Incentive Rewarded

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt. The stone is carefully leveled but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area is the one near the Kitchens, where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.

There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

Lunch is important. It's important not only because it's an opportunity for food, but because it marks the end of the chore period before the lesson or other important candidate stuff period of the day. It's not surprising to find a handful or more of the white knotted people gathered or far flung across the cavern with heaping (or not so heaping) plates at this time of the day. Stefyr is one of those without current white knotted company and his oddball two seater table has an empty place across from the big blond and his mountainous plate of food. He may have taken one of everything from the buffet and two of each dessert. It's a good day to dine.

Lunch is one of the better times of the day, at least so far as Khavro is concerned. He can mostly do what he wants, especially if what he wants is to eat. His pale green eyes pass over the blond hulk and that open seat before he must decide there's no where better. Or maybe he just wants points for trying. "I'm not sure this Weyr can manage to keep all these dragons and you fed," he says as he sets down his more manageable plate of food and takes the seat opposite Stefyr.

"Why not?" asks today's contestant for Most Oblivious. Stefyr asks through a mouthful of roll that he's chewing with vigor and swallowing before reaching for his mug to chase the crusty thing. "I mean, there's plenty of food stores laid in, I think. Unless the file I was looking at was from three months ago and not this month." He frowns faintly, but doesn't seem overly concerned. So comforting to know that Stefyr is lending his very competent hands to the Weyr's leaders, right? "This is better than a lot of farm food. Well, maybe not better, but more variety. And every day, too." It's a wonder, Khavvy, a wonder. "Did you get to eat well when you were… doing whatever you did as a trader?" And there it is, Khavro's first invitation to be a decent, get-to-know-you playmate. Does he have enough incentive to play nicely?

The trader's face falls ever so slightly, his amazing wit lost on the other candidate. But he doesn't get up and leave when he says, "Never mind," so that's something. Instead Khavro stabs at a piece of meat, then pushes it around the sauce it was cooked in with his fork. "Not like this, but well enough." He's probably gained weight just since he's been here, though, so it's hard to say how he's come to that conclusion. "The variety is nice."

Is it though? Stefyr grins. Ass. "I didn't mean for you to stop being you, just, you know. Less trying to get punched. Or are they the same?" Then, "Do you want to do the song and dance chit chat about the food, the weather, the decor," he feigns a glance about and then tacks on wryly, "Very nice, by the way," the decor. "Or do you want to tell me something that matters?"

"Would it make any sense if I said I don't always know who I am anymore?" Khavro asks. And by his tone, he seems to want to mean it as a joke, but there's a sincerity that makes it fall flatter than he'd like. "Anyway, it'd help if I knew what matters to you."

Something in the joke makes Stefyr's face go serious. Much more serious than his feigned ignorance of the other man's first joke. With a covert glance around (that probably does a terrible job at taking in any interested parties keeping tabs on w couple candidates), he reaches a hand to touch his fingers lightly to the back of the hand holding the fork but only briefly, and then he takes something off Khavro's plate, by way of excuse for why his hand was over there and puts it in his mouth. He makes a welcoming gesture to his own mountain, in case Khavro wants to balance the food difference. He doesn't speak about that too flat thing, but hasn't he already said all that might be needed right now about that? "I'm not sure what matters to me." He says honestly of the rest. His expression turns pensive and his fork taps the edge of his plate. "Well, I guess I'm curious if you've done this before. Whatever it is we're doing or not doing." He seems a little unclear about which it is, but does it really matter? "And maybe what you like about the Weyr?" As something more general and less possibly touchy.

Khavro isn't overly possessive of his food that he's not really eating himself, so he only glances at Stefyr's plate before his focus returns to the blond's face. "Kissed people who aren't sure they like me? Sure, I do that all the time." Of course his impulse is to deflect, but he seems to catch himself and reconsider. "Not really with anyone who cares about wanting to figure out if they like me or not, I guess." Is that even what's happening? As for the Weyr, "I like not having to fend for myself so much."

Stefyr doesn't seem bothered by the deflection. In fact, it draws a brief, close-lipped but genuine smile his eyes drawn up to Khavro's face before looking back down at his meal, which he is making headway on between bites. "I was more curious about… How experienced you are… technically." There's his blush and he clears his throat. "Since you know I'm not, at all." But then there needs to be another topic for distraction from the first. "Did you do that a lot? Fend for yourself? The traders who came by our farm were groups usually. Mostly families."

No blush colors his cheeks, but there is a flicker in Khavro's expression. "You mean… fucking?" Just so there's no, you know, miscommunication. And then it's almost a wince, there, finally taking a bite to give himself time to think. Truth? Fiction? "They are. Families. Usually. But I'm not really… welcome there anymore. So I found a new family. And screwed that up, too. So now I'm here." Third time's a charm.

"Sorry," Stefyr will offer earnestly, but he doesn't seem inclined to linger on it and probably for more reasons that the fact that his blush is deepening and there's this other topic. "Yes. Fucking." See? He can say that word too. He has to pick up his drink after and it's fortunate for everyone that it's not an alcoholic one the way that he gulps. "There are worse places to be, I think. Than the Weyr. I like it here," the blond's words might be his bid at letting things turn toward a more positive note.

