Under Inspection


Max.jpg Flack.jpg Waine.jpg

Date: 2010.11.14
Location: EW - Herdbeast Corrals
Synopsis: Kelarad's man down South makes contact with Max.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

The mid-morning air is clouded as dozens of pairs of hooves throw dust up, the lowing and the complaining of the herdbeast being driven ahead of the riders almost a constant hum, punctuated by the sharp whistles and calls as the four men work together as a team to push them toward the corrals. “Waine!” Max bellows, reigning his big black stallion in sharply to cut a young calf off that was on the point of cutting away from the herd, “Get that sharding gate open, you lazy son of a watchwher!” The big stablehand lifts a hand lazily into the air to acknowledge he’d heard the beast manger and bending from his saddle slips the latch, then snatches his hat off of his head to swat a slow moving heifer on the rump as she passes by, “Move ya butt, lovely” Removing his own brimmed hat, the beast manager swipes a forearm across his forehead, leaving a streak of dirt where dust blends with sweat, as he hangs back now, keeping an eye on the proceedings. “You talk to all your girlfriends like that, Chuckles?” Amused.

Mid-morning is the time where things are on the swing. It's also one of the few times that one would see those with tasks more suitable to the darkness. Flack must be one of those types, for while anyone could probably tell you that they've seen him once or twice deep in the hallways of the Weyr (and nowhere else), they wouldn't be able to tell you anything else. He was hardly non-descript with his big muscular frame being noticeable, and his close-shaven head along with the tanned and weathered features would probably garner a look or two. Still, one wouldn't be able to quite place him. It's odd, however, that he is here at the paddocks, his slow gait measured as he stops by the gate to watch the men with the herdbeasts silently. Nothing betrays his expression on his face, his worn clothes nearly matching his skin color enough to have him blend in without perhaps meaning to. For now, he stands there with hands in his pockets, his head moving as he takes in the scene before him like a man that hasn't seen a herdbeast before. He seems to have that 'slow' look to him as he watches, but closer study of his eyes would detect their keen sharpness as he is clearly noting the stablehands and their beast manager from where he stands.

“Nah,” Waine shoots back through a grin, “just the special ones.” Just as well the corrals are not the sort of place often graced by feminine company or the big stablehand might just find himself with a thick ear and one less of the female variety to call on. Easy laughter comes from Max as he replaces his hat, “You’re gonna see your own ass one day, mate. Mark my words.” With the last of the herdbeast through the gate, and the latch set firmly in place once again, the beast manager leans down to unhook the waterskin hanging from his saddle. It’s about then that dark eyes fall to the stranger silently watching them and his hand stills a moment before continuing on its path and completing the task. Uncorking it and slaking his thirst, eyes never leaving the other man, he wipes the back of his hand across his mouth and spurs Starflight forward a step or two to close the gap between them and then holds out the ‘skin, “Drink?” Friendly for all intents and purposes save for the guardedness sprung up in his eyes.

Flack could hear the banter between me from where he stands, but the big man doesn't interrupt. His face doesn't change either, so it's hard for one to tell whether he was listening in or not. He sort of just…stood there, like stone. He would have continued on this course - the watching, and the eavesdropping sort - until he notices Max looking his way. Nothing is betrayed as he evenly stares back at the beast manager, ignoring any others that should now look his way as well. He was here for one man, and that man had noticed him. Once Max and Starflight are close enough for not shouting needed between them, Flack's dark gaze drops toward the 'skin in his continued silence, not answering nor taking it. He frowns a bit, perhaps deciding what his next move was - unless this was all an act - before the man slowly reaches forward an firmly grabs at the 'skin with one large, rough-looking hand. Closer study show scars on his arms, and his nose looks as though it had been broken a few times and healed wrong. Callused fingers bring the 'skin to his lips wordlessly and he takes a long, healthy drink, some of it escaping to dribble down the corner of his mouth before he sates his thirst and hands it back. In a deep voice with rusty quality to it, "Thanks," he grimaces a bit as if the notion of talking is unpleasant to him, which perhaps accounts for the hesitation from before. Dark eyes darting pass him towards Waine and the herdbeasts, he nods sharply in that direction and asks gruffly, "This here yours?"

