Bad Influence

Participants:

Max.jpg Kaskan.jpg Jhorn.jpg

Date: 22.02.2011
Location: EW - Baths
Synopsis: Max unexpectedly finds himself harboring a young 'fugitive'.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

The steamy vapor of the baths is suddenly disrupted as someone dashes with unusual haste through the doorway and ducks to one side moving quickly along the rocky wall. The figure seems smaller than usual, no doubt hunched, which only adds to the suspicious behavior. They stop at a counter and some benches where towels await visiting bathers, but instead of gathering supplies the individual only lurks to the far side.

There is nothing quite like a good ole fashioned soak in hot water after a long and frustrating day. Then again, there’s also that old cliché of there being no rest for the wicked. The wicked being one beast manager who with his arms hooked up behind him and head resting back against the edge of a pool, catches movement from under lids not yet entirely closed. Tension strings lightly through his frame and he cracks an eye open a little further, vision sharpening onto the furtive lurker hoping to Faranth he’s not going to be put in a position of having to defend himself while in the buff.

The unknown character doesn't do anything to allay Max's suspicions, continuing to draw closer to the lounging beastmaster in a circumspect, if obvious, manner. If this is an assasin he isn't very good at his job. His quick, crouching manner and dark clothing work with the steamy atmosphere to hide enough details that his identity can't be told but his manner is enough to put anyone on alert. Moving to the farthest side of the pool from the entrance the figure hunches and there's a quick flutter of motion (disrobing?), then a soft ripple of water.

The best defence being offence, Max isn’t about to give the suspicious one any reason to believe he’s been detected. And so while his upper torso remains exactly as it is in that lounging position, his lower body concealed by the steamy waters, is curling and tucking as leg muscles bunch in readiness to launch himself forward. Which he does the moment the person enters the water, sending a strong wave of water in counter to the soft ripple sent out by the other. With water dripping from his bared chest, and squinting through the steam he advances closer, “Identify yourself.” His tone while held low, is filled with the kind of authority that brooks no argument.

The character moves along the edge of the pool, even more suspcious, with slow movements keeping low in the water. A dark-haired, unfamiliar visage appears as the man draws close enough for Max to see him more clearly, though being mostly beneath the water not much else is apparent. At Max's demand the bobbing head rises just enough to lift a hand and hiss, "SHHHH! Yer gonna give me away, man!"

Dark eyes narrow onto the unfamiliar young man that slinks along the edge of the pool, hands clenching into fists beneath the water, ready for any eventuality except the one that gets hissed at him. Suspicion gives way to bemusement and Max gives the bathing caverns an assessing sweep of attention, looking for any that might be on the hunt for the sneaky one. Finding none he utters a rough snort, “Hidin’ from your girl or something?” Though his words carry the idea of jest, his frame has yet to lose its fight ready tension.

The young man rises in automatic response just enough to square his shoulders and huff, "No!" in drawled out offense. Shoulder-length dark hair lies slicked to his head, equally dark eyes reflecting none of the room's muted light. At closer quarters it's more apparent that he is young, his features well arranged yet lacking the hard lines of experience that comes with age. Shoulders are broad, but slight, not having yet reached full musculature, his height still hidden by the water. A level regard makes quick work of the beastmaster, lacking recognition, before darting back toward the doorway. Lowering till his chin rests atop the water again he deigns to add, "Just avoiding my guard..ian." The slightest pause gives away a significant difference. Seeing no motion at the entrance his richly intense gaze goes back to the bather. "I don't mean no bother. You won't say anything, will you?"

With the younger male rising from the water, Max puts an assessing study over him, tension releasing from his frame as he realizes he holds no physical threat at this stage. Following the dart of dark eyes toward the entrance a faint smirk traces out in response, “Guardian?” Oh yeah, he’d picked up on that. Remaining where he is the beast manager’s dark eyed gaze narrows lightly as if trying to place the unfamiliar face, “There’s some that would knife first and ask questions later when it comes to people sneaking about their person.” And then despite the dire warning a rough chuckle breaks free, “How ‘bout I know the name of the one I’m not supposed to have seen, hmm?”

