A Road Less Traveled

Half Moon Bay - Outer Reaches
Not so much a road as a wide path marked by the hooves of runners and boots of travelers. You can see the gates of Half Moon Bay Hold to the southeast, and the mountain where the Weyr is housed far in the other direction. To the south, there is ocean visible and a road winding off towards a beach in the southwest.

While it may be only spring in the region of Half Moon Bay, the weather was still relatively warm, even at night. J'en had shed his riding jacket along with its knot and patches, leaving it tucked into one of the bags on his lifemate's straps, having set out wearing a pair of long legged swim trunks in black, a form fitting blood-red tank top, and a pair of sandals. He'd only meant to take a stroll to clear his head, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his trunks, but the irritable chitter of a passing wild green firelizard as he grows to close to her nest snaps him out of his thoughts. Eyes coming up off the path before him, he stiffens, suddenly realizing he had no clue where he was just then. "Fuck meh." he growls, panic setting in for all about a second before a glance over one of his tattooed shoulders reveals that while he was far off from the weyr, it was still there. Hissing a curse even worse than the one he'd birthed into the world not too long ago, combing through the short black hair sticking straight up at the top of his head.

"Ooh, I don't know. You didn't even bring me flowers and I do keep track of things like that," is Nothing more than a dark silhouette stands in the road before J'en, likely approaching the weyr with the small runner-drawn cart following not too far behind. The figure turns, muttering something in the darkness to the men on the cart, motioning to the weyr. The figure remains motionless with his hands on his hips, letting the group pass him by and when it does, the faint light of lanterns hanging just outside of the of cart cast his face and figure in a very faint glow. A little bit of an older man, his hair golden, eyes blue and the look of fatigue clearly on his features. Sure, he could've ridden in the cart, but sometimes navigating in strange places is easier done on foot for landmarks… Also to prolong the inevitable reason of business. The figure turns, walking just off of the road and sits himself down on something with a heavy sigh.

The defining characteristics of the cursing one are also revealed with those passing lanterns. Tattoos, a lip piercing, a tall and slender muscular frame, distinctly angular and masculine features that betray youth over wisdom, and eyes colored the brightest hue of honeyed brown to the point of being able to be described as gold. Then the men and the wagon are gone and J'en is left with his hands once more shoved into the depths of his pockets, peering through the night at the figure who had made himself comfortable on a relatively flat boulder. It was a little disconcerting that one of figures in the dark had remained and already Jae was reaching out and waking his lifemate, starting him on the journey that would eventually bring him to this exact spot. There was nothing wrong with having a little bit of back up. He didn't know this blonde haired, blue eyed man from a hole in ground, and all of Pern was not always as hospitable as its Weyrs. "Ya make a habit of stalkin' around in the dark?" he asks, unable to make out anything through the dark that would indicate mood or intention and so he remains on guard. Shoulders tense.

High over head, the clouds finally decided they wanted to disperse, allowing a little bit of Belior's light to illuminate the landscape. Nothing too brilliant given the phase it's in, but enough where the sight wouldn't be too unkind to the eyes. The man peers over to J'en, brows raised high as he holds his hands out before him, shaking his wrists just a little bit before fingers are interwoven together and he cracks those knuckles with a crooked grin. His arms are then moved overhead in a lazy stretch, the sounds of joints popping and cracking under the strain along with a deep groan is all his reply seems to be until he settles down once more, hands neatly folded in his lap and feet crossed at the ankles. His clothes are rather conservative for a warm spring just outside of the weyr. "Not always, I slept most of the day so my sleep is going to be off for a little while. I figured, I might as well take in the sights and see the nightlife until I can get back on my good boring sleep schedule. Are you sleep walking now? Or living up the night life?"

If it had been Rukbat behind those clouds and not soft moon light, that would have been a much greater shock to the system than the subtle shift of illumination Belior provides. J'en tilts his head to the side, still standing the middle of the empty and well traveled road with his hands in his pockets, the only difference now is that he can see whom he is speaking to. The tension in his broad shoulders eases some, only because he now could keep a visual on the stranger. There is oddly no expression on the young man's face, his gaze fixed to the seated figure, not even with all the knuckle cracking and stretching going on over there. Apparently whoever the raven haired traveler was, he had nothing to comment on the strangers habits or desires. "I'm awake," he says, gaze finally moving away in order to lift to the dragon shadow high above that crosses the moon. He snorts though, dropping his attention back on the stranger, "Ya call goin' for a walk alone, livin' it up?"

