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

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

The fact that Averil appears without a basket of treats for the apprentices is, in itself, telling. The fact that his hair is still in disarray from Kihatsuth's take off and his expression is still more then a little bemused? Also telling. When one adds in the fact that he is also out of breath? It all adds up to a very clear assumption that 'something' has happened. Course, he while he had run to the stables, he slows his pace to a walk as he steps inside, his hands lowering to smooth the pale blue linen skirt falling to ankles neatly in place. Working up the runners? Not a risk he is willing to take. Unfortunately, he doesn't have treats for them, either, so they will have to content themselves with adoring pats as he makes his way toward the office in search of Shiloh.

Shiloh is… not in the office, actually. He's out with one of the runners, coaching an apprentice through a lunging exercise. The kid (for it definitely appears to be a kid) looks both wide-eyed and excited as he holds the line, Shiloh carefully to the back of him, issuing instructions on how to command the runner on the other end (a rather docile looking creature, though not one Avi has yet been formally introduced to). The lesson doesn't last long — perhaps fifteen minutes at the most — and soon enough he, the apprentice and the half-asleep runner are heading back for the stables. Which is probably where he finds Avi, looking disheveled and bemused but probably no longer out of breath. The flash of worry comes and goes from Shiloh's expression, but he's quick to situate the kid with another (more senior) apprentice to help take care of the runner they were working. "What happened?" comes as he closes the distance, eyeing Avi with faint concern.

"Oh," the sound of relief spills past Avi's lips as he immediately heads for the beastcrafter, his eyes wide as he reaches for his hands and then opts to wind his arms around him, instead. "Nothing," he assures in the wake of the hug. "Everything? I don't know." As he takes a step back, he belatedly raises his hands to twist his hair back into a tidy little knot, his brows furrowing as he takes a moment to pull himself together. "I was out at the workshop drawing the smiths, you know, for my cards? And, Ru'ien was there. He works there," he adds. "He's a smith." He also adds.

Does Shiloh believe him? Probably. Avi has no reason to lie. But the beastcrafter still looks concerned as he watches him, arms winding automatically around his shoulders in a quick hug, before he's letting him go for the important hair-knotting. "Let's go this way," he encourages, a hand at Avi's back to gently usher him down the aisle and out of the way — the feed room. It's the slew of words that pour from the artist that has him cocking his head and offering a wry, crooked smile at him. "I'm aware," he confirms, for Ru's chosen craft, voice dry and somewhat amused. It seems clear enough that Avi is in no real distress, so Shiloh doesn't need to be anxious — he's allowed to tease him a little.

"Of course," Avi breaths in tones that are a little bit embarassed. "He's one of my models, as well. But, that's not the point." In the feed room, he paces a bit, not because he's worried or distressed, but more because he's still processing it all. "They.. Um.. Ru'ien and Kihatsuth, asked me to stand for the clutch on the stands." Brushing his tongue over his lips, he turns back around to regard Shiloh, his lips twitching up in a disbelieving smile. "I've never stood before," he admits. "I.. I have until this evening to talk to the headwoman and let her know my decision. Course, Ru'ien did suggest that Kihatsuth would be very displeased if I declined."

There's a little twitch of Shiloh's eyebrow for Avi's models, but he's not going to comment on it. He'll let Avi pace as he leans against the door, arms casually crossed over his chest and dark eyes following the artist in his fidgeting. Even though he is definitely listening, it takes a moment for the words to sink in; for Shiloh to assign them meaning. Stand? What does he mean, stand?… Oh! "Candidate," comes before he can stop it. "They want you to be a candidate. For the clutch." It's not a question, because Avi has already confirmed it. A moment of shock is all Shiloh allows before he's accepted this. "Okay," he allows with a breath, quirking another half-smile at Avi. "How do you feel about it?"

"Yes," the word is breathed with an obvious relief as Avi steps closer to Shiloh, pale grey eyes a little bit wide and a smile dancing on his lips. "I feel like I'm being silly to be so excited," he admits. "But I do.. Feel excited," he clarifies. "I've never gotten close to an egg, ever.. Well," he corrects. "Of course the kind you eat, but not /dragon/ eggs. I'd like to do it," he admits as he draws a step closer. "Just so I can have that experience."

Shiloh's hands settle at Avi's waist in a comfortable hold. That curl of his lip remains present; the quirk of a crooked smile just beneath the surface. "Okay," he says, acknowledging that excitement. "Why wouldn't you be? It's… an exciting thing." Or so he's been told. He can't help but to smile a bit more visibly as Avi continues. Amused. "Okay," he says again. "Then… what's the question?" he wonders. "You said you had until tonight, but it sounds like you know your decision," he points out. "You should probably tell them."

