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Author Topic: [EVENT] Nothing Burns Like the Cold  (Read 692 times)

Nothing Burns Like the Cold
« on: October 17, 2019, 10:16:42 PM »
[open to up to 4 cadets, December 845 - Winter Aptitude Test ]

CURRENT TEAM and loose posting order
Dalton | Mara | Shay | Claude

It helped no-one, to toss and turn and fret, but Dalton had been unable to help it.  He lay awake in the unfamiliar cabin, the mattress hard and stale beneath him, his green eyes fixed on the bunk above.  Worry gnawed at him, anxiety causing his heart to race.  It seemed an impossible feat, to ascend into the mountains and follow the treacherous trails.  There would be wolves, he knew, and bears that had failed to fatten up for their winter slumber; they would be desperate and starving, stalking the barren landscape.  Then there were the entities that they could not see, but that Dalton believed in all the same.  Shades and ghosts, memories of sorrows long past still haunting the world of the living.

Needless to say, the boy from Trost had not slept well.  And now, awaiting the signal that he and his teammates could begin their arduous trek, he shifted his weight nervously, patting down his body, checking his pockets, mentally inventorying everything in his backpack.  Dalton had packed and repacked twice, and had even written a list of everything they might need.  Deep down he knew they were prepared – or as prepared as they possibly could be.  They had practised their survival skills, they had learned to care for and work with the horses, their bodies had been strengthened by the sheer physicality of their training.

The signal was given and they moved off, snow crunching beneath their boots.  Everything was white or grey, for miles around.  It would be all too easy to become snow-blind or disorientated.  Despite being wrapped up in his fur-trimmed coat, a thick woollen scarf draped around his neck, Dalton shivered.  Suddenly, the uncomfortable bunk at basecamp seemed like bliss, far preferable to the bedrolls and tent they would bed down in tonight.

“H-How are you feeling?” Dalton asked quietly, turning to his comrades, his expression one of concern. « Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 06:09:25 AM by Dalton Lightbody »

Re: Nothing Burns Like the Cold
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2019, 10:48:25 PM »
When Mara rolled from her bed that morning, she had felt as though no sleep had come to her at all. While she was certain that at some point she'd closed her eyes and drifted off, her body felt as fatigued as if she'd paced the cabin all night long. This aptitude test was going to put a lot of strain on their bodies and minds, and it felt like she'd wasted the only chance to get a good rest. After preparing herself for the start of their journey, she had unwrapped the ribbon from her hands, as she often did when stressed, and tied up her hair.

Quiet when joining her team, and waiting for the signal, worries plagued her mind. She knew little about her teammates, and she would have preferred to be with her brother, but she would do her best with the hand she'd been dealt. It looked like a strong enough team, but she wasn't sure how dangerous this test would be. Couldn't they freeze to death? Starve? End up mauled by bears or trapped by wolves? So many things could go wrong... Or so some of her dorm-mates had said last night.

She was optimistic that they'd be able to avoid any major danger, because she didn't think the instructors would let them die. They were around, after all.

As they began their trek, the brunette kept quiet, running through things she could say that might somehow make them feel good about their journey, or somehow provide energy that the cold was threatening to take. The girl trailed behind, watching the snow slide beneath her boots and tried to recall every bit of survival training they'd been provided with. She was a merchant's daughter, not a survivalist. Though at least she could easily recall every bit of equipment with them. Yes, her team would surely be glad they had somebody on inventory, she rolled her eyes.

"I'm... feeling optimistic about our chances, it'll help better than being pessimistic, as long as we have a healthy dose of realism," she piped up, "because if we go into this expecting trouble, we're more likely to give up." Her tone was light, somewhat forcing the cheery tone, and her brown eyes flicked to Dalton, wondering if that was what he'd want to hear. Better to think about the warmth that would await them than fret about how blistering cold it was now...

Re: Nothing Burns Like the Cold
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2019, 01:05:13 AM »
Shay awoke from his slumber with the sunrise in his eyes, causing him to blink multiple times and turn on to his side. He groaned and stepped down from the bunk, having a brief look around at the other cadets he was sharing the cabin with. Unlike him, they all seemed to be very tired, as if they hadn’t gotten a lick of sleep throughout the night.

The redhead dressed in the very warm clothes he’d packed, and got entirely prepared, having a few minutes to spare while he waited for the signal. He continued to observe the others as they got prepared, and finally escaped the confines of the small, barely habitable cabin.

