Leonis' broad shoulders tensed as he now sat beside the young man uneasily. His claws tapped disjointedly upon his mug, the resounding clinks drowned in the murky depths of his untouched brew. Raising a mighty paw, he rested it firmly upon the lithe youth's shoulder absentmindedly. Awash in emotions, Leonis thoughts fluttered beneath his tricorn, his gaze sullen as it fell over Hao. When... when had the power balance shifted? When had Leonis allowed this pitiful lad to elicit such sympathy with his tale of woe? The mighty lion grasped tighter to his walking stick, memories of his tribe's admonishing attacks trickling in from deep within his mind.
"An escape." The words left Leonis' lips before he knew he was even speaking, falling heavy into the drink before him. They words sank slowly to the bottom, resting haphazardly on the bottom of the pristine glass mug. Clearing his throat, Leonis turned his gaze back to Hao, as he would come to call the youth. A mixture of pity, sincerity, and authoritative warmth filled his voice as he addressed the familiarity with which the lad had spoken.
"Lad, I'll only say this once so pray your sober enough to remember it: Your past is behind you for a reason. You're a smart lad for looking to make your own fortune. That being said, do it because you want better for yourself than the lot life gave you, not because you're running from that lot."
Hao raised his head from the bar gazing foggily at Leonis, prompting the lion speak again. "And another thing: This sort of friendly tone may be acceptable in the comfort of a tavern, but on the ship you'll address me formally or not at all." The lion smiled at this, hoping the implication rang through Hao's drunken state. "Can't have the others thinking their Captain plays favourites."
With a low chuckle, he downed the contents of his mug, haphazard words and all.