A-Gatherin' We Shall Go

Disclaimer: Adult language and themes.

Keroon Hold Gather Grounds
It's the place Keroon Hold hosts their Gathers~

He dances with enthusiasm enough to mark him as one who's developed a passion for the hobby, though still with a weyrbred's signature: more attention to the wild abandon that dance can be and less to the particular steps of the dance. Fortunately, this is not one with rigid forms or rows or other things that might be put in danger by Tiridyn's light-footed joy given escape through action. It may be afternoon, but that hasn't stopped the small throng of dancers from enjoying the music that is only a sampler of what will be available come nightfall and the real dancing begins. The Gather day is warm for autumn in Keroon, but that's more the better to sell drinks and fans and parasols for those who didn't think to bring such accoutrements. Perhaps strangely, Tiridyn is possessed of a fan and he's working it into his dance (because, shells, but it gets hot with all these moving bodies in one large pavilion). He's in his Gather best, which is truly a nice light heather grey set of trousers, and a pink shirt with white polka dots. It shouldn't work, and yet, on him, it does.

At least he isn’t alone in that joy given escape through action — there are others who have similar tastes, including one greenrider from Xanadu. Ru'ien has no love for organized dances and would have avoided the dance floor until nightfall, but when he caught on to this sample, he was lured in without pause. It did not take long for him to lose himself into the rhythm, as carefree as ever in his nature. Perhaps strange for some, but the fan Tiridyn possesses catches his eye as much as the young man himself. With a broad grin, he will purposely shift his next steps to bring him within the clerk’s space and line of sight. “Hello, stranger!” he muses, voice rolling in a near purr of amusement and richness of tones, blue gaze sharply appraising the other young man in clear approval. Ru’ien is dressed as eclectic as ever, not sparing much of his usual flavour even if he’s in Keroon and at a Gather. His riding leathers are no doubt back with Kihatsuth’s straps and instead he sports an outfit that toes the line between neutral and blend of both. Which means, he’s wearing a variant of the “skirt” he donned in Xanadu oh-so long ago, only this one is more cohesive to the whole outfit. The jacket and skirt (and the “leggings” beneath) are darkly dyed, while the tunic beneath is loose fitting and a greyish-blue. Calf high, modestly heeled, leather boots are on his feet and he wears no knot (rebel!). And if that wasn’t enough, his hair is styled in half braids, half loose, now well past his shoulders in length.

Dark eyes go wide, then narrow because smiling so widely just happens to make them do that. "Oh, hi!" That's between one step and a spin that brings him back around to face the greenrider, having to look up and then more up than even the last time. Eyes go down after that, taking in the whole. Something about the skirt makes his smile quirk into a grin and he's looking back up at the greenrider. "What's a nice greenrider like you doing in a stiff place like this?" He asks even as he extends both hands out toward Ru'ien, crossed at the wrists, presumably to offer for a dizzying spin they can partake of together this time, for all that he's many inches short now, and probably not nearly so graceful as the older man. LISTEN, enthusiasm, counts, right? He only looks like an enormous nerd guy having a lot of fun! And really, who would Tiri even be if he didn't let, "Wow, you're hair," pop out with unfiltered appreciation after he's gotten a good look, because those braids! Who could disagree with the enamored tone (even if it's probably just for the hair style)?

"Oh, you know, the usual!" Ru'ien muses around a broad grin of his own, gaze locked on Tiridyn despite their movements across the dance floor. "Doing a favor for a friend and since I'm their ride and it's gonna be awhile, why not have some fun? What's a young man like you doing in a dance like this?" There's a low laugh for that, not caring a bit for the lack of grace the younger clerk might exhibit — he'll take those crossed hands firmly and dizzy twirl him if that's what he wants (and trust Ru'ien, he wants it at least)! Enthusiasm definitely counts and the greenrider has that in abundance, along with arrogant confidence and a dash (or three) of "devil may care" to the opinions of others. Tiridyn's compliments are met with a wry slant to that grin and a little toss of his hair. "You like it? Thanks! Still experimenting." Ru'ien is definitely preening under the surface of this movements, which may be keeping him purposely close to the young clerk. There's another raking, appreciative look and an amused: "I'm loving this look on you! Not everyone could pull off those colors." Surely the music will come to an end at some point, but until it does, he's content to keep dancing — and should a new song not take up after the first, he will still linger. Hopeful, perhaps!

A quick nod is laced into the movements of the dance to acknowledged the greenrider's reasons for being here. "Oh, you know what they say," is not-quite-but-nearly chirped in quipped response, "work hard, play hard." That means this is really one of Tiridyn's varied travel-for-work moments, but why waste a good gather and a lively beat? A man gets only so many moments like this in a life and the sunshine from Fort seems bound and determined to wring every ounce of joy that can be got from this (or probably many a different) situation. As the song concludes, just as that dizzying spin leaves Tiridyn laughing, bright and infectiously, he reaches up to sweep a hand through floppy locks disheveled by the dance. "I want a closer look," he means touch, honestly, because who wouldn't want to touch braidwork that intricate? "At the braids. Drink?" He offers, glancing in the direction of a nearby booth set up for just that very predicted need. "My treat," he even sweetens the deal, but really, there's that strange absence of expectation. This is no hot and heavy flirtation even if there's evident appreciation in his dark eyes as he smiles up (and up~) at the greenrider, but whatever potential for this to be more than a friendly offer (that really does exist) is currently curbed. (Perhaps that's it's permanent state of being, though.)

Ru’ien’s laughter is richly genuine to that quipped response and truly, he’s got a similar mind. Why waste a perfectly good Gather atmosphere and a sampler of the kind of dancing not usually offered so brazenly public? Even if this is still “tame” compared to some of the kinds the greenrider finds (and partakes in). His grin is back when Tiridyn straight up asks him to touch his braided hair, gaze drifting back to him after tracking the movement of his hand sweeping through his own floppy locks. Ru’ien being Ru’ien, his answer is brightly etched all over his features and it doesn’t lessen when he feigns having to think about it! It’s all just for playful effect by this point. “Hmm. I guess I can let you look at them for a drink!” he quips in agreement. There’s a quick wink, which skirts the lines of playful versus outright flirting. Yet there’s no further expectations than just good company and some FUN! With a slight bow and a flourish of his hand, he’ll peer expectantly at Tiridyn, grin slanted wryly now. “Shall we?” He might have caught that earlier glance towards the booth, but as he straightens again, it’s clear he’s letting the young clerk ‘lead’ — but not without a little more play in the way that he offers him his arm. Really, he half expects to be rebuffed but that’s half the fun of it too for Ru’ien! It’s a testing of boundaries with how far he can push with his humor before it becomes an issue.

Ru'ien may really need to adjust some of his expectations, having found such a kindred spirt (in at least some ways) as Tiridyn is proving to be. He's laughing as he spins himself about so he can tuck his arm into the greenrider's without anything of hesitation. "You know, I would've gone as high as two drinks," he offers as a playful aside, but clearly he thinks it a good bargain since he doesn't try to alter the one struck of a drink for a closer look at the intricate braiding. Even still, if Ru'ien is coming close to that line of flirtation, Tiridyn seems a little oblivious to it, but maybe he's just too caught up in first the dance and then in helping navigate the conjoined set they've become toward the refreshment booth. Sliding into the queue, he tilts his head up at Ru'ien before down. "I thought you seemed taller," he observes. "Did you really need to loom that much more?" It's a tease, not a genuine complaint, even if he does have to crane his neck just that little bit more from this vantage, given his 5'8" stature, unassisted (it may be noted) by any additional height from his own ankle-high boots. "How've things been in Xanadu? It's been months," since they met, "but I'm due for a trip there soon, I think." He bounces up onto his toes as they wait, re-settling himself on his heels after a moment and stepping forward along with the slowly shortening line.

