Kultir, Q'fex, Quentin


Quentin searches out his father; Kultir shows up to add a dose of realism.


It is evening of the sixteenth day of the eleventh month of the first turn of the 12th pass. It is the forty-sixth day of Spring and 93 degrees. It is a clear night.


Nighthearth, Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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A comfortable nook, this natural extension of the living room is cozily attired with overstuffed chairs and a couple of well-worn loveseats. All have been covered in various shades of green, giving the very incongruous appeal of a miniature forest hidden away inside… a grove of man-made proportion. Fish stews and spicy white-wherry chili are often kept hot on the minor hearths east and west of the main, for those whose hours defy when meals are kept. Ornate, the largest hearth towers high, rich with carving and utilitarian in fashion: it holds court by providing the weyr with rich klah, the air thick with the scent of cinnamon wafting.

There's a knack to the proper course of using the nighthearth as a location to escape to, and in the preceding months, Q'fex has made a high art to it. The aunties go to bed at a certain point, and there's a lull for a couple of candlemarks until the post-drunk crowd staggers in. Thus, the nighthearth is all-but-abandoned, but for a couple of dozing wingriders in the big plush chairs — and Q'fex, frowning down at a hide in his lap as he sips on a cup of klah. He's been upgraded from a cast on his arm to a sling, but he still looks gaunt comparative to his normal broad-shouldered self.

It's been an interesting hunt, but listening in corners and some careful questioning has finally lead Quentin to the proper trail. It's the boy's slight form that appears in the entrance from the Living Caverns, though he hugs close to the wall, hesitating to let his eyes adjust and his stomach settle. Tugging nervously at his belt, the apprentice slides into the Nighthearth, boots whispering on the floor as he steps quietly to avoid disturbing the sleepers - or the bronzerider mulling over his hide. It's to Q'fex's side he eventually makes his way, however, coming to a halt at his elbow. For all his supposed bravery in bearding the dragon in his weyr, however, he seems unwilling to take the next step of announcing his presence, and instead stands there, hands awkwardly shoved in the pockets of his pants, head hanging so the thick curls cover his eyes.

It takes a moment for dark-eyes there to even comprehend that someone is standing at the periphery of his space. He's become too accustomed to healers, Q'fex, who invade the last boundary and make themselves comfortable. Or maybe just too used to Br'er. Same difference, right? However, he does blink upwards after a moment, belated surprise suffucing his expression as recognition dawns. There's a furrowed eyebrow, and a, "Quentin?" questioned. "What — are you doing here?" Q'fex leans back in his chair, settling his hide down to the side.

It's unlikely that Quentin hoped for the fatted calf - after all, what relationship he has with Q'fex can more easily be defined by his grandparents than the bronzerider himself. However, the lack of anger in the expected inquiry heartens the boy, and he lifts his head with a toss to clear the curls from his eyes, dark blue meeting black. "Well, I suppose, sir, that begs the question of whether you want the real reason, or the reason I gave my Masters to come here," he replies with candor. Having made so bold with that statement, however, seems to have sapped the apprentice's spine and he drops his eyes once more. "Technically, I'm 'on leave'," he adds softly.

Poor kid. At least his grandparents are good sorts — mayhap a little stern, but involved. Q'fex is about as involved as a redfruit, on a good day. "Well, I'd like to think you could tell me the truth," the man states with a hint of indulgent humor abot him. "Have a seat, have a seat." He gestures expansively at the chair next to him, with his un-slung hand. "On leave? Told them bastard masters to take their knots and shove it?" An eyebrow lifts. The bronzerider is seated in one of the huge plush chairs in front of the hearth, gesturing for Quentin to sit next to him; the nighthearth is otherwise mostly-deserted, excepting a few snorers around the edges.

"Not… exactly," Quentin temporizes as he picks his way to the indicated seat, sinking down into the soft cushions and leaning forward, elbows on his knees as he folds his hands in front of him. Keeping his gaze steady on his locked fingers, he expands on that rather cryptic comment. "I didn't feel like, uhm, burning any bridges, so I kind of told them I need to take some time away from the craft for, uh… personal reasons." It might be possible to see the boy's quick glance at the bronzerider's sling-bound arm through the haze of curls flopping over his forehead. "But they're fools," he bursts out. "I saw… you know. I saw, at the Gather. And I've heard stuff since then. They're foolish for not listenin' to what the new crafters have to say. They have all this… all this…" His hands untwist, flop helplessly as he seeks the right word. "Knowledge. It's not right," he adds mulishly. "Ignoring new ways of doin' things because of… well, I don't even know why." His skin flushes at the implied disrespect towards his superiors, but he makes no effort to retract the criticisms.

Kultir slips quietly into the Nighthearth as his usual way when he's finally finished for the day and chooses not to visit the tavern. A mug of streaming klah in one hand and a bowl of raw meat in the other as a tiny green clutches at the shoulder of his leather vest though she doesn't make a sound as she yearns down toward the bowl. He nods a greeting to the two who are actually still awake and settles onto one of the other plush armchairs near the hearth. Setting the bowl in his lap after propping one leg on his knee, he sips at the steaming mug and gently strokes the little green's back as she eats from the bowl. He glances discretely from the bronzerider to the younger man, a touch of curiosity in his gaze though he doesn't interrupt what seems to be an intense discussion. Yet, anyway.

