Fight Or Flight


Max.jpg Kaskan.jpg

Date: 2010.11.10
Location: EW - Lakeshore
Synopsis: Max, during an evening run, comes across an interesting young man, makes a new friend and tries to recruit him to fighting for him.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

Evening has almost released it's grip on the world, night spreading dark shadows over the beach at Eastern Weyr. While most denizens prepare to bed down for the day one young man is taking advantage of the relative seclusion to spend some time personally training. At first glance it might appear that two people are on the beach, one shamelessly beating the other in repeated passes of swift jabs and punches. However, a closer inspection would reveal a fake visage stuffed with straw and strapped to a pole to be the actual victom and Kaskan the shirtless one glistening with sweat and bouncing around the other figure on the balls of his feet. Only the soft grunts and thwacking of fist to cloth give notice of activity on the typically quiet beach, the guard and his self-made dummy visible only as shadows on shadows.

While most may well be settling in for the night, there is one other using the relative quiet coupled with the coolth evening provides to their advantage. Wearing little else but a pair of drawstring shorts and the Pernese equivalent of running shoes, steady footfalls at a jogging pace herald the approach of a dark haired young man, likely a fair time before his form can be made out through the darkness. That is if Kaskan is even aware of sound external to that of his training. As Max nears, dark eyes alight on the seemingly strange set up, slowing his jog down until he’s close enough to more fully assess the situation of someone apparently standing stock still whilst taking a beating from another. Breathing heavy but not laboured for the recent exercise, the slow jog becomes a walk and then he stops but a scant few paces back, hands to hips, upper torso slick with sweat as a slow grin starts to form once the ‘man’ being abused is recognized as having been fashioned out of straw. “Not much of a challenge when they don’t fight back is it?” amused comment tossed out onto the evening air.

*THWUMP!* Kaskan delivers a solid hit to the straw man's mid-section, vibrations from the pole within shuddering up his arm and into his shoulder. Note to self: use more stuffing. The ruffian-turned-guard may be wanting in the traditional use of sword and runner when it comes to his official role but hand-to-hand and staff fighting are something he was well versed in before the fine tuning of guard training ever entered his life. Within the pause created by that last hit the sound of a voice causes the young man to jerk upright and spin on his heels. Light blue gaze narrows into the shadows, picking out the tell-tale reflections of starlight on bare skin that frame the unfamiliar visitor. Neither the voice nor the speaker are known so while he hasn't had reason to suspect danger at the weyr so far a sense of caution remains, keeping muscles taunt and adrenaline flowing. A sharp jerk of his chin sends sweat-laden hair from his view. "It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for," he quips in return.

The play of amusement still in evidence heightens a fraction when Kaskan whirls around, his body language exhibiting wariness. Taking a step closer while lifting his hands away from himself in an open palmed gesture, Max states through a lazy drawl, “Ain’t carrying.” Weapons that is. Open interest lifts up onto his expression as the dummy is put under closer study. Smirking faintly in response to the other man’s quip, arms then fold across his chest and it’s Kaskan himself being put under intent inspection. After a moment of silence has stretched out, “Don’t rightly remember having seen your face about here.” And if there’s a faint hint of challenge to his low held tone, it’s only to be expected given recent events and knowledge of there being underlings of his northern counterparts rumoured to be on the Southern continent, and perhaps even within the Weyr itself.

The silent dummy watches with a blank canvas face as the two men face off, it's head lolling slightly to one side and the cord marking a neck already loose and fraying. Kaskan doesn't relax much even with Max's admission. He's seen too many fights where fists were weapon enough. Standing just a bit straighter he does minimize his crouch in deference to his surroundings. Nothing about the weyr has given him reason to believe danger was lurking - so far. Muscles remain taunt and ready, however, the rippled play along his wiry frame an unspoken gesture toward the other man's daring tone. "I don't get around much," he replies, purposely vague. Without a knot, or much by way of identifying clothing at all, Kaskan can't begin to guess what the man's purpose might be, though the challenging byplay appeals to his rebellious side. Playing babysitter has set the young man's restless energy on edge, thus recent personal scuffles and the destructive barfight of which Max might have caught wind. Palms hover loosely about Kas's hips as he regards the other man, the rise and fall of his chest still quickened from the exersion of drills. "You a rider?" he asks, the question not so simple as it seems. Holder bias is deeply ingrained, though Max has no way of knowing whether it's to the good or bad in Kaskan's case. His northern lilt is mostly buried, on purpose, only slipping through when he's distracted by emotions. Lack of social skills notwithstanding, he does manage to remember his secondary agenda on this mission so with effort relaxes his pose somewhat and looks to the other man with more curiosity than hositility.