And he likely will make those adjustments, as Ru'ien comes to know Tiridyn better. Whether it be this time they cross paths or others that let him gather the little tidbits he needs to form a more in-depth and cohesive puzzle. He's delighted when the younger man takes his arm and chuckles low for the insight. "I'd thought about haggling but then realized that'd be greedy of me — since you didn't even have to offer a drink in the mix!" Amused, he'll step alongside Tiridyn with arms firmly linked and his stride confident even in that particular footwear. The next question brings another of his signature grins and a quiet laugh underlying his voice. "No way I could pass up these boots when I found them! They completed this outfit. Plus I feel fantastic in them — unless I forget to duck in doorways." Snickering, he'll bring his gaze downwards to him when they begin to settle into the queue line. "Oh, the usual." In Xanadu. "Work is work, keep it balanced between a few things and an active nightlife. Clutch hatched not that long ago too — y'know the usual Weyr stuff! Probably bound to change or shake up sometime soon." There's a noticeable look of intrigue next and a wry smirk. "That so?" He doesn't say it but it's there in his eyes and expression: more of that cannot-tell secret doings? Before they can linger much longer on that thread, he's skipping on down another. "And how have things been in Fort?"

"And you're not greedy by nature?" Tiridyn's question is as much a playful tease as a real question with real interest behind it. Dark eyes dance with a mirror of Ru'ien's delight, lips curved into a close-lipped smile. "You're not wrong," of the boots, of the outfit, of how it all comes together on the greenrider. "And feeling fantastic counts for most, so." That might explain the pink shirt with the white polka dots. Obviously his attire has only helped his perpetual self-possession, even if it hasn't shown him any doors out of the friendzone. It's fine. That's his home, see? "But I expect ducking through doorways is something you have to remember anytime." There's another tease, another grin. "If you duck more I could get a look at those braids, but maybe wait til we find somewhere to sit." That'll probably be a better vantage for the smaller man. "Working on any particular jewelry commissions right now or more general craft stuff?" Surely Ru does a mix. Tiri is no less interested in this than he is in the rest. "What kind of night life stuff?" That's next because that's interesting too. "Ours just hatched too," Tiridyn chimes in. "I've heard there's a Harper artist posted there and am looking to make myself an introduction." Beat. "A friend of mine stood for the Fort clutch and didn't impress. She's an artist and I was thinking that maybe putting her in contact with another artist might cheer her up and help her advance in what she loves." Because he's thoughtful. Of other things in Fort, he makes no mention. He does invite, "You could come by Fort sometime, or find me when you happen to be there," since surely he must go sometime, right? They're not even through this encounter and Tiri is inviting another. That has to be promising, right? Though, of what it's promising would be harder to say.

Ru’ien answers that first playful tease-real question with a broad, fox-like smirk that has his eyes narrowing with the unspoken words: of course he is, Tiridyn! “Depends on the scenario~” he mildly sing-songs instead. There’s a brief flicker of ego pride when the young clerk agrees with him on the choice of fashion and the ‘feels good’ reasoning with it — he may still be admiring those white polka dots on pink in little stolen glances too (or Tiridyn himself). He laughs for the tease of always having to duck, to which he only shrugs his shoulders. Such is the bane of his height! “Finding somewhere to sit would be a start,” he muses, and the way his mouth slants to something mischievous should be all the warning needed that the greenrider is about to be terrible with his teasing. “Unless you want me on my knees? I’d have to argue it’s a bit early in the day and a bit too public for my tastes.” But the idea of scandalizing a few Keroon holders doesn’t seem to bother him. He gives a rolling chuckle to his own joke (or was it?) and another quick wink to Tiridyn. No hard feelings for his terribleness? Moving on~ “It’s a bit of both, though lately more of the general stuff. Comes and goes, y’know? And well,” he pauses for effect, as if to mull over the answer he likely already has concerning his nightlife. “Dancing, mostly. Like we’d just done, only much more — Xanadu has some nice hidden spots for it.” He doesn’t even get to the parts involving a pole, because who gives away all the good stuff right away?

“Oh, that’s right! You saw it, then?” Ru’ien seems mildly curious, but not as intrigued as he is towards the mention of artists. “There’s a few artists in Xanadu! I happened across one awhile ago — been debating on taking up his offer on a portrait.” No surprise there? Good. He brightens considerably as Tiridyn goes further with his explanation. “What a fantastic and thoughtful idea!” And no, that wasn’t sarcasm! There isn’t a single note of it in Ru’ien’s response, just genuine enthusiasm. “Being left standing sucks but having something else to focus on should help.” That’s his shared “logic”, anyhow! Oh, blessed sweet child~ The invitation earns Tiridyn a broad grin but he seems to hesitate for just a half-breath of a second before promptly squashing whatever thought caused it. “Y’know, I think I will! It’s been a awhile since I’ve been in Fort. Don’t usually visit unless I got a good reason,” To risk running into his estranged family. Tiridyn must be that good reason. How special! “and maaaybe… you can show me some of the good spots?” Doesn’t that sound promising? Because Ru’ien is certainly taking it that way! “Or what you do for fun~”

"We-" Tiridyn starts of somewhere to sit only to have whatever he was going to say curtailed by that terrible teasing, that draws a laugh, but also a very dark blush that runs right up into his ears, complete with shyly darting dark glance to Ru'ien and away as he shakes his head in a way that very clearly says something like, 'Oh, you,' clearly taking the tease as a tease and not as flirtation with intent. If Ru'ien hits the point of starting to offer any kind of genuine hint toward anything, perhaps he's getting the sense that he'll have to clue Tiridyn into the goal of the game if he wants Tiri playing with the right deck. It'll be 'Go Fish' and 'Poker' at once otherwise. AND YET for all that, the blushing, and the density, it doesn't keep him from joking in response, "Well, it would do something for the doorframe and me," so two good reasons to be on his knees? Nevermind that Tiri isn't looking at Ru now. BUT YES, MOVING ON, he'll ROLL WITH THAT.

"Makes sense. Hopefully the general stuff doesn't bore you too much?" Maybe he even likes it~ There's that hopefulness to the tone of the clerk's voice as he inquires after work. "Dancing sounds like a lot of fun. You're good at it!" Tiridyn is passable but enthusiastic, so. " There's only a nod for having seen the hatching, no need to linger when there's, "What's to think about?" to be asked. "I'd braid your hair something like that when you have it done," he recommends with a smile that probably is an actual ego stroke, but so genuine it's almost criminal. "What's the artist's name?" He's not going to miss a chance to add another name to his list (or find he's speaking of the very same as he's seeking). "Yeah, happy to," show him the places he likes, or what he does for fun. "I'm out of the Weyr sometimes, but someone in the stores always knows whether I'm in Weyr or not. A couple of my firelizards are getting better at taking messages to people, so I might even be able to coordinate with you that way." His brows knits slightly at some thought but it's dismissed in the next breath as they reach the head of the line.

True to his word, Tiridyn will buy them both drinks (large drinks to avoid a need to re-queue) and he makes a gesture toward where there's some shaded seating, if still bustling with the gather crowd. If Ru'ien can wait that long to talk, Tiri's not going to bother to sit down, only to set his mug on the table and bounce on the toes of his feet in anticipation of that touch closer look of the older man's braiding.

Ru’ien’s laughter will be with Tiridyn, deep and rolling, for the way the young clerk blushes so tellingly (don’t think for a moment that he missed the connection!). It renews again for that comment on him and doorframes and if he’s a little flushed, well — he’s having a good time okay? He will catch on quick enough should his playful teasing venture into different territories of suggestiveness; right now, though, it is largely without any expectations. As it comes to be their turn to order drinks, Ru’ien will hastily reply to one topic among the many, supplying Tiridyn with a name to mull on. “Averil was his name!” The artist he ran into once and from his quick grin, wouldn’t mind a second crossing of paths. MOVING ON~ Following the gesture from the young clerk, Ru’ien will stride over to that shaded seating, taking a sip from his mug even as he folds himself gracefully into a seat. One eye drifts open and seeing Tiridyn bouncing on the toes of his feet, almost doesn’t suppress his chuckled laughter in time. “Hold on,” he muses, turning a little in his seat to face him — then he rests his arms on his thighs, leaning forwards and down a little, head tilted so that the side with the most braids is up for offer first. “Go on~” If he had more to say, he keeps it in check for now; either they’ll get back to it or perhaps it wasn’t immediately important to be addressed. First things first! “I’m not so good with the formal kind of dancing — all those strict steps, y’know? Which is why I stick to the nightlife places.” he murmurs by way of circling back to a piece of their previous conversation. "You seemed to really enjoy yourself with the sampler they gave!" Enthusiasm counts in Ru'ien's books!

