Day 014: Horse: 3, People: 0
Summary: 3 Childhood Friends Reunite. Worst Reunion Ever.
Date: 23 May 2016
Related: Accidents Happen directly follows this log.
Veks Arlin Rinnan 

Village of Coesbur

The village of Coesbur is a middling-sized settlement of the Trikru clan. It has two major entry points, both of which funnel into the village center. The first entry point is from the west, and is across the Coesbur Bridge which stretches over one of the branches of the divided Potomac. The other entry point is from the east, and provides a direct route to the road to Polis. The village center is really nothing more than a large dirt courtyard surrounded by a variety of structures. While most of these are Grounder-built, there is one that survived the apocalypse. It is a tall, octagon-shaped stone building made of brown and red brick. Its roof is domed, and made of tarnished, greened copper with inlays of colored glass. Broad, white steps lead up to the two-door-wide entrance to the building.

Its mid-afternoon, and the springtime skies are full of cumulus clouds that let unpredictable patches of sunlight through. At the horizon, darker clouds threaten an evening rainstorm.

Day 14

In Coesbur, it seems an ordinary day — or would be, if the past two weeks had been anything /close/ to ordinary. Strangers falling from the sky in a fiery comet, a sudden sickness only these newcomers from the sky could cure, all this and more mixes with curiosity and suspicion in a tense, volatile combination.

And then there's Veks. He's in the middle of the village's kennels — a fenced-off area with a home at one side and cobbled-together doghouses at the other — throwing chunks of meat out to the milling, barking, leaping throng of dogs crowding around him.

Hark! A horse!

…without a rider.

It's a nice horse? A dapple black and grey. Drafty. And not to be mistaken for something wild or unGrounder as it enters from the side of things that make a beeline for Polis. It might be the shriveled daisy chain of ears that sort of jauntily decorate one side of the well made, but otherwise free of much in the way of fancy design saddle. You don't really need glitter when you have human ears to show the fuck off, one might reason.

The horse trots in, all casual as one half of its reins drag along the ground with the other hung up on the swell. The load lashed to it suggests a sleeping roll and an economically planned leather knapsack. It pulls up to a casual stop, partaking in a patch of grass just ever so conspicuously in the middle of all things. Awesome.

Its errant rider shows up a few extend beats later. Rinnan follows, with an air of annoyed resignation, mouth gathered in a side pucker. She pushes the fishtail of one her braids over her shoulder in a disconcerted sweep, as her hand tightens over the strap of the knapsack over one shoulder as she eyes the village environs with the air someone who a) is now experiencing complicated emotions about having been voluntold to show up here and b) is also considering a complicated scheme to terrorize the surviving relatives of her transportation with wee packages of horse jerky remitted therein. The canine ruckus coming from the kennel competes with and overtakes her blood-soaked daydreaming, her head turning to consider it and then fidget coltishly where she stands. The horse, known as Horse, continues to consume its grass patch. Fuck you, Horse.

"Fuckin' piglet!" Veks shouts at a trio of dogs scrapping over a few red gobbets still attached to a rib-looking bone, and wades over to pull the group apart with the help of boots and handfuls of thick shoulder-fur. "No. Over here. NO. HERE-" He throws a smaller scrap, holding the one dog back with effort, until the meat's snapped up by a smaller dog, then turns to continue dealing out supper. His attention's caught by the riderless horse that wasn't there minutes ago — or more accurately, by its radiating you're-not-the-boss-of-me smugness. He lifts his forearm, twisting it to find a spot free of half-dried blood to push his hair back out of his face. He whistles at Horse. Horse's ears swivel, but the victory grazing continues without pause. Who's in charge? That's right. Horse is.

The voice shouting about piglets and the body that goes with it are conflicted pile of half-familiar/half-unfamiliar fishes by the light,
slightly shifty look Rinnan temporarily slides towards the kennel. A spark of what passes for something like recognition clouding and then releasing in her expression as her tongue contemplates the surface of her upper teeth. She sucks on a canine with an annoyed air for Horse, before her mouth releases it with a light 'swok'.