The sound of the snow and ice helped keep Shay calm and collected, reserving to silence while the other two members of his group began to converse. He kept his eyes peeled, aware of the dangerous predators that lurked about in the area. Shay had been through too much to be mailed to death by a pack of wolves, or a raging bear.

After the girl finished speaking, Shay decided to chime in on the conversation. "She’s right. Pessimism is just realism and laziness blended. As long as we stay on guard we’re fine. I’m sure I can outrun you anyway.” He made the sinister joke at her expense, a very small smirk crawling onto his lips.

He reached around his back to adjust the rifle slung over his shoulder. "Only joking. Though I could" Shay clarified, picking up the pace and walking in stride with his cohorts.

I just want to go home...

Re: Nothing Burns Like the Cold
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2019, 03:15:31 AM »
Claude had never been the most patient of people - standing there in the freezing cold, shivering under the frosty breeze, she felt every ounce of patience ebb from her as the warmth did. Still, she did not complain, certain that, were she to, the instructors would simply delay them further out of spite. Or to teach you a lesson. She preferred the quiet anyway, and as they set off she was glad for the peace.

When they did begin to speak, she drowned out their voices, trudging forwards with a determined shuffle of her boots. The snow was thick but possible to get through. At least until she hit a thicker wall of it, bunched up and packed in, resisting against her foot. She stepped up, careful, then decided to move around it instead, finding her way back to follow behind the others. Their trails in the snow shifted a path for her, and she was glad for it.

At last, she spoke, glancing at Shay. "Running wouldn't get you very far anyway," she said, with a smile. She could appreciate the sense of humour. A sort of morbid joke. Dangers lurked, and freezing to death couldn't be ruled out, but they had to stick together.

Looking ahead, she wondered how they were going to do. Though she wasn't pessimistic, she still knew plenty of dangers lurked ahead. "We have to find a way to cross the river, don't we?" she asked, in the sort of tone that suggested she did know; Claude sought for them to start thinking about how to actually progress. Optimism didn't build bridges. Realism suggested there weren't any.

Re: Nothing Burns Like the Cold
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2020, 10:13:08 PM »
Mara could be trusted to be sunny, warmth never failing to lace her words.  Dalton smiled as he walked, snowflakes clinging to his hair.  He liked that, the idea that positive thinking could steel their resolve, make them less inclined to give up.  He found himself agreeing inwardly with Shay’s words - until something jarred. 

I’m sure I can outrun you anyway.

“Eh?!” Dalton’s eyes widened, obviously surprised, a faint glint of disapproval flashing in his emerald shades.  It was a joke - obviously - but while comedy would normally bolster camaraderie and morale, this one was in poor taste.  If one of his younger siblings jested about such a morbid thing, they would be gently chided.  And running was the worst thing that could be done, right?  Didn’t that encourage predators to give chase?  Dalton might have asked, except it was a null point.  Shay was only joking, after all, and Claude quietly fed into the wicked humour.  Besides, too many words buzzed on his tongue, so many that he hadn’t a hope of getting them past his teeth.

He let it go, casting a glance Mara’s way, silently hoping the exchange had done nothing to dampen her cheeriness.  Claude’s question drew his attention, and he was glad of the new line of conversation.  Adjusting the straps of his backpack, he took a moment to shape his sentence in his mind before sounding it out.  He could swear the cold weather made his stammer worse.

“Y-Yeah, it’s… it’s supposed to c-c-cut right across our path…” Dalton answered quietly.  He discreetly glanced around their group, checking to see if anyone was navigating.  It didn’t appear so.  He resisted the pressure to take up the task, and pull his compass from his pocket, not trusting himself to orienteer correctly.  Lack of confidence also kept him from making any suggestions as to how they would cross the river, whenever they came to it.

Re: Nothing Burns Like the Cold
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2020, 01:26:53 AM »
She didn't get the joke, nor did she understand how morbid it was; Mara started off smiling before hearing Dalton's reaction. The smile wiped from her face and the poor girl just looked confused. A little uncomfortably, she set about warming her hands by rubbing them together, causing friction with her gloves until the fabric felt a little less like death's icy fingers prodding at her skin.

"A river means water, and fish," she said, again a little chirpily, but definitely more forced now. "We could catch some while we try and find a way to cross it... then we make sure that we have enough food, or we can use it as bait if we come across a bear or something." She'd read that bears ate fish. She didn't know how many fish would be about in this frigid weather, but something was better than nothing.

Mara looked Shay and Claude's ways, almost as though to check that they approved the idea. Or at least considered it... They were probably better off than her with figuring things out. Not that she really knew. It was just a small suspicion.


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