The name draws brows up and a widening of Tiri's smile before he's immediately distracted by the drink ordering, but rest assured he will come back to that. "I'm holding!" Tiri defends his- yes, he is still bouncing, but it's all well and good because the greenrider gets settled in short order, though this doesn't stop a quipped, "Hurry up," that's more for effect than genuine intention to rush him.

The lean forward does make Tiri's lips twitch. "I'm not that short," he complains, even as he's invading Ru'ien's personal space unselfconsciously. One hand slides under the greenrider's jaw without even looking at him, using the gentle touch there to (with the older man's cooperation) position it just how he wants so he can see what he wants to see. His other hand is careful, but absolutely is touching as much as his eyes are looking. He's not disturbing, but his fingers are tracing the lines of the braids ever so lightly. The low whistle really says it all and after a few moments, hands are withdrawing if not without a(n unconscious?) trail of touch in their wake.

He's distracted by Ru'ien's words before he can ask to see the other side. It leaves him smiling warmly down at the Xanadoan, "Yeah, dancing is fun. I mean, really, any kind of moving around is fun," but maybe Ru'ien has noticed how Tiridyn has an abundance of energy to dispose of, so this may not come as any great surprise. "Will you show me one when I'm in Xanadu if you're around?" Beat. "What do you like best about them?" These mysterious nightlife places.

Ru’ien scoffs for the ‘hurry up’ effect and if he hadn’t already committed to playing up their height differences, he’d have moved slower. As it is, he gets one response at least and that has him grinning. “Oh? My bad, then!” he says without an ounce of actual apology. Tiridyn is in his personal space then and he blinks, brows furrowing slightly while his gaze drifts upwards as much as it can. The hand sliding under his jaw was unexpected and the young clerk gained his cooperation easily (and maybe it is noted that the greenrider leans more into the touch than away from it or indifferent). He will also learn (perhaps very quickly in), that Ru’ien does not have issues with being touched! There’s only a chuckled breath for that low whistle, while his gaze lowers and his eyes close a little with the continued touch, inclining that trailing one in the wake of his hands withdrawing. It’s not until he feels that distracted pause that Ru’ien tilts his head — this time he does lift his eyes to meet the younger man’s. Complete with a broad, slanting grin. “Yeah, I know a few that’d be a decent introduction into things for you! You show me something you enjoy in Fort and I’ll show you mine in Xanadu.” Deal? And what does he like of them? He makes a thoughtful, hummed sound low in his throat. “No knots — no one cares who you are. It’s just a lot of good, gritty and no limit fun, with no real rules as to “what goes''," But undoubtedly containing the usual 'unspoken rules'! "Y’know? You won’t see the kind of stuff out here.” He flicks one of his hands to indicate the Gather grounds, though he may just mean ‘public’ in general! "It's somewhere I can go and burn off some restless energy — use it more when Kihatsuth's proddy." Fair warning, Tiridyn!

'His bad' gets a little, tiny tweak of one of the braids, and a smile that can't be repressed (even though Tiridyn is clearly trying). It's hard to say if the clerk picks up on the leaning into rather than away from, but maybe he's just distracted, or maybe he just was very sure that what he was doing was not going to be objectionable before he began. Since the immediate investigation of the other side of the greenrider's head isn't immediately forthcoming, Tiri is flopping onto the bench, his back leaning into the table while his (shorter-than-Ru's~) legs half-sprawling out away from the bench.

He twists enough to claim his mug before he's letting dark eyes flit across his companion before going to rove across the ready visual entertainment of the gather goers going about their varied business-or-pleasure. He's listening though. "Sounds great," deal, "We'll have to see what's going on when you're in the area, but I'm sure I can come up with something." He does know some places, with the way he gets around, befriending practically anybody and everybody (almost). He recounts the 'good points,' "Anonymous, no boundaries, subversive. I think I'm starting to get a read on you, Ru'ien." It's not a bad read though, given the bright grin. "What's it like for you when she's proddy?" It's a fair question, given the warning - what does Tiri need to know?

That tweak to his braids earns a slight noise of playful protest (hey!) and a curving smirk from Ru’ien, but no further “retaliation” for it! Once Tiridyn seems content to leave off a follow up investigation on the other side of his head, he will promptly settle more deeply and comfortably into his seat (and his legs will have to find ample enough room to stretch!), “Might be awhile before I can skip on over to Fort, but I can give you some forewarning! You said you got firelizards, right? If they’re trustworthy enough, I got my own too.” Why not use them, even if it’s questionable how reliable either of their firelizards are? As the points are recounted, Ru’ien only smirks all the more broadly and smugly, while he reaches casually for his drink. He doesn’t immediately lift it up to his lips, choosing instead to run his (long) fingers along the rim. “Yeah? Liking what you’re ‘reading’ on me, so far?” he teases, before briefly running the tip of his tongue over his lower lip in an amused thoughtful way.

“Do you ask every greenrider that question?” He muses, smirk tilting to a wry grin (it’s a joke, Tiridyn!). Sobering in the next breath, he’ll finally take a sip of that drink before answering. “Early on and throughout, I run hot — literally, I feel feverish and even am flushed but am fine. Restlessness ramps up like crazy as the days go on and usually the last days or so I gotta keep moving or preoccupied. Aches to be too still, usually means I don’t sleep much or at all.” Which from the way he grimaces, is not his favourite part. “And I get texture fixated! Touching anything can either be wonderful, fascinating beyond reason or even bordering on ecstasy — or it’s too much of a good thing.” Turning his head slightly to fix his gaze on him, Ru’ien winks with a crooked grin that is both playful and reassuring. “In a nutshell? Relatively harmless~” Proddiness does not mean Ru’ien loses all his reasoning! He respects the boundaries of his company at the time (even if sometimes those lines may be gently toed).

"Sure," is ready understanding, but then, that blush? It's suddenly back in full force and deepening. Awkward is a painfully adorable look on Tiridyn. Dark eyes flutter up toward the sky as if this will help his only obliquely approached chagrin. It accounts for the way his words aren't much filtered as they spill, one and then another. "I don't know about trustworthy." But. "I mean, I think Seek and Snatch might manage it. Grab only manages when he wants to. Smash just makes a mess of everything. Dare will probably manage one day, but he's the youngest. And they're all so young, still, really." And onnnnn and oonnnnnn goes that blush, because, count them, five. Maybe if Tiridyn just acts like it's totally normal to have five baby firelizards Ru'ien won't notice the fidgeting as if they hadn't stumbled onto a topic that puts Tiri onto tenterhooks.

He clears his throat. "Who wouldn't like what they read from you?" Which is Tiri for yes, but also a true bafflement for the idea that Ru might not be everyone's cup of tea. "I only ask when it might be important to know," he adds, not joking, but not taking the tone too heavy in his response. "That sounds a little complicated," the whole experience Ru'ien describes, but it's not said with judgment. "I wasn't really worried, more just— wanting to know if there's anything I shouldn't do when I'm with you while you're like that." Maybe. There's something more there going unsaid but SUDDENLY he needs to take a drink. YEP. "Anyway," he hooks right back around to the visit to Fort, "I'm sure we can coordinate somehow. I have rider friends that could get a note to you even if my firelizards can't." Don't mind how he pinches his eyes briefly shut for bringing them up again.

It certainly IS an adorable look on Tiridyn and the effect not lost at all on Ru’ien, who is staring fixedly upon the young clerk; who cares if there’s a myriad of folk to watch passing them by! He shifts his weight in his seat, turning more towards him now in a not-so subtle lean of intrigue as those words spill unfiltered. Worse, he listens — worst yet, Ru’ien actually counts out the names quietly to himself on his fingers. It’s a playful gesture though, as always, in the essence of his teasing. Maybe five baby firelizards isn’t THAT unusual to him? Given his eventual response is: “Damn, I don’t envy you? I thought my three were a handful enough — I mean, Drifts and Chisel are almost feral little assholes but they listen to Kihatsuth. Bolster is my only reliable one. So.” He sympathizes, though he can’t help but give Tiridyn a LOOK that says ‘there’s got to be stories to how he ended up with so many (and he wants to know) !