Not exactly, the kid says. Q'fex squints up and then over at his get. "You used me as an excuse?" He's not upset — no, he's more amused than anything, but the twist of his lips. And then he's just leaning back to let the boy LET IT GO. "Yeah. I think you're right, kiddo." That's it? All that passion for a you're-right? At least it's a validation. "You were a herder, before?" There's no apology to the question, baldly asked as if the kid's a stranger and not his own blood. "Kultir," he greets the tracker, dark eyes lifting to follow him in his path, but it's not an obtrusive welcome. Back to Quentin, "How I understand it, they'll acknowledge whatever rank you head up there, down here. If you are wanting to continue your… crusade against ignorance." Again, that indulgent almost-smirk.

Like a ferret, Quentin's attention is snagged by something a bit shinier than a battered-at-the-edges father, and he raises his head to track Kultir's progress. "She's pretty," he offers quietly to the other young man, offering a shy smile in greeting before Q'fex's words drag his gaze - and his mind - back to the matter under discussion. "Well," he mutters defensively, "you were hurt. Who knew, maybe it was true? I'm a dutiful son, I'll have you know, willing to take a break from his training just to provide an extra hand for his dear old dad." Hey, look, the kid found his spine again, if the gently mocking tone is any indication. "Bah. I'm still a herder," he states, raising one hand to flick a finger over his apprentice's knot. "Even if I left Callia back at the Hall," he adds morosely. "She'd not have done so well in this weather, I think. But yes," he adds, lifting his chin and looking the bronzerider in the eyes, "I do plan to continue my, uh… crusade." As good a word for it as any, and certainly more brief than 'secret rebellion against the foolish masters who refuse to listen to the newcomers and learn knowledge'.

Kultir smiles at the acknowledgement he gets from the bronzerider, his amber eyes lighting on the young Herder with a slight nod. "Good evening. And thank you. She's quite lovely." The tracker seems to dote on the little green as if she were a child but doesn't feel embarrassed about it. He listens to the conversation as it goes on and tilts his head, his eyes following the younger's hand as it flicks over his knot. Gnawing his lower lip for a moment, he wonders if he should stick his oar in or not. "You had a bit of a … run-in with the Herders?" He's been there and done that since he was raised in a Herder's cothold and couldn't get out of there fast enough.

No question where Quentin gets THAT trick from. Q'fex's smirk is approving, not disapproving. "Hey, excuse away." He gestures negligently with his klah-mug. "Dutiful son." There's a bit of a snort after that, as if it is PARTICULARLY amusing, but he doesn't run with it past that. "Callia? Some girl you're sweet on?" YES, tell your father all about your love life. He opens his mouth to say something further, but pauses on Kultir's line of inquiry, rather comfortable with leaning back and watching this interplay.

"Callia. My canine? Oh, you wouldn't know," Quentin adds thoughtfully - and not at all put-out by his father's lack of knowledge. He's had fifteen turns of conditioning to prepare him, after all. "I've been training under a canine master. Grandfather was a bit annoyed, I think, but runners… I like them. I just don't want to spend all my time with them any more, y'know?" The boy's fingers flick, dismissing the lifeblood of Keroon with a simple gesture. At Kultir's question, the boy tilts his head to the side thoughtfully. "I am a herder," he replies with quiet pride, "but I couldn't stay at the Hall any longer. There's too much to learn, too much they're ignoring. It's stupid," he sneers - at those distant masters, mind, and not at Kultir himself. "But I'll learn it all and bring it back and teach the other apprentices." The smirk the boy gives for that plot mirrors the one so recently seen on his father's face. "Still," he adds, expression falling a bit, "I do miss Callia."

Kultir ahhs softly and nods at the younger man's explanation. "Yeah, the older Herders are pretty good at ignoring anyone's ideas that don't originate with them or the Traditional Records. My Da was a Herder." The tracker shrugs with a slightly wry smile as he falls silent once more as he takes a long swallow of his still steaming klah.

"Calli — your canine?" Q'fex seems almost disappointed in this, glancing over to Kultir as if to see if the tracker is similarly almost-disapp… Okay. Definitely disappointed, as Fex himself is. (Obviously not.) "Why didn't you just bring her with you?" His eyebrows lift. "We have plenty of canines here. If she needs…" another of those entirely too-eloquent gestures of his fingers, "…socialization, or whatever dumb shit canines need." Ahem. He doesn't talk about his son's GRAND PLAN to BRING KNOWLEDGE TO THE NORTH, instead chuckling slightly, inwardly, at the end: "We can go get her. Well. Once Br'er's done with his sweeps in the morning, Inlayraith being the only mobile dragon of the bunch." Oh yeah, Quentin, by the way, your father's shacked up with a male greenrider. Whups.