"Can you not be a shitmonster?" The request, meant for Horse, can't avoid the seep of animosity into this moment as she gently sidles up to the lead in the mud and picks it up with a careful, no-sudden-moves effort that seems to anticipate auto-spook. Or auto-kick. Auto-both? Horse, in all his shitlordliness, lets out a snort into the grass and jostles mockingly. Who run Bartertown?

A sniggering ripple of laughter thrums through Veks's chest as he watches the horse vs. human rapprochement. Either he's confident that Horse is not at all interested in putting hooves to Rin /OR/ he's the kind of person who laughs at the potential of rib-crushing injuries. He glances away for a few seconds, throwing the last few scraps of meat wide to scatter the dogs, then starts for the fence separating the kennels from the village centre. He twists blood-sticky fingers through a coarse cloth as he calls out, "You passing through?" Trader? Unlikely; not enough stuff. Messenger? Also unlikely; they tend to be on better terms with their mounts. Curiouser and curiouser.

Tug. Tug. Tug.Tug. Rinnan tugs, Horse ignores. It is the Tao of These Two.

Until. Gallery comments.

Hot. Tired. A fine patina of trail dirt that stings the eyes and gets… places. Thirsty. Trolled by a horse. Now: Local color.

The lead rope is dropped in favor of Rinnan's head snapping in the direction of the hazy figure in the kennel. Her feet carry her with a certain kind of sharp resolve in the direction of the kennel. Upon the kind of inspection that comes with her drawing closer, there's a athletic leanness to her frame above average in height frame as she stalks towards the kennel. Her armor is tanned mishmash of leathers, field repaired in places and permanently stained by anonymous blood others. Not a heaving bosom or barred stomach in sight, no battle bunnies here. This is serious armor for a serious person who seriously… is carrying a lot of knives.

But nevermind that? "What's your problem?," the acid content of her discontented question high. The first step in influencing people and making friends: threat based questions.

Big grin. Maybe a little patronizing. Hands lifted, empty and open, dried blood between the fingers and in half-moons beneath his fingernails. He's harmless, see? One hand's shinier than the other; one of the dogs had loped over to helpfully lick his fingers doubleplus clean. "Easy, there," he says, placating in that way that mostly works on horses and mostly does NOT work on humans, still grinning. "Need a hand with your-" The tiniest of pauses for emphasis. "-shitmonster?" There's a five-foot fence between himself and the newcomer, tall enough to keep the dogs from leaping out and humans from leaping in. He might be relying on this fact.

The woman pulls up short, her feet sort of losing their purpose. The frown that's now a craggy etching from mouth to forehead gets caught on something, struggling to stay serious in its discontent. It's overtaken by a defined moment of uncertain confusion, her fingers ticking out a sideswiped flexing motion. "…no," she manages finally, the force in the reply let out like a low rush of escaping air as her blue eyes narrow and settle not on the bloody fingers but the face instead.

Her mouth seems paused to say more, the start of a question but patronizing pokes remember themselves and that craggy etch returns as she picks back up the anger that slipped to the floor. "Warriors," she plucks at the noun and slaps it down between them. "Any around?" Her resolute feet seem to have somehow carried her back a half step.

It's a not-quite staring contest, which has Veks canting his head just a little. There's no need for her to throw down and establish pecking order — she's a warrior just as obviously as he isn't — so what's with the silent challenge? His brows unconsciously follow hers through the slow shifts from one level of curiosity to the next, until she steps back. "Always a few with the staheda," he answers. "He'll be at the Seat. Here." He heads for the gate, shoving back dogs — don't go, we haven't finished cleaning your hands yet! — with one hand as he backs through and relatches the wood-and-rawhide frame. "I'll show you." He heads for Horse, who snorts and turns a little to address a fresh patch of grass. "More trouble with the skaikru?

"Dunno, just got here?" That… probably wasn't meant to be as much of a question as it sounds, Rinnan staring now more flatly at him as Veks emerges from the other side of the fence. Perhaps bravely. Her eyes tick over the bridge of his nose, the rounds of his cheeks, the peak of his scalp, and the dopple of his chin before she looks away. The leering more scientific than what most would consider… a serious prelude to a holla-at.