Arms still folded across his chest, Max’s mouth forms around a faint smile, deliberately keeping his own frame of a similar build to Kaskan’s, loose and supple. Possibly meaning to convey a non-threatening gesture (despite the crossed arms), although one can bet that a tightly wound spring hovers just beneath the surface of that supposedly relaxed pose. The smile grows further, crooking one corner of his mouth upward, “Don’t get around much,” he repeats, as if he’s disbelieving of that being the truth. So he’ll try another tactic, arms unfolding as he takes a step in closer to the dummy and lays a right hook to the lolling head, his aim true and unforgiving, grinning with amusement as it flops about while asking with apparently idle interest, “Where’d you come in from?” not bothering to hide his Reachian accent. “Nope,” single worded answer to his being a rider but not offering forward what it is that he does, or lays claim to being, “You?” the question turned back around on the other man. “Feed bags hung from a branch provide better chance for footwork,” he notes idly glancing at a nearby tree and then back at Kaskan, interest rather than challenge now lying in his expression.

Dark brows arc behind over-long bangs as Kaskan eyes the wobbly head on the dummy. Good one. Shifting his weight from one leg to the other he cocks his hip, shifting his opinion of this stranger as well. Not so much a threat. This could be fun. The northern accent is noted, however, and Kaskan makes a conscious note to guard his own tongue. Best not to give away his true origins to someone that close, someone who might not only recognize a Crom dialect but have heard of the murder that sent him on the run in the first place.

Slowly sauntering a couple of steps closer to the dummy, he answers dead-pan, "Southern Boll," while on the same breath bursting into movement and delivering a rounded upper-cut to the straw-filled shoulder followed by an instant jab to what would be the ribs. The vaguely human shape spins on it's pole, which is in fact merely a long-handled shovel wedged into the ground. Dust erupts from the bag in a soft cloud and bits of straw drift to the ground on beams of starlight. Kaskan bounces back to his original spot in one fluid motion and resumes his easy stance, palms on hips and bare heels digging into the sand. "Nope," he states, imitating Max's answer for himself.

Pointedly looking to the indicated nearby tree for a moment he dons a calculating expression that includes a wry little smirk as he looks back to the other man. "Might have to try that. Thanks for the suggestion." Rolling one shoulder he swipes the side of his face, dark locks once again randomly disheveled across his view. "So," he begins after a moment's quiet contemplation, "who would I be crediting with the idea when I talk the stablehands out of a few feed bags?"

Not so much a threat now that is. Not unless Kaskan does something to alter that in some way. With the guard coming closer he might now notice the bruising along Max’s jaw and the cut to the corner of his mouth as he steps back out of jabbing range, approval greeting the manner in which the other delivers his blows, the information on Southern Boll tucked away for the time being. The undamaged side of his mouth curls into a smirk, dark eyes setting an intent look onto Kaskan. Silent for a long moment and then in a tone that holds for no nonsense, “Guards or circuits?” A quick jut of chin toward the dummy to indicate that the man’s training style has led him to the conclusion of either one of those two choices. As such, he’ll wait for an answer, arms folding back across his chest, attention never wavering from the other as he states with guarded amusement, “Tell ‘em, Max, sent you.” Still not quite copping to a title just yet. “And who should I tell ‘em to look out for?” Perhaps alluding to his sway over the beast caverns there.

Shadowed details are noted and logged, adding to the mental sketch Kaskan holds of the stranger. A fight? And he missed it? A quick internal kick reminds him that he's supposed to be keeping the peace as much as possible, but old habits die hard. Max's question only confirms his growing opinion of the man, curiosity nudging him along when duty should be denying him. "Guards," he answers, giving the answer easy enough to confirm. He's made no secret of his main purpose here, having had to gain approval from the weyrleaders before arrival anyway, but told no one of his prior life. 'Circuits' is a familiar enough reference from those days, only a slight change in his demeanor hinting at knowledge of that arena.

