Irregular Introductions

Xanadu Weyr - Feeding Grounds
Sparse trees are scattered through this field on the western edge of the forest, not far north of the clearing. The pen extends partly up the hills to the southwest, and the trees grow sparser the further west one goes. Within the large corral are a variety of beasts - ovines, bovines, and wherries - free to roam and graze. The appearance of a dragon may send them one way or the other to try and escape. A small pond is set near one corner of the enclosure, and at times it reflects the low, bordering mountains.

Just at the forest's edge, set under the tree line, is a guest weyr for use in mating flights, a simple cottage made of weathered planking and grey stones.

Dusk is normally a pretty good time to catch some dragon-vs-beast action in the feeding grounds, particularly on a day like today when the weather is clear of rain and the sinking sun is taking the worst of the summer day's heat with it. Some might seek the serenity and beauty of a place to watch the sunset, and sometimes Stefyr falls among those that do, but tonight his thoughtful expression is directed at quite a different sight. The sole green seeking a kill on this evening is doing so in a style that is the antipathy of animal massacre. She's careful, she's dainty and her kill of a fleeing herdbeast is precise. Even the way she proceeds to consume her kill is all of these things and more: she's neat about the meal on top of everything else. It doesn't make for much of a show if bloodsport is what brought the big blond to linger at the fence, though given that this is Stefyr anyone who knew him could safely assume how unlikely that motivation is. To the rest of the world? He's just this tall, broad-shouldered figure, hands tucked in the pockets of his shorts, watching the dinnertime show.

The cooling temperatures and clearer conditions are definitely a tempting lure and have successfully drawn one more to the feeding grounds. Only this is no dainty female, but a large bronze who’s size seems to lean towards bulky and yet he moves with a surprising amount of finesse. Weathered and aged in hue, he is all angles and harshness, as though made for the toughest, most hostile of environments. One would expect a predatory ferocity from him too, but his kill is as clean and effective as the green’s. No sense wasting precious energy or time! Zekath rumbles deep in his chest to the green in passing, but he is going to dine in solitude, content to gather his kill in massive jaws and carry it elsewhere; what better way to meticulously strip it clean, than in solitude and uninterrupted! Stefyr won’t be alone either for long. K'vir will approach on footsteps well audible from the crunch of dirt and dry grass beneath his boots. “You know,” he begins, as a greeting. “Not many have the stomach to watch this sort of thing. Or were you finishing something?” Chores, perhaps? His gaze pointedly settles on the tell-tale knot he could be wearing. There’s a vague smile to an otherwise very tired expression; it’s been a long day for him. Yet there’s nothing imposing or threatening in his posture, or in the vivid blue of his eyes. His hair is a tussled mess of dark curls, his clothing standard to any rider; in other words, nothing would immediately make him stand out in the crowd.

Stefyr's blue gaze tracks the newcomer as he appears on the scene and through the actions that lead to the successful kill and the taking off of his dinner, even the interaction between dragons is observed with that thoughtful, listening look, as though he's trying to divine the language that passes between two dragons through the powers of observation. He actually startles when the voice intrudes on his thoughts in a way the crunching of dirt and grass didn't. He even does a double-take. Since he doesn't immediately pop his mouth open to say, 'Has anyone ever told you that you look just like my friend, Keruthien?' it's likely that the young man has ruled out the comment as an opener, though the resemblance can't fully escape him. He shifts just slightly, tension slipping into those broad shoulders and his lips pressing slightly together as if to make extra certain his words are considered before he speaks to this rider. "I…" There's the clearing of the throat and the fingers finding they're already in his pockets and can't really dig any deeper without getting rude, so the nerves have no choice but to come out as a slight bite to his lower lip before he angles himself a little toward the other man. "I like to learn. Sir." That's awkward, but it is what it is. "Seems like getting fed is pretty important where dragons are concerned and ought to be— well, learned about, when I have one of these." One hand manages to snake out of its hidey hole to flick in the direction of his shoulder. "I'm Stefyr," he offers after another slightly awkward beat. "Risali and R'hyn's assistant. With Rhody." Awkward awkward awkward, but hey, at least he's not blushing, stammering or making things markedly worse by babbling.