"Oh, it could be. Depending on what you're walking from or walking to. I love going on moonlit strolls, it's so refreshing this far away from home." The stranger holds his hands up while he shrugs, then just leans back on the stone, fingers cradling his head as he reclines and hums a little tune. He's not too afraid of dragon shadows, they're a common sight so he pays it no mind. A light trill echos in the night, and a gliding miniature bronze figure gently lands on his human's knees. The firelizard is deliberately careful as he moves until he's off his human's legs and onto the stone. There, he'll scratch about a bit before waddling about with wings held open. Too many things to investigate! "Do your piercings ever get caught on things? I'd hate to have something get caught on a sheet, then roll over at the most inopportune of moments."

J'en very slowly arches a single brow as the stranger speaks and then reclines, the very same dragon shadow overhead passing over Balior again, this time on the way back to Half Moon Bay Weyr. He'd have to apologize to Leketh later, but smoothing things over with the bronze wasn't exactly very difficult, especially since dragons had very short memories. Jae is momentarily distracted by the arrival of that firelizard. Instantly his shoulders tighten reflexively, but this too quickly fades as the playful creature rolls about, quickly losing interest. Back to the blonde man those golden eyes go though as more questions are asked of him, his chin lifting a few centimeters. "Only got two, never had a problem with either of 'em." There was only one piercing visible, the one at the left corner of his bottom lip. The other? Who knows.

The man raises his head, peering at this peculiar person and their piercings. Two? For a moment, he stares awkwardly, then shrugs again as he lowers his head. People and their piercings, he's heard of it, but not quite sure what to make of it. Let alone where people want to put the things. The could go anywhere, technically. The little bronze waddles down the road, chittering to himself in various pitches like he's having a very lively conversation, then it's abruptly cut short. He stops, fluttering his wings as his tiny head darts from side to side. The firelizard holds still, fixed on one point off-road. A low hiss escapes from it, and his human pushes himself up to an upright position, a suspicious look on his face as his blue gaze follows suit. The firelizard slowly, visibly relaxes and so does his human. Maybe laying down is a bad idea out in the dark. Especially since he sent his peers up ahead. "Well, I guess that's a good thing, about the piercings then uh… Sir?"

The tattooed and pierced young man easily meets the stranger's gaze where he hasn't moved at all since their conversation started, his expression blank and hands still lodged into pockets. However soon those golden eyes of his fall away and down to the firelizard as he toddles about on his exploratory mission of questionable importance, leaving the topic of peircings alone, mostly because of the silence that falls over humans but is quite alive with all that chittering. When that sound stops though, that's when every muscle along Jae's shoulders tightens, shifting his gaze towards the corner closest to the noise which had alerted both the small metallic creature as well as his companion. He doesn't even seem to breathe until all of a sudden everyone relaxes at once and he curses softly, growling something or another soon there after. "Jae." he replies to the stranger without skipping a beat, not about to scoop up some stranger and his firelizard and whisk them off to someplace closer to civilization, but for a second there it looked like he wanted to. There is no expectation for a return introduction though as soon as his name is given, he finally shifts his weight to his other foot and jerks his head the way that the wagon had went. "Ya drink?"

The man places on hand on either side of him, fingertips tapping on stone before he finally pushes himself back to his feet. Hands dust themselves off on his pants before rubbing together. "Well met, Jae. I'm Alexryin and that little guy down there is Tarnish. He's not a very social drinker himself but I might enjoy a drink if you know of a decent well lit and inhabited place. Like the quiet night but I think I had my fill, too." Alexryin holds his arm up and Tarnish glides over to land on an elbow and sidestep into place. He slowly steps onto the road and makes his way towards the weyr proper, but not so fast that he's leaving Jae behind or too so fast he couldn't be passed up. He did catch the man's odd behavior so he'll not push the issue of him leading the way. If there's an issue, he'll deal with it.

J'en had definitely had his fill of the night, but despite an increasing need to return to a more inhabited area, he remains standing in that one spot and simply watches the blonde stranger push himself to his feet and dust himself off. It's probably considered rude, everywhere, that the young man named Jae doesn't return all the pleasantries, the studiousness of his gaze in all probabilities likely disconcerting. He just waits for Alexryin to get situated before falling into step beside him, perhaps noting fleetingly he was slightly taller than him. There is no comment on it though other than a cursory glance that direction before his eyes are focused on the road ahead and to where it leads. Where it leads, is to Halfmoon Bay Weyr and the Tiki Lounge.

