Hunting Trouble


Bowen.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 9/29/10
Location: EW: Beast Cavern
Synopsis: Bowen catches Max up on his recent troubles and Max does likewise. Max and Bo discuss how it all might fit in together and work out what they'll do and who they can trust.
Rating: PG-13 - Language
Logger: Bowen

While Max has been dealing with buddies asking to do his girl because she asked him to, and some ghosts from his past potentially revisiting, a caustic bar owner, a temptress of a weyrling, and an irate green dragonet whose twice his size and ready to make him lunch, Bowen’s had a long couple of days himself and has been utterly absent, relying on the fee he pays to Max for stabling to ensure that Strider is well tended to in his absence. Of course, Max has had his own issues, no doubt, and might not have even noticed. Who knows? Regardless, it is an evening a couple days after that fateful encounter with Cheusia at the bridge, and the bar brawl that same night, that Bowen stiffly makes it down to the stables, but down there on his own two feet nonetheless. He pauses a moment to give Strider some sugarcubes he had brought with him as concession for his long absence from his faithful gelding, but there is a real purpose in coming here other than attending to his runner. And so he moves on, seeking Max’s stable office if he doesn’t find Max immediately before then.

Yeah, it's certainly been a long few days all round. If he's noticed Bowen's absence, he's not questioned it, deeming the tanner well capable of taking care of himself. That and respecting the man's right to come and go as he pleases. Strider of course has been well cared for in the interim, being put out in the paddocks with other runners during the day, and brought in it at night and rubbed down. The beast manager however has been the greater part of this day hiding out in his office in the hopes of avoiding any further trouble. Then again, maybe not for as Bowen approaches he's likely to hear the low murmur of voices followed by a scrape of chairs with first Waine and then Yaron making their exit from the office. Both looking a little grim faced as they pass by the beat up tanner with only vague looks of curiosity sent the way of his visible injuries. Watching as his men leave, and thinking himself to be alone for the rest of the evening, Max leans back in his chair, hands over his face in weary gesture as a heavy sigh expels before refilling one of the three glasses sitting used on his desk.

It’s been swell, but the swelling’s mostly gone down now. However, there is still a distinctive bruise that mostly encompasses Bowen’s lower jaw from where Kaskan gave him that nice uppercut, and there is the scabbed over cut lip. Other than that, and the stiff manner in which the tanner walks, he doesn’t look too bad. He looked worse when he was trying to round up runner thieves at any rate. That said, there’s little question that Bo hasn’t been involved in something unpleasant at any rate, and he nods to Waine and Yaron in that manly-companionable fashion as they pass and he both knocks and pushes through the door at the same time, without invitation, “Max …” he greets huskily, blue eyes settling on the pouring of the drink a moment, before looking back up at the beast manager, “Y’look ‘bout as rode hard an’ hung up wet as I feel.”

Leant back in his chair in an untidy sprawl, Max almost slops whiskey down his front from the upturned glass held to his lips at Bowen's sudden appearance. "Jays, you nearly made me mess," he comments wiping a hand across the back of his mouth, "and then I woulda had to kill you." Because wasting whiskey is sin. However, it's all said with the congenial edge of a grin in place. "You been kissing people again?" this with a browlifted look to the facial bruising the tanner sports as the beast manager waves a had lazily at one of the two chairs before him.

There is a twinkle of mirth in Bo’s blue eyes that comes instead of a smile that a more, well, demonstrative man might offer. Not that Bo doesn’t smile, of course. He does. Just not quite as readily as others. “Get ‘n line, Beast Manager,” he offers simply to the statement about he’d have had to kill him, perhaps in reference to the bruise on his face and the consequences of it being there. Then to the question, Bo tilts his head a little, one eyebrow raising, “Why? Jealous?” And with that he unceremoniously eases into a chair on the other side of Max’s desk, leaning back and stretching out a bit lazily with his legs, seeming to be favoring his knife wound leg a little again in the process. “Truth is,” he drawls slowly, “it was real shardin’ fun. Wish I had ya there,” both at Bo’s back and as witness to the chaos he’d created. The folks back home likely wouldn’t believe it, not that he writes back home.

