Nattering Logophiles

Xanadu Weyr - Star Stones
Here, atop the exposed dome of the geologic monolith that houses the caverns, infirmary, crafters and administration complexes, the view offers a splendid panorama of Xanadu Weyr. To the immediate east is a narrow metallic walkway leading to a column of stone - the natural spire that forms the starstones.

Just beyond, parts of the meadow and ridge can be seen. Directly in front and below is the clearing, flanked by the forest, hatching arena, tavern, clock tower and garden shop. Beyond the trees, glimmers the waters of Caspian Lake and the Sea of Azov, while almost lost to the distance is the coastline of the opposite shore and Black Rock Hold.

Just a few steps to the west looms the tower that is responsible for Xanadu Weyr's shortwave radio communications. Reaching for the skies and lit by blinking red warning lights at night, this area is off limits to dragons landing due to the danger of fouling a wing on the guy wires that support it.

The Star Stones are one of the closest exits to fresh air from the Administrative Hallway and thus are a popular retreat for those who can feel the papers closing in around them. By mid-morning, Stefyr has sought space, and fresh air that doesn't smell like paper, ink, hides or whatever that funky smell coming from one of the office drawers will eventually prove to be. He's pacing. It's not an avid, agitated movement, but rather the casual stride of a man who is used to a much more physically demanding job making accommodation for this one that uses so much more of the underdeveloped part of his anatomy (HIS BRAIN, OKAY?). In one hand is a moderately sized book that SOME PEOPLE might find familiar and though he keeps glancing away from it make sure he isn't straying too near any hazardous edges on the long path he's taking back and forth, it's obvious that he's working at making progress on something within. There are tabs sticking out from various pages and generally signs that this gift is already well used by the big blond.

Dragons may not land here, but they might certainly fly by. One rather hopes Stefyr has a good hold on that book, or it might well suffer a fate worse than a few ruffled pages as great, blackened beast whisks past far too close, far too fast to be strictly safe. If the glimmers of gold and harlequin color weren't enough, sunbright laughter clangs its way into the big candidate's mind, its warmth beaming down upon his awareness like the heat from a lamp, radiant and bright. The crackled bronze backwings to a hard landing upon the nearby clocktower, head pointing skywards to roar warning at a passing brown, teeth pulled back from lips, seeming so fierce despite the pleasant lilt of words that glitter as they become known to Stefyr. « Mine comes. He wishes to speak to you - in private. » This more for another dragon who enters the airspace than the candidate himself, Xermiltoth's mind waning as he focuses on disrupting traffic, issuing playful snaps and snarls even as R'hyn emerges from the access stairs, a dark look already pointed over his shoulder at his dragon. "Dramatic bastard," is certainly loud enough to carry, was perhaps meant to as blue-grey eyes switch to fix Stefyr with a look, making sure he's seen before they roll great big, plainly put upon. "Sorry. Every turn I hope he'll grow out of being a show off, and every turn…" He is met with disappointment, summed up in a spread of his hands, hands that then twitch expressively towards the book that Stefyr (hopefully) still carries. "You got it, then." Pleased. He's pleased. It's ridiculous, frankly, that twisty little grin that flickers across his features before he tames it, lingers the awkward linger of someone who only just realizes he might be intruding, given all that pacing. "Bad time?"

You think you're original, Xermiltoth? STEFYR WORKS FOR LEIRITH, MMKAY? It probably saves the dictionary, really, that familiarity with the way not-so-random enormous dragons like to try to surprise him and BOOM or in this case CLANG laughter into his head. It's really good for developing both good reflexes (the book is briefly jarred but caught again immediately) and keeping his heart in good shape. "Good one!" He shouts after that blackened beast, his eyes following the dragon until he's landed lest there be more in store for him than just a fly by. "Is this private enough?" might be a pointless inquiry, though really, there isn't yet another soul occupying the space, and it might just be that in the distraction of turning to look for the Weyrleader, he misses the other dragon entirely. The book is flipped closed as the bronzerider comes into view off that access stair, holding the book between his hands at mid-chest. It's not really a form of attention, but it is attentive and patient. "I like him," is simple shrug and dismissal of the bronze's behavior, a smile slipping across closed lips, look a little helpless like he couldn't have chosen to feel otherwise. "It's fine. I was just getting some air. Trying to remember some words." He nods to the book, to the words about it. "I did. Thank you." One hand moves up to touch the back of his neck as a blush touches cheeks. "I've never had a book of my own before." So maybe the gift meant more than the gifter would realize. He flashes a smile over at the other man before glancing back toward the stairs. "Everything alright down there?" Is there a professional matter R'hyn needs a trusty sidekick to attend to? Stefyr is always the willing and able sort (except where he's learned the scape goat fu from his senseis, that is).