"Max," he echoes, nodding slowly. Then, "Kaskan," given in return. "Much obliged." Tipping his head toward the straw dummy he watches the other man closely, taking advantage of the darkness to observe more directly than would be polite if Max could see his eyes clearly. "What's your interest?" he asks bluntly, once again the epitome of subtle ettiquette.

Guards. Kaskan’s reply earns first the dummy and then him a slightly longer look, as if the beast manager is somehow dubious of that being the truth. But he lets it be for the time being, chin lifting slightly in appreciation of the cooling evening breeze that washes in briefly. And then asks idly, “Weapon of choice?” Having been had his fighting skills fine tuned by a guard himself, he’s well aware that there is usually always a preferred style of combat amongst the guards. The name handed out draws brows into a frown as he tries to place where he’s heard it before and when the glowbasket opens in his head, there’s no holding back the laughter that pulls from deep within his chest. “Kaskan?” More laughter, to the point where arms unfold from across his chest and he simply gives in to his mirth possibly leaving the other poor man at quite a loss as to what it is that’s so funny. Finally, having gotten some of his mirth under control, Max swipes a hand across his eyes, “Ah jays.” Grinning widely over at Kaskan now, “Wrong time, wrong place, mate.” Which probably still doesn’t help much in explaining anything.

Kaskan appreciates that cool breeze as well. It's one of the reasons he chose this spot to spar and practice. If anything the fine sheen of sweat that coats his bare torso is makes it feel even more refreshing. Dark brows arch sharply at the outburst of humor. Kaskan watches, confusion slowly overtaking his expression until he's completely lost. When it's obvious that his name is the cause of so much mirth he starts to get annoyed. The vague explanation doesn't help. Planting his palms on his hips again his stance takes on a bit more of a demanding air. "What's so funny?"

Mirth now little more than the occasional chuckle, Max waves a hand vaguely in Kaskan’s direction for the demanding stance taken, “Aw, cool ya heels, Kaskan. Was just reminded of this funny story I heard out of Jaya’s bar about a case of mistaken identity. Least when I get decked…I likely earned it in the first place.” And still that humour shines from dark eyes as he points to the side of his face, feigned ruefulness in place, “That tanner, aye?” In identifying the source of both his injury and the reason for his having found Kaskan’s name so damned amusing.

Kaskan continues to eye Max dubiously, what little light there is pooling in light blue irises. Surprise widens his expression as Max explains, mention of first Jaya then 'the tanner' striking instant marks. His focus narrows in on the tell-tale injuries on Max's face and his own rugged features shadow with annoyance. "Bowen? What's he got to do with anything?" His tone is short, the name clipped. Obviously there's some history there.

Amusement still evident, the chuckles die, “Kaskan…Kason…reckon I can see where the mistake got made. Ya don’t look nothing like him though.” As if that’s somehow supposed to reassure the other man, and then Max lifts a hand to wave the matter off, “So where were we. Ah…weapon of choice. You got a preference?” That seems to interest him more than whatever issues the two of them might have had with the tanner. And then as if a thought has just struck him, brows crinkle slightly toward each other, “What brings a guard from Southern Boll to Eastern?” both his tone and expression, slightly guarded.

Kaskan still eyes the other man with a wary tilt to his head, though since no further explaination is given he lets the matter drop. He's not in the mood for that much humor anyway. Once engaged, his focus is concentrated and practicing is one area in which he is very serious. That heightened level of energy has already begun to dissinigrate, however, with Max's arrival. Curious but guarded he resists the initial urge to ignore Max's questioning, their direction not being that of a typical bystander. "Fists," he answers bluntly, then with a more agreeable tone, "Not too bad with the staff either." More than a touch of pride there but his stance doesn't change as if he means to demonstrate - no, simply inform. At the last inquiry Kaskan does hedge, patience growing a little thin. "You ask an awful lot of questions, Max, but provide little in return." With a touch of wry sarcasm meant to be completely off track on purpose he remarks, "You just naturally curious or are you looking to hire me for something?"

