First Meetings, Cool Greetings

Tillek Hold: Marina
The Marina here at Tillek is filled with fishing ships of all sorts, ranging from small sloops to the larger Schooners, that go out on the expeditions that help feed the masses here in the north that depend on cheap, plentiful protein. Set on the docks are the barrels of salted or otherwise preserved fish, squid and mussels. Piles of ropes also adorn the docks, Sailers cheerfully, or some not quite so cheery working on stowing and repairing them for the next trip out.

After nearly being recognized at Gar Hold some sevendays ago, Alida decided that discretion was the better part of valor, even if she wasn't guilty of being a renegade. Moving like a snow leopard among the dangerous 'rocks' of her life, the woman not only boarded a ship to Tillek…but also shaved her head of its fake-dark-blonde mop of hair. Anyone who gave her crap about her lack of locks during the voyage was quickly dissuaded from their ways via either insult or fists, the woman left to her own devices in her tiny cabin during the weeks of the journey. And now, finally, her boots are upon new soil where fewer know of her sordid past…are seeking to hunt her down. Which is a relief, at least for the moment. Her last pair of small coins in one of her purses at waist remain secured as the green-eyed, tall and silent woman slowly assesses her new surroundings as she strides along like a feral cat.

It's anyone's guess as to what would bring a pair like Ila'den and R'hyn to Tillek Hold - weyr business, perhaps, judging from the elaborate Weyrleader's knot the younger bronzerider is shaking in Ila'den's face, accompany by words that carry if only because the man makes no efforts to keep them quiet. "It's damn insulting, if you ask me. I don't know how L'ton put up with that-" But whatever swear word - and make no doubt, it would have been a swear word - that the rider was about to use to describe what is surely one holder or another gets swallowed down with a skywards glance and a heaving sigh. Three, two, one, and he's calm, turning from Ila'den with a shake of his head. "Whatever. I'm just going to tell him where he can shove his- Oops!" Feral cat, meet big dumb puppy. Okay, maybe that's not fair - R'hyn isn't dumb, per se, but he is big, more than six feet of muscle ill-disguised beneath dark winter-grade leathers. He's also a puppy under all that leadership bluster, immediately backing down from whatever ire he has left to offer a wide, apologetic grin and a sheepish scrunch of blue-grey eyes. "My fault. I should have looked at where I was… you know… going." There's considerable pause between the last two words, gaze focusing on Alida for brisk assessment, or what might be calculation, but instead of a dramatic point and a call for the guards he offers a pleasant, "Nice hair. It's a bold look." He says it with a grin as he shifts out of her way just enough to not be rude and crowding because he does have some sense, bless.

LET'S JUST CLEAR UP ONE THING BEFORE WE GET ON WITH THE POSING: R'HYN, NO!!! You may not take it home. Feline or no, it's feral, and we don't need any more cats. AHEM. So really, why they are in Tillek Hold probably does have everything to do with that knot being dangled about in Ila'den's face - Ila'den, who doesn't seem in the least perturbed by his weyrmate's assault of personal space, but rather amused if that lone grey eye unhindered by the eyepatch crossing the other gives away anything. "He didn't," Ila'den drawls, voice (as ever) a rasping, husky growl carrying hints of brogue and burr that define an accent opposed to R'hyn's. "He always sent me." Translation: Ila'den told you not to drag him along. It was destined to never end well. One callused hand reaches up when R'hyn's eyes go skywards, and the once renegade, once weyrsecond, once weyrleader closes the bulk of that knot in one fist, pulling it free of R'hyn's fingers just as R'hyn takes a misstep into a stranger and the elder bronzerider stops just shy of complicating the already complicated collision of bodies. Where R'hyn is tall puppy (with more than enough muscle to be considered big), Ila'den is a full grown wolf, as feral in appearance as Alida is in step. He may not be as tall as Half Moon Bay's Weyrleader, but he's built; he's all muscle that bulges at the confines of leathers, dark hair that's messy in its unrepentant attempts to defy gravity with awkward juts and skyward angles, and an eye patch over one eye that surely hints at a grizzly fate to whatever once rested beneath in that out-of-sight socket. There's a hint of a limp in his gait, a physical manifestation to announce an injury that never healed correctly, and something distinctly unfriendly (without being malicious) in the way he assesses Alida while reaching out one hand to steady his weyrmate. He doesn't say anything, however; au contraire, he's alarmingly silent, and silence never bodes well when it comes to Ila'den.

