The Beast Manager And His Skittish Filly


Ahnika.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 7/18/10
Location: Beast Cavern
Synopsis: On an errand for Indira and Randi, Ahnika finds Max in the beast cavern with the intention to discuss the needs of the hunting party… and skittish fillies.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Beast Cavern

Sweeping upwards from the tunnel's entrance at the easternmost end, this cavern arches well over the heads of its inhabitants; both two- and four-legged. Wooden stalls and pens have been built in rows. Two rows are built into the north and south walls and two are back-to-back down the center, leaving two aisles up and down. Each animal enclosure is spacious, well-built and solid; the whole place smells of new timber and sawdust, with the subtle undertones of leather, animal and hay. The western end opens out into the feeding pens and from there into the upper bowl. The opening is large enough to allow a decent amount of sunlight to enter the cavern, but not quite big enough to allow the adult dragons inside.

Mid morning finds the caverns all but deserted with the runners and herdbeasts having long since been sent out to pasture. A young stable boy struggles out toward the feeding pens with a heavy bucket of water and somewhere near the back of the stalls, comes a steady hammering sound. If Ahnika follows it, she'll find the beast manager stripped to the waist, hard at work setting a plank back into place where just earlier a runner had had a bucking fit and kicked it loose.

“Hello?” comes the voice of Ahnika, heralding her arrival. It seems curious in tone more than timid. The red-headed teen carefully enters the caverns, picking her way past a bucket here or a shovel there as necessary, but taking her time doing it, as if she is greatly interested in the trappings of a beast manager. “I’m looking for the beast manager,” she calls again, trying to pitch her voice in between the hammering as she follows the sound, finally finding him putting the plank back and unable to resist being rather absorbed in the shirtless man’s presence performing the labor to the point of speechlessness. Her grey eyes take not only him in, but in his activity, too, drinking in every detail.

Arms lifted just above his head, one holding the plank in place, the other the hammer, would probably offer good view of a back crafted into hard muscle through hard physical work. At the question, Max gives the nail a last good whack and turns his head over his shoulder, a long look going over the younger redhead. Talking passed a nail he has clenched in his teeth, he turns, "Depends whose looking?" Brows lift in querying gesture as drops the hammer to a bucket at his feet, the nail following suit as arms then come to cross over his chest. Either unaware of his sweat slicked and bare upper torso or not really caring.

Oh my. Just … oh my – Ahnika’s mildly lecherous gaze seems to say for a moment longer before she gives herself a little shake and remembers to breathe. “What? Oh. I’m … I’m … Ahn-Ahni-Ahnika.” Ahnika’s cheeks color and she feels the heat in them, so she finds the nearest stall door extremely interesting and moves to stand in front of it. “So this is where they keep the runners, eh?” Is it getting hot in here? “Interesting.” Very. She clears her throat before speaking again, “So, I was asked to come see you about … hunting felines.” She puts her hand on the top of the stall gate, feeling the wood under her hands, picking at any splinters. Fidgety as only Ahnika can be.

Amusement wreathes itself through Max's voice for the redhead's awkwardness, repeating, "Ahn-Ahni-Ahnika?" Perhaps construed as teasing. "Actually," the beast manager starts out, staying exactly where he is, dark eyes following Ahnika's every movement, only his arms unfolding as hands pocket in his trousers, "this is where we keep the stablehands that can't behave. The runners are kept in velvet lined quarters," his voice containing sardonic amusement. Taking in the information, brows lift and Max stalks a step closer to the redhead, as if at this precise moment he were hunting said felines, "Hunting eh? Who's asking?"

For the moment, Ahnika’s cheeks redden considerably more and she closes her eyes, before scowling a little at the stall gate. She schools her expression to a more calm state, more irritated with herself than with him, teasing or no. “Ahnika, just Ahnika.” She sighs, wishing she could smack herself around without appearing entirely mad. “Though some friends call me Ahni,” she blinks at the wood, not entirely trusting herself to turn around yet. “Stablehands? Here?” Now she has something to focus on, believing in him with her gullibility for a brief moment and considering the stall to see if a particular bronzerider might fit in here with them, before suddenly laughing with a nervous tinge. “Oh, I see. Well.” She exhales awkwardly and chews on her lip, digging the toe of her boot into as much as the dirt or stone flooring yields. “Hunting. Yes.” She takes another deep, slow breath and exhales, mentally kicking herself into shape and finally turning once more to face him and force herself to look at him. “Oh hello. There you are … closer. Pardon.” Even if it was just a step closer to her, she backs up one step to press her back against the stall door. “Oh, hello, there’s a door there.” She murmurs to herself distractedly. Then finally looks back at him, takes another breath and suddenly launches into a rapid-fire rambled explanation, “Well, you see, Headwoman Indira, that is, your mother, asked me to help with the arrangements for a hunting party to include her, Weyrwoman Randi, you, and a handful of others. She said to speak with you about a skinning and tanning area to be set up, and what sort of entertainment or food you’d like to have at the gather afterward, and you’re supposed to scent two stallions, and the weyrwoman will be around next seven to ride you … I mean … your mare.” She looks at the ceiling. “I think.”