Fists. That reply draws an approving expression to fall into place, the pride being displayed by Kaskan neither mocked nor glossed over. “You know your strengths,” Max comments in thoughtful tone as he once again puts a considering look over onto the other man a brow lifting for the sarcasm coming off of him. With a wry chuckle preceding his words, “My Ma’s the Headwoman, I run the beast caverns and my girl’s…” Uh, never mind about that one. “Anything else you want to know? Perhaps what size boot I wear? How about what I prefer to eat for breakfast?” His turn to ply sarcasm, although it is done with a modicum of humour at play. Nodding slowly he turns to answering the last put to him, “Could be. You looking to earn marks?” Not seeming too worried that what he has in mind might go totally against whatever orders the guard is under.

Kaskan grunts once, amusement dropping the last of his reservations. Headwomen and beasts, not necessarily in combination, are things he is familiar with from home and give this newcomer a decidedly less dangerous cast. A flicker of movement on the ground catches his eye and he takes a half-step forward, bare foot flicking into the sand and sending a small spider-claw into the nearby water with a soft *plop*. "Well," he starts, glancing sidelong through skewed bangs, "your favorite color would've been nice but I suppose I'll survive." Blue eyes quick-scan the sand for more of the pinching buggers but his attention snaps back to Max as the other man chooses a surprising answer to his sarcastic quip. Dark brows furrow with renewed confusion and a shade of suspicion. "I'm here on duty. Guarding the grandson of Lord Boll while he's studying ," Kaskan delivers in an official tone. After a pointed pause he adds in a tone thick with trouble, "However, what I do while he's occupied is another matter."

Less dangerous cast….Just exactly the image the mother/son team purposefully project. “Red,” Max gives without hesitation on his favourite colour, a slightly crooked grin attaching. Amusement follows Kaskan’s actions of returning spider-claws back to their natural environment, keen eyes picking up the moment his latter words sink and smirking slightly as it has the effect of the guard stating his purpose at the Weyr without his having to press on the matter. Filing that information away he delivers his next in even tone, “You’ve fought before,” a jut of chin to the dummy suggesting he was meaning beyond that of guard duties, “I’m looking for new fighters to open the circuits here.” And before Kaskan can interject, the beast manager adds pointedly, “Ain’t gonna be like what you mighta seen up north. Different set up. You interested?”

"Seriously?" Kaskan blurts, wry smile erupting across his tanned face. Max's previous inquiries all makes sense now like the last piece of a puzzle slipping into place and making the whole picture clear. Not that he doesn't believe the other man but the question gives him a few seconds to think about the unexpected proposal. One palm settles on a cocked hip, the other rising to scratch his jaw and slide around to rub the back of his neck. "I have," he admits to the fighting a moment later. "But not in any… official… capacity." Erring on the side of caution, he dances around his colorful past. He probably should decline immediately and walk away but his own curiosity is too interested to just let the matter go. Not saying yes, but not saying no, he hedges for more information. Not the best at dissembling he assumes a casual stance, one hand still resting behind his neck. "How's it different?"

Keen observation is given the various forms of body language, Kaskan exhibits, and his words on having fought in an unofficial capacity drawing a smirk from the beast manager. Stated with wry amusement, “Wouldn’t exactly call the circuits official, Kaskan.” The query put to him has Max folding his arms across his chest as his gaze goes out over the lake, as if to find the answer there, except that when it sets back onto the guard, his expression is one of determination, “Fighters matched to weight class for starters. Four rounds per bout. And trainers on hand with basic first aid knowledge to patch their men up.”

Kaskan shrugs. A breeze off the water brushes against his skin, finishing off the job of evaporating the glistening coat that accompanied his vigorous exercises. Shadows hug his southern tan, evenly spread across muscled torso and arms thanks to his habit of training shirtless.

"Unofficial," he murmurs thoughtfully, without censure. "That would make it more difficult for me." He doesn't seem to expect a reply to that, merely musing aloud. Honest fighting probably wouldn't raise any flags with his superiors back home, but then again the few who know his background would frown at putting himself in the way of such a temptation, not to mention the possibility of negatively entangling Southern Boll if anything underhanded occurred.

For a few moments he is quiet, the silence filled with nothing but wind and surf. More shadows creep along the waterline as spiderclaws begin their nightly scavenging. Then he continues in a more direct tone, "Sounds pretty organized. And safer." Dropping his arm to match the other braced on his hip he asks, "What's in it for me?"

