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Author Topic: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]  (Read 506 times)

'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« on: October 21, 2019, 10:11:06 PM »
[ fall 845 ]

The steady, impending chill of winter was already beginning to creep in. Though it seemed at times that the days dragged on, it was bizarre to think now that the summer had ended without so much as a moment's warning. Sebastian had hated winter for the longest time; her circumstances had never been ideal for surviving that. Clothes with holes, blankets with holes, drafty walls to hide behind then no walls at all... this year, though, she wasn't quite so afraid of it. Not that she was excited, either. Who liked the cold? Nobody, she was sure.

When things got icy in a few months, it almost seemed like a mistake to do so much outside, though she knew that they would anyway. The horses would likely be spared, seeing as if their legs got broken, they'd have to be killed. The cadets, though? They could probably just deal with anything, from broken bones to pneumonia. And if they couldn't, they'd either just die or get sent home, so mercy wasn't much of a priority. Sebastian sat with her blanket wrapped tightly around her shoulders, watching the others in her cabin mill about. Any downtime felt like such a gift that she couldn't imagine wasting it.

"Hey!" she said, quite loudly, slapping the wooden sides of the bunk above hers. "What are you doing up there, Dalton?" If the answer was 'sleeping', that was gonna be a definite past tense. Any time that she wasn't doing training that left her too breathless to talk, she wanted to be engaging with somebody. It was a bore otherwise. Plus, she felt as though she hardly knew this guy. Considering he was sleeping so close to her, she thought that was kind of a travesty. "Talk to me! I can tell you... ghost stories!" she suggested. Just for extra effect, she stuck her hand a little higher into his space to wiggle her fingers and say, "OooOOooo!"

i'm recklessly ecstatic, without a care in the world
putting on a false front / humming to myself

Re: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 08:08:27 AM »
Dalton wasn't asleep, but he was close, drifting along that tantalising edge between the waking world and dreams. Vaguely, he was aware of muted conversations, of other cadets milling around the cabin, the soft scuff of boots and the whisper of blankets. There was a certain peace to the place, even if a perpetual chill seemed to hang in the air.


"Hmm?" Dalton hummed in askance, shifting a little on his bed, savouring the comfort. There was something about autumn - the growing darkness of the evenings, the smoky smell of hearth-bound fires, the frosty nip in the mornings and the sweet taste of hand-harvested berries - that made him irresistibly sleepy. Oh, but Sebastian had asked something, hadn't he? "Dozing…" came Dalton's dreamy answer before he, reluctantly, peered over the edge of his bunk, the bed frame creaking quietly with his movements. He stifled a yawn with the back of a hand.

Wait, ghost stories?


Oh no.

"I-I don't know…" Dalton faltered, his green eyes widening a little, growing more alert as Sebastian's fingers and playful OooOOooo danced in the air. "I mean, I'm happy to t-talk to you, but ghost stories…?" He trailed off, running a hand through his bed-rumpled hair. "Talking about… those sorts of things… can invite them into your life…" he spoke slowly, trying his utmost not to stammer his words. The last thing he needed was to be lying wide awake long after lights out, questioning every near-inexplicable sound that could be heard over the chorus of sleeping breaths and soft snores.

Re: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 03:04:34 PM »
Sebastian almost thought he might not reply after that sleepy response, but she was thrilled to find out otherwise. Perhaps it wouldn't been better to select a different target, seeing as tired people weren't often the best for conversation. Being rude and disturbing someone didn't bother her. Wasting her time did, however. Her priorities were just as out-of-sorts as ever.

Though she didn't interrupt, she made a face at the superstitious reply she got. People still believed in those things? Sebastian had never thought any of that might be real. Her father had never been the sort to indulge any ideas like that, and being isolated from most children her age had meant she missed out on a lot for a long time. Once she was out on her own, though, that was when the fun began. It all sounded fake and impossible to her. That was what made it fun! Dalton didn't seem inclined to agree.