Lips quirking as he takes another step closer, eyes flowing up and down the girl's figure, "Don't look like a 'just Ahnika' to me." It's meant as a compliment though his tone carries undertones of suggestion. Watching as Ahnika fumbles and mumble her way around his presence, Max is clearly intrigued, a work roughened hand unpocketing and daring to reach the knuckle of a finger to brush over her cheek if she doesn't bolt in the opposite direction, "Do I scare you?" Max's tone held low in the query, as his eyes seek the redhead's out in intent study. The fact that he's moved close enough to do so, probably not going to do too much to ease the girl's nervousness, but he'll take his chances. Leaning his shoulder up against the stall door, hands safely back to pockets, the beast manager listens to the explanation, dark eyes glinting at something said and then dropping his head to choke back the laughter that wells up as the younger redhead corrects herself, "So, we'll be working together then." He picks that out of everything else said, seeming pleased at the idea.

Faranth save her, Ahnika’s grey-eyed gaze seems completely conflicted as he steps closer and she scans his bare torso to look up into his face. Her breathing turns shallow as his hand reaches for her and when it connects, she can’t help but close her eyes, leaning her face into his knuckle’s caress slightly, instinctively responsive to his touch. Startling herself possibly more than anyone else. She sucks in a breath with his question, and then his hand is lowered and she finds herself unable to answer. Her blush remains across her cheeks, she lowers her eyes to cast her gaze to the floor, unusually demure for Ahnika. Her feet fidget in the dirt. When he says the last, she says nothing verbally, still trying to find her voice since he dared to touch her, but she nods the affirmative.

Max has been around nervous runners long enough to know when to recognize the same signs in a young woman, despite what his mother might think. His smile when it comes is neither lecherous nor taunting, but rather mildly amused for the confession he draws from Ahnika. Still in that languid recline against the doorframe, "Don't need to be," he states, "Not going to toss you over my shoulder and drag you off to a stall to have my wicked ways with you," he speaks so easily of such things, "Not unless that's what you want." The stroke of dark eyes suggesting that might be exactly the thought that had tumbled through his mind. Luckily his expression remains bland. Chest lifting and falling for the quick intake of breath as the beast manager changes tracks as easily as one would shoes, "So, this hunting party? They'll be wanting the runners scented then?" Pushing off from his lean, he ambles over to where he'd tossed his shirt earlier, "You'll need to set up an area that can be washed down afterward but far enough away from here so as not to upset the other beasts. Tanning should be in full sunlight but safe from nosy dragons," the list of requirements starting to come out in clipped instruction as he tugs his shirt on.

“Skittish filly” would not be a term often associated with Ahnika, and yet while in Max’s presence that seems to be to what she is rendered. As he moves away from her and gets his shirt, Ahni releases a breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. His tone and the direction of the conversation are exceedingly helpful in allowing her to find strength in her knees once more, and her voice, as she says, “Of course not,” rather softly, almost in a breath, “You’re the Headwoman’s son. You’re obviously much more sensible and not one to give into such irresponsible passions.” She busies herself with smoothing down the front of her tunic, carefully avoiding what she does or does not want at this point as a topic. She looks up and regards him again and inwardly so utterly grateful he is putting on his shirt finally that for a moment she becomes distracted again. Finally, she nods, following him and his movements with her eyes and refocusing on the point of being here, “Okay, I’ll see to it, sir.” Seeming able to commit it all to her memory, but perhaps that is part of why she is good at organizing and administration duties and not as good at other things. “Anything else?” She asks in a light tone.

