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Author Topic: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]  (Read 960 times)

Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« on: October 25, 2019, 01:58:06 AM »
Early Summer, 833

It was early in the morning, and still before breakfast. The sun was just beginning to rise and the hall of the headquarters were still mostly dark.

Erwin was not terribly excited about the coming day’s activities. He managed to find a couple of others to assist him and Alicia but having only a handful of scouts to manage forty somewhat raw recruits was by no means how expected to spend his day.

Especially considering they would be having lunch ‘in the field’ if they expected to eat.

As he dropped the rest of supplies in his bag before breakfast, he ran over the plan one last time. They would right out halfway to Wall Rose, and then use a small forest that the scouts had regularly used as a form of training course to test their own abilities. It was not a terribly thick forest, so there it was little risk of the horses getting injured, but the veterinarian would have him shoveling out stalls for the next year if a horse got injured on his watch. She also had some choice words about what she would do to the cadets involved.

He closed his bags and turned to his small desk and the journal he had open on it. He grabbed a strip of bacon off the plate next to it and started chewing on it as he reached over and turned a page with the other. He skimmed the pages of his father’s handwriting before looking up to see the sun rising over the wall of Stohess. He closed it and put it away, locking the drawer it was in. Then turned his attention to finishing his breakfast.

Perhaps everything was coming together after all.

Donning his jacket and turning to leave his room, he decided to head out to the stables before inspection.
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2019, 10:30:20 PM »
In her excitement, Laria had almost been unable to sleep. After lights out, she had listened to the peaceful, steady breathing of her scout roommates, while her mind raced. She was exhilarated, galvanised, knowing that she was where she was supposed to be, that she would finally be able to put her training to use. And tomorrow would bring a horsemanship exercise, an opportunity to demonstrate where the very best of her skills lay.

Finally, she dozed off, sleeping in fits and starts, waking several times throughout the night. In the deep cold that came before dawn, she gave up on slumber and slipped out from between her warm sheets. Laria dressed swiftly and quietly, sweeping her long red hair back into a ponytail. She had packed the bag required for the day's excursion the night before, checking twice over the contents. Satisfied with her preparations, and confident she was turned out neatly enough to pass the morning inspection, the new recruit left the dormitories.

Heading to the stables was what came naturally to Laria. Amongst the heat of beasts, with the sweet scent of hay in the air, she felt a certain peace. A few curious heads peeked over half-doors and the redhead made some introductions. Slender fingers stroked foreheads and teased through forelocks.

"Hello you," she greeted a particularly handsome grey. He seemed to thrive on the attention, snuffling hopefully at Laria's clothes. She kicked herself inwardly for not thinking to bring the horses a treat. Murmuring an apology to the steed, she cupped his velvety muzzle in her hands, his breath blowing hot against her palms. Then the soft sound of footfall disturbed her, Laria's dark eyes darting to the approaching figure. Even in the pale light of the sunrise, there was no mistaking his identity.

"Erwin Smith," Laria tried his name on her tongue, and found she liked the sound. "Good morning, sir."
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 10:01:25 PM »
Erwin’s boots clapped along the cobblestones leading to the stables at the barracks, the only sound in the otherwise eerily silent place. The sun had just cleared the top of Wall Sina as it danced across the rooftops of the still slumbering city...its populace living in nothing more than a dismal, dull dream that it had yet to wake from.

The stable doors opened with a creak as he began to survey the space, making sure nothing was out of place and that there was nothing the veterinarian to complain about. The cadets should have been getting up for breakfast at any moment.

He draped his saddlebags over the stall his horse was in, and petted it lightly, turning as he heard a voice.

It was that red-haired cadet from yesterday. She should have been asleep, but there was some kind of excitement in her expression. Perhaps this was the kind of task she was hoping for on a morning like this.

“Good morning,” he responded. “I assumed no one else would see a need to be up so early.” He turned back to his horse, rummaging for a piece of dried fruit in his bag for the animal. “Did our esteemed veterinarian put you up to some task before our exercise for the day?” He really had no desire to deal with her twice in the same morning.
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2019, 01:06:08 PM »
From Erwin's quiet, gentle movements, and the way his horse greeted him affectionately, Laria gleaned that the scout treated his steed kindly. A good thing, for far too many people thought of the beasts as nothing more than unfeeling commodities. As though they didn't feel pain, or fear, as though they didn't die at the hands of Titans. However inadvertently the latter tended to be.