With Max’s attention having been moved onto the newcomer, it’s only to be expected that Waine’s and that of the other three ‘hands fall to the man too. However, it is only Waine that moves his runner a pace or two closer while still remaining just out of earshot, keeping a weather eye on the interaction without actually, involving himself just yet. When Flack eventually reaches for and takes the waterskin from him, the beast manager openly studies the man, taking in the scars and telltale signs of one who appears to have seen his fair share of trouble. A simple nod greets the thanks given and rather than dismount, which might be the polite thing to do, Max remains right where he is, giving himself the advantage of being seen to ‘look down’ upon the stranger. Turning his head back toward where the herdbeast are milling about in the corral, his attention comes back to the other man with an oddly placed smirk, “Weyr’s.” Still sizing him up, he puts forth, “You looking for a job?”

"You could say that," comes Flack's answer, his sharp gaze lighting immediately on Waine the moment he moves his runner closer towards them. Waine gets his study now, and it's a slow one. With hands going back into his pockets, his brows furrowing somewhat, "Heard there's a 'Rogan' out in these parts," he decides to say then, his gaze swinging back up to Max. That gaze taking the beast manager in just as slowly as he does Waine, "I reckon that man be you," he puts forth then, perhaps deciding that Waine was not the one he was looking for. His expression remains the same through this all, however, the beast of a man seeming to have no problem with staring up at the beast manager. Nothing seems to move the man to a reaction, in fact.

“Any good on a runne…” Max’s words cut short and his eyes narrow onto the man when the name ‘Rogan’ falls from his lips. Any show of friendliness that had been at play now falls away. Nudging the big stallion with his knee so that the great beast takes a step right into Flack’s personal space, the beast manager’s expression turns challenging, “State your business, stranger.” His tone of voice hard, neither denying nor confirming whether he is the one the big man seems to be looking for. Waine, able to read his boss’ body language as easily as breathing by now, casts a sharp look over his shoulder to the other three men, who bring their runners forward into a loosely formed half circle behind Max.

How one name can change things. Luckily Flack isn't one to be intimidated, and so when Waine reins in the other stablehands to flank Max, he merely sends a warning look their way. He wasn't here to fight, of course, but if things came to that he wouldn't back down. Been a good while since he knocked a few heads, too, so it probably good to say that he would welcome the opportunity. Working to keep his voice level and calm, "I'm good with runners," he deliberately answers the unfinished question before the name registers. "Have worked with them a bit up in Tillek." Eyes falling on Waine, "Good with other things, too," he adds, perhaps as a subtle warning as his shoulders flex along with his arms. Back to Max, "Been a glowtender here for a couple of turns," he uncovers his station with little inflection. "Seen you and your mother about since you arrived here. Wouldn't come out of my way here to meet you unless asked." Well, it's his subtle way of admitting he's a spy, an informant for someone else. Flack does everything subtle.

All that changes in that hard expression Max now wears is a brow lifting up slightly when the man admits to having worked with runners in Tillek, there is otherwise no other reaction. Hands cup over the pommel of his saddle and he pins an intent look onto Flack. “Glowtender…” he repeats that snippet and then snorts almost derisively, “Looks like those glowbaskets can be mean bastards, eh?” this spoken with a pointed glance going to the man’s scars. That sarcastic line drops away and the beast manager stiffens at his last. In low and grating tone, “Who sent you!” His hand lifting to stay the forward progress of his men when Flack delivers subtle bodily warning.