A soft 'tsking' sound comes from behind Max's raised glass. Swallowing he tips it Bowen's way, "You done spilled a man's drink," he surmises of the bruising and in that same teasing tone adds, "shame on you." The question sent back at him has the beast manager snickering and blowing a kiss the tanner's way before snorting softly, "Figure there's enough trouble going around for the both of us to get our share." Dark eyes flicker briefly to the way in which the other favors his knife wounded leg, and then a crooked grin appears, "Truth be told, I could do with a good fight round about now." Oh right, because that'll just fix eeeverything! Twit! Leaning forward one of the other glasses is filled and nudged Bowen's way with a finger, "Can't leave you alone for two minutes and you're getting yourself all beat up." Nevermind that the first beating the poor man took was in effect, Max's fault.

Thinking back to the way Kaskan tossed the whiskey bottle at Bo, which was uncaught and ended up on the floor of the infirmary, Bo murmurs, “Actually, he spilled mine.” Though if he’s at all put out about it, he’s doing a good job of hiding the fact. The comment about trouble gets a wary look from the tanner and has him reaching into his pocket for the note Cheusia had given him a couple days back. “Mor’ runner thievin’ trouble?” He asks gruffly after one of his long pauses, “S’whut I was ‘fraid of.” He frowns slightly, “A couple days back I found Cheusia down by th’ river, alone, sayin’ she come out fer this here note, but th’ feller ne’er showed up.” He hands the folded note over to Max, “Since she tended t’our buddy in there,” a little nod toward the tack room, “wasn’t sure if it might not be related, yanno?” He rubs a hand over his face a moment, remembering the risk Che had taken that day and grateful nothing had happened to her. "Though she said she didn't tell anyone." After another thoughtful pause, he smirks faintly, “Don’t reckon anyone got outta dat bar without sumpthin’ t’show for it,” in response to Max’s last.

Something falls into place and Max puts a sharp look onto the tanner, “So it was you and this fella that spilled his drink on you that started that brawl down Jaya’s bar, was it?” He looks more relieved than anything else for this being the case. The question put to him about there being more runner trouble has the beast manager frowning into his glass for a moment before lifting an uneasy look up to Bowen, “Got a feeling Renegade was the front to something else.” Though quite what he still hasn’t managed to figure out yet despite the nagging suspicion he might well be facing some kind of payback for fights bet on and thrown. The frown he’d been wearing deepens when the other man tells of having found the Journeywoman Healer down at the river on her own. Pulling a little straighter from out of his sprawl, his expression clouds over as he takes the folded note, “Shit.” That coming flat as Bowen draws a possible line between the thief in the tack room and what could have been an attempt to draw Cheusia out into the open. “She’s okay though, aye?” Not having seen the woman since she’d treated his prisoner, real concern and a touch of anger at play in his expression. Unfolding the note, Max drops into silence as he scans over its contents, lips pursing as he comes to its end remembering how easily Ahnika had been duped by Phineus. Dropping the note to the table before him his hands come to cover his face as he leans his head back against the chair and let’s out an exasperated sigh. Letting them fall away again, he leans forward and lifts the note as if to demonstrate ‘Exhibit A’, “I swear these women are going to be the death of us one day.” Including the other man in that statement by virtue of the fact that he was the one to have found the Journeywoman.

It’s at this point, having handed over the note, that Bowen uses that extended arm to take up the glass of booze that Max had been so generous with. “Newp,” Bo says after a pause, “It was me an’ a feller I thought was someone else whut started th’ brawl in Jaya’s place.” Beat pause, “He spilled m’drink later.” Another pause. “In th’ ‘firmary.” One side of his mouth quirks up here, faintly, in a mild smirk, and then it is gone when he sips from the glass offered by Max. He’s slow to respond to the statement about Renegade, slower than he is usually anyway, as the tanner’s mind starts trying to figure out some kind of bigger criminal angle that is related to runner thieving other than just, you know, runner thieving. Not really coming up with anything on his own, but realizing that he hasn’t been there that long himself to be aware of some of the details, he says, “Y’thinkin’ this runner thievin’s got sumpthin’ t’do with them dragoneggs that were destroyed? Or folks wantin’ t’make trouble fer AIVAS? Or … both?” Because he may not be aware of the details, but a person has to be living under a rock not to know about the controversy over AIVAS or have heard about dragoneggs that were destroyed. His expression remains stoic, betraying little, as he nods slightly to Max, “Ayup. She’s … good.” A pause and something gives way in his blue eyes, but it’s subtle, “Brought ‘er back safe ‘n sound.” And it’s here, after Max talks of women being the death of them one day, that Bowen betrays a little of his own frustration, “She said she didn’t know th’ man of th’ name on that there note.” Pause. “She went anyway.” Pause and short sigh. “Alone an’ gussied up.” Then he pushes his hat up a little more off his forehead with his free hand before taking another long swig as he sinks a bit more to lounge in the opposite chair. After swallowing, he adds, “Whoever it was prolly made it up, which begs th’ question,” his blue eyes lift to Max’s face as he draws out the finish to that comment, and quite possibly in unison with the man across from him depending on how on the same train of thought Max may or may not be, “’Why?’” Bo’s eyes then drop to the note and he states blithely, “Y’figure out that handwritin’? ‘Cause I couldn’t m’self. Whut’s it say?” He’s not really the best of liars on an ‘off-the-cuff’ type moment; however, hiding the fact that he can’t read much beyond the few things he’s memorized the ‘look’ of on paper that is related to tanner business is something he’s gotten a lot of practice doing over his 22 turns. With this, he downs the last of the bit of booze in the glass and sets it empty on the desk with a little exhale.