Ru’ien smirks wryly for the bafflement on Tiri’s end. “A few don’t and I get it? I can be a lot for some folk.” Yet he doesn’t apologize for being himself or hold regret or wishes to (largely) change. He states it mostly like a fact he’s just come to accept! He chuckles low, “Much about me is complicated,” he muses, finally letting his gaze lower as he takes another long sip of his drink. Oh, what could possibly be unsaid now? Maybe Ru’ien has a hint. He smiles broadly, almost a grin, but there’s not as much of a teasing edge to it now. “I’m not sure?” If there’s anything he shouldn’t do. “It’s very moment by moment. I could tell you ‘don’t do this’ but it’ll turn out of be ‘that thing’ instead, y’know?” Then they’re hooking back around to their proposed visit to Fort and he goes right along with. He tries hard, real hard, not to chuckle for Tiridyn’s so adorable reaction to his firelizard situation. “That works too! I wonder if I could get Bolster to stay long enough for you to send a reply with him — might be another way? I’d… ah,” Now it’s his turn to clear his throat a little. “It’s not in Kiha’s nature to bespeak others and even if she was inclined I don’t know if I’d wanna put that on you.” Neither does he sound overly confident that the green could reach the distance. Up close and personal? Different story.

It's fine that Ru is counting on his fingers, because Tiri ISN'T LOOKING while he's doing that. The blush is going deep enough as is. "No," is his answer to the not really a question, only to have it overridden with, "I mean, you shouldn't," and once more with, "I mean, it was an accident. A couple accidents. I've learned my lesson." Maybe. "I'm really good with a lot of different kinds of supply procurement but live cargo is not one." His eyes drop to his drink and then he's looking over to Ru'ien, lips a line that still hold the intimation of a smile. "I've thought about seeing if one or another would want to go wild, but— then which and they're all— well." He just can't do it, bleeding heart that he can be. The smile appears now, rueful, but he is who he is and that just can't be helped.

"'A lot' and 'complicated' can be good things. Keeps things interesting." Tiridyn's smile shifts to warmer, also unapologetic, and there's even a little shrug. The thing unspoken is complicated because Ru isn't the only one, so there~ But who knows whether his guess is in the right direction or not? It may be telling that dark eyes go flitting away and there's a swallow and a nod for things changing moment by moment as to what might be shoulds or shouldn'ts when it comes to a proddy Ru. Presumably, Tiri will trust the greenrider to let him know in the moment, should it be relevant. "I've had it happen a few times. Dragons speaking directly." He does get around. "It's something else, for sure. I don't usually mind?" Of course, he doesn't know Kiha. "I'm sure we'll work it out, somehow," there's a little wave of one hand to maybe submit it to the fickleness of fate or whatever forces might like to toy with such things: luck, maybe?

Ru’ien’s smile curves to a broader slant in answer to Tiridyn’s ruefulness, eyes narrowing in an unspoken ‘did you learn a lesson?’ but he relents in further teasing on that matter. There’s a small nod of recognition for Tiri’s potential bleeding heart in failing to go through with sending one (or more) of his firelizards wild — and a slight lift of his glass as if to toast to that “failure”. Just wasn’t in the cards, was it? “Exactly! I think it keeps things interesting too.” Ru’ien is quick to chime in with keeping things interesting, smile now morphing back again to a delighted grin that the young clerk gets it (at least that much). Whether he’s picking up the correct messages is uncertain, but he’s definitely subtly watching those reactions of Tiridyn’s (and intrigued by them). “You don’t mind?” he muses, genuinely curious by that admission even as he shakes his head slightly. “You might with her but I guess if it’s not going to be an immediate shock, it should lessen it. I never know with her!” Given he’s more or less bonded to a form of (emotion-driven) chaos. Fate and luck aren’t unfamiliar and Ru’ien is content to leave the rest of that conversation on that note.

Tiri's eyes go suspiciously skirting away at the unspoken question but it won't be him bringing that up in words. Not when there's another distraction topic to seize upon. "I guess growing up I sort of always wondered what one would sound like. My mom's doesn't talk to me," which is really no big deal since many of the Fort dragons aren't particularly noisy in their communications, "so it was kind of a trip the first time it happened, you know?" He's sort of assuming that Kihatsuth wasn't the first dragon Ru'ien ever heard and there's a lift of brows in silent inquiry. "But after the first time, it was interesting to wrap my head around how one was different from another. They haven't really spoken to me at length, but some— I don't know, their riders just said they like to do that." There's an easy shrug; here is a man who does not need it explained to him that dragons are as varied in their personalities (maybe even more varied~) than people.

"I might mind with her," he does allow, "and she certainly doesn't have to," especially since he's said she's not particularly given to it, but apparently he's leaving the door open there. "I might even make it out to Xanadu before you make it to Fort. Maybe I can meet her if I do," since there isn't exactly a good place in Keroon Hold's gather grounds to make that sort of convenient introduction.

“I bet it was,” Ru’ien muses in low tones, a wry smirk curving his lips as he settles into a comfortable slouching lean of those who are completely relaxed. His fingers idly trace the edge of his glass, all while his gaze never quite leaves Tiridyn for long. “And I can relate, but it was the opposite for me. My mom’s dragon spoke to me often, but my dad’s didn’t. It was unusual because her blue didn’t even talk much among other dragons but us kids?” He gives a little shrug and presumably the ‘us kids’ means immediate relations and not just every kid, but Ru’ien doesn’t elaborate further. There’s another nod, again of unspoken agreement, to the preferences of dragons, but he lets that topic drift in favour of another. One that has him laughing quietly and low throated, that grin back in play upon his features and to match his equally light teasing.

“Kihatsuth will never do anything she isn’t convinced is her idea or preference to start with. You’ll probably end up meeting her on “her terms” — which means I’ve got no idea when or where or how. Just a forewarning, if you do come to Xanadu first.” His eyes narrow playfully, as he lifts his drink to his lips and lets that hang ominously for a breath or two. As he leans forwards a bit to place his now empty drink back on the table, he’ll glance sidelong to the young clerk, grin tapering to an equally playful smirk. “Very big girl, curvaceous, dusty green almost uniformly and talons for days? That’s her. I recommend you just play along if I’m not there — and until I get there.”

"I'm not sure Yajdrith ever really knew I was any different from any other caverns kid except that my mom stopped by to see me time to time." There's no rancor for that, just simple recognition of fact. He does ask, because all riders seem to have ever so slight variations on the spectrum for child care and parenting involvement, "Did you— and your siblings—" because he's picked up on 'us kids,' "— grow up living with your parents?" It's not a digging curiosity, but it is a genuine one, light though the touch of it is to that question. Within the spectrum, of course, are those weyrbrats who don't like talking about their upbringing and of this a weyrbrat like Tiridyn cannot help but be aware.

"Playing along is one of my strong suits." Tiri offers as much because it's true as because it lets Ru'ien have a different topic to sink his teeth into lest he wish to only touch lightly (or not at all) on the potentially harder one. "Is there anything she tends to like in particular that I might be able to talk with her about until you arrive?" Give him tips, Ru'ien. Playing along is so much easier with insider-information. The warning though, on the whole, is taken in stride, which at least bodes well for the bold spirit dwelling inside the compact package that is the Fortian.

Ru’ien can only give a neutral look and lift to his shoulders to that simple recognition of fact. It’s very possible that that was why Yajdrith never bespoke Tiridyn? Or there could be a variety of reasons that not even he can (or desires to) assume. His expression flickers in the next beat to the young clerk’s oh-so genuine question — a slight tightening, a near grimace which soon relaxes back into that familiar, carefree, smile of his. “Yeah, at first we were all one big,” Happy “family, but things changed.” Despite the smile, his tone brokers a ‘not for the best’ edge but elaboration does not follow. Which, for an overall enthusiastic soul like his? Is a clear ‘not wanting to talk about it (right now)’ sign.