The Seat. Right. Her attention finally swings the direction he moves, starting off a few feet and a few beats behind him. She lurches into a weighted silence as she trails behind, hand gripping down on the strap at her shoulder as her eyes shift a less contemplatively, a little more expectantly around the layout of the village.

Horse is Very Not Impressed that the approaching human smells of freshly-killed meat, and flicks his tail to demonstrate this. When Veks apparently gives zero shits about what Horse thinks and leans to scoop up the discarded reins, Horse underlines his displeasure with an unhappy ear-swivel.

All of this culminates in… exactly no further drama from Horse, as Veks performs some arcane ritual of rein-tug and tongue-clicking that convinces the animal to plod along behind him. "They come into the village sometimes," he explains to Rin as they walk. He makes it sound like they're raccoons getting into the compost, or some other similar nuisance. "Be careful near them. We had almost thirty sick because of them."

Was that… a wheezegrunt? The noise of what is probably acknowledgment that comes forth from Rinnan such as it may be, sounds largely like a vole got stuck in her throat and died immediately. There's not a lot of time to dwell on the taxa of meat shield from Polis noises, she's moved on to looking mildly shown up by Horse ever so casually just complying with Veks' wishes. Fucker. She follows Veks' and the much resented Horse, pacing the other human in this trio. And staring. At him. The village. The supposed location of the Seat. Hey, is that a tin roof? The ground. But Him. Mostly a lot of him.

Know who's not staring at the ground? Arlin. Oh, his gaze is lowered, true enough, but in the way one does when brooding so hard that their shoulders are tugged downward from the proverbial weight that's being carried, and their head also dips just so. Why, he'd be gut punching everyone crossing his path if only his eyes were fists.

His eyes are not fists, though, which is probably for the best. His eyes, however, as already stated, are not really on the ground, which is probably for the worst because he ends up stepping in some very fresh equine excrement. In fact, the shit, literally, is still warm.

Growling verbal diarrhea of profanity follows, capped off with a very cranky sounding, "Why, yes. This day clearly can be even more craptastic."

The Seat is the tall, octagonal pre-War building Veks is heading for, presumably — it's definitely the most impressive of Coesbur's mostly
slapdash, cobbled-together structures. There are even stained-glass panels remaining in some of the tall windows, impressively bright and shiny in the occasional patches of sunlight the day throws.

"They sleep in the upstairs room." The village houndsman continues to relay advice on the best way to survive — which is to say, avoid — the visitors. Every now and again, he gives an idle flick to the reins — and Horse, damn his flea-bitten hide, continues along without a single fuss. "The steheda should be on the main floor, or through the doors where the sick are recovering." He easily swaps the reins from one hand to the other and turns to walk backwards, glancing toward Arlin and his sour announcement. Pale eyes flicker down to the squashed horse-pat, and he gives a single, snorting laugh. "Steheda's this way, if you're looking for him too," he says, loud enough to carry, as he turns back around. People coming, people going. Seems like there's been more visitors than villagers in town, this past week.

"If he can't find Steheda, then we're fucked." Rinnan's chin lifts backwards towards the waylaid Arlin, her previously poleaxed expression settling a smirk. It deepens into a shit eating sprawl as the corners of her mouth coil and lean into that smirk. The Seat gets another glance, the taking in and integration of just who is who and what is where with who. Her body turns, standing in profile between Veks and Arlin as a unconscious link between the two. Her head bows slightly, squinting a little in the sign as her smirk releases and becomes a more good-natured grin that might be seeking just a little bit of refuge in Arlin's direction.

The medic is sans rucksack but his ever present first aid satchel is — surprise! — present. Alas, there is nothing in there to treat wounded pride or a shit-stained boot, and so it is that Arlin is vigorously scraping the sole against the ground, although that'll help little with what is stuck in the treads. "You." It's low and heated and entirely accusatory as angry eyes tick up and find the offending (and offensive) ass of one Horse. Scowling, he is very much stabbing the horse over and over, in his mind. Veks' comment earns a bitchy little look, but Rinnan's prompts another, "You." One with an entirely different tone — one that reflects his bewilderment, relief, trepidation, and blink-and-you'll-miss-it fondness. Snorting, he tells her, "We're already fucked, but it's not my fault for once." Advancing, after a quick scan to make sure he has a clear path, he tacks on with a crooked smile, "Best get hella drunk tonight for the end is nigh." How can the end not be night when he's not to blame? It's one of the signs. Comes just before a swarm of locusts.