Brows lift as Bowen expands a little more on his involvement in the bar fight, amusement flickering for his drink having been spilled in the infirmary, “Who’d you think he was then?” Taking a drink, Max slips into silence, eyes cast down into the amber liquid that remains in his glass as the tanner offers suggestions on the cause of the recent trouble. Reluctantly, he shakes his head slowly and tips a shadowed look up to his mate, “Naw, reckon this is something more personal,” lips press into a grim line, “that whole business with the dragon eggs likely had more to do with AIVAS, or a message being sent the way of the Weyr in general.” Frustration at still having no further answers on that affair seen in the crinkle of brow and then dark eyes narrow slightly meeting Bowen’s blue, “She don’t know this…” he lifts the note and glances at the name that had been signed, “Gerad then? Not good,” he mutters, “not good at all.” There comes just the barest display of puzzlement when the tanner speaks of having found the rather clear and legible handwriting to have been indecipherable. But Max doesn’t linger on it and instead reads the words written on it out loud:


Since you helped me that one day with that injury of mine… I couldn't get your eyes out of my head. I thought it was worth a try to send you a note to ask you to meet me down at the bridge this afternoon, today. I would love to see you soon.

- Gerad

Setting it back down afterward, the beast manager sets a sincere look of gratitude over onto the other, “Thank you for having her back, Bo. Means a lot to me.” He’s clearly not quite picking up on the strengthening connection between tanner and healer yet.

Bowen is slow to look up from the now empty glass on the edge of Max’s desk as the tanner contemplates what to say or how to say it. Not that he doesn’t trust Max, but Bowen’s still in the process of getting to know him and counting him as a friend. His hands now free, he crosses his arms over his chest, more an unconscious signal of a man pulling some hand of cards a little closer to his chest than any intentional signal to ward off Max’s questioning. Bo’s not that quite self-aware at times. Just look at how often he sticks his foot in his mouth and then is still surprised when women start badgering him about it. Finally, he lifts one hand up to scratch gingerly at an itch on his bruised chin as he looks at the beast manager, quietly murmuring, “Ever hear of a man named … Kason?” His question appears to be in answer. After a moment’s pause, he adds, “Not t’be confused with … Kaskan.” Because, in all honesty, he kind of likes Kaskan. “Mean, slick uppercut, Kaskan has,” the last spoken with a little bit of a grunt, “But fun inna fight. An’ th’ man don’t hold grudges,” or so Bo seems to think. He lapses quiet and nods, lowering both arms in relaxed posture back to the arms of the chair as Max goes into speculation on the recent trouble, but doesn’t speak again when Max poses the clarifying question of whether or not she knew him. Bo just shakes his head silently in answer. He remains silent as Max reads the note aloud, but his expression is a bit harder, particularly around the eyes, and then something akin to regret or guilt or remorse colors his blue eyes a little darker and he scrubs a hand down his face slowly with an exhale. A more demonstrative man might swear or clench his fist with the frustration Bo feels, wanting to find the person who sent Che that note. Even if it was just a prank, and nothing dangerous, Bo will want to have words with this person, toying with a woman like that, particularly her heart. But for now Bo just lowers his hand and turns his eyes to the surface of Max’s desk. He says nothing more about the letter or the handwriting, preferring to leave that just where it is. Finally, he nods to Max saying thanks and mutters, “No need thank me. J’st th’ right thing t’do, I reckon.” He lifts his gaze up to Max’s face, adding, “Whut’s yer next move? Whut do ya need me t’do?” Casting his lot in with Max, it seems, and the defense of the weyr or his personal past ghosts coming back to haunt him - whatever all this mess is about, Bo seems ready to stand with the Beast Manager.