Alexryin slowly makes his way into the room, hands his in pockets and his shoulder's bared of Tarnish who is already up in the rafters for socializing. He man bites down on his lower lip a little bit, side stepping so as not to block the door and he glances around the room for a good spot. If it were day, outside would be perfect but now he makes his way to a quiet corner out of the path of residential traffic. Once a chair is pulled out, he takes a seat with his back to the corner and he glances down at the tabletop, fingertips tracing the various lines carved into it by generations of imbibed residents. One particular image evokes a crooked smile, a tiny chuckle, and the man leans back in his seat.

Because of the lateness of the hour, the Tiki Lounge isn't so much with the hustling and bustling but rather seems to have slowed down to an intoxicated trickle. This allows J'en to step in not long after Alexryin and give pause before proceeding, golden eyes purposefully scanning those few that linger here, seeming to relax after a moment. At that point he proceeds, heading the same direction as the older blonde man, and slipping into the seat across from him. This put his back to the entry, which may necessitate a glance now and then that way as well as generally around eventually. Tarnish and his ascendance is ignored, leaning back as well in his chair as to extend the length of his legs and cross them comfortably at the ankle. It's now that Jae gets a proper look at the man he'd met on the road, dark lashes lowering soon there after and gaze slid the way of closest server. "What do ya want?" he asks, his even voice soft and lacking any indication of anything other than absolute neutrality.

"Who me?," he says, pointing to his chest with his thumb, a look of clearly feigned innocence on his face. "Oh dear, I don't know what I want? The world is full of amazing possibilities. I don't think I could afford a smile, that's too rich for my blood. Though, an eyeroll? I will feel like the richest man in the world. Unless you're talking about a drink. I think I better stick to ale. It wouldn't be suiting to do business with the Senior Weyrwoman while being belligerent when it's not even Gather time. At Gather? I'll try not to throw up on her shoes." Alexryin grins, reaching up to scratch at the golden haze of whiskers along his chin. He glances at his hands for a moment, making sure they weren't too dirty, then starts to roll up the sleeves of his dark grey shirt before resting his forearms on his elbows.

Slowly, ever so slowly, J'en turns his head towards Alexryin, expressionless entirely save for that one brow creeping upwards as the man prattles on. There is no smile, no eyeroll, but rather just more soft words after jerking his chin upwards at the server who drifts by after having made precious eye contact, "Two ales." It wasn't a large place or particularly busy either which is why in no time at all their drinks arrive in frosty cold glasses placed on cork coasters and the younger of the two men picks his up, lifting it to his lips. Licking the froth off his upper lip, he once more looks across the table to Alexryin. Though, he's not exactly looking at him. Those odd colored eyes of his are off somewhere else one moment and the next he's back again. "Wise." Not throwing up on the Senior Weyrwoman's shoes? Yeah, that was a good plan. Another sip of ale later, he's dropped his attention to the contents of his mug. "Wasn't aware we got a gather comin' up."

Alexryin takes up his mug and doesn't bother letting the foam slow him down. He takes a good drink of it and leaves the foam in place while peering into the glass. "Good ale," he says with a grin, sliding a hand over his mouth to clean things up a bit. "Well, there isn't going to be one in the weyr proper that I'm aware of. If there was, mother would've carried on about it relentlessly. There is going to be one coming up in Blue Fire Hold, though. Nothing too extravagant, but still worth checking out if time allows. They used to be fun but now it's just another excuse for my parents to try to marry me off to someone. No lass needs this kind of negativity in her life." He holds his mug up again as a silent toast and peers suspiciously at the foam. It's an odd taste, good, but he can't put his finger on it.

Did J'en find the ale to his liking? Who knows. He leaves Alexryin's opinion alone and does not offer his own, qiving the place a once over with a peek behind him and then to his tablemate. "Sounds like mah grandmother, ain't nothin' more important to 'er at a gather than who's there and what people are wearin'…expect maybe manners an' breedin'." A pause. "Mostly the manners an' breedin'." he says quietly, "Load of runnershit." Said even quieter. So he can carry on a conversation, even if that conversation was being made with a very pronounced Istan accent. Jae is back to silently observing the bearded man across from him, head slightly tilting as his chin tips vaguely upwards before lashes descend once again. "Ain't no place for meh at gathers." The refusal to attend is at least gently delivered with a soft voice, though at mention of being married off, golden eyes lift to meet blue. "Been there, man. Dodged that particular arrow though." He takes a long pull from the contents of his mug, "Juniper berries." Offered up after the older man had looked so intensely at his own drink, but J'en wasn't even looking at Alexryin anymore, back to surveying the occupants of the bar.