"Nobody misses Oxfor kom Trikru." Veks's statement is as sure as if he's referring to the rise and set of the sun, and holds no small amount of pride in Coesbur's leader. A moment later, as Arlin issues his accusation, his steps stop short as he looks back in a combination of puzzlement and alarm. "Eh?" he says, apparently thinking the vengeful syllable was aimed at him.

Meanwhile, Horse stops a half-step from headbutting Veks, and gives a head-shaking snort. Damn humans. First they want you to walk. Then they want you to hold still. There's grass he could be eating while they make up their minds.

"Ssh," Veks mumbles to Horse, rubbing at its neck as his attention flits from Arlin to Rinnan and back again. Crisis averted? Maybe? No angry Warriors on his watch? Maybe-maybe? He looks between the two of them again, before giving Horse's neck a slap, clicking his tongue a couple times, then turning to continue the sight-seeing tour toward the Seat.

Oxfor kom Trikru. What's in a name? The contents enough to dim Rinnan's smirk and tug juuuuust ever so uncomfortably at the corners of her mouth and strain across the bridge of her nose. She feints a distant, ephemeral nod at Veks' statment, the sort of gesture that might imply some knowledge or just easy lob at something like social graces where unfamiliar village leaders might be considered.

Veks staring at Rinnan. Then Arlin. Rinnan staring at Veks. Arlin. Veks. Arlin. The bobble in awkward assessments at least tactile in the air to her as her exposed shoulders hitch slightly. What?

Horse breaks the momentary distillation, earning a brief sneer in his asshole direction before Rinnan sidles closer towards Arlin, their closed distance suggestive of a particular familiarity. Or at least a suspended desire to end each other. "You should send all your sisters away from the village," she instructs Veks with that continuing smirk as her eyes slide in a flickering gesture towards Arlin, as she starts walking again. "This one leaves a trail of flipper armed offspring in his wake." Shots fired.

Rinnan comes his way and Arlin lifts his right arm to fondly (honest!) wring around her neck. The knuckles of his left hand drag across her scalp in a noogie of greeting, keeping in-step despite his longer legs. It's a well-practiced dance, as it were, down to the quipped reply of, "I'd say you were jealous and trying to run off the competition, but you left brothers fair game." Yeah, he went there, Veks. Smirking, the medic adds, "And don't knock flipper hands. They're really good for some things."

"Yeh?" Cue a sidelong glance back, down and up Arlin, considering. A wide grin, unworried and full of smug teeth, is spreading across his face as Veks's attention flicks forward again. "Ain't a man born my sibs couldn't cut down to size." This is noted with at least as much pride as he directed toward Oxfor. "Panna might just whittle off the useful bits, kick the rest outta bed." His shoulders twitch with an unheard chuckle as he steers himself around a large, muddy puddle from the last rainstorm. Horse, of course, plods through with a splash and a prim flick of his tail.

The jostling push-pull game is a familiar interplay. The knuckles visiting her skull. Her immediate, toothless shove in return that wouldn't be effective in pushing a elderly woman away. A competitive chuckle lilting in their roughtumble game that strangles off and dies at his implication. Rinnan's gaze cuts immediately to Veks, gauging his notice or reaction as a tiny bit sour, lots of awkward thrum ripples through her mien. One of her hands flashes out, her balled fist taking a pulled shot of a love tap to Arlin's nearest kidney, slipping away from Arlin… at least for the moment.
And around the edge of the puddle. Hey! Look! The ground!

Rinnan's gaze takes a keen interest in it, just a few paces from her feet. Her downward cast expression adopted an instant mask of ever so sliiiightly strained neutrality around the edges as Veks speaks. Bus face. The blank, pod person stare that people people adopted on public transportation before all of it blew up almost a 100 years ago.