He is though. Leirith might have popped Stefyr's loud-dragon cherry, but Xermiltoth is the caps dragon OG. But maybe he's learned exactly one thing in his dozen-plus turns, and that's that you can be OBNOXIOUSLY LOUD or JUST OBNOXIOUS but maybe not every day do you have to be both, and so he settles for the latter. A growl aimed Stefyr's way says 'don't ruin my fun by bringing logic into this,' even as he actually says, « Don't ruin my fun by bringing logic into this. » Hey. At least he's on message. Whirling eyes wheel back towards a blue springing aloft in the bowl, radiant thoughts beaming elsewhere as he springs from his perch to tackle the smaller creature back to the bowl floor. Hopefully he knows that guy. "Just had to encourage him, didn't you," R'hyn drawls sotto voce, as though this was his fault. Scapegoating: not just for office assistants. At least he's teasing, small smile spreading until it occupies his features, eyes blossoming crows's feet at their corners, caution easing out of shoulders as he pads closer. "Any favorites?" Words, he means, though brewing elucidation catches on his tongue, doesn't quite make it past his lips, the meaning behind words hitting him right behind the eyes. His expression doesn't fumble, per se, but it definitely freezes, blue-grey seizing and holding upon blue whether Stefyr meets his gaze or not before he huffs a quiet laugh. "Then perhaps there should be more." R'hyn's eyes track after Stefyr's, glancing back the way they came as he says, "Ah, no. I mean, yes. Things are fine, I just…" Now it's his turn to betray awkward emotion, fingers threading into hair, setting it all askance as he stops words before they tumble out of control, considers, and then says, "It's been a while. You had a lot of questions, I had… not a lot of answers." Which led to more questions in turn. "So I figured I'd see how that rock of yours was faring." Fingers tap-tap on his own chest, right over his heart, harkening back to their previous one-on-one.

Stefyr is definitely to blame; he's 100% encouraging Xermiltoth, grinning at the bronze's remark, watching with an admiring look when the bronze makes that tackle. Then looking back to lifemate who suffers the situation Stefyr surely is not helping, he spreads his arms wide, one still holding that dictionary, to give a 'what am I supposed to do?' gesture that is helplessness, acceptance, and maybe just a little bit of a showman's bow in one. YOU'RE WELCOME, R'HYN. He brings his hands back together to look down at the book and then smile up at the man. "Titillation. Cattywampus. Tarradiddle. Akimbo. Avuncular." He rattles off the string of fun to say words. "There are others where it's more meaning than sound, but… I mean, all words are kind of great. I didn't really realize that before. I like the way the letters look together." That comes with a bashful smile. "I actually borrowed another dictionary from the Healers to work at words from another book and there are… some much more complicated than the ones I'm finding in here." The blush deepens and the young man clears his throat. "Do you have any favorites? Words, that is." In case the conversation went somewhere else aloud like it might have done in his head. He might have missed the Weyrleader's remark about more when his eyes are lingering on the dictionary in hand. His expression is… tender, actually. It's not manly stuff, but there it is. If R'hyn needed affirmation that the gift is appreciated in a very real way, that expression should leave no question. He looks up to the man again as the conversation moves on and a small smile tugs briefly into place before it's replaced with something thoughtful. "It… they… The answers helped. A lot," he admits after a moment. It's not that it's hard to be honest with R'hyn so much as the topic is just a difficult one, generally. He moves toward the other man, coming to stand casually by his side, his eyes ranging out over the view while his fingers press gently into the cover of the book still between his hands. "I've had some other talks with other people since, and I feel… better? More grounded. In what I want. And that, what I want, hasn't changed. I still want to wear this knot, to be here. And if there isn't a lifemate for me out there this time, then maybe when Leirith's clutch comes. Or the next. In the meantime, I can keep learning. I can work and be helpful. I think I might actually be getting the hang of the filing system." He glances over at R'hyn with a small grin - because that's a joke, and they both know it. Or should.

