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Author Topic: No maker made me. [solo]  (Read 497 times)

No maker made me. [solo]
« on: November 10, 2018, 03:00:29 AM »
[ march 845
orvud district, wall sina
]

[ perhaps excessive swearing in parts ]

"Wall Maria-- Maria's g-gone!"

The cry broke through the barracks. Quirin shot up, his eyes flashing with eager curiosity as he looked upon his fellow soldier, panting in the doorway. Others bolted upright from their bunks, bleary-eyed or suffering from blistering hangovers. Dawn's light crawled through the curtains, a fading orange. His bunkmate, Alwin Weber, banged his head against the ceiling in his rush to rise.

They had decided on who took the top bunk based on one of Alwin's favoured card games. Quirin had lost, by choice. The lower bunk gave him a keener sense of who was awake, and was far easier to sneak into late without disturbing others.

"What do you mean, gone?" he directed to the exhausted man. He held up a hand, catching his breath, but Quirin pressed, "Has Maria fallen? To what - the Titans can't pull down an entire Wall!"

Nervous chuckles broke out amongst their ranks.

"It-- I--" gasped the soldier. "They say the largest Titan ever, well over fifty metre, maybe even a hundred metre--" Quirin scoffed. "That's what they're saying! It just walked through the Wall, and, and all the Titans, the normal ones, they came after it."

With a doubtful raise of his eyebrow, Quirin looked around the room. Several soldiers seemed hooked on the story. "The rumour mill strikes again." With a shrug, he continued: "It doesn't add up. A hundred metre tall Titan? Has anybody ever seen a Titan even come close to the height of the Wall before? They'd see it on the horizon, surely. There would be warnings. Something double the height of the Walls would be impossible to spot." Murmurs of agreement rose from his comrades.

"I can only say what I've been told!"

"You're certain, Schmitz, that this isn't just some tale told to make fools of the Military Police? A Garrison soldier's drunken hallucination?"

The soldier spluttered. "I-- I know how unbelievable this is, Drexler. But it is true. I've heard direct from Captain Ziegler."

At once, their attention was torn from doubt. Quirin leaned forwards, hands clasped at the edge of his mattress. "Captain Ziegler told you Wall Maria has gone?"

"Yes!" An exasperated Schmitz nodded aggressively. "She said the facts haven't been compiled yet. That they're still filing through reports and working out the truth. It happened in Shiganshina District. A Titan just... walked through a Wall."

Alwin hopped from his bunk. "Walking wouldn't do it, a Titan can't be that strong. Even at a hundred metres, they'd sooner walk over it than through. Maybe... It kicked it?" His eyes found Quirin's. "We know they can pack a powerful kick. If the Titan was truly so large, it would be proportionally strong. Right?"

Waving off his ideas, Quirin pressed on. "Schmitz - what else have you heard?"

"Wall Maria's refugees are flooding Wall Rose."

"Why, if only Shiganshina's part of the Wall was hit?"

Schmitz stared blankly. "I... don't know. You'd have to see Captain Ziegler."

"Fine." Quirin rose, grabbing Alwin by the arm as he did so for balance. His lips pressed against the blond's ear. "Keep an eye on Schmitz. Nobody panics until I get back." His squadmate nodded. Releasing him, Quirin moved to the doorway. "Somebody get Schmitz a drink. Alcohol advised," he called out.

He heard a rabble of noise muffle as he closed the door behind him. Captain Ziegler would have the answers they sought. « Last Edit: Today at 01:40:40 PM by Quirin Drexler »
Logged


Re: No maker made me. [solo]
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2018, 10:14:45 PM »
He strode purposefully to the captain's office, knocking thrice upon the door before turning the handle and entering. The smell of smoke burned his nostrils, and he waved a cloud of the fumes away. "Captain," he sighed, "you should really open a window."

Heike Ziegler shot him a piercing look. "When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it, she snapped.

"Of course, captain." He forced himself to swallow his fierce want to fire back at her, to tear her down piece by piece. From the way her hand clutched at the cigarette, desperate for its comfort, as though it would take away all her stresses - it wouldn't, it always put her in a worse mood. Then the ruffled state of her uniform, despite her constant nagging that his always seemed incorrect in some way. The smudge of lipstick at her cheek, despite not wearing any, put her entirely at odds with the severe way she held herself. "I wondered--"

"Just spit it out." She took a drag, and blew out smoke. Were he closer to her desk, she very likely would have ensured it surrounded his face.