"Hey, if they want me to go d-OW." There it is. The 'love tap' he'd been expected yet somehow never seems (to bother trying?) to dodge. As Rinnan slips away, Arlin lightly rubs where her fist kissed him hello. He's about to cheekily comment that all of him is useful in bed, so Panna might be disappointed if she gets off on dismemberment, but something about the name and Veks' coloring clicks.

"Veks." It kind of just tumbles out with a vague kind of recognition and a swirl of other sentiments that bleed into each other so much that it effectively is white noise. For a moment, hazel eyes are scrutinizing the younger man, insofar as one can scrutinize someone from behind, particularly when it has nothing to do with ogling. (Give it time.) No, Arlin's gaze cuts over to Rinnan, brows performing some semblance of synchronized gymnastics with his mouth as he jerks his head in indication of the Houndsman of Coesbur. Dude. Isn't that your bro? Step-bro? Once upon a time Step-bro?

He was even paler as a kid; in summer, the sun would turn his hair all but white, and keep his skin an angry pink whenever he'd leave the forest's shadows. Even the eyes were pale as ice; it's little wonder the accusations of him being Azdega were thrown.

His hair is slightly darker now, gone ashier at the roots, and the crazy-pale irises have a darker ring around their rim as they snap back, sharp with sudden wariness, focused on Arlin. The muscles in his forearm twitch as his fingers shift on the reins, snaking lines of ink stark against a light tan. "Yeh?" he says. There's the start of some bluster in that single syllable. Are you making something of it? Do you WANT to make something of it?

Horse, stopped for a second time, lashes his tail from one hindquarter to the other. Seriously, human? Is it THAT hard to keep only two legs in steady motion?

Arlin's eyebrows do the hoochie-coo, Veks zeros in on Arlin's contorting face, Horse gets annoyed, and to round out this foursome, Rinnan is shaking her head rapidly at Arlin as her eyes fire warning daggers at him. NonononononoShuuuuuuuduppppppp. Her hands even join in for a little of the 'cut off' motion before she looks at Veks, belaying the attempt at acting casual.

Some people freeze in these situations. Some people fold. Some people immediately start bargaining, mediating, or pleading. And then, well, some people just reach into their bag of panic and pull out aggression as their wheelhouse reaction move. "He isn't his father," she informs Veks with a coiled, pre-strike tone of warning. Wanna fight about it? Good!

Flanked on one end with a vehement 'nonononoSTFUdonotoutme' and an antagonistic 'do I know you, bro?' on the other, Arlin finds himself momentarily disconcerted. There a flattening of his lips and a crinkling of his brows accompanied by the slight turn and backward tilt of his head as he regards Veks. With a slight shake of his head, the expression loosens, eyes widen, brows smooth out and loft, yet there is a feral restlessness in that gaze of hazel. No, he's not looking to start something, but he'll absolutely throw down if that's the one thing is going to go.

When Rinnan speaks up, the medic's shoulders hitch a pinch, and a newfound wariness floods his mien and the rest of his form, which goes from tentatively placating to mustered bravado. It's the look of a man expecting trouble and not inclined to sweet talk his way out of it. Probably because someone invoked his daddy. "Arlin," he says, as way of explanation, an edge creeping into that rumbly baritone; not provocative as much as warning. If you don't want none, then don't start some. "It's been a while." Give or take twelve years.

Who's not WHOSE father? Veks's half-wary, half-defensive stare meets Rinnan's level warning, then slices across to Arlin's resigned readiness. Back and forth and back again — and then Arlin slides one of the trio's missing puzzle pieces into place.

"Arlin." Veks repeats the name, almost mechanically. It takes a couple blinks for full realization to flood his face. Oh. Oh, WAIT. He drags his teeth over his bottom lip, licks the corners of his mouth, and looks around as if making sure nobody's witnessing their little chat. "Grew a bit, yeh?"

