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Author Topic: The Hardest Climb  (Read 871 times)

The Hardest Climb
« on: January 20, 2018, 11:41:40 PM »
For a long time, Ian had believed the impoverished streets of Krolva to be one of the most inhospitable places in Paradis.  A place where, even at home, nothing could be counted on and safety was not guaranteed.  More often than not, the cupboards were bare, the inhabitants of that shabby, crumbling house relying on the herbs sold to them by the apothecary, who promised they would ease the pangs of hunger if added to drinks or pitiful morsels of food.  It certainly seemed to work; Ian’s body had no longer ached as the weight slid from his bones.

He would gladly trade the tobacco in his pocket for a measly pouch of that remedy now. 

Too many fights, too many nights banned from the Mess Hall.  He scrounged outside like a starving dog or, if he was feeling bold, he would pick the lock to the instructors’ quarters and helped himself to the veritable banquet in their private pantry.  These thefts weren’t enough to maintain his weight, however, and twice in as many weeks he had been forced to turn the hem of his breeches in, keeping them fitted to the narrow slip of his waist.  Without a lick of fat on his lithe body, the cold cut to his core.  Even swaddled in his fur-lined winter coat, with a woollen scarf obscuring much of his face and gloves protecting his hands from the worst of the wind’s bite, he shivered perpetually.

Forget Krolva, this was the most inhospitable place in Paradis.  Somewhere so remote, so uncharted, that it bore no name.  It was simply the very north of Wall Maria, a rugged landscape of glaciers and sheer cliffs, of jagged mountains and treacherous winding paths.  Standing at the foot of their conquest, at the very beginning of their ascent, the wiry boy was forced to tilt his head back to regard the peak that towered high above.  He clenched his teeth to silence their chattering and crossed his arms over his chest, gloved hands tucked into his armpits, in an effort to retain more heat.  Already, the straps of his backpack - loaded with mountaineering equipment and rations that all but begged to be eaten - bit into his bony shoulders.

“Fuck this…” he growled under his breath, before turning to regard his teammates, two people among the very few he could confidently call his friends.  It was no accident that he had been placed with Rico and Nanaba, but he wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  Grey eyes picked over the girls in a manner that could be misconstrued as judgemental when, in reality, his close scrutiny was borne of concern.  This was going to be an unpleasant experience for all of them, he was quite sure, made worse by the insufferably competitive and aggressive cadets whose sole purpose seemed to be making the top ten, if only to secure their places within the comforts of the interior.

Signature by the wonderful SilverWings! <3

Re: The Hardest Climb
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 08:45:57 AM »
The winter air had a nasty a bite to it, one that was softened just slightly with the protection of her cocoon made of her winter gear.  Those chilly nights she had spent curled in a ball, waiting for the cart to come and whisk her away to the land of new beginnings, now suddenly didn't seem so cold. 

Standing a few steps behind Ian, Nanaba stared up at the mountain that loomed over them -intimidating them. The sight was both beautiful and monstrous all at the same time.  While it promised stunning views, it also promised treachery and possibly even death. It seemed a bit much to put on such inexperienced cadets, but yet, here they stood.  The three of them against the mountain.

For a moment, she lost herself as she questioned her ability to complete the task. "You a soldier? Don't make me laugh girl." Alan's voice, laced with amusement, rang in her ears- reminding her that he expected her to fail. "You will come crawling back to me when you realize your place in this world."  His words stung even worse now than they did back then. Would this be the breaking point that would send her, on hands and knees, back to him?

“Fuck this…”

His voice brought her back. Blinking - the motion sending a dusting of little flakes, which had clung to her lashes, fluttering down towards the ground - Nanaba looked away from the mountain and to Ian, whose grey eyes were filled with concern. Ian, a boy who in their short time they have been training to together, she has come to admire. Next to her stood, Rico, whose determination inspired Nanaba.  With them by her side, a feeling of safety and encouragement filled her.  With them,  Nanaba could conquer the mountain and show the others that she was just as capable of becoming a soldier for humanity as any other. 

Slipping gloved hands under the straps of her pack to temporarily relieve her muscles of the burden, Nanaba spoke to her teammates. "We should get moving. The sooner we get over the mountain, the soon we can thaw out by a fire."


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