Given with a lift of chin to the circuits being unofficial. “For now,” Max states through determination, “Aim to change that.” For up until this point fighting has been ‘underground’, the equivalent of fight clubs. However, it is his hope that in changing the way things have been run in the past, he can begin to cast it as a sport and lend it a more ‘respectable’ air, thus cutting down on all the other nefarious goings on that usually occur in the background. He then adds with a slight shift in stance, “I ain’t gonna take no funny business from my trainers or my fighters. The rules get followed, or you’re out,” not aimed at Kaskan himself but given as a general stance to be taken by any that try to buck the system he’s aiming to put in place. As to what could be in it for the guard himself? The edge of a smile appears, “You get a percentage of the betting pool for every fight you win,” pausing and adding, “And the chance to work your way up to the top in your weight class and represent in fights between Northern and Southern.” Eyes then narrow lightly onto the other man, intrigued to see which of the two incentives laid out, he’s likely to exhibit finding the most favourable.

Kaskan listens, head slightly cocked and features shadowed. Starlight provides the only illumination casting a gossamer web over his dark hair and bare skin. The slightest of nods follows mention of rules, along with a wry comment, "Got your work cut out for you." The shady side of previous fighting circuits is too well known, those who bullied their way to success having set a firm standard of corruption both in and out of the ring. It won't be easy to change that mindset.

As for what most appeals to Kaskan, the scales are definitely tipped. He remains thoughtful a few moments, mentally weighing the options and possibilities without revealing in which direction he wanders. If he wasn't already committed he wouldn't hesitate but obligations already made need to be considered, even if its how to get around them.

Being a guard at one of the most luxurious major holds has its perks, the tropical setting lending itself to all sorts of benefits. But ever since he was forced to flee his home at a young age having enough marks has been a constant, hovering concern. Fame, on the other hand, is a deterrent. There are certain elements in the north that Kaskan would prefer did not know his whereabouts, especially if he was doing well. So his reply is revealing, though the reasons why are still shaded. "Does the percentage change? And is there any obligation to fight?"

Expression setting into a slightly grim line, Max gives a nod for the size of the task he’s set himself, “Aye” The determined light to his eyes suggesting he wasn’t one to back down from something. And then shifting his stance, the light breezes having cooled much of the heat from his recent jogging, adds with that same resolute set to jaw, shoulders rolling and then squaring, “They’d be fighting under my protection. No one will touch them, if…” and there’s always an ‘if’, “they’re completely honest with me.” Not unless they’re wanting to risk going up against Southern’s new renegade crime lord that is. He doesn’t yet know about Kaskan’s situation, but is well aware that this type of testosterone laden activity is likely to draw men from all walks of life. Some of whom will undoubtedly have dark shadows following them. But then this would be the precise reason why he staked his claim on the continent – to be able to continue to keep it as safe haven for those that need it. Of course, none of that gets said. Addressing the query on percentages, “The higher a fighter rises through the ranks the bigger his cut,” a firm shake of head and oddly shaped smile precedes his next, “You wanna stop fighting. You stop. Only thing you’ll lose is your standing in your class.”

All but one of Max's replies simply garner a nod of agreeable acknowledgement, his curiosity latching onto the man's first claim in particular. Dark brows rise and Kaskan cocks his head slightly. Even in shadows he can tell Max is physically someone to reckon with, and with his title comes a certain amount of authority, but there are seedier elements in the north that wouldn't be much hindered by those facts. "How can you protect them?" he asks, tone hinting at knowledge of those seedier elements. He's treading close to dangerous waters in revealing even that much of himself but instincts are a capricious thing and his have placed a filament of trust in this one. Not meaning to challenge the weyrman by his question Kaskan channels the remainder of his restless energy from working out into forward movement, stopping beside the dummy and kneeling. Toes dig into the sand as he balances and slides his hand over the ground to collect some of the fallen straw then loosens the tie at the bottom of the sack and stuffs it back inside.
To the query of protection put to him, Max’s mouth simply curls around an enigmatic smirk before stating, “Let’s just say…I got me a brother.” Which could mean he has a well connected sibling, or, that he has a ‘brother in arms’ to call upon should the need ever arise. He is not however, about to spread his arms widely and make verbal proclamation to being Southern’s new renegade crime lord. Dark eyes then fix an intent look onto Kaskan’s back when he moves toward the dummy, having caught that hint of the guard somehow having connection to the underbelly of Pern and so poses a question thusly, “What got you into becoming a guard?”