“They’re surprisingly adept at it, when they’re old enough to tackle it on their own.” K’vir supplies readily, the earlier vague smile becoming a little more solid. There’s a fleeting knit of his brows as he picks up on the tension coming from Stefyr, but he brushes it aside for now. He’s probably used to Candidates reacting with some form of it, given his rank. At least it doesn’t look like he’s the type that’ll bite? “And they all have their quirks while feeding.” Was it awkward? K’vir doesn’t seem to find the admission to the drive for learning to be so. He just nods and adds, in a quieter voice as his gaze shifts to the pens and the distant hulking frame of his own bronze. “Not much to learn beyond that and what you’ve likely seen. You’ll be feeding them yourselves for the first few months, if you Impress.” His attention turns back when he realized that introductions are at hand and it’s only the polite thing to do. However, it’s not long after the name is given, that his eyes narrow in recognition. However, his posture doesn’t change beyond what it is now: relaxed. There is a thoughtful purse of his lips, a slight working of his jaw and then a long exhale. “Ah,” he murmurs. No, save the babbling for later! “So you’re Stefyr.” Oh. OH NO. HE KNOWS! The GAME IS UP! Or… does this spare him? There’s a once-over look, a slow tracing path of his gaze from top to bottom, but there’s a knowledge behind that too. Oh yes, K’vir knows all about it! But he’s not casting judgment or looking ready to throttle him. Instead? He seems expectant, in a detached sort of way. Are they gonna bring it up or just awkwardly dance around it?

Stefyr is a habitually good listener and he really listens with real interest to everything the Wingsecond has to impart about hunting, dragons, what it will be like if he impresses, all of it. It's all critical to the earnest young man standing before the bronzerider, and he certainly has the demeanor to indicate that. His lips press together again in that way he has of holding back anything he might say to interrupt… anything. His frame unconsciously braces slightly at the subtle changes in the man, things that he's really, really looking for in those moments. His cheeks touch with a blush as the reality of the knowledge that he probably suspected, even expected would go from one weyrmate to another sinks in. One hand rises from his pocket to rub self-consciously at the back of his neck. "Sorry, I think?" He murmurs after a moment, looking unsure. "I mean, not sorry for— but sorry for… shells." His eyes pinch shut and that hand jams back into his pocket. "Sorry, I'm from a farm." Does that explain everything? Could it, please? "On a farm, you'd be punching me," in the least, "by now. Not that I ever had occasion to—… be in that position before." He mutters, the blush flushing deeper. He glances beyond the other man, as if maybe he thinks he should go? Has he made it awkward enough for one day? "You… your weyrmate is a spectacular woman. I… value her friendship. A lot." And he manages to stop that babble just before he would go into K'vir's children, too, and how great they are.

Unfortunately, any further talk of dragons will have to be shelved for another time. There’s a far more pressing matter developing and yes, there are varying levels of awkward to go with it. K’vir doesn’t so much as bristle and what little tension has crept into his shoulders and the straight line of his back, is more for HIS discomfort because… words. This means he’ll have to explain himself too and the dawning realization is making him scream internally. Did Risali fail to mention that he sucks at articulation in emotional situations? Oh, well. Too late now! “I’m… not sure if apologizing is necessary,” he begins, haltingly. Is that… rejection then? There doesn’t seem to be a matching expression of anger or disappointment? If anything, K’vir is frowning heavily at best and maybe that’s a grimace or just a grim look over all. “Hmm.” Another moment of thought. “Hold bred, then.” So it DOES explain it all!? Or K’vir’s just tucking that note to file it with the rest of what he’s likely mentally scribbled about Stefyr. “A younger me would have approached this aggressively, yeah.” He admits with a fleeting smirk. “Lucky for you, I’m older and don’t want to deal with Risali, Ila’den and R’hyn…” A pause, another exhaled breath that carries the driest of humour. “… because it’s Risali, Ila’den and R’hyn, and I got enough shit to deal with, than to give them a reason to skin me alive for assaulting a Candidate.” He’ll allow a beat of silence, then continues, a touch hesitantly. “… not that you deserve it.” His weight shifts, settling more to one side as he smiles vaguely for the babbling compliments. “You must’ve had an effect on her too. I’ve been with her long enough to know too, not to come between friendships. Jealousy is an ugly thing, but I trust her.” Notably, he does not extend that trust to Stefyr. “You… don’t really have to explain yourself to me.” Spoken slowly again, like he’s cautious of each word but unsure. Yet even if Stefyr were to ignore that and state his case, K’vir will listen. Does he want to? Probably not, but he’ll make himself stay put.

