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Horseless horseman hampered

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Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:15 pm

Morning, day, evening and night. A repetitive cycle that hasn't changed his surroundings by much, but the length that he could cross in a day. A limp, his constant companion and reminder that he was not yet six feet under, but struggling, step by an uneven step, to continue in hopes of finding not the scouts of the enemy, but friends in the ranks. He touched his brow carefully, wiping away the sweat which has gathered in his efforts. A low branch forced him to duck, or take a route less straight. He wondered if his own had been in a circle instead of a straight line. He calmed himself with a swift glance to his left. Keep it to your left.. always on your left...and you'll be sure to head in the right direction.

His uniform had shown signs of wear, tattered and frayed on the bushes that he had passed through, mattled with mudd. He's been shivering, dead cold not a little while ago, with the rain pouring from the heavens as if God has forgotten to turn the tap of his tub. The pelice had lost some of it's splendour but kept him warm when dry, the furred lining a comfort in this hostile environment.


Just the other day he was able to find himself dinner in form of a a fuzzy, quickfooted rabbit. With the luck on his side, he's atleast not remained hungry. Though he hoped that it would not last long, till the path would have spots of familiar red and he would be able to hear another word of his own tongue.

The events that lead to his present predicament were still an unpleasant blurr. His poor horse dead where he was forced to leave it. It still brought sadness to the youth's eyes solely thinking of his bright, sprited animal no longer neighing, no longer galloping with the wind in his hair.

He paused against a trunk breathing in sharply. Was he close? Far? He slid along the bark, and sat himself on a large, ancient root of the same tree. He has reached to his boot and slowly he tested its sides. Across to the ankle and winced again, frowning. No better, and the self induced march was not doing it any favours either.
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Timothy Willoughby
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:40 pm

His chosen route away from Lisbon took him around the marching army, well out of range of even the most out-flung scouts. For the first day and a half, his pace alternated between a strong, steady jog and a brisk walk, with regular breaks for rest. Unlike the marching soldiers, he did not stop for the entire night but rather only a handful of hours at a time. By the second night and the rainfall, Calderón was well into the countryside, feeling completely at home in the surroundings.

Now he was loping easily along, his course shifted just enough to bring him a touch closer to the road he knew the army to be travelling on. Before too many more days passed, Calderón hoped to at least glimpse the great body of men before veering away from it again. But, he realised suddenly, he was about to be confronted with a problem. There was a man - no, perhaps more like a boy - stumbling over the ground. The uniform was that of a hussar, though it had been poorly treated of late if the tatters and stains were any sign.

Calderón slowed his pace and made sure to hold both hands out, palms open, as he approached the cavalryman. He was an Englishman, but why was he so removed from the main column, or even his troop? More importantly, where was his horse? The scout stopped several yards from the dazed-looking hussar and said, "Friend" in English by way of greeting. Whoever the poor fellow was, he needed to be back with the rest of the army.

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:52 pm

With what seemed like years, even if they have been perhaps but days, of waiting for the first English word to greet him, it had come at last. He gazed up to the figure and halted, leaning heavily against the make shift crutch that was but a single large and straight piece of wood tucked under his arm. He could have tried to walk without it, but to ease the pressure from his leg was of foremost importance and thus the wooden stick stayed. His eyes searched the man's appearance, smallish in stature with the garments not of a good ol' redcoat, nor of others that would please and calm his mind.

He slipped the wooden pole from under his arm, as if to mask his disadvantage before this peculiar creature. Was he truly a friend or were his eyes spotting the enemy playing the card? As honourless as would be the practice the war made thieves of most well named men.

"...Who.."He was surprised to find, how dry his throat had felt, how odd the word on his tongue. And mused he had not to think it such a long time that he was walking."...are you?" A name would help as little as the sight of this lad. A lie easily given perhaps, or even if a fair name, what information would this give him?

He held his hand to the crooked sabre, resting his fingers against its hilt. He did not draw it though, not yet. He struggled to keep his balance to one leg only, and so his weight, the pressure on the other turning it aflame with pain.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:00 pm

The poor lad. Calderón couldn't help a twinge of sympathy for the hussar. Travelling with a roughly-fashioned crutch couldn't be pleasant at all. He held out his hands, still with palms open, lest the hussar lose his balance somehow.