To the glowbaskets being mean bastards, Flack looks down at himself and brings his hands out of his pockets. Yeah, he definitely didn't look or fit the part, and the thought actually brings one corner of his mouth upwards a bit. Instead of answering that one, "You know who sent me," he says simply, meeting Max's gaze and ignoring the rest of them now intently. "His token of goodwill. Name's Flack." Now he looks toward the Waine and the others, studying them with his astute gaze as he adds, "Reckon I could join your boys in the stablehand department," for it was better to keep an eye on Max and things, "rather than changing glows the rest of my days. Don't think the others will hardly notice me gone." Eyes back on Max, "If you're the one running the south now," he tacks on, letting just a bit of sarcasm to color his rusty voice. Somehow he just didn't believe that one, being that he knew of Ampherol before - the one that claimed the south and suddenly vanished.

Sensing the tension in his rider, Starflight shifts beneath Max, starting into a sideways prance until the beast manager with barely a press of knees pulls him back under control. Making the connection his chin goes up and the tight edge of a smile hovers about his lips, "Was wondering how long it would be before his 'goodwill' showed itself." Waine simply stares right back when he finds himself under study, his face free of any expression, the other three however, their expressions turn stone cold looks over to the newcomer. Coldly amused, "From glowtender to stablehand at the snap of his fingers," no need to name names there, "What's next? Nanny in the nursery caverns?" snort. Smirking deeply as Flack questions his claim on the south he leans down and extends a hand toward the man as means of introduction as he states in quietly challenging tones, "Guess you'll just have to find that out for ya'self, Flack. Name's Max in these parts." In other words, he intends to continue going by the name Rogan, outside of Weyr duties.

"If need be," Flack counters evenly without hesitation on his switching positions to be a nanny - a mark of his loyalty to Kelarad. With a meaningly gaze going towards Waine and the crew behind Max, "As it should be for all those you keep in your pocket." Once Max extends his hand towards him, the glowtender reaches forward and grasps it firmly with rough bear-like pads touching his. "Max, right," he answers to the name, nodding a few times and already committing the name to memory. Well, he already knew the name in so much as him and his mother being at the Weyr, anyway. He shakes his hand before letting go, the formalities over in his eyes. Checking to see if anyone else is paying attention to them, and then he pins looks onto the men behind him, "These men with you?" he asks before he says what he has to say next - in meaning whether or not Waine and them were involved in his business.

Odd approval greets Flack’s comment to what it is or isn’t he and the men looking to Max, should be prepared to do for their respective ‘bossmen’. Inclining his head slightly in acknowledgement thereof, “Well stated, Flack. The only difference is, my men are here of their own free will and are welcome to leave any time they wish to.” Which might be a difficult concept for the newcomer to wrap his head around initially. Meeting Flack’s grasp with his own hand work roughened, the beast manager quirks out an odd little smile, his voice dropping low to keep the next just between the two of them, “You might answer to Rad, but so long as you’re posing working for me in the caverns. You’ll follow my orders, aye?” And then he drops his hand away and straightens in his saddle. Without so much as moving a muscle in the direction of the men with him when their purpose in his employ is questioned, his gaze remains fixed on the unmounted man before him, giving a simply stated, “Aye.”

Max's response on men leaving of their own free will gets rather wry amusement from the Tillekian glowtender. "There's ways around any system," is all he notes to that, perhaps alluding to the fact that if Flack wanted to part ways with Kelarad, he could move himself off the grid if he chooses. With their hands clasped and max leaning forward to give that statement only meant for his ears alone, there's a faint quirk to his lips that perhaps only the beast manager could detect since he's close enough to before inclining his head in his agreement. "I aim to please, sir," he states formally, an oddity from a man that looks as roughened up as his voice. And since the beast manager states that the men behind him could be trusted, the glowtender pulls out a sheet of hide and passes it to him. "That shipment he wants will be coming in sevenday's time," he says, nodding to the sheet itself. "Details there. He'll be coming by when things in Tillek settle down long enough. In the meantime, if there's anything you want to say to him, or sent his way, do it through me. I'll be going by the bar later and presenting myself to the Dicori girl as well," he adds, nodding again. "Any place you need me, I'll be there. No questions asked."

