a handful if the craftmasters are to be believed, so they shipped me off here so they don't have to deal with the paperwork if I fall off something high and break my neck." Vale not only liked to be as close to the sky as possible and but he tended to take unnecessary risks, which is exactly what anyone in the observatory would tell Ila'den if he was curious enough to ask. "Originally? Telgar weyr, no idea who my mother is. Sorry." Shrug for that and another chuckle as he honest to goodness doesn't seem to care. Any hurt he might of felt for being given up instead of kept, obviously missing. But then again, he was his father's son.

And Ila'den's smile never wavers; it remains, as constant as the man himself while Valerian speaks and he simply does what Ila'den has always done best: he listens. He listens with that eerie attentiveness he devotes to anybody that crosses his path: they are the only other person who exists in this place, the most interesting person in the world, the only voice that matters out of so damn many in this single moment between them. "Remember those words," Ila'den breathes around another rasp of short-lived, rumbling laughter, "the first time you hold your daughter," which seems to translate into: I was you once; but life will come for you too, "and then tell me how much you prefer rough-housing over hugging." Because Ila'den's kissed a lot of boo-boos, and combed a lot of hair, and had his toes stood on for a thousand plus dances with a little girl that became more important than life itself. You know, all the emasculating things men do because they're comfortable in their sexuality, confident in their role, and have a daughter. "The starcraft, hmm?" There's nothing said for mischief; whether Ila'den approves or not, it's not his place to impart words of wisdom or attempt to provide direction or discipline. And anyway, Ila'den himself is a prankster - though that's a far cry different than a thrill-seeker. "Don't apologize to me for things you aren't sorry for and lack control of; it diminishes the meaning of the word, and I never asked." Ila'den's smile is tighter now, thin, coming as the man shifts once more and that lone grey eye watches hands push into pockets. An exhale, and Ila'den is reaching up to adjust the eyepatch covering the ugliness of his other eye. His words are not unkind; there's no bite, no dismissiveness, perhaps just a man telling allowing a newly-discovered son a glimpse into the psyche of the man whose blood runs in his veins. "So what is your name, starcrafter?" he asks then, as if to buffer the blow should the teenager have taken his words in a different way. "I'm Ila'den. The bronze is my lifemate, Teimyrth." But he doesn't add on relations; they haven't reached that level of permanence yet and - again - Ila'den will allow Vale to decide his levels of comfort and how to act upon them. That, and… well… Ila'den is drunk. That means he's brooding.

Cocking his head just slightly, those grey eyes never once waver from where they are effectively glued to Ila'den, taking in everything about him. The man might not have raised him but the similarities that are being revealed little by little throughout their interaction was on the cusp of uncanny, and easily explain why Risali had been so taken aback when they had first met. Of course, there were plenty of differences as well, but that was to be expected. When the bronzerider speaks again, Vale is all ears, but his eyebrows launch upwards as if heralding the soft chuckle that quickly follows. At his age, he wasn't quite ready to be thinking about father and daughter bonding moments for himself. "I'm fourteen, but okay." He wasn't so dense as to not understand that things change overtime. However, while he might be near full grown by Pernese standards, in his mind there was plenty of time to be an adult in the very distant future. He nods only once for mention of the starcraft, looking down at his knot. Look, there it is. Though as Ila'den goes on, choosing the words he does, the teenager responds with a shrug of his shoulders. That smile on his face? Unwavering and unchanging; a constant. "I tend to make assumptions, it's one of my many, many, many, bad habits." Vale had assumed that Ila'den would be curious if he had uncovered the other half of his parentage and want to know her identity. But, he takes ownership of his mistake even if no apologies are made. Though whether this is because of what he'd just been told or because he never intended to, is left up to interpretation. If Valerian takes the bluntly delivered words in any way other than as they were intended, there is no indication of it, now rocking himself slightly on the back of his heels; boundless energy needing an outlet with all this standing around. "Well met," he replies easily to the introduction, as if it was the most natural way in which one should reply, "I'm Valerian." Oh, he had about a billion and half questions just buzzing around inside that head of his for sure, but he was quickly learning that with this family he probably would do best to tread lightly. The starcrafter was many things: excited, curious, nervous, apprehensive, and a myriad of other emotions but they were all held perfectly in check by that grin and a seemingly endless optimism, but stupid? Yeah, probably that too. For now, just amusement shines through.