"I am José," he replied, noting that the hussar had moved one hand toward his sabre. Rightfully suspicious, this one. "Friend," Calderón repeated and did not advance another step. Not until it was clear he had no hostile intentions

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:08 pm

The name, as he suspected, would have told him little. He could as well have been working as ally and as a member of the enemy, spying at the flanks of the British troops. Gathering information as had those scouts, to return carrying such valuable bits. "..Friend.."He spoke. His eyes showed clear that he had wished it to be the truth. If only that he could ease his burden, retake the crutch with it's earlier purpose and believe he may have found a guide, a man that could bring him to his own.

He made a step forward, a flash of pain replacing other emotions that harboured themselves on his face. He straightened again, careful, suspicious and tired. "..What.. is your purpose here..?" A vain question, which again could have been answered in so many ways. Yet what was he left with? He could not run, nor fight for long. His hand slackened upon the sabre's hilt only slightly.

He wished he could ask, ask that quiestion that gnawed at his mind and had been his goal for the past few. "... I'll..have this sabre through you if any of it is a lie...if its the last thing that I am able to do.."He was giving in to the teptation to trust, a weak threat , a show of bravado that his appearance strongly negated.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:16 pm

Were the circumstances not so poor, Calderón might have grinned. The hussar had pluck and that was something he could respect. "I am following your army. They leave such valuable trinkets when they move; canteens, cups, pans..."

But that was not anything the hussar honestly cared to hear, of course. Though Calderón knew well enough the boy would relay such information to whomever received them in the column, which would only help Calderón's own purposes. The scout gestured with his opened hands, indicating that the hussar should sit. "Sit, sit," he urged. "You must rest."

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:22 pm

It was not the scavenger's deeds that he cared about, but the prospect of this man knowing where they were had been a pleasant side effect. His face cleared for a moment, and relief was so genuine that it would have melted a cold man's heart. It had made him seem younger under all that dirt and filth, not aged by the stress of his solitary voyage.

While the emotion has left his face, the demanour did differentiate compared to that of just a moment ago. "...They are not far?" His hand moved from his sabre and dropped to his side. Another rush of relief followed as the weight has been fully removed from his injured leg. He sat, albeit clumsily.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:28 pm

Calderón bobbed his head eagerly. "Three miles distant, in that way," he said and pointed. There was little hope of getting the hussar to the column in his present state, however. At least not without help. He was carrying nothing that could be useful either. And of course he couldn't simply leave the boy.

"I will take you to them, soon."

He would do that, and vanish once the poor lad was safely back with the column. It was too much a danger that somebody might recognise him - or worse, that Esteban the doctor should be somewhere in the column.

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:34 pm

It was the first time that the hussar smiled. Slowly he nodded , lying the crutch at his side. The day had turned from miserable continuity into something of a bright future.
"..I'll be in your debt, if you do so."He spoke, his voice more cheerful. His trust had been given, and he hoped his judgement would not see him robbed of his fewest possessions and slain in the heart of the no-man's land. His eagerness to go, showed not a second later with his soft:"..When are we leaving? .. Now?" And he would have deemed his rest enough even with the silent throb beneath his boot.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:46 pm

"Now?" Calderón bit his lip and considered. The hussar could not walk unaided, but to allow him to hobble along would only harm the lad more. Yet the fellow was eager to be on the move and Calderón could hardly begrudge him that. Maybe for awhile, he would let the lad walk before intervening to be of more active help.

"Yes, we go now," he said after a pause. "Slowly, yes?"

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:59 pm

"..give me a horse, and I may go in haste.. but let me walk..and .."He struggled to his feet, stubbornly ignoring the protest of his leg. He took his crutch again and tucked it beneath his arm.

"..I shall go as I've gone so far." He had been on his feet for a while now, walking every day in fear of missing the army. " It is not my habit to march." He spoke and there was spirit yet in how he had carried himself in the next few steps. Though at the corner of his eyes the pain still was shown, his stubbornness had kept him pressing on.

Glances to the ground had helped him from stumbling across any of the rocks and loose pebbles, wet grass or a heightened bump on his path, a root upturned. No, he would not back down, by all means if his leg had to give out beneath him. With a direction and purpose he felt at his fullest yet again, if only by an illusion. "Have you seen any French while following on our tail?" It would be of no harm if he would learn a few tid bits of information while they walked. After all, should it not be a long one?