Good thing *Alida's* watching where the eff she's going (and what and who's going on about her), because when big 'dumb' puppy collides with her, she's smoothly, almost effortlessly pivoting to the side so that only his arm and her shoulder graze heavily in a light bump. Oh great…'puppy's' a Weyrleader from the size of his…knot, and the mercenary's tsavorite eyes narrow just a tetch, her body subtly tensing beneath her jacket. For R'hyn's words of watching where he's going, there's a clipped, harsh-accented alto, "Yeah." Beat. "Whatever." She sounds uncaring, really. His comment about her hair evinces a small twist of lips, then a low, slightly-grumpy sounding, "Never gamble with a Bitran," as one hand grazes over the top of her fuzzy head. Eye-roll. It's not a lie, per sey, and it preserves her persona…and allows her to assess 'happy puppy'… versus his companion 'feral wolf.' Do those green eyes feel like they're digging, sifting through the two men's inner selves, looking for skeletons? They might seem that way, though 'peach fuzz' woman works to present a simple, gruff seaman's exterior. If Ila'den's wearing his own knot, it too is noted by alert eyes, a grunt and nod offered to his likewise silent self.

BUT IT'S SO CUTE AND GRUMPY. LOOK AT HOW CUTE AND GRUMPY IT IS. PLEAAAAAAASE? "Don't say it, Ila. Don't you even say it." 'I told you so,' he means. R'hyn saw that expression, and though he's deprived of knot to shake yet again, the confiscation of his identification frees him up to poke his weyrmate dead in the chest with a single finger. "You'd just think he could play nice." But apparently, playing nice isn't much on the tables for his day, in the hold proper nor its marina. Alida's tepid reception of his apology earns a flash of a grin, huffing out quiet laughter for her explanation of shortened hair. "Ain't that the truth. Heard they'd take the shirt off your back, but the hair off your head…" That's new. He buys the story though, content with half-truths and amused by the situation regardless, Heryn being the sort that's ten kinds of amicable right up until he's not. Green eyes attempt to pry far too deep, and it's like a light clicking off behind the weyrleader's eyes, a half-step taken backwards into the steadying press of Ila'den's hand even as a sunbright grin plasters itself across his features. Nothing to see, here! Just your friendly neighborhood bronzerider and his Big Bad Wolf, out for a friendly stroll. "Planning on enjoying your shore leave?," asked if only because she remains in their proximity and he's nothing if not polite, even in the face of discomfort. He tries, okay?

There's low, husky, rumbling laughter for the finger that finds its way into his chest, and while Ila'den doesn't say those four forbidden words, he does offer up, "You owe me, Heryn," in their place. CUE ALIDA. EYYYYY. NO KNOTS HERE. Even on official business (or, really, accompanying R'hyn), THIS IS NOT THE DRAGONRIDER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. In fact, the only hint of Ila'den's rider status is the fitted leathers clinging tight to his body, and perhaps the helmet, goggles, and gloves that are tucked away under his arm, on the top of his head, and in his belt (respectively). There's no hint of what one might expect to find in a 'rider's eyes (or in this case, EYE) though; he's so contrary to R'hyn (even as the lights go out and a step puts him closer to Ila), who seems to come upon his friendliness with honest ease, that it's almost alarming. And oh, but Ila'den is only too aware of green eyes as they try to read things they're not at all privy too. It's why Ila'den seems to lose what warmth was aimed in amusement at R'hyn before; why Alida's assessment of his person (and perhaps the skeletons lurking somewhere in that one good eye and R'hyn's) is greeted by a wolfish smile, one that stretches too wide, to show too many teeth in a hint of threat while giving away nothing — except, perhaps, that here stands a man you don't want to fuck with. Ila'den keeps his hand against R'hyn's lower back for seconds before he drops it to his side, shifting his attention to R'hyn when he speaks before that attention goes back to Alida. "Aye, I reckon that it's probably a safer bet not to gamble at all." Whatever that means, but it's delivered low, raspy, and husky, and growly but that's just because that's Ila'den's voice. "What with how you're out of hair to trade."