"Juniper? You don't say, I'll have to come here more often when responsibilities allow. I'd have more time if my brother didn't run off but oh well. Such is life." Alexyrin chews on his lip a little bit, blue eyes peering around the room and the few occupants there are and up in the rafters where Tarnish was. The little bronze has his wings wide open and he's puffed up like a balloon, chittering at some poor unsuspecting firelizard. Alex just looks down at the table and shakes his head. They say /he/ is the one that instigates things for entertainment! Guess it carries over. "Aye, well. It's true Gathers aren't for everyone. They just can wed two of my tunnelcats together instead of a gather if they want to stay relevant."

"Or jus' have a barrel delivered to yer hold," J'en offers, no longer interested apparently in the people occupying the seating here and there as he finishes off his mug of ale at last and wipes away the remnants with the pad of his thumb. "Though…sounds like ya need an excuse to get the fuck outta there on occasion, so just' forget I said anythin'." A hand is waves dismissively, soon pulling out enough marks to pay for the two beverages they'd ordered and sliding them to the edge of the table where the server can pick them up. Jae pays no mind to inflated flying beasts and their attempts to cause trouble going on overhead, settling back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest, instead choosing to regard Alexryin silently again past the thickness of lowered lashes. Everything about his body language said relaxed, but a closer observation might reveal otherwise, despite all the openness of their little chat. "Dun sound like yer gunna have much of a choice in the end," He lifts one tattooed shoulder upwards, letting it fall back down with gravity's help. "Looks like ya aged out of being searchable, and ya dun seem into men at all…not that ya holders aren't all that forthcomin' with that shit anyway." A snort for that, though it doesn't appear to be directed at Alexryin himself. A sigh follows though, the piercing on his lip wriggling as he plays with the side unseen within. "What's keepin' ya from takin' the plunge?"

"Any chance I can get away I take, even if it means doing more work and not being at home." The one drink was good enough and he'll be sure to return it in the future. Alexryin usually doesn't allow for people to pay for him but if he wants to lay low, some old comforts will just have to go. He takes in a deep breath and sighs, nodding his head towards J'en as he lists off his saving graces that are no more. He does snort at the forthcoming comment and the irony of it, shaking his head. "What's keeping me?," the man says as her steeples his fingers together in thought. "Well, my little brother is supposed to be making that jump since he's better at the family business than I am, which would've left me free to do something with myself other than paper work and supervising but he left the night before his marriage and fled to Ista to stand for Search. Never heard from him again, so maybe he impressed. Who knows. I'm not necessarily holding out, I just have no desire to settle down yet and everyone my parent's shove towards me is someone they want favor from. I don't care for the bullshit, I'll marry when I'm ready. Vanyri can give 'em grandkids if I don't." A finger is lifted up and counted on for every point he could think of at the time and then they're pressed lightly crossed over his own chest while he visibly deflates.

Snorting, J'en reaches for his mug, "That sounds fuckin' way too familar." But he finds it empty and huffs before setting it back down again. Having found more than enough comradery it seems to finally truly relax, one last quick check on who was around and the tattooed youth sags a bit in his chair. "Can check for ya if ya'd like, got family over there." As if the Istan accent didn't give that away, but he extends the olive branch anyway, even if its followed by a soft click off the roof of his mouth, "Well, I can ask mah brother. Ain't exactly allowed in Ista anymore." This was more murmured towards the end, flicking fingers at the rim of the empty mug in front of him which releases a glassy twang into the air. The server immediately approaches and asks if they would like another, to which Jae simply shakes his head. Table cleared and marks vanished, J'en drops his chin into the palm of his hand, long fingers curled in towards his lips, elbow supporting all the additional weight. "So find yerself someone on yer own when yer ready, and if ya ain't ever, then fuck 'em. Seems like someone needs to be taught ya can't have the bubbly and eat it too." Eyes close and he breathes out a long sigh, "I woulda made a shitty Lord Holder, so maybe they're the ones that dodged the arrow."

