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Author Topic: Right Out of the Gate  (Read 461 times)

Right Out of the Gate
« on: November 14, 2019, 10:13:53 PM »
Although the shift from the role of scout to that of an instructor had not been planned, or even desired, oddly it felt like a natural progression.  Laria was far from the rush and roar of expeditions beyond the Walls – and how keenly she missed them, her dreams often carrying her through the air with her former comrades, her body capable, healed and unhindered – but she now harboured a certain fondness and newfound respect for the Training Corps.  Teaching, it turned out, came to her rather naturally.  Practice improved lesson plans and sharpened her eye for potential, while time and routine brought a certain stability and familiarity.

Razahir was one cadet with potential.  He was gentle and kind to the horses – which to Laria’s mind gave him a solid foundation for horsemanship – though nervousness ate at him, and his profound conscientiousness spooked some of the horses he rode.  Time would see him improve, she was sure, though he would advance more quickly if he could only control his tension.  Unfortunately, telling someone to relax was just about the most unrelaxing thing for them to hear.

The whoosh of a horse trotting past brought Laria back to the present.  Class was winding down, the day’s focus having been on manoeuvring horses slowly around obstacles, in an effort to get the cadets used to handling the reins.  Now they simply circled the arena in a trot, then a walk.  It was easy to tell who felt comfortable astride the saddle and who did not.  As the lesson came to a close, the cadets dismounted and loosened their horses’ girths, preparing to return them to their stables.  Laria’s amber-brown eyes remained trained on Razahir.

From where she leaned against the fence, the instructor sucked in a quiet breath through her teeth and approached the student.  No harm could come from a brief chat, especially as she was still getting to know this new cohort.  It could even be there was a reason besides inexperience for his nervousness.  "Kōri," Laria’s voice was low and warm, not wanting to draw attention from the other cadets and not wanting the boy to think he was in trouble.  She jerked her head, signalling for him to linger behind.  "A quick word."

Re: Right Out of the Gate
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 12:14:13 AM »
While he sometimes spaced out during training, for Raze this was the moment to do so. The boy gripped the reins so tightly that his hands and fingers started to lose color. He was scared of several things that included falling from the horse or getting thrown down by the horse from it's back. He loved animals...he truly did, but he was always kind of afraid of horses since one of them almost trampled him to death when he was a kid. Horses were huge and powerful anyways, and this made Raze terrified of them. Yet the young boy had a liking to horses too whenever he didn't have to mount one and he was surprisingly good at taking care of them despite his limited knowledge about horses and his limited experience with horses. However, he always remained wary around horses, since a horse can still trample on him even when he doesn't try to mount one. Keeping that in mind he always remained a bit distant from them.

Raze concentrated heavily his nervousness clearly showing on his face. Although the boy weaved that he won't ever let fear penetrate his soul again, right now the boy felt like that it's eating away the very core of him. But perhaps it wasn't the horse that he was really afraid of...it was more likely his never-ending fear of failure. He was horrified by the thought that they may throw him out of the army because of his incompetence. If they do than where would he go? There wasn't a single place for him in this world nor a family to welcome him at all. Ever since Marla died there wasn't a single person who would miss him or a single person to remember Marla. „As long as there’s at least one person who remembers me fondly, I can’t die. Thus you have to live on even if I die!” As always her words gave him a new resolve to carry on thus Raze continued with today's task partially by his own will and partially by observing the other cadets in hope of getting at éeast some useful ideas by glancing at them from time to time...

As time passed Raze started to get a hold of it. He was a bit more confident in maneuvering his horse around although he still wouldn't go galloping with it even in such a secured area... Walking slowly around with the horse was fine, but the trot still got his heart racing. Most of the other cadets were more experienced than him, being used to horses as he could see. ~ Well I bet they also used to eat something every day. I still practice that for myself. - The boy let out a sigh, a sour expression appearing on his face. Despite trying his hardest he still often felt like that he can never close the gap between himself and most of the other cadets. He couldn't even read or write properly, trying to get over this problem by himself as well during the evenings after most of the others goes to sleep...

As Raze heard the signal that ended the training he let out a relieved sigh as he could finally get off from the horse. Despite his nervousness, the horse behaved positively with him and for that, he patted its neck gently. As he prepared to return the horse to the stable he heard a voice calling out his name causing Raze to wince. It was unusual for someone to use his surname as most cadets avoided to do that. One of them claimed that they don't like to say it because it makes a sound that resembles the "cracking of the ice". Thus almost everyone called him "Raze". The boy slowly turned around to face the instructor. Laria Rockfield could be harsh on the student sometimes but overall Raze took a liking to her as she seemed to be a nice person in fact, and she was a good instructor, helping out the cadets to bring forth their best. Raze forced a gentle smile on his face as he nodded. "As you wish Instructor!" He said in a quiet voice and tagged along, following the instructor. For a moment he was worried that he may have messed up, but the woman's voice was way too gentle for that thus it left him dumb folded about her reason to speak to him privately...

Re: Right Out of the Gate
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 09:05:52 PM »
As you wish Instructor!