Stefyr bows forwards and R'hyn bows back, knees bending, head lolling in an exaggerated physical representation of 'for fuck's saaaake' because two can play that game. "I'm surrounded," the bronzer bemoans as Xermiltoth's laughter crack-bangs in great golden sparks, nothing short of fireworks shot off in approval of the candidate's opinion of himself. HE KNEW HE LIKED HIM FOR A REASON. "Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone. You and him can go frolick off into the sunset and leave us normal folk here to live in peace." HAH. NORMAL. And if you believe that about R'hyn, he's got a bridge to sell you, but surely Stefyr knows that by now if nothing else, and so he lets himself laugh, allows mirth to linger, persist right on through Stefyr's list of words until bashful smiles and healer texts conspire to raise the flag of one curious eyebrow instead. "Faranth, why?," he asks, fully unaware that the younger man's healer-text experience far differs from his own, thanks to a one Citayzleat that often sees fit to leave murder manuals lying about. It's enough to earn him a second's suspicious regard, to tilt his chin towards his chest as though wondering if Stefyr's conspiring to end his life when he inevitably stoops over to suss out the source of that drawer-stank later. It doesn't last, not in the face of gentler meins, and though R'hyn's expression remains effusive, he does allow it to take on a more wistful edge as he says, "But no. I agree. There's something about words, about their prefect inadequacy that just…" Deprives him of their use, apparently, breath leaving him on a sigh as he shifts in response to Stefyr's closer motion, not even aware of the change as his gaze lifts skywards on a low hum. "Mmm. Incandescence. Petrichor. Elysian. Skulduggery," lest he get the idea that R'hyn's a hideous sap for flowery language, that ridiculous grin splattering over his face again, hand coming up to wobble Stefyr's head this way and that as though accusing him of that, too before he moves on with a gruff, "Good. I'm glad to hear it." That he's reasserted himself, found space of his own to occupy, to belong to, sentiment validated as he says, "We'll be happy to keep you - in whatever capacity - for as long as you're willing, no matter what happens on the sands. I hope you know that." Alas, that the duck of his head doesn't last, that the sideways tilt that sweeps overlong fringes away from their swoop towards his eyes is so short-lived - it might have been a tender moment if not for Stefyr cracking jokes the likes of which set R'hyn to laughing, hard barks of honest amusement that redouble upon one another in textbook guffaws because, "What filing system." Yes, R'hyn, that's the joke. "Yesterday I found a paper mache wherry in the file folder where the Comet personnel files were supposed to be, and I wasn't even surprised."

"Huh," that is one well practiced sound of bafflement. It's as nonchalant as the way he doesn't seem the least bothered by someone else's movement of his own jaw after so many flowery words that were met with the smile of a kindred logophile, a little tender, but with an edge of humor. "I wonder how that got there." The paper mache wherry. It's not like Stefyr is responsible for any less innocent finds in certain files in certain drawers. He holds the look long enough to move on to the next topic which might be next because it has the added benefit of being distracting. "The healer dictionary to interpret the healer text… about anatomy. And sex." He clears his throat because that will surely help clear his face the color that suffuses it in much more apparent shades now. "I… don't know what I'm doing, you see." Does he? Has he ever been where Stefyr is? The younger man chances a sidelong look toward the bronzerider. "Seemed… prudent." He should use such a word with this topic; but it just means the color is in his ears now, too. He opens his mouth as if to ask a question, or to say something more, but closes it again, looking distinctly embarrassed for a moment. He looks out to the sky a moment, rolling his shoulders in something that might be both stretch and shrug. "I could go with Xermiltoth, but you know it would just come back to haunt you when he roped me into doing something to amuse or annoy you." Leirith's done it; the bronze definitely stands a fair shot at it too. But, more seriously, and with a look that's… almost shy? A little. "I'm glad," which doesn't seem very specific, "I feel… most myself when I'm working with you all, in the office. It feels…" All these feeling words, he laughs a little, at himself. "Right. I don't know." He shrugs his shoulders as if to try to dismiss this thing that is undoubtedly the biggest, most important and heaviest thing he's admitted to in the short course of this conversation. It probably was an accident. Not exactly a slip of the tongue, but perhaps a slip of the heart to articulate it like that. His eyes drop to the ground near his boots, that blush still raging.