There's a subtle wave of his hand holding the fork, dismissing whatever drama brought him to this point in his life. "That sounds kind of nice when you say it," says Khavro with a flicker of a grin. "But you're right. There are worse places to be." Places without cute boys who you want to want to kiss you. "I've never fucked. Not all the way. But I've done more than kissing, I guess."

Stefyr clears his throat, which probably eclipses some less manly sound from his throat. "Are you angling to see just how red I can get? I can feel how hot my face is." Physically. It is worryingly red. At least he doesn't seem upset about it, or seem to categorize this as the sort of behavior he's asked to avoid, for a little while anyway. "You guess? The memories are hazy?" His tone says he's on the fence about whether this is safe to joke about or not, and he evidently leans toward not because when he speaks again, it's to say: "Did you fly on dragons much before you got here?" OFF TOPIC, STEFYR, but something has to be safe to balance the things that make for nerves lest it put him off finishing his plate.

It's almost certainly tempting to see just how red he can make his larger peer before he cries auntie. That's probably why Khavro is looking at Stefyr in a way that's both fond and smug. But he'll be mostly good. "I'm good with my hands. Not bad with my mouth, either." And he'll leave it at that. "Yeah, I've flown. Easiest way to get around." And estranged traders probably have some need for that.

It can't be helped that Stefyr's eyes flick to Khavro's hands and then to his mouth. Is it adorable or just sad that he looks puzzled by something? He opens his mouth as if to ask a question, but he closes it again and looks down to his plate. Enough of that is so loud in body language with the duck of his head and the renewed attention to his meal that he might as well have said it aloud. He focuses on the food for a few moments while the color recedes from his face and then he finally looks back up at the other man. "What do you like to do for fun?"

"I'm not sure," says Khavro, mercifully moving on, but the answer doesn't seem to sit very well with him, like this is the first time he's actually thought about it. But that would be weird. "I guess I like going to gathers. Eating. I like the beach." Did he do that wrong?" "What do you like to do for fun?"

"I've never been to a gather. I've heard stories, but…" Stefyr shrugs. "What are they like?" Maybe he really wants to know Khavro's take, maybe he just wants Khavro to keep talking. Either way, he's paying attention to the conversation, listening to the other candidate in a way that some might find to be a disconcerting amount of focus. "Mm," comes the sound when it's his turn to answer, no canned response ready to offer. "Eating," he can agree on that one, obviously. "I like talking to people. And learning things. Asking questions. I'm learning piano. And sign language. And to read and write better. And a healer gave me a book on anatomy that I'm trying to… I mean, shells, the words they come up with for things and I'm not even sure half the time that there even is a word regular people would use for— some of those… parts." There's the blush again. He hurries on. "I like hiking in the woods and swimming and really anything physical except running." Based on his frame though, that might have been obvious. "I like playing with kids when they're around. I had a lot of cousins younger than me back on the farm and I miss them." He can admit that with only the smallest flinch. "I feel a lot like I'm figuring out what I like to do as I go along."

"People everywhere. All sorts of food. Dancing. I think you'd like it." Not that Khavro knows Stefyr well enough to say for sure, but he seems pretty confident. "You sound like you were starved for knowledge back on the farm." The trader frowns to himself, takes another small bite, then, "I hate to say it, but we sound more alike than not." He doesn't point out the 'nots', though. "I've tried being who other people want me to be for so long that I'm not always sure which parts of me are actually me."

"I'm just learning to dance. I know a little, but not much." That's offered with a little embarrassment. "I like food," Stefyr reiterates, in case the other candidate has forgotten, "although I don't have much in the way of marks saved. Maybe someday I'll go to a gather." There's a new thought for him and he sits back to digest it. And also the bread in his hand. "I wouldn't say I was starved, more like I hadn't the taste for it then. I could have learned more, but I was more interested in doing things. I thought my life was written in the fields, that everything I needed was learned by doing, there. And it would've been, if things hadn't changed." He looks briefly a little wistful for that could have been life, but a shrug later and the look is gone. He studies the other young man then, "Well, then I look forward to getting to know the parts you want me to see." And with that, he taps two fingers to the table next to his empty plate (LOOK HOW FAST THE MOUNTAIN FALLS TO THE STRENGTH OF A DEDICATED MAN) and stands, collecting his things. He flashes a smile at the curly-haired candidate. "We should do something like this again. I'd like to." His two cents. "I have to get back to work," since he doesn't always have duties quite like the other candidates in his roles at the Weyr. "I'll see you," because they live in the same place, so certainly he will.

"We should go sometime," says Khavro without hesitation. The lack of money doesn't seem to be any sort of deterrent. He might say more, but with Stefyr standing and picking up his things, the curly-haired candidate keeps it to himself. Instead, "I'd like that, I think. See you, Stefyr." Khavro watches as the other candidate walks away for a few moments, then turns his attention back to finally eating his food.

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