"Whatever you need." Three words. Three very genuine words that cover every manner of sin. We could look back, at how Stefyr's subtle tension remains, noting how it's not the least aggressive, or even that defensive, really, it just is. It's warranted, all things considered. It could be said that he listened even more closely to K'vir's words, that he didn't look impatient or even confused (FOR ONCE), by what the bronzerider says, but it really all boils down to Stefyr's singular response for the man. Three words and he means every damned one. His blue eyes don't move away from K'vir's face, he doesn't flinch or try to apologize more, again, or even explain himself. He might even stop there, except he does add, quietly, "I respected you before I met you because you're one of her people." People here is that very special definition that defines those partners who are at the heart of someone's world. "I'd… like to… respect you for yourself, too. If ever…" His brows furrow slightly, and he even takes a step back. "Sorry, overstepping, I think. No… expectations or…" He seems to be struggling to articulate himself now, but he does add, "If you want to punch me, I won't report it." He's very earnestly offering K'vir his perfect shot.

Whatever he needs? K’vir mulls over that, his gaze lowering thoughtfully while lapsing silent but the offer, such as it were, is not immediately addressed. Instead, his gaze lifts at the mention of respect and settle on him with an air of puzzlement. His expression easily read as an unspoken ‘why?’. “If ever…?” he presses, a touch more firmly than intended in his fumbling to keep his thoughts on track. He fixes him with a look, when supposed temptation is set out again and K’vir sighs. His shoulders straighten and for all intent and purpose, it might look like he’s drawing himself together and readying to swing! Indeed, his arm is moving, his hand is definitely lifting up… and then it just clasps to his shoulder. Hard. Some small part of him must be dying to give in to younger impulses and baser emotions. Would it help? No, of course not. So he won’t and he merely pins Stefyr with a look. “I’m not going to hit you.” Off comes his hand and with it, the firm unspoken warning: don’t bring it up or push it further.

Stefyr doesn't flinch, doesn't move to defend himself. He just stands there, waiting, though his eyes do track the arm until that hand finds its rest. The still tense shoulder under the older man's hand dips slightly at impact, but it, too, is neither flinch nor defense. His blue eyes return to the bronzerider's face. "If ever you were comfortable." He can finish that sentence, he can do that much. Unfortunately for that silent why, the impulse to babble seems to have left Stefyr and now the young man is simply silent, respectfully so, not awkwardly this time, watching Risali's weyrmate's face and waiting, to see if anything else will come.

“… I’m not sure if I’m following.” K’vir states this after a long spell of just staring back at Stefyr and working that reply through his thoughts in a variety of ways. Brows furrow again, his expression grim but a touch sheepish. It’s not that he is dense or slow, but really, this sort of stuff is NOT his strong point. Which is why he used to default to physical means or just explode in anger, but those Turns are behind him. Even if it makes his skin crawl, he’s determined to keep a rational hold on the matter! So much for avoiding long winded, babbling explanations?

Stefyr's hands slip from his pockets to come up by his sides in what might be a gesture of helpless defeat, but instead is a curling of both hands into fists that draw up by his head and then pop open as his hands come down in some gesticulation that is an expression of… what? Frustration? Maybe? "I'm sorry. I've never had anything even close to resembling this conversation." So basically, K'vir, it's not you. It's Stefyr. He sucks at leading where he has not been before. "I'm saying," he tries again, sucking in s breath and letting it go, "I don't know if there's any chance that we could end up friends, but that I would like us to be, maybe." And hurrying on, "And that I respect you, and what you and Risa and D'lei are to one another." Not that he knows everything of what they are to one another, but the general idea. At least he's thrown some more words together and maybe they can muddle forward from here.