“Not a bad strong suit to have at all!” Ru’ien’s definitely going to sink his teeth into the new topic, his smile now broadening. “And if that’s true with you,” A small verbal elbowing tease! “Then you won’t have any problems with Kiha.” He admits that with a lofty sort of confidence, as if assured just by Tiri’s claims alone. Oh, he wants actual tips and insider information? Ru’ien tilts his head a little, his free hand coming up to tuck under the curve of his jaw while he mimes heavy thought by tapping his index finger to his cheek. Hmm! “… I’ve got nothing.” he admits after enough anticipatory pause, lowering his hand in a helpless sweep to follow the shrug of that shoulder. Okay, so he’s not that cruel and offers AN answer (maybe)! “She is as benign as chaos can be. You can easily just be yourself, Tiri, and she’ll adore you for it — or you feed into her ego.” Simple, right?

The good news is that Tiridyn is well-versed in signs. The other news (good or bad is in the eye of the receiver) is that he's the sort of person to not let such a thing go unacknowledged, if only by shifting a little and reaching out a hand to touch lightly to Ru'ien's knee. It's silent support for whatever that is. He grew up with a family of weyrbrats. Every one of them had wounds, some more similar than others. The dark eyes that look up into Ru'ien's face speak, if only for a moment, to say quite plainly that he gets that there's something to get even if he doesn't know just what that is for the greenrider. He gives it respectful space, but also open support.

His hand withdraws and settles on his own thigh while the other brings his drink to his lips. Maybe he's contemplating Ru'ien's lack of answer, or his attempted answer thereafter as his gaze meanders across the people there are to see. "Alright." Tiri concludes, dark eyes turning back to the dragonrider. "Obviously I'm in trouble, but I'll trust you'll save me." That might be a joke, but those dark eyes might also be charging Ru'ien with a responsibility. Tiri's job: stay alive while Ru gets there. Ru's job: save him once he makes an appearance.

In this instance, it is good. Ru’ien does not mind touch being the unspoken voice of acknowledgement and the touch of Tiridyn’s hand to his knee will be warmly received — it even brings his hand down to lightly rest over his, for however long. His way of saying that he appreciates that open support but also truly appreciates Tiri’s respect.

Once his hand withdraws, Ru’ien’s will casually to his lap, while his other lifts his drink to finish the last of its contents — once empty, he gives it an almost forlorn examination. Maybe he should have bartered for seconds! Yet once he feels Tiridyn’s gaze on him, he’ll glance sidelong and down with a smirk that morphs slowly into that broader grin of his. “As much as I’d like to see how long you could last, I’ll be there to save you! Try not to aim for the ‘damsel in distress’ though? Or is that also your thing, too?” He’s teasing again, in revenge return for that joke and hint of charging HIM of all people with responsibility! And because that topic of conversation (at least to him) is reaching a natural conclusion based on more silent agreement on their part, Ru’ien casts his gaze out to the crowds for a breath or two — thoughtful.

That is, until his gaze settles on Tiri again and Ru’ien’s grin turns wry (if not hopeful). “Want another round?” Of drinks, of course! It wasn’t part of the original “deal” but he doesn’t seem keen on parting company quite yet.

"No, I make an effort to need as little rescue as possible," Tiridyn replies, smile reappearing, cheekily this time. "After all, there aren't so many dashing heroes with impeccable timing as the books like to imagine there are." Like Ru. The implication is there even if the shorter man is on his feet with a little bounce in the next moment, working on his drink a little further before he offers the remainder silently up to Ru - waste not~ "I want to walk around and look at some of the booths. Want to come keep an eye on me in case I suddenly trip into a need of rescue? Or, you know, just for company and conversation." That's fine too. His empty hand is extending toward Ru'ien as if Ru might need (or just want) help getting to his feet all the faster to give bouncy Tiridyn the relief of movement for his eternal energy.

Ru’ien can’t help but laugh at Tiridyn’s cheekiness, his grin broadening to something far more wry and mischievously than before. His gaze will track that little bounce and movement as the young clerk gets to his feet — he’ll be a moment or two behind him, for that reason. Not from lack of enthusiasm though! There’s also the fact that he’s being offered the last of Tiri’s drink and he accepts without hesitation, knocking it back quick enough that he won’t be left waiting too long. Taking the young clerk’s hand firmly in his, Ru’ien rises to his full (heeled) height, straightening parts of his outfit and smoothing out others. Don’t mind him, he needs a second to preen! Which includes fussing with his hair a little. If they’re going to browse the stalls, he needs to be at his most scandalous best! “I’d make a shit poor bodyguard,” he muses with a wink, as he now offers Tiridyn his arm again. “Company and conversation though? Always.”

"I try not to find any trouble that takes more than a clever tongue to get out of." Tiridyn says it without really thinking, distracted by all the possibilities, out there~ And thus he has no concept just how that might sound. "Worst case, I always like a good run," because not only is it skin-saving, but good for an excess of energy (and adrenaline). "Wouldn't try it in those shoes though, so…" He observes before flashing a big smile up at Ru'ien (up and up~). At least all this chatter means that Tiri isn't seeking to rush the greenrider. "The first thing I want you to tell me is how Averil looks. As in, if I go poking around Xanadu for him, which I will, because that's who I was going to try to track down," he adds this footnote before returning to the main point, "how will I know him when I see him?" When Ru'ien is ready, but not before, Tiri is prepared to head out into the crowd, sticking close to the man with a distinctly different vantage.

Ru’ien opens his mouth to immediately speak up with some inappropriate quip on the use of tongues but decides to curb that reflex of his. Instead, he just grins sheepishly at Tiridyn. Oh, you don’t say? He scoffs for the remark about running in his shoes and the greenrider gives him a look. “You’d be surprised what you can run in!” he remarks with a smirk that is playful and giving away that he knows damn well he’d be done for if he tried. No need to point it out! “Mhm, well…” Ru’ien’s happy enough to move on to discussing their mutual interest in a certain artist. “He’s short. Shorter than you! Really short for me.” Comical, really. He’ll go on too, in rather descriptive detail (maybe too much) on any other ‘features’ he noted. “Oh! And when I met him? He had a cute little ribbon in his hair~ I’d say that, and if he has his satchel with him? Dead give away. No way you can miss him!” Ru’ien throws in an expressive gesture of his hands to emphasize that confidence he feels, for Tiridyn’s luck of finding one particular artist in all of Xanadu Weyr.

The sheepishness to that grin meets with a look from Tiridyn that says he missed the joke, but he's not lingering on it, possibly because he's getting a look in turn. "I don't know that I'd be surprised, at need, but you're braver than me if you're volunteering," without duress, even. He's not the sort of man whose ego is bothered by that idea, though it would be a mistake to decide he's as humble about all qualities. He might, for example, be affronted if one were to suggest him a lesser listener, for he does that well as Ru'ien offers the description of the artist in question. "Then I need to add ribbons to my shopping list," and he flashes a grin up at Ru'ien, "and you can tell me what kind." It's almost a question, but not quite. Obviously Tiri's hair, for as floppy fun as it can be when it's not been groomed back as it largely is now, is not long enough for ribbons. "So he's going to do your portrait?" He comes back around to the earlier mention with a lift of brows even if the greenrider had said debating.

"If we weren't at a Gather and the chance at some of the dancing I prefer happening later? I'd give you a demonstration on how to run in fabulous heeled boots!" Ru'ien muses, broad smirk suggesting plenty of seriousness to his teasing tone. He should (probably) stay decently together (and sober), as well as uninjured if his original 'passenger/friend' hopes to get a ride back! "Why the ribbon? A peace offering?" He asks, more intrigued than joking, returning that grin even as he looks thoughtfully distracted. "Mhm. I think the one he was wearing was pale coloured. Dainty? Girly, for sure! Even if it was simpler in style." Is any of that rambling helping? If they weren't busy with walking, Ru'ien might have tried to ruffle Tiridyn's hair; the look he gives him suggests as much! "I'm hoping so, if he'll accept my request! Been thinking between one of my more favourite," Read: even more eccentric! "Outfits or a nude. Maybe both? Ah, I just can't decide!" He sighs more than outright exclaiming over it. Cursed indecision!