All Max lends as a response to that comment from the Tillekian is a wry sort of smile in mirror of the man’s amusement. The quirk to lips and formal address coming off of Flack has the beast manager sending him a long look of study and then he nods, his mouth twitching around an unreadable line, which could be taken as approval. “Reckon we’re gonna get along just fine, Tillek.” The sheet of hide is taken and given brief study with just the barest movement of brows toward a frown. Nodding, he tucks it into the breast pocket of his shirt and then finally dismounts, landing with a feline grace of movement. Gathering up Starflight’s reins in one hand he begins to make his way back down toward the beast caverns, assuming Flack will follow suit, “We’ll make the run.” Not seeming surprised that Kelarad himself would be paying Eastern a visit. With a sidelong glance to his new ‘employee’ as they walk, leaving the other ‘hands behind, “Reckon he’ll want to know how his cousin’s doing. I’ll let W’red know you’ll be dropping by.” There is but the barest moment of discomfort when Flack mentions dropping by the bar, but Max simply nods and then sends veiled warning, “You ain’t gonna turn her, so don’t even try. I find out you did, then you and me are gonna have a problem.” As an afterthought, or perhaps simply intending it to be seen as much, “You should go passed Indira’s office too. Pick up a knot and present yourself to her.”

"Reckon we will," Flack takes that up with faint amusement rolling off of him as he lets his stance relax somewhat now that contact is established. The men with Waine is still present, however, and since he's not fully sure about them he keeps up most of his reflexes just in case one of them should get any ideas to jump him. Once Max dismounts and starts on the move, the glowtender follows behind close. Since the run is agreed upon, he makes no comment, leaving that up to Max to decide how to proceed, but the mention of Kelarad's cousin has him fitting a long look onto Max's back before he nods. "I would appreciate that, sir," he answers on seeing Olira rather politely. He was going to add more to the effect until he felt something shift in Max's frame when he mentions seeing Jaya and the man slows his steps at the warning. Eyes stay hooded as he regards Max in his eyes then - of course, trying to get the Dicori to turn was part of Flack's orders. What was the point in hiding it? The knowing smile draws forth from cracked lips before the big man looks away as he decides on how best to answer that. With an exhale of breath, "These are hard times, sir," he says carefully, not revealing anything (although does it really need to be said?) and meeting Max's gaze steadily. "Things happen beyond any of our controls." But it was clear he was going to have to play delicate with Bajaya Dicori, so he wasn't going to antagonize Max from the outset. "Dicori is yours," he says simply then nodding to back off. "But I can't promise there won't be others." Beat. "Your mother, right," he confirms on Indira, having seen her around in his time of being around the hallways. Nodding to that one, "I'll get on that as soon as I can, sir."

Waine and the other three remain where they are with the big stablehand’s gaze following his boss for a while as he leaves before turning to the others, “Start splitting them up.” And soon they’re back to the task at hand, splitting heifers from cows, and calves to be weaned from mothers. Just another day as beast cavern workers. Or so it seems to all and sundry, as it should. Max turns his head fractionally over his shoulder toward Flack, a pale smirk in place, “I aint’ kidding, Flack. Go after her,” Jaya that is, “and you’ll find out why Ampherol no longer runs things around here. As will others.” Now if he can just lay his hands on a dead body… The smirk deepens and draws enigmatic for the plans he has in mind. Frowning a little, the beast manager’s pace slows so that he’s level with the Tillekian, “Name’s Max, no one here calls me ‘sir’. ‘Boss’ will work just fine when out on the job,” his cover job that is, “otherwise we keep it to a first name basis, aye?” Because trying to explain him, a lowly ‘beast manager’ being given the courtesy and title of ‘Sir’, might be a mite tricky to any out of the loop that pick up on it.