"Oh, no, nothing like that," Laria answered with a smile, filing away the fact that Erwin's question suggested the resident veterinarian was a renowned taskmaster. That was something to bear in mind. "I'm an early riser. Figured I may as well come say hello to my new comrades," she chuckled softly, running a hand along the grey horse's head. It nickered at the touch and resuming sniffing hopefully at her jacket.

Outside, the sun began its ascent in earnest, its light puncturing the dimness of the stable to catch in Erwin's golden hair. He was immaculately turned out, Laria noticed. Her attention returned to the horse she was fussing over, a smirk catching her lips as a wave of boldness rolled over her. "Your boots are gleamin' this morning, sir," she remarked, thinking back to the previous day and the splatters of vomit that had smeared the black leather. Erwin had enjoyed a quiet night, it seemed. Or at least one involving less alcohol than the evening previous.

Still, perhaps her comment - meant in good humour though it was - could be interpreted as bordering on insolent. Laria sought to push the conversation on, just in case. "Any idea which one I'll be ridin'?"
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 12:30:52 AM »
At least the veterinarian had not yet approached the cadets it would seem. “That’s a refreshing change. She has had to deal with a fair share of...perhaps I should just call them incidents over her time here. Some cadets are not particularly well versed in horsemanship,” he said. “Others seem to not understand how to behave in a responsible manner.”

Taking a glance over towards the fresh recruit, he started thinking about what many of his fellow Corps members though about how young this class was. Most thought they would die within a week, whether it be by a training accident or on an actual mission. But she seemed to bathe a room in some sort of potential. Perhaps she would survive.

He raised and eyebrow and cleared his throat at her next remark, turning back to his horse and presented it with the simple treat he found for it.

“I’m not entirely sure, this was fairly last minute,” he said, petting the horse again. “How much experience do you have on horseback?” « Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 12:41:12 AM by Erwin Smith »
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2019, 01:11:26 PM »
“Seems sensible to be on the new recruits’ case then,” Laria grumbled at the revelation, moving to the next stall, where a great roman-nosed bay peered curiously over the half door.  She held out her hand, allowing the horse’s exhalations to beat hot and hard against her palm, the creature taking in her scent.  Biased though she was, to her mind horsemanship was a subject above and beyond the others, as it involved living, breathing creatures.  There was a duty of care there, she was quite sure.  What was the point of three years of training?  Surely horse sense was part and parcel of being in the Survey Corps?

“Ah, I’ve been ridin’ since before I can remember,” came her honest answer, the smirk on her lips shaping her voice.  “My father’s a courier, my brother too.  We’ve always kept horses.”  Laria’s first had been a towering, ageing and inherently gentle broodmare, who had been all feathered feet and kindly eyes.  Dusky had followed the small, tottering redheaded girl around the yard with the weary patience of an experienced mother, dutifully eating the small, scraggly bunches of grass that the chubby-fisted toddler offered.

But that was years ago now.

Stroking the bay’s nose, Laria glanced across to Erwin, who was currently fussing over his own horse.  She quietly smiled her approval.  “You served long?”  The question was asked lightly enough, though few members of the scouts could claim to have worn the Wings of Freedom for long.  The Titans encountered during expeditions beyond the Wall made sure of that, their grasping fingers and gnashing teeth separating the wheat from the chaff – or the survivors from the doomed.
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2019, 03:32:59 AM »
He smiled at the cadets first remarks. She would have to meet the veterinarian first to see how sensible she really was. Although he could be wrong, perhaps the woman would take a liking to her. But if she showed promise on horseback. Perhaps she had more potential. If she did, the commander would certainly find it hard to let her take on excess duties. Capable, pure soldiers were hard to come by. At least according to the commander in his lectures to Erwin regarding his recent behavior.

Her next question was something he should have expected. He just rather not have an actual conversation about that with a new member and potential future subordinate. There were many harsh realities she and her fellow new members would have to face. The most obvious were known. But what one would have to do to survive, and not just when on a mission. That was something else to discuss for another day. But if not now, when should such a question be answered?

His hand made its way from the horse back to the edge of the stall door, as he stared blankly at his horse. Training was different then. Cadets were older, training was shorter, even harsher. Even in the Survey Corps thing had changed. “A few years,” he said plainly. “Long enough to understand some things about humanity. Including how foolish some of us are.” He quickly surveyed the stall. Everything was in place and he was ready.

