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7th July: Come along by horse

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7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:27 pm

The ten hussars of the 15th Light dragoon (Hussar) regiment had gathered under the command of the young cornett Andrew Atkins. This was a stiff individual, unlike the more popular Burlingame, and some murmurs had been exchanged before his arrival. But the troopers could not choose who would take them on this scouting mission. Burlingame was presently occupied, lieutenant Henderson seemed to have decided, that he needed his services and perhaps to instruct him in what ways he should have done his job differently. In short, they were stuck with Atkins and could look forward to a dull morning. It wasn't that he was an unpleasant lad. He could be quite friendly and bearable, he was only at times overzealous. When off duty, he may have kept a little distance from the lads, but it was a far cry from this being because he believed himself superior over them.

On the positive side, they had been informed that another officer would be joining them. This man, would not only be superior to Cornett Atkins, but also be.. what they considered, a man of army, that was not really an army man or soldier. Willoughby had heard some comments on the that but refrained from speaking himself.

They had gathered early, been set into a line, and now waited, the animals thumping or digging into the ground with their hooves impatiently. The Cornett had told them to be quiet, wanting to make the best impression infront of the other officer. Of course, just overzealous to do right.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:26 pm

The officer arrived in a fairly non-spectacular manner. Although his mount, an Arabian mare, was certainly worth more then one look, she wasn't too big and was well controlled, and in his understated blue coat and the somber bicorn did nothing to draw attention to him either as he appeared with a quiet "Good morning!" from between the tents.

Much more spectacular was the appearance of the two riflemen who were to accompany him: One was seated atop a large bay gelding that had until two weeks ago been in the possession of one of General Hill's ADCs, before an encounter with a cannonball had forced him to return to England. The young rifleman seemed mightily proud, and was able to ride after a fashion, although he seemed only just to learn and was still much depended on the goodwill of his mount. The other one was mounted even more splendidly on the most impressive horse of the trio, a gigantic black stallion, and he was wholly depended on it.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:30 am

Pye had been thrilled when told that m'lord , captain Torrington made the decision that he was in need of both Zachary as well as his usual company in the form of the young batman and Pye's friend Freddie. He was really happy that he could finally leave the camp at a time when they did not march somewhere. He was looking forward to it, after all he was going there with his friend, captain Torrington was a pleasant man and even the idea of hussars, that would be coming along did not deter him.

Until, he realised or rather saw his means of transportation. He would have much preferred walking. He would have even sacrificed himself to run as long as his legs would take him, to not ride on top of a horse. However he could not bring himself to say that and perhaps jeapardise his place in the expedition.

When learning thus, that the horse he was supposed to ride, liked apples, the young rifleman made certain that there were plenty of them stolen, collected in his breadbag and brought to the horse. Some were picked of course, where found. But the rest, the hussars could find themselves missing them.

He had no ill conscience about that. It was all for the benefit of the horse not eating him, but enjoying the food he brought him. He wondered if Torrington had wanted to have a go at him when giving him the tallest horse of the bunch, a horse that looked bloody gigantic. After the initial greetings though, he managed to somehow scramble into his mount's saddle. He hoped his bribe would work! He also hoped the stallion would just follow the other two and not have ideas of his own, which would involve bolting across the dirt and stone, never to be seen again.

He was still fairly pale when they reached the Hussars, though he tried now to sit up straight if only to keep some semblance of dignity in front of the mounted soldiers. He was even holding the reins, which however he did in a manner copied from Torrington. There was no doubt that it was the horse that was deciding on their direction and not his rider, but surprisingly all was going well so far.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:02 am

The engineer guided his horse through the others until he had reached the officer at the front, murmuring greetings to those of the hussars he knew, and sparing a small rueful grin and an imploring glance, couple with a slight nod towards his two assistants, for Willoughby.


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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:11 am

Willoughby smiled back. He did not move towards the little group to greet them, if only because it might have ruined the image Atkins wished to present to the captain. It was the cornet thus, that turned to greet Torrington verbally, barking an order for his own group of cavalry.The latter lifted their sabres in salute to the captain, dropped them to the side and then in a final swift movement returned them to their scabbards.

"We are ready if you are, captain." Atkins spoke. "I am cornet Atkins, and this is the 15-ieth at your service." He just caught a light nod and a grin that came from Willoughby and was directed to the captain. Ready to apologise for the cheek one of his troopers had dared do, he opened his mouth to speak again.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:15 am

Edward held out a hand.

"Captain Torrington, Royal Engineers. A very impressive demonstration, Mr. Atkins. We are quite ready. I believe you have been told already where I wish to go?"

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:21 am

"Certainly, sir." The youth had needed a moment to regroup. The scold and apology he meant to say, went unspoken. He gazed at the two boys that would accompany them. Neither looked, to Atkins, as one that would be all that skilled on the horse. Of course the one on the taller horse was the source of the greatest doubt.

"..Sir...excuse me for being.. direct but.... are they coming with us as well?" He looked quite sceptical. Willoughby waited for the command, as did the remaining nine troopers, though they were eagerly eyeing the odd entourage. The battle against laughing, or commenting on the two lads, or in turn whispering an opinion of the 'officer', was hard won.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:28 am

Edward shrugged ruefully.