Alas for poor Ila'den, who's holding things close and playing them tight in some effort to allow Valerian to make his own choices; R'hyn comes in like a wrecking ball, quiet but no less purposeful footsteps preceding a vaguely-surprised, "Kil?" Wherever R'hyn was, it definitely wasn't a place with alcohol - blue-grey eyes are too bright, too clear, too curious as they land upon his fellow bronzerider, Teimyrth behind him, then Valerian in that order, one brow peaking quizzically for finding him here, in the dark, all stiff and broody and talking to a relative stranger (hahaha I'm PUNNY GUYS, shut up). Perhaps having been headed towards the caverns under assumptions of his own, the over-tall bronzer redirects, sidling up to Ila'den's side to offer the briefest of touches to the older man's shoulder before his attention redirects to focus entirely on Valerian. ALAS, this damning darkness; it perhaps robs the teenager of his most recognizable feature, causing R'hyn to glance him over once without looking nearly closely enough and offer him a bright grin before asking of Ila'den, "Who's your friend?" And without waiting for answer, to Valerian: "Do you know Risali?" There's curiosity there of a mischievous nature, the sort that speaks more to 'I want to meet her friends and CORRUPT THEM' than anything else, but R'hyn himself is patient, if not more pleasantly so than Ila'den - he settles back on his heels before more questions can pour forth, head tilted at a slight angle to wait.

Differences are certainly to be expected! Ila'den has had literally turns of life handing him lemon after lemon to acquire the bronzerider's unquantifiable levels of (possibly justified) acidity; Valerian is merely 14, with a craft that is not damn-near guaranteed a death sentence (read: RENEGADE), and enough emotional freedom to be able to make the type of mischief that causes posting transfers and heart-sick parents to hope today won't be that day - because Valerian is in the care of others, not the one providing the care. Ila'den neither envies Valerian his carefree youth, nor detests his own lack there-of; he is content, knowing that the decisions and circumstances of his life allowed his children something better - even the ones he's never met until now. "I can see that," is Ila'den's level response to the reveal of an age, the pull on his lips more pronounced at the corners, as if there's something inherently funny about the starcrafter calling attention to his obvious youth and using it as a rebuttal. "And I can see that, too," in regards to assumptions made, the shift of the bronzerider's feet speaking of impatience despite the fact that there's none to be found in his face. Cue R'hyn, whose voice alone causes an immediate, visible reaction: tensed muscles loosen, the smile on Ila'den's lips is suddenly less forced (notable now that it's becoming something more genuine); it's the gentle touch that's most pronounced, when grey eyes lose their clinical distance and some of those walls come down to give the illusion of warmth somewhere in the belly of the beast. "Well met, Valerian," comes Ila'den's response, and the first olive branch offered: a hand extended for the younger man to take, and invitation for him to come closer and make contact, no matter how insignificant or lacking in complexity it may seem. This is Ila'den we are talking about here; everything is calculatingly complex. But while he waits for Valerian to exercise his free agency and choose, the bronzerider rolls grey eyes towards blue-grey where they land - deviously. "Friend? No, R'hyn; we have another son," a pause, a wolfish smile to show teeth (and perhaps to mute some kind of emotion), "and apparently another unfortunate soul damned with this face. You should stop letting me breed, R'hyn. It's becoming a pandemic."

The starcrafter drinks in all in, openly. Whatever insight he may gleen from his observations are kept to himself, but when Ila'den responds to his age and assumptions, well there was a real struggle there not to just burst out laughing. While this wouldn't have been meant as a slight against him, he doesn't know this man at all, and can not even begin to fathom his reactions. This, was already crystal clear. Pressing his lips together very firmly he manages, inhaling through his nose and then exhaling just as slowly. The struggle, was real, but perhaps he would gain some credit somewhere for the effort because very likely were it anyone else, he wouldn't have even bothered. Luckily this is the time that R'hyn has decided to arrive giving the perfect distraction, not for himself because he doesn't know the man at all, but rather for Ila'den. Clamping a palm over his heart and the other over his mouth, Valerian takes every single precious second the two bronzerider's are interacting only with one another to collect his damn self. He did not have the turns and turns and turns and turns (Read: Ila'den is OLD) to develop self control when it came to what amused him and what little executed thus far was Herculean in comparison to every single other time in his entire life. By the time attention has returned to him in full, endlessly grateful for the cloak of evening, Vale is back to a wide grin, hands shoved into pockets and rocking on his heels. Though, brows do fly upwards as he looks between the two. He can't see either of them overly well considering the distance, but the mood had certainly shifting. Now the boy's expression shifts to wry and sly, because knowledge was power. "Hmm, well…" comes a young voice just past the cusp of puberty for R'hyn's inquiry, "That's a rather loaded question." There as something about it, despite the lack of accent or gruffness though, that might tickle at memory. Oh, the endless amusement was there throughout very syllable, a soft chuckle following. That there, however, was just as undeniably Ila'den as Valerian finally steps into the light that Belior provides and settles grey eyes upon the newly arrived bronzerider, and tosses him a wink. He was young and sporting some shoulder length dark blonde hair, but the resemblance boarded on creepy. "Surprise! It's a boy…and very nearly full grown. So, less work for you, yeah? I change myself and everything." Those eyebrows, deviousness achieved. Not to leave Ila'den hanging though, a single moment is given to the extended hand before it's clasped at last. Unfaltering grin, practically ear to ear with all the teeth, securely in place. It only lingers for as long as there is pressure, releasing from it simultaneously as the eldest of the three does. Then, it's extended towards R'hyn, "Valerian, apprentice starcrafter."