Oh nooooooo. If the look on Rinnan's face could speak, everyone from this backwater to Polis would clearly and unambiguously understand the small, pricking horror rising in the pit of her stomach. The uncomfortable to wear, entirely foreign expression it produces probably doesn't account for a lot of immediate notice between the two men and the thickening tension between them. There's a flummoxed exchange of looks each man's way before there's a coltish jolt forward and Rinnan's suddenly pushing to get in between them, look entirely unsettled about which horse to back in this pull.

Grew a bit, Veks says. "Have I?" Arlin sarcastically replies, looking to Rinnan for confirmation, "Funny how enough years will do that." Except he doesn't sound amused. Might have something to do with why he left the village some 12 years ago. Might also have something to do with how much of a dead (no pun intended) ringer he is for his father and how that doesn't rest well with a lot of the villagers. It's an impression that the Houndsman's shifty expression exasperates.

The tip of Arlin's tongue slips betwixt his own lips, wetting them as his eyes narrow. "You finally make some friends?" Because the medic has unfond memories of being dog piled in scraps, and maybe he figures Veks finally wants to get in some shots he missed doling out during childhood. The too-feral-to-qualify-as-impertinent grin that flashes isn't helping to defuse the situation. Neither are his words."I'm down to party." As is his balled fist.

He doesn't advance, though, which may or may not have something to do with Rinnan standing in the crossfire.

Veks's face is still an open book, and Arlin's rejoinder quite clearly sinks home. The pale eyes blaze with stung emotion. A muscle in his jaw twitches as his teeth press together. Even Horse picks up on the sudden gathering ozone of the situation, and starts to fret and toss his head.

After a sharp pull of air through his nose, his lips part and he exhales on a grin. It's not the wolfish, easy grin of earlier in the walk; it's tight and mirthless and very rigidly controlled, a mask pulled up with an all-but-audible snap. "The Seat's right there," he says, eyes on Rinnan for only a moment before he throws an arm crawling in black ink out to indicate the octagonal pre-War building. "I'll get your horse stabled." A tense tongue-click or three and a curt jangle of the reins coaxes Horse into movement again, as the Houndsman starts to lead the animal around the pair and back the way they came.

Threat recognizes threat. The siren on the rocks tugs and pulls with its tenterhooks that invites all three to give over to the single purpose seems to have a sort of especially potent pull on Rinnan. It conflicts itself in her flagging expression between concern for which side to talk and a want for a side to take. Her head is swiveling to look at both men in their states of aggressive, a nervous twitch for their failing to get it over with starting in the slight jiggering, fluttering punch downward in one hand. C'mon on. C'mon onnnnn. Someone throw a punch.

But then, Veks is leaving and taking Horse with him. Bye Felicia, you fucking horrible horse. And Rinnan looks in one solitary beat relieved that there's no fight. Another beat. Frustration that there's no confrontation to be had in the next. She watches Veks take a few steps away, leading Horse on as she glances back at Arlin with an expression that seems entirely without a map for a moment. It's a moment only and then it clouds over and picks up the thread to form an angry expression when the two met dropped theirs. "I can do it myself," she accuses Veks, following Horse and Veks. Unable to be an understood emotion; it latches on to the old safety of fury. "Give me that," she lopes after him with a ragged, frustrated tone. I hate Horse but I hate that you're touching him more!

In truth, Arlin's already met his daily (so tiny it might as well be nonexistent) quota of equine encounters. First, when he rode back from the Delinquent camp; then, when he stepped into a steaming turd. It would appear that he's not yet reached capacity for Rinnan getting on her horse (and Horse) hate hard-on, though, because he's trailing behind. After all, one must enjoy the small pleasures in life when such opportunities present themselves.

If that is so, then perhaps he's not such an insufferable ass, seeing how he keeps his trap shut in light of Veks' reaction to the wisecracking warning shot. Sure, the medic is the sort to avoid talking about the feels as much as possible, often to unintentionally comedic effect, but someone as ardent as Arlin most definitely feels deeply. There is a tightening around his eyes, a sympathetic wince, but he twists it away with an uncomfortable frown. This kind of thing is unpleasant enough when he's not on the defensive and busy shielding his own raw nerves.