A fleeting shadow of concern crosses the younger man's face as Max mentions knifing, brows lowering as he narrows his gaze at the beastmaster. Beneath the water he tenses, untried confidence swelling in his own fighting abilities. But then Max chuckles and confusion tilts the boy's head, his expression blanking. Still several arm-lengths away he eyes the older man suspiciously a few more seconds before his own lively nature takes over and a smile slips across his lips. "/If/ you had seen anyone, his name would be Jhorn."

Recognizing the shadow that fleets across the younger man’s face, its interest more than anything else that greets the study then put on him in return. Approving of the fact that Jhorn doesn’t shrink from him. When a name is given, Max is openly amused, “Ah, Kaskan’s charge.” Now able to put name to face to guard his own features relax into a crooked grin and he wades back to where he’d been lounging previously. Leaning his back against the smooth surface of the bathing pool, his next is given in lazy drawl, “So, Jhorn-that-I-haven’t-seen, what is it that has you hiding from your guardian, hmm? You put runnerdung in his boots or something?”

A touch of alarm returns to widen the boy's eyes as Max instantly identifies his guardian, his lips setting with the expectation of immediate betrayal. But then Max settles back and his question garners a change in expression that's nearly comical. Excited interest washes over the youthful features, the wheels of inspiration turning fullfold in his mischievious mind. Drifing a little closer he eases just slightly upward again, though careful to remain mostly hidden and close to the wall of the pool. "Nothing so good as that, I'm afraid," he replies in a tone thick with amusement. "I'm just due for a boring chore and it's much more fun to see how long I can hide from Kaskan." Giving his chin a toss he glances toward the entrance, a touch of pride coloring his nearly-whispered reply, "He'll never think of looking /in/ the water."

Cue the smirk as Jhorn displays alarm for you can bet your last mark that Max is going to use that. A low chuckle rumbles in his throat, attention touching on the younger man as he drifts closer, amused by his mischievous demeanour for it reminds the beast manager of a younger self of a few turns back. And then a dark brow goes up and he delivers what might look to be stern disapproval for the youngster admitting to hiding from chores, though his words suggest differently, “For shard’s sake, if you’re going to go to all this trouble to hide, at least make it worth it, aye?” Warming to the topic a sly note lighting dark eyes he offers further ‘help’ on the matter, “Porcine dung’s the worst. Then ya got your tunnelsnake in the bed scenario. And let’s not forget numbweed on the hands.” Because despite the beating he’d taken, he still finds the memory of the night the Bollian guard’s fingers had gone numb, helluva funny. “S’gonna cost ya,” and there he delivers the cruncher on keeping silent on having seen Jhorn.
Just then the sound of booted footsteps sounds outside the door and the hanging is thrown aside as Kaskan steps inside. One arm still holding the covering back he darts a quick look around the cavern, light blue gaze narrowing on the various shelves and benches scattered about. Finally his attention notes the presence of someone in the pool - alone - someone he recognizes. "Max - that you?" Not waiting for confirmation he adds, obviously in a hurry, "You see anyone dart by here?"

At the sound of approaching bootfalls, dark eyes skip toward the cavern entrance just as Kaskan sweeps the drape aside. “Naw, it’s the Lady High Reaches,” Max gives in a sardonically lazy drawl to the query. As to him having seen someone about? He affects perfect innocence, “Does a tunnelsnake count?” not answering with a direct ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. For of course, encouraging Jhorn to perpetrate mischief against the Bollian guard is of far more import than giving the currently ‘missing’ youth away.