Oh now that pulls Kaskan's attention up short. Giving the drawstring one last tug he stops and turns chin to shoulder to look at Max, dark brows climbing again. "A brother, eh?" he muses. "I suppose that means you're not inclined to clarify?" Taking the reference literally his thoughts immediately jump to the possibility of running into someone he'd know, which would not be good. Rising smoothly to his feet he adjust the set of the dummy on it's pole, giving the arms and head a straightening tweak. The other man's question is startlingly on target. Kaskan grimaces inwardly and makes a mental note to watch what he says around the Beast Master. His fingers hesitate as the question is asked but quickly pick up again, giving the dummy's shoulder a light testing punch to stall before having to answer. When he does, his tone is edged with old bitterness. "Time and circumstances, as they say. Only in my case it was bad circumstances and fortunate timing, neither of which I controlled. I just made the best out of the hand I was dealt. That's all that matters." Shoulders tense with a finality that sounds a lot like oft-used rhetoric.

A bland smile fleets in and out on whether or not Max wishes to clarify, offering in response, “You’d be correct.” And leaves the matter right there for the time being, lapsing into silence as he watches the guard adjust his ‘sparring’ partner, adding with a nod toward the dummy, “Bind your hands and you’ll be able to train for longer. Softened leather works best.” That having been said dark eyes once again turn study onto Kaskan in that same intently assessing manner of earlier, picking up the nuances of bitterness in his tone. Shifting his stance, the beast manager glances out over the darkened lake surface for a time choosing his words carefully and then stating in measured tone, “Time and circumstance…trail many of us, Kaskan.” Speaking as if to intimate he has personal knowledge of such things, a taint of regret in his voice. “But there comes a point when you need to turn and face the watchwher. Stare it down and let it know that it no longer owns you.”

Kaskan grunts at the expected answer, lips tilting with a wry little twist. Melding into the guard ranks at Boll has given him stability and a livelihood with the ability to remain fairly anonymous. Pride sparks the self-assurance that he would stand out in a fighting circuit, fist and staff being his specialties, and that could eventually be a problem. Then again, if there was enough protection involved things might be different. Too many pros and cons for a quick decision. Squashing the deepest urge - to sign right up - he forces himself to admit that all sides must be considered.

Dark head tilts as he regards the dummy, nodding in silent acknowledgment of the other man's suggestions. "No, a live partner works best," he corrects with a smirk. "But softened leather would be nice too, if I had access to some. As it is I got some strange looks for requesting an empty sack." He lucked out there, having found a couple of older weyrwomen mending sacks who were susceptible to his flattery and blue-eyed charms. Now if he can just avoid the daughter one of the women tried foisting on him without ruining his newfound supply connection.

In the brief silence, Kaskan can't help but test his adjustments. Feigning a right hook to the dummy's chest he switches to his left at the last moment and delivers a hit to what would be it's gut instead, then spins on one heel and sends a foot into it's head. The stuffed form flounces on it's pole, head tilted back and one arm drooping but otherwise it stays, ever the stubborn opponent.

Max's thoughtful insight brings Kaskan up short, the sincerity in his tone as noteworthy as his words. Spine slightly curved Kaskan remains light on his feet, arms hovering bent at his sides as he looks to the other man. His white-toothed smile is evident in the dim lighting, contrasting both shadows and tanned skin. "I seem to have a habit of running onto people with that viewpoint," he remarks with wry humor, tone softly reminiscent. "Someone else told me something similar once. Got me to try my hand at guarding." Light catches in his blue regard as it scrutinizes the Beast Master, mental eye comparing the man to his Bollian friend and fellow guard, Deran. "It turned out to be pretty good advice."

Max of course is unaware of all that goes through the guard’s mind so it’s his comments about live sparring partners and leather that he puts reply to with a crooked grin appearing for the man’s attempts to get an empty sack. “Got someone who might be able to help you out with the softened leather,” a brow tips up as he drops into brief thought, “You ever looking for a sparring partner….” Trailing his words off to let the offer speak for itself. And then he slips into silence once again a wry expression in place as Kaskan speaks his next a hand lifting to rub at the back of his neck, “Aye well, recent convert myself.” To facing one’s ghosts from the past. His visage turns slightly dubious but the beast manager doesn’t disagree to it being good advice, “Brings troubles of it’s own with it.” He states dryly.