"Whaaaat?" she drawled, giving a dismissive wave. "How does that work? All the spirits 'n' demons are just hanging around on the sidelines waitin' for you to talk about them one time so they can start hauntin' ya?" Sebastian laughed, still nothing but amused by the mere concept of believing in such a thing. She was fairly certain the only people who believed in such superstitions like that were elderly folks with nothing better to do. "Either way, come down here! Or I guess I can come up there... whichever works." « Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 03:04:49 PM by Sebastian Schwarz »

i'm recklessly ecstatic, without a care in the world
putting on a false front / humming to myself

Re: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 02:47:07 PM »
"M-Maybe? I don't know. I don't know exactly how it w-works…" Dalton fumbled. He didn't have an answer to Sebastian's question, of course, or proof that any of it was true. It was just a gut feeling on his part, combined with the fact that every other person seemed to have a ghost story or two tucked away. There had to be some truth to it.

"R-Right, I'll come to you," Dalton agreed, hesitating only a moment before he forced himself out of the warm cosiness of his bed and climbed down from the top bunk. With his feet on solid ground, the towering cadet stretched some of the sleepiness from his body, the hem of his t-shirt riding up with the movement. Green eyes alighted on Sebastian mid-stretch, a small smile playing on Dalton's lips as he heaved a defeated sigh and relaxed, tension bleeding from his body.

"You're going to p-put the fear in me, huh Seb?" The question was asked as Dalton took a seat beside his bunkmate, rubbing a hand tiredly over his face, driving the last of his doze away. Quite suddenly, he felt much more alert. "If I end up h-haunted, we all end up h-haunted." Dalton chuckled then, quiet, and clearly a little nervous. Cadets had died in the past, hadn't they? How many of them had slept in this very room? And what if they still walked the corridors of the Training Corps barracks? Sebastian hadn't even started yet and already he had chills!

Re: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 03:25:16 AM »
Sebastian scoffed, wondering what the use of being afraid of some mystical entities with an unknown ruleset was. There were plenty of things to be scared of. Dying in agony, failure, loss, titans; ghosts were such a foolish thing to cower in fear of. Wasn't there far worse hiding outside, and within the ruins of Wall Maria? The perceivable reality was horror enough without bringing in things nobody could even prove to be real.

As Dalton climbed down to cram onto her bed with her, she thought for a moment about a time back home. A girl, nine years old when Sebastian was six, sitting at the end of her bed and giggling about some silly puppy-love crush on their neighbor. Had she survived? Sebastian doubted it. Even with such a morbid thought crossing her mind, she was all smiles, returning his sleepy smile with a toothy grin.

"Oh, you bet I am!" she affirmed. Sebastian had nothing to offer but a shrug at the notion that they'd all be harassed by otherworldly forces. "Well, maybe if we've got ghosts hangin' around after this, they'll feel compelled to do a li'l straightenin' up!" Before now, she'd had no idea that Dalton was so terrified of these things. With that information now in her possession, it would surely turn out to be an active threat on his wellbeing. "Okay, okay... get ready, now."

Sebastian folded her hands in her lap, preparing to give the delivery of a lifetime on this one. "On a freezing night, just 'fore fall turned to winter, a boy was out wandering through the forest. He'd gone huntin' with his father, but they'd gotten separated long before the sun even set. Scared 'n' cold, he saw a cottage in the distance..." Her voice was low, spooky enough to set the scene. She went on, describing how the boy crept up to the decrepit house and knocked on the door. The echo through the house sounded so hollow, like there wasn't a thing inside. So, he went inside, assuming it to be abandoned. "'Ah! Who'd ever want things like this?!' the boy thought, seein' the most hideous paintin's all over the walls. Old folks, with such infuriated expressions on their wrinkly faces. Each one looked as if it must'a hated his guts, and it almost seemed like they were gettin angrier 'n' angrier as he undid his bedroll. 'Well, it beats the cold, right?' he thought, layin' down to sleep."