He grit his teeth as his crutch slipped on a positively wet gleaming stone and the motion had him stagger. "..a reason, why I trust.. me horse ter walk my way." He spoke in awkward amusement, almost as if to make light of the situation. But it had an effect different from expected, for the beautiful creature he had lost flashed before his eyes and it's last cries rang in his ears.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:15 pm

Calderón nodded, mostly to himself. The hussar did indeed have pluck. But pluck wouldn't carry him all the way to the army. At most, Calderón estimated the boy would last a mile.

"I have not seen the Frenchman." In truth, there had been no other living humans anywhere near since he'd left Lisbon, but that meant nothing. A French patrol could appear in an instant, just as easily as could a British scouting party.

He reached out to steady the hussar when the lad slipped. A mile, at most. He had his own pride to consider here, but there was also the hussar's injured state to take into account. The poor fellow was so used to having his horse... Calderón swallowed with an effort. He was no man's pack animal, yet this was an extreme case. If any of his fellow wanderers were to see him in the next few moments...

"Come," he said. "I will walk for you." And he knelt down, his meaning clear.

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:27 pm

Willoughby gazed startled at the bent man. He was used to ride on the backs of horses, but not on that of men. That comparision was strangely entertaining though.

To be offered a ride by a man in a less dignified manner, was a thought the boy could not consider and decide in a mere instant. Would he have not known what amount of sacrifice of pride the foreigner needed to make for the offer, he would decline it with a good jerk of his head and a dignified look on his face. But to do so now, he felt, could offend the man. The least he needed for the good samaritan was, to injure his feelings or frail his temper.

"It.. "He began, wanting to say that it were not necessary, but decided at last against it."...I hope not to have you regret this.. good man." He spoke in kinder manner, the thought of his horse forgotten by the oddness of the situation. He had seen foot soldiers carry their wounded but with so many horses at hand, it was the least on his mind of ever happening to him. Even less with someone he did not know.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:46 pm

At least, he thought, the hussar was not too heavy. He hoped he wouldn't regret it either. but that was a worry for a later time. Calderón straightened up once the hussar was settled across his back as securely as he was likely to be and tucked his elbows underneath the boy's knees. Only three miles to the British column.

"It is nothing," the scout grunted as he started out, wavering just a bit until he found his balance. "We will reach your column soon." Within hours, easily. Calderón stretched his legs out into a trot and hoped the brisk gait would not jostle the hussar too much.

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José Ramon Calderón
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:54 pm

He clasped a hand against his saber so that it would not rattle and strike against his bearer's back. It may not have been the most comfortable ride that the hussar has ever had, but he would have never complained! Grateful and with good heart, to the stranger who was so willing to help. When lost, he had despaired that if he may loose his way, he would not live to tell his tale, but he fought on, never allowing his thoughts nor musings to get the better of him.

There wasn't quite an opportunity for talk, so he remained silent and tried, to his best effort, to remember the path that they took. He tursted Jose perhaps, but not to the extent that he would be carried blindly without a plan, should this one fail.
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Timothy Willoughby
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Species : Cornet, 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars)
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:42 pm

OOC - Let's do the Time Warp again... Very Happy

IC -

The distance passed steadily, if slowly despite Calderón's unchanging trot. He could hold that pace for miles before growing weary but that was assuming he carried no weight other than his own. It helped nothing that the ground was not the easiest to travel after the recent rain. More than once, the scout was obliged to swallow curses or grunts of pain as his bare feet scuffed over rocks or sharp bits of twigs.

It would take awhile to get even somewhat close to the column. With luck, he'd encounter one of the outlying scouts and thereby be able to surrender his unlucky charge without having to get too close to the army itself.

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José Ramon Calderón
Midshipman

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:59 pm

(OOC - You were itching to do it weren't you? ;D )

The hussar marveled at how much strength his new found 'friend' possessed. He has, bare feet no less, carried him quite a distance at a fairly quick trot. Perhaps he has sometimes crossed a plain of rocks, where the hussar had to wince in sympathy for the sharp edged floor against which the man's feet would scramble, but he had not changed at his pace, not much or sometimes not at all.

He, himself, had tried to make himself as easy a weight to carry as he knew how, trying not to dislodge the balance of the man with any movement that could send them both face or legs first, depending of whom, into the mud laced with rocks. Memorizing the path that they've crossed wasn't easy. He wondered whether he ought to ask the man for rest. Not that he needed it himself, but rather for Jose. He's covered a good distance which, so the hussar realised, he would have only dreamt to do in such a short time.