Alas, tenderness. R'hyn's amusement persists in tearing it apart, Stefyr's well-oiled innocence somehow only making the situation more amusing. "You know that's not what I meant when I said J'thim is a cock, right? Faranth, I'm going to have to start watching what I say around you lot." Or there's bound to be filthier things to pull out right in front of the person in question, things he's less readily able to explain, things that might already be lurking in them drawers, who knows. He's joking about it though, far from put-upon, blue-grey eyes bright as hands stuff into coat pockets, shoulders hunching in a comfortable slouch as they tilt back Stefyr's way. Is it for the best or the worst that the bronzerider is searching Stefyr's face as it goes even redder, that he's just as attentive as usual, despite the sensitivity of the topic? That risked glance is met with a sharp twist of lips, mirth meant more for the candidate's choice of words than his predicament given his swift echo of, "Prudent. That is certainly a word." So is, "Pragmatic, too. Practical." Perhaps a little much so? "Prurient." Ah, no. Teasing. He's teasing poor Stefyr with words, weight shifting that their shoulders might knock together, a friendly jostle to ease potential sting, mirth dulling to casual curiosity. "Has it… helped?" Vague. Gentle. Easily denied if Stefyr would rather not discuss such matters with his boss, gaze politely flitting away to give the younger man his moment. It lands on the dragon in question, the noise he makes sarcastic in the extreme as the blue previously pinned to the bowl floor is released in favor of clambering atop a vaguely-familiar bronze. "No," voice strained into a lack of inflection, "because then it will be your problem." NO TAKE BACKSIES. A DRAGON ONCE GIVEN UP CANNOT BE RETURNED TO SENDER. NO HABLA XERM-ANOL. R'hyn glances back just in time for Stefyr's little laugh, his own lips twitching up in response. "It does." And perhaps it's a response to that heavy admittance, an inclination to share in return, that has him saying, "This isn't the first time I've done this. I was weyrleader at Half Moon, before." Before it died, before its region became a cesspit for illness and more. "And it wasn't like this. It was stressful, and unpleasant, and we… left before our time because of it. But this…?" He gestures between himself and Stefyr, then between themselves and the office far below. "Thank you. For making a difference." For his role in making things better than they were before. R'hyn sums that up in a grip of Stefyr's shoulder, lingering for seconds before it drops away.

"It isn't?" Cue the blinks, in spite of that hand on his shoulder dealing with a wholly more serious thing. There's still those sweetly naive blinks. This time, this time, completely fake. "Oh…" And there's just enough pretended concern there that it might actually be worth checking that file. Just in case. Stefyr shifts the dictionary between his hands a moment, looking down at it while that blush reigns on his face and then he carefully tucks the moderately sized thing into one of the larger pockets on his many-pocketed shorts. If R'hyn were only Stefyr's box, surely he wouldn't even have brought the topic up, or would have found a way to not talk about it once it was brought up. But R'hyn has already seen so much of Stefyr at his most vulnerable so avoiding something else that makes him so at this point might seem like pulling a blanket over one's naked body the morning after a flight, dirty deeds already done. He doesn't bother and doesn't look bothered to be broaching the topic that nevertheless makes him a little shy. "Yes and no. It gives me lots of ideas and words to use to describe things, which helps when I have questions, but the healer I spoke with said it wouldn't make sense until I had practical experience. I think she's unfortunately right." One of his too empty now hands comes up to scrub fingertips and nails on his lightly furrowed brow. "It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that what I'm looking for in someone to learn with isn't what other people think I should be looking for. But…" He looks at nothing while he searches out those words, maybe even discarding the ones that R'hyn had used to rib him, which were met with a slowly broadening grin but not anything resembling embarrassment. "I'm not… worried?" Is that the right word? "About what I want being different from what people think it ought to be. There seems to be a lot of things that happen here that wouldn't match my family's idea of right, but it's right and it works. I mean, you… and your family seem very happy?" Boisterous, anyway, when Stefyr came for dinner. It's not quite awkwardness on the edge of the young man's tone, but something a little like caution, like he doesn't want to pass judgments on how R'hyn's happiness is shaped, but also something more. But not all things can be addressed in this strange, but working, mixture of humor and more. "I didn't know that. About you. And Half Moon." He probably should have. But he didn't. He doesn't ask, doesn't press, doesn't even give meaningful looks, he just shifts his weight onto the foot closer to R'hyn, and is there, in case. In case there's more R'hyn wants to say. In case there's something Stefyr can hear, or witness, or just know because R'hyn needs or wants to say it, or because Stefyr can know him better by the speech or the silence that follows.