Under other circumstances Kaskan might find humor in Max's sarcastic reply, but just now he's too frustrated to do more than heave a heavy sigh and shake his head, turning quickly back to the hallway. A few seconds pass after the curtain falls back into place when suddenly Jhorn's dark head pops up from beneath the water with barely restrained speed and he draws in a long lung-filling inhale of air. Droplets fly from his long-ish hair as he darts a quick glance about the area and finally back to Max. Leveling an uncertain gaze on the older man he asks more to reassure himself, "He's gone?" Then, "Why'd you help me?"

Leaning his head back lazily against the pool edge, Max settles an easygoing grin onto Kaskan, unaffected by his frustration, saying nothing further as his friend heads back out again. When Jhorn pops back up again, he puts a bland expression in place and with a flick of eyes toward the deeper end of the pool, drawls, “Naw, he hopped in the other end of the pool just before you came back up for air.” His grin however dispels those words and marks them untrue. Considering the younger man for a short spell his expression turns openly cunning, “Better to find someone in your favour than to be in theirs. Remember that, young Jhorn.” Pushing away from the side of the pool, he begins to wade toward the shallower end, presenting a back that bears faint signs of scars both old and new. Pausing he turns a look over his shoulder to Jhorn, “What’s this chore you’re hiding from anyways?”

Jhorn whips a quick look over his shoulder toward the deeper end of the pool, then turns back just as quickly with a sharp look of chagrin. "Well, uh.. thanks," he replies haltingly under the other man's considerable gaze. His chin lifts slightly at the advice given; a touch of pride there. "Am I in your favor now then?" he asks with his own wry twist, following at a slower pace as Max moves across the pool. Frank regard observes the scars on the beastmaster's back, setting the young man's mind in several directions. Blinking several times he pulls his attention back to hand, looking to Max as he registers the man's question. "What? A chore? Oh, yes." Nose wrinkles as he explains, "I have to write a letter home. A /long/ letter. Never about the interesting stuff either. And…" His gaze drops, sliding off the water as he seems to consider whether to continue. Then, "… it's hard for me."

Amusement once again shows itself as Jhorn falls for his ruse and then melts into approval for the show of pride given. “Aye, that you are. You now owe me one,” his features openly displaying a ‘See how that works?’ type expression with a lift of brow. Exiting the bathing pool in a trail of water, Max reaches for the towel he’d left alongside his belongings dropped onto the nearby bench. Wrapping it about his hips, brows touch toward each other in a light frown and then it clears as he offers through a smirk, “It ain’t so much about what you say, but more about how you say it, aye?” That given to the matter of not being able to write about what he’d like to. The faint humour that had accompanied it wanes and the beast manager sets a long look onto the young Bollian. “You wanna talk about it?” And this time there’s no tease or cunning to his tone, simply an older male offering a younger chance to get something off his chest should he wish to do so. “I ain’t gonna tell Kas,” spoken in low encouragement should that have been something Jhorn might worry over.

Jhorn wades to the edge of the pool following Max, waiting a few moments before hopping out himself and gathering a towel to wrap his hips. Snatching a second one to give his hair a good scrub, the boy stands quietly contemplative after Max makes his offer. A slim build frames the young man to about the beastmaster's shoulder, helping to gauge his age somewhere in the early teens. Even relaxed he stands straight and with a self-aware demeanor that marks his ranked upbringing. Slinging the second towel over one shoulder he tilts an upward glance askance at the other man, hesitation plain in his manner. "It's no big deal," he starts, obviously making light of something much deeper. "I just have a hard time writing that much." Mention of Kaskan has him glancing over his shoulder toward the entrance again, aware that it won't be long before his guard backtracks. His expression is plain - torn with the conflict of knowing his weakness but not wanting to appear weak. One hand slowly rises and turns palm upward as he looks at it. "I favor my left," he explains in a low tone. "But my tutors thought it wasn't proper so made me learn to write with my right."

