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Author Topic: This is my home (Puffin)  (Read 166 times)

This is my home (Puffin)
« on: August 14, 2020, 08:02:30 PM »
 The journey to Wall Sina seemed to take far longer for Sylvia than it actually did. The pair left the training camp, taking a carriage to the nearest town then a ferry all the way to the interior. Sylvia packed only a few things and wore her military uniform to parade standard, hair washed, combed and braided into a long ponytail down her back. When she and Annie disembarked, they were met by a tall man in an expensive looking suit holding a sign which read Lady Charpentier and Company.
He led them to an expensive looking carriage, painted red and trimmed with gold with silver roses and grape vines painted all over. Two magnificent white horses were waiting at the front of the carriage, whilst a uniformed coachman sat atop, reins in hands. The door was opened and the pair boarded entering a luxurious interior with soft shining leather seats.

As they left the confines of the town, they past the fancy houses and homes of the other wealthy and elite, but these soon turned to fields, then vineyards. "These are just some of the grapes we grow for wine." She told Annie quietly in a voice that did not seem particularly pleased. Perhaps the knowledge that she grew fancy wines and ate luxury foods whilst others starved haunted her.
Slowly the view of fields was replaced with rolling hills, woodland boarded by a tall brick wall, suddenly they passed through a tall gate of brick and the dirt path was replaced with a long gravel drive. The grounds of the house were the rich lord's view of perfection, neat green lawns, rows of fancy flowers, the occasional tree, fountains of animals or dancing people, marble statues of mighty warriors, beautiful women and handsome men. The drive slowly inclined till they passed through another gate of intricate brass, with metal flowers woven into the bars. The wall was white stone, crenelated and with small towers located at each of the corners. It was designed to give the impression of defence but was clearly for show. There were armoured men in uniform, wearing black boots, white trousers with a gold stripe on the right leg, maroon jackets in-laced with gold thread, they wore gleaming steal breast plates with flowers of gold and brass, steel helmets with the same ornamentation as the breast plates save for a long black feather plume, each man carried a thin sword in a sheath at his side and carried a long musket trimmed with brass.

The courtyard held a massive fountain which they circled as they came to a halt at the front of house. Four of the armed guards stood by the entrance, along with a small army of servants, maids, butlers, cooks, gardeners... Yet the house itself would surely take the breath away of anyone unused to luxury and excess. It was a tall structure, five floor high, built from white stone and designed to look like a fairy tale castle crossed with a mansion. It possessed tall arch windows, vines snaked up it's sides in intricate patterns, the massive front doors were of a most beautiful oaken design with silver patterns of flowers and wine vases. Sylvia did not have time to explain the guards to Annie before a footman opened the door and brought steps out to make it easier for them to descend. A greeter called out. "Lady Charpentier and company." As if this were a signal, the four guardsmen stood at attention, their boots snapping together with a crunch.

Sylvia had insisted on carrying her bag as they walked into the house, passed the lines of staff with bowed their heads. She swallowed nervously, hating all of this attention, she just wanted to be inside and done with it.
Once the pair made it inside, the doors were closed behind them and she could hear the sounds of voices and footsteps as the staff returned to their duties. There were no staff present for the moment and Sylvia dropped her bag to the plush red carpeted floor and all but collapsed into an expensive looking arm chair, her cheeks were bright red with embaressment. They were in the lobby, paintings covered the walls, as well as an old fashion suit of armour. The walls panelled with dark wood. A series of closed doors led to other parts of the house. Sylvia spoke, her voice quiet. "Sorry Annie... I did not think they would insist on such a thing... This is my home." She explained, not meeting her friend's eyes as she stared at the carpet. "As for the guards... We have a lot of money, they drill regularly if you want to see them?" Sylvia had mentioned nothing about them previously, but given everything which occurred it had slipped her mind. "I.... I've never had a friend come round before... Anywhere you want to see in particular? My room? Your room? Bathroom? Library? Erm you can leave your bag here someone will come and take it to your room."  « Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 08:11:55 PM by Sylvia Charpentier »
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Re: This is my home (Puffin)
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2020, 02:28:10 PM »
It felt strange, travelling to Wall Sina legitimately.  Annie had been within its confines before, of course, under the cloak of darkness, her Titan form scaling the tall, wide barrier that kept the most noble and influential orders of people separated from the lesser dwellers of Wall Rose.  Stalking the illustrious cobblestone streets of the Interior, she always wore a guise of some sort; her features were striking, and she could not allow people to notice, to pay her any mind.  She had to be careful, especially as she began to stick her prominent nose in murky dealings, seeking out hidden truths.