Suspicious. Squint. "I'm going to have to go through that file again, aren't I." It's not a question. It's not. But he lets it hang there for the time it takes to run that suspicious glance down and up Stefyr's form as though analyzing him for mischief and breathe, "Faranth, I am," on a break-away glance, laughter forced back, bitten off, because he shouldn't encourage such behavior - shouldn't - but it's so integral to what makes this weyr, this experience, better that he can't help but dissolve into giggles that come in fits and starts before eventually being smoothed away with a drag of his hand over his own face. He's settled by the time Stefyr starts speaking again, features back to their usual position on the pleasant side of neutrality, listening without judgment, gaze breaking away only to mark the movements of the big candidate's hands. The 'mmm' that follows is thoughtful, a touch curious, timbre matching his tone as he says, "I think everyone has their own idea of what normal is, or should be. I think that, in and of itself, is normal. You'll find places where your normal overlaps with someone else's, where you fit together just right, and you'll—" Listen. He threaded his fingers together, lacing them like lattice to describe the place where people's sexual feelings overlapped, and now he's bumping the heels of palms together, crude and ridiculous, a one-two-three pound-pound-pound that sets teeth to flashing in a wide grin, eyes twinkling before shoulders roll and he lets it all drop away. "Sorry. I grew up with sailors. Joking about it is easy. I'm glad you aren't worried. You shouldn't be." Because like he said: he'll find his place. R'hyn has faith in that, faith enough that he lets the topic turn to his family, another shrug accompanying an amused, "We are happy. We aren't traditional - I know Ila and I have scandalized at least a dozen of Citayla's relatives, it's a wonder we still get invited to turndays - but we work." That 'something more' earns an interested look, further conversation forestalled for a long beat, plainly waiting for the questions he can see brewing but unshed before he says of his former weyrleadership, "I wouldn't expect you to. That was almost three turns ago. I suspect you were a little busy?" Deflection, thy name is inquiry.

