Xanadu Weyr - Candidate Barracks
A long, low ceilinged room opens off the entrance hall to the arena. One wall is slightly curved, set against the outer wall of the arena itself. Cots are set in two rows along the length of the room, each with its own small press at the foot for personal belongings. Wide windows are spaced along the outside wall, letting sunlight in, while other lights are available for the night time hours. It's always warm here when there are eggs on the sands, and candidates seldom need more than a light blanket.

Hush, little candidates, don't say a word, everything is quiet, hide, skin or furred. If the barracks won't stay still, Ila's gonna find someone to kill. And if that killing gets too loud, it will attract quite a crowd. And if that crowd gets too big, he'll have an awful lotta graves to dig. And if those graves prove quite a mass, R'hyn's gonna have to fire his a—.

BUT, fortunately for all, this night, the barracks lay still as the grave. Well, not quite the grave. There's inevitably movements from the menagerie that came with this particular candidate class: naked cats, firelizards aplenty, and one fluffy Pomeranian who doesn't always sleep on its owner's bunk. Stefyr's bunk as is typical from a fairly early hour given his particularly late night wandering restrictions, occupies a Stefyr-sized sprawled lump. The early bedtimes is probably what allows for his consistent early rising and those dawn sparring sessions with his partner in self-defense practice. It's nearing that time now, and Jaynas is already starting to rouse, but Stefyr snoozes on. Maybe he's sleeping more deeply because at some point in the night his sleep must have been disturbed, but seeing as how his mattress is still on his cot frame and not carried off somewhere, he must have dismissed the movements of his arm that weren't his own and went back to sleep. The result is that where there was nothing tucked lovingly there when he went to sleep, he now cuddles… the ugliest sharding pink doll with big ears, bucked teeth and an expression that says it's just out to murder the world, if no one gets there before it. But Stefyr is sweetly oblivious, not snoring, but looking pure in a way no face can look while awake. Dream sweet, sweet Stefyr, the world will look very different upon waking.

It's these early morning rises that Ila'den despises the most, a protest forfeit unto steaming mugs of Klah and a slow, no less predatory gait, limp, gait that carries him through rows of sleep-occupied cots. Perhaps it's the menagerie itself that draws Ila'den's eye to the innocuous lump of Stefyr-size proportions, to that cot that is no less (un)remarkable than the hundred others surrounding it in a room so bare it never fails to feel claustrophobic. How we got from point A to point B is not what's important; what is relevant to the here and now is that Ila'den's attention is there, fleeting at best, a rake of a gaze that defers interest if only because there is nothing interesting to s —. What a minute. The Assistant Weyrlingmaster comes to a stop so abrupt that Klah swirls, swishes, leaps to jump up Ila'den's wrist, to slosh in a merry burn down thankfully-zipped leathers that absorb the brunt of heat even if the bronzerider is still issuing a low sound that's not quite a growl, not quite a hiss for its touch. But despite that moment of arms coming away from his body, grey eye taking in the damage wrought on riding jacket, his focus goes right. back. to. that. What is that. WHAT ARE THOSE. He can't even bring himself to properly question mark it because it's less a question and more a mental demand to know. It's why it's a moment too long that Ila'den simply stares, that lone grey eye delineating elongated ears, buck teeth, angry, insulting, oneofusoneofus eyes. And he can't help it. It's with slow, measured, even steps that Ila'den carries himself closer, that he — not for the first time — lowers himself into a crouch amid a creak of protesting leathers before Stefyr sleeping on his cot so that he can get a better look at such monstrocity. There's a moment mixed into the fray, when Ila brings that mug of Klah in close against his chest, stares down at it with his jaw tucked in as if somebody put something hallucinogenic into it and this is all a really bad dream. And then he gives up. He parts with low, husky, rumbling laughter that starts somewhere in his chest and boils over, ripped from his throat in chuffs of sound that are still somehow brutal and don't last nearly long enough, leaving only vestiges of their existence in a continued pull of lips that's wolfish at best. Then Ila'den is reaching out with one hand to pull that blanket up a little higher, a little tighter, a little more snug around Stefyr. If he needs that, maybe he needs this too. Either way, Ila'den is already making to stand, parting with another huff of laughter into his steaming mug.

Sound prompts stirring. It's likely that being so close to when Stefyr would be waking anyway, that his shift is just a prelude to the real show. It commenced as Ila'den so considerately tugs up his blanket. Not-really-awake-yet sleepy eyes blink at the assistant weyrlingmaster, face muscles still slack enough to seem sluggish. He gets an (adorable) blink blinkblink and then his arm-over-head stretch twitches pink into view. One mighty flail later (yelpless, so he can claim at least that much manliness in the memory made), Stefyr's on the ground, on the opposite side of the bunk from where Ila'den crouches. "Sir?" is sleep-roughened and perplexed. Still not awake enough. His eyes bounce between the bronzerider and the monstrosity that was his bedmate. Then, realization dawns and he starts to twist to get to his feet (wobble) with a mutter of, "I'm gonna kill him." He'll think better of smothering the him with a pillow in a minute. Probably. Hopefully.