Flack turns only a fraction to watch the men Max clearly has in his pocket return to their work, keeping his interest veiled until Max speaks again on Jaya. Dark eyes turn to Max's on that threat, his stance one of ease as he regards the other for a long moment. Once that tense moment passes, "You offed Amph?" he's asking that with just a touch of dryness in his voice. After another moment, slowly, he nods. "Off limits. I get it. Anything else off limits?" He's not trying to be a wise ass, but the question could very well be taken for one the way it's tacked on. Facing Max fully now for the latter of the conversation, he puts his hands to rest on his hips and takes a look around him at any passerbys that might be paying attention to the two of them. That was the life of an informant - always on the look-out even when you had no need to be. "Whatever you want, boss," he agrees to the change without missing a beat.

Max holds firm under that long look coming from Flack so that it might appear as if the two are sizing each other up and then slowly but surely a dark smirk forms, “Let’s just say…that he’s no longer in my way.” Making it seem as if ambition to reach the top of the food chain of the underworld drove him to do Ampherol in. And he leaves it at that. A brow goes up and the beast manager puts Flack under steady regard, Starflight nodding his head impatiently up and down with the men having come to a halt. Expression unreadable and tone bland, “I’ll let you know if anything comes up. How about that?” This with regards to what else he’s likely to put his foot down on when it comes to Flack and things being off limits. A nod is returned for the Tillekian’s last and Max starts to walking again, “I’ll have Indira set you up with a cot in the dorms,” picking up seemingly easygoing conversation while at the same time making it clear the man was not going to be sleeping in the beast caverns. That was the beast manager’s sanctuary, and his alone.

Snorting, "And what would you want here with the south?" Flack perhaps couldn't help but to ask, clearly finding the lands under distasteful compared to the north. "Ampherol, I get, but you…" Clearly the man knew the former southern lord, too. As to things being off limits, that response from Max gets just the barest of amusement from the Tillekian. Idly rubbing his hands together, "Seen you fight," he admits now, mentioning the circuits up north. "You're not bad, though you could use some work on that left hook of yours." He could be joking, right? Turning from him to look towards Waine and his men again, he gestures with his chin towards Waine and adds, "Seen him fight, too. Seen you both in the ring together." Perhaps Flack knows more of what went down than just a mere fight? He seems to be alluding to the old memory, turning to regard Max again. "You want to open circuits down here," he says, not making it a question. "Admirable. You're going to need help. I can help." Simple as that. With Max setting up arrangements for where he should sleep, there's faint amusement in his tone as he notes over his broad shoulder, "I've been storing up in Eastern for longer than you and your mother arrived, boss. I've got a place to lay my head. Don't worry about me and where I end up."

Again a brow goes up but all that Flack gets as a reply is silent amusement for his reasons to having laid claim to the South. It’s what the Tillekian says next that once again draws the beast manager to halt, a snort preceding his almost flippant return, “Aye, you and anyone else that fought up there.” Alluding to the fact that he might be very well aware of the other’s own fighting prowess. Max’s left hand twitches about the reins gathered in it and he sets a wryly amused look onto Flack, “You offering to train with me?” not bothering to point out that in being a southpaw, his left hook is stronger than his right. His right hand sets to a pocket and a long and silent study fits onto the bigger man after he brings up Waine and the fights they’d engineered together, “You got somethin’ you wanna say about it?” Accent drawn stronger and tone turned challenging with little to no apology in it. He lets the man continue on ahead of him, lips drawn into a thin line and then slowly takes up walking again, snorting softly, “Southern circuits ain’t gonna be like what you’re used to in the north. If you can handle that, then perhaps I could use you.” His mind already working ten to the dozen with just exactly how and where he might be able to make use of the Tillekian. “Reckon I prefer to know where it is you end up, Tillek,” pausing and then adding with an air of dry innocence, “So’s I know where to come looking for you if I need you.” Yeah, right.