She's cute and grumpy, or Ila'den is? Because, let's face facts, Mister Weyrleader: Alida isn't cute. She's oddly and actually quite pretty…sans the peach-fuzz head. And she's only slightly grumpy, right now…which could change very quickly, given the circumstances. A long look is spared between the two men as R'hyn rounds lightly on Ila'den, the woman not really joining in on the laughter of the Weyrleader, though her cool and watchful eyes glint for a fraction of a second. Dark humor, perhaps? When the huge man does the half-step back into the other man's hand at the mercenary's searching stare, she lets up off it, working to try and maintain her anonymity. Challenging looks don't help with that, after all. For R'hyn, there's a sailor's blunt, "F*ckin' Bitrans…" and a shrug of shoulders. "Aye. Got a sevenday 'r so…" And likely a *lot* longer, once she gets the shell away from the docks and ships. A blink is given to Ila'den's low laugh and his nickname of the Weyrleader, the one-eyed man's slow loss of humor and open-ness noticed as she withdraws her cool assessment of them both. For the 'wolf,' the wildcat grunts out a clipped, mile-a-minute alto, "Gotta agree…most times," to his words of gambling. She's intimate with gambles, if not gambols. "Hair grows back…if yer' young enough." Shrug. Is *he*?

I mean. R'hyn always finds Ila'den to be cute and grumpy, and if he can think that of the hyper-masculine bronzerider, no one is safe, Alida. But for now, perceived cuteness or lack thereof is put by the wayside in favor of focusing on the now, releasing subtle tension in time with the easing of the mercenary's stare. Exceeding friendliness never quite returns - a puppy he may be, but one that's been kicked enough to know when to distance himself - but the man offers a snort of amusement for blunt swearing and Ila's cautionary words, gaze darting his way with a flicker of acknowledgment before he issues an agreeing, "Indeed. Though there are, perhaps, worse ways to lose one's…" He won't assume there was more than hair lost in whatever the wager was, so he settles for a vague hand gesture and a somewhat-amiable, "Enjoy, at any rate. I can testify to the excellence of the region's wine. The rest of what I know about Tillek is heresay, and not at all kind." Lips press back hard for mention of youth, blue-grey gaze spinning away to find a fishstand suddenly very attractive, not about to touch conversation of youth considering the discrepancy in age between the obviously familiar couple. Nope. Just gonna stare at that man over there gutting his catch with an offhand, "I wonder if they have yellowfish." A dart of eyes back at Alida. "Don't suppose yours was a fishing craft, hm?" Awful question-y for one shy of even the hint of interest in himself, but them's the breaks.