But he observed the man's progress again and the surroundings, trees and puddles of freshly made 'ponds' and sometimes he craned his neck to look higher, catching a glimpse of the sky too and its gloomy disposition. Another mile perhaps. If the man would not have stopped by then, he would ask that they do.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:16 pm

His back was beginning to protest its burden. Unsurprisingly, really, but the dull ache was annoying. Calderón gritted his teeth and bore the pain for nearly half a mile before admitting to himself that he needed to rest. "We will stop for awhile," he said as he slowed to a plodding walk. The change in pace set his feet to throbbing as well. Dammit.

He knelt, a little awkwardly, to let the hussar slide off his back onto the ground. Once the boy's weight was gone, Calderón allowed himself to ease down into a half-slouch. They were closer to the road now, and with luck would spot the column soon after getting moving again.

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:23 pm

He balanced himself carefully off of Jose's back, and stood more swiftly on his feet, a slight tilt to the uninjured leg. "You have my deepest gratitude for your aid." His voice was soft and warm. He reached to his side, where he had carried with him a small flask. It could've been one, picked from the ground and refilled with water, when scouting. A pleasant small thing that was offering many favours to him now. One being,.. clean water from a day before.

He offered it to Jose, smiling lightly."..your lips must be dry... by this time.. drink." He trusted that they would be 'home' soon, and even so. He wasn't the one walking, thus he could be the one not drinking either.

(will be back real soon!)
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:45 pm

Calderón eyed the flask as it was offered to him, wanting to dampen his throat a little but not wishing to deprive the hussar of his own drink. To refuse the offer would be rude, since he was helping the hussar in a rather large way. "Thank you," the scout said and accepted the flask. He took only a brief swallow before handing the small vessel back. Just enough to take the taste of dust from his mouth.

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:58 pm

"Do drink more if you need it. It takes a great deal more effort to carry a man, than it is to be carried."He spoke again and offered a small chuckle. Resting his leg against a tree root, he gazed at his boots, worn and caked in mud. The man at his side didn't wear any. He wondered if he had preffered it so, something unthinkable, or if he had only been unable to retrieve any, and his old ones have perished. No less, it would have not been right to ask.

"I can try to walk again, if that would be better for you." He saw that the man was tired and had probably suffered some pain. His legs had moved funnily a bit, when relieved of the burden.
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:06 pm

The scout shook his head. "I do not need much water to be satisfied," he said. Calderón looked at the hussar's battered boots and sighed. The boy might wish to ease the burden he presented but it would be faster to go on carrying him. Besides, it was not that much farther to the road. A mile and a half or so, he thought.

"It is close now, the road," Calderón told the boy. "It is no trouble."

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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:17 pm

"Very well." With one sentence he had aknowledged two. He took his flask to his lips and drank little from it. The water was pleasant enough, with its taste still relatively normal and fresh. Awkward silence commenced, the hussar lowering his flask and placing it back to its proper place.

He looked at his pelisse and brushed bits of dried mud from its fabric. Adjusting it carefully, he dusted it again with great care. "Is it...?"The thought left him before he could form it, so he shook his head lightly.
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Timothy Willoughby
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Species : Cornet, 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars)
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  José Ramon Calderón on Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:57 pm

Is it what? Calderón arched an eyebrow at the boy, wondering what he'd been about to ask. His back would be sore later, after he'd delivered the lad to his fellows, but that was something to worry about later. Might that have been it? The scout shrugged and stretched. He was ready to get up and continue the journey, but the hussar probably could do well with little more time to rest. It couldn't be easy, being jostled about on Calderón's back.

"We will go again in a minute," he said after a moment.

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José Ramon Calderón
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:12 pm

He nodded lightly. Attention withdrawn from his pelisse which would have probably earned him quite a few sour faces of his peers, and that is, saying it lightly, he leaned back, hands touching the ground with their palms.

"For your kindest service.. how may I show my gratitude?" He was not well versed in the ways of men from this land, as much as he regretted it. He's seen other land born, but never spared much thought on them. Never enough, he reckoned. He observed, but there were just other topics spoken among the riders, many of ladies and their irrestistable charms.

He sensed that they were indeed close to the troops and recognised some of the land as one that he has ridden through before. A road to which he would be returning to was there. And there would be the men. It was this reason also, that brought up the question for he did not know how much time would be left once rejoining. And Jose could be oblieged rather to remain behind , slink away like a shadow to return and nip at the tail of the line, picking at scraps and the like.
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Timothy Willoughby
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Species : Cornet, 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars)
Number of posts : 3280
Location : In the mud
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Re: Horseless horseman hampered

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