Not listening. Definitely not listening. In fact, Veks is /so/ not listening his steps speed up just a little. The petulance carries him a half-dozen steps before he abruptly stops, turning fast enough that Horse snorts and tosses his head, jangling the reins in Veks's grip. Humans, man. Who made /them/ the master race? Horse would like to file a complaint.

Veks lets go of the reins and backs off a step, hands up and open, palms toward Rinnan and Arlin. No reins, see? All gone. His sharp stare flicks between the two of them before ending on Arlin. "She's looking for the steheda," he says. "You oughtta remember the way." His hands slap down to his sides as he turns to stalk off toward the Kennels.

Rinnan's hand jerks up the released reins, her center of gravity decentralized for the cranky, but highly non-violent way Veks conceeds them. The extra momentum causes her to stumble over her feet and jerk downwards on the reins, her hand catching her own ear-festooned saddle to keep her upright. Horse jostles just slightly as his ears pin down with an annoyance whose needle is now creeping into 'severe'. A prelude to a kick.

"I'm right /here/," she states with a sharp, bordering on forceful annoyance that's probably more than just being absolutely certain as to where at this exact moment her feet on Earth are planted. That statement aimed at Veks even as she's shifting her attention to Arlin. And to Veks' back as he stalks away. And back to Arlin, her eyebrows rising in a question mark at him.

Arlin's answer to that question is all staring eyes and emphatic brows and lips pursed ever so slightly in a culmination of Why are you asking ME? WHAT are you asking me? Hazel regard flits to the retreating Veks, and the medic shakes his head, as if that will somehow dissipate the inanity. It doesn't seem to be working if one were to judge by the man's slightly sour expression. With a slight twist of his head, eyes widen again at Rinnan. Now what?

Other than Horse also getting pissy. Which isn't an immediate concern for Arlin, if only because his gr8 h8 infuses him with the knowledge to never be behind a horse's behind.

This is all the Skaikru's fault. Them and their sky-plague. Somehow. Veks's head twists just slightly to one side as Rinnan's frustration-laden observation follows after him, a stripe of tendon standing out as if he's fighting to keep himself from looking back. His attention fixes forward again after a couple steps, followed by a gusty sigh. As he nears the Kennels, several of the dogs within come forward to the fence, either pushing their noses through the gaps or planting their front paws up on the slats. One of them starts to bark. Others then start to bark as well, pulling more and more of the pack into the din. It's the noisiest game of Telephone ever.

Rinnan's hands throw up in the air in total exasperation as Arlin nets a squinty-eyed, scrunchy face, silent mouthing of 'Fuck If I Know'. Her head snaps up, watching Veks' walk away. It's the almost-but-not-quite refusal to look back. A vein in Rinnan's temple pulses as her jaw sets and her expression sets into a hard wall in reaction. Her head snaps back to Arlin, the wall straining around the mouth and the eyes.

Is she…? Wait, does she even know what that-? Her feet snap into action, even if the rest of her looks momentarily trapped in meltdown amber. She stalks away in the other direction, towards some part of the village that her 15 years gone recall seems to believe exists. Horse is left to his grass patch, these screamy troglodytes thwarted another day. Victory.

Yeaaaaah, no. Arlin really has no pony in this race. (He has no pony in any sense, but that's beside the point.) He's not the one who kinda-maybe-wanna have some more-than-likely estranged family (can it be called such?) reunion with Veks. So when the Houndsman goes on his not-so-merry way, the medic isn't at all inclined to stop him or retrieve him.

So, really, no help at all when Rinnan is looking at him and holysweetshrivelingscrotumissheonthevergeoftearsnononononononofuckmylife. The groan is probably louder than Arlin intended, but at least his rolling eyes remain in their sockets. Because, really, fuck his life. Letting out a heavy sigh, followed with a frown both disconcerted and concerned, he trails behind the woman, with all the light-footedness of a determined ox. He'll probably rue this, either because FEELS, which make him uncomfortable, or because his being a caring friend will be rewarded with kiss. A passionate one. From the warrior's fist.

Also: Fuck you, Horse. Go stable yourself.

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