Watching carefully as Bowen does that small physical retreat, the beast manager nods to the name handed out, “Aye, met him once.” A wry grin threatens at recall of that particular meeting. The very one where Ahnika had quite literally, fallen for him. Shrugging, “Seemed like a decent sort. Why?” And then his brow crinkles into a frown at the unfamiliar name, “Kaskan?” his eyes going to the bruising on the tanner’s jaw. Again he simply sits in observant silence, studying the reaction his new friend has to what he says from behind his raised glass, probably recognizing and understanding some of the Tells coming off of him. And then quietly through a whisky husked voice, “You’re worried about her.” Statement not query and given in such a manner as to suggest he’s meaning beyond the worry he personally feels for someone having tried to draw Cheusia out into the open where she’d be vulnerable to attack. Dark eyes meet blue and he’s quiet for a while before dropping his gaze to the note once again, “With this? Dunno, mate.” And then silence again as he pulls this new development into the currently strange and nefarious goings on in the Weyr. Exhaling heavily he takes a chance and lays some of his cards on the table, “Those runner thieves…they weren’t just after Renegade. There’s more going on. They’re after someone,” frown deepening, “Sent from up Bitra way.” Leaning forward now and pinning an intent look onto the tanner, “Bo, you gotta keep your eyes on her. These people…they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. Even if it means taking down those around the person they’re after,” not yet speaking his very real concern that he might well be one of the intended targets. “See if you can track down who this Gerad is and we’ll…have a little talk with him,” a cold smile displayed at the end.

To the question on Kason, Bowen merely shrugs slightly, “He an’ I got sumpthin’ t’sort out.” Which considering he thought Kaskan was Kason, the sorting out is liable to be violent to some degree, unless by then Bo has cooled down some over the matter, and that is entirely possible as slow, steady, and sedate he usually is. He was just sort of … in the moment the other day. As it were. To Kaskan’s name for confirmation, Bowen nods, “Don’t know ‘im well, mind, but he seems fine.” It’s Max’s next statement that the tanner goes all stoic and closed-expression once more, at least initially, and then he looks away from Max to the ground beside the desk, “Yes,” he mutters uncertainly. Though the uncertainty is about a whole mess of things outside of whether or not he’s worried about her. That’s probably one of the few things he’s certain about. “Don’t know whut’s it all ‘bout, but … she’s one shardin’ d’termined beautiful woman an’ I’ll be fuck’d but she ain’t gotten inta me some how these last few days, Max,” he says this with another rub down his face, and then a smirk drawing up the corner of his mouth, “Havin’ a hard time not thinkin’ ‘bout her … an’ that includes frettin’ o’er this,” he gestures to the note on Max’s desk, “T’be sure.” His expression turns more sober and grim and he nods, “I plan t’keep her safe,” and he means that in general, not just with this mess. He leans forward a little then and nods once more to the note with a jerk of his bruised chin, “I’ll see whut I can figure out, but if he made it all up, includin’ th’ name, it may mean j’st waitin’ fer ‘im t’try and get ‘nuther note t’her ‘gain.” And Cheusia as bait is anything but pleasing to the tanner. “Y’gonna need th’ note t’take to th’weyrwomen or weyrleader?” With the unstated implied piece that Bowen will take it if Max doesn’t need it. Though, what Bo plans to do with it to try and riddle out who sent it is anyone’s guess.