She spoke of the boy's restless sleep, plagued with nightmares. Every time a terror startled him awake, those portraits were still staring at him with the most violent hatred in their eyes. "Then, when mornin' came, the boy woke to the sun. He felt a li'l bit lonelier than when he'd fallen asleep, though... 'n' when he looked to the walls, he saw that he house didn't have a single portrait." Sebastian leaned forward, looking devious. "Only windows." At the same time, her hands shot out in an instant to grab Dalton's sides, just for extra effect.

i'm recklessly ecstatic, without a care in the world
putting on a false front / humming to myself

Re: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 10:37:13 AM »
Oh, you bet I am!

This response elicited another good-natured groan from Dalton, as he settled and made himself comfortable on Sebastian's bed. His bunkmate was one of the brightest personalities amongst the cadets, someone who appeared endlessly cheerful and who was, most likely, a gifted storyteller. Given the subject of the tales about to be told, Dalton wasn't sure whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.

"Right… r-ready," Dalton responded with a small nod and soft exhale. It only took a minute for his fears to be realised; Sebastian had a knack for painting pictures with his words. Of course the story was set in autumn, when the growing darkness ate into daylight and a blanket of eerie mist clung to the hills. If there was ever a season for the supernatural, that was it. This was it. At this realisation, Dalton frowned a little, his mind full of the image of a dark, foreboding forest, knowing there were similar swaths of woodland not far from the barracks.

This frown only deepened as Sebastian continued with the tale, the lost protagonist stepping into the seemingly abandoned cottage - ah, but who would do that? He was asking for trouble! If nightmares were all the wayward explorer had to endure, he could count himself lucky. Then, as Sebastian began to explain that the boy awoke more alone than before, Dalton moaned softly and lowered his face into his hands, regarding his bunkmate timidly through a crack between his fingers. "Oh no…" he breathed. Something was coming, though Dalton didn't know what.

… he saw that the house didn't have a single portrait.

With that revelation, his mistrustful green gaze darted immediately to the narrow dormitory windows. Small, but now something to be feared in their own way. He could only hope each and every set of curtains were pulled tightly closed before lights out. Dalton, caught up in this concern, didn't even see Sebastian reach for him, mischief dancing in his blue eyes. "Seb - !" He shrieked in surprise at the contact with his sides, before breaking into nervous laughter.

"I w-wonder who they were…" Dalton mused breathlessly, chuckling nervously as he pushed brown hair out of his eyes. This was fun, in an unnerving sort of way. He was sure to regret it in the dead of night, though, when everyone else was asleep and a solitary strip of windowpane could be glimpsed between half-drawn curtains. "That… that story isn't t-true, is it, Seb?"

Re: 'Tis the Season! [Dalton]
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2019, 05:52:34 AM »
The best thing about horror was its foundation in being illogical. Of course, no one would make the choices these foolish characters would, yet the story itself would not exist if they had a lick of intelligence. It was better that way, right? Perhaps it made those telling and hearing them feel a little smarter for knowing they'd never do such a thing.

Sebastian couldn't help but laugh. Dalton's nervous giggling was only fuel to the fire, leaving her to cackle like she'd never experienced anything so funny before. Despite that, her jovial demeanor seemed to grow a little solemn when he asked that fateful question. Her laughter faded, replaced by an uneasy mask and long silence. The fun couldn't just end with the story, now could it?

"Well, to be real honest, I don't know..." she admitted, trailing off into another silence. "I mean, it might be true, right? Someone could be watchin', anytime... and I s'pose we'd never know better if we aren't always lookin' out for 'em. And even then, vigilance ain't perfect. We miss things, I bet." Sebastian had to ramp up the tension as much as she could, because she was already forming ideas on how to best milk this little situation she'd created around Dalton. At any given point, she'd find a way to terrify him more than any little fictional tale could ever do.

Sebastian shrugged a little, acting out the perfect idea of a person that was a little scared and trying to brush it off. She scooted a little closer, both for effect and because that compulsion was always scratching at the back of her mind. "Well, anyway," she said, "do you have a story to tell, too?

i'm recklessly ecstatic, without a care in the world
putting on a false front / humming to myself


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