Those giggles that build… it has an answering look in Stefyr's face. What starts as a line of lips slowly spreads and spreads until he's grinning with something more than just answering mirth. The way his eyes fix on the older man's face, it's like the younger man is tucking the memory away because it's a sharding treasure. At least the tenderness in his eyes doesn't linger long enough to ruin the moment, because the point is that it's funny. BUT SERIOUSLY, R'HYN, DO CHECK THAT FILE. Who knows what you'll find? Maybe nothing. Maybe a note that says: COCK in handwriting that tries to be yours. He's good about listening, his lips returning to a more neutral line, but still slightly upturned at the edges. The look widens with a breath of a laugh when the bronzerider makes his motions. "It doesn't feel that simple. Most everyone I've talked with doesn't know what they're doing, either and I don't want to injure someone because my nearest example to what goes on are farm animals." Not that that isn't more than some people have to go on, but because this is R'hyn, Stefyr preempts the obvious next joke by saying through a grin that's really just passing as grin and not just baring his teeth at the bronzerider: "Seeing them breed." NO PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, OKAY? Important point. Joke not appreciated, Mr. Sailor-Man. "That's the kind of thing I was busy with - learning how to get the right stud to cover the right mare or the right bull the right heifer about three turns back. Nothing that's really that relevant here. People aren't like that," at least not in terms of choosing partners; but this inclusion is probably his way of subtly allowing the topic of R'hyn's former weyrleadership to drop by the wayside. "I'm glad you have what you have. Have found that thing that works for you. It's…" ADMIRABLE? "It gives me some kind of hope that I will sort out my stuff, eventually." And then here it is, his cheeks touching with blush and clearing his throat. And— nothing. His eyes go to his boots, expression conflicted before it goes unreadable.
R'hyn isn't blind, but perhaps he does misunderstand the nature of Stefyr's grin, his own features contorting into a playful, twisty scrunch as he smushes his hand up against the candidate's face and makes to push all of him away with the gentle but unrelenting force of it. "You're the worst," gets drawled in a tone that says the opposite is true, but he doesn't dwell, doesn't provide further admonitions - jestingly or otherwise. Because they're moving on, because Stefyr is giving clarifications that elicit laughter all over again, brows canting at odd, knowing angles, as though to say, 'mhmm, suuure, them breeding.' "I don't know. Have you ever watched drunk people trying to hook up in a bar? It's not not like that," is out of his mouth before he can consider it, but he doesn't aim to take it back, instead fixing the former farmer with a long, considering look before he says, "If you're so worried about hurting someone, why don't you talk through it when you're doing it the first time?" His eyes flick towards where the book has been stowed. "Maybe leave that at home, but… I feel like there are ways to learn together." Because he assumes that's what all the worry is about, Stefyr's concerns aimed at the injury of a particular person or persons he's reluctant to fail for. It's what makes his calm facade crack and shatter, what lends the warm glitter of his eyes a sense of pride, a sense of adoration, as though it's somehow important to impart on Stefyr just what his companions do for him, to him, that he might find it for himself. "You will. I won't say it's been easy, but you'll find the people who will make it worth it for you." R'hyn waits through that blush, holds his tongue through the sound of Stefyr's throat clearing, and when it becomes increasingly more apparent there's nothing more to come, R'hyn's posture shifts, breaks, hand coming up to tap the candidate's shoulder even as he backs a half-step towards the stairs. "Let's get lunch. I hear they've paired fried wherry with waffles, and I'm horrified." And by that, he means he's intrigued. "I won't even spend the whole time trying to guess which passer-by you're crushing on." And by that, he means he totally will. Quick, Stefyr, it's not too late to decline!

IF ONLY STEFYR WERE A FACE-PUSHER THE WAY R'HYN IS… Well, though his own face-pushing is borne with as much dignity as is suitably hilarious to the situation, it's not resisted. He's used to it by now. From Risali. From R'hyn. Really, strangers could probably push his face and he wouldn't flinch. He has all the apparent self-preservation instincts of a newly shelled dragonet or toddler. BUT IF HE WERE A FACE PUSHER, he'd surely be pushing R'hyn's laughing, brow-canting face for the jokes that go thankfully unsaid. He, instead, pointedly doesn't look at R'hyn (but surely sees the bronzerider out of the corner of his eye) for as long as he needs to be making those faces. "Mm," is a noncommittal noise about talking it through the first time, but a considering one. The young man isn't dismissing what R'hyn has to teach him on the topic, far from it. He's listening in that intent way he has, expression thoughtful although he doesn't immediately make any comment. His lips pull in a smile that shows no teeth and holds something of his continued inner struggle with the topic on the whole in it, but he's willing to believe. "That'd be the dream, I guess." It sounds like a good dream. "But eggs first, probably. I don't expect to go falling in love before they hatch. If that's even something I do. I thought… I thought with Gaelis back home that it was, but now I don't think so." That's all fairly succinct telling, a once-painful topic thought over and over again from probably every angle and now settled in the young man's mind. "The rest…" He hesitates again but just shrugs, that color renewing but not increasing. He turns at the tap, already rocking a step toward R'hyn as if the older man had just initiated a game of tag. "Fried wherry with waffles," he repeats, his brows echoing the real meaning of the Weyrleader's words. Intrigued indeed. But what he must say, obviously is, "That sounds awful." Which, of course, means LET'S GET SOME. And he's moving to follow the older man, rolling his eyes at his back (HA HA), "Guess all you like. I don't really do that. Crushes. I don't think. But we can oogle as many weyrfolk over waffles as you want. You're the Weyrleader," that makes it fun, doesn't it? Like a good joke, only there's that tinge of deep respect and admiration for the man that wears the knot, not even just the knot itself, "you can do what you want," he pretends since there's so little truth there, but right now it's funny, right? He tries to make it so. And since he's going to be with the Weyrleader, Stefyr will just follow his lead. What could go wrong?

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