And while that little tidbit of information might someday percolate through Quentin's brain - today, it seems, is not that day. The boy just nods amiably. "Yes, my canine," he replies, amused. "'Fraid I haven't had much luck on the female front." Maybe not quite his father's son - yet, at least. Clearing his throat self-consciously, the boy drops his eyes again, shrugging thin shoulders. "She's a long-hair Northern breed - she wouldn't do so well in this climate, I think. She's probably better off where she's comfortable, and where it's familiar for her. But I'm hoping I might be able to find a puppy that would do well here," he adds, perking up slightly. At Kultir's comment, the apprentice's lips quirk in a wry half-smile. "Yeah, so I've noticed. And," he adds with meticulous honesty, "some things shouldn't change. But everything can't stay the same, y'know. Gotta grow. Gotta learn."

Kultir's eyes slide from father to son and back again as he chuckles softly as the elder seems disappointed that it was a female canine rather than human the younger was concerned about. "Sounds like she'd be plenty happy down at the new Hold if she's one of the long-haired breeds. They're going to need some canines for guarding down there until they figure out all the animals that are running around down there." He nods slightly to the Apprentice, accepting the young man's assessment. "True, but it isn't going to change just because one Apprentice wants it to."

"You'll get there." Q'fex's voice is placid. They must still have him on the good drugs. "Unless you fancy yourself something more like him, hmm?" He tosses his chin towards Kultir's direction, mischief bright in dark eyes — for those familiar enough to spot it. "Nothing wrong in that, if you are." He'll even reach over to clap Quentin on the knee, should the boy not engage in evasive manuevers. Eyebrows lift a bit at the back-and-forth between tracker and apprentice, but he doesn't engage in Who Can Save The World discussion. Oh no. Not his shtick.

"No, but one apprentice can lead the charge," Quentin replies stubbornly - still young enough to believe that Good Will Always Triumph. He'll learn. The boy makes no move to avoid his father's touch, though a surprised expression shoots like quicksilver over his face - that brief flash of shock at the contact, quickly muffled. Q'fex's remark regarding his possible preferences causes a bit of a squirm and an uncomfortable shifting of shoulders, but no other response other than for the lad's eyes to fall to the ground, chin tucking down until his curls mask his face. "We'll see," is all he comments, before lifting his head enough to shoot a smile at Q'fex, turning his head briefly to include Kultir as well. Then, reluctantly, "Anyway, I… just wanted to let you know I'm here. And, I guess, see if my excuse wasn't as faked as I thought it was. I mean, if you need anything…" He trails off awkwardly, shifting on the chair. "I'll be around. Learning, y'know." Among other things.

Kultir snickers softly at Q'fex's not-so-subtle jest at his son and has been in the Weyr long enough not to take offense at it. That mischief finds a match in the tracker's eyes as he makes a point of examining the youngster appraisingly. "He's good enough looking, Q'fex … but I'm afraid I'm taken and he's not quite my type." The apprentices stubbornness is smiled at since the tracker is as stubborn in his own way though he's learned when not to butt heads … most of the time. "You want a little excitement sometime, look me up. I generally go out on long hunts once a sevenday or so."

Q'fex seems to not notice any discomfort or surprise by Quentin about that casual touch. He does laugh his ASS off, entirely inappropriately, at the boy's squirming in regards to his preferences; it's loud enough to wake one of the dozing riders, who blearily glares at Q'fex before exiting with stumbling feet. Q'fex sobers up enough to not disturb the environment, but his spirits seem still high enough as he moves to stand. "Learning is overrated. Go chase some skirts… or coattails, whatever takes your fancy. Live. You're young. Enjoy it." He bends to grab his forgotten hide, and nods once at Kultir, then at Quentin: "Good hunting to you," to the former, and "I'm more often than not in the dragon infirmary, if you find yourself needing me," to the latter. He brandishes his hide in something of a farewell before he turns and picks his way through.

Pushing himself to his feet, Quentin nods after his father, lips twitching in a rather pleased half-smile. Fifteen turns can't change some things. Kultir's offer takes the boy by surprise and he turns to consider the tracker thoughtfully. "I just might. It sounds like it could be interesting," he adds, with a rather shy smile. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he rocks on his heels, then glances towards the exit from the Nighthearth. "I think I'm going to turn in," he murmurs. "It's late, and today has been… eventful." Overstatement, surely. He only moved to a new home, hooked up with his absentee father, and took his first steps on his crusade against Foolish Old Men. Child's play, really. "It was nice meeting you, Kultir. You ever need anything Herder-like, look me up."

Kultir lifts his mug in a farewell salute to the bronzerider as the man makes his way out as his gaze finds the younger man. Nodding slightly, he chuckles and waves at the young man. "I think it would be interesting if you are any good at using a bow or javelin. I can always use another set of hands and eyes that know herd animals. Go, rest well. I'm going to turn in myself soon enough." The tracker nods at the offer and lifts his mug once more. "Nice meeting you too, youngling. I'll do that should I have need. Good night."

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