Oh. OH! It dawns on K’vir then, what he was getting at and the furrowed brow eases back to one of brief incredulousness and then he’s scoffing lightly. It’s not him mocking that offer, but more of a release of tension building on HIS end of things. THAT’S all it is? It’s something he can grasp better. “Well, I don’t hate your guts? So that’s a start, I guess.” Hey, at least he was straight forward with it? He seems content to fold his arms across his chest, his whole posture still ‘relaxed’ on the surface though anyone who took the time to look closer would realize he’s a touch uneasy. There’s a nod to his reassurance on respecting them. “And I’m trying to believe that,” he admits, with a renewed grimace and pointed look directed to him. “That you’re not aiming to disrupt what we have. Whether intentional or not… But what we have is also not, hmm…” Normal? Standard? “Like any other.” Kind of. His jaw works again, tongue briefly wetting his lips as he sorts out his thoughts and backtracks the conversation a touch. “You gotta stop apologizing.” Once was enough. Now? Now it comes off as though he’s getting frustrated by it. No explanation why and he probably couldn’t explain it even if asked. “I don’t… think most folk try to get themselves into situations like this? At least, I’m hoping that wasn’t your goal.”

Ah, poor lamb. Stefyr actually, briefly, looks stricken by the idea that he might even unintentionally be disrupting what Risali has with her weyrmates. The look is horribly real. Fortunately it's there and gone again so perhaps can be ignored. There is a firm headshake. He opens his mouth, MAYBE TO APOLOGIZE FOR APOLOGIZING, but he stops himself and his mouth closes again, those lips pressing together and he shifts a little so he's angled a little more toward the feeding grounds (though still toward the older man, too, just more obliquely). He stands that way a moment, breathing, ordering those suddenly disordered thoughts. "I just… want to be her friend." He bites his lower lip, brow furrowing as if there's a whole set of new thoughts and new worries resting there now. "The rest… was unplanned." It's an anti-climactic ending to the sentence, but the truest true he could probably speak. After a moment, with a touch of color in those pale (When did they go pale? When he was stricken, obviously.) cheeks he adds, "I'm new at all of this. Friendship." A breath. "Everything." And then even quieter, a mutter that's still audible in the conversational distance, "Family farm. Small." So small by comparison to this place. This huge place where everything is different.

It could be, harsh as it may be, that K’vir was low key aiming for some sort of visual sign that Stefyr really is harmless and is thusly rewarded when he looks so stricken. It gives him a small piece of the larger puzzle he’s beginning to put together about who this young man is (or could be). Is it fair of him? Probably not. He’ll listen in silence to the rest, his gaze lingering on him on a sidelong angle and eventually moving away to stare ahead and in the distance. Not surprisingly, Zekath is within his line of the sight, though the bronze is still quite far away and on his second kill of the evening. “I believe it.” But it doesn’t entirely sit well and he’s trying not to let that bleed through. It still does, despite his efforts but can he be wholly blamed? “I get it.” Does he? K’vir might only have a small corner of the whole picture but he’s trying here and not just brushing Stefyr off. “About figuring out how things work.” Is he talking about relationships and friendships? OR MORE? How’s that for awkward? He’s not blushing, but he is clearing his throat a bit and fumbling again for words. “So you were isolated most of your life and now find yourself in a Weyr, where things are… not so linear and bound by black and white. I think,” He stalls a little here, faltering and at last turning to face him again with an expression that is unreadable but not cold. Questioning, perhaps? Is he at all close to the truth, here? “You are trying to figure out where you fit in all of it. And that can be… a lot.” He keeps his gaze on him, waiting and lapsing silent.

It might be a good sign that Stefyr's hands are coming out of his pocket retreat, although the fact that they then sort of go everywhere is maybe less reassuring. First hands touch his sides, then right arm hooks in front of his own neck, hand tucking behind opposite shoulder for a little stretch and then running down the length of his opposite arm before both hands are smoothing down the sides of his torso and landing loosely on hips. All this movement in mild agitation as he, perhaps, tries to figure out how to group the right thoughts together with the right words to express them. His hands linger there on his hips, but it's not a strong stance, given that his elbows are actually more forward of his chest than back, making his chest slightly concave before he straightens up and lets his hands fall to the side, letting go a long breath. He shifts his angle anew to face K'vir, maybe the better to be seen for just who and what he is. "Risa is my first and best friend here. I'm not her best friend, and I'm good with that." The way he looks at K'vir says that in Stefyr's perhaps misinformed book that role falls to either this weyrmate or her other. "I'm not trying to fit somewhere I don't belong. I'm not trying to fit into someone else's anything. I'm just…" DOING THIS BADLY, STEFYR. "Trying to figure things out," it's sort of what K'vir said but not and it's still inadequate. The candidate looks dissatisfied with the words he finally comes up with. "Anyway." He presses his lips closed because he's NOT APOLOGIZING AGAIN, SEE, K'VIR? "I'm… trying not to hurt anyone." That may also sound lame as a finish, but it's real, too. His expression is turning a little closed, but not because of anything K'vir has done, but probably because this is… well, frankly, a little overwhelming for one former farmer who's still figuring it all out.