Max finds himself inexplicably drawn to the young teen, despite their very obvious differences in age and background. Perhaps it’s that he sees something of younger self in the lad that has him wanting to reach out to him, or maybe it’s simply within his nature to do so when he identifies promise and potential in another. Though his Blooded relatives would likely die of heart failure if they had any idea that their protégé was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Southern’s crimelord. Giving Jhorn space to collect his thoughts, the older man takes his gaze off of him and turns instead to rubbing down his upper torso with another towel. Though when it’s revealed what the problem is that the young Bollian struggles to put voice to, it’s a flash of anger that crosses his expression when his eyes lift once again, he being left-handed himself. “Fucking harpers,” he growls out low, “always gotta try changing a person to their ways of doing things.” Catching himself before he launches into a full diatribe, he sets Jhorn with another long look, lips pressed into a line of discontent, “And Kas, makes ya do it with the right, aye?” Assuming as much there.

Jhorn blinks with surprise, looking fully to Max at the other man's heated response. Having expected something quite different he meets the beastmaster's steady look with one of his own, eyes so dark as to nearly be solid pools of rich color that reflect emotion rather than hue. A quick shake of his head follows mention of his guardian. "No, no… I mean yes, he does… but no, he doesn't know." Shadows line his brow as he frowns, struggling to explain what is obviously hard to put into words - not living up to his own high standards, or disappoint the man he idolizes - neither of which are suitable qualities in a future Lord Holder. "Kaskan doesn't have any trouble writing. He thinks I just don't want to do it…. which I don't."

The towel that had hidden his expression from view momentarily as Max rubs at his head comes away, his hair sticking up every which way in its wake and brows drop down into a frown, “Kas don’t know?” Wry the expression that lifts up next as he drops the towel from about his hips and uses it to dry his lower body with, obviously completely comfortable in his own skin. “Bein’ a southpaw don’t make you weak, Jhorn. It sets you apart from the rest. Gives you the edge in a fight,” smirking a little there. “Your Pa don’t have ta know how you wrote the letter, aye?” Dropping to silence as he thrusts legs into a pair of sturdily woven trousers that suggest his work is not yet done for the day, the older man stands to do up the front fastenings and puts a pointed look to Jhorn, “You should tell, Kas though. The man ain’t unreasonable.” Unless of course he’s being denied access to a certain gold weyrling, as he can attest to.

Jhorn watches Max closely, his open scrutiny giving the other man a level of attention that would unsettle some for its intense focus. "The edge in a fight?" he echoes, interest caught. Max immediately garners a new place in the teen's range of Persons of Importance, fighting being one area Kaskan has been reluctant to expound upon with his young charge. A wry little shrug lifts one bare shoulder in acknowledgement of writing the letter with his left hand anyway, moving him to admit, "I'm not much good with the left either since they always made me use the right. Kas says my writing looks like chicken scratch, but /he/ doesn't make me redo it." The last is added with the appearance of a grin, apparently the taunt an affectionate one between charge and guardian. The last of Max's advice settles that grin and Jhorn sighs, glancing sidelong to the still surface of the pool. When he looks up again his expression is earnest. "Why tell him?"

A brow goes up and Max stills under that intent gaze coming from the younger lad, not discomforted but rather returning it steadily before his mouth twitches with dry amusement. “Learn to use both hands and your opponent will never suspect that you favour the left,” he obviously not of a similar mindset to the lad’s minder as he then queries, “They teach your lot to defend yourselves, aye?” For to the beast manager, such things should be as important in a boy’s tutelage, no matter his rank, as learning to read and write is. A soft snort of amusement greets comments on chicken scratch as he pulls a fresh shirt on, “Show me a man that writes all prettylike an’ I’ll show you a harper in the making.” That his opinion on the matter of writing style. Catching the sigh coming from Jhorn he glances up from doing up buttons and puts out a smile, “Admitting one’s weaknesses opens the way to finding your strengths, aye?” Suggesting that he’s no stranger to having had high expectations heaped upon his own shoulders by an overly ambitious sire. He softens that comment with a short sigh of his own, “Look, no matter what you do there’s always gonna be someone pissed at you or telling you, you’re doing it wrong. That’s life,” unapologetic for the harsh reality thereof, “You can only please some of the people, some of the time. You want my advice?” Uh oh. “Decide what it is you believe in and want and the rest can go fuck themselves.” Crudely delivered by there you have it.