Interest peeked, dark brows rise at Max's offer of help with the leather. But it's the man's next words that garner a true smile lighting his expression. He listens as Max finishes speaking, his focused gaze evaluating the other man. Somewhere above a dragon rumbles and the sound of wings beating the air momentarily invades the two men's solitude. Seconds later it's quiet again, with only the lapping water to fill the gaps in their conversation. Kaskan nods for the too-true validity of Max's last statement, then he replies with a revealing eagerness to his tone, "Practice dummies aren't much of a challenge." Feline quick, he takes a step closer and aims a jab at Max's shoulder with speed intent on surprising the man but no force behind it.

Weyrbred, the dragon above barely registers with Max, save for a faint shift in awareness. Lips twitch in response to Kaskan's eager reply and he's about to make comment when the guard's fist streaks out toward him. Instinctively, the beast manager twists slightly to one sound, the blow brushing air past his shoulder and aims a return parry with his nearside fist to the other man's side with no intention of power in it. Grinning as he bounces back a pace on the balls of his feet, arms lift and fit into a classic guarding posture in front of his chest and face, hands curled into loose fists, "You make your mind up quick. I like that."

Kaskan is pleasantly surprised to find just air where Max's shoulder had been, a quick snicker parting his lips. Instinctively expecting a response he twists just in time, the passing of Max's fist close enough to skim his skin. Completing the turn he spins around and one step to the side, his wiry frame falling into a defensive stance. Staying light on his feet he rolls one shoulder in a shrug, smug amusement lacing his tone, "You offered to spar. Just thought I'd see if you were good enough." Easing his posture he stands straight again, palms resting once again on his hips. "You're better than the dummy," he notes, a shadowed grin playing about his lips.

Laughter falls easily from Max for the comparison made, his lightly fisted guard remaining up a moment longer after Kaskan drops his hands to hips. “Better’n a dummy…gotta be the first time I been told that, mate,” this as he closes the gap, hand finally extending in a proper form of greeting, amusement still evident in dark eyes. “Welcome to Eastern, Kaskan.” His grasp if the guard returns the gesture, is strong and firm while not being used as some kind of testosterone laden pissing contest. Yup, it would appear the guard’s passed muster at some level. “Come by the top paddocks after dark sometime. There’s someone I’d like you to meet.” Or more to the point, having not yet put Flack to the test, he’d like to see what his newly presented Tillekian ‘acquisition’ is made up of with regards to being any good at training fighters.

Kaskan's grin widens as humor is magnified by Max's response. "Well met, Max. Thanks," he chimes heartily, grasping the other man's hand with an equal amount of amiable pressure. An errant breeze swirls in from the bowl bringing the sound of laughter as a small knot of weyrfolk exit the Living Cavern. A moment later the rush and rumble of arriving dragons can be heard as a few of the forms break away and ascend to their weyrs for the evening. Kaskan notes the sounds periphially, light blue gaze fixed on his newly found comrade with a renewed prick of curiosity. Jerking his chin to sway ever-errant wisps out of his view he gives the Beast Master a nod, saying, "Hmmm… interesting. Alright. I will."

Turning his head slightly in the direction of those leaving the caverns and returning to their various places of rest for the night, his regard swings back again to Kaskan once with an apologetic cast to expression. “Need to be hitting the bathing caverns. Got someone coming in with…a runner,” he chooses to say, barely missing a beat, although someone with an attentive ear might pick up on the brief pause put in there. A last glance at ‘straw man’ and another to the guard with a crooked smile of inwardly amused markings and Max is tipping a two fingered salute to the latter. Turning in the direction of the beast caverns, his jogging pace he sets off on is much slower than when he’d arrived, as if the very thoughts weighing his mind down might be having a similar affect on his feet.

Watching the man jog away Kaskan murmurs with a knowing grin, "Odd place to be bathing a runner." As soon as Max is swallowed up by shadows he turns back to his prickly sparring partner and resumes his regimen of practise drills. Keeping to familiar basic patterns of motion allows his body to work while his mind sifts back through the night''s encounter and ponders the implications.

Closing Credits Music: Skillet - Invincible

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