It’s that opening line coupled together with what Bowen says next of the Journeywoman Healer that has some of Max’s dark mood slipping off and replaced with a grin, “So Chesuia, eh?” And then despite their newly formed friendship he sets a narrow eyed look onto the tanner and follows up with a grunt, “You’ll do.” Not a heartbeat later, he’s leaning forward in his chair slightly to add in a fierce tone, “That woman’s like the sister I never had. You hurt her and…” his scarred brow lifting up in pointed manner silently speaking to the fact that he’d hunt Bowen’s ass down and lay a hurting on him like he hasn’t seen before. His intention not to try and scare the poor man off but rather that of letting him know the exact state of affairs when it comes to Che and the bond of friendship he’s formed her. That having been said, the beast manager leans back slightly askew in his chair, weight resting on an elbow set to the wooden arm, and listens to the rest of what gets said in contemplative silence. Speaking slowly as if the words hold a bitter taste in his mouth, “She gets another one of those notes we may well have to use her as bait,” stating what his friend hadn’t, “might the only way to get hands on whoever this is.” As to taking the note to the Weyrleaders he flicks his hand in dismissive manner at it, a soft snort spilling out, “Good luck with that, mate. Weyrleader’s too worried about drilling the wings to care what’s happening on the ground and the Weyrwomen…” here a frown slings back in, “been trying to get an audience with one of them since the Hatching.” Which would probably be the reason why he, his mother and those that look to them are trying to do what they can to keep the various situations under control themselves.

Taking his hat off and running a hand through his hair briefly, and sighing, Bo’s attention strays from Max and that note to the front of Max’s desk. “More’n likely I ain’t,” Bowen starts and then adds, “gonna do.” And despite the double entendre, Bo actually means on a relationship level. For a fleeting moment, Bo lets some of his stoic guard down again and says soberly, “M’history with women ain’t so great, Max. Y’know this.” His blue eyes meet the other man’s narrowed eyed look unflinchingly, “If I hurt ‘er, y’ain’t gonna needta worry ‘bout me cuz I’da already done fed m’self t’those dragons.” He jerks his head a little in the direction of the feeding pens. He looks like he might actually mean it, too. Though it might take some convincing, like going after a rider with a deadly weapon, to get one to eat him. “I’ma hunter at heart,” Bo comments huskily on using Cheusia as bait, “Let’s see if’n I ain’t able ta flush ‘im out elsehow first.” It is when Max of the weyrleader and weyrwomen that Bo simply nods, as if Max playing the role of Defender of the Realm, so to speak, makes more sense now. “Alright. Then who else y’got on dis? Yer muther didn’t seem t’know,” and here he pauses a little more briefly than he usually does, “I didn’t say nuthin’ straight out ‘course, but figured she’d’ve given m’more if’n she knew ‘bout th’ man in yer tack room.” With this, he reaches across to take that note back, since it seems Max won’t be needing it to take to the weyrleader or weyrwomen.

Still in that lean to one side in his chair, Max runs a finger across his lower lip and utters a soft snort with Bowen’s claims to not being much good with women, “Heh, ain’t exactly the poster boy of that myself.” At least managing to look a little shame faced for his previous love ‘em and leave ‘em approach to women. What the tanner follows on with must meet with approval, for a smile soon emerges and he drops his hand away to dangle over the edge of the chair’s arm, “Che’s a good woman. You’ll do just fine.” Apparently having more faith in his friend than the man currently does in himself. Nodding his acceptance of the other’s wish to try and hunt the writer of the note down before setting the healer up as bait, “Don’t blame you. You need a second set of eyes, you just say so, aye?” And then beast manager produces a small smirk as he draws himself forward and reaches for the whiskey bottle again, “She knows.” This to his mother having more information than she freely hands out. As to who else he might have as eyes on the ground, his eyes flick out in the direction of where Waine stands silent guard at the entrance of the beast caverns, “Waine, Yaron, a few others.” Not about to put names to people he needs kept under wraps and inconspicuous. “Could always do with another,” thus offering Bowen opportunity to throw himself into the mix of those keeping tabs and gathering information.

The fact that Max isn’t the poster boy for how to treat women properly either doesn’t surprise Bowen, or he’s just not willing to object to the man’s self-assessment, for he says nothing to it. To Max’s look of approval and smile for the tanner’s willingness to throw himself to the dragons, as it were, should he ever hurt Che, Bowen gives a half-smirk back. It is to the question, though, that Bo simply nods, “Ayup. Yer th’first ‘un I’ll come to.” As he is putting the note back in his pocket, he pauses momentarily with Max’s explanation that Indira knows, and then Bo continues with the motion. When he removes his hand from his pocket, he rubs gingerly but thoughtfully at his jaw, listening quietly as Max indicates Waine and Yaron. “Shit, Max, yer a reg’lar Cap’n of th’ Guard here, ain’tchu?” It’s stated with more sympathy in his voice and eyes than he might have intended. Bo really does just want a simple, uncomplicated life and to some degree he figures most other men do, too. “But I guess y’got a lot ‘vested in this place not t’be in th’thick of it,” referring to Max as more than likely looking out for the weyr because a safe weyr means a safe mother and girlfriend, along with other friends, like Che. He nods then, putting his hat back on, “Y’got me at yer back, yanno. I’ll stick t’this shardin’ lil fuck’r whuts been sendin’ her purdy lil notes an’ keep ya ‘nformed. Ya j’st lemme know if’n ya need me elseways.” He stands up, stiffly and sore, with more favoring of that leg that was stabbed. “Thanks fer th’ drink an’ talk.”