Fidgeting is usually K’vir’s shtick! He’s been oddly… very calm and unmoving during this whole affair, which may be a VERY good sign for Stefyr’s case! His arms are still loosely crossed over his chest and he doesn’t seem inclined to move, beyond the occasional shift of weight from one hip to the other. A brow quirks to the “confession” and now there’s a ghost of a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Which is why I’m not gonna come between you two. Friendships are important.” Besides, it would greatly upset Risali and he knows this, but he’d already stated how his trust in her is solid. If he has concerns or doubts, it won’t be discussed with him; not out of disrespect but because they haven’t built that sort of bridge yet between them. “Yeah, I know. I believe it.” His tone is genuine, as he levels Stefyr with a look to back that up. “It might happen though,” he warns, as gently as possible. “That you’ll unintentionally hurt someone or cause something… some upset. Just keep that in mind and be ready to own up.” Which is his way of saying ‘now that you know it could go wrong, don’t play the fool’ (coughKERUTHIENcough). NOW, there’s a touch of fidgeting, as his arms uncross so he can scrape the back of a thumb along the curve of his jaw. Does he want to do this? He seems to be weighing the decision, until, at last, he speaks. “Anything… else you wanted to talk about? Ask or tell me?” NO APOLOGIES!

The sober expression in the young man's face speaks more strongly than any words of reassurance he could offer K'vir that Stefyr is aware of the potential and already cringing at the possibility (eventuality). His Adam's apple bobs but he just nods. Maybe there aren't any words left. He pushes a hand through his hair, tugging at it just a little, more nerves showing themselves. He's coming to the end of himself, to the end of what he can successfully cope with without needing to retreat and process. But he finds a few more words. "If it's ever… appropriate for you to… speak to me directly if there's an issue. I'd prefer that." He does take responsibility, see? His lips press together hard. "I'm glad I met you." He can say those words too without saying too much. "H-have a good evening," is a stumble because how do you bid farewell under these circumstances? Well, Mum would not be proud of the circumstances, but she would like his display of good breeding. And then the young man's hands are finding their way into his pockets again, shoulders hunching slightly as he makes to … escape. Yep, that's retreat.

K’vir will dip his head in a respectful nod of understanding. He’ll keep that in mind! Yet, before Stefyr can get too far and before he decides to regret NOT saying anything, he’ll speak up. “Maybe next time,” he tosses out the invite, should it be taken as such. “We can talk more about… other things. Dragons. What’s expected. You said you want to learn? I’ve got a — different experience than most. I Impressed really young, I’ve been at this for awhile but… yeah. It’s up to you.” His messed up experience can be a boon for others, since he remembers what it was like to be struggling through the world as a teen AND shouldering the expectations of being a rider. In reality, it’s an olive branch, under the guise of ‘neutral’ discussion. Gotta start somewhere, right? And K’vir harbours no ill will against him, even if his first encounter was not an expected one. Water under the bridge! He’ll be permitted his escape, then, as K’vir will turn to follow a different path. Zekath is content to finish his meal without an audience!

K'vir's words bring Stefyr's retreat to a temporary halt. The big blond twists at the waist to look back at the older man and listen— yes, with that intense listening like what the Wingsecond has to say is vital to him. Even emotionally overwhelmed as he is, his intellect is sharply attuned to the bronzerider's words. "I'd like that." He answers without a hesitation. There's even a ghost of a smile on Stefyr's lips briefly; maybe he recognizes the olive branch, or maybe he just appreciates someone taking the time to help him learn. "Thank you," he'll even add, briefly, but meant. Then the retreat resumes as though there's somewhere he needs to be, and maybe there is. Candidates are kept busy, after all.

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