Jhorn gives a serious nod to the advice given regarding fighting, following the other man's cue by reaching for his own discarded clothes as he replies, "I get the usual lessons, basic stuff. Nothing like what Kaskan's been through - or you, looks like." A blatant glance is given the beastmaster's scars at that reference along with a reverent look in the young man's eye that glamorizes the adventuresome gaining of such momentos. As a tunic is dropped over his head he chuckles from beneath it, marking Max's opinion of harper penmanship, but then skeptical look arises for the other man's seemingly circular reasoning on weaknesses and strengths as he tugs the tunic down around his wiry frame. One leg into his trousers he pauses at Max's firm finale, grinning as he notes, "Well that's one way of putting it."

Just then a loud voice booms from the entrance, "AHA!", and in the next moment Kaskan is bearing down on the half-dressed pair.

Jhorn immediately yelps and nearly trips over the bench trying to dodge around it fast enough with only one leg free and the other tangled in his trousers. Rounding sharply he stands beside Max, drawing himself up with as much non-chalance as he can muster. "Yes, Kas?" is delivered innocently.

Kaskan can only fume for a moment, lips set in a hard line and one hand futilely held aloft in paused gesture. Then, on a rush of out-flung breath he looks to Max instead. "You knew he was in here!"

It’s a combination of Jhorn putting comment to the scars he bears as well as the look of near adulation that follows those words that draws Max up short and his expression quickly turns unreadable as he reaches for socks and boots. “You don’t want to be learnin’ the way we did,” tone flat, “You want to learn how to hold your own, I’ll teach you. But I ain’t gonna do it if you’re gonna get a hair up your butt and turn into some blooded thug, aye?” A little rich coming from one such as himself but perhaps he seeks to keep the teen’s innocence in the darker ways of the world, intact. He’d have added more but is cut off by that loud shout of discovery, his head jerking up to find Kaskan coming at them.

Amusement blended with a margin of consternation for the manner in which Jhorn reacts has him dropping the boot he’d picked up and straightening slowly to meet the Bollian guard’s and a brow goes up in taunting gesture. “Never said I didn’t,” he gives with a faint smirk to having harboured the ‘fugitive’ for a time.

Rebellion whispers across Jhorn's handsome features at Max's cautionary words but in the next moment that same visage bursts with open excitement. "Really??" he blurts, dark eyes wide at the thought of training with someone so obviously experienced.

Thus surprise comes sharper when Kaskan suddenly arrives, the boy's attention jarred from glorious visions of his fighting future to remembering he's half dressed and in hiding. Standing beside Max bolsters his confidence, adding a shadow of solidarity to his defense… or so he hopes. Max's reply to the fuming guard draws his chin up even further though he's hard pressed to keep his lips in a straight line. Knowing Kaskan's temper Jhorn is under no allusions that his guardian won't simply haul him away by the scruff of his neck if pushed hard enough. When the effort becomes too much he dips his head for a second to align the fasters of his trousers, using one of Kaskan's own habits of hiding behind a sway of long-ish hair.

Kaskan stares at Max, southern tan suffused with the ruddy glow of banked embers. "Yes you did!" he claims, though truth be told he doesn't remember exactly what the beastmaster said. "You knew I was looking for him," he adds, admitting as much without actually saying it. Thick arms cross over his chest as his sharp blue gaze moves to the boy at Max's side. "And YOU! What the shards is your problem? Do you want to get hauled back home? Because they might if you don't keep in touch."

At that Jhorn's head jerks up and he's quick to point out, "Nuh-uh. They get your reports."

“Aye,” Max gives in confirmation of training the lad, “but,” and there’s always got to be a ‘but’, “only if Kaskan agrees.” Because for all his urging the teen into pulling pranks on his guardian, he isn’t prepared to overstep his bounds.