“But that’s a discussion to had another time. And perhaps one that should be had with more recruits than yourselves,” he said. “Come we should get going before -” Unfortunately, Erwin did not have time to finish his sentence. A stomach churning yell carried through the stable doors.

“Who the hell left my stables open?” « Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 03:37:33 AM by Erwin Smith »
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2020, 12:06:55 PM »
The silence that followed her question was answer enough, even before Erwin spoke.  Laria regarded him during that pensive pause, peering through loose tendrils of red hair as her hand continued to stroke the convex profile of the bay horse.  His response cool and understandably evasive.  A few years must seem a lifetime to a scout.  Even Laria, who brimmed with enthusiasm, recognised that all her days and nights of dreaming and imagining could not amount to cold, hard experience.  In time, through grief and blood spilled, she would come to more fully understand Erwin’s reticence.

Including how foolish some of us are. 

The redhead grasped that cryptic observation, turning it over curiously in her mind.  Who, precisely, was Erwin speaking of?  Arguably, all scouts were foolish to one degree or another – why else would they actively choose the regiment with the highest casualties? – but it seemed her superior had something or someone more specific in mind.  Now was not the time to ask, however, as Erwin postponed any further discussion.  Nodding her assent, Laria dipped her head, hands falling away from the horse’s face.  She was already closing the distance between them, even as the suggestion they leave was leaving Erwin’s lips, when a yell tore through the air.  The new recruit halted, brown eyes widening, gaze shifting from her superior to the direction in which the bellowing had come from.  Presumably, this was the notorious veterinarian.

“Uh,” Laria began awkwardly, attention darting back to Erwin.  “It was already open by the time I got here…”
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 01:48:01 AM »
Erwin sighed heavily. This was just what he needed to start his day. “Good morning to you too Claudia It sound like you’re as eager as ever to get to work I see.” The fire-spitting veterinarian had clearly arrived as she stepped into her stables, pupils dilated and nostrils flared, like a large beast stalking a deer.

She stopped in the doorway, arms crossed and slowly surveyed her hay strewn domain. Stopping only to look Erwin up and down, as if she were making sure he was sober. “Well, seems like you are actually pulling yourself together Erwin, I may actually be impressed,” she said, glaring.

“I’ve been told on occasion I clean up well,” he responded. Neither of them blinked for a moment. Two icy glares staring back into each others minds, trying to freeze and break the other. While he did not yet blink, Erwin was the first to break the moment of silence. “You’ll find everything in order here. We were just pulling some things together for the training exercise.”

“So that’s why the one of the new pieces of titan bait are here? she asked him. She had not yet even glanced at Laria yet.

Here attitude was the same as ever, and Erwin did not have the time – or the patience of the Commander – to start a fight. “That would appear to be the case, though she may be the most qualified on horseback, he said. “At least, if her own appreciation and patience with your horses seems to show.”

He hated having to bend to her like this.

“Is she now? Claudia asked as she finally turned to Laria. “Do tell.”
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 10:43:55 AM »
Claudia - the veterinarian, presumably - was a fierce woman, all fiery eyes and flaring nostrils.  She stalked through the gloom as if she owned the space.  Which she did in a way, Laria supposed.

Well, seems like you are actually pulling yourself together Erwin, I may actually be impressed.

Those blazing eyes made the new recruit doubt the woman’s sincerity.  Erwin bristled with the same energy, the two scouts at a stand-off, glaring at one another with gazes so scorching Laria half-expected sparks to fly.  She thought again of Erwin’s sullied boots from the day before, and wondered if he had a reputation of being something of a wild child within the regiment.  Rebels were said to be common enough amongst the Survey Corps, a branch peppered with the reckless and foolhardy, each and everyone aware of their own mortality and the likely brevity of their lives.

So that’s why one of the new pieces of titan bait are here?

Well now, that was rude.  Even so, the redhead was content to be considered as such - she would simply take it as a challenge to prove her worth in the field.  What she didn’t anticipate was Erwin vouching for her experience in the saddle, drawing her into the tense conversation in the process.  That searing gaze landed on her then, as Claudia at last acknowledged her presence.  Even beneath the weight of those predatory eyes, Laria refused to wilt.