So maybe those aunties back at the hold were right, Ista is full of the seedy life of horrible miscreants that devour young children and is full of scandalous filthy folk. Sounds like a fun and culturally rich place! "Naw, leave him be. If he had an out, let 'em have it. Maybe I'm just a little envious that he had a chance before I did." Alexryin shrugs, glancing out towards the windows. He has similar sights back home, but it's always better from someone else's view. The twang from the glass being played by J'en's fingers pulls his attention back in time for the server to clear their table off. The server is peered at all the way back to whence he came and Alex turns a curious gaze back to his host. "Such truer words could never be spoken but I couldn't necessarily say the same to that. You never know, there's good Lord Holders, bad ones, and ones that haven't the slightest fucking clue as to what they're doing so they're basically puppets. Then there's the few that know what they're doing and decided they had enough. Maybe even… silently hope they had a different life but when they get it? Live with regret. Maybe it should've gone a different way and something doesn't feel right but what can you do. Life can be cruel and merciful all in one breath and this is why I live out of spite for life." Alex smirks and crosses his arms over his chest once more, leaning back with a light groan as he returns his gaze out of the windows. "Sorry for being such a chatter box. Normally when I'm talking to people it's because of work related things and it's just refreshing to find someone who isn't about to have be don a gas mask and find out what that weird smell is."

One of those miscreants may very well be sitting across from Alexryin at this very moment, if outside appearances were to be taken into consideration. J'en was certainly not what any Lord Holder would ever want for an heir based on his appearance and mannerisms, and it may very well be that this was done completely on purpose exactly for that reason. "Suit yerself," he says with another single shoulder shrug, letting the topic drop. With little else to occupy him now that the drinks and glasses are gone, Jae absently fingers at the slightly damp cork coaster left behind, drawing random patterns with the droplets. Golden eyes lift when Alexryin speaks once again, not interrupting the long string of words that fall from his mouth. It is only at the apology that he shrugs, "I dun do a lot of talkin' mahself, especially with someone I dun know that well." Tapping a single fingertip on the table, which he watches, he draws in a breath, and returns his attention in full to the bearded man. "I ain't really the best soundin' board when it comes to shit that matters. I've fucked up more than my fair share of chances to change the way thin's were, 'nd maybe thin's ain't worked out the best way they could 'ave if I'd thought thin's through…" Another breath is taken, folding his arms over the table one on top of the other as he leans across the distance between them, and grins toothily. "But I sure as fuck had some fun. So, mah only advice to ya that ya should take seriously…is to remember to have fun, no matter what ya decide. Life's too short to live rigidly by someone else's rules."

Since the nights hours are quickly rolling by, the bar has lost all of it's patrons except Alex and Jae. The bartender doesn't seem to care and neither do the barhands, as they clean up their work stations and buss tables. Closing time soon? A very faint glow emerges from the windows, not enough to illuminate the night but enough to change the color of the horizon. "My friend, I think that's the best advice I have ever heard and it's always good to hear it again. Sometimes it's all a man needs to hear for the world to be a little more tolerable." Alexryin grins widely, then he covers his mouth for a long and drawn out yawn. With a shake of his head, and eyes opened wide, he glances up at the rafters. Tarnish has been a little too quiet and the bronze is no where to be found.

The smile that had so suddenly appeared, vanishes quite quickly as J'en stiffens and he looks like he's somewhere else. "Well, fuck…" he mutters, rubbing at the back of his neck, "Tell 'im…" As if he'd just then realized he was speaking aloud, the rest of what is said goes unspoken before he returns in full. "Eh, if ya ever need someone to encourage ya to do the wron' thin' for yer own sake, just hit meh up. Though ya should probably be askin' for J'en…jus' dun call meh that." That said he pushes himself to his feet as the bearded man yawns, preparing to depart, "Ya should get some rest before meein' up with her high goldiness, I'll catch ya later." That's about all the farewell that Alexyrin gets because his 'host' was making for the exit, and growling into the thin air like a madman. "I said I was comin', fuck! Calm yer fuckin' tits, fuckin' dragon…fuck…" And so it goes, fading off as he disappears out the door and into the light of dawn.

"Definitely, Jae. I'll keep you in mind and I'll be sure to address you correctly. Well met and uh… Clear skies to you." Alexryin grins, holding his hand up and doing a tiny little wave just like he was in a parade as the apparent rider makes his exit. "Sleep is definitely on my mind. Thank Faranth I don't need to much to function but I'm gonna get it in while I can." The man laughs the whole way out the door at J'en's commentary and he pushes himself up to his feet. His chair is pushed in, hands in pockets, and the man vanishes into the night.

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