The shirt might be back on, but Max doesn't bother with doing any buttons up, letting it hang off his shoulders as turns to take up the bucket of tools he'd been using. Laughter, rich and deep follows Ahnika's comment on what constitutes being sensible. Flashing an intent look over to the 'skittish filly', a half-smile grin appears in the stubbled jaw that has suddenly gone tense around it, like it takes great effort to produce it, "Passion," he states low, "has very little to do with what is responsibility or sensible, darling." Moving to deposit the bucket in the stall being used to stow tools of the trade, the beast manager's mouth twitches unseen at the 'sir' bit. Re-appearing his head tips to one side, hands planted on his hips and comments as if having reached a decision about something, "Come back tonight, I got to something to show you."

“Precisely my point, sir,” Ahnika says simply with a nod, finding some sanctuary in the formal address despite the scant few turns that separate their ages, “with a sensible mother, no doubt you are as well.” She gives a brief sweeping gesture with her hand, “And your accomplishments bringing you to your position here only supports it.” She tugs a little on her tunic, casting a fleeting gaze across his mostly bared chest before clearing her throat again and looking anywhere but at him, “Tonight?” She swallows visibly. “What would that be, sir?”

Again, laughter spills out, although this time it carries a darker undertone, "My mother" Max starts out and then let's the topic alone to cast a grin that manages to blend cocky with sly, "Been told I've got good hands," is what he delivers on how or why he got his position. As to Ahnika visiting him later on that day he steps in close again, not touching this time, (Maybe trying to acquaint her with his presence) simply canting his head to one side and sending her an amused lift of brow, "Anticipation, is half the journey, my skittish little filly." Boldly laying some kind of verbal claim whilst remaining silent on his motivation for having the redhead return. "And, its Max, not sir. Not unless we've got some kind of roleplaying going on here that I'm not aware of."

This time, Ahnika arches an inquiring eyebrow at his beginning, both the laughter and the reference to his mother. But she lets it go as he does and smoothes her expression once more. “Good hands,” she repeats softly, her grey eyes dropping to those hands. She swallows again, and this time manages a nervous smile as he closes in once more, starting to back away again but only finding more of the gate pressing there. A splinter catches and, as she looks up into his face, it tugs on a strand of her red hair, all bound up, and manages to pull it free from the bun. “Filly?” She looks curious at that for a moment and then is reminded of how close he is standing to her. She studies his lips, then his eyes, murmuring nervously, “You can hardly expect me to come unprepared … “ she pauses, “Max.”

He wasn't going to. Really he wasn't. But then there's that lock of hair just begging to be put back in place. Max, unable to resist the temptation to touch, reaches towards it, curling its silky strands between his fingers before tucking it behind Ahnika's ear. He may just have earned himself a good slap across the face for that action, but he's clearly prepared to take his chances considering how he keeps his position. That simple task performed, those same fingers touch with a surprising gentleness just under the redhead's chin, his head moving in as if he might actually kiss her, until that is, one corner of his mouth turns up into a grin. "Filly," he confirms and then steps away, those treacherous hands finally moving to do the buttons of his shirt up. Shrugging easily, "Nothing to prepare for," he comments taking up his hat that had been hanging on a nearby peg and clamping it to his head, "You might want to bring a soft blanket though." Oh the things that might lead one's imagination too.

Shallow breathing causes Ahnika’s bosom to lift and settle a little more noticeably when he does replace that loose lock of hair, but there is no slap coming. Her hands fidget at the hem of her tunic, but they remain where they are. This time, however, she actually keeps her grey eyes on his face, as if wanting to impress his face and hands and everything about this singular moment into her mind. She might not ever be in this position again, after all. “A soft blanket,” she whispers, trying to get control of her breathing as he turns away and buttons up his shirt. Her cheeks are burning, and she frowns a little, trying to affect a gentle tone. After all, she doesn’t want to tick off the son of the Headwoman. “I’ll have you know I’m not that kind of girl.” A heartbeat pause, “Max.” Still flushing, she starts to move toward the entrance of the caves.

Something about the way Ahnika keeps her eyes steady on his face meets with approval from Max, with just the barest of nods to bear witness to that. Hat in place, shirt buttoned, well, at least halfway buttoned, the beast manager heads into the tack room and returns moments later with a bridle slung over his shoulder and a saddle in his arms. Heading towards where the runners are corralled he sends a grin to the fiercely blushing redhead, "From what I've seen so far…" looking entirely too devilish for his own good, "you are entirely, that kind of a girl." Nope, he's still not going to shed any further light on the matter save for an enigmatic tidbit of, "Bring a small basket too. Empty." And then, with a wink, he's heading further down the tunnel and out to the taming of actual fillies.

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