With an approving glance to Jhorn standing chin up at his side and still shirtless, arms come to fold across his bared chest and an annoyingly easygoing grin breaks free for the accusation levelled at him, “No, I asked if tunnel snakes counted. He ain’t a tunnelsnake.” Yes, because now is the time to get pedantic, right? Riiight. Either way, the young crimelord appears totally unaffected by Kaskan’s simmering anger. He does however turn his head slightly in Jhorn’s direction and lifts a brow in pointed manner, “Are you gonna tell him, or shall I?”

Max's stoic humor is the last straw for young Jhorn. One hand rises to cover his mouth, the unmistakable sound of smothered laughter coming from behind it. That is - until Max turns to directly questioning him. Expression blanking, Jhorn lifts rounded pools of guileless black to the taller man, locking gazes with a searching intensity.

Kaskan is immediately alarmed, his own expression darkening as narrowed gaze moves from one to the other of the dripping pair. "Tell me what??" he demands in a rigid tone.

Jhorn holds the look to Max for several moments longer till the man's intention clicks. The second it does is obvious as breath halts through parted lips and a flash of panic adds lines to his brow. Immediately an almost imperceptable shake of his head begs the beastmaster's silence. Intense look lingers as he turns his head toward Kaskan, saying when his gaze finally follows, "He's going to train me," his tone infused with thickly forced cheerful confidence. Chin lifting he faces his guardian, masking hope that statement deters mention of the other topic.

Ignoring Kaskan’s demanding query for the time being, Max continues to stare the teen down. However when he gives that imperceptible shake of head that begs his silence brows twitch as if to press toward each other in a frown, though they never quite make it there. Only when Jhorn breaks his gaze away and hops onto the matter of his potentially training him, does the beast manager finally set the Bollian guard with his attention, expression as bland as can be. “Correction,” he states with a glance to the youngest of the three and then back to Kaskan again, “I said I’d train him if you were okay with it.”

The merest shift of Jhorn's shoulders weathers the relief that washes through him as Max appears to keep his secret. Feeling the heat of the beastmaster's regard but refusing to face it he looks to Kaskan, boyish features in a stubborn set, smooth bared chest slightly puffed. At Max's correction he braves a quick sidelong look, marks the man's expression, and pipes, "Riiiiight. Of course. If it's ok with you Kaskan." Dark pools slide to blue, wantonly eager. "It is ok, isn't it?"

The Bollian guard gives both the apparent cohorts a scathingly scrutinizing glare, too well versed in Jhorn's personality, if not so well Max's, to not know that something passed between the two. Arms still folded he sets his weight to one side, hips arched. His own manner of combat is a mixture of Bollian standard guard training and good ol' fashioned street fighting, the two giving him a unique approach that sets him apart from others of his rank, some of whom frown upon his 'rustic' methods compared to their high-handed traditions. Not wanting to prejudice his precarious positioning any more than necessary he was cautious with how much he shared with his eager young ward, the boy's enthusiasm likely to soak up anything new and exciting like a sponge.

Max, on the other hand, is an unbiased and unconnected source. Remembering the fight the two men had one drunken evening Kaskan can't help but grunt aloud, a twitch ghosting the corner of his lips. Purposely drawing the moment out till he's sure Jhorn is about to burst his skin, Kaskan finally heaves a sigh and looks to the boy's ernswhile trainer, "You sure? He can be a handful."

While lightly vexed that Jhorn had chosen not to take the opportunity and apprise his guardian of the true reason behind his reluctance to write home, Max lets it slide easily enough, reaching instead for his shirt and pushing arms into sleeves. Occupying himself with doing up his buttons while Kaskan draws the silence out before giving answer, amusement flirts about the beast manager’s features. When the query is put to him, Max turns a sidelong look onto Jhorn, putting the teen under agonisingly long study, his expression betraying little of what might be going through his mind. Eventually he turns his attention back to the Bollian and a faint smirk traces out, “He gives me uphill, he gets the same treatment the others do.” Deliberately cryptic about what that might entail.