"If that's what you prefer, boss," Flack answers on training, leaving the ball in Max's court with ease. Yeah, that's probably going to get annoying after a while, but that might be his aim. The engineered fights is what has his attention, however, the man fitting another look over to Waine in the silence that follows that question. Arms folding across a muscled chest, "Got nothing," he finally answers that, affecting a look of open indifference. "Just got good memory is all." Or good informants himself. He walks on ahead of the beast manager then, his steps heavy as he considers this new form of circuits down south. Snorting softly, "I can handle anything, Max," he chooses to use his name then, keeping his gaze ahead of him. "A circuit is a circuit to me. Live to fight. Fight to survive. What better way is there?" He takes a few more steps before Max's last has him stopping altogether and turning back to face him. "I stick to the hallways," Flack notes after a long silence as he seems to size the other man up. "I like my privacy, and the dorms don't give me that." Eyes narrowing slightly, "But I wouldn't worry about not having access to me," he adds then, letting sarcasm touch his otherwise empty voice. "I'll show up when you need me. Always. Been doing this for turns, and I've gotten no complaints. Unless Indira can give me that," he tacks on, a brow lifting up a fraction. "I just want my privacy."

Almost down to the bowl in which the beast caverns are situated, Max stops one last time, eyes narrowing onto the back of the man slightly ahead of him. "Train on my own," he finally gives in slightly tight tone. Not that he wouldn't welcome a sparring partner in the future, but right now, he simply doesn't know or trust Flack well enough. Not to mention of course that the man works for the very Tillekian from under whose nose he scooped more than a few people that were in trouble in turns gone by. "Mmhm," this to his having nothing to say with regards to the beast manager and Waine, except to note in no uncertain terms, "Waine don't fight no more." Offering a short bark of laughter, "What better way is there? The way that keeps you alive to fight another day." And then as if rethinking his earlier response, he puts a close study onto Flack once again, "You any good at training rookies?" The explanation given on the man wishing to maintain his privacy, oddly enough draws an understanding nod of head, "You can ask, Indira, but there ain't many private rooms dug yet. You'd have to give her seriously good reason or charm the pants right off her." Not even giving the turn phrase much thought. Turning toward Starflight, he sets a boot to stirrup and swings up astride the broad back, tipping his hat further down over his eyes as if he deemed the meeting now at a close. He doesn't however spur the stallion forward just yet but keeps him at a slow amble.

"Figured you did," Flack seems non-committal either way, though that bit about Waine does claim his brief interest there. He won't give voice to it, choosing instead to answer Max's next on there being a better way than fighting. "I agree with that," he allows, nodding once. "And yes, I've trained men before. It was what I was doing before I got transferred." Odd enough that he got transferred, but the tight look on Flack's face is suggesting to Max not to ask or to delve. His lips barely twitch then at the mention of needing to charm the pants off the headwoman, the muscles in his shoulders spasming a bit as he fit a long look onto the headwoman's son. Among fighters, a crass comment to that would have been warranted, but in front of the headwoman's son who didn't trust him? "If not, then I'll stick to what I already got," he simply says, nodding sharply to him once he mounts his runner. He steps away then, "Until we meet again," he states, the man clearly looking to be heading back into the familiar shadows of the deep and dark hallways. "See you around, boss." And then he starts to head off without any further farewells.

Transferred? Oh yes, that definitely gets Max’s attention as does the tight look Flack wears, so one can be sure he plans on ferreting out what that all means. But for now he lets it be, answering instead to the man having had experience with new fighters, “Good.” Not yet letting on what he might have in mind for the man. Having a fair amount on his mind these days, the comment he’d made about his mother doesn’t even register for the way in which it could be taken, so it’s likely just as well that the Tillekian keeps his own comments to himself or else there would very likely have been blood spilled. As such from atop Starflight’s back, shoulders shift in an easygoing shrug. However as Flack starts to step away, the beast manager sends after him, “Work starts at sunrise. Don’t be late.” With that heels dig into the sides of the big stallion, setting him off into an easy canter for the last short bit of the journey down to the tunnel entrance of the beast caverns.

"I never am," is Flack's return on being late, though the man never slows his gait, nor looks back as he ambles off.

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