"You can show me another time," Tiri is quick to both welcome and reassure. Who would turn down demonstrations of running in fabulous heeled boots? Of course, he probably won't push for Ru to name a date and time. He just quirks a playful smile up at the greenrider before the next question rearranges his expression into laughter, light and quick, there and gone. "Oh, well, when you're going to show up begging for favors, it's better to have an opening play planned. Or a back up plan in case he's not inclined to talk to me." Listen, it's happened, hard as it might be to believe. The rambling might be helping; if nothing else, it will give Tiridyn direction if, for some reason, Ru'ien has to depart before the ribbons are procured. Fortunately, that seems unlikely, especially when the stores clerk can put his expertise into service with the greenrider's indecision. Imagine just how many times he's called upon in the course of routine Weyr stores duties to help guide an indecisive person in search of a good fit for whatever they're seeking. He doesn't point that out, but rather, starts with a casual glance and an inquisitive, "Well, what will you do with it once it's done?"

Ru’ien flashes a quick grin to Tiri’s welcome and reassurance about ‘another time’ — he might not forget that, but will it ever come to be? Time will tell (and the right series of events~)! His grin will extend on through that laughter and the playful smile from the young clerk and some of his focus is drawn to their path or those milling about them; most of it though, remains attentively focused on him. “Oh! When you put it like that? It’s not a bad plan!” he muses. He’s going to have to start taking notes! Ru’ien almost goes on to add some reassurance that Tiri will have no trouble with Averil but he bites his tongue. Was he wanting to do the ribbon shopping alone? Because the greenrider seems keen on tagging along for company even through that ‘important’ task! Scoffing lightly, Ru’ien will tilt his gaze skywards for a moment as his brows knit together in actual thought this time. Eventually he will glance sidelong and down to Tiri again. “Well,” he exhales softly, followed by a light shrug to his shoulders. “See, that’s the trick, right? I mean, I don’t mind having it as my own!” Because that’s not egotistical at all? “Conversation piece, for sure~ But then I started to wonder if I shouldn’t consider it as a gift. Is that even a thing? And where would THEY hang it? Can you not hang it and just… keep it somehow?” L I S T E N, Kihatsuth's the artist, okay? And Ru'ien knows some about design but he's a Smith first!

"Thanks. I aim for good plans," Tiridyn's rejoinder is dry and he flashes a grin up at Ru'ien. There's no sign that despite the clerk's evident self-assurance about his professional tactics (he has been at the job over six turns now~) that he's aiming to get rid of his companion. In fact, his hand comes up to snag Ru's and tug him in the direction of one of the booths now that they're into a section with more vendors of a variety of offerings. "I mean, I have a portrait of me hanging in my room, so," clearly Tiri doesn't find anything strange or egotistical about that, but his motives might be different than Ru'ien's. "I think you could gift it, but you'd have to be okay with whoever it was doing whatever they wanted with it. That was kind of always a hard thing for me, because when I give people things, I always have ideas about how they should be using them— or not using them, depending. It helps if I remember to breathe and that the point was because I thought it would make them happy." Helps, mind, but doesn't always solve the under-the-skin itching seeing one of his gift misused. (It's cute, it's fine.)

With his hand thus snagged, Ru’ien will eagerly follow along by Tiridyn’s lead, content to be tugged in whichever direction the young clerk needs to go! Unless, of course, something catches his eye but so far, none of the vendors are displaying anything so catching as to distract the greenrider so thoroughly. “No way!” he exclaims to Tiri’s admission to having a portrait in his room. Did that just sell Ru’ien on the idea or is he imagining the portrait? “So it’s not that odd? Where did you hang it in your room? Like… right out in the open or is it somewhere kind of semi-out of view?” Details, Tiri! DETAILS. At least he’s not asking to come see it personally? not directly, anyhow Ru’ien does his best, he really does, during the rest of Tiridyn’s explanation but between having to withhold laughing and the desire to just stop them in their tracks and squish the clerk into a hug because he’s so adorable, it’s the laughter that wins out. It’s a low throated, quiet laugh at least! “Well, a gift of a nude portrait leaves little guesswork…” Okay, okay, so he’s being immature here but he sobers in the next breath. “I suck with gifts. I didn’t even think it could get that complicated, like how you put it. Sounds… frustrating? When it should be just that point you mentioned — the thought that counts, right? You wanted to make someone happy! That’s like… the best motive behind something like a gift!” In Ru’ien’s world opinion!

It's a weavercraft stall to which Tiridyn is leading Ru'ien. One who has on colorful display a variety of scarves that are variously hand-painted dye jobs or more uniformly colorful. They're there to draw the eye, and maybe the clerk is hopeful for ribbons (but he's going to be disappointed here; not that he knows that yet - plenty to see anyway~). He flashes a wide smile to the pair of apprentices handing other prospective customers whose pockets look a mite deeper than the eccentrically dressed duo arriving but one calls they should make free to look around and let them know if they need help. Tiridyn is clearly a shop-by-feel person who can't resist pawing (clean) hands across the merchandise.

"Oh, it's just on the wall. By the door. You can come see when you're in Fort if you like." Apparently Tiridyn's home is not a fortress of solitude so private a space that he's not completely comfortable inviting a not-quite stranger to visit. "My artist friend who stood this cycle did it a while back." And if it might sound like his friend could have used the confidence boost of a commission for a portrait while trying her fledgling artist wings, that wouldn't be even a little bit wrong, but Ru'ien might have to wait until his visit to Fort to find that out. "I don't think it's odd. My friend did it and I'm proud of her." Because he is. "Besides, in the right light, I'm kind of cute." Only to Tiridyn is that a joke; that's what his voice paints it as, at any rate. But we all know the truth.

"If you're gifting a nude portrait to someone who needs to guess, there might be a better home for it." Tiri is not volunteering himself for that Better Home role, but he does suddenly sound awfully prim about it, even if he's flashing another smile to Ru'ien in the next moment. "I had bigger ideas about the shoulds and shouldn'ts about gifts when I was younger. A lot less now. Still, it's nice if it's put to something close to the purpose it's intended for. I've gotten better about reading people for what I could give them that would make them happy and make me happy to give, but it's an art, not a science. No formula to follow or anything, so I still get it wrong sometimes." He barely resists asking how he looks as he plucks up a colorful but muted scarf and sets about working expertly to tuck it around his neck and shifting to look in the small mirror propped there for just that purpose.

L I S T EN! Ru’ien is not going to complain about hitting up Weavercraft stalls! Even if scarves aren’t quite his thing (today), he can appreciate some good craftsmanship and is likely to take Tiridyn’s approach in shopping by feeling (with equally clean hands, thank you). Does he know there’s no ribbons here? Of course. But where’s the rush?

“Really? Huh. I didn’t even consider by the door or over it! I’d like that.” The placement or seeing it in person? Knowing the greenrider, he meant BOTH! “Did she? Well, now, maybe I really do need to come see it. Can’t hurt to build up a list of known portrait artists, right? Maybe I’ll like her work too~” he muses, his gaze eyeing up some of the items on display. “Never thought to look at it that way too” he agrees on being ‘proud’ of a friend’s work. It’s a good “joke”! Which Ru’ien expands on with a wry smirk. “Try ‘any light’ and just straight up ‘cute’.” he corrects with a rolling chuckle. That same chuckle morphs into more of a laugh for the ‘better home’ for his gifting idea, but leaves it at that. Ru’ien listens, instead, to Tiri talk while examining one louder designed scarf with considerable admiration. “Now you got me curious,” he muses in that tone suggesting a hint of mischief and playfulness. “What would you consider gifting me?” He really should’ve seen that coming! And know that he can evade as Ru’ien isn’t pushing the matter; it’s just for fun~ Tiridyn won’t have to ask how he looks — the greenrider is going to make it obvious that he’s scrutinizing the colors on him and his expression says it all: not bad! Not bad at all.