"Yes, they are ... while they are not too good on horseback yet, they are quite skilled at surveying. And they would certainly profit from riding with real cavalry and observing there. I'm afraid a rifle unit is not the best place to aquire these skills."

Freddie, who had already had a few lessons from Mylord himself and was by now confident enough that he at least not would involuntarily hurt or upset the horse, tried to sit a bit straigher in the saddle and look more proper, but if any of the hussars would glare at him, he was quite likely to shrink back into his slouchy hiding-on-horseback stance.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:49 am

"Of course. Sir. No better place." Atkins , still rather sceptical, accepted these two as their new 'baggage' that needed watching and ushering through the thick and thin. The lad on the slightly shorter horse looked as though he was atleast not seated on the horse for his first time, but it would be fun to see if he would last in the saddle for long in that position.

The order had been given to the men to start off, after they had taken the position of a column in pairs. Two pairs were to ride ahead of them, then the two officers, each of the riflemen was to get a hussar to ride alongside with, the last pair bringing up the rear. Atkins glanced at Torrington to see, whether the officer would agree to such an order. He did not trust the riflemen enough to allow them anywhere in the front. The way he felt, that they would handle their horses, it was already dangerous that they rode behind the officers. Willoughby was ordered alongside Freddie, while Pye's company was Kenley.

"They will serve as our scouts." He explained. "..should we encounter the enemy, we will have ample warning." He spoke with confidence. "Just safety precautions, of course.. I am certain we shall keep you safe, captain."

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:03 am

Edward's eyebrow slightly twitched, but he replied gravely:

"I'm sure, Mr. Atkins, that I will be as safe as I can reasonably be with you."

He did not comment on the dispossition of the men, although he would have preferred to ride besides Pye, giving him perhaps a few pointers until he could be sure the rifleman could manage. But politeness demanded that he staid with Atkins for the time being, and he could only hope and pray that Willoughby would be willing to keep an eye on the two lads, and that Trueno's good manners would not be upset by some other horse.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:17 am

Pye tried to keep up the straight posture, while his hands held onto reins as if feeling that if he released them Trueno might run off. He petted the animal with his hands too, though awkwardly now hoping he will start in time with the rest. Atleast this time they were not running and he would not be thrown about on his back untill every inch of him would hurt, and more waist done.

"...Freddie.." He whispered and then he was quiet again. "Trueno.. please go. "He was even quieter when he spoke to his horse.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:23 am

Willoughby leaned forward a little. "Go." He paused and remembering what he had heard Torrington do added a soft. "Vaya!" Should this have not worked, of course, a light tap with the whip would be next. Something that was not enough to startle the horse, and far from wanting him to reel back, kick or bolt but only to have him move.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:13 am

The big stalion flicked his ears, but he was too well trained to respond to commands not from his rider or leader, and remained standing. When he saw the other horses (including the frisky little mare that belonged to 'his' herd) move away, he tossed his head a bit, though, as if he wanted to ask whether they shouldn't follow them.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:26 am

Having himself and Freddie behind Pye and Kenley Willoughby could not proceed either and Herrero had needed to be tugged or else the horse would have bit Trueno right on his rump. "Vaya.." He said to Pye. "Tell him that and he should move." He hoped. He still had the whip ready for a tap, should Trueno be less than willing to cooperate.

And if that did not help either, he would have to call for Torrington to tell his horse to move already because he was halting half of the expedition. Already The two in the back began grumbling about grasshoppers and how they should not have been put on a horse because there was no place for them there!

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Zachary Pye on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:28 am

Pye looked uncertainly at the young Hussar, but knew him well enough by now to trust him. With a quick nod he uttered a soft. "Vaya." Then another, louder. "Vaya trueno. Go.. vaya.. vaya!" He bit his lip. He was feeling more and more embarrassed by the moment. The blasted beast better move with these orders or.. or Trueno will get no more apples until he does!

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:43 am

The horse, who was very willing to go and had only waited to be ordered to do so, immediately stepped forward, with long steps closing the distance again. He shook his big head a bit, as if he was wondering what had taken the human so long.

Freddie smiled apologetically at Willoughby.

"Zach has not rided before. But Mylord need..s two to help him, and says that he trusts Zach with his instruments. He also says that ..."

He screwed up his face in concentration, then continued in a quite reckognizable imitation of the soft, slightly amused drawl his master often used when he was amongst friends and family:

"If ten hussars can't keep him in the saddle, we can still glue him into it and lead Trueno along!"

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:06 am

Willoughby looked relieved that Trueno obeyed the moment Pye gave him an order and that he was now keeping at a right pace with the rest. He would offer a few bits of advice and he would ask Kenley to do so as well. Infact he called to the man, riding alongside with Pye."..tell him how to use his legs, will you.. and reins.. not to pull too much, just let the horse some space for his head. He's not been riding long. " He paused as Kenley gazed back. "He's your responsibility, so you better not loose him." Which made the young lad scowl and mutter something under his breath.