Welp, there goes EVERY SINGLE TABLE IN TILLEK. GOOD JOB, THE BOTH OF YOU. GEEZ. "If you keep gambling, little bird, you might just be fuckin' Bitrans before you know it." That's Ila'den for you, horridly inappropriate at the best of times, giving another flash of teeth to showcase humor that says he doesn't really care who Alida tumbles with or whether or not she finds his brand of humor funny. It's a combination of Alida's comment about age, and R'hyn's comment about hair, and subsequent refusal to acknowledge twenty turns of age separating Ila'den from R'hyn in age that has the elder bronzerider rumbling more of that low, husky laughter. It's short lived, dying as abruptly as it came despite the fact that it lingers at the corners of his mouth and the edges of his eye. "Are there worse ways to lose your hair, husband?" A lean into R'hyn's space, a subtle shifting of muscle and body that lends him mischief in lieu of wolfish grandstanding. "We can experiment; I'll judge if its worse, and you can tell me if I'm too old to grow it back." That damnable brogue and burr are thick, making it hard to discern what the man is saying as he says it even as it provides clear evidence that he is amused. Amused or no, that grey eye still flickers back to Alida, brow rising as he delivers a husky, "Of course, I was under the impression that you had to be a certain age to grow hair. And to gamble with Bitrans." YES, HE JUST CALLED YOU YOUNG. WHATEVER, YOU CALLED HIM OLD. And he's even smiling, because he's a jerk. Listen, Alida. You will not be the first person to punch him if you just wanna GO FOR IT. And you will certainly not be the last. And to R'hyn? "She might have pink fish - if you ask nice." SMILE. Rude. Just both of you punch him.

Alida can deal with a lack of *exceeding* friendliness, the woman's own subtly tense posture easing a few fractions, though never fully, especially with 'wolf' still in attendance. "You are *not* sh*ttin'…" the green-eyed mercenary responds back to R'hyn of losing 'things' on one's person, her own gaze rolling heavenward just a moment before she notes the Weyrleader's sudden focus upon a fish-gutter behind her. Her lips try not to, but manage to find a half of a tight little smirk in reaction. Yep, she couldn't help but notice the two guys' chumminess *and* their disparate ages. Comes with the training…and it was pretty obvious, anyway. "I think they might've…" her clipped alto informs R'hyn of yellowtail, the man then getting a shake of her fuzzy head. "Transport." Goodness! She's being downright near-talkative with the unknown man…lucky him! And then the gloves are off with Ila'den, those insightful green eyes snicking over to him like razor blades, Alida's attention near-fully upon him and his insults, by now. She could be made of High Reaches glaciers, from the way she reacts…which is a chill 'zilch,' though the 'little bird' comment is greeted by a bit of a wolf's smile for a moment. Tables turn for that second. The 'pink fish' addendum is suddenly causing the mercenary to laugh…a low, darkly humored, wicked thing. "I'm sure yer mommy'd be proud uv' those cuties." Ila'den's insults. "I'll ask my sire ta tell 'er about yer first attempts while he's bendin' her over a barrel." Ahh…there's the first true look of humor on Alida's face, seen in eyes and upon her visage. To the taller man is noted almost brightly, "Have a good day, Weyrleader." His partner? Maybe not so much.

Double welp. So much for maintaining polite, civil distance. Familiar enough with his brogue to catch every inch of that sass, R'hyn pinks from cheekbones to ears, fixing Alida with a look that's exceedingly unamused. It speaks volumes, that look, mostly of the 'this is my life, these are my choices' nature, flashing in bold neon before finally his gaze tilts back towards Ila'den. Blue-greys darken to something much more like thunderclouds than cold sky, a sharp smirk accompanying equally a drawled, "You're on." He has the honor to be your obedient servant, A. Ryn. It's all for show, though - shoulders quake as pent up amusement finally unleashes, accompanied by a low rolling chuckle that doesn't quite fade in the face of Alida's glacial reception of Ila'den's rude jests. "Now now, husband. You might look younger too, on the far end of such a loss. Don't judge until you know," is as much flirtation as it is an attempt to diffuse the situation, accompanied by a knock of one shoulder and— a sharp punch delivered to the surface of Ila'den's because pink fish, that's why. If it weren't for the mercenary's quip about sires and mommies, there might well have been further blushing and potentially-stammered protestation, but as it is, the weyrleader's flinty gaze catches and holds on Alida's, the grin he offers a feral little thing that's somehow his while also reflecting more than a little of Ila'den's spirit. "That'll be awkward," noted too-casually, but if there's explanation for that, he leaves it unsaid - instead he shifts his attention back to Ila'den with a brush of his hand against the man's sleeve, as much apology for earlier slugging as it is to garner the man's attention. "I'm going to find something for dinner. We'll make Cita cook." WORRY NOT. NO BURNED FOOD THIS NIGHT. "Come find me when you're done?" In case he wishes to stay, fingers catching around the sparse give of leathers in a telling grip before he steps away. Eyes slide back to Alida with a sideways grin, acknowledging her words with a jaunty nod as he passes down the docks. "And you, traveler. May yours fare better than mine."