The laughter that Ru has between chuckle and larger laugh might as well also be for the sudden depth of a blush on Tiridyn's cheeks and the way he, oh, you know, suddenly can't look at the greenrider. His lips press together, and that look? It's genuine modesty, or perhaps obliviousness, but either way, there's no roaring self-confidence about his looks coming swaggering to life, just that shy not-quite-being-sure-what-to-say to the compliment. He probably thinks it's a joke, if a well-meant one. Tiri clears his throat, to skip right past his reaction after a moment, "I'd be happy to introduce you. She's still sort of getting her professional start, but I really like her work." Given that he's going to lengths to find another artist in order to make the connection for his artist, there may be some bias at work there. He starts undoing the scarf with his hands, because that coloring with his blush isn't working for him (or maybe just the blush). "For you? Something unique. Something interesting. Something probably wearable. But it would depend a little on what I found that met the first two criteria." That is to say that Ru'ien's a challenge for the eager gifter but time may tell just what Tiridyn would or wouldn't gift to the greenrider seeing as how Ru's going to visit and see Tiri's room at some point, and they're going dancing and— Clearly, there's a friendship in the making here in the very least.

Will Tiridyn ever learn that blushing in that way and then suddenly avoiding his gaze is only going to encourage Ru’ien? Granted, he’s never been too over the top with him (yet), but there’s a broad smirk for the way the clerk evades him again. He wasn’t expecting some sudden burst of self-confidence! It was and wasn’t a joke and not in the way Tiri is likely assuming. He meant it and while he usually chases further, he is content for now with that much of a reaction. “I’ll take your word on her skill,” he muses. Does he sense that bias? Maybe. Ru’ien holds no judgement! “You really do have connections all over, don’t you?” He says it with a teasing tone, but it’s not mocking and more playfully impressed. There’s a smirk as the scarf is returned, his attention now back on the young clerk versus what is offered at that stall. Time to move on? “Ooh, not far off the mark~” Ru’ien muses, looking far too pleased with himself to be a ‘challenge’ — but then, he doesn’t expect gifts. It’s a bonus, for sure! But not a requirement in any of his relationships (but spoiler alert: anything gifted to him will be cherished). There’s a lot of opportunities potentially coming up, for Tiri to see more of just who Ru’ien really is — or for the makings of a friendship! Even if that’s already begun on the greenrider’s end. “See anything else you like?” he asks, genuinely meaning the wares and nothing subtly implied. Shall they move on?

If the blushing were intentional, possibly Tiridyn could learn, but as it is a wholly uncontrollable response, he probably couldn't even if he wanted to (and he might~). Second to that is moving on, which he might subconsciously be aware is his go to in awkward moments. Right now, they're moving on, so there's no need to pause and examine. "I try to. It helps in my line of work." Tiridyn observes (still modestly~) of his many connections. The cheeky flip of a smile toward Ru'ien that lights his face is not actually afterthought, but rather balanced with the first, "Plus, it's just fun," to know so many different kinds of people. "I mean, there's a lot here to like," Tiridyn's answer is both truthful and diplomatic and might even include the greenrider. "But nothing I'm going to spend my marks on, I don't think." He waves a friendly hand at the apprentices as he moves back toward the moving part of the thoroughfare, glancing to make sure the gestures haven't been lost on Ru'ien. "Is there anything in particular you'd want to be given?" That, greenrider, is comeuppance for the previous ask; fair's fair, if in this case reciprocal rather than mimicked question.

“Makes sense!” Ru’ien readily agrees, smirking crookedly for that cheeky smile given to him from Tiridyn. “Fun to know people? That I can agree with! Or just people watch — it’s kind of a game. Something to do over a drink when solo~” And likely not quite the same thing! There’s a small shrug to his shoulders when that truthful answer comes along, likely not thinking to apply it to himself. “Wonder if they’ve got anything exotic or eccentric here. I’ve my doubts, given it’s a Gather.” One can hope and dream, right? Ru’ien is tagging along with Tiridyn once it’s clear he’s ready to move away, gaze already scanning down the line of stalls. He chuckles heartily for the question asked in turn from the young clerk, mouth curving into a grin that hints at mischievousness. From the way his eyes narrow, he’s considering just being a pain in the ass — but decides against it. “Mhm, I wanna say ‘nope’? Let you figure it out. Buutttt…” he drags out. “I guess I’ll give a hint? Practical generally wins out by just a teeny itty bitty bit.” Surprised? Slightly anti-climatic? It’s probably a lot less simplistic as he’s putting it.

"Well, sure. Watch. Interacting teaches you more about them if you've got the energy though." See, Tiri would sooner invite himself into a group than sit on the sidelines and watch. But then, he has all that excessive energy he has to do something with, and connections can mean everything in his business. "Exotic is a bit of a hunt at a gather, unless you know people." The clerk observes with too much of that casual edge, if only just. "And even then, it depends on what kind of exotic or eccentric you're looking for if a given vendor is attending a particular gather." But net across many gathers, that aim is doable. Tiridyn might look a little like a man who knows something as he briefly glances at his nails before heading on. It will be up to Ru'ien whether or not he wants to call the stores clerk on all that or not.

Tiridyn is gesturing to a vendor off to the other side of the path where the aromas are heady but not from anything edible, but rather from a variety of bathing supplies - specialty soaps and lotions and the like. "I need things from here," he offers simply by way of explanation. The fact that he waves a hand to the busy vendor in a way that definitely looks like he knows the man only a few turns older than himself is a good indication that he's patronized this particular place before and knows what he's looking for, if his not nearly as slow perusal of the goods doesn't give that away. "I would not necessarily have guessed that practical would win points with you, although it make sense now that you've said so," he adds over one shoulder, distracted, and apparently not thinking to explain himself further.

Ru’ien is selective in his targets choice of groups to crash, energy or not. He is giving Tiridyn quite the cursory look, intrigued and amused the more and more he discovers. “You’re not wrong,” he muses in agreement, before moving on with their discussion. Know people? Ru’ien’s hooked on that alone, but he keeps his comments to himself until Tiridyn explains a little further. “So, what you’re saying is… there’s some sort of hidden market?” Is he feigning innocence here? Was that a slight pry at the young clerk (is this some of that ‘Secret’ work)? It will be a few moments before he scoffs, mouth tilting into a slanted smirk. “I don’t think I’ve anything that falls in that category.” Yet. “But if you really want to know?” Does he? Tiri’s going to find out regardless. “Corsets. Our mutually known artist — or I guess, you’ll know him eventually —“ Details! “He suggested I check out this place in Ista but it’s so rare I’d ever have business there and I’d hate,” The word is dragged out in faux annoyance. “To go all that way and only have ‘em, I dunno, say no?”

His gaze will follow Tiridyn’s gesture, then quirk a brow when told there are things required. Ru’ien doesn’t judge but it’s obvious from that moment that he’s curious all over again — maybe more for the connection than the products. At least he’ll be sufficiently distracted when they approach, so that Tiri isn’t immediately set upon with questions. Instead, there will be sidelong glances that imply these questions! Ru’ien does, at least, grin broadly for that over-the-shoulder remark. “Glad that cleared things up?” he muses, choosing not to chase that particular thread for now, based on mutual distractions at hand!

"The closest I've found to a hidden market is certain trader meetups. That and Ierne. Ierne's got some great stuff, with so many self-sustaining crafters and all. If you know what you want, you can find a variety of specialized stuff there." Tiridyn reveals as if the information is nothing, because, to him, it basically is. In fact, Ru'ien might yet sort out that the initial don't ask was not, in fact, because Tiridyn had secret business so much as either a mission he wasn't at liberty to divulge or a clerk who's good at his job being protective of trade secrets. Sunny Tiridyn is no secret agent, even if he's very good at procuring the nigh-impossible and making it seem like magic.

Here, he's plucked up a small basket set out for the purpose of collecting items he intends to purchase. "Corsets," he has to repeat, pausing mid-motion for settling a few bars of scented soap into the basket and dark eyes flash over to Ru'ien, giving him a very thoughtful look over. "I haven't had a request for that," yet, but gosh, look how his dark eyes have that very enlivened sparkle: a challenge for his professional skill set. "I'll hunt around." He flashes a grin. It means patience for Ru'ien, but Tiridyn certainly seems more than willing to put his skills to the test. "Any particular requirements aside from being willing to fit you and sell to you?" Once the initial challenge is accepted, he's back to collecting things for his basket - soaps, lotions, small containers of scented oil and some tiny pricey vials of essential oils.