Averil is listening, he's listening to every word. Still, at the end, he shakes his head, his hands moving to brace against Shiloh's chest. "I can't make that decision," he admits as he steps in closer. "If I do this, it impacts the both of us. I wouldn't make that decision alone. I do want to do it," he admits without a hint of hesitation. "But I need you to tell me that that is alright, that you approve." Because that is very important to him and he has never, ever, pretended otherwise.

"I would never hold you back from something you wanted, Averil." The words are seriously spoken, dark eyes meeting pale-grey as Shiloh searches his gaze. His hands lift, cupping the artist's face. "I dunno that I can say I approve," he admits. "That's… not really the right word." Leaves the wrong taste in his mouth to say he approves or disapproves of something Avi wants to do. "But I can say that I want you to do it. If this is what you wanna do, I want you to do it. A-hundred percent. If this is what you wanna do then I want you to do it." So important that he said it twice. "I love you. I want you happy. I want you to have this adventure."

Averil smiles softly, a quiet breath taken as he smooths his hands down Shiloh's chest to rest lightly on the beastcrafter's hips. "I'm happy," he promises. "And I do want to do it. I'm not sure of the details," he admits. "But I suspect that the headwoman will tell me what I need to know when I speak with her." That, however, is not what he wants to talk about /right now/. Right now, he cannot help bouncing on his heels, or the smile that traces over his lips. "Kihatsuth is /massive/ and very.. She reminds me of an art teacher I had, very large and a little bit intimidating."

"She's a dragon," is Shiloh's very unimaginative answer for the idea that Kihatsuth is huge. "They're all massive." And not to be that guy or anything, but, "Glorioth is way bigger." Not that it's a contest or anything. Even if Avi did bring up the intimidation factor. Ahem. "Whatever you need to do, if it's something I can help with, lemme know." He's not sure what candidates might need help with but he's gonna offer anyway. There's a bit of a grin, a private thought that flits through his head, and just as suddenly Shiloh is using those hands that still frame the artist's face to kiss him soundly. "I think you will be just fine." Was that ever in question?!

"Yes," Avi breaths. "But I wasn't really in touching distance of Glorioth. I felt very small next to Kihatsuth." Course, he /is/ very small, but that is not the point. Finding himself being kissed comes as a pleasant surprise, his smile broadening as he dips his chin in a nod a moment later. "I know I will be fine." He has no doubt of that. "And it's not that long," he admits. "As far as I know, I still get to work on my craft." So he get those cards done and into production. "Did mention she spoke to me? In my head? And no," he snorts. "I was not imagining it."

"I was." And apparently, Shiloh just cannot let that shit go. At least it comes with a crooked smile, something amused rather than distressed. Because maybe he's moved on a little since that first, fateful meeting. "I'm not surprised," he admits. "Xanadu seems to have lots of dragons that will talk to people." Not to discredit Avi's experience, so much as to assure him that, "I didn't think you were imagining it," despite the accusation of such. "Was it nice things, at least?" A tip of his head toward the door precedes his movement, heading back out of the feed room because work and stuff.

"Sort of?" Falling in to step behind Shiloh, Averil adjusts his satchel over his shoulder, his head tilting as he considers the question. "It wasn't not nice," he provides. "More like.. More like how an instructor would talk when first meeting you? Testing kind of. It was nice," he decides. "Although her laughter was a little on the maniacal side. But," he adds. "Ru'ien was right there and assured me that everything was fine and it would be very exciting. I probably should have asked more questions, but I was so taken aback at being asked. I'm sure I had to have looked more then a little addled."

"Did he?" Shiloh is maybe not sure about that but who is he to question what might have been said? Or perhaps it is not what Ru'ien may (or may not) have said, but rather that he said it. Was it genuine? Did he mean it? These are the doubts that flit through Shiloh's brain, but are not voiced, because… reasons. "You can still ask questions," he points out, moving down the stable aisle. "Of him. Or… someone," — anyone?? — "else." Their destination may not be entirely clear as Shiloh heads for the door. He does pause on the threshold, waiting for Avi to catch up so he can claim his hand. "I'm sure you looked perfect," he argues, leaning in to press a kiss to his forehead. "You always look perfect."

Averil exhales a quiet laugh as he quickens his pace, taking Shiloh's hand as they head for the door. "I'm pretty sure I looked addled. Cute," he admits. "But addled. Fortunately, Ru'ien says that Kihatsuth won't mind him posing naked on her for me. I have a few ideas for a composition I'd like to do like that. Something really primal, you know? Where are we going," he asks curiously as they head for the door.