Ila'den's laughing again when R'hyn's meeting his challenges, and chiding him, and punching him. Ila'den sways with the playful gesture, unrepentant and showing it. But oh, sweet Alida. Alida's gloves are off, but Ila'den's remain where they are, both physically and metaphorically: they were never on. This is a dance for him, a predator scenting a predator, a feral animal showing teeth to a cat with claws having no intention to bite. And it is an exchange; Alida gives up being a wildcat to be a wolf, and Ila'den is all Cheshire grins that seem to harbor nothing but honest humor. Insightful green eyes might be snicking like razor blades, but that grey eye is dancing with mirth, no hint of anger to be found in stormy depths as he watches, and listens, and more of that rumbling, husky laughter leaves his throat before Alida's even finished talking. Any normal, sane person might bristle and give way to anger, but not Ila'den. Ila'den is angry enough most of the time, with ghosts and himself. There is nothing that Alida could possibly say to him (or, more accurately, about him) that he hasn't already drilled into himself from a young age. It comes from turns of living among renegades, learning how to shed bits of your humanity and self just so that you can survive. But for all that Ila'den's eye is fixed on the mysterious marina-dwelling woman, he doesn't say anything to Alida. That grey eye flickers to R'hyn, and Ila'den leans towards him as if he means to whisper, except that he doesn't whisper at all. "I think I've hurt her feelings, Heryn," comes around a smile that just won't quit. "Do you think that we should tell her that there are laws on the books regarding sexual deviancy and corpses, before she finds herself on the receiving end of jokes about being the offspring to men who participate in necrophilia?" And Ila's attention is back on R'hyn, a soft sound in his throat as Alida is dismissed entirely. "I'm coming with you." HE KNOWS HE ISN'T WANTED HERE. He's many things, but an antagonist is not one of them. Not in the staying when it would just be bad kind of way, anyway. "If she refuses, I'll play that song she likes until she agrees. On my recorder." And there he goes, falling back into step with his weyrmate, slipping stolen knots back into hands with a brush against knuckles that is somehow intimate without being exceedingly so.

It's ironically funny how apparently easy-going R'yhn is harder to read than bald-faced Ila'den, Alida's expression for the Weyrleader kept more into the somewhat politely neutral zone than it is for the other bronzerider. The interaction between the pair of men is noted, not reacted to, as if the mercenary is used to such things, the taller man's words of this Cita person cooking stored away for later perusal. *They'll* be eating tonight in a warm, dry place, most likely, while she'll be curling up in whatever hovel she can find or make, likely sans dinner…unless she can set up a trap and snare some wild bit of meat. It's thought of that which has her puffing out a little sigh, then responding back to R'hyn's farewell, "Think that's gonna be difficult." No matter. A lift of hand in farewell is given… and then Ila'den's responding like *that*. And, for the love of sweet Faranth's non-existent teats, the woman is pivoting a little upon a boot toe to face the shorter man — the motion smooth as silk and minimalistically and potentially deadly — and suddenly barking a loud spate of harsh, black humor onto Tillekian air. It too echoes at least some of what's in Ila'den's tone and words, harshness for harshness, brutality for brutality…and a hint of a loss of some sanity around the edges, to boot. Let *that* be what she leaves behind for Ila to chew on, or not, as she departs towards the mainland.

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