It'd be a lie, to say that R'hyn's actions weren't entirely of a purpose; while the changes to Ila'den's form and attitude go verbally unremarked upon, there's a certain sense of quiet gratification about the younger bronzerider's attitude, a sideways twitch of one side of his mouth and a subtle knowing flicker in blue-grey eyes that come and go in the passing of an instant, but are there for the attentive nevertheless. Wry-slyness from the Valerian camp earns its own flicker of mirth from the oversized bronzerider, but R'hyn reserves commentary for the moment, allowing olive branches to be extended in the form of handshakes before— "Son." Beat. Browlift. Blink. "Wait, what?" And once again Valerian is the target of R'hyn's full attention, but this time it's less polite acknowledgment and much more intense scrutiny, blue-grey gaze dragging across the young man's form as though marking and tagging vague similarities and notable differences, visibly arriving at some form of judgement in patented R'hyn fashion. "Faranth," the younger rider breathes at length, quiet observational attitude FLUNG INTO THE WINGS as his voice assumes a wry drawl, Vale's humor regarding the situation begetting further humor from him. "You poor child. You have no idea what you've been cursed with. Well, I suppose you do," he adds, sotto voce as his head tips, meeting Ila'den's wolfish grin with an aggrieved sort of sigh and a shake of his head, expression over-dramatically woeful as though lamenting the bronzerider's looks. "But it's a wonder, truly, that you've made it this far." Blustering amusement is momentarily suspended for the handshake that is offered his way, the sarcastic twist to his lips fading into an honest, pleasant smile as he steps in to take the preferred hand in his own. "R'hyn, bronze Xermiltoth's. A pleasure," he says as though he means it, shaking once, twice, and then releasing to retreat back to Ila'den's side. "A starcrafter, hmm? And here I thought all of our children merely got by on sarcasm and sheer cussedness." Another glance at Ila'den, as though assigning the blame of that all onto him before his gaze flicks back to Valerian, inquisitive and amused. "Do you enjoy it?"

Valerian will probably learn in time that, despite the thin veneer of civility Ila'den often presents to the world, he is but a man - and one quick to find the humor in most everything. Like R'hyn, punching him in the face. Twice. He is also unnervingly observant, and while he can't read minds and is prone to mistakes like everybody else, the bronzerider is confident (most of the time) in his ability to decipher people. It's this ability, after all, that kept him alive in a dog-eat-dog world as an orphaned child raising an infant. "Don't try too hard, Valerian," rasps the bronzerider, amusement curbing the husky growl of his brogue as that lone eye makes note of firmly-pressed lips and breathing exercises. "I'm hardly a man worth trying to impress; you're going to be disappointed." Ahhhh, sweet Vale. IF ONLY HE KNEW. The wolfishness of Ila'den's smile merely increases in tandem with the starcrafter's outburst (or maybe that's questionable approval), Ila'den's eye shifting back to R'hyn with regard that's completely at odds with everything Ila'den is. "He's even got my sense of humor," the bronzerider rasps around an indecipherable kind of amusement. "Kielric is going to be beside himself." And probably Risa - but in completely different ways. Veliren? That kid is ZEN. He's exactly like his father, even though Ila'den's the one who reared the little shit. Still, the starcrafter's hand slips into his own, and the bronzerider's attention is back on Valerian; his grip is firm without being painful, and made somehow less formal by his second hand coming down to sandwich Valerian's between his. When the contact is ended and Valerian is moving on to R'hyn, the bronzerider is silent, allowing his weyrmate to introduce himself with intent vigilance right up until it happens: R'hyn makes quips (and EYE-ACCUSSATIONS) about their offspring, and the mirthful, deviant humor in Ila'den's eyes is suddenly a caricature of what it was - muted, closed off, diminishing to near-starkness before it explodes back into life by sheer force of will alone. And habit. Lots of habit. "Well," he says to R'hyn, pulling up the hood of his leather jacket. "You know what they say: when in Xanadu, fuck as the Xanduians do." A beat. "Or is that drink?" Grey eye goes to Valerian, deviance personified, brow raised as if he is sincerely asking for help on his phrasing here because maybe he is old and senile and these things allude him. "Do?" One, two, three, and a feigned sigh on the heels of husky laughter. "Ah, well. I prefer the fucking. Speaking of fucking, I can feel myself sobering up by the second. I need a fucking drink. Either come and indulge, or stay; I'm going." And that's that, that's it; Ila'den's invitation to both is extended and he's pulling at the ties of his own leather jacket, shifting the damn thing right off his shoulders as he side-steps son, weyrmate, and dragon to stalk back towards the tavern like a predator finding prey. You're on his side, by his side, or in his fucking way. CHOOSE WISELY.