Stefyr goes flailing (superbly masculine, by the way) over the opposite side of his cot, and Ila'den rumbles even more laughter, nothing but sharp awareness complementing predatory smugness in the way he simply watches. There's amusement too, a twinge of muscle at the corner of his mouth, a half-smile baring hints of teeth from behind the rim of steaming klah. Then he listens — not that there's much to listen to. But there's enough, and he listens. "Ila'den," he corrects, a rasping growl muffled by the presence of hot drink poised for consumption. "Or Ila. Or Kilarden, if you're feeling brave. Not, 'Sir'." But the correction is made with dismissive inattentiveness, as if Ila'den has said these words a thousand times over and suspects, before breath leaves his lungs all together, he'll have to say them a thousand times more. There's a another huff of husky laughter, a pull-and-twist of lips to accompany a sideways tilt of his head, a gesture conjuring blameless understanding when he lowers klah to assess the threat of a man twisting to his feet from a sudden sprawl on the floor. One brow rises with his gaze, that lone eye locking on Stefyr's until another predatory smile can sweep his lips. "Aye, well," and there he goes, turning on his heel, giving Stefyr his back as he ducks his chin to sip klah and starts for his office again — slow, lazy, at ease. "Make sure you hide the body. I hate paperwork."

It's actually the correction that keeps Stefyr from stepping off the forward rock of his toes that would probably take him straight to a certain person's cot to do the dirty deed, witnesses or no, and his attention is yanked back to the bronzerider. Really, Ila'den is never someone to not pay attention to. There's plenty of times one can dare not heed him, but not paying attention to him? That's an idiocy of a whole other ilk. Stefyr is one kind, but not the other. His eyelids flutter again in rapid blinks. "Right," because he definitely got this correction at least once before, during the self-defense group lesson if nowhen else. "Forgot. Sorry. Not awake." Hence all the incomplete sentences. He stoops to pick up his blanket and then… the thing. He grips its middle and gives a glance over his shoulder vaguely toward one curly haired candidate's sleeping space, and then there's a thoughtful squeeze to the plush. "I have a better idea, anyway." That's a mutter to himself, not the other man, but he'd be stupid to think it wasn't perfectly audible. "Ila?" The young man calls softly to the assistant's back, "Would you be able to help Jaynas and I with our sparring practice this morning? There's something not quite right with a couple of the things we've been practicing." And maybe they're actually ready for a few more complex moves to be added to their routine. The young man's eyes go briefly down to where Jaynas is, indeed, starting to pull himself out of bed. "I just need to make this up," he gestures to the bed before taking the ugly doll to his press to tuck is away for later, though it won't be seen in his arms again if he can help it.

"Mmm," Ila'den responds to Stefyr's apology, as if he's less interested in what circumstances got them here and more interested in what the end result to his request will be. It's not so much dismissal made in nonchalance as it is a vague acknowledgement that sometimes things happen and, with any luck (and the helpful application of wakeful wit), they will attempt to never be repeated again. Even whispered words cannot stop Ila'den now, cannot bring him back because the hushed-quality of a threat means that Ila'den has culpable deniability when it comes to pass, and he would have kept walking too, except that his name slows his stride until he's standing still, turning his body just enough to give Stefyr his profile in wait. That grey eye finds him amid predatory stillness, his attention hyper-focused as Stefyr makes his request and Ila'den doesn't respond. Not immediately, anyway, not before that lone eye drops to the steam rising from his klah, lingering a fraction of a second too long before he takes a long swill of it. GOODBYE, CLEARER OF MENTAL FOG. TOMORROW, HE WILL DO BETTER TO DRINK YOU SOONER. It's not a yes, it's not a no. The man makes another non-committal sound in his throat as he starts walking again, disappearing behind office doors. It's probably abrupt enough to seem like a refusal, but not long enough that the thought alone has time to do anything more than take root. Because Ila'den is stepping out again, having shed that riding jacket he usually wears like a second skin, revealing the light, long-sleeved tunic underneath. His eye is on his own forearm, on the work of rolling long fabric down over a spattering of long-since healed, but no less scarred markings across it, complementing the ugly, raised skin against his wrist that speaks to severe friction-burn long past. It's only then that he looks up to Stefyr, that he tilts his head toward the door. "When you're done." He'll be there. He's never been a man to complete a sentence already rife with expectation, and so he's walking again, completely at ease when he shoulders his way out of the barracks.

That Ila'den steps back out at all has both candidates, Jaynas having joined Stefyr at his cot, heave to and get the bedsheets battened down before hurrying out of the barracks after the bronzerider. He might have said, 'When you're done,' but neither young man preparing to undergo his self-defense tutelage wants to keep him waiting, especially not at this hour of the morning. And the Monstrosity? It will lurk in the press… waiting to walk the night and prey on the unwitting.

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