“Oh, I’ve heard of Ierne but if you’re backing up some of those claims, then I guess it’s true!” Ru’ien muses, mouth slanting crookedly in yet another one of his smirks. His eyes narrow too, mischievously amused. It’s been on his ‘bucket list’ to scope out what specialized things he can discover there! He just has his reasons for “stalling” on going~ One day, Ru’ien may sort that out about the initial don’t ask! He may yet sort out a fair bit concerning Tiridyn.

“Mhm!” Ru’ien ‘helpfully’ hums the affirmative to the repeated item in question, all while pretending to be even remotely interested in the soaps in front of them (he is, actually but his mind can only divide attention so much!). He will give the subtlest of side glances while Tiri gives him that look over, no doubt a touch smug. “Didn’t think so,” he remarks, leaning forwards just-so to peer at something of interest — all while trying not to grin too broadly for that sparkle in Tiri’s eyes (he fails, of course)! “I’d only just come across the idea not long ago.” Thanks, Averil! “Those are the key requirements, but I guess I’d say my tastes would be simplistic as far as corsets go? It’d be great if it could be fashioned in a way to be versatile with more than one style of outfit.” Listen, he has moods even with his clothing, okay? He may have picked up on the amount of collected things too, unable to resist a small teasing remark: “This all for you or…?”

"Well," Tiri will admit, "some things still come down who you know. Some things are a little 'out there' for the usual crowd so it takes some talking to get some of the interesting things shown." DON'T MIND THAT SLIGHTLY LONG LOOK HE GIVES TO THE GREENRIDER WHEN HE SAYS, "Playing it cool can go a long way," AS IF HE DOESN'T THINK "PLAYING IT COOL" EXISTS IN RU'S PLAYBOOK. Where would he get that idea~~~~? At least he doesn't ask about why the greenrider evidently hasn't been; call that the sixth sense about weyrbrats at work.

If Ru's attention is having trouble dividing, Tiri's turning back to him and holding up a soap block toward the greenrider's nose isn't going to help. "What do you think of this one?" It's a curious mix if slightly floral with things woodier. "Versatile," gets a thoughtful turn through his mouth without his getting stuck on it; a decisive nod is given that he grasps what's being asked (or thinks he does, time will tell~). "Me and others. I keep a stock, but some are running low and others are just new." Like the one he's making Ru sniff. (Or hoping he will.) "I was thinking some of the dragons might like scented oil when they get a bit bigger." No endangering baby dragon hide, of course. That's a tangent, the main point being, "When it comes to some specialty goods that the Weyr doesn't directly stock, I keep some of those things on hand and turn a profit for procuring them." This probably explains how he can afford to buy random greenriders drinks on a clerk's salary.

L I S T E N. Ru’ien can play it cool! When he’s convinced it will benefit him (so that’s a ‘not really’). “Figured connections somehow played in it. Ah well, a man can dream, right?” he muses, returning Tiri’s look with a broad, slanted grin. Suggesting, unspoken, that he’s already counting on some form of result from the challenge! How will he ever repay the store clerk for his time? That sixth sense of his is on the mark too, as Ru’ien would’ve deflected anything coming too close as to why a greenrider with such eccentric tastes isn’t all up in what Ierne has to offer (give it time, give it time… he’ll get a taste~).

Initially he leans away from the soap block, caught slightly off guard at having it suddenly there. In the next breath, he does lean in again and inhales, only to straighten as he exhales with a hummed note of approval. “Now that is nice!” he remarks, genuinely. “I didn’t even think you could mix scents like that?” Is he considering some for himself? You bet he is! He’ll listen to the rest of what Tiridyn says, his earlier grin now tempering to a broad smile. “Smart!” he chimes in, also genuine despite the teasing edge creeping in. “You really know your stuff, don’t you?” Has he said it before? Probably. It begs repeating though, because Ru’ien is consistently impressed with how Tiridyn handles his line of work.

"Sorry," is Tiri's quick and real word for startling the greenrider, smile briefly sheepish. He didn't mean to unnerve the man, however briefly. "If you want to do more than dream, I'll go with you sometime. Put my connections to good use." That might be a peace offering or just what one friend does for another.

"This maker knows his stuff. There's no craft for it," and note that Tiridyn's smile is smug there, "but it's an art in its own right. It wouldn't've been practical to specialize this way during Thread, but now… Well, this husband and wife team, their parents were healers and you know healers have some to do with compounding of all sorts, and so, they took the parts they liked that they learned from their parents and went and got a little more training and experimented. One thing and another, and they're all set up as independent vendors now." The pride in his smile is something more than 'simple patron,' but he doesn't delve into it. Clearly, they're in a booth belonging to one of his many contacts. "Their nephew is running this stall," he gestures to the man still helping other patrons.

The new scent is added to Tiridyn's basket. "The oils there," he gestures toward them, "can be diluted into other things. Like dragon oil. It's not practical for them to sell large quantities of oil because only dragonriders need that, but they can sell the concentrated scent and you can add it and mix it in. I know a couple of riders whose dragons like that kind of thing. Just make sure you follow the directions about how much, and try a small spot before you try a bigger one in case one dragon has any kind of hide reaction to it." Just like one theoretically would with their own body. Will he just ignore that compliment with the repeated remark? Why, yes, he will… if only his body would too - look, the blush is back~ It might also explain how he was able to pack so many words into one breath~~.

Ru’ien waves off the apology, but he’s definitely going to take the young clerk up on his offer. “I’d really like that, Tiri! Even if it’s just, y’know, for fun.” Sure, this all originated with his desire to find a corset but that’s not the make or break part of that particular deal!

“Didn’t think there was,” A Craft, that is. “But an art? Yeah, I agree with you on that! Do you usually learn this much about a contact or… I guess a preferred vendor?” Doesn’t Ru’ien usually check his own contacts and suppliers that way? Maybe not as in depth but maybe his intrigue comes from seeing it explained outside of his own Craft. There’s a quick glance to the man with the other patrons, then another look to Tiridyn and a small grin, but no quip follows. Just a look that says ‘got it’ and then his attention is back on the products with open interest. “I’ll have to remember that, if I ever need to gift something that specific or hear someone’s looking for it — or if Kihatsuth ever gets wind that she can have scented oil.” Something in his tone suggests he hopes the green remains oblivious — at least for their visit here. Does he catch that Return of The Blush? YOU BET! Will he let Tiridyn off easy? Kind of. His eyes narrow and there’s a broad grin, but he’ll let him dodge the compliment.

"Well, I can't ever make promises, but I'll do my best to make it for fun and profit." Tiridyn assures the greenrider with a grin that verges on cocky as well as cheeky. Why do only one?

"I like to know a lot about anyone I do business with, but the longer I'm in contact with them, the more I know. I've been associated with these particular vendors a long time." Tiridyn explains. "Their base of operations is in Fort area, so it's easier to form relationships with them than some others. Plus, they're really good people." He beams at that. It's so much easier to become friendly with business contacts when they're good people on top of talented business people.

The glint in Tiri's dark eyes when Ru'ien suggests his dragon does not know of scented oils and might like to spells out the letters R-I-P to all the greenrider's dreams of that never becoming knowledge Kihatsuth is in possession of. Now Tiri knows just what to use to save his hide endear himself to Ru'ien's lifemate and that kind of knowledge deserves to be used. It's only a matter of time. Still, that time is not now. "I'll finish up." He volunteers instead, stepping away from Ru'ien to collect a variety of other items into his basket

Then he's off to speak with the vendor, chatting for a few minutes, gesturing to Ru'ien and making friendly introductions if the greenrider is ready to check out as well, before handing over the necessary marks and making arrangements to pick up the goods before day's end so he doesn't have to continue to shop encumbered. "Ready?" He asks of the greenrider, making a gesture out into the grand gaggles of foot traffic that attend the gather and more out there just waiting for them.

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