This was different, however.

Neatly dressed in her Cadet Corps uniform, Annie sat primly at Sylvia’s side, sharing in occasional quiet, unpressured conversation.  If there was one thing she was grateful for, it was how comfortable the silence between her and the noble girl tended to be.  There was no expectation to speak for the sake of it.  Although she did not say so aloud, she enjoyed the ferry ride, slow as it was.  It was far gentler than crossing the sea, and there was something peaceful in watching the landscape glide past.  As they approached the dock, a pair of small children had waved enthusiastically, racing along the bank.  Annie had raised her hand calmly, in wordless greeting.  She almost smiled.

From there they were whisked away by a well-dressed man, the crawling ferry traded for an exquisitely decorated carriage, adorned with all the motifs of the Charpentier house.  It was pulled by white horses, snowy-coloured beasts commonly favoured by the nobility.  Annie supposed it was so they could demonstrate how clean the creatures were, how immaculately groomed, their confirmation testament to goodly, selective – expensive – breeding.

More countryside streamed past, albeit less smoothly.  Azure eyes peered through the carriage door window, picking out houses that looked like palaces, and vineyards that stretched as far as the eye could see.  All the trappings of the affluent and well-fed.  How much wine could one nation need?  Especially when people in Wall Rose were still going hungry.  Sylvia’s thoughts followed a similar track, judging by her sombre tone.

Then they arrived, passing through a gate that marked the border of the Charpentier estate.  The gardens contained therein were pristine, expertly planned and executed.  To explore those well-tended acres would be akin to wandering through a dream, with grass thick and soft as a carpet beneath their feet, the scent of honeysuckle and rose sweet in their noses.  During the golden hour, even a hard-faced mortal girl might feel like a sylph.

Annie was reminded of the fact that she could have found work in a lofty place such as this, instead of joining the Cadet Corps at Reiner’s insistence.  She still believed it would have proved vastly more fruitful, even if her days were spent preparing food or washing bed linens, even if she had to learn to tolerate being pawed at by unwelcome hands.  There would have been no decorative breastplate for her, no protective steel helm or feathered plume, her uniform instead one of dowdy shades of black and white; discreet, meant to go unseen, the shadowy corners of the noble house her sole domain.  Perhaps joining the Cadet Corps wasn’t so bad.

Lady Charpentier and company.

She was the ‘company’, of course.  The two girls emerged from the carriage, and were promptly greeted by a sea of employed bodies, and the towering white façade of the… house.  Such a plain and simple word hardly suited a structure so imposing and magnificent.  Annie squinted, the sunlight catching brightly on the ghostly stone.  It was almost a relief to mount the steps and disappear inside the building’s yawning maw, even if along the servant-lined corridor staff bowed their heads in deference as they – Sylvia – passed.  It made Annie feel a little queasy, reminding her of a day when she was small and frightened, of cheering, leering crowds.  Her hands had been clenched in her lap, as she sat sandwiched between Bertholdt and Marcel.  Today, she remained impassive, knowing the weight of all those eager gazes weighed solely on her highborn companion, the lady of these halls.