The words were quietly and respectfully spoken.  There was a deference to Razahir that made him likeable, the cadet obediently approaching as his classmates vacated the arena.  Laria’s dark eyes darted in the direction of other students, watching as backs bearing the symbol crossed swords retreated through the gate.  Their voices were bright, the youths no doubt glad to have another lesson over them, and primed to enjoy a brief spell of respite before the next class.  The instructor’s attention shifted back to Razahir and she offered him a small, encouraging smile.

“You did well today. I see you improving,” she commented kindly.  It was true, he was managing well with slower manoeuvres, even if he seemed uncertain when it came to faster gaits.  It was to be expected, given the cadets were of varying experience and ability; what was exhilarating for one might be terrifying for another.  Those who came from rural, farming backgrounds, or who had the fortune to breed or keep horses - Mercedes, the Carello girl, was unsurprisingly as at home in the saddle as she was standing on her own two capable feet - possessed an advantage over those who had been born and raised in the slums of densely populated districts, where they might never have set even a hand upon a horse before.

Thoughtfully, Laria reached out to Razahir’s mount, allowing it to sniff at her outstretched fingers, its breath beating warm against her skin.  She thought of his hands on the reins during the lesson, holding tight, rendering them colourless.  Hands so often gave away a rider’s nervousness, tension visible in clenched fists.  “Riding horses takes some gettin’ used to,” she murmured.  “Is it gettin’ easier for you, as time goes on?”

Re: Right Out of the Gate
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 09:51:27 PM »
If anything Raze learned quickly...to learn his way with words, to learn how to act around fellow cadets and superiors alike. Most of the time he just observed quietly when it came to conversations while giving his best during practices be it horse-riding or hand-to-hand combat. Recently thanks to some help from two fellow cadets he slowly tried to learn how to read and write which already started to make his life at least a bit easier. Right now...he was trying his hardest to subdue his fears...because indeed horses were amongst his greatest fears. Seeing Instructor Rockfield smiling at him made the boy blush, but he tried to return a smile. Raze was always wary and shy around attractive women, and Laria Rockfield was someone who fits his image of an attractive woman.

"Thank you, Instructor. I'm trying my best." The boy nodded and replied in a calm voice, feeling grateful for the kind words coming from the older female. "Although I still have a lot to learn." He added with a sour smile. What made him sour is that after arriving at the army he very soon realized that no matter how hard he tries there are things that he simply can't get as good as others in, because he lacks one simple thing...talent. He had no talent for horse riding plus he was afraid of the horses. He had no visible talent with the 3D Maneuver Gear though with hard work he can get to a level where he will become a suitable cadet for becoming a member of the Military Police. Raze seemingly had talent only for two things...hand-to-hand combat and melee combat. None of them is really useful in the eyes of the Army, yet now that Raze found someone who trains him, combat training became a place where he was able to find a bit of self-confidence. Plus even if the army says that these things are useless if he can become an MP officer, he can make good use of those talents while trying to maintain the peace of the King...

The words of Instructor Rockfield pulled him back to reality from his thoughts. The boy quietly nodded at her worlds while her question made him wondering for a few seconds. "A bit...But I'm still scared of horses. And this makes things a bit complicated. Though I'm trying to subdue my fear...bit by bit." He felt like that he has nothing to hide from the Instructor nor it would be the right thing to do. Laria Rockfield was always nice to him and lying was not his piece of bread either. Amongst the instructors she was the one whom the boy was most found of...for various reasons.

Re: Right Out of the Gate
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 07:51:32 AM »
Razahir blushed, and Laria presumed it was because of her compliment.  In her experience, many conscientious students were only too delighted when their hard work went noticed.

Although I still have a lot to learn.

There was something so relatable in the cadet’s sour expression that Laria couldn’t help but smile.  She recalled her own time in training, when she had been full of wild energy and enthusiasm; despite all her eagerness she too had found it overwhelming when she realised just how much there was to learn.  The boy gave her question due consideration, his answer coming thoughtful and calm.  Fear lay at the heart of Razahir’s reticence, just as she suspected.

“It’s natural to be afraid of horses,” Laria responded after a pause.  “They’re larger than us, stronger too, and even the most loyal and sweet mount can harbour an unpredictable streak.”  She stroked a hand along the creature’s neck, its fur warm and silky beneath her palm.  “A little bit of fear is a good thing though, I think,” the instructor mused.  “It sharpens a rider’s senses, makes ‘em more present, more aware.  The key is subduing it, as you say.” 

That was true of any risky activity, she supposed, not just horse riding.  Those scouts who grew complacent about the immense danger Titans posed would find themselves in a great, toothy maw sooner or later.  Vaguely Laria wondered if that had been her own shortcoming, had she been punished for overconfidence?  A ruined leg was a steep price to pay, but it was preferable to forfeiting her life.  With that thought in mind, she shifted her weight, the supportive leather brace creaking quietly.

“What is it you’re scared of most?”  Laria pressed gently.  If they could identify the root of Razahir’s fear, it should be easier to help build his confidence.  “Falling and hurting yourself?  Failure?  Or the horse itself?”


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