He took a breath. "Why are there refugees from Wall Maria flooding into Wall Rose? If Shiganshina was hit, why for the Walls would the rest of the outer districts burden Rose?"

Ziegler's eyes narrowed at him. "Why should that be your business?"

"As a member of the Military Police, it is my duty to--"

"No. Why should that be your business?"

They locked eyes.

"Either you want me on your side and calm the masses, or you want to keep me in the dark and deal with it yourself." He nodded to her wisps of smoke. "I'm sure your pouch can handle the amount of cigarettes the latter would cost. But surely you have more important business to get to."

"Don't think me a fool, Drexler. You have an agenda. You always have."

"Yes, I do. It's called knowing what the fuck is going on." The mask trembled, slipped, and he snapped out the words, patience wearing thin. How could anyone put up with such an insolent squad captain? "I'm hearing claims that a 40 metre Titan walked through the Wall, that Wall Maria is 'gone', that there are refugees in Wall Rose, that it happened in Shiganshina District. So where is this abnormal now, hm? Is it still walking through the Walls?" He cocked his head to the side. "But of course, it isn't. Or else we'd have been rallied now. So what's going on? If you want peaceful soldiers hanging onto your word, carrying out your orders - start talking."

He was no miracle worker. But he was very good at keeping his comrades pleasant and satisfied. The lazy wanted work done for them, the gamblers wanted loans, the addicts wanted their drugs. Without all of that, there would be no barrier for their disrespect for their captain. His squad was not the finest, nor the strongest. But to Heike Ziegler, they were her squad, and that was good enough.

But only when they followed her. « Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 02:28:21 AM by Quirin Drexler »
Logged


Re: No maker made me. [solo]
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 02:15:11 AM »
Ziegler's eyes pierced his, molten brown meeting icy blue. The hesitance before her answer showed how much she was weighing up her response. Whether to tell him everything or nothing at all.

"A Titan breached the outer Wall of Shiganshina District," she said. Her gaze didn't falter. "The reports on its size greatly vary, but fifty metres seems most likely, in estimation. After the breach, it vanished."

"How the fuck does a Titan of that size just--"

"Nobody knows, Drexler. If they did, we'd have the answer already." She snapped the words, irritated by her own lack of knowledge. "It didn't walk away. It just vanished. Perhaps give us the chance to receive reports, hm?"

He said nothing.

"As for the refugees. Wall Maria was completely evacuated. Wall Rose should take the brunt of the survivors. It has been decided that the outer Wall is no longer salvageable."

"And they couldn't just evacuate Shiganshina because..?"

Ziegler pinched the bridge of her nose. She breathed deeply. "There was a second Abnormal."

"Two fifty metre tall Titans? There's no way that's possible."

"Correct: no way. The second was unlike anything else they'd ever seen. It broke through the interior gate, so they say."

That took a few seconds to sink in. She watched him all the while, surveying him for weakness. His mask remained in place, concealing all emotion until he let it slip. His eyebrows knit together, and he gently shook his head. It was... indescribable. Never had such a thing ever happened, as far as he understood. To have an entire Wall, the largest in fact, evacuated and reliant on the safety of Wall Rose. Of a Wall that had not been readily fortified so recently, if the slobs of the Garrison were their usual selves.

"Shit."

"Yes. Shit. That's what we're stuck in right now, Drexler. So please, do enlighten me how you're going to 'calm the masses'." « Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 02:29:21 AM by Quirin Drexler »
Logged


Re: No maker made me. [solo]
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2018, 02:58:22 AM »
Quirin considered a proper response. He had to prove himself; he always had. Ziegler doubted him, yet she also understood that he had sway with his comrades. And not simply within their own squad. If her squad could come up with a plan of action to quell concerns, to keep order, then it would be she who received the commendation and potential bonuses. Which would keep him in favour. Better, it might provide him with opportunity to continue some of his more illicit research.

"I propose we focus our efforts on easing concerns of resources," he said, bringing his gaze to rest on his captain. "No doubt the higher-ups will handle everything possible. In the meantime, we should show that the Military Police on the ground are more alert than ever. Send out those who believe in their jobs, and hide away soldiers who would sooner slack off. A temporary measure. The panicked should be quietened and given little information, but plenty of reassurance. Any who have lost family or close friends sent to mourn."

Captain Ziegler puffed on her cigarette. The haze of smoke blew out and encircled him.

"It'll do, I suppose," she said, waving a hand. She fanned out the smoke, and walked to the window. Outside, Orvud District bustled with life, the sounds of soldiers outside talking. "We'll focus on providing that reassurance through our squad. I want you on patrol. Take Weber and Rosenstein."