Bringing his refilled whiskey glass to his lips as Bowen returns the note to his pocket, the dry laugh that breaks out at Bowen’s assessment of him, echoes into the vessel a little. A swallow is taken and then Max is shaking his head, “Naw, ain’t no captain of nothing. Just got me some friends along the way.” His glass tips the tanner’s way tone and expression turning a little pointed as he points out, “Got a lot invested in keeping my life simple,” which might sound in direct opposition as to just how complicated it’s all managed to get, that’s his first point, and then with a glance about the small area although meant to encompass the Weyr at large a wry smile appears, “Weyr’s been good to me figure I owe something in return, aye?” Which yes, would translate to mean exactly what the other man would assume it to in terms of keeping those close to him, safe. A chuckle breaks out Bowen’s last and then drains off into concern as he takes in the stiff legged manner in which the man is still moving, “That leg not healing properly?”

A little nod to the notion of having collected some friends he can count on along the way and Bo seems to get that, considering how easy it was for Max to earn his own loyalty. There comes a smirk and a look of ‘ya got a funny way of keeping your life simple’ without it actually being stated because for all the talk and looks, Bo actually probably wouldn’t have done any differently, himself, understanding the need and duty of keeping one’s homestead safe. Which is why the smirk fades a little as Max talks of the weyr being good to him and needing to return the favor, “That reminds me, I promised Che ya an’ me’ll be on ground crew with ‘er when th’ time comes. She’s a mite … nervous.” There are a couple other things he’s promised various women around the weyr and left them at Max’s door, but for now, he can’t think of them other than that one, which he now deems even more important than before. Then he looks down at the offending thigh, shruggin’ a little, “Might’ve worried it a bit durin’ th’ fight in th’ bar. Che’s only let me go t’day.” The comment drawing a rarely seen fond smile and distant look from the tanner, and then it is wiped away with a chuckle, “Mebbe I should see ‘bout gettin’ m’self in more fights if’n it means she’ll put ‘er hands on me some more.” And considering how much that can actually smart in that context, the man is either really smitten or just utterly insane. “I reckon I’ll be fine. Che’s takin’ good care o’me.” A comment he thought he’d never hear himself say and it shows, briefly, before he’s taking a step toward the door. “I’ll talk t’ya tomorrow. Have a good ‘un, y’hear?”

Perhaps having understood that smirk to mean what it was intended to, Max tips his glass Bowen’s way in silent toast. It’s what the tanner then says of being on the groundcrew that has the beast manager shooting a startled look his way, “Er what? No.” the answer given more than too quickly. “I don’t work groundcrew,” now shifting uncomfortably in his chair, “Got the beasts to keep calm when Thread falls.” Which given that he’s Weyrbred and all the talk of honor, loyalty and protection of those he feels responsible for, might seem a little odd. But he’s not offering any explanations right now, choosing rather to bury his face behind his glass once again only to withdraw it when the safer topic of Bowen’s knife wound is back on the table for discussion. Standing to his feet a crooked grin fixes onto the tanner, “You got it bad, mate.” And he’d probably add something about the tables being turned on whom will be standing for whom, but given the other man’s skittishness about the topic of marriage he leaves off it. Even if it would only have been in jest. Low laughter greets the comment about Che taking good care of his friend, “Don’t doubt she will.” That glass gets lifted once again, “Welcome to the club, Bo.” Of men smitten enough by their women they’d go so far as to hurt themselves to gain extra attention. “Later.”

The tanner pauses a long moment at the door to Max’s stall-come-office, looking back at the beast manager with his refusal to join the ground crew. There’s no critical judgment in Bowen’s blue eyes for Max, just a curious and even somewhat concerned look. Then he nods, gives a parting wave, and heads off, spending a few extra moments with Strider to make up for his few days of absence and then departing in general, likely for his own cot, or maybe to visit a certain Healer first on his way there.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Trace Aadkins - "Rough and Ready"

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