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Author Topic: [EVENT] Life is on a Swift Horse  (Read 121 times)

Life is on a Swift Horse
« on: January 14, 2020, 11:16:45 AM »
There was an energy around them, stoked by the excited and nervous chatter of other cadets, the warm air heavy with the scent of meadow flowers, leather and beasts.  Dalton rested his hands on the pommel of his saddle, fingers playing idly with tendrils of his horse’s chestnut hair.  He was nervous in a distant, quiet way, despite his overall competence in this field.  Until he was conscripted, and herded into lessons of horsemanship, his only experience with the creatures was in the carriages that rolled through Trost, in petting the rag and bone man’s loyal grey-muzzled draught, and in the whinnying steeds that were tethered outside his family’s tavern while their masters drank and ate their fill.  Perhaps it was his gentleness, his compassion for any and all more vulnerable than himself, which meant horses seemed to like him well enough.  That, or maybe it was because he failed to be as authoritative as he ought to.  The creatures were clever enough to value a soft touch.

A whistle blew shrill and sharp, and a team that waited ahead of them departed, their pace slow and tentative.  Dalton loosened his reins and allowed his horse to step forward, filling the space that had opened.  Although riding was one of his stronger suits, he would almost certainly still be far outstripped by the performances of his fellow cadets.  That was okay, though.  His heart was set on the Garrison and, for that regiment, his best would be enough.

Green eyes brightened when they settled on his long-haired partner.  Kaien, alongside Seb, was a teller of ghost stories and tales that made Dalton’s blood run cold.  But the boy from Trost could not bring himself to resent the fire of fear the pair lit inside him and, thankfully, in the bright light of day, in company of many, with the atmosphere thrumming with anticipation, all shades were banished from his mind.  Both boys being tall – Kaien especially so, being one of the few people who could make Dalton feel small – they were mounted on towering horses.  Vaguely, Dalton wondered if this would prove an advantage on the course.  Could bigger horses jump higher?  It seemed logical enough to suppose so.

“L-Let’s - let’s not go too fast?” Dalton murmured, the upward inflection at the end of his sentence making his suggestion come across as more of a question.  One bad fall and they could be out of action for weeks, and they were so close to the end of their training.  His countenance crumpled with faint concern.  “I’d h-hate to graduate with my arm in a c-cast…”

Re: Life is on a Swift Horse
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2020, 02:50:08 PM »
After warming up Kaien dismounted and bent down and tugged at the knee guard of his boot as he uncomfortably tried to shift it ever so slightly in hopes that his pants would move with it and the irritating folds of material would smooth out. “So annoying.” he complained, and sighed as he let go to grab onto the reins of the black stallion next to him, steadying himself as he shifted to balance on one leg, frustratingly shaking his other as if to force it to comply. The subtle movement and light tugging on the horse’s bridle caused it to impatiently shift in its stance, a light snort fluttering free as if to mock its rider. “Okay, okay, I’m done.” He grinned, giving his boot one final shake before turning to face the steed he’s been riding for the past few years, his hand slowly trailing down its neck as fingers brushed over it’s thick, luxuriant mane. “You’re pretty eager to get out there, huh?”

As if to agree it blew out air through its nostrils, eagerly shifting closer to Kaien as if urging him up onto its back. The horse wasn’t young and had been with the Cadet Corps for a few years prior to Kaien’s arrival, and before then it had been used to pull wagons; hauling supplies and provisions, and not much else, due to its size and strength. Standing at an impressive 193,4 cm, Kaien immediately related to the beast as it towered ever so slightly above the rest and the two formed quite the bond.

He pulled himself up into the saddle and grabbed hold of the reins with his left, the steed calm yet enthused as it patiently waited for a command. Before the military Kaien had plenty of experience with horses, but none quite as challenging or extreme as the ones he faced as a cadet. Running around 75 km/h, taking off in ODM from horseback and, although jumping and racing was a sport some nobles practiced, Kaien never had done much aside from an occasional trot. All that was different now, and for a moment he allowed that to sink in as he glanced around the field.

Cadets were either warming up or waiting for the whistle to blow and start them on their way, and Kaien quickly found his eyes instead searching for his assigned partner, his superstitious friend, Dalton. Truthfully he wasn’t sure if he’d call Dalton his friend, and he was almost positive that Dalton wouldn’t call him one either. The other boy was naive, way too docile, and far too gullible.

“Right, come on.” he squeezed his legs and started his horse in a walk before shortening the reins and pushing it into a trot until he came to a stop next to the chestnut and the green-eyed cadet atop of it, a brief nod in greeting before turning his eyes to the fore. The whistle blew and another team headed off, and as they faded away and both of them closed the gap the realization that this was one of the last tests they’d ever do suddenly crossed his mind and it felt like his heart dropped. Soon he'd have to face his father again, and fight for his future. His grip on the reins tightened, but before it could grab hold he forced himself to become aware of the time and place, air filling his lungs as he inhaled deeply to calm what little nerves he could.

“I’d h-hate to graduate with my arm in a c-cast…”

Kaien blinked, his eyes staring down into the black, shining hair of his horse “Uhm, yeah, sure…” he spoke, exhaling slowly before nodding in agreement. “We can start slow.” It would be timed, and the quicker they could complete the course the better, but this was just another way for Kaien to ensure his rank wasn’t as high as his father wanted it to be and to get that much closer to the Garrison, which had always been his plan. “Do you want to lead?” His tone lacked sincerity, doubt in his partner’s leadership unintentionally showing itself through his voice and his eyes. “I just - So you, you know, can set the pace.” he said, a whistle going off a mere second later leaving them alone at the front. « Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 03:22:36 AM by Kaien Engelbrecht »


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