"Weber has a gambling problem," he pointed out. Truthfully, he wouldn't mind bringing Alwin along, the man was cautious about his words and had been at his side long enough. Their training together had provided them with as close a relationship possible for his tastes. "I'd like Kaas. She has a soothing aura."

The look he received was not one he wished to get. "You're not having Kaas, I have work for her. Weber will do."

"Captain--"

"No." The word was firm. Her eyes were impenetrable. "Leave. Tell them what you wish, but do your job. Do it well, and we'll see about tomorrow."
Logged


Re: No maker made me. [solo]
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2019, 03:17:44 AM »
[ WARNING: murder & minor cannibalism ]

Weber reacted as expected - poorly. His gambling wasn't the only problem that held him back from being an exceptional soldier. Still, he was swayed. With a few coins and the promise of more, Rosenstein played along too.

Walking the streets of Orvud District, Quirin made a show of patrolling the cobbles. His mind, however, clicked as gears whirled. Two abnormal titans, far from expected. Rumours would circulate for some time, leaving in their wake fear and disarray, of which he had to find a way of settling. Such a task was beneath him, but providing Captain Ziegler with an excuse to trust him further was beneficial, and here he'd hear whispers of truth. Quicker than even Ziegler would, if he could only find the right source.

Throughout the day, he heard very little of any importance. "Drexler, what are the Military Police saying?" "Did you hear, they're saying everybody's dead!" "You will protect us, won't you?"

Sniffing, Quirin led the way back to the barracks in disappointment. Surely some noble must have heard something of worth? His return came as expected - Captain Ziegler had been summoned to a meeting, and Rosenstein was paid for his time. Weber's moans went unheard.

"Quirin? Quirin Drexler?" His name, spoken so timidly, made him turn. The purple uniform of a messenger quivered by the entrance.

"Yes?"

"I have a message... from your father?"

He paled. The words cut him, slashed across his chest, and showed his reflection. How dare he. Bastard! Sending someone after him, after all these years, after his lack of-- an insult. That was what it was. His blanched face, free of its cautiously worn emotional mask, did not go away with a gulp.

"Ah. Come with me," he said, voice trembling. Bastard, bastard, bastard. How could he be so weak? So... ordinary and emotional. That monster did this to him. He'd have to do better, to rise above him further.

Leading the messenger away from the barracks, to one of his preferred quiet spots, Quirin contemplated his options. To send the messenger back home was an invitation for contact. That wouldn't do. Even a plea, an order, a wish for his father to leave him be would be seen as an invitation. A weakness. Then a lack of response would do near enough the same. A suggestion of his continued silence, surely to be taken as a challenge.

He'd simply have to send the most brutal message possible.

At last, he halted in the shadow of an estate, stone wall closing them in against a high set of stairs. "What is it?" His resolve empowered him, returning his voice. Impatient, demanding. He didn't need to be a noble to have such power.

"The message reads..." began the messenger, avoiding his gaze. The words they spoke were recited, no doubt read from a slip of paper printed in bold capital letters. Why hadn't his father simply sent a note? It was simple. He wanted to humiliate his eldest child. "'It is time for you to return home. A match will be made in time, and you will take on the name of your husband. We must ensure that the Drexler family continues and in well regard. Return tomorrow. Regards, your father.'"

That was it.

The messenger knew.

It was a final insult to the injury of before. His father had done the one thing he'd made clear not to do. To reveal his true self was to strip away the carefully carved armour enclosing him. That timid face of the messenger did nothing.

He unsheathed the knife, striking them in the throat. Blood welled and poured from the skin, painting his hand as he shoved them to the wall. Its rich scent overpowered sense, drove him harder into the feeling. The betrayal. Hot tears spiked his eyes as he struck again, puncturing the trachea. Life seeped away with each droplet of blood released. Black blood, crimson stolen by the night, covered his skin, drying quick.

Quirin let the body slump to the ground. As he wiped his lip, wetting it with the messenger's blood, he let the metallic tang in. Then licked at it, devouring his evidence until dried flecks seemed hardly noticeable on his skin. It clogged his throat, taunting his hunger, bringing a reminder of the titans.

Whatever happened to Wall Maria, he would discover. His father would leave him in peace, or else risk all. Revenge would have been sweet, were it not so reckless.

Soldiers found the corpse in the morning. Not a clue, nor witness, to find.
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