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Author Topic: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]  (Read 484 times)

All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« on: February 22, 2020, 01:29:44 AM »
Survey Corps Stables/Late Fall/Early Evening

It was cold enough - but the wind made it so much worse. Hugh was a big man and a few gusts had been enough to make him slightly misstep on his walk from the mess hall to the stable. He was one of the last ones to get his dinner. Hugh did not want to sit and eat with anyone in there. Instead, he tucked the bread, cheese, and meat into a box and headed back to the stables.

A few months back, he had set up a cot and small desk in a corner of the large building. Of course, he would clean up and change in the communal bathroom, but you could normally find Hugh in or around the stables or farrier shop. It was fine. There was normally a horse or two that needed special looking after. And Hugh had grown very fond of the little colony of cats that lived behind the stables.

He'd set up a few shelters for them - just boxes filled with straw (he'd add waxed cloth when the weather fully turned), and would feed them a few times a week. He'd also been able to grab and treat a few that had been sick or injured. High liked animals. They were honest in their silence and he just...knew how to handle them better than people.

Hanging his cloak on a hook near his desk, Hugh set the box down and took a few moments to check on the horses. There was a mare with a deep cut near her shoulder and Hugh made sure her stitches were still holding and the area was clean.

Settling back at his desk, Hugh opened the box and pulled out what he had grabbed from the mess hall. The bread and cheese would be his dinner. The meat - a large piece of pork, would be for the cats. He lit a few candles and set a kettle on to boil. He had bought a large sack of cheap dried meat and he'd mash some of it up to make a gravy to add to the meat. It was not the best meal for the cats - but it was the best Hugh could do.

While the water boiled. Hugh looked through some paperwork. Incident reports, a recruit needing a new horse, and as always - budgets. The SC operated on a tight budget and everything had to be accounted for.

The mixture of hot water, the now crushed dried meat, and overcooked pork did not smell the best, but the cats seemed happy as they gathered around Hugh. He dished the food into a few bowls he had set put behind the stables, near the shelters. It was still windy, but Hugh settled himself on an old chair near the back door and took a bite of his sandwich. It was bland, but food was food. A few of the younger cats carefully approached him and Hugh extended his hand slowly to pet them. He'd actually been able to find a few cats proper homes in the past and he hoped to do that with this little group of older kittens.

After a little while, Hugh heard some noise inside the stable and poked his head back in the door, "Yes?" he asked in his typically flat way.

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2020, 07:59:12 AM »
 Mia Kaster shivered from the biting cold, the wind eagerly seeking to plunder her small body of any warmth it might still possess. One of the more medically minded members of the Survey Corps, Mia's hair happened to be as white as snow, the result of extreme and significant trauma as well as stress.
She had survived something terrible whilst out on an expedition, having been the sole survivor of a nightmare event that amnesia successfully hid from her save in nightmare form.

Yet despite everything, she was still the same friendly, caring and gentle young woman many within the Survey Corps recalled. At the voice, Mia jumped whirling round to face Hubert Fraser, her blue eyes wide with surprise. "I..." She began, a cat held in her arms, looking somewhat annoyed at having it's fuss interrupted. The purring creature happened to be rather comforting. "Nothing I was just stroking the cat." Mia explained, deciding against saying that she had also been talking to it. Surely there could be nothing wrong with that, it just felt like admitting it would be embarrassing.

"If I am interrupting I can go?" Mia offered quietly, though from the glimmer in her eyes and the hopeful hint in her voice, it was clear she wished to stay here and keep stroking the cat who seemed to be returning to it's peaceful doze in the small woman's arms.

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2020, 06:30:18 PM »
"Nothing I was just stroking the cat."

Ah. One of the cats must have snuck past him as he was setting out the food. That was fine. The cats kept the rat and mouse population down and never bothered the horses.

Hugh peered over the top of his glasses at the girl for a moment. He recognized the girl from around though all the younger people sort of blurred together to him at this point.

"If I am interrupting I can go?"

Hugh ducked his head to fit through the stable's back door and shrugged, "Stay or go. I don't care."

Hugh made his way towards his workbench and grabbed a hoof pick. For a few moments, he silently went around and cleaned out the hooves of the horses that he had not done before dinner.

"I'm making tea," Hugh said as he tossed the pick back on the table. He gestured to the kettle still resting over the low burning candles and a box filled with cheap tea leaves. From a very high shelf, he took down two mugs and set them down, "You can make yourself a cup if you want."

There was no milk, but a grateful civilian had given Hugh a portion of sugar for helping with a sick horse a few weeks back. It was in a small box and Hugh set that on the table.

Hugh made his mug and settled back in his chair and looked at the girl. Mia...he thought her name was. He took a sip of the tea. Even with the sugar is was fairly bitter - but Hugh did not like overly sweet things.

"Is there a reason you're hanging out here..other than the cats?" Hugh finally asked, his voice still flat and dispassionate. Hugh did not really care, but there was no work left to do for the night so he might as well fill the silence for a little while before he went to bed.