Despite his attempts at a more aged demeanor, Jhorn is still a teenager. Kaskan rightly gauges the extent of his youthful patience; exuberance tumbles free as soon as his guardian's question indicates agreement. The faintest of movements draws one arm downward in an automatic pump of excitement, though he resists the verbal cheer that usually accompanies that particular motion. Darting an eager look to Max he meets the man's gaze head-on, sure of success. As Max too draws out his scrutiny Jhorn straightens his spine and lifts his chin, assuming a pose of utter worthiness. When agreement finally follows he lets out a loud sigh of relief and bounces on his heels.

Foreboding might be lost on the excited youth, but Kaskan doesn't miss Max's vague reference, and knows just enough about the beastmaster to realize Jhorn may have bitten off more than he realizes. That, or Max is in for an enlightening experience. Either outcome offers a source of amusement for the guard, who tosses his arms free and declares the matter settled.

"In the meantime, Jhorn," he adds with pointed emphasis on the boy's name. "You have some writing to get done."

Max can’t help it. The manner, in which Jhorn meets the intent study he puts him under, causes the beast manager’s lips to twitch about the threatening edges of a smile, though it never comes to fruition for that would ruin the whole effect, now wouldn’t it? The young holder’s reaction to agreement given, that however draws forth a smirk of amusement, his gaze flicking to Kaskan he gives hint of what might lie in store for the teenager should he try giving him a hard time, “Ever picked up brains and entrails?” Oh yeah, feeding pen duty. Delightful stuff! A faint dip of head greets the capitulation that comes from the boy’s guardian and as he busies himself doing up the cuffs of his shirt, the lad himself is sent a sympathetic look for now having to face what had been revealed earlier to be anathema to him.

Reaching for his hat, words are then sent to Kaskan, “Drop by down the stables and we can talk about scheduling.” For Jhorn’s lessons, though by the cast of his expression he intimates there’s likely more to be discussed between guard and beast manager.

Jhorn's bouncing pose stalls momentarily at Max's question. Dark brows quirk and an inescapable look of doubt frames his features. Pride momentarily stills his tongue from responding but 'brains and entrails' will definitely give him pause in the future. Southern Boll Hold has a watchdragon, yes, but the rider ensures his dragon feeds far away from the Hold proper. Kaskan, on the other hand, has seen dragons feed firsthand and can't help but snort knowing just how oblivious Jhorn is to the extent of that particular threat.

Quick to finish donning the rest of his clothes Jhorn is momentarily distracted from the conversation. Kaskan looks to Max as the Beastmaster speaks to him, light blue gaze leveling on the other man. Duel expression is read and giving a pointed little nod of understanding.

"Will do," Kaskan replies just as Jhorn looks to the two older men again. Giving his chin a toss the boy runs a hand through his wet locks, smoothing back black, shoulder-length strands. Even the daunting prospect of having to complete his dreaded chore of writing home can't dampen newfound excitement entirely. An irrepressible smile lifts his lips to one side, stance emanating a confidently cheerful demeanor.

Kaskan has to make an effort to remain looking disgruntled, his annoyance dimmed in the face of such optimism. Casting one last look to Max he lifts a shoulder toward the hall, body already twisting to follow.

"Come on then," Kaskan tells his charge. Jhorn sends his own final look to Max then follows his guard/guardian, a knowing quirk to his smile.

A faint smirk comes into play as Jhorn digests the idea of what might be his unfortunate task should he and the beast manager butt heads, though Max says nothing further on the subject, merely sending Kaskan a surreptitious wink when his young charge isn’t looking.

Fitting his hat to his head, the beast manager turns a small and encouraging smile onto Jhorn with a nod of head for the task the teen must now perform. He lingers in the steamy environment a moment or two longer, watching the pair leave and then he to departs, an oddly thoughtful cast to his expression.


Closing Credits: Inner Circle - Bad Boys


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