As they walked, Annie resisted the urge to stuff her hands deep into her pockets.  She was not so irreverent as that.  Still, she was glad when they at last found a measure of peace in a lavishly decorated room.  There, the cadet set her backpack down, letting it sink into the red carpet, and followed her friend’s lead; only she sat neatly, stiffly, her spine straight and knees pressed, on a chair built for beauty rather than comfort.

Sylvia’s face was flushed, her voice low, as though fearing they would be overheard.  Which they could easily be, in a house as grand and echoing and populated as this.  It didn’t feel like a home but, really, what did little Annie Leonhardt know about what a home should be?  Her wintry gaze trailed back to Sylvia, who in turn was staring stubbornly and embarrassedly at the floor.  The guards were a visual display of power and protection, meant to reassure the noble family, but paradoxically Annie felt there was something suffocating about them.  This was a very pretty gilt cage, and the steel-plated men were equally capable of keeping people in as out, if they were so inclined.  She wondered if Sylvia had a similar feeling, and if it had been part of what compelled her to join the military.

‌“I’d like that – a tour,” Annie answered agreeably, giving a small nod.  She spoke softly at the best of times but, again following Sylvia’s lead, she allowed her voice to drop even lower.  ‌“Of wherever you’d like to show me.”

It would feel strange to leave her bag in the knowledge that someone else would lift it, duty-bound to ferry it to whatever quarters she would be staying in.  In a distant, muted sort of way, Annie was excited.  To spend time with a girl whose company she quietly enjoyed, in opulence she would never see again in her lifetime.  Not even as an exalted and decorated Warrior of Marley.

‌“Your home is… something else.”  It was a simple observation, from one who had yet to make her mind up about how such overt extravagance made her feel.  Not that Annie believed her opinion mattered – she was here, first and foremost, to support a daughter bereft of both her parents.
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Re: This is my home (Puffin)
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2020, 10:16:30 PM »
 Sylvia was glad that Annie happened to be here, but there was a small part of her that cringed that Annie saw the decadent lifestyle which she had been raised. She knew however, dealing with all of this would be even worse alone.
She nodded at Annie's words, seeming to take heart in the presence of her friend and recovering some of her composure. She was a soldier after all, not some sulking teenager, the heiress of the Charpentier's. Sylvia straightened up on the chair, taking a few deep breaths before replying, her voice somewhat nearer to normal. "Of course, I wouldn't want you to get lost." Sylvia said, managing a smile. She meant it as a joke, however given the size of the place it might be easy for one to become lost.

She dipped her head at the compliment, feeling some warmth come into her cheeks. "Thank you... It was quite a shock to go from this to the barracks with all the other girls. But a good shock." With this she stood up, a small smile on her face. "I'll start with the key rooms on the ground floor before we go up." With this she opened one of the door, leading to a long hallway with vast windows on the right hand side, soft red carpet that their feet sank into and oak panelled walls, decorated with paintings and tapestries. There was another suit of armour as well as a statue of a bird.
Sylvia did not open an doors for a while, before finally stopping and opening one. It led into a room filled with decorative weapons and equipment. Some of it looked ancient, but all of it was impractical and ceremonial. "This was my father's favourite room... He liked to collect all manner of things."

She let Annie look for as long as she wanted before leading to another room, this one had tiled floors and walls. There were no windows, so it was lit by flickering candles. In it sat a large bathtub, the ceiling decorated with swirling roses. "Downstairs bathroom." She explained. "The chest contains towels and there are all manner of soaps and scents." Sylvia stopped realising perhaps Annie might not understand all of that. "You can add things to the water... Like flowers so that it and be extension you pick up the scent." She smiled at her. "There is a larger one upstairs." She added, quite enjoying talking about her home with a friend.

"Before we go upstairs, I can show you your room next, or would you prefer the library?" Sylvia tried to think of places and things which might interest Annie, there would be no point in showing her some of the rooms that might bore her or worse make her think poorly of Sylvia. She hoped her friend was not judging her because of how she had lived in the past, surrounded by wonders all but impossible for the many.
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