“My family are in the courier business, ma’am.  We’ve always bred and kept horses for that purpose.  Stream-lined, lighter-framed sorts, built for endurance.  Ridin’ is like breathin’ to me.”  Like breathing in the sense it was effortless, like breathing in the sense that she could not imagine her life existing without it.  Despite the thunderous atmosphere, the new recruit spoke levelly, calmly, politely.  She had no interest in rankling the veterinarian needlessly, even if her first impression of the woman thus far was a relatively poor one.  Perhaps Claudia had cause to be so domineering, if Erwin’s allusion to a lack of sense amongst recruits was anything to go by.
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2020, 01:40:45 PM »
At least the cadet was cool under pressure...and the scathing pessimism of the veterinarian. The fact that no one had managed to kill the woman for her attitude. She was very protective of the Survey Corps horses. That being said, if you ever referred to them as anything short of being her horses she would find every possible way to make your life difficult. Her viewpoint was that as veterinarian, these horses belonged to her, and injury or incident they sustained was a slight against her personal honor and spitting on her ability to keep them alive.

The commander of course, the fire and brimstone man that he was, did not seem to mind. He was too busy trying to eliminate the more wild energy of the Survey Corps to turn them into a truly disciplined fighting unit (as if that would ever happen). Anyone who followed the same hard line attitude got a pass from him. It was not conducive to the strengths of the unit members in his opinion. Not like that mattered at this point, or in this current situation.

Erwin could feel the morning inspection getting closer buy the minute however, and there was little time to waste.

“Claudia,” he said. “Are you satisfied?”

The woman stared over at Erwin with a deadpan expression and then threw her hands up in defeat. “Fine, just hurry up and get the hell out,” she said as she finally walked past them.
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2020, 03:48:32 PM »
The silence stretched, and tension mounted.  Laria fought to keep her expression neutral, to prevent an irreverent smile from tugging on her lips.  Claudia was trying to put the fear in her, she was quite sure, and on a different day it might have worked.  In the end it took prompting from Erwin to move the stern veterinarian along.  The well-meaning yet intimidating woman stalked away reluctantly, her parting words a strict instruction that the pair leave quickly.  That suited Laria, knowing the morning’s inspection was looming; her very first one as a soldier within the Survey Corps.

As far as introductions went, it could have gone better, but it also could have gone worse.  Laria released a breath in a soft woosh and flashed Erwin a grin.  There was a rude joke weighted on her tongue, but she swallowed it back.  For all her humour, she planned to have her career within this regiment, and wished to earn the respect and trust of her shiny new comrades.  Questionable humour could come later, but right now she was simply too green to make jests to, and about, her superiors.  Even remarking on the condition of Erwin’s boots had been pushing it.

“Wow, welcome to the Survey Corps, huh?” Laria mused, returning to the bay horse she had been petting.  She gave the creature’s forehead a firm rub, and smiled with genuine fondness as it pressed into the touch.  Then her attention shifted to Erwin, her amber-brown eyes narrowing thoughtfully, as though trying to get the measure of him.  Which she was.  He certainly knew how to handle himself around his peers, even the more challenging and standoffish sort.  “I’d better head on, and be on time for this morning’s inspection.  If you’ll excuse me, sir?” « Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 03:49:30 PM by Laria Rockfield »
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Re: Horsing Around [Erwin & Laria]
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2020, 10:46:50 PM »
Erwin fought the urge to roll his eyes. She behaved like an angry, spoiled princess half the time, and the other half an absolute tyrant. She had seen quite a lot since she had joined however, so Erwin could hardly blame her. The experience here either broke you or built you. Typically the former came before the latter. You spent a lot of time seeing destruction and death. Or at least you saw the results of it. Empty bunks, missing faces, the list of changes went on.

Erwin kept finishing up almost mechanically, then caught Laria smiling after the encounter. While he still was not entirely sure what to make of her yet, she certainly hadn’t had her spirits dampened by the blustery and biting nature of Claudia. So far she seemed to be quite resilient.

Erwin smirked slightly at her remark. That was quite the welcome, as if the whispers and gossip had not already been enough. “Quite the welcome indeed,” he said. “Depending on who you ask, she used to be a little less harsh.” He sighed as he finished up with his horse as Laria excused herself. “Of course; I will see you shortly.”
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