For the appraisal by the younger of the two bronzeriders, Valerian tolerates it well, his brows remaining for the most part lifted in an entertained fashion until it is over, and only then does he deeply chuckle. The condolences? "Been getting that a lot lately," he replies to R'hyn, but soon is dismissing what he surmises is a rather dark version of playful banter between both older men. Placing a palm lightly over his own chest, "Somehow, I will endure." Grey eyes go to Ill'den then and how the amusement that clings to his every cell swells to double in size, "Oh, don't worry too much about that. The only person I'm ever going to go out of my way to impress, is myself." A soft bubble of laughter for that one, "But I'm fairly certain if I piss you off, I'll be in serious trouble." He might be perceptive, he might be just guessing, but whichever is the case the starcrafter certainly appeared to be enjoying himself thoroughly. Back to R'hyn and with his attention comes more laughter, "I think that's only a matter of time. I like high places." Anywhere as close to the stars as possible, willing to go to great lengths and heights in order to do it. "It's nice to meet you, R'hyn." More questions are added to the already countless, but the teenager only smiles broadly between them both but it gives way to an even deeper humor, "Plenty of that too, to the chagrin of just about everyone I've ever met." Yes, plenty of sarcasm and cussedness here young bronzerider. "Do I enjoy the star craft?" Now the ever present grin softens and he nods his head, "Oh you bet your sweet a…." Grey eyes dart sideways to Ila'den and then the grin is back in full and unadulterated glory. "…stranomical singularity." Good save! No one will notice at all. Of course, with talk of what Xanadonians do, Valerian pffts with a chuckle. "Don't look at me, I've been here maybe a sevenday." So not long enough to have adapted to the local custom and ways of the people. All the talk of sex though has just a touch of tension settling into the starcrafter's shoulders. Not uncomfortable, but rather, holding back perhaps something he wanted or needed to say at that point and deciding against it. Vale's smile remains, perhaps a bit thinner than before, saying nothing as Ila'den turns and head off. Instead, he's looking at R'hyn soberly for once, just on the cusp of sympathy. "My condolences." Lips are then very quickly pressed together to suppress a laugh, poorly, as he pats the twenty-something on the arm and follows after his father to get that drink or ten. Something told him in this family, he was going to need it.

Hardly a man worth trying to impress, he says. GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED, HE SAYS. R'hyn levels a look upon the older bronzerider that might well wither a lesser being than one such as Ila, a look that is held on the playful side of chiding only by hard quirks at the corners of R'hyn's mouth. Words come and go behind blue-grey eyes, unspoken but obvious before said eyes roll great big back over to Valerian with a sigh. Long suffering, thy name is Heryn. "You will." Endure, that is, just like he's enduring banter on both sides, feigned annoyance belied by huffed amusement for various exchanges. It's Valerian's quick-changed words that earns an honest-to-Faranth laugh from the bronzerider, a sharp barking noise that cracks into existence before quieting again, swooping hair set to swaying with a shake of his head. "Astronomical singularity, shells. Nice save," he drawls, eyes sparkling with mirth - mirth that persists through Ila'den's second shift in demeanor, as though sudden muting and swear-laden misuses of age-old idioms weren't cause for concern. Valerian's words are kept in check, Ila's jacket is removed, and through it all R'hyn grins a feral little grin, gaze eventually tearing away from the bronzerider to flick Vale the briefest of winks. "Unnecessary, truly, but thank you," the bronzer murmurs to arm-patted condolences, the kid's suppressed laughter earning a brilliant grin in return. "I wouldn't have him any other way." There might be more to be said - defenses of Ila'den's person, explanations of his own attitude - but some things are better left to self-discovery, and ultimately, despite teasing, despite mischief and chicanery, R'hyn knows better than to try. So he holds his tongue and follows instead, flicking brows up at Teimyrth in passing before lengthening his stride to keep pace with Valerian and definitely not check his dad's ass out as they walk, no. That's not the kind of man he is. Think of the children and get your mind out of the gutter, guys. Gosh. Ten drinks? Mayyybe make it twenty.

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