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2020, 10:25:23 PM »
 Mia let out a sigh of relief at his response, he did not mind whether she stayed or left. That suited her fine. Besides there happened to be something comforting in the softly purring warm body of a cat.
She stroked the small furry animal, but her blue eyes tracked him as he worked on the horses. He must care for them all very much she thought to herself. The horses were one of the most vital, if not the most vital assets which the regiment possessed. Mia knew from bitter personal experience the value of a good and healthy horse.

"Er... Sure, thank you." She said, gently setting the cat down on the ground. It stalked off, tail in the air with that certain feline sense of calm and control which cats seemed to possess so readily.
She approached and picked up one of the mugs, pouring herself a cup of tea but decided against placing any sugar in the drink. Clasping her hands about the mug she enjoyed the soothing scent and warmth as it seeped into her body.

"No... It's just quieter here." Mia explained, pausing to take a sip of tea. "Plus the cats are always friendly to me and there are the horses." Her own horse was by far Mia's favourite however, often giving it an extra apple or a carrot whenever the time allowed. She owed the animal a great debt. "How has the day been?"

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2020, 03:00:39 AM »
"No... It's just quieter here."

Hugh had to agree with the younger girl, "That it is," he mumbled as he took a swig of his tea. He was fairly sure that least some of the quietness of the stable was due to him. Most people only talked to him if there was something going on with their horse - giving him a wide berth any other time. And that suited Hugh just fine. Hugh liked his alone time.

"Plus the cats are always friendly to me and there are the horses."

"The cats are friendly to anyone who gives them attention." Hugh's tone was matter-of-fact, "That one there is very friendly though." It was one of the cats Hugh was hoping to find a proper home for.

He gave the girl another look and shrugged, "Know anybody who wants a cat? All those these are good mousers." It was worth a shot asking.

Hugh finished his tea with a gulp and set the mug down on the table. The wind was really rattling now and he was willing to bet rain would soon follow. Hugh was lucky in the cooler months, the stable stayed pretty warm. And someone had given him a thick quilt for his cot.

He stood and stretched. Hugh's back hurt. So did his knees. By the Walls, he was only 33 and almost twenty years in the Corps was taking its toll. From another shelf, he pulled a large logbook and gently set it on the table. No need to spook the horses. He and the other veterinarians kept detailed notes on the horses - noting eating patters, general behavior, and if anything seemed amiss.

"How has the day been?"

He raised his eyes and stared at the girl. "It was a day. Same as yesterday and probably the same as tomorrow." Hugh thought for a moment, giving the girl another hard look, "Which horse is yours? Are they in here or in one of the other buildings?" There was a main stable and then a few smaller buildings to accommodate the number of horses.

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2020, 12:04:40 PM »
 Mia preferred the quiet to noisy or crowded places, though often the two came as an unfortunate set package. Plus animals were always soothing to be around, sometimes the simple act of stroking a cat or a horse was enough to reduce the build up of stress. Mia knew she had a lot of that, plus some terrible memories sealed away by her own mind within her skull. She did not know what was worse, knowing or discovering the truth about what happened.

"Nothing wrong with that... Yeah they seemed like a friendly cat." Mia said with a thin smile. She did not know if she wished to care for a pet, it was hard enough to take care of herself and the rest of the Regiment.
She shook her head sadly. "No I don't but I'll ask around and see." Maybe a couple of them might get adopted by a family or two or perhaps an enterprising merchant. After all mice and rats could easily ruin food, drink or clothing.

She sipped her tea, watching him with bright blue eyes. "I see..." The medic uncertain what else to say there. But perhaps working in the stables required a very set routine. "Spot, the one with the dappled grey legs." Mia answered, the horse had not been originally named it, but after some young children christened the mare it, the name stuck. Mia did not mind, she suspected the horse did not either, so long as Mia continued to sneak the odd apple or carrot to her. Mia owed the horse a great deal, it brought her home once before. 

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2020, 01:30:43 AM »
"Spot, the one with the dappled grey legs."

It took Hugh a moment - he did look after a lot of horses - but he was able to conjure a mental picture of the horse, "Ah. Yes. Okay. Good horse. You're lucky to have a horse that steady. Good gait."

Hugh went back to ignoring the girl while he thumbed through his logbook. He made a few notes here and there and scratched off a few older notes. Half his job seemed to be paperwork.

There was a small wood stove in the corner of the stable and Hugh walked over to carefully add a few pieces of wood to it. Hugh always put the fire out at night, but he wanted to warm his sleeping area just a little before he turned in.

"Still here?" he asked, glancing over the edge of his glasses at the girl. "You don't like your bunk? Or...." Most people did not stick around the stable for very long. Hugh was - he had to admit - curious at this point.

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2020, 07:14:16 PM »
 Mia nodded in agreement with him. She was a good horse, an excellent horse if she happened to be honest. The pair held a close bond, the sort of bond shared by those who survived something nobody else had. Nothing unites like shared horror. Whether the horse recalled the events that led to Mia returning alone, half starved and half mad, her hair turned white as snow, Mia guessed she would never know. It was unlikely Spot might develop the ability to talk.