Shiloh totally had a plan (probably). A plan that was derailed the moment 'posing naked' came out of Avi's mouth. And definitely foiled by 'primal' being added. The double-take is real, as is the brief flash of something not quite nice in the beastcrafter's expression. Ahem. One moment while he gets that jealousy surprise under control. "You're going to be painting Ru'ien naked?" Yeah. Forget everything else, that's definitely what Shiloh is going to focus on. There's even a moment where he legitimately opens his mouth once. Twice. And then snaps it shut to definitively keep what he might have said from actually being said. A quick throat clearing and, with a squint toward their (possible?) destination, he offers a skeptical, "Okay, then." Except… is it tho?

Averil tilts his head to the side as he watches Shiloh curiously, his brows furrowing mildly as he tries to make sense of the reaction. "I've painted a lot of nudes, Shiloh." Hundreds in fact. Course, he knows jealousy when he sees it and immediately steps in closer. "I won't be touching him. I'd never do that. Just sketches and eventually a painting. Course," he adds. "If you'd be more comfortable, I could have him wear shorts, or a skirt, or even a bathing suit." It's all very clinical for Avi, painting a nude man, or woman, even an extremely handsome one, is not at all sexual.

The press of Shiloh's lips doesn't really lessen with all that explaining that Avi is doing, even if he's trying hard (while squinting into the distance) to let it all go. "Hundreds?" Does that make it better? Shiloh probably knew this. But it's one thing to know a thing, and another to realize that this thing he knows might include people he knows. "How many of them— no. Never mind," he decides, grimacing. "I don't wanna know." A quick breath, in-out, and he's shaking his head. "I really don't wanna know, Avi." Beat. "I trust you." Not to touch people. "You don't have to explain." But he might have to explain all that smith-muscle he was ogling earlier.

"How many of them what?" Confused and a little bit concerned, Avi follows the line of Shiloh's gaze before looking back to the beastcrafter's face. "None of them. None of them have ever touched me." He's a professional and wouldn't indulge in something like that. "I'm sure Ru'ien would be fine if you wanted to be in the room." But Shiloh says he trusts him and Avi is more then willing to take that as fact. "I'd never lay hands, or any other part of me on another person." Because it is important to him that Shiloh really gets that.

"That's not what I was going to say." It comes with a grimace, and a lift of Shiloh's hand to pinch at the bridge of his nose. "It's fine," he insists. "I know. It was just… a moment." A little lapse in confidence because he was definitely not expecting those words to come out of the artist's mouth. The suggestion that he might be in the room has him startling all over again, a quick shake of his head offered along with a dry, humorless bark of laughter. "Cause that wouldn't be awkward?" Another grimace and he moves forward again, tugging Avi along with him. "No. I don't wanna be there." That would just be too much. "I get it," he promises. "It's your job. It's what you do. It just… threw me off. But it's fine. Really."

Averil breaks into a trot to keep up with Shiloh, slowing to a more comfortable walk the moment that he is alongside him. "If you are certain," he provides with a glance at Shiloh's face. Sometimes, he forgets that Shiloh was not raised at the weyr and has a different view on things like nudity. "I could.. I could start doing more technical manuals," he offers. "Or stick with portraits.. Um.. clothed portraits and landscapes if you prefer." He would be sad, granted, cause he loves doing nudes, but he would do it.

Shiloh groans, one hand lifted to scrub at his face. "Avi…" is definitely said in a sigh, though it is not the artist that Shiloh is frustrated with. It's himself. Another deep breath, held and exhaled as a sigh, and he stops and turns to face him. "Listen," he says, hands pressed to his artist's cheeks for emphasis. "Hear me. I want you to do what you wanna do. Not what will make me comfortable. I don't love the idea of you looking at naked people," he admits. "But that's my problem. Not yours. I trust you. I love you. And it's fine. I promise." A quick search of pale-grey eyes and he claims a quick kiss. "I mean it."

Averil is definitely meeting Shiloh's gaze, searching dark eyes intently even in the wake of the kiss. And, while he would absolutely moderate his subjects, he believes the beastcrafter is sincere and offers a quick dip of his chin in a nod. "Alright." If Shiloh means it, he's good with that. If it changes later on down the road, he's fine with that too. Still, he's reaching out to curl his fingers in the beastcrafter's shirt, drawing in a step closer and worming his way beneath Shiloh's arm. "Where are we going," he asks curiously.

"To get some food," declares Shiloh, a dry smirk at his lips. He curls his arm around Avi's shoulders, happy to tuck him close as they head for the caverns. "I'm hungry, and you didn't bring your basket."

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