"Watch it.." Willoughbly raised his voice briefly, but grew more quiet again when Cornet Atkins glanced at them in warning. He waited for the cornet to look away again before he turned to Freddie.

"Thank you for the warning. You do seem to have more of a grip on the reins. You don't look any more like a hussar though either. " He arched a brow questionably then chuckled. "...You might yet need to have him bound in that saddle. He looks ready to fall the moment we need to go faster than walk!"

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:35 am

"Trueno won't let him fall!" Freddie declared with somewhat unwonted confidence. His own horse, still a bit sleepy, seemed quite willing to walk with the others and gave him little trouble so far, which in turn helped to give him confidence.

"Mylord showed me. He says when we get to England I must know how to ride, because I will often have to ride there. He likes riding very much!"

Freddie had no idea that he was talking to anybody else but another simple soldier who had made it into Torrington's happy band of surveyers, otherwise he would never have spoken so freely. But his English was not good enough to realize any difference - apart perhaps from the fact that he found it easier to understand Willoughby.

---------

When Atkins turned, Edward looked back as well, although with not more than a brief turn of the head to assure himself that both his charges were still in the saddle. When the cornet turned back again, he asked politely:

"Mr. Atkins, are you by any chance related to the Atkins family from Herfortshire?"

He had no idea whether such a family existed, but he had a feeling that the young cornet would do more harm than good with his zealous attention to his men at the moment, and had opted for a classic conversational gambit.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:47 am

"You will return with him then?" Willoughby smiled. "I suppose when quality is found, it is wise to hold onto it." Clearly Willoughby had known the services that Freddie gave lord Torrington, and how eager the lad was to do everything fast and efficient. Certainly not like a batman who would have dawdled and been less than adequate.

"If you should need any help with the riding and its technique, you can ask me and should I be able to, I will certainly try to be of best assistance. Alright?" He perhaps was merely a trooper at present, but he could not bring himself to attempt the biting at the language to make it sound less than he was. "And, if Trueno is given a wrong order by Pye, I will make sure we do not pick pieces of him." he chuckled, thinking of pie rather than Pye at that moment.

-

Atkins shook his head. "I'm afraid I cannot confirm any relation to the Atkins of Herfordshire, nor of having a knowledge of any relation in that area." He spoke politely, but indeed now more distracted by Torrington. They had passed the last lines of defense of the British and were now in hostile territory.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:02 pm

Edward himself kept an eye on the landscape, but he did not think that appearing to stare at it that distrustfully was in any way helping morals. He hadn't expected such a convoluted answer, however, and percieved a certain difficulty in keeping up polite and untaxing smalltalk if Atkins meant to continue answering in this style.

Moving to a topic perhaps more likely to get Atkins to answer in a more natural manner, he inquired:

"Do you expect French in this region? Or is it the locals you expect trouble from?"

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:08 pm

Atkins considered the question, debating whether he could give another neutral answer. To a different officer perhaps. "Here, sir? With luck we will only meet the locals. Could buy a few provisions from them, should we be in luck. Milk, have you not bought any in such manner before, sir?" He hesitated, perhaps thinking that he had said too much.

"I keep the men on guard, and on a..they will not stray too far unless we order them to." He smiled confidently. "..well, the locals are far from troubling.. but if we meet the French, I can assure you, you will be more than safe with us." He glanced at the two riflemen. "It is them that I am concerned about... neither of them can ride well enough to run from the French.. and,.... are these your mounts?"

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Friedrich Rottländer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:24 pm

Freddie beamed.

"I will! Mylord says he wouldn't want to miss my in-jen-oo-ity!"

He stumbled a bit over the last word. Selfconsciously, he padded his mount's neck and smiled shyly at Willoughby.

"If you help me, I will be very ... dankbar. Thank you. I will thank you. Very much."
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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:38 pm

"Gladly." Willoughby answered. "We don't want to miss you." He said without any underlying sarcasm. He studied the youth for a few moments then nodded.

"Lean back a bit more. Most riders will fall by being pulled over the head of the horse and leaning forward too much will make that much more likely to happen. Find balance on the horse.. move with him. Lower part of your body that is.." He shifted in his seat. "We'll do only a little now, alright? When we return to camp, you can come around and we can do some proper learning undistrubed by any possibility of an enemy lurking in the bush." He winked.

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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:24 am

"They are riflemen! Neither of them is likely to run from the French", Edward replied with slight asperity.

"Yes, they are my mounts. I could hardly risk anybody else's."

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Story !  God bless you !  I have none to tell, Sir.
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Edward Torrington
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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

Post  Friedrich Rottländer on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:40 am

Freddie immediately tried to put Willoughby's advise into practice, and did fairly well with it. He had a naturally good seat, with good balance, and gentle hands, and it was only his own nervous energy that stood between becoming a decent rider.

"Zach will learn too!", he proclaimed confidently. "It is only that he is afraid of horses, and has not rided before. But Trueno will not let him fall. Not after the apples. And he never ..."

He did not know 'get spooked' or something similar, so had to act it out as best as he could. Since he also moved his feet for it, the big hunter tossed his head irritably.
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Friedrich Rottländer
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Re: 7th July: Come along by horse

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