She like the quiet the stable provided, away from the other Scouts, from people. She had not realised that they had been silent for a time till Hugh spoke to her again. "What? No... I..." Mia let out a small sigh. "I... I have trouble sleeping... Nightmares." Mia explained hoping it might be enough of an answer. She did not like to speak about what they were of. After all, no one wanted to hear, see or read that.

"How goes the work?" She inquired, trying to move the topic away from herself.

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2020, 10:08:35 PM »
"What? No... I...I... I have trouble sleeping... Nightmares."

Hugh sighed inwardly and deeply regretted asking the girl anything. He did not want to play counselor.  Hugh sometimes had trouble sleeping and he had plenty of nightmares. In his opinion - that was just part of being in the Corps. His nightmares were mostly about 3DM gear and things could go very very wrong.

Hugh was about to roll his eyes and go back to his ledger when the girl spoke again. "How goes the work?"

He raised a copper-colored eyebrow and shrugged, "It goes." He leaned back in his chair and gave Mia an appraising look over the rim of his glasses. "Nightmares are par for the course here. You need to find a better way of dealing with them - other than lurking around the stables at night." He kept his eyes on her face and sighed again, "Aren't you a medic? Can't you drink some special tea or something to make yourself sleep better?" A hard man...and not much for outward kindness - Hugh was not totally devoid of all compassion. "I read to help me sleep."

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2020, 10:27:45 PM »
 Mia was grateful when he decided to not question as to the nature of her nightmares. She supposed that everyone had their own ghosts, their own horrors haunting them. Their enemy of mankind held that power over their human prey, humans felt fear, Titans did not. Mia could only imagine the horrors held within her memory.

She nodded slowly at his mention of nightmares being par for the course and that she needed to find a better way of dealing with them. He was right, Mia could not simply run away from them. They would always be present, she needed to face them, she needed to find a way to deal with them. "Yes... You are right."

She avoided meeting his gaze, finding something immensely interesting about the floor. "I.. I've tried but... It's not something I prefer to do." The last thing she wanted was to be out of it because of a sleeping aid when the call to action came. "What do you read?" Mia asked, managing to look at him again. "I... I finished reading the History of the Walls."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2020, 02:38:12 AM »
"Yes... You are right."

Hugh shrugged. Honestly - as long as she did not make a habit of lurking around the stables - he did not care if and how she dealt with her problems. Everyone had issues. Especially in the Corps.

"I.. I've tried but... It's not something I prefer to do."

The tall man shrugged again, "Okay. But if you can't sleep and you're too tired and you make a mistake and that costs someone their life...what good are you?" He gave her a hard look and crossed his arms over his chest. "You need to take care of yourself to take care of others." His tone was deadpan and almost bored.

"What do you read? I... I finished reading the History of the Walls."

"That sounds...yeah not interested," Hugh said as he stood back up and walked over to a shelf. His back was to Mia for a few moments before he turned around and tossed a large book on the table near here, "Mostly books on horses, medical books, whatever. That's a Study of Horsemanship. It's interesting if you like horses but it's dry...so it might just put you right to sleep."

Speaking of sleep, Hugh was getting tired and wanted to turn in soon. He pulled a large quilt from under his cot and draped it across his thin mattress. It was going to be a very cold night indeed. He turned the oil lamp down and dumped the two mugs in a barrel filled with water.

"Well kid - take a lit candle and go back to your bunk. I'm old and I need to go to sleep."

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2020, 03:42:11 PM »
 It was hard to argue with his logic, annoyingly and frustratingly his reason was sound. He made good and fair points. "Yes... I know." Of course knowing did not make it any easier. There were reasons as to why she could not sleep. It was not a simple matter of being a younger soldier who wanted to be awake all night long.
But it was hard to admit the real reasons for being up, the nightmares, the sense of dread and terror which filled her at the very thought of that dream.

"It's quite interesting actually." Mia Kaster said somewhat defensively, slightly stung by his instant dismissal of the book. But to each their own. She watched him as he picked out a book, cautiously Mia picked it up. "Thanks." Mia said quietly, somewhat stunned by his surprise offer of a book to read.

"You're not that old." Mia protested as she headed towards one of the candles. "Goodnight."

Re: All Creatures Great and Small [SC Stables/Open]
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2020, 05:16:19 PM »
"It's quite interesting actually."

"Never really cared about history," Hugh said with a shrug. He'd truly had his fill of conversation at this point and wanted to get to bed. Save for a few people, nobody ever talked to him this long...and he really did prefer it that way for the most part.

"You're not that old."

"Just you wait until your my age," Hugh said with a small laugh. He was only in his early 30d but like so many members of the Corps, he was aged beyond his years. Body and soul both broken in their own ways.


Hugh grunted and watched Mia go out the door. Walking to the window, he watched her make her way through the dark towards her bunk. Once he saw her go inside, he quickly washed the mugs out and set them back the shelf. He stripped down to his smalls and blew out the candles. Climbing under the thick quilt, Hugh listened to the breathing and other soft noises the horses made as they rested. Soon enough, Hugh had joined them in slumber.

OOC: I'm calling this wrapped on my end! Thanks so much for responding! This was the first